Feb 122015

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.18. In the mood for something sweet? Read on.

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert with a crisp layer on the outside and a soft, chewy centre. It is served topped with whipped cream and fruit. The dish is named after the Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and was created in her honour during her tour of New Zealand and Australia in the 1920’s.

Anna Pavlova was born in Saint Petersburg 134 years ago today. Her passion for ballet was kindled as a child when her mother took her to see The Sleeping Beauty. She was known to shock audiences with her dancing style that often deviated from the rules of classical ballet. During a tour of The Hague, Pavlova contracted pneumonia and was told she needed an operation to save her life but the procedure would prevent her from dancing again. She refused the operation saying:

If I can’t dance then I’d rather be dead.

Here is this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Melissa Dooley via CC.

Photo Credit: Melissa Dooley via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Nancy Chenier, winner of MB 1.12 and MB1.17. Read her winning stories and what she has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with SWEET and ending with TOOTH 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.

  209 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.18 – SWEET [micro] TOOTH”

  1. Sugar Rush

    Sweet dreams assail me. Hair in a bun, tutu and ballerina pumps are raring to go. Bouquets at my feet, adoring fan letters, bliss. Elegance personified, I literally glide.

    Then reality hits me, in a tutu I’d look like an elephant. My two left and flat feet would rip those pumps, now I’ve got myself down in the dumps. It feels like ballet class all over again when Mrs. O’Donoghue cried over my budding breasts, long time ago, but still hurts today. I have to remember my body is a temple, pity I’m the only one worshipping.

    I could dance beautifully if it wasn’t for my sugar craving tooth.

    109 words excluding title

  2. From the Top
    (word count: 110)

    ‘Sweet Catherine,’ mumbled Bruno. He removed an enormous cannon of a cigar from his thick watery lips, glanced at the chewed end and added: ‘But I think perhaps once more, from the top.’

    From the top ..? Her smile faltered then quickly recovered. Bruno was a grunt of a man, someone to listen to with half an ear, but he was still the movie’s director. She prayed this would be the last take of the day.

    As she stretched her back and shook out her limbs she felt a familiar itch creep across her chest and reach for her throat.

    This blasted cold is getting extremely long in the tooth.



    Brian S Creek
    108 words

    “Sweet moves,” said Chris, admiring the ballerina’s angelic movements.

    “It’s all programmed,” said Mike.

    “I can still admire it.”

    Mike sighed and contemplated this new business venture. “Let’s just deactivate her and collect our fee.”

    “Fair enough,” said Chris. “The owner said the panel’s between the shoulder blades.” He handed Mike a screwdriver.

    Mike started towards the ballerina droid when she twirled around and kicked a leg out, catching him in the face. Mike tasted blood and, as his friend charged past him like a Valkyrie, he caught sight of something descending in the bright blue waters of the swimming pool that looked a lot like a tooth.

  4. Armed and Dangerous

    “Sweet dreams are made of these” I sing along gloriously and obliviously out of tune I have even been told I hum out of tune. I think my dancing is a bit better but it is more heavy metal, head banging go with the beat type of thing rather than a pirouetting elegant ballerina.

    I have been known to get a bit excited and literally cause injury to friends when giving it all in a nightclub. My hair has been avoided as a dangerous weapon which my friends often declare as we enter in case there accused of concealing ammunition. One hasn’t forgiven me her broken tooth.

    Word Count 110

  5. Stu_0_6bloc9 (@6bloc9)

    • author: Stu_0_6bloc9 (@6bloc9)
      word count 105 words (software count) OR 109 words by human disallowing hyphening
      title: Saw

      SWEET appeared invisible. Pudding also. No menu mention of dessert.

      “Afters?” whinced Jessica, pulling screwed-up-nose-curling-lip face as she sniffed, wiping with her forearm before drawing it back across her thick wavy hair just as father returned.

      Stifling a giggle burst two-handed, not expecting the slapping edge of his folded newspaper at her fidgeting fingertips. Missing, deliberately, by millimetres and his thunderclapping the table edge Jessica startled, tumbling backwards off her stool. Soda pouring and pooling, lake-like and Mother, still oblivious, earphoned and arching.

      Father growled something incomprehensible, shook his head, scathing “and which of you pesky women had my saw and broke this TOOTH?!


  6. Smorgasbord of Valentines,

    Sweet! I’d heard the legends about the Garden of Love. It’s real. I wonder along the terraces looking at the choices like the ladies are new cars.

