Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 30

WELCOME to the 3rd quarter of Year Two!!! Today launches our newest, freshest, most mischievous judge panel yet (hard to believe, isn’t it??), featuring Aria Glazki, Betsy Streeter, Craig Anderson, Margaret Locke, and Phil Coltrane. I can’t wait to get to know them better as they shower writerly awards every which way. Get ready to run for your lives PARTY!!

AND please remember our special Dog Days of Summer contest kicks off this TUESDAY (yes, Tuesday!), July 8. Nope, not a word about it til then, except there’s going to be bonafide MONEY tossed at winners.  

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Opening the FF third quarter in the hyper-sleepless-adrenaline fashion unique to new parents is our own Craig Anderson, whom you may also know as @TodaysChapter.  Someone should probably warn you he is nuts about a good title, crazy about banter, and mad about depth and context. Take a look at his judge page for more details regarding what he looks for in a winning story. And why yes, it is a beautiful irony of timing that he should be judging the July 4 contest. Brave man!

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Awards Ceremony: Results will post Sunday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own unbalanced writings sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays “just for fun.”   

Now let’s get to it!

Word limit150 word story (10-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Sunday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity. 

***Today’s Dragon’s Bidding (required element to incorporate somewhere in your story; does not need to be the exact word(s) unless instructed to do so, e.g. “include the word “insurrectionists'”)–and yes! scandalous! someone stole the jewel this week:

 include a woman

***Today’s Prompt:

Writing the Declaration of Independence. Painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863 - 1930). Public domain photo.

Writing the Declaration of Independence. Painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863 – 1930). Public domain photo.

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160 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 30

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    159 Words

    Declaration Celebration

    “Listen, Benji, all I’m saying is that the paper you’re holding is a load of crap. You heard me.”

    Ben glanced over his half-moons at Tom. “I honestly don’t think King George is going to be so impressed with your version, Tommy. So why don’t you just throw it in the garbage, and we’ll start all over again.” He motioned to the growing stack of twisted paper on the floor.

    Tom sighed, tension tightening his shoulders. “Alex? Which one do you like best?”

    Alex slouched in his chair, amusement glinting from his eyes. “Both of you can toss yours. I have the winner right here. Read and weep, gentlemen.” He spread a carefully printed paper across the table, smoothing the edges with pride.

    Tom leaned over the script and read aloud: “We the people of . . . ” He glanced up. “Did you write this, Lex?”

    Alex smirked. “My wife. Sign your names, gents. She’ll never know.”

  2. Life Development Reports from the Gamma Zeta 12 Sector

    Captain Elizabetta Bankalgaria traveled 30,000 light years to determine the development of a new planet. After establishing a standard orbit, she scanned all frequencies. Finding no transmissions guaranteed they were technically undeveloped.

    Following standard procedure, she assigned members of her crew to disguise a ship to blend in on the surface. They built a hovercraft to the specifications of the indigenous ships. When these preparations were complete, she took it down to observation altitudes hoping to blend in.

    Two immediate discoveries threw her into a panic. First, the engineers had greatly misunderstood the scale. Everything was 100 times the size they expected. Second their vessels only floated on water.

    Realizing how exposed they were, she took the ship into a building. Inside three humanoids argued over politics, and never noticed the ship floating above. The crew was disappointed their observations were so inconsequential. Nevertheless, they had enough information to complete their reports, so they headed home without being detected.

    @CharlesWShort
    http://www.charleswshort.com
    159 Words

  3. It’s a Man’s World
    Ian Martyn (@IBMartyn)
    160 words

    The three had sat in the room for four days. Tempers were frayed, chamber pots overflowing.

    ‘Let’s see what we’ve got. Hmm, “all men are considered equal in the sight of Bob”. Who’se Bob?’

    ‘What? Let me see. It’s these damned second rate quills. It’s God, sight of God.’

    ‘Fine, fine.’ He turned the paper, nothing except for a few crumbs and a ketchup stain. ‘Is that it? That’s all we have?’

    ‘It’s a start.’

    ‘A start!’ He threw his glasses to the table and a melodramatic hand to his brow. ‘We can’t go on’, he said. ‘We need food, sleep,’ he added as he staggered from the room. ‘And send in Mildred to clear up the mess.’

    Mildred entered and started tidying the papers. ‘Men,’ she muttered. ‘And what’s this?’ “The Declaration of Independence”. Four days and that’s all they’ve come up with?’ Mildred tutted to herself, picked up a quill, dipped it in the ink and started writing.

  4. Spur of the moment
    @dieterrogiers – 156 words

    You pestilent woman, Ben shouted.

    His wife had just poured hot tea all over his writing hand.

    I’m sorry, she grovelled, soothing the wound with a damp cloth.

    You are a piece of work, Ben sneered. Why I keep you in the house is anyone’s guess. You do not love me. You make a horrid dinner. And were it not for the housekeeper I employ this room would look like a warzone.

    He would have given her the flat of his hand, were it not for John and Thomas, who abhorred that kind of thing.

