Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 43

Happy October! Such a pleasure seeing you back here again. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to spend a few minutes with the FF community. Your stories stir the blood, and your support of each other warms the heart. What else is there to say, except WELCOME TO AWESOMENESS!!!!

Speaking of inspiration, our innocent (looking) little photo today was taken off the coast of Dubrovnik. On this day in 1929, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. If you’re not familiar with the history of this region and Yugoslavia in particular, I challenge you to take a closer look. The dynasty got its start in the early 1800s, then its rulers were exiled abroad for many years (and then voted back in), until the last king (Peter II) was eventually forced into permanent exile as the kingdom itself crumbled. Even today, Crown Prince Alexander, the last official heir of Yugoslavia, waits in Belgrade, ready to rule should his lost kingdom ever draw breath again. If that doesn’t get a Muse nattering in your ear, I don’t know what will!  

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Thanks to a behind-the-scenes switcharoo (to use the technical literary term), up as judge today is Margaret Locke. Being a Queen herself, she laughs at anyone’s attempts to seize her throne (though she still dares them to try). She advises you instead to focus your efforts on writing stories that make her feel, ones with rich language and cleverly imagined conceits. Read more about what she likes in a story here.   

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

Now, start your political machinations and 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 Monday

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 name “Karađorđević”):

Politician***Today’s Prompt:

Local fisherman, Yugoslavia. CC photo by GothPhil.

Local fisherman, Yugoslavia. CC photo by GothPhil.

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847 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 43

  1. *** Judges entry – just for fun ***

    Don’t rock the boat

    The waves lapped gently against the hull of the fishing boat as the two men lazily wiled away their Sunday afternoon. The sun was warm and the beer was cold. All was going swimmingly, until Phil went and ruined it. He turned to Bob and said, “Is my wife getting fat?”

    Bob found himself mentally picturing Phil’s wife. He had to use a lot of his imagination to squeeze all of her in. There was an awkward pause while he crafted a suitable response, “Your wife isn’t getting fat, she’s simply having a horizontal growth spurt.”
    Phil mulled that over, “Oh ok. Does that mean she’s fat though?”
    “Fat is relative. Fat compared to what? Compared to a grizzly bear your wife’s skinny as a rake.”
    “That still sounds pretty fat.”
    “Trust me, no-one would ever call your wife fat.”
    “They wouldn’t?”
    Bob gave up, “Hell no, they’d be way too scared of her to say anything!”

    158 words
    @todayschapter

  2. Bated Breath (160 words)
    @brett_milam

    For a moment, as the water beguiled me with its gentle lapping against the side of our small boat, I’d forgotten that the Congressman’s body was cut into 13 chunks and stacked in our bait cooler.

    Lennie was already in the deep end of the whiskey bottle, as he fiddled with the netting.

    “It starts today, here, with us, Bruce,” Lennie said, his words slurring out like he had a mangled starfish in his mouth.

    Then, Lennie unzipped.

    “Season ya up for the fishies, but they probably don’t even want your filth,” Lennie said, as his piss drizzled on the grey hair chunk of the Congressman.

    His style was a bit much for me alright, but I couldn’t shake the adrenaline when we netted the Congressman right outside his home.

    Felt like something mattered again. Felt like I mattered.

    I took a swig on the whiskey before it was all gone and listened to the gentle lapping, tapping.

  3. This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get

    The rifle cracked twice, the sound dopplering across the bay. The PM jerked instinctively, thinking that they were under attack again, then relaxed when an aide pointed him towards the empty fishing boat drifting in a spreading scarlet slick.

    “Illegals?”

    “Can’t be too careful sir.”

    The PM waved to the guard turrets ringing the compound.

    “Good show chaps!”

    The aide sighed.

    “They’re automated sir, remember? Too many undesirables in the squad, you said.”

    He gestured towards a cluster of wooden crucifixes on the beach, where the seagulls perched and pecked at what remained. The PM chuckled.

    His phone bleated out Land Of Hope And Glory and he checked the screen, then slipped it away, fishing for his cigarettes instead.

    “Looks like the natives are getting restless again. Birmingham’s burnt to the ground.”

    He thought of the benefits bill for the city, erased in one night, and barked out a laugh.

    “And they said I had no economic policy.”

    158 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

  4. All Politics Is Local (159 Words)

    “Politics ain’t personal,” Jimmy K said and lit a cigar. The sea breeze ruffled his silver hair, and dawn light gave his face a rosy glow. “All politics is local though. You know who said that?”

    He glared at the Congressman sitting across from him.

    “You don’t remember, do you? It was Tip O’Neill. Speaker of the House. A great man. Don’t know your history, huh? Guess that’s why you been such a disappointment.”

    Jimmy K shook his head and puffed on his cigar, his great jowls billowing in and out like bellows. “It’s a sad thing when you forget your friends. When you forget where you come from.”

    A man appeared from inside the cabin. He finished wrapping chains around the Congressman’s body.

    “The Congressman don’t have much to say this morning, Jimmy.”

    “It don’t matter. He’s on permanent vacation.”

    Gulls swooped low when the Congressman’s body hit the water.

    Jimmy K said, “Throw them birds some food.”

  5. The Morning’s Haul
    152 words
    @scturnbull

    The two men set out in darkness, but by the middle of the lake the sun was risen. The air was still and already warm. Taking the fishing net, they fed it over the side, allowing the slight current to spread it out.
    “So, lets eat,” the older man said.
    He opened a hamper and handed over sausage and bread. From a bottle of slivovitz he poured them a glass each.
    “Zivio ziveli,” he toasted.
    “To life,” the younger man responded, “though not the Bosniaks, neh?”
    “Ack, Ratko, no. What are we going to do. We need to break their spirit.”
    “Simple, Radovan. Deprive them of their fighters. Current or potential.”
    Ratko held his glass forward, Radovan refilled it.
    “How?”
    Ratko shrugged his shoulders. “Easiest way in wartime, we kill them.”
    Silence hung on the water, like breath held in expectation.
    Radovan nodded. “Do it.”
    A gust of wind rocked the boat.

  6. Double Cross

    Andrej gazed at the walls of old Dubrovnik while Josip threw the nets.

    ‘God’s blessing,’ Josip muttered. Andrej crossed himself quickly and drove the boat on.

    A sudden boom made them look toward the city. Clouds of yellowish dust rose from the walls.

    ‘Starting early,’ Josip murmured.

    ‘Vuković’s ‘modernisation’ won’t wait.’

    ‘Walls that stood against all comers, brought down by one of our own.’

    ‘One of our own? No Croatian would do this.’ Andrej’s pulse raced.

    ‘But he has the Crown Prince’s command.’

    ‘Forged. Forced, maybe.’ Andrej spat.

    ‘You opposed the Cathedral’s razing,’ said Josip. ‘Didn’t you?’

    ‘As did every loyal Croatian,’ Andrej replied, too quickly. He turned to meet Josip’s calm gaze, and knew.

    Josip’s hand rested lightly on his gun.

    ‘But – you prayed. You spoke the old faith!’

    ‘Just words, comrade.’

    The hammer landed with an empty click.

    Andrej smiled. ‘If you’re going to play the game,’ he whispered, drawing his knife, ‘make sure you know the rules.’

    @SJOHart
    160 words
    http://sjohart.wordpress.com

  7. Undercurrent (159 words)
    @bex_spence

    Eric scanned the scene, sun light shimmered on the water, and the sea glistened with an enchanting blue green. Within the boat his son and daughter, all he had in this world.

