Aug 062015

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.42. Some quintessentially British prompts this week: bawdy comedy and rain. Remember to keep calm and…

The Carry On franchise is a series of thirty-one British comedy movies made between 1958 and 1992. All the movies were filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire with location shots filmed within a few miles of the studio. By the late 1960s, at the height of the franchise’s popularity, location shots were filmed in such exotic locations as the Snowdonia National Park (the foot of Mount Snowdon acted as the Khyber Pass in Carry On Up The Khyber), and Camber Sands on the Sussex coast (acting as the Sahara desert in Carry On Follow That Camel.) The movies followed a predictable pattern of farce, double entendres, slapstick, parody and mild nudity, and featured a recurring cast, including Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Joan SimsHattie Jacques and Barbara Windsor.

Barbara Windsor MBE, who celebrates her 78th birthday today, is responsible for perhaps the most memorable scene from the Carry On movies, in Carry On Camping. Windsor is also well-known for playing the no-nonsense pub landlady, Peggy Mitchell, in the long running British soap opera, EastEnders. In her early life, Windsor was associated with the East End London crime scene. She had a brief relationship with Reggie Kray (half of the infamous Kray twins) and Ronnie Knight, an associate of the Krays, was the first of her three husbands.

Let’s wish Barbara a very happy birthday with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Paul Townsend via CC.

Photo Credit: Paul Townsend via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Geoff Holme, winner of MB1.03, MB1.11 and MB1.41. Read his winning stories and what he has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with CARRY and ending with ON 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 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, including hyphens and apostrophes, is allowed) will be eligible to win.

  114 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.42 – CARRY [micro] ON”

  1. @AvLaidlaw
    110 Words


    “Carry an umbrella wherever you go,” my father said on his death bed. Weird advice, but he was like an umbrella himself – awkward, spiky, difficult to control.

    I ignored it of course. I always did.

    It rained at his funeral. Drumming rain, soaking into the black suit I’d borrowed, the mud seeping into my shoes at the graveside.

    Even in death, he wouldn’t give up.

    It rained wherever I went. The walk to the job centre. Outside the pub for a cigarette. The worse storm at the Glastonbury festival in years.

    So I bought an umbrella. The old man had won. But at least I won’t get rained on.

  2. Haven

    105 words


    “Carry nothing. No papers, no ID. Nothing that will allow them to track your origin.”

    Arman peered through the tent flap at the sound of the men’s voices, shrouded figures against the backdrop of misery that had become his new life. He glanced across at his mother, she slept fitfully, uneasily. The Jungle was a dangerous place.

    He fought down the despair that threatened to overwhelm him, they had fled terror in their homeland only to find that their persecutors had travelled with them, determined to wipe out any safe haven. Something had to change. But what could he do? He could only go on.

    • Wow – such a short yet intense piece. Great job!

      • Thanks. Very much thinking of the current problems with Calais and Britain. I’m extremely saddened that the refugees we would normally welcome and give a safe home to are being ‘lost’ amongst the economic migrants and others whose lives are not in danger. Those poor unfortunates are being tarred with a brush not of their making.

    • This sounds like an unfortunate situation. The feeling of hopelessness comes through. I haven’t heard of these problems involving Calais and Britain. *away to google more*

    • I like your use of the first bookend. Striking piece.

    • Nice use of the bookends, though a sad and poignant story. I can’t imagine having no where safe to be.

    • I love your use of the first bookend. Dramatic start, drew me in. What a tale of despair! Well done.

  3. The Campsite at the Edge of the World

    Carrying our tents and possessions, we arrive at the site. Everything’s sodden from the endless rain. We tut, roll our eyes and blame them. They pushed us here to the coast and we went.
    I laughed when I first saw them. They really are the ‘little green men’ I never believed in. Like something from a film. They couldn’t understand what we were saying and we couldn’t understand them. They’ve taken over everything and we just let them. And they never laugh. We, however, still have our sense of humour. We joke about the toilet facilities, the food and, of course, the weather.
    I’ve never been happier. With knobs on.

    110 words

  4. The Keeper of For-granted

    Carry reformed her physical being from the thin layer of water that covered the whole planet. She hated it when the water tried to put out the flame of the creatures of this world. Carry could see the Eyelights moving beneath the surface; they wouldn’t last much longer.

