Flash Fiction Friday – April 7, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday is a mish-mash using the two prompt words left in last week’s post (whānau and traffic), and the three concepts from P.T. Wyant’s most recent Wednesday’s Words post (a man in odd clothinga tattered book, and a whistle).

For more flash fiction, and bonus scenes from many of my published stories, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

Casey reached back for Hemi’s hand as they crossed the small stream between the car park and the sands of Hot Water Beach on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. “I thought we’d never get here.”

“I hate dealing with heavy traffic,” Hemi replied.

“Aw, it wouldn’t have been bad except for that accident.” Casey turned his head to flash a grin at his boyfriend. “Anyway, we still got here at a good time.”

Hemi glanced at his watch and nodded. “It’s an hour ’til low tide.”

“Perfect timing, in fact.” Casey lifted their shovel in salute. “Best ‘hot tubs’ ever.”

A cluster of people of varying ages—an extended family group, perhaps—straggled along behind them with their own shovels and buckets. Casey had to restrain himself from making an obvious double-take at the older man’s outfit. Not so much the incompatible pattern matchup between his swim trunks and open shirt, which was funny enough, but the socks he wore with his sandals. Socks. With sandals. On a beach. Not only that, they appeared to be hand knitted or crocheted socks. He carried a well-worn book in one hand, and a women’s large floppy hat in the other.

The group settled nearby at the tide line. Casey shrugged, dropped his towel, and began digging their own personal, natural, hot springs spa. The water that would bubble up from the coastal springs was rich in beneficial minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Simply put, it was an amazing experience, and he looked forward to a tranquil hour or so with Hemi.

He dug out a big enough pool for the two of them in no time at all. Hemi used the bucket they’d brought to fetch some ocean water to adjust the temperature in their little spa. They were all smiles as they slathered on sunscreen, then sat and leaned back on their elbows to wallow in the soothing heated water. Casey leaned across to drop a quick kiss to the corner of Hemi’s mouth, then closed his eyes and lifted his face toward the sun.

They both jumped when a shrill blast of a whistle shattered the calm. Casey brought a hand to his heart and turned toward the source of the noise. The whistle still hung from the old man’s lips. The child standing near the water’s edge turned and ran back to the group at the man’s hand gesture.

Casey turned with wide eyes at the sound of Hemi’s chuckle. “Really?” Casey mouthed the word, but remained silent. Not that he was surprised Hemi would be more amused than annoyed. Nor could he really blame the old man, even for that piercing blast, considering the reputation of the riptides at this beach.

Hemi smiled serenely and lifted a shoulder. “Reminds me of my whānau.”

Ah. His large, extended family. Well, they’d produced a warm-hearted and congenial young man in Hemi, so Casey was inclined to disregard the interruption to his meditation. It wasn’t as if it was a private beach, after all.

They rested their heads on the sand piled around the edge of their little bath, and Hemi’s hand slipped into his. With the distraction of Hemi’s thumb skimming back and forth along Casey’s wrist, he barely even noticed when the old man started reading aloud from the tattered book he’d brought.

Wikipedia: Whānau (Māori pronunciation: [ˈfaːnaʉ]) is a Māori-language word for extended family, now increasingly entering New Zealand English, particularly in official publications.

Maoridictionary.co.nz2. (noun) extended family, family group, a familiar term of address to a number of people – the primary economic unit of traditional Māori society. In the modern context the term is sometimes used to include friends who may not have any kinship ties to other members.

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/escape/10-great-new-zealand-beaches-358798/

http://www.mercurybay.co.nz/activities/hotwaterbeach.php

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Flash Fiction Friday – March 24, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

I’m doing something slightly different today. I waited (for the 3rd week in a row) until Thursday afternoon to write the post, but that turned out to be a good thing because I stumbled upon this “daily writing prompt”…

17457394_1622567107770604_4710620663870812241_n

…over at the Writers Write blog on Thursday and decided to use it along with the one prompt word (disappointment) that was left on last week’s post.

