Bob’s Last Party *Flash Fiction*

This is a flash fiction I wrote for microcosms. The prompt was to incorporate this sentence, “The guest didn’t move, having been dead for over an hour.” 300-word max.


Bob’s Last Party

Fran raised her glass, “Welcome to our 5th annual block party. I’m glad you could all make it.”

The party started off like any other party. In a few months, the evening would have faded in everyone’s mind if it had not been for Bob.

As dusk was turning to dark, Fran sat by the edge of the pool sipping her margarita and watching the lights sparkle on the water. She congratulated herself on a job well done. She loved to throw parties, especially this one because she could show off her newly remodeled kitchen.

“Is this seat taken?” Betty sat carefully on the folding chair. Her sensible shoes and stocking firmly in place. No chance she would be dipping her toes in the water tonight. “Great party, Fran. Thanks for inviting Bob and me.”

“Are you guys having a good time?”

“I certainly am. You know Bob though. He hasn’t moved off the couch all night. After 52 years of marriage, I do love Bob, but he can be so set in his ways. I tease him that I am going start dusting him when I dust the furniture because he’s always sitting in the same spot.”

“Well, let’s add some spunk to Bob’s life. I’ll get a game of cornhole going. He won’t be able to resist that!”

After twenty minutes of shooing everyone to the empty lot, Fran looked around for Bob wondering what was taking him so long.
“I’ll go drag his derriere off the couch before he becomes a permanent fixture,” Betty said.

Moments later a blood-curdling scream came from the house. As if in slow motion everyone ran in unison to find Betty stunned and pointed to Bob. Bob didn’t move, having been dead for almost an hour.

*Rewrite* Should you force a child to share

The next exercise was to rewrite the piece adding character details.  I’d love your feedback if you have thoughts.  Thanks!


“Ellie, share your toy with Susan. Good little girls share their toys.” Betsy watched her two-year-old little sister’s curls bob up and down as her face turn red and bottom lip stuck out in protest. At the same moment, her mom’s blue worn purse began vibrating. Betsy reached her hand to try and help by retrieving the phone.

“What do you think you are doing, Little Miss? You do not go in my purse.” Betsy backed away hurt and confused. She was just trying to help. She slumped in a corner with a library copy of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe wishing she could visit new worlds through a magical wardrobe.

“Betsy is usually such a good little girl—quiet, obedient and always with her nose in a book. What more could a mom ask for?” Betsy cringed at the word little. 11 years old is far from little! To say it when they were alone was one thing, but did she have to call her Little Miss in front of her aunt?

“You don’t just take a piece of pizza from the middle. That’s selfish of you to take the biggest piece. You take the next one in the circle.” Betsy drew her feet under her as her finger tapped rhythmically trying to stop the familiar spinning in her head as her field of vision grew smaller. The pizza she was looking forward to moments before felt like rocks in her mouth.

Her mom had come into her bedroom a half hour ago, “Come on, Betsy. Dad is surprising the family with pizza. Let’s go pick it up.” Betsy rose and followed her mom obediently to the car, never mentioning that she needed to finish studying for a quiz tomorrow.

Later that night she made her way to the top bunk unsure of what made the crunching noise under her feet. She couldn’t avoid stepping on her sister’s clothes, books and toys that covered every inch of the floor. As she climbed the ladder, the familiar dread that haunted her each night coursed through her body on cue. It would be hours before the sun went down and sleep would come. She remembered she hadn’t finished studying for the quiz. She would have to fake sick tomorrow during Geography rather than explain to the teacher why it wasn’t done. Even though it was only 7:30 pm, getting up wasn’t an option. She knew what was expected of her and she knew what would happen if she didn’t obey.

Across the hall she overhead her mom telling her dad about their day. “Ellie is nothing like Betsy. They don’t look or act alike. Betsy always shared her toys so well. She is such an easy, compliant child. Maybe Ellie instinctively knows she’s a cutie pie. She always seems so confident and knowing her mind. It is exhausting trying to squelch that before it got out of hand.”

Betsy tossed in her bed and tucked her opinions and needs deeper inside where they would remain safe. She would be a good girl. She wouldn’t argue or talk back. Stay invisible. See what they might want and give them that -then maybe they would like her.

