Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 32

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Week 32.

This is a flash fiction challenge.  The prompt is a song.  You are not required to write about or even mention the song.  It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan.  If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.

The rules;

500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.

Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST.  IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at 4:30PM Pacific Time on Friday.  You read that right.  Pacific Time.

This week’s prompt picks it up a little with the rockabilly sounds of The Stray Cats.
The tune is… “Rumble in Brighton”.  Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/4F3uEQGj5mk

This week’s Judge is…author, professor and all-around fantastic person…. Dr. Shay West!!!

All right– that’s all you need from me.

The challenge is open from the second you read this ’til 4:30 Pacific Time on Friday September 27th…

Go write!!!

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Posted on September 24, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Sabotage (831 words) by @tsk_show
    He stepped out into the cool overcast night. The metal heels on his wingtips clinking against the tiled doorstep. He pulled the door to his childhood home shut and was took a breath. With his guitar slung effortlessly across his back, his new leather jacket creaked as he raised the collar to his chin, he shoved his hands into his pockets and walked with scrunched up purpose to The Gabardine Club.
    He didn’t look up until he turned onto the street of the club and only then did he notice the rain. It was coming down in sheets, the wind forcing it to fall at an acute angle, it pummelled everything it came into contact with and had begun to pool alongside the kerb as the drains could take no more.
    The rain slowly seeped into his consciousness and yet he still doubted its existence. His jacket still open, he pulled at the clothes now plastered against his body and ran his fingers through his sodden mop of hair. He stayed standing in the street not wanting to seek cover from the elements but rather relishing the combination of the strong ice wind, the prickly stinging rain and the arthritic damp as it slowly entwined around his legs as it rose from his water filled shoes.
    He wanted to hold his arms up and his hands out and laugh loudly and maniacally at the universe for bringing this downpour. Its severity would no doubt be on the news and no-one would be leaving the dry comfort of their homes regardless of how important tonight was for him. He saw the door to the club open and the head of Johnny Big Guns poke out.
    ‘HEY! HEY! Danny! Bloody ‘ell man, get in ‘ere pronto. We’re all waitin’ for ya!’
    Danny made a dash for the door as Johnny held it open for him, ducking inside he was instantly met with a wall of people, and he sidled by them all to the stage. As he removed his guitar from his back he noticed that it had been functioning as a bucket in the rain and his heart dropped, he couldn’t perform without music. Disappointed he left the guitar on the stage and headed to the bar to tell The Gabardine Club manager that he couldn’t play tonight.
    ‘What? You mean I stopped all these people from going home by promising them that the next big thing was playing here tonight and you’re telling me you can’t? Why not? If its nerves Danny, you really don’t need to have any, you’re good. You’re really good.’
    ‘It’s not that. My guitar…the rain…sorry…’
    Danny headed towards the door; he didn’t have money to spend on drowning his sorrows so there was no point sticking around. Torrential rain pour had to be better than an angry crowd. As he reached the door Johnny Big Guns stopped him.
    ‘Boss wants ya’
    Danny looked back to see the manager beckoning him back over.
    ‘Yeah’
    ‘Yeah?! Don’t yeah me Danny, d’you hear? Look, there is no way I can disappoint the crowd in here, the place has never been so ram packed and you know the talent agent from that label is in tonight too, don’t’ ya?
    Danny knew about the agent. It was the reason he was late. He wasn’t sure what he would do if the agent liked what he heard and he wasn’t sure what he would do if he didn’t. He had purposely taken his time in getting ready only prompted to leave when his dad had banged on his bedroom door.
    ‘What you doing in there Daniel? You trying to self-sabotage again. I’m telling you this for your own good, but if you don’t go there tonight and give it some welly then you can find yourself a proper job or start looking for somewhere else to live. I’m sick of all your talking and no action.’
    Danny knew his Dad was right. He always did this. It didn’t matter what the occasion but if he could find a way to sabotage himself then he would. He didn’t know why he had so much fear of success. He was as fed up with himself as his parents were. Tonight would be different; nothing would stop him from finding out once and for all if he could make it.
    ‘Danny…Danny! You listening?’
    ‘Yeah, sure, yeah. If I had another guitar or…’
    ‘You’re in luck, I always keep a spare, now get a bloody move on. The punters are starting to get rowdy again.’
    Danny stood at the mic, guitar in hand, still soaked through, a lump in his throat, dry mouth and the shakes. He wasn’t entirely sure if the shakes were from the rain or the nerves and he opted for rain. The sea of people in front of him chatted to one another as they waited, he leant forward,
    ‘Good evening…who’s ready to rock? I said…WHO’S READY TO ROCK?!’
    The crowd roared.

