Nov 062014

Let me shake you by the hand and welcome you to Micro Bookends 1.05.

Handedness (whether one is better able to perform tasks with the right or left hand) is a fascinating subject that reveals a lot about how our brains are wired, and if you believe myth and folklore, a lot about our social behaviour. Historically left-handedness was seen as being inferior to right-handedness. In many European languages, including English, right also means correct, while the Latin adjective sinister means left. This remains in the medical term sinistral which refers to the left side of the body. While most people are either right-handed or left-handed, there are two other categories of handedness: ambidextrous (equally comfortable using either the right or left hand), and cross-dominant where one hand is preferred for some tasks and the other hand for others.

Glenn Frey, one of the founding members of Eagles, and celebrating his 66th birthday today, is left-handed but plays the guitar, to great effect, right-handed. Eagles had five number-one singles, with Hotel California being their most successful. Frey is credited with penning the lyrics (presumably left-handed); an allegory about the excess and greed of the music scene in 1970s LA. The dueling guitar solo by Joe Walsh and Don Felder was voted the 8th best guitar solo ever in 2008 by Guitar World. Unfortunately Eagles suffered an acrimonious breakup, a series of moderately-successful solo careers, an unlikely reunion (spawning the aptly titled Hell Freezes Over album), and the inevitable lawsuits.

Let’s help Glenn remember the good times with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Forsaken Fotos via CC.

Photo Credit: Forsaken Fotos via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is KM Zafari, winner of MB1.04. Read her winning story here, and what she has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with CROSS and ending with DOMINANT 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:




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.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation is allowed) will be eligible to win.

  42 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.05 – CROSS [micro] DOMINANT”

  1. Stalemates
    (110 words)
    Cross. Nought. Cross. Nought. Draw.
    Invisible little points scratched in the air between us. Your fault. Your fault. Words unsaid, yet, articulated in every action.
    In my mind’s eye, I strip back the obscene graffiti. I restore the broken glass. I polish and shine. I try to pour what we were back into the gap between us, and I see once again the majestic affair this used to be.
    But the image shatters, I hear that click your tongue makes when you’re being impatient.
    And I hate us. We are ramshackle.
    Despite myself, I’m drawn into the endless tit for tat. Cross. Nought. Pointless. Only the void between us dominant.

  2. If You Believe
    110 words

    “Cross him off the list.”

    Jess pencilled a line through Druggie Singer Guy.

    “We’ve eliminated all the suspects, Steph. What now?”

    “I have no idea.” Steph stared forlornly into the colourful depths.

    “Steph? Are you okay?”

    “No. Why would someone do this to my pool? It looks like a unicorn puked all over it.”

    “Maybe we should stop looking for the culprit and clean it,” Jess suggested.

    “Fine. Let’s get the mops.”

    Golden eyes followed as they left the room. A stomach churned in anticipation.

    “I’ll make them believe in me,” he said, stamping a silver hoof.

    His kind had fallen, but one day soon they would again be dominant.

  3. At Cross Purposes

    out all thoughts of my job.——over into mindfulness.

    This is
    the life! Warm sands, cool beer.——- is a pretty distraction.

    hot! Wanna dance, love?——another rust stain on your tiffany-twisted soul.

    another margarita?——is a drained pool and you’re diving headfirst into it.

    off to her bungalow.——not letting you sabotage this opportunity for liberation.

    has taken control of my hands!—— must be done to escape these chambers.

    this can’t be happening!———-change without decisive action.

    please! Oh, god, no!———-living as a prisoner.

    So much
    blood… ———-energy wasted

    not my fault!———-time I become dominant.

    107 words
    Nancy Chenier
    (apologies for getting funky with format–my original had the shared words centered. Must learn more html)

  4. Voice of thy Brother’s Blood
    109 words

    Cross tattoos cover his forearms. They pump like pistons when he strikes. Every blow that lands on his opponent’s face sends spit, and sweat, and teeth, and blood into the crowd, and they roar. They’re thirsty for violence, and the abandoned pool house is the only place where their bloodlust is sated.

    Humanity is lost here. The loser is sprawled on the floor like a defeated gamecock. The winner’s muscles tense sending ripples through his skin. He delivers the coup de grâce. Tomorrow the blood stain on the pool’s bottom will be the only evidence of the blood sport; a warning to the weak, a trophy for the dominant.

  5. Look Before You Leap

    Cross chatter, they called it; conflicting messages from the opposing hemispheres of his brain, false impressions leaking across the fused synapses of the corpus callosum.
    Tim called it a glimpse of what was to come and discharged himself from their care before lithium and CBT gave way to surgery, normality and blindness.
    He liked seeing the rot that would one day set in, the bare bones of the abandoned building and the yellowed skull beneath the skin.
    He liked to see the damage he was doing to his self and his soul.
    He saw it, and then he dived in anyway;
    It was his way of remaining in charge.

    110 words

    • I love this week’s challenge. So many different directions with power words. This is another fantastic read!

    • Great depiction of a person with mental health problems who doesn’t want to lose the parts of himself he knows. I’ve never thought about what a scary decision it must be for folks in that position.