    Carry took hold of the waters will and forced it to return to where it belonged, and with that, the flying oceans lifted themselves up off the land.

    For the thousandth time, the Eyelights where saved. For the thousandth time, the Eyelights gave no thanks.

    With a sigh, Carry wondered why she even bothered to carry on.

    WC: 105

  5. Ah, Rain! Forsooth!
    110 words

    “Carry me, sweet Gregory. I can no longer walk.”

    “Get out of the puddle, Jim.”

    “My weary legs have no more strength. I have been defeated.”

    “It’s just rain, doofus.”

    “Rain that will not relent! Not even this delightful pastry can help me now.”

    “Come on, buddy. What would your girlfriend say if she were here?”

    “Forsooth! She’d say ‘I wish I hadn’t bought you that book of poetry, you dramatic idiot.”


    “Oh, Greg. You’re wishing you brought your boyfriend instead, aren’t you?”

    “Nah. Greg hates heavy metal. You’re a whiner, but at least you like the music. Here, get up; there are worse things than getting rained on.”

  6. Carry On
    107 Words

    “Carry everything you own,” the Announcement had said, posted on every door in the city.

    Later, we learned that we had to take it all on our backs. When possessions are reduced to that, it’s easy to pick and choose what’s important. I was shocked how quickly the gadgets fell away to leave room for journals and photo albums.

    Now the rain falls on our ten-by-ten shelter, the neighbors encroach on our borders but under the orange tint of the tent, we’ve found home.

    My mother strokes my hair as I let the rain soothe me. I drift in and out of sleep as life continues on.

  7. Weary Of Facing The World Alone
    98 words

    Carry on. It’ll get better.
    It hasn’t gotten better. In fact, she’s never been lonelier crammed with all these people.
    Rain patters the top of the blue tent and darkens it black.
    Time for a walk. No one will notice the tears.
    “Where are you going?” He runs up behind her.
    She tightens her hood. “Oh, I don’t know.”
    “Wanna share?” A meager offering of cheesy fries manifests under her face. Rain blobs on the wax paper.
    She plucks a fry. “If you can keep up.”
    He sloshes with her step for step.
    It’s getting better. Carry on.

  8. hit & run
    (w/c 107)


    Carry Edwards loved going to music festivals.
    I didn’t.
    Not that he would’ve noticed. As far as he was concerned I was as much a fan of them as he was.
    The truth in fact being, this was going to be my first festival and his last. The anonymity of a crowd was going to give me just the right amount of distraction and cover necessary.
    We were here to see his favourite band: DEAD DOG. It’s ironic really, as we met over a dead dog.
    My dog.
    Run over by a car.
    His car.
    ‘Ready?’ he asks.
    I nod and switch my concealed taser to on.

  9. In a Flash
    106 words

    “Carry this for me, will you?”
    She fumbles for the bright yellow umbrella thrust at her. The man keeps walking; she jogs to follow.
    “Wait! But-”
    A raindrop flicks by her nose and she gazes up at the cloudless sky.
    “Open it,” he says, mimicking the motion with his own umbrella.
    She hesitates, but then pops it open. Rain instantly starts pattering against it and in a flourish of color around her, hundreds of people reveal umbrellas and open them.
    Those unlucky enough not to have one crumple under the torrent and she sends him a wild gaze.
    The splattering covers her panicked, “What’s going on?”

  10. Love Lost
    (104 words)

    Carry her over the threshold. Floral design greets their new-minted love.
    Haul him over the doorstep. A bouquet of beer breath hits her nostrils making her heave.
    Shy anticipation as they undress each other and slip under the veil of the marital sheets.
    Lug him to the couch. Let him splay there, starfished, fully clothed.
    Hands joined, spinning words of golden threads: hair that’s captured sunshine; scent as green as rain.
    Snores ride the stale air, expletives when he wakes. Her something blue.
    Death do us part.
    Part of her is dead already. She looks around one final time, before her coat goes on.

  11. Potty Break
    110 words

    “Carry on…” The pelting rain drowned out the words to Kansas’ famous song.