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  2. Brighton Grease
    by A J Walker (545 words)

    With a slop the grease was slapped on, then the barber started to scrunch it throughly through my hair before beginning to model it. By the time he had finished it my hair was beginning to look like something approaching blonde waves frozen in time – or probably something more like a blancmange. The face looking back from the mirror didn’t look like me at all, which was a little unnerving.

    The barber looked at me from the mirror, ‘Unusual call these days, sir. Can’t remember the last time I was asked for a D.A..’

    ‘First time for me mate too,’ I said.

    He held up his “it’s too late anyway” mirror and I nodded acceptance of what he had done.

    ____________________

    Back at Kat’s – before knocking on the door – I put up my collar and tried to curl up my lip, getting myself into the persona.

    Kat opened the door, ‘Ha ha! I told you he’d do a good job! But what’s with the lip, looks like you’ve had a stroke.’

    ‘Umm, feels like something’s balanced on my head with all this weight,’ I said swaying it from side to side.

    ‘Ahh diddums! Think of what us girls go through all the time,’ Kat laughed, ‘Anyway, your clobber is in the spare room, but there’s no rush. I’ve gotta go now and get down the club for 2.30, but the video shoot is not due to start until 5 or so. Assuming the band are on time.’

    ‘Okay, be there for 4.30,’ I said, ‘It’s the 17A bus, isn’t it?’

    ‘Yep, see you there then,’ Kat said, ‘Thanks for doing this – any probs give me a call.’

    She kissed both my cheeks and was off down the hall. Looking back she shouted, ‘You’ll look great too babe.’

    ____________________

    With a mix of rockabilly swagger and “please god don’t look at me embarrassment” I walked through the estate dolled up in my garb – Dickies shirt, cuffed up jeans, biker jacket, work boots and of course the blancmange hair – but other than a few funny looks from some teenagers I got to the bus stop unscathed. This didn’t last.

    Immediately I felt eyes on me and could feel my ears burning, then I spotted a group of lads on the opposite side of the road. Four of them were all sharp suits, winkle pickers and hard stares, the fifth guy looked brutish in his heavy mod jacket covered with the tell tale RAF roundel – very Quadrophenia. As they looked over at me I saw them get increasingly agitated.

    I had no idea whether the “Mods and Rockers” culture still existed in Brighton – or anywhere else – but I didn’t like the feeling right now. It was a problem not knowing – it was also a problem being a stranger in Brighton, a problem not seeing a bloody bus, a problem leaving my phone at Kat’s, and a problem wearing new poorly fitting boots. In less time than it would take to say “Let’s get ready to rumble” these problems coalesced.

    The nurses in Brighton Royal Infirmary said I would probably have quite suited the rocker look – although right now the missing teeth and copious splashes of blood were not doing me any favours. Apparently the broken nose gave me character though.

    (545 words)

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  3. Rumble in Brighton

    Tanya stared down at her fingernails peeling off a chipped strip of Constance Carroll’s ‘Shimmering Twilight’. She flicked it and watched it glint and flutter like a cheap butterfly in the morning sun. She looked up and gazed at the river of cubic zirconia cast across the ocean by the early morning sun. She peeled away more nail polish, until an inhibiting hand rested gently on hers. Tanya sighed and tucked her hands between her thighs, deep in her lap. She gazed out across the promenade, between the green, seafront railings and watched the glittering water. Morning’s breeze blew away the fog.