    At lunch, I saved a choking man. He was so grateful that he gave entrance to the garden. He said be there on Valentine’s Day at dawn—I was.

    Beautiful people, frozen like statues, line the walks. Their poses share their life stories. I wonder until I find the ballerina. She is perfection: art, poise, and beauty in one person.

    I lean over to awaken her with a kiss. I pause when I see the fang where she should have a tooth.

    109 Words

  7. From the Bluebird of Happiness
    (109 words)

    “Sweet heart what’s wrong?” Mother asked.

    “Ow! Ow! Ow! It’s my back I threw it out with that last lunge. Oh my gosh it hurts so bad!”

    “Here,” Mother said putting her hands on her arms, “Let me help you.”

    “No, no, please don’t touch me. I just need a moment to relax the muscles.”

    Julianna looked at the bright blue sky and tried to think of anything but the excruciating pain coursing through her body. These muscles were her friends, allowing her to perform such beautiful moves, but right now they howled like angry enemies.

    Suddenly she could feel a wet goop from above land on her tooth.

  8. The secret
    (100 words)

    Sweet sunshine gently touched her skin. As she inhaled the morning air, she listened to all sounds surrounding her, Nature’s own little orchestras.

    She pointed her toes and let her body go, dancing to the soft music being played just for her. The sound of the wind, the gentle water waves, the tiny critters unaware of her presence, the leaves following their own choreographies.

    Happiness took over her body. For a moment she forgot about the rest of the world.

    After a long time she smiled. No one was there to judge and she proudly displayed her last remaining tooth.

  9. The Dance

    Sweet Sixteen, a languid soak in a hot tub for a girl, but it’s gone as soon as the water turns tepid. It’s true, we never know what we have until it has passed, if not a bit cliché.

    Lithe lines and fluid movements ache inside my weathered bones. The silent dance put to sleep. If only—don’t all regrets begin that way—I’d known what power and precision was held within when I was a girl cloying for the stage. Sidetracked by love, I sold my soul.

    Yes, youth is wasted on the young. Death rattles through our ageless echoes, and He beckons bone to tooth.

    107 words

  10. author: Stu_0_6bloc9 (@6bloc9)
    word count 108 words
    title: Discounting danger

    “SWEET? “ Aiming for one hundred, I’d not reached ninety before losing count. I couldn’t help but huff, released the pose, relaxed and straightened up.

    Shaking out the tension gripping my frame I caught sight of an out-stretched hand, enchanting smile and the colours of gems.

    Wine gums. How could I resist just one?

    “I shouldn’t take sweets from a stranger, as my mother always told me, apparently it’s rude – but thank you, I will”, stooping to accept this kind offering, discounting danger.

    Alas, my world turned black and I never saw sunlight again – choked and deprived of life by a well-hidden poisoned TOOTH.


  11. Scotch on the Rocks – 107 words

    Sweet memories began flowing halfway through his third scotch on the rocks. Harris settled deeper into the wing back chair. He glanced at Julie asleep on the couch. She was sitting up, head back, and snoring softly.

    Harris smiled as he gazed at his wife of 40 years. The night they met, she looked like this. She had tried to be a good sport. She matched him shot for shot. Five minutes later she passed out.

    Her face had more wrinkles and her ex-dancer’s body was less petite. But by Jesus, he still loved his sweet Julie even now when she was so long in the tooth.

  12. Tiny Dancer
    109 words

    Sweet Isabelle was not yet four when she started dancing. Blue was her favorite color, and her mother bought her seven tutus in different shades.

    Her mother had always wanted to be a dancer, sleek and graceful. A dream from her youth she could relive.

    “Big news, she will be one day,” the dance instructor told her mother.

    The instructor was French, but Isabelle’s mother thought she sounded like Yoda when she talked.

    When Isabelle’s mother signed her up for an eight week ballet camp her father said, “Really? $10,000? What if she wants to be a rocket scientist? Artsy smartsy. She’s three. She hasn’t even lost a tooth.”

  13. Lucy

    Sweet and petite
    Such dainty little feet

    Dressed in pink
    Her hair a cute kink

    Totally and utterly entranced
    In my heart she’s danced

    Boldly she smiles
    Me she knows she beguiles

    Has me wrapped around her finger
    And there I will happily linger

    My friend’s toddler
    A delightful waddler

    She’s starting calling me Suey
    Makes me go all gooey

    Ever so tickly
    She gets all giggly

    Changes happening every day
    But my devotion never sways

    I never thought it would be so cute
    To be handed someone’s first tooth

    word count – 91

  14. Served Cold

    Sweet nothings whispered in her ear. Simpering fool believes all she hears. Smiles at him adoringly, the sick bucket is eyeing me. Valentines Day is looming on the horizon I’m not expecting anything surprising. Cards and letters and all things romantic, cause nothing in me but panic.