    Official government order for the safety of the town, one of them had to go. A sacrifice made to protect them from the creatures of the sea. From those that lay beneath.

    His son, nearly a man himself spoke up, ‘Father, do not fear. I will go; Emiline is still just a girl’

    A tear ran down Eric’s weathered face, his hand lay on his son, ‘You are a good son, Thomas, a good brother’

    The boat rocked, waves moved ferociously, the beast was drawing in.

    Emiline stood, ‘No Thomas, not you’ rushing past the men she launched off the boat into the ocean, disappearing into the unknown.

    Wild thrashing then stark calm, it had embraced her, she was gone.

    Man and boy sat and wept.

  8. Divine Rights
    @geofflepard 157 words

    ‘What is it? The crown?’
    ‘Too heavy your majesty.’
    ‘The orb? The sceptre?’
    The prime minister peered into the water. ‘It’s moving, whatever it is.’
    The old men pulled at the rope. ‘It’s wriggling.’ ‘It’s wrapped in something.’ ‘Looks like carpet.’
    The PM looked at his Sovereign-in-waiting. ‘The prophecy? Can it be?’
    Roger, last King of the Balkans, smoothed his moustache. ‘It worked for Caesar.’
    ‘You think that’s Cleopatra?’
    ‘Hardly. She’d be 2000 years old. Get it in the boat.’
    Carefully they untied the rope and stood back. For a moment nothing then a slip and a slop and a mermaid lay gasping on the floor. She glowered at Roger. ‘And you are?’
    ‘Roger, king of the Balkans, here to claim my right.’
    ‘In a fishing boat?’
    ‘We’re looking for the crown.’
    ‘This?’ She held up a simple gold band.
    Roger shrugged. ‘Nope but it’ll do. Ta.’
    The mermaid heaved herself over the side. ‘Bloody royalty.’

  9. 160 words, @turnerpen2paper

    My Dad is a fisherman, and his Dad was a drunk. His Dad was a merchant in the port of Gruz, and his Dad was the Governor of the whole of Mostar District, which tells you something about the changing tides across the generations, I suppose.

    It was many years since I’d been on his boat, and the weather was kind. Crinkled waves caught the sun right across the bay. Tata had the rudder and I pulled in the nets, shuffling twine through city-softened hands, saddened by the lowly catch. He’d asked me there, one year from my mother’s passing.

    As the light faded, the boat floor was slick with scales. He cut the engine just as we rounded the headland, beside the cave which spits foam through its roof, a windswept spot that she loved. Tata spilt the ashes into the molten evening water and then we sat awhile, girice churning in the buckets, before turning sadly for home.

  10. The Expedition
    (159 words)

    They rocked and rolled to the rhythm of the boat, under a pea-green sky:

    ‘Now, let’s not be politicians about this, one of us is gonna die.’
    ‘That’s true, my friend, there’s no other way: one dead so the other can survive.’
    ‘We’ve used up everything we had so, I guess, the time has come to decide.’

    ‘Fatter!’
    ‘Older!’
    ‘Taller!’
    ‘That matters?!!’

    ‘Well, let’s draw straws, instead-
    the one with the shortest straw, is the one that ends up dead.’

    They drew black straws- all the time looking each other in the eye.
    It was The Cat , in the end, that came up short, but he thought he could still be sly.
    He pounced at The Bird with flailing claws, but The Bird was truly wise:
    The Bird side-stepped, so The Cat hit his head.
    And that’s how he came to be dead!

    Napkin,
    spoon,
    knife,
    fork.
    The Bird gorged herself in the growing dark.

  11. Fishing for Lost Time
    By: Allison K. Garcia
    160 words

    “Now, watch how I cast the line, Bryan.” The thin, plastic line whizzed through the pre-dawn air and plunked down in the sea. In the dim moonlight, a red bobber moved with the soft current. “You’ll know you’ve got something when you feel a little tug.”

    Water lapped the boat. The occasional splash in the distance of marine life jumping. A seagull calling its mate. Life. Inside the boat, silence weighed heavier than any anchor.

    He glanced over at the unused fishing rod. “I was never the best father.” He played with the reel. “I worked too hard on the campaign trail, missing your games, your parties, your homework. I realize now; all the money in the world could never amount to one second of time spent with you.”

    In the darkness, he felt the gentle pressure of a small hand in his. Heart aching, he stared into his empty palm, knowing he had one last moment with his son.

  12. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 159

    Empty Promises

    He’d promised to take her fishing, a real-life rendezvous in a world where she saw him mostly on the news. She’d looked forward to it for days, and then weeks, then months, until she realized she would never feel the gentle rocking of the boat, the sun cutting through the mist into the gray waters. Not with him. Never with him.

    He’d promised to take her to the carnival, to slide through crowds of fun-worshipers, a melting ice-cream cone in one hand and a stuffed Elmo in the other—the prize of some try-yer-luck booth.

    He’d promised her a thousand things—slices of time he’d carve out between his harried days in the senate chambers. But his words lost their shine after a time. They rusted into a dull bronze, then the brown of dirt. Worthless. Trampled.

    The day he won his reelection, he called her. I’ll take you to Europe.

    She hung up on him, weary, scourged with empty promises.

  13. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 157

    Baited

    Fred liked mackerel. Fred liked salmon. Fred liked perch, but none of the three swam in the bay the morning of the election.

    The only thing that ended up on his hook when he reeled it in—time after time—was a trailing clump of sodden seaweed

    “Funny, that,” he said, casting his line one more time into the water, shaking his head in my direction as he settled back into his chair. “You spend hours, days, heck, years even, perfecting your technique. The perfect cast. The strategic bait. Time of day. Is it too hot? Too cold? You wait, hoping for a bite, hoping the fish will swarm to your hook, interested in the scintillating slice of delight you put before them. Some bite; the rest go their merry way, heedless of the promises offered, perhaps even aware of the snare they so narrowly escaped.”

    I grunted. “Yeah. Funny. You sure you’re talking about fish?”

  14. Be Careful What You Kiss For

    The smack drifted on a disinterested sea. Two men, hair bleached by the sun and skin reddened by the wind, waited to haul in their catch.

    “Who’d you vote for?” Tar asked.

    “Didn’t.” Jack said.

    “What? People died for that. My dad for one, and your uncle Middy for another.”

    “What’s the difference? One baby-kisser or the next?”

    Tar shook his head. Another boat was coming towards them. Maybe Matelot from the next village.

    “I voted for the other lot.”

    “There’s my point. For all the good it did, you might as well have kissed this fish. Me and you’ve fished these waters all our lives and we’ll fish ‘em till we can fish n’more. I’ll leave the vote-casting to them who knows. It’s net-casting’s in my blood.”

    The other boat came alongside. Not Matelot after all.

    “Gentlemen, the new party has declared these waters Icelandic. You can no longer fish here.”

    “Pucker up,” Tar said, handing Jack a fish.

    160 words
    @MicroBookends

  15. The Old Man on the Sea
    160 words
    @UK_MJ
    ——————————-

    “You’re doing it wrong.”

    The cantankerous old voice was overly loud in the pre-dawn stillness.

    Teeth grinding, Lyle hauled on the net and ignored his father’s unceasing litany of complaints.

