Jun 112015
 

Welcome to another round of Micro Bookends. In the mood for a giggle? Read on:

A double act, or comedy duo, is comic partnership in which humour is generated from the uneven relationship between the pair. The duo are usually similar in many qualities such as sex, age, and ethnicity, but differ greatly in their personality and outlook on life. One of the pair is often the ‘straight man’ who feeds jokes to the comic. Perhaps the most famous double act is Laurel and Hardy, who rose to fame in the early classic Hollywood era. In the UK, double acts like Morecambe and Wise, and the Two Ronnies are still considered to be two of the greatest double acts to grace our television screens.

Hugh Laurie, of Fry and Laurie, celebrates his 56th birthday today. From 2004 to 2012, Laurie played Dr. Gregory House, the protagonist of US medical drama, House. According to the 2011 Guinness Book of Records he was the most watched leading man on television with House receiving worldwide viewing figures of 81.8 million. Writing in the Daily Telegraph in 1999, Laurie explained how reading PG Wodehouse saved his life. He went on to play Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster in the comedy series Jeeves and Wooster, with Stephen Fry playing Jeeves. Laurie has suffered from depression throughout his life. He first knew he had a problem when he was taking part in a charity demolition derby where he experienced neither fear nor excitement at watching cars explode. He said:

Boredom is not an appropriate response to exploding cars.

A rendition of Happy Birthday to You for Mr Laurie with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Kamyar Adl via CC.

Photo Credit: Kamyar Adl via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is me!

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with DOUBLE and ending with ACT and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

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.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

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, including hyphens and apostrophes, is allowed) will be eligible to win.

  110 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.35 – DOUBLE [micro] ACT”

  1. Warning Warning
    (109 words)
    @elaine173marie

    Double Double vision vision.. The The second second stage stage.. I I am am finding finding it it hard hard to to write write..

    Save Save yourselves yourselves. Turn Turn back back!! It It is is not not a a place place of of salvation salvation.

    They They have have stepped stepped out out of of the the fogs fogs.
    Join Join in in prayer prayer.. Your Your one hope hope..

    ‘God God we we polluted polluted your your world world.. We We beg beg that that you you guide guide us us. Tell Tell us us your your word word and and we we will will act act.’

    • NB. I have used this form on flashfriday before, but with a different plot. Don’t know if that’s ok. Couldn’t resist.

    • Love the structure, Marie! It pulled me into the rhythm quick.

    • Clever use of the bookends. Marie, to create a hypnotic read.
      [ With every word being doubled, I was surprised that your word count was an odd number. Then I spotted that, in the last sentence before the final paragraph, ‘one’ is not repeated – is this a visual pun (i.e. ‘one’ is singular) or simply an oversight due to double vision? 🙂 Your repetition of full stops / periods is a little hit and miss though, and I reckon that the closing prayer should be in double quotes! 😉 ]

      • Yes, it’s deliberate. I hoped that would be obvious as it is the word ‘one’.
        Punctuation is a little erratic. Thanks for pointing that out.

        • I’ve just looked for your story. Have you not entered this week, Geoff?

          • No, Marie. I seem to be suffering MBF (Micro Bookend Fatigue) – just going through the motions and producing very dull entries, just to keep up my stats. So, I decided to sit it out. Thanks for noticing, though!

    • I can imagine those words echoing through space; I wonder what any other (possible) life forms would think if they heard it?

  2. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 107 words

    Title: Letting go

    “Double the dose, nurse”.

    I’ve been dreaming. Of fields rushing up into the first scuffs and scratches of childhood.

    The blink of an eye and it’s all neon beeping, needles and catheters.

    ‘All this technology’ I think, looking around, ‘can’t save the clapped out bangers in this car park.’

    Cathode shadows rattle deep in my chest as I laugh.

    I have faith; the strength to go.

    Yet leaving is hard too.

    A swoop of grief snags my stomach as I spy my grandchildren bounding down the ward.

    I love them dearly, but I’m caught in between.

    So for another day at least, I put on the act.