 

Should you force a child to share? (#FLfiction)

This is a 500-word short story for a fiction class I am taking.  The prompt was to turn on the radio and use the first thing that comes on as a springboard for a story.  K-LOVE was talking about a post on Facebook, My child is not required to share with yours.  Adults have boundaries and don’t share everything with everyone.  Why do we insist our child share? Is it ever ok for a child not to share?  How do you give a child a heart to share?


“Ellie, share your toy with Susan. Good little girls share their toys.” Betsy watched her mom discipline her two-year-old little sister as she heard her mom’s cell phone ringing and reached for her purse to hand it to her.

“What do you think you are doing, Little Miss? You do not go in my purse.”

Betsy backed away hurt and confused and sat in a corner with her book. She overheard her mom commenting to her aunt at what a good girl Betsy was, quiet, obedient and always reading. Yes, reading was good. In books kids could run and play, they laughed, and their world was bright and safe.

“You don’t just take a piece of pizza from the middle. That’s selfish of you to take the biggest piece. You take the next one in the circle.” Betsy drew her feet under her as her finger tapped rhythmically trying to stop the familiar spinning in her head as her field of vision grew smaller. The pizza she was looking forward to moments before felt like rocks in her mouth.

Her mom had come in her bedroom a half hour ago, “Come on, Betsy. Dad is surprising the family with pizza. Let’s go pick it up.” Betsy rose and followed her mom obediently to the car, never mentioning that she was taking a quiz for her fifth-grade Geography class.

Later that night as she laid in bed she felt her throat tightening, and a sense of dread come over her that accompanied bedtime. It would be hours before the sun went down and sleep came. When she would walk from the bedroom door to her top bunk ladder, she was never sure of what made the crunching noise under her feet. Every inch of the floor was covered with her sister’s toys, books, and clothes. She remembered the unfinished quiz knowing she would have to fake sick tomorrow during Geography rather than explain to the teacher why it wasn’t done. Finishing it now was not an option. The thought of doing anything but laying there never crossed her mind. She knew what was expected of her and she knew what would happen if she didn’t obey.

Across the hall she overhead her mom telling her dad about her concerns with Ellie not sharing well. She is nothing like Betsy. Betsy always shared her toys so well. She is such an easy, compliant child. Ellie, on the other hand, seemed to know her mind. It is exhausting trying to squelch that before it got out of hand.

Betsy tossed her bed and stuffed her opinions and her needs deeper inside her where no one would suspect they existed. She was good. She didn’t argue or talk back. Stay invisible. See what they might want and give them that -then maybe they would like her.

 

The Illusion of Happiness (Microcosms Flash Fiction)

I have never heard of Rory’s Story Cubes before.  Apparently, you roll nine dice, each with an illustration.  The challenge was to use less than 300 words and tell a story with the nine cubes.  These are the way the nine cubes were rolled.

I wrote this piece while sitting on the beach inspired by a couple I saw when I looked up from my book.  To my delight, it won first runner-up.  The judge said, “Poignant and emotive writing at its best. The introspection of the narrator as she watches the elderly couple in the sort of loving relationship she could only dream about is heart-breaking.”

Lest anyone worry, this is just a story.  I love my husband and my life very much. 🙂


The Illusion of Happiness

It was the last day of vacation. The storms were clearing, and a rainbow spread across the deserted beach. Only a lone couple shuffled along. I watch as he stops and slowly, painfully, gets down on one knee. Like a school-aged child, she sticks out her right foot, balancing on her cane. Ever so gently he fumbles with the laces of her tennis shoe. My eyes well with tears. What tender love.

I had given the key to my heart away many years ago. If I had known what I know now, I would have kept it tucked safely away. Now I wear the masks of joy and happiness, the truth —the pain, hidden. I instinctively rubbed the newest bruise on my shoulder thinking of the excuses I would make.

Eager to keep walking, for the only option was to return to the cottage, I pull my flashlight out of my pocket, thankful for the way it illuminates my path. Little crabs scurry into the sand as my light shines on them. I’m still a little afraid of stepping on one! I fear it would hurt more than a bee sting!

