Flash Club October 2020

Your Book, the Thing

November Flash Club is Open

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Full Member
Nov 10, 2017
Hello all

I hope you're well and writing.
October's Flash is now open. A little new(ly enforced) rule in regards to the wordcount. This month, I'm going to be strict
with the word limit. Those entries which go over the set limit won't be in the running for the top spot. They will be left up, but they can't win. But ... you're getting 250 this month. You don't have to use the full 250. If you want to say something in only 10 words, that's perfectly fine.

To participate, use the writing prompt as well as the word limit given to write a piece of flash fiction, then either post below, or click here to make your entry.

Please note, your entry will be anonymous. So take a risk and try something new.

We still need your votes. You can vote by clicking 'like' or 'love'. If a piece grabs you, please hit the 'like' button. If a piece sweeps you off your seat, please hit 'love'. At the end of the month, I will count up the votes. In a tie, 'Love' will trump 'like'. The entry with the most votes will be the winner. Please don't vote for your own. The Flash Club isn't about about winning. It's about trying something new. It's about grabbing readers with words, and gaging the response. Self-votes don't show if the writing works for the reader.

The most generous voter will get a mention. At the end of the month I will announce the most supportive Flash Voter who will get a special shout-out. The prize? Kudos. And please don't just hit every entry to ensure a win. That's not helping the author. The voting is designed to help writers gage the effects of their work.

And please keep to the word count. Writing to a specific brief is good practice.

The competition is open to all members. Feel free to enter more than one. The main rule here: we ask you not to critique.

Here is this month's prompt.


Wordcount: 250

Any questions, please PM me.

Have a good month.
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Duelling Lemmy

Da da ding ding ding ding ding ding ding. Da da ding ding ding ding ding. Yeehaw!

The ace of spades was missing that day.

His name was Joe. He used to teach Math at the High School and then he was Mr Joseph P Sorenson.

But that was before he started adding 1+1 and making = 3 because he was married, and it added up to a lot of trouble because not only was Joe married, but the third party was one of his students and only fifteen, though Joe was slimmer and a heck of a lot better looking in those days. The girl, Becca, told one of her friends it had all been her idea, but the friend said, Jeez Becca! That's no excuse, and look here, you can't help him but you can help yourself, and you better keep that quiet.

And then a lot of things happened. A lot of things no one expected, not even himself, and he went away for a while and did a few sums, starting with alimony after the divorce.

Joe got banned a lot of places.

But then he came back, and Becca was 30 now, and married away out of town, and so was his ex-wife and he seemed happy enough, playing along to his own beat.

Ask his name, he'd smile and strum, give the drum a bash and say, 'well, you can call me Ban-Joe.'
Jenkins Smells the Coffee

The suit fits badly. They never fail to mentioned it.

“Trip to the tailors, me thinks, eh Jenkins?”

Jenkins forces a grin. What else should he do? Lucky to have the job, or so they keep telling him. Junior office boy (at his age!). Big money accounts. Sky’s the limit. Only do smarten up. And make the coffee, would you? Be a dear.

Jenkins trembles at the coffee pot, the little one that’s just for the boss. Free-form melodies jangle in his mind.

He takes Marta out a couple of times, the gangly one from offshore banking.

“Whenever did you get that suit, J-baby?”

He taps out a rhythm on the blinding-white bistro cloth. “I’m going out for a ciggy.”

“Oh but the coffees are coming! It’s a disgusting habit, you know?”

He doesn’t call Marta again. She’s more interested in the suit than in him.

Friday’s are casual days, and on a scorcher he makes the mistake of wearing shorts.

“Look here, lads! Jenks has got himself a tattoo! Right down his bloody thigh! Secret crusty are we, Jenky-boy?”

The heat begins in Jenkins’ neck and burns up to roil against his skull.

“Make the coffee, will you? There’s a good, crusty.”

“Pete! My name’s Pete, you ignorant—”

He clamps his jaw shut before the words can escape. After that they let him work out his notice at home.

He steals the coffee pot. It makes a better cymbal than it ever did a coffee.
Chas's revenge

I'd forgive you for thinking the homemade bomb was a little extreme. But it wasn't. It was justified. Plastic container filled with explosives. A stamp with my left foot and... KABOOOM! I blow us both to pieces!