So here you go—10 items found in the rubbish, and 1 prompt word. Although this does continue with the same characters from last week, I’ll file it under Random Standalone Flash Fiction because I don’t intend for them to become recurring characters. I’ll revisit that if I change my mind down the road.

It had to be in here. Grant used a finger and thumb to gingerly pick up a rotting banana peel and toss it aside. He shuddered. Who put food remains in their bedroom trash can, anyway. No wonder the room reeked.

“Ew,” he muttered. The used condom could sift to the bottom. He wasn’t touching it despite the fact that Dreamy Daniel from the carnival had worn the thing. At least he assumed it had been Daniel and not Andy wearing the rubber. Either way, no doubt it was a contributor to the funky odor. The crumpled tissues and wet wipe were probably related, and also not anything Grant wanted to touch. He fetched a pair of tongs from the kitchen, because clearly this job needed either that or rubber gloves. This mission had better be worth it.

An empty chocolate syrup container, a candle stub, and an empty can of Reddi Whip came out next. Grant shook his head. Had they made banana splits in the bedroom, or drizzled this shit all over each other and licked it off? He could get behind the latter option, at least if he was one of the participants.

Good grief. An empty champagne bottle and about a dozen bitten off strawberry tops? On a first date? Andy’d pulled out all the stops for this guy. Even if Grant managed to finagle a date with the man, he’d be hard put to compete with this shit.

As he lifted off the last few strawberry greens the paper he was after emerged. Grant’s shoulders slumped with disappointment when he saw it. Daniel’s name was readable, but the ink for the phone number underneath it had run and speared into an illegible mess. Andy’s phone was the only hope of retrieving it, now. That or flirting with the man right in front of Andy. No, he felt low enough going through Andy’s trash. What plausible excuse could he have given even if he’d discovered the number, anyway? It was time to concede defeat. He sighed and returned the garbage to the plastic can.

Andy stood in the doorway with a hiked eyebrow when Grant turned to leave. “Find what you were looking for?”

“My self-respect? No, left it behind.”

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Flash Fiction Friday – Prompt Word Ficlet – March 17, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (hamburger) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (screw – conduct – degree – square – print – clever – existence – boot – famous – crack – hungry – hands – ignite – stiff) from a random word generator (screenshot below).

Screenshot 2017-03-16 13.16.09

This week I wrote another random standalone scene, unrelated to any of my existing publications or returning flash fiction characters. I think it might be my shortest non-drabble to date, coming in at only 244 words:

Screw that,” Andy said. “I’m hungry. Let’s go get some hamburgers or something before we get on any more rides.

“The line’s not going to get any shorter, you know.” Grant stood stiffly with his hands on his hips, tapping one gleaming ankle boot on the asphalt, and one eyebrow hiked up so far its very existence was in question, since it was out of sight behind his—admittedly long—side-swept bangs. Grant was famous among their circle of friends for his over-the-top theatrical conduct. “And I can’t stay late, I’ve got to get up at the ass-crack of dawn for work tomorrow. Boss-man from hell doesn’t care that today’s St. Patrick’s Day.”

“But I’m so hungry, I could…” Andy’s gaze landed on a strikingly good-looking man with green-streaked blond hair who’d just gotten into the line in question, and his attitude took a sharp one-hundred-eighty degree turn. It wasn’t a guarantee, but there was a good chance the guy was gay, wearing a shirt with rainbow lettering printed on a black square, stating, “He who is born round won’t die square.” Which was a clever Sicilian proverb meaning people don’t change their fundamental nature. So, yeah, the rainbow lettering was a clue. “Actually, come on. Like you said, it’s not getting any shorter.”

Grant’s eyes about popped out of his head. “What the hell ignited a—oh.” He turned and started walking. “Just because you saw him first does not mean you have dibs.”

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.


