Where the dirty flowers grow

Pre-ramble – Having recently discovered that I love Cormac McCarthy’s books I decided that I would devour every single one of them.  I’m currently reading “Suttree” and early on in the book there is a line that contains “where the dirty flowers grow” which caught my attention.  This is an odd statement as one would never think of flowers as dirty but there is also something about it that rings true.  Here is my story inspired by that line…. 

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Don’t judge me.

Every day you pass me like I’m not here.  I know you see me, sense me, oppose me.  I the one who dared tread on this prized ground.  Whose ground?  Not your ground, my ground.  You won’t accept this to be true so you walk on by, looking down at me and what you call “those dirty flowers”.  My patch is not a patch on yours; I wouldn’t want it to be.

Can’t you see?  Your flowers match you.  Fragrant.  Bewitching.  Desirable.  Mine match me.  Foul.  Beastly.  Defective.  You recoil when I wave; I only want to say “Hello”.

I’ll never approach you, so don’t fear me.  I’m one of life’s observers, one who sits on the side lines.  Waiting.  Hoping.  Then running in the wrong direction, when someone is kind enough to invite me in.   I’m not the one you should be afraid of; your enemies are closer than you think.  I hear what your friends say, you should listen to them some time.

You should try being an outsider just once, you’ll see things that you never noticed before.

It only takes a moment.  Be still and just be.  The furtive glances between couples who shouldn’t be glancing.  Unidentifiable bottles that are sipped, slurped and

hidden again from view.  Red eyes from unexpected tears because for a moment they forgot to forget.  The wealthy stealing from those with no money as they’d no time to spare.  Yes they were mine but you can have them, you only needed to ask.

This allotment is my home so I will always be here waiting amongst my dirty flowers.  All I want is for you to say hello.

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Word count – 280

One day shorter of breath

Pre-ramble – My husband is a massive Pink Floyd fan so I wasn’t surprised when I asked him for a title that he gave me a line from “Time”. (Ok, I may have tweaked the lyrics, let’s call it my ‘artistic’ licence… ).  In his head he thought I would write a story that was loosely based on the song; I didn’t… and here it is.  😉

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I watch him closely, our local lothario.  Every night he has his pick of girls, rarely taking a night off from this arduous task.

 

They beam when they realise they’re the ‘chosen one’, the one who gets his full attention for the night.  For an instant they forget that a night is all they’ll get, he will not bed them again.  All think they can change him but they won’t, and if they do you wouldn’t want to be her.  Listen closely and I’ll tell you why.

 

You see our ‘not so little’ stud muffin has a secret, the one that broke his heart.  Have you kissed him?

 

Oh you have.  I’m not sure I should tell you any more.

 

Ok, but only because you plead so nicely.

 

When he leaned into kiss you, as he inhaled just before your lips met, did a spark run through you?  Your lips tingle in anticipation?  Your body hunger for him?

 

They did?  I’m sorry, so sorry.  When he made you feel those glorious things he also took your life.

 

Don’t cry, I may have exaggerated a little.  He only took a day; well a day per kiss.  You didn’t kiss him much did you?  You’ll never get them back; those are now days he’ll use instead.

 

He doesn’t mean to do this, he was born this way.  Killing his wife was an accident; he only discovered his ‘talent’ when it was too late for her.   The day she died he promised he’d not love another.  A promise he’ll never break.

 

So don’t throw yourself at him hoping he’ll give you his life, as if you push him too far he will take yours.  He loves his new life and he’s not going to let anyone spoil it; well boys will be boys.

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Word count – 300

Two Rooms

Pre-ramble – A friend of mine is providing a whole host of inspiration for my stories and in January they were talking about their work in Social Care and how two people can have very different experiences.  From this conversation we decided to set ourselves a challenge to write a story using the title of “Two Rooms”, here’s my attempt…. 

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If your choices would make someone’s life worse would you do it?

Two identical rooms.  Each has a large screen which is permanently on 24 hours a day, showing whatever is happening in the other room.  There’s no sound.  A sign says “You can improve your room but when you do the other room will lose something.”

In the 1st room is a frail old lady.  In the other a troubled middle-aged man, whose misery was both created by and inflicted upon him.  Two completely different personalities, two completely didn’t souls.

The old lady was unhappy with her room so she soon ordered extra pillows, blankets & tea; her ‘neighbour’ lost all his basics.  He became aggressive, his face pressed against the screen screaming obscenities at her.   She sat and watched him with interest while sipping her tea.

Every morning the rooms were returned to normal.  As an early bird the woman was able to re-order first thing; as a night owl he always ended up with nothing.  Each day his anger grew, and the obscenities got worse.  She just sat and watched; luckily she didn’t have to listen.

As the weeks went by he grew tired from hunger and rage.  He sat exhausted, on the brink of giving up. Then it dawned on him.  If he ordered just after midnight he’d get everything he wanted.  So he did.

He now watched her.  She curled up in a corner of her room shivering from the cold, she never once looked at him.  That night he ordered again.  The next morning she soundlessly pleaded with him to help her, tears running down her face.  He didn’t order again.

