Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 49

HOWDY to y’all, and welcome back to Flash! Friday! Oh goodness, did we get some stellar judge apps in this round– thank you, everyone! I’m soooo excited. The new judge panel for Year Three (ack! did somebody just say “Year Three”??) will be notified by Nov 21, and then announced publicly Nov 28. A reminder that #Flashversary will take place on Dec 5. Prizes, baby, and universal acclaim, and fancy schmancyness.

And then, should we all survive that, Year Three will launch. 


Today’s prompt is inspired by one of my heroes, writer/investigative reporter/adventurer Nellie Bly. If you don’t know her fascinating story (like the time she faked insanity to expose an asylum’s atrocities firsthand — and this was 1887; nobody was doing that kind of journalism then), check out her Wiki page. On November 14, 1889 (and given only two days to pack!), she set sail on a crazy, round-the-world race to see if Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days could be accomplished literally. Naturally, our Nellie made it in a stunning 72, and picked up a monkey in Singapore as a souvenir. WOAH NELLIE! 


Today, ohhhhh, GRIEVE WITH ME!!!! we say farewell to the final judge of this glorious judge panel. Sheer cruelty, I tell you. First off, a warning that this means next week all of them will be back in the thick of the FF competition. But second: what a joy and privilege to have worked with judge Margaret Locke these past months. As a romance writer, her insights into the workings of the human heart and mind have made her judgery particularly spectacular. Thank you, sweet Margaret, for all you’ve done for Flash! Friday. We’re so grateful!!!

PS. Are you ever going to go nuts when you see who our guest judges are for Vol 2 – 50 & 51!!!!!!!      


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, grab your simian and let’s go! 

* 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 specifically instructed to do so, e.g. “include a valet named Passepartout”):

Include a famous author


***Today’s Prompt:


Barbary Macaque, Gibraltar. CC 2.0 photo by David Stanley.

Barbary Macaque, Gibraltar. CC 2.0 photo by David Stanley.

303 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 49

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

    Monkeying around

    “I don’t understand why this isn’t working!”
    Carl ripped the paper out of the nearest typewriter and read it out loud, “ 17. CHICKEN FRIED RICE. What the heck is this?”
    One of the men in white coats tried to help, “I think that’s a Chinese takeaway menu.”
    Carl’s blood pressure spiked, “You eggheads told me if we got 50,000 monkeys together they’d recreate Shakespeare. What went wrong? No-ones going to pay for this dribble.”

    The scientists all shrugged. It was the janitor who spoke, “If I may, I know I’m just here to sweep up the poop and banana skins, but it occurs to me you don’t have enough monkeys.”
    Carl waved him away like a bad smell, “Nonsense, I ordered 50,000 on the button.”
    “That may be true, but one of them joined me out on the balcony for a smoke.”

    Carl banged his fist on the nearest desk, “Someone grab that monkey. And some Chicken Fried rice!”

    160 words


  2. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 157


    One banana, two banana, here we go again.

    I pick the skins from the fruit and inhale them.
    Surging energy shoots to my fingertips.
    I bow and prostrate
    While their wishes turn sour in my stomach.

    “Meyer, give me a glittering vampire!”
    “No, Martin, a wall of ice seven hundred feet high!”
    Expelliarmus, Rowling; give me a house-elf!”
    “The odds are ever in Peeta’s favor; honestly, poor Gale lost out, Collins.”

    The masses clamor, and the cage turns,
    Their faces become a whirling mass as
    The spin blurs their edges.
    Their voices crash,
    The cacophony drowns,
    The words live and die
    On reams of pages that
    Spell the characters
    That feed the hordes

    That are never satisfied.
    The noise resounds
    And the banana peels litter the floor.

    And like a monkey, I dance for the audience
    Until the last word dies on the final page
    And the noise bleeds to a silent end.


  3. Tamara Shoemaker
    Word Count: 160

    The Story

    The picture was grainy, crinkled around the edges, creased from years of lying folded inside his wallet.

    I asked him who the girl was, the slender blonde with the army cap tilted at a jaunty angle. I watched as the mist fogged his faded eyes, the past infiltrated on his thoughts.

    He didn’t answer at first, and I asked no more questions.

    “She was Catherine.”

    His voice arrested my attention, and I turned to watch his chin wobble beneath the years of repressed grief.

    I stood silent, waiting.

    “Faraaz Kazi said once that ‘some people are going to leave, but that’s not the end of your story. That’s the end of their part in your story.’”

    I glance at the picture. “Was she a part of your story once?”

    “Yes.” He slowly folded the photograph, putting it away. “She was the gypsy who owned me, and I was the monkey with the cymbols, dancing for the crowd.”


  4. Red Rum

    Jack looked out across the blue sea, the colour unnatural in this New Hampshire son’s opinion. Watching the waves assault this shitty rock crawling with shittier monkeys, British assholes and Tex-Mex rejects.

    The trip had been Little Miss Perfect’s brainwave, hugging Danny close to her leg, as if Jack could hurt him. Sure, his drinking and moods were at best unpredictable.

    But Danny was his boy too.

