“The Bag” a bit of weekend freewrite fun

Every weekend the freewrite group on steemit has a bit of fun by writing a story using three prompts (five minutes per prompt). See this post to find out more

This is my effort (the prompts are in bold)

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“Clarity and protection is all I want from you,” she said. I shifted behind the counter, feeling just a little bit uncomfortable.

“Errr,” I said. “I think we are all sold out of both of those brands. But I could offer you Jeepers a brand new perfume. I think it smells of burnt grapes, or something.”

She wrinkled her nose. “No, thank you,” she said, and limped away from the counter.

“Excuse me!” I said, holding up her bag. “I think you’ve forgotton your purse.”

She turned around and looked at the bag, and then at me. “I think it suits you better,” she said. “Keep it.”

I stared, open mouthed, at her as she continued her way out of the shop.

“What was that all about,” Millie said, coming out of the office.

“I think she was looking for perfume, or something,” I said. “But she left her bag. Or rather, she’s given it to me.” Millie took the bag and leapt over the counter, running towards the door.

Just before starting second grade, Tom moved across the country. He hated it. He is now fifty seven, and he still holds it against the rest of us. He stuck his foot out as Millie ran towards the door, bag in hand. Like the pro she is she jumped neatly over the outstretched leg and gave Tom a whack in the face with the woman’s bag.

“You’re a fucking arsehole, Tom!” she shouted. She skidded out of the door and I watched as she stood there, bag in hand looking first one way and then another. She shook her head, and popped her head back in the door. “Did you see which way she went?” she asked.

I shrugged. “Nope, but she couldn’t have gotten very far. She had a slow moving limp.” Millie looked at me, a strange expression on her face.

“Slow moving limp?” she asked. I shrugged again. Millie ran out into the car park (or in that direction, anyway) and then a few minutes later she returned, bag still very much in hand. “I have no idea where she went,” she said. “Vanished into thin air.”

“Very mysterious,” I said. “Perhaps I am meant to keep the bag.”

“Don’t be an arse,” Millie said. “I’ll take a look inside and see if I can find some ID.”

Millie plonked the bag onto the counter. We both looked at it for a moment. It was a pretty big back. Not quite suitcase size, but too big to be described as a handbag.

Unless you had particularly big hands.

It had a large zip on the top, and with confidence Millie took hold of it and gave it a big tug.

It made a very unusual noise. It sounded a little bit how I would imagine a dinosaur fart would be like.

“Wow!” Millie said, leaping back from the bag, clutching her hand to her nose. It kind of smelled a little bit how I would imagine dinosaur arse-gas to smell like. I stepped forward.

“Allow me,” I said. I pride myself on my ability to endure bad smells (I produce a lot of them) and so I opened the top of the bag and peeked in. And then closed it again, quickly. “I think we should just zip that baby up, and pretend we haven’t seen it,” I said.

“What?” Millie said.

I took hold of the zipper and closed the bag and then turned my back on it.

“If we pretend it is not there, perhaps it will go away,” I said.

Unfortunately… it did not.

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A couple of Freewrites for you…

I thought I would share a couple of freewrites I have written recently on steemit (as part of @mariannewest’s freewrite group

Upload

The prompt was see you on the other side

Original post can be found here

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“See you on the other side,” he said, and put the gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger.

The explosion was louder than she expected and the blood and brain splatter on the walls of the motel room was impressive.

It would take more than a wipe down and a lick of paint to get of the stains, she thought.

Quickly she activated the SoulSearch App and located his soul as it shrieked its way out of his body. She managed to put it into the container and began the upload process. He would be on the cloud with the others within a few minutes. She tapped nervously while the upload bar moved so slowly.

This was the dangerous time.

The motel was chosen well, but all it took was a nervous newcomer and the police would be on their way. It wasn’t getting caught that worried her, she could blag her way out of this, and she had enough contacts high up in politics and law enforcement to get any ridiculous charges dropped. Not it was the danger of losing his soul that concerned her.

If the upload process was interrupted then everything was lost: he was lost forever.

The Tear Collector

Prompt: tears

You’ll find the original post here

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She was crying again. The tears, not being made of salt water like you and I, of course, hurt as they tore their way out of her tear ducts, and I wondered if this made her cry all the more. The dry diamond dust tears were collected by the special dust collector that was attached to her face. The man sitting beside her nodded happily as she wept, and prodded her with a sharp stick every time he thought she might stop. I knew from experience that this process would last for an hour or so, and then they would unhook her from the tear collection unit and go fetch another one from the pit. She would be allowed to rest, to build up more of the precious tear material before being tortured and ridiculed into crying once more. I forced myself to watch. It was the least I could do, I thought. To witness the cruelty of my species. To record it with my own eyes and to transmit it to the rest of humanity. This is what we are doing! I would yell. Do you care? And then I would listen for a response, and be disappointed that no, resources are always more important to us than basic kindness and goodness.

