Furious Fiction 19 – January 2021

This story was meant to wrap up in December 2020, but the trials of Frankie are far from over. Once again I have entered a chapter of my now serialised novel in the Australian Writers Centre’s Furious Fiction competition.

The Furious Fiction short story competition is serious fun and I recommend it to anyone who likes creative writing. Only 500 words with a prize of $A500. I’ve given up on writing for the prize, now I am just trying to write my story. The plot twist fairies and the prompts are not helping me get to the end. Once again it runs on directly from the last instalment so read that first.

The criteria for Furious Fiction this month were:

  • Your story must begin at sunrise.
  • You must use the following words somewhere in your story: SIGNATURE, PATIENT, BICYCLE.
  • Your story must include a character who has to make a CHOICE.

This month’s Furious Fiction stats:

This month I submitted the story at 10:15 AM on Sunday. I started thinking about the story soon after the prompts came out on Friday night but did not start writing until Saturday evening about 6 PM. Then lots of tweaking on Sunday morning. 499 words.

The Biker’s Alarm App.

These days EVERYONE used the *amazing* Biker’s Alarm app. It went off an hour before sunrise automatically factoring in the daily astronomical variation. It gave a weather forecast, a half-way warning based on time, AND you could choose your favourite bike-related song for the alarm! These wonders of technology disguised some of the less palatable aspects of the app. 

This morning, like every other morning, O’Mallory was jolted from his restless half-sleep by Queen’s “Bicycle Race”, and despite his oppressive fatigue, his feet slapped on the floor enthusiastically. There was no way on God’s Earth O’Mallory was ever going to miss a single legal opportunity to wear coloured clothing!  As he pulled on his purple leggings and gold jersey, the Judge sang his favourite line of the song;  

“You say black; I say white!” and chortled at his courageous rebellion.

The ruling Ultra Conservative Party, which prohibited the wearing of anything other than black, white or grey clothing, had paradoxically exempted cycling gear. Although touted as a health initiative, most people knew it was a paper-thin excuse manufactured by duplicitous Middle-Aged Male politicians who fancied themselves In Lycra!  

In the end, it didn’t matter why the UCP let you ride in coloured lycra, they did.  *Everyone* in the country now had a bicycle, and the nation had never been fitter! 

O’Mallory unlocked his Bluetooth bike lock by agreeing to the App’s T&Cs from his phone. 

  1. Colour permitted forty minutes either side of sunrise. 
  2. No dismount for any purpose except to repair a flat tyre. 
  3. Maximum of four riders in any group. 
  4. No motorised traffic other than bicycles allowed. (Essential services excepted) 

Non-compliance: $5000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment. 

With an 80-minute window, there was no stopping for a coffee or a chat like in the old days. McDonald’s, never missing an opportunity, modified their drive-through so you could pedal-through and refill your reusable McGoCup with their signature McSunride brew.  

Mobile coffee vans pivoted to become tyre repair stations with all the gear an *unlucky* rider might need to fix a puncture. You could *guarantee*  a flat tyre every time you rode over a *particular* nearby spot.

Riding quietly, O’Mallory thought about his next mutinous steps. Armed with evidence, thanks to Frankie; it was time to act!  He’d been patient long enough. 

So engrossed by thoughts of sedition, O’Mallory didn’t notice the whisper-quiet Tesla creeping up behind him until it was too late.  The tinted windows gave no clue to whom was inside, but a  non-essential vehicle on the road at this time of day only spelt trouble. 

He rose in the saddle to pedal faster and negotiate the last hill before home, but as he rattled down the other side at breakneck speed, the Tesla broadsided him. 

In that nanosecond,  O’Mallory had to choose between going over the bonnet or under the wheels; either way, it wouldn’t end well for him.  

As he soared over the bonnet, he looked back to see the door open and saw …

Furious Fiction 18 – December 2020

Australian Writers’ Centre Furious Fiction

December Furious Fiction? Already? Or from another point of view: “is it only December? When will this year be over? The year has simultaneously sped past and dragged on. Here is another installment in Frankie’s story.

