Oct 162014

Welcome back to Micro Bookends. I was completely bowled over by the turnout for the inaugural contest last week. Thanks for taking part. And the quality of your stories? Outstanding. But then I knew they would be. What have we got this week? Well, let me tell you a little about cosmetic surgery.

One of the first recorded descriptions of cosmetic surgery can be found in the Edwin Smith Papyrus which dates back to 1500 BC and contains such prudent advice as this for nasal reconstruction:

Thou shouldst force it to fall in, so that it lies in its place, (and) clean out the interior of both his nostrils with two swabs of linen until every worm of blood which coagulates inside his two nostrils comes forth. Now afterwards thou shouldst take two plugs of linen saturated with grease and put them into his two nostrils. Thou shouldst place two stiff rolls of linen, bound on. Thou shouldst treat him afterwards with grease, honey, (and) lint every day until he recovers.

Someone who’s also had a bit of work done (on her knee, if nowhere else) is Dame Angela Lansbury who celebrates her 89th birthday today. I have a lot in common with Angela, or more accurately her most famous character, Jessica Fletcher. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the middle of writing a story I often have to break off to solve crimes: who ate the last biscuit? (me); who put the empty milk bottle back in the fridge? (me); who didn’t replace the empty loo roll…

Let’s give Angela 89 (gentle) bumps, plus one for luck, with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: shira gal via CC

Photo Credit: shira gal via CC

Judging this week’s contest is Ed Broom, winner of MB101. Read what he has to say about flash fiction, ping pong, and lighthouse keepers here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with FACE and ending with LIFT and incorporating the photo prompt.


Anyone, but especially you!


Why not? Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘who is the the author’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.


Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).




Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

  37 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.02 – FACE [micro] LIFT”

  1. ‘Face it, Dad,’ I say. ‘It’ll never be how it was.’

    He’s pretending not to be hurt, digging into a fried breakfast she’d not have allowed us. I want him to hurt. Sitting like nothing’s happened in somewhere we’d normally have walked past. I push the plate away leaving my knife and fork crossed – another rule broken.

    On the way out, through the shops, I head for the stairs but he stops me.

    ‘It’s ok, son,’ he puts his hand on my shoulder to squash the memory of her taking two steps at a time in the rush to get back to that damn typewriter. ‘We’ll take the lift.’

    110 words


  2. ‘Face facts Trynfor87#, this must be proof that in the 21st Century, Hebrew was still the main language spoken by the peoples of the world. This is the Creator’s language. It’s obvious The Creator loved humans more than foliage.’

    Trynfor87# looked down. It wanted to believe.

    But the tiny life that sprouted in the ‘letter machine’ was a symbol that the Creator had not abandoned this world, that plant matter was far less complicated, messy, intransigent and in fact more amiable than humans. What would a stone know about this anyway?

    Xzyfgr22 replied, ‘Typical of a cheese-plant, it’s all about you isn’t it? It’s all about chlorophyll, sunlight, lift.’

  3. Brains down, Typewriter gone (108 words)

    Face palm! , the cynical part of my mind supplied.
    Just munch on the cookies!, said the ever-happy one.
    But neither was helping. I had writers’ block. In fact, I was so clueless that I was writing about my unconscionable cluelessness.
    Actually, am writing.
    But the fates really are against me. Any moment, a gust of wind will blow past and my parchment will fly away. (Yes, I write on parchment, and yes, I use a quill. Ever since my mum threw away my quaint typewriter, I’ve been using paper. It’s much more reliable.)
    Or maybe not… I’ll learn when the wind gives my meagre writing a lift!

  4. “Face.”

    “You mean heads.”

    “Yes, heads,” he says. We both stare at the silver eagle perched atop my thumb. I look at him just before I flip the coin. He is small for an eight-year-old, but his eyes show the anguish of an old man. He’s had a hard life.

    I flip the coin sending it up with a metallic ring and hear it perch on my palm.

    “It’s heads,” I say and pocket the silver eagle. His eyes go wide and he giggles. This is probably the luckiest thing to ever happen to him. He hugs the old, worthless typewriter. The corners of my mouth lift.

    109 words

  5. The Art of Expression
    ‘Face it, past forty and female in this industry, and you are a relic! No one writes decent scripts for mature women anymore. I want to keep working.That’s why I’m doing it. I’ve completed my research, and I’ve an appointment with the best doctor money can buy.’

    That year when she picked up her Acting Award the audience could only guess that somewhere in her plastic complexion, buried deep in the memory of paralysed muscle was the expression of happiness. It didn’t seem to matter to anyone that the trophy was all the frozen faced actress could lift.
    (99 words)

  6. @blackinkpinkdsk
    110 words
    Evolution Misplaced

    “Face your fears,” Flynn projected.

    “Where’d you discover this?” her mother replied via transmutative thought.

    Their conversation continued, wordlessly.

    What’s a fear?

    An imagined emotion humans once created, long after we removed the primitive receptors in their DNA. Are you accessing old files again?

    I found this: “We are all museums of fear. -Charles Bukowski” I wonder what a museum would’ve felt like inside. How would the air of fear have smelt? Bukowski was a writer. Humans wrote things—feelings. Look, I found a photograph.

