Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.4

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 4!

 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.


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

This week’s song prompt is by Brandon Flowers, better known as the frontman of The Killers.

The tune is, “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas”. Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/UIn3otlb4hQ

This week’s Judge is author and all-around good guy, Mark Ethridge.

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through midnight PACIFIC TIME on Friday April 11th.

Now… go write!!!!



Posted on April 8, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Another great prompt (thanks Jeff) and another story that grew far beyond the concept of a slushy word count. This is an edit and it still pushes the boundry a little bit, but it is a story about excess, so it fits – besides where are all the other stories gang, come on…

    “Fabulous Dreams at the Neon Encrusted Temple”

    It was about an hour outside of Vegas when the drugs began to take hold. The parking lot at Stateline to be exact – I’d briefly questioned my choice of an Absolute- Zoloft-Prozac cocktail forty minutes into the “Every One’s A Winner, Baby” Bus Excursion, but convinced my inner voice to shut the fuck up. First of all, had I not ingested a stiff “coping cocktail” the blue hairs on the bus might not have made it passed Barstow. Second, and most important, I was on my way to GONZOCON: Beer and Clothing in Las Vegas – the first annual Hunter S. Thompson Convention – and thought it more than an appropriate choice.

    The wheels on the bus went round and round, generating a drone; or maybe it was the droning of the passengers; or the droning of Chevy Chase on the DVD monitor – something – something was making it hard to concentrate. I’d picked up a used copy of Jim Thompson’s The Killers for a distraction and found myself instead captivated by the complimentary bookmark – an old receipt from Brandon’s Flowers in Canoga Park – I suppose it might have been the Zoloft – might! It was then that the wheels on the bus stopped.

    “Okay folks, first stop.” The driver announced. “Be back here in two hours.”

    First stop? Whoa, what the. . . I watched the little old ladies from Altadena take to the aisle and spill off the bus into the well lit Nevada desert.

    I followed the driver off the bus. “We can’t stop here,” I said, “It’s Bat Country.” He didn’t get it. He stopped and turned to me. “Look, buddy,” he said smiling a toothy smile, “Go inside with the other ladies, warm up on the nickel slots, grab some prime rib and we’ll be back on the road in two hours.” Then he touched my shoulder, as if he really wanted to direct me toward the Casino, instead of curling up in a fetal position on the tarmac, gasping for air. I opened the side luggage rack of the bus, retrieved my duffle and stuffed the driver into the vacant space. I slammed the compartment and loaded an e-cigarette into a cigarette holder. “Do I look like I play nickel slots?”

    It was 8:30 at night, I was wearing cargo shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, amber Ray Bans with a duffle bag filled with enough pharmaceuticals to open a Rite-Aid. I’d have no trouble hitching a ride to that neon glow in the distance.

    * * *

    The next thing I remember, I was walking down Fremont Street wearing an El Cortez bathrobe, carrying a palm tree and a catalogue of local concubines. Hey, it’s Vegas, you never know when you’re gonna need shade and a call girl – forget, “What Happens In Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” that should be the slogan – “Vegas: Portable Shade, Call Girls – Bring the Kids.” I made a note to call the convention and visitors authority.

    It was two in the morning and the streets were crowded with believers, disciples and dreamers – the mortal embodiment of every Gram Parsons and Warren Zevon lyric. I grabbed a booth at the Heart Attack Grill and ordered a double bypass burger and a coke float – just what I needed to chase down the five buttons of mescaline. The nurse/waitress said she liked my fern.

    “It’s a palm,” I corrected. “You know, for shade.”

    “We’re inside,” she pointed out.

    “Things happen,” I countered. This seemed to satisfy her as she returned quickly with my float and a glass of water for the palm.

    I waited for my DBP, eating the Coke meringue with an iced tea spoon. . My inner voice was suggesting sleep. The Mescaline was suggesting the convention had already started – though the doors wouldn’t open for another seven hours. Either way this road to excess required a navigator; a co-pilot, a wingman – and since my usual traveling companion, Dr. J. Wellington Nanny – professional gynecologist and part-time poker player was called away on a three-day house call (don’t ask) – it seemed only fair to offer the position to a nurse.
    “I need someone to help manage my pharmaceuticals for the weekend,” I told her as I paid the check. I gave her my business card – which said I was a “Doctor of Pharmacology” – spare room key, and a sizeable tip.

    “You know I’m not a real nurse, don’t you?”

    I swallowed the last bite of burger and smiled. Dr. Gonzo would be so proud. On the outskirts of town there was a sign that reads: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas. I do love the word fabulous – it’s right up there with overindulgence.

    780 Words



  2. Vegas By the Full Moon
    @BryantheTinker, 487 words

    The quiet of desert morning in junkyard is punctuated by repeated pounding, coming from the trunk of a charred and rusted wrecked Deville. With a loud whine, the trunk lid swings wide open, propelled by a leg in torn and bloody jeans. At the peak of the arc, one of the hinges gives way, releasing the lid to drop back onto the occupant. “Ow.”

