Angry Hourglass

Flash Friday and an AH roll...

This weekend it was my turn once more with Voima to judge for Flash Fiction Friday. It was a tough one to fit in as I was working all but Sunday, and on Sunday I was at my parents for part of the day for their - almost a very large - anniversary.

I was pleased to complete the judging in good time and V and myself were pretty close with our initial picks and the top five or so were easy enough to pick. I had some IT issues as well as the time issues so unfortunately our results didn't get posted until Tuesday which I apologise for. It was nice to see that Team 8 had picked their second new winner. Though I was well surprised Holly hadn't won before. Check out the picks and the
winning tale here.

On the train home from my parents, after selecting the FFF places, I sketched out a very quick story for
Angry Hourglass which I typed up on my return home. It was quite a silly piece - but with the photo it asked for it. Still, was surprised to get a 2nd place for it. Brilliant! The piece is reproduced below beneath the photographic prompt:

Butts


Two butts and a Maybe
A.J. Walker

I love you more than… Well, words are more your thing than mine. Sometimes. But let’s just say- more than a big bone.

I thought I had you trained though. That we understood each other after I had those telepathy lessons with Gary the Yorkshire born Chihuahua – who seemed to have it made in her place. Admittedly she was a little confused by her name.

Still, after those lessons things seemed to improve. I mean you stopped giving me that vile pink tinned stuff that smelt of corpses and rancid butter around that time and gave me that other posh nosh stuff that smelt of beef stew and dumplings. That was much better; though I have a sneaking suspicion it’s the same recipe just a little tweaked. I am thankful for the tweaks and culinary finesse in any case.

Then you started taking me on walks, proper walks, when I wanted them. Not just when you felt like it, or the weather dictated.

Everything, thanks to my newly learnt Garyesque telepathy was coming up roses. Or at least Pedigree Chum.

So, when I told you the energy I was getting from the proper diet and exercise was making me a bit… well, frisky and that I wanted to see more butts, well I was expecting to sniff out some mighty fine opportunities. Butts. Dog butts.

But no. No you imbecile. I’m here tied up by a bloody trashcan with ‘Butts’ written on it. Telepathy is too good for you. Wasted. Telepathetic.

Cigarette butts. FFS. No idea what ‘FFS’ stands for but I reckon that’s right. FFS.

Butts: dog’s butts!

It’s quite cute though that aluminium can. Says ‘butts’ on it too, which is turning my head a little. I can see my silvering reflection. If I squint, and I am, it could be a mighty fine lady dog looking back at me. Woof!

Okay, I’m not sure this is right, or wrong. But who decides that? It’s not you woman. Butts I said. Clearly!

Right, tin-can tease are you ready for some high pitched Chihuahau action? I’ll be gentle. Though maybe a little manic… Prepare to be boarded!

Howl!!
(360 words)






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Recent Flash Challenges

Recent Weeks

I've been quietly prolific over the last month or so with entries all over the place in
Flash Friday, Angry Hourglass, Microbookends, 3Line Thursday and even Luminous Creatures.

Been getting a few honourable or special mentions and even runner up places. So not been doing bad at all.

As these all get posted on the respective websites I will post a few of the stories up here shortly for posterity.


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Angry Hourglass #65 - Podium

Following last week's surprising win over on Angry Hourglass it was nice to write without the smidgeon of pressure of 'needing' to win it this time. I liked the picture. It looked very much of a time and place and was chock with people so dialogue and story opportunities abounded. The big scissors little scissors thing was what I first noticed in the photo (reproduced below). Anyway, my story didn't win this week and why should it with such brilliant writerers going for it again this week? But it was another Flash Dog winner in Foy. And I managed a podium with third place. Huzzah! The story is presented below.

Check out the results page
here.

Note that there will be no more Angry Hourglass now until June.

Little Man Big Scissors
Click on the photo to see all the entries and comments.

In Three Pieces
The two men stood before the invited throng, their baby – the newest hotel in the city – finally ready. Photographers jostled for position jagging elbows and lenses into their enemies, just wanting to get the picture and go; probably to the corner bar.

Gerry looked across to Harold and his giant scissors.
“Overcompensating?”

