Jan 082015

Happy Thursday. Ready to write? After this round we’ll be voting for our favourite stories from MB1.01 to MB1.13. If you haven’t been a winner yet, this is your last roll of the dice for this quarter. Good luck!

In 1916, Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity. In a nutshell, it explains gravity as a geometric property of curved space and time, or spacetime. Stephen Hawking showed that Einstein’s theory implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.

At the age of 21, Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and was given a life expectancy of two years. Thankfully, Hawking defied this prediction and celebrates his 73rd birthday today. He is one of the most celebrated and recognisable scientists on the planet, and has made significant contributions to the field of theoretical physics despite being paralysed from the neck down and unable to speak. As if solving some of the biggest problems in physics was not enough, Hawking has also made cameo appearances in The Simpsons and Big Bang Theory.

Join me in a rendition of Happy Birthday for Professor Hawking with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen via CC.

Photo Credit: Thomas Leth-Olsen via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Nancy Chenier, winner of MB 1.12. Read her winning story and what she has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with GENERAL and ending with THEORY 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.

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.

  66 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.13 – GENERAL [micro] THEORY”

  1. Multiple Theories
    A.J. Walker

    General Feeling was stumped by the feedback coming in. He was usually quite prepared to blow up things first and ask questions later, but he was intrigued by this one. High explosives were ready, just in case.

    Feeling was used to tanks with big guns, underground storage tanks were another field completely.

    The noises – some say voices – had started emanating from the tank a few days earlier apparently getting so loud they blew the manhole covers hundreds of feet into the air.

    Someone suggested a methane explosion, though geophysics showed the tank was undamaged.

    Margaret Dimples – no fixed abode – said aliens regularly played Whack a Mole there; that’s another theory.

    (110 words)


  2. Cutting apron strings

    “General” he knelt on her polished lino floor, hands behind his neck, head down.
    How often had they done this?
    “General” face now lifted toward her.

    She looked tired, upset. If this was about those holes again…man, he’d been hectically busy; barely enough time to collect his due on her payday. Tomorrow must def be ‘fix crack’n-holes-day’. Appease her.

    Stooped, she stood, green-eyed sadness, matching her worn, torn apron. She’d lived in that thing since forever.

    The knives glinted in the sunlight. She offered him the choice: bread, carving, paring.


    “Not my job. Cut!” pushing the knives closer, she laughs, cries “Boy, they must be cut sometime, in theory…”

    word count: 110

  3. Contrast of Thoughts

    General limitations to his thoughts in the wonder of these events, the over sight of this project was an unfortunate twist of events for him.

    His stagnant movement through adversity caused his sympathy for his two lonely brothers and no matter how within inches they were the never got to express their love for each other.

    His mind wandered “How grateful I am to be next to my brothers”.

    These are the repairs to the historical, inanimate manholes of the city. Do you pity there situation?
    Appreciate your brothers and sisters cause manholes feeling this way shall be proven as opinion and not a theory.

    word count: 105

  4. Earth v01

    Brian S Creek
    100 words

    “General thoughts, sir?”

    The creator glanced at his robotic manservant and frowned before returning his attention back to the three holes. He pointed at the first. “I don’t like how this version of Earth is turning out. I’ve let the violence go on far too long. Isn’t it interesting, though, how they invent these mystical figures to assuage themselves?”

    “Shall I fetch the Bang Spark to reset that dimension?”

    “Let’s not be too hasty. It’s been a lot of work. Perhaps a Dolphin uprising would balance things out.”

    The robots programming didn’t allow him to sigh. “That’s an interesting theory.”

  5. The Manhole Murders
    108 words

    General worry concerning the deaths has mounted. Police are calling the perpetrator the “Manhole Murderer.”

    “This article is tragic,” Jerry said.

    “You’re staring at the crossword.”

    Ed was wrong. The truth was there in a fuzzy blur. Jerry squeezed his eyes even further together. His squint was dangerously close to a nap.

    “These manhole covers look like Oreos.”

    “Jerry. For the last time, you need an eye exam.”

    “I don’t !”

    Ed sighed.

    Jerry laid the newspaper flat and put his eye on one of the Oreos. It had black and white squares – like a crossword.


    Bad eyes did make more sense than the “Manhole Murderer” theory.

  6. Title: Hole Theory
    Words: 108

    “General holes in the ground? What do you think they are?” asked Dad stopping the car. Matthew and I sat on the bench seat next to him.

    “Probably just manhole covers,” said Matthew confidently.

    “Three of them?” asked Dad.

    “Sure, they drilled the wrong spot twice now there are three,” said Matthew dismissively. “Can we go?”