    Getting fired had been the final straw, her ashen face doe-eyed and questioning, “finally write” she said, “become Hemingway. Become you.”

    Apparently she had scrimped and saved, “rainy day funds”, all gambled on a return flight to Madrid.

    He had somehow ended up in Gibraltar. Making acquaintances, spending big, living the life of Hemingway.

    Till the bar tab meant fleeing was his only option.

    The only souvenirs his worthless manuscript, and a job offer.

    They’d start again, together, in Colorado.

    The postcard in his hand, a hotel bordered by trees and mountains.


    160 words


    • I’ve only ever read the first half of The Shining, but enough of it to totally love what you’ve done here. Great job! On an off-topic note, I wonder if this FF will be filled with loads of fan-fic, due to the requirements… 😉


      • Hi Tamara, pleased you liked it … the idea came out of nowhere and glad it (kinda) worked. As to your last point I think it’s almost impossible to not tread into fan-fic territory with this prompt … hopefully the Dragons in charge will understand!


    • Tingles as soon as I read the title. It’s one of my all time favourite books, and you honour and complement it perfectly. Excellent!


    • Really got a clear sense of the character and his voice in this. Good job. And the overlay of the Shining isn’t even needed to enjoy it — I didn’t notice the title on my first read through and didn’t pick up on it until reading the comments. That makes a fun bonus to the context, but it stands well alone.


  5. Monkey Business

    Terry had not enjoyed his first day in Gibraltar. The weather wasn’t hot enough for shorts or cool enough for trousers. The resultant kilt he discovered lying in the depths of the luggage, matched neither his black hat nor blacker mood.

    As for the omnipresent apes! Terry had watched bemused as dining humanity found itself under assault. From every table emanated screams as primates fled clutching, from what Terry had witnessed: pizza slices, burgers, fistfuls of paella, a small puppy called Trevor and various wallets, handbags and purses.

    “The Artful Dodger reincarnated in fur,” Terry muttered.

    Enough with these infernal monkeys! Terry felt relief as he strolled through the library’s door. His agent had assured Terry that this would be the perfect writing retreat for him.

    The information desk was irritatingly empty, aside from a pungent banana. Terry felt his mood darken.

    “Hello! Is anyone there?” Terry called out.

    A beat.

    Then a reply emanated from the stacks.


    159 words


  6. The Macaque Guru
    Ian Martyn (www.martynfiction.com)
    157 words

    Meditation my human cousins is the route to Nirvana. True bliss awaits those who can follow my example. See me sit over the precipitous drop. My pulse is slow, my breathing even as I contemplate the mysteries of the ocean.

    Do I sway? No. Do I fear? No.

    From here I send my soul out into a world, infested by scurrying people. Always restless, always on the move, always looking but never finding. For they no not what they truly seek. True Karma my friends is the hidden truth that the soul desires, a spiritual peace not to be found in your material existence.

    So I am your saviour, your Macaque Guru. For the price of a few peanuts I will reveal the way. Join me, come sit. Conquer those inner demons, those doubts that I feel fluttering in your thoughts like frantic moths before a flame. And in the wise words of Douglas Adams, ‘Don’t Panic!’


  7. Monkey on Your Back

    Tired. So tired.

    My last success a distant memory. Scraps, and leftovers, and charity, have been my portion ever since, but the sun is warm, here; the pace slow. It is the perfect place to start looking. The ideal spot in which to begin again.

    I swing, lightly, onto a pitted metal balcony. My nose twitches with the scent of effort. Through an open window I hear muttering, the clack-clacking of a typewriter.

    Soundlessly, I pad toward the room. A man sits at a desk. Novels, all bearing his likeness, lie scattered around, but he struggles, it seems, with today’s words.

    I smile. I can help with that.

    He screams as I climb onto his back and sink my claws in, but then his fingers reach for the keys. He begins again. It is good work. His best. With every word, I feel my strength returning.

    Soon, and until it is too late, he won’t even notice I am here.

    160 words


  8. Engaged

    Balanced on the iron fence, he was the perfect outlook, a monkey in Gibraltar who would suspect his true purpose. His red eyes slowly turned, scanning the island for the girl, the one they were searching for. It was a gadget Ian Fleming would be proud of.

    Sat nearby the agents filtered the Barbary macaques digital feed through the computer screen, a technological blueprint mapped out before them. Far on the horizon an impressive yacht shimmered in the sunlight, its sails wavering in the breeze, her boat was preparing to dock. She’d finally landed. They set coordinates into the monkeys programming, and engaged his latest task.

    The primate scrambled down the Upper Rock, starting his journey towards her. They had great hopes for their plan, knew her love for monkeys, the ease with which they were accepted here on the rock. The two would embrace and then they would detonate him, capture her at last.