    I do not like the first line, Ben continued their conversation, as he crossed out the word ‘citizens’.

    Yes, that sounds much better, he said, as he handed the paper to his friends while glancing at his wife over the top of his glasses.

    Not bad, Thomas concurred.

    ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’

  5. ***Flash! Friday Judges entry, for your reading pleasure***

    Homework

    Jefferson stood quietly in front of the desk, fidgeting awkwardly. Mrs. Jenkins was furiously scribbling away in red ink, each scratch of the quill reminding Jefferson of his youth.

    Eventually she stopped and fixed him with an icy gaze, “Tommy, I thought I had taught you better than this. Clearly you haven’t stopped daydreaming. This is B minus work at best.”
    Jefferson hung his head and muttered, “Yes Ma’am.”
    “Here for example, there is no Y in Happiness. Your sentences are far too long, and why oh why are there so many exclamation points?”
    “These are very exciting facts…”
    “Perhaps, but 32 exclamation points? This is a formal document, not a page from your diary. I suggest you remove them.”
    “Yes Ma’am.”
    “I’ve marked the rest up for you, when is your meeting?”
    “Tomorrow.”
    “Well then, you’ve got some homework to do young man.”
    “Yes Ma’am.”
    All men may be created equal, but no-one argued with Mrs. Jenkins.

    159 words
    @todayschapter

    P.S. Happy Independence day 🙂

  6. Home of the Brave

    “They will send hundreds of ships and thousands of soldiers to crush us.”

    Zachery couldn’t look at Selene as he spoke. He looked instead at the mountains and the stars, as though trying to locate the coming danger somewhere in the distance.

    Selene gripped him tight around the arm. “We will bleed them dry, Zack. They cannot endure a prolonged war.”

    “They will certainly take the cities.”

    “Then we will fight them in the mountains. We will hide in caves and live where they cannot follow. We will strike and vanish into dark places. Again and again. Until they fear to leave the cities. Until all they want is to go home.”

    Zachery smiled and nodded. The couple wrapped their gloved hands together and nestled closer inside the dozer’s canopy. They stared out of the glassed enclosure, across the mare to the Montes Recti. Earth was rising there between two peaks, like a bright blue target aligning into gun sights.

    Nicholas Stearns
    160 words

  7. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
    By: Allison K. Garcia
    160 words

    “What they doin’ in there?”

    “I ain’t for sure but they been at it for days. We been layin’ out breakfast, lunch, and dinner there if they’s to eat anything.”

    “Sally told me Master Thomas was holed up in his study for two straight weeks. Slept right in his chair. Can you imagine?”

    “I reckon it ain’t any worse than the straw beds I slept on at the Tyson farm.”

    All three ladies nodded as they dried the clean dishes.

    A small voice whispered out of the corner of the kitchen: “I snuck a look at it.”

    “Susana, I told you to stay out the way. You get underfoot and the missus gonna send you to another family.” There was a pause. “Well, get on with it. What’d you see?”

    Susana sat up tall. “A real important paper. Talkin’ ‘bout freedom. ‘All men are created equal’ it said.”

    “Equal?” She snickered. “I ain’t seen anyone else scrubbing chamberpots this morning.”

  8. Old World, New World
    by Carin Marais

    “Who cares what happened on Earth? And, Ferris, I think your painting sucks.” James muted the robotic voice of the museum guide.

    “What are you going to take?” Carla asked.

    “Nothing. I just want to go live on the new world. Sudden system failures killing half the population wouldn’t happen there.”

    “You still have to choose something. There’s not enough space for us to take everything.”

    “You act like these aren’t replicas of replicas. Earth is long dead.”

    They wandered through the galleries. “Worthless detritus of past civilizations” his father called it. By now some walls were completely empty. You still needed something to hang on to.

    “Just choose something so we can get on the ship.”

    James rushed to the La Scapigliata. “I can’t believe it’s still here!”

    “A Da Vinci sketch? At least take something with a bit of colour.”

    James beamed as he took it off the wall. “My mum made it. Before the system failure.”

    Words: 160
    @CarinMarais
    http://www.hersenskim.blogspot.com

  9. *The Happiness of (Wo)Man*

    Rosie had no idea who the men were or what they were doing. She raised her hand.

    ‘Miss?’

    Mrs. Freeman turned from the board and smiled. ‘Yes, Rosie?’

    ‘Can I have another prompt? I don’t know nothing about this picture.’

    Putting down her pen, Mrs. Freeman replied, ‘you don’t need to know anything about it, Rosie. You just need to look at it and let it give you ideas. Let it *inspire* you.’

    ‘But, Miss, it’s just three grumpy old men in fancy clothes reading bits of paper and making a mess on the floor. Can’t I have the same picture as Kai? Then I could write about aliens what are trying to take over the Earth and all the people getting together and fighting them off or something.’

    Mrs. Freeman sighed. ‘Oh, Rosie.’

    ‘So, does that mean I *can* write about aliens, Miss?’

    Chuckling, Mrs. Freeman shook her head. ‘Rosie,’ she said. ‘You write about whatever makes you happy.’

