[POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge


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Post July 17, 2016, 10:08:26 PM

[POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

To vote, rate these stories on the form in the post following this one and send it to me via PM:


The challenge this month was to tell a speculative fiction story of a love-struck bad poet.



The following entries were received:


Darcy and Annabel’s Story



Darcy was a poet, he felt, a poet in his very soul. He wrote poetically, it is true, but always subjectively. His subject was himself and he was excessively fond of his subject.

The problem with finding yourself to be the most satisfactory person that you know is that it leaves very little room for constructive criticism, which might lead to improvement and growth. Without improvement and growth… Well, suffice it to say that Darcy was not as great a poet as he fondly imagined himself to be, but no one ever told him that. An enormous propensity to sulking ensured that.

So: Darcy, a bad poet who is unlikely to improve but who insists on reading his bad poems to his friends and family at every opportunity, taking their noncommittal praise for mere ignorance.

But then, one day, Darcy fell in love.

This episode of falling in love was abrupt and immediate. Darcy saw Annabel behind the counter at his local coffee shop and was smitten. She was perfection. She was tall, slim and blonde with just the right amount of excess bosom offset by large guileless blue eyes. Annabel on her part saw a slim young man – not much to look at, in truth – with bleached-blue hair topped by a well-used beanie. His slightly ragged jeans were en pointe, fashion-wise, and the instant sparkle in his eyes on seeing her was flattering. She made his peppermint soy cappuccino as slowly as she could, smiling at him often as she worked. By the time she handed over his drink, awkwardly slopping foam into the saucer because she tried to ‘accidentally’ touch his hand, they felt like friends. He waved aside her apologies and offers to make a fresh drink, not wanting to seem like a jerk. Inside, he was annoyed. He liked his coffee to be perfect and it wasn’t his fault that she was so overcome with his proximity that she became careless at her work…

He stayed in the coffee shop until the end of her shift, then left, timing his table tidying activities so as to step out of the coffee shop just after her. He struck up a conversation and she smiled, still drawn to his initial charisma. However, by the time they reached her car – and his, coincidentally they were both parked in the same car park, although at different sides – she had gone off him.

Every time she tried to tell Darcy about herself, her job or her family, he listened with barely disguised ennui, before, after an occasional token acknowledgement, turning the subject to himself, his job or his family. At first she tried to tell herself that it was simply his enthusiasm to impress her, but even that allowance had its limitations and Annabel quickly determined to waste no more time on him. Taking out her car keys, she unlocked the door and turned to him,

‘Well, it was nice to meet you, but I have to go now.’

‘But, I was just about to tell you about the time I saved my friend’s life. We were all high – never mix cocaine and speed, FYI – and he decided that he wanted to climb th-’

‘I can’t abide people who take drugs.’

‘Oh, me too. I don’t any more. Anyway, he-’

‘I have to go.’

‘No, wait…’

‘I have to go now.’

Without conscious thought, Darcy put his hand out to grasp her arm.

‘Let go of me! How dare you! HELP!’

Instead of letting go, he pulled her closer and put his other hand over her mouth to block the screams.

The next thing he knew, he was driving home, the limp figure of Annabel in the back seat. He had positioned her to look as though she was sleeping, and draped a blanket over her cosily. No one saw him and he made it to his small, ground-floor apartment without incident. He carried Annabel inside and lay her carefully on the small, two-seater sofa.

He sat, looking at her for hours, marvelling at her clear, blemish-free skin, the delicate tracery of veins on her eyelids and the sensual curve of philtrum into lip. What was it about her appearance that drew him to her, he wondered, as her mind was so clearly inferior.

He must explore this idea further, dissect it so to speak, so that he could write beautiful poetry about it.

Carefully, delicately, he raised the scalpel and began.


The End



Limerick Lover



The flight crew aboard the transatlantic to London gathered in the meal prep area, as their duties permitted, to discuss the singular passenger on board with them, a passenger who, once more, brought with him his own weather system, who flirted incessantly with the young, blond, beautiful Cecily Dumarks, reciting various bad limericks in an impassioned plea, grasping her hands in his, his hands cold and trembling like wrecked jellyfish along the shore. His name? Felonious Pebblesong.

So a few of the crew are gathered since tucking the passengers away for their long transatlantic naps when, like clockwork, Mr. Pebblesong extended his clammy white tentacle, mashing the overhead button for cabin service. All the other passengers were asleep or buried in their books and only the crew witnessed the fog bank setting in and whisps of the cool, damp, cloudy stuff floating through the cabin, dank with the smell of it.

When Jakes Stirstraw, one of the male crew, tried to answer the gentleman’s summons he was immediately rebuffed and told only his “friend” Miss Dumarks would do. The crew decided Cecily would go in as requested, but she would tie a rope to her waist. Last time she fell into a cloud bank with this man and the crew hadn’t noticed. It wasn’t until a few forced kisses and tears later that Cecily was finally retrieved from the limerick lover’s assault.

Cecily approached. “Yes, Mr. Pepplesong?”

The enraptured passenger smiled at her, his dark eyes wet with pleasure and joy, his skin white as paper in contrast to his dark fedora. “Let me have your hand, my dear.” She held out a small delicate paw.

“Ah yes,” he said. “I remember this sweet hand, so fine, so warm.”

Cecily began to tremble despite being able to rely on the S.O.S. “What can I get for you, Mr. Pebblesong?”

Mr. Pebblesong, practically singing, practically thrumming, poured forth: “There was an old man of Shalott whose love had given him the hots, so away with her he ran til they put him in the can, oh that poor old man of Shalott!”

Cecily began to tug hard at the rope but she got no response.

He pressed on: “There was a beauty of Calcutta who loved me since the day that I met her, so I gave her a ring to add to her bling, oh what a lucky gal from Calcutta!”

“You have to let me go, Mr. Pebblesong.” But the tin-eared bard was sucking her in, pulling her onto his lap. He was about to sucker kiss her when she saw a packet in the seatback pocket: “In case of an attack by a limerick lover, break pack.” Gratefully, she burst open the limerick lover emergency pack and extracted a perfect retort. She laid it on the lap of the shocked and crestfallen Mr. Pebblesong and made her escape:

“Good luck with your trip cross the pond. Of you I never was fond. But you’ll be home soon, and stay there marooned, no love after your trip cross the pond.”


The End



Ernie's Angel



Ernie slowly, lovingly, ran his hand over the top of the hodgepodge Machine that filled most of the room. Deep down, he was certain. This will be the one. This one will make her love me.

Pulling his chemical goggles down, he threw caution to the wind. Charging across his small, run-down apartment to the hand-made keyboard, Ernie's gloved hand pressed enter.

Deep within the oversized black box at the heart of his ad-hoc mad-scientist laboratory, a piece of it scribed with the prettiest script font Ernie could find, and then rolled forward a piece of parchment. The cutter sliced the end off, and the selection tumbled out of the machine's chute into his trembling hands:

    She was for me
    Done and moody,
    Like an old, almost-past hemorrhoid.
    I stagger across the street,
    Still, I'm weeping:
    Angie peeing.
    Forsaken love in my Polaroid!

