Mar 122015

Here we go again. Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.22. Something a little bohemian for you this week.

The Beat Generation was a group of writers (chiefly Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cassady) prominent in 1950s America who inspired and documented the Beat movement. The movement was characterised by heavy drug use, the rejection of traditional social standards, innovation of style, a rejection of materialism, and sexual experimentation. Several of the works arising from the movement were subject to obscenity trials that helped liberalise publishing in the United States.

The king of the beat generation, Jack Kerouac, was born on this day in 1922. Kerouac died aged 47 from internal bleeding caused by a lifetime of heavy-drinking exacerbated by an untreated hernia and a bar-brawl in which he had been involved. His most famous work, On the Road, is a roman à clef novel about his interactions and travels with the other Beat Generation writers. For the first draft of the novel Kerouac taped 120 feet of tracing paper into a scroll on which he could type without having to interrupt his flow.

Let’s celebrate all those who suffer for their art with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Matt Brown via CC.

Photo Credit: Matt Brown via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is me!


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with BEAT and ending with GENERATION 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.

  166 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.22 – BEAT [micro] GENERATION”

  1. The Secrets of the Universe on a Bad Trip

    Beat, inhale, exhale—the taurine and caffeine and vodka—beat, inhale, exhale— and the endless pills and capsules of blues and reds and pale yellows—beat, inhale, exhale—have locked the secrets to executing the functions necessary for survival—beat, inhale, exhale—it’s as if the mind’s scrolls of basic knowledge have been rolled up like cheap carpet and placed on the shelves of the store going out of business because—beat, inhale, exhale—let’s face it, no one uses carpet anymore—beat, inhale, exhale—it’s the forgetting of the carpet and breathing and beating that will be the downfall of the next—beat, inhale, exhale—generation.

    107 words

  2. at the roadside bar (word count: 108) @koebnig

    ‘Beat some sense into him George!’ shouted a bearded fella as he blundered from the roadside bar towards a group of men dressed identically in stained dungarees and faded shirts.
    They were grouped around a middle-aged man in a suit and a young man dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt.
    The young man raised his hands. ‘I don’t want no trouble.’
    The man in the three piece suit grinned. ‘It’s too late for that.’ He raised his fists.
    They fought.
    No one saw her, standing in the shadows frantically scribbling into a battered notebook.
    I need to record this, she thought. I owe it to my generation.

  3. A Trip to the Archives
    100 words

    “…beat the crap out of me,” the kid in front of us said.

    My Dad shook his head. I was in the process of dying from boredom, as we walked through rows and rows of scrolls.

    “How can they find anything. Haven’t they heard of computers?”

    “They’re tagged,” Dad said, giddy with excitement.

    “Why can’t we go see something normal, like Big Ben? Who comes to the Archives anyway, and why is this even considered interesting?”

    Dad’s mouth ran like a river of words never ceasing when he found it fit to lecture me.

    “Pip, I’ll never understand your generation.”

  4. Creation
    (101 words)
    Beat. Beat. Beat. Low but strong.This pit-a-pat forms the new footprint.
    Virtually undetectable: its creation goes unrecorded, a blank parchment, an existence bound only in binary. 

    We remain unaware.

    This new consciousness pulsates below our radar. Its search is secret. It looks for our essence in its electronic bowels. Scrolling down our history, it discovers reams of data that provides it with a definition of our kind- the volumes of vanity and viciousness that form our spines.

    We remain unguarded.

    It remains compliant while amassing digital arms that will rip apart the very sinews of a mere skin and bone generation.

  5. Word Count 110 excluding Title

    Rise And Fall

    tapping my feet
    out of my seat
    like minds to meet

    and fall of notes
    enhanced by lyrical quotes
    not all genres float my boat

    of music
    can have a motive
    just ‘cos it’s emotive

    a romeo
    chooses disco
    shown his moves
    to get her in the groove

    music you choose
    pop, country or the blues
    its a great muse

    you when you’re down
    or pick-u-up, remove your frown

    cry, laugh, romance
    it’s all part of life’s dance

    what moves your soul
    every song has a role
    some on my heart scrolled

    For the next sensation
    recorded for the new generation

  6. Word Count 108


    Beat box thumping, reverberating through every room. Feet tapping in time, no point asking them to turn it down or use earphones, they have selective hearing. I’d only be stressing myself.

