Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.52 – Two Years Before the Mast

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 52.

Week 52. Know what that means? Two years. We made it to two years… Yay us?

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.

I wanted to choose something by a really big artist for Week 52.

I figure that The Who is big enough.

The tune is… “Eminence Front”.

Here’s the link; https://youtu.be/b5kkcOvPW6Y

I also wanted a big time Judge… and boy did I get one in the Mortuary Mama herself… Ruth Long!

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through Friday May 29th.

Now… Go write!!!

Posted on May 26, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. “The New Cradle of Life”
    She’d saved for several years.
    After acquiring a modest home and a modest vehicle in a modest neighborhood to offer a good foundation, Alana was finally bearing witness to the creation of life she’d been craving for so long.
    Over several decades, the process had been perfected to the point where it only took a few days instead of a few months for the building blocks of life to come together.
    The forty-something year-old sat comfortably in a warm room as the synthetic womb fed and cocooned the still growing fetus within.
    Alana was perfectly capable of physically carrying a child to term, and people in her socioeconomic class still continued to birth children naturally, but nine months felt like too long for a working, single woman to play incubator.
    And not only did it come with more health risks than Alana cared to entertain, but more traditional methods of conception didn’t offer as high a probability of ensuring that her offspring would be free of the diseases that had killed many of the women in her family at young ages.
    Alana herself had taken extreme measures to help prevent becoming a victim of those hereditary illnesses by undergoing several heavily invasive surgeries.
    The red headed woman shook those thoughts out of her head, and continued to maintain a vigilant gaze on her growing child. Her tired eyes were grateful for the dim and soothing lighting in the small circular room.
    Though it wasn’t required to do so, Alana had taken maternity leave from running a nonprofit women’s organization to be present for every phase of the creation and birth process. Though she’d been antsy the first two days wondering if things were being taken care of at work, by the fifth day, she could think of nothing else but the tiny being floating peacefully before her. Alana was so transfixed by the subtle changes that were taking place behind the glass that she’d refused to leave Maya’s side to eat or shower. Luckily, the birthing center encouraged parents to spend as much time with the newly forming babies as possible to help both parent and child bond.
    Walking away from the comfortable, cushioned sofa and tepid tea on the side table, Alana lied on the mattress that curved around the glass that housed the sleeping child.
    “Maya. Maya,” Alana cooed softly as she bent closer to the womb and traced a finger over the warm glass.
    She smiled as the baby wiggled sleepily in recognition to her mother’s voice.
    The nervousness of realizing that Alana would now have to care for and protect this tiny child had soon been overshadowed by the excitement that in just three more days, she’d be able to hold her daughter and take her home.

    461 words @skarlitsunrise


  2. Cara Michaels

    “So your lovely ensemble says party, but your eagle-eyed interest in the crowd at large—not to mention a fight or flight instinct that leans heavily toward fight, if I did not mistake an almost reach for a gun—”He tipped his head to the side. “Where are you hiding a gun in there?”

    “You’ve quite the sharp eye yourself.” I wished I hadn’t gulped the wine down now. Awful or not, I’d at least have something to ease my nerves. “Or maybe the conversation is terrible downstairs and I’m boredom relief?”

    “To be honest, it’s all appearances down there.” He leaned against the concrete balustrade, eyes on the dark Atlantic. “Digging too deep beneath the surface tends to expose unpleasantries.”

    “You’re making an awfully big assumption about my quality of character and companionship,” I said. “Sadly if you’re looking for sunshine and kittens, I’m fresh out.”

    His smile truly transformed his face. Gods knew he was handsome enough without the assist.

    “I’m more a London fog man—the actual fog, that is. And alas, I am allergic to cats as well.”

    I heaved a melodramatic sigh.

    “Can’t take you anywhere.”

    “Actually, cats seem to be allergic to me, if that makes a difference.” He leaned his chin on one hand. “I think they’re rather cute, but my affections remain unrequited.”

    I ordered myself not to be charmed by a six-foot-something man hunched up sheepishly. People didn’t flirt with me often enough to feel certain that’s what he was doing, but the butterflies in my stomach seemed pretty sure.

    A woman burst through the doors before I could reply.

    “Ma’am?” I called. “Everything all right?”

    She swung her head in every direction as though the aliens had arrived. Or maybe she was just high as the mothership. Her wild eyes found me. Then she saw the Englishman and backed into the glass so hard it shuddered.

    “Oh, God. You’re with her.” Tears streaked down her face. “Are you one, too?”

    “I beg your pardon?” English stood straight. “One what?”

    She whimpered and stumbled for the railing. On the far end of the balcony from us.


    She had one Jimmy Choo up and braced before I got to her.

    “No way, lady.” I grabbed a fistful of sequined black dress. With a tug and twist, I parked her butt on the ground.

    She writhed and flailed, finding her voice to scream hoarsely. She kicked and clawed at anything she could reach, which was mostly me.

    “Damn, what are you on?” I spun her away from me, grunting as her pointy elbow jabbed into my ribs. “A little help here, English?”