    155 words


  9. Hidden Costs
    155 words

    Ginny was reading the newest C.J. Sansom. Poor Shardlake was being tormented once more.
    The phone rang. Ginny’s mother, Rita. Rita got straight to business.
    “It’s forty years since we left Gibraltar. I’d like to take you and your sister back for a weekend. Show you places you knew as little girls.”
    Instantly Ginny thought of hot sunshine, cold ice-cream, and monkeys. Almost less than memories, impressions on a young mind. Did she really want to go? Those memories were nice. But others weren’t. The screams of her mother. Father’s violence was the reason they left. Scurrying up the gangplank of a ship bound for Liverpool. Did she want her mother thinking of that?
    “Are you sure, Mother? Not all the memories are good.”
    “I’m fine. They’re far enough in the past.”
    “Okay, sure. That’ll be lovely.”
    “Good. Now, your share of the cost is four hundred pounds. Can you pay that by Friday?”



  10. The Ape Factory
    by A J Walker

    It was an exciting trip for young Iain; his first time abroad. His highlight were the flights, he’d always loved watching the streaks across the Edinburgh skies, whenever they briefly cleared.

    Iain didn’t enjoy the sunshine, it was too much for his pasty northern skin, and the theme park Britishness of the rock was too naff for him. Other than the mediterranean heat the only indication that he was abroad were the Barbary apes, which fascinated him.

    He sat by the lookout surrounded by apes playfully prodding the tourists looking like archetypal pickpockets in group training. He watched a couple picking fleas out of their thick grey fur and laughed as he saw them squash them between their fingers and thumbs before putting them on their tongues. Their long arms looked unreal.

    Iain wondered what the apes would look like without their fur. If they were clean; dissected.

    He knew that was wrong and decided he’d had too much sun.

    (160 words)



  11. Monkey See, Monkey Do
    (154 words)

    This is my story. My name is Boulle. The name given to me by the Homo sapiens that plucked me from my mother’s nipple and caged me well beyond the reach of her call. Your day has come Wise Man. My secret is I’ve learned your secret.

    shape shape shape
    word word word
    Word word word sentence period
    Justice is ours.

    And this will be your story. You will weep and ache for your young, as my mother did.
    Your blood the colour of the reddest lipstick will be smeared across the planet. You’ll swap green for steel. Your sewn open eyes will burn with sweet smelling acids, and your veins will run with disease and Prozac.

    You were great teachers. I have whispered the secret to my kind:
    shape shape shape
    word word word
    Word word word sentence period
    Justice is ours.

    We are coming. We are coming.


  12. ‘‘Did I miss the 7:45? God, I’m knackered now.’

    ‘No, you’re alright. It’s late.’

    ‘New ‘phone case?’

    ‘Yeah, my mum got it cos I got five As on my report.’

    ‘You got five As? Wow…’

    ‘What about you? How was your report?’

    ‘Crap. My teachers hate me. I got a B in Home Ec, though. Not sure why; I forgot to put the lemon in my lemon meringue pie last week.’

    ‘What did your parents say?’

    ‘My Mum went ape; she says I’m thick. She says I get it from my dad. She shouted at me when I was having my tea and threw Great Expectations at me. Now it’s covered in HP sauce and the cover’s ripped. Miss Carty’s gonna flippin’ do her nut. I bet Henry James never had to put up with this shit.’

    ‘Henry James didn’t write Great Expectations.’

    ‘He did, look, I wrote an essay about it last night…Oh, FFS.’

    ‘Here’s the bus.’

    158 words



    Brian S Creek
    146 words

    “Please don’t be upset, James.”

    The monkey ignored Ian and continued with its hurt look as it took a drag of the cigarette.

    “It’s just that Ann thinks our friendship is unhealthy. Of course she thinks we smoke and drink too much as well but that’s women for you. Always taking away the good stuff.”

    The monkey jumped off the chair and climbed up onto the balcony railing. It gazed out at the magnificent city below.

    “I know you’ll like it here. The lady monkeys outnumber the boys four to one so that’s at least one craving you’ll be able to take care of, right?”

    One last drag of the cigarette and the monkey stubbed it out. It stood and faced its former friend, saluted and then jumped down onto the rocks below with the other monkeys.

    “Goodbye old friend,” said Ian. “I won’t forget you.”



    Brian S Creek
    158 words

    “Sorry to sound like a broken gramophone but can you explain exactly what it is I’ll be doing again?”

    “Certainly. I have been instructed by Mr Wells to employ someone to act as his stand in. This includes all public speaking, interviews and photo opportunities. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, you will be H.G. Wells.”

    “It would be an honour. My only question would be why Mr Wells is unable to fulfil these roles himself?”

    “Due to his ‘condition’, it would be unwise. In fact secrecy is paramount which is the reason we asked you to sign the privacy contract. You understand the consequences should you break it?”

    “I do.”

    “Excellent. Then let me introduce you to the author you’ll be representing. Please turn around.”

    “Um, I’m confused.”

    “As expected. Have you heard of the infinite monkey theorem?”


    “Well it turns out it requires only one and it takes about six months.”


  15. Inspiration is Everywhere

    “Show Monsieur Simian—”

    “Simenon. Georges Simenon.”

    “—Monsieur Simenon to his room.”

    Simenon assessed his accommodation (small bed, functional desk) as he pressed a 5-franc coin into the porter’s eager hand.

    “Bring up a bottle of white wine, Sancerre or Muscadet, and a dish of oysters.”