  3. A dog’s life, a dog’s death
    @geofflepard 107 words
    Double your money, he said. Just nick the copper wire and skedaddle. The boys don’t like the dogs but I ain’t worried. Dad showed me how, before they got him. They stopped respecting him. I learnt, watching that. Now I’m the man.
    That’s when I saw it, Rodriguez’s message: IR❤️VV. He knew I’d see it. Velma’s my girl, everyone knows. Writing that, like a dog marking his territory. I know what to do with dogs. And their bitches. Copper wire ain’t just valuable.
    With dogs you show no fear, show them who’s boss. If you want to stay in control it’s the only way to act.

  4. Wreckage
    (108 words)

    Double entendres and the aroma of cheap coffee would have sullied the air here once.
    Page 3 pin-ups of Yesterworld smile out at us from the damp walls of the workshop; I read the blurb that professes Courtney (19) loves dolphins and hates the wars in the Middle East.

    This stop’s to see if we can get a vehicle on the road: rotting custard creams and the rancid remains of doorstep sandwiches are all the food we can expect to find.
    I look out at Jess in the forecourt. Something’s not right with the picture. What? Concentrate! See it. I see it. ‘Jess. Driver’s seat. 3 o’clock. Act!’

    • Great atmosphere here, Marie- the pin up (dolphins and wars in the middle east- spot on), rotten custard creams) you can almost smell the decay. Only problem is, I want to know what happens next!

    • Bleak picture of a backwater or somewhere in an apocalyptic future, really draws you in with its evocative imagery. What did she see? I want to know.

  5. Kiss of death
    @geofflepard 109 words
    Double vision, nausea, bone snapping pain.
    They stack us up, serried ranks of decrepit bodies, left to corrupt.
    You see it in their eyes. Once we were unique, individual. Now, in the throes of death we are ubiquitous, homogenised by decay and depersonalised by disease.
    If you didn’t know they had abandoned you before, the perfunctory response to any request screams the truth. Yet even knowing their disgust, you still crave the careless spray of their spittle to moisten parched lips.
    The irony isn’t lost on any of us for it was the self-same sharing of fluids that brought us here. Death determined by such a simple act.

  6. Boffo the Clown
    (210 words)

    Double jeopardy, that’s what Boffo hoped for as he painted a smile on his face and tears from his eyes. He stared in the mirror, the echo of adoring crowds chanting Boffo-Beanie ricocheting through his brain.

    She’d shown up at the start of the last season – a flaming-haired, sensuous creature with a snake tattoo and soulful green eyes that shredded his lonely heart. The only spot they’d found for Beanie was straight man to Boffo’s buffoon. The miniature car wreck, where he’d rescue her, was everyone’s favorite skit.

    It began with a slow dance against the wall of her trailer. Boffo, more homely without his makeup than in character, couldn’t believe his fortune. She’d only let him touch her when he had it on. His castle in the sky shattered the night he spied her through the window doing the slow dance with the charismatic lion tamer. The man wasn’t wearing any make-up.

    Boffo convinced Beanie to fake her death just before they returned to circus camp that year. She’d laughed when he’d pricked her finger for a few drops of blood. On the last day of his trial, she’d shown up on cue.

    But tonight was their final performance of this season.

    Her death was part of his act.

  7. Life’s Not Fair
    (210 words)

    Double the speed limit was how fast the drunk that finalized Katy’s misery had been traveling. In a world filled with irony, she’d ended up floating in a sea of wishful thinking.

    Her friends had called her life-of-the-party Katy. She could always be counted on to give a performance worthy of Laurel and Hardy, playing stand-up comic to her own straight man. Those shallow-minded, superficial pretenders never realized the pain her performance masked.

    Pouring herself into a liquor bottle was the only way to stopper the mouths of her personal demons. The mellifluous fluid drowned sobriety, silencing the voices whispering of fear, uselessness and failure. Blissful oblivion is how it always began, but not how it ended. Screeching tires on rain-slicked pavement preceded shattered glass and twisted steel gashing bark from a stout tree.

