Furious Fiction 11 – May 2020

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

Another First Friday rolls around and here is my entry for May’s Furious Fiction, the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly competition. Like last month we are still in lock down, although restrictions are beginning to be lifted in most places. Hopefully, not too soon. My heart goes out to the people of America who are now suffering the most.

As I’ve said before this competition is a fun activity with a terrific prize. You can read about it on their website.

Basically, it’s 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.

The criteria for May were:

  • Your story’s first word must be FIVE.
  • Your story must include something being replaced.
  • Your story must include the phrase A SILVER LINING (‘a’ or ‘the’ is fine).

This month I was able to achieve my aim of getting Frankie in front of the judge. I also realised in my first chapter of this story our protagonist’s name was Charlie and somewhere along the line I switched it to Frankie. Ah well, from now on our flamboyant dresser is Frankie!

This month’s entry was submitted on Sunday morning about 9 AM although it was essentially finished on Saturday afternoon. 496 words.


Andrea’s Surprise

‘FIVE YEARS? You’ve GOT to be joking? Because I wore brightly coloured clothes? FASCIST!’ Frankie shouted as the gavel hit the sound block.

‘ORDER!’ Judge O’Mallory shouted back, ‘Bailiff! Take him down!’

‘Five years? I can’t! I’ll die!’ Frankie pleaded with his barrister. ‘Please! Do something, you’ve got to appeal!’

The barrister nonchalantly scratched the itch under the horsehair wig as the door slammed on Frankie and the din of his wails receded.

Do the crime pal, pay the time! Andrea thought. Frankie had been a difficult client. He had flouted the law several times, had already served time and here he was again only a few months after he had been released. He shouldn’t be surprised.

He was a recidivist.

He deserved it!

Didn’t he?

On the other hand, these Fashion Police and the Fashion Laws were getting a little out of hand. She couldn’t help thinking it was just another “-ism” oppressing the poor.

Well, it didn’t really matter what she thought, it was the law!

The bubble surrounding her reverie popped as Andrea caught the eye of her learned colleague across the aisle, winking and nodding his head ever so slightly toward the door. Although her own reaction was equally as imperceptible, the message was received loud and clear, and thirty minutes later Lloyd and Andrea were shouting seductively at each other across the noisy crowd in a bar. Crime Does Pay was a very popular venue for the lost souls of the legal fraternity. There was no colour there, only a sea of grey. The black gowns and white jabots replaced by the sedate and State-sanctioned garb that kept the law off their own backs.

They could let their hair down, but not their guard! No-one was safe from the Fashion Police. No-one.

 ‘What I don’t understand,’ Lloyd bellowed above the ruckus, ‘is why you take on these cases in the first place, Andrea?’

She had liked the look of Lloyd, but the more she got to know him, the more she realised their values were not aligned, and maybe looks were not enough. But then, it was Friday night, and it beat going home alone.

 ‘You know I can’t resist the underdog!’ she laughed.

 Lloyd pulled her close, ‘Ready to go? I’ve got a real surprise for you tonight!’

Andrea was perched on the window sill of the hotel room, high above the sparkling harbour. She smiled at her reflection, knowing the pink negligee was irresistible. She sipped her Moet and in her best bedroom voice called out,

‘Where’s this surprise you promised me?’ 

Lloyd emerged from the ensuite, naked. Naked except for a black cape with a silver lining.

He twirled.

The cape sparkled.

She gasped.

It was then that Andrea realised the real benefit of money was not buying expensive things, but rather a way of enabling you to hide your own vices and avoid detection.  Crime did pay –  her!

‘Now, that’s what I call a surprise!’ she cooed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furious Fiction 10 – April 2020

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

Another First Friday rolls around and here is my entry for April’s Furious Fiction, the Australian Writers’ Centre’s monthly competition. This month I didn’t have to feel guilty about being at home in front of my computer on both Friday and Saturday nights. Australia and most of the world remain in some form of lock-down. Your location will add a different flavour to your circumstances, with some countries in complete lockdown and others having what can only be described as a half-hearted attempt.