    He maneuvered her out of my hold and flat on her stomach. He held her wrists at the small of her back. He spoke to her, but I didn’t hear the words. I was too busy trying to suck a decent breath back into my lungs. Damn hellcat had cracked at least one of my ribs.

    “Now what?” English asked.

    A quick reach into my bag, and I tossed him a pair of handcuffs. He caught them, dangling them by one bracelet.

    “You bring the best toys to dinner parties. C’mon, love.” He guided the woman to her feet and into the darkest corner. He secured her wrists to the steel door pull with curious ease and returned to me. “Anything else in that bag I should know about before I beg you to take me home?”

    “Most definitely.”

    “I’ve been keeping company with the wrong sort of woman.”

    “Can’t say as I’ve ever been considered the right sort.”

    “I think I’m not the only one with questionable taste in companionship then.”

    “And I think you might know your way around handcuffs a bit too well.”

    “Says the woman who carries them to charity parties.” He caught the edge of my bag, trying to peek inside. “You could always ask me why.”

    “Didn’t you just advocate against digging too deep?” I slid the side of my dress up my thigh and drew my modified Kahr K9. “I might not like what’s behind the handsome front.”

    “I certainly like what you’re revealing.”

    “I’ll holler if I decide that makes a difference.”

    700 WIP words


  3. The crowd’s roar and applause made her cringe, the noise, so loud, so big, and so cloying. Sarah gazed through the colours, through the bobbing heads, and saw only frontrunners sprinting across the finish line.

    Silver foil flashed, the sun catching it and blinding Sarah momentarily. She blinked and eased back. Trumpets bugled and hooters hooted, cheers and cries of congratulations rose over the onlookers, and Sarah glanced up at the big screen on the building opposite. She squeezed herself into a small spot on the wall and pulled her legs in close.

    The winners, the frontrunners, smiled on the screen. Teeth and twinkling eyes pixelated and jumped as the competitors caught their breath and accepted adulation. Sponsors raced forward to position themselves, banners rising with winners, and products placed in advantageous sites. Cameramen arced down to legs attached to pistons and blades, shiny carbon-fibre appendages in racing black decorated with beads of sweat.

    The winners had the best equipment, the biggest sponsors, the most money, and Sarah sighed.

    Even pixelated the racing blades, the prosthetics, and the artificial limbs shone as state of the art. Money bought winners, and winners bought sponsors, and from the crowd’s clamour about her, that bought adoration and fame. She bit her lip and climbed into a standing position to stare down the road, but only shiny blades continued to catch the light and glare back at her.

    She steeled herself, pushed the encroaching crowd away, and settled back down on the wall.

    For a couple of hours she listened as the crowds cheered the marathon runners, and watched as they dwindled as the prosthetic tech became less impressive, and the sponsors less memorable.

    Finally, light faded, the tech reverted, and the hum of the crowd declined.

    Sarah scrambled to her feet, and clung to the lamppost beside her. She stared down the road, but the low light made it difficult to see. Floodlights suddenly devoured the dusk and Sarah blinked again, shielding her eyes from the dazzling brilliance. Black spots danced before her vision, as the big screen suddenly snapped back on and focussed on the empty road.

    Sarah’s stomach lurched, and her heart rose with hope and anticipation. She pushed through the muddle of people still left, those who’d lost interest hours ago, but hung around with the hope of a last minute story. And here it was.

    Sarah’s eyes glazed as a dot on the horizon grew steadily bigger. She glanced up at the screen as it pixelated and focussed. Far down the road her son approached, a lone walker, a figure shuffling forward with determination and grit. Sarah didn’t even try to stop the tears that rolled down her face. Every fibre of her heart reached out to the boy, every ounce of strength, of resolve and stamina poured down the road to her boy.

    The TV screen adjusted and the image sharpened, and the remaining crowd visibly held their breath.

    Sarah’s heart swelled to proportions she’d never before encountered and she thought she’d burst. Tears glistened in every eye as her son limped, and dragged his foot, his leg-brace no longer holding him steady. The buckles broken, the metal, bent, but the lad still walked with his head led high, and his brow shimmering with diamonds of perspiration.

    Gasps trickled through the audience as barriers broke, and suddenly athletes, runners and racers who’d finished the marathon hours before, surrounded the boy. Carbon fibre blades, and modern artificial appendages, accompanied the teenager with the broken brace and twisted leg, and silence suddenly blossomed into cheers.

    Applause echoed throughout the darkening streets, and Sarah wept as her son’s smile filled the big screen, as his shuffle moved him forward and the pain on his face diminished with pride.

    He crossed the line, with as many onlookers as the frontrunners, and Sarah caught him in her arms. They both knew you didn’t need money, or sponsors, or anything more than love and belief, to win.

    (663 Words)


  4. I stared at myself in the mirror. I don’t know why, for some reason I couldn’t look away. I think it was my eyes that did it. Empty eyes, glazed over and lifeless. There was nothing in them.

    I wasn’t supposed to stare at myself, wasn’t supposed to stop and look in the mirror. I made myself put the razor down, looked in the mirror to make sure I’d shaved properly, and hadn’t missed any places. I was getting ready for work. To be safe, I combed my hair again, even though I knew it would not stay in place.

