Writing Prompt “New Year’s Eve”
Theme: New Year’s Eve
Stories must take place on New Year’s Eve, the rest is up to you.
Word Count: 1,200
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127 thoughts on “Writing Prompt “New Year’s Eve””
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Ken, just go to advanced and add the domain as a secured site. About a year ago Godaddy started forcing websites to pay f or the https security token. It’s about $100/year. Since we barely break even with the site and podcast I couldn’t justify paying for it.
Cara paraded into the room where Doug sat. She wore a black dress and high heels.
“What do you think? When are you getting dressed?” She spun around batting her eyes.
“What? Cara, I told you I can’t go out. Don’t you understand? And what’s that on your lips?”
“You like? It’s the new thing, glitter lipstick.”
“Not really. Honey, please. I have just a few hours.”
“Explain to me again why you can’t just give Jack’s laptop to Frank?”
“Because Frank, who doesn’t play, doesn’t have anyone to get the information from Jack’s laptop. He thinks I have it because we were partners. He doesn’t realize that Jack didn’t share everything with me. Like the goddamn encryption on this fucking laptop!” Doug was yelling by the last word.
“Got it. I’m not an idiot, Doug.”
“I’m sorry. Again. Sorry for snapping and for getting mixed up with Jack.”
“I told you he was a loser, didn’t I? There was always something about him.”
“Hon, as much as I want to hear again how you told me so, we don’t have time for this. I have to get data off this laptop by the deadline.”
“How bad can it be? Maybe you’re overreacting.” Doug wouldn’t meet her eyes. She noticed he hadn’t showered nor shaved in a couple of days. She was starting to feel uneasy. He put his head down taking a deep breath. Their situation was thanks to his ex-partner who took money from a criminal. Jack disappeared and was probably on a beach someplace, the list of names he sold never delivered. He double-crossed Frank and then fled. Frank, while a complete psychopath, wasn’t stupid. He figured Doug knew what Jack knew. The list contained people who were a threat to Frank.
“I didn’t mean to snap. I need to concentrate.” Doug felt horrible at waiting so long to tell her the trouble they were in. He thought he’d have this figured out. Cara had no idea of the true danger.
“Well, there must be something else you can do.”
“If you have a better idea, please share!”
“How could I have a better idea? I’m not the computer genius.” Cara shouted.
Doug looked at the box of files he’d found in Jack’s basement. He had searched half of it, but Jack would never put data on paper in a box. He was no fool. He was a total computer nerd. The names had to be on one of the seven computers he’d had access to. Doug was now in front of the seventh one. His last hope. He sighed and continued searching. Jack was better at encryption than Doug would ever be. When Frank visited him, that fact didn’t matter. Frank wasn’t the most reasonable person. If you didn’t give him the answers he wanted, whether it was truthful or not, he reacted violently. The worst was when he sent representatives because he didn’t want to be seen. Witnesses. The second visit was from his ‘associates’.
Doug looked longingly at the box of files. What if? What are the odds that the information Frank wanted was in that box? It would take hours to look through it. Hours he didn’t have. Common sense told him the data was on this computer. If only he could find it. He started typing.
“Do you think you can leave once you find it?”
“I can’t leave at all. What are you not getting here?” Doug glared at her. He then realized that the best thing would be for her to go without him. That would at least spare her. “Why don’t you go ahead. I’ll try to get this done and meet you.”
“No, that’s ok. There will be other parties. I’m staying with you.” He was frustrated. It would be best if she left. The chances of him finding that list were slim. Again, he wondered if he should tell her how serious it really was.
“Cara, maybe I can meet you there later.”
“Nope, till death do us part and all that.” Her smile increased his guilt. Maybe he could fix this.
“How about some coffee?”
“On it. Hey, not to be mean, but what about Ralph? Isn’t this more his thing?”
“Thanks for not wasting time sugar-coating this. Yes, Ralph is a better hacker than me and I’ve left six messages for him. No answer.” He tried to keep his voice light, so she wouldn’t realize the depth of his fear. If he wasn’t returning calls that meant Ralph knew the danger. Her smile disappeared, and she went to make coffee.
Doug spent another three hours on the laptop, his coffee sitting cold on the desk. The sweat was now running down his back and the armpits of his shirt were stained. How could Jack have left him like this? Doug tried to ignore the noise outside from the celebrations. Music coming from the apartment next door was getting louder. Cara had the television on in the bedroom and he could hear the partying as the New York hosts yelled out resolutions. She had taken off her party clothes and was sitting quietly on the couch in her pajamas sipping tea, staring. He knew from her jiggling foot she was nervous.
“What about calling Jack again? Maybe he’ll answer if he sees the missed calls.” Doug heard desperation in her voice. She’s understanding now.
“Sure, babe. I’ll try him again. Why don’t you head over to your sister’s and I’ll meet you there later?”
“I thought you said you needed to get this done tonight. I’ll wait. I’m sure this Frank will understand if you need more time.” Doug didn’t want to point out the words ‘Frank’ and “understand” would never fit in the same sentence.
“Cara, please. He said one week. Exactly. He meant it. I don’t think I can do it.” He felt awful that he’d waited so long to fess up, leaving out worst part, the price of failure. He overestimated his abilities. He should have sent her away days ago.
“I’m sure he’s reasonable. Right?” She was trying to convince herself.
“Please go to your sister’s.”
“You can do this.” Her innocent smile broke his heart. He heard the neighbors counting down. The computer chirped the “success” beep. His heart raced as his eyes searched the data string. Finally! Yes! As he clicked on what should save him, the dialogue box appeared. ‘Sorry bro’ was all it read. A decoy. Jack saved Frank’s enemies before his own partner.
He swallowed tears as the sounds of fireworks from outside and on the television grew loud. He saw the lights flashing against the curtains as the colorful explosions drowned out the music. He looked over her shoulder and saw the shadow of feet beneath the door to the hallway. The knob was moving. He knew the sounds of celebrating neighbors firing guns into the air, as they did every fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, would cover the sound of other gunshots. Doug looked at Cara, tilted his head and sent a silent apology. There was a reason the deadline was midnight on the last day of the year.
Good imaging, “Light flashing against the curtains as the colorful explosions drowned out the music.” I really liked that phrase.
I think the line ‘he looked over her shoulder’ would read better as ‘He looked past her’ because he was sitting down at the computer, and it’s a little tough to look over someone’s shoulder from that position. Just little things. This story has a lot of good things going for it. But, I still don’t understand why Doug couldn’t have tried to find what he needed from some location that Frank couldn’t find, in order to kill him.
Stick around Susan, I like your style. Just give me a better ending next time. Maybe if they had some sort of hold on him, like one of his kids. or one of his parents that would have prevented him from running I would be a happier camper. That’s what I’m going to go with. They had his only daughter and either he delivered, or they kill her, and then come for him. Yeah, good choice, Susan. I like that. I mean, you’re already killing two people, what’s one more. Besides, she wouldn’t have parents anymore and would have to be an orphan and probably turn to drugs and die of an overdose anyway.
Like I said, keep writing.
You wrote: ‘Common sense told him the data was on this computer. If only he could find it. He started typing.’
Of course the plot has its own built in tension, but the sense of urgency in the words is compounded by the tension built into the structure of the sentences: Ten words, then six words, then three. It think this is very good writing.
I’m no genius, this just jumps out at you and shakes you.
The dialogue is spot on, and the way you deliver it is wonderfully natural and unobtrusive, very smooth, easy and interesting reading.
Can’t wait to read more of what you write.
And a rhinoceros–with a toothache. No–a sore toe. So he limps. A gimpy rhinoceros slipping in oil, covered in glitter. But why? Why does he have a sore toe?
Maybe his partner stepped on his foot while they were dancing…
He should probably be wearing a party hat. To lighten the mood a little. Wounded animals bring people down, especially at parties.
I don’t know. I really want to do something seriously dramatic this time. Something that tugs at your butt cheeks. I mean heart strings. Tugs at your heart strings. (Wherever THEY are.)
Something that won’t get disqualified. (Unless it’s for bad taste. I could live with that.) This is assuming (correctly) that I got disqualified. Either that, or I came in number seventeen out of fifteen contestants. Which would mean that I got at least one negative vote. Is that allowed? Did someone give me a negative two? Who would do such a thing? I’m going to hire me a private rhinoceros and have him look into this, do a little snooping around. See what he comes up with. I’m very curious.
She could see how impressed I was, and asked me how I thought it was done. I said, “Hell, I assumed you just threw it in the air and twirled around under it.” She couldn’t believe I could be so naive.
And believe you me, Boss, when I say that I will never dream of awarding you negative two. That will spell sure doom for me. I won’t be able to sleep peacefully worried to my boots, thinking how is Ken going to retaliate this time. God be merciful to the aspirant who dares to bare himself/herself to your wrath.
Merry Christmas and all the very best wishes.
I was a coward. Friends bullied and relatives made fun of me. Naturally, I kept a low profile since mom’s painful end. I cried if I had a bruise while playing. I would have remained a coward if Rob didn’t come to my life that New Year’s Eve. I don’t feel shy in telling you how it all happened.
