Oct 152015

Welcome to Micro Bookends 1.52, the last contest before we move into year two. But first, a couple of announcements:

After this round we’ll be voting for our favourite stories from MB1.40 to MB1.52. If you haven’t been a winner yet, this is your last roll of the dice for this quarter. Good luck!

After this round I’ll be taking a break while I deal with a major family event. The next contest will (hopefully) be on Thursday the 3rd of December. Watch out for Twitter updates.

The five families (Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese) are the organized crime families comprising the New York Mafia. The division of the Mafia into the five families happened after the Castellammarese War, a bloody power struggle between Joe ‘The Boss’ Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano. Maranzano won, declared himself capo di tutti capi (boss of all bosses) and set about changing the structure of the Mafia in an effort to avoid future gang-wars. As well as dividing territory between the five families, Maranzano also introduced the familiar Mafia hierarchy of boss (capofamiglia), underboss (sotto capo), advisor (consigliere), captain (caporegime), soldier (soldato), and associates. Maranzano was murdered just months after the Castellammarese War. The position of capo di tutti capi was scrapped in favour of The Commission which is still the governing body of the American Mafia today.

Mario Puzo, author of the classic Mafia novel The Godfather, was born on this day in 1920 in New York City. Puzo was born into a poor family from the Province of Avellino, Italy. He joined the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, but due to poor eyesight did not undertake combat duties. Puzo published The Godfather in 1969 after the publisher suggested his earlier novel The Fortunate Pilgrim (a story based on his mother’s honest immigrant struggle for respectability in America) would have sold better if it had more Mafia in it. Puzo also co-wrote the screenplay with Francis Ford Coppola for the 1972 adaptation, The Godfather, for which they won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Puzo died from heart failure in 1999 aged seventy-eight.

Here is this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Enric Fradera via CC.

Photo Credit: Enric Fradera via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is me!


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with FIVE and ending with FAMILIES or FAMILY 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: http://time.is/London).




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.

  158 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.52 – FIVE [micro] FAMILIES”

  1. Take Fifty-Seven

    Five, four, three, two, one. Action.
    Wardrobe? Wrong shoes. And he wouldn’t have a rumpled jacket. Jeez, somebody get an iron in here.
    Okay. Take fifty-seven. Don’t you people wanna be home for the holidays?
    And Clive? Sure we got you short notice, most menacing part to date the Angel Soft detergent commercial, but think powerful and commanding, think scaring the shit outta the whole town. Mafia boss? More like a simple-minded kitchen porter taking five.
    God-damned cigar’s burnt down too far. Continuity!
    Seriously people, a whole day for this one scene? Come on! Let’s do this. Let’s make movies and get the hell home to our families.

    110 words


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    109 words

    * * *

    “Five lieutenants,” said Fat Man. “That’s what stands between you and him.”

    Chris glanced at his friend sat beside him.

    “Five?” said Mike.

    “Aye,” said Fat Man. “His ‘Right Hand of Doom’. You’ve met some already. You’re on a lot of hit lists; mine included.” He lent forward, placing his cuffed hands on the table.

    A plaza full of Second Level agents raised their guns.

    Officer Jo stepped forward. “Take him away.”

    As the agents led Fat Man to a waiting van, Mike turned to Chris. “We’re screwed.”

    “This is getting personal,” said Jo.

    “It is,” said Chris. “And his next move will be to go after our families.”

  3. A Small Fragment of Culture
    The Goblin
    98 Words

    Five men, he was staring at them. He sat at the table. He wasn’t worried just curious. They stared back at him. There was a silence and all he could think about was his meal arriving. The five men were all tall, a little muscular and all wearing suits. He sat back and admired them while he drank some of his wine and enjoyed the humble night. There was a rustic feeling in the air, felt like you went back in time. The neighbourhood had a rich history of genuine Italian’s, lot’s of great food and many families.

