‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #39. By Mark Bierman @mbiermanauthor #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts #FlashFiction

HELLO EVERYONE AND WELCOME TO AUTHOR SUZANNE BURKE’S “FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE!” EACH WEEK SHE FEATURES AN IMAGE AND INVITES EVERYONE TO WRITE A FLASH FICTION, OR NON-FICTION, PIECE INSPIRED BY THAT IMAGE IN ANY FORMAT AND GENRE OF THEIR CHOOSING.  MAXIMUM WORD COUNT: 750 WORDS. IN ADDITION TO RUNNING A WONDERFUL BLOG, SUZANNE HAS WRITTEN MANY EXCITING BOOKS. PLEASE A HAVE A LOOK AT HER SITE: WECOME TO THE WORLD OF SUZANNE BURKE

Here is my contribution, enjoy!

“Thirty-three!”

“Huh? What? Aghh! Not this again! How do you even know? Oh, you did not just roll your eyes at me!”

“Look behind us.”

“I’m looking.”

“You see that second light on the structure, behind our car?”

“It’s out, so what?”

“Well, Freddo, that’s one thing, and bad enough. Also, your cranial excellence, that’s how I can tell we’re in car number thirty-three.”

“Gosh, Jake. You need serious help. Not everything has to be an even number.”

“Nice redmark on your left check, where you slapped it. Want me to give you one on the right, to match? It’s driving me crazy.”

“Ha. Ha. Funny guy. You know that those scissiors are probably sticky, from the cotton candy, right.”

“Nope. I carry wipes, for just such an occasion. Already cleaned them while we were standing in line.

“I guess you would have had time, since you let that family of six go ahead of us, because you wanted to be an even number in the lineup. You should have just waited until then, to give your cotton candy a trim.”

“Don’t know how you ate that bird’s nest. I mean, the stuff was so . . . poofy!”

“Hey, we’ve stopped.”

“You know Fred, your ability to state the obvious is astounding. Wait, we’re  sitting at forty-one degrees!”

“Annndd, oh, never mind.”

“How do I know? See the strength tester, you know, the game where you use a sledgehammer to ring the bell? It’s ninety degrees, and we are at forty-one, by comparrison.”

“Will you cut that out! Stop rocking this thing! You can’t move it up or down, genius!”

“My scissors! Oh please land straight up!”

“Look out, down there! As if they’re gonna—”

“Yes!”

“Hey, the ferris wheel operator looks mad. He’s yelling up at us.”

“Pshaw! Who cares what a man with an uneven goatee has to say. I mean, look at that thing. Hey! I hope you have a suitable filter on your OKCupid profile selfie! Ouch! That hurts! Gonna leave a bruise on my arm.”

“Would you like one on the other, to match? Oh! We’re moving again. Why are you closing your eyes? I didn’t know that you’re afraid of heights.”

“Not the height. Can’t look at the skyline. I mean, it’s so different from up here. So, chaotic.”

“Those dastardly city planners! I mean, why didn’t they consult you, before allowing such diversity. Jake?”

“Ya?”

“We’re descending. You can look, now.”

“Oh, good. I need to get out of here, ‘cause those corn dog signs are crooked.”

“Don’t look.”

“Don’t look, Fred? You do realize that by saying that, I won’t be able to unpaste my eyes from them. The ground!”

“Hey, Jake. The ride is hardly stopped! You can’t just, sorry folks! He doesn’t mean to shove. He’s just gotta follow the straightest path to the car. Oh man, why through the fountain?”

“I found it Fred! You did a great job parking in section ‘B’! It’s number two in the alphabet, and the bumps are symmetrical. But why, oh why, did you have to buy a hatchback? Five doors? Really?”

“It came out to an even 14,000, after tax. Thought you’d be happy about that, at least. Hey, you know what comes in pairs? Feet! Yours in particular. Get the picture? What’s that? ”

“What’s? Hey! You locked me out! Why are you pointing to the backseat? It’s  got a bench seat, three seatbelts, and way too close to that weird hatch thing. Oh, alright.”

“Umm . . . can you change the radio volume to an even number, please. Ah yes. No! Yes! Knock it off! I can see your crooked smile in the smudgy rearview, you know!”

***On the side***

How many of you actually counted the cars on the ferris wheel? 🙂

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #37. Entry Part 8) by Mark Bierman @mbiermanauthor #IARTG #WritingCommunity #WritingPrompts #FlashFiction

HELLO EVERYONE AND WELCOME TO AUTHOR SUZANNE BURKE’S “FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE!” EACH WEEK SHE FEATURES AN IMAGE AND INVITES EVERYONE TO WRITE A FLASH FICTION, OR NON-FICTION, PIECE INSPIRED BY THAT IMAGE IN ANY FORMAT AND GENRE OF THEIR CHOOSING.  MAXIMUM WORD COUNT: 750 WORDS. IN ADDITION TO RUNNING A WONDERFUL BLOG, SUZANNE HAS WRITTEN MANY EXCITING BOOKS. PLEASE A HAVE A LOOK AT HER SITE: WECOME TO THE WORLD OF SUZANNE BURKE

Here is my contribution to this week’s prompt. Enjoy!

