Sep 102015
 

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.47. Here, have a wild card. You can start your stories with any word beginning with BRIT (British, brittle, britzka etc.) Have fun.

In a 1987 edition of The Face magazine, several British actors featured in an interview with journalist Elissa Van Poznak. The title of the interview was The Brit Pack, a play on words based on the group of American actors, the Brat Pack who were popular around the same time. The original Brit Pack included Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Paul McGann and Tim Roth. Unlike the Brat Pack, the Brit Pack actors didn’t associate with each other either on film or socially. The term Brit Pack is still used occasionally to describe a group of disparate British actors backed by the media to achieve Hollywood stardom simultaneously. However, no group of actors has emerged as readily identifiable as the original Brit Pack.

Brit Pack member Colin Firth celebrates his fifty-fifth birthday today. Firth first received widespread attention for his role as Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. He received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of the stuttering King George VI in The King’s Speech and received a nomination for his role in A Single Man. Firth is also an activist for causes such as the rights of tribal peoples, the rights of refugees, and fair trade. In 2010 Firth commissioned research to analyse the brain structures of people of different political orientations. It was found that conservatives have greater amygdala volume and liberals have greater volume in their anterior cingulate cortex.

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

Photo Credit: Stephen Hampshire via CC.

Photo Credit: Stephen Hampshire via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Brian S Creek, winner of MB1.46. Read his winning story and what he has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with BRIT* and ending with PACK 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 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.

  120 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.47 – BRIT* [micro] PACK”

  1. The State Senator

    “Brittle fellow, eh?”

    “Oh, yeah. Made a flimsy material. Rag doll of a man.”

    “How come he keeps agettin’ voted in? Folks must see sumthin’ of worth in ‘em.”

    “Mebbe! He’s been gettin’ hisself the vote nigh on 30 years. We got it stuck in our noggins that he’s the only one we shud be electin’. He reads, you know?”

    “No, I didn’t know. Well, that’s a big somethin’.”

    “Yup, reads his Bible daily. He’s a weary old bugger now but years ago, he could cut a rug. “

    “Well, I’ll give ‘em my X. Probably no good for nothin’ else ‘cept dancin’ with that mangy State Capitol dog pack.”

    110 reasons never to do it again
    @billmelaterplea

  2. 108
    @Viking_Ma

    Cheer Misery

    Britney flexed her wrist, feeling the shimmy of the pom-pom, nodding as the insane music matched the crashing of her heart. Her mother and her grandmother had both won the Oklahoma Individual, and now the expectations of family weighed uncomfortably on her shoulders. She wiggled them as her cue flashed up. Taking a deep breath, she forced the doubts aside, and bounced out, waving and grinning as the crowd roared.

    She fell, of course, hard. The silence hurt almost as much as her pride. She imagined the disappointment turning their eyes downwards.
    Tonight she would leave Oklahoma, hit the road on her own. She couldn’t wait to pack.

  3. @AvLaidlaw
    109 Words

    This Thing, I Forget Its Name

    Brittleness, that’s what it feels like.

    The sense that memories are so fragile, dandelion seeds blown away in the breeze.

    The sense that reality is nothing more than an early draft, to be scribbled out, crumpled up and thrown away.

    The surgeon’s hopeful. The scans show it hasn’t grown too much. They have new techniques.

    They have new tricks up their sleeves.

    I write everything down because this thing inside my head, I forget its name, steals every memory and keeps them to itself.

    The mundanely of these lists keeps me rooted in the world.

    Directions to the hospital.

    Current medication.

    Pyjamas. Toothbrush. A list of things to pack.

  4. Name: dazmb
    Words: 110

    Title: Pep talk

    “Brit. Not Captain Britain. Just Brit”

    “Why? Because if you x-ray me, you’ll see I’m a motherfuckin’ superhero!”

    “Not much of a costume, you say? Rot, this is made of the purest spidey silk. Fine as gossamer, strong as a tank, impervious to any of their bullets.”