    Lynn downloaded the image directly into her mother’s viewfinder.

    A typewriter. How primitive. Flynn, feelings are nonsense, dangerous. Enough! You’re going to miss your lift.

  7. Face up and forgotten, the remnants of untold stories lie in the dirt, a two leaf clover breaching the hull. Two leaf clovers don’t bring good luck – that’s four leaf clovers. And two leaves don’t mean half the luck, it means no luck. The wind understands my plight for she also caries stories and words on her wings. But she can’t help me.

    I miss the caress of fingertips on the keys, the soft shifting of paper rolling across the cylinder, and the polite click of ink hitting the page. Untold stories should not be forgotten. So many words deserve the page. One day the shadows will lift.

    108 words

    108 words

    “Face forward, troops! Today we take back Home from the invaders!”

    Lieutenant Colonel Antoinetta pressed her face close to Private Antony’s.

    “Can we win this, Private?”

    “Yes, ma’am!”

    “The beetles have defaced Home and eaten our favourite letters. Will we allow them to continue?”

    “No, ma’am!”

    “Troops! Are we going to kick some beetle shell?”

    The third ant battalion roared.

    Antoinetta her place at the corner of the typewriter. Many ants were going to die that day, and they might have to destroy the best part of Home in the process, but they would finally be free.

    She raised a foreleg, and issued the command.

    “Now, troops! Lift!”

  9. Title: The Lift
    @Making_Fiction #FlashDog
    110 words

    Face battered and numb. His bloodied hands almost fractured; skin rips as it’s shed from glove.

    He has seen this moment. He has seen every moment. He’s like a writer at keyboard, perfect plot in mind.

    He has smelled dankness of old sweat. He has touched the powdery talc, the burning friction of ropes and the flex of canvas underfoot. He has heard the beat of his heart, the bloodthirsty cries of spectators and the sounds of pummelling fists – the echoes of pain itself.

    He smiles. He’ll change the plot of the story and change society with it. Clay will become Ali. His hands clasp triumphantly on the belt. Lift.

  10. “Face what?”

    “Facebook! You must have heard of it, Moshe.”

    “No. What is it?”

    “Only the world’s biggest online social networking service!”

    “Social networking?”

    “Oy! Your mother was right to put it in the bin… Micro fiction blogs: that’s where all the amateur writing kudos is now. Buy yourself a laptop. You’ll never become the next Jessica Fletcher bashing the keys of that battered old typewriter.

    “But – you were going to help me look for it.”

    “Any idea how big this landfill site is? We won’t find it in all this rubbish! I’ve had enough. I’m heading back to Tel Aviv.

    “Do you want a lift?”

    106 words

  11. Hi people! I thought I’d join the party this week. =) Here it is:

    Giving a Lift
    @_Hannah Heath
    110 words

    Face. Height. Hair color. Jo and I were identical in appearance. But she was always better than me at everything, especially at writing. I would watch her type her stories, wishing that I could be her. She was forever giving me “a lift.” Sweetly trying to make me feel like her equal when I wasn’t.

    Then we learned that she had something else I didn’t have. Something ugly growing inside her.

    Soon she couldn’t write anymore. Her typewriter collected dust.

    Seeing her lying in that hospital bed, I wished once again that I could be her. To trade places so that she could type again. To give her a lift.

    • Whoops. Just realized that I was supposed to use “Face” instead of “Faces.” Oh well. At least I had fun writing it. =)

      • Let me know if you want to change it. I’d hate for a great story to be ineligible for judging because of my own pedantry!

        • Can you switch the first paragraph out with this one:

          Face. Height. Hair color. Jo and I were identical in appearance. But she was always better than me at everything, especially at writing. I would watch her type her stories, wishing that I could be her. She was forever giving me “a lift.” Sweetly trying to make me feel like her equal when I wasn’t.

          The word count remains the same. Thank you so much for dealing with me! I’ll pay closer attention next time. =)

    • Wow! This story bowled me over. Yes, I know the results are out already, but seriously, amazing story!!

  12. Away

    Face reflected in broken glass in the graveyard of potential. The resting place of things that could have transformed into possibilities.
    Classic cars meant to have been returned to glory days have sagged, and broken down further, leaving their headlight faces looking forlorn.
    Overused washing machines meant for refurbishing have become planters for wayward seeds. Even a typewriter, that might have taught a skill to us children, or provided a way to produce something original, fills with rot as the remaining plastic bits refuse to disappear.
    I was born in a household that embraces half-living.
    Today I’m leaving. For anywhere but here.
    Thumb out, hoping for a lift.

    109 words

  13. @stellakateT
    108 words

    Letters of Love

    Face it, conquer it, I keep repeating to myself, “Be brave”. I’d been hacking away at the brambles at the end of the garden and forgotten I’d thrown it there years ago when the addiction was at its highest.

    Those days I typed beautiful flowery prose. I described events and people so accurately that my neighbours and friends gasped with awe and anticipation for the next instalment. The local paper was full of it but I remained anonymous.