“You hear that?” Mandy twisted her red locks into coils. Her wide-eyed expression moved her freckles, like dozens of islands shifted by an earthquake.

Dan put his ear against the door.

“Careful! What do you hear?”

“Chewing.” An icicle lodged in his spine.

“What? Dan Beamish! I can’t take it any longer! I’m calling Mom and Dad! I want to go home! George Binks was right, this place is haunted!”

“My gosh!” Dan jumped back. His jaw became a flag in the wind.

“Stop blubbering, out with it! You’re scaring me!”

“You should be.”

“Stop it!” Mandy’s eyes were red. It reminded Dan of the time he’d drew mustaches on her Barbies, with permanent marker. “Tell Uncle Bill! He’ll know what to do. He’ll call Mom and Dad to pick us up!”

“Don’t be such a wimp. Don’t you want to see what it is? Maybe it’s a Snog, just like in one of your silly books. Besides, Uncle Bill is away this afternoon. Mom and Dad are in the Bahamas.”

“I’m NOT a wimp, you’re just stupid! My books are NOT silly. Snogs are NOT real. Whatever’s in there, is! We should wait until Uncle Bill returns.”

“Get me something to defend myself.”

Mandy crossed her arms and scowled at her older brother. He was stubborn, just like his father, that’s what Mom said. Mom’s always right about Dan. She sighed. “Fine, there’s a croquette mallet in the hall closest.” She stomped down the ancient steps. Stupid, old, haunted house. Why couldn’t they’ve gone to Aunt Rita’s cottage on the beach? Oh, because Danny the Pansy was allergic to the sand. Whoever heard of such a thing?

She returned with the mallet to find Dan testing the doorknob.

Mandy performed a fake curtsy and handed the mallet over. “You’re lance, noble knight.”

Dan rolled his eyes. He counted to three, via the scenic route. “Two and a quarter, two and a half, two and three quarters, three!” He charged in screaming, mallet raised overhead, Brave Heart style.

Something large ran through what could only be described as a trash bin. Dan looked around, shocked by the mess. Uncle was a neat freak, but this was an episode of Hoarders.

Wind gusted through an open window. Papers blew across a desk and onto a floor that could have been hardwood. A huge lump moved underneath the pile, heading straight for him! A terrible hissing and growling came from the thing.

Dan’s arms lost feeling and the mallet struck his knee as it dropped. He was nailed to the floor.

“Dan! Get out!”

He tried to back away, but tripped on a power cord, that brought him and a desk computer, crashing to the floor.  

A yellowed New York Times paper, a foot from his face, burst off the floor, to reveal a hideous nightmare of bloody teeth and fur.

The eyes were blacker than the pavement, velociraptor sharp claws, and a hiss like a thousand water snakes. It stood on it’s hind legs, belly fur covered in blood. The thing was about to rip him apart! His mind flashed back to all those nature shows he’d watched. What to do? Run . . . seriously? Play dead? No, he’d be dead. Act submissive, lower your eyes and bow your head . . . quick! He raised himself to a kneel and bowed, face to the floor. It was terrifying, exposing the back of his neck.

“Dan! What are you doing! Have you lost your mind?”

“Showing respect. Being submissive.”

It didn’t work. The thing hissed and moved towards him. Dan could feel and smell its hot and stinky breath . This was it, his life for hers. “Go, Mandy! Run! It wants me and you can still get away!”

The beast moved closer, coming in for the kill bite, just like a lion. It would be a less painful way to die.

Dan was ready too.

Something swept past his head. The creature let out a squeal and then began to whimper, as it fled.

“You rascal!” Uncle Bill yelled.

His new favorite uncle held a broom, as he chased the thing out the window. He shut the window, turned towards them and said, “Blasted racoon. Should have closed the window. Got into my bowl of ravioli again!” He held up an empty can of Chef Boyardee’s “finest” pasta. He looked embarrassed.

Dan smacked his head when he noticed the “blood”’ matched the color of the pasta sauce.  

‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #35 Entry Part 6) by MarkBierman@mbiermanauthor#IARTG #WritingPrompts #FlashFiction #WritingCommunity

HELLO EVERYONE AND WELCOME TO AUTHOR SUZANNE BURKE’S “FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE!” EACH WEEK SHE FEATURES AN IMAGE AND INVITES EVERYONE TO WRITE A FLASH FICTION, OR NON-FICTION, PIECE INSPIRED BY THAT IMAGE IN ANY FORMAT AND GENRE OF THEIR CHOOSING.  MAXIMUM WORD COUNT: 750 WORDS. IN ADDITION TO RUNNING A WONDERFUL BLOG, SUZANNE HAS WRITTEN MANY EXCITING BOOKS. PLEASE A HAVE A LOOK AT HER SITE: WECOME TO THE WORLD OF SUZANNE BURKE

Here is my contribution to this week’s prompt. Enjoy!

“Oh Sheila, could this night get any better? I mean, you, me, just the crickets.”

“Oh, yes, Paul . . . it’s wonderful. There’s really no where else I’d rather be.”

