Flash fiction challenges such as Five Sentence Fiction has kept me writing and improved my craft, so I serve up some here every Tuesday. Since every one likes choices I’m providing you with two weekly writing prompts. You can participate in either one, or double your pleasure by trying your hand at both. Submit your efforts any time between now and next Tuesday.
The Standard Prompt will always consist of a two-word prompt to be used as inspiration. The Non-Standard Prompt will change from week to week. Sometimes it will be a visual prompt, sometimes a first sentence or phrase, sometimes a scenario, etc. The limit for the Two for Tuesday Standard Prompts is 200 words and the Non Standard Prompt has a minimum of 200 words but no limit allowing for more in depth explorations. Use the little blue link thing below to submit your link or leave an entry in the comments section.
Don’t forget to check out the other entries.
Here is this week’s two-fer:
You have lots of creative leeway. The limit is 200 words. The words can be used:
- simply as a point of inspiration and do not have to be used directly
- they can be included exactly as provided
- or each word can be used independently of each other (for example if Death Row was the prompt instead of crafting a story about an inmate on the way to the gallows, you might write something like: Despite feeling like death from an excess of cheap vodka consumed the night before, Evelyn moved on to planting her next row of spinach).
This week for the alternative prompt, write a story that relies on a distinctive dialect as a central part of the tale. As per usual with the Non-standard prompt there is no word limit (to allow for more in depth explorations) but there is a minimum of 200 words.
For those who like to write first and read later be forewarned that my effort follows. This week I once again attempted to satisfy both prompts in one story. I hope that you agree that drunken slurred speech can be considered a dialect.
“Mom. Oh thank God, you’re home. I didn’t know what else to do. Dad showed up freaking shit-faced. Sorry, I didn’t know what else to do,” she said again. “I didn’t think I should just leave him here. It wasn’t fair to let you walk in to that.” Karen fidgeted in the foyer practically vibrating with anxiety. “Listen, Jeff’s already at the restaurant with his parents. I was supposed to be there 20 minutes ago. He’s probably shitting a Rottweiler about now. You mind if I go?” The words tumbled out piling one on top of the other.
“No! Of course. Go! Sweetheart, you’re an angle. Give Jeff my love.” Mother and daughter exchanged a knowing look and Pauline kissed Karen on the forehead then reached out to brush a strand of brown hair out of her daughter’s eyes. “You look fabulous. Jeff won’t be able to stay mad for long. If he does tell him I’ll kick his ass.” Karen smiled and Pauline stepped aside. “Go! Don’t keep your fiance waiting another second.” She shooed the frazzled brunet out the door and leaned against it composing herself before confronting her drunk ex who would soon be a dead drunk if she wasn’t careful.
“Jesus, Michael. Look at you.” He took Pauline literally and looked down at himself taking a stumbling step to keep his balance only to bark his shin on the coffee table sending him sprawling. Pauline caught him to keep him from getting better acquainted with the oak flooring. For her trouble she got showered with the bourbon from his glass which slipped from his hand and went skittering unbroken across the floor with a ringing clatter.
“Oopsh, sorry ‘bout ‘at.” They were still in a pseudo embrace. They held each other by the elbows. “Thiz iz nysh.” He looked at her through swimming puppy dog eyes but she glared back. “C’mon Paulie, lessnot fight. We use to haff sumpin’ spesh’l.”
“One, apology not accepted. Two, this is not ‘nice’ by any stretch of the imagination.” She dropped her hands and then wiped bourbon from her blouse. “Three, lucky for you, I’m too tired to fight and four, we used to have something going for us but that was before you started dipping your stick into every honey pot that was old enough to avoid bringing statutory rape charges.”
“Thaz juss down righ’ cruel. You doan know whud the tem’tation’s like teashing at a college, z’round’d by all those gore-juss lil things. They come to clash prac’ly nekid.” His voice went falsetto on the word naked and he threw his arms up for emphasis and nearly tipped himself over backwards.
“Cruel?” Pauline starred at him slack-jawed. “That was the Disney version. You want cruel? I can give you cruel. Your big dick doesn’t begin to compensate for your small mind. You are a mediocre history professor at a small and inconsequential college in a state that’s the butt of countless jokes. You don’t put much effort into anything other than sweet talking your way between the thighs of every coed who swings her heart-shaped ass at you. You have no conscience, sense of loyalty or concept of fidelity. You are a pathetic, ego-centric, little man who happens to have perfect teeth and blonde hair. And that’s just for starters.”
That’s when the slap hit. It was a classic, roundhouse, open-palm, Hollywood-style, stinging slap. Pauline bit back the tears that sprang up not wanting to give him any satisfaction. Both were stunned and Michael’s hand was still held high. She took hold of his wrist with an iron grip and stepped in nose to nose.
“I’m going to go take a long hot bath and when I come back down you better be gone. I don’t care where you go, how you get there, or if you even arrive there alive. I want you fucking gone. And don’t you ever come back to my house. Before you go, though, know this: the truth is the sex was rarely little more than mediocre and certainly never fulfilling—you always came too early, you’ve gained weight and lost hair neither of which are becoming on you and your pathetic behavior as a husband is only surpassed by your profound ineptitude as a father. And if for some bizarre reason you are entertaining the thought that there is even a cat’s whisker of a chance that we’d ever spend time in the same room—much less the same bed—again let me disabuse you of that delusion here and now. Have a nice life, Michael.” She let go of his wrist and walked past him without looking back.
Michael stepped outside. A rain had begun to fall. He didn’t even notice that he was crying.