  4. Name: dazmb
    Words: 108

    Title: Guilty conscience

    ‘Five past eight! Jesus I’m late, they’ll give the work to someone else. Get off that phone and get to school’

    Evie puts the phone down as the snapchat message disappears into the well of teenage omertà.

    She won’t tell anyone if she knows what’s good for her.

    Evie swallows her anxiety, but it sits as a knot in her stomach.

    The guilt that her mum works so hard.

    That she might let her down.

    Staring at the mirror’s reflection.

    Trying not to think about what they’ve done.

    Telling herself to suck it up, make it through the day and for her mum’s sake, play at happy families.

  5. Five Fishes

    “Five fishes. That’s it?”
    “Wud you say?”
    “Fish. It’s non-countable. Five fishhh.”
    “Will the two of yas stop it already?”
    “He started it, Ma.”
    “He’s right though, Ma; supposed to be seven.”
    “Seven fiiishhh from the seven seasss.”
    “Think you can name ‘em?”
    “Keep it up; you gonna be sleeping in one of them seas.”
    “Well yas can thank your father for this. He was supposed to pick up the calamari and scungilli on his way home.”
    “Where is Pops?”
    “Probably got whacked, Ma.”
    “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, you’d say such a thing on Christmas Eve? He’ll be home any minute now. Eat yer fishes.”
    “Ugh. This family.”

    110 Words

  6. 109

    Carbo Family Wars

    Five murders. Five forks in the eyes. Five broken families to protect.
    Spaghetti sat outside the café, sucking on his cigar and wondering what the future held. The waiter fetched him an espresso, and he sipped thoughtfully. Lasagne was meeting him after dinner to discuss revenge. How many more families would be destroyed? How many more men would die eating dinner?

    He had made plans for Mrs Spaghetti should the worst happen. She would take the kids and run for Bologna and her mother.

    The evening was warm, and he listened to his city with pleasure. She was worth fighting for. Nothing was more important than dinner with family.

  7. Undone
    110 words)

    Five witnesses had backed out. He knew it would only take one of them to lose an eye before the rest would unsee.

    Joey Soap was doing just what his father had made him good for. He stood across the square, opposite the cafe to give The Boss the nod.The old man looked jaded as he drew the cigar up to his jowled face.

    Joey tipped his hat: all clean.
    The Boss puffed on his cigar: fire!

    Joey’s body, dead from the first shot, rattled to the machine gun noise.
    But if Joey had been alive, he’d have known ears can unhear in a town full of unholy families.


    Five good men crossed paths that night. Only one walked away. Some say it was a test, some say fate. Others are smarter; keep their mouths shut.

    Me? Hah. This town was different then, owned it from the ground up.

    Old enough to keep yer mouth shut kid?

    I shot clean, others did not. Someone took the lights out. We carried on blind. The streets ran red that night if we could’a seen them.

    Why d’you think you call me Grandpa when we’re not related kid?

    I looked after em ever since, all five families.

    95 words

  9. Best Served with Sauce


    WC 110

    Five Fingers worked carefully, he couldn’t afford mistakes. In two hours they would be sitting at his tables, in his restaurant. The recipe had been flown in especially from Italy and, once word got out, he knew they would come.

    He smiled to himself when the monitor announced their arrival. Wiping away the sweat trickling down his face, he tasted the sauce one last time. Could he really pull this off?

    His hand brushed over the gun in his apron pocket, a reminder of the need to revenge his son’s death. He knew his chances of survival where slim, but it didn’t deter him from greeting the boss of all the families.

  10. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 110

    Title: A visit from the consigliere

    Five thousand dollars for the hit.

    All his money, but what price his daughter’s honour?

    His daughter and this bar. That’s all he had. And he would protect them.

    A waiter hurried inside. ‘Hey, Rigo. Alley table. Here to see you’

    Sparafucile sat outside, fat as the Toscano in his mouth, hands laid out on a briefcase.