  6. Young Love

    Cross your heart and hope to die screeched Sarah
    I was supposed to be brave, the boy born in the rough part of town, Sarah born to be Princess Tippytoes. This place gave me the creeps. Once they had galas and swimming parties and even the Olympic trials. Now it was graffiti and broken bottles and discarded condoms. We all sniggered when Miss made us practise putting them on bananas. Sarah winked at me and I blushed crimson!

    Looking at me with those flashing blue eyes I crossed my heart, putty in her hands. Generations of Irish men in my family turned in their graves. We O’Connors were once dominant.

  7. Vandalized

    Cross the line, life on the edge, there’s no turning back. The blood spattered canvas of my heart was once an open book. Now it rests in darkened caverns and graffitied rafters of abandoned worlds.

    No longer dreams of fairy tales in a color-book story and no white knight to come and rescue me. I paint outside the lines and leave my chaos tattooed on the flesh of men, feeding off danger.

    His icy eyes told of lies, and I knew what our night would include. It was lips to wrists and impassioned power play, prisoner beneath his kiss and in the end a switch, I the dominant.

    109 words

  8. The Foretelling

    105 words

    “Cross my palm with silver, ‘andsome,” mocked Kai, his laughter echoing as he jumped into the long-empty pool, aerosol at the ready. “Here.”

    Sam looked at the coins nestling in Kai’s out-stretched hand. His jaw tightened.

    “You shouldn’t have done that,” he said, picturing the gypsy bruised and beaten, remembering her words, knowing fate already had a hand on Kai’s shoulder.

    He heard footsteps. Her family had come as she said they would. Sam ran.

    She had been right about that, he thought. Self-preservation overrode everything, including friendship and loyalty, made him a coward; shamefully for him, the need to survive would always be dominant.

    • I said above that I found the ending word this week quite difficult to stick on the end without it feeling forced. You managed to put it in quite nicely.

  9. In the Abyss
    108 words

    “Cross over, please.”

    Angela heard the words, muffled, as if spoken through liquid. She tried to focus on where she was, but everything was muddled, like watercolors pooling into a mess of muddy hues.

    Panic seized her. She remembered frantically reaching up as she sank, water filling her lungs. Her silent scream was lost in the abyss.

    “Rest in peace, Angela, please,” Vivian said quietly, dropping a rose into the empty pool. After twenty years, she could still feel her friend there, trapped, stuck in that horrible moment.

    Vivian thought she heard Angela’s voice. She mouthed a silent goodbye as the pain washed over her anew, overpowering, dominant.

  10. All I Have Loved Were Shallows
    101 words

    “Cross purposes, sir?”


    “I’m sorry you feel that way, sir. Did you not request us to cleanse your pool?”


    “As I thought was clear, sir, here at Laguna Inc we are no mere janitors. Our aim is to purify, clarify and rarefy. What was once sterile and stagnant has become sportive and sparkling. Your natatorium, sir, will be the talk of the triennial.”


    “Splendid, sir is coming around. Forget Hockney. With this piece, sir will make the biggest splash.”


    “They sing, sir, do they not? Moss green, orange peel, blue jeans. Your formerly recessive space, sir, is now vibrantly dominant.”

  11. The Hustler

    Cross action?”

    “‘That’s right. He claims he broke his left arm falling into an empty pool on your property. He’s suing you for loss of earnings.”

    “But I’m suing that scumbag for the damage he caused organising a rave on my development site!”

    “He’s got one of those ambulance-chasers representing him.”

    “I’ve known Dexter since he was a gauche geek, tongued-tied and awkward. I was the cool kid, took pity on him, defended him. He looked up to me. Then he discovered punk rock; overnight he became cool. Started deejaying, changing records with both hands… Hey! He’s ambidextrous!

    He won’t get the upper hand again. I’ll show him who’s dominant!

    Word Count: 110

  12. 106 words

    Directions from a Dirty Vagrant

    “Cross the tracks, take a right on Wilshire. Old community pool be on the left.” The dirty vagrant held out a hand like a bellhop in a five star hotel. I pressed a single into his filthy paw just hard enough to let him know there wasn’t any more coming. With his free hand, he grabbed my outstretched arm by the elbow and pulled me close, a power move I’d seen politicians and CEOs use then he grinned, displaying scattered blackened nubs, gifts from a life-altering meth addiction. When he released me, I ran toward the tracks, humiliatingly subservient. Behind me he laughed, deliriously dominant.

    • ‘… just hard enough to let him know there wasn’t any more coming.’ Terrific line. Really like the tone of this one.

    • I too really liked the ‘… just hard enough to let him know…’ phrase.

      “…a power move I’d seen politicians and CEOs use…”: another great line, marking the flip in the story with the role reversal between the two characters. I love the way the description of the down-and-out reinforces our preconceptions while his actions do just the opposite, hinting at a back story I am intrigued to know.

      And why is the other character literally on the wrong side of the tracks, asking directions from a grubby vagrant?

      This is the opening to a much longer story I would love to read.

      Fantastic job!

    • I love the shift in power, here, established with no spoken words. Fantastic.

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