If you’d like to enter a big giveaway that includes signed print copies of ’Til Death Do Us Part (which includes the short story, From This Day Forward), To Love and To Cherish, and Snapshots (my collection of eleven short stories), then hurry on over to Day 4 on the Diverse Reader week-long March Madness party: http://diversereader.blogspot.com/2017/03/march-madness-week-long-giveaway-day-4.html

 

Flash Fiction Friday – Prompt Word Ficlet -March 10, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week I’m using 15 random prompt words for my Flash Fiction Friday story scene. I got one word (champagne) from the comments of last week’s post, and 14 words (bike – aromatic – bad – limit – hiss – bow – squeeze – train – soap – snow – improve – rainy – pain – grass) from a random word generator (screenshot below).

Screenshot 2017-03-08 21.25.31

This week I wrote a random standalone scene, unrelated to any of my existing publications or returning flash fiction characters:

Darren squeezed through a group of passengers standing near the exit and stepped off the train. He pulled up the hood of his jacket and hummed “Rainy Days and Mondays” as he made his way to the bike rack. A deep-toned hiss behind him indicated the doors had shut and the train would move on to its next stop.

Mondays were usually bad enough, but he’d reached his limit today when his pain-in-the-ass boss had dumped another project on his desk and announced he’d probably have to work through the next weekend to meet the deadline. There hadn’t been much he could do except bow his head in acceptance of his employer’s decree. Could his day—no, week—possibly get any worse?

“Could be worse,” a deep voice behind him said, as if its owner could read his mind. “At least it isn’t snow.”

Darren turned toward the holder of that sonorous sound, and his heart leapt into his throat, blocking the automatic reply he’d intended. Instead, he stood with his mouth hanging open, staring at the greenest eyes he’d ever seen. They were green as fresh grass on an early spring day, and framed by strawberry blond hair that seemed the perfect accompaniment to the aromatic cologne or soap the man wore that hinted of the apple-y floral scent of a fine French champagne.

Instead of raising a haughty eyebrow at his graceless reaction, the man smiled widely as his head tilted inquiringly to the side as if he both recognized and returned Darren’s undefended interest. “Hi.” He put out a hand for Darren to shake. “My name’s Stuart.”

Darren grasped the offered hand and found his voice. “Darren. And you’re right. It could be worse.” In fact, it was starting to improve already.

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

15 Random Prompt Words – Flash Fiction Friday – January 6, 2017

2017-01-06-words-400x169

For this week’s 15 random words I’m using:

transporter

trick – pat – deep – passenger – valuable – oil – trail – bubble – hideous – stay – silent – existence – huge – flippant

Above are screen prints of the words it gave me (I had to get them in 3 batches because otherwise they were covered by ads).

Below is the story scene I wrote using these words.

Flash Fiction Friday

Austin raised an eyebrow in Clarence’s direction as the man unleashed a wide—and loud—yawn.

“Sorry,” Clarence muttered, shaking his head. “I’m not bored, just drained. Coffee, I need more coffee before we continue sightseeing.”

Austin laughed and placed a hand on Clarence’s shoulder. The poor man was usually a morning person, but they’d burned the midnight oil last night. After enjoying a late dinner and drinks at Hogarths, they’d giggled their way through a shared bubble bath back in their room at the Queens hotel. They were both determined to make the most of their short stay in Newport, Wales—one of several stops on their honeymoon tour.

“Come on.” Austin cocked his head to the left toward the Pot Café. “Let’s go ahead and get lunch. The reviews say their coffee is good.”

Clarence nodded. “Sounds great.”

Austin let his hand trail down Clarence’s arm. “Want to go take a closer look at that transporter bridge afterward?”

“Definitely. That thing looks cool. Pure engineering genius.”

“I know, right? I’ve never seen one in the states. Didn’t even know of the existence of such things.”

“It’s perfect, though, for a spot like that. The bank’s too low for a bridge high enough for ships to go under it without outrageously long ramps leading in, and the water’s too shallow at low tide for a regular ferry.”

Inside they were quick to place their orders—steak pie with mash, gravy and veg. Thankfully the coffee arrived soon afterward.

“Mm…that hits the spot.” Clarence grinned and returned his cup to the saucer.

Austin reached out to pat Clarence’s hand. “Penny for your thoughts? You’ve got a faraway look in your eyes.”