    Now she lay paralyzed, hooked up to machines that kept her alive. None of the fast facetious crowd bothered stopping by for a visit. The days stretched before her, an endless pallet colored with the blues of monotony punctuated by grays of boredom beyond comprehension.

    At least she’d avoided the deer dashing across the road.

    Droplets like fine crystal trickled down her cheeks. Unable to wipe them away, she wished she’d died following that drunken act.

    ********

    (P.S. not sure “double” entries are allowed, but the stories kind of wrote themselves.)

    • Two entries are allowed. Sad story – days an ‘endless pallet coloured with the blues of monotony punctuated by grays of boredom’, lovely sentence.

  8. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 104 words

    Title: Teenage kicks

    Double math, it even sounds airless. Especially in the summer while birds sing outside and cars hit the shimmering asphalt.

    “But the road to success is not easy to navigate. Without hard work and more hard work you’ll end up in the crusher’s yard, rusting.” This according to my dad, who carries his dreams as a straightjacket.

    Well dad, you get what you settle for.

    The sun blazes yellow and I’m done with it.

    Ha, maybe it’s the call of the wild or the thought that I’ll just keep going.

    Because I don’t have a map.

    But I do know it’s time to act.

    • Ah, nice. Such a great way of including the photo prompt – well weaved in, a very strong line.
      Gives you a feeling of escape, we’re following on your character’s heels, out the door and away.
      Super read.

    • You can feel him almost getting ready to bolt through that door and onto life’s highway, hope he makes it.

  9. The Car Wreck

    110 Words

    ‘Double trouble’, they called us. If I was ‘Double’ on account of my size, then Lexie was definitely ‘Trouble’.

    She’d always lead, sashaying past the bar, eyes like headlights on full beam, lashes batting like hummingbird wings. Her backside swayed – a hypnotic pendulum in zebra print leggings.

    We never paid for a drink – ever.

    Today she wore those same leggings, the same spike heels. But now the tarantula lashes look too heavy for her lids. The headlight eyes have clicked off.

    I didn’t say ‘Hi’. She didn’t look up from rolling her cigarette.

    I fled that car wreck life. I worry nothing will save Lexie from a tragic Last Act.

    • ‘like hummingbird wings’, ‘hypnotic pendulum’ just some of the imagery O loved. So sad at the end.

      • Thanks so much, Marie – part inspired by women I’ve known. Glittering and incandescent in youth, the same behavour can seem desperately sad and almost a cry for help by the time you stare middle age in the face

    • I really like this, especially the movement from hummingbird to tarantula as the lights fade. I’m also old enough to recognise the truth of this story!

    • Some great imagery here; sad slide into a wreck of a life.

  10. WEAR YOUR SEATBELT, HERE I COME (110 words)

    Double vision, blurred lines and undulating roadways are the bane of the intoxicated driver. Not to mention the pink elephant that seems to jump out in front of me at the most inopportune times.

    I have a problem with drinking and driving. I do both quite well, it’s the combination that gets me into trouble.

    I’ve caused a few accidents. Many actually. I’ve sent people off the road to their demise.

    Now I come to you from a place beyond the clouds, not heaven exactly, I don’t deserve that.

    I’m sorry for the lives I’ve ended. I never learned to clean up my act.

  11. @AvLaidlaw
    107 Words

    All A Boy Needs Is A Car And A Girl of His Own

    Double whiskey in one hand and cigarette in the other, you sit at the bar and remember. Your first job at the car factory. Cocky and flush with your first pay packet, you took Sandra to the nightclub then thieved her virginity in the back of your new car with headlights of passing traffic sweeping through the windscreen and across her tears. But Sandra’s long gone. The nightclub shut. The factory closed down, the cars left outside with their glass smashed and stripped of anything worthwhile and nettles growing through their rusting bodies. And you are much the same, paralysed by the memories and unable to act.

  12. Good Help is Hard to Find
    @hollygeely
    110 words

    “Double the goats’ brains…and it needs more rusty car doors. Fetch your vehicle and toss it in,” said Dr. Q.