I’s sitting in the dim light of the bar, some soft music was playing like a promise from a distant land:
Come, let me love you,
Let me lie down beside you,
Let me drown in your laughter,
Let me die in your arms
I noticed then the huge, hefty man sitting all by himself, a half-finished Coke in hand. He had a brown leather jacket on. What caught my attention, besides his heavy build, was the glittering ring he had on his right ear. It glowed and told of immense power and pride.
It was nealy ten. Time to get back to my cage. I slowly clanged the empty can down. The waiter looked through the side window of the kitchen, scurried over to my table, snatching the fifty bucks note from my hand.
Scampering out the front door, I found two boys coming in, a little older than me, bending over the counter, saying something to the pretty receptionist. The lady reddened, her head bent. The squeaky one in the meantime, was looking around as if taking note of something mentally. The massive man, his eyes closed, seemed to be oblivious to everything but for the tune floating from the background.
I stepped out. The air outside was pregnant with the expectation of the impending snow. Though there was a street lamp somewhere, the alley was pitch dark, deserted. At least that’s what I thought till I found four young men, with the rogue in front, heading towards me. I got panicky. I turned my head back. The flirty boy was heading from the other end. It didn’t take me long to realize that they were street urchins, out for some fun on the New Gear’s Eve. All my limbs became numb. I felt thirsty and ran my tongue over my dry lips. Something was urging me desperately to flee but they had formed a circle around me.
“Hi, kiddy. This time is no fun without frens. Wanna join us?” slurred the pigeon-chested, bearded one facing me. He reeked of cheap drinks.
“Please let me go. I have no money, no nothing,” I stammered.
“ No worries. We are aware of that, pimp. What about that all glittery thing on your finger?”
“Oh, God! Save me,” I whispered to myself. I had totally forgotten about the ring given on my sixteenth birthday by my late mom. Dad loved me so much then until Jennifer came to his life.
I was shaking all over. Someone had come from the side by then and put an arm over my cold shoulder.
“Hey, girlie. Stop shaking. We won’t rape you or won’t we?”
I could feel tears welling up as by then he had put his hand down to the unmentionable.
“Please let me go. I promise not to come here any more,” I pleaded, quaking.
“We will make sure of that. Give me the ring,” the bearded one with a mean look, asked me.
What is wrong with my legs? What is wrong with my head? Why can’t I think properly? Oh,God, have mercy on me.
I could see mom on that day, looking as beautiful as ever. She called out to me standing in the middle of the drawing room, her arms wide open,“Dane, happy birthday once again, my son. We’re proud to have you on such a day. Lord be blessed for sending you to our lives. Oh! The glitter and glory of the day! I never felt happier when she held me tightly to her chest.
The devilish boy was hurting me, trying to force the ring out of my hand. I could see mom behind them, worried. I tried to jerk my hand free.
SMACK! I could feel my cheek stinging as my hand tried to shield the burning cheek from the excruciating pain.
“No, baby. Don’t try to act smart. You know, we can be very mean at times,” threatened one of them in a bemusing tone. I was crying from inside. Why does it always happen to me? I never tried to hurt a fly in my life? Why me then? I was finding it difficult to keep my legs steady. The creep had unzipped my pants by then looking all playful. He had by then, put his hand inside doing strange things. It was only then I broke into a hysterical sob.
I don’t know what exactly happened then. But I could hear my tormentor choking. He was literarily lifted off the ground. I looked around and was amazed to see through my blurry eyes the huge man with one hand lifting the naughty one up in the air. He had his other hand on the throat of the flirtatious one, his earring sparkling in the darkness. The group was nonplussed momentarily before the one farthest from us, took out what looked like a kitchen knife from his pocket. He came charging at my saviour. The massive man let go of my torturer just in time to prevent it doing any serious damage with the back of his hand. The knife struck something and fell off. The next moment blood was oozing out of the cut in his hand. The boy who had his collar still in the grip of the other hand, shook himself free, raised something and brought it down on the big man’s head. I still stood there like a spectator watching a thriller. The man slowly turned his head to the attacker. His face betrayed the pain. Blood was flowing around the earring robbing it of its glitter and shine. It started snowing then. All those pointed flakes dropping down, covering everything with dazzling brightness.
The big man was still holding his ground, swaying, looking dazed.
It was then I found the bearded lout looking at the boy with the knife, trying to convey a hidden message though his eyes. The lad nodded and spat noisily at the man. There was a murderous look in his eyes. He dashed towards the man as I saw Mom wrapped up in that glass box with the corners of her once lovely mouth still tinged with the blackish red blood of cancer. I looked down. The man was lying with blood flowing freely from the gaping wound in the belly.
Then something happened. I found the timid boy coming out of his shell, kicking the filthy boy with all might. The boy was unbelievably taken aback by the side kick. Next moment, we all could hear the siren coming from the street.
The first snow during the Eve of the new year was a blessing I long craved for.
Roberto and I are the best buddies now. He has invited me to celebrate the eve with his family. And you know what? He got a glittery earring for me.
And, I would have liked for you to at least acknowledge the guy who came to your aid by helping him instead of leaving him bleeding and possibly? probably? dying on the sidewalk. At least I think that’s who’s lying there. It could have been the one with the knife and had it used against him, but you don’t make that clear. You just walk away with a friend who gave you an earring and the other guy dies. Nice creepy touch. Not.
All in all, a reasonably crafted story that could use some cleaning up..
If I could remember it correctly, I wrote this story leaning against a wall in a hotel room on the 22nd of December. I couldn’t have taken more than an hour and a half for the finished product. The editing happened as I had the story cornered in Carrie’s box. So, I am sure that I overlooked some mistakes. If you can point out some of them or even a few, I will be more careful of not repeating them from next time on.
Enjoyed your story. Love and regards.
Forgive me for my ignorance. Love you always.
Don’t worry about posting first. I did that last time and it finished up in the middle which is OK for a first entry. Also, just before voting time, I like to think that people will read them all again to refresh their memories. I know I did!
Good luck this time but it’s the writing that matters, not where you finish.
I enjoyed this story and you have captured the essence of being in the centre of a group who are seeking to molest, taunt or damage you. OnlyJack Reacher would relish this situation.
There are a few places where the story doesn’t flow quite as well as it might but I think I may be a bit picky to say this. I think it is just the odd word order or the use of a specific word.
Ken Frape ( the other Ken)
I always dreamt of being the best, the first boy. My dream remained a dream only. Let me have the pleasure of witnessing my name topping the list of such distinguished writers at least, please.
Love and best wishes,
by Robt. Emmett ©2018
The very last place I wanted to go was the Country Club.
“Mom, I’m going like this.”
“Robin, tonight’s New Year’s Eve party is formal.”
“My winter suit’s at the cleaners, remember? I’ll wear a dark sports coat, black pants and…,”
“Robin, not an ascot. Please, wear a regular tie.”
I eased onto the stool in the dark end of the Country Club Bar. Tim set my drink on the napkin.
“You look down-and-out. So, how’s life treating you?”
“Mom and I had another tiff.”
“Mothers are like that. They never quit being mothers. Or does Mom have problem with your new girlfriend?”
“Put a rag in it, will yeah.”
“Okay, okay, sorry I mentioned her.” He looked over my shoulder, “Well, look who’s joining your parents.”
In the bar’s back mirror, I watched as Dell seated Sandra and Sonny seated his sister, Peggy.
“Looks like they left a spot for you,” Tim said.
“Me, sit across from my mother and between two ex-girlfriends? That’s not gonna happen.”
Tim took my empty supper plate and untouched drink. He handed them to a waiter. Dad walked up and stood next to me. “You will dance with your mother.”
“Dad, I didn’t want come, but Mom…,”
“That’s the least you can do to repay me for your meal.”
“… Mom insisted.”
“The band is almost ready to start.” I slid off the bar stool.
I whispered in her ear, “Can I have this dance? They’re playing our song.” In mid-song, as we danced, “Mom, about my clothes, I….”
She patted my cheek. “Your style is different, but you look fine Robin. I was wrong.”
“Forget it dear. Who are you going to dance with now, Sandra or Peggy?”
Dell took advantage of my mistake with Sandra and now they’re a couple.
Because of an unfounded rumor, Sonny’d made it clear that Peggy was off limits.
“If you’d brought Cookie, you … ah, where is she by the way?”
Walking her back to her table, “She’s at home.”
I didn’t, couldn’t, answer her.
Dad smiled and mouthed a Thank You, Rob.
I’d almost settled myself at the dark end of the bar when I noticed Junior walking towards me. “Crap,” I thought, “I don’t need you hassling me.”
We were seniors at Cathedral and always at odds. He wanted to date Sandra. He failed, thanks to me.
Swiveling around, I faced him. “Evening Junior, something I can do for you?”
“I, ah, hmm, we’ve been at the same school and, ah, it’s awkward, us not getting along.”
That’s because your mother’s money allows you to get away with being a complete ass!
“I know occasionally I do stupid stuff. Mother bails me out.” He stretched his neck. I heard it crack. “Ah, this year, my big New Year’s resolution is … is change.”