    (160 words)

    @nembow

  10. *** Judge’s Entry. Ineligible to win ***

    We Hold These Truths
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke)
    160 words

    “Abigail wants that line to read ‘all people are created equal.'”

    Jefferson sighed. “This is a hard enough sell as it is. We just can’t go there.”

    Snorting, Adams turned to Franklin. “What would Mrs. Silence Dogood say?”

    Franklin perused the sheet in front of him. “She’d say, ‘Stop wasting paper and get this thing done!'”

    “Agreed,” Jefferson said.

    “I concur with my wife, gentlemen; we must change that phrase. We must acknowledge the equality of women – and slaves,” he added, staring pointedly at Jefferson.

    Jefferson frowned. “We cannot fight a war on three fronts.”

    “Says the man who owns slaves.” Adams snorted.

    Franklin broke in, eager to defuse the tension in the room. “I agree with Thomas. But the United States is an enlightened country. I am confident the equal rights of all people – men, women, black, white – will quickly be affirmed, after we have freed ourselves from King George’s madness.”

    The three men smiled. “Guess we’re done here.”

  11. AMERICA CAN WAIT

    Another piece of scrunched up paper hit the floor.

    “Perhaps we’re over thinking this,” said John.

    “You’re over thinking this,” said Benjamin. With his part done he was fed up. He pushed his spectacles back up his nose. “It shouldn’t take this long.”

    Thomas turned away the large window, where he’d been looking out at the city of Philadelphia. He walked past his compatriots and dropped his quill upon the drafts and redrafts piled high in the centre of the table. He glanced at the Grandfather clock in the corner. “It’s nearly one o’clock,” he said. “We’re running out of time.”

    There was a knock at the door from the other side of the room. All three men turned as it opened. It was Mary. “Sorry to interrupt, gentlemen” she said. “Have you written down your food order?”

    Thomas snatched the document from John and walked over to her.

    “Wait,” called John. “I didn’t see they had chicken.”

    Brian S Creek
    158 words
    @BrianSCreek

  12. Finding History
    by Katrina Ray-Saulis twitter @kraysaulis

    Dr. Andrea Taylor spoke slowly into her small audiofile wristband. “The date is 4 July 2324. Location square Z45 in the Atlantic Tunnel, formerly titled Washington DC in the former United States of America.” She pulled a small lamp close to her and examined the piece of canvas she had uncovered with the aid of her only teammate HUGH-R, a Hydro-Under-Ground-Humanlike Robot. The water damage was bad but it was definitely the painting she was hoping for. Few cared about the former United States but this painting was sure to be the catalyst to spur her career and draw funds. She dripped chemical R-76 onto it to dissolve what dirt was left. The face of a man came into view. To her he had become more legend than historic fact. Her years of study made him as familiar to her as a brother but she was the first person in over one hundred years to be looking at the face of John Adams.

  13. “To Tame A Wild Thing”
    John Mark Miller – 158 words
    @JohnMark_Miller

    John was excitedly reading aloud the Declaration he had signed that very morning when he stopped abruptly. “Crouching Panther, are you listening?”

    He loved using my English name, often joking that he had come to the New World and “tamed a panther.” That, and his fat tongue could never pronounce my Sioux name.

    My sorrow was impossible to hide. “This means freedom for your people, John,” I said softly. “Not for mine.”

    At that, his eyes gleamed and he actually smiled. It made me shiver.

    A grand celebration had begun outside, and victorious rifle blasts filled the air. Taking a breath, I pulled John’s rifle from the shelf and aimed.

    He froze. “What -?”

    My hand was steady. “Your patriots should understand that it is not easy to tame a wild thing.”

    Realization struck his face, and I fired a freedom shot of my own.

  14. Lost Time
    156 words
    @jfaulknerwrites

    I sat on the bench opposite the painting and stared, trying to calm my breathing. Three o’clock the text had said. It was now five to, and the room was empty except for numerous paintings from many years ago. I studied the piece of art in front of me closely, not daring to avert my gaze and watch the door, which for now remained unopened.

    As I sat, the men in the painting caught my attention – would he look like them? Would his hair be receding, glasses upon his nose or a furrow in his brow? My stomach fluttered once more, and yet I remained alone in the room.

    Two minutes to three. Three o’clock the text had said.

    Reapplying my lipstick and shuffling on the hard wooden bench I turned as I heard the door handle move. Looking up I saw a smile, warmth and love, in the face of the father I’d never met.

  15. A Declaration

    The basement was cool and dark, the music and fireworks a distant rumble. Cath pulled the light cord, blinking as the strips stuttered into life, revealing shelves of retired toys and forgotten hobbies, an archaeological stratum of family life. She was feeling tipsy and rarely came down here, and her eyes misted as she saw racquets and bicycles and happier days.
    At the workbench where Mike spent his evenings, she peered intently at his handiwork. The ship was minutely detailed, a masterpiece of care and attention, down to the tiny name painted on the hull; The Independent.
    With thoughtless ease, she pinched hold of the mast and snapped it with a shocked giggle. She thought of all they were celebrating upstairs, the new world born from so much destruction, and she swept the ship to the floor, stomping the balsa wood to shards.
    Then she placed the divorce papers in the virgin space and went back upstairs for the fireworks.

