Sep 172015

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.48. Something a little psychedelic for you this week. Have fun:

The Merry Pranksters were a group of people, with American author Ken Kesey as their figurehead, who came together in the 1960s to experiment with psychedelic drugs. The group lived communally in Kesey’s California home and are best known for their 1964 road-trip across the United States in a psychedelic-patterned school bus called Further. The Merry Pranksters were the forerunners of the hippie subculture and were recognisable by their strange clothes, long hair, odd behaviour and their renunciation of normal society.

Ken Kesey, would-be leader of the Merry Pranksters, was born on this day in 1935 in Colorado, USA. In between his road-trips and acid-trips he wrote some extremely influential work, the most famous of which is the 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest which was inspired by his time working at the Menlo Park Veterans’ Hospital. The novel was later adapted into a movie starring Jack Nicholson which was only the second in history to win all of the big five academy awards. Kesey himself was not a fan of the movie, claiming never to have seen it but that he disliked what he knew of it. Kesey began suffering ill-health in his sixties, first being diagnosed with diabetes, then suffering a stroke, then undergoing an operation to remove a tumour from his liver, a procedure from which he did not recover.

Here is this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Rojer via CC.

Photo Credit: Rojer via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Steven O. Young Jr., winner of MB1.47. Read his winning story and what he has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with MERRY and ending with PRANKSTER(S) 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.

  90 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.48 – MERRY [micro] PRANKSTER(S)”

  1. Yellow Sunshine

    “Merry yet, me darling’?” I ask her as I trip on a sidewalk crack.

    Her face splashes all over the street like a burst fire hydrant.

    “I’m cool,” she mutters. “Man, it’s hotter than hell. Buy me a coke.”

    She bursts into flames, fiery orange suckers, licking her skin like a few warped tongues.

    I stuff my hands in my pockets; my fingernails squirm like licorice fingerlings, seeking coin of the realm.

    Nothing jingles. My neck bell wiggles.

    “Nada, babe,” I think I hear myself say.

    The city is poison when you’re bust.

    A pink Bunny Bus rabbits by.

    “Let’s hop this freight, darling,” I snort, like a vagabond prankster.

    110 hallucinations

  2. @stellakateT
    110 words

    Greed versus Love

    Merry wasn’t a widow. She’d wished for it ever since Maurice had run off with that hippy in the travelling bus. Friends had said it was a midlife crisis and he’d be back as soon as the grime and monotony got to him. She knew different. That beautiful blonde haired girl had bewitched him liked she’d bewitched her. Astrid had promised he’d be dead in six months. She’d send his corpse home and they would dance on his grave. It had been two years.

    Funny how things turn out, money chased Maurice. He was a cash cow. Astrid missed Merry. Maurice was boring, bad in bed but a brilliant prankster.

    • At least Maurice had something going for him! That’s a name you don’t hear very often nowadays.
      ( Please don’t tweet me just because you’re names Maurice.)

  3. @stellakateT
    109 words

    The letter M

    Merry, mesh, mess, he was looking in the book of words. His father had given it to him before they realised. His momma said he was slow. Folk were nice but some called him names once his parents had gone.

    Sending a bus load of strange looking people to park on the farm, free of charge,
    stayed three years before cousin Troy took a shotgun to them. He’s in prison now. Sent a truck full of pig carcasses, dumped them in the pond, they stunk for ages. They sent angry people wanting to buy things he didn’t have.

    Malevolent was the word he never found to describe the pranksters.


    Merry we are. We tell ourselves loud. Together again after all this time, four and a shade out of eight ain’t bad. In polyester bright, with straining buttons, we had dressed for the occasion.

    Merry we go. The old bus freshly painted. En route: mailboxes swapped, assorted whoopee cushions and stink bombs – lovebombed into the school yard, bloomers and boilersuits switched on washing lines.

    Merry we arrive. Heralded by pinched disapproval and smiling gasps. We unload our shade, process down the walk.

    Merry he was. After all the psycho-pomp ceremony, we lowered him down. On the waiting stone his epitaph: The Original Merry Prankster.