    “They look like Oreo cookies! Maybe there were bodies inside the holes and underground aliens licked out the humans and left the cookie parts. We always lick the filling out and leave the cookie part too!”

    “What is the matter with you?” asked Dad and Matthew simultaneously.

    “What? It’s just a theory.”

  7. Love this. 🙂

  8. The hopeful digger

    General Hans von Spatenau was the last mammal in recorded history who befriended a substantial troupe of hermaphrodites to assist him. He called them ‘my worms’, on rare days lit by hope ‘my darling megadriles’.
    Usually he just sent them down the holes, thousands and thousands of them.
    ‘Find me anything meaningful my brothers and sisters left behind’.
    Records show him with a spade digging new holes; there is the claim that he abseiled into the dark for days on end.
    ‘No grain of hope, not a pebble of compassion?’ he cried the last time he was seen. But he kept on going. So he must have had a theory.

    Word count: 110

  9. Dinner for Two
    (107 words)
    General household cleaners, top left hand cupboard. Bleach and disinfectants, top right. He lived alone – no kids, but he’d been taught to do it that way, and he found it practical.
    The tabletop clean, he lined up the Tupperware containers to begin preparing the evening meal.
    Once ready, tight jawed, he took quick, even bites of his meal and allowed his mind to drift to a moment, the moment, 21 days before, when he sealed the hole, her face bright with panic, still imploring.
    He didn’t believe fear impaired taste, not if you allowed the meat to mature – of course, that was just his own theory.

  10. Foy
    Word count: 110

    Missing the End of the World

    “General malaise…anything else?” The physician strikes the chart, a waiter taking the man’s order.

    “Well, the real bad pains all over,” Patient Zero says, rubbing exposed knees.

    “We said that. Out of country lately? Exposures?”

    Patient Zero’s tongue runs over sand-dry lips. “I did have a run in…”

    “With whom?”

    “Don’t know,” he shrugs. “Strangers… They jumped me. Drilled 3 holes and lifted my skull. Pop! Poured some kinda liquid inside – weren’t whiskey or water, I can tell ya that. Aliens, I expect.”

    The physician looks up for the first time and slips the nurse a note: Page psych.

    “Lucky for you, Sir, medicine looks to facts not theory.”

  11. @laurenegreene
    Word Count 108

    Death of a General

    “General Dozier is dead, sir,” Private Spain told General Fielding.

    “But I just saw him an hour ago.”

    “They pulled him out.”

    “Out of where?”

    General Fielding was tapping his pencil against the desk, staring above Private Spain’s head instead of looking him in the eyes.

    “Out of one of the holes, sir. Three of them, manholes, were left uncovered on Broadway Street.”

    “Why was General Dozier on Broadway Street?”

    “I guess to take in a show,” Private Spain said, shifting on his feet and adjusting his hands which were gripping his hat a little too tightly.

    “This is no time for jokes.”

    “It was only a theory.”

  12. Caution Signs Are Yellow Too

    “General terms and conditions apply…” I quit listening to the tut of the used car salesman. It didn’t matter. Signing papers for the hunk of junk I’d come to know as a symbol of my independence is all I cared about.

    You can’t trod the same worn paths expecting different results. The potholes, the pitfalls, the blue eyes remain on that dead end road. All the lies and disingenuous late nights had come to this.

    I paid the man with my sweat-soaked cash, ignored his advances, and sped off the lot. I’d chosen the only lemon-yellow car because the irony gave me pleasure. Pain is love in theory.

    110 words

  13. Assault Course

    109 words

    General Mayhem was dissatisfied; his latest recruits were proving to be a particularly precious bunch with their obsessions and childish tantrums. But numbers were low and the army needed them.

    “What’s this?” asked Private Means peering down into the darkness.

    “Your new home,” said Major Mistake. “You two as well,” he continued, nodding at Private Parts and Private Grief.

    When none of the men moved, he gave them a helpful shove into the pits at their feet. Three sets of eyes quickly reappeared just above ground level.

    The General marched over, hammer in hand. Knocking square pegs into round holes was his speciality, he loved disproving that particular theory.

  14. Clinical Trial
    106 words

    “General unease, a slight apprehension is normal,” said the voice over the intercom.

    Meredith noticed she was pulling at the skin of neck, and forced her hand into her lap. She stared at the three dark holes in the wall in front of her.

    “Some people experience a slight thrill prior to their selection.”

    She felt her cheeks flush, ran her tongue over an incisor, noticed it was sharper.

    “There is no wrong answer,” the voice said. “Just as there is no right answer.”

    Her fingers inched towards the hole on the right side, but pulled back. Behind her, a box is checked, building a theory.

