Flash Club June Flash Club 2020

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Barbara

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Nov 10, 2017
Location
Cambridgeshire
Hi all

I hope everyone is safe and well, and (just as importantly) still writing. This month's prompt is a photo. (Also, please read the note below. We've made a change to the voting system.)

Prompt:

1591007931445.png

Word Count: 200

As always, use the writing prompt as well as the word limit given to write a piece of flash fiction. To enter the competition, simply post your entry in this thread. The competition is open to all members. Feel free to enter more than one. The only rule here: we ask you not to critique.

Please note: This month we're trying a new voting system; well, we're going back to the old voting system of counting 'likes'. We didn't feel the end-of-month poll quite got the interest it deserved. We hope that counting votes will be more immediate, generate more interest and be altogether more flash! We're not sure if this is the best way to go, so if anyone has a glorious suggestion of how we best determine a winner, please let me know.

And this is how to do it: if an entry grabs you, please click 'like'. At the end of the month, I will count up the 'likes'. The entry with the most 'likes' will be the winner.

That's it. Any questions, PM me.

See you next month.
 
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I'll get the ball rolling shall I?

Oranges and apples go bananas

It was the oranges that started it. There were, by all accounts, just too many of them. They were to the left of the cart and, some reported, to the right. They were taking over, some said. Taking areas that were traditionally apple areas. Outposts, the oranges replied, temporary measures during this time of crisis.

There were minor skirmishes. Some pushing and shoving, squashing, a show of strength. An orange fell, and others were outraged. They demanded justice for the fallen. An eye for an eye. Peel for pith. Then the rolling started, the great unbalancing, more and more followed, apple after orange after apple fell. Hungry birds eyed the bounty, monkeys stretched out grey hands, rats ready to bite as the screams of the fallen rent the air.

The man waved the birds away, shooed the monkeys and kicked the rats.

“What is wrong with you today?” he asked his fruit as he picked it up. “Why can’t you be more like bananas?”

Equilibrium restored, he went on his way, thinking of nothing in particular.
 
In A Flash

Should I?

Shouldn’t I?

He’ll not miss an orange. Two? Three?

The cart's been here since dawn and he's sold none. They probably fell off the back of a lorry, anyway. Who wants to buy fruit you can get anywhere? Not the locals. Not the tourists. Where is everyone? Home, eating their dried apricots, dates, figs, and mangoes.

I’d be doing him a favour. Carting this lot home. Then having to explain his incompetence to his missus. What’s she going to do with it? With him? Make jam, I shouldn’t wonder.

It’s fruit for my labour. I said I’d watch his stall. I meant five minutes. Not five hours!

He won’t remember me. I’m inconspicuous in this garb. It’s practical, dear. You’d need a handbag, and even then could only conceal a couple of bananas. If that. They’d be sticking out. It’s what they designed inside jacket pockets for. Not Biros, that leak in the hot weather. Apples on the outside, oranges in every trouser pocket. A few more under my hat. We could enjoy a lovely fruit salad this evening.

Here I go.

There’s no-one around.

Flash! Click!

Damn. I forgot about Barbara and her Litopia flash fiction competition.
 
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The Passable Prosthetic


A tough challenge for a jigsaw, but Jose’s mother gifted it so lovingly. “Ma had it all her life. Never lost a piece.”

“Something to do while I’m away,” Jose suggested.

I assembled the edges first; over two days and much chardonnay.

I lingered over the fruit, squinting at stems and dimples, buying a stronger pair of glasses. An hour searching for the last banana, then discovered I was sitting on it.

I painstakingly laid the paving, levered tiles from where I’d jammed them, and tried again.

The fruit seller was almost finished when everything went pear-shaped.

I checked the vacuum for his hat without success. Had it gone into the fire, mistaken for a piece of bark?

No.

Maybe.

Jose phoned. “How’s Mum’s jigsaw?”