    As long as Dr. Q lived, Wilbur had no choice but to obey. He shed a tear for the loss of his beloved car.

    “Behold! I have created the potion of eternal youth!”

    Dr. Q dipped the ladle into the mixture and sniffed the contents.

    “Wilbur. Did you think I wouldn’t recognize poison?”

    Wilbur’s corpse altered the potion into one of eternal pain and so the mixture was salvaged. However, Dr. Q was disappointed.

    “I’m sorry, Wilbur, but killing your master is no way for a proper servant to act.”

  13. Final Act
    @agardana09
    103 words

    “Double that,” Henry grins around his cigar.

    “There’s no way you’ve slept with that many women.”

    “Oh come on, Carl, in seventy years? Over two hundred women is not uncommon.”

    Carl sniffs into his scotch. “If you’re a playboy!”

    “Not everyone finds their one and falls in love.”

    Like most comments about ‘love’, it makes him think of Ann and how she felt in his arms. He smiles through the tears that spark in his eyes.

    “Was it worth it?” They both ask at the same time.

    Neither answers the other. Carl raises his glass of scotch, instead.

    “Cheers to our final act.”

  14. A Foreign Country

    109 words

    @el_Stevie
    #Flashdog

    “Double time now! Quick march, one, two, one, two …”

    The flashback was brief, fleeting. More and more these days, Martin felt like a tourist, a stranger in the foreign country of his own mind. Soon there would be nothing left to salvage.

    He stared at his fellow residents, all wrecks scrapped by a society that regarded them as inconvenient, beyond repair.

    A woman sat next to him. It wasn’t right for such beautiful eyes to look so sad. Did he know her? He smiled and saw the relief on her face. Still he could not remember, but for her, for those eyes, he would put on an act.

  15. Starting Over
    110 words
    @ceckybonway

    “Double your pleasure with one of our fine models.”

    The models did look primed and ready. Choosing was going to be hard.

    Maybe I’ll take the white one. It’s not as big as the black, but it should still fulfill my needs. Or perhaps the red one. That might add a little spice to my life. The trunk on that one is too big. I’m trying to leave my baggage behind, not add to it.

    It’s time for a new stage in life with all-new props. Nothing says “I’m back in business” like a little eye candy. I have big plans for the future. This is merely my first act.

  16. CHRIS AND MIKE vs LIMBERLINE, THE FLOATING PRISON

    Brian S Creek
    109 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    “Double or nothing.”

    “Dad,” said Chris. “I don’t have time for this.”

    Mike looked around as hundreds of prisoners gathered. No way out.

    “I need the orb,” begged Chris. “We need to get home.”

    Chris’ father shook his head. Raising a hand, he opened a portal. “You shouldn’t have come here, son” he said. And then he pushed Chris and Mike.

    Chris watched as his father and the mess hall disappeared. They’d been expelled from the prison via the portal and were now in a-

    “Junkyard,” said Mike, looking around. “Well, now were screwed.”

    “Not quite, my friend.” Chris smiled, holding up the orb. “It was all an act.”

  17. @stellakateT
    109 words

    A Dying Wish

    “Double or quits,”? yelled my brother. We mirrored Cain and Abel. One of us would die first and it wouldn’t be me!

    Looking up from the latest John Grisham I wondered if I could get away with perfect murder.

    “Lend me twenty quid and by tonight it will be forty”

    Picking up his car keys I hoped something would happen.

    After the inquest they gave us his car, a mangled wreck. In the glove box was a picture of me with the words ‘my fav bro’ scrawled across it. I cried buckets. I missed our fights. I missed him. I should have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

  18. Foy S. Iver
    @fs_iver

    WC: 109

    POW Waiting for the Simoom

    Double over. Make your body into a fist. See those boots, chalk-covered and government issued? Don’t make a sound or they’ll come for you. A lesson McKallick didn’t live to learn. Separation is death.

    Small breathes, lungs expanding against collapsed ribs. You’re the sand, invisible because it’s everywhere and in everything. The water, your teeth, your eyes. So thirsty.

    Boots moving away.