    160 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

  16. Free Time
    (157 words)
    I am an old gentleman. Respected. Important. But my time is coming. I won’t fight it. The day arrives, even though you’re convinced it never will, when you simply run out of steam.
    I’ve had a decent innings: buried two wives, and a daughter- as well as her half brother. You wouldn’t have known it from the full blooded way he protected her. That would have made any stepfather proud.
    Still, the toughest was the daughter- had to knock her out going in. Perhaps I got careless.
    The Reverend’s wife, the wife of the old goat to my left, even the half brother (in the end) just needed a little of my persuasion to tuck up tight in the ground.
    So when the long arm of the law digs up my flower beds and finds their deathbeds, I’ll tell them I’m content to see out my time serving my time. I am an old gentleman, after all.

  17. Cotton Sheets (160)
    @brett_milam

    “We’re signing it tomorrow,” Jefferson said.

    His legs were ensnared with his slave and lover, Sally, underneath cotton sheets. He couldn’t resist telling her things, especially after a night like that. The passion seemed to steam from the sheets. Damn intoxicating.

    “Signing what, Thomas?” she said.

    “It’s going to change everything, Sally. I could come back to this bed and you a headless corpse if even one thing goes wrong,” he said, his eyes angled upward.

    Thomas liked to regale Sally with dreams of freedom and how great American could be. She knew he was smart enough to get the irony, but he was also lustful enough to ignore it.

    “Then my baby will just have to settle for a headless father,” Sally said, as she rubbed her belly.

    He rose from the bed, naked, and strode to his study nearby. She saw him light a candle. And begin writing. His nightly ritual. Always thinking, always planning.

  18. American Values
    no Twitter handle, 158 words

    One of the interesting thing about being a security guard at a museum, Sara liked to muse, is that you notice things others miss. She’d spotted the modern hallmark on the silver teapot that was supposed to have been made by Paul Revere. She’d recognized Teddy Roosevelt in the cavalry photograph which was allegedly from the American Civil War. She didn’t know if the museum knew about the fakes. Not her job. They were already on display when she was hired.

    What interested her more were the tiny details most people ignore when they look at works of art, like the titles of books on shelves or what kind of knot was used to tie someone’s shoelaces.

    Pausing in front of the Ferris painting of Franklin, Adams and Jefferson, she smiled at the crumpled piece of paper on the floor on the foreground, which read, “I hope someone buys this.”

    “A true American,” Sara chuckled, continuing her rounds.

  19. Tracy Pittman (@nightflyer7)
    Diversions
    160 words

    Thomas wadded up another paper and tossed it on the table, shaking his head as Ben reached for it.

    “Nothing, but dribble,” said Thomas.

    “Never has dribble flowed from your mouth nor your brain, but you’re right-this won’t do,” Ben replied. They sighed and looked at John.

    Feeling their gaze, John mumbled something about lunch.

    “I believe it’s your turn to pen something, Ben,” said Thomas.

    “I already have and wadding it up would be a travesty.”

    Thomas snatched it from Ben’s hand and read:

    “I hold this truth to be self-evident, that all men equally admire your beauty, those rose colored lips endowed by our Creator with certain rights, among these are laughter, kisses, and…”

    “Ben, a love letter. Really?” John asked.

    “But the woman is a beauty! Besides, I thought Thomas would’ve came up with something by now.”

    “Wait! You may have something here,” Thomas said, picking up the quill.

    “Um, Thomas, can I have my letter back?”

  20. Flying In
    by Suki McMinn

    Shannon’s walkie squawked, “Set dressing.”

    “Go for Shannon,” she replied.

    “We need the ship.”

    “Flying in,” she said, stepping into the truck.

    There were two “ships,” both in paintings.

    She rushed them to set. She didn’t see Arthur. Not that she wanted to see him. He made her life miserable.

    The first AD spotted her and walked her to the director standing beside the set. Our forefathers sat in nearby director’s chairs in itchy bald caps and high collars.

    “Those aren’t right,” the director said. Shannon spotted the photo copy of the painting the set was based on in his hand.

    “We decided to nix the flying ship,” she lied.

    He studied her. She held firm. There was no ship on the truck.

    “Right,” he said. “Looks wrong anyway.” He turned to the AD. “Keep her here.” And to her, “It’s Shannon?”

    She nodded.

    “I fired Arthur this morning. You just got his job.”

    Shannon smiled, and said, “Yes, sir.”

    @SukiMcMinn
    160 words

  21. Equality for Some (157 Words)

    Hot air shimmered through the room, but the three of them still wore their heavy velvet coats. Rich men sure was vain.

    “Let’s hear it then, Tom,” Mr. Franklin thumped his cane.

    Mr. Jefferson stood and spoke so soft that Mr. Franklin had to lean close. “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary—“

    “Damn it, Tom, get to the point!” Mr. Adams shoved the pile of papers before him.