    “Powers? Faster than The Flash. I can dodge all inky, poisonous barbs. Stronger than Thor’s hammer. In a spot, I can unleash the power of a nuclear bomb. I’m capable of withstanding any onslaught.”

    The politest cough.

    “The press are ready for you now, sir.”

    “Fine. I’m ready. And don’t call me sir. Call me Prime Minister. Now hand me my briefing pack.”

  5. JACKED IN

    Britannica. Evers smirked at the memory, eyes half closed, cheek blubber rising and falling. Archaic. He pitied those who still leafed through those heavy encyclopaedic volumes.

    Then he was off and away, a thousand sparks of ideas and information. Merging and swooping like a murmuration of starlings, separating to seek the new.

    His money had bought him the ultimate. The source. He dwelt in information now. The pure stuff.

    Evers’s brain: a medical miracle, jacked into the mainframe.

    Evers’s head needed constant support, now his body had begun to atrophy.

    Page turners; no more did he run with that pack.

    @feclarkart
    100 words

  6. A British Superhero?

    W/C 108

    @carolrosalind

    Brit Man was all I had.

    But would the Editor run with a British Superhero comic?

    Five minutes into the meeting I knew my job was hanging by its fingertips.

    His silent stare told me all I needed to know.

    ‘He could have the face of Colin Firth – ride a horse – wear a wet shirt,’ I blurted out. ‘It might increase circulation with our female readers.’

    ‘I pay you for original ideas,’ he bellowed, ‘ not rehashed ones. Brit Man’s been done before.’

    His words stamped on my slipping fingers, leaving me in free fall.

    ‘Clear your desk – your fired. Now get out of here.’

    Head down, I went to pack.

  7. Name: dazmb
    Words: 108

    Title: Check out is by 11am.

    Brittle as my nerves are, there is something familiar about the smell.

    Her perfume. But something else: Latent. Evil.

    My heart’s pounding.

    “In the room with the suitcases, I think that’s where I am…”

    Phone to my ear, moving through the door.

    But she’s not there. Dimly, I see it on a table, a cheap cassette player next to a microphone, her voice now looping “In the room….”

    Confused, terrified, I lean over the table.

    From the shadows someone I’m grabbed from behind. Icy malice reaches into me like an x-ray.

    “You weren’t really expecting to leave now, were you? Why, I can see you didn’t even pack…“

  8. I like the way you make this into a comic book scene about a comic book – with the image of the job hanging by its fingertips…and the fall.

  9. the steal
    (w/c 109)

    @koebnig

    Brit had the key.
    She opened the door and we followed.
    The warehouse reeked of decomposing wood and … something worse.
    The foul stench clawed at my throat and I gagged.
    ‘Shhh …’ whispered Brit. ‘This way!’
    And again we followed obediently at her heels.
    The piece of art we’d been contracted to steal was hidden amongst the bloated shadows at the very back of the dilapidated building.
    ‘What was that?’ someone asked.
    Brit was the first to see their thick, meaty whiskers … then we all saw their fangs.
    We stared, frozen to the spot, and watched as they crawled towards us in one ravenous pack.

  10. The Left Lobe of Sargent Williams
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Brit you say? Well, America’s the greatest country in the world! We pronounce words properly, son. ”

    “Your left frontal lobe isn’t the problem.”

    “Lobe? You mean earlobe? I hear you pronouncing things all wrong, that’s why you lost the war!”

    “War?”

    “The revolution, son! Vitamin. That Bear Grylls guy says VIT-a-min. Aluminum. Al-loo-MIN-ee-um. Privacy. PRIV-a-see. Your country makes no sense.”

    “Officer, was I speeding or not?”

    “Been smoking H-erb, son.”

    “No!”

    “What’s that?”

    “WHA-ta!”

    “No smart alecks, here, son. This is America and when you mess with us you’re getting all the lobes… understand? Your lobe hear that, son? WAR-ning! Now leave this great country!”

    “As soon as I pack.”