    ***

    “Tanya, come here.” Steve’s wet kiss smeared her cheek as she avoided him. “No, a proper one!” He caught her chin and planted his lips squarely on hers. She hoped her smile was an accurate portrayal of devotion, but her stomach crawled and knotted with disgust.
    “Let’s parrrrtay!” Gary grinned and pinched Zoe’s bum. Zoe slapped him and Tanya’s smile broadened.
    Steve grabbed Tanya again and the smell of cheap beer soured his lips. “Tan, you’re mine tonight. I’m not doing this without my girl.” He looped his arm around her waist and pulled her close, his stubble grazing her neck. “We’re gonna have some fun tonight.”
    The sound of mopeds buzzed along Madeira Drive and Gary whooped. “C’mon, let’s go!” He straightened his leather jacket and stroked his skinny jeans suggestively. “I need lubrication, got any Brylcreem?” he quipped.
    Steve laughed and flicked his cigarette. “No, but I did shave just for the occasion!” He ran his hand across his newly bald scalp. “Like it Tan? ‘Cos I sure like what you’re wearing tonight!”
    Zoe snarled. “I thought Brylcreem was the fifties, not seventies?”
    “Don’t matter!” Gary shook his head. “We’re re-enacting and it’s the eighties, who cares about accuracy?”
    “It’s a party!” Steve twirled Tanya. “So let’s do it!” He raised his can of Stella and showered Tanya.

    The party broke down when bicycle chains and razor blades appeared, and all hell broke loose. Blue lights and sirens lit up the strip and Steve dragged Tanya through the heaving throng. “Don’t want no trouble…” he said, “Let’s have fun on our own…”
    They stumbled across the railings and Volk’s railway track, and onto the dark beach. Tanya fought to stay upright in her white stilettos. Away from the anarchy Steve pushed her against the concrete groyne and chuckled. “We’ve got a ringside seat for this…it’s going mental up there!” He stared wide-eyed up at the raucous on Madeira Drive then he spun back and grabbed Tanya’s hand. He kissed her fingertips then thrust her hand down to his belt. He pinned her against the groyne and pressed his lips against hers. Tanya’s head began to swim. “Steve, don’t…” she tried to speak.
    Steve pressed his mouth harder and drowned out her words, instead his hand slid up her thigh, beneath her denim skirt, and Tanya shifted sideways. Her foot twisted on the pebbles, her heel snapped and as she slipped Steve forced her down onto the stones. She tried to cry out, but the noise up on the strip was too loud. Steve came down on top of her and began unbuckling his belt. Tanya fought, and pebbles bruised her spine as he held her down.
    Tanya’s head whirled and she fought the urge to throw up. Instead she rolled her hand up Steve’s leg and moved her fingers towards his groin. He moaned in anticipation as she slipped her hand inside his pocket, feeling for the bulge she knew was there, caressing exactly what she was looking for.

    ***

    Tanya stared absently across the beach and untucked her hands. The wind raised goose bumps across her flesh and she lifted her chipped fingernails to her face. She began to pick at her nails again, and the WPC beside her shook her head. “Forensics need to examine everything, even your nails,” she said. Tanya watched as policemen clambered across bloodied pebbles, and she smiled as a cop finally raised his arm, holding Steve’s own blood-stained flick-knife aloft. Tanya sighed and the morning sun sparkled on the handcuffs entwining her wrists.

    (695 Words)

    http://thelastkrystallos.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/blues-buster-rumble-in-brighton.html

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  4. The teenager who tore my ticket was deeply crosseyed, and I wasn’t sure he actually could see anything except the pimple the size of Mount Olympus that graced the tip of his nose. The poor bastard probably wouldn’t touch an unpaid-for woman in his life if he didn’t get that fixed, not in this town, a fact my wife emphasized as she slid my hand from her back down to her ass. His eyes widened, and she laughed, dark and throaty.