Well she may have been a evil bitch but she was still his Mother and he at least had a heart.

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Word count – 298

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Pre-‘ramble’ – Terrible Minds (http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/01/24/flash-fiction-challenge-fairy-tales-remixed/) decided to run a short story challenge this week where people had to take a well known fairy tale and re-write it in a different sub-genre.  I though “I like the sound of that” so decided to give it a go so chose “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and satire.  It was way more of a challenge than I was expecting but loved every minute of it. Oh and it is more than three time longer than my usual stories, hope you forgive me. ;D

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As the latest manufactured global singing sensation “The Emperor” thought of himself as the dogs bollocks.  In fact if he could prove the point by licking his own he would, but after many hours of strenuous yoga practice he gave up on the idea as something that was never meant to be.

He had the World at his feet but even so he was one seriously pissed off young man.  Why I hear you cry?  He hated, and I do not use that term lightly, the “manufactured” label.  Yes his songs may be written for him, his dance moves laid out in an idiots guide & his clothes handpicked every morning but he truly believed that without him they would be nothing.  Why could they not see this?

Therefore on a rare evening off from posing with his latest Ferrari/girlfriend/A list rapper* (*delete as appropriate) he decided to sit down to come up with a way to prove he was more than just a poster boy.  He racked his brain until it hurt; which was about ten minutes after he’d sat down.  To elevate the pain he decided to surf the web before finding the rudest comments on his Twitter account.  But none of these things, which would usually keep him amused for hours, kept his interest.

It got to the point he was so bored he even started checking his spam emails.  As he scanned through the expected mail order bride and penis enlargement offers, he’d been assured he didn’t need one but he wasn’t convinced after the yoga incident, he noticed an unusual offer.

“Revolutionary cloth.  Be the first in the World to wear it.  Change your look, set the trend.”  His gut told him to leave t, but as he wasn’t most clever individual he brushed off the feeling thinking he was just hungry and opened the email.  Then because he thought he was hungry he clicked his fingers for a servant to bring him pizza.

The email only asked him for his contact details but nothing else, and for some unknown reason this lack of information made him even more interested.  This could be viewed as particularly odd when you consider the fact his management team had recently sent him on a course to learn about the ‘dangers’ of spam.  It also gave him the opportunity, which he had been waiting for, to use one of his super-secret identities which would stop his adoring fans finding out what he was up.

After he’d sent his details he decided to settle down in his private cinema to chow down on his pepperoni pizza.  He’d just inhaled the first mouthful when he heard an email land in his inbox.  One click on his ultra-clever remote and his 100 inch screen showed his emails and there was the response.

The email was polite and courteous.  They explained they wouldn’t be able to post pictures of the material as they didn’t want people to steal the idea so they could come and visit? They promised he could try on an outfit and for such a privilege all he’d needed to do was pay a $50k deposit, this would include the flight.  ‘The Emperor’ laughed out loud, what kind of moron did then think he was.  He then proceeded to crack open a bottle of his overpriced champagne and pop a few unidentified pills; he needed to get high after wasting his evening on this crap.

Knock.  Knock.  Knock.

“Fucking go away.”

“Sir there’s someone here to see you.  They’ve brought you some new clothes, they won’t go away.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”  Then in a horrible flashback moment he saw himself entering his credit card details into the spam email.  He leapt out of bed and ran downstairs.

“Give me my money back then get the fuck out of my house!” he screamed, rather more loudly than he intended.

“‘The Emperor’.  I’d no idea you’d contacted me, I’m a massive fan.  Now I’m here would you not even consider trying on an outfit?  This cloth was made for a man like you.  Everyone will envy you.  Everyone!  No one has worn it before, you’d be the first.  If you don’t like it I will give you your money back.”  It was the last sentence that convinced him to try it on, deep down he was a fair man.

After several hours and a lot of self-doubt about this new look ‘The Emperor’ finally came round to the new cloth.  It felt like skin, he could move so freely.  He loved it.

“I’m kicking off my new tour tomorrow and I’m going to wear this.  They won’t be prepared for this.  No more Mr Poster boy.”, and for the first time in a long time he felt great.

The following evening he strutted out of his dressing room in his new clothes with the confidence of a man who’d just shagged a 100 virgins and had won big at the casino.  His sycophants “oohed” and “aahed” as he walked by.  “Fuck, this concert is going to be awesome.” he shouted at them as he walked passed.

The crowd was going mental, girls were fainting before he’d even arrived on stage. They chanted his name again… and again… and again.  The platform he stood on rose from under the stage.  His arms were held high.  The noise was deafening.  Then silence.  Not a peep could be heard.

Then from somewhere in the dark a lone voice, “He’s stark bloody naked and look at the size of his dick.  It’s tiny!”

This was immediately followed by the sound of 30,000 cameras capturing him in his birthday suit.  Then the laughter.  Lots and lots of laughter.  He skulked off the stage, not just that stage but the Global stage.  He was fed up of people taking the piss.  He didn’t need them, he was loaded and could do whatever he wanted.  So he did and had a ball.