“I mean it.” His right hand shot out, “Friends?”
“Ah, sure.” I shook his hand. As we parted, I realized he meant what he’d said.
Returning from the men’s room, I spotted Dell and Sandra standing next to my bar stool.
“It’s pay-back time,” he said.
Puzzled, I asked, “What are you talking about?”
“You let me have two dances the first time I met Sandra and so I owe you two dances.“And this time it is okay with her.” He winked at me, “I checked.”
She took my hand and we eased onto the dance floor. During the second song, she put her head on my shoulder, “You had the history of infidelity, but I….” She sighed, “
I shushed her. She looked up at me. “Robin, it wasn’t like you to be, to be what? Faithful, I guess. You were. I’m sorry I cheated with Dell and broke us up.” She squeezed my hand. “I’m so damn sorry, Robin. I really am. Can you forgive me, please?”
Dell was at the bar, waiting. “I didn’t know you two were … I mean, I wouldn’t have … I thought that … Aw shit, I didn’t mean to break you two up. I apologize.” He extended his hand.
He left. I sat.
“Got a minute, Robin?”
I turned, Sonny and Peggy. “Yeah, sure, why?”
“That trash about you? I just found out it was bullshit. And the last thing he’s gonna see before his lights go out is this.” He lifted his fist.
Peggy nudged her brother. “What he’s trying to say is that he misjudged you. But he has a hard time saying the word – sorry.”
Like someone else, huh?
Mom, then Dad, then Junior, Sandra, Dell, and now Sonny and Peggy.
“Tim, you have anything for an upset stomach?”
He started to reach into a small drawer in the back bar. He stopped, picked up the bar phone, and set it in front of me. “Call her, now.”
The hall clock bonged eleven-thirty. “I can’t, it’s late.”
“Call her. I’ll be down at the waitress station. I want you gone when I return. You got that?”
My hand started toward the phone. I couldn’t call. Sorry was a word I never used. What if she rejected it?
Tim’s voice jarred me. “I said call her, damn it!”
She answered on the sixth ring. She sounded sleepy.
“Hi, it’s me.”
“Yes, I know it’s late,” I replied
“Did I wake you?” I asked.
Of course, you did, stupid.
“I didn’t?” I didn’t believe her.
“I was wondering if we could talk,… talk about us.”
She didn’t answer. I clarified my request. “I mean face to face. Can I come over?”
I evaded her comment. “Yes, I do know how late it is.”
“I know but, well, please. I really need to see you and … and talk to you.”
“Thanks.” I was glad she’d agreed. “It’s a fifteen-minute drive.”
“Sure, twenty then. Okay, I’ll drive slowly and ah, thanks.”
Cookie opened the back door as I started to knock. The look on her face was not encouraging.
Say something nice.
“You hair looks nice.”
Still not smiling, “That is why I needed the extra five minutes.” She turned and motioned with her hand. “We can sit at the kitchen table.”
She looked at the clock over the sink, then rested her chin in the palm of her left hand. “It’s nearly midnight. What’s so important you had to see me tonight?”
“To ask for a second chance.”
Her chin slipped out of her palm. “You what?” she shook her head. “Did I hear you right?”
“I shouldn’t have gotten angry with you for buying me that gift. You had no way of knowing I hate to get gifts.
Her brow wrinkled, “Why?”
“It makes me feel like a mooch.”
“Robin, you’re absolutely are not a mooch.”
Taking her hands, “I’m sorry I got angry. I would like you to forgive me because I really want to continue seeing you.”
Time seemed to stop. Finally, “I understand your attitude toward gifts, apology accepted.”
The mantle clock started chiming midnight; time to forgive and forget.
Her eyes seemed to glitter as I slipped my class ring back onto her gold neck chain.
At the door, under the mistletoe, she stopped me…
— Ԙ —
Robin’s attitude is one that was all too pervasive in teens of my era. We were of WWII parents that made it big. [Myself included] The father’s returned home, fulfilled their fox-hole dream and moved to the ‘better side of town’.
The children wrongly assumed being wealthy and good looking was their doing. The come-down was hard. Many tried: most adjusted, a few didn’t try and others couldn’t.
New Year’s Eve is a wonderful time for self-examination. A time to ask ourselves the hard questions about the last 365 days – who have I…, could I have…,why didn’t I…, etc.
Then it’s time for beverages and the all important resolutions.
I plan to make only one. The difference this year is,I WILL keep it!
My resolution for 2019 is – drum roll, Please [Thank you].
I will refuse all date requests from Virgin Secret models.
– Ԙ –
The story is good and the writing is great. The dialogue is very believable. My problem with this story was in the beginning. I was a little confused as to who was who at the dinner table. I don’t think it was that important by the end of the story, but I didn’t know that as I was reading the beginning. The dialogue is quite well done and the story’s message over all is satisfying.
Eurgh! My tongue feels like the Russian army’s been marching over it in their stockinged feet. Who said that? Someone famous. I’ll remember later. First things first, though. Who am I? Stupid question. I know who I am. Where am I? That’s more to the point. Maybe if I open my eyes. Bit slow on the uptake today, Keith.
Something’s wrong. I’m blind. I’m blind! Hang on. No, false alarm. It’s just sleepy dust. Let’s get … hold on! I can’t move my arms! Caught up in something! Got one free. Sleepy dust gone … from one eye … then the other … other arm caught up in … the quilt. On the bed. Got them both free now. And another rub of the eyes. That’s …
… that’s a ceiling. I don’t recognise it. But that lampshade … that’s mine! So the ceiling? I suppose I never look much at the ceiling, that’s why it seems strange. But it needs some work – cracks all over. Will have to get onto that some time. If I remember. And come to think of it, the quilt’s mine too. So, let’s think.
It’s me, Keith, in my own bed, in my own bedroom. Mystery solved! But not entirely. What about the tongue? That’s not a normal tongue. A normal tongue has a bit of fur on it in the morning, but not like that. So how did that happen?
Wait a mo’. What’s been clouding my thinking these last few minutes? You stupid … the head! The banging head. Why didn’t I notice that before? Banging head, thick tongue, raging thirst – just noticed that, too – faint nausea … a hangover! I’ve got a bloody hangover! Not for the first time, is it, Keith? But this is a humdinger! Why is it so heavy? Think, Keith. Think!
Tongue, head, nausea … booze, a lot of it. Can’t be a normal weekend. I don’t go crazy at weekends. So a special day. Good detective work, Keith. You’re getting there. Special day. Lots of booze, so not a normal weekend … birthday? Nah, can’t be that. I hate my birthday. Celebrating getting older, one step nearer death … no, can’t be that. So …
… what’s that over there, on the desk? A photo of United! My wonderful United! Signed! A present! A Christmas present, from my dad! Christmas, gone. Special day, close to Christmas. New Year’s! New Year’s Eve! Got there!
New Year’s Eve in … where was it? Where did I go? Who with? Bloody hell – this must be what dementia’s like! No, don’t joke about that, Keithy-boy. ‘Cos that’s real enough. And you haven’t got it … yet.
But come on. Where? Where was I last night? And what friends or acquaintance– … should auld … yes, I sang that. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot?” What does that even mean? But I sang it … with … I was in a circle, and on my right was …
Why can’t I remember? Another stupid question. Because you were pouring gallons of booze down your gullet, you idiot. And now I need a pee.
Turn over on my side, swivel, legs out, over the edge of the bed, sit …. UP! Oooh. That’s not very nice. Head banging and now swimming, too. Stay like this a minute. Get my bearings. Bathroom over that way. I remember, of course I remember. So that’s where I’m heading. If I can stand … UP!
Yep, I’m up. Won’t bother with my slip– ah … still got my shoes on. And my trousers. But not my shirt. Hmmm.
Can I walk? What a maroon! Course I can. Just one foot in front of the other, Keith. Slowly, slowly, shuffle, shuffle. That’s the ticket.
Wait! WC Fields! That’s who said that thing about the Russian arm– Tommy! Tommy Field! That’s who I was with last night! He was on my right, singing that bloody awful song. Why do we do it? So, yeah, Tommy Field. Okay, so who else? And where?
There was a room, with wood, a lot of wood … wood panelling. A pub! Not the local – bloody modern décor – but … what was the name of it?
This door. I’m going to have to fix … bloody … thing. BLOODY THING! Open, you bas– okay. Okay. You’re lucky I didn’t take an axe to you! You’re lucky I didn’t … Axe! The Woodcutter! That was the pub. Ah, it’s all coming back now. The Woodcutter, with Tommy Field, in a circle, singing that stupid song. I must’ve had a few by then. But …
… who else was there? He was on my right in the circle. Ah, that’s better – I needed that. Clean my teeth now – get rid of the Russian army’s footprints! Ha ha. Who else? Who was on my left?
Blimey! Look at you. You look about 60. Jeez. Eyes like piss-holes in the snow. Open up. Aaaah! Green tongue. Lovely. And … what’s that? On your lips? What?
Glitter?! How did that … That’s who was on my left in the circle! That woman! Bloody beautiful. And we went out the back … ah, man. She was gorgeous! But what was her name? What the hell was her name?