    Nothing got her going like Rumble night, even after all these years.

    She never got good seats, even though we could afford a skybox. When we were kids, we sat in the holding pen with the rest of the cattle, all denim and leather and hormones, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Our kids had made their way in another entrance. They were at that age now where parents was the most horrific thing possible, but there was no way we were going to let them come here alone. I could see them up against the fence – they had no compunction about using my money to impress their friends – and I couldn’t help but wish this wasn’t yet another night I’d spend missing them.

    My wife knew what I was thinking – after twenty years, she knew more about me than we’d ever discuss – and she slipped her hand in my pocket to withdraw my whiskey flask. “God, can you believe it’s been seventeen years since we made Lacey?”

    “And sixteen since Keith. If I hadn’t gotten snipped, we’d have one for every year we’ve been here.”

    She grinned. “Damn straight.”

    The crowd roared, and the participants came out onto the stage. It couldn’t be called anything else, as any resemblance to an actual rumble disappeared long ago. Always an act of sorts, a way for kids without much of a future to get rid of the self-hate and guilt that comes with knowing you’re going to spend the rest of your life as a fuckup, it kept them from running riot through the streets. Those of us who grew up in different circumstances could sleep knowing that our homes and parents’ businesses wouldn’t be burnt to the ground by a wayward Molotov cocktail. As the recession hit and the jobs had gone from scarce to nonexistent, the problems had grown well past the point that pretend violence accomplished much, and the news grew more and more filled with blood and death. But for one night, we all dreamed that we could still gimmick our way out of hate and poverty.

    Per usual, my wife was giving both sides the sharpest edge of her tongue. “You call that a pompadour? I’ve got more hair on my p-!”

    And per usual, I shut her up with a kiss. The whiskey was strong on her tongue, and she pressed against me. “Liar!”

    “Of course – but they don’t know that.” She turned back to the action, “Oh, c’mon, you think you’re a skinhead? My kids were tougher than that by their first birthday!”

    Looking down at the kids in question, I saw Lacey determinedly not looking at her mom, while some boy that was entirely too close to her was trying to figure out where the catcalls had come from. Damn, she was growing up so fast.

    The action this year was more intense than it had been in recent years, and I remarked on that to my wife. “Hell, I remember two years ago when guys were falling down from punches that missed!” The crowd was getting more into it too, and it was the overall level of the din that kept me from noticing at first that Lacey’s cheers had turned to screams.

    The young man with her was now in the arms of one of the skinheads, a feral-looking man who’d jumped the fence into the crowd which’d come to watch him fight for amusement. The skinhead pulled a knife from his pocket, and with a practiced swipe of his blade, he peeled back the scalp of Lacey’s former companion. It was then that I heard the gunfire from behind us and felt my wife collapse against me.

    700 words
    @drmagoo

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  5. Invisible Warfare

    Fourteen year old Brighton hated to wake up his mom. She had already worked eight hours at a diner. She napped while he cooked dinner. After dinner she would head out to job two, cleaning an office building.

    The boys showed up early. Brighton sent them away, but not before she caught him with his head out the back door.

    Brighton tried to push past her to the sink, but she stopped him with a gentle hand placed on his cheek. The young man faced his mother, expecting an onslaught of parental wisdom. But he didn’t get it.

    “Lord Jesus protect my son. Protect his friends. Protect him from himself.” The words were heavy and they crushed Brighton’s spirit.

    A million miles away, Jonathan also prepared for work.

    Mrs. Dempsey departed without another word. Before Brighton returned to the sink, he opened the back door. While finishing the dishes three young men came in and bantered about the kitchen. Brighton grabbed a jacket, and headed out with his friends.

    They had a plan. They would laugh, break the rules, and they would talk about girls. Youthful exuberance would guide them. They were ready for some adventure.

    Jonathan found them at a convenience mart. He watched from a distance. He noted several others who also shadowed the group. He didn’t make his presence known, but he fully expected a fight.