As I’ve said before this competition is a fun activity with a terrific prize. You can read about it on their website.

Basically, it’s 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.

The criteria for April were:

  • Your story must begin on the side of a road.
  • Your story must include the words APRON, PIGMENT, RIBBON, ICON, LEMON (plurals are okay).
  • Your story must include a splash.

As I said back in March, I intended to  write the next chapter in my story about Frankie, the flamboyant dresser. I actually had a story mapped out and had even made a voice recording so I would not forget it.  It WAS going to be the next chapter, after Frankie’s arrest and prison processing. However, I could not get the prompts to fit that story so I have written Chapter 0, the start of Frankie’s journey. Perhaps next month I can get Frankie into court!

This month’s Furious Fiction entry was submitted at 8:20AM Sunday. 497 words.

a red dirt road stretching into the horizon

Frankie Starts His Journey.

Frankie stood up at the first sight of bulldust rising on the horizon. He got ready to wave down the approaching road train. His ticket to the big smoke. He’d had enough of living a lie out here in the back of beyond. It was time to cut those apron strings and leave the family home. He was never going to fit in out here. Never. He was a round peg in a very square hole.

The bulldust cloud was getting closer. The bright red pigment paint screaming out “Broome or Bust!” from his sign. He hoisted his backpack, so he’d be ready when the driver slowed down. Frankie was in no doubt the driver would slow down, it was outback lore. No one, no decent person, would leave a lone hitchhiker out here without asking if they were OK.

By the time Frankie’s imagined road train was a hundred metres away, it had morphed into a yellow Kombi. The front tyre was flat, and the VW icon dangled on a ribbon from the windshield wipers.

Frankie wasn’t sure he wanted a lift in this particular lemon. Would it even make it to the next town, let alone Broome? He couldn’t be choosy, it was the first vehicle to pass him in four hours, and it was getting dark. The Kombi did slow down. It clanged to a stop with a burst of black smoke exploding from the dragging exhaust.

“MAN!” the driver said, “AM I glad to see YOU! I’m lost, my Kombi’s stuffed and I JUST ran out of petrol!”

Frankie blinked. When he opened his eyes, the Kombi was still there, still smoking.

The driver jumped down and held out his hand. “Name’s George,” he said, pumping Frankie’s hand enthusiastically while raising his eyebrow quizzically.

“Errr…Frankie,” Frankie said after an awkward pause. He realised he had been staring. George sure must have had some balls to be out here, in this place, dressed like that! His outfit was a riot of colour and style. A glorious cascade of sequins on satin. Frankie’s own chambray and denim, a shameful deception hiding his real desires,

“Let’s get this piece of shit off the road!” George said as he put his shoulder against the dead van. The heaving ended abruptly when the Kombi rolled down the embankment, hit a rock and teetered over.

CRUNCH!

“SHIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTT!” they said in unison, laughing. Unfazed, George scrambled down to retrieve some gear through the now smashed window. A huge suitcase, a pair of tall black boots, and a bottle of rum.

“Care for a splash of something smooth, Frankie? I think it’s gonna be a long night.”

They laughed again and sat down to wait for a real road train.

For the first time in his life, Frankie felt at ease with another human. He had found his tribe, here on the edge of the Gibson Desert. He’d found another round peg that wasn’t trying to squeeze into any square holes!

270413_3193

NOTE: some Aussie slang:

Lemon = a broken down car bought cheap and not likely to last long.

1 May 2020: EDITED TO ADD: I just realised my main character’s name changed.  In the first episode, his name was Charlie and the guard’s name was Frankie. Here I called our protagonist Frankie! Whoops! From now on he’ll be Frankie, the flamboyant dresser.

Furious Fiction – From the Archive

Furious Fiction – Australian Writers’ Centre.