    He motioned for Rigo to sit down.

    “You know what this is?”

    Rigo’s mouth went dry; all he could hear was Le Donne e Mobile playing on the jukebox.

    “….five G’s, doused in a hitman’s blood”

    Sparafucile made to leave. The shadows of two capos drew close.

    ‘We’re disappointed Rigo…thought we were family.’

  11. TIPPY TOE (110 words)

    Five fingers on each hand, five toes on each foot. Tony and Rose Shoemaker just had a baby boy – perfect by anyone’s standard, except their own.

    The Shoemakers were a proud family, steeped in traditions that date back farther than anyone remembers. “The Shoemakers made sandals for Jesus, for Christ’s sake,” Tony would boast.

    The small toe of each male Shoemaker was removed within the first week of the newborn’s life. This was to allow the boy to wear the pointed leather shoes that were the signature of the family.

    No one wanted to get a kick in the pants by the men of the Shoemaker family.

  12. Less Than One Percent
    Word Count: 107

    “Five days? But it’s not possible, is it? I had a vasectomy.”

    “Hold on…. Google says there is a less than one percent chance. Oh my goodness! Look at all these stories of pregnancies after vasectomies!”

    “Did you take a test?”

    “No, but I have one in my purse.”

    “Well, what are you waiting for?”

    “I’m not going to take a pregnancy test in a restaurant bathroom!”

    “Why not? Aren’t you dying to know?”

    “But knowing will make it real. Six kids, Brett! I do not want six!”

    “It could just be stress from moving.”

    “Stress. Yes, maybe. I can’t believe I ever wanted a big family.”


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    107 words

    * * *

    Five more minutes and then I’m leaving.

    I’m bloody surprised that he turned up. I don’t think I was ever going to talk to him, I just needed to see him, see what he looked like. I’ve gone twenty-seven years without a dad and I don’t think I need one now. There’s no purpose for him anymore.

    I guess a part of me wanted to know his reasons for leaving. What made him not want to watch his boy grow up? Guess I’ll just stick to mum’s slightly biased version.

    Time to go. I wonder how long he’ll hang around before heading back to his other family.


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    104 words

    * * *

    Five miles an hour. Westerly. Easy to compensate for.

    With my right eye I watch the fat bastard, sitting outside his favourite café and drinking his favourite coffee; a cappuccino, with cinnamon and chocolate on top. Every Monday morning like clockwork. Creature of habit.

    With my left eye I watch my phone, resting on the windowsill, direct line to Langley, waiting on a green to go.

    Two black lines, fine, crisscross in the centre of his head.

    My rifle waits patiently, trigger begging to be squeezed.

    My target looks up at the sun.

    My phone beeps.


    Job done.

    This one’s for their families.

  15. One Woman, One Man
    110 words

    Five minutes… five minutes had passed since he got here. Lighting his cigar and ordering a black coffee he sat down at the table farthest from the entrance. The most peculiar thing in this situation being that he had specifically told Brenda not to be late. Yet here he was with the clock starting its seventh minute away from four.
    He would not wait long, he had other clients to meet and duties to fulfil, if Brenda chose to so simply disregard the rules then that is her problem to deal with. But just as he was getting ready to leave, in stumbled Brenda screaming to stop killing the families…

  16. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 109

    Title: The Hit

    Five of Five Audio Wire Transcript
    Recording Date: 10/15/2015
    Target Phone: (216)404-6786
    Conversation Between:

    James Rosenthal
    Mario Mazzei

    MAZZEI: Jimmy?

    ROSENTHAL: I’m eating. What do you want?

    MAZZEI: Ok. Listen. I got the golf clubs.

    ROSENTHAL: You’re welcome.

    MAZZEI: So everything’s good. Is it good by you?

    ROSENTHAL: Sure. I need to confirm tee off time and the address. But I’ll do that tomorrow.