    (110 words)

  11. The end of memories
    @geofflepard 109 words
    British science – miracle cure. One word in four true. He was British.
    Epilepsy so bad he can’t see for hours after, can’t speak. A simple operation…
    …sever the hippocampus…
    The epilepsy stopped. Everything stopped, like a clock stuck at 12. No memory after and tainted memories from before.
    ‘Hi, who are you?’ How many times? 50? 5000? Your mother, only I can’t say. His memories don’t age as I do. ‘A friend.’ I can no longer say ‘A friend.’
    He sees the bag. ‘Are we going?’
    If I could slice your brain and find just one memory from after lodged there, we could go on.
    ‘Yes. Time to pack.’

  12. The Rubik Cube of the Mind
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Brit’s mind was a Rubik’s Cube where all colors were the same. He tried to figure out life by continually twisting and turning it in his thoughts.

    “Have you figured it out, yet?” His friends would ask as he poured over Heidegger, Sartre, and Foucault.

    “Nothing goes together!”

    Fall trees assembled in his eyes piecing together elaborate rainbows of structure.

    But love was the color he had overlooked. The swerve of her lipstick. Dress marching toward ground with apologetic curves. When she kissed him there was a clicking in his mind. A soft touch of conclusion.

    A mind to unpack of troubles. A soul, bringing you to destination, to pack.

    {110 words)

  13. It’s All a Game.

    “Brit6730 is online.”
    Well duh. I know I’m online.

    “Brit6370 is ready to play.”
    I know I’m ready to play. The real question is are YOU ready to play?

    They watch me, egging me on, telling me what to do and to really put all my effort into it.
    I push slowly against the blocks, and they come tumbling down. The scary monster is defeated!

    My cousins squeal in delight. Apparently babies are “just soooo cute” or something.

    I put my thumb into my mouth and suck. I need changing again. Now that sends them off to pack.

    98 words

  14. Overconfidence
    @hollygeely
    110 words

    “Britches, Marty,” she says. “You’re too big for them. That’s why you’re here.” Her laugh is the only thing that marks her as…other.

    Pictures of human skulls decorate boxes lining the walls. This is not what I expected when I barged in here. I thought it was drugs.

    “Guess what, Detective? You overestimated yourself. You’ll be tied up and gagged until you starve.”

    She slaps me. I see stars. She rips the tape off and lets me spit before replacing it.

    “See you later. Unless you’re dead.”

    She closes the trap door and leaves me in the dark.

    I’ll never know why, but she has my tooth in her pack.

  15. Admission

    Britophile proof? I eat Colin Firth by the box, dream of Cadbury rising dripping from lakes, plant my daughters in henges, alone so alone my Churchill, named my cucumbers Boudica and Cartimandua, once they’ll have been conceived and born, white coat.

    The Queen spoke to me once, help, it was Christmas. She wished mine happy, which is British for merry, though only on TV. I was spreading lemon curd on my boot, whose voice is that, and putting groceries in biscuits, which tastes better sometimes at the wrong side of the car (ithurtsithurts). Gentle Britophile me: Darcy my soul, why are you screaming?, Arthur my king, Beatles my pack.

    109 words
    @postupak

    • This makes me think of expressive aphasia and the struggles and frustrations inherent to the disorder. Also, me thinks a certain Margaret Locke would like some of that Firth for breakfast as well. 😉

    • Or is it receptive aphasia? Some really surreal offerings this week (Is it appropriate that I’m reading them in reverse order?!)
      [ A true Britophile would know that Boudicca has two cees. 😀 ]

      • Not with Tacitus, sorry–I stand by my spelling!

        • Or at the least I will argue that there are enough language experts who fall on both sides of the fence to say there’s room for a true Britophile to spell her name with one C. 😀 😀

  16. The Head and the Heart
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Brittlefly’s intellect: ragtag hustle of thought dealing crack whores bleeding and dying every moment a birth to amend the last thought.

    Heart: mountain climbing itself through avalanche, rain, and spiritual hiccups drills.