“Great.” I glared at the guilty gap and hatched a brilliant plan.

A magnifying glass, a Stanley knife, and dripping blood, to craft a passable prosthetic from the back cover of Ghostwritten.

The box was faded so I risked streaky yellow paint.

I dimmed the light, removed my glasses, and nodded. Fooled me.

It fooled Jose, too. “Mum hasn’t seen GreatPa in years.” He frowned. “I always thought he wore a beret.”
 
Fruit Thieves


Oranges and Lemons for the gangs of St. Clements.

“You owe me five farthings,” ‘s what you shouted at Martin.

“When will you pay me: now or at the Old Bailey?”

We never will unless caught by Old Bill.



Salah hates the singing. It comes from far away at first, quiet like ghostly echoes, then louder, closer.

The St. Clements children are only allowed out for one hour, but one hour is enough to ruin Salah’s livelihood.

While some buy and haggle at the front of his stall, oranges disappear from his right, bananas from his left, and if he turns to catch a culprit, fruit disappears from everywhere.

When the market clock chimes, they all leave, their laughs fading down the streets, and Salah’s left with half his stock, and half of that is rolling into the gutters.

“Sorry,” someone will say. There’s always a passer-by who says sorry, retrieves an apple they’ve accidentally kicked and hands it back, bruised, unsellable.

Today will be different. Salah will tell those buying from the front, “No, those figs are not for sale. They’re just to pretty up the stall.”

And anyone who steals them, well, there’ll be less singing tomorrow.
 
Broken Hallelujah

Years later, he would remember how she glowed in the dark, rose-petal soft under his fingertips; her murmured purr a sacred incantation.

He’d also never forget her mother’s spit of fury, the days of waiting that yawned from one to the next, seasons folding in an undulating roll. Decades stacked, one on top of another. And another.

* * *​

After, she would remember watching from across the square; his hypnotic grace, elegant gesture; the women crowding, charmed by this exotic wonder, children’s noses pressed, inhaling the fragrant, dimpled orange fruit.

She would never forget it was as though a small spot of the damp grime had been rubbed off, and from underneath he’d emerged; a daub of colour against the drab grey of the town.
 
Mr Abadi

Wednesdays to Saturdays he's there with that clapped-out barrow. Been around since old Lenny retired. Took over the same pitch, seems like no time ago but I reckon it might be five years or more.

He's called Hassan Abadi. Syrian and speaks very good English. I sometimes buy his fruit and we have a chat. He's a lot cheaper than the supermarkets by the way, you should try him.

He never seems particularly busy but must scrape enough to make it worth his while or else what's the point in doing it week in week out?

He told me it's to supplement his office cleaning job. He does that six evenings a week so I don't imagine life for him is exactly a bowl of cherries. Must be exhausted. Cleaning's the only employment he's been offered since arriving here. I guess being a refugee is hard.

University graduate too. Yes, with a double first law degree. Used to be a barrister in Syria before having to flee for his life crossing the Mediterranean in a dinghy with his wife and kids to get to Britain.

God knows why he can't seem to find a suitable well-paid full-time job.
 
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Oh, my God. It's happening again. I'm out of my body.

The first time I was eighteen; the stomach pains came first. Then I drifted up...until I saw my brother, Jamshid, being dragged into a car.

Again at twenty-five. My last interrogation. They insisted I lied when i said Jamshid had been kidnapped by the police. Just before the guards brought in their hoses, I floated up. But I could still hear myself admitting that I was a spy.

The shame was a hundredfold when I returned home. Jamshid told me, "Brother, I wept when I saw you signing that confession."

So why now, after all these years? In my eighth decade?

My body stands down there in the square. Behind the cart. At peace. Alone...but not really. My head turns to the left. A flock of pigeons rises...Is that my brother's voice? "Jamshid, you old rascal...No, we were never spies...We're just twins who share a soul...What? Good news?...My granddaughter is with child?
 
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