“The Write Practice” blog. Writing prompt: Sandwiches

I just found this blog today. The task: a writing prompt. Write for ten minutes. There must be a sandwich included. So here we go:

Sandwiches

Every day he makes me a sandwich. I don’t know why, I never asked for one.

But he keeps making them.

Not always the same kind, and not always at the same time of day. Once I left the room to go to the bathroom, and when I came back there was a sandwich sitting on my chair, beside the book I had been reading.

Ham and Swiss.

Once I woke up late at night. The house was quiet, the clock ticking in the hall. The cat was sitting beside me, alert and interested.  There was a sandwich beside the bed.

Peanut butter and banana.

I don’t see him making the sandwiches, and I don’t see him delivering them. He is as silent making sandwiches as he is at all other times.  I rarely see him, straight on.  I usually only catch glimpses of him, leaving a room that I am entering.  It is quiet.

Yesterday there was a Reuben in the mailbox. Today a BLT sat waiting on my keyboard. I don’t know what sandwich tomorrow will bring, but I know there will be one, and that I will eat it.  I eat all of them.

He shows me he loves me with his sandwiches. I show I love him by eating them.

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Flash Fiction challenge, June 28: Down the TV Tropes Rabbit Hole

This week’s challenge was to go to the TV Tropes website and hit the “random” button.  I did this, and got “Landfill Beyond the Stars”, where planets get used as interstellar landfills.  In response, I give you:

StarDump

“Back it up, Throk, back it up!  By Grog’s Mighty Hammer, do you even know how to drive? Do I have to do everything? Back it up!! BACK IT UP!”

Throk gently tapped the gas, and edged the StarDumper back until it just touched the edge of the dump zone around the planet below.  He was aiming for a fine line – too close and gravity would pull the ship down, while too far meant the garbage would spin through space.  If that happened there would be sharznit to pay.

Bork continued to jump about and wave his appendages.  He was very distracting; his tentacles kept brushing against Throk’s face.  Throk brushed Bork off and touched the pedal again.

“There!”  He leaned back with satisfaction.  The beep-beep-beep of the StarDumper backing up had been replaced with a steady roar, as the ship found its sweet spot and began the Dump.

Throk spun his chair around and looked at Bork.  Bork was now panting and staring out the viewport.  “You’re getting drool on the glass, Bork.  You need to calm down.  You almost ruined the Dump! What’s wrong with you anyway?”

Bork laughed and rubbed his tentacles together.  “Nothing, it’s all good!  Good Dump, Throk. Best Dump ever!”  Bork did a little happy dance.  It involved even more waving of tentacles.  Throk stepped around him carefully and went and looked through the viewport himself. The garbage looked like it always did.  It was a vast black mass, barely visible against the permanent night of space.  From this view it showed up mainly as an absence of light.

The two Interstellar Garbage Men had made many Dumping runs to uninhabited planets before, but this was the first time they had worked together. When Throk had gotten the assignment, he had looked up a driver who had flown with Bork before.

Each StarDumper was manned by two people, a loader who tended the garbage, and the driver.  They would be spending a lot of time together, and it could get stressful. Sometimes there were conflicts, and sometimes there were accidents.  The loaders sometimes saw themselves as artists, making trash sculptures that would disintegrate when they hit the ground. To Throk it made no sense at all. He just hoped Bork was not going to be difficult.

“Bork?  Bork’s a good guy.  Little excitable maybe.  Not many of his species left, after the Zooma incident back in ’08.”  Both men had an awkward half-moment of silence.  It would have been a full moment, but their food was getting cold, and hey, you can’t change the past, so you might as well have a sandwich and move on.

They were sitting in one of the Interstellar Garbage Union’s bars. Working in the IGU was a good place to be.  Racing through space was dangerous, no matter if you were ferrying settlers or dumping garbage.  The ladies liked it.  You just didn’t discuss the garbage part of it.  Nobody wants to hear about their personal waste, they just want it to disappear, discretely.  Most inhabited planets had run out of landfill space long ago.  Some early attempts at garbage disposal had involved simply shooting it into space. Those planets were now ringed by a floating belt of crap that couldn’t be flown through.  Scavengers had to go up to just beneath the ring and scoop out windows in the belt so ships could get out.