    Simenon stepped into the windowless bathroom and turned on the light. The gloom was barely pacified by the fragile rays. He turned on the bath tap and waggled his fingers under the stubbornly cold water.

    A knock at the door. Simenon admitted the porter who placed his oysters and wine (neither Sancerre nor Muscadet) on the desk. Simenon ignored his outstretched hand. He poured a glass of wine (warmer than the bathwater), and tossed back an oyster (creamy and flaccid).

    There’s only one thing for it, he thought. He sat down at the desk, opened his notebook and scratched out a title:

    Maigret and the Hotel Majestic.

    154 words


  16. Between Rock and Hard Place
    @geofflepard 159 words

    Orwell watched the plastic-suited Trappers approach. Dickins and Trollope had been taken in the first wave; then Doyle and Wells. Wells, who’d have thought they would catch him? That ape could make himself invisible. And Doyle could read minds; he knew the Trappers’ plans before they knew themselves.
    Now his big brother, Huxley had gone. This wasn’t the brave new world they’d dreamt of. More like a totalitarian state.
    Orwell blamed Bronte. She knew the rules; don’t get attached, but that attic was warm and Mr Rochester, the librarian, gave her bananas. Now they were dead and the coughing illness spread fast, killing both ape and man. ‘Barbary Flu’ they called it, a new strain that had crossed the species barrier.
    Orwell was the last of his kind. He tried to dodge the Trappers but he no longer had the energy. As the net covered his head, Orwell wondered if it was true what he’d heard about the rats.


  17. Love Me Tender, Love Me Sweet
    160 words

    Mary had loved her parents as best she could but no one seemed to understand that. They only wanted to know why she’d done what she had but Mary hadn’t done a thing. She’d just accepted her parents’ love…like a good daughter should.

    She was twenty-eight when they let her out of that place and the new colourful world frightened her, much like Shakespeare’s Miranda. There were too many sounds, too many sights and she longed for the blank walls of her old room.

    At least they’d let her keep the monkey she’d befriended.

    The little thing followed her everywhere and sometimes Mary could feel his love for her radiating through his fur…so she shared her love with him too.

    His tiny bones snapped so easily beneath her fingers and she pressed a kiss to his lolling head before reaching into his chest, to pluck his little heart from its shattered cage.

    It tasted just like her parents’ love had.


  18. Risk

    We learn not to take risks at a young age. It’s instinctual. Stray from the group and a lion eats you. Playing it safe is built into our DNA.

    The world is upside down. The shock on people’s faces mean they see it too.

    Blood rushes to my head. I do handstands on the metal rail of the lookout. Down below the houseboats sit still on the dam. A fall means certain death.

    I balance on one hand to see how it feels — liberating.

    People watching us gasp. What, you’ve never decided to risk death? The rules that keep us safe, to propagate, to make a better world, are over. That covenant is broke. So why cling to the traits that we learn from fear?

    My valet friend, Passepartout, joins me on the rail. He had a meaningless life of servitude. He quit. Now he too balances. He seems to enjoy the danger as well.

    The rules are gone.

    159 words


  19. James Loves His Gin
    Evan Montegarde
    159 words

    The novelty of the drunken Macaque continually perched on Ian Flemings’s balcony at the Rock Hotel had about worn off. But he was impressed with how the simian held his stolen liquor.

    “Dam stand up to any man I know,” Ian smiled as he toasted the monkey he’d named James. James responded by grabbing the bottle of Gordon’s Dry Gin from the balcony table and jumping fifty feet to the Dragon Tree below.

    “There goes the evening cocktails, some noisy monkeys tonight I fear,” Ian laughed.

    “You know I have a triple secret cover Ian,” the man sipping a dry vodka martini in the shadowy corner said.

    “Nobody will ever think you are real James, I can assure you my writing is glossing over reality; the gin certainly helps in that regard.”

    “Well, these are my memoirs, even if presented as fiction; I do have a stake in my posterity.”

    “Agreed James, but alas you’re only in my mind.”


  20. Title: Education Today: The Rise of the Idiot
    Words: 159

    I pushed a monkey off a railing. It didn’t fly like it was supposed to.

    Why did you harm that animal? Mom asked.

    Because teacher told us we needed to research the book and really get into it.

    What book could have possibly inspired you to push the monkey off the balcony? I will have a word with your teacher about your reading list! Mom said.

    She said we had to get into the mind of Harper Lee.

    Harper Lee? The author? Mom asked.

    Yes. Crazy guy wrote a weird book.

    Lee’s a female. And what book are you reading? Mom asked.

    To Kill a Monkeybird. So I pushed the monkey, thinking it would fly. It was actually a lot easier to kill a monkeybird than I thought it would be. The book is way longer, Harper Lee must not be very good at it.

    What is the matter with you?

    I don’t know why you are yelling, Mom.


  21. Treating Herself
    Shane Wilson
    160 words

    She would never understand why he had bought her a monkey. It had arrived on their first anniversary, the day after the fall. She had demanded ridiculous things for a long time to try to convince him that she was a little off. She wanted him to leave before she did something bad to him. She couldn’t handle the emotional suffocation, even if she directly asked for it. It was only to test his resolve.