    Mr. Franklin smiled. “Now, John.” She loved that wicked twinkle in his eyes.

    “Call the king a tyrant and get on with it!”

    Mr. Jefferson sighed. “I’m trying to do that, John.”

    “Let us hear what else you have!”

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

    “Genius,” Mr. Franklin said. “Pure genius.”

    Old Martha closed the door. Later, she’d come back to tidy up. Shuffling down the hall, she wondered why only the men was created equal.

  22. Conceived in Liberty
    [Judge’s entry – Just for fun. Happy Independence Day]

    Tell you a secret? She’s older than she looks.

    She claims ’76 as her birthdate, but she was already a fair lass that year, running free through the countryside in her gossamer dress.

    What a rebellious age! You couldn’t tell her anything… though truthfully, I could have been a better listener.

    Has there ever been a more sweltering July day? She stormed out. “Columbia!” I shouted after her, grabbing her shoulder. A shouting match became a brief brawl. “See ya, Brit,” she said flippantly as she left with her insolent friend Marianne. I nursed my wounds in stunned solitude. Not “Mom”, not even a formal “Goddess Britannia”… just “Brit”?

    What can I do but watch from afar, and worry? She wants so badly to be a woman, a new goddess in the pantheon of liberty. How could she ever be anything but the mewling infant I held in my arms through so many sleepless nights?

  23. Why White Men Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Teach History By Angelina Hunt
    (155 Words)

    I was two cans of redbull, a pack of twizzlers, and an embarrassing amount of oreos in, and still, nothing. The blankness of my laptop’s screen hummed away, mocking me. Two hours until the paper was due, and the only sentence I’d written (and deleted) thus far was:

    “I hold these truths to be self-evident, that the founding fathers were a bunch of sexist, racist pigs…”

    Couldn’t imagine my Ben Franklin worshiping, Revolutionary War re-enacting, American History professor would like that too much.

    I needed at least a B on this assignment to pass the class, but somehow found it difficult to write 5-7 pages on, as Professor Wilson put it, “The great men that freed our nation from tyranny.”

    Well freed, the white, land-owning, male nation anyway.

    Time was ticking away, I’d run out of snacks, and I think the lack of sleep was really getting to me when I finally started writing.

    ~Taryn Noelle Kloeden
    @tnkloeden

  24. The Three Wise Men

    “We’ve got to get rid of those darn Brits”
    Tom looked up from his 15th draft.
    “No one can justify theses taxes being levied on us”
    Tom sighed, it was difficult getting the other two here to agree. These words had to be catchy and to include at least one slogan the people could chant to.

    “How about this?”

    Ben and John were both praying it wasn’t another tirade of flowery prose. They were Patriots after all not the sycophants of King George III

    “All men are created equal”
    “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”

    Ben and John took time debating these phrases. They certainly didn’t feel equal to all men, weren’t they intellectually better than most? How did happiness contribute to life? It didn’t keep you fed. John thought Tom must have been thinking about his wife. Ben thought Tom had lost the plot.

    “Ok lads it’s done, last one at the King’s Head buys the first round”

    160 words
    @stellakateT

  25. Her Majesty’s Independence Day
    Evan Montegarde
    158 words

    “Are you Sure Jefferson that we are to declare ourselves a Sovereign State free of the Crown?”

    “My Dear Mr. Franklin,” the tall, well-dressed Virginia Planter smiled, “I’m only doing Queen Charlotte’s bidding.”

    “But Jefferson, this is absurd.”

    Jefferson turned toward the seated John Adams, “How is following Her Majesty’s wishes an absurd act sir?”

    Adams flushed, “I mean independence, why, we are all British, hell, we could soon all become French or some even some worse fate if there is one. Why would the Queen request such an act?”

    Jefferson grinned, “She is furious at George, he made it clear he wants fifteen children, a virtual fleet of heirs. What better way to keep him busy than a revolution in the colonies.”

    “But isn’t that a women’s duty, bear her husband’s seed?” Franklin mumbled.

    “Have you seen childbirth, sir? Jefferson replied. “Now multiply fifteen times.”

    Franklin and Adams nodded, “We see, she is the Queen after all.”

  26. And The Land (She Breathes)
    160 words

    Aiyana bowed her head, glancing only once at the men sitting at the single table that dominated the small space.

    In this place they called her Sarah and she accepted it because it reminded them that she was a half-breed… just a half-breed. It wouldn’t do for them to see her as anything else because the enemy of your enemy was only your friend until that enemy was vanquished.

    Despite the circumstances of her birth Aiyana did not fear these men.

    They were kind but misguided, thinking that they were the ones responsible for this day.

    Aiyana knew that history would only speak of the battles won with sword and pen.

    History would not tell the tales of the women.

    There would be no stories of the mothers behind the soldiers, of girls who wept in their wedding beds so that information could be passed along.

    No, history would not remember its women but the land…it would never forget them.