Clarence blushed. “Oh. I was thinking about the wedding. Again.”

“Your great-aunt Mabel’s hideous hat?”

Clarence covered his mouth to muffle his snort in response to Austin’s flippant comment. “Speaking of engineering marvels. I want to know the trick to keeping that thing perched on her head.”

Austin snickered. “Probably just simple hat pins, but yeah, it did seem to defy the laws of the universe.”

They fell silent when the waiter returned with their lunch plates. The servings were huge, but then so were their appetites.

Outside the window, a double-decker bus pulled to a stop and a lone passenger got off. Clarence dipped his head toward it. “We need to ride on the top level of one of those.”

“Yeah, let’s check the bus schedule. We’ll take one that goes over that transporter bridge.”

Clarence nodded, then got that dreamy preoccupied look in his eyes again. He picked up Austin’s hand and fiddled with the new wedding ring, spinning it on Austin’s finger. Clarence’s voice was deep and husky as he said, “They’re simple bands, but so much more valuable to me than their monetary worth.” He lifted his gaze to peer into Austin’s eyes. “I’m so glad I found you.”

Austin turned his hand to capture Clarence’s and gave it a squeeze. “I love you.”

“Ditto,” Clarence whispered.

movablebridge_transport

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MovableBridge_transport.gif

Once again, because I can’t resist a good challenge, I’ll take the first 15 prompt words given to me in the comments, below, for next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please. I’ll make up the difference using the random word generator site if I don’t get 15 here.

Follow the links in the menu at the top of the page for information on my published works.

Flash Fiction Friday 11/11/2016 – Random Prompt Words

I’m going with prompt words (rather than a picture) for my ficlet again this week.

screenshot-2016-11-08-16-04-58

Like last week, I went to https://randomwordgenerator.com and asked for fifteen words. To the left is a screen print of the words it gave me, and below is the ficlet I wrote using them.

piano – ridge – north – archive – sample – mouse – veteran – precede – misery – theory – mention – tease – descent – straighten – eliminate

Flash Fiction Friday

Our descent from the north ridge took longer than it should have. More than the hike up had taken, that was for sure. I never would have guessed that Phillip, an Army veteran for Christ’s sake, would jump at the sight of a mouse and twist his ankle.

“For the last time,” Phillip grumbled, “it was a fucking rat.”

“Sure,” I replied. My tone implied a tease rather than acquiescence. Although I had to admit the critter had been on the large side for a mouse, so it might have been a small rat. I couldn’t eliminate that theory, anyway. There was no way to prove it one way or another at this point. The damned thing had come and gone in a flash, and I wasn’t an expert on rodents anyway. Neither was Phillip for that matter.

Phillip leaned heavily on me as we approached a narrowing of the path at a steep section passing between two boulders. I edged in front since it made more sense for me to precede him to make sure he didn’t fall on his ass once he got past the bit where he could use the large rocks for balance as he hopped through.

His lips thinned into a tight grimace as he watched me get into position. The misery personified on his features was like a bucket of icy water thrown on the jokey mood I’d tried to foster. I didn’t know if it was more from his physical pain or the fact he hated to be seen as less than strong and fully capable, but it twisted my heart.

“It might’ve been a rat,” I conceded. “I jumped too. I was just lucky there wasn’t a rock in the wrong place when I came down.”

“There’s no ‘might’ve’ to it.” The muscles in his arms bulged as he braced himself on the boulders and swung his body through the passage. Once he joined me on the other side I reached out and slipped both arms around his waist, pulling him in for a hug.

“I love you,” I murmured.

“Love you, too, Dustin.” Phillip’s words were muffled by my hair as he planted a couple kisses near the top of my head. “Sorry,” he added. I barely heard that last whispered word.

“Shit happens.” I shrugged and slipped to the side, tightening one arm around his back and hooking my fingers through his stiff belt. “Nothing to apologize for. It wasn’t your fault.”

I felt—more than saw—him straighten his back. I wasn’t surprised. “Tough” and “determined” were two words that exemplified Phillip’s character. No way he’d wimp out. He’d steel himself to face whatever he had to deal with no matter the hurdles he encountered.