Coronavirus “Iso” has given us the time to do things we would normally leave to  “when we got around to it”. What started as a valiant attempt to sort out my digital storage, descended into a trove of old stories found in my messy Google Drive.  Included in that hot mess were previous attempts at Furious Fiction competitions,  and fragments of stories I don’t remember starting let alone have an inkling of where I was going to go with the storyline. (I’ll publish them later and challenge you to finish them!)

Here is the entry I wrote for the September 2018 competition. The criteria that month were:

  • The entire story must take place in an airport.
  • The story must include the word SPRING somewhere. (Plural also okay.)
  • The story must include the phrase: IT WAS EMPTY.

This is the second of two found stories from my archive. I have also published other FF stories which you can find here.

Pam’s deception.

Always ready to spring into action, Krysia was scanning the crowd of bleary-eyed, unwashed, overfed and under-slept travellers who stood at the carousel waiting for their bags to be spewed out onto the belt. 

Like a tractor beam in an old sci-fi movie, her eyes locked onto the guy in the suit. Too tidy. Too neat. No doubt he flew first class. She directed her hidden camera on him. It scrolled through the biometrics, settling on an identity within seconds:  Clifford Saunders. Australian. DOB 25/09/78. No flags. No tags. No dossier. A clean skin. 

BINGO!

She turned to her boss. “Looks dodgy, Pam, I am going down on the floor.”

Pam nodded. “I’ll put the decoy in play.”

Decked out in civvies, Krysia sidled up to him and rubbed her eyes in a mock yawn. 

“I hate this part – just give me my bags already!” she said. “What flight were you on?”

Cliff ignored her. Not many refused her charm. Definitely dodgy!  

The decoy bag came in view. When it was right in front of him, she leapt forward. The accidental collision, a perfect distraction, as she triggered the micro-gas detector.

“Quick Pam, test that”  she whispered into her sleeve, as she wrestled the bag to the floor.

After thirty minutes of tense and awkward waiting,  there were only two bags left on the belt. The bag with the first-class tags was going past again. This time, Krysia stepped up to grab it, simultaneously flashing her ID and a smug smile. Cliff shifted on his feet, ready to run. She made the signal. A cloud of black-uniformed officers swarmed around him.

“It’s light – scan it” she barked. 

The X-ray showed it was empty.

After seven hours of intense interrogation, Krysia had to let him go. There was nothing. No residue of drugs, explosives or wildlife. 

She went upstairs to report to Pam. The walk of shame. She’d have to listen to the lecture about picking the wrong mark – again.  She’d been so sure this time! Apparently, there was nothing illegal about having an empty bag. There should be!

Pam’s office was empty. That’s odd?

Krysia filled out the forms and emailed them through. An out-of-office email pinged back within milliseconds. “That’s odd,” she thought “Pam didn’t say she was going on leave”

Odd indeed.  Krysia began to panic. She pulled up the CCTV footage.

There! Right there! Just when Krysia was causing a huge commotion with Clifford Saunders’ arrest, with every officer on shift in one place at one time, there, right there, was Pam picking up the second of the two remaining bags from the belt. There she was with a passport and a boarding pass like any other traveller. There was Pam walking through the arrivals hall and buying coffee. And there, seven hours later, was Pam, in the back of a limo, leaving the car park with Clifford. 

“I’ll put the decoy in play,” Pam Saunders had said.

BOOM! 

 

Furious Fiction – from the archives

Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition

I was trawling through my Google Drive trying to tidy it up a bit and came across this story I wrote back on the 3rd August 2018. Given that that was a “First Friday”, I can only presume I wrote it for an Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition.

My suspicions were confirmed after searching through their archives, where I discovered that the prompts for that month were:

each story had to include the following three sentences:

  • The door was locked.
  • She laughed.
  • It felt familiar.

I can see now that although I included the words, I did not include them as stand-alone sentences which means I did not fulfil the requirements. I guess that’s why I didn’t win! 🙂

The closest I’ve got to winning so far is this entry where I was longlisted.