I had a story arc roughed out but as I was writing this story my “pantser” mind took over and created a plot twist. Pantser being a term used by writers to describe those who write the story “by the seat of their pants” compared to plotters, who plot things out carefully.

I wanted to finish it this month so the end of Frankie’s journey coincided with the end of the year.

Sigh…

This Month’s Prompts

This month the prompts for Furious Fiction were.

  1. The first sentence could only be three words
  2. You need to include the words rose, palm and match (or variants of like matched)
  3. You need to include a gift of some kind.

The Furious Fiction short story competition is serious fun and I recommend it to anyone who likes creative writing. Only 500 words with a prize of $A500. I’ve given up on writing for the prize, now I am just trying to write my story. I’m getting closer to the end!

This story runs on directly from last month so you might want to read that first.

The Stats

This month I submitted the story at 9:00 PM on Sunday. I spent about an hour on Friday afternoon, then 2 hours on Saturday morning and a rough polish on Sunday before submitting as I was out all weekend. 491 words

Thomas Ball takes a leak

“Who are they?”

“Dorchester and Williams,” Frankie said casually as he put down his beer. 

O’Mallory nearly fell off his chair. “DORCHESTER and WILLIAMS? His voice rising in a whispering shout.

“Yes-sir-ree! Prime Minister Dorchester here in the rose lamé number and his Deputy Williams in the nice peacock blue chiffon,” Frankie said pointing to the photo.

“Shhh…!” O’Mallory looked around the bar while simultaneously trying to melt into the plastic palm tree propped against the wall.

“Classic ‘80s D&G. Really, it was a  bit over the top for the occasion! It took me a bloody long time source those outfits and they wasted them on some small-time Party Conference. Bloody poseurs those two! No fucking class! ” 

“Do you think they’ll still have them? Tucked away in their wardrobes?”

“Maybe, it’s a bit risky and there *was* the *Second Purge Amnesty*. It would have been safer to toss them then onto the big public fires and make a song and dance of their righteousness. It doesn’t matter, there are plenty more photos where that one came from. Either way, those bastards are gonna pay for those years I’ve lost, ” said Frankie stabbing the image with his finger, “Fucking hypocrites!”  

O’Mallory’s face contorted with guilt as his part in Frankie’s incarceration flickered through his mind. Frankie took another deep, calm sip to drain the glass and as if reading O’Mallory’s mind he said, 

“You were only doing your job, Guv’ner. But not these bastards! They came up with the whole crummy scheme!”

“That’s very gracious of you Frankie, I am sure not everyone I’ve sentenced would match your generosity. How much do we owe you for the evidence?” 

“Nada! Think of it as a gift. Just do what you need to do to get these pompous gits out of the House.”

O’Mallory looked at his watch and put the photo back in his pocket. “I have to go, I’m meeting with the others. Listen to Question Time tomorrow. It should get interesting. 

The men shook hands, “ Thanks Frankie, the Nation will thank you tomorrow.” 

That whole exchange, the entire process of getting the evidence to topple a corrupt government had taken less than 10 minutes.  It was then that O’Mallory realised that Tom Ball the journalist, and Frankie’s minder, hadn’t come back from the toilet.  He’d been gone the whole transaction. Odd? 

As he stepped from the un-palatial Mumbai Sapphire to the grubby street, the bright white lights of a garden of video cameras dazzled O’Mallory’s eyes,

“Justice O’Mallory,” the reporter barked as he thrust the microphone forward, “is it true that startling new photos *supposedly* compromising the position of our National Leader are in fact, photoshopped deep fakes?” 

O’Mallory pushed through the pack of reporters. “No comment,” he shouted.  

O’Mallory’s mind whirled. How did they even know about the photos? Was Ball a leak rather than just taking a leak?  Had he played them for suckers?


Final episode next month! (maybe!)

