Short Fiction – The unusual map

Two things changed my original idea for this Friday’s post. On Tuesday I went to see Bon Mould play in L.A. where he did a complete run through of the album “Copper Blue”, which he recorded under the band name “Sugar”. This album, one of my all time favorites, meant I was really looking forward to it. He also played some of the new album and a few other “oldies” of his. I had never seen him live before, I loved it. The band played really well. Hearing a complete run through of Copper Blue live was, well, worth the wait. For me anyway. It made me want to use it in some small way.

Last Tuesday night at the El Rey

My original idea for this post was to write another 100 word fiction. However the second thing that changed the post, was the idea of writing a short story to tie in with another post I am going to put up soon. I think the gig more tied in with doing that post, than this one. It is a post I thought of a few months back, but had not gotten round to write yet. More on that idea at the end. It was however, clear then that 100 words were not nearly enough for the short story. I think this one ended at 300+ words so it is still a short read, but way over the 100 word exercise. I did this in about 30 mins so apologies if it needs a few corrections.

The Unusual Map

In the moonlight, the Man stood for a moment, closed his eyes, and cast out his net. He took a deep breath, then with a flash of light, it began. For he was not a normal man, and this was not a net of rope and hole. He was what is known to some, as a net-caster. He who saw things in a different way. His cast, a net that could attract unusual maps and people. You might call these music maps if it helps you understand. They can tell you a lot about a person, their stories mostly, how these songs attach to people. These things being what he existed for.

A few seconds later, he withdrew to check if it was working, and to see if there were any bites. Already there were. Adjusting a frequency, like you might tune a radio, he found a track called “Changes” by a band called “Sugar”, and he found a young man attached to it. A rock band, a young man beginning to find his identity, nothing unusual there. Tapping a slender Index finger on his chin, the net-caster ran his eyes over the map. The young man was not young anymore, and there was much more to his story. He hung this map up on his review board. It would require more time and effort later. For now in his net, there was a map seemingly incomplete.

Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful world” was a destination on many maps, yet this one very significant. A man called Lewis, 27 years old with bad ideas. He wanted to try many things once, odd things like jump from a plane, and attach this song as a soundtrack. One of these bad ideas was to enter a freeway exit the wrong way. To the net-caster this seemed especially strange as there did not seem to be a plan for how he might turn around again. As it turned out, there wasn’t. Lewis hit another car head on. As the map demonstrated “A wonderful world” linked to many of his daft ideas, his life events, to his end, and ironically, his funeral. Lady Gaga’s “Poker face” was the end for the two people he hit head on with his car. The net-caster did not know what to make of this. You often do not choose what fits on a map, but that is what it is.

The net-caster thought humans were strange sometimes. Like the way they describe the reflected light from the moon as cold.

The post this links to, or should I say will link to, is themed around how certain music tracks are linked to you, through certain events in your life. They may not always seem significant. They may not be things you would necessarily choose, but nevertheless they are there. You will hear the song, it puts you in a particular place. The post looks at this from the other side. I will likely put it up next friday.

Lexicon word of the day: oniochalasia.

 

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100 word fiction – The event, part 1

Something is coming…

I’m struggling to keep up with blog time at the moment, but here is a 100 word fiction I wrote a week or two ago. If you missed an earlier post such as “Jack and the beanstalk – revised“, the three rules for 100 word fiction are as follows:

  • It must be 100 words or less.
  • The prompt will be mentioned after the story.
  • It must be written in under 30 mins and then it goes up onto a post as is, with no additional editing allowed, no pondering on it for a day or more.

The Event

Matt tried to relax, but couldn’t escape that sinking feeling in his gut. There had been warnings, there had been that eerie sense. He had been told the event was coming. It was going to be life changing.

 He looked at Carol, standing the opposite end of a box, that she began to open.
“This is none of that soapy goop, the real deal”, she said
Matt took a slow breath and reached into the box. He spotted the piece he wanted, picked it up, and slowly inserted it into his mouth. Carol smiled.
“It’s amazing chocolate isn’t it?”.

Prompt: The commercial for the NBC show “The Event”. It is kind of annoying, it promises a lot and I suspect delivers little.

Lexicon word of the day: invidious.

100 word fiction – Jack and the beanstalk, revised

Don’t trust this guy…

Another 100 word fiction exercise for today. If you missed an earlier post such as “What age does to you“, the three rules for 100 word fiction are as follows:

  • It must be 100 words or less.
  • The prompt will be mentioned after the story.
  • It must be written in under 30 mins and then it goes up onto a post as is, with no additional editing allowed, no pondering on it for a day or more.

Jack and the Beanstalk, revised

Jack and his mother, who he lived with, were poor. Jack was an idiot. He convinced his mum to sell their cow, then traded it for “magic” beans.

A few days later Jack climbed a large green twisted vine, outside a rich guys house. He climbed in a window, stole some gold, and a harp. The rich guy saw Jack from his security camera, recognising him as the kid who called him giant. He called the Police who promptly arrested Jack.

Jack got prison, but the rich guy bought Jack’s mother a new cow. Kids, crime does not pay.