Think, Keith. Think, you sorry excuse for a … Sarah! Ha ha ha! SARAH! And she gave you her number. On a piece of paper. Why didn’t you put it in your phone?
Because you lost your phone, you pillock! And you put the piece of paper in your … not in that pocket. Not in that one either. Nor that … now don’t tell me you’ve lost it, you silly bugger. My jacket. Where’s my jacket?
Oh, please be there, please, pleeeez, pleee– ah, there it is on the chair … shuffle, shuffle … not too quick, you’ll fall over.
Now if you’re there, little telephone number, I promise I’ll never drink again. I promise …
Till the next time, at least.
“Thrown into it” … bodily.
(Just kiddin’ – I’ve seen your correction below.)
As always, Phil, a well written, well thought out story, and I liked it. Especially the ending which I’ll bet was repeated by millions of people yesterday morning.
(By millions, but not by me! 🙂 )
(Yes, a pillock is exactly that.)
I used to so a lot of research on this subject, but none for the last seven years … 😉
The Power of Fear.
Once upon a time there was a powerful king living in a big castle. No, this man was much more powerful than any king could be. This man had more money than all the kings in the world combined. He owned ten of the largest yachts in the world and a house on the moon. With a garden where a few orange trees grew. He was the only man who could sit on the moon by the pool and enjoy oranges from his own garden.
One night, this man was sitting in the library of his favorite house on earth with his favorite friends. It was a cold December evening, a fire was burning in the fireplace. It was shortly after christmas, there were still some glittering decorations on a spruce in the corner. The powerful man enjoyed a good cigar with his friends. In the next room, some women reclined with a glass of a sweet alcoholic drink. They told each other the latest stories about people, who could not be there that day. The women were excellent women, maybe the best in the world.
The house was well guarded. The most powerful man in the world had the best guards money could buy. He also employed a paramilitary force, which gave him extra protection. Every man in this squad was ready to die just to save the life of the most powerful man in the world. These troops had the most modern technology, helicopters, fighter jets, tanks and so on. That’s because the most powerful man in the world assumed that all the other people on the planet were envious and wanted to get everything he posessed. He believed that everyone wanted to be able to sit on the moon and eat oranges.
Unfortunately, the most powerful man in the world was not the happiest. He always had a faint fear that someone might come and take away everything he owned. Everybody could be a thief. Even his best friends, with whom he sat by the log fire in the library, could be thiefs. Even the women could be thieves, even though they were the best women on earth. If you were the most powerful man in the world, you always had to be on your guard.
Especially this evening. Because there was something in the air tonight. The most powerful man could not say what it was. Only that something was in the air, he felt that very clearly. The air got a bit colder. A tiny little bit. The difference was so small that nobody noticed it except for the most powerful man himself. But he was sure the chill he felt was not only in his mind. There was something out there. It came closer. Whatever it was, the world’s most powerful man considered it a threat. Everything could be a threat. He put his paramilitary troop on alert. To do this, he had only to press a red button.
His best friends saw him pressing that button. The conversation died at once. The friends knew that the most powerful man in the world always did everything he had to do to protect himself. It was said that one evening he had all the friends killed. All the friends, who were sitting with him in the library. He had them killed to protect himself, they said. All of his friends were silent now. Everyone was afraid. Fear was in the air and it was chilling the library.
Something was coming up to the house. The guards could not stop it. The guards could not even see it. The paramilitary force was at a loss. The whatever it was, it came from the east. The troops bombed a large area in the east, but without any success. In the library they could hear noises in the hallways, commands were given and confirmed. Bunkers were being prepared, helicopters rose up into the sky. A state of emergency was declared. The most powerful man in the world could hear the front doors of the house being blown up. Cries, shouting. An eerie hissing sound, like from a snake.
The most powerful man in the world sat in his chair quite rigid. His fingers clenched the armrests. He was now the most fearful person in the world. Something was coming up the stairs. Coming up fast. The eyes of all the men in the library were directed towards the door. They heard shooting, noises from automatic weapons. At last the big double-leaf door of the library burst open with a terrible crashing sound. This very moment the heart of the most powerful man in the world stopped beating and he turned into a corpse.
The New Year had come.
Your writing was so excellent, in fact, that I was quite surprised to find that it was merely a giant, noisy, intrusive metaphor. I really didn’t expect that.
“Blast it, those bloody metaphors are causing a ruckus, again. I’ve got a nasty little surprise for them, Jurg.” He turns and says “Alexa, release the prepositional phrases.”
A small round cylinder cooes back at him. “Um. All of them?”
“Yes! All of them, you artificial idiot. Now!”
Your writing seems to have excited my creativity, Mr. Jurgen. All kidding aside, I really like the writing. Good story too.
High above the city seagulls danced in a rhythmic show of sublime agility. Their wings, caught for a moment in the piercing sunlight, glittered the sky with white specks of light. The air currents rose and carried them across the urban landscape below where hundreds of busy lives were being played out.
As they drifted and swooped their way out of sight the man looked on dejectedly. How he wished to join them, to fly away from this city. The freedom that they harnessed was something he could only dream of. Suddenly he was brought back to reality by someone kicking at his legs. Freddie, his two-year-old mongrel growled warningly but the guy had already gone.
“Come here” he said, patting the makeshift bed he had made for the dog. As usual, he was set up outside one of the wealthiest and most respected office blocks this side of the river. Many years ago, he had learnt to play the people and by now he knew the schedule of almost every Chief Executive in the city. At seven a.m. every day he would make his way to this building, and every day he would convince himself that he was doing it for the money.
It was true, of course, that here he could make maybe ten, fifteen times what he got back in Brixton. Or that just the other day he had seen one of the suits drop a fifty-pound note at a burger stand and, when he had tried to return it to the man, been told him to keep it, as if he was a child begging for one more chocolate. But even this wasn’t what compelled him here.
The real reason would walk around the corner in about three minutes, as elegant as the birds up above, and hand him his breakfast. He had first seen her over a month ago, but that day had never left him. It had been her, with her heart-warming smile that had got him through that last harsh week of November.
“Hello, David” Startled, he looked up. He must have zoned out and missed her coming around the corner.
“H- hi Chenise.” He said, his heart lurching into his chest.
“Are you okay? Do you need anything?” Her beauty was flawless, as always, but today he could notice an edge in her voice.
“No, I’m fine, really. Are you okay? You seem flustered”
“Oh, I shouldn’t talk about it, it’s nothing.”
“If you don’t mind, I’d love to. I have no one to talk to all day.” He was stalling.
“Well it’s just, last night my house was burgled, I think they took my handbag. I can’t find it anywhere.”
“Oh God! That’s awful, have you called the police?”
“Yes, but they can’t do anything. There’s been a few robberies in my area. People will take anything if they think a rich person owns it!”
He was truly shocked. There were times when he was forced to steal to stay alive, true, but that was corner shops and hot dog stands. These low-lives were breaking into houses owned by some of the wealthiest people on the planet and giving the few honest poor people like him a bad name.
She handed over the customary bacon bap and they bid their farewells. For a while he just sat there, contemplating how someone should do something positive, something to show the world that not all impoverished people were the thieving, drug abusing criminals they had been painted to be.
Then a thought struck him. Rapidly it snowballed into an idea. It would take some planning, and a good deal of hard work, but maybe, just maybe, it would make a small change in the world. Without stopping to count his change he scooped up his meagre belongings into the trolley he used and limped away, heading for the city centre.
That day he worked the streets tirelessly. With most people choosing to spend time with family the mall was quieter than usual, but that didn’t faze him. By lunchtime he had collected enough coins and notes to fill two of the Tupperware containers he carried. He was unsure how much would be needed, but it didn’t matter. After almost twenty years living off people’s generosity, he had managed to save almost £300. Until now his intentions had been to use it on a few nights in a hotel for his fiftieth birthday, but that paled in comparison to this endeavour.
It was exciting. He was doing something. Not just sitting back in blind acceptance of his fate but actually taking control of what was going to happen. For the first time in his adult life, he felt proud.
The rest of the afternoon went in a blur. Coin after coin, note after note was dropped uncaringly into his small paper cup of hope. New year’s resolutions, he decided, were a great idea after all. Generosity always soared on New Year’s Eve, and he had every intention of taking advantage of it. By the time four o’clock came around he was practically alight with excitement. Even Freddie, usually a placid beast, wandered among the people happily. It was time to leave.
Chenise left work at 6 o’clock on the dot. A more cynical person would have said she was obsessive, but that was just a poor way of saying right. The sun, now a raging crescent of orange drowning behind the horizon, threw a comforting glow upon the scene she stepped out onto.
“Chenise?” It was David, sat where he always was, watching the swarms of suits flow past. How helpless he looked. His body shook, gripping to the last flickers of health.
“David, I was just thinking about you. Here, we had a small party at work and there was loads of food left over” She walked over to him, proffering a platter of fruits the names of which he couldn’t begin to imagine. Suddenly she stopped. There, tucked into the fraying folds of his sleeping bag, something shone brightly. It was purple and gold and silver all at once. Glitter poured over it lavishly. She gasped.