    The monkey was perched on the rail outside of her seventh-story window like Edgar Allan Poe’s raven. She stared at it through the blinds, and the monkey met her gaze. It rubbed the iron of the rail almost like it knew.

    He gave her everything she ever wanted—except for space. She had to get that gift for herself, and one day before their anniversary, she did.

    The monkey was sitting on the wrapping paper, rubbing the ribbon when the knock came.

    “Police—open up!”


  22. Tales of Providence
    158 words

    Howard loved his craft, the author trade. He would trade letters to far-flung lands, and stories whispered in dim-lit bars.  He lived in a seaport town,  in New England, where the high houses overlooking the sea had wide balconies called widow’s walks. Howard  had never been to sea, or hunted a whale, nor had he ever been to the Barbary Coast, where the sailors spoke of pirates and  gold, old bones buried under palm trees.

    The men there are darker, the sailors said, the sun is stronger. There are different stars. They worship strange idols.

    There is an island, known to those who sail those waters.  It is inhabited entirely by animals, rats and cats and monkeys, but some of them walk like men. It is said, that when the wind is right, you can hear them chanting. In the distance,  you can  see fires burning on the beaches, see them dancing around statues of apes and unspeakable gods.


  23. Justin’s Inferno
    154 words

    “I am glad you have decided to come,” said the talking monkey.

    Wait, the talking monkey!?

    “You’re talking,” I said dumbly.

    “Yes, I noticed.” The monkey had a natural charisma that compelled me to hear more.

    “My name is Dante,” he continued. “You may know of me from my travails and travels in my famous Divine Comedy. It really wasn’t some of my best work, but it’s what the world got to see, after all.

    “Justin, you are at a point in your life where you need answers, real answers. And the only way to get real answers is to travel to the depths of your own personal hell to wrench them from the subconscious chains they are shackled in. Remember, everything you will see on this quest is a part of yourself.”

    And with that, he dove off of the balcony railing. After some hesitation, I too jumped over, and took the plunge.


  24. Sideburns
    159 words

    Isaac reluctantly got up from his typewriter to see what the noise was about. “Hello, Gentle Non-Reader.”

    The monkey climbed up his body and tugged at his sideburns.

    “You like those? You’ve got nice ones yourself.”

    Isaac sat back down and resumed typing.


    “The Gods Themselves.”

    “Ook ook eek?!”

    “No, it’s not about you. And they say I have ego.”

    Someone knocked on the door. Isaac answered it, wondering how he was supposed to get any writing done with so many distractions. It was the man staying next door. “What’s all this noise about?”

    “It’s this animal, Mr….”

    “Nagai. Do you have a pet monkey?”

    “It followed me in from the balcony. Can you help me get it back out? I’ve got deadlines to meet.”

    “As do I. And I’m already behind because I was stuck in traffic. If only my car could…”


    “Never mind.” Mr. Nagai looked at the monkey, then Isaac, and said “Nice sideburns.”


  25. Honeymoon
    159 Words

    Jonah Lehrer heard his wife’s terrified screaming from the other room. He ignored her and kept shaving. She’d been doing that every time she looked out their honeymoon suite window to the balcony and down the ten stories to the bay below. He hoped her occasional shrieks weren’t bothering the other guests
    Shelley was silent again. Jonah thought it would be good to buy some kind of hood for her in moments like this. His contract guaranteed a million dollars a year for the first ten years of their marriage so expenses like these were insignificant.

    He heard the balcony door slide open and the screaming started again. Jonah burst out of the bathroom and found his wife poised on the rail outside. Shelley stopped screaming. Her tail was straight up. He looked at the carefully balanced monkey and slowly approached. He couldn’t let her die two days into their marriage. If she did the bet would be off.


  26. Vestigial Tale
    158 words

    Some claimed the macaques came to the island as stowaways on shipping vessels; others said they’d arrived via a land-bridge when sea levels were lower. Much was made of the vestigial tail.

    James knew because he’d spent days Googling the creatures while waiting for inspiration.

    Outside, monkeys cackled.

    He stared at the computer. One month to write the type of suspense novel expected from James Rollins. Dread coiled in his gut. He could imagine nothing more frightening than his blank screen.

    A scratching disturbed his half-hearted brainstorm (Multiple-perspective? Revenge plot?) He peered outside.

    A macaque sat on the railing, grinning. Another hung from the porch by its “vestigial” tail. More clambered down from above, kneading their paws and staring, eyes luminous and hungry. They groped at the door, beating at the frail glass, howling and moaning.

    A manic edge tainted James’s laugh. He began to type: No one knew exactly how the monkeys had come to the island…


  27. Quit Partying with Jack!
    158 words

    “I’ve got a bone to pick with you,” Marie said.

    “Sure. Any other idioms you’d like to get out of the way? An elephant in the room? A chip on your shoulder?” The headache was making me cranky. “Who wrote all those, anyway? Shakespeare? Tolstoy?”

    “Samantha – ”

    “Is there a monkey on your back?”

    “No. There’s a monkey on the balcony.” She pointed. I looked.

