This week I’ve been mired in edits for Cultivating Love and trying to write a short story, on top of things getting busy in my real life, so I figured this would be a good time to kind of cheat for my Flash Fiction Friday post by reintroducing a couple of recurring characters I used in flash fiction years and years ago. It’s only “kind of” cheating, because I worked the word left on last week’s Flash Fiction Friday post (grumpy) into the existing story scene.
This scene was written back in 2008 or 2009 and posted on the Torquere Livejournal Social Group. Way back when, authors at Torquere would sign up to host the group for a day when they wanted to promote a new release (or whatever). One of the things authors often did while hosting was ask for prompt words, then a mere couple hours later, post a ficlet featuring those words. I was terrified the first time I tried, and the scene I’m reposting today was the result.
I made a few minor tweaks to the original post (and like I said, added the word “grumpy” into the mix), but it remains mostly unchanged. Full disclosure: commenters were able to leave as many words as they wanted, and I only promised to use at least one from each. I kept that promise, and in the end I used eighteen words (or phrases) left by nine commenters, and left twelve on the table. Here are the original eighteen:
sunshine — breakfast — coffee — alarm clock — school bus — Large Haldron Collider — sweltering — studio — purple dildo — leather — shovel — hornet — dominate — hot chocolate — rhinestone — leash — flake — If you do that one more time…
(In case you’re interested, the ones I didn’t use were: bed, neanderthal, satin, pretzel, boutique, quill, sunflowers, “That’s Amore,” minimalist, half-life, dweeb, and loser.)
Ben turned on the coffeemaker and pulled a box of corn flakes out of the cabinet. The alarm clock had gone off way too early this morning and he wanted lots of caffeine with his breakfast.
“Good morning, sunshine.” Jerry’s voice was as sunny as the day. “Coffee smells great, but I’m in the mood for hot chocolate today.”
“Hot chocolate? Really? It’s gonna be sweltering.”
Mr. I-love-mornings winked at him. “You’re drinking coffee.”
Ben couldn’t refute that logic so he poured his cereal, sat down, and willed the coffee pot to drip faster. “You going in to the studio today or the office?”
A school bus rumbled by, and he missed Jerry’s reply. It involved an eye roll, though.
“I said, what’s the point? The earth’s going to be swallowed by a black hole today anyway. Might as well stay home for it.”
Ben shook his head at Jerry and his Large Haldron Collider worries. “You’re pretty chipper this morning considering the world’s coming to an end.”
Jerry smiled. “Well, I don’t really believe that. But don’t you think it would be a fun excuse to stay home? You know. Say ‘to hell with it all, we’re playing hooky today.’”
Ben grinned. Jerry was a free spirit and sometimes his attitude was contagious. There wasn’t anything he needed to do at the office today that couldn’t be put off a day, was there? “What excuse should I use?”
“You could just tell old Prather a hornet stung you. You’re allergic to freaking everything so that’d work. He’s such a flake anyway you could tell him anything.”
“What about you? Jenkins is always grumpy. I can hear him now: ‘if you do that one more time…’”
Jerry laughed. “He always says that. I’ll just tell him I’ve got the stomach flu and I’ll work from home. I’m pretty much done with that project anyway.”
Ben wasn’t going to tell his boss he’d been stung by a hornet, but he could see a case of the stomach flu buying him a day at home. “What do you want to do with our day off? We can’t go out and risk being seen after calling in.”
Jerry had a playful glint in his eye. “We’re being bad. I think we should be really bad. Remember those gifts Randy gave us when we moved in together? The ones you put in the back of the closet?”
Ben’s jaw dropped. “The leather collar?”
“And the rhinestone studded leash.”
“Oh yeah.” Jerry had such a hopeful look in his eyes. “Ah, okay. Who’s going to wear it?”
Jerry gave him an eyebrow wiggle. “Wanna dominate me? Or would you rather be dominated?”
Ben wouldn’t know where to start. The idea of Jerry getting all Dom on him was kind of intriguing, though. Hot even. “Uh, you can be in charge.”
Jerry’s eyes turned serious. “I’ve got a purple dildo with your name on it.”
Ben choked. A what? Was it too late to back out? He opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
Jerry walked calmly over to the coffee pot and turned it off. He poured a cup and set it in front of Ben. “Drink up and shovel in some cereal. You’re going to need the energy.”
What had he gotten himself into?
Since I’m still trying to put all my free time into the short story I mentioned above, I’ll probably post the other two existing installments in the Ben and Jerry ficlets for the next two Flash Fiction Friday posts. Even so, you are welcome to leave a prompt word in the comments, below. If I can reasonably work it into the next scene (like I did with “grumpy” this week, then I’ll do that. Otherwise, I’ll hold it for the next fresh scene I write.