    Feeling aroused by the thought of re-starting my career I decided Stan the publican might be the first recipient of a poison pen letter. I lever the spade and lift.

  14. Face your fears

    Face your fears, John repeated to himself. Every time you have one of those dying dreams, you have to stand up to what was scaring you. It was the stairs down from the flat this time. He had dreamed he was dying. Again.

    He had to face his fears. He had done everything the counsellor had said – he had even typed up the stories that stayed in his head when he opened his eyes in the morning. She was right; in the light they were ridiculous.

    But he could not face the stairs. He pressed the button and, when the doors opened, he stepped in. There was no lift.

    109 words



    Brian S Creek

    My face.
    It feels wrong.
    There was an explosion.
    Now I’m trapped under something.
    Pinned under a beam that fell.
    I can smell burning meat all around.
    The pain is everywhere and I can’t move
    With each breath my lungs fill with thick smoke.

    I try and think back to what caused the accident.

    I’d repeated an experiment that the Germans had tried.
    I sat typing up the notes of results.
    I finished the page and pressed return.
    Thunder and lightning erupted around me.
    I don’t want to die.
    There’s no way out.
    I must escape.
    Must try.

  16. All we have:

    Face to face we sit, each with a hand on the typewriter, neither of us willing to let go. Keys worn by decay, shell inhabited by invertebrate, it told stories to die for, knew words beyond our imagination.

    These stories elicited bliss, a rare unbridled freedom. I looked my sister in the eye, held tight to the machine and pushed my weight forward, the metal impacted with a crunch and her hand finally released.

    Drawing the typewriter close to me I lay back in the leaves and waited for the words to weave, for my spirits to lift.

    98 words

  17. Little Thith

    Face. She means face.

    For a minute I thought my little sister was inviting me to contemplate her deepest beliefs. But I see she’s lost another tooth.

    “Look at my faith!” she demands again, grinning. A beaming keyboard with missing letters. (But mostly the “S”.)

    “Yeah, very nice,” I say. I go back to my iPad. Then I look up. “Erm…can you say ‘sister’?”





    She glares. “Thtop it.”

    I look down at my iPad, and say casually: “So…um…what’s that word, again, for what people use to get from one floor of a building to the next?”

    She giggles. “Thilly!” she says. “It’th a lift!”

    107 words

    • Very funny piece.

      “Look at my faith!” is a wonderful pun.

      Totally realistic ribbing of a younger “thibling” and a great punchline.

      Good job!

  18. The Lucky Punch
    by A J Walker

    Face down in the mud, I feel like fighting for her affections was not the fine idea I thought it was.

    Feeling sore and embarrassed, thinking bruised ego and fractured chin. Furrowed brow covered in earth. Punch drunk and faint, lying on a typewriter, its spacebar broken.

    “Face up to it boy, you’re not everything you thought you were. You’re not even a smudge on my shoes.”

    I cannot figure out what what the feck that means.

    I fought the bore and the bore won.

    My limbs seems to be failing, flailing. Can’t pick myself up.

    Feeling for my phone to call Phil. “Sorry mate, any chance of a lift?”

    (110 words)


  19. “Face didn’t fit.”
    “Excuse me?”
    “They said your face didn’t fit.”
    She looks perplexed at her manager as they sit in his small office at the temping agency.
    “But… that’s discrimination! I could type as well as the rest of them… until they gave me that knackered old typewriter!”
    Shifting sideways, she lifts her left buttock almost imperceptibly, but the fart still echoes loudly in the enclosed space.
    “My goodness, that stinks – you said you were cured!”
    She blushes, a dawning realisation coming over her ruddy features:
    “Bloody hell, I’ll bet it’s because the boss was with me when I farted in the lift.”


  20. Rogue

    “Face: Female, 17, Eurasian.”

    The Lovebot beeped assent and the bulbous white head glowed as morphological circuitry kicked in. Will lay back, naked, watching as the features formed and synthetic hair extruded from the cranium.

    Transformed, the Lovebot crawled into the capsule room and laid beside him. It felt warm, almost human, and he smiled.

    “What’s your name?”

    The Lovebot beeped softly then shrieked, ceramic teeth clashing like broken typewriter arms.

    Will screamed, but it rolled across him, smothering him with its carbon steel frame.

    He did not wake until he was high above the Tokyo skyline, the Lovebot scrambling to its nest, carrying him in an effortless fireman’s lift.

    my demons are facing me

    inside my head are all the things i fear

    i feel i can no longer write

    this darkness is unending

    i don’t feel anything

    i’m falling apart

    i’m tired of fighting

    i’m lost and trying to die

    i want it to stop

    this depression will never lift

    100 words

  22. Face reality girl. There’s never going to be any money for college. You’ll never have a chance for success. My only hope is to receive a scholarship. These were the thoughts running through Vanessa’s mind as she hacked away at her grandmother’s old manual typewriter. She was actually writing her term paper on a typewriter. She wouldn’t dare let her classmates know. Her mother said she wouldn’t waste money on a computer when they had them at the library. To her mother, money was better spent on good wine and this rendered her too drunk to give Vanessa a lift.
    100 words

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