“Got any bars yet?” Phillip asked.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone. We were almost to the 4-wheeler accessible flat stretch that would be the final leg of our journey back to Phillip’s sister Gracie’s house.

“Finally. A couple,” I said. “What’s her number?”

“Fuck,” he groaned. “I don’t have it memorized. It’s in my contacts list.”

And his phone was charging on Gracie’s kitchen counter. “Email address?” I asked. “I can at least message her with that. Those beep on her phone so she might see it right away.”

“I don’t know. She’s got a string of numbers in it that mean nothing. I just click the contact to send her stuff. I forwarded you that email from her last week. You still have it?”

“Oh yeah, now that you mention it…” I opened my archive folder and scrolled. “Found it.”

I copied the address and fired off a message giving her my phone number and imploring her to call ASAP.

We hadn’t gone even twenty more yards before my phone rang. I answered it on speaker so Phillip could hear her, too. The sound of Phillip’s niece, Ellen, practicing the piano in the background was the first thing we heard.

“Gracie?” Phillip asked.

“Phillip! What’s going on. Are you guys okay?”

“Nothing major,” he replied. “I twisted my ankle, but it’s not broken or anything like that.”

“Shit. Well, you don’t need to walk on it. Hold on.” The phone went silent for a minute, presumably muted, then the background piano practice returned along with Gracie. “Hey, Alex will head your way on the 4-wheeler. You can return on it, and he’ll hike back with Dustin.”

Phillip’s body relaxed perceptibly. “Great. Thanks.”

“I’ll crush up some ice ready for you. See you soon.”

I ended the call and slipped the phone into my pocket. “Just a little farther, then we can sit and wait,” I said.

“First thing I’m going to do is crack open that rosé we brought,” he said.

I shook my head. “No more than a sample taste. You’re going to have to take some pain meds. That doesn’t mix with alcohol.”

Phillip sighed. “Fine,” he grumbled.

I gave him a squeeze. “Love you.”

“Love you, too.”

Because I can’t resist a good challenge, I’ll take the first 15 prompt words given to me in the comments, below, for next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please. I’ll make up the difference using the random word generator site if I don’t get 15 here.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Look for To Love and To Cherish, releasing in ebook formats tomorrow!

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Random Prompt Word Ficlet

I’m doing something different for my Flash Fiction Friday post this week. Instead of an image I’m going with randomly generated prompt words. I’m also not limiting myself to precisely 100 words.

Years and years ago when I first started writing, I published a few stories at Torquere Press. Back then we all had LiveJournal accounts, and the TQ authors could sign up to host the Torquere Social Community on LJ for a day to promote their books. One of the things the authors would often do is put out a call for prompt words early in the morning then produce a bit of flash fiction using those words then post it later in the afternoon.

Needless to say, the first time I hosted—terrified introvert that I am—I organized the hell out of my day and had all my posts prepared well in advance. Except, of course, the prompt word ficlet that I’d talked myself into committing to. Couldn’t write that, obviously, until I had the words.

I was scared shitless the first time, thinking I’d choke and not be able to write anything. Turns out that prompt words are exactly what I need to get ideas flowing. It was downright fun. I kind of miss the challenge.

screenshot-2016-11-01-15-47-59I thought I’d see if I could still do it, so I went to https://randomwordgenerator.com and asked for fifteen words. To the left is a screen print of the words it gave me, and below is the ficlet I wrote using them.

It’s a lot more serious and depressing than most of my writing. Blame the words, not me.

registration – waste – honor – funeral – agent – hiccup – maximum – restrain – queue – prosecute – jury – review – understand – delay – suitcase

Jason shivered as the chill in the small waiting room penetrated his bones. How much longer would he have to wait?

All he wanted was to get on with his life. No more delay. Just do the right thing then move on to wherever Agent Foster took him to begin anew. His suitcase was packed, his goodbyes were said, he was ready to go.