    It was too cold.
    The boat was too small.
    The water was too smooth.
    Etc. Etc. Etc.

    “Pull it up from the side or that net’ll get snagged. How you gonna catch anything in a net with a hole?”

    Yes, sir, Mr. President. Anything you say, Mr. President.

    “I thought I taught you -”

    “DAD!” Lyle tossed a frustrated look over his shoulder. “I brought you out here to have a good time! Will you please just shut up and have a good time?!?”

    The old man looked at him like he’d grown a second head.

    “I am having a good time. I’m out here with my boy, ain’t I?”

    Teeth grinding again, Lyle turned back to the net.

    “Guess it don’t matter what you catch. You can’t cook anyway.”

  16. The Politics of Fishing

    ‘But that would be very patronising, sir’, the MP’s assistant protested.

    ‘Would it?’

    ‘Why, yes. Nowadays people want to be responsible for their own fate, be independent.’

    ‘Really?’

    The assistant clamped the bridge of his nose with his index finger and his thumb and started massaging, eyes closed. He was grateful he worked for a reputed politician, but some days, some days nothing would please him more than to strangle that man with his bare hands. If that was even possible. The slippery bugger.

    ‘Let me tell you something,’ the MP said. ‘And I’ll get straight to the point, because I know how you hate it when I do my politician thing.’

    The assistant swallowed.

    ‘After all these decades I have only learned one thing. Don’t teach people how to fish. Give them fish.’

    The assistant frowned deeply, while the MP seemed to look straight through him.

    147 words
    @bartvangoethem
    #FlashDog

  17. Fisher of Men
    159 words
    @HomeWithCarol

    “Where are you going?” she asked.
    “Here,” he replied, placing a photograph in her hands.
    “Fishing? You’re going fishing?”
    “No, Mama. I’m going to be a fisher of men, just like you’ve prayed all my life. Remember? We talked about this already.”
    “Oh.”
    Silence. God, how he hated this place.
    “I’ve got to go now, Mama. I love you.”
    “Oh? Where are you going?” she asked again.
    He felt like a politician, repeating himself over and over.
    “Look at the picture, Mama. Keep the picture, Mama. Then, whenever you miss me, remember that I’m a fisher of men and pray for me.”
    Silence.
    “I love you, Mama.”
    “I love you, too, son.”
    When he stepped through the automatic doors of the nursing home, the airport transport van waited for him. He handed the driver his bag and climbed into the front seat.
    Once on the freeway, the driver asked, “Where are you going?”
    “Fishing,” he said. “I’m going fishing.”

  18. La Mer
    @Making_Fiction #FlashDog
    158 words

    Under the sea, the microbes feed on the waste; animal remains and organic decay. For they are the forgotten victims of the wars.

    Under the sea, the crustaceans look above them, hunted, yet always looking downwards to the food. They hover, hunting, above the sludge.

    Under the sea, the plankton goes unnoticed, yet it fill oceans as big as continents and sustains creatures the size of houses. Given the right conditions, plankton glows, pulses and shines.

    Under the sea, the sharks go where they please. Their predatory eyes always scanning. They are the politicians of the war-ravaged region that feast on lobster, oysters and caviar.

    On the sea, a boat. It bobs in the undulating waves; it’s at the mercy of the perpetually changing tides.

    Above the sea, the exiled king sits. He casts his net but dredges up nothing but murky water. One day the net will close and he’ll catch the sea, and everything in it.

    • Thanks Tamara, you’re the undisputed queen of feedback and generosity. Well spotted, for some biizarre reason I had music in my head the minute I saw the picture. It was La Mer / Beyond the Sea but then it sort of morphed a bit (but without me even realizing it) 🙂

  19. Family Business

    My hands are chapped and red from the cold. I turn my equally wind stung face back toward the wind, repelled and satisfied at the same time. The salty air speaks of my ancestors as it robs me of my beauty.
    My father stops the boat and we gather our nets in silence, the wind orchestrates our work.
    I brave words that will sting more than the cold air.
    “I’ve heard talk in town that Andrej will be raising taxes again for the fishermen.”
    It aches and relieves to say his name out loud.
    My father spits into the sea, his only statement.
    My father is ashamed to bring his daughter in his boat, to displace her from her post in society. But he is more ashamed to have borne a son whose quicksilver words and heartless ambitions keep our people poor.
    My father’s hands are soon bloody and yet I know he considers his work cleaner than his son’s.

    160 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  20. Ten Minutes
    158 words
    By Laura Carroll Butler

    “Okay, there’s these two politicians fishing in a lake…”
    Guy #1. This night is not starting out well. I laugh anyway.
    Thank God, a break! I touch up my lipstick in the ladies room and prepare for another hour.
    Guy #6. “…and they replaced Starbuck with a woman.”
    Starbuck? Isn’t that a candy? No, Starbursts. Mmm, those would be good right now. Or some dark chocolate to go with this weak wine. Where is that waiter? I need a refill.
    Guy #10. Well, he looks promising and he’s the last one. I think the 7-11 carries those dark chocolate Acai berries. Maybe the tenth time is the charm.
    ********************************
    Chick #10. She looks as bored as the last nine. I need to switch it up or this night is a bust. A joke…that guy in the men’s room told a joke at the break. Let’s see….
    “So there are these two politicians and they’re fishing on this lake…

  21. Making Waves
    By Gavin Parish (@GavinParish)
    160 words

    A political commentator had once called him ‘deep, like the sea’. He remained calm whatever challenges came his way. People only ever saw what was reflected on the surface, and they took it for transparency. Here was a man they could trust.

    Yet if they had been somehow granted access to the hidden depths, they might have recoiled from what they found there. Secrets in the dark – unnatural, unimaginable, twisted and abhorrent in nature – buried in the embracing sands of the ocean floor.

    Nobody was to know there was a tsunami coming. On a still day before the storm, the fishermen found the long-dead corpse floated to the surface, freed from its anchoring chains. There was a formal investigation. Forensics software revealed a face known to all.

    The imposter knew he had been doing a far better job, but it counted for nothing now. He retained his outward calm to the end, as he typed in the nuclear codes.

  22. The Heir and the Spare
    @stellakateT
    159 words

    The only two men on earth and they’ve both gone fishing in the same boat! Have they not heard of that rule, the heir and the spare never travel together? Not sure why they were chosen as the last two men. One is the Prime Minister and the other is my husband. In reality the only man to propagate the human race will be the PM unless someone knows how to surgically operate on my man.

    Some strong woman will have to hold him down he’s not keen on Doctors at the best of times. Not that I’m bothered it’s been years since my womb shrivelled up. Not sure why I was chosen to be one of the survivors God must have a sense of humour!

    Wonder how long they will be gone?
    It’s getting dark and I can hear animals circling the house.
    Thank God he chose these women to find me, they can multi-task. I’ll be safe

  23. Survival Of The Best
    @_HannahHeath
    160 words

    Trítous stared at the other two men in the boat. “No! This is wrong. I will not kill to become president!”

    Gáidaro smirked. “It is the will of the people. The best will survive tonight’s trial and be elected.”

    Eléfantas clenched his fists, eyeing Trítous, the smallest of them all.

    Trítous shook his head fiercely. “It is wrong!” He threw himself overboard.

    Trítous’ splash sprinkled silver water against the darkness. Gáidaro turned to face Eléfantas.