    Blue chalk by raw rubber. Take it. A message to alert HQ, and bring black hawks and heavy plates like a simoom.

    Write it above the wheel well: the last 5 of your social [7-7521], only in Arabic so it goes unseen. Like sand. A chameleon act.

  19. Wow. Your prose is like the deftest of brush strokes, spare and lean, but with enough detail to carry the whole.

  20. @maiblack42

    91 words
    The Car Auction

    Double, double, engine trouble
    Fire and metal burn and bubble

    Fuel cap, fuel gauge, fuse and filter
    Headrest, headlight, hood and heater

    Round and round the car lot go
    Making out I’m in the know
    That I know which car is which
    While the owner’s getting rich

    Minis and Ferraris
    Twenty Lamborghinis
    A Lexus and a Lotus
    Seven Maseratis

    Dashboard, dipstick, door, defroster
    Air vent, airbag, alternator

    Double the price, double the money
    Other buyers think it’s funny.

    Is this a Jaguar I see before me?
    End of the third act.

  21. The Game of Life
    (110 words)

    “Double or nothing,” Buster blurted, momentarily insane. A skeleton grin was the answer. He rechecked his hand — yep. Doomed. Re-stacking his chips neatly, he gave a great sigh, then threw his bum hand at his opponent while bolting for the door.

    Ducking around, over, between, and through the cars in his scrapyard he chanced a glance to see how far behind the other was, tripped over nothing, and fell onto the upraised, very sharp hood of a car.

    “Crap,” he breathed in disbelief at his impalement.

    His opponent reappeared in a blink, scythe and all.

    “TIME TO GO,” said Death. Buster gibbered.

    “…WHY IS THIS HOW THEY ALWAYS ACT?”

  22. Lost

    Double gates swing open.

    “Excuse me, have I found the junkyard?”

    “I wouldn’t presume to tell you what you’ve found, sir.”

    “Very well. –Have I found what others call the junkyard?”

    “Forgive me, sir, but I don’t dare presume what others call it either. I’m no mindreader.”

    “Fair enough.–Is this place what you call the junkyard?”

    “Never, sir. I’d lose my job, sir.”

    “What, lose your job for calling this a junkyard?”

    “Absolutely, sir.”

    “Junkyard?”

    “Very unfeeling term, sir.”

    “Right you are. Your boss sounds a compassionate sort.”

    “Like Mother Teresa, sir.”

    “Is he here now?”

    “Only in a manner of speaking, sir. Welcome to work, sir.”

    –END ACT–

    @postupak
    110 words, plus a 4-word epilogue: Fry & Laurie forever!

    • I love this. I can imagine it being a scene from the show. Very tight, very funny, very clever. Thank you for sharing it.

      • Oh, thank you so much! that’s high praise indeed. I found it nearly impossible to cram an entire sketch into so small a space–especially one that would be remotely worthy of the great Fry & Laurie!!!!!–and in the end wasn’t sure the piece would even make sense. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Thank you.

    • I can hear Fry’s voice perfectly with the ‘I wouldn’t presume, sir’. Excellent.

  23. — You Remind Me Of A Young Barbara Stanwyck —

    “Double Indemnity?”

    “Sorry, Mr Carson, don’t know it. Face forward, please.”

    Felix stares at this cherub fussing with his hair.

    “Wilder turned me down, once. Said I didn’t look old enough for the part!”

    “That’s nice. May I have my hand back, please?”

    He’s not been this close to such an alabaster neck since those hammy ’70s roles. Zero money yet they made his name.

    “Nearly done. Mum says you’re a national treasure.”

    “Bless! Truth is, my dear, I’m a Model-T ready to be written off. You’re this year’s model. I, alas, am at the end of my third act.”

    109 words
    @edbroom

  24. Double was the final offer, but only because of the vehicle’s pedigree. James looked at his Volkswagen, the nostalgia entwined with financial needs. This dealer won’t offer more, the last resort on a long list. Everything has a price and everyone has their limit.
    James examined the automobile corpses of this morgue. At least his darling might know peace, something he himself longs yet cannot achieve.
    But as he departed with his minor gains, the dealer’s grin became ominous. A prize indeed, he thought. A beautiful creation, tended with love and care.
    But more valuable in pieces.
    The manager waved over his mechanical resurrection men. It’s their time to act.