    “This song is the reason I came to this festival, and I can’t even hear it.” Darby complained as we searched for a port-a-potty.

    “They’re the reason? You’re so old school.”

    The rain thrashed our ponchos as Darby stuffed her face with soggy funnel cake. The smell of the port-a-potties hit us before we saw them.

    Standing in line three deep, a crazy-haired grungy hippie ran up to one port-a-potty and pushed. They went down like dominoes, doors flying open and stunned faces staring back at us.

    Hippie winked as he ran off and said, “Carry on.”

    • Knight to the rescue, sort of – not quite sure how they’re going to right them!


    Brian S Creek
    110 words

    “Carry me,” moans Chris.

    Mike turns to see his friend knee deep in the mud. Reluctantly, he hoists Chris up like the soaking wet, skinny backpack that he is.

    “Why do we never get hired to hunt demons in sunny places?” says Mike.

    “Maybe you can ask this one,” says Chris.

    The sea of festival goers parts to reveal a multi-limbed, rotund man feasting on a young girl.

    “I’ll take care of this,” says Chris, jumping back down with a squelch. “You need to cut off its power source.” He points to the DJ playing the main stage on the far side of the field. “Better get a move on.”

  13. @firdausp
    Carry On – Being Poetic
    (108 words)

    “Carry a smile
    I can see
    From a mile

    Carry my heart
    Keep safe
    Don’t tear apart”

    Silence—only sound of our shoes squelching, as we walk in the mudbath across the field, shielding our fish and chips from the pouring rain.

    “What do you think?”
    “It certainly rhymes.”
    “Will she like it?”
    “Look what she wrote for me”
    “Roses are red
    Trees are green
    When we are together
    We look supreme”

    (Where can I bang my head?!)
    “We are a poetic couple!”
    “I can see that—your poetry is out of this world!”(Should stay there!)

    (Someone wipe off that smug grin he has on!)

  14. Foy S. Iver
    WC: 109

    Bonding Thyme

    “Carry on, that’s a bird, write?”

    “No, carrion is what the bird eats. You mean vulture.”

    “Nah, man, I’m pretty sure your talkin’ about that alien race from Star Wars. The one without emoticons.”

    “Emotions. And that was Star Trek.”


    “Never mind.”

    “Anyways, my chore oh looks like a vultures’ neck.”

    “You got an elephant ear. Different from a churro.”

    “Why our we hanging out again?”

    “Because I’m marrying your sister. Bro…a little self-respect? You’ve got mustard on your poncho.”

    “Thats what she said.”

    “Doesn’t work.”

    “Your just mad I’m better then you.”

    “Can we just enjoy the concert?”

    Merry her over my dead body.

    Game on.

  15. You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, especially via marriage! Great puns 🙂

  16. @stellakateT
    110 words

    Race for Love

    “Carry what?” she squealed

    He loved her athletic shoulders beefed up from all the water polo she played, her quick wit and her awesome competitive streak but she was so squeamish. She hadn’t moaned about the continual rain, laughing that she’d survived last years Glastonbury mud. She hadn’t seemed to realise what this festival was all about.

    “Carry a whole hog!”

    “It’s only a mile around the track” he pleaded. He looked at the other puny girls they’d soon flag. He’d be on the podium this year with his arms around the winner, his girl. His farmer friends would be so jealous.

    Her last comment to him was “Jog on!”

  17. The Weight

    “Carry the tent first, then the beers.”

    Simon sighed, hefted the tent and plunged into the freezing mud. Jay grinned.

    “I’ll take the rucksack, then piggyback you across, yeah?”

    The girl in the pink Metallica shirt giggled drunkenly.

    It took a while, but she was eventually ferried to dry land. Jay and Simon slogged on towards the Pyramid Stage.

    Simon sighed deeply.

    “That was wrong.”

    Jay shrugged.

    “Let it go, man! You want a clear conscience, the Krishnas do free lentil curry… Or…”

    He pulled out a pink Metallica purse and checked the contents.

    “We can get burgers and beers before the Foos start.”

    Simon’s stomach gurgled muddily.

    “You’re on.”

    110 words

    • Naughty boys. Thankfully rare at Glasto. At T in the Park though it’s so common by the end of the weekend people have stolen their own wallets back.