    104 words

  5. Destination
    (107 words)

    Merry-go-round conversation circled over our heads.
    You extended cigarette fingers, and I inhaled the touch of your skin.
    ‘Love on a shoestring?’ you said, and I nodded my head.
    We joined up the dots of new spaces in other folks’ wheels, their long distance souls skirting the edges of places. Some listened all too willing to pave empty track with young lovers’ dreams. Others talked, and we listened to the taste of yesterday’s hopes.
    I lost you somewhere, but I keep travelling around. I’m a listener and fool, now, keeping secrets you uncovered long ago-
    that the road is clever seductress, and next destinations are merely her pranksters.


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    107 words

    * * *

    “Merry! Come on!”

    “Don’t leave without me!” Gareth yelled, cursing his breeches. Hobbit attire was damned fiddly, and made bathroom breaks a real chore.

    The brace clip clicked just as an engine roared to life outside. Gareth flew from the public restroom. His friends, the self-proclaimed Fellowship, were all hanging from the windows of the tour bus, cheering him on, as the battered and colourful vehicle slowly left the garage forecourt.

    “Tell Gandalf to wait!” shouted Gareth. He struggled to sprint in his stupid, prosthetic Hobbit feet.

    The New Zealand road trip had been great so far, but sometimes Gareth hated travelling with this bunch of pranksters.

  7. MARY?

    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    107 words

    * * *



    “Oh, Mary?”

    “Yes, Mary.”

    “Mary who?”

    “Mary Jakes.”

    “Mary Shakes?”



    “Mary Jakes!”

    “You say your name is Mary Jakes?”

    “Yes. Jakes. J. A. K. E. S. Mary Jakes.”

    “Do you have the card?”

    “Yes I have the card. Can I please just have my packages?”

    “Of course. That’s what we’re here for.” The man chuckles as he disappears from the office to go and grab the packages.

    “He’s not even deaf,” says the next customer in the queue.


    “Yep. He does it all the time. I think he’s on drugs.”

    “If he does it again, I’m going to punch the f***ing prankster.”

  8. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 110

    Title: So Let It Be Done.

    “Merry Christmas!” I cry as Walt opens the door.

    It’s my little joke. I know it’s not Christmas.

    It’s a new room. A new place. I came here last night. By bus. I like it. They said I could eat whatever I wanted.

    Walt’s sad, but smiles, leads me to another room with a doctor in it.

    Mr Donaghue is there too. He’s a clever man. Uses words like ‘diminished capacity’, ‘criminal responsibility’.

    Mom says he’d keep me safe until I could see her again. That was a while ago.

    It sure looks like he’s been crying.

    “Whassup?” I say. “Usually you guys cheer me up; C’mon you’re my pranksters…”

  9. “Merry?”

    I look out the window.

    “Hello? Merry?”

    I imagine myself, a fully-grown and beautiful one, hopping on the bus like them.

    I’d like to have a place where I belong.

    “Sweetie, would you please tell me what you’re allergic to? Your new family should know.”

    The sun glares, and I see a grotesque one: my reflection.

    I reenter reality.



    “My name is not Merry. It’s Myeahherrey.”

    Your face looks funny, mouth slightly twitching.

    You must be imagining what kind of a hell I’ve come from.

    What am I allergic to?

    “I’m allergic to myself, miss.”

    Your mouth twitches again.

    To you, I’m nothing but a helpless prankster.

    110 words

  10. Steve (w/c – 107)

    ‘Merry Christmas!’
    ‘What?’ I replied.
    I really shouldn’t have said anything but I’d been concentrating on something I shouldn’t have and he caught me off guard. Besides, it was July for Christ’s sake. Who says Merry Christmas in the middle of summer?
    Steve, that’s who.
    A real joker.
    I remember one time we’d been in a crowded lift and he suddenly screamed: ‘I’m going to explode!’
    Hilarious … right?
    But not anymore.
    He didn’t see the bus coming until he was under it.
    Maybe I should’ve called out. Warned him. But he wouldn’t have listened.
    We were two of a kind, you see.
    Just a couple of pranksters.

