Friday Fictioneers: Just now

PHOTO PROMPT © Mikhael Sublett

“Could you hang up this picture ?”

Yes.”

Sands whooshing through the hourglass.

“I don’t want to nag, but you are going hang the picture, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

“Nevermind. I can do it.”

“Uh huh.”

Bang.

Swearing.

Smashing.

More swearing.

“What in the name of all that’s holy are you doing? Put the hammer down. I said I would do it.”

“That was 2 years ago!”

“You never gave me a time frame. I’ll do it just now.”

“When will ‘just now’ be ‘now’? When hell freezes over? When the polar ice caps melt? When Brexit happens?”

“Yeah. When Brexit happens.”

“So, never then.”

Smartass.”

NOTE:

In South Africa we have three time frames:

Now – meaning right this minute.

Now now – meaning soonish.

And…

Just now – meaning when I bloody feel like it, but maybe never.

Friday Fictioneers: Call a cab

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

Take a taxi they said.

They go everywhere fast.

They’re reliable.

Everyone uses them.

Everyone.

Including their extended family, a gaggle of geese, a stable of horses and their mother in law.

There’s always room for one more.

Somehow.

It defies known physics.

I was the one more.

The last sardine.

A chicken pooped on my head.

A goat ate my shoelaces.

We set off at a terrific speed enveloped in a plume of black exhaust.

We swerved and careened through the crowds, hooting like a parliament of owls.

The ancient tires squealed and yowled like a convocation of screaming eagles.

Welcome to New York, they said.

I closed my eyes and thought of England.

Friday Fictioneers: Dog days

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

Every day.

I can’t take it anymore.

Today I will catch him in the act. I will get my revenge.

I’ve had enough of this horrible hound doing a full day’s business on my lawn.

He’s a poop ninja.

I’m going to hide behind this bush and wait for the opportune moment to exact my revenge.

He’s coming closer. He’s past the circle. I’ve got him.

Oh my god! It’s Headmaster Jenkins.

I can’t do it. I’ll just stay really quiet until he moves on.

No. Stop sniffing this shrubbery.

Please no.

Don’t lift your leg.

No. Not on me.

I hate dogs.

Friday Fictioneers: It bites

http://jdmitchell-makingascienceficitonmovie.blogspot.com/2013/06/

The sad one:

She played as if she had the devil in her.

She danced across the ivories, her head thrown back and sweat glistening on her brow. She played until her fingers bled, literally.

She played until the audience had quietly filed out of the concert hall. She played until the men came with their white jackets and took her away.

And long after she’d left, the piano kept on playing. It played for years, locked away in the basement. It played until she drew her last breath.

And the devil at the crossroads danced and danced in the moonlight.

The fun one:

Did you know that there’s a piano in the basement?

Yes.

Okay. Um. Why is there a piano locked in the basement?

I put it there.

I didn’t know that you played the piano.

I don’t.

But, you’re… well, you’re a… a musical virtuoso that can play any instrument in the world.

Every instrument in the world but that piano.

But…

Just that piano.

That specific piano?

Yes.

A pause…

Aren’t you going to ask me why?

Alright, why?

It bites.

It, what?

It bites.

Pianos don’t bite.

Try and play it.

A pause…

OW! What the… !@#$! It bloody near took off my fingers!

I told you so.

Then why did you tell me to play it?

It gets hungry.

The photo prompt was:

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Friday Fictioneers: Where, oh where can it be?

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

Where, oh where did my Tupperware go?

Where, oh where can it be?

With its lid long lost

And its bottom long gone

Where, oh where can it be?

Where, oh where did my Tupperware go?

Somewhere far from me?

I have a lid right here

But no bottom in sight

Where, oh where can it be?

Where, oh where did my Tupperware go?

To a galaxy far far away?

Here’s is its bottom

But no lid can I find

Where, oh where can it be?

Where, oh where did my Tupperware go?

Is it lost and all alone?

Useless and lonely with no place to call  home

Where, oh where can it be?

Before I got carried away, I wrote this…

Salt and pepper.

Kanye and Kim K.

Hipsters and artisanal coffee.

Some things just fit together in perfect harmony.

Like Tupperware lids and Tupperware bottoms.

I have plenty of both. None of tops fit the bottoms. I being to doubt that they ever did. They have mutated, devolved and disappeared.

Out of my lovely stacked set of happy burping Tupperware, I have two left. Two. Somewhere in a Hawking-esque alternative reality sit their partners.

My heart bleeds for them sucked into a meaningless existence, reduced to nothing but unfulfilled potential.

Divorced. Purposeless. Lost.

And I, the vehicle of their lonely suffering.

Friday Fictioneers: The big fish

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

The old men sat in quiet comradery, sipping tall glasses of lager and reminiscing.

“Did I tell you about the time I caught a shark?” asked Jack.

The assembled company sighed. They’d heard it before and didn’t believe anymore upon its frequent retelling.

“I was fishing at the pier, when all of a sudden my line went taut. It was fierce battle between man and beast. My muscles strained, my arms ached, but the same fighting spirit that got me through the war prevailed. After an hour of this, I reeled it in. A foul-smelling man-eater.”

They rolled their eyes. “Your round, Jack.”

Jack Bruce, East London, circa late 1940s

I heard this story quite often at my Grandpa’s knee. I admit, that I didn’t believe it. It was a fishy story. And then I found this photo. Sorry Gramps. You did catch a shark.

Friday Fictioneers: When they came

Photo Prompt (c) Dale Rogerson

I was sulking. A proper adolescent sulk.