Ernie wailed in this thick, Jersey accent. "Gross, and it's bad poetry! I can't woo Angie with this!"

He started to wad the poem up, but then stopped. He thought, It was kind of about love... Syllable count was good, and it had rhymes in it. He wondered if he reworked the content matrix...

Ernie thought about his home in Neptune City, New Jersey, and was bound and determined that his town would be known for something other than giving birth to actor Jack Nicholson. They're gonna know my Machine. After it wins Angie over for me, the sky's the friggin' limit. Money, super-weapons... whatever. My Machine will make it. Together, we'll run the whole borough--like one of those mob couples in the movies.

The thought made him smile: Angie on his arm, wearing something skin tight and sexy, the mayor on his knees, giving him the keys to the town hall. He and Angie would live in the hall, together. He'd fix it up really pretty for her with his construction skills and his Machine. She'd be proud to live there, proud of him. Together, they'd teach those bums from Avon-by-the-Sea and Bradley Beach to not talk down to a guy from Neptune City.

The lights went out.

"Dammit," he muttered. "Not again." Construction work, his day job, was in short supply these days, and he hadn't paid his bill. Now he was going to have to sweet-talk old Mrs. Needleman across the hall to let him run an extension cord over. If only I didn't need that electric company.

The Machine, Ernie realized. It can make my own friggin' power source. He realized it wasn't the order he wanted to do everything in, but if he had no lights, Angie wouldn't be able to see his poem when he finally had the right one.

***

A knock interrupted. It was almost ready.

Through the peephole, he saw it was Angie. Black flowing hair. Brown eyes. Beautiful face. A body to kill for--and people say--without tan lines. Plus, she was wearing her low-cut Hooters uniform, praise be.

He pulled open the door as fast as he could.

"Hey, Ernie," she said. "Ya cousin Margie says I should stop in and see yous because you ain't been out in days and won't see nobody, and if anybody can get you out, it's me. Ya cousin's been like a sister to me, so here I am."

She smiled at him and he forgot how to talk. He gurgled in greeting, and gestured her into his apartment.

She looked at his mad scientist getup. "You goin' to a costume party? Oh, can I come? I'll go as a Hooter's girl." She let out a really long giggle.

She looked around his barely-lit apartment. ""Whassamatta, your lights ain't working, or something?"

"N-no," he finally managed. "I'm workin'... somethin' special. Gonna have... own power."

"How's that?"

"My Machine. It makes... stuff."

She looked around, not getting it. "All this crazy wiring and computers and sparky things, that's a machine?"

"The Machine." He nodded, wishing his words worked right.

"What kind of machine? What's it do?"

"Anything. Anything I tell it to do." Just then, the timing bell went off. "It's ready."

She stared at him blankly. "What is?"

"The power."

Ernie opened the door to the delivery and brilliant light poured out. He reached his gloved hands in and withdrew a small white dish, filled to the edges with a brilliant, white light. He set it on top of the machine. "This is gonna make everything happen."

Angie's jaw dropped, and she leaned close. "What is it?"

"Power," Ernie replied. "Raw, liquid power, ready to be used any friggin' way I want."

Angie picked up a slip of paper sitting next to the bowl of power. "What's this?"

The bad poem.

"No!" Ernie reached out to grab the paper, knocking the light forward, spilling it onto Angie's chest.

Angie convulsed as the power absorbed into her.

In front of his eyes, her skin and hair turned extra-pale, white. Her chest grew two cup sizes. Her brown eyes turned black.

Still shaking a little, she read the paper in her hand. "Ya love me."

She knew.

Angie thought for a minute, then smiled at him.

Abruptly, one of her fingers reached out, experimenting. A beam of the same white light leapt from it, cutting a hole right through the door of his apartment.

She touched the Machine. More light jumped to the machine, which started working immediately.

"What're you doin'?"

"I got the power." She giggled again. "I have like, power, to do anythin'. I want the Machine to make me one of those sexy, bulletproof comic book outfits where my boobs will always look great. That's power. Then I'm going to take over this town, and you're gonna be my sidekick, Bad Poet."

He frowned. "Angie, does that have to be my name?"

She pointed to her cleavage. "If you wanna get closer to these, that's your name from now on, lover boy. And call me Seraphina... the Burning Angel."

Ernie grinned. The Machine's poem worked after all.


The End



The Wayward Poet



Finnick watched the man, Crowley, scribbling words onto the floor with a stubby marker. The walls were a body of work that encompassed volumes of words.

“It is some of the worst poetry I’ve ever read,” Martin chuckled.

“You’ve read it? He allowed you in?”

“Well, no. He was sedated.”

“I see.” Finnick rubbed his hand along his jaw. “Has he let anyone in since he arrived?”

“Not that I know of. His doctor either speaks with him from here or uses tranquilizers. He’ll stick his arm out for blood work, medication, to grab a food tray. He really only becomes unhinged when someone tries to enter.”

“Why; do you know?”

“He thinks they’ll steal his words.”

“How strange.”

On the wall opposite the door, Finnick could see two lines written larger than the rest:
I painted her with blood/Gave her personhood. Martin was right, this was awful, just awful.

“You do know his story; don’t you?” Martin asked.

“No, not really.”

“He turned a machine.”

“What does that mean?”

“It was a machine and then it was...well, it was one of us.”

“That’s not even possible. Do they have it? Has anyone seen it?”

“I hear it was destroyed.”

“By whom?”

“The church. The government. Who knows.”

Finnick was intrigued. “May I have a go at it?”

“Be my guest,” said Martin. “He may not speak with you. He’s unpredictable in that regard.”

Finnick knocked on the glass as Martin walked down the hall, screen in hand, monitoring the other patients.
“Hello in there. My name is Finnick. I’m a writer too, a journalist actually.”

There was no reply. The man was sprawled on the floor in blue scrubs and matching cloth boots. His hair hung about his ears and just above his eyes. It was dark with a sweaty slick look that showed patches of mottled skin.

Finnick came here for a story. He wanted to know the series of events that would lead a person to the Wayward Asylum. This, however, felt like a jackpot.

“You created something,” Finnick said.

“I created a woman.” The flat voice floated up to Finnick but the face remained concentrating on the words being written on the floor.

Finnick could make out a couple of lines: Open up the coffin lid/In my body slid.

“Sometimes we must step over the edge, break boundaries,” Finnick remarked. He was in pursuit of the man’s justification, hoping that would be a roadmap in.

Crowley looked up, appeared interested. He popped to standing and jumped to the window of the door. “They’re trying to get my brain to work, but I just want the mating to commence.”

Finnick felt unease at Crowley staring into his face and because that was really creepy.

“I thought perhaps you’d explain to me what happened, tell me about her, tell me your story.”