  11. An Aquarius Blues Rendition
    of the Heart Song
    of Sgt. Pepper’s Christmas Carol
    On Route 66


    Merry had a little California Sunshine
    her fleece a psychedelic rainbow
    of heart twitching song palpatations
    melody of an unfurling road
    like a black ribbon around a bus that took us
    to a place love could survive
    and thrive
    eloping with the universe
    carved into
    a white dress.

    It was crowded and we had to stop on the side of the road so people could pee.

    Smell of body odor and dirty clothes with hangovers crashing the party.

    We took turns driving with America twinkling in the windshield; stars of mountains and rest stops and garbage and racial divide.

    Love was not easy,

    the mind was a lovely prankster.

    (110 words)

  12. M25 – Road-trip to Nowhere


    WC 110

    ‘Merry run around…’

    ‘Zane please stop singing and pull into the services, I need ice

    cream… Cherry Garcia.’

    ‘If you’re not careful that babies gonna melt his way out!’

    ‘Merry run…’

    ‘Oooooh! The baby it’s…’

    ‘Please not now! We’re stationary on the M25.’

    ‘I don’t have a choi…ahhhh!’

    ‘Hang on there’s an ambulance behind.’

    ‘Honey this is Doctor Mac.’

    ‘Hey man, nice paint job!’

    ‘Zane? He does’t sound like a Doctor.’


    A helicopter hovers overhead while a police car screeches to a

    halt beside them.

    ‘He told me he was a Doctor,’ Zane tells the policeman as Mac is

    cuffed, ‘he’s just delivered my son.’

    ‘No way! He’s just a prankster.’

  13. Harmonica Lawn Mowers in America


    Merry flowers exploding natures grenades thrown in your direction with the hearts miracle grow extending red and purple and orange and diabolical yellow.

    A billboard of a rainbow, as if the sky was hanging out its laundry in our minds reflection.

    Giant bees the size of lion trucks roaring a flat buzz to my ear.

    Long haired trees sipping the sky through eye straws and wish candy.

    I hear lawn mower harmonicas playing a sweet tune in summer of love with straight green lines that are cut, rolled, and smoked.

    Hummingbird the National Anthem underwater.

    Blue bus sky rolls by as I get all cloud intruders.

    Dandilions are natures pranksters.

    (110 words)

  14. Schoolboy Error

    ‘Merry Chrimbo,’ Benny chants upon entering May Brown’s room.

    ‘Would you please call it Christmas, Benjamin?’

    The old biddie may be senile, but she still sounds the headmistress – just like his colleagues said.

    ‘Also, my memory isn’t what it used to be, but my trusty wall calendar tells me it is the seventeenth of September. Would you care to explain why you came in wishing me a merry Christmas, albeit in a disrespectful manner?’

    Benny doesn’t have a good answer; he’s beginning to feel like a schoolboy again. And like in school, he’s fallen victim to a bunch of pranksters.

    (100 words)

  15. Glass Half Empty
    WC = 108

    “Merry. Tipsy. Slightly sozzled,” Esther smiled wanly. “I think I’m drunk”.
    “No you’re not. You’ve only had one.”
    She blinked slowly, then looked resignedly at her empty glass.
    “How many more do you think I need?”

    I thought of grabbing her and shaking her. I’d force her to see that she was Okay. We’d show the jerks that their joke was beneath our notice.
    But it wasn’t. We could paint smiles on our faces, but it wouldn’t fool anyone. The video had gotten over 10,000 views already, and there was no way to fight it.

    I look down at my own empty glass.
    “Let’s find out.”
    Damn Pranksters.

  16. Dad’s Time

    “Merry gawd damned Chr . . .”

    “Don’t say that Charlie,” she interrupted, scolding.

    Turning his head, eyebrows knitted, hollering, “Why the hell not? It’s how I feel without you.”