“It’s for you” he said, holding it gently. “What you said this morning really got to me. I hope this shows that at least some of us can be good people.” His heart was ablaze. The exquisite femininity drew his confidence and he held it out for her. A small, ornately designed handbag hung from his fingers. Glitter poured over it in a vibrant glaze. One side proudly displayed the GG emblem which had become so synonymous with wealth.
“You… you got this for me?”
“Yes, is it okay?”
“How? Where… It’s amazing!” Her speech was fragmented with hysteria. They stood there, each in awe of the other, letting all social hierarchy melt away. For that moment he wasn’t homeless. He wasn’t an outcast. He was a person, capable of the most humbling acts of compassion.
From then on, every New Year’s Eve he would find his way to Chenise’s £1.4 million apartment. They would eat and dance and welcome in the New Year together, and for that one night David would feel at home
Thank you Neil for the story with a mix of realism and fantasy. People like David always dream of finding a home in the hearts of people like Chemise. Though both of them belong to poles apart, their friendship rings true. By the time the story ended, my heart was crying out for their friendship to go beyond the one night romance.
Welcome to the site. Keep writing and entertaining love-starved, dream big people like David and me.
Happy New Year in advance, my friend, and all the very best.
I had the exact same impression as you. ‘Story needs more glitter.’
The Perfect Girl (1200 words)
Hannah looked at herself in the mirror. First, she studied her face. Her round eyes, pools of liquid brown surrounded by filmy seas of white. A cute little nose that curved up. Puffy, pouty rosebud lips. Silky smooth olive skin with raised cheekbones that accentuated her eyes. A natural blush.
Hannah was the perfect girl. She smiled just a bit, rosebud lips turning up. She looked down at her naked body, the smooth curve of her belly, two bulging breasts, her jutting hipbones. She patted herself, just above the navel. Then she looked up again, at her face. No make-up tonight. No eyeliner or any sort of paint. All she ever needed was a little glitter on her face. To sparkle like an angel.
In the mirror, her demon-tail floated in the air beside her head. It undulated, slowly, like a slithering snake. It was a silky, piercing black.
Hannah applied the glitter to her face. She applied it to the pink skin of her cheeks, rubbed it on her forehead, a little on her nose. She blinked her eyes, flashed the mirror her rosebud smile. She was dazzling.
She put on her clothes. Black leather pants pulled tight to the skin, squeezing her butt. She tucked her demon-tail within, and it vanished without a trace. A silky pink blouse came next, exposing some of her shapely breasts. She stepped into her black high-heels, and finally she covered herself with a thick winter coat.
It was cold out tonight.
Hannah gave herself one last look. She shook her head, watched her shoulder-length curls bounce around, and was satisfied. Her belly poked out from beneath her pink blouse. She pulled the coat tight.
She called a taxi, went over to a window to wait. Up above the city, in the night sky, there was a full moon, weakened by the city lights, but still strong. Hannah watched it for a time, felt it fill up the liquid brown of her eyes. It had been many years since the last full moon on New Year’s Eve. This would bode well for her, it meant there was magic in the air. Her taxi appeared out front. She went to it.
The taxi driver was a middle-aged man with a scraggly beard and a bald head. She could smell him from the back seat, through the bullet-proof glass. She didn’t like that.
The man looked back. “The most beautiful girl I’ve had all night,” he said. “The rest are all painted up, but you’re all natural!” He laughed.
“A little glitter and my invisible angel wings are all I need,” she said without a smile.
The man chuckled. He asked her where she wanted to go, and she directed him to a popular bar in the center of the city. It wasn’t far from her home.
“The ride’s free if you give me your number,” said the driver, as the car slowed to a stop.
She paid without pause and left the cab. It was very cold out, it made her face tingle. She walked hurriedly to the entrance of the bar. The full moon was bigger and stronger above, lighting up her path, making her shine.
Inside the bar, it was dark, crowded, and hot. Groups of people gathered beside the entrance, along the walls, and around tables, dark silhouettes tinged with a red glow from the lights hanging above. She hung up her coat on a rack nearby, and then she went to the back of the bar, where the music was loudest, where there was a space to dance. Pop music blared from a set of speakers, and it got her body moving. There were more lights here on the dance floor, but she stuck to the shadows and danced away. She was a queen in the darkness. As she moved, she began to look at the people dancing around her.
There were men, and then there were men. She needed one of the men. Tall and wide-shouldered and with a square jaw. She needed a big, strong, beautiful man, but more importantly, one with a mind, one with a powerful soul. And she’d find one. He’d come to her. They always did. They were so very simple.
So she danced, skirting the shadows, twisting her limbs, bouncing her delectable curves. She got many looks, many stares, many grins. She met some eyes. She saw some men she would like.
But no one approached.
She hid her anger behind smiles. No matter. She saw one she wanted. Tall and handsome, with a voice that boomed over the music. She went to him, dancing, smiling, glancing at him coyly, blushing. She moved closer, until she was on him, and then they were dancing together, and. . .
He stepped away.
She tried again, looking at him with innocent eyes and her rosebud smile. He must have a powerful soul to resist her. Her mouth watered. She danced towards him, beckoning him to her with her hips, wanting him more and more. He seemed ready to give in, touching her arm, smelling her hair. . .
And then he stepped away again.
“What’s your problem?” she grated through clenched teeth.
“You’re just not my type,” he replied with his booming voice, and then he walked away.
She felt her face flush. She tried to come up with a response, but all she could do was hiss. She returned to the dance floor, let her body move. But no one approached. She tried again and again, dancing with all the men, the best and then the worst, giving them her eyes, touching them with her body. To no avail.
It wasn’t working. She danced on, her movements slowing, her skin slick with sweat. Nobody was staring at her anymore. No one was interested.
And then she felt a pair of hands at her waist. Small hands. A woman’s hands. Hannah continued to dance, unperturbed, as the woman caressed her thighs, gave one of her breasts a squeeze. Hannah looked at her as they moved. She was young, hardly a woman at all. Petite, beautiful, radiant golden hair, smooth skin, luscious curves. . . everything Hannah didn’t like.
And yet. . .
There was something about this girl, something delicious. She could feel the power of her spirit with each touch. She took her hand. They danced. Hannah moved with a renewed vigor, no longer streaked with sweat. And as the night wore on, and the people counted down to the strike of a new year, she made her move. They kissed, so sweet and wet. Hannah licked her lips.
“Come home with me,” she said.
“Not yet,” said the girl.
They danced away the night. Until it was only them, under the lights, in the quiet darkness. Hannah was breathing hard, sweating again. Her stomach rumbled. Her demon-tail rippled in the air.
“Come home with me.”
Golden hair covered her up, pale skin touched hers. A deep kiss. Their eyes met. The girl wore glitter too. A pale face smiled prettily.
Outside, under the moon so bright, a perfect girl held the hand of another. The other hadn’t a demon-tail.
Hahaha yes unfortunately they don’t transfer. I can always add them behind the scenes if you email us the word version. 😊
When I was almost sure that both the girls belonged to the same class, you sprang up the surprise with the last line:
Outside, under the moon so bright, a perfect girl held the hand of another. The other hadn’t a demon-tail.
That was masterly, man. You people make me feel so imperfect, so inadequate most of the times, man. Good job. Keep it up. All the best.
he knew. he had ordered it online. all you had to do was get on this fb site, click on a few buttons, enter a little personal information about yourself, click. then look around. click click click. there were so many profiles to choose from. It was the best mall he had ever been to. click click click. better yet: it was all FREE!!! amen, life was pretty nice on this day and age he lived in. he could hardly believe his luck. click click. a good thing was, they all shared one language: english was definitely a universal blessing. globish, he had heard it referred to. he could get in touch with faces from all around the world. he felt himself getting larger. plus, it was very well done: based on your information – that’s how he understood it –, they would even suggest people to befriend. notifications, they called it. invitations. he didn’t always understand the logic, and the questions. like, why was it constantly asking if he knew so and so…? but he wasn’t going to be too literal. he was going to go with it. go with the flow. it felt good. he was finally part of something again.