  18. @PattyannMc
    WC: 110 on the nose.

    Cardinal Spider’s Treacherous

    “Carry yer own,” Black Hairy Harry hollered at Cardinal, who struggled carrying his wellies. “Yer legs are long ʼnough ta skip right over dat!”

    “Help me Harry, you know I can’t!”

    They had crawled out from an orange tent and made their way to the edge of a mud pit, looking a thousand miles across.

    “Here, sit yerself down. I’ll help witchyer wellies, ya baby.”

    Cardinal flopped, lifting eight legs up, as Harry placed a wellie on each gluey foot.

    “There ya baby, now ya do mine.”

    Cardinal was already crossing the mud, giggling, leaving him behind. Harry’s eight eyes bugged out.

    “Hey, ya cheater! Help me get mine on!”

  19. Word Count: 110
    Title: A Day in the Life

    “Carry that weight!” Paul trotted by the busker and noshed on the honey pie sogging through his fingers.

    “Don’t pass me by.” Richard tried screaming ‘Wait’ and ‘Help!’ They clogged in his throat. “Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song.”

    However much he tried, Richard couldn’t help but sing out of key. Appeasing the fool on the hill, Paul listened as the honey dripped from his hand.

    When the song ended, Paul turned back toward the long and winding road like he did the night before.

    “You never give me my money!”

    Paul tossed the pie deprived of its honey to Richard.

    “Ob-la-di, ob-la-da. Life goes on.”

  20. Carry On Festivalling!
    A.J. Walker

    Fat Chance looked out of his tent.

    “The good news is the mud is disappearing. The bad news is it’s under a foot a water.”

    Having his own issues Robin Rich ignored him.

    “I just can’t get it up.”

    “I’ve heard that.”

    “I think I’ve put something in the wrong holes.”

    “Easily done when it’s wet mate.”

    “Any chance of some help?”

    “Traditionally it’s a one man job.”

    Robin looked over. “Jeez! Those baps are enormous.”

    “Splendid indeed. Fancy cheese or ham?”

    “Oh god, I’ve left my sleeping bag at home!”

    “Thought she worked Friday’s?”

    “And this torch wont work either.”

    “So your wife’s right, you can’t turn anything on.”

    (110 words)

  21. My Positive Wilderness Experience
    110 words

    Carry these three essentials to ensure your wilderness experience is a positive one:

    Hunting knife: cut food, wood; besides, you never know when a predator will emerge

    (Actually, I do know. Allison didn’t stand a chance. Outdoorsy charm. Cozy by the campfire. Rohypnol in the hot chocolate. This time, I’m the hunter.)

    Tarp: even with waterproof gear, you’ll be glad of the extra protection against precipitation.

    (Luckily for me, you didn’t notice the family resemblance. Nor the mug switch. Let it rain.)

    Rope: hang perishables, bind the rest of your gear.

    (You left pieces for scavengers. I’m not so careless. Figure-eight knots come in handy for keeping cinderblocks on.)

  22. Emily Clayton
    110 words

    From the Darkness We Rise

    “Carry that case wherever you go. On a plane. In the rain. Even racing through seating at rugby games. You got it?”

    Ha. That rhymes. I beat down a dopey grin. “Yes, Mother Carrot.”

    She took me in when I got hooked on drugs. Made me a voluntary carrot. I’d transition to full status with a clear head. Badge and all.

    Six months later, full carrot with sleek leafy duds. First assignment is a tough one, and I evade several armed officers before halting at your door. We give the signal and conduct a trade. My case for your cash.

    Oh, and that carrot fixation? I’ll tell you later on.

  23. Star Trekking
    100 words

    ‘Carry out another analysis. We want to be certain.’
    ‘Aye, ma’am.’
    The commander closed her eyes while the ship’s sensor scanned the area again.
    ‘Confirmed. No buildings, only small huts made from fabric, in close proximity.’
    The commander shuddered. Intelligence had classified the planet as civilised.
    ‘And there’s water falling from the sky?’
    ‘Yes, ma’am. Seems to have increased, according to the sensor. One wouldn’t think it possible.’
    The commander sighed.
    ‘Orders, ma’am?’
    ‘Sent a report. Find a polite way to question their idea of the perfect, quiet place. Looks like we’re not going home yet. The search goes on.’

