Bathed in Pixels

mc3a1rciusi_mese_1934 Public domain image

The images on the screen cut the darkness with a splash of glowing love. His arm is draped around her shoulder like a muscular shawl. Her face, still captivating, roars with a feline happiness. The twenty comments and thirty-six likes reveal their popularity, their coupling accepted. Lauded. If I’m missed, it’s obscured by the flash of white pouring out of her mouth. Further scrolling is required.

We were a pack once. She was mine and he was just our friend. We met on the dirt diamond as teens. He was the slugger, a wunderkind who obliterated baseballs with a violent, tornadic swing. “Chicks dig the long ball,” he’d always say with a wink. Tonya would lounge on the bleachers, her designer sunglasses concealing the prey ensnared in her glance. Later, we’d get wasted in my basement. Billy would toss his charm around like handsome confetti. Tonya’s uncovered eyes fluttered when he spoke, a flirtatious gyration of blue deception. A foreshadowing.

They’re going to Miami next week. “Sand, salsa dancing, and mojitos,” she posted.

She hasn’t blocked me yet. Maybe she’s a sadist and wants me to feel the burn. Or maybe she knows I’m a masochist, that I welcome the burn. Either way, Billy was right about the long ball.

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My entry in the Flash! Friday contest this past week. I didn’t make the podium this week but I received some very kind feedback on my tale. Always a good thing.The story element required was a coflict of Man vs Man. The picture above was the prompt and the word count was 190-210.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixty Seconds III with: Chris Milam

Originally posted on Flash! Friday:

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

MatchlightOur newest Flash! Friday winner isChris Milam.  Read his winning storyhere. Note that this is his THIRD THIRD win at Flash! Friday (woot!). Read his previous #SixtySeconds interviews as well as his bio here. Then take another minute or two to get to know him better below. (Note that three-time winners are never held to the word count rule. Chat away, Chris!)

1) What about thepromptinspired your winning piece?  Nothing revelatory with the kitchen prompt, to be honest. I instantly saw a mother and son at breakfast. I wrote the first paragraph without having any idea how to include the prisoner picture. As the story unfolded, I knew a tale…

View original 947 more words

Sanctuary

lc3a5ngholmen_1910 public domain photo

There was love in the way she poured milk on my cereal. The plastic jug tilted by a fragile hand, filling the bowl halfway. Just how I liked it. A motherly wink when she prodded me to eat the banana slices sitting atop the sugary concoction like fibrous wafers of a solidified disease. I ate them for her.

The first of the month was our food jamboree. The bologna and tuna casserole were replaced by fresh ground beef, homemade tacos with a dollop of sour cream, and an unhealthy dose of raspberry sherbet. Food stamp nirvana, she called it, before vanishing for the graveyard shift. When she cooked, she seemed happy, like she was making up for lost time. Our kitchen was her aromatic church.

When dad was released from prison, mom changed. The kitchen changed. Pop would smolder at the table, chain-smoking unfiltered cigarettes, while accusing her of cheating when he was gone. The neighbor, a coworker, anyone with testosterone. Eventually, she retreated to the bedroom, forcing us to survive on cheese and uncooked hot dogs.

She dissolved after that. My father’s insecurities turned her into a human stew of anxiety. But, decades later, I can still picture her in our kitchen, her luminous smile a bursting peppermint star.

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My entry in this week’s Flash! Friday competition. The picture above was the prompt and the setting of your story had to be a kitchen of some kind. Word count between 190-210. I was chosen the winner this week which came as complete shock to be honest. This is my third win in this weekly contest, one that always draws a plethora of stories written by some truly talented writers. It’s quite an honor to be on podium again. A huge thank you is in order for the judges this week, Carlos Orozco and Eric Martell. Their comment about my story is below.

Judges comment:This story did the best at fulfilling the required story element. At first, we are shown a kitchen in which there is not much, but it is a happy kitchen nonetheless. Then the father gets there and the once happy kitchen changes into something ugly. It’s almost as if we hit a daily double with the setting, getting two settings in one.

Describing the times of plenty as “Foodstamp Nirvana” really strikes a chord showing us how little these characters have. Also the description of the bananas as “fibrous wafers of a solidified disease” and the fragile hand pouring milk seems to hint at some underlying problem. We get another hint of a problem when we read that “She dissolved” toward the end of the story. The fact that the main character never fully states a problem helps set up a certain mood. We get the feeling that something’s wrong and it pulses at the back of our minds. This was good writing and it was well executed.

Hands of a Charlatan

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After participating in the National Flash Fiction Day FlashFlood last year, I knew I couldn’t resist submitting again this year. Luckily, the editors accepted my story for publication. Hands of a Charlatan first appeared on the Luminous Creatures Press site. Thankfully, FlashFlood is fine with previously published stories. Stop on by and read a plethora of sublime flash fiction when you have the time. You can read my story here

Family Time

vaults-for-humans Photo Credit: Mark Hillary

Silent perversion filled their minds like a blooming lullaby. A magnetized melody. Daniel and his boy shared a glance then floated down to the basement.

Molly was crumpled in a porcelain casket, an antique clawfoot tub. Her lacquered, rouged face resembled a ventriloquist’s dummy. Her carved throat appeared to be smiling at them.

“She can’t scream at us no more, papa.”

“She can’t do anything no more, son.”

“Can we kill her again?”

“Dead is dead. Don’t be greedy. Give her a kiss goodnight.”

Henry squatted and pecked his mother sloppily. He detected the nectar of neglect on her lips, a boozy decay lurking beneath a cherry-red, ghoulish film.

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This would’ve been my entry in the weekly Micro Bookends contest if my insecurities didn’t get the best of me. I abstained from submitting at the last second. Your story had to begin with the word Silent and end with Film. Your inspiration was the photo above and the word count needed to be between 90-100.

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Liquid Nights

My story Liquid Nights is live over at Spelk Fiction. The journal is the brainchild of Gary Duncan, editor and a talented writer as well. Spelk is a site I’ve admired since its inception. They publish a wide range of genres and styles and I’ve read numerous wonderful stories there and it’s an honor to be published by them. You can read my story here.