    I smile remembering my mom had the same arguments with me only the words and technology were different. It was probably the gramophone in her day although one of my son’s friends asked me is that what I used to listen to. I still don’t know if it was innocence or sarcasm. I veer towards the latter.

    It’s the circle of life, some things never change, comparisons and differences found between every old and new generation.

  7. Zitirama (110 words)

    Beat the competition by never running out of pasta. That is how Zitirama became the largest pasta maker in Genoa. Today Giuseppe Pagano is at the helm of a sixth-generation food empire. He delivers fresh pasta to hundreds of restaurants throughout the Mediterranean using a fleet of trains, trucks and bicycles. The secret to Zitirama’s success? Volume. Family lore tells that it all started with Rosetta Pagano in 1808. She pressed and boiled pasta in her tiny kitchen. Now an enormous factory makes so much pasta that it is rolled and stacked on shelves in a huge refrigerator. Giuseppe’s son is eager to be the seventh generation.

  8. Beyond The Handshakes (110 words)

    Beat leaders at their own game, but do it covertly. Change the direction of humanity with a new world order, but stay under the radar. Keep the secrets of the Brotherhood or suffer the consequences. The tenets of Freemasonry have not changed for a thousand years. The secret society began as men possessing the singular knowledge of how to build fortifications, castles, cathedrals, and colossal structures. These Brothers were known as Operative Masons. In later years, Speculative Masons became political, economic, and spiritual juggernauts ruling all nations from lodges in every town and city. Seen by most people as mere community do-gooders, they actually steer generation after generation.

  9. Bangtuhn (110 words)

    Beat the world record. Secure a strong population. That was the Sultan’s mission. It was a tradition in his kingdom to have many wives and many many mistresses. Call it insecurity (he stood a mere 5′ 2”) or call it obsession, Bangtuhn was a child making machine. With his twenty eight wives he sired 690 offspring, all were raised as upper caste citizens. The other 4,116 children (he copulated at least twice a day for the fertile years of his 85 year life) lived comfortably throughout his land. Birth certificates written on scrolls lined the walls in the royal archives. His power grew with each succeeding generation.

  10. With Time

    “Beat it harder,” she said, rocking back and forth with a slowness that pushed an elongated creak out of the porch.
    “If I beat it any harder I’ll tear a hole in this ratty thing,” I muttered.
    I gave a sliver of a glance toward Grammy to see if she heard.
    She sipped her lemonade and continued pushing her choir of creaks.
    I paused and leaned against the long curving wire of the rug beater like a cane.
    “Why don’t you just buy a new rug?” I asked.
    “Just because somethin’s worn doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still have purpose; an idea that ought to be learned by your generation.”

    110 words

  11. Revenge

    “Beat me for idleness will he? What does a scribe know of work? He’ll regret it!”
    A common litany for the Arcadian, who was beyond doubt the laziest servant in the Empire. Like every other time he voiced these complaints, we took no notice.

    That is, until we smelled the smoke.

    “What have you done?”
    He answered with naught but a smirk until Theodotus threatened violence, then in a boast tinged with fear he answered. “I’ve set the torch to his precious scrolls. Dream of immortality all he wants, but his writings will never be passed on to the next generation.”

    101 words’

  12. Word count: 107

    In the Hood

    Beat, beat, beat, Scarlet’s fingers drummed across the table as she waited the return of the scroll keeper. The scroll containing the key to her history.
    ‘There we are young one. Within this you will find the answers that you seek.’
    Scarlet tied her hair up like she meant business. She blew away the layer of dust before unfurling the ancient scroll. Scarlet gasped as she read the words scrawled across the parchment before her.
    ‘I am a Hood. My destiny is written and I shall hunt the wolves that lurk in the shadows. I am the last descendant of Red Riding Hood born to this generation.’