    And I saw those eyes again.

    I practically growled, “Enough! Get ready.” It was time for work. I grabbed my black tie, buttoned the top button on my shirt, and tied that sucker on, joking about how it was a modern-day hangman’s noose.

    Those damned, empty, lifeless eyes were still in the mirror, looking at me. I didn’t have time for them. I walked away.

    By the time I got to the car, empty briefcase in hand, it was show time. Wave at the neighbor getting in his car. “Pretty day, ain’t it?”


    “Have a good one.”

    “You too.”

    I didn’t break the speed limit in the neighborhood. I stopped at all the stop signs, waved at people walking their dogs, slowed down for any school busses, and swung wide around the kids at bus stops. It was the right thing to do.

    Once I got to the main road, I moved with the traffic. So what if the traffic did 55 in a 45 zone? It was how things were. “Don’t think. Don’t be different. Follow the rules of the road.” That included riding the ass of the idiot in front of me who wouldn’t get the fuck out-of-the-way. Crawling along. Stupid ass hole. “Add gas! What the fuck’s wrong with you!” First chance I got, I floored it, got around his ass, and left him way behind. Yeah, he caught up at the next stop light, but I didn’t care, ‘cause I was in front of him. He wasn’t in my way anymore.

    When I got to work, the first thing anyone said to me was, “Hi, how are you today?”.

    I answered, “I’m good,” as expected.

    At my desk I pulled my bottle of naproxen out, popped the top on my Coke, and had two pills and a long chug of soda, just to cut off the headache I knew was coming. I hate my job. I know that. It sucks. But, it fucking pays the bills, so I suck it up, and work. It doesn’t matter how I feel about it. It’s a job. It’s supposed to suck.

    At 1130, Helen walked up, “Lunch time!” The best part of the work day. Lunch. A bunch of us guys, and Helen. She’s always the center of attention too. Not that I mind. She’s a lot easier on the eyes than George, or Henry. Or any of the rest of them. It’s an hour we get to escape from work. We get to laugh. We get to have fun.

    Then we go back to hell.

    That day I was working on the design of the DVD labels. How to properly label at DVD made using the computer system. I had to draw a sample DVD label. God, I hate that. “How’s this look?” No one cared how it looked, but we’re pros, so they said, “Move this here. Add this. Use this font. Make this in bold.” Make it look professional. Took all afternoon to tune that sucker up.

    And when I got home that night, those damned empty, lifeless eyes were still in the mirror.

    Yeah. Life sucks. So what. It’s how it is. How it’s always been. How it’ll always be.

    The next morning I stared at myself in the mirror and felt better. Those empty, lifeless eyes were still there. It was what I expected. It was normal.

    It was time to get ready for work.

    It was show time.

    673 Words


  5. Stacy Fileccia

    The Dress

    Amber flashed tigress eyes about the room until she saw her quarry. She snatched champagne from a wandering tray, squared her petite frame, and glided though the sea of sequins and tuxedos. Chatter swirled in her wake.

    “Did you see . . .” Yeah, me, Amber.

    “. . .can’t believe how long she can hold those high notes. ” Because of how Cole trained me.

    “Her first album went platinum in only . . .” I’m sure someone will beat my record soon enough.

    She ignored it all, but the deeper she went, the more treacherous came the waters.

    “. . . see her dress? I did. Twelve hundred bucks.”

    ” . . . Stole him! They’d been dating two years!” But Sadie was the one who dumped Cole.

    “. . . waited until he bought the ring THEN said she was seeing someone else.” I had to draw away her next boyfriend, too.

    “ . . . shallow as they come.”

    She let champagne dance freely on her tongue while streams of guys flattered her and one woman kept spewing venom with her friend. Every time they moved, Amber—and her entourage—moved with them. When she grew tired of this game, she made the rounds through the couples, dropping little compliments and hinting—instead of answering—about her next album.

    When she got home, she hung up her thousand dollar dress and slid into the faded cotton nightgown her mother had given her for Christmas when she was sixteen. She slid between faded cotton sheets, curled into a ball, and twisted the nightgown ribbons in her fingers.

    Stars fell and shattered, dampening her pillow against her cheek. As always, there was Cole, always there on the cusp of wake and sleep. She indulged in his memory—how he worked with her, the way he laughed, his shrinking form waving to her the last time she’d seen him. He’d trained her for six years, but wouldn’t follow her to the big time no matter how much she offered. He loved her voice, not her.

    Amber knew Sadie was no good for Cole. He wouldn’t listen. The day after she left him, they found his blue muscle car at the bottom of a cliff. Amber would never forget.

    In the morning—anonymous in sunglasses and splattered t-shirt—Amber waded through the throngs on the sidewalks until she came to the youth center. She handed the dress in its plastic bag to the girl behind the desk.

    Amber winked. “Just make sure someone who couldn’t have gone to prom gets this.” The girl smiled.

    W.C.: 433


  1. Pingback: #MWBB 2.52 : Eminence Front | My Soul's Tears

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