since he had moved from his köy to Istanbul, he hadn’t had much luck with making new friends. fact is, he didn’t know how it was done. in the village, you didn’t exactly meet new friends. you just grew up with them from the day you were born. neighbors, cousins, brothers, classmates. it was all completely natural and didn’t require any particular know-how. naturally, you didn’t like them all the same. naturally, the nicer and more interesting you were, the more you attracted people, and the more they would stick around. but what was it exactly there, being interesting? mostly, having access to things others didn’t have access to, and letting them borrow those. toys at first. then maybe a skateboard. a bicycle. later on, a moped. or it could be your willingness to go along with the silliest games. lighting firecrackers in fresh cow dung right when villagers passed by. torturing insects under the guise of “scientific discovery”. telling spicy stories about girls. mmh… you had better tread lightly on that one: rules were fierce in those parts… other ways of bringing respect to your person was knowing things about adults your pals didn’t know. mostly pertaining to differences between men and women. however a tricky topic that one was, as well. one that might backfire if anyone felt there was cause for offense to their family. anyways, he had quickly understood that all this was irrelevant in the big city. there were new mechanisms to be learnt. he first went through the expected mixture of excitement and shyness. finding your way in the vastness of Istanbul was intimidating. but going to school was exhilarating! he was surrounded with people his own age. interesting people. sophisticated. people with purpose. the latter was the most striking: everyone looked so intent. everybody had places to go to, other people to meet, things to do, and events to attend. he started by assuming as much an intent air as he could manage. still, he was never invited to anything. maybe they thought him too busy? he tried to relax. which didn’t bring out any difference. maybe they thought him too aloof? it was not that they weren’t friendly, that they wouldn’t speak to him. they smiled, answered salutations and questions, gave a few advice here and there, had small conversations. however, the feeling of inadequacy lingered. vague. impalpable. after he had noticed that they were constantly bent on their phones, he had acquired one and gotten into the thing. he discovered groups, mailing lists, and what not. until fb. the famous, miraculous fb. here was the key to the new world! he learned fast. so many faces, he liked. and, well, he was liked enough. that is, compared to the number of people he had known at the köy, he was certainly branching out big time. inadequacy kept hovering in the background somehow, but it wasn’t as bad anymore. faces smiled at him whenever he turned in, and he was quite happy with his own thumbnail. an inviting grin. tender eyes. bright enough. he would have liked it, himself. the thing was, no matter how many times he sent his own invitations, he couldn’t meet any bodies. his own address was up there on his “wall”. he lived in Beyoğlu. a central enough neighborhood. popular but safe. why did people not come? for the new year, he had outdone himself. sent out a massive invitation, full of sparkle and peps. witty. enticing. prepared as many food as you would expect to see at a big marriage in the village… silence appeared to crowd the screen…
let’s give his good luck a little push. let’s click on a new name at every stroke of the clock! he stared at the numbers on the screen countdown… five. four. three. two. one. dong! this one: click! dong! ha, he liked this… click! dong! ooh, what about… click! dong! alright, here, click! dong! where was the one he remembered from the last page…? dong! shit! he had missed a stroke! dong! oh no, another one, quick! click click and click! dong! pfff… dong! he was losing count… dong! click! dong! click! It wasn’t so fun anymore… dong! he couldn’t take the time to choose… click click click!!! take that! click click! the strokes had stopped. maybe he had overdone it a little bit. his palms were sweaty. silly, really. it was supposed to be a game… he paused to look at the thumbnails of strangers’ faces he had selected. sort of. apart from a couple at the start, they didn’t seem to make sense. aw, it wasn’t such a big deal. what mattered were all those hits he was getting. new year wishes were popping so fast on the screen, they would nearly glitter. ok… kind of. if you blinked your eyes. looked almost like firecracker. his own fireworks at home. whoosh! zoom! pfueeh! zabada! now, that was cool again. he kept gawking. he felt good once more. messages in all languages. some he didn’t even recognize. he began wondering if he shouldn’t be sending his own wishes too. but there was no way he could respond as fast as they entered. maybe there existed a feature that permitted sending a nice message to everyone at the same time…? but how was he going to make people feel good, if his message was not directed to them, personally? he set about reading the messages he was receiving himself. people would most likely know how it was done… that was curious. none of them had his name on it. they were all general greetings, aimed at an entire network of faces. friendly. kindhearted. impersonal.
he was seated in front of the screen. midnight was long passed. the new year had come, here to stay for another 365 days. he sat wondering when the doorbell would ring.
Your story needs capitals. A few spaces between the paragraphs would help too. (One or two less ‘clicks’ would be great, but it’s optional.) What I always tell people is: ‘Don’t twist fate, punctuate.’ It’s a good rule, and I made it up myself, just now, for this occasion.
That’s right. I really did.
And if THAT doesn’t convince you to use caps and spaces, I don’t know what will.
I found a few instances of grammar mix up leading me to think English isn’t your first language, but your English is almost perfect. Such as ‘prepared as many food’ instead of ‘prepared as much food’. Almost the same meaning, but the difference is much is ‘more of a similar thing’ and many is usually ‘more of different things’. The distinction is slight, but they are different.
Now that I’ve said all this, welcome, sincerely – I mean that – and hope to see more of you. Your story was very, very good.
It was New Year’s Eve. I stood in her bedroom surrounded by a whirlwind of glitter, all caused by a precocious seven year old. As my instant anger slowly subsided, I reflected on how we met, not that long ago.
I thought I was prepared for the tiny hellion as described by her mother whom I had been dating for a few weeks, and met through one of those dating apps online. It was my first venture into online dating and I was pleasantly surprised. Georgia was attractive, polite and attentive. She told me up front she carried baggage in the form of an almost eight-year old, the product of an unhappy marriage that had only lasted a short while with the father leaving before Ellen was born, never showing his face again.
On our third date Georgia decided it was time I met the ‘family’, which was her parents, Bud and Donna, and of course, Ellen. I had already decided I liked what I saw in Georgia, and was beginning to think this could turn into something, but Ellen sealed the deal. It was love at first sight.
An incredibly graceful child who looked like an angel with an impish smile, and large brown eyes, bundled with her insatiable curiosity, all came through with the promise of a beautiful, young woman lurking inside her little girl body. The two of us hit it off from the start.
She explained all about her toys and at one point asked if I like tea parties, to which I said, “Of course I do, especially if the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit are there.”
“Oh,” she exclaimed. “I mean a real tea party, not some make believe party like in ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Besides, I really liked ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ much better. Have you read it?”
“You’re only seven, right? And you read the book?” She nodded. We spent a half hour discussing which book was better and why. I have to admit, this child had me mesmerized.
After dinner, and well before the evening was over, she whispered in my ear, “I think you should marry my Mom.”
“Well,” I whispered back, “maybe we should wait until we know each other better.”
“We know each other well enough already, I think. It’s my Mom I want you to marry. Then we can be together at least for a little while.” As I think back on that moment, I grow more positive by the day that she knew something then that none of the rest of us did.
By then her mother had seen us conspiring and walked over with a quizzical smile. “You two seem to hit it off pretty well.”
Before I could say anything, Ellen looked up at her mom. “You need to marry this guy so I can have a father. I’ve never had a Dad and it’s about time.”
“Ellen, you just met him. I … I just met him.” Georgia looked at me with a ‘help me out here’ look on her face.
I was enjoying the moment. “I think she may be onto something. Perhaps she knows something we don’t know.” The look changed from ‘help me’ to surprised.
“Look,” Ellen said, while crossing her arms, a petulant look on her face, “none of us are getting any younger, especially you, Mom.”
I broke out laughing and Georgia stood there with her mouth open, trying to think of something clever to say in return. “Ellen … you need to go see if Grandma needs some help.”
“That’s it?” I said. “Grandma needs help? If I get in trouble with you, can I go to Grandma for help?”
A wry smile crossed her face, “You may need help if you keep this up. But, I am glad the two of you get along so well. In the past, she’s mostly acted like a typical seven year old around any of the men I’ve dated. With you she’s acting different.”
“How long has she been reading?”
“Since she was four. She picked it up as easily as if she was born knowing how to read. Sometimes it’s a curse. My parents found out how well she could read when they tried spelling words in front of her, so she wouldn’t get tipped off if they were deciding to go to the movies or something.
“They told me they spelled out going to see Harry Potter and were wondering if she was old enough to see it, when she interrupted them and said, ‘I’ve already seen the first two movies, so unless it’s the third one in the series, forget it.’ My father’s reaction was that I gave birth to a small, but cute, intelligent witch.”
The three of us were soon inseparable and with Ellen’s blessing we were married.
I was never more happy in my life. Worlds, however happy, can come crashing down suddenly and without warning. Ellen was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that would eventually be terminal unless she could get a bone marrow transplant. For several months we searched for a suitable donor. None of us were a match, and her birth father couldn’t be found. The doctors told us a sibling was a possibility and we should consider having a baby. We needed to act quickly if we were going to help save Ellen.
On New Years Eve, soon after this news, Ellen burst into the kitchen and told me I had to come up to her room immediately, so I followed her up the stairs. “I need you to fix my desk chair.”
I opened the door and was met by a blast of gold colored glitter that was being circulated by a table fan. Glitter was flying around everywhere, and we were covered with it. Ellen stood there laughing and giggling. “Ellen,” I scolded. “There’s glitter everywhere. Why did you do that?”
“Because,” she said with seven year old logic, “everything is better with glitter. Everything, including me and you. I know I feel better”
I shook my head. How, I thought, can I discipline a deathly sick child? “This is going to be impossible to clean up. Go downstairs and see Grandma. I have to get ready for the party tonight.”
“Daddy,” she said. “The glitter is only in my room. The party isn’t in here and Mom’s in your bedroom.”
“Out.” I said, pointing to the door.
“I’m going,” she giggled, and left.
I walked into our bedroom where Georgia was getting ready. She turned around, saw me and started laughing. “What happened to you?”
“Ellen happened to me. She says glitter makes everything better. So, she just made me better.”