We were a huge double act with the world at our feet until Dave broke it off. There he is across the road in Tesco. Probably browsing the 'finest' range now he's gone all upmarket.

When he spots me here, it'll be too late. He'll soon wish we were back on stage singing 'rabbit, rabbit, rabbit...'

I'll teach him for dropping me to start his own TV channel.
Hope For Distant Music

The poster hung on the wall of the spaceship’s cramped cabin. It wasn’t the only cabin of course, and the only cramped thing about many of the others was the minds of the flight clerics who inhabited them, hunched little people directing the search for a planet they all might call home.

Ayo stared at the man with the banjo (she’d asked the ship’s computer what it was; “Baaaaan-j-j-j-o,” she’d whispered when it told her, rolling the unfamiliar syllables around her mouth). She’d found the poster in the stores on level 3296. Man with a banjo, someone had handwritten (handwritten!) with a pen (a pen!) on the back, early twenty-first century. Ayo couldn’t really fathom how long ago that was, but what really blew her mind was that people used to write by by staining paper with ink.

“What are you doing?” – Timi emerged, yawning, from his bunk a hand’s breadth away.

Ayo nodded at the banjo. “I want to know what it sounds like. Computer says all its sound files are restricted and it won’t play me any. So I’m going to make one.”

Timi scratched his armpit. “Clerics won’t like it. They get funny about stuff from launch time.”

“Then we’ll just have to keep it a secret, won’t we?”

Timi flashed a mischievous grin. Ayo liked it when Timi grinned. It made her feel alive.

Outside, the stars wheeled on their implacable courses, and the generation ship ploughed on into the void.

The sun broke through the clouds at the exact moment Jeff got out of prison. Nineteen years he’d been at her Majesty’s pleasure. It would have been twenty but they’d seen fit to take a year off for good behaviour – teaching music to the other lags had started as an escape, become a lifeline, and ended as he stepped out into the morning’s freedom. He thought he’d probably miss it. But he didn’t dwell. He’d never been one to dwell.

They’d asked him what he was in for of course, during breaks in the strumming, “I heard you’d done murder, big man. That right?”

Eventually he told them.

He was busking in the square when he glanced up and saw Steve, electric-fingers Steve. Bastard had slept with Mary. He could have coped with that. Mary was contrite as you like, and they’d been going through a bad patch. He could have coped.

But when he’d seen Steve that day, the git had raised his eyebrows and smirked. Smirked for crying out loud!
Next thing Jeff knew was the coppers dragging him off of Steve mutilated body, the Saturday shoppers were screaming, and Jeff was holding his banjo like a club.

But that was all in the past. Ancient history now. Today was a new day, a free day.

Jeff busked again the following Saturday. He started with a song that Steve had been fond of. Didn’t know why. Didn’t dwell. But he wept as he played it.

“Hey, mate, play Dueling Banjos?”

Grinning passers-by think it's the first time I’ve ever been asked.

Of course it’s not, because according to the last time I checked my diary, which was eleven days ago, no fewer than twelve hundred and forty-seven people have asked me that. It began happening so often I started recording it the first week after I took over this pitch. I like to note things down. It’s just one of my things.

“What, this you mean?” I reply and play the opening bars – Dudda dern dern dern dern dern dern-dern.

“Yeah, that’s it. Go on.”

“No, sorry I can’t play it,” I tell them.

“Why not? You just did then.”

“Well... not unless you know it too and you’ve got a guitar with you there’s no point. It’s a duet you see? It'll sound crap on its own,” I explain.

Normally there’s a bit of coaxing until they realise I’m serious and not going to play it, then they usually tell me to fuck off or spit at me or something, before going on their way.

I’ve been trying to come to terms with my diagnosis Asperger’s Syndrome. It was confirmed only last year and it certainly put my life into perspective. Months of psychological tests and observation, then I finally had the answer.

And now even with the diagnosis my AS gets me into trouble. I'm still finding it hard to hide what I’m really thinking.

Dudda dern dern dern dern dern dern-dern.
The Watcher

The Watcher

It’s a good spot. Right outside their office. Can see it all from here. Five o’clock, time for home. Shouldn’t be long now.

