Nov 202014

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.07. Can I get anyone a drink? How about a Shirley Temple (ginger ale, a splash of grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry), an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade), a Roy Rogers (cola and grenadine), a Freddie Bartholomew (ginger ale with lime juice), or a Tortuga (iced tea and brown sugar, garnished with cinnamon and a lime wedge)? What do you mean there’s no alcohol in them? Of course there isn’t, they’re mocktails!

Someone who enjoys a refreshing cranberry mocktail is teetotal U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who celebrates his 72nd birthday today. Mr Biden has something of a reputation for opening his mouth before engaging his brain. In 2009 Mr Biden may have disclosed the existence of a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Observatory (the official home of the incumbent VP) from where previous VP Dick Cheney was said to have orchestrated the War on Terror following the 9/11 attacks.

Let’s help Mr Biden celebrate his special day with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: British Red Cross via CC.

Photo Credit: British Red Cross via CC.

The Judge

Yours truly will be donning his judging hat this week.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with MOCK and ending with TAIL 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.

  86 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.07 – MOCK [micro] TAIL”

  1. It’s Always Tea Time

    Mock Turtle! Simon inspected the tattoo in the lantern light. Alice was also there, leering out from the dark forest that coated the man’s stomach. A snore and the canvas rolled over. Simon moved on, picking his way through sleepers, the rumble of bombs above shaking dust from the ceiling.

    The doctor was waiting. Simon took the proffered pills, handing over the scavenged relics. The doc shooing Simon away, greedy fingers rummaging through the treasure from before.

    Simon slunk into the shadows, swallowing the pills dry.

    Time slowed, the bombs fading.

    Then the rabbit appeared, laughing, watch in hand, running for a tunnel of light.

    Simon followed, chasing its tail.




  2. News of the Weird

    Mock examinations of children performed by Doctor James Weddleton resulted in seven children being hospitalized with strange respiratory symptoms, uncontrollable muscle spasms, and odd skin growths around the posterior pelvic region. Awaiting trial Weddleton declined comment, but witnesses at the children’s hospital where the seven children are hospitalized, said they currently awaiting surgery to remove the growths, some of which are more than six inches long and seem to contain bony material. Each child had puncture marks, possible evidence of injections and when asked of his diagnosis, lead surgeon Dr. Walcott Jimmyjammpy replied, “Of it I can’t make heads or tails.”

    101 Words

    • Welcome to the dork side, Josh!

      Did you mean to say “…they are currently…”? If you ask David nicely, he may deign to make this change for you.

      (As you are a newbie, you are probably not aware of Mr Borrowdale’s strict policy – see full rules – that the “bookends” should be used as given; to conclude your otherwise cracking piece with ‘tails’ instead of ‘tail’ may be a fatal mistake unless you can come up with an alternative)

    • Like the weird humour here. 🙂

  3. Bravo, Josh! This is so lever. Well-done!

  4. Birdsong

    Mock warfare. The boys practiced in the schoolyard, emulating our elders. I observed, peering over the pages of my book. Until I became the protagonist of my own story.

    A decent vocabulary and a few untold quips proved to be enough ammunition for the blitz of Günther. Mock the mockingbird long enough, and you might be amazed at what you’ll unearth.

    “Günther, heads I win, tails you lose?”

    “Talkin’ to me, Walter? Heads, dummkopf.”

    A sin to kill a mockingbird? Maybe, but what if the tortured bird decided to turn the tables and slit your throat?

    He never saw my knife coming. “You lose.” I slit him sternum to tail.

    110 words

  5. The Mutant’s Tale
    110 words

    “Mock me if you will,” the cat woman said, “but I  know the ways of this world, the plants and animals.
    I can help you. ”

    The villagers gathered around, grinning gap  teeth and missing limbs in ragged clothes.  Their children sniveled, as the woman brought out bags and bottles from her cart.  She handed a bag of herbs to a young mother, heavy with another child. A tincture in a bottle for the boy  with the bad eye.

    ‘We don’t want mutants, here!” one man shouted.

    “Suit yourselves,” the woman said.  Dogs and cats formed a circle of protection, teeth and claws.
    She vanished, with a flick of her tail.

  6. The Nation’s State of Mind
    (96 words)

    Mock vaccinations were clearing their gurgling lungs, drying their weeping sores, sewing together their broken spirits, stitching up their despair.

    The Bowler Hats congratulated themselves on employing the most cost effective placebo since Jesus Christ.

    But words got out and spread like a mutating virus:


    So in the safety of shelters tucked underground, they bludgeoned and gouged, raged and violated, tortured and brutalised until only their corpses were left to top and tail.

  7. The Nation’s State of Mind
    (96 words)

    Mock vaccinations were clearing their gurgling lungs, drying their weeping sores, sewing together their broken spirits, stitching up their despair.

    The Bowler Hats congratulated themselves on employing the most cost effective placebo since Jesus Christ.

    But words got out and spread like a mutating virus:


    So in the safety of shelters tucked underground, they bludgeoned and gouged, raged and violated, tortured and brutalised until only their corpses were left to top and tail.