“You don’t want to know.” Harold said, through gritted teeth.

Gerry looked at the small set of scissors Harold had given him earlier. Prick.

Scissors: a neat device for precision cutting. Two pieces useless without the simple pin holding them together. You can’t cut with one half of a pair; you can stab with it.

“What are we waiting for?” Gerry asked.

“The Times.”

The two men held the satin ribbon, both wanting to get the morning over.

Symbolic: An opening. An ending. The building finished, relationships over.

The pin.

“Where’s Caroline?”

“She’ll be here. Won’t miss the chance to get in the papers.” Harold said.

“These guys won’t wait long. Neither will I.”

Gerry surveyed the cold marble foyer. Photographers. Journalists. Cameramen. Politicians. Bankers. But no Caroline.

“Henry Ellis from the Times.” Henry smiled at them as he arrived before them, seemingly untouched by lens or elbow. “Any comments for our readers on this magnificent, if tardy, hotel?”

Gerry wanted to punch his smug face through the back of his head.

“Yes, it’s been a trying project. But we are where we are and I think I – we – have delivered an outstanding development which will be the hotel of choice for the city.”

“For those who can afford it.” Henry said.

“Of course. There are different markets. Let’s not get into that.”

Harold’s practiced smile bloomed across his face. “Gerry and I will cut the ribbon. Cameras ready?”

The red satin ribbon floated in three pieces to the floor. A few posed photographs together, with cloying saccharin smiles, and it was over.

Caroline trumped them – all over the front pages. Their opening relegated to a single photograph and line under "Announcements".

Caroline: The pin between two egos. Broken. Fallen from the penthouse window. A scissor blade through the neck. A bloody white dress, picture perfect as always.

(360 words)


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Angry Hourglass #64 - Flash Master

Oh me, oh my! One of my aims this year was to win Angry Hourglass at least once and I've gone and done it with last Sunday's story. Flippin' made up, I am.

FlashMast 100

Surprised to win it with a story that was almost all dialogue, but it must have hit a spot with the judge - the wonderful
Voima Oy (who happened to win AH last week).

The winner's podium comprised three flash dogs, and more incredibly two writers from the same writing group - Poised Pen. I wonder if that has been done before? The link to the winner's page is here, go over and read all the stories.

Below is the photograph prompt from Ashwin Rao and my story is reproduced here too.
Vinyl - Ashwin Rao 200
Photo credit: ashwin rao


Taking Names

‘That was something beautiful.’ said the stranger, as Sam left the stage.

‘Err, thanks. Like a bit of Phil Collins do you?’

‘Who doesn’t?’ said the man, preening his scarlet jacket. ‘Who you with?’

‘Just waiting for a mate.’

‘No, I mean who’s representing you? You’re recording, right?’

Sam laughed. ‘Hardly, working down the takeaway.’

The man leant forward. ‘You telling me you’re available, that I can sign you up? Because you’ve a talent I can do something with.’

Sam stepped away. ‘I’ll have what you’ve been drinking. You’re seriously off it! It’s just karaoke.’

‘I’ll get you whatever you like. But I’ve got to sign you up. Here’s my card.’ he said, smoothly taking it from behind Sam’s ear.

‘Mr Lyle, what’s the B?’

‘Brian.’

‘I’m Sam Bailey. You don’t look like a Brian, Brian. ’

‘Who does? I’ll take you to my record shop, show you who I’ve produced. Got the rights to so many people you’ll know. Honest, I guarantee you a hit like this.’ Brian flicked his fingers, producing a smoking cigar from thin air.

‘Hey, we can’t smoke in here!’ Sam said, nervously.

‘You can. You’re a star, Sam. You can do what you want. Need to do something about your name though.’

Sam couldn’t remember leaving the club but found himself in an old fashioned record shop with Brian.

‘Take a look while I think about your name. All these records, all these artists, are mine.’

John Belushi singing “Soul Man” started playing as Sam excitedly flicked through the beautiful vinyl.

‘Yazz “The Only Way is Up” - mum’s got this!”

'Did well, like I told her. She was wrong, of course.'