The Erikson Case

As she fumbled in her bag for the keys, she came to grips with the fact that this time, he had, in fact, meant it. The door was locked, she was late, and her resentful husband was on the other side of that thick piece of wood and glass. She turned the key and pushed. Nothing. She pushed again this time with her shoulder.  She laughed! Oh, how she laughed. 

“Cunning bugger,” she thought “He’s gone and locked the deadbolt as well and I don’t have that key.” 

In the morning, when she was leaving for work, shuffling with the stilettos half on and the toast clasped between her teeth, he had asked her not to be late.  

“If you are late again. I’ll lock it! I mean it!” 

She grabbed the toast and pecked his cheek. 

“Yes, darling, of course you will.” 

“No, I mean it!  I really mean it! You said you’d be home by seven last night and you didn’t get home till 10:30. I cooked…”

She cut him off with another kiss, this time full and passionate. To distract him. To try and convince him that she was sorry. It had become their daily routine, and it felt familiar. Too darn familiar.

She pulled the door shut and wriggled her foot completely into the shoe.

“I mean it” she heard him yell through the door. 

She pulled a face “Yes dear!” she mouthed and started the car. It wasn’t as if she wanted to be late!  It came with the job. The long hours, the high stakes. 

“Are you having an affair?” he had asked on Tuesday. 

“No! Don’t be silly” she replied without thinking more of it. She wasn’t, and it didn’t occur to her that he needed more than a quick reassurance. 

Truth be known she was. Not with another man but with her work. It absorbed her. Took all her energy and gutted her soul. It drained her every day, and she felt like a battery with only 5% charge. A thin red line. 

“What is it exactly you’re working on this time?” he asked on Wednesday.

“The Erikson case.  Very tricky commercial law” she said, a little too quickly. They both knew she was lying. She changed the subject ineptly. That was something she needed to work on – lying. 

The locked door was no obstacle though. Not to her. She took the little tool case out of her handbag. The one with the tiny little lock picking tools. The lock clicked, she stepped inside. He was on the couch, the sound of the TV muffling his quiet snoring.  She kissed him gently and covered him with a blanket. The air smelt of pizza. 

One day, maybe one day, she’d be able to tell him, but right now she remained in her Majesty’s Service and her code name was classified.

She dragged her tired body up the stairs and winced at the bruises she gained in today’s “tricky Erikson case”. 


A post on a Wednesday? “That’s odd”, I hear you say. “Don’t you normally post on a Friday and Sunday?” Yes! I am experimenting with posting days to see if there is much difference in my “view” count.

Furious Fiction 9 – March 2020

Wentworth Street, Port Kembla

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

Gosh, the First Friday sure does come around quickly bringing another chance to enter Furious Fiction, the AWC’s monthly competition. As I’ve said before this is a fun activity with a terrific prize. You can read about it on their website.

Basically it’s 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.

The criteria for March were:

  • Your story must include a PERSON IN DISGUISE.
  • Your story must take place in a PARK.
  • Your story must include a MIRROR.

I made three starts to this story. The first attempt was about a private eye trying to catch a wandering spouse, then it morphed into an internet dating story before I finally decided to run with the same story arc as last month’s story. It had to stand alone and not rely on the previous episode to make sense. I have already hatched out the next episode and hope I can bend April’s criteria to suit.

Here is this month’s Furious Fiction entry, submitted at 9:55 PM Saturday night. 488 words.

Clark in the Dark

Miriam was swinging her legs under the park bench. 

“Stop fidgeting! You’ll blow our cover!”

She sighed deeply and went back to pulling at the fringing on her poncho. 

“How long do we have to sit here?”

Clark ignored her. 

Miriam shuffled along the bench, tapped her feet on the ground, stood up, sat down, adjusted her mohawk wig, looked at her watch and sighed again. 

“Gov, this is ridiculous. We’ve already hit our quota for the month. Anyway, don’t you think THIS is dangerously bordering on entrapment?”