  27. The Declaration of Independence

    She was pacing up and down the living room. Was she going to say something? She should. She had to. It’s what she wanted. She’d been thinking about it since last Tuesday night and she couldn’t get it out of her head anymore. Let alone her heart. But how would he react? Would he be shocked? He was so spoilt. Not that he realized it. But that came with the territory. She knew what she was getting into when she married him. Many of her girlfriends wanted to change their husband. Not her. She thought that was smart. Better not get frustrated. But now, something had to change.

    The front door opened and he came in.

    Without waiting for his hello, she said: “Honey, tomorrow I want to watch Belgium-Argentina. It’s at six o’clock, so you’ll need to make dinner.”

    Surprisingly enough he asked “What would you like to eat?”

    150 words
    @bartvangoethem

    • This perfectly captures the personality of so many women I know. Oh how we torture ourselves over the least little thing until it’s blown way out of proportion, and then the man comes round like, “Eh, whatever dear.” ha! I love a story with personality, and this one’s definitely got that. And way to spin the Declaration of Independence prompt. That’s what I like the most about your style, subtle cleverness.

  28. Self-Evident Truths

    “How does this sound?” asked the tall, red-haired Virginian. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

    “I have received another missive from my dear Abigail, admonishing me to not forget the women,” said the small man with the white hair.

    “Huzzah, Adams, there is not a woman on earth which I have ever forgotten,” said the bespectacled man.

    “Except, Franklin, it appears your own lady wife Deborah, rest her soul,” said the red-haired man.

    “Jefferson, I absented myself from Deborah to preserve her health. You keep getting poor Martha with child, and she with the sugar sickness.”

    “Let us ask the cleaning girl here,” Jefferson said. “Lucy, is it not? What say you?”

    Surprised they had noticed her, Lucy answered, “Everyone should be free, every man, woman, child, slave.” She gathered their discarded papers from the floor and left.

    “Preposterous,” said Franklin.

    “Unworkable,” said Jefferson.

    Adams sighed. “Unforgivable.”

    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    157 words

  29. @jujitsuelf
    160 words

    Freedom’s Price

    It was treason, pure and simple. At least, the British crown would see it that way. What Jefferson was doing could see him and his fellows condemned to death.

    Franklin silently read the latest draft of their venture. What would he find to strike out? There’d be something, there had been the last four times. Jefferson favored flowery prose, but perhaps this was not the platform for it.

    Independence. How did one encapsulate such a thing in a single document? The desire to live and die as free men, scratched onto parchment.

    Independence. Treason. Strange how they could be one and the same.

    “Be brave, Thomas,” Martha had whispered as he left their bed that morning. “You’re doing the right thing, a great thing.”

    Franklin shook his head. Jefferson privately agreed, it was good but it wasn’t quite there yet.

    Ignoring the fear prickling down his spine, he set to work to craft a nation’s freedom with quill and ink.

  30. 156 words
    no twitter handle

    ‘Musicians. Impossible to Live With but They Have No Resale Value’

    **

    “No, no, no! You tried to sell me that accursed melody last week. I said no then and I say no now!”

    Karl wadded the score up and flung it to the floor in a schoolboy display of temper.

    “It fits the words,” Hans protested. “Give it a chance.”

    August rolled his eyes and dipped his quill in the leaking inkpot. His brothers had had this very quarrel last week and the week before and the week before that. Hans was a talented composer but occasionally he had dry spells. It drove Karl out of his mind with frustration.

    “Do you have but one pathetic tune in you?” Karl’s voice rose to a bellow.

    “Yes!” Hans shouted, his face red. “At the moment I have one damned tune and you’re going to use it, or so help me…”

    August ducked his head and returned to his own parchment. Musicians were unbearable. Writers were far more entertaining.

  31. Jessica West
    @West1Jess
    Word Count: 157

    Time and Again

    Every time she faced the painting felt like the first, and she already felt so small. Such a momentous occasion, but each occurrence a bit different. The same results ensued, no matter how hard she tried to alter the course of history. This time, her instructions were to focus on Adams.

    Celia fidgeted with her gossamer gown. David wouldn’t allow her to travel dressed, so she removed it the moment he entered the room.

    She’d begged once to be allowed even a scrap of cloth to cover her most private places, but he’d refused.

    “If they so much as feel a breath of you, all will be lost. Your influence must be subtle.”

    David opened the latch on the bird cage, her home, and quickly covered the opening with the painting. He needn’t threaten her again, she knew the consequences of rebellion.

    Bare naked and trembling, Celia stepped into the painting – through time – once again.

  32. Reblogged this on Write This Way and commented:
    A new judges panel is up and ready to play ball. Starting off the third quarter, Craig Anderson steps up to the plate. Get your flash pitches ready, he’s raring to go!

  33. A Period in History
    Orville Burch
    147 words

    “Ben, it is not a query letter,” Tom complained, “Besides King George can’t read.”

    “Just approve the damn thing,” John encouraged. “Abigail has a party planned for the fourth and it will be hell to pay if the document isn’t signed by then”

    “What seems to be your problem anyway?” Tom asked.