    Through the hazy fog of hangover, I vaguely recalled something about a zoo and a…whoops.

    “You have to stop hanging out with Jack,” Marie said.

    “Hold your horses – ”


    “- Jack’s like the brother I never had.”

    “We’re adopting a baby. You have to settle down.”

    “I know.”

    “You – What?”

    “I told Jack the news and he suggested a last hurrah. He’s getting married himself.”

    Marie’s dimples were as adorable as they’d been ten years before.

    “All’s well that -”

    She hit me with a pillow. I probably deserved it.


  28. Elisa @AverageAdvocate
    Word Count: 160
    “The Prospective Ardor of the Buccaneer Baboon and the Privateer Pup”


    Unfortunately for me, I’m a pirate. Pirates don’t spit fire or worship skeletons. We climb masts, hoist spinnakers, and rig all and everything on our romantic tall ships.

    And some pirates are lovers.

    I met Woolf on Lady Virginia, Captain’s beloved Bermuda sloop. For days we met thrice at our masters’ table, spending countless hours frolicking and chattering. Then there was that moonlit night before docking when we fell asleep together on the quarterdeck. . .

    If it was anyone, it would’ve been him. He’d been at sea dozens of times, guarding his admiral. He knew my passion for the swaying stern, beating sun, and for the glorious rush storms spawn, when the bowsprit parlays for authority with the swells.

    But then he made that comment–about shoving crackers down my gullet–as if I was a simple hairless parrot! Like he wasn’t the admirals lap-dog!

    Woolf howls up at me as I reflect, one misunderstood. I might have to sails these seas alone.


  29. Wild Kingdom
    159 words

    The siblings pressed their faces against the balcony door and stared at the unexpected visitor. Even the newly minted teenager, who had endured the family vacation mired in determined ennui, broke character and brightened noticeably.

    “How did you think it got there?” The 8-year-old’s breath created a foggy cloud on the glass.

    The teen bumped his brother’s shoulder. “It climbed, dummy. You think it flew?”

    The little girl wedged between them giggled. “Maybe it’s a patronus.”

    “Nuh uh!” The young boy immediately argued. “It’s not silver!”

    “And patronuses aren’t real.” The jeering tone raised an embarrassed flush from his brother and sister. “Neither is magic or dragons or anything else JK Rowling put in those books. Stop being stupid.”

    “You’re stupid!”

    “You’re stupid!”

    A shoving match ensued. The sudden movement sent their wild visitor jumping for the next balcony.


    Three faces pressed briefly into the glass once more before the teen rearmed himself with an indifferent facade.

    “I’m bored.”


    • You nailed sibling dialog. If the most recent government study is correct, and I’ve no reason to believe it isn’t, the “You’re stupid!” back and forth is heard in one out of every four households every fourteen minutes.


    • Haha! This is awesome! You’ve capture the essence of the family vacation and sibling interaction, perfectly. “Even the newly minted teenager, who had endured the family vacation mired in determined ennui, broke character and brightened noticeably,” and this is one of the best lines I’ve read in a while.


  30. Merely this and nothing more

    If on a summer’s day a Story Teller was to exit Hotel L–, she would find herself on the road leading to the harbour. If she walked, her mind would drift through centuries of memories. If she remembered, she would colour memories to adventures, hovels to palaces, obstacles to giants. If she stood on the shore she would recall all the memories of all the ages. Cities. Armies. Voyages. Adventures. Sorrow. Love. Fear. Beasts growing listless in ancient temples beneath the waves.

    If she was to tell all these memories to the ocean, she would slowly sink into a story herself; her voice caught in sea foam, her secrets bound in a chest on the ocean floor where fifteen dead men danced, her stories travelling through countries, years, and centuries before being caught by ink.

    She asked if her own words, those grains of sand, would be remembered.

    She did not wait for an answer; lest it was “nevermore”.

    Words : 160


  31. You Are Not Your Vomit (160 words)

    Chuck awoke with last night’s vomit plastered to his face like an unwanted congratulatory plaque for not swallowing it. He had dreams of dildos, bloody anal beads and a particularly rambunctious monkey named Alfred hell-bent on rubbing his big blue monkey balls in his face.

    Such was common when your pen sashayed in the crude underbelly of fiction writing. In his early days, Chuck had tried writing sentimental shit, like a cancer kid riding a majestic rainbow to a fantasy-land of other cancer patients.

    Instead that became the contorted ground swell, like a throbbing pubescent boner, of his book “Lullaby.”

    He pushed himself up out of the vomit and a congealed strand of it hung on to his three-day-old beard like bourbon-infused silly putty.

    With one swipe, he brushed away the blinds only to recoil at the sight of the monkey with his big blue balls dangling over the balcony.

    Vegas, Chuck thought.

    Then he ran to retrieve his laptop.


  32. Freedom
    155 words

    Sorrow weighed on my fur heavier than the metal cage that had nearly dragged me to the bottom of the sea before he saved me. Gazing at my reflection in the closed glass door from my balcony railing perch, I almost jumped back to have one last glimpse of him.

    But how could I reject the gift he’d given with his last strength? Freedom beckoned, however terrifying it was in this man-made jungle.