  24. Habeas Corpus
    @geofflepard 108 words
    ‘Carry on looking. It’s all you can do until they update the inventory…’
    ‘Grandpa hates that.’
    ‘Calling expireds ‘inventory’. He prefers the old ways. You know, burial, cremation.’
    ‘He’s daft. Right now, with the world coming apart, we can’t waste spares like that.’
    ‘This rains not helping, messing with the data. Why’d they use tents, anyway?’
    ‘Didn’t you hear? In case they need to move quickly. After Gloucester.’
    ‘I thought that was scare-mongering.’
    ‘No. Fourteen cases of cannibalism. People are desperate.’
    ‘Like me. If I don’t get new lungs, I’ll be part of the next catalogue.’
    ‘They’ll not eat you. Not unless you put some meat on.’

  25. @PattyannMc
    WC: 110


    Carry on as if your soul does not hemorrhage sorrow, your harmony ruptured, as you cleave to the throbbing of an empty womb. Unthinking well-wishers do not know of what they speak. They feel need to comfort, but their words stab deep into the heart of your once vital womb.

    A festival thrived within you once, and grew in the warm safe confines you provided. The world was radiantly colorful flags fluttering high in the breezes. You supped at a banquet of joy, life growing within you.

    Your sustenance now perished, trampled in the mud, the banquet silenced. The festival has gone, and in midnight anguish, you must carry on.

  26. Post-Morpheme

    Carry that sentence on in—yes, lay it on the syntax table. CAREFUL! You’re dropping modifiers everywhere! That’s better.

    All right. You’ve all seen a red pen before? Good. Let’s start by carving the baseline, shall we? Sloooowly. OK, we’re in. Don’t be embarrassed, ma’am; many experience nausea at the primary parse. Can anyone locate the subject right off? Regrettably, sir, that’s the object. Anyone else? Yes, there! Excellent!

    Now observe my pen—sometimes one must dig around—ahhh, here it is, a nice, fat predicate. What, someone’s fainted? My apologies, sir; adverbs will splatter. Mind the puddle, then.

    Young lady! I beseech you! Prepositions are not for chewing on!

    110 words

  27. The Unbearable Darkness of Gigging

    “Carry this will ye Mac?”

    I look down at the half chewed kebab hanging there like a dead rat in my hand. Vinz is already off, feet slaloming in the mud. We had long ago given up the pretence of cleanliness. Existing in a grimy alternate reality, where swamp people roamed amidst spliff laden clouds.

    The kebab arcs across the doom-laden sky, missing my tormentor by at least five metres, his laughter enough to drive me under the awning of some fajita shack. Trembling force sodden papers and baccy into shape.

    Vinz calls out, hands beckoning excitedly.

    The throb of The Prodigy’s bass filling the world.

    Sullenly I trudge on.

    110 words

  28. Survivors
    (109 words)

    “Carry the food back to them.”
    She looked out at the world of tents that looked like an eerie pointillist painting. “I don’t know where…”
    “Feed them, ask about your town, and ask them to tell you the truth.”
    “I’ll never find them.”
    He stared at her until she met his eyes.
    “When you go among the people, ask. You’ll get to them. What are you really afraid of?” he asked.
    She swallowed the mouthful of food she’d been chewing. “Knowing. What if my family is dead?”
    He squeezed her shoulder. “Then you’ll know.”
    She nodded, staring at the tent city.
    He gave her a gentle push. “Go on.”


  29. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 109
    (just for fun entry)

    A Great British Tradition

    “Carry the umbrella a minute, Kevin, while I wipe the rain off my glasses.”

    It’s the same every year: our favourite music festival is held in the height of summer but the clouds always open and thousands of wellies churn the fields into mud.

    “Do I have to? I’m cold, wet and miserable.”

    “You wanted to give it another try, son!”

    “Yeah, well, this is definitely the last time… Hang on… There’s Ronnie and Reggie!”


    “The headline act, The Crayfish Twins.”

    “Oh, right. So you want to stick it out for a while longer then?”

    “Yeah, why not? You know what they say: the show must go on.”

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