    “Right here, I am not sure if there should be a period after the word ‘happiness.’

    Tom grabbed the parchment from Ben’s hands and read it ‘We hold these truths…blah blah pursuit of Happiness…That to secure these rights, blah blah…’

    “It makes sense either way, but the intent changes,” Ben explained.

    John shifted in his chair, “It doesn’t matter to me. I vote for whatever will rile up the insurrectionists.”

    Tom picked up his quill pen and allowed a small drop of ink to drip in between the words ‘Happiness’ and ‘That,’ “Let history decide.

  34. PAINT-STAKING POSITIONS

    “I say, Ferris, you drew some right funny Declaration of Independence editorial cartoons on the Declaration prop. But I can’t laugh. And I can’t share it with my fellow models. You realize how restricting that is. Why, we three might even rebel! This is taxing without benefit of tea!”

    “Yes, Ferris, you gave me a quill pen to hold in this tableau. I’ve stood here so long that I feel the quill’s become a personal pin feather among the twelve others that lie on the table. Our thirteen-feathered goose is about to become an eagle if we can only be liberated from our stances!”

    “Men, please, Mr. Ferris needs our cooperation. The Ship of State sails above us precariously……and veritably, in this painter’s set. If she shifts fore or aft in the cross breeze, she’s liable to crack a mast, so let’s stay on course and declare our independence at the end of the painting session.”

    WC = 156, exclusive of title

  35. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness in the Big City

    You are late! Really Late! Again! We have barely spoken to each other in last two weeks.

    He gently took her hand. “It’s temporary. Once this project is over, we can spend more time
    together. Plus, there is a bonus if we complete it ahead of schedule.” He hoped to cheer her up.

    “When did the pursuit of happiness become the pursuit of money?” She barked. “You said, it’s the land of the free and brave. You were brave, and persuaded me to come here with you, but I don’t see you being free. You work 24/7, more like a slave, if you ask me.”

    “There goes my liberty.” He said jokingly, hoping to lighten the mood. “But, we have each other and we have our whole lives ahead of us, don’t we?” He put his arms around her and held her close.

    The window shattered allowing a stray bullet a path to her heart. She collapsed in his arms.

    Pratibha
    @needanidplease
    160 words

  36. “The Handprint on History”

    As the ball bounced, little William scrambled to pick up as many knucklebones as possible. “That’s five!” he cheered at his sister. “Bet you can’t beat that.”

    The words rolled over Mary without consequence. Her gaze fixed on the window, she watched Mr. Franklin hold up the piece of parchment the way one holds their newborn for the first time. “It’s done,” Mary whispered.

    “Mother said we aren’t suppose to talk about that. It’ll get us killed.”

    “I don’t care. I want to see it.” William opened his mouth to protest but Mary already took off from their spot in the street. Inside the building, they waited for the men to leave. Once they did, Mary and William tiptoed into the room. Awed, she eyed the document, caressing the bottom with her hand. The oils from her skin left a smudged handprint like a shadow on the hide. In the moment, she became history. A puzzle historians would never solve.

    Words: 160
    @iRkat525
    http://irkatstories.tumblr.com

  37. She Served Wisdom
    (Word Count – 157)

    She loved the smell of proper gentlemen – all famous, full of themselves and reputation; cleaned and bathed unlike most folks. Tobacco smoke bolstered their strength and the resolve of their discussion. Politics, King George, and money fueled their fire.

    “Excuse me are they ready for tea?”

    The doorman rudely answered, “Woman we have no time for you!”

    “Let me tell you something, Mr. High Breeches, you may think you’re high and mighty but my Creator made me same as He made you. We’re all equal in God’s eyes.”

    The men’s applause for her words ensued into an excited discussion. She left them as others began to arrive.

    Afterwards, picking up paper, discarded and scattered, an unusual signature caught her eye – Button Gwinnett.

    She thought, “Strange name but I never heard of him. Maybe I’ll keep this paper and see if all this fuss amounts to anything.”

    She didn’t see how they had used her words.

  38. An Excellent Adventure by Laura Emmons (160 words)
    “Bill, this new time machine can look like any object, and shrinks to any size. Right now we’re hiding in a tiny eighteenth century cutter.”

    “Won’t they freak if they notice a toy boat floating overhead, Ted?”

    “Nah, these things happen in 1776. It’s our most excellent adventure yet. They’re writing the Declaration of Independence.”

    “Who?”

    “Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams.”

    “The beer dude? Excellent!”

    Jefferson read aloud, “…these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

    The door to the room opened. A woman entered, carrying a pile of clothes. She walked over to the table where the men worked and glanced over Franklin’s shoulder. “And what about the women, then? Are we to be equal as well?”

    “Ah Betsy,” Franklin looked at her with sad eyes, “you know a woman’s place is in the house.”

    “Which house, good sir?”

    “That white house.”

    Bill and Ted giggled, “Dude, he said…”

    “Excellent! Let’s go tell Hillary.”