    I used to be a lovesick fool, his every action made me drool. He ran of with my fabulous dancer’s physique supposedly friend that’s where romance for me reached its end. He had the cheek to make an appointment with me, needed emergency dentistry. I took great pleasure while he was under extracting lovingly each and every tooth.

    Wordcount 107

  15. Fair Trade

    @geofflepard 105 words

    ‘Sweet.’ Paul retreated towards the pavilion.
    I braced myself. ‘Are you sure?’
    He’d brought me nothing but pain, my brother, so why did I think this would be different? I felt the string tense.
    ‘I get the last sweet?’
    ‘Get on with it’ Why trust him now? Mum would go mad, me breaking a tooth but this…
    Time hung limply. Then, all in one rush the jolt, the crash of the door, the slash of pain and the blood.
    I wiped away a tear. He held out his hand and I gave him the sweet. ‘Like the bible. Bulls eye for an eye tooth.’

  16. May I Have this Dance?
    (110 words)
    Sweet music fills the community hall. Three Thursdays in a row I’d intended to come through these doors but fluttered on past instead. Each time I cursed  my mid-life-crisis-in-confidence; I cursed my divorce, my marriage – him; I cursed the currant bun I ate in a grimy cafe that wasn’t  my true destination.
    But today I’d succeeded. I was quick stepping with a lady called Margaret when the bloody Goodman of the community hall cut in, doing his good deed for lonely ladies, no doubt!
    He seemed to twist and turn on slippery soles until he smiled, and I spotted a telltale currant stuck in his tooth.

  17. Casting Pearls

    Word Count 97

    Sweet wrappers hid guiltily beneath my bed whilst their contents buzzed my brain, unleashing the monster within. I could not sit still; my legs twitched and jerked, sending me dancing around the room, a whirling dervish of destruction.

    Only when I fell and tasted blood in my mouth did I stop; spitting out one of the few pearls that remained amongst its rotting companions. An appointment card gazed at me accusingly.

    I had not heeded my dentist’s warnings, now proved true, that my sugar addiction would demand the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth.

  18. Steven
    109 Words

    “Sweet Caroline…BAH BAH BAH…”

    Everyone knows it; if you’re singing “Sweet Caroline” you have to shout those three notes at the top of your voice.

    Steven didn’t know it. That night at karaoke was the first time I realized he wasn’t really my friend.

    The rest started with Cindy, by the pool, stretching for ballet practice.

    “Why do you dance?” he asked.

    “I like it,” she said.

    He pushed her in.

    He became increasingly violent over the next few months. Whenever he didn’t understand something, he lashed out.

    I still tried to help him, but now it’s my turn.

    “BAH BAH BAH,” he says, before he chips my tooth.

  19. Undetected
    word count: 90

    Sweet Goodness left its truffle home and planted itself between bone and gummy tissue, there to live undisturbed for nearly two weeks.

    But one day it was awakened by cold water, medicine, and buzzing metal, the latter shaking the entire body, yielding sensations within it somewhere between spinning by a poolside and nails on a chalkboard.

    Soon the bone was chopped down, gutted, packed, filled and capped with solid stone. For three weeks more, there was Sweet Goodness still nestled between gummy tissue and what used to be a tooth.

  20. Break a Leg

    “…sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine…”

    Danny seemed uptight, anxious. But he was remembering his lines.

    “…lull’d in these flowers with dances…”

    “And delight,” I prompted.

    “I KNOW what it is!” he hissed. “That was a dramatic pause!”

    “Sorry, son.” Helping him learn his lines for the open-air drama-dance-music crossover production of the Shakespearean classic began to seem a mistake. “Start again from the top.”

    The silence drags on.

    “Another dramatic…?”

    “No! You made me forget the start. Arsehole!”

    Why, the little…! It could go from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to ‘Midsomer Murders’ if this carried on…

    The Bard was right: having a thankless child is sharper than a serpent’s tooth!

    Word Count: 110

  21. More Than Meets the Eye

    Sweet basin, how seamless and collected you appear
    Porcelain and innocent is your facade
    Offering up sustenance with cool reserve
    What world thrives under your swirl and eddy?