Miriam waved her hands over the “this”. An orange and white crocheted poncho made from acrylic yarn, white lace-up boots and tight orange velour pants. 

“Miriam…” he said “It’s not about the quota. It’s about the law. We don’t just stop upholding the law because we hit our quota! We don’t just let the fifty-first murderer off the hook because we only needed fifty for the quota!”

Specks of white saliva were gathering in the creases of his lips.  

“No, Miriam, we seek out those poxy crims wherever they are! ”

When DCI Clark Weston was working up to a full spitty episode, DC Miriam Hensen knew it was time to take a backward step.

“We have a duty to society! We have to stop these scum corrupting our youth with their grooming. If you can’t stand the heat Miriam, get out of the sweatshop!”

“Gov, I joined the Unit so I could create change! I expected undercover work to be more than sitting in Hyde Park in a clumsy disguise trapping lost souls. I didn’t think I’d be using a bag full of second-hand clothes from Double Bay Vinnies to entrap the disadvantaged.”

“Don’t come the liberal social justice disadvantaged angle with me, Miriam! These people DO have choices! They can look in the mirror before they leave home you …”

He stopped mid-sentence, “Look!  There, case in point!”

There, coming towards them was a travesty of colour. A man in a blue shirt, green pants and no belt. 

“A Code 10! Bet you’ve never seen THAT before!“ Clark whispered excitedly “Blue and green with nothing in between!”

Miriam was shocked. The man’s eyes were bulging like a junkie craving a fix. Clark pushed her towards him.

“Remember, he has to agree to buy!”

She sashayed up to Mr Blue-Green, “Wanna look at my stash fella,” she cooed, swishing her fringing and holding the bag out provocatively.

“Yeah babe, if you’ve got any sequins, I’ll buy the lot!” 

And just then, just as he committed to the sale, DCI Weston of the Fashion Police, lept up and cuffed him. 

“You’re under arrest  for a Code 10 Violation – Catastrophic Colour Clash.” Clarke shouted, “You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say may be used as evidence.”

Clark looked across at Miriam with smug satisfaction. “Never forget our motto, Miriam. Dress Proud. THAT’S what you signed up for.”

 

 

Furious Fiction 8 – February 2020

Wentworth Emporium

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

I didn’t get a chance to submit an entry for the December and January editions of Furious Fiction but here is my effort for February 2020. Furious Fiction is a fun competition with a terrific prize and you can read about it on their website.

Basically it’s 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize.

The criteria for February were:

  • One of the characters had to be a GUARD
  • It must include the words NARROW, GLOSSY, GOLDEN and LEATHERY
  • The first and last sentences can have only two words.

Let me know what you think!

Frankie’s Folly.

“Not AGAIN?”

The guard’s exasperated look said it all. This was the third time Charlie had tumbled through the narrow shute from the prison van into the processing room.

“Lord, it’s only two months since the last time you were here! Will you never learn?”

“‘Fraid not, Frankie,” Charlie said as he held out his leathery hand for a defiant high-five. “I will always express myself as the creative individual I am. They will never wear me down!”

When there was no return slap Charlie withdrew his raised hand, seamlessly morphing the gesture into a head scratch. Frankie wasn’t risking being seen on camera fraternising with the inmates. Secretly, he hoped that one day, Charlie might learn how to keep himself out of trouble. At the very least, learn to keep his felonies private and behind closed doors.

The first time they met, four years ago, Charlie was in for three months. He arrived in golden hot pants and silver knee-high boots.  A clear Code 7 Violation: Mixed Metallics.

The rigorous and brutal re-education sessions had had little impact because a year later, Charlie was back. This time in a glossy vinyl jumpsuit adorned with sequins AND fur. Code 8 slapped down right there! Texture Abuse.  The Judge was less inclined to be lenient for a second offence and Charlie was in for a full year.