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Word count – 997

How to stop a stalker

Pre-‘ramble’ – This story started off with the title “How to stalk a stalker” but after playing about with for a while I realised I wasn’t doing the title justice.  So parked the title and kept the story.  Hope to go back to the original one day but for now here’s a lesson I don’t think any of us should follow….

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I had a stalker.  She reached out to me every day, in different ways, hoping I’d respond.   Doing whatever she could to be part of my life.

I never made any promises I couldn’t keep, but still she pursued me.  ‘It was fun.’  I’d say.  ‘I cannot commit.’  Don’t want to, won’t.  She listened but didn’t hear.

I wanted to understand why, but mostly wanted it to stop.  So I became a stalker.  Her stalker.

It’s not a difficult thing to do, patience is the key.  All I had to do was follow her after she’d followed me.   She never looked, never suspected.

As I watched I began to pity her failing and empty life.  Our few meet ups had been highlights for her.  She wanted my life but it was mine and I wanted it back.

They say people learn in different ways, so I decided to try something new to get my message across.

Decaying roses sent to her office.  Smashing her car windscreen.  Dead & bloodied rats on her doorstep.   Finally she heard and responded.

The Police said I was at fault, not her.  She was the defenceless one, she’d done nothing wrong.  I hadn’t kept the proof, hadn’t needed reminding she was ruining my life.

They say I can start again when I get out of prison.  I hope so.  If not I will be in here for life after I have taken hers.

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Word count – 238

They’ll be here in a minute

Pre-‘ramble’ –  So far I have received a number of great ideas for titles but once in a while comes along that just resonates with you.  I don’t know why this title resonated with me but it did and I couldn’t wait to get a story down for it.   

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“Sssh.  They’ll be here in a minute.”

Bob gave Jack a suspicious sideways glance, “Who’ll be here?  Thought this was just a football and beer night.”

“Sssh.  You’ll annoy them.”  Jack whispered.

Bob was ready to explode, he didn’t do surprises.   “For fuck sake Jack what’s going on?”

Jack got to his feet, “Please be quiet, they won’t be happy.  You must shut up now!”

“Mate you’re not funny.  Just wanted to watch the game but whatever shit you’ve taken has put a stop to that.  I’m outta here.”

“I warned you.” breathed Jack.

As Bob started to stand Jack wrapped a belt around his neck, he then quickly moved behind the sofa.  He pulled hard forcing Bob back onto the seat, the belt dug deep into his throat.

“I’m sorry.” wept Jack.  “I told you to be quiet, but you wouldn’t listen.”  Within minutes his friend was dead.

Jack stood up, wiped his tears, and moved forward to admire his work.

Bob was slumped on his side.  Jack knelt down resting his head on him and opened his mouth, “It’s ok, he’ll behave for you now.”

Hundreds of tiny men ran out of his mouth, all were burning with rage.  They ran all over Bob, stripping his clothes off as they went, before devouring the warm human flesh.

When they’d finished all that was left of Bob was his skeleton.  No blood.  No skin.  No heart.  Jack then opened his mouth and they all popped back in.

Jack knew what to do next.  He ground the bones into fine dust and mixed it into his flower beds.

Everyone who sees his garden asks how he gets his flowers to grow so beautifully.

The answer is always the same, “Bone meal.  The fresher the better.”

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Word count – 296

Jelly beans and cornets

Pre-‘ramble’ – When a friend suggested this title I had no idea what to do but after getting a bag of Jelly Babies I had a bit of inspiration.  Hope you enjoy it.

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When you work in an office you can find joy in the smallest things.  I’d just wandered into the ‘kitchen’ and found to my delight a bag of Jelly Beans.  

 

I opened my mouth wide, tipped my head back and flipped one in.  I bit down hard, looking forward to that burst of flavour.  What I got was a loud ‘crunch’.   

 

I pulled the object out and to have a look. “What the…?”

 

It was a tiny cornet.  I placed the instrument on the work surface and took another bean.  “For pity sake, another cornet.”  

 

By the end of the day everyone had found a miniature brass instrument.  Then in a perplexed state, because had what just happened really happened, all the instruments were shoved in a corner and everyone did their best to forget.  

 

On the last Friday of that month a bag of Jelly Babies had been brought in to share.  As I opened the bag it began to vigorously shake.  I let the bag go.  It landed with a thump on the work surface.

 

All the jelly babies then ran out of the bag and picked up one of the tiny instruments.  Within minutes they’d organised themselves into band and started to play. 

 

I shouted for others to come.  When they came in the Jelly Babies stopped.  They lay motionless, their instruments scattered around them.  My colleagues looked at me quizzically before each picking up a jelly baby and eating it.

 

“Don’t eat them!  Can’t you hear them scream?”  They laughed and walked away. 

 

I still hear their cries for help.  Every so often I buy some Jelly Babies to see if they’ll play. They never will.  Their instruments were thrown away so all they can do is just lie there, unable to escape their gruesome fate. 

 

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Word count – 300