 

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“The Creeps” A weekend Freewrite

Every Saturday on the steemit freewrite group we do something a little different. Instead of one prompt there are three. So you write three 5 minute freewrites using the prompts given (at the weekend the first two you use as the first sentence or so of your story). Go and check it out: it is fun.

Anyway, this is the story I came up with (the given prompts are in bold):

The Creeps

 

She had, what they call a healthy smile. But whenever I looked at her, she gave me the creeps.

“I don’t want them,” I says, handing the tiny struggling bag of little creatures back to her. “You know the rules,” she says, smiling her so called healthy smile. “If you look at me you got to take the bag of creeps.” I look away. I’m not sure who invented this game, or indeed where the horrible creatures, the creeps, come from. But whenever I end up looking after the dirty little blighters things always go wrong.

She (of the healthy smile) makes me keep the creeps for twenty four hours (“punishment for looking at my healthy smile, you dirty little man,” she says).

Usually the first hour or so aren’t too bad. The creeps are – like most creatures with well deserved reputations of badness and madness – nocturnal. They love the night. Usually when I run into healthy smile it’s mid afternoon, and whilst the bag of creatures are lively, they can easily be contained. You just have to make sure they’re not put into a cupboard, or any other dark place.

Today, it’s almost dusk. I only have an hour or so before things go haywire!

Sunday afternoon walks were mandatory. But sometimes, I hid in the kitchen and cooked huge pots of food.” One of the creeps is talking its nonsense, and the woman I pass on the street gives me a strange look.

Shame I have an unhealthy smile, I think, or I could have offloaded my bag of creeps onto her, for looking at me.

The creeps are tiny, about the size of a gobstopper. In fact the first time she gave me the small paper bag that bulged and moved strangely, I thought she was sharing candy with me. But I guess, no one has a smile that healthy if they eat big bags of candy.

The creeps are small but powerful. In the bag there are about twenty of them, sometimes more, sometimes less. I know not to open the bag to check, they are cunning little sods, and will escape easily. They have very loud voices, despite being small, so passers by often think it is me speaking when it is just my bag of creeps.

But luckily there is only one talking now, the others are quiet. Perhaps they are sleeping.

This is not a good sign, they will be conserving their energy for night time.

I have an idea, and I head off to Stoner Steve’s house. I ring the bell and hear him shuffle to answer it.

Stoner Steve answers the door, with a grunt and a joint in his hand (he is well named, you see).

“What do you want,” he says.

I don’t answer but push past him. He has a book in his hand and as I brush past if falls to the floor with a crash (it is obviously a heavy book, possibly with a metal cover, or maybe made of glass, to make such a racket).

“You clumsy bastard!” says the wide awake creep.

“What did you say?” Steve says.

“Nothing,” says I. “I need access to your growing room, Steve my man.”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” says he.

“You showed it to me the other week. The one in your cellar. With the hydroponics and the lights. It’s the lights I need.”

My idea is simple: get the little creeps in a place with permanent light and try to fool them into thinking it is day time, and thereby reducing the mayhem they may cause me and anyone else who is around me. Also, I think, I can have a big spliff and a catch up with Steve, so everyone is a winner.

Steve is a good friend, albeit a forgetful one, and he lets me use his room for the above described purpose.

The creeps make a bit of a rustling noise and one of the pipes up, “turn the fucking light off, twat face!” but then I hear the bag snoring and Steve passes me a joint and I smile.

 

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“Jump!” a short story

I wrote this today (first published on my steemit blog earlier)

“Jump!”

 

The water might have looked inviting if it wasn’t so bloody far away. It was clear, and I could see the sand and the rocks below the surface.

That didn’t help.

I licked my lips, nervously. I wasn’t exactly afraid of heights (if I was I wouldn’t be up here looking down into the ocean below) but I did have a healthy fear of dying. It had served me well up until this point.

“You’ll be alright,” Jim said. “You don’t need to do a fancy dive. Just a jump, straight down, legs together. It’s deeper than it looks.”

That was good. It didn’t look very deep.

“And, everyone does this, do they?” I asked again.

“Yes, I told you. It’s part of the initiation.”

I couldn’t make out the others: they were so far below I could barely see there were people in the boats, let alone make out their faces. I imagined they were looking up at me, a tiny dot standing on the rock that jutted out over the ocean above them. I imagined Clara’s face, laughter lines accentuated as she squinted against the strong sunlight.