    In a slow flailing, several limbs stretch from the trunk to find purchase and haul Matthew into the light of day. His knees are bloody, and his shirt has several holes in the front and back, the whole ensemble generally ruined. Joints pop as he stretches, and gingerly tests his footing. “Good thing they didn’t use silver, but it still hurts.”

    With a pair of rips, the jeans become shorts just above the stains, and the shirt gets tossed back into the trunk, showing off a tanned and muscular frame. As he strolls back toward the Boulevard, he passes through the streets cluttered with the leftovers from another night of dreamers, harlots, and sin. The sun already burning intensely, it feels like it’s going to climb up to at least 107 degrees today.

    As he walks home to the foreclosure that his pack is squatting in this week, he has plenty of time to think about all the things that have changed since he was bitten. It’d been 5 years now since the “animal” attack in Tennessee. He can still remember playing hide and seek with his little girl, and other games played with the golden haired beauty that used to know him. He hopes she wouldn’t be too ashamed of him now, but someone will have to be smarter than last night before he’ll get the chance to ask her.

    Now, he travels with a pack that took him in while he was learning about the changes he was going through. They tend to spend the winters in Vegas, both for the weather, and the strangers that are not soon missed. Under the lights of the neon encrusted temples, it was actually easy to justify just about anything. The worst of the predators here aren’t the werewolves, and it is a nice change of pace.

    The city starts to stir as he gets closer to home. An oily man with a cheap suit jacket tries to push a catalogue of concubines into his hands. “There’s something in here to cheer you up, man. You look like crap! These lovelies, they’ll have you right again in no time.”
    “Not interested pal.”

    “What even happened to you?” the disciple of debauchery pauses to ask, actually seeing Matthew finally.

    He stops for a moment, and then smiles. “I forgot something important. Here, the house always wins.”

    Leaving the flesh peddler confused, he continues walking up the street, eager to get home so that he can see what Lady Luck has in store for him tonight.


  3. Star attraction

    “Oh this is so exciting.” She squealed and spun around on the seat trying to see every glitzy sight.
    He grinned at her naïve enthusiasm and admired the way the sequins caught the lights across her curves. She would be a breath of fresh air in this foetid place; for a little while anyway.
    “It’s so pretty and bright. Is it always this bright?” she swung her fresh face around to him for only a moment, her eyes sparkling, cheeks flushed with her enthusiasm. He felt something ancient shift inside and groaned. How young is this girl?
    “All night, every night, the city never sleeps.”
    “Oh I thought that was just a slogan.” He smiled a world weary lift of the lips in response to her country girl sunshine.
    “Why did you agree to Las Vegas?” he wasn’t expecting the flicker of doubt on her face.
    “Oh you know, just to see the place and see if all the stories are true. I’m too young to gamble but I would love to see the tables. Do you think you could get me in there, just to see? Please?” She had clasped her hands together, leaned forward and was pleading with her bottom lip pouting and her chin a quiver.
    “If you look like that you will be barred entry before you even walk through, security will send you to a creche.”
    “It was worth a try. You’re the manager surely you can bend the rules a bit?”
    “Not if I want to keep my licence I won’t. You’ll see plenty enough. Why are you really here? The world’s most popular young singer you could go anywhere, why here? It’s all a giant neon crusted ball of glamour that can’t really hide the other side.” It was his job to promote the fantasy not tear it down but something in those clear bright eyes was messing with his hard built crust. “A sweet young thing like you should be anywhere than here.” She studied him and he found himself squirming under that direct calculating gaze. She seemed to come to a decision.
    “I want to find my father. Last known whereabouts was your casino.”
    “Your father? When was he here?”
    “Fifteen years ago, give or take a few years. He drove down in an old de Ville.” She reached into the tiny bag that matched her dress. He had lost his enthusiasm for the too young curves. She pulled out a faded photograph. “My mother is still living back there in Tennessee”. She lifted her chin with a touch of defiance. “I am not stupid you know,” her excitement had dimmed; she looked lost, “I think he can’t go back. I just want to know for sure.” Her voice had faded to a whisper and she was looking at everyone on the street, the photo clutched to her chest.
    He straightened his shoulders, adjusting his tie and cuffs. A casino owner smile lit up his face. You don’t stay on top in this place by looking down a well.
    “I will have some people make a thorough search for you. Can’t have my star attraction wandering the streets by day, it is much safer to wander at night.” He chuckled at his own joke and was pleased to see her smile. “There that’s better, now chin up, are you ready for the cameras? Good girl, let’s give them a show.” He stepped out of the car and bent to offer her a hand. Long legs and sequins stepped out to a barrage of flashing lights and screaming fans.
    “Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas.”



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