“Archipelago,” he said and began to walk around the room with his hands clasped behind his back. His mind remained a self-imposed lockout.

“She may still be alive,” Finnick coaxed. “Archipelago, that’s her name; right?”

“Will you bring her to me?” Crowley's face look tortured.

“I can’t find her unless you help. Tell me about her.”

“It will seem far fetched to the uneducated,” Crowley stated.

This was not going to be easy, but at least getting him to talk was. The one thing Finnick became sure of was that he needed to get into the room and read the walls, that would be the key to unlocking this mystery. He departed when Martin appeared to escort him out, but he returned with regularity.

A month later when Finnick arrived, Crowley allowed him to enter. He sat stiffly upright on his bed, motionless. His eyes stared off without expression. Finnick heard the hiss and click of the door as it closed and locked. He was alone with Crowley. His hands were shaky. He broke rules as well as personal protocol and lit a cigarette. He placed it between his lips and inhaled. The smoke exited his nostrils. The situation was a precarious one. This could go either way, he thought as he looked around at the fragments that floated from one wall to another, words in a multitude of colors and sizes. Through those words, that God-awful poetry, Crowley’s inner longing and craziness was visible from ceiling to floor.

“I’m beginning to believe.” Finnick said. He removed the recorder from his pocket.

Crowley lowered his head until his chin hit his breast bone. His shoulders shook. Finnick couldn’t tell if he was crying or laughing.


The End



The Roaming Troll



The human had been inside the florist shop for almost two minutes before he heard what seemed to be sad grunts. He pushed his way through the floral forest, the room being filled with a variety of beautiful flower arrangements, before ascertaining that the painful dirge must be coming from behind the counter.

“Oh roaming troll, Oh roaming troll. Wherefore art thou, roaming troll?” sighed a voice from behind the cash register.

“Excuse me,” said the human to whatever creature was lamenting behind it. There was a sudden flourish of activity before a male dwarf appeared, walking up a set of steps to look at the human standing there.

“I didn’t hear you come in,” the dwarf said looking up at the human who was still a foot taller than he was, even with the stepstool.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt,” the human, Tom, replied while smiling down on the short though sturdy dwarf. “You seem a little down.”

“Is that a crack about my height?” the dwarf fired back.

“Not at all, sir. You merely seem to be a little depressed. I couldn’t help but overhear your lament about a troll. I hope everything is okay.”

“Oh it’s fine. She just keeps running off. My true love is a beautiful troll, who lives under covered bridges, and she flitters here and flitters there and I never know where she is. I keep trying to tie her down with my poems of eternal love, but they don’t seem to be having much affect so far.”

“Trolls don’t like to be tied down – even I know that much,” agreed Tom. “But I’m sure your heart is in the right place…if you have a heart. I just moved here from Boston…dwarfs do have hearts, right?”

The proprietor of the shop crossed his arms and dug his bearded chin into his chest. “We have two of them, thank you very little!”

Tom couldn’t help but laugh. “You said ‘Thank you very little – because you’re a dwarf and you think being little is a good thing.”

The dwarf’s black eyes were practically on fire with spite. “Even humans from Boston have heard the phrase, ‘Good things come in small packages’.”

“Right you are! Right you are. I meant no disrespect,” answered Tom with a tiny bow of apology. “I came in looking to order floral arrangements for my next marriage…”

The dwarf cut him off with a huff. “How can you talk about getting married again when I’m standing right here in front of you and I shall never be married?”

It was becoming obvious the human would need to provide a little romance counseling if he was ever to get his flowers and be on his way. “Well, if poetry is your forte, let’s hear another poem.”

“Okay, I guess it can’t hurt.” The dwarf took a tiny pad of paper out of his back pocket, read it to himself and then nodded. He took a deep breath. “My heart bubbles with love, My gut bubbles with Fizz, Love is a beautiful thing, No matter how ugly it is.”

The human seemed doubtful. “The first part was heading in the right direction but the last of it somehow went astray with the whole ‘ugly’ thing.”

“I wrote that one after seeing a hedgehog and a mole making out in a Laundromat…oh my, ugly…”

“Yes. I can see your point…”

“…down right revolting…but it was love, none the less.”

“Yes, yes, ugly love. I see what you mean.” Tom took a moment to get back in the right frame of mind. “If you truly believe that being short is a good thing, you might want to build up that aspect of your personality in your poetry.”

The dwarf began to brighten a little. “It’s a thought,” he said, beginning to think. “How about this one: My message is clear, My love is true, I’ll never run short – on kisses for you.”

“That’s the spirit!” said the human. “Now about the flowers for my next wedding…”

The dwarf seemed to perk up with the thought of quoting better poetry to his true love, whenever she crawled out from whatever bridge she was under. “I’m more hopeful than I’ve been in quite a while, human.”

“My name is Tom.”

“So let me offer to supply your marriage with flowers, human, with my gratitude. Is this your second marriage then?”

“Let me put it this way,” said the human, standing tall as if to quote a beautiful poem. “Love can happen to anyone, Human or dwarf or elf. I’m a true believer in marriage – having been married six times myself.”

The heartsick dwarf took a swing at the human, hitting nothing but thin air before falling off his stepstool in a heap - and Tom grabbed a bouquet of daisies as he ran out the front door.


The End



Beware of the Half Truth: You may receive the Wrong Half...



Blonde of hair, 5’8” tall, of North-American birth, Brent had always considered himself to be a very handsome man. His job as an experienced steward aboard a starliner that travelled between Earth and other planets, transporting many wealthy customers every week to famous destinations in near space, had helped him make good use of the many opportunities he had to meet and date beautiful young women.

At first, he had already had many sexual experiences with all sorts of female humans who travelled to space colonies within the Solar System during his rookie years, and later on longer spaceflights bound to the nearest alien planets. At times he had experienced some quirky encounters but those had happened when he was very young and stupid. Out of all of those odd rendezvous, the one that he was most embarrassed about was a sexual fling that had occurred with a female multi-legged being from Ghiix. That incident had left him with some unpleasant consequences that he had only been able to heal from after a long treatment process.

But how could you miss a chance like that? Or how could he have passed on so many other delightful moments, even if some of them had almost caused him to lose his hands?

During one of these encounters he had lost a part of his ears, because – long story short - a hungry wondrous alien had thought they would be tasty after having sex with a human. His colleagues always told him he would never learn and maybe they were right. The fact was that he was made this way and he didn’t think he could ever change.

His past risqué behaviour had now brought him to his present problem. Some of his friends told Brent that he needed to forget about a particular alien female but he was certain they were wrong. He never listened to his friends anyways.