What would she think of me if I bottled it? Would she think less of me? Would she think anything at all? I swallowed. Was I really going to go through with this insanity, just to impress a girl? At my age?

Who am I kidding? Of course I was.

I took a deep breath closed my eyes and leaped into the air. I could feel my legs moving, and fought to keep them together, as the air rushed past my face. I hoped my decent didn’t look as undignified as I felt it was. There was an unpleasent noise – a scream. I knew it was me. I tried to turn it into an excited sounding whooop! but – to my ears at least – it sounded like someone torturing a puppy.

And then my legs hit the water. I seemed to be going downward for so long I thought I would never stop. And I realised with all the screaming and falling I’d been doing, I had forgotten to take a breath, before I hit the water. I began to panic, and started flailing. My feet made contact with the sand – just a touch – and then I was moving back towards the surface. By this time my eyes were open, my lungs were aching and I wanted to scream again, but knew as soon as I opened my mouth the water would be pouring down my throat filling my body. The light was getting nearer and I broke the surface with a cry, sucking in air. Around me I heard the others whooping with excitement, and at least one “Nice one, Phil!”. And then I felt hands grasping mine, and I was helped onto one of the boats.

“I can’t believe you did it, man!” someone said – I think it was Frank. “I can’t believe it!”

I smiled, trying to pretend I’d enjoyed the experience. Frank – it was he – passed me an open bottle of beer. I took it and took a gulp. It was warm, but I drank it anyway. Kit and Olly were the others on the boat. I was a little disappointed not to be on the same boat as Clara. Looking around – trying to appear casual, as I sipped my beer – I spotted her. She was on the same boat as bloody Martin. I watched as he said something and Clara laughed, leaning in and touching him on the shoulder as she said something in his ear.

Fucker.

I didn’t like Martin. He was funny – or thought he was – handsome – if you liked that kind of thing – and young. I hated him. He looked over, our eyes met and he waved. I dragged a smile onto my face and raised my bottle at him. Clara didn’t look over.

“Come on,” Olly said. “Let’s get over to the beach. I’m bloody starving!” Olly was always hungry, it seemed. Skinny as an anorexic stick insect, but he ate more than I have ever seen a human being eat.

“Are we not waiting for Jim?” I asked.

“Jim?”

“To jump.”

Olly laughed. Kit looked a bit embarrased.

“What?”

“No one else is stupid enough to do that jump, man!” Frank said, starting the engine. “It has always been a bit of a joke,” he shouted over the noise. “You’re the first. You’re a legend, man! You’ve got balls, especially for an old dude.”

Oh.

Frank took the lead, and the boat skimmed over the waves. I sat back in the boat, toying with the now empty bottle of beer, pulling of the label, trying not to notice Olly and Kit sucking each other’s faces off.

What was I doing? It was one thing to chuck in my job, and go see the world. Why not? My brother’s death – four years younger than me – from a heart attack brought home how random the lottery of life is. If you have a chance to do something – to grab hold of life and give it a shake, before it turns round and chokes you – then do it.

But this…

Joining up with a bunch of kids I could have been old enough to father, and to pretend that they were hanging with me because they thought I had something to bring to the party. To hope they thought I was “cool”. God, I felt like an idiot.

And Clara… did I honestly think she was interested in me? Because she seemed interested in my story? Because she laughed at a couple of jokes.

Oh God. I’d turned into that guy.

I’d been so desperate to impress Clara – and the others, too, but mostly her – that I had fallen (literally, it turns out – into the fucking ocean!) for this story about an initiation into their group. An initiation ceremony for fucks sake. What was I thinking of?

Frank brought the boat right up to the beach. Jim was there – he’d driven down from the cliff top – and clapped me on the back when he saw me, laughing and telling me I was a good man. I smiled, accepted the beer he offered me. I watched Clara, Martin and Frank as they set about organising the barbecue and then assured no one was looking at me, I headed off, up the beach, back towards the campsite.

I turned around, just once. No one seemed to have noticed I’d gone.

 

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Nessie (462 words)

“You’re new,” the girl said, looking Maggie up and down. Not a statement, not a question: an accusation. The girl wore a sneer like Maggie’s dad wore his favourite jacket. It was ugly, but a perfect fit. And, just like her dad, this girl wasn’t about to take it off because Maggie didn’t like it.

Maggie considered all the various responses on the sarcastic spectrum, before settling on a neutral, “Yes”. This morning, over breakfast, she’d given Dad her word she would try her very best not to get expelled, not on the first day, anyway. It was a promise she intended to keep. This time.

