Stress Time – Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: Roger Bultot

Stress Time

“I don’t understand,” said Doctor Z. He cruised in his powered chair to stop beside Police Chief Dennehy. “She was supposed to be relaxing!”

“I know,” said Dennehy, watching the firemen put the last of the house fire out.

“We did everything to ensure FlameGirl’s mutant power wasn’t activated by stress.”

“You did your best,” sighed Dennehy.

“We put her in this sleepy town. She only had Disney Channel. She was surrounded by soft colors, plush toys, positive affirmations, and Chamomile tea.”

“It should’ve worked.”

“I know. What happened?”

Dennehy shrugged. “She still had to file her taxes.”
Gawd, am I glad my taxes are finally done. Ugh! Each week, the Friday Fictioneers join to de-stress and imagine flash fiction stories from a photo prompt. This is my version answering the photo by Roger Bultot above. Look here to find more:

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Old Ways – Gargleblaster Microstories #209

Malika desired giving up the Old Ways to be normal.

She opened a restaurant.

Then the last drunken customer of the night grabbed her butt. “What’ll be the main course?” he grinned salaciously.

Normal be damned!

Malika bared her fangs. “Marinated Human!”

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No Surprises – Mondays Finish the Story

Photo by: Barbara W. Beacham

No Surprises

The neighbors were not happy about my choice of yard art. It wasn’t my choice actually, the bronze statues just return there in fall.

My neighbors, two rowdy boys who just moved in, hated the statues. They were the great-great-great-grandsons of a famous Indian fighter. No surprises there. They hated me too. They hated all skins.

They got drunk one night, and shot up the statues with sub-machine gun fire.

No surprise. They did shit like that a lot.

That night, I noticed the statues had healed.

No surprises for me.

The great, dead, Shaman Imhat’Atinato had showed me where he hid the Waisacha Stick in a vision. I used it every Spring, and brought the Indian and Buffalo back to life once more. That night, the Waisacha Stick restored their lives.

The Indian looked a question at me. I just pointed.

At 7AM, the screams from my neighbors’ finally ended.

I was surprised.

Imhat’Atinato usually took days to skin his victims alive.
This week the story to finish begins with “The neighbors were not happy about my choice of yard art.” Look here for more stories answer this week’s prompts:

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Mush – Sunday Photo Fiction



Isn’t this image awesome? It’s a fractal, I guess. A buddy of mine who works at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) sent this to me. He sends cool, funny stuff all the time. I gotta admit this was different from the usual.

Have you ever seen that email with text that looks like gobbledegook? It points out that if the first and last letter of words in the text are correct and everything else in the middle is a jumble, you can still read it. You’ve seen that right?

That’s what Matt’s email looked like. It got worse the more he wrote. That guy, he’s such a joker. Well, either that or he was drinking more of that crazy micro-brewed beer he loves. Some of that stuff has 10% alcohol. That’s nearly as strong as wine! He was probably getting loaded while snickering over his keyboard.

The beginning of the email is actually coherent and he makes it seem all serious and stuff. He points out that the human mind is nothing more than a biological computer. If computers can crash then why can’t the human mind? He noted that when the brain processes certain imagery, high specific neural activity begins. By manipulating the image, he learned that he could influence the neural activity. And just like a hacker can confuse a computer with bad instructions, he theorized an image could do the same thing to the human mind. The brain would crash and turn to mush.

What a bunch of malarkey! I told you he’s a joker.

Check this bit out from his email:

…a vdhy doifjbous picrmre. If yeu pgst it, it wthl cqosh tae brtgns of milldans! Be cakdfl!

See what I mean? An unreadable jumble. He had to be drunk by then. It’s getting late and I’m feeling a bit sleepy. Kinda sluggish, so it’s just fun starring at the pivture. See the part that loiks like an elephane pkaying a tuba? What aboot the squid turning itselg insibe out? Prebby cool eh?

Feelink fuzzy now. Tired. Just gemma pest and go to bid.

Weires tgat subnat buwwin?


Author’s Notes:
This was inspired by Neal Stephenson’s book, “Snow Crash.” It’s one of the most inventive scifi books you will ever read. It includes a lot of innovative ideas including the notion the human brain can be deliberately crashed like a computer. Check it out here:

Well, something odd happened with the picture prompt for the Sunday Photo Fiction this week. There’s just a gray box. But we’re writers! We can work with that! We’re proceeding with the assumption that the image was censored for some reason. I took it a little step further, operating outside the box as always. I hope you enjoyed. Look here to see where everyone else went with our snafu this week:

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Lively Characters – Mutant 750

Lively Characters

Kelly didn’t exactly understand how it worked. Perhaps she had magical qualities passed down from her grandmother. Maybe it was the silk scarf she always wore while writing. The one she bought from a psychic in San Francisco.

All she knew was, as she wrote about fictional characters they literally appeared in her home.

One week into beginning her first book, the characters sat at her 8-place dining room table. They possessed literal mass. When they shifted in a chair it creaked. They drank from the glasses of lemonade Kelly served them…without leaking. Their bodies possessed no distinction of color, being merely gray 3-D silhouettes, each a character cutout with sharply defined outlines but no details.

Kelly began writing late in life. An empty nester, whose husband passed on eight years before, she needed something to fill her empty, lonely days. When she began writing for a writing challenge to post in her blog, she realized what the alchemy of her writing could produce.