The object of his present obsession, with whom he had actually fallen in love, was a female alien from Frawe. Her features were hard to describe but simply put one might say that she looked like an Elf – one that a person might see in a picture from some ancient Fantasy videogames from Earth. Apart from her paper-white skin and those serpent-like pupils, that were certainly not of his world, she had all the traits you usually saw in such fabled creatures - at least the ones that appeared in games like WORC of WarRaft, or in the comedy version of Warriors of Might and Co(u)ld. His newest love was 8 feet tall, had extremely pointed ears, a slender yet strong long-legged body, greenish curls. The alien clothes she wore were transparent and allowed people to see much more than they should have, if a calm and restrained manner was to be maintained during the long spaceflight.

Brent knew he was obsessed, but how could he help it? Every time he thought of her delicate features, those unnatural beautiful eyes, and the noteworthy height of that female creature from Frawe, he could think of nothing else: it was true love.

Everything about her was so wonderful, even her alien voice was sensual and so beautiful to him! After a while, in his love madness, Brent started reciting brief pieces of poetry to her that he had taken from some Old Earth poems. He did this whenever he approached where she sat or brought her drinks or food according to the services offered aboard the space vessel. He always tried to use his best male voice, a deep masculine one, so he could attract her attention.

A couple of the phrases the man quoted were: “Once you have learned to love, You will have learned to live” and “The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart”. He repeated these lines every time he passed by her seat.

She usually replied in a kind way, and her speech appeared to be so soft, so attractive to him. Actually, it was not easy to understand what she meant, although he had tried many times, but he had never let any difference in languages impede his attempts to bed a woman before…

Things were even more difficult in this case, as the Frawe ethnic group she was from made her speak in her native dialect, which was different from the common language the rest of her species spoke. These were the times when you needed a universal translator, like on Star Trek ™, for example. But the simple fact was that such a thing hadn’t been invented yet!

So Brent was greatly surprised when he was told by another steward who had been stationed for some months on the Frawe home planet, to “Forget about her.”

“Why?” the man asked him in return.

The special dialect she spoke, the other explained, might make her words appear as sensual sounds, and the man had always taken them that way, but their meanings were not sensual. As a matter of fact, what the female alien kept trying to tell Brent was: “I really think you humans are like ugly Dwarves before the eyes of a female citizen from Frawe. Do you have in your Fantasy tales from Earth Dwarves dating Elves? We don’t - because this would be senseless.”

Those unkind words fell hard on Brent’s sad ears, and an unpleasant aftertaste was left in his mouth at the end of the translation. However, he could comfort himself by remembering a very ancient 3D movie on Earth, called “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ™”, that was the last one in the series and he remembered the love affair between an Elven warrioress named Tauriel, and a young warrior Dwarf, Kili. But that female Elf was not that alien, regretfully, and that lucky Dwarf was not him, by all means


The End



Bats of a Feather, Flock Together



“I just love to recite a poem before I bite the victim,” Vincent the vampire said.

“Okay, I give up—why do you like poetry,” Tudlow said, another vampire. They were walking together late one night in Pittsburgh, hugging the back alleys and river paths.

‘Oh, you know. You like fair maidens. You say their blood taste so sweet after you scare them for a few minutes. Well, I find that if I recite poetry, their blood mellows and becomes like an aged wine. I don’t drink wine much anymore, but the blood from a poetry-loving victim—well only a good connoisseur of wines like I used to be before becoming a vampire would know,” Vincent said.

“I’ll have to try it sometime,” Tudlow said.

Vincent started on another poem as they walked under the 10th avenue bridge.

Oh, to drink the blood of poetry
To taste its nectar and death
Boy, do I like a good O positive
But Rh negative is also a friend!.

“You and your poetry will be the un-dead of us,” Tudlow added.

“Let’s turn into bats and soar over to Carlson Street. This time of night the drunks are going home,” Vincent said.

The two vampires jumped up and transformed in bats. They started across the river and as they flew, Vincent just had to recite another poem.

Above I see, below I feed
Yes sir, I just love to see
lights to the East
Lights to the West
Maybe young maiden will be the test!

“I thought you didn’t care for young maidens?” Tudllow said.

“Oh, they’re Okay. Some really like poetry, but most just stare when I recite a poem. That’s no fun. I need them to interact and, well, tell me if they like my poem or not,” Vincent said.

“Are you serious? You expect them to tell you if they like your poem or not? That’s just weird,” Tudlow said.

‘Oh, I’ve gotten feedback,” Vincent said. “You’d be surprised how poetry calms a victim. Hell I had one victim say that she was going to publish my poem in her high school yearbook. I left her go.”

“As much as I hate to admit it, I believe that,” Tudlow said.

Vincent and Tublow landed on the other side of the Monogahela River. At the river front behind a large dumpster, two feet protruded out. Tudlow standing in front looked at Vincent.

“Remember the last time you tasted blood from a wino?” Vincent said. “ You tried to scare him first, then after he didn’t respond because he was too drunk to know what you were, you sank your fangs into his neck. After two swallows, you spit the blood out and barfed your stomach out for five minutes. Then the wino woke up and laughed at you so hard that his pants fell down. Then–and I’ll never forget this one–he said, ‘Can’t handle the hard stuff, can ya!’”

“Well, what the hell would you have done...recite him a poem!” Tudlow blasted out.

“The poems work better than scaring them. I’ve had much better success with poetry then scare tactics. Much better,” Vincent said.

To give poetry is to give like a fine wine
To read poetry is like a cured Cabernet Sauvignon
Yes, my friend, you would know these things.
But you were only a parking lot attendant before an un-dead!

“Will you knock that off! I was working my way through college. Really, we’ve been over this before-----give me a break,” Tudlow said.

They left the dumpster and walked down the river front. A few couples and some small groups were walking down the street for during the warm summer nights the river front became alive with people. A good hunting place for Vincent and Tudlow. After coming out of an alley and rounding a building, they started down James Street. There at the corner was a tall blond girl waiting, it seemed for a ride.

“Okay, let’s see you get that one with one of your poems,” Tudlow said.

“No problem. Just listen and learn,” Vincent replied.

Vincent walked up to the girl and she didn’t seen frighten or even concerned much.

Your hair, your eyes, your every look
Your heart I’m sure was wanted by all
You see, I’m just a poor helpless lad
And you, my dear, a helpless lass.

The Blond looked at Vincent and said, “What the hell you think you are? Batman? If you want to talk that stuff to me, I’ll cost you 100 hundred dollars? See? And tell your buddy over there he can join in for another fifty.”

Vincent just stared wildly. I’ll show you something you’ll pay for! Then the blond started opening up her blouse, but before she could get if fully open, a metal cross, bright with mirror like qualities that hung around her neck reflected itself to Vincent. The street lamp’s rays of light hit the cross and with the correct angle, its beams reflected into Vincent’s eyes as they shot off the cross!

Ahhhhh Vincent screamed. Tublow also backed up and almost tripped over the curb! Vincent hid his eyes from the cross, but with the blonds movements, flashes from the cross hit Vincent and Tublow’s eyes like wielding flashes when they looked.

“Don’t you two like girls or something!” the blond screamed.

Back down the alleyway the two vampires ran. They could hear this blond screaming: “I bet you two have a thing for each other. I bet you take baths together with rubber duckies and things like that!”

