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.

Furious Fiction 15 -September 2020

You know the drill! Another month, another Furious Fiction story. This month I had to deviate from my Frankie adventure as one of the prompts was a picture of a cruise ship.

The prompts for September 2020 wereScreen Shot 2020-09-07 at 20.29.48

Check out the Australian Writers Website to see who wins Furious Fiction this month.


Stevie and Nic’s Romance at Sea.

“Should we go inside?” Stevie asked “It’s starting to get cold. We don’t want to get sick, not now!”

“Wait a little longer? We can watch the sunset one last time.” Nic replied

“Stay here and I’ll get us a jacket. We can switch sides and watch the moon rise too.”

Nic liked that about Stevie.  So thoughtful and romantic, sprinkling the world with loving-kindness wherever they went.

It was hard to believe they had met less than a month ago. Nic had first spied Stevie sitting in a full lotus position at the Yawn-Dawn Yoga Class. Decked out in white baggy pants, tight singlet and one of those stretchy bandana things that claim you can wear them fifteen different ways, Stevie was the epitome of stylish serenity.

Nic?  Well, Nic couldn’t even hold tree pose for more than 15 seconds without a significant death wobble cascading the tree to king dancer to forward fold all with the grace of an elephant.

“Did anyone notice?” Nic asked themselves as they stayed head-down-bum-up in the only pose they knew they had mastered: downward dog.

Stevie had noticed. Yes, Stevie had certainly noticed Nic. Nic was so unsure of themselves. Their perky energy not harnessed or restrained, but bubbling over in a torrent of words as if they feared the silence. Feared silence and the thoughts it may bring.

When they had introduced themselves to each other,  Nic started laughing.

“Haha we must have been made for each other! Stevie Nic,” Pointing from one to the other. “You know, like Stevie Nicks! The singer…” Their voice trailing off as they realised that  Stevie had in fact, got the joke. Realising it wasn’t that funny and they were probably just making themselves look sillier by the second. Contrary to Nic’s fears, Stevie felt like they had scored the winning goal and found a potential life partner.

By coincidence, their 8-day cruise had been extended by another 14 days. The cruise company said the all-expenses-paid extension was beyond their control. Many of the other passengers complained. For Stevie and Nic, it was a chance to cement their relationship even further. No point whinging, whichever way you sliced it they had more time to spend together.  More time to discover if this holiday romance had hope once they were on land.

****

Stevie came back up on deck and broke Nic’s reverie. They put their jackets over their shoulders and kissed softly.

“Last day tomorrow,”  Nic sighed.

“Yes, back to normal, well new normal anyway!”

“Yes, new normal.”

*****

In the morning as they lined up to disembark they had to wait for the Medical Officer to stamp their forms.

COVID-SAFE in bold red letters.

This passenger has been isolated for 14 days and tested negative for COVID.

They walked gingerly down the gangway into a barrage of questions from the jostling media frenzy, “What was it like? How many people died?”

New normal indeed.


Gender ambivalent storytelling?

I am hoping it is a gender-ambivalent story and that Stevie and Nic could both be male or female or neither. The story is not about gender but about people making the best of a tough situation. It was a new experience for me to deliberately use non-gendered pronouns to replace he/she and him/her.  Some of that difficulty arises from it not being my usual form of speaking or writing and also because they/them frequently refer to a plural form.

I am not sure if I succeeded and this story was penned in the final few hours of the Furious Fiction’s competition window after I had tried to force Frankie onto a ship, then developed 3 other stories lines before hitting on the Stevie and Nic story. It’s not my best story, but I got it done!

497 words submitted at 20:15 on Sunday night.