  15. Under the Weather

    General lethargy. A self-diagnosis procured through a Google search of “I’m in a hole.” A bit pedestrian if you ask me. Was hoping to score a plague of some sort. Bubonic or pneumonic.

    She sat there gnawing the styr
    ofoam on her cup of coffee. Others took their turn at revealing themselves; proud faces spilling illness and availability.

    Lust arose. “Hi, I’m Miranda. Scurvy. Unattached.” My heart veered into chaos when she spoke.

    Everyone ogled me, including her.

    “Adam. Black Death with a trace of dementia. Searching.”

    Her eyes ate mine. I returned the volley then refilled her cup.

    Affliction is a dance with addiction. Just a sick man’s theory.

    109 words

  16. @stellakateT
    104 words

    Policeman’s Lot

    “General assumptions point to nothing” announced Sergeant Clitheroe.

    Constable Jones tried not to smirk nor smile keeping his face hidden in his pocket book. He had yet to write anything interesting apart from black holes appearing in the pavement at regular intervals. Instructed by Clitheroe to lift up the covers and peer inside, all he could see was black oblivion. He’d hoped something or someone would come at him and he’d have a bit of action. After five months being the new boy the most excitement he had was finding old Mr Mann dead in bed killed by longevity.

    “Ok son, what’s your theory?”

  17. Wormhole by Kevin Sheridan

    General statistics are a waste of time. You have to get into the detail. When Fred got his assignment to calculate the likelihood of a human setting foot on a planet a hundred and twenty light years away in the next fifty years his first question was, which man? That was a week ago. Since then his mum, his dad, has physics teacher and half the local police force have been looking for him. They have established that he went home via the local scrap yard and B&Q . There are scorch marks around his bed but no Fred. He seems to have run away. At least that’s the theory?

    110 words

  18. Purging of Sins

    General stores surrounded the grey concrete expanse containing the three bunkers. The entrances looked like manholes and the covers like decorative black checker pieces. He saw the people, or rather, the rich and powerful filing into the ground like ants. It was a typical procedure for them: destroy the planet, then hide while the poor suffered the consequences.

    Clyde readied the makeshift explosives. The plan was to drop them in, letting the hungry darkness swallow the bombs. The fires would purge humanity’s sins. After that, surviving would become a science. If they managed to do everything right, their children could outlast the apocalypse. That was the theory, their only theory.

    110 words

  19. SKILL

    General Approval for Reward for Bill, 8
    by our reporter Will Dunne

    City councillors voted unanimously to reward a young boy for bravery with £30 credit to spend on Southwold pier.
    Young Dexter Russ had noticed three manholes with their lids removed, and spotted a masked face appearing from each. He picked up a nearby piece of metal and whacked them on the head as they emerged.
    “It was fun,” said Bill. “I like playing Bash a Banker on the pier; you hammer model people wherever they pop up – I usually get them all. It improves my hand-eye coordination; anyway, that’s my theory.”


    • Ha! “Dexter Russ”! (Foils a “sinister” plot, I suppose!)
      “Will Dunne”, Jacqueline. 😉

    • On second thoughts, if the lad’s name is Dexter Russ, who is Bill?

      • Have just noticed this error. So sorry. Changed name in the main ‘article’ but omitted to change Bill to Dexter. Despite repeated proofreading … Aaargh!

  20. Septic Drainage (110 words)

    General ruminations on the quandaries of life were like plaque on Eleanor’s brain. Well, mostly just one rumination at this one point in time on a crisp January morning when the cold peeled back the delicate skin on peoples’ faces.

    All the same, it festered: If I dump his body in the sewers and it makes a splash, does anyone hear it?

    She thought unlikely. She’d watched him from her role as just another coffee-carrying, book-snobbing hipster in the bookstore across the street from his dumpster digs. Most hadn’t even bothered to drop meager offerings from their oily fingers.

    To ease her mind, it was time to test the theory.

  21. I Read The News Today

    General election fever gripped the local constituency parties. Despite the incumbent MP having announced that he would not stand in 2015, Labour still held a sizeable majority.

    The Conservatives decided to mobilise their members to highlight a contentious issue for the Labour-run borough council. Armed with clipboards and lists of allocated streets, they wandered the town making tallies as they went. Back at the Conservative Association office, the total figure was calculated and verified.

    The Mirror ran the story with the headline “Tories Out For The Count: 4000 Holes in Blackburn, Lancashire“.

    The article concluded: “Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall… in theory.

    Word Count: 110

    (107 words)

    General concept stunned! His mom and myself utterly are.