    (portion of conversation omitted)

    MAZZEI: Listen, I was wondering about the greens. Is the ball liable to run fast when I start putting or are they slow?

    ROSENTHAL: As fast as Augusta.

    MAZZEI: Okay.

    ROSENTHAL: Okay. Bye Mario.

    MAZZEI: Okay. My respects to your family.


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    109 words

    * * *

    Five more minute and then I’m leaving.

    I can’t blame him for not showing up. I let him down in a big way. I just wanted the chance to apologise, to tell him I made a mistake all those years ago. He’s gone twenty-seven years without a father and I can never give that back. But I wanted to try.

    I just wanted to tell him that it wasn’t his fault. Life, circumstances, it all got in the way. And I ran, having to live with the guilt ever since.

    Time to go. I wonder if he is a dad now. I wonder if I’ll ever meet his family.

    • I love that you’ve done stories from each of their POVs.

      And four stories?? Wow! And they’re all great.

      • Thank you. Having the father even meet up for the first story had me thinking that he clearly regretted what happened 27 years ago. And then I got the nagging urge to explore it.

        As for the 4 stories; i’m up and down at the moment with a drought one week and a flood the next. Maybe it’s lunar? 🙂

    • I’m reading stories backwards from mine. From KM’s comment, I assume this is no. 4.
      This is great, Brian. A wonderfully condensed story with smooth bookends and subtle incorporation of the photo prompt. Well done, sir.

  18. 1.52
    W.C. 110

    Espresso Blood

    Scene opens.
    (Man sits alone in coffee shop)
    (Pudgy waiter enters SL)

    “Five espressos, now sir!”
    “Are you sure sir? Five?”
    “Are you deaf sir? FIVE! NOW!”
    “Ok sir.”
    Verona in the summer…the worst place to be. It was too accommodating, too cheerful. The Italians were too pleasant, plump and presumptuous. I should come here less often. My wife forces me into it. How I would love to take a shiny, cold Glock 40 and put it to her temple whispering, “I’m sending you to Verona forever love,” then BANG! It would be over and I could stay alone, tortured, my paradise.

    “Your espresso sir-”
    “BANG! Kill! Wife! Family!”

  19. Wow. I did not incorporate the photo into this one!! David, can you please delete this whole story. I will try to re-do it and re-post. Thanks.

  20. 102 fingerlings

    F…ing Frank

    Five fingers?

    Four found! Fragments!

    Fooey! Fingerprints?

    Fat Frank Feliciano.

    Fine fellow, Frank.


    Fine Felon.


    Fiasco fighter. Foodie. Fierce flatulence…
    Fat Frank’s farts, flabbergasting.

    Flesh found?

    Floating flora, fauna.

    Fish fodder.

    Frank’s flunky?

    Fred Flowers.
    Fetish freak, fiftyish!
    Flick-knife fiend.

    Find Fred.

    Fled. Florida flight.




    Foppish foreigner, Finn Flicker. Former Franciscan Friar.

    Foundation failing?

    Feds foreclosing.

    Forage followers, fools, fondle flunky fodder. FOCUS!

    Fine! FINE!

    Fat Frank’s floozie?

    Flossie Flycatcher. Flounces…flighty.

    Find Flossie?

    Flashlight Follies. Flexible filly, Flossie.

    Finesse!. Fetch!




    fluff Flossie,
    finagle Finn Flicker,
    fetter Fred Flowers,
    finalize Fat Frank’s family.

  21. @stellakateT
    109 words

    Five plus One equals Family

    Five vacant chairs, the big guy smiles, not sure why? He reminds me of my dead granddad. He was a big man, made my dad look like a midget. Not sure I’m supposed to use that word. Diminutive, small in stature, you can tell I studied English Language at college before they threw me out, another thing to make my Dad look small. No bragging for him. It’s hard to have pride for a son working in the worst restaurant in town. I take the glass of our best red to the table. He nods gestures to the empty seats and raises his glass in toast.