Georgia smiled, “Just a minute,” and walked into the master bath. A few minutes later she returned not wearing a stitch of clothing, her entire body covered with pink glitter. “If Ellen’s right, then let’s end this year with a bang.”
Looking her over, I had to agree.”Let me lock this door and we’ll find out if glitter makes everything better.”
“I’m hoping for a girl,” she said.
“I’m hoping for a boy. I’ve got enough glitter in my life.”
The only thing (blemish, if I may use the term) is whether you have used the term ‘new year eve’ or a similar situation somewhere in the story. I didn’t really bother checking out as the story is a NEAT PIECE OF WORK, too well-written to bother about anything else.
God bless and all the very best.
Loved the prompt, and do not understand how the little girl got in my head so quickly when writing the story. It originally had a far different plot line and set of characters when I sat down to write, but the writing worm crawled through my memory banks and came up with an entirely different story, so I went with it.
Thank you for your comments, Rathin, I always like hearing from you. I will be reviewing all the other stories again, sometime this morning, and handing out a few short critiques, but as you can expect, it’s been a little busy at our house. Just got back from a week over Christmas with family, and had more family over New Year’s day for dinner. Love this time of year, but now we face a new challenge in 2019 to make it better than 2018. So, gotta get to work and plan out my new goal of living to 2020. My goals are modest: make each day better than the last, be a better me, stay healthy. Those aren’t resolutions, because as we all know, resolutions are made to be broken.
Take care, please be around for people like me for long. Stay safe and blessed always.
With love and regards.
Take care and stay blessed.
Good luck with your story and Happy New Year.
Thanks for commentary
Thanks, Susan. i based my character on a little girl of seven whom I know. She could totally be the character and her manner of talking with adults is startling, but then, a few minutes later she proves she is only seven. Just like my character did.
(BTW, congrats on your third, first-place finish in a row.)
Happy New Year’s Day everyone. My New Year has started off well. Once again, I woke up alive. Yay. Welcome 2019!!!
The 31st of December, driving to work. “She should have taken a long weekend, but the trouble with working casual no work equals no pay.” Malka mused, “so work kept you amused and paid the bills.”
The deep white mist of cloud settled on the mountains behind the small town of Trafalgar. It shrouded houses and outlying farms from view. The mist grew thicker and more intense as Malka began the long drive east to work. She could only see two or three cars in front, then it was as if she were driving into a wall of snowy fluffy cotton wool, not on the long black ribbon of highway leading down into the valley.
She wanted to stop at the small café – the one which made these delicious tuna rissoles with a delightful tangy chutney sauce, but time was of an essence. Staff briefing was at 8.15 and while she had not yet had breakfast, it was already 7.30 and there was no time to stop.
The Dr Doolittle story would be on the radio again, as well as a bit of country music to lift her mood until she arrived at work. God knows she needed that after the latest spate of repulsive emails she has received from an unstable cousin and her brother’s wife in the USA. She could no longer bring herself to call the woman a sister-in-law. Sisters-in-law were meant to be lovely people married to brothers and they were meant to be family who had your best interests at heart. This woman definitely had no one’s interests at heart, except her own, of course.
Her hand flicked over the radio dial and settled on a rock and country folk station. Aha, Neil Diamond’s “Play Something Blue” blared out. It got to “You showed what a little bit of love can do, You opened my eyes and a light came through, Took me to a place that I never knew, Goodbye to my little bit of something blue.” Yeah, she thought to herself and cranked the volume up. Blast the nasty bitch out of her mind with some good ole country rock blues music.
With everything going right in her life over the past six months, this vile woman rose like some toxic monster from the deep seas, threatening her and her son yet again and trying to destroy her peace of mind. She was not going to let it happen. She would imagine her as some befouled creature of the deep, and then out of the skies would come the latest stealth fighter jet – a smooth, sleek machine which would blast the witch into oblivion.
BAM, BAM, BAM – the gun turrets splattered fiery bullets which razed the witch’s ugly fizzed blonde dreadlocks and bloated serpentine body. The evil thing would writhe and twist in agony and its black blood would darken the churning waves it was thrashing up with its tail. The fighter jet wove about it in a wide figure eight, firing round after round and then it would scoot up into the skies to come swooping down again to unload more deadly fire on the thing that was threatening her and her son’s survival. The thing reared into the sky trying to seize the jet; its poisonous maw open – a cavern of filthy, rotting teeth and remnants of past repasts caught there.
Without wanting to she enjoyed envisaging the whorish monster suffering, as she had made her suffer all those years ago with the falsehoods she had told about Malka to a previous boyfriend overseas. The bitch wanted to control and manipulate her life, as she manipulated and controlled her brother’s life. Well she would show her that she was NOT her brother and to treat her as such was a dangerous activity.
She replayed Neil Diamond. Then she flicked through the CDs for something a bit more upbeat. Ah, a Bushwhacker’s CD; one she had forgotten about. Great music to blast away the negativity of all her so-called relatives. She decided that in the New Year, she and her son would have to become orphans. No more negative people, no more insults and horrid disgusting emails dripping hatred and making assumptions about her and her life and that of her son. The value of family and having to suffer the negative comments, the ripping down jealousies and the lies would have to stop. Being biologically related to someone does not give you the right to destroy them emotionally and psychologically. It does not give you the right to create the wrong impression about a sibling and degrade and humiliate them in the eyes of other family members and community.
She reached work. Her head pounding, she signed in and one strong coffee later, opened her emails. Again. FFS! She flicked the cursor over them, right clicked and archived them. No time for this now. The woman is bipolar. What she accuses me of being. A total nutcase. Who goes and tells her sister-in-law’s partner some horrific things, knowing that he will probably ask her to leave and never want to see her again? A vicious person filled with malice. A person who wants to destroy and denigrate another person and bring her down by having some sort of hold over her once she is in an emotional gutter.
She thought back to why this woman wanted her to be helpless and realised with a growing horror that was how she would gain control of her by getting her to be dependent on her and her brother. NEVER!
She blocked the email. Then, she began to make up her new year’s resolution list. It was simple and to the point.
“BE HAPPY, MAKE OTHERS HAPPY. SMILE AND TELL JOKES TO MAKE OTHERS LAUGH. EXPRESS YOURSELF AND FOLLOW YOUR OWN PATH, NOT THAT OF OTHERS.”
“Hi Malka, got anything planned for New Year?
“Naw.” She shook her head.
“So, what do you do over the New Year?” Asked Lucy, one of the junior staff members.
“Sleep. Read a good book.”
“Cripes. Don’t you get bored?” Malka shook her head again.
“Not even lonely?” Again Malka shook her head.
“You mean you stay home every New Year?” This time Malka nodded assent. Don’t you get ever sad and lonely?”
“No. I have my cats.” She paused. “A good warm cuppa soup or tea and my doona and a book.”
Lucy turned away from her, obviously bored with the pointless conversation. Malka saw her talking to Janice and shaking her head. They both looked over at her. She smiled back grimly, and thought to herself, “can’t anyone be different and not enjoy parties or the social life of butterflies.”
Remembering her resolutions, she smiled and ripped the last page “December 2018” from the calendar and replaced it with the new 2019 calendar. Then, she found a glitter icon with fireworks and made up a card for all her work mates and friends, added a sound file “Aud Lang Syne” and prepped it to go to everyone at midnight on their phones.
Her new year had started on such a positive note. No one could spoil it now.
By Ken Cartisano
“Happy New Year 2219,” he said with a deadpan look.
‘Very funny,’ I thought. It’s a good thing we have rules about guns or I would be pointing a Glock at his navel right now.
Then he threw a handful of glitter in my face. I reached for my pistol after all, the other one, the forty-five in my back waistband, and leveled it at his chest. Fragments of glitter still floated on invisible air drafts, landing on the weapon’s broad barrel.
Neither his posture, nor his expression indicated whether he really cared about his own life. In a way, it was my instantaneous understanding and, I might add, appreciation of that fact that pushed him decidedly towards the ‘I’d prefer to live’ side of the see-saw.
But I was damn near tempted to shoot him anyway. Of course, he was just kidding. Just fucking with me, as usual. We’re partners, for what it’s worth. I holstered the weapon, exhaled, and then we both laughed. Briefly. “Is it?” I finally replied. “Is it really?”
“What? New? Or happy?”
“Either,” I said.
“How the fuck would I know?” He replied.
“You could Google it.”
He snorted derisively. Google had deserted us, or worse, turned on us. “Well. It is if we say it is. Who’s gonna stop us?”
I shrugged. “Why bother? Who gives a fuck?”
He studied me in silence for a moment and when he spoke he sounded genuinely concerned. “Is this shit getting you down?”
The question took me off guard. “What shit?” I said. “The rain?” I could tell by his clueless look that my initial guess was wrong. “The Zombies?” Now he looked even more puzzled. “The carnivorous cows?” I squinted through the gloom. He shook his head, as if I’d shown him nude pictures of — of something slimy — a snail. Snail porn. “What?” I said. He knew perfectly well what was getting me down. “I give up,” I said. “What’s getting me down?”
“I don’t know. You tell me, Einstein. Is it me? Be honest. I won’t take it personally.”