“Oh yes, poetry will calm the fair maiden,” Tublow said between laughs“You’ll see...they just love poetry!”

“Well-- if you had tried to scare that one, she’d have bitten you dead head off!” Vincent barked back.

“Well, if she tried that—I would just read her one of your poems!” Tublow shot back.

Silence! Let’s go back downtown. Better class of victims there!”


The End



Little Black Riding Hood: Wolf Slayer



‘I'm a criminal profiler with the Temporal Police Force, an inter-dimensional law enforcement organization that travels through Earths timeline continuum, correcting incursions by interstellar beings. Our job, stop crimes before they happen and punish the perpetrators for what they intended to do.

My destination is Los Angeles in the year 2057. A serial killer is murdering gang bangers, pimps, thugs and drug dealers throughout the city and I'm sent to stop these murders from happening. Normally, I wouldn't care about preventing the proper disposal of human garbage, but it is known to us that the future grandson of one of the victims will become an influential world leader and so we've got to save the dirt bag for his semen contribution.

I've made the dimensional transport to the downtown district at the coordinates where the next murder is to take place. The city is decorated in cheap neon. You can hear the pain of human suffering in the distance. Periodic gunshots are heard; the faint sounds of screaming fill the night air. This is one huge garbage pale. I hate the scum that is out there.

I see a silhouette of a figure moving toward me. It's dark but after a few minutes I make out a black female, approximately 5' 6 wearing a black cape and hood, which conceals her identifying features. As she draws closer, I add one more thing to her description...she was drop dead gorgeous. I don't know why that phrase particularly comes to mind, but it seems fitting. She smiled at me as she passed. I was breathless - and aroused. I never gave black women a thought romantically speaking, but she possessed all of my thoughts for the time being.

I spied her walking into an unlit convenient store across the street. That seems odd.’

The action continues to takes place inside the store out of sight of the detective. He waits by the lamppost for her to exit.

***

She walks into the store’s darkness; a cigarette is lit in the far back of the room barely illuminating four men from its orange glow.

"Hey b-otch. Check out the fine bod sho-tee rockin' all dat ice." the first gang member said

"Oh no you did-n’t," the ebony beauty starred down the men without fear. She disrobes her hood and cape revealing herself to be a beautiful, full-breasted woman in a halter-top. She wore dark form fitting pants, which showed she had a bod for sex.

"If you a playa, den you got a piece. Let me see it," another gang member said leering at her. "Don't make me come an get it. I wouldn't mind strip searchin’ you bitch."

"Would ya like me to off ya," she looked at him sternly. "I'm not talkin' about what you think I’m talkin’ about,” she says with an attitude.

"Listen dawgs, she needs some schoolin'.

When the gangbanger was in arms reach, she moves her hand towards his pants. He did not see the sharp pocketknife she was holding.

A few seconds later, he screamed. One of the thugs shouted, “She cut off his member and threw it on the floor.”

As the gang bangers start to rush at her, she quickly grabs the gun from the bleeding thug’s back pocket and fired six shots killing the other three who were approaching her.

As blood pored from his jeans, he slid to the floor. She knelt beside him, running her fingers in his hair, twirling a strand around her index finger.

"Dare, dare my little man. I ain't mad atcha." The black beauty began to spout hip-hop poetry as he lay bleeding to death.

I got the goodies and you be da wolf, howling at the moon. Do ya want some of dis, do you want some of dis. You be off the meat hook dawg, lyin in my lap, your head in my lap. You off the chain, off the meter, no longer sweeter without the peter. So what you sayin' my man, you pants are saggin' no more dragon, You gonna get down, get loose, get buzy or is life gettin' fuzzy as it oozes out of you. I bang in my white tee, I slang in my white tee."

As he fades to death she whispered in his ear, "Little red riding hood was my sista. You knocked her up and she goes and offs herself. Die you mudder focker!"

***

The detective by the lamppost begins to walk slowly towards the store after hearing the shots a few moments earlier. Just as he is about twenty yards from the door the building explodes in a fiery ball of flames, debris lands everywhere for a city block. The detective is knocked to the ground by the blast. When he gains focus, he sees this same woman walking towards him out of the smoke that billowed around her. She lowers her hand to help him to his feet.

"What happened?" the detective asked.

"Nuthin' you should worry your pretty little head about sugar," she responded.

"You're the serial killer, aren't you?" the detective asked.

She moves her hands over his chest, her face close enough so he can feel her hot breath on the nape of his neck. "Your dark overcoat, hat and rubber soul shoes give you away baby.

A knife appeared and moments later she slowly pierces the skin cutting his throat from one ear to the other. As the detective falls down to the ground he cries out in a raspy voice, "Lady!"

She bends down and says in his ear, while playing with his hair, “Yes sugar."

He looked into her black eyes and said, "I'm not sure I like the way you flirt."

The End



Where There’s a Will, There’s a Play



Me thinks he's a bad poet, not merely a playwright; a play wrong often wrong on stage and in bed. I dare not foretell his impotent smile may give way to revealing of a more personal matter. His effeminate nature belies his sweet spirit for he is not as he seems. A greater story lies within this tale of switch and bait.

Anne, the secret love of the renowned poet and scribe, breezes into her boudoir. It is a room of burgundy and beige fabric that rustles as she passeth by, a design noting a house of great wealth, with a four-poster bed accenting the bedchamber.

Greeting her in a sleepy haze, a mug of ale in one hand and himself in the other is her intended, known to us as merely Will. Her intended of what you may ask? Of that, we will have to see.

Anne speaks upon her entrance. "So long a night my love and I seeth thou hath not bothered to clothe thyself... although I love thy fair skin, enough of a good thing will last me for some time to come."

Will sleeks towards the great beauty before him and says in the manliest of ways, "Thy many dresses are too small for my virile body. I protest, for thou sayest to me, that for a night of coupling, I might choose a gown for myself."

Anne, despairing of their impassioned pretense, states plainly for the bare bard, "You may have the frock dangling in the archway. And now, let us return to your play titled, 'Two Dead Teens Splattered on the Floor'. Me thinks the title needs work."

To hold his attention, Anne speaks to Will as if talking to a small dull child, "I shall rewrite this too if thou wilt get dressed in whatever attire and let us begin once more on the porch scene...wait, wait...let us call it the balcony scene. What saith thee?"

Having chosen an evening gown, Will stood in front of Anne with pouty lips and replied, "Doest thou think this gown maketh me appear...fat?"

Will was rarely interested in writing, for he only sought adulation on his finished rewrites.

Anne who wrote in his stead, toiling in anonymity, quietly quilled in silence. A woman was not looked upon favorably in this day when usurping what is considered a man's propriety and certainly never to write in distinction, except to pen a grocery list. However, it is known in the hearts of workingwomen everywhere, that in time, they will in fact rule the world. But for now, it is their lots in life to be submissive and for men to believe they themselves are superior. But steadily, the clock ticketh.