    His posterior warmed a weathered bench overlooking the ocean. Streaks of blues and oranges washed dawn’s sky. His collar turned up keeping icy chills out, winds whipped his white wisps. The boardwalk’s empty.

    Jake watched from silent concessions, sighing. He’d hoped he wouldn’t have to admit him to the Home, but dad was talking to his dead mother – again, only today he was violently riled. This was it, Dementia.

    One visit, Nurse Mary pulled Jake aside giggling, saying, “Your dad’s quite the prankster!”

    WC: 110

  17. Desperately Seeking
    (94 words )

    Merry, fun loving, soon-to-be single, 40 year old seeks gentleman with similar interests. Hoping for a kind man who takes care of people. Foodie who likes nights in or out. This blonde WILL bowl you over with her homecooking. But is always up for a little adventure!
    Would like someone to PAY her a little attention now and again. Would love to see some fjords (WELL, only with someone who can read between the lines) TO combine her love of travel and Scandanavian MURDER stories. Looking for something meaningful, but not necessarily a HUSBAND.

    DEADLY serious. No pranksters.

  18. Satan’s Santa

    Merry cupfuls of cheer! croaked the old man from his pinkish, puckered lips. He looked the part in a dirty linen shirt, overalls, granny glasses over a drunkard’s nose, and a skinny dishwater blonde in cutoffs falling off his knee. Smelling of weed, this infernal Santa tumbled from the van onto the sand and crawled amid the roar of motorcycles and beach fires.

    Cut! yelled the second director as a bearded kid from New York, dressed in biker gang drag, ran up and asked about his motivation.

    Whose? asked the director.

    The old man, New York said.

    Ah, he’s the holy fool of the gang, the prankster.

  19. Merry Christmas, you liar you fraud you magician. Stone cold charlatan walking on water after they take the firs tab. Another tab and you cure the blind. Another and one loaf turns into a thousand. A few more and the multitudes believe that God impregnated a virgin who gave birth to God. Shit. Acid is a wonderful thing. Holy Trinity and you see the light, the way to God, man and the Holy Spirit. And may your soul burn in Hell, may you be cast into eternal damnation if you dare question the existence of God as man, if you dare call the Son of God a Merry Prankster.

  20. Minstrelling

    “Merry is not how I’d describe the trip. No, not merry at all,” said Chief.

    “Happy, Chief, happy, “ said McMurphy, “Merry is for Christmas. Pixilated yule log burning in fiery HD.”

    “Ha, log.”

    “Yeah. Log. I bet someone wishes they had a log to burn last night. You get the Mariners score off your inner thigh yet?”

    “How much’d we bank on this trip anyway?”

    “Buck twenty each.”

    “You locked me out of the van last night, so that’s…?”

    “A buck twenty each.”

    “Can’t blame a bassist for trying.”

    “Save it for the reservation, Chief. That’s life with the Merry Pranksters.”

    #Flash Dogs
    102 words

  21. @fs_iver
    WC: 109

    Callie and Mr. Geary’s Calico Cat

    Merry hearts and bright eyes belonged on the Love Bus.

    Mr. Geary said so. Plus he had kittens so Callie went with him.

    It was odd. For all the daisies and smiling paint children, the Love Bus wasn’t a very merry place. Mr. Geary’s “Neverlanders” – mostly boys, but some girls Callie’s age – sat in waking slumber. They only moved when Mr. Geary invited them to the latrine. That’s where they got kittens.

    Callie waited a whole hour for hers.

    “Can I have a calico?” she asked, as Mr. Geary rolled up her sleeve.

    “My cats come in rainbows.”

    He smiled.

    Callie remembered Mom’s “mom voice”. Something about child pranksters?

  22. Open Evening

    110 words


    Merry Hell Retirement Home was holding its annual Open Evening for prospective staff. Four fresh new applicants were expected that night. Love, faith and a little demonic subterfuge had led them here via the Purgatory Bus Company – or so the owner thought. However he hadn’t bargained for Nightingale’s Angels, agency staff of a special kind.