And here he was a third time. Granted, Charlie was a little more subdued in a blue shirt and green trousers, but Frankie wouldn’t help him this time. There’d been a crackdown on contraband and it was too hazardous to smuggle the ‘Zines in. Last time, he had pushed pages torn from Vogue under Charlie’s cell door but despite the hints, he just didn’t get it! It was too much for Frankie, he had compassion fatigue.

Frankie read Charlie’s charge sheet and shook his head. The Judge had really thrown the book at him.

“Crikey Charlie?” He swore under his breath. “Everybody knows its law!” The mandatory five-year sentence was excessive but without a doubt, this was a serious offence. There it was in black and white:

“Blue and green should never be seen unless there’s something in between. Code 10 Violation: Catastrophic Colour Error. Maximum penalty!”

As the other guards dragged Charlie away,  Frankie felt for him, he was obviously trying. He had made a rookie error, he had forgotten the belt.

Frankie sighed, it was definitely time to forget this fella. He had done what he could.  Who knew what sort of family Charlie grew up in? No doubt his mum wore black bras under white t-shirts. His dad probably had a mullet. There was little hope of redemption.

Frankie squared his shoulders in a Scarlett O’Hara-esque way and strode down the hall to unload yet another van-load of sorry souls in their offensive glad rags.  The decal on the cop car outside at least reminding his jaded psyche of his raison d’être.

Federal Fashion Police. 

Dress Proud.

 

 

 

NEWS FLASH!!! I didn’t win but this story did get long-listed! woot woo!!!!

Screen Shot 2020-02-26 at 19.07.04

 

 

 

 

Furious Fiction 7

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

I look forward to the Furious Fiction First Friday each month. I don’t always take the opportunity to write something, but when I do, it certainly is furiously fast! This November, I had a chance to take a peek on Friday night, and I sketched out an idea, but I didn’t actually start writing until Saturday. It’s a fun competition with a terrific prize and you can read about it on their website.

Basically its 500 words in 55 hours for a $500 prize

The prompts for November 2019 were a bit tricky!Screenshot 2019-11-05 20.15.35

Here’s my effort!

Three in the Bed

“There were eleven in the bed, and the little one said roll o…”

Molly didn’t get a chance to finish the nursery rhyme.

“Cut it out! Eleven? It’s only ten!” Polly interjected vexatiously.

“I can have as many as I like! I can have 50 in the bed if I want.”

Molly and Polly had been bickering since birth. Molly, the eldest, by seven minutes, thought she could lord it over Polly. While Polly, who had benefited from a greater share of placental oxygen, was the tallest.

With the bickering came the secret schemes. The ones sealed with an even more secretive handshake. The sorts of schemes that only truly identical twins could pull off.

The sort of schemes that twisted and turned and caught the unsuspecting in a tangled web.

It started out innocently enough when one sister couldn’t keep an appointment, the other would go in her place. Polly would sit the Maths papers, Molly would do the art classes. They would lie in bed at night and giggle at the stories they had invented and what the other would need to do to stay in character for the next encounter.

The stakes grew progressively higher as they got older. They shared a Tinder profile. On Saturday nights they’d flick through the photos giggling and calling out in unison.

“Left!”

“Left!”

“Left!”

When they got to Lewis, they both shouted. “RIGHT!”

“We’ll share! He’ll never know.” Polly said.

Molly interpreted sharing as sequential dating. Polly had a better idea; simultaneous dates.

“How are we going to do that?” Molly asked.

“Easy, invite him back to our place, I’ll be hiding in the bathroom. You go to the toilet, I’ll swap places. Then after a while, I’ll ‘slip into something more comfortable’, and we can swap again.”

Molly wasn’t convinced but provided she’d be the one that ended up in the bed, she’d agree.

“It might get a bit awkward, though, if things start getting hot and steamy and you’re in the bathroom?”

“Noise-cancelling headphones, Sis,” Polly said.

Lewis turned out to be as hunky as his profile picture.

Polly and Lewis quickly got down to business on the couch. He began to trace the  crescent-shaped birthmark on her thigh with his finger, but Polly held his hand and excused herself nervously so she could “freshen up.”