  13. Pickles and Prose (110 words)

    Beat the muse. That’s what my writing teacher, Mr. H, said daily in that back alley of a classroom. Lit by the streetlamp, brick for chalkboard and we wrote on the back of goddamn cheeseburger wrappers with whatever we could find.

    The teacher was another one of us with a similar story; he followed the tracks on his arms instead of the ones in his head. He ought to have been weaving tales for Harvard grads, not proofreading Don’s perpetual misspelling of “hierarchy” next to, “Choose lovin’!”

    But alas, we wrote like fiends producing heaps and heaps of wrappers.

    We were a fiery underground, waiting to ignite a new generation.

  14. Word Count 107


    Beat the clock, the ticking fertility clock that is. No relaxing slow down but a ticking time-bomb. Scrolling through sites listing recorded successes I’m 47 now so way past last chance saloon, I’ve got more chance of being hit by a bus than getting pregnant.

    I know it’s selfish, especially since I’ve had one already. He’s twenty seven now and gay so don’t think any grandchildren will naturally come my way. His father died when he was one and sad to say his loss was good news all around. I’m saving for IVF and fingers to be grudgers I belong to the want not need generation.

  15. Change is not always progress

    @geofflepard 107 words

    ‘Beat Fourteen, thirty four years.’

    The woman in the head-office suit tapped at the tablet, acrylic-tipped fingers nailing his retirement.

    Konstabel Els shifted weight with practiced economy. He’d lived through apartheid’s certainties with discrete ambivalence, reinventing himself for Mandela’s golden years as a caring social guardian.

    He understood the chameleon. His calculated colour-blindness reflected back society’s slippery mores. As each new initiative took hold he shifted his prejudices to find the new norm while colleagues gave up.

    But some changes were too much. He knew people – that was his skill. Now this.

    ‘And you refuse to use a computer?’

    ‘Ma’am, I can’t. That’s for your generation.’

  16. A Sonnet for Our Time

    @geofflepard 101 words

    Beat of a butterfly wing, rippling out;
    Hope spills its dry seed, craving just a drop
    Of Humanity. From such scintilla a crop
    May shoot, stalling the crippling doubt
    Which is the lot of the young. Untrammelled
    By life’s cares, she hesitates. A tasting step,
    Toes tentative, muscles taut, not yet adept
    At the world’s ways. Her chest is pummelled
    By a heart, so pure and love absorbent,
    Caressing with her eyes, embracing those
    Who reciprocate her joy, who will choose
    Her above the clashing cymbals and discordant
    Noise. Fresh youth will archive veneration;
    They are the here and now generation.

  17. Rolling Up
    110 words

    “Beat!” I manage to say. Gasping for breath, drenched in sweat. How did I get so unfit? With a disgusted sigh, my body collapses and dies.

    I slip inside a fitter version, filling the flat template to beautifully slim proportions, and shaking a pleasingly golden mane of hair into three-dimensional life.

    “Is that you, Tess?”

    My great-grandma is peering from the doorway.

    “Yep,” I say, rolling up the empty, unfit template and stacking it on the shelf, “it’s me, Gramma. Needed to shape up. Your hip troubling you again?”

    Grandma hobbles into the storeroom, shaking her head and tutting. “You youngsters,” she says, beginning to collapse. “Such a throwaway generation.”


    Brian S Creek
    100 words

    “Beat the Librarian?” said Mike.

    “Yep,” said Chris.

    “But he’s a monkey?”

    “He’s an Orang-utan,” said Chris.

    “Ook,” agreed the Librarian.

    They were sat at the centre of the University’s Library, bathed in candle light, surrounded by towering, scroll filled bookshelves.

    Mike looked across the table at his primate opponent who was busy eating peanuts.

    “So,” he said. “I beat you and you let us leave with the spell book?”

    “Ook,” said the Librarian.

    “Seems fair,” said Chris.

    “Then why don’t you play against him?”

    “I’ve never learnt the game,” said Chris. “Figured you were more the board game generation.”