    The women strode up the gravel drive in starched majesty, ignoring the faggots formed from blazing scarecrows, the bunting coiled around moon-bathed statuary. They carried their remedies lightly – bell, book and candle, holy water and stake. Tonight they would ensure true rest for the wicked, offspring of His Infernal Majesty, the original prankster.


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    97 words

    * * *

    “Merry?” said Mike. “They look high.”

    “They look dead,” said Chris. “That thing’s been feeding off them for forty years.”

    The bus roared at them.

    “Well,” said Mike, “this is what happens when you do drugs.”

    The bus roared again, rocking on its four mighty wheels, like a bull preparing to charge.

    “This wasn’t the drugs,” said Chris. “The bus is possessed.”


    “By a trickster God no less, one who likes his victims euphoric. Looks like we’re not finished with the Titans yet.”

    Mike sighed. “You’re kidding?”

    “My friend, say hello to Dolos, the original prankster.”

  24. Almost Fooled
    110 words

    Merry twinkles and winking diamonds, scattered on the lake by the morning sun. Gazing out of the campervan window, I feel almost fooled again.

    I go and stand in the door of the camper, sipping my coffee. Bitter and strong. Steam swirls in smiles from my cup, and the lake beams at me in the breeze. Life knows every con trick.

    Just like him.

    Everything will be okay. I’ll set you up somewhere; see you right. And my wife need never know…

    I lay a hand across my belly. Kicking, again. Somewhere nearby a blackbird begins to sing, smoothing serenity onto my solitude.

    But it’s just another trick. Another prankster.

  25. The Meet Up: A Premonition
    A.J. Walker

    “Merry, it was Merry!” cried Sal.

    Karl rolled his eyes. “You know everything about them Shire folkses.”

    “I’m aiming to get merry myself this weekend. Maybe with something made of Pippin’s,” said Stella. “Bar keep, cider! In fact a whole round for these thirsty dogs.”

    As one the group of aspiring – or at least aspirating – writers put down their pens in anticipation. Shakey put down the keys to his hippy-mobile. Catherine extinguished her pipe of vanilla tobacco.

    “The weekend starts here!” said Andy.

    “Hurry up with those drinks my man,” said Sal. “We’re dying of thirst.”

    “Don’t take the peace, love – this is a Gregg’s. There’s always some prankster.

    (110 words)

  26. Almost the Wiccae Way

    ‘Merry meet,’ the first words I spoke to Ian. The second were, ‘I’m a Wiccan. If you can live with that, we’re golden.’

    He must’ve been okay with it; he asked me out! He was bea-u-ti-ful and had such a colorful personality. He asked many questions about my culture so I recited The Wiccae Rede, ‘And harm none, do as you will . . .’ that seemed to relax him.

    What I didn’t say was, I’ve hated men since my attack and mutilation, and want every one of the bastards to suffer, and suffer he did. I also didn’t say, ‘I almost live the Wiccae way.’ I’ve always been a prankster.

    WC: 108

    Not written verbatim, but accredited to The Wiccae Rede attributed to: Doreen Valiente

  27. Merry Andrew

    Merry Andrew jigs and reels,
    A-dancing through the fayre,
    To frighten boys
    Deflower maids
    And tug their flowered hair.

    In motley caravan he comes,
    To sing the summer in,
    On potter’s fields
    And plague pit mounds,
    With revelry and sin.

    A powdered face, a rictus grin,
    A crown of jangled bells,
    But none dare meet
    His shadowed eyes,
    Nor hear the tale he tells.

    For when the dance is over,
    And all the sinning’s done,
    The tent’s took down,
    The earth stripped bare,
    To claim them one by one.

    And Merry Andrew travels on,
    To spread his lies like cancer,
    Of summer’s warmth
    And endless joy,
    That damned infernal prankster.