I admit I glared at him. “How would you take it then?” I wasn’t mad, it was just my usual level of resentment at his virility, wit and ability to get under my skin. “How would you take it?”
“Uphhhecht.” She finally blurted out, reminding us of the elephant in the room. Her. Not that she was an elephant, by any stretch. She was a little chubby I suppose, young, mid-twenties, flat-chested, Nordic, with blond hair, blue eyes and a sharp, prominent nose. And dimples. Serious dimples. Her legs were…pretty nice. Considering the fact that she was one of the few women I had ever seen in person, I felt pretty lucky. (Did I mention the famine and the plagues? Sorry. Maybe I’ll get to that later.) The roomful of glitter didn’t diminish her appeal either. (All that glitter was never explained.) Her four-inch height advantage didn’t diminish my ardor either. Not by even a centimeter.
I say that in jest of course, that’s what caused everything, (all of the changes), the difference between metric and standard measurements. Don’t ask me how. Who the fuck knows? Who can remember? Who cares? Oh sure, we still have to contend with sea-levels rising, but we’re looking forward to it now, in the misguided hope that it would drown half the horrors roaming the planet. No, sea level was the least of our worries. The problem wasn’t ‘Carbon,’ it was ‘ethics.’ Bio-fucking-ethics, in point of fact.
Eventually, my attention returned to my partner, Russ, and the woman, Bev. They were both regarding me with the same pitying expression, as if they were thinking the same damned thought. Their trains were on the same track. I could read the writing on the wall. (I’m young, but I’m no idiot.)
I was fucked and I knew it. I was no match for him. Even though we were both armed to the teeth, he was much more capable. He had military training, he was handy, strong and about twenty years older than me. He wasn’t half-bad looking either. In fact, I liked him. As a friend and partner.
But….the girl, the woman, Bev, changed everything. Now we were in competition. Except that we weren’t. I mean sure, our existence had been reduced to something slightly above the comfort of pigs in the wild, but that didn’t make us savages. Besides, I exaggerate. We didn’t exactly live like pigs, per se.
Anyway, I digress. The point is, we—me and Russ had decided we weren’t going to ‘share’ Bev, or fight over her. We were going to leave it up to her. We weren’t going to break up ‘the team’ as it were, but it would definitely affect the living arrangements and social hierarchy. But, that’s the breaks.
“So,” I said. “What did you guys decide?”
Bev bristled. “We? We didn’t decide anything. I decided.”
Russ and I exchanged blatantly sheepish glances. Even though each of us was armed to the teeth with lethal weapons, and she was half-naked and defenseless.
“Considering the state of life on the planet,” she began, her voice dripping with disdain. As if we were personally to blame for… “our job is to repopulate it.” Me and Russ exchanged quizzical glances. “That MEANS, in case you bozos haven’t figured it out yet, your job is to protect me and get me pregnant.”
There was a moment of silence.
“And frankly, I don’t care which one of you accomplishes this feat first, as long as it gets done quickly and successfully. Once I’m pregnant, you will provide me with adequate sustenance, shelter, and…” her voice turned gentle, “…other soft or sweet things.” She examined her dirty fingernails, “as best as you both can.”
Russ and I were almost in a trance when she snapped, “Is that CLEAR?”
“Mmmmm, Uh-huh. Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yup. Yes. Absolutely.” It was hard to believe there was just the two of us agreeing. I got up and moved toward the door. “Nature calls. Be back in a minute.”
“Russ, you stay until…”
He cut her off. “I gotta go too. Really.” After a step or two he paused. “I WILL be right back.”
When we got outside I said. “I didn’t really have to pee, I was just—annoyed. I’ll watch the door while you go relieve yourself.”
He stood there staring at me. Like he does sometimes. I spit on the ground. “What?” He was taller than me and much stronger, and looking down at me. I straightened my posture, causing an impressive array of clanking as belts banged against barrels. “What?” I repeated.
“I don’t have to piss either,” he said, in a conspiratorial whisper. “I say we make a break for it. She stripped us of our pride but we still have our sanity.” He slapped me on the shoulder once and headed up the trail towards the ridge. He went about 40 feet and halted, turning halfway around. “You in the mood for some carnivorous cow? Or what?”
“Absolutely,” I said, slogging through the mud behind him under the great green canopy of trees.
Where’s YOUR story?
I just posted mine in the nick of time. Made a few changes at the last minute and posted it below. If only I could get Carrie or Alice to replace the one above for the one below. (Don’t we all wish for that some – times?) But they’re way too busy to accommodate all of my reckless demands. I don’t blame them. I would ignore me too. I’m so spoiled. Entitled. That’s me. Oozing entitlement I can’t help it if I was born with freckles. Can I?
Been a tough week digitally. My main computer (M.O.T.H.E.R.) is really giving me fits. Keeps shutting herself down without any logical reason. (None that I can fathom.) Stops typing and shuts off with no warning at all. I recently installed something called ‘Class-Ware.’ Supposed to make me sound more intelligent. Maybe I should re-install it. I don’t really understand how it works. Or IF it works.
Anyway, I heard a good one the other day.
A man walks into a bar mitzvah and asks the Rabbi for a double-bourbon and coke. The rabbi says, ‘What d’ya think this is…a
No you don’t. (Want to hear the joke.) Found your story. Love your writing. Left a comment under the story.
I swear you are higher maintenance than Kim Kardashian. (done btw)
Also…. Susan posted her story on the 29th.
Get with the program man…put down the New Year Day mimosas and try to keep up!
1 to 10, I’ll give this a four (not living like pigs, although heavily armed) normally that would be a 7 or an 8, but they turned down sex. I can live with the fact the earth got totally screwed over by the humans, but humans, being what they are, are sex crazed animals, especially when they haven’t been laid recently, or ever it seems like in the narrator’s case. Hence the downgrade. I was reminded of A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison enough to make me think you may have some writing talent after all. Good job, Ken. See, his choice was starving to death or killing either the girl or the dog and two of them would live. Your characters weren’t faced with starving to death, just eaten by a cow if things didn’t go well. Can’t believe they walked away. Dang. I mighta stuck around for a bit, and then walked away with my best bud. AFTER we got laid. The cow would still be there.
Heya people! Happy New Year!
Let’s kick it off by voting on your favorite stories. because time is up!
Here is the link to the voting page: http://fictionwritersgroup.com/nye-voting-2018/
Anyone may vote, but in order for your story to qualify you must vote, you can vote only once and cannot vote for yourself.
You have 24 hours to vote! Good luck….
Son of a gun.
Yours was the first and I must’ve clipped it off when creating all the pages etc.
Use this link: http://fictionwritersgroup.com/2018nye/
Hey all – please use this link for voting. There’s only been one vote submitted and I’ll have him resubmit – sorry for the confusion!
Also – the new writing prompt is up!
As is my habit, I was wrong about the name of my fav character. It’s not Anne, it is Ellen instead.
Do I need to vote again? Can you do the needful, please?
Love and best wishes.
lol no worries at all my friend, I will update your character vote for you!
The narrator is young, perhaps pre-pube-effervescent. The other guy, a mystery, wrapped in a sheet, wrapped in aluminum foil, but an easy assumption is a father-figure. I didn’t give any of my characters much thought. I started the story last night, and submitted it five minutes before the deadline. Which forced me to ask Carrie to have to do something with the site. See: #Carrie #whining #Boo-hoo
I’m familiar with ‘A Boy And His Dog.’ I never saw the movie but I read the story decades ago. I didn’t really plan it but was aware of the similarity as I finished it. Anytime anyone says a story’s been done already, I say, ‘Not by me it hasn’t.’ That’s right, I use horrendous grammar to extol the virtues of my writing. (It’s about your plan, General. What makes you think you won’t need tanks?)
No problem Phil, I’ll wait for your votes!
And without further ado the winners are:
1st Place – The Demise of Milk by Ken Cartisano
2nd Place – All that Glitters is not Gold by RM York
3rd Place – Never Again by Phil Town
4th Place – Countdown by Susan WM
5th Place – Something Blue, Something True by Ilana Leeds
6th Place – The Perfect Girl by Daniel Schleder
7th Place – New Hope by Niall Richardson
8th Place – The New Year’s Eve and the Birth of a Man by R.N. Bhattacharjee
9th Place – A Best Friend by Flo
10th Place – New Year’s Eve by Robt. Emmett
11th Place – The Power of Fear by Juergen Schoeneich
Story with the Favorite Character: Countdown – Cara
Story with the Best Use of Dialogue: All that Glitters is not Gold by RM York
Are you sure this is correct? I want a detailed breakdown. (That’s where they give you a facial, a pedicure and a manicure while you’re recovering from a psychotic episode.) But seriously, I really would like to see the votes on this.
Kim didn’t like it much. Said, with just a touch of derision, “Not one of your best, that’s for sure.”
I can’t wait till she cooks her next pot roast. !!
I’ll bet half of you wish you could have your votes back. (Well you CAN’T.) Oh well. Shit happens. Back to the drawing board. I sure would like to write something really funny for a change. On purpose though, not by accident.
Proud of you. Love and best wishes.
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