    “To my family”

  22. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 110


    “Five famous authors have a birthday tomorrow: PG Wodehouse, CP Snow, Mario Puzo, Italo Calvino, Ed McBain. Which do you reckon Borrowdale will go with?”

    “You second guessing Micro Bookends again, Geoff?”

    “I need a head start each Thursday. My wife says I’ve become a big, fat, lard-arse, sitting around, sipping coffee and tapping on my tablet all day long. She nags me to hang up washing, go shopping with her… even pick her Mother’s apples!”

    “Well, you are obsessed with flash fiction contests. Why not give ‘em up all together?”

    “What?! You insane?!?”

    “It’s the obvious thing to do if you need to spend more time with your family.”

  23. Five O’Clock Shadow and the Light Alarm of Love


    Five o’clock shadow as if the air was unshaven and woke in a delirium of panic and gun soaked sun clouds.

    Soon the restaurant would fill with tourists, and locals.

    The lookout searched broken down street. Bright hair flowing like blood-red breeze.

    His wife would be coming. She would be with gun, pregnant with hollow points; love a weapon filled with surprise and debate. She’d explain her affair to make it appear justified.

    Bullets would flicker like birds to perch on regret. An egret of a suit. Spotless. Without blemish. Large white lie. And his only convictable crime was to fall in love with someone from his own family.

    (110 words)

  24. @firdausp
    (110 words)

    ‘Courting Danger’

    Five’o clock ‘date’ with a man twice her age.

    She sat stiffly as his huge frame filled the space across from her. The restaurant was almost empty.

    Mother had pleaded,”Be nice, he wants to marry you. Think about your father—the debt.”

    Jay had climbed through the window and held her, “Don’t worry, we’ll go away…anywhere.”

    “So have you decided?”

    “Do I have a choice?”

    “I’ll keep you happy,” his eyes on her lips.

    “…I’m sorry about your friend Jay…hit and run I think…poor boy.”

    Her breath caught.

    His chubby fingers closed around her’s, “But you and your folk are safe, now that you’re family.”

  25. Empty
    Word Count: 107

    Five chairs now empty. It is up to me to seek revenge. I will. Even though the deck is stacked against me, even though I’m the last of my brothers. I will see every last member of that spineless gang bloodied. I will cut off their limbs and feed them to their wives. I will bring in their daughters and sons and murder them before their eyes.

    Five chairs now empty. It is easier to plan revenge than sit in this echoing silence. The laughter of my comrades used to fill this hall. After I claim my revenge, I will turn the gun and join my family.

  26. Miscalculation
    110 words

    Five years old. Capricious. Mischievous smile. He could still feel her tiny arms wrapped around his neck. “Faster, Grandpa!” she’d shout as he galloped around the house like a pony.

    What a softie she turned him into. He, of all people, whose very name inspired fear.

    Loving her left him vulnerable; he knew that. But there were unspoken rules, lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

    Caskets were not supposed to be that small.

    If they thought they’d finally broken him, they were right. Was it time to hang his hat? Perhaps.

    But not yet.

    He checked his watch. Dinnertime – perfect.

    They were about to learn the true meaning of “family”.

  27. Five’ll get you ten

    “Five’ll get you ten…”

    “I’m not playing your game, Luigi.”

    “I’m making my play, Joey. I expect you’ll back me.”

    You seriously going up against the big boys. Luigi, you’re still small fry, a cafone.”

    “I may be small fry, Joey, but I sizzle.”

    “You’re gonna fizzle, you babbo. And you wanna take me with you?”

    “You wanna sit on your butt cheeks like an empty suit? Broken? Not me. They only respect you, you burn a rat.”

    “So, who you gonna burn?”

    “Fat Frankie. Every day, he bloats up at Pirandello’s, wobbles on fake alligator booties…eh, what’s with the heater, Joey?”