    Intellect: law and order and black hole time dimensions – sciences deadly séance.

    Heart: soul vacations in Miami watching bikinis outline spiritual fabric of lust. Twisting variations of moon dance sparkle behind newborns clear blue sky vision.

    Intellect: scratches its head.

    Heart: just another casualty in the skull coffin to pack.

    Intellect: must get last word like a 12-gun-salute. Giving the sky a drunk 20-20. A 40, or just a two six-shooter six-pack?

    (104 words)

  17. Teeth Like Colin’s
    WC 108
    @carolrosalind

    ‘Brittle … Peanut Brittle,’ I managed to say once he removed his hand.

    ‘I only took a bite and the tooth just broke.’

    He dug around some more.

    ‘And how long is it since you’ve seen a dentist?’

    ‘I ‘een ‘usy,’ I said defensively.

    He sucked in a breath.

    ‘I can save it … but it’s gonna cost,’

    I sucked in a bigger breath.

    ‘How much?’

    ‘Well it’ll need root treatment as well as a bit of cosmetic work,

    ‘Can you make them look like Colin Firth’s?’

    ‘I’m not sure you’ve got the face for that but

    I’ll arrange an x-ray and then show you a price pack.’

  18. Dr. Goodbye

    Brit, the patient in room 13, no longer had the jovial attitude he possessed when he came in. He had created warmth inside his room using jokes about his old wig.

    When I showed him his white peppered brain, I could see time pass slowly for him. I could feel the warmth leave the room: he thought the war inside him was won, but it had simply spread.

    For the millionth time, someone was diagnosed.

    I wondered if I would be able to eat lunch: probably not. New patients were flooding the ER. Outside was the wife; car keys in hand.

    I got up to leave.
    “Goodbye Mr. Pack.”

    WC: 109
    berrymichael07@gmail.com

  19. Name: dazmb
    Words: 110

    Title: The Emperor’s New Clothes

    BritArt. That’s what we’ll call it. The PR agency says to be shocking. So what have we got?

    Well, I am going to get out of bed. That will be my art. Right?

    S’all right, but death right? It’s scary. Not just scary, but really, really, scary, right. Like it’s a shark. It’s physically impossible to comprehend if you’re alive, right?

    Cool Britannia, no one will see through this.

    My art. I’m going to freeze dry my blood into a cast of my head. I will become my own art, right.

    I’m going to paint. Composition, perspective, colour.

    That’s so wrong, right. You do that, you’re just following the pack.

    • I love the references to Emin, Hirst and Quinn – very tongue in cheek!

      • Thanks! With the odd exception I’m not sure any of the art from that period has aged well!

        • Surely something pickled in formaldehyde is guaranteed to age well?
          Nice take on the prompts, dazmb. I only just found out that “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” consists of three cubes… who knew?

  20. Stop Smoking by Listening to the Beatles
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    British invasion. February 1964.

    My father still mourned President Kennedy. Flag in front lawn still at half mast.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    1967. Golden Gate Park. Taking acid expanding my mind. Pepper whirlwind of Secretariat heart pulses racing toward psychedelic insight. Thinking of childhood.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    12 in front of television losing my mind. My sister and I got dressed up as if we were going to church.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Vietnam severed mind drifts. Coffin brick piles.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    30 seconds till Beatles. My sister wet her pants.

    “Lady and gentleman… THE BEATLES!” My sister fainted. I cried. It was old-time gospel hour.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Next day my father raised the flag. And he stopped smoking.

    Threw away his whole pack.

    (110 words)

  21. Absolution
    106 words
    @thebatinthehat

    Brittle bone disease. Osteogenesis imperfecta, the doctors call it.

    Prosecutors said I shook you.

    The truth rang out in the courtroom, but at a cost. Over and over again, I was confronted with x-rays of your tiny, broken bones and accused with MRI and CT scans showing the intracerebral hemorrhage that took your life.