The girl nodded, and continued to size Maggie up. There was a lot to take in, as Maggie was all too aware. She was tall for her age, and she felt as awkward as she thought she looked. Her size always drew the attention of people with something to prove, bullies and teachers alike. Being self conscious about it never helped: they could smell weakness, they thrived on it. Jenny, her last psychologist, said not to worry about it, she would grow into her body. Whatever the fuck that meant.

“Where you from?”

“Totnes, “ Maggie said.

“You Scottish?”

“Do I sound Scottish?”

“I don’t know. Never met a Scottish, before.”

“You still haven’t. I’m from Devon. Totnes is in Devon.”

“Hey! Anna!” the girl called over Maggie shoulder. “This one’s a Scottish! From that place with the monster.”

Maggie opened her mouth to respond, but another girl – presumably Anna – stuck her head in her face. Bright green sparkling eyes stared into Maggie’s brown ones.

“Looks like they’ve mislaid the monster, to me,” Anna said. “You are fucking huge, Nessie.” There was something in the way she spoke, in her smile, in her general manner, which stopped Maggie from punching her. Despite the words, there didn’t seem to be any malice.

Anna’s smile widened and she stuck her hand out, like her dad did when he was introduced to someone for the first time. “My name’s Anna,” she said. “What brings you down from Scotland, Nessie?”

Maggie found herself duplicating the strange girl’s smile as she shook her hand.

“I’m not Scottish,” she said. “Your friend, here, obviously doesn’t pay attention in her geography lessons. I’m from Totnes. My name is Maggie.”

“Don’t pay no attention to Dips,” Anna said. “She thinks the world ends at the M25. Never been out of London, have you Dips?” Dips shook her head, nearly – but not quite – dislodging the sneer.

“I know Totnes,” Anna continued. “Spent last summer at my cousin’s house, in Paignton. Went to Totnes for a day. Full of hippies and crystal shops. You’re well out of it, Nessie. Come on, I’ll introduce you to the others.”

First Date (273 words)​

They met at the vernissage of an art installation called “Mirrors in Scarlet”. Supposedly “a three dimensional critique on the use of reflection in The Scarlet Letter”, Dave thought it was actually just a load of bollocks. Red lights, scarlet ribbons dancing in currents of air (produced by two large men dressed as Pilgrim women each pumping a pair of massive bellows), mirrors of various sizes, and shitty atmospherique music, did not make what he considered to be art. There were, of course, the requisite number of beard-stroking hipster types, nodding appreciatively, as they quaffed the free champagne. And some dreary bloke (presumably the “artist”) wanking on about imagery, symbolism and other bullshit to a crowd of sycophantic hangers-on.

He watched Diane as she contemplated the scene. He couldn’t read her expression: did she actually like this crap? It had been her who had suggested meeting here for their first date: her friend had given her tickets. Dave hoped her friend wasn’t the dreary bloke or one of his simpering groupies. He really liked Diane: online chats, and the five minutes they had spent chatting outside, had shown she was funny, intelligent and cute. But he was fairly sure he would end up insulting someone if they didn’t leave soon.

Diane mouthed something. Dave raised an eyebrow, not quite sure if he’d understood. She moved close to him, and whispered in his ear.

“Let’s go to the pub,” she said, her breath tickling his lobe. “Before I end up punching one of these arseholes.”

Dave smiled, and they linked arms as they left the room. They were going to get on just fine.

KillJoy – A Work Place Drama (256 words)

 

Karen, from Accounts, holds the knife at Joy’s throat. The receptionist’s eyes are wide, fearful. We watch in silence. I see a single tear well, and then roll down Joy’s left cheek. The knife point presses hard, but there is no blood. Steve, from warehousing, stands close to me. I feel him move – just a bit. He is going to intervene, to say something. I put my hand on his arm. I don’t want him to interfere: this is perfect.

“You are going to die, you bitch!” Karen says, spitting the words into Joy’s startled face. Her voice is strong, powerful. For a moment I almost forget that this is a woman normally more comfortable with spreadsheets than people. I had wanted to be the one holding the knife. But, I admit, Karen is a better choice.

The canteen door hits the wall as it swings open. We all jump at the sound. Mr Jennings stands in the doorway.

‘What the hell is going on in here?” he asks, looking at Karen and Joy and then to me. Karen lowers the knife. Joy smiles. They break character in unison.

I cough. “Rehearsal for our entry in the Inter-Office Amateur Dramatic Competition, Mr Jennings. We thought it would be alright if we rehearsed in our lunch hour.”

Jennings stares at me. His eyebrows, always bushy, pulsate with anger.

“What have I said about this, Evans?” he says.

“The workplace is no place for drama, sir,” I say, almost singing the words.

“Quite right,” he says, and leaves.


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