“ SHIT! He saw it! The birthmark!” Polly wheezed as she shut the door.

“We didn’t think about that!”

Polly suddenly looked like the proverbial cat with the pigeon. “Sorry sis, you’ll have to miss out this time.”

“No, that’s not fair! Just turn out the lights!

“He doesn’t seem like an ‘in the dark’ sort of guy to me.” She pushed past, shutting the door firmly on her stammering sister.

Lewis was lying naked in the bed. Polly slipped between the sheets. Lewis looked over his shoulder as Molly slipped under the covers too, singing.

“There were two in the bed, and the little one said …make room for three!”


PS: I am not sure if the nursery rhyme I cite here is universally known. It was one my mum used to sing to me and me to my daughter. It’s a counting song and you use your fingers as you sing along.

There was 10 in the bed and the little one said

“Roll over, roll over”

So they all rolled over and one fell out (fold down one finger)

There was 9 in the bed and the little one said

“Roll over, roll over”

So they all rolled over and one fell out (fold down one finger)

And so on until you get to no-one in the bed

You can read some of my other Furious Fiction stories by clicking on the following links

Furious Fiction 6

Furious Fiction 5

Furious Fiction 4

Furious Fiction 3

Furious Fiction 2

Furious Fiction 1

 

 

Furious Fiction 6

Australian Writers Centre Furious Fiction Competition

It’s the first Friday of the month again and the Furious Fiction email is in my inbox. Yeah!! I have 2 hours before I go out with friends, and I’m already booked up for the weekend. So this time I gave myself only an hour to write the piece before submitting! Once again it’s not great but it’s done!

FURIOUS FICTION SEPTEMBER 2019 – THIS MONTH’S CRITERIA

  • Your story must include the name of at least ONE element from the periodic table.
  • Your story’s first and last words must begin with S.
  • Your story must contain the words TRAFFIC, JOWLS and HIDDEN.
  • And finally, your story must include something that BUZZES.

500 words 55 hours $500 prize money!

Sweet sounds of silence

Stephanie sat behind the wheel, her mouth opened wide, and her eyebrows raised higher than a tranny’s pencilled-in line. She looked over at the couple sitting next to her in the traffic. They were laughing, clearly enjoying her antics.

“What?” she said aloud, gesticulating impolitely. “Never heard of facial yoga? Hey! Honey your jowls could sure do with some tightening!”

The couple turned away, the lights changed, and they accelerated away.

“Pffft” Stephanie shouted after them.

“Calm down, Stephanie!” The little voice inside her head cooed.  “They’re just not worth it”

She took a few deep breaths and returned to the facial gymnastics, indifferent to the effect it was having on those around her. This was her time, her space!  She could stay hidden in the safety capsule of her car and do whatever she liked. Stephanie looked forward to the drive home. It was her peaceful sanctuary from the raucous and relentless buzzing of the world.

For Stephanie, the world was a noisy and disturbing place.

The whooshing hand dryers in bathrooms.

The grizzling, guzzling coffee machine blowing out steam.

The beep beep beep of the road crossing alert.

The clackety-clack of heels on the concrete floors.

The loud music in the supermarket.

The audible chewing of the fellow next to her in a cafe. 

Every sound set her on edge.  There was no escape. At least in her car, she could cut out some of the noise and calm her frayed nerves. Without that peace, she knew she’d meltdown quicker than caesium held in her palm. She was grateful for the days when an accident delayed her.  Although in a pang of guilt, it did occur to her that her win was likely to be someone else’s tragedy.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a woman she knew, walking down the street with big, fat, puffy earphones covering up half her head. Her face was serene and blissful. Stephanie’s head craned around to get a better look. “What are they? What is she wearing” she asked the universe. “She looks so happy! She never looks happy!”

Up ahead was an appliance store. Stephanie careened off the road and screeched into the car park.  She strode into the store with her single purpose in mind.

Buy Bliss Making Headphones.