She sat looking at her gray characters over the “YOU CAN DO IT!” stickers on her laptop. Eight months into her foray with writing the novelty of physically appearing characters had worn off. It was a blessing to actually see her first novel’s characters, but a curse to see how bland they were. She sipped at her coffee cup imprinted with “World’s Greatest Mom,” which had lipstick stains that never seemed to go away. She stared at the occasionally moving characters and wondered why they lacked any life. Turning back to her beaten and chipped laptop, she began looking up articles on writing.

At 3:18AM, with half a bottle of White Zin beside her, she stared at an article entitled, “The Value of a Wart.” With a smile, she began writing again in earnest. Her characters needed distinctive, interesting features to give them life and depth.

She awoke with her head on the table, her cheek in a puddle of drool. In the chair beside her, Jackie “Stinker” Henretty (druggie teen, Chapter 6) had tied a pink Hello Kitty rubber band around her arm. She held a spoon over a Death Angels candle in one hand, and a syringe in the other.

“What the…?” shrieked Kelly. “In MY house?”

“What?” Jackie rolled her eyes. “Chillax!”

“How’s it going, Sweetie,” said Auntie Pinion on Kelly’s left. The surrogate mother of character Ted Mullover leaned over the dining room table. The 57-year old’s chartreuse ribbons bounced in her hair and her polka dot mini-dress was more appropriate to a fourteen-year old. Worse, as she bent over, Ted Mullover (psychotic murderer, Chapter 3) grinned behind Pinion. He unzipped his stained jeans, lifted her dress, and began thrusting away. Auntie Pinion’s manic smile never changed during the penetration. “What happens next? Tell me!”

“Stop that!” shouted Kelly. “He’s…he’s…”

Auntie Pinion waved dispassionately. “Oh don’t mind him. He just wants attention.”

“So give him a cookie!

Kelly watched an enormous cloud of flour billow out the kitchen door. She could hear the two gay lovers, Terry and Leslie, giggling inside. She stomped to the door, then stopped just outside it. Remembering the scene she’d written in Chapter 12, she knew she should never witness it.

Holding her ears to block out the chattering characters, she ran into the living room and flopped on the couch.

“Rough day?” said a mellow voice.

Sitting beside the couch, Dina Giambetti smiled warmly. The psychologist (introduced in Chapter 14) would provide the final clue that helped catch the murderer. Her floral print dress draped elegantly and blue eyes gazed sympathetically at Kelly. She toyed with the turquoise and bloodstone beads at her neck.

“They’re out of control!” groaned Kelly.

“You wrote them.”

“Yeah, but what do I do now?”

“Haven’t you noticed the characters disappear after you publish?”

“Yeah, but this is a novel. It’ll take months to finish!”

Dina smiled. “Well. You need one level-headed character to ride herd on the others.”

“Right! I’ll just write in…”

Dina winked and patted Kelly’s hand. “You already wrote me.”

Three months after bidding Dina a tearful and grateful goodbye, Kelly began writing another book. This time, Winston (Butler from Chapter 1) placed Earl Grey tea beside her after serving a gourmet meal. The house was clean and the clothing washed. “Will there be anything else Madam?” he said in a smooth English accent.

She’d started writing with Winston this time. He knew how to run a household.

Kelly sighed happily. It was going to be A Beautiful Day.
Author’s Notes:
I couldn’t find the original article “The Value of A Wart” but in the link above and here, there’s a very good synopsis. I highly recommend it to aspiring writers.

Grammar Ghoul Press’ amazing writing challenge, Mutant 750 returns this week with another set of prompts. The word prompt is: Cutout. The media prompt is “A Beautiful Day” by U2. Look here for more stories based upon the prompts:

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A Fine Pair – Chimera 66

A Fine Pair

It was late. Jared slumped in his chair, drowning in angst.

His secretary, formerly a Playboy centerfold, approached wearing a long coat and heels.

“What’s wrong, boss?” said Jennifer.

“The company’s failing,” murmured Jared.

Slowly, teasingly, Jennifer opened her coat.

Jared’s eyes bugged. ” My God! Are those real?”

“Completely,” crooned Jennifer.

Jared caressed them reverently…

…and pulled the pair of contracts from her pouch. “We’re saved!”
This week at the Grammar Ghoul Press’ Chimera 66 writing challenge #13, the word prompt is: Angst. Look here for more stories answering the challenge:

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Missed Opportunity – Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: Jennifer Pendergast

Missed Opportunity

“There! Shoot it!” exclaimed Glover.

Award-winning wildlife photographer Burton Hinton brought his camera up. “Where?”

“Between the train cars!”

Burton’s reflexes had always served him well. He aimed his camera into the distance beyond the train cars. It made sense. Wildlife were always in the distance, trying hard not be seen. Burton always aimed there first. “I don’t see it!”

“It’s right there!”

“Where there?”

Merely five-feet away, the last living Jackalope sat waiting on the train car coupling. The train started moving again and took him out of sight from the photographer. He groaned. He’d never prove his existence at this rate!
Author’s Notes:
The Jackalope is a popular myth:

Each week, the Friday Fictioneers join for fearsome and fevered frolicking by writing flash fiction from favorite photos. Join us, if you dare! Look here for more stories based upon the photo above:

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