    The boys bought donuts and chocolate milk. They went to an alley behind the store and ate their bounty. As the night dragged on they told old jokes and the familiar lies of immaturity.

    Jonathan watched as one of the others whispered to a boy. The stories got racier. False brags about girls they didn’t really know.

    Another one leaned in and immediately the boy said, “Hey do you think that guy would sell us beer?”

    The group roared with laughter. And then no one was laughing.

    An enemy whispered to another one of the boys. As if he was a puppet, the young man said, “Sure he would. My brother buys beer here all the time, all you gotta to do is give the jerk an extra five.”

    One of the others started to lean in, but this time Jonathan didn’t allow it. He drew a sword cleanly through the neck of the enemy. When his head hit the floor, his partners knew they were under attack. They drew their weapons and searched. But Jonathan was hidden again.

    Jonathan could see the disembodied head lying still amid the young boys. But they couldn’t see it or the ancient enemies facing off around them.

    The rowdiest boy said, “Brighton! We oughta do it. You wanna?”

    One of the enemies broke ranks and made a dash toward Brighton. Jonathan slayed this one too before he was able to whisper any lies to the protected youth.

    “Uhhmm?” Brighton was stalling. He didn’t want to look like a wimp to his buddies, but he thought of alcohol as home-wrecking juice. An opinion formed through experience.

    Two enemies were left, and they were searching for Jonathan. He made the mistake of focusing on the one closest to Brighton when the other found him and poked him from behind. He spun and disemboweled the offender. But the final one used the moment to whisper to Brighton. He died for the effort, but he died successful.

    The idea placed in Brighton’s mind would be a grandiose lie of how wonderful it would be to get drunk. Jonathan knew the image would be hard to resist. Yet he would not speak any thoughts into his thoughts to counteract it. Influencing his subject in this way was against his orders. He would reinforce good choices, but the decision had to be Brighton’s.

    The fight in the youth’s heart was as real as the one between the angel and the demons. Although this internal battle, between right and wrong, had higher stakes.

    After a moment Brighton laughed and said, “Nah, don’t be stupid. C’mon, let’s head back to my place. My mom brought home ice cream.”

    Jonathan laughed too and spoke aloud in a voice that would become a part of all four boy’s thoughts, “Nicely done.”

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  6. PARADOX BLUES

    Brighton Beach / 1957

    Feet planted deep in the sand so that he is firmly anchored to the beach, he smiles as they beat him.

    Ruthless human knuckles split his skin.

    Salty ocean breezes sting his wounds.

    Still, he stands and smiles, the frenzied heat of their anger sweet as an unexpected kiss.

    Lights and sirens pierce his consciousness, taking the edge off his gratification, but he holds his ground until they’re so close he can smell their fear, pungent as spoiled milk, and hear the rattle of bones inside their skin shells, fragile as sand dollar wind chimes.

    Dropping to his knees and crossing his hands behind his back, docile as a sea urchin, he lets them shackle him and lead him to the transport vehicle. Stretching out on the padded bench, he closes his eyes and lets the darkness take him.

    *****

    The slamming door startles him.

    The florescent lighting disorients him.

    The gorgeous gams wake more than his curiosity.

    Lifting his hand to protect his eyes from the light and his gaze from her line of sight, he takes in the black stacked heels, slim black slacks, and snug black t-shirt beneath a
    black business blazer.

    From the grim metal chair beside the shuttered window, she says, “My name, Mr. Shields, is Axelle Bellerose.”

    He shifts in his chair at the interrogation table. “You here because I’m slated for decommissioning?”

    She purses her plump cherry mouth before answering. “Hardly. That’s a long, slow, messy process and I am not a patient woman. Besides, blood is a bitch to get out from under these manicured nails.”

    Energy ripples through him as the freshly healed sinew and bone sizzle beneath the surface of his inky flesh. “Then why are you here?”

    Her smile is cold as her icy blue eyes. “To ascertain the details of Agent Phillips’ death and decide whether or not to reinstate you.”