Bored with talk of writing, Will wanting to frolic, begs the question to his beloved Anne, "Shall we not forget writing for the day and allow me to pen thee something more arousing? I wonder if a game of, 'the porcupine and his concubine might be in order?"

"I do not need to be pricked so early in the morning,” Anne replied. "Thou hast a play to write and if not, a sonnet, for thou art in indebted to many establishments namely the local tavern and every brothel throughout England. They will not dance horizontally for free and thou knowest this. Now sit down with me and dream up the lameness which I must rewrite for thy reputation is at stake.

Hearing none of this, Will begins poking her bosom as if this was mutually satisfying. After a moment, she grabbed his hands and said loudly, "Nipples...are not buttons!"

To fawn upon Anne’s sympathies, Will woos her with impromptu poetry. "Thy perfumed body doeth not repulse me; in pain and simple ponderings I beckon thee to not merely flop in my arms, for thy smooth feminine body may slip through and falleth to the floor, not a befitting place for an adorned ladyhood..."

"Enough!" Anne screamed in response to his grating poetical meandering.

Exasperated, Anne walked over to Will. Getting on her knees and laying her head momentarily in his lap, she raised up to kiss him. He quickly places a hand on either side of her face and twists her head side to side in a playful psychotic manner. She abruptly jerks her head back and with a finger raised in a scolding position she exclaimed, "Ears...are not handles!"

After a moment, Anne gains her composure and saith to him, "Listen Will, imagine the softest, most loving touch you could ever give to a woman and then...taketh it down a few more notches."

His mind had already darted in another self-consuming direction. "I needeth a stage name. No one regardeth me upon hearing my name of birth.”

Upon that sentence, a servant walked in and spoke saying, "The latest reviews are in."

"What did they say of my play, 'The Mad Cow That Danceth in the Moonlight?’” Will sat anxious awaiting the verdict.

Anne looked puzzled and asked the bard, "You performed a play without letting me rewrite it first?"

Will said in a dither, "Yeah...he, he."

The servant regretfully responded, "The local critic has stated of your play 'The Mad Cow That Danceth in the Moonlight", "
That it was utterly without merit. The playwright milked the audience for laughter with every slight bit of punnery."

"I'm sorry Will. Do not be too despondent," Anne said seeking to console him.

Will ecstatically cried out, "Did you hear that! Did you hear that! There be my new name...Willford Playsucketh!"

Anne looks at Will with a blank expression on her face and then as if giving up, bore him her middle finger.


The End
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Post July 17, 2016, 10:09:17 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

To vote, rate these stories using the long form below with scores of 0-10 (in whole numbers) and send it to me via Private Massage (PM): (when logged in, copy it into memory, click the 'PM' button below my avatar (or depending on your board style, mouse over the green username by my avatar and a menu will pop up with an option to send a private message), paste the form in, & then fill in your scores.)

Categories:
1) What overall score would you give the story?
2) How good was the Characterization?
3) How effective (or original) was the plot?
4) How clear was the setting to you?
5) How good was the use of dialog?
6) How well did the story meet or address the challenge as it was given?

NOTE: you may need to have posted at least one message before you can send a PM. If the system won't let you, all you have to do is join in a discussion or just say hi in a thread before voting via PM. We'll be glad to meet you. If I suspect a voter of being a false identity (i.e. a troll), I won't count their vote.

Author scores for their own entry in the long form will not be counted.




Darcy and Annabelle's Story
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Limerick Lover
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Ernie's Angel
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

The Wayward Poet
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

The Roaming Troll
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Beware the Half Truth: You may receive the wrong half...
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Bats of a Feather, Flock Together
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Little Black Riding Hood: Wolf Slayer
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Play
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:
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Post July 17, 2016, 10:13:04 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

As always, we fully endorse entrants posting about the challenge to friends on social media to encourage people to vote.

However, we ask that entrants, please, do not say which story was your own until the voting is over next Sunday night.

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Post July 17, 2016, 11:14:28 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Very nice turn out!
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Post July 18, 2016, 04:10:33 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

My votes are already in...eh,eh :D

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Post July 18, 2016, 08:43:29 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

You must be related to Enzo Ferrari!
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Post July 18, 2016, 02:04:42 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

We'll, after the first vote was entered, I can definitely say I was in last place.

(The first vote tabulated was mine, and you can't vote for yourself.)

I'll post the name of the person leading later tonight.
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Post July 18, 2016, 11:36:01 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

After the first 24 hours of voting, the leader is...

Petal!
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Post July 19, 2016, 08:31:48 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

No votes were cast today.

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Post July 19, 2016, 11:32:11 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Got my votes in!
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Post July 20, 2016, 03:57:05 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

This contest is like a shopping at a Goodwill Thrift store: you never know what you'll run across or take home with you. There seems to be an endless variety of ideas for any given theme. Always eclectic.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.
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Post July 21, 2016, 12:21:35 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

bottomdweller wrote:This contest is like a shopping at a Goodwill Thrift store: you never know what you'll run across or take home with you. There seems to be an endless variety of ideas for any given theme. Always eclectic.

Plus, we're one hell of a bargain, too!
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Post July 21, 2016, 12:23:42 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

After today's votes, we have a new leader, another newcomer to our contest:

Bronxrider!
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Post July 21, 2016, 10:43:37 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Now, another lead change. Stepping to the front of the line is

Michele!
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Post July 22, 2016, 10:25:32 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Coming on strong in the far lane, there's a new leader:

George!
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Post July 23, 2016, 09:49:52 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Damnation that's a lot of lead changes. Nice to be mentioned though - there somewhere in the mix. Hello from Dixie - (well, SOUTHERN Indiana)...
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Post July 23, 2016, 03:19:58 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

It is great to be mentioned! First time I was mentioned in a while! Makes me feel good!
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Post July 24, 2016, 10:31:06 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Voting has closed.


Thank you, thank you, and thank you to all the members who voted.

This challenge had more votes in it than ever before. In fact, so many votes were cast, I had to make the spreadsheet I track the votes with bigger--twice.

Plus, we had five first-timers in this challenge, and I think that's pretty cool. Glad to have you all here.


The winning story was "Ernie's Angel," by... well, by me. Thank you all for thinking so kindly of it.

However, I was blown away by how many excellent stories came in this month. I think the most telling indicator of this was how many perfect tens were awarded to so many stories. 115 of them were awarded. Clearly, many people really liked what they were reading.

Finally, I would like to give special commendations to two authors:

First, to Bronxrider, who put in an excellent showing in his first time in our challenge, bringing in 28 perfect tens. Well done indeed.

Second, to George T. Philibin, who has been quietly entering these challenges for years. George, I really thought you were going to take it this time. In fact, at one point, you were 40 points ahead. You did a great job, and broke the thousand-point barrier. I'm proud of you.



