FLAKING OFF THE WALLS

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A gust of warm wind rushed in with the man from the foyer. The chandeliers rattled; dust whirled down onto the carpeted floors.

“Lily and Becky?” he asked.

“My sister couldn’t…”

“Yes, it’s you and your sister. The gig’s outside the castle. 6am to 8pm.”

Lily nodded.

In the abandoned megaphone-shaped auditorium, ghosts of opera-goers gazed at their own paint flaking off the walls. Mr. Reynolds excused himself with his best beggars-can’t-be-choosers look; rushed backstage echoing orders. Now a car horn reached Lily’s ears from outside. Becky, of course, double-parked! By the entrée des artistes – the Irony of it.

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2019/04/11/april-11-flash-fiction-challenge/

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WHAT YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT DOESN’T EXIST

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He took a milk carton from a kitchen cabinet, then put it back there even though it was now open – it should have gone into the refrigerator. He took a sip of water. The smell of oranges about to go bad wafted from the fruit bowl on the table (made of wood ever so slightly darker than that of the fruit bowl.) The party at His Eminence swirled in his hangover – its theme: “What You Don’t Talk About Doesn’t Exist” – they called him His Eminence after his ascetic countenance by day, and his “torrent of bizarre gaieties” by night.

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2019/03/28/march-28-flash-fiction-challenge/

THREE PLASTIC BUCKETS

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They must both work downtown, but downtown is big. So the suburban rail carries them both in, briefcases and all. They must see a bit of the country in between the dark tunnels, which is “quite something” now that the sun rises early. Once off the train at the Northern Junction they go their separate ways. A have-a-good-day kiss never seemed so week-daily real amidst the morning rush, dusty litter swirling in the breeze and the three (red, blue and green) plastic buckets where the dripping water off the humid station walls sets a rhythm nobody pays attention to.

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2019/03/21/march-21-flash-fiction-challenge/

MISTY PAVEMENT

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I found myself looking suspicious. I was walking to prove that idea of the God of Walkers about whom Bruce Chatwin wrote. I lingered, unintentionally, in the square outside the Concert Hall. It was night, orange street lamps on misty pavement, curtain time for multiple shows. When the three or four audiences came out I stood looking, no phone, no book, no headphones. Two night guards hired by the musical premises looked in my direction, and I pretended to be looking for someone in the crowd. Cars started to leave and their exhaust fumes made someone cough. I coughed, too. The person I was looking for never came. Lack of imagination surely. If just being there could not be substantiated, I could have at least faked a violinist, “Where do the artists come out?”, and thus given myself purpose. Perhaps you can prove certain ideas only in the absence of other human beings.

OUT WITH THE CLASS

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“This is obviously not art.” “Because they changed Best of Luck with Best of F…?” “Please!” He was making another point. The giggles died down, outside the station, writings everywhere; they thought those fonts were not available in Microsoft Word. It was also the, well, artistic process: at night, on the sly, “how can they see the colors if it’s dark?”, “it’s not legal, you know.” Surely writing that This City is Anti-fascist & Always Will Be was a cliché, but the unassuming flower next to it, thin black stem, red petals starting to wither, welled up an inexplicable tear.

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2018/12/06/december-6-flash-fiction-challenge/

AT THIS HOUR OF EVE

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The world doesn’t have time for this street dancer, his white undershirt and black pants, his slowed-down watery Black Swan, his crystal ball rolling over arms, shoulders, hands, fingers – it never falls! There’s so much else, after all. Like people who turn into fashionable streets or buildings as if they lived there, striving to give that casual impression to those looking. And there are many. Being surprised, deceived possibly, but always to be kept in the dark about the person they glimpsed at rushing by being or not somebody important. Or, some day, a star. Étoiles, they call them.

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2018/11/29/november-29-flash-fiction-challenge/

ARITHMETICAL MELODY

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It makes sense to hear them so early in the day. The Bible folks and their Jehovah counterpoints will be standing in the spot later – their god can wait till about 10:30. But these young guys out to convert other young guys to the infallibility of a new memory technique to boost their university career by simply learning how to memorize information must be out now. It’s quite a feat already that they can reel off a string of 25 numbers after looking at it for only 5 seconds – but this early in the morning they must be pretty sharp! “No, it’s this new technique! Come to the seminar…” The rest is a quiet chorus, the rush of people on and off transport too; heels rap on the floor – 25, 4 – turnstiles swing into place – 8, 32 – cups and saucers are placed on various counters – 15, 63, 9 – in the crescendo of city life outside.

In response to: https://fivedotoh.com/2018/11/23/fowc-with-fandango-melody/

SCRAPS (CHER IS IN VEGAS)

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Cher is in Vegas and you can fly out to see her. And talk to her backstage. The revolving billboard slides in some nasal spray, get rid of congestion and back to your day; no day seems worth it unless you fly out and see her – Cher, again – light-blue, young, divine. She slides back. Then there are other events in this town and those preferred flyers or paper of cheaper quality, too light not to swirl around in the chilly wind. It’ll be daybreak before Personnel will clean up the crumpled mass of fantastic evenings not to be missed.

In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2018/11/15/november-15-flash-fiction-challenge/

FROZEN, READY-MADE

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When he slowed down the bus again after leaving because she’d started to run for it, she really went for it and he stopped the bus. He the driver, she a woman, who finally got on from the back doors. And the bus wasn’t crowded but echoes of thank you’s started at the back and elbowed their way to the front till she could tell him in person, everyone knows what it’s like to wait at the stop for the next one, “and the next one never comes!”, traffic, rush hour, “why is there no subway in this area?”, although, according to the law, you should not speak to the driver at any time, this will distract them while performing their duty. She, the woman, is still gasping for breath, and takes a sip of bottled water. Those who are interested can see she’s been grocery shopping and has some frozen, ready-made meal in there as well.

MISPLACED FAMILIARITY

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Suddenly at night they’re all lost and confused. Streets and stops in the light of day have a misplaced familiarity after it gets dark. It was blackout night, for their minds. “Oh, please, sorry, I forgot to call my stop, can you…?” The doors open for her, unlawfully but kind. Then we turn into a street and he needs to get off, presses the button, last minute, hurls himself onto the doors and calmly disappears along the sidewalk. Then there’s Fidgety, the seat too small, has three phones tucked in three pockets, jean jacket, sneakers and a cap. The fluorescent bar showing the stops is not working, will the driver please tell him where his stop is? He will. So he alights, checks his map on one phone, calls a friend on another and the third he lets ring twice before putting it on silent. The bus rides off and it’s a different kind of quiet.

In response to: https://fivedotoh.com/2018/10/09/fowc-with-fandango-silent/

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