‘Look, I’ll sign. Bit of a laugh. Even a one hit wonder would be amazing,’ said Sam. He was being swept away by the vinyl euphoria, as he signed the contract. ‘Don’t even care if you’re a rip off merchant.’

‘You’ve got “One Direction”!?’

‘Yep, gave them an extended contract. Nice boys, well some of them. Just started taking them down now one by one. One Direction: indeed.’

‘Well, you’ve got me now, Brian.’

‘Call me Belial, or Lucifer if you prefer.’ said Belial.


Angry Hourglass - 19 April 2015

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"The Last Car in Salford" - Angry Hourglass #60

Last week (w/e 22nd March) I managed a little writing including; Three Line Thursday, Microbookends, Flash Fiction Friday and Angry Hourglass.

Made up today to be told I got 2nd place in the
Angry Hourglass challenge (No. 60). My best showing in AH so far. Maybe I can win it one day… It's a tough ask though with the quality of the writers who enter AH.

In the meantime here is my AH story. I actually wrote it as '
The Last Car in Fazakerley' but that would have given it away as being my story so changed it to Salford. The judge (Sal) pointed out I'd put her name in the title, so perhaps that was a good idea too!

The dramatic picture was provided by
Ashwin Rao:
HalfCar



The Last Car in Salford

It was a reckoning, but it came not as anticipated. Somehow the world turned – not on man, but on car. The ground began to reclaim its metals, sucking back the iron, aluminium and chromium into the rocks, as a child sucks a sweet.

“It’s the End of Days!” shouted the world’s media and religious leaders, at a hysterical populous. And it was; for a while.

Henry’s car had been eaten in the first weeks of The Reclamation.

“Never liked it anyway. Cost a fortune to keep on the road.” Henry said.
“Didn’t waste too much time trying to get your tax and insurance back though did you? That broke the internet. The insurance companies were never going to last the week.” said Michelle.

“But how do I get down the Asda?” said Henry.

“Flag down a taxi, mate.” said Michelle, laughing so much she got hiccups.

They walked down the empty roads towards the river.

“I’m enjoying the silence.” said Michelle. “And no, I don’t mean you.” She gently pushed him.

Henry spread his arms to the world – in a ‘all this could be yours’ gesture. “Yes, it’s a blessing. No doubt about it. Shame about the pubs though.”

“Trust you. No milk or bread and you’re worried about where the hops are.”

Henry raised both eyebrows. “And…?”

Michelle changed tack. “You know it’s 28 days since the first ones went? Apt, aint it?” She pointed down the empty streets.

Henry shrugged.

“You’ve not seen ’28 Days Later’?”

Henry shook his head. “Not that I remember. I’ve never been into rom-coms.”

Michelle laughed.

“Look there. There’s half a car. I haven’t seen one for days; thought they’d all gone now.” Michelle said, pointing at the poignant reminder of a different time.

“Must be the last car in Salford that. Can’t have been here that long either – it’s still got its tyres!”

The couple laughed then absently held each others hands.

“I’m not sure how the world will do without cars. But I’m looking forward to seeing it.” Henry said.

“It will be a better place. At the very least there won’t be a ‘Fast and Furious 32’.” Michelle said.

(360 words)
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Flash Week: Microbookends, FFF and AH

Well, I didn't have a really prolific week last week. Started some or thought I'd do a few more - like Finish That Thought and Thursday Threads - but in the end last week just saw me finishing Microbookends, Flash Fiction Friday and Angry Hourglass. The latter two are the ones I am keenest to try and do come what may!

Microbookends I couldn't format as I wanted as I wasn't sure how to put it into the correct HTML code as I wanted it presented in four columns. I had to present it as a single column instead. Ho hum. Anyway the way I wanted it to look is below. The piece as ever has to start and end with the prompted words - in this case Peace and Prize - and be between 90 and 110 words.

A-Z of War and Peace: X and Make Up

PeacePrize

I managed to get
Flash Fiction Friday done. And was quite happy with it. Though someone pointed out that the last minute addition of the footnote had taken me over the word count. Which is a shame because it didn't need the note - though I quite liked it. (more ho humming).

As for the
Angry Hourglass I've no ho humming. Just up against some very talented guys and gals (very very well attended by the Flash Dogs).

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