    “Sorry, Luigi. A goodbye kiss from the family.”

    110 whackjobs

  28. Lunacy
    109 words

    FIVE attempts fail. No escape from this filth, this foul air, this ugly weight.

    FOURth time was a fiery travesty that exacerbated my confinement, yet burned away some bonds too (no time for regrets). Then, it was just a matter of waiting.

    THREE decades of moon-gazing through bars. Now, probation under the heavy eye of Mr. Burly-surly over there. He’s getting lazy, believes my genius too addled by age. He gets nights off and still thinks this is a pantry.

    TWO weeks, I figure, it’ll take to get there, clear out from under all this messy pressure.

    ONE last thing: give my love to what’s left of my family.

  29. This is the News
    100 words

    ‘Five o’ clock news. Bong: dinner is now on the table. A selection of Italian bread comprise the starter.’
    Do sit down, Love. Try to join in with our conversation.
    ‘Bong: the table is set fully for three guests. I am reporting from the incomplete, fourth place-‘
    You know why you’ve no knife, Dear. Let’s all be nice.
    ‘Bong: the main course is somewhat dull. Bland food for bland people.’
    That’s enough. Don’t be so disrepectful towards your mother!

    ‘News just in. Three dead. All victims are thought to be from the same family.’

  30. @fs_iver
    WC: 110

    Hubris Speaks

    Five to One screeches from above as he takes another pull. It fits – the song – better than that ice cream suit he hides in.

    Can you see me?

    I don’t think he can.

    But you have the eyes of a story teller.

    You know relaxing could be waiting; vodka could be a whistle wetter or liquid courage; loose jackets can accommodate a bread and cheese belly or a Smith & Wesson.

    We all have our secrets; his are just more deadly.

    A Tin Lizzie full of shadows slows at the curb. The song fades. His drink runs dry.

    He isn’t immortal but he intends to keep it in the family.

  31. The Infamous Uncle Enzo Stops By
    A.J. Walker

    Five times the phone rang; each time a cancellation. Mario would have torn his hair out if it hadn’t fallen out already.

    Marie looked at her husband, speaking in silence. He read her mind.

    “You know there is nothing we can do. He must stay – until he goes.”

    Marie’s shrug seemed to involve her entire body sending a silent echo through the empty restaurant.

    Outside Uncle Enzo, with his carafe of red, was chuffing away on what he called his “Cubans”, though everyone knew they were made downtown; seemingly of camel excrement. The smell could knock down a donkey at 100 yards – or empty a restaurant of the hungriest families.



  32. The Regular
    110 words

    Five o’clock, on the dot. He takes a seat at his usual table and waits. I smooth my apron before heading over.

    “Took you long enough,” he says.

    This time, I swallow my apology, not my pride. “I do have other customers, you know.”

    He eyes me up and down. “You got a mouth on you tonight,” he says, lighting his cigar.

    “Well, I’m the only one left who will wait on you, so you’ll just have to deal with it.”

    Utensils stop clanging as everyone within earshot freezes. They all know who he is.

    “I like you, kid,” he says with a smile. “You make me feel like family.”

  33. #1 With a Bullet


    5 Grammys.

    Not grandmothers.

    Each one obtained through elimination of competition.

    The hit parade.

    He kept his son on top.

    Another potential #1 invited to a restaurant.

    He was ready to play the producer, agent, fan; whatever. His cigar smoke climbing up the charts.

    “I heard you’re going places.”

    A handshake. A smile. Then a drink. Then a contract… on his life, fulfilled.

    He lured them to his favorite hangout. Excellent veal. Best wine. No echoes. Good escape routes.

    People couldn’t figure out how his son stayed at #1, for three whole years.

    No one else could make it to the top.

    No one except family.


    (106 words)

  34. The Last Meal
    110 words


    “Yes. Five giants.”

    “Five’s a lot. Is it worth it?”