    • This is the one I am submitting. Something went wrong with the italics on the first. Sorry!

    • Brilliant story, if scary. To me this very effectively satirises doing the easy or profitable thing instead of the right thing

  8. @MattLashley_
    110 words

    Atom Bombs and Other Childhood Fears

    Mock drills and bomb shelters frighten me. The imminent threat of mutually assured destruction is scary, but lifting my shirt for the old man in the tweed suit and argyle socks is terrifying.

    To say the old man is ugly is like saying dirt is dirty. His ears hang below his jawline like melting taffy. His eyes are yellow and hard, like black marbles frying in melted butter. His giant nostrils shelter long gray hairs that, during inhales, wiggle like tiny fingers waving you closer then, during exhales, waggle shooing you away.

    Do communist kids have to put up with this?, I wonder as I tuck in my shirt tail.

    • Shirt tail”! I knew there must be a use of the closing bookend that fitted with the photo seamlessly. Good spot!

      I was thinking of a cold war theme for a story but contemporary (Putin, Ukraine). Your take on it, focussing on the boy’s limited understanding of the situation, was very intimate and real.

      Thumbs up from me!

    • Clever way of showing how what we regard as a small fear can actually be all the greater to a child because it is visible. Something that is distant and unseen, even if a greater threat, carries less idea of danger to them.

  9. A Letter to the Frontline
    Jim M
    110 words

    …mock me if you want- I take your photograph to bed every night so you’re there in some small way.

    We miss you, I need you. I still can’t picture you in that horrible place and there’s no shame in coming home if you want to.

    Reply as soon as you can, let me know you’re alright?

    Dane misses you terribly too! Your father asked me if you remember his email login? Ha ha

    Please be safe

    John xXx

    P.s. Marnie went to the party as an olden time nurse, we had a photo done and it looks amazing! I went as the peacock again, but I fixed the tail.

  10. Nil Nocere

    110 words

    Mock horror spread across Dr Meglun’s face, he was used to playing along.

    The boy lifted up his shirt. “Listen,” he said gleefully. “Can’t you hear it?”

    The doctor placed his stethoscope on the boy’s chest, started to shake his head. “I don’t …”

    “I said listen,” snapped the boy, clasping the stethoscope firmly.

    And the doctor listened. He listened to the cries of the sick and the dying, the screams of those on whom he’d experimented, his own voice swearing his oath to humanity.

    The doctor looked into the child’s eyes and saw the fires of hell. It was time to pay the price and wear the devil’s tail.

  11. The ‘D’ word
    Jim M
    110 words

    “Mock. Smock. Smocking” he proclaimed, waving at the empty station wall, “No Smocking, it says mummy.”

    “Hush now child” she winced, dabbing at his fever.

    “We’re all going to die” he monotoned into booming tubular caverns.

    “Shushh!” A firm grip lovingly tightened. She glanced nervously at the other air raid refugees.

    “We die” he rasped, “they’ll put posters up after that though.”

    She but breathed, “We’re safe underground baby, don’t worry”, with only a slight quaver.

    He pointed at Paddington’s fading wall.

    “Durble-Yeah Durble-Yeah Durble-Yeah stop am a zone stop.”

    The nurse loomed.

    “We simply mustn’t have the ‘D’ word anymore. I’ll be forced to give him a sore tail.”

    • Having Nurse (Ratched) threaten to spank the boy (as it was perfectly acceptable for strangers to spank the children of others until the late 50’s) was funny. I assume it was a spanking and not a shot of Thorazine delivered in the buttocks. Kudos for using “sore tail” in reference to a human.

  12. Fodder

    “Mock all you wish, Nurse Phillips. These children will win this war.”

    “But they’re just bits of kiddies?”

    Doctor Howard smiled, settling the docile child on the table.

    “Precisely; easy to create, dismantle and train. Scalpel?”

    She passed him the blade, then looked away, focussing on the distant sirens. When she turned back, he held a glistening lump in his bloodied hands.

    “Quickly, the hatch!”

    The brain slipped into the rocket’s nose, impaled on the electrodes. The engines pulsed happily as Howard stroked the fuselage.

    “Good boy… Now, the offal goes to the parent’s canteen. Leave the bones.”

    He raised his hammer, smiling.

    “They make wonderful ballast for the tail.”

    110 words


  13. Pacification

    “Mock orange blossoms; I can smell them.”

    “Stop that, dear. You don’t want Dr. Livingston hearing you talk like that. He said any strange odors or sounds are a side effect of the anxiety drugs. Here take this sedative.”


    “I heard chirping. I know it’s chirping. He’s lying to us. The war, this bunker, it’s all a sham.”

    “Calm down, dear. Have a sedative”

    “I don’t want the damned pill.”

    “Quiet, dear. Please—please. You know the alternative to taking pills.”


    “How is she, Dr.?”

    “The lobotomy was a success.”

    “Why does she look miserable?”

    “Nonsense. If she were a dog, she’d be wagging her tail.”

