Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 3.18

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 3, Week 18.

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 MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on Friday. You read that right. Pacific Time.

***SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!! SINCE I’M POSTING A DAY LATER THAN NORMAL, THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE WILL RUN UNTIL SATURDAY***

This week’s song prompt is the first track off the fantastic, “Copper Blue”, record by the 1990s Bob Mould project… Sugar.

The tune is, “The Act We Act”. Here’s the link; https://youtu.be/d4DJnmD2z7M

This week’s Judge is… it’s still me. If we ever start to consistently pull six or more entries I’ll open it back up to guest Judges.

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs until MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on SATURDAY October 10th.

Now… Go write!!!

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Posted on October 7, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “Last Act at the Third Act Diner”

    by Jim Lockett

    “Stop the truck,” Beth screamed.

    The door was open and she was running before the truck came to a stop; dust billowing around the cab, enveloping the truck. I stepped out and followed, as the cloud settled. She’d already disappeared into the Third Act Diner – which at one time had probably been hoppin’ before the bypass took all the traffic away – but now, Beth vanishing inside was the only clue that it was even open for business.

    I watched the neon ACT flicker on and off as I pulled open the double glass doors and found her at the counter, pouring sugar into her palm, eating it by the handful.

    “Excuse me, Miss.” said the waitress. “You can’t just. . .”

    “Can we get a couple of coffees please,” I asked, trying to calm the waitress. “You know, to go with the. . . sugar.”

    Beth grabbed my hand and poured sugar into it.

    “Eat!” she said, then looking at the waitress, “Do you have any old bread?” With mold?”

    The waitress, stammered, either unable or unwilling to speak. Beth grabbed the waitress by the wrist and said, “Never mind, there isn’t time.” She poured sugar into her hand as well. “Eat!”

    I was about to ask what she was doing, when. . .BOOM! It was distant, but then the wave came, hitting the Diner, like the Gods just elbowed the planet. The windows of the Diner seemed to melt, bow out, and return as the wave passed, taking the other patrons with it; yet passing through the waitress, Beth and I unaffected. The juke in the corner came to life. . .

    And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain. . .the final curtain. . .the final curtain

    “What the hell was that?” I asked, as the juke continued to skip.

    “I think it’s Elvis,” Beth answered, placing two more sugar shakers into her purse.

    “Wrong hell, Beth. What just happened? And what’s with the sugar?”

    Beth stared out the window. “I knew it was happening, I just thought we had more time. I thought we’d be in the clear. . .well, not clear I guess.” She paused. “What do you want to know first?”

    “Was it a nuke?”

    “No. But it was a wash, a sub-particle debris wash. Do you remember the movie High Society? Next July we collide with Mars. Well, it’s July.”

    ‘That’s impossible, it would have been all over the. . .” I lunged for the counter and grabbed the TV remote. Click. Nothing. Click. Nothing. Click Yes. CNN. A simple graphic of the Earth with a countdown clock. A news ticker running into a NASA logo at the bottom of the screen. And a solid, shrill tone screaming through the speaker. “How did you know?”

    “I can’t explain it,” Beth said. “I craved sugar and just knew.”

    “What did the sugar do to us?” asked the waitress, now standing at the counter, fear in her eyes.

    “It’s complicated, but in short, sugar is a band-aid; mold is a cure. That’s why I asked for bread.”

    “There’s no moldy bread,” the waitress said. “But would cheese do?”

    “Oh, it should, it’s a much cleaner source of mycrotoxin. Hurry, there’s not much time left.”

    The waitress left for the kitchen as a second wave hit, this time knocking us both to the ground.

    I helped Beth to her feet before she said, “I have to go. You need to stay here and watch this unfold. Trust me.”

    The waitress returned with a tray of moldy cheese that should have been thrown out last Tuesday. I looked at her name tag for the first time – ‘Barb’. “Thanks,” I said. “Say cheese, Barb.”

    Barb smiled.

    Beth and I said our goodbyes. She kissed me and left me standing there with Barb,

    eating old cheese. Beth didn’t turn back, but called out, “You two should stay out here for the next wave, it’s gonna be beautiful.”

    I watched her walk away. She took all the sugar with her.

    She didn’t look back.

    The neon ACT delivered one final flicker and went black.

    690 Words

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Changing

    Uriel walked into the bar and Tommy stuck his head out from the back store room. He always knew when an Angel showed up. Uriel sat at the end of the bar closest to the Jukebox.

    “Hey Uri…what’s up?” Tommy started setting up clean glasses up behind the bar.

    “Just needed a break. Can I get a scotch and a smoke?”

    Tommy smiled handing over his smokes, “Sure. Anything I can do?”

    “Not really. It’s gotten tough lately with…” his voice trailed off and he turned his head slowly towards the door of the bar.

    Tommy put Uri’s drink down and looked at the door. Nothing happened. Then the Jukebox sprang to life blasting “The Act We Act” by Sugar. Tommy shot it a dirty look and the volume dropped immediately as the door opened and his ex-wife stepped in. Tommy glared at Uriel to no effect since Uri was staring at his drink, jaw clinched so tight Tommy feared his teeth might shatter. Tommy glanced at Lilith and realized she was furious.

    “Ok you two…I’m going to head upstairs so you can work out whatever the hell is going on here.” Tommy quickly escaped into the back room and up the stairs to his apartment.

    “Did you think I wouldn’t follow you here Uri?” Lilith was so angry she was struggling to keep the fire, a side effect of time spent in Tartarus, from springing out on her skin.