    Flattening 2-inch-thick dough on a dark tabletop, he had employed the crown of a Coke bottle (insides pre-coated with caramel syrup) to carve out the ‘manhole cover’. That image is the grayscale snapshot of the finished work. Now, his Creative Arts Brainstorm submission’s ready!

    Neatly tucking the digital printout of that marvel of a visual concept into his duffel school bag, he quips, “Care for some coffee-brown, real cookies right outta a septic drainage, Dad?”

    While that drives me a little nauseous, I just can’t agree more with my 6-year-old kid. He’s simply smart—practically, and in theory.

  23. The Manhattan Project

    “General consensus is that this” – the Doctor pointed – “is the very one.”

    “As used in the 1947 cartoon?”


    I looked at the line of kids in their furry onesies.

    “And what is it you’re trying to prove?”

    “O’Donnell’s first law.”

    “For the benefit of our viewers, Doctor, what is that?”

    “Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation. Now, if you’ll excuse me. First volunteer, please.”

    A boy came forward chewing a carrot.

    “What’s up, Doc?”

    “Good, Carl. Proceed…”

    We watched Carl hop towards the manhole. He vanished.

    “Well,” said the Professor, “that was the theory.”

    109 words

  24. Cartoon Physics? It’s always an education reading you stuff, Ed

  25. It’s Just Not Cricket

    General principle dictated that such a tactic was “ungentlemanly”. But the bowler was ordered by the captain to adopt it.

    Short-pitched fast bowling, aimed at the batsman’s body on the line of the leg stump, was intended to intimidate him; fielders were placed behind square leg to catch any leg-side deflections.

    Two deliveries struck the batsman, another whistled past his head. He was petrified.

    The next ball was aimed squarely at the wicket. It hit the stumps at such a pace that they were sent flying, leaving three evenly spaced holes where the wicket had been.

    The Aussies were outraged but England continued to utilise this “Fast Leg Theory”.

    Word Count: 109

  26. Horse and Carriage




    “Dial tone.”

    Jack threw his hands up. “Uncle! I don’t get how you do it, Naima.”

    She smiled. “Years of practice.”

    “That’s stupid. Why would you spend years rhyming?”

    “Gets my mind off things,” she said.

    “What things?” A faint growl shadowed Jack’s voice. “You have fancy clothes. A nice car. And any number of attractive females would pay to be in your shoes, hitched to a guy like me.”

    “I know.”

    “Whatever. I gotta go to work. Utilities don’t fix themselves.”


    “This city runs on muscle, baby.”

    “I know.”

    “I wish you’d get over this– this, whatever it is. I hate it. It’s …eerie.”


    110 words

  27. Wrongful Imprisonment (110 words)

    “General etiquette would dictate that you apologise for such rudeness, but I’ll waive your indiscretion just this once.”

    Raoul smirked as his enraged interrogator kicked him back to the floor and slammed out of the room. Given the hopelessness of his situation he had taken to tormenting his tormentors at every opportunity. He wasn’t really such a badass: he had been nabbed by mistake and simply didn’t have the information they wanted.

    As he watched his lifeblood trickling down the open drain near his head Raoul willed himself to slip down that dark hole with it. He sighed wistfully as consciousness once again eluded him. It was a nice theory.

  28. A Wish for Freedom
    By Anna Elizabeth
    wc – 110

    General agreement between those who studied earth’s dragon population was that the dragons lived secretive lives in an underground system of tunnels.

    As it was the humans who had driven them down there, the dragons wanted to keep it that way but Zalia would have none of that.

    “How can you have lived like this all this time?” She remembered asking after she had gone up using one of the exit holes onto the road, and braved the outside world one night. “It’s so musty down here under the roads!”

    Her dad had been so furious she’d gone top-side, he didn’t listen to her ‘we’d be happier out there’ theory.

  29. The Account

    (109 words)

    “General speculation is not helpful,” Tom said, staring at the exposed manholes. “Maintenance people will clean this up. Go back to work.”

    “I came out before you,” Janine said. “I saw the dragon. It came from the first manhole, shot into the sky, dove into the second, and then shot out again from the third.”

    Tom muttered something, waving a hand to disperse the smoke.

    “Was it breathing fire?” Ralph asked, clutching her arm.

    “Yes,” Janine said.

    “Definitely not,” Tom cut in.

    “Do you think it’ll be back?” Ralph asked, looking into the sky.

    “I hope so.” Janine followed his gaze.

    Tom snorted.

    Ralph turned. “Well, what’s your theory?”


    • I like this. I can see the dragon moving like a dolphin; am looking out for it, hope to spot it coming down from the sky, would very much like to see it too!

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