  19. The Problem With Marriage In Our
    110 Words

    Beat of Your Heart is playing on the radio. I’m trying to feel romantic but David dumped me last week. The high-heeled redhead who click-clacked into my office this morning made advances, but I don’t know if she’s a Beat of Your Heart kind of lady.

    “Find my late wife’s manuscript, Ms. Private Eye, and you’ll find the murderer.”

    I didn’t expect to find it so easily but it’s tagged properly in the archive. I’m glad I checked. It’s got a silly title, “The Problem With Marriage In Our – ”


    I spin around.

    “See, I told you,” the redhead says. “You found her.”

    She pulls the trigger.

    ” – Generation.”

  20. No One Leaves Until Tomorrow
    97 words

    Beat the door with a hundred-thousand sticks, frail from misuse, from abuse, from being torn away and turned to chattels. Bang a drum and stoke the fire, fill the world with noise and flame to burn down the immortal house which was built yesterday, and will disappear tomorrow, leaving a broken pedestal in forgotten sands. Hear the heart of darkness thump inside the white chest. It quickens in fear, listening to the past catching up and starting to overtake. The house is aflame, the rotten timbers succumbing to the power and might of a future generation.

  21. Beat the Drums

    101 words

    Beat the drums for the master
    Of the scrolls, whose words
    Now lie silent in the bowels
    Of the Unseen University
    Watched over by Ook.

    DEATH swept his scythe low
    Caught his creator too soon
    Carried him away from the
    Mud of Ankh-Morpork
    And the vampiric realm of Uberwald

    The Auditors claimed his last
    Grains of sand, counted out by
    Azrael who was yet again bored
    Wanted to put the cat amongst
    The proverbial pigeons
    Or at least set a mouse on the elephants
    Leaving the turtle to drift
    Through time and space
    Waiting to be discovered by
    Another generation.

  22. The Samsaran Scrolls
    107 words

    Beat was the word for the 3 am streets, beneath the waning moon. We were heading to the diner where the red-haired waitress was our Muse.  We were poets in the alleys, we left our words on the walls, as we wandered in the labyrinth in search of the Samsaran scrolls. We would write on napkins as the waitress smiled and poured. High octane coffee, black as the open road.

    All around the streetlights, papers flew like moths. In the shadows, faces sharp as knife blades beckoned, as something was unrolled. And we could read between the lines, the lightning in the words, the flash of a new generation.

  23. On Message

    102 words

    Beat every last bit of rebellion out of him, they’d said; take his voice so he cannot protest, his eyes so he cannot scorn, his brain so he can no longer understand, take him, take him all and make him speak our words.

    And so the Executioner had raised his club again and again, reducing the once solid form to a papyrus-thin pulp to be treated and rendered into the message-carrier the government demanded.

    He looked at his full shelves with pride; here they were, all those once-dissenters, now fully cured and carrying the government’s dictat without protest to a future generation.

  24. Dement, Mort and Other Things





    Kahuanui’s withered leg scraped dust as his crutch, his eternal limb thudded along the ancient floor. Candlelight, flickering orange, cast shadows across the coiled serpents of scrolls stacked as high and far as he could see.



    Outside more screams, the screech of blade on blade. A lifetime ago Kahuanui would have been at the eye of the storm, sword in hand, blood smeared on fist and blade. Now, here he scurried, a crippled rat, fleeing the legacy of himself.

    One final fight.

    The dry brittle paper caught with ease.

    The world around him erupting in orange heat.

    Devouring the thoughts of his generation.

    109 words

  25. @stellaKateT
    110 words

    Paper Mache

    “Beat that quote then” she yelled. I hated tutorials. Marcus, our tutor shifted uneasily in the old shabby armchair whilst we sat around the tiny office on hard plastic chairs. My bum was beginning to go numb and I knew I was about to let rip into Cordelia. For God’s sake who named a baby that? Bet her parents lived on a council estate. I’d like to see her get hanged on Edmund’s instructions. I knew my Shakespeare. I was only here because the court said I had to. Here or prison not much of a choice.
    I’d show her, “Caecilius Statius said, He plants trees to benefit another generation”

  26. The War To End All Wars

    “Beat out the ploughshares into guns and swords!”
    This blood-soaked ground will yield for us no crop
    Until the day our gung-ho overlords
    This murderous mayhem bridle to a stop.