  39. Me Time (approx 160 words)

    All the possessions were sold.
    CDs, DVDs,TV, bed, sofa, kitchen appliances – All SOLD
    Old clothes had been taken to the the charity shop.
    Books gone, worlds of beauty & imagination, but bulky & heavy. Some people had got got real bargains, but seemed to think they were doing you a favour!
    Shoes sold too. Who’d’ve thought it?
    Jewellery – shame to let some of it go as most of it had been given with memories attached.
    BUT
    Now she was free
    Free of the man.
    Free of the past.
    Free from work.
    Free from the so-called friends who were not there cheering her.
    Free from responsibility.
    With the children all gone to their own lives there was nothing left to keep her here. Nothing to hold her back.
    She picks up her one bag and, heading in to the unknown she is heard to say “let freedom reign..”

  40. Crumpled Notes of Her by J.S. Mitchell (151 words)

    Benjamin stared at the document in his hand.

    “Plundering her seas, ravaging her coasts,” he read to himself as the list of offenses continued.

    “For the sole purpose of fatiguing her into compliance with his measures.”

    He looked away from the letter and walked towards the painting. There stood three men of his country’s heritage, one of whom his namesake. His mind returned to the problem at hand.
    Someone had gone through a lot of trouble to recreate the lines of the Declaration of Independence on a Hobby Lobby framing invoice, but that wasn’t what was bothering him. The fact that someone had staged unclaimed artwork pointed to an insurrectionist in his company’s midst.

    Was it Mary in Arts in Crafts? “No,” he thought, “too Catholic.”

    Shrugging his shoulders, he crumbled the paper. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that crumpled notes of her lay scattered on the floor.

  41. “We hold these truths…” [150 words] by @DoctorMikeReddy

    “Attention class! The portal will only stay open for a few minutes. What you’re seeing is chronovision of the actual moment that the old SA corporation terms & conditions regulations were first drafted…”

    No sudden gasps. No enthusiastic peering. It was going to be one of those days.

    “The SA was the first incorporated country, children. I want you to watch these important men very carefully.”

    Hundreds of thousands of SA sterling to keep this link running. Ah well.

    “Have any of you heard of ‘The Invisible Gorilla’ at all…? Thought not. I want you to watch for THE moment when these important men first hit upon the inspiration for the original SA Corp mission statement.”

    They don’t see her. So intent upon these important men. The bell jar clad maid flicking in and out. The Invisible Gorilla, (The Insurrectionist Guerrilla?) picking up crumpled paper. Looking, straightening and putting one back.

  42. Playing with the light
    @mishmhem
    149 words

    “Look at this painting and tell me what you see?” The psychologist said as she flipped to the next slide.

    The image of a still life was replaced with a historical portrayal of the writing of the declaration of independence.

    “Take your time…”

    Andy thought for a moment then began, “Independence is a lie—no one man or woman can stand alone and live. We depend on each other; we need each other if we are to survive. ”

    “How does it make you feel?”

    “… Inadequate?”

    “How so?”

    “The momentousness of the occasion—the light shining on these three men…Making a stand for what they believe in…”

    “Yes? You feel they’ve done so much with their lives?” She asked the sense that they were about to make a major breakthrough hung in the air.

    Andy looked at her as if it were plain, then shrugged

    “I got nothing…”

  43. Carlos Orozco
    @goldzco21
    What a Life
    159 Words

    Life, liberty, and happiness. He mumbled these three words over and over, staring at the pile of torn envelopes and bills. She had ruined him. She took almost everything.

    “I’m leaving you,” she said “I have a right to pursue happiness.”

    He didn’t protest. “What about my happiness?” he felt like asking, but the words were enslaved by his mouth.

    He moved out, and what little money he had left went to the deposit on the crummy apartment and the used couch that doubled as his bed. He still had work, but the alimony he paid out made it impossible to keep up with the massive debt he incurred trying to make her happy. He wondered if this is how the founding fathers felt. If his ex-wife was a newer version of their tyrant king.

    He still had the right to life he thought. She couldn’t take that.

    “What a life.” He said aloud. “What a God Dammed life.”

    • Darn. Three minutes too late. Next time I should start writing before the last 30 minutes. Oh well. Consider this one a “For your reading pleasure.”

  44. I know I’m late, but here it is anyway.

    Martha’s Declaration
    158 words

    Martha’s eyes grew wide as she scanned the messy room. She thumped the tray down on the table. The teapot nearly jumped off the table and the cups rattled.
    “Is there a problem Martha?” John noticed she looked about as rattled as the china.
    “A problem?” Her voice dripped with sarcasm. “Of course not, coffee rings on the table, papers thrown all over the floor–that’s how all of the ladies keep house isn’t it? And three grown men deliberating for days over what would take a woman only minutes to articulate. Hey King George–we aren’t paying your taxes, deal with it. We are creating our own government–deal with that too! Oh, and you may as well start calling us the United States of America cause we’ll whoop you in a fight.”
    Martha stalked out of the room.
    “Dang I wish we could say it her way.” John chuckled. “I’d love to see the look on the King’s face.”

    Charity Paschall
    @CharityPaschal2

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