    Do you harbor docile mermaids or Indian fern,
    Water goddess or fish giantess?
    Or perhaps white angels who sleep
    In a lonely polyandrium?

    Do goldfish and frogs jockey for position on a daily commute
    Or perhaps the water lilies run a monopoly on more than sun?
    Do crickets and bullfrogs rendezvous amongst the rushes
    Eager for amorous embrace away from carnivorous tooth?

    Word Count: 90

  22. Foy
    Word count: 109

    The Dying Swan: Dancer to the Last

    “…sweet, sticky tonic and there’s no certainty it’ll cure pneumonia–”

    “Victor?” Anna lost in covers.

    Her self-ascribed husband moved bedside, “Dearest?”

    “Are they taking me to hospital?”

    Victor’s eyes monitored him. The physician answered cautiously, “We can operate but…you wouldn’t dance again.”

    “I could live–?”

    “Love,” Victor’s words crushed hers. “You’re not thinking clearly. If you couldn’t dance, wouldn’t you rather slip away?”

    She tried freeing her hand from the cage his fingers formed.

    “You don’t want to be remembered that way. Not when the world could know you as ‘The Dying Swan–dancer to the last.’”

    Fear turned her skin hard and white as a tooth.

  23. @stellakateT
    105 words

    Dance of life

    Sweet and sour chicken, I could smell it, hadn’t eat animal for years in fact I hadn’t eaten properly for most of my life. At Madame Kalashnikov’s Ballet School an ounce of fat gained meant exile to the practise bar, a loss guaranteed a part in the next production.

    I finally realised I’d never be Margot Fonteyn and Madame was as Russian as my Uncle Jack, born and bred in Bermondsey, but I practised hard to remain lithe and childlike.

    The aroma made me ache for a different life where food and ballet lived in harmony that would be as strange as a chicken tooth.

  24. Burning Ambition


    99 words

    “Sweet Jesus! I can’t stand it any longer!” said Cleo.

    “You can do this. Soubressaut!” I could almost see the images of reflected glory as they shimmered in my sister’s head.

    “We only have three days left… Allegro! Allegro! What is the matter with you?”

    “It really hurts mum, and the painkillers aren’t working.”

    It was awful for Eva when all those years ago, our mother wouldn’t allow her to have ballet lessons, but this was inexcusable. Cleo had no interest in dancing.

    As I crept away, the poor girl was still complaining of the pain in her tooth.

  25. Crossed wire

    @geofflepard 108 words

    ‘Sweet pea’ scent teases rather than assaults the senses.’
    Is there anything grosser than your own dad coming on to your girlfriend? He thinks he’s in control, see.
    I haven’t always hated him but since Mum selfishly decided to die, hate is barely an adequate word. Why do I visit? Money, doh.
    Now it’s the fecundity of his dahlias.
    He thinks he can cut my allowance.
    ‘Dad. Show her your begonias.’
    One step, two steps and… The rake tips, the wire twangs across his neck. Shame Amy’s such a mess; she’ll need more than a good wash. At least the garrotting is as a clean as a hound’s tooth.

  26. @Donnellanjacki
    110 words

    The Garden of Regret

    Sweet jasmine scents the air as he strides through the trees in the wake of her robes.

    “The Garden of- Regret?” he says. “So…this is just a dream, right?”

    She smiles.

    “Everyone regrets something,” she says.

    “Not me!” he grins.

    They come to a lake. He stops smiling.

    “The Pool of Perhaps,” she explains. “Where those with regrets will distort. Straining to turn back; to re-live.”

    Horrified, he stares at the contorted figure nearest him: a young woman, no older than his daughter.

    Suddenly, his head jerks backwards. ”Long…” he gasps.

    His spine bends. ”…hours…”

    His limbs search behind him for unread stories. For that missed first step; first tooth.

  27. Rare Beauty
    A.J. Walker

    Sweet music filtered through the early morning air mixing with the sounds from the ducks and the chattering goldcrests.

    George came across the music quite by accident in the little Victorian park. He’d sat and watched the ducks and the massive swans bouncing backward and forward across the pond.

    He decided to follow the music and when he came around to the old pavilion he saw a young woman dancing by herself.

    George stood transfixed. The classical music was beautiful but it was the woman’s graceful movement which grabbed him. The whole seemed like perfection.

    Moments of beauty like this in George’s life were as rare as a hen’s tooth.

    (110 words)


  28. Dance On (110 words)

    Sweet, sweet rivulets of melody leaked between my ears. It kept my foot twirling in a pirouette that evoked cheers from the shadows.