    I left the courtroom physically free, but I am a prisoner still – of memories and suspicious eyes.

    He stayed with me, but I’m leaving your father today. I’m terrified of becoming pregnant again.

    I’ll carry a lot of baggage with me, but a photo of you is the only thing I’ll pack.

  22. @fs_iver
    WC: 110

    Tradition

    Brith is what she needs.

    Eliav twisted the ends of his payot, listening. His wife’s sobs became a wail became a hurricane.

    But for the brain. Do they ‘circumcise’ the mind anymore?

    “How could you!” It was a scream, and it didn’t end in a question.

    Eliav plucked knish from his black-wire beard; he brushed it onto the tabletop. She would clean it later.

    “Are you finished?” he asked, careful not to encourage her through eye contact.

    Mucus-filled hiccups signaled a calming.

    “They offered a good price and we need status.” He selected each word judiciously; emotions ruled her.

    “She’s my daughter, too.”

    Silence. He’d won.

    “Tell her to pack.”

  23. @winterpoetess
    WC: 107

    Red Beacon

    British alleyway…10 o’clock, girl in a red hoodie. She was the one, I just knew it. I saw her once and that flaming image of her; standing against the wall of that alley in bleary mist was seared into my memory. How could something stand out like that? It was like she was accidentally put there by some higher being. God’s ruby had fallen out of the sky. She was the one who was going to be able to get us out of the mist. She was our beacon. Now if I could just bottle up her image and put it in that little cardboard pack.

  24. @stellakateT
    107 words

    Cultural Differences

    “Brit Milah?”
    I twisted the card in my hand; we’d been invited to some sort of ceremony.
    Becky raised her eyes from the pan of pasta and giggled
    “You probably don’t want to know, let alone go?”
    “I do want to go”
    “Liar”
    There was an element of truth in her comment but it was her sister’s son and I knew I had to please the family inner circle if I wanted a future with this amazing girl.
    “Google it”
    I did as she said and looked it up. Poor Josh, clutching my manhood I felt the horror circumfuse my face. She opened me a six pack.

    • Well done, Stella, finding this circumcision ceremony that fits the opening bookend seamlessly – no pun intended! A beautifully unfolding tale, packing so much into it. I was going to ask how it fits the photo prompt but, having thought about it, I’m sure I don’t really want to know…

      [ Points Arising:

      * Couldn’t you get your colleagues to collect enough money to buy you a leaving present of a laptop with a full stop key that works?

      * ‘Poor Josh, clutching my manhood…’ I think that really calls for a full stop or exclamation mark, rather than a comma, don’t you? :-$

      * ‘circumfuse’? Coming round here with your NHS jargon!

      * Don’t tell me… It was a six pack of Stella! ba-dum, TISH! ]

      • Geoff that made me laugh out loud. A good workman or woman never blames their tools so I take full blame for the missing full stops. Will do much better in future. I nearly did forget the photo prompt but managed to include. Its there! 😉

  25. @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Word Count: 109

    Right Nutters

    “Britain’s future — or certainly our future — may depend on the outcome of this ballot.”

    “It was obvious that he’d have to resign after that drubbing.”

    “More’s the pity. You don’t need an MRI of his brain to know he’s a blockhead! He’s the one who authorised the review that led to selling off for a pittance the right to vote in the leadership election!”

    “Necessitating that undignified scramble to prevent what should have been obvious even to a… visually-impaired person, to be politically correct for once.”

    “Think we bought enough votes to get the result we want, George?”

    “Definitely. Mm-mmm! Fancy an almond, David? I opened a new pack.”

  26. Thump
    Word Count: 109
    @iskyhaggarty36

    ~~~

    Brittle twigs snap under the weight of its paw. It looks up and sniffs.
    Twice.
    Something is near. A rabbit. Injured.
    It sniffs again. It can smell the rabbit’s fear; it’s heart thump-thumping so loudly that it’s surprising the birds haven’t took off in a flurry of confusion and apprehension.
    It slowly makes its way across the damp, frostbitten ground, following the trail of blood drops to its victim.
    Thump.
    With one quick swipe the rabbit exhales crimson and inhales an earthy stillness.
    It cracks the skull open with as much force as it takes to knock over decorative building blocks.
    Satisfied, it slinks away to find its pack.