Furious Fiction 16 – October 2020

My, my the year goes quickly when you punctuate it with monthly Furious Fiction entries! This month I am pleased to say, I was able to use the prompts to progress my story about Frankie the Flamboyant dresser. It’s getting a bit darker than I had originally anticipated and I hate to say, without meaning to, that I am beginning to appropriate the plot line from the Handmaids Tale! Oh dear!!

Furious Fiction Prompts for October

This month’s Furious Fiction prompts were:

  • something had to get caught
  • use the words object, wound, band and elaborate
  • the last two words must be ‘the moon’

This story was written in less than 2 hours on Sunday night. I got back from my Broken Hill road trip late Friday night and had heaps to catch up on Saturday. I was not going to enter but the prompts were an easy target this month.

Stats for Furious Fiction for October 2020: 487 words, started 8:10 PM Sunday, submitted 10:05 PM Sunday.

Chapter 6: Jeremy’s Friend

Justice O’Mallory hung his wig and silk gown on the coat stand as he surveyed the drab congregation gathered in his wood-panelled office.  Normally a loquacious host, O’Mallory was wound up and on edge because Jeremy, his clerk, had brought along an unvetted guest, Thomas Ball. No one had ever seen him before, but it was clear he was not one of them.

The presence of this Ball fellow was problematic. Firstly, it meant the gathering was now twenty-one and not twenty people. O’Mallory could imagine tomorrow’s headline – JUDGE BREAKS GATHERING LIMITS!  Secondly, it meant they needed to be exponentially more careful about what they said.

This particular band of silks, once considered a little left of centre, were now bold subversives. Ever since the Ultra Conservative Party had come into power, the “Silk Pyjamas” as they called their troupe, were fastidious about who they let into their weekly soirees. After all their whole object was to find a way to overturn the Government.

While there was no need for an elaborate cover story to explain their being in Chambers late at night (what was more normal than a group of red-nosed legal eagles getting smashed on a Friday?), there was a need to ensure no-one was around to rat them out. Who knew where Thomas Ball fitted in? For all O’Mallory knew, Ball could be a UCP spy!  

———-

The UCP had burst onto the scene during the Pandemic with their promises of a return to the “Old Normal”. The changes they made to the laws were incremental. Under the guise of a widely lauded pro-environmental, anti-consumerist platform, their first Parliamentary Bills were to enact a strict monochromatic dress code (The Fashion Laws). Next, other civil liberties like freedom of movement, and freedom of association, sensible to stop the spread of the Pandemic, remained in force long after any community transfer of the virus had ended.

The leaders of the UCP had been very clever. Trading on the simultaneous moods of hysteria and complacency within the general populous, they had essentially locked down democracy without it even being debated.

———

O’Mallory sat in his Chesterfield swirling his whiskey, and reviewing his day. He’d sent yet another poor sod to gaol for wearing brightly coloured clothes. He sighed, it was unjust. He knew for a fact that the UCP hacks secretly wore red boxer shorts. It was their hypocritical trademark, reminiscent of a Masons’ apron.

Caught up in his thoughts, O’Mallory’s reverie was broken when Jeremy and Ball approached.

“Your Honour, I know I was out of line bringing Tom, but I knew you’d want to meet him”.

“And why’s that?”

As Tom sat down next to O’Mallory, his pink socks flashed from under his grey trousers, he didn’t try to hide them.

“Tom is that investigative journalist we’ve been looking for. The one with the whistle in his pocket… the one who’ll blow the UCP to the moon!”


The next step is to get Justice O’Mallory and Frankie in the same room together with Tom Ball. This might be a bit tricky since Frankie is in gaol. After that, several of the high ranking politicians will be found en flagrante in coloured dress ups and the Fashion Laws will be quickly repealed to prevent them being gaoled. I am thinking there’s three more chapters at the most in Frankie’s story. After that I’ll link them altogether and publish it as one long story. That’s a job for 2021! I might not be writing a winner but I am having fun.