    “Absolutely. If all goes well, we’ll each be able to grab a piece of steak. We just need to stay organized.”
    The Sargent put on his helmet. “Alright, troops! You know the drill. Tonight, we dine like kings!”

    Four soldier ants cheered in response and got into position behind their leader.

    The operation started off perfectly. Five ants, all in a line, reached the leftovers unnoticed. One by one, bits of steak began to move off the plate.

    “Look, Jerry! My wife’s steak’s alive!”


    “There you go, Mort. Don’t say I never did anything for your family.”

  35. White Letter
    105 words

    ‘Five more of these cocksuckers left.’ Paulie grumbled, while puffing on his cigar.
    He shook his head.
    Four pigeons caught his attention.
    ‘Crocro, crocro’, they made.
    Paulie cried out a burst of laughter; coughed twice, then ordered another double-espresso.
    ‘Bunch of scumbags these pigeons, eh? Don’t do any good.’ he explained with his scratchy voice.
    The wind grew colder.
    Another sip from the coffee: silence.
    The fluttering of pigeon wings broke it.
    One landed right beside him – a white letter attached.
    Before he could open, a black van rolled up.
    The white letter – now – stained in blood.
    It read, ‘Mind the fifth one.’
    -Genovese Family

  36. Family Matters
    Word Count: 110

    “Five grand’s a lot, Uncle Tommy, but I’ll get it back to ya; I just need a bit more time is all.”
    I took a long drag of my cigar. Wasteful, I know, but I wanted to intimidate.
    “Look, son, it’s been three months. I’m being generous here.”
    “I know Uncle Tommy, I know” He said, eyes downcast, “I’m only a grand short.”
    I stared. I felt like flicking my cigar at him.
    “A grand short is a grand-problem, kid.”
    “It’ll be here by the end of the week.”
    “No, it’ll be here by the end of tomorrow.”
    The boy started shaking.
    “Or you can say ciao to your family.”

  37. Obviously, this does not qualify for the contest because it is waaay too long. I couldn’t figure out how to pare it down, but I thought I’d share it anyways because I had fun writing it. Silly as it is. 🙂

    I have no idea where this came from. lol

    Five Little Gangsters
    165 words

    Five little gangsters fighting with some lead. One got shot right through his head. They called the family doctor, and the doctor said, “Live this life, and you’ll wind up dead.”

    Four little gangsters selling crack cocaine. One OD’d and wrecked his brain. They called the family doctor, and the doc complained, “One more brother buried in the rain.”

    Three little gangsters extorting business owners. One got choked out with some Isotoners. They called the family doctor, who was tired of these moaners. “Keep this up, and you’ll all be organ donors.”

    Two little gangsters, each acting suspicious. One of them turned and beat the other something vicious. He called the family doctor, who was busy doing dishes. “Sounds like you’ll be sleeping with the fishes.”

    One little gangster, who was depressed and lonely, decided to get drunk and crashed his car into a tree. And then the tired doctor was as sad as he could be. “Now there is no one in the family.”

    • While it’s a shame you couldn’t shave it down to fit the rules, the piece works perfect as is. Glad you shared it. A brilliant piece of dark nursery rhyme (doubt my wife will let me read it to my son though) 🙂

  38. Greyscale
    (110 Words)

    Five years passed since he fell into the monotone town of Greyscale, which was just long enough for him to start losing his peppered hair.

    Four years passed since he rekindled his unrequited love of tobacco, the heated dispassion of smoke and butt indistinguishable from one another.

    Three years passed since he forgot his pigments of unfounded pride, but he only ever befriended walls of his own tone.

    Two years passed since he opened his restaurant, capitalizing on the townspeople’s achromatopsia by feigned claims of luxurious quality.

    One year passed since he had time to reflect and realized that nothing he did could ever replace enjoying meals with his family.

  39. Tony’s People

    ‘Five minutes. Not late by my standards.’