    Eléfantas pitched forward, sending the boat lurching and forcing his opponent off balance. Pulling a gun, he carefully aimed and fired. Gáidaro fell backwards. Red tendrils licked the surface of the black water.

    Throwing the gun away, Eléfantas rowed quickly to shore. Jumping from the boat, he waved at the crowd. “The best has survived!”

    It was then that he caught sight of Trítous, dripping wet and smiling. He felt somebody grab him roughly. Handcuffs clicked.

    The people cheered. “Trítous! Trítous!”

    The best had survived.

  24. GONE FISHING
    @hollygeely
    158 words

    “Where’s Jenny?”

    Bill showing up at my door didn’t surprise me, but I wasn’t glad to see him. Jenny had asked to stay with me for a while, since Bill had been “different” since he got elected.

    “Hey, idiot. I asked you a question.”

    Bill never liked me. I can’t say that I care.

    “Jenny went fishing,” I said. I pictured her casting a net out of the little boat. She seemed lonely so I put myself beside her. I reached for her hand and kissed it. She looked into my eyes and said…

    “Why the hell would she go fishing?”

    I hate Bill. He ruins all of my fantasies.

    “I’ll tell her you stopped by,” I said, and I closed the door in his face. I went back to the little fishing boat in my mind so Jenny could finish her sentence.

    “I love you, Sarah,” she said, and for a minute I believed it was true.

  25. Van Demal
    An equitable tender
    160 words

    The sun mints coins on the water. It mesmerises, steals my equilibrium.
    This has been our living for generations. This is currency, my father would say, a net full of quicksilver in the boat. This is food on the table. You can’t eat those dreams in your head. You can’t spend those numbers in your laptop. You can’t make money out of nothing.

    He was right – not about making money out of nothing, about me not being able to. You need power for that. Political power, business might. Now I can’t even pay my electricity bill.

    If only it were currency. I’d need a hundred nets to get clear, a thousand. Who can afford fish now? Who except the politicians – but where are they? Behind their big walls in their big houses, waiting; the fishers of men.
    It looks inviting, that glinting realm, an equitable tender. I could just step out, over the edge, into something new. Just one step…

  26. LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER

    @hollygeely
    160 words

    Robert’s ex-wife the super-important mayor dropped the kids off Friday without any warning. He took them to the lake and they got high on all the fresh air and had a hard time listening to him.

    “What did I tell you? You never go fishing without me, especially at night!” Robert said.

    “But I caught one,” Blythe said, holding up the net.

    “She was amazing!” Brayden said. “He told her to throw him back in but she got him.”

    “Fish don’t talk, Brayden.”

    “This one did,” Blythe said. “He said he’d give us three wishes, so I told him I wished for three dinners and hit him on the head with a rock.”

    She put the fish on the table. It was a big one, and though he was still angry, Robert was impressed.

    “You still have two wishes, if you want,” the fish said in a weak voice.

    Robert screamed and hit it on the head with a rock.

  27. Hunt(er)

    He was out alone to have the time to think.
    (The time to drink)
    He liked the heft of the gun in his hand.
    He raised the double barrel and shot a duck.
    (Shot a man, a man)
    He heard the squawk
    (No, the cry)
    And the splash of his prize.
    (The sound of his crime)
    “I shot and killed a duck!” He cries out into the empty room.
    (A man, a man, a man, a man, a man!)

    His fixers, spokespeople, and aides have woven such tidy webs of lies that they have cocooned even his mind.
    They conspire for him; his mind against him.
    But echoes
    (Guilt)
    tear through the sticky threads from time to time.
    Another hunter shot a man in a boat by mistake. All the newspapers said so.
    The congressman shot a duck.
    (A man.)

    140 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  28. Fishing for Votes (156 words)
    Jay Dee Archer
    @jaydeejapan

    The motorboat parted the coastal waters of the northern Pacific Ocean. Two fishing rods bobbed with the motion of the waves.

    “Tell you what, Carl,” said the thin man. “If you catch something impressive, I’ll back you.”

    Carl smiled and leaned back in his seat. “You know I’ll win, Jeff.”

    “We’ll see. You’re an amateur at this.”

    “I may just have raw talent,” he said as he noticed his rod bending down and the left. “This amateur’s got something.”

    “Beginner’s luck.”

    Carl snatched his fishing rod and reeled in the fish. He pulled up and grunted. “It’s a big one.”

    “Probably seaweed,” Jeff said, laughing.

    Carl fought the fish, but slowly, the fishing line came up from the depths. The fish slapped its tail on the surface and Carl pulled it in.

    “Damn, it’s a king salmon. I guess I’ll have to back your nomination for party leadership.”

    Carl grinned. “Too bad I can’t be king.”

  29. Making Mother Proud
    @_HannahHeath
    160 words

    Mother taught me never to use foul language. But when Bill came home that night, it was all I could do to keep from cursing at him.

    He promised he would remember. Promised it would be the best anniversary we’d ever celebrated.

    And then he didn’t come home after work until past midnight. He smelled like fish.

    “Bill,” I said, “Didn’t you forget something?”

    Bill’s eyes grew as round as the fish I knew he had left in the car and his face became as white as their bellies. “Oh, honey, I didn’t forget! I promise! I just had to stay late at work. Deadline. You understand.”

    “You didn’t go fishing tonight, did you darling?” I knew the answer, but I wanted to see what he would say.

    “Of course I didn’t, dear,” he lied. “Gee, you look beautiful.”

    I was furious. So I said the first thing that came to my mind. “Why you…you…POLITICIAN!”

    Mother would have been proud.

  30. Title: Treaty of Vis
    Words: 157
    @RTayaket
    rashatayaket.wordpress.com

    “It’s a merger.” I said, struggling to row the boat. I had never had a political meeting in a boat.

    “You mean a takeover?” He defended, casting the net into the water. I was roasting in my suit out on the water.

    “An alliance. Align with us to fight the Axis occupation of Yugoslavia.” I said impatiently. It’s a war, not a tea party.

    “I have one question.” He said. I struggled with the paddles.

    “You expect our aid. Where were you when we called for your help?”

    I stopped rowing. The man in the boat had entered my chambers in London ten year ago. Rumor had it he had been killed in Marseille; but former king Alexander was here in the flesh. He had not been assassinated, but was hiding in plain sight in his own kingdom.

    “I will sign your treaty. But rest assured, Mr. Churchill, you will be dead before this war is over.”

  31. Disposal Team

    The two fishermen left port early in the morning, anxious to find the school that’d been lingering in the vicinity. They were poor men, able to afford only a decrepit wooden boat and an old-fashioned, hand-knotted net, which was why they’d created their unique sideline. They used the tide and their oars to get into position, saving their precious and hideously expensive diesel fuel for the return trip.
    “There they are!” Jorge shouted eagerly, pointing to the sharp fins slicing through the ocean after the silvery mackerel. He began scooping the bloody gobbets of flesh into the water. The sharks swirled closer, jaws agape. They began to gulp down the fishermen’s “special” chum, then something unprecedented occurred. The sharks turned and swam away at top speed.

    “See, I told you so!” Marcus crowed gleefully. “That dirty scoundrel was so rotten that even the sharks turned up their noses at him!”

    The radio crackled, “Breaking news, Mayor Zupan has disappeared.”

