Tag Archives: #13WeekStreak

13 Week Streak: 05

I miss writing weekly flash fiction. I’m glad that Thain in Vain and Dusty Devil brought back a weekly event like the #13WeekStreak. I enjoy stretching my interpretation of the prompts. I enjoy keeping my story limited to 500 words:

* * *

The operator of the Mansion of Horror wasn’t always the carnie with the sad smile he was famous for. Before Playland, before death, before ruin, and most definitely before the incident, he was a wealthy man. He had power. He had money. He had a beautiful wife who adored him. He was the envy of his peers. He was the American dream.

Not the real American dream, mind you. You know, the one where anything’s possible. When America was a place that you could go to escape tyranny and persecution. No, he subscribed to the dream of a house in the suburbs. A white picket fence and a pair of sporty cars in the 2.5-car garage. Dinner was always on the table when he came home from drinking with the boys.

It was the summer of ’66, after all. The terrors of the 50s were behind America. The national flag featured fifty stars for quite a few years back then. Jorge was a man about town, and they all loved him for it. Women wanted to be with him. Men wanted to be him. He was always faithful to Lucille, and she doted on him. The summer of ‘66 was looking up for Jorge. His life wouldn’t run afoul the fates for another eighteen months.

The summer of ’66 was three years before he found communion with the dregs of society. They had ruled Lucille’s death self-inflicted, but Jorge knew that that was not the case. He knew the combination of his brief infidelity and the policies of the Catholic Church were the culmination of his greatest loss.

It wasn’t a loss that would balance another exurbanite purchase. The taxman wouldn’t weigh this loss against gains made on the market, and decide that as a contributing member of society that, “boys will be boys.”

Jorge stood tall, as a man should, when the police arrived at his office. His stoic demeanor betrayed no hint of underlying turmoil. He thanked the officers, offered a firm handshake, and returned to his desk. He motioned for the door to remain open as they departed. He would grieve for Lucille in private, as all good Americans should.

His decline wasn’t rapid by any stretch of the imagination. It did take him a year to be exonerated in his wife’s death. Another six months for his friends and colleges to shun him. Even the target of his unfortunate ardor ignored his cries for help.

It was eighteen months later, when Jorge, easily confused for a vagabond, retrieved a crumpled up newspaper in the gutter. Like the paper, he could never be new again, but a help wanted ad in the summer of ’69 promised a new life. His old life of privilege and moneyed wants would be forgotten. Cast aside.

Today, we commit Jorge to the ground after forty-five glorious years with Playland. We’ve returned here to pay our respects and bury him next to his wife. Rest in peace Jorge, you’ll be missed.

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13 Week Streak: 04

[500 words]I skipped last week because I had a deadline to take care of for War of the Worlds: Firestorm. I’m back this week with a little taste of the Sixteen Sunsets Saga before the first book. Enjoy!

* * *

“Hurry up, man, someone’s gonna bust us!”

Joaquin ignored Tyrone, and focused on working the slim jim. “Chill,” he replied.

“You said you did this before,” Tyrone wheezed. His wheeze subsumed to a wet cough.

Joaquin paused and met Tyrone’s eyes. “You need a hit?”

“Bitch, you ain’t my momma.”

Joaquin focused on Tyrone’s bulging eyes and pale lips. “Look like youse dyin’, man.”

Tyrone gave him the finger, and reached into his jacket, and pulled out his inhaler. He breathed out twice in rapid succession and depressed the cylinder.

Joaquin returned to jimmying the lock on the Plymouth Duster. He couldn’t quite work the thin metal correctly. The only other tool they had was a flat-head screwdriver for the ignition. Be easier if we just smash the window, he thought, ain’t nobody gonna send a couple fourteen-year-olds to jail. Especially since… It was easy for him to justify stealing Tyrone’s mother’s white boyfriend’s car. Poor white families had been moving into his neighborhood for years. They thought they could get cheap property and fix it up. The racial divide in Seattle wasn’t as bad as LA, but you still had to watch yourself.

Joaquin felt his arm jostled. “Check out this bitch,” he whispered.

Joaquin turned from the Duster and saw a white kid, about he same age as them walking down the sidewalk brandishing a wooden sword. Every few steps, he would swing or stab at imaginary foes.

Joaquin grinned, elbowing Tyrone. “Probably fightin’ ninjas an’ shit.”

The white kid slowed his roll and watched them. He sidled up to them. “Yo, Dawg, you need help?”

Joaquin closed his eyes. “Whaddaya know ‘bout jackin a car, uh dude?”

The white kid smiled. “Andy, Andy Kitz.” He ran his fingers along the slim jim and it swayed back and forth. “You can learn all kinds of stuff on Youtube.”

Tyrone smirked, but Joaquin stepped away and motioned for Andy to prove it.

Andy dug his fingers into the seam where the door met the frame. He pried the door away, and shoved his wooden sword into the gap. He pushed on the sword until the gap was big enough to get his small hand and arm in. Andy grunted as his fingers brushed against the door lock. Finally, he gripped the cylinder between his knuckles and the door popped. “Where you guys headin’?” he asked.

Tyrone gave Andy a shove. “Nunya business, homey,” he replied at the same time Joaquin announced, “The beach.”

Andy frowned.

Joaquin sighed. “Fine, we headin’ to Whidbey Island.”

Andy nodded, shrugged his shoulders, and turned to walk down the street.

Joaquin grabbed him by his skinny arm. “You know what happens to snitches, right?”

Andy shook his arm free. “You don’t have to worry ‘bout me,” he declared, “They’re always watching.”