For the record, these were the authors of the entries for this month:

Darcy and Annabelle's Story by Liz Milne
Limerick Lover by Meg Sefton
Ernie's Angel by N.J. Kailhofer
The Wayward Poet by Chadden Basnik
The Roaming Troll by Michele Dutcher
Beware the Half Truth: You may receive the wong half... by Sergio Palumbo
Bats of a Feather, Flock Together by George T. Philibin
Little Black Riding Hood: Wolf Slayer by Jim Statton
Where There's a Will, There's a Play by Bronxrider


SCORES: (Overall next to the story title, then the average score next to each question #.)



Darcy and Annabelle's Story : 604
1) Overall: 4
2) Characterization: 4
3) Plot: 4
4) Setting: 4
5) Dialog: 4
6) Challenge: 5
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 1
Bonus: No

Limerick Lover : 541
1) Overall: 4
2) Characterization: 3
3) Plot: 3
4) Setting: 4
5) Dialog: 4
6) Challenge: 5
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 1
Bonus: Yes

Ernie's Angel: 1,136
1) Overall: 8
2) Characterization: 8
3) Plot: 8
4) Setting: 7
5) Dialog: 8
6) Challenge: 9
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 40
Bonus: No

The Wayward Poet : 661
1) Overall: 5
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 4
4) Setting: 4
5) Dialog: 5
6) Challenge: 5
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 4
Bonus: No

The Roaming Troll : 848
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 5
4) Setting: 5
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 6
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 5
Bonus: Yes

Beware the Half Truth: you may receive the wrong half...: 754
1) Overall: 5
2) Characterization: 7
3) Plot: 5
4) Setting: 4
5) Dialog: 4
6) Challenge: 5
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 2
Bonus: Yes

Bats of a Feather , Flock Together : 1,028
1) Overall: 7
2) Characterization: 7
3) Plot: 7
4) Setting: 7
5) Dialog: 6
6) Challenge: 7
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 20
Bonus: Yes

Little Black Riding Hood: Wolf Slayer : 893
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 6
4) Setting: 6
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 7
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 14
Bonus: No

Where There's a Will, There's a Play : 918
1) Overall: 6
2) Characterization: 6
3) Plot: 5
4) Setting: 5
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 7
# Zeroes: 0
# Perfect 10s: 28
Bonus: Yes
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Post July 25, 2016, 12:09:19 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Ah, so many bad poems, so little time ... congrats, Nate! You did a fine job!

And, nuts, this is the second month running that I've failed to vote. I'm not keeping good track lately. My apologies, everyone. As of last night I had only read the first four stories, and I have a few comments:

Darcy and Annabelle's Story
comments: I found it rather jarring how this story turned from funny to grimdark without warning.

Limerick Lover
comments: The guy lierally carries his own weather system with him—that's pretty funny. Too bad the emergency retort wasn't written better.

Ernie's Angel
comments: Boy gets girl—and I really think this deserves to be illustrated in comic-book style.

Really, though, this was the best turnout we've had since I've been here, and I thank all of those who wrote and voted.
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Post July 25, 2016, 03:53:49 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Congratulations to the winner!!!

This month I gave 8 in each category to Limerick Lover and The Roaming Troll in a tie, as they were my preferred ones...eh,eh :D
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Post July 25, 2016, 06:55:03 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Thanks entre per entre!

And yes, this really is a challenge, for me Lester, in that I am not a poet but I wanted the story to be as filled with limericks as possible. But it was seriously fun.

Thanks for this - the noise, the funk, the fun - kailhofer.

I was enjoying the variety as well. I think the winner was well deserved. It was definitely my favorite, however, I really enjoyed Bats of a Feather and Where There's a Will There's a Play.

I have some feedback. Leave it to the one coming in last to have some feedback, ha ha, so take it for what it's worth.

Liz Milne, I applaud you for taking on the challenge and writing horror. I thought about it but couldn't figure out how to write horror in a funny way. The only thing I could think of was to write some kind of black humor like an American Psycho, the movie, or other darkly comedic roles. But how to make such darkly comedic characters be in love: Wow. And yet here is something you incapsulated: The obsessive love for the self. I thought you did a pretty good job with that, maybe just a tiny bit of that made explicit to the very end. But I felt you took on the most challenging approach and I liked what you did.

Loved it, Kailhofer.

I enjoyed your piece, Chadden Basnik. I enjoyed the dialogue and the concept. However, I wish I had gotten a little bit better idea of the setting from the beginning.

Michele Dutcher: Yours is a pretty funny piece about a troll who wants love once and a guy with a bit more love savvy whose found love six times.

Sergio Palumbo: You took the idea of a flight crew member which is something I did too but went interstellar. I enjoyed the characterization of the protagonist and the imaginative description of the object of the protagonist's affection. I wasn't sure of all the referencing to popular culture. There is so much here that feels completely unique that I'm not sure this is necessary, just keep making stuff up.

George T. Philibrin: I loved the setting, the dialogue, everything. The only thing that threw me slightly was not having a setting and an idea of the speakers for contextualizing the dialogue from the get go.

Jim Statton: The urban setting, the speaker, this wonderful rapping female wolf slayer were completely amazing. The only things that held me back as a reader a bit was the perspective shift and some tense changes. A pretty cool offering.

A completely fun read, Bronxrider! Very, very funny.

Ok, I hope it was ok to give my thoughts. I do not know if they are useful. I am definitely open to any and all about my piece. When I say I am a newbie, I mean it! But I had fun. Thank you for letting me participate and I hope to do it again.
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Post July 25, 2016, 07:54:01 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Congrats to the winner! It was great to partake, reading as well as writing. Also, I appreciate feedback. So if you feel inclined, please don't hesitate. My skin is thin enough to absorb what you say but thick enough to take the critique. I enjoy the stories supplied by Aphelion. It is such a privilege to mingle here.

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Post July 25, 2016, 08:19:37 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Congrats to Nate–-good job.

Many good ones this time, and I enjoyed them all. To all the ‘Newbies’ Great job and I hope you all continue with Aphelion.

‘The Roaming Troll’ was my favorite, but also were ‘Darcy and Annebelle’s Story,’‘ Limerick Lover’ and ‘Ernie’s Angel.’ Because of all the well written and interesting takes on this theme, it was hard to judge this challenge and also hard to give points. I thought all of them well written and very enjoyable and that is the purpose of writing: Give the reader a good story!

Good job to everybody!!
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Post July 25, 2016, 09:13:55 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

petal wrote:Ok, I hope it was ok to give my thoughts. I do not know if they are useful. I am definitely open to any and all about my piece. When I say I am a newbie, I mean it! But I had fun. Thank you for letting me participate and I hope to do it again.

Absolutely everyone is welcome to and encouraged to give feedback, newbie or not, author or casual reader.

We welcome all opinions, and just as general advice to everyone, critique the work, not the author. It's ok to point out negatives in stories, but please temper that with some positives, too.