“There’s something intoxicating about spending a night under the stars with a beautiful woman. Do you know that the constellation, Cygnus the Swan, is above our heads right now? Go ahead, look! No not at me. Look up, my dear. Do you see it? Yes, that’s it. See the splendor of it all? You want to know something, and it’s the truth.”

“What? What is it?”

“Keep looking up. I mean really take it all in.”

“I’m looking, and yes, it’s heavenly—”

“Just like you, my Sweet. Now I have something for you.”

“Really! What is it! Shall I close my eyes?”

“If you’d like. Yes, and hold out your hands, too. I love your radiant smile, by the way. Here it is. Okay, now open them.”

 “A mirror?”

“Yes, I want you to look at it, and then up again at the Swan. No, not at me, the Swan. Not that I mind the love in your eyes. No, Sheila, look up and compare. Why do you look so disappointed?”

“I don’t understand, that’s all.”

“Stop looking at me that way. No, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I just wanted you to see that this constellation is just an ugly duckling, compared to you.”

“Oh, I see . . . of course, thank you, Paul.”

“I have a poem that I wrote for you. It’s about our love and this is the perfect night to read it. Here it goes. She is the light of my—”

“Stop!”

“What?”

“Please, Paul . . . I-I can’t do this anymore!”

“What do you mean? I planned this whole evening! Even made your favorite, Caprese salad, which is disgusting, by the way. Are you saying we’re through?”

“Just, turn away for a moment. Would you please, I cannot look at you, any longer. I’m so sorry, but you need to fix it.”

“Fix what?! I thought you said I was perfect!”

“No fix it! Pull it out!”

“Sheila! You are so devilish! But I cannot do that, this is a public park. There are still families about.”

“No! Not that! Pull out that ghastly nose hair that’s been waving at me all night.”

Now, what about that ‘k’?

This past Wednesday, I decided to extend my sincerest wishes to my American friends to the south for a peaceful Inauguration Day.

I fired up my Word Press account and pecked away at the keyboard, like a barnyard chicken. At the completion of the task, I proofread my piece and hit “Publish.”

Pleased that I was able to send mental and digital ‘vibes’ of goodwill, I proceeded to go about my day, when something caught my eye.

I’m sure my sister and her family down in Ohio could have heard my best Homer Simpson impression of, “Doh!”

That would have been accompanied with the echo of my hands smacking my forehead. How could I have missed such a ridiculous typo?

You see, the opening line was supposed to read: I would like to convey my sincerest hope for a peaceful transition of power and healing for the nation of the United States.

 In actuality, the ‘k’ must have decided to take its March Break early, because it read: I would lie to convey my sincerest hope for a peaceful transition of power and healing for the nation of the United States.

A bit frustrated with myself, I was glad that it had, at this point, only received a single view. I quickly grabbed the ‘k’ off the beach chair, and yes, I drank the brat’s mimosa. The AWOL letter was stuffed back in place.

Satisfied, I went into the kitchen where my grade-schoolers were munching on their cereal and contemplating yet another “delightful” day of COVID-style homeschooling.

It was about twenty minutes later that my phone ‘pinged’ an incoming message. It was from Mom and she’d noticed the missing ‘k’ and suggested I change it. Was she that one viewer? No, too early, she would have been doing her Bible reading around that time.

My head ached with another smack when I realized that I’d forgotten that my blog is set to share on Facebook and Twitter once published. She reads my posts on FB. I went to the computer, but of course, the post had been graciously retweeted and was now out in Twitterverse.

I corrected the post on FB and sent out a corrected retweet explaining that it was a typo and that I was sincere in my wishes. Of course, I knew that people are intelligent enough to realize it was a simple mistake, but it was still somewhat embarrassing.

I’ve clacked out the above sentences in the hope of producing a knowing smile on your part. I also wished to demonstrate how easy it is for the eyes and mind to be fooled. I think most of us are so accustomed to reading and writing, that our brains know how most words are spelled, so we read them that way.

You can’t always rely on spellcheck either, because it may not catch the proper context of the word. Hence the need for a second pair of eyes when you are ready to publish.

There are many words in the English language that seem completely illogical in their spelling.

Take the word ‘knife’ for instance. I could see Dalbert, quill in hand, at the dinner table, scratching out his latest poem. He gets  a hankering for a piece of sourdough bread and asks “Ada, can you pass me the nife?”

Ada, being relatively modern, wants to try out an abbreviated form of a new slang word she’s just learned, and responds with, “K.”

Dalbert, who just happened to be writing an ode to his nife collection, scratches the letter ‘k’ onto the parchment. He quickly realizes his mistake, smacks his head, covering it with expensive ink. There’s nothing for it, their ink supplies are low, and he needs to sell another goat before he can buy more.

 He shrugs it all off and mumbles, “There is no ‘butterfly effect’ that will come of this.”

I’ve prattled on long enough, you get my point.

Disclaimer: Any spelling or grammatical errors made in this document are entirely the fault of spell check, Word Press, or the author’s rogue fingers. The author takes no personal responsibility for any unintentional changes to the language of English that may be caused. 🙂