There they are, arms around each other. Ooh, kissing in public. Stupid man, can’t keep your hands off her, can you? Half your age, she’s a stunner, I’ll give you that.

The coffee pot camera is amazing, catches everything. Sorry mate but soon your wife will be crying over the pictures and you’ll be swearing blind it meant nothing.

Don’ like these divorce jobs. It’s hard taking sides in someone else’s love life, but a job’s a job and watching is what I do.

The secret stuff is the best. Bit of danger tracking dodgy Irishmen for MI5. Keeps the adrenalin going, less boring. Bastards told me to eff off when I asked for a permanent job. Laughed in my face, didn’t they? Asked me who I thought I was, James bloody Bond? It’s my working-class accent what did for me, I reckon. Bunch of toffs, the lot of them. Bet they don’t miss the camera. Hope not.

Oh-oh. He’s coming over. Has he made me? Shit! Run or play a tune? Tune it is.

Tinkle, tinkle, twang. What’s that? Bloody hell, it’s a tenner! The mark has left me a tenner. Must have wanted to impress the girl. Stupid man.

Can’t dob him in now, can I?

Ah well, time for a pint.
A balderdash ballad? (With musical accompaniment.)

It wasn’t the sight on Owain Glyndwr Square which influenced young Dafydd’s future. He wasn’t there for the entertainment. Nor his mam’s pretext for the last-minute Aber shopping trip. He didn’t need new shoes. The red leather straps on his year one sandals were brilliant bright, the soles unscuffed from his bedroom carpet. No more stationery either. Shop windows read “Back to School?”. Question Mark! There was no question about it - Wales faced another national lockup. Half-term was mam’s last chance to treat herself.

When they finally left T.J.Davies & Son (or T.J.Davies A’I Fab as Nana in Bala would insist) mam and son were gasping for air. Dafydd didn’t need a mask, nor Mam. Her grin stretched ear to ear. She’d need something else to hide the new pendulums swinging there, Dafydd thought.

Dad would go mental. He was furrowed at home. He could be the busker’s twin. Bushy beard, scruffy clothes, homebrew beer belly. A glazed expression. He sang just as well too. Or used to.

‘Put that down,’ his mam said up Edge Hill Road. ‘You don’t know where it’s been.’

But Dafydd knew better. The postman was the town’s biggest litterer. Enough rubber bands to bounce a ball to the moon. Dafydd only needed five for his tennis racket. Besides, his mam needed his secret.

It wasn’t the sound of the Dance of the Welsh Vicar either (listen!).

It was his mam’s reaction.

Five quid. More than a month’s pocket money for one song.

YouTube: Dance of the Welsh Vicar
Know Any Waltzes?

“Earl Scruggs,” he told nobody in particular, plucking banjo strings without looking.
The smattering of a crowd stood to watch him play. A couple, leaning in, commented privately, then walked away. A dog sniffed his makeshift drum kit.
“Do you know any waltzes?”
The banjo man laughed. “Don't know any bluegrass waltzes,” he smiled. His fingers moved like spiders crafting stubborn webs of straight steel.
“It's just that--” the old woman stopped herself. “I knew one, as a child.”
The man nodded, not really listening, as he drew melody from his instrument. A toddler danced at the feet of his mother as the song, in measures, pulsed forward in beaten time, eventually resolving a few discordant notes. Tapping the strings to silence them, the banjo man grabbed a water bottle. Most who had gathered now turned back to their lives. The old woman stayed.
“The Tennessee Waltz, you know that one?”
“I've heard it,” he said, smacking his lips. “Patti Page.”
“Three beats at a time.”
He nodded, screwing down his bottle cap.
“That song,” the woman said, looking off toward an imminent arrival of clouds, “reminds me of school dances.”
The banjo man looked up at her, then noticed, as if for the first time, her dated shoes. He imagined those timid old feet dancing. “C'mon, mom.” He took her arm and they walked back to the truck, he, in a sprinkle of late afternoon rain, and she, waltzing around the Beckett High School gymnasium in 1952.
Good signal.

"Just call an engineer" said the wife. "He'll put the new digital tv aerial up tomorrow."

Six cans of Stella later, I thought I'd have a crack at it myself.

I dont know what the screaming's all about.

Looks alright to me.
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Your Book, the Thing

November Flash Club is Open