    108 words

  14. Grim Laughter (110 words)

    Mock the living by pretending death isn’t soaking into their porcelain, youthful skin. That was the disagreement between Holly-Anne and Dr. Thomas.

    She was “only” a nurse, but all the same, she didn’t think it decent to play the telescope game with kids that would be rotting flesh by nightfall.

    But she plastered a smile to her face that felt as if it was applied with rusty, crooked nails.

    “At least tell the parents,” she begged Thomas.

    “Know your place,” he said. And that was that.

    Maybe Dr. Thomas was right. Joy, even if futile, has its merits, like why we find joy in watching a dog chase its tail.

  15. The Cats Curse
    105 words

    Mock was his name, short for Moses, he was always petting cats. Mum had called us all after biblical folk. I was Jeremiah, my sisters Martha, Mary and Sharon. The priest said Sharon wasn’t a Christian name! Mother used to sniff and whisper “he doesn’t know his bible like I do!”

    Air raid sirens would summon us to the underground. Dr Donnelly would listen to my chest and pronounce me fit to fight Hitler! He listened to Mock’s, shrugged, smiled and gave him chocolate. I never got chocolate! Mock was buried under the lilac tree, they said consumption! For sure it was the cat’s tail.

  16. An Air Raid

    Mock bombs, Nurse,” he says. “Remember? Fell from the sky, during an air raid, but weren’t actually bombs.”

    He moves his stethoscope across the boy’s scaly chest.

    “They were like enormous eggs,” he continues. “People collected them. And of course, some even”-he stopped, listened, frowned- “ate them.”

    I’m blushing, but he doesn’t notice. The boy coughs, another cloud of hot sparks flurrying from his mouth.

    “There’s a… roaring sound, Nurse,” the doctor says, “coming from this boy’s lungs. And I’m wondering…if…”

    He lapses into thoughtful silence. I tug nervously at my uniform, thinking I’ll wear my cape if my wings keep growing, but glad my skirt still hides my tail.

    110 words

  17. @MattLashley_
    107 words

    This Way to Manhood.

    “MOCK THIS WAY” read the big white sign with the big red arrow pointing down the long cold hallway. As I trudged closer to the stage, shallow puddles of nervous vomit wetted my bare soles. Sour smells saturated my nostrils and I could not suppress an involuntary retch.

    The boy in front of me removed his shirt and the judge cried out, “Bird chest. Flabby gut. Face only a mother could love.” The boy’s cheeks reddened and tears welled. The pretty woman in the cage, feeling immense pleasure at his embarrassment, shrieked and the crowd roared. My turn to move forward or turn tail. I turn tail.

  18. Nipped In The Bud
    109 words

    Mock orange fragrance wafts from the garden and there’s Reg again. Poor Reg.

    You had to arrive early to stake your pitch back then, else you’d be kipping on the escalators. Always, there’d be some wag: “It’s like Piccadilly Circus in here!” Everyone forced a laugh.

    Queueing that evening, Reg handed me something. Tennis ball?

    A whiff of citrus pierced my cold. “Heck, Reg. Who’d you kill to get that?”

    As we trooped down the blacked-out staircase, someone tripped. Others fell. Down went Reg in the crush.

    My happy-go-lucky pal never tasted that fruit. Never forgotten are those hapless souls laid out on the eastbound platform, nose to tail.

  19. Festung Breslau

    “Mock. Eberhard Mock… Police Inspector.”

    The soldier let Mock pass. Inside, he was confronted by the stench of fear.

    Hitler had designated the city a ‘fortress’ to be defended at all costs against the Soviets. Civilians were being forced out. The elderly, the lame, the sickly were weeded out, most of the meagre rations given to the rest.

    Mock showed Doctor Freuer a photo of the suspect he was pursuing. Freuer shook his head.

    The evacuation was doomed. Thousands died marching in the bitter frosts; thousands more made it to Dresden, only to be killed in the firestorm.

    Oblivious, Mock remained in Breslau, determined to keep hard on Himmelmann’s tail.

    Word Count: 110

  20. At War

    Mock me to Kingdom Come, you wretches, but Light will triumph. You think guns and squadrons will save you? Bombs can’t touch the evil worming into these very tunnels, impregnating your souls. The real battle is here. Is your will fortified by God? Mine is, and it compels me to decisive action—unlike you lot with all your fretting and cowering and muttering but no will to act on behalf of the light, the first task being to make room for the Radiance. As I have, here, by eradicating the darkness. You’ll understand once I get the swaddling off and we behold its barbed tail.

    105 words

  21. Absolution (110 words)

    “Mock me, will you?” the old lady hissed.

    Bewildered, I glanced around the crowded bunker. Nobody else had noticed the wild-eyed lady with the oversized handbag, the dour face of a small dog peering over its clasp. She muttered and twitched and paced like a caged animal, occasionally glowering at the room around her from under the brim of a misshapen velvet hat.

    Suddenly she calmed. She thrust her bag at a passing nurse then threw off her coat, revealing the dynamite underneath. As the room erupted into chaos around her, all I could see was her beatific smile and the slow wagging of her little dog’s tail.

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