    Frannie smiles but Tony’s face remains stony.

    ‘What? You said I’d better look respectable. Won’t you at least introduce me?’

    Frannie’s hungry and that makes her cranky. Tony’s made it clear that she needs to keep her moods in check. If she didn’t know better, she’d say Tony is scared of the old man. The old man whose face is stonier than Tony’s. The man who looks like a Don from a Seventies mob movie.

    Cue slowmo penny drop.

    Frannie wants to run. But she knows what Tony’s people do to innocent families.

    (100 words)

  40. — It Started With A Glyph —

    “…five, seven, oh, five. Whoa-whoa-whoa! What’s that?”

    Her biro’s frozen mid-air.

    “My mobile, fool.”

    Mute, I indicate the scribble on my arm.

    “That? Five.”

    “Seriously, you start at the bottom?”


    “Wrong. Let me.”

    She hands me the pen and folds her exquisite arms. Fine, I’ll use mine.

    “Freddie Five goes down the lane, vertical, around the bend, curve, then his hat blows away, horizontal. See?”

    She’s gone. I’ve done it again. Idiot. Sleeve rolled down, I straighten my tie and head out. She’s checking her phone as I hand her father the menu.

    “Any dessert for your family?”

    108 words

  41. Mia’s Job
    Word Count: 107

    “Five, six, seven, eight.”

    Wait, that’s not good enough. Go back and start over.


    You paused on seven.

    “No I didn’t.”

    Are you sure?

    “Yes…. I think.”

    If you didn’t do it right, your sister will die.

    “That doesn’t make sense. You’re lying”

    Want to chance it? If she dies, it will be your fault. Now start over and DON”T step on a crack.

    “But I’ve recounted 6 times, I’m already late, and people are watching.”

    It doesn’t feel right though, does it? She will die; deep down you know it.

    “You’re right. Ok. One, two, three…”

    That’s it. Remember, it’s your job to save your family.

  42. Pneumonoul­tramicrosc­opicsilico­volcanocon­iosis


    5 buttons down his white suit but only 4 would close with a gun slipped in his belt that carried several rounds like extra pounds to be shed. He came with matching white shoes that picked up tab of the remaining afternoon sun.

    He suffered from pneumonoul­tramicrosc­opicsilico­volcanocon­iosis. As a joke he would ask his victims if they could spell it. He said if anyone could, he’d let them go. The mark was an english professor before trying his hand at crime. He wavered at the exit with light shining on his face like a puff of smoke in church.

    He only took two things seriously; his word and his family.

    (110 words)

  43. Don

    Five burgundy bows. He likes them, I can tell, even though I’ve just wiped drool from his chin and he’s staring off in the distance, not saying anything. People say he’s changed since The Incident. They look at his crooked grin, his spit-soaked cigar and glittering party shoes, and that’s all they see, not the fierceness puffing out his cheeks, the revenge smoldering in his eyes, the way his shoulders tremble when I hug him.

    The bows have become our signature. He giggles, but inside he’s certainly proud as I tie them with finishing-school perfection around newsprint-wrapped fish. I giggle too; today (perfection!) it’s vintage comics: “All in the Family.”

    110 words

  44. @PattyannMC

    Poetic Justice

    Five years incarcerated at Eastern State for armed robbery, NickAndro Chimorechi made a friend in Al Capone.

    “I ain’t kiddin’ Copper; he called me his Little Champ when he did time here witchme cause I won big for ʼim boxin’. I made ʼim a lotta dough.”

    “You’re pulling my leg, Nicky. Capone didn’t know you from a splotch of shit in his shorts! Go on, get outta here!”

    Smoke tendrils curled from his Cuban. “I’m serious! You know Cap, I been here a long time, I always wondered if Capone kept the promise he made ta me.”

    “Whatsat, Nicky?”

    “He said he’s make those pigs pay for killin’ my family.”

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