The windows glow warmly across the beach, and my mind wanders back to the couple. Is one of those houses theirs? Will they return home to a bowl of ice cream and snuggles on the couch? Is there a happily ever after? Reaching down, I absently pick up a forgotten horseshoe and toss it onto the dunes. If I take a magnifying glass to anyone else’s life, would they have secrets like me? Do they wear masks like me?

Destination Wedding

My legs are stiff as I get out of bed and open the curtains. I push the doubts away. Edwin is eccentric, that’s all. Normal people can be obsessed with Dracula. I still can’t believe I agreed to host Crystal’s wedding here, at Bran Castle, the castle that inspired the book.

“Good morning, sweetheart.” My wife seems unaffected by my concerns about Edwin. “We must keep the curtains closed! You know how vampires are.” She winks. “How’s the speech coming?”

“Fine, almost finished.” I lie. I think to the two speeches in the breast pocket of my suit. No matter how many times I rewrite the first Father of the Bride speech, my doubt seems to seeps from every sentence. The second I’d printed after a quick CTRL-F search changed George’s name to Edwin’s. It was a good speech, after all. Everyone loved it when I gave it at Crystal’s first wedding.

It is decision time. Instinctively I crumple up the first speech and drop it into a nearby garbage can. Edwin and Crystal were married now —albeit a bit of a creepy ceremony. Glancing at the clock, I decided at this moment, 7:06 on October 31, 2016, I would believe the best about my new son-in-law.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” I begin, holding a Dracula-faced goblet with its dark red liquid. I glance around at the guest’s; relief washes over me. No one seems to recognize the repurposed speech. The rest of the evening is magical, and I even relax and start to get into the whole Dracula scene. As the night is winding down, Crystal hugs me and our eyes lock; her face is radiant. She turns to walk away, and I felt my world fall out from under me. There on Crystal’s neck are two red puncture marks.


This was a flash fiction entry on Microcosms.  I had 300 words, 24 hours and the prompts of  Father/Transylvanian Castle/Memoir.
 

The Toys (Flash Fiction)

This was a Microcosms entry.  Each Friday you are given a theme, a character, a location and a genre.  You have 24 hours to submit your 300-word maximum story.  

The theme this time around was The Seven Sleeper at Ephesus, which I had never heard of.  I also warned James not to worry if search engine history had words like opium den, pipes and lamps in it.  The other thing that made this piece a challenge was that I have not written humor before.  It ended up being one of my favorite pieces to write. I had a blast trying to incorporate all the different elements into it.


The Toys

George fumbled getting his phone out of his pocket. He cursed as he tried to type Catherine a text. These damn human thumbs, so fat and inflexible.

Thursday, August 4, 1870
5:02 pm Catherine —are you there?

5:03 pm Oh George, I was so worried.

5:04 pm I’m fine. I landed on earth three days ago. Sorry I didn’t text sooner. The trip was uneventful except my wings keep popping out of my skin. Can you bring the brown bottle of glue when you come?

Credit: Rachel Haller

5:05 pm Sure. The kids and I are almost packed.

5:06 pm I found a little shop. It has the most beautiful pipes, I can’t stop rubbing my human hands on the wood. The people here are so kind too. Everyone lays around in a dreamlike state with their long pipes and lamps, it reminds me of the seven sleepers of Ephesus. I think it may be how the Earth-folk eat.

5:07 pm Interesting. I wonder if it is like planet Oratail where they live on vapor?

5:08 pm Too soon to tell. My preliminary reports are that earth looks to be inhabitable.

Tuesday, August 9, 1870
8:30 am Are you ok? I haven’t heard from you. The pods are almost ready. Is it safe for the kids and I to come?

9:00 pm I’m so sorry, Catherine. I was out with the squad.

9:01 pm Squad, like an ambulance? What happened?

9:16 pm No, nothing like that. The squad is Earthling talk for my friends, my groupies.

9:17 pm You are acting weird, George.

9:28 pm Nope. I’m as good as ever. Earth is euphoric. I’ve picked out a blue pipe for Leroy and one with a beautiful design for Elroy.

9:30 pm George, you are the best. The kids will love the toys.