    110 words

  28. Making Dust
    110 words

    “Merry Christmas, man.” He leans against his bus. The lone tree shades him.
    I put my hands in my pockets. “Not Christmas.”
    Smoke billows out of the engine. The road stretches empty in both directions. I regret answering his call – the last road trip.
    “Any day if Christmas. If you think about it.”
    There’s a blur on the horizon, drawing near.
    “I mean, we get presents every day.”
    I sigh, watching the car. “Like what?”
    It slows, window rolling down. A spark of hope lifts me, but then a soda flings out, splattering me.
    He roars with laughter as the car makes dust.
    “Like that, man. Like those pranksters.”

  29. Summer of Love on the Boardwalk

    Merry Santa Cruz boardwalk spiraling blue screams with bells and gunshots and the long smooth swing of a ship as electric lights explode with cotton candy disappearing acts and the slide of coasters by the coast a fresh sprinkle of Pacific with girls teasing sunshine as the arcade twinkles with falling star quarters a symmetry of sound as night comes the parade shifts darkness with laughter and gargantuan summer air filling out every crevice dreams could go, all controlled by condiment traffic lights; yellow mustard, red ketchup, and green relish.

    The pychedelic bus moves forward like a stain on my shirt, rolls off the tongue that is a clever prankster.

    (110 words)

  30. — The Devil Will Not Have Me Damned —

    “…Merry Wives Of Windsor will commence in five minutes. Please take your seats.”

    We’d nabbed the entire front row with Mrs Cook and Mr Brassey as bookends.

    “So,” I said to Paul, “what couldn’t you tell me on the bus?”

    He pulled a yellow box from his blazer. Fun Snaps.

    “Dare you,” he said.

    “Seriously? Nah.”

    “Okey-smokey. Tell me when Brass Eye’s not looking.”

    “Paul, this isn’t…”

    As the lights dimmed, he pushed a handful of poppers on to the stage.

    I watched, horrified, as Sir Hugh emerged and strode forward. Bang-bang-bang! Leaping up, I pointed at Paul.

    “He’s the prankster!”

    109 words

  31. Title: Pot Luck
    Word Count: 109
    Twitter: @colin_d_smith

    Merry Berry Pie, Crystal called it–her own recipe. Others brought cookies, brownies, and other delights to the party. But the pie was for someone special.

    Peter came wearing a tie-dyed shirt and daisy necklace to blend in with the crowd. But Crystal saw through him.

    “You must try my pie,” she said. He wouldn’t be able to resist her long fluttering eyelashes, and her dimpled smile enhanced by the orange flower painted on her cheek.

    Three large slices later, Peter was lying unconscious.

    “What did you do?” said Rosie, coming to investigate. Crystal grinned.

    “Taking care of trouble before it begins.”

    Then Rosie recognized Peter, “The Gangster Prankster.”

  32. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 108

    Road Trip

    “Merry dancers!”

    “What’s that, Angus?”

    “‘Swat we ca’ the Aura… rora Bo… REALLY IS!… in Scotland, pal.”

    “Somebody musta spiked your drink. No Northern Lights round here, mate. This is Hemel Hempstead!”

    “Nah! Saw the pretty wee shimmerin’ green lights soon as we got aff the Magic Bus.”

    Magic…? That’s just a mural, spray-painted on the back of this toilet block we were pissing against. How-howdya get up on the roof anyways? Come down, before you fall!”

    “Fa’? No me, pal. Ah’m Tarzan o’ the Apes! ARR-AH-ARRRR!!”

    “Hee, hee! This is more William S. Burroughs than Edgar Rice Burroughs! Reckon it’s Jake’s doing. He’s always been a prankster!”

  33. Blessing in Disguise:

    “Merry” was passé for Jenny. She was stuck with this rusted old Bus, legacy from her deceased father. She was tired of deciding to sell or abandon. It was a heap of rusted iron the mechanic said the other day .She worked all shifts in the bakery and saved every penny. It covered the repairs but not painting. It was a rainy night when that thought crossed her. Tim, the street thug, a vandalism expert was harassing her. Next dawn’s verbal spat, a feat superbly pulled off. Viola by dusk the free graffiti, a punishment from Tim welcomed her. The word love was a surprise….The bus reaped good cash though!!!

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