    159 Words
    Challenge Accepted: Politician=Mayor
    karnemily@yahoo.com

  32. Headlines
    @stellakateT
    159 words

    Wonder what will happen if I push him overboard?
    Headline in the Daily Mail ‘Prime Minister drowned. State funeral next week
    Who’s idea was this to get us talking?I hate fishing nearly as much as I loathe him. Knowing my luck I’ll push him overboard and then I’d have to attempt to save him and drown in this murky lake.
    Headline in the Daily Mail ‘Heroic Deputy saves the Prime Minister… by election announced.
    For God’s sake will he not sit down? What! hell no! He’s just caught a huge Chub.
    Headline in the Daily Mail ‘Champion fish caught by Prime Minister whilst he talks’.
    Does he really expect me to help him remove that hook from the end of his finger?
    Headline in the Daily Mail ‘Prime Minister survives terrorist attempt with poisoned fish hook’
    “Well PM how’s it going?” “Looks like I’m in for another five years”
    Headline in Daily Mail ‘Deputy PM charged with aggravated assault’

  33. THE FISH WERE BITING GOOD THAT DAY
    @voimaoy #flashdog
    160 words

    The fish were biting good that day when it fell out of the sky. It fell like a raindrop into the reservoir by the power plant. The only witnesses were two fishermen, the Mayor and the Sheriff of the little town, out early to watch the sun rise. It fell without a splash.

    The two friends managed to retrieve it. At first, they thought it was a meteorite, but it was too smooth and silvery. It was bigger than a football but about that shape. It was bigger than any fish they had ever caught before.

    “Let’s get pictures!” Joe, the Sheriff got out his phone.

    Bob, the Mayor, could use the publicity. It was an election year. “How’s this?” He stood next to the thing, smiling proudly, as if it were a trophy fish.

    He was smiling as a line appeared in the side of the thing. The line grew longer and wider, and a tentacle reached out.

  34. Missing
    @EmilyJuneStreet
    156 words

    Dejan scanned the horizon. Nothing but a fishing dinghy carrying two men. No space to conceal a stowaway. The girl had evaporated like mist on a mirror.

    Franjo paced the deck. “You should have caught her on the docks.”

    Dejan scowled. Years he’d served as a Cabinet minister, and still they treated him like a thug for hire. “The harbor log?”

    “No departures.” Franjo gestured at the distant dinghy. “She’d never use one of those.”

    Heir to a defunct throne, Princess Karađorđević usually breathed the rarified air in Belgrade penthouses, more media darling than political threat. But somehow the revolutionaries had seduced her.

    “All they needed was a figurehead,” Dejan muttered.

    “Maybe she swam.” Franjo glared at the glittering sea.

    “Maybe some goddamned sharks ate her.” Dejan swung his binoculars up one last time.

    He froze. A fisherman in the dingy turned, flicking a pale braid over a shoulder. No man had such a pronounced waist.

  35. @avalina_kreska
    The Gods help those who help themselves
    160 words

    ‘The road goes ever on and on…’
    ‘It’s not the bloody Lord of the Rings you know,’ Goran shouted, miserable from drinking too much Rakia the night before.
    Bojan immediately quietened down, Goran (the Mayor) was known to throw people from the boat for the smallest thing.
    As the net sailed into the water, Bojan wondered why he agreed to pander to Goran’s whims. They sat back for an hour. Goran played his bisernica and hummed.

    Bojan, retrieving the full nets, spotted something shiny, he watched it roll down into the corner of the boat.
    ‘Anything that falls into my boat is mine. Give it to me,’ said the quick eyed Goran.
    Bojan picked up the shiny gutting knife and plunged it into Goran’s heart. Goran gasped.
    Bojan picked up the other shiny thing.
    ‘The road goes ever on and on…’
    Bojan reeled from the shiny bullet, the shiny thing falling into the sea.

    The Gods rolled the dice. Heads.

  36. Fishing with the Queen
    158 Words – @Drempunkgeek

    “Look darling, you know you love me. We can make anything into a fabulous time… even worms and slimy, dead fish.” Natalie flapped her red manicured nails at the cooler of fish.

    “Yes, but did you have to wear high heels on the boat?”

    “One does not leave the house unless she is looking her best. Fishing or not, I need to be on my game in case the right man happens to wander into my life.”

    Jeremy stared at his friend. “We are in the middle of a lake. There is no one here to fall madly in love with you.”

    “Not the point sweetie.” Natalie crossed her muscled legs and smoothed her skirt.

    “Unless you are saying you dressed up for my benefit.” Jeremy snickered.

    “Oh honey. You couldn’t handle me. I need a real man.”

    Jeremy rolled his eyes. “Of course you do. I should have known better than to take a drag queen fishing…”

  37. Fish and Politics

    Councilman Applegate accepted the invitation to go fishing with Mayor Stockwell. In the boat the Mayor spoke.

    “Allright fish, just get used to this boat being up here. Don’t be afraid of the boat, come and take sheltered in its shadow.”

    A moment later he was rigging his rod. “Listen fish, I have worms for you, plenty of delicious fat worms.”

    The councilman asked sarcastically, “Are you going to tell them about the hook?”

    “No, the fish get discouraged hearing about the hook. Everyone loves the worms, but hates the hook. Can’t help that. It’s the hook that holds the worms in place.”

    “Kind of like taxes hidden in city services?”

    The mayor gave him a quick sideways glance.

    “Fish get discouraged easily with talk like that.”

    “We talking about fish or politics?”

    The mayor answered slowly. “Is there any difference?”

    The councilman suddenly understood why he had been invited.

    “Fish on!” the mayor proclaimed as he found success.

    159 Words
    @CharlesWShort

  38. The Shark

    Two politicians sat in a boat, bobbing in the middle of the ocean.

    The only sign of life came from deep within their stomachs.

    A shark popped out of the water.

    ‘I see you’re in a bit of a situation there,’ he chuckled.

    ‘You know what, if you tell me what kind of fishing rod you want, I’ll go and get it for you.’

    The two politicians eyed each other.

    ‘I’d take an ultra-light rod,’ the first politician said.

    ‘I’d take a medium-light rod,’ the second politician said.

    ‘I’d take a rod with slow action,’ the first politician said.

    ‘I’d take a rod with fast action,’ the second politician said.

    ‘I’d take a one piece rod,’ the first politician said.

    ‘I’d take a two piece rod,’ the second politician said.

    And so they debated, discussed and deliberated.

    After 43 days they died of hunger.

    ‘Idiots’, the shark thought and he tipped over the boat.

    154 words
    @bartvangoethem
    #FlashDog

  39. NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK

    Brian S Creek
    147 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDogs

    “I’m telling you it’s around here.”

    “You tell me a lot of things, Frank. It’s all just white noise.”

    “Nice, Jackie, real nice. Is that what twenty years of marriage gets me?”

    “You make it sound like service. How about I get you a gold watch?”

    “If you got off your fat ass and helped me with this device then we could find what we’re looking for. Then we could buy as many gold watches as we wanted.”

    “That contraption ain’t worth the thirty dollars you spent on it.”

    “Why did you even come out here?”

    “You said something about going to look for a politician. Sounded interesting.”

    “No, I said I’m taking the boat out to the channel to look for the wreck of the SS Politician.”

    “Well that doesn’t sound interesting at all. Although it does explain why we’re in your boat.”

    “I hate you.”

  40. WITH THE FISHES

    Brian S Creek
    154 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDogs

    The body hits the water, floats for a few second, and then descends to the bottom of the ocean. The chains around its battered legs accelerate the journey.