  27. Blockhead

    109 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDogs

    “British markers are absent. I’m sorry.”

    But I was aristocracy! Registration on the new ‘Native’ database was supposed to be a formality.

    “It’s your genes,” said the doctor. “They show certain foreign building blocks. You have roots in Scandinavia, Germany …”

    “So I am to go on the Immigrant Database?”

    He nodded.

    “And how many are there on the Native Database?” I asked.

    “Um, at present – none.”

    Only a blockhead could’ve come up with a sure fire way of reducing public spending and fulfilling the migrant quota imposed by Europe. And I was that blockhead. No longer a thoroughbred, I was now merely one of a mongrel pack.

  28. Dust Bowl Road Rage
    100 words
    Dave @ParkInkSpot
    ——–
    Britches dusted with topsoil, shotgun barrels dusted with unburned gunpowder, and faces dusted with frowns. These ole boys were clearly in no mood to be friendly.

    “He’s a worthless GMOkie,” sneered the bearded one with the double-barreled twelve gauge. “Turn that rig around and you git on home, boy. We don’t need no more hobos in this here county.”

    The little one just spat. The axe handle he was tapping against his palm spoke volumes.

    Wretchedly, I turned and departed.

    Attempting the gauntlet, the owner of the next vehicle was torn apart by the twenty-first century California coyote pack.

  29. A History of Peanut Brittle
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Brittle legacy indeed. The history of peanut brittle is unclear. Its origins are still subject to debate.

    Possible origins.

    1890, a woman in New England was creating taffy. She accidentally poured baking soda to the mix instead of tartar cream.

    Another theory is that it was originally a Celtic dessert.

    My mother makes it for Halloween. A sweet scent of baking peanuts and sugar fills our house with a golden aroma. Its brittleness matches perfectly the fall leaves that decorate our lawn with a sleeping rainbow.

    Trick or treater’s given the confection. Boy with skeleton mask takes some. He walks away crunching like bones. He has a very full pack.

    (110 words)

  30. Shattered Glass
    A.J. Walker

    Brittle memories etched onto sugar glass shatter at the first grasp at its contents. If lucky the fragments are large enough and a smile flicks on his face as he recalls elements of past glories – or a simple moment. Often his mouth falls, his eyes tear, as the memories are dashed into sand impossible to piece together.

    The brain scan shows slices through his head like a ham. Diseased meat. Drawn onto blocks, a puzzle to be put back together; a rigged game as pieces are taken away.

    Memories were almost all he had. When he left home he took so little – forgetting to put his past in his pack.

    (110 words)
    @zevonesque

  31. BRITOPIA
    100 words
    @elaine173marie

    ‘Britopia…Take your ticket at Desk 1. Welcome to Britopia…Take…’ The words circled the screen.
    Geo took a ticket at Desk 1 this enabled him to collect the papers at Desk 2 where he was allowed to collect a form for Desk 3 that facilitated his progress to Desk 4 where he received a questionnaire, the completion of which, permitted graduation to Desk 5 at which point he was in possession of a tear-off slip that would authorize continuation to Desk 6 where documentation was distributed at… Desk 9…10…11…
    Desk 2020 where he received a Psych Evaluation and an Immigration Pack.

  32. Title: “Test Run”
    Word Count: 104
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith

    Brithday

    Julie cupped Sam’s hand to stop him writing.

    “No,” she said gently. “Try again.”

    Brithdae

    Sam’s eyes searched her face for affirmation.

    “Keep trying, Sam. Keep trying.”

    Sam moved the pen on the paper, making every possible variation of the “ay” sound. Julie turned to the men looking down from the glass booth above her.

    “Why doesn’t he get it? Surely it’s not dyslexia?”