    Even as I heard the muffled cries from inside the apartment, his body being found and his friends giving voice to their grief, I gave the sign of farewell that he taught me and leaped upward, climbing higher to get the lay of the land. I knew what he would want me to do: head inland to the small patches of jungle left.

    Living free would be the best tribute I could give to my dear friend and savior, Edgar Rice Burroughs.


  33. “Kill Your Darlings”
    160 words

    Our apartment was high enough that the sound of my wife’s hectoring didn’t make it to street level. I, on the other hand, heard every word.

    “That’s not what Stephen King meant, and you know it!”


    “Don’t ‘but’ me, mister. You go back to them and get what you paid for!”


    “A paw, Roger. A monkey’s paw. Not the whole damned monkey!”

    “But they-”

    “They? They who? I’m your wife, and I know better than some moron at the store.”

    “Honey, they said-”

    “And for crying out loud, who buys a real monkey in New York City? You go back to Ray and get me a paw!”

    “It’s ‘the Rey’s,’ dear.”

    “I don’t care if it’s Tiffany’s! I want my paw and I want my wishes! Now!”

    The monkey reached out and pushed her, hard. Over the railing and down, down to where I could no longer hear her. He held up one finger and smiled.

    “Thanks, George.”


  34. Hotel l’Alsace
    160 words

    The paint on the wrought-iron railing is peeling. I look past it, over the hotels, apartment buildings, shipping terminals, to the sea. Calm today, the gray-blue water fades into a hazy, blurred horizon signaling an overcast morning marked by unbearable heat and humidity.

    The weather encourages my lethargy, and I free my mind to wallow in reminiscence: My wife, long gone to a new life; my children, adopted by the man who replaced me; my sister, dead by her own hand. I am alone.

    I think of Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams. Men like me; men who gloried in the fame and riches of success, and drowned themselves in alcohol as they awaited death in big-city hotel rooms. However, I am impatient. The monkey on my back is too heavy.

    Again, I notice the peeling paint as I swing my legs over the railing. My only regret is that I jump from the seedy Hotel l’Alsace, and not the Ritz.


  35. Evolution

    Gripping the railing Bernardshaw twisted and released his opponent. He watched the terror of sailing into nothing.
    With ease he pulled himself to the rail top, settled cross-legged, reflected on the fur of his primate belly. From it he plucked a bug. He placed the thing between his teeth, crunched it; tasted the salt of blood and, eyes wide, smacked his lips.
    His gaze turned to the ruins below, Gibraltar and the rusting ships rotting like stranded whales; the detritus of their naked history. He scratched idly at his shoulder, winced as a tuft of skin-attached fur tore off.
    But who would have thought it? Certainly not the creationists; probably not Darwin. Yet here they were, evolved! Here he was, Bernardshaw: reader, writer, interpreter and now King. The troop had to be told.
    Bernardshaw stood and proclaimed with a primal roar: “King! I am your King!”
    On the rock below the old alpha’s grimace relaxed into a death mask.

    @CliveNewnham – 159 words


  36. Maleness Redefined
    154 words

    They sometimes call me Barbary Ape, but I’m not, you know—an ape. I’ve got a tail (though its vestigial and not prehensile and the spider monkeys don’t think it counts). But what chaps my hide isn’t being mistaken for an ape, its that we Barbary Macaques don’t get the props we deserve for our domestic side.

    People ooh and ah over my thick fur or my agility. But do they give me credit for raising babies, even if they don’t happen to be my own? No. In fact, they glance to the side, embarrassed, unsure how to understand that a viral and potent male, such as myself, can also have a nurturing side, one that supports the raising of my group’s young because it’s the right thing to do.

    So, no, I’m not really going to jump. I climbed up here to draw a much needed spotlight on the issue. Humans, take note.


  37. Mise en Abyme

    I move through double mazes. Ruddy infrared guides me through the twining passages while a green overlay shows me Jiminy’s progress through the tighter shafts. The growl of an underground river prowls the darkness with us.

    They think I’m crazy digging here. No history of readers in the area let alone Spanish ones. Preliminary scans have ranked G-group as juvenile, at best. I’m betting on an outlier.

    Jiminy, you okay?

    Jiminy chirrups an affirmative. He’s in a bedroom for the unit Lara-G. My heart plummets at the image of a bookshelf crammed with dust-coated stuffed animals.

    Jiminy’s trained fingers pick away thick cobwebs from a row of hardcopies, revealing titles. My despair deepens. Even novice tome-seekers have those.

    There! I stumble toward his location, groping through infrared ghosts. Jiminy slides the prize though the monkey-sized access. A Borges.

    With profane hands, I open it. Tears blur my sight. I read: I move through double mazes…

    So, now my search begins.