    “That’s the last rival taken care off, Mr DeMonet.”

    “Good work, Anthony. I can always rely on you.”

    Anthony beams with pride.

    Mr DeMonet sits at the other end of the boat having watched over the disposal process. He lights a cigarette with his gold plated New York Giants lighter. Family heirloom. Lucky charm.

    “I guess that’s everyone taken care of that can prevent your candidacy, Mr DeMonet.”

    Mr DeMonet puts his lighter back in his pocket and pulls out a gun. He fires once.

    Anthony raises his hands as if that would help. It doesn’t. He is lifted from his feet and sent overboard.

    Mr DeMonet moves to the middle of the boat and takes up the oars. “Guess I’ll have to row myself back.”

  41. Impostor
    (152 words)

    You flirt. I respond. We are not on solid ground yet. The land shifts like water, but I enjoy our courtship.
    I fantasise about you. There are endless possibilities in the world I build for us.

    Until, I see I was blind. You are not captain of a ship, pilot or altruist. Or anything I’d hoped you’d be!
    You’re weak. I got it wrong. I try to ignore you.

    I curse myself for things said, things unsaid; for another dead end relationship; for making a hero out of a man; for believing in such a phoney.

    Yet, you stalk my thoughts. I can’t get you out of my head.
    I concede, but this time I am in control. I throw away cliches.
    You will be a fisherman not a politician. You’ll speak from the heart not the podium. I weave a stronger plot. And this time, I write you in a Flash.

  42. Timeless
    As the time came for the legislator to view the petition, proposal and five year plan of the oyster farm, my partner and I grew increasingly nervous.
    The plan for the oyster farm was ten years in the making- from the nebulous dream to the stark reality of the USDA guidelines, the EPA’s requirements, eco-studies timed with setting up the parameters of the farm.
    All of these things fed into the gnawing desire to succeed. Both of our families were Third generation baymen. A pride in our craft and a responsible stewardship for the Sea was not just a part of who we were- it was in our blood. Generations of hard work, perseverance and blood had shaped who we were today.
    This was just another example of stoic fortitude that had shaped the Shore, the Sea and us into one entity that was ever moving , but never changing.
    150 words
    @ Lissette

  43. Serpentine
    157 words
    @lizhedgecock
    #flashcat(!)

    King Peter II hesitated on the threshold of the boat. Paint flaked from the wood, scales from a snake. But this man was trustworthy, Azinovic had assured him. ‘He will get you safely away.’ A smile rippled across his face. ‘Lie low, wait for it to blow over.’

    The fisherman hove anchor, tossed the tangle of rope into the bottom of the boat, and spat overboard.

    ‘Is it far?’

    The fisherman chuckled. ‘Not so far.’

    Wind stirred the ripples into waves. The boat pitched and twisted violently. Peter stared at the rope-snake to take his mind off throwing up. Sinuous, slithery, scaly…Azinovic said that public opinion was like a snake. ‘It turns this way and that, it darts when you least expect.’

    Peter saw Azinovic smile his slow smile, and a forked tongue flickered out. Bile rose, and Peter’s sumptuous dinner met the waves.

    Freed of their tangles, Peter and the anchor came to rest.

  44. Her Illustrious Imperial Highness, Empress Alex of the newly-independent country of Alexandratopia, was muttering quite unladylike things under her breath as she dragged her duffel bag along the beach. She paused to catch her breath, upon which time she realized that as Empress, she could say anything she pleased, and proceeded to excoriate, in no particular order, her mother, her brother, her dog, Mrs. Jenkins her English teacher, Tommy “The Lying Scummy Dirtbag” Anderson and Julie “You deserve him you skanky cow” Mitchell, and the weatherman, who’d made it rain so that she couldn’t go sailing with Tommy.

    Not that she’d be caught dead in his boat ever again.

    Reaching the dock, Alex flung her bag into the boat with a grunt. “Caught dead,” she thought, and giggled. As she rowed out onto the lake, she tried to find a comfortable position on the bag of heads and failed. Well, as an Empress, at least she could claim diplomatic immunity.

    160 words
    @drmagoo

  45. 160 words
    @pamjplumb
    #flashdog

    The Politician

    The sea bled into the sky as the day drew to an end. Vincz inched the line over the lip of the boat.
    ‘Have you still got him?’ asked Col.
    ‘Shh. Patience.’ Vincz’s back ached but he couldn’t move, couldn’t risk losing this fish. All day they’d waited this legendary character of the deep to visit them in the hope of getting a bite.
    Looking into the water, Vincz could see the fish. Labouring in the dying light, its gills blanched. Its eyes rolled. The hook had pierced its lower jaw. Blood from the wound swirled and flashed in the last flints of the sun.
    ‘Bring him in, why don’t you?’ Col moved forward, making the boat pitch to the left.
    ‘Damn it, Col.’ Vincz shifted his weight, sucked his lip. Almost. Got. Him. A twist of the line and it ended. Vincz shook his head. Gone.
    Col sighed. ‘That’s why they call him the “politician”. He’s a slippery bastard.’

  46. @pamjplumb
    160 words
    #flashdog

    Polly and Titian

    Seventy summers ago was their first time out. Young and free of worries they had rowed further than their parents allowed, laughing at their fear. Now so old, they worried about their own grandchildren going out too far, though each of them knew these waters as well as any fish.

    That first time out, the sun had shone like it does now, picking out each wave for special attention. But they hadn’t noticed it then. Instead, their eyes had feasted each on the other, greedily taking in the beauty in each other’s sparkling eyes, the softness of their teenage skin, the firmness of their eager bodies.

    They’d lain in the belly of the boat and clung together, reassured by their shared warmth and the motherly sway of the sea. Dreams of their future, all forgotten now, floated up to the evening sky.

    Now Polly and Titian leaned into each other, and smiled, and swayed on the sea.

  47. Vukovar

    Croatian girl. With one eye. And born a virtual spastic. Wears a dunce cap of sorts. And has been touched. Inappropriately. By both angels who live in the sky. And the grubby, funereal hands of the town mayor. Her unremembered birthdays. Had candles. That never got lit.

    [he made me wear a summer dress with pretty flowers on it and do you know it is tight around my waist?]

    She grew up. Slowly. An acutely diffident woman. With a broad aggregate of scars. Crippled by palsy. And bereft of the rudimentary social skills. That one requires.

    [there are stones and they are sharp and do you know that they are digging into my feet?]

    The dirty war came. And Serbian soldiers hurt her. Beat her. Maimed her. Hung her from the rafters of a shit filled cow shed. And she was forever grateful.

    143 words
    @Horrorshow_00

  48. Ghosts.
    It was overcast on the water again. Menditch was thin, leaning over the bow peering into the murky depths. Brososh was fat, sitting at the stern, watching the lanterns on the shore.
    “I count fifteen. That’s the whole town council.”
    Menditch turned. “Good. Our corrupt politicians must be worried we’ll find the bodies.”
    Brososh still wasn’t used to seeing his friend this way. He wrenched his gaze away from Menditch’s forehead. “What if they try to stop us?”
    Menditch laughed. “We have power. I heard them talking. The superstitious fools think there are ghosts out here.”
    “What if we don’t find the bodies?”
    “Done. I see them right below us. Now to expose those…”
    Brososh abruptly stopped his habitual chest rubbing and pointed. “They’re coming! They have boats!”
    “Let’s give them something to wonder about.”
    Brososh stood. Menditch shimmered and faded until even the bullet hole in his forehead disappeared. Brososh followed, fingering his chest hole.