After the Garbage Wars of ’22 and’27, where warring planets had catapulted loads of trash at each other, it was decided something had to be done.  The footage had been horrifying; people getting killed by old toasters falling through the sky was terrible to see.  Everybody knew there were millions of uninhabited planets around.  Why not just go dump there?  Nobody gets hurt, no harm done.  No garbage at home.  It was a perfect solution, and the IGU was born.

Throk talked around a mouthful, “Excitable is okay, but can he load the Dumper? That’s all he needs to do.”  The driver assured him that this was so, and ordered another round.

Throk had started to turn away from the viewport, when a flash caught his eye.  “What the sharz is that, Bork?  There are sparkles in the Dump.”  He looked closer, and saw that there were a lot of sparkles in the Dump, dancing on the black surface like tiny stars.

Bork came over and looked. He hugged his tentacles around himself.  “That’s Bork down there!”

Throk looked at him, and stepped carefully out of tentacle range.  “What does that mean?  How is that Bork?”

A blissful smile crossed Bork’s face.  “Those are Bork’s special cells.  I made them last night.”

“What are you talking about?  Oh. Ewwwwww”.

“Yes!  I took my special cells, fused them to a medium, and put them into seeding canisters.”

“What medium?”

“Special egg medium.”

“Where did you get egg medium, and what are the seeding canisters for?”

“Got it from a guy at the pub.  For seeding my children.”

Throk opened all of his eyes in shock.  “So you bought egg medium from a guy in a bar, added it to your, uh, ‘special cells’ and chucked it into space in a seed canister?”

“Yes.”  Bork drooled in joy. “My babies.  My children!  This will be our new home.  I already erased the planet’s location from the IGU database.  They’ll be safe here.”

Throk sighed.  He was telling nobody about this.  He definitely wasn’t telling Bork that those seed canisters weren’t meant for space.  The mix might survive, but it would be mutated by radiation before it ever hit the planet. There were few laws that regulated the wild world of Dumping, but Throk thought attempting to populate uninhabited planets might be one of them.

Bork and Throk watched through the viewport as the StarDumper moved away from the planet.  He wondered how the blue-green planet would fare, populated by the radiated descendants of a half-mad, many-tentacled alien.  Bork slipped a tentacle around Throk’s waist and squeezed gently.

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The Storyteller

Here is my story for the “Another Roll of the Dice” Flash Fiction challenge

The Storyteller

     Rock pumped her arms and legs and ran as fast as a rock could run.  She was panting for breath and the footing was treacherous.  It was full dark now, and had been raining. She took a detour around a crater of water and slipped at the edge, almost tumbling in.  She caught herself, arms wheeling for balance.  She calmed herself and caught her breathe.  She had lost sight of her Storyteller, but she knew where he was going.

She thought how nice it would be to ride in his pocket, warm and dry.  He would pull her out and set her gently on the table,  and he would say, “Little Rock, do you want to hear a story?”.  She would shyly say, “Yes, please, a story all for me”, and then she would feel airy inside and full of bubbles.   She told herself to stop being so foolish.  She was a rock, not some fluff-head dandelion.

She started to run again, and finally reached the corner.  He had turned here…there he was.  She could see him in a window.  Relieved, she trotted over and settled herself under the open window.  His voice flowed out around her.  She closed her eyes and drifted.

 Jack the Storyteller passed by the first pub.  He had made good money there before, and had become too well known.  He was looking for a place with a few marks to choose from, and hopefully nobody who would recognize him.  He picked a small establishment, and went in.