The Duster purred to life. “Move over, bitch,” Joaquin barked at Tyrone, “We got places to be.”

They drove past Andy and his wooden sword and made their way to Whidbey Island.


13 Week Streak: 02

[500 Words]Thain in Vain teamed up with Drafty Devil to bring us the 13-Week Streak flash fiction challenge. Here’s the next challenge:

* * *

Timelines are just what you’d think they are: Destinies realized when our path diverges. The illusion of that choice has confounded philosophers through the centuries. How can I choose one path over another? What happens to the timeline in the discarded choice? Timelines collapse when I take the right fork over the left. There are those that believe that the unchosen path continues in an alternate universe. But, if these choices are realized in alternate versions of ourselves and timelines, then is choice even relevant? Still, some believe that destiny is self-correcting. If I choose left over right, and right was my destined fork, will fate conspire to bring me back to the right path?

It would be easy to make a decision if there were a map that indicated all the important decisions to be made in life. But even if there were such a map, would this decision even be on it? I think that in the grand scheme of destiny that this decision is inconsequential. Perhaps it is but whimsy of a fickle deity in an uncaring universe. After all, if this forked path is unimportant enough to be marked on a map, what value does it truly have on my reality?

But what is destiny? Is it the culmination of endless minor decisions? A lifetime of unmarked and unimportant forked paths is no life that I care to live. What would that mean to my life thus far? But then again, what about the multitudinal universe? What of all those unrealized decisions littered along the path I’ve trodden? If each path has been conquered, then all decisions are worthless.

Maybe I was a hero along a different forked path. But, if that’s true, then so should the opposite be true: I could’ve been a villain. But how do these unrealized realities affect this reality? If I could break through from one reality to another, what would I learn about myself? Would these new versions of myself even be me?

It’s easy to say that I’d still be me in the scope of a short path. Here, an hour from camp can only have a finite number of divergent paths. I think that those iterations of myself are me. But what about a forked path two hours ago? Two weeks ago? The exponential diversification of reality can’t be properly understood by a mere mortal. Would something I did a lifetime ago result in a different person?

“This is not one of those times,” an exasperated voice intones. I turn to see my companions waiting patiently for my decision.

I see her face beaming and shyly peeking over the wickered basket clutched to her breast. A basket patiently awaiting the fruits of our journey. Waiting for my decision. For her, I make these decisions without regret.

“I think the orchard is this way,” I declare with false confidence. We follow the right path, but a part of me begs to question what reality lurks down the unchosen path.


13 Week Streak: 01

[500 Words]Thain in Vain teamed up with Drafty Devil to bring us the 13-Week Streak flash fiction challenge. Here’s the first challenge:

* * *

“I feel like we’re not supposed to be doing this.”

Matt turned to Victoria with a mischievous grin. “We aren’t!”

“Aren’t?” Victoria inquired.

“Doing this,” Matt declared.

Victoria forced a smile. Her eyes darted to the proximity indicator. Matt and Eric “borrowed” the shuttle from Steven’s father’s yard. Steven called it a yard, but the six low-orbit shuttles that constituted “the fleet” were ramshackle at best. More patchwork than shuttle, and no one would miss this one. It would be sold for scrap after the long weekend. Eric was a wizard with all things transport, so the three youths fixed up the shuttle for their weekend getaway.

Matt took her silent musings for acceptance. “Besides,” he continued, “the ‘Captain’ thinks we’re still in dock around Europa.”

The proximity warning bellowed it presence into the tiny cockpit. The comms burst into life with Eric’s excited voice. “We’ve got a whale!”

Matt smiled, leaned over the control panel, and entered a sequence. The gray featureless walls quickly subsumed to transparent. Victoria looked over her shoulder and met Charlotte’s eyes. She snuggled closer to Steven, her eyes wide in anticipation. Eric and Stephanie’s chattering from the rear compartment droned on over the comms. The ‘captain’ sat dark and impotent, light reflecting off its smooth surface.

Victoria gripped the armrests of the navigation chair. They were less than an hour into their adventure and they were about to see their first whale. The weeks of planning for a trip that would last only a few hours had finally reached fruition.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” Matt whispered next to her. “Too close!” His face paled as energy discharge danced along the hull.

“Protect the ‘captain’,” Steven’s excited voice sounded out over the comms.

Matt’s fingers danced over the beveled glass. Victoria felt the acceleration as he rotated their shuttle so that the pod, dubbed “the captain,” was rotated away from the breach.

“We’ve got another one!”

Eric’s voice was no longer lilted with excitement. Now it was a resigned dread.

The hues of blues and purples crackled at Victoria’s feet. When the whale burst from the portal, the leading edge materialized and sheered the captain from its moorings.

The quick trip to watch celestial phenomenon was looking more like a death sentence. Alarms and warnings shrieked and flashed with intensity that the situation required.

“We’re caught in their wake!”

Victoria thought that Eric’s voice was starting to grate on her nerves.

The shuttle tumbled end over end and as they cleared Jupiter’s atmosphere, Europa came into view. Jupiter, then Europa. It repeated again and again.

“Boaty McBoatface.” A new voice intoned over the comms. “Do you require assistance?”

Victoria slammed her hand on the panel in front of her. “Yes! We’ve lost our drive pod!”

“Understood, Boaty McBoatface.” The panels in the cockpit turned blue as their rescuer took control of their shuttle. Bursts of compressed gas righted their spin and they prepared for the trip back to Europa to face the consequences of their soirée.