    @rfmaraz38
    156 Words

  49. Fishing

    “Try throwing the net out on the other side.”
    “Very funny,” George replied. “Do you want to walk home?”
    “Just saying, son.”
    George cast the net out again, but this time to his left. “Are you sure there’s fish here?”
    “Sure was last time I was here. Caught some good mackerel.”
    “Well there don’t seem to be any now, Pops.”
    “Just keep casting and believe. They’ll come soon enough.”
    “I dunno; maybe climate warming has killed them all off?”
    “What the hell! You cannot believe that!”
    “Of course not… Well, I dunno.”
    “Oh come on! Anyway you don’t want to let them little fishes hear you say that or they’ll believe it and we’ll catch zilch! Hey son, listen; you can make people believe anything you want them to. You get enough of them believing and you can lead a nation.”
    The boat tipped slightly to the left.
    “See George,” said the old man, “the net’s getting heavy.”

    @CliveNewnham – 158 words

  50. Kathy Maffei
    @elfenkate
    #flashdogs
    159 Words

    A Last Afternoon

    The boat bobbed and ebbed, slow and methodical. Joe looked over at the older man across from him.

    “Aren’t there things you should be doing?

    The old man looked up at the marshmallow clouds in a quiet sky.
    The tattered Yankees hat sat shading his eyes.
    His hand dipped into the water, small circles spread from the spot.

    “Probably. But none so important.“

    Joe watched him. “You’ll still see the clouds you know.”

    “Yeah. But I’ll bet they’re a heck of a lot nicer being under than over.” The old man smiled at him. Joe knew that was true.

    The mood suddenly broke with the rod’s loud spinning. The thin wire tightened and slacked until finally the desperate creature was pulled into the boat. The old man ran his hand over the slick scales. Gently cradling it, he lowered it back home..

    “Well Dad, maybe you can be the President who brings the White House back home to Earth.“

  51. Fishing Expedition

    James McDeery pushed open the door, waded through the warm rush of urine-stained air and, head cowed, scanned the room. One of the stalls was marked occupied and in his periphery he could see a figure at the urinals, swaying slightly, as if he was about to slump to the floor with the rest of the filth.

    He hesitated before approaching the man. His Loakes stuck to the tile and his digust bounced from the sweating walls until it fell upon the man’s loathsome frame.

    ‘You came, then?’

    James recoiled. ‘Clearly. So?’

    ‘It’s going through.’

    ‘You’re sure? 100%?’

    ‘Keep your voice down,’ the man hissed.

    ‘Okay, okay. Tomorrow’s front page?’

    ‘Already written, Minister.’

    He looked up to meet the bone-cold stare of the suited man.

    ‘I’ll be in touch.’

    The creature slouched away, leaving James to piss away his betrayal.

    In the cubicle, unnoticed, the recording was stopped.

    148 Words
    @_sarahmiles_

  52. The Fisher King
    by A J Walker

    The politician was not a religious man, but he was sure this freezing hour was ungodly. The fisherman smiled at his uncomfortable passenger as he rowed up to the buoy.

    “I tell you,” he said, “You will not be disappointed my friend.”

    As he tied off the boat to the buoy, then started to pull up the net, two ducks in single file flew directly over the boat as if on reconnaissance.

    “This will be worth my fortune, I am lucky guy,” he said, “You? You will make of it what you will.”

    A solid bell-like toll reverberated through the flat stillness as something hit the boat. The fisherman beamed his gap filled smile, his single gold tooth twinkled a tiny sun.

    “So my friend, I give you the famous crown jewels,” he said holding up the treasure. “Maybe I’ll be a rich man now. Maybe you find a prince and be a kingmaker.”

    The politician calculated his possibilities.

    (160 words)
    @zevonesque

    #FlashDogs

  53. The Meeting

    Todd flatters himself skilled with words – prevaricating politician – able to turn more than singular phrases; knowing he needs them today, as he walks the corridor, doors ajar to hear him pass. His gut precedes him, ensuring his arrival is marked by the eyes of those likely to form his strongest opposition. Some meet his gaze as he walks, fishing for answers to the unspoken question, ahead of time. They are faced down – masterfully, he feels – by his non-committal look, honed in his face off in front of the mirror last night. He is ready for whatever line they may take in their interrogations. Settling himself into the chair at the front of the room, facing the long lines of plastic set at intervals, he waits for the spaces to fill. They file into place; chatter dimming as the second hand clicks into place; expectant.

    “As I know you all appreciate…” Todd begins, taking another breath, before group interceding occurs.

    (160 words)

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

  54. Silent Voters (159 words)

    I’m a fisherman, like my father and my grandfather. I go out every night and cast my net till dawn. I get a pittance at the market for my hard work and sleepless nights.

    You like fish. You pay high prices at the restaurant, while my family can hardly make ends meet. You wear designer suits, and drive a comfortable car. What can you offer us?

    You say you want to spend the night with me, on my little boat. You bring warm, waterproof clothes and boots, and the reporters take our picture.

    Tomorrow the news will parade your empathy with the poor. You want me to nod, and smile, while the cameras record from the shore.

    Tonight you will meet the others, the nameless, countless fishermen, who lost their lives for their families, and their country. Ask them to vote for you, when you join them at the bottom of the sea.

    Wave goodbye.

    Your journey ends here.

    @LucciaGray

  55. “Finding Peace”
    by Michael Seese
    160 words

    Each dawn gives birth to more than just a new day. She also spawns hope.

    My father taught me to fish these waters, as his father taught him. I now share the secrets with my brother. The recipe, though, is no secret.

    Patience and understanding.

    Patience.

    You can’t simply cast a line, pull it back, and expect to find a fish obediently attached to your hook. You must finesse it. Work it. Gently, slowly…perhaps painstakingly so. But there must be movement. The universe never rewards inertia.

    Understanding.

    The waters can be treacherous. Unforgiving. But if you learn to read the currents—and time your journey to take advantage of their grace—you may navigate them safely. Without fear. Such bravery begets a contagion known as confidence.

    Let the politicians say we are enemies. Let them say what they will. I say a son of Israel and a son of Palestine can be brothers. I say all sons can.

    With patience and understanding.

  56. Death Blow
    John Mark Miller – 160 words
    @JohnMark_Miller

    “So long, Senator,” Hugo whispered solemnly as the ocean hungrily swallowed the writhing body. Amazing, how fast it was all over.

    Hugo felt the other man’s eyes on him.

    “Well done,” the man murmured quietly. “Of course, he would have made a terrible politician.”

    Hugo froze. “What?”

    The man smiled grimly. “He answered our questions outright. A real politician would have strung us along, let us believe we were getting what we wanted, while waiting to deliver his death blow.”

    Confusion spread across Hugo’s face, then vanished as the man pulled a gun.

    “Wait…you told me he was the senator…”

    The man smiled. “I lied, Hugo. Would you expect any less from a politician? Thank you, by the way, for showing me where your true loyalties lie.”

    Hugo gasped, and the senator delivered his death blow with cold, unfeeling precision.