Prompt: A Jack and the Beanstalk book my son has. It is a version for tots and misses out several “key” details such as the giant grinding bones to make his bread. Interesting in itself this part, as it was a fear many people had about bakers a century or two ago, that things were ground up and used as substitute flour, such as bones. However if you’ve ever tried to make fresh bread, you will be aware how accurate the ingredients have to be, with next to no leeway, otherwise the thing won’t end up in a manner resembling bread. Anyhoo, tangent aside, Jack basically climbs the beanstalk, steals from the sleeping giant, then returns to do the same the following day. This time the hen, or the harp, I forget which, wakes the giant. Jack scarpers sharpish and chops down the beanstalk so the giant cannot get down to him. In this version, Jack is therefore nothing more than a common thief stealing from the innocent giant. Might as well teach em young eh?

Lexicon word of the day: indenture.

100 word fiction – What age does to you

What do you see in the mirror?
(Click on the picture to check out some cool art works like this one)

Another 100 word fiction exercise for today, not at all related to the posting date. If you missed an earlier post on 100 word fiction, the three rules are as follows:

  • It must be 100 words or less.
  • The prompt will be mentioned after the story.
  • It must be written in under 30 mins and then it goes up onto a post as is, with no additional editing allowed, no pondering on it for a day or more.

What age does to you

He approached the large mirror, behind the sink, sweaty and a little weary. Scrutinising his naked self, as he often did, he was a little taken a back at what he saw. Christ! I have some long ass balls. When did that happen? I look like the pendulum on a Grandfather clock.

He looked up to his face, weather worn, and flexed an arm. Well still got that, sort of. Yet it wasn’t as it once was.

It went no further as a man in his gym clothes approached his side.

“Good work out, huh?”

He laughed and nodded.

Prompt: Strange naked people who don’t seem to care about privacy at the gym. What’s going on with that?

Lexicon word of the day: Spheroid.

100 word fiction – The familiar path

The familiar path…

For my US chums, Happy Independence day (or happy traitors day as I “jokingly” call it).

Another 100 word fiction exercise for today, not at all related to the posting date. If you missed an earlier post on 100 word fiction, the three rules are as follows:

  • It must be 100 words or less.
  • The prompt will be mentioned after the story.
  • It must be written in under 30 mins and then it goes up onto a post as is, with no additional editing allowed, no pondering on it for a day or more.

The Familiar path

It was cold, it was grey, and water dripped from worn stone. George stepped but carefully, on a well trodden path, over flat faded tombstones almost indecipherable from the path, and around standing tombstones, of names long gone but not forgotten.

George had trodden this route over a hundred times, in fact over a hundred years. There were less plots then, and clearer words. Rounding a large over hung oak tree, George stopped, held both wings of a nearby Angel, and pulled. Facing the open box he climbed in, and was sure to close the lid behind him.

Prompt: a Graveyard (near where I grew up).

Lexicon word of the day: Polysexual.

100 word fiction – Something sinister for breakfast

Another 100 word fiction exercise for today. If you missed an earlier post on 100 word fiction, the three rules are as follows:

  • It must be 100 words or less.
  • The prompt will be mentioned after the story.
  • It must be written in under 30 mins and then it goes up onto a post as is, with no additional editing allowed, no pondering on it for a day or more.

Something sinister for breakfast

He lightly pressed his index finger down the diameter of the plate, just to hear the squeaky sound. He did the same move with his mug, then again with his knife, and again with his fork. It was routine, when washing the dishes.

The pan was going to need the strictest clean of all. All the grease gone. Spotless.

Then he would need to consider. Should he freeze the leg and foot? And the remaining organs only keep so long in the fridge. Jane would respect her being kept that way. After all, she had made for a delicious breakfast.

Prompt: Cleaning the dishes

Lexicon word of the day: incommodious.

100 word fiction – A shade of rust

Image from Texas VW classic (click to view site)

I needed a new exercise to sink my brain into, something a minor distraction, but not something I want to make a major one. I’ve seen plenty of variations on blogs of short fiction, flash fiction, word prompt fiction, “x” amount of words fiction. On the way to Laughlin, during a time when my wife was driving, I was interested in “this sort of thing” (a Father Ted reference), but what rules to impose? I decided on these three rules:

  • It must be 100 words or less.
  • The prompt will be mentioned after the story.
  • It must be written in under 30 mins and then it goes up onto a post as is, with no additional editing allowed, no pondering on it for a day or more.
I like the idea of seeing what comes out in a particular moment, seeing where your head is at, so to speak. If you’ve attempted shorts stories, or any kind of stories, you will know some times, it is just better than others. Some days your head is more in the right space. But 100 words is not a lot, so the stories will be brief, or “snapshots”. Still quick and easy for the blog reader who reads many blogs, no? So here is the first one, written in the back of the car:

A shade of rust

It was an old beetle car, almost stripped of paint, now a brown rust colour. It put me in mind of those days on the coast. Hot but tempered with a sea breeze. The salty air. The delight of sand getting into everything. Even our underwear. Yes even our underwear.

Those were the days. I miss the sky a rainbow of blue, a cloud a welcome friend.

Too much time. When did I get old? Stripped of youthful endeavour. I drive an SUV, ironically without the sport. I should watch the road. My car is bug splattered.

The prompt was an original paint stripped beetle we passed on the freeway.

Lexicon word of the day: inauspicious.