    Suddenly Sam slumped forward in his seat. His hand slowed to a stop; the pen skidded across the page.

    “No,” said a voice over the intercom. “His brain scan looks fine. Maybe he just needs a new battery pack.”

  33. Da Capo All’Infinito
    (110 Words)

    “Brithic colonizers abducted me once, you know.”

    I pull a cigarette out of the pack. “You mean ‘British’?”

    “No, ‘Brithic.’” I know. “You probably don’t believe me, but there’re aliens!”

    “Oh yeah?” Smoke limits my words.

    “They took me in my sleep one night.” You weren’t sleeping. “They experimented on my brain.” They were trying to repair the damages I’d done to your jigsawed skull. “I bet they don’t realize I remember it all.” I wish you did. Or could.

    The ashes collapse as your story ends and I dread your moment of silence. Again.

    “Brithic colonizers abducted me once, you know.”

    I pull a cigarette out of the pack.

  34. A Game of Poppies
    (100 words)

    Brittany, 2 November 1916

    The psychiatrist says I’m almost ready to go back. Only a few last tests.

    He always starts with the blocks. I can stack them better than I ever could as a child. I duplicate whatever the doc sets in front of me, either hand.

    If only I could reconstruct my mind that easily.

    They’re worried I’m scared of going back, that I’ll crack again under the strain. But I’m not scared. Not really.

    I just can’t get that damned image out of my head–the stump of Jonesie’s foot in the mud next to his pack.

    @haikufictiondju

  35. — Getting One Down —

    “Britten oratorio features male singer”. Five letters, ends with R.

    Er… Peter?

    Why?

    You know, Peter Grimes.

    Nope. Remember what I said about the synonym? Think of a male singer.

    Like Peter Andre?

    Forget Mr Insania. Think of men in a choir.

    OK… Bass? Too short. Tenor?

    Got it!

    Did I? How’s that related to the Young Person’s Guide?

    It’s not! Look inside “Britten oratorio” and you find “tenor”.

    Oh. You say figuring out these stupid clues is good for the brain?

    Deffo.

    Well, mine hurts.

    Tough. Let’s do another one.

    Really?

    Really. Seven letters, second letter B. “Forgive free love after six pack”.

    108 words
    @edbroom

    • Oh, Ed! Cryptic crosswords as well in your brainy arsenal! I used to be into them too, before I got hooked by flash fiction, but I can cope with only one mania at a time – pedantry doesn’t count…

      Clever use of bookends… with the blocks in the photo prompt evoking the cells of a crossword grid? Hats off to you, sir.

      [ I was pleased to find that I got the first answer straight away and the second after a few moments’ thought. No spoiler alert required 😀 ]

  36. @firdausp
    Joker
    (110 words)
    Britman whizzed around the bedroom, his waist clutched between a chubby thumb and finger. Bright red cape fluttered behind him. His Union Jack pants, over blue tights, were uncomfortable, though they made his packed lunch look good.
    How he wished for a mustard and burgundy tweed set with patent burgundy brogues!
    The dips and turns suddenly stopped and he found himself standing precariously on some haphazardly balanced wooden blocks.
    He surveyed the room and took in all the ridiculous looking toys. Reaching for his Beano comic, he kept for quieter times, he smiled. His costume may be a load of old tosh, but he wasn’t the joker of the pack.

  37. Family Values

    “British fags taste so much better than trashy American ones.”

    “Grandpa! You can’t call ciggies that! Times are changing, homosexuals can marry now.”

    “It’ll be the downfall of traditional marriages, mark my words.”

    “I hate to tell you, but that mindset will die out with your generation.”

    “You think so? Your grandmother and I are getting a divorce. So are Ethel and Rodney.”

    “You can’t be serious! Trying to make a political statement at your age?”

    “We had a good innings but we’d all rather die married to the one we love. I’m moving in with Rod, and Ethel will live with your gran. You can help me pack.”

    109 words
    @davejamesashton

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