  57. Fisher of Men
    160 words
    @theshakes72

    “We have become fishers of men.”
    His words hung in the salted air. Vacuous.
    “And where shall we start?” his companion eventually asked.
    “The enclaves. The high grounds,” he stated with sincere enthusiasm.
    “They want food. Shelter. Antibiotics and immunisations. They don’t want *us*.”
    His companion, a former aide, was becoming a belligerent bore; as monotonous as the waves.
    “The people need government. The people need politics.”
    A soundbite for seagulls.
    His companion mumbled.
    “What’s that? Speak up.”
    “I said: in politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”
    “And what do you mean by that?”
    “It was politicians who lied as the world warmed. Politicians who talked as waters rose. Politicians who did nothing but apportion blame as our cities drowned.”
    “*Our* cities is it? Voice of the people now?”
    The aide’s face never faltered.
    He drew a final, brine-filled breath as his aide held him under; bulging eyes glimpsing tops of mighty skyscrapers far below in the voterless abyss.

  58. Subaqueous Homesick Blues

    Seb adjusted his footing on the undulating rowboat as the net taunted his callused grip. His shoulders complaining from hauling another seaweed slick disappointment up from the depths.

    ‘Nothing?’ Arch asked.

    Seb shook his head.

    ‘Fuck it,’ Arch spat into the sea, ‘so what’s that today? Ten fish, some plastic shit!’

    ‘The Senate will understand.’

    ‘Yeah and one day they’re going to get their hands wet. No, reckon the lash this time.’

    Seb slumped, the boat rocking in response, ‘we could go …’

    ‘Where precisely? Hell boy if its not the lash its exile, now stop talking stupid and grab an oar.’

    The rhythm of wood slicing water broke the silence as they followed the meager assortment of vessels that comprised the scavenger fleet. In the distance the Senate’s oilrig lay squat on the horizon.

    Weary and anxious, Seb gazed at the dark shadows that glided beneath them. Daydreaming about living within submerged towers that had once pierced the sky.

    @imageronin

    160 words

  59. The Post-Election Drag
    Evan Montegarde
    159 words

    Slobodan and Radovan had been dragging the bottom of the Adriatic Sea all morning. Their tattered net coming up with angry eels, tires, condoms, bottles and the occasional surprised fish.

    “One would think if they really wanted to recover him, they’d send a bigger boat?” Slobodan thought aloud. Radovan shrugged as he threw the net over the side yet again.

    Hours later and a half-dozen icy Karlovačko beers in, Slobodan had another thought. “You know, they always cut the politicians into chum anyway.”

    “True.” Radovan agreed as he took a massive sip from the cold green bottle he clutched tightly.

    “So perhaps we take this shoe,” Slobodan said holding up a soggy loafer retrieved from the depths, “and say it was Dubravkod’s?”

    “Looks like the type he’d wear,” Radovan agreed as he rose shakily to his feet.
    Slobodan smiled as he started the motor and headed toward port, “Just wait till the next election, good fishing then my friend.”

  60. The sun sparkled like a million election pledges on the water. Jerry restlessly adjusted his line, and then sank back heavily into the boat.

    It was nearly over. Two days of nothing but sea, sand… and a rule. No work; no politics.

    Jerry slid a weary gaze back to the beach, where his bikini-dabbed wife Kim lay bronzing lazily in the sun. Jerry sighed and closed his eyes. Sticking to the rule hadn’t been easy, and had caused several arguments.

    “Dar-ling!”

    Jerry opened his eyes to see Kim wading through the water towards him now, her blonde hair ribboning behind her in the sea breeze. “Darling! Caught anything?”

    Jerry smiled. He jumped from the boat and leapt playfully towards her. “Only a government minister,” he laughed, wrapping his arms around her.

    She placed one hand on his waist. “Steady, darling. Now, are you ready to go? I’m afraid I really do need to start work on my speech.”

    158 words
    @Donnellanjacki

  61. Autobiographical Brine
    David Shakes
    144words

    The price of fish matters little when you catch them for yourself.
    Dave was surrounded by politicians and beaurocrats.
    He knew how to fish. He fished well.
    So they took him off the boats.
    The price of fish overtook the act of fishing.
    He sailed his desk across a sea of paperwork.
    He tried his best to navigate the choppy waters, but each new government changed the direction; changed the rules.
    His moral compass no longer pointed to true north.
    He feared he might drown.
    A storm so strong arose from nowhere.
    The desk overturned and papers scattered.
    When dawn finally broke all was calm.
    Dave was in uncharted waters.
    But he had his rod.
    The wisdom of experience replaced the latest statutory guidance.
    Once again a fisher of men; he cast out into the future.
    His bait was learning.
    He prayed they’d bite.

  62. Just a Taste

    Poppa whistled as he hauled up the traps, his hands turtled in salty callouses.
    Mare fumbled to coil the slimy rope. She scowled at the brine dribbling into her sleeves.
    They’d been out for hours and barely filled a bucket with runty shrimp.
    ———
    “Who needs fish?” Mare’d complained to Nanna.
    The Custodians supplied earthlings with manna, a substance that could become whatever you wanted. Even a stinky monkfish.
    “Go with him,” Nanna said, her quilt-soft voice edged in steel.
    ———
    “Poppa,” Mare huffed.
    He drew a puck-shaped weight from the trap. “I brought you here for this.” With a deft twist, he popped it open. The golden disk within bore ancient embellishments.
    “The family crest,” he murmured.
    Mare’s fingers shook. The Custodians forbid nobility.
    Warmth somersaulted in her chest. She gripped Poppa’s weathered arm. He grinned at her understanding.
    That night, Nanna stewed up the bucket bits. Despite her aversion to fish, Mare relished each bite.
    It tasted of autonomy.

  63. Ragasa
    Nancy Chenier @rowdy_phantom
    160 words

    The Adriatic breeze curls around Ragasa and caresses her bruised cheek like an old lover.

    So many lovers in those days, flush with flirtation. The accidental brush of a knuckle against a bare shoulder, a smoldering glance across the ballroom.

    It didn’t last. Tenuous alliances needed tightening. She believed she’d chosen well: Francois’ charm over Danilo’s braggadocio.

    Ragasa winces as the old injury pinches her side. Francois was a cruel husband, his tongue coated in honeyed promises, his silken glove concealing a cudgel. She traded her ball gowns for black weeds—every day of their union a day of mourning.

    His death freed her, yet gone were playful seductions of youth. The suitors have traded romance for rapacity. Savo worst of all. His kisses end in teeth. He forces himself upon her, strikes her without contrition. “If I can’t have you, no one can.”

    Ragasa limps the length of the sea wall and casts her love over the constant sea.

  64. The Ramifications of Political Decisions
    by JM6 (159 words) @JMnumber6

    “Petar, help me with this side of the net.”

    “Again, Aleksandar? Very well.”

    “I think the fishing is going to be very poor this year.”

    “Yes, I think you’re right.”

    “I blame global warming.”

    “Bah. You cannot blame nature for being nature. Blame the politicians, like that American president. Not Obama, the one after him. What was the name?”

    “Who cares? We took care of our local politicians. We solved the problem, right?”

    “Heh. Politicians let big companies do bad things to nature for money. The temperatures rose and the water levels rose and our village is now under water. Yes, we sent our politicians back to our village once and for all, but now we will have a poor year of fishing. Every solution creates more problems.”

    “It’s so hard to lure the fish, now that they have all that food down there.”

    “Don’t worry. We couldn’t stomach the politicians. I doubt the fish will be able to.”