    The warm spotlight made my skin ache for the days of a crisp Russian winter. Bundled coats and coarse coffee. Bootlegged American horror films and knock-off Versace bags. Just Russia. Just anywhere but here.

    Under the spotlight, under the gaze, in pantyhose that accentuated enough to make me squirm.

    If I stopped, if I stopped…

    A voice from the shadows like a snowflake on hot skin said, “Number 43, you can stop spinning now. Gentleman, bid.”

    The sweet melody had become like bitter plaque on a tooth.

  29. Should be Valkyrie. This is why you should never close your eyes and trust spell checker. Is it too late for a last minute edit from Mr Borrowdale?

  30. Love
    (109 words)

    “Sweet? It was sweet when she was five.”
    Maria watched Rita dancing silently beside the lake.
    “She loves it,” Franco said.
    “What about medical school?”
    “That was for you.” Franco embraced his wife. “See how she moves? How she concentrates? This is what she lives for.”
    “Dangerous—to live for that. She could break a bone. Maybe she won’t be good enough.”
    “She has to try. Wouldn’t you regret it? If you hadn’t tried?”
    Tears stood in Maria’s eyes. “Maybe if I hadn’t wanted it so much, it wouldn’t have hurt that way.”
    Rita stumbled, almost fell, threw out her arms for balance.
    Maria sighed. “She’ll chip a tooth.”


  31. Morning Memories

    Sweet? That’s odd, the air hasn’t smelled this good in the morning in ages. Strawberry fields in the distance grace us with a rare aroma to welcome the sunrise. It reminds me of you. Bright, beautiful, and always smelling of your berries. When I close my eyes, I can still see you dancing in the light. I see you every day in our daughters eyes. I wish you could be here to watch her grow… She has a sugar obsession, just like you did. Just yesterday she lost her first tooth…

    @Cemodano 91 Words (unless I counted wrong(

  32. — Rogue —

    “Sweet, kid, real sweet. Hold that a minute?”

    “Sure, Mr Cobb. I should be paying you today!”

    He grins and launches the bucket’s bloody contents. Mackerel chum strafes the lake to form an oily lightning bolt.

    “Hungry, Bruce? It’s your favourite!”

    Nothing. A millpond.

    They graffiti his kiosk, call him Sheriff Brody and hum that infernal theme behind his back. Not Etta, though.

    She’s there every sunny morning in that brilliant yellow dress, hand pointed invitingly into the depths and, crucially, using those long legs to form a fin.

    He found another one earlier. Probing his pocket, Cobb feels the smoothness of the shark’s tooth.

    109 words

  33. Crooked Dancer (110 words)

    “Sweet as pie, but I swear the ugliest girl they ever let in here. That smile…”

    Funny how a few overheard words can land like a canon ball in a bowl of pudding. Splattering emotions on the ceiling that will never be quite clean. She started to think maybe she had eaten too much pudding at camp.

    She didn’t dare cry. She would rather dance by the river, where he wouldn’t find her. He wasn’t much of a swimmer after all. That’s when she had an idea.

    She had loved him once, but now she danced on his grave. Smiling at her reflection in the water, admiring her crooked tooth.

  34. Glory Days
    105 words

    Sweet music filtered through ancient speakers, momentarily masking the buzz of a faintly flickering fluorescent light. Meredith’s weathered face relaxed into a smile. She remembered this tune. Back when she was vibrant and dazzling and danced the nights away with bohemians and aristocrats alike. The recollections engulfed her as she swayed and laughed and relived those days long gone.

    “See what I mean?” the matron smirked. “Remind them of happier times and their whole demeanour changes. Like children really.”

    The new nurse started at this blatant disrespect, but Meredith didn’t care. She remained adrift in memories, smiling and softly whistling around her solitary remaining tooth.

  35. Abducted

    Sweet ultraviolet light contorted her body as the beam slowly raised her thin, graceful frame skyward. From my vantage point in the woods, it looked like she was performing some sort of ballet, but only for a second before she vanished in a bright flash.

    They didn’t return her. I don’t blame them. She had the kind of beauty that you only get to see once in a lifetime. Hopefully they treat her better than we did. She didn’t deserve what her father and brother did to her.

    They are coming for another. I feel the fuzzy static in my mouth. This always happens, ever since they replaced my tooth.

    110 words


  36. interesting and dark much enjoyed x

  37. this is GOOD Carlos…. will you be doing the double this week? hope so 🙂

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