The sales clerk asked if he could help. “Big puffy headphones”, she blurted out, holding her hands like cups over her ears.

He took her to the rack. She tried a few on but felt no bliss.

“People like you usually like these best,” he said quietly.

He put the muffs over her ears and flicked the switch. The noise retreated into a muffled, manageable murmur.

“People like me?” she asked

“Yes” the sales clerk said shyly. “People on the spectrum”

 

You can see my other Furious Fiction Pieces Here.

Furious Fiction 1

Furious Fiction 2

Furious Fiction 3

Furious Fiction 4

Furious Fiction 5

 

 

Furious Fiction 5

What …with planning a big adventure to Scotland and all my creative energy directed towards travel and photography I haven’t written anything other than blog posts for a LONG time! Here is my effort for the August 2019 Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction Competition.

500 words 55 hours $500 prize money!

I give myself the added restriction of if it doesn’t get finished on Friday night I don’t submit it. So essentially done and submitted in five hours!

The rules from their post are as follows:

Hey hey, it’s ‘Adjective August’ (not to be confused with ‘Alliteration August’) – and we’ve gone absolutely description crazy…

  • Your story must include, word for word, ALL of the following SIX descriptions (describing whatever you want):
  1. SHINY, SILVER
  2. COLD AND GREASY
  3. SCRATCHED AND WEATHER-WORN
  4. SWEET AND PUNGENT
  5. INK-STAINED
  6. SHRILL, PIERCING
  • One of these six descriptions MUST appear in the first sentence of your story. (The rest, wherever you like.).

 

Ten reams to go:

The shrill, piercing shreik punctuated the dark, quiet air like an ill-placed comma. It disturbed the reverie of the gnarly old writer for only a second, but this was enough to fracture her flow so completely that the shiny, silver lake of ideas that had been swirling in her mind was sucked into the vortex of her brain as is someone had pulled the plug. The story, the line of dialogue, was now a  slithery trail of deceptive fiction never to be found again.

What had sounded like a dying baby was in fact only a peacock, settling in the trees after another steamy day in Paradise.

“Hah! Paradise!” she thought. How that description seemed so distant from the truth. The boundless enthusiasm of youth had been replaced by the scratched and weather-worn psyche of an older, creakier woman.  The entertaining antics of the monkeys, now dull. The massive, crawling creatures that infested her shoes, no longer a source of wonder. She’d been here 25 years. 24 years, 11 months and 2 weeks longer than she had intended. For her, the holiday in Paradise had turned into something very different – a lifelong commitment.

She got up from the rickety table, pushing herself back with ink-stained hands. No computer for this one. She had to take it slow. She had to be more deliberate and carve each word into the paper indelibly with a slender blue pen. The cut and paste needed to happen in her mind before any words could land on that precious paper, fully formed and perfect. Editing was not a simple keystroke away but rather a laborious trudge of rewriting. Editing meant wasting paper, and paper was more valuable than anything she’d ever owned.

She placed the cold and greasy remains of her Sunday dinner on the floor and banged on the door.

“I’m done” she called.

While she waited, she farted and enjoyed the sweet and pungent aroma of herself wafting around her, enveloping her with the only marker of self-identity she had beyond her writing.

The heavy boots boomed down the corridor. The top hatch opened, and the eyes peered in.

“Move away from the door,” the warden barked.

The bottom hatch opened, the tin plate was whisked away and replaced by five sheets of paper. Five! It was Sunday, Paper Day!

She danced as she held the sheets tightly to her chest. Not too tightly! She didn’t want to crease them.  She glanced at the other 6500-odd slivers of joy in the corner of her cell. They groaned under the weight of tightly-packed double-sided scrawl. The once bold script faded, in the same way her initial rants and protests had faded into a jaded acceptance. 

The judge had said “Life” when he had banged that gavel. Life? This pile was her life!  Would it be as tall as her when they shipped her out in a box? She did the maths. Ten reams to go. She’d run out of time.