    “Go back Lilith before someone notices we’re both gone.”

    “Fuck that Uri. I’m sick of this act, sick of pretending this isn’t what it is. I’m sick of your fucking guilt and self-flagellation.” She stalked over to him and grabbed the bottle of Scotch and gulped down a healthy shot.

    Uri slowly took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. They had been through this over and over. There was no good outcome. There was nothing for them, there could be no “them”. His control was legendary, but this auburn haired woman drove him to the edge of it every damn time.

    She grabbed his arm and he jerked it out her grasp. She growled and got up in his face.

    “Stop being such a goddamn coward Uriel. Stop hiding behind your bullshit ideas about sacrifice and duty. Stop being His fucking whipping boy.”

    Uriel slammed his hands down on the bar and shouted, “STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP” until all the glass in the bar rattled. Lilith, shocked into silence, stood frozen in place. Uriel had never so much as raised his voice in her memory, and her memory was very, very long.

    He closed his eyes and heaved a deep sigh, pain and frustration creasing his face with deep lines.

    He turned his head so Lilith could see the truth in his eyes.

    “It is no act First Woman, and it is not bullshit. My duty to Him is no small thing for you to dismiss with so little regard. Neither my duty, nor my respect for it, makes me a whipping boy. It makes me an Angel of the Host. I AM THIS LILITH. If you think it so pathetic then what on earth are you doing here?”

    Lilith’s eyes filled with tears. She hadn’t meant to hurt him, she never did mean to and yet she always did. The fire that had been flickering around her hands went out instantly as shame and heartache filled her.

    Her voice broke as she whispered, “I’m here because you left me Uri. I’m here because I can’t…” the sob she had been holding back finally broke free and she turned away from him. He grabbed her, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her tight against his chest. He held her as she cried, his anger dissolving in her tears.

    “You terrify me Lili. I’m changing. We’re not supposed to change, we’re not supposed to fall in love, and we’re not supposed want anything but His will for us. But now I want you because I have fallen in love with you and I don’t know how to be now.”

    Lilith turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed. The Jukebox faded up Lindi Ortega’s “So Sad”.

    @MissBliss
    Words: 698 not including title

    Like

  3. Choosing the Act We Act

    “Pardon me, but do you happen to have the time?”

    The voice shocked me out of my inner thoughts and back to the bus stop where I waited and brooded. With a thick accent meant to sound British, and failing utterly, the speaker asked again.

    I looked around to see who had intruded into the solace of the thoughts. It wasn’t the young guy with the thick glasses and expanded ears, shaking his head to some electric guitar scream that escaped his expensive headphones. The only other person at the bus stop was a derelict from the streets, standing just a few feet away. Dirty grey hair held in place by a faded bowler hat, and the suit jacket was a poor combination with the sweat pants below, held in place by a twisted section of orange extension cord. Tough skin wrinkled around grey blue eyes, as he smiled when he noticed me look up.

    “Man, I don’t have anything extra. Sorry.” I said out of habit, starting to fall back into my reverie.

    “Good sir, that’s simply unnecessary. I merely query about the time.” Unfettered, he pressed on.

    Glancing down, an oft repeated glance at my phone revealed the time. “It’s 6:17. Why, are you late for something?” As soon as the angry words came out, I felt guilty. The problems in my life weren’t his fault, nor were his problems my responsibility either. His only sin, as far as I was aware, was disrupting the silent anonymous rhythm of the bus stop. The unspeaking passersby so close in the city.

    “Not yet, not yet, but I thank you for your concern. Merely rolling with the tides, as they say. As you can likely surmise, I seem to have misplaced my timepiece.”

    Driven by guilt or curiosity, I took another look at him. His clothes were in tatters, but he didn’t carry himself with an air of subservience or disgrace. Rather, as he stood slightly apart, straight shoulders and head held high, he more seemed to be surveying his domain.

    He noticed my attention, and took a step closer to speak directly to me. “Hours could slip by while you watch, with the thoughts cluttering your mind.”

    “Sorry, it’s just…you don’t…I don’t know, you just don’t make sense.” I blushed at the explanation.

    “Ah, yes, not what you expect once you raise the curtain? No, my young friend, this is a temporary condition.” He waved his hand along his body, indicating his colorful ensemble. “The act we act is what is reflective of that which is under the skin. One or two poor choices may have led me to this residential misadventure, yet especially in adversity, our carriage and bearing will carry us through.”

    The bus pulled up to the curb as he finished, and I rose to step toward it. I noticed myself standing up straighter, and that simple act made the worries on my mind seem smaller and less oppressive.

    The homeless man didn’t make any move to cross to the bus. “Is this yours, too?” I asked.

    “No, mine is still coming, but I have enjoyed seeing the worlds collide this evening.” He bowed slightly and stepped back from the curb, waving the bus driver on.

    “Well, good luck to you, and good night.”

    As I sat on the bus, I looked around at the people already seated. Most were engrossed in their own thoughts or devices, yet none had the spirit or seeming energy of the homeless man. Most were the same that shared the bus every other work night, and most likely would continue the routine for many months or years to come. I thought of the differences, both on the inside and the outside, and couldn’t stop thinking about the difference it made.

    “The act we act”, I muttered to myself, thinking that it might be time to consider my act, and see where my fortunes could take me.

    @BryantheTinker, 656 words

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Choosing the Act We Act | The Rogue Tinker

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