Closing his eyes, Jason leaned his head back against the wall. He didn’t want his mind to queue up a review of the conversation he’d had with his mother the previous night, but as with most things lately, it was out of his control.

“It’s your funeral,” Mom said, her voice flat. “But you’re throwing your life away. It’s such a waste.”

Her fists clenched at her sides as if she were trying to restrain herself from crossing the room to knock some sense into him. She choked back a sob, turning it into a hiccup.

“I have to do it, Mom.”

“Why? I don’t understand why you need to testify.”

“For Matty.” A tear traced its way down Jason’s cheek as he thought about his boyfriend. His love. The man he’d thought he’d spend his life with. They’d been so excited, talking about which classes they were going to sign up for at college registration the next day. “For honor. Because I couldn’t live with myself if Matty’s murderer walked free because I was too chicken shit to go in front of a jury and testify against that bastard.” Jason was determined to do whatever it took to bring the maximum penalty down on the man who’d walked into that restaurant to murder two people. Poor Matty hadn’t been a target. He’d been “collateral damage.”

“They can prosecute him without you. They can get one of the other witnesses. There was a dozen of them!”

“Mom, I’m just starting my life. The others are all older. Established with jobs and kids. I hate that I’ll never see you again.” Jason sniffed loudly at the thought of losing his mother, too. “But witness protection would have been a much bigger deal for any of the others.”

The snick of the door being unlocked and opened brought Jason out of his reverie. Agent Foster appeared in the opening. “You ready to get this done?”

Jason took a deep cleansing breath and blew it out with force. He nodded and stood up. “Past ready.”

Flash Fiction Friday #05

Flash Fiction Friday

Flash Fiction: There isn’t a standard specific definition for this term beyond “short”, but for the purposes of this “Flash Fiction Friday” post it will mean a precisely 100-word story scene written from a photo prompt.

I’m recycling again, today. This is a piece I wrote in a GoodReads M/M Group thread back on November 30, 2015. Alas, I am hopelessly behind on my Camp NaNoWriMo WIP, so I’ve got to cut corners somewhere! 🙂

Today’s prompt picture is:

“Hey, Ben, I gotta go.”

“What, already?”

“Yeah.” I cocked my head, indicating he should follow me out.

Ben peered warily around the room, but everybody was occupied. They weren’t paying any attention to us. He followed, a slow grin growing on his face.

We walked around to the shed’s opening, on the side opposite the house. We didn’t make it inside. Ben pushed me against the jamb and pressed his mouth to mine. I slid down, level with him, and rested my hands lightly on his hips.

“Come with me,” I gasped.

Ben grinned and nodded. “Anywhere and always.”

If anyone would like to join me in a Flash Fiction Friday link-around, please get in touch. My email address is near the bottom of the “Find Me on the Web” page (see tabs at top of this post).

Flash Fiction Friday #01

Flash Fiction: There isn’t a standard specific definition for this term beyond “short”, but for the purposes of this “Flash Fiction Friday” post it will mean a precisely 100-word story scene written from a photo prompt.

Dublin Pic

I’m going to try to do this every Friday. For my first post, today, I’m kind of cheating. I’m recycling a bit of flash fiction I wrote back in November for a thread in Goodreads’ M/M Romance group. Anyway, the moderator posted the above image and it caught my eye.

The nerd in me wanted to know where this cute couple was strolling so I could work that into my little story. A little zooming and a bit of google-foo later, I figured out exactly where they were in Dublin, and wrote these 100 words to go with it:

“Look.” I squeezed Aaron’s hand. “It’s the ‘Wall of Fame’!”

Aaron smiled. “I still can’t believe we’re honeymooning in Dublin.”

I laughed. “Hell, I still can’t believe we were able to get married in our own home town in freakin’ Alabama!”

“We almost there?” Aaron asked.

“The Temple Bar? Yeah, see we’re at Cecilia Street now. It’s just up ahead after The North Face.”

“Make sure you check-in on Facebook. Devin and Stuart are going to be so jealous.”

“I’m not eating oysters. I don’t care what Stuart said.”

“Aw, come on, just wash them down with a Guinness Stout.”