    The sharp edge of hope pierces his chest, hesitates a long moment as he calculates his chances, and then sinks home, gutting him. Reinstatement required the approval of an elder and the last one disappeared before – wait. Phillips had whispered that sacred name during his initiation. What was it? Elle, the superlative Double Elle, known to humans as … “Paradox Blues?”

    The tips of her elegantly coiffed glossy black hair fade to indigo and that’s as close to an admittance as she gives. “He taught you well. Wrote to me of his high hopes. Then your bout of apathy got him killed. ”

    If Phillips’ death had chastened him, Axelle’s presence revitalizes him. Perhaps confession would be good for his soul. “I let their inhumanity bleed across the canvas of my conscience.”

    The atmosphere around him grows as small and tight as an angry fist as she stands and closes the distance between them. “Agent Phillips was my friend and I ached to punish you for his loss but you preempted my retribution with your bloody beach brawls. Did you really think offering up your body would mitigate your negligence?”

    The ache threatens to burst through his chest or put his forearm in motion. “Damn it! Are you going to reinstate me or not?”

    “No,” she says, a hiccup of contradiction in her voice. “But the damnable flaw of being superhuman is that we’re unable to fully comprehend the fragility and fear of human pain, love, and loss. So, far as the government is concerned, I’m your new handler.”

    He leans across the table. “And as far as you’re concerned?”

    This time her smile is warm, genuine, almost eager. “I’m leaving that open to interpretation. For example, right now, we’re going back down to Brighton Beach for a real brawl. You’ve never gone to blows with one of your own, have you?”

    Adrenalin explodes through his veins. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll break a nail?”

    Her dark chuckle caresses him. “You ought to be more worried about how they’re going to break you.”

    Wasn’t so sure he wanted a second chance at the superhero gig. It was a lonely thankless way to live. But a chance to become the right hand of Paradox Blues? Yeah, he’d suit up and fly right for that. Damn straight!

    = = = = =

    695 words / @bullishink

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  7. The Master

    “I will stop them.”

    “All by yourself?? You’re just a boy, and there are many!”

    “When will you learn not to believe with your eyes??” The Master stared through the darkness, eyes narrowed and severe. They knew his power, witnessed feats they failed to explain. But this seemed different.

    “I am not a boy. You know what I am.”

    The group exchanged glances among themselves. Over two dozen of them had followed the dark-skinned boy, who appeared no older than ten, for several days. He was dressed in white robes, a hood draped over his head. His eyes were lit with a divine passion. He spoke with resonance and force, and with wisdom at times beyond comprehension.

    “Step aside.”

    A path opened and he marched towards the evil mob of skinheads and murderers. Bloodied bodies, some barely breathing, littered the street. Blacks, Jews, Orientals. It had been a vicious hate-fueled assault.

    The attackers laughed and jeered as the Master approached.

    “Go home, boy! Go on! Get out before we rip you in two!”

    The Master never wavered.

    “It is you who better leave. The evil in your hearts will be removed. Surrender your hate, or I will rip it from you one after another.”

    The killers mocked and chided the Master as he came within striking distance of their spiked chains.

    “Last chance, BOY!!!”

    The Master walked resolutely into the dark mob and grabbed one by the jacket and threw him across street like a stick. Another retaliated by striking the boy repeatedly with chains and fists. The Master never even moved, completely unaffected.

    With lightning speed, The Master punched through the man’s chest and ripped out his beating heart.

    “I warned you. Remove the evil from your hearts, or I will remove it for you!”

    The warning went unheeded. They attacked him with fists and knives and chains to no avail. One by one they fell, their blackened hearts removed and tossed aside for the buzzards.

    In the end, thirty-two corpses covered the pavement, remains adorned with swastikas and emblems of white power now picked apart by buzzards and rats.

    The Master, his robes drenched in blood, stepped quietly through the streets and into the night; his followers watched in stunned silence, never moving.

    375 vindictive words
    @ducknado

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  1. Pingback: MWBB – week 32 | Project Gemini

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