I’m sure I have said it before in one of these posts but the first Friday of the month comes around real fast! Here is my entry for September’s Furious Fiction Competition. Furious Fiction is a short story competition brought to you by the Australian Writers Centre. 500 words, 55 hours and a $500 Prize.
This month’s prompts
Each month there is a different set of prompts that must be incorporated into the story. The prompts are published at 5:00 PM Friday and the competition closes at midnight on Sunday. Sometimes you have to use the exact word, sometimes you can use a different tense or variant. This month:
The story must include
- either an attic or a basement
- include some kind of insect
- have the words EARTH, WIND, FIRE and WATER or variations of.
Story Stats: This month the entry is 480 words. I started at 5:15 PM on Friday and worked on it for about 3 hours. I tidied it up a bit on Saturday morning and submitted at 10AM. I started off with the character’s name as Geoff and Jennifer but decided to call him Brad. A small tip of the hat to Pitt and Aniston. I had the bones of the story in my mind before I started typing. Initially, Brad was going to be injured from the fall, but that got a bit grim.
It’s just not cricket
Brad was balancing on the top step of the now obviously too short ladder. One hand held a torch, the other the edge of the manhole. The ladder teetered as he hoisted himself into the hole. His tippy-toe was just making contact with the cap tread.
“Can you see it?” Jennifer asked from below.
“Nope, can’t see it. But your attic roof needs fixing. There’s been a lot of water up here.”
He pointed the torch “You see? Water has been dripping down these beams.”
She couldn’t see because the ceiling was in the way, but he went right on explaining anyway.
”Cheers, thanks for the mansplanation” she thought, but out of her mouth came
“Oh right…OK…I’ll get a roofer to come and have a look…”
“I could try and fix it. I’m pretty handy.”
And then… the ladder fell. There he was, head and shoulders in the roof and his legs dangling toward the earth. He kicked wildly mid-air, trying to get a better grip. It was a good three metres to the floor, far enough to get hurt if he fell, but close enough to jump if he was brave.
Brad wasn’t the brave type but he also wasn’t prepared to let Jennifer know that yet. It was only their second date.
“JENNIFER! Stop laughing and stand the bloody ladder up” he shouted.
“Right, oh yes right. Sorry, but if you could see your butt sticking out of that hole, you’d be laughing too!”
And then… it was too late. Gravity won.
Brad landed in an untidy pile. Jennifer tried to stifle her laughter but it was no use. She fell down next to him, grabbing her belly and chortling.
“Are you ok?” she asked between snorts.
He nodded, “I think so – just winded.”
For a long time, they both lay on the floor, laughing each time they looked at the open manhole or each other, simultaneously wondering how to recover this train wreck of a date.
Jennifer had hoped for a romantic sit-in-front-of-the-fire type date, but they had run out of small talk before they had finished the first course. For her, the relationship was doomed despite the fact he was an Adonis.
Thankfully, a cricket had come to their rescue. Its noisy chirps necessitating a search and destroy mission. It proved an effective cover for their lack of conversation.
Now, an hour later, they were lying close on the cold, bare floorboards giggling like children.
She reached out to touch his chest. “Are you sure you’re OK?”
Jennifer drew even closer as he returned her caress.
“Told you I was handy,” he whispered.
Chirp, chirp chirrrrpppppppppp!
“Bloody cricket! It’s still up there!!” he said.
“It can stay up there for all I care. ” Jennifer kissed his full chiselled lips.
Maybe a third date was on the cards, the pest control could wait.
I enter this competition most months. You can see some of my other attempts by clicking on the links below.