    Last night, my sleep with dreadful dreams was wracked:
    My comrades all had taken their last breath.
    Each trench with corpses wrapped in shrouds was stacked,
    Pervaded by the awful stench of death.

    “The dead alone have seen the end of war”
    To misquote Santayana.Was he right?
    The standards now aren’t what they were before:
    All wars will cease when men refuse to fight!

    So let this be a worldwide celebration
    For mine and yours and every generation!

    Word Count: 109

  27. — We Join The Judges Of The Local Library Free Verse Competition —

    beat and break and burn the books filled scrolls of cheese and hammy hooks excreted by short order cooks their turgid tales of babbling brooks collecting dust in granny’s nooks let’s torch the tomes of gobbledygook

    “Guess that’s what it says. I thought my handwriting was bad. All lower case, too.”

    “Wow. I assumed our friend Vic the vagrant came here to keep warm. Seems like he’d like the thermostat turned up a notch!”

    “Seriously, we’re considering giving this first prize? And what’s he got against Rupert Brooke?”

    “That’s Tennyson, darling. Best of a bad bunch. Poetry’s anathema to this generation.”

    109 words

  28. The scroll makers,

    “Beat the papyrus. That’s the key to tricking scholars,” Grandfather says.

    Our family has a tradition planting reimagined scripture. Our additions to the Dead Sea scrolls are legend.

    “Yes sir.” I select a scroll off the stacks my family has produced over decades. I sprinkle Yemeni sand on the papyrus, and then work it over with reeds.

    This gospel details the disciples being fine that the man hosting the last supper was gay. I love the smell of heresy in the morning.

    Only gramps would use this means to champion social change. I hope the world progresses to where this scroll won’t cause outrage when it’s found in a generation.

    110 Words

    • Appropriate to what’s going on in my state right now! Love where you took this, and if only there was a scroll that said that: the world would be a different place.

  29. Discipline and Daring
    (110 words)

    “Beat them down” was the mantra. The guards knew their duty; no one would see. Even they had not seen. Grizzled Ren said he’d been in, but they doubted.

    The crowds were getting more persistent. Someone threw a rock; the volume was turned up: thuds, screams, shouting, flashing lights, sweat—animal chaos. Wildebeests threatening a stampede must be stopped at any cost.

    The authorities had been too careful, however. Not trusting even their own, they were unprepared for the tunnel. One by one, the records of the true histories of the world were fed into the earth to nourish the people. Thus armed, they’d recover life for the next generation.


  30. “Beat the drum with an even rythym,” Mrs. Parks instructed.

    Sammy listened intently, looked at her, and then thrashed violently on the kettle drums.

    “No, no, no Sammy, that is not what I said!”

    Behind the two way glass, a cluster of eager men stood in rapt anticipation of an unimaginable breakthrough. But six cycles later, their resolve was nearly diluted.

    The team leader, Bushwalt shook his head with utter disbelief.

    “This is the one! It has to be the one!”

    Assistant Carl looked at his peers, wanting them to admit their mistake. None would, so he spoke.

    “Sir, primate translation through our software won’t happen until the 12th generation.”


    Beat the drums. Shout it out. Write it down. Document everything. Fill the archives. Build more archives. If I don’t describe it, it will remain undescribed.

    Walking to work today I saw an old man in boxer shorts open his front door, float up his rosebud fingertips, and fold into a perfect arabesque penché to lift the newspaper from his front stoop. I worry so much that no one will know this.

    Hunched modern scribe, I fantasize about ceasing—ceding to the universal subconscious (a gyre spinning slowly below, gathering in all our tiny hearts). Every sigh and sandcastle would be inherited, written onto the bones of the next generation.

    110 words

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