The Bicycle Outside

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I pulled the hood of my jacket up and knocked on the door. Her bike was locked on the rails, so she was home. I swallowed my fear.

“Yes?” she asked, opening the door. Her jaw was somewhat square, but I couldn’t let that stifle my bravery.

I coughed. “I live across the street, and I noticed your bike. Uh, it’s cool.” I wiped my brow sweat away. “I like bikes. You want to go riding in the country this weekend? I’ll drive.” Why’d I say that? I hated biking.

She smiled. “With me?”

I nodded.

“I’d love to.”

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This was written for the Carrot Ranch’s November 21st Flash Fiction Challenge: Romance. So, I am terrible at romance, but I remembered this award-winning (haha! I am so proud!) poem/post that I made back in July. That poem left everything unrequited, so I decided to write a follow-up in which the speaker braved up. The “square jaw” is supposed to hint that the female character has transitioned, which was inspired by North Carolina’s extremely transphobic HB2 law (now defunct). One day I should write a post about that and why a repealed bill is still important!

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Run, Sinner

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The dogs barked. They were getting closer.

“Dear God, please save me.” She clutched a small rock tied to a thong and prayed they not sniff her out. She’d stolen a crust of day old bread for her kid brother, but that was illegal. Draconian laws still demanded her hands be amputated for thievery.

She pulled herself further underneath the poplar’s roots. The dogs’ feet splashed in the creek as they sniffed and snorted.

“Hoh!” a man’s voice called. The dogs looked up and ran back to him, the hunt called off.

She waited until they left, then ran for the next county.

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This was written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #132, Draconian.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Dio de Muertos

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The priest lit a candle in the altar for intentions. He sat and prayed to God for the departed soul.

Little Juan burst into the sanctuary, calaveras makeup painted on his face. He tugged on the priest’s robes. “Your Madre would want you to celebrate! She is in heaven, Padre!”

“How can I celebrate? She is but a few days in her grave. I can’t be happy now, Juan.”

Juan took a wrapped taffy from his pocket and placed it next to the priest’s candle.

The priest smiled, allowing just a touch of Dio de Muertos to cheer him.

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This was written for the October 31st Carrot Ranch Prompt, Day of the Dead. I took inspiration from the syncretization of indigenous beliefs and Catholicism that go into the Mexican celebration.

Photo by Genaro Servín on Pexels.com

Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony

The courtesan poured from the teapot into the fairness cup, mixing the water and steeped flavanols before splitting it into two dainty cups.

The client took a cup and sipped. “This ceremony soothes me.”

The courtesan nodded. “As it was designed to.”

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This was written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #121teapot. I considered writing about the Teapot Dome scandal, but I just couldn’t fit it into 42 words! 😦

So here you go – hopefully something calm, soothing, and visual.

Photo by 五玄土 ORIENTO on Unsplash

The Things They Do to Me

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She tossed some of the powder onto the safe’s handle and brushed off excess, but the results came back as she expected. “Perp wore gloves,” she told the officer.

The uniformed man snorted. “Good lord. Sendin’ me a lady fingerprintist… the things they do to me.”

She pursed her lips, then ran out of the room. The cop laughed, thinking he’d sent her crying, but time ran short.

If she couldn’t solve the case from the perp’s traces, she could follow the money trail. Her dad had been a safebreaker – and she knew where he’d sell jewels and jade.

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This was written for the August 29th Carrot Ranch Challenge, safebreaker’s daughter. I couldn’t imagine a better picture than the one Charli provided, and I wrote a story that I thought the picture told. Perhaps it’s uncreative, but…

Anyway, I wanted to participate a little bit, but I’m still on semi-hiatus due to my hands feeling poorly. 😦 I may not respond to your comments immediately.

The Funkmaster

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One man’s vintage,
Another man’s junk –
Wanna buy it, sir?
Pack it in your trunk?
Gimme a Jackson,
And indulge in funk!

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This was written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #120Vintage. 

Also, SORRY for accidentally publishing this yesterday. I meant to publish this today, August 25th.

Image by Gitti Lohr from Pixabay

Trip to the New World

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The old world had been good, but not perfect.

What would this new one hold? She’d never been told exactly what this place would be like, and all the souls held in the bow of this ship were similarly confused – if they even spoke the same language.

Which, much to the sailors’ consternation, most of them didn’t.

She couldn’t understand the sailors’ tongues, but she did understand their sticks, whips, and clubs. She understood angry glares, uncaring tones, and raised hackles. She understood the chains around her wrists and ankles.

And she could guess their destination wouldn’t be fun.

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This was written for the August 22 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge, old world.

Image by ArtTower from Pixabay

Hijacking Euphoria

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Johnny hopped in. “Gun it, Euphoria!”

The hot, 375-horsepower Cadillac roared, but she pressed the brakes at a screeching metal sound.

“Door’s jammed! It got caught on the sidewalk!”

Euphoria screamed. “What the hell you doin’ to my car!?”

“It don’t matter! Gun it, or the cops will catch us!”

She put her long, pink fingernails up to her face. Tears streamed down. “Oh no, my baby!”

The cops caught up, guns at the ready. They saw Euphoria’s tears and manhandled Johnny out. “Hijacking a car and robbing a bank!? You’re going to jail for a long time, bub!”

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This was written for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction PromptJam. I remembered this scene in one of my favorite movies, Black Dynamite, where the baddies pull up to the curb and precipitate a shootout, but they forget their car is in drive. One of the open doors screeches up against the sidewalk and they struggle to get the door closed when they’re making their getaway. So I just hijacked that idea and turned it into what I wanted!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I promise

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The spoon is hot, sterile, bent to give me the best angle. The needle is sharp – it’s new, straight from the packaging, not something I get every day.

You don’t have to do this.

I shake off that inner critic, that Jiminy Cricket that always chokes me with guilt. It wasn’t my fault I had back pain in 2005 and was overprescribed. It couldn’t help my kids left as soon as they turned 18. I didn’t mean for this to happen.

I promised this was my last hit. I’d take this dose and, just for one day, everything would feel better.

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This was written for the July 25th Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt, “Just for one day.” I took the perspective of an accidental opioid addict and tried to show a small peek of the complexity of this modern crisis.

For more information on the opioid crisis and some of the reasons for its sudden arrival on the scene, I suggest reading this New England Journal of Medicine article. While the journal is peer-reviewed, I think the article is pretty accessible and gives a bunch of good data. As a pharma engineer, this is the stuff that peeves me, because tons of people who work at legitimate companies are ruined by shady practices from the top.

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The Unjust Judge

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“Has the jury reached a verdict?” the judge said, his tone clipped and fast. He held his breath and bladder tight.

The judge wallowed in his sweaty robes while the representative of the jury stood. With each passing second, the judge considered taking his wife’s advice and getting his prostate checked.

The old juror’s hands shook, verdict in his fingers. “Yes, your honor. We find the defendant guilty of talking in the theater and texting while driving.”

“Life in prison, the court is adjourned.” The judge pounded the gavel and rushed for the bathroom. 

DividerThis was written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #115judge. I felt lighthearted this week, what can I say?

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