I was sitting on the bleachers really aiming for the depths of teenage despair.

Then the light came. And them.

Suddenly, I realized that the world wasn’t really ours.

It wasn’t like the movies.

They weren’t green.

They didn’t come in peace.

They sure as hell weren’t Vulcan.

They came to take overcome.

They came in teams.

They came with an eerie aura of focus and determination.

They came to shoot some hoops. 

They came to play ball.

Find the Friday Fictioneers prompt here.

Friday Fictioneers: To queue or not to queue

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

“Mum. Why are we standing here?”

“Because it is a queue and to queue is the way of our people.”

“But, what is at the end?”

“I don’t know. It’s part of the surprise.”

“What if it’s something gross?”

“What if it isn’t?”

“Can I go and look?”

“No! That is not how this works. One must stand in the queue come rain or snow. One must show patience and stoicism in the face of adversity.”

“I’m going.”

“Mum. It’s a mime. Everyone is standing behind a mime. For no reason whatsoever.’

“That is what it means to be British.”

Friday Fictioneers: Pancakes

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Pancakes.

Pancakes are good.

I like pancakes.

I have everything I need to make them.

Except…

I can see the sieve.

I can see the pan.

Fat lot of good that does.

Look, I’m not stunted. I’m not a homunculus. I’m a normal sized person.

What gigantoid genius thought that hanging stuff from a double-volume loft roof would be a good idea?

I’d get a ladder, but the same savant hung it that from a hook in the garage and I can’t reach that either.

The person involved can kiss his chances of pancakes goodbye.

I’m going to Starbucks for a latte.

homunculus

  • n. A diminutive human.

Daily Writing Prompt: Ricochet

Image by Peter Pruzina from Pixabay

I’m trying something new. Something to get me through a classic case of writer’s block. A daily challenge around relationships. Wish me luck.

Ricochet: To bounce off a surface wildly

A bullet ricochets. A squash ball ricochets. People do not ricochet. I am not most people. I ricochet off everything and everything. Getting from point A to point B takes me through the entire alphabet.

As I bumped into a waiter, careened off a side table and narrowly missed a glass of wine, I knew the inevitable.

This date was going to be a disaster.

For some reason, probably their own amusement, my colleagues saw fit to set me up on a blind date. I knew it was futile, but I lacked the backbone to point this out.

Hence, why I am stuck in a slow-motion remake of an action movie trying to make it to my date at a table at the far end of a crowded bar.   

He watched with ill-concealed mirth. Said colleagues had also insisted on the heels. Some people look like graceful swans in heels. I look like an accident waiting to happen.

I tottered and teetered and finally came to a halt, where upon the chair leg tripped me up and I sprawled inelegantly over my date. My very good-looking date. Who smelt of new leather and sandalwood.

Mortification rose like the sunset up my face. You’d think by 25 years of this, I’d just shake it off like water from a duck’s back. Somehow, I don’t.

A solid hand prevented me from the indignity of landing on the floor. I gathered the tangled ends of my wits together and fell into the chair like a storm-tossed sailing ship making harbour.

I reached for the glass before me and downed it. Then my throat caught on fire, I breathed in the fumes and only by the grace of a heavenly omniscience, managed not to choke.   

At this point my dinner companion was no longer concealing his mirth. His shoulders were shuddering, and tears were sneaking their way out of his eyes. Very blue ones. Like azure island seas.

“I wasn’t sure you were going to make it,” he drawled.

“I’m never quite sure myself,” I heard my voice through the roaring of blood in my ears.

“I’m Liam. Pleased to meet you.”

“Sara. No ‘h’. You too.” Apparently, single staccato verbalisations were all I had right now.

“Is it always like that?”

“Yes. I’d leave now, but I can’t face the return journey quite yet.”  

“Do you want to leave?”

“Not really. I want lasagna. And cannoli. And a yashmak.”

“I can help out with the first two, but the yashmak you’re going have to order in.”

I was vaguely aware of him ordering for me and a new glass of the venomous liquid being paced before me.

“Try sipping it this time. Lagavulin is generally meant to be savoured. This one’s taken 16 years to mature, so you need to take at least 16 minutes to drink it.”

“Oh. I thought it was… something else.”

“Like what”

“icetea,”

“Excuse me?”

“I thought it was iced tea.”

The laughter took me off guard. Great waves of laughter that boomed around the too small space.

“I don’t drink, usually,” I stuttered.

“You drink unusually then?”

“You’d think it might balance out the human pinball thing, but it just makes it worse.”

“You’re a bit like a bumble bee, you know. Scientifically, there is no way you should have been able to get to this table without causing an accident. It was like a synchronised dance of wine glasses and waiters. I was utterly transfixed.”

This was not going to plan. I knew how this worked. By the time I got to meet a date, he has no doubt seen me coming and done a runner. I wasn’t sure about what happened after that point, but I was pretty certain that this bizarre conversation wasn’t it.

Something tickled at the edge of my awareness. A knowledge that something was off. Something was wrong. Something I’d forgotten.

“I’m so sorry, what was your name again?”

“Liam.”

“Liam?”

“Yes.”

“Not Paul.”

“No. Whose Paul?”

“I don’t know, but you’re not him.”

“No, I’m not,” those damn blue eyes were twinkling again and my tenuous hold on speech was slipping. Probably helped along by the whisky.

“Paul, is my blind date.”

“Ah. I think he left just as you arrived. A panicked looking young man with a face like a pilchard.”

I sighed, “Probably.”