  25. The Mechanical Afterlife
    by Adam Houlding
    110 words
    (apologies, this is an edit due to the previous entry having quick overzealous hands)

    Double was the final offer, but only because of the vehicle’s pedigree. James looked at his Volkswagen, the nostalgia entwined with financial needs. This dealer won’t offer more, the last resort on a long list. Everything has a price and everyone has their limit.

    James examined the automobile corpses of this morgue. At least his darling might know peace, something he himself longs yet cannot achieve.

    But as he departed with his minor gains, the dealer’s grin became ominous. A prize indeed, he thought. A beautiful creation, tended with love and care.

    But more valuable in pieces.

    The manager waved over his mechanical resurrection men. It’s their time to act.

  26. Re-Percussions
    A.J. Walker

    “Double Trouble” that’s what they said about Nathan and Ethan when they got together. They bounced of each other until spiraling to some maniac crescendo; apparently.

    Separated at birth. Evil twins. The yin and yin. Both dropped on their heads. Plain evil.

    No-one could name a single thing they’d done – but people knew; bad to the bone.

    So, during the town’s Festival of Wholesomeness, the boys decided to live down to their reputation. The stolen industrial fireworks ripped through the car park reverberating through the town, sending the local insurance company into liquidation and Friendly Ben’s Body Shop into raptures; whilst cementing NEthan as a real bad boy act.

    (110 words)
    @zevonesque

  27. Emily Clayton
    @emilyiswriting
    108 words

    Meet Me at the Fair

    “Double double, please.” Darla glanced at a hefty woman waiting for donuts. “Actually, make mine with milk.”

    A tug on her shirt. “Timbits, too, Mommy.” Heidi’s dark eyes were round and hopeful.

    Darla sighed. “Those things aren’t healthy.”

    The pout was on its way.

    “Fine. Two old fashioned glazed, please.”

    They hopped into their rusty truck and headed for the fall fair.

    “Will Daddy win? We got the giantest pumpkin, right?” Heidi bounced in the cracked seat. “Let’s go to the tractor pull first!”

    A long line of cars.

    Sirens.

    Police officers lined the road. Scowls tossed from cheek to cheek.

    This, Darla feared, was no harvest-friendly act.

    • All the fun of the fair, nice contrast between the child’s excitement and the presence of the police hinting at some violent incident. (PS what are Timbits? 🙂 )

      • Thanks! I was feeling a bit nostalgic for my small town upbringing. Timbits — the doughnut middles from Tim Hortons (coffee/doughnut place). Double double — coffee with two cream and two sugar.

  28. Lyn Thorne-Alder
    @thornewrites
    109 Words

    Reconstruction

    “Double points if you find one the right color.” The junkyard stretched on for miles, acre upon acre of beehives, feral dogs, and cars as wrecked as the world around them. Joey and Zeph were perched an old truck, surveying their realm from a central vantage.

    “Who cares about color?” Zeph scoffed. “If it runs, it’s going to be a miracle. If it hauls, we’re in.”

    “If it runs and LOOKS good, then we’ve done what nobody else has in fifteen years. That’s the thing, little sister.” Joey posed, wrench and crowbar pointed to the sky. “If we do this, no-one, NOBODY, will be able to follow our act.”

  29. When Fear Rules Your Life
    Word Count: 110

    Double doors stood between Sarah and her future. She was afraid of what might be behind them. Not knowing drove her crazy but, at the same time, she was safe where she was. Cozy in her world she had worked so hard to create. Stability was her anchor. Behind those doors was unpredictable, inconceivable. How anyone could take such risks with their lives was beyond her.

    But she was suffocating. Her lungs burned for new oxygen. The monotony begged her to open the doors. Her fears were stronger, though, and repeating thoughts stopped her.

    What if you stepped through those doors and died? What if that was your final act?

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