When he was drunk he liked to comfort himself with some warm, fake memories. Oh, the days he had performed at the great noble houses, entertaining and enchanting all who could hear him, until the women threw flowers at him and the men cried real tears at the honor and heroic deeds of his tales.  He had never actually flown so high, but he had never fallen this low before either. Now he was more con than artist.  It had been a long, dark slide. He wasn’t sure how it had started.  Laziness? Drink? Women?  Probably all of that, and more.  However it had started, he could see the ending from here.

Tonight he was in a pub spinning a tale to a local girl.  The girl admired his golden curls and wide, bright smile, but she was no fool.  The frayed velvet cuffs and grimy lace told their own stories.  However, he believed so strongly in his own charm that it reached out and wrapped around her, like a gently whispering ivy, slyly slipping a leaf under her skirt.  She laughed and slapped him lightly, breaking his spell.  His rueful grin told her he’d been caught, but hadn’t it been sweet?  He leaned forward and tried again, reaching for a tale that had worked before.

“Alice, I know a wizard who has a potion that tastes like the summer rain, and smells of cinnamon and apples.  One taste is all you need.  Think on your heart’s desire, and it will be yours.”

Rock sighed and opened her eyes.  She knew where this was going.  She had been following her Storyteller for a long time.  In the beginning, his voice had flowed through the lanes, weaving among the leaves and the grasses, tickling Rock’s ears and her little granite heart.  She would sit in the sun under a window and let the soft words take her away. The little pebbles would scurry round her feet, roused up by confusing but exciting tales of human loves and losses.

Like Jack, Rock didn’t know what had happened.  She had watched him change over time. The stories grew simpler.  He forgot the words more and more often.  Rock had heard him lose the plot and mumble to himself, drunk and bleary, while the crowds laughed at him.  Rock’s heart had broken when she realized he didn’t know that he was being laughed at.  He had thought he was being entertaining.

 Jack was caught up in his own daydream.  The girl’s soft skin and bright eyes went to his head and mingled with the wine. He slipped a finger into her neckline and leaned closer, confident in his smile, his curls, and his stories.  He’d never believed in this potion, but his heart yearned for it.  One small drink of summer rain, and it could all be different.  He could be the Storyteller he was born to be.  He could fix whatever had gone wrong.  He could change, he really could.  All he needed was one potion, one drink, one small taste of summer rain.  His mind was fogged with wine, hope, and the softness of the girl.  He moved closer, his hand reaching for her hair.

But he leaned too far.  The smooth move became a clumsy loss of balance, a face full of cleavage, spilled wine, and feminine shrieks.  The bartender saw him out the door with a helpful boot to the rear.  Drunken laughter and a spill of yellow light followed him out.  He stumbled into the street, falling on his hands and knees in the mud. The small moment of clarity he’d had was gone.

“Not the worst way to end an evening.  A face full of Alice!”  He stood up, weaving and giggling, then lost his balance and hit the mud again, on his back.  “Ah well it’s soft here, so soft..” He mumbled a bit, then started to snore.

Rock slipped up to him and sat beside his ear. She reached out and stroked one of his soft, muddy curls. Small pebbles rolled closer, and nestled against his head.  She knew how they felt.  They loved Jack and they felt guilty, like she did. They all remembered the wizard who had slipped on these muddy, wet streets, dropping and shattering a small vial.  It had splashed on the street, on rock and pebbles.  They had awoken to the smell of apples and cinnamon, and to the enticing sounds of a story floating on the wind.

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Flash Fiction challenge, “Another Roll of the Dice”

This week’s flash fiction challenge mashes together two subgenres, and must include an item from two separate lists, all generated by random numbers.  I ended up with:

Subgenres:

Magic Realism – where magical elements are a natural part of a realistic environment

Picaresque – (I had to look this up) : fiction dealing with the adventures of a roguish protagonist

My story must include a bottle of rare liquid and a broken heart.  1000 words long, due on June 28th.

Here we go, first Flash Fiction! 

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Chuck Wendig & Flash Fiction

I have just discovered Chuck`s blog and his `Flash Fiction` challenges.  I`ll be entering as many as possible!  

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