The best way to get critiques is to give them. Thanks for joining in!
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Post July 25, 2016, 10:21:06 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

I didn’t mention critiques, but I should have. With some of the new writers they might not have critiqued before or are nervous about critiquing another’s works. Don’t be. A good honest polite and concerned critique will help you out as much as the author of the work that you are critiquing. Everybody is different and seasoned writers know that! Some stories are not for me, while the ones I like might not appeal to another. Some people like dogs, while others like cats. Some don’t like animals at all and they are not bad people! The ubiquity of today’s writings suggest an infinite amount of genre.

Do critique and be concerned about what works and what doesn’t work. Stories that grab you study! Stories that don’t grab you–study also! You don’t have to be a hermit and critique all day long, but do critique a couple of times a month! It will improve your writing!
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Post July 25, 2016, 12:20:44 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

I'm glad to see there were so many entrants - I like a nice hearty contest. Congrats to Nate.
I thought it was funny that when writers think of bad poetry they use Shakespeare as a starting point. Really, William wasn't that bad a poet..
I enjoyed Bats of a Feather - it wasn't too heavy, especially for a story about vampires. They were more like Count Chochula vampires, I liked them.
Beware the half truth was neat with the alien elf and her rejected dwarf lover. The reference to The Hobbit was a little wobbly - but I could understand how the rejected lover felt.
Little Black Riding Hood had too many verb tense changes. All I could think of was how much I wanted to correct the story and upgrade the grammar. Editing stories for friends will do that to you.
This was fun - we'll have to do it again, very soon.
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Post July 25, 2016, 09:37:19 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

I've never written a story before, so I concentrated on the story itself. I avoided English in school as much as possible, but writing in this contest makes me wished I had studied when I had the chance. I don't know what a tense is or correct grammar.

If someone wants to show me what I did wrong, that would be great.

Urban ghettos have a language all their own, which ruins any chance of recognizing good grammar. One day I'll figure out the purpose of adverbs and semicolons instead of just hitting the spell check.

Thank you all for reading the story.

Jim

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Post July 26, 2016, 07:48:09 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Learning grammar is an on-going process. Pick up a copy of "Elements of Style' by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. This is very small book that covers all the important points needed.
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Post July 26, 2016, 11:45:59 AM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Ente per Ente - is your email okay? I tried to email you and it bounced back. Give me a holler - Bottomdweller
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Post July 26, 2016, 12:16:34 PM

Re: [POLL] Vote: July 2016 Flash Challenge

Something more like this perhaps: grammar update.

Little Black Riding Hood: Wolf Slayer

I’m a criminal profiler with the Temporal Police Force, an inter-dimensional law enforcement organization that travels through Earth’s timeline continuum, correcting incursions by interstellar beings. Our job: stop crimes before they happen and punish the perpetrators for what they intended to do.

My destination is Los Angeles in the year 2057. A serial killer is murdering gang bangers, pimps, thugs and drug dealers throughout the city and I'm sent to stop these murders from happening. Normally, I wouldn't care about preventing the proper disposal of human garbage, but it is known to us that the future grandson of one of the victims will become an influential world leader and so we've got to save the dirt bag for his semen contribution.

I've made the dimensional transport to the downtown district at the coordinates where the next murder is to take place. The city is decorated in cheap neon. You can hear the pain of human suffering in the distance. Periodic gunshots are heard; the faint sounds of screaming fill the night air. This is one huge garbage pail. I hate the scum that is out there.

I see a silhouette of a figure moving toward me. It's dark but after a few minutes I make out a black female, approximately 5' 6 wearing a black cape and hood, which conceals her identifying features. As she draws closer, I add one more thing to her description...she is drop dead gorgeous. I don't know why that phrase particularly comes to mind, but it seems fitting.
(new paragraph) She smiled at me as she passed. I was breathless - and aroused. I never gave black women a thought romantically speaking, but she possessed all of my thoughts for the time being.

I spied her walking into an unlit convenient store across the street. That seemed odd.

The action continues to take place inside the store out of sight of the detective. He waits by the lamppost for her to exit.

***

She walks into the store’s darkness; a cigarette is lit in the far back of the room barely illuminating four men from its orange glow.

"Hey b-otch. Check out the fine bod sho-tee rockin' all dat ice," the first gang member says.

"Oh no you did-n’t," the ebony beauty stares down the men without fear. She disrobes her hood and cape revealing herself to be a beautiful, full-breasted woman in a halter-top. She wears dark form fitting pants, which shows she has a bod for sex.

"If you a playa, den you got a piece. Let me see it," another gang member says leering at her. "Don't make me come an get it. I wouldn't mind strip searchin’ you bitch."

"Would ya like me to off ya?" she asks looking at him sternly. "I'm not talkin' about what you think I’m talkin’ about,” she says with an attitude.

"Listen dawgs, she needs some schoolin'.”

When the gangbanger is in arms reach, she moves her hand towards his pants. He did not see the sharp pocketknife she was holding.

A few seconds later, he screams. One of the thugs shouts, “She cut off his member (I would say thing if it had to be PG) and threw it on the floor.”

As the gang bangers start to rush at her, she quickly grabs the gun from the bleeding thug’s back pocket and fires six shots killing the other three who were approaching her.

As blood pours from his jeans, he slides to the floor. She kneels beside him, running her fingers in his hair, twirling a strand around her index finger.

"Dare, dare my little man. I ain't mad atcha." The black beauty begins to spout hip-hop poetry as he lays bleeding to death.

“I got the goodies and you be da wolf, howling at the moon. Do ya want some of dis, do you want some of dis. You be off the meat hook dawg, lyin in my lap, your head in my lap. You off the chain, off the meter, no longer sweeter without the peter. So what you sayin' my man, you pants are saggin' no more dragon, You gonna get down, get loose, get buzy or is life gettin' fuzzy as it oozes out of you. I bang in my white tee, I slang in my white tee."

As he fades to death she whispers in his ear, "Little red riding hood was my sista. You knocked her up and she goes and offs herself. Die you mudder focker!"

***

The detective by the lamppost begins to walk slowly towards the store after hearing the shots a few moments earlier. Just as he is about twenty yards from the door the building explodes in a fiery ball of flames, debris lands everywhere for a city block. The detective is knocked to the ground by the blast. When he gains focus, he sees this same woman walking towards him out of the smoke that billows around her. She lowers her hand to help him to his feet.

"What happened?" the detective asks.

"Nuthin' you should worry your pretty little head about sugar," she responds.

"You're the serial killer, aren't you?" the detective asks.

She moves her hands over his chest, her face close enough so he can feel her hot breath on the nape of his neck. "Your dark overcoat, hat and rubber soul shoes give you away baby.”

A knife appears and moments later she slowly pierces the skin cutting his throat from one ear to the other. As the detective falls down to the ground he cries out in a raspy voice, "Lady!"

She bends down and says in his ear, while playing with his hair, “Yes sugar."

He looked into her black eyes and said, "I'm not sure I like the way you flirt."

The End
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