    160 words
    Nancy Chenier


  38. Decoy
    153 words

    Huge, sorrowful eyes and copper coat reflected back from the mirror; Glyn was unrecognisable.
    “Now we need to spray you,” said Angie.
    “You have to smell like them to be accepted,” she explained.
    She waved the aerosol over Glyn, its strong musky odour sinking into his fur.
    “That should do it,” she said. “Now we need to test your wire.”
    Angie left the room. There was a faint crackle. “Pratchett, can you hear me?”
    “Ook,” said Glyn, miserably.
    When the time came, the zoo was closed and deserted but still the apes were restless. Glyn shuddered. Hiding the loot in their enclosure had not been his idea.
    Reluctantly he climbed in, the troop’s response immediate and overwhelming. Angie’s finishing touches to his costume, the bright red rear-end and the pheromone infusion, had been hidden from Glyn. It gave her all the time she needed – she never had wanted a two-way split.


  39. “More”
    WC – 156

    The chimpanzee brought both hands together in a sign for “More.”

    “His name is E-R-B or Erb,” the director said. “He was Tarzan. Athletic and smart, he learned to sign by watching us teach others; that’s when he became Erb.”

    “More, more,” Erb persisted.

    “I get it, Extra Rare Brain, E-R-B!”

    “Nope, English major cleaning the cages called him E-R-B for Edgar Rice Burroughs. She said Burroughs wrote “Tarzan of the Apes” because he was better than others. His name became Erb during the marijuana experiments.”

    Erb beats on the door for attention. “More, more?”

    The director continues, “Erb has problems: drinking, smoking, drugs, even chocolate chip cookies. He’s better at bad habits than we are. But, he’s smart and that made him important to our breeding program. Now, he needs that too.”

    “Insemination could be completed artificially.”

    “More! More! More! More,” Erb’s hands scream!

    The old man’s sorrowful reply, “But, my friend would still scream . . . .”


    • Dear Mistress of Dragon Mystery – could you replace my original post with the one below, I had a flow problem

      WC – 156

      Two hands come together urgently making the sign, “More.”

      “His name is E-R-B or Erb,” the director said. “He was Tarzan. He’s smart. Learned to sign by watching us teach others; that’s when he became E-R-B.”

      In the background, repeatedly, finger tips come together, “More, more.”

      “I get it, Extra Rare Brain, E-R-B!” the assistant giggled.

      “Nope, an English major cleaning his cage called him E-R-B for Edgar Rice Burroughs. Said Burroughs wrote “Tarzan of the Apes” and was better than his peers. The name became Erb during the marijuana experiments.”

      Erb beats on the door. “More, more?”

      The director continues, “Erb has addiction problems: drinking, smoking, drugs, sugar. He’s better at bad habits than we are. He’s smart and that made him important to our breeding program. Now, he needs that too.”

      “Couldn’t that be done artificially?”

      “More! More! More,” Erb’s hands scream!

      The old man answers with remorse, “My old friend would still scream . . . .”


  40. Close Call
    Steph Post
    160 Words

    “Down, Kesey, down!”

    I turn to my wife, nose in her gimlet, thinking the ice can hide her smile. She thinks this is funny. This is not funny.

    “Damn it, woman, get your monkey under control!”

    “He’s your monkey. You named him. You never think things through. Never.”

    The monkey glares at me with dark, beady eyes. He hates me. Animals always hate me.

    “I never think things through? You’re the one who got me an endangered species for a birthday present! If this thing jumps and kills itself we’ll be arrested. Again.”

    “I thought you liked animals.”

    I hold out a banana. The monkey screams. I hold out my finger. It bounces wildly on the thin rail. My wife huffs, ice rattling, and rolls her eyes at the creature.

    “Ken Kesey only faked his death, you idiot. Quit being so dramatic and come down this instant.”

    The monkey stops teetering, cocks his head and reaches for my hand.



  41. The Monkey in the Room
    160 Words

    There is no monkey.

    There IS NO monkey.

    And yet there he sits.

    I walk back into my flat. Maybe the smell of salt water has gone to my head? This vacation was supposed to cure me. “Vacation” of course being a euphemism for “forced leave of absence” by my boss and co-workers who are concerned for my health. They cannot see the monkey, and therefore the monkey is not there. “You’re overworked,” they said. “Too stressed out,” they said. “Take some time away,” they said. “Stop reading so much Sheridon Le Fanu before bed,” my wife said. I’ve been here for a week, and so has this “monkey,” following my every step.
    It’s unnerving to see him there in the daylight, though. He’s always stuck to the shadows. But there he sits. There is no monkey, yet there he is. This ends today. I will leap at him and take him off this ledge with me.

    No more monkey.


  42. Theory and Practice
    by JM6, 155 words, @JMnumber6

    “Some folks prefer the Chuck Heston film, or that more recent one with the Andy Serkis motion capture, but I was always a fan of the original novel by Pierre Boulle.”

    “Uh huh,” Teri said.

    “No, really,” I said, my voice rising a bit. “I loved it. The human characters made a lot more sense than the ones in the movies. The apes were just as unbelievable but it was the interaction of the Earth humans with the world of apes which captivated me.”

    “The interaction?” Teri asked, not really paying attention.

    “Exactly,” I said more insistently. “Humans versus apes, each side underestimating the other, and beneath it all, that struggle of two top primates competing for survival. It taught me a lot.”

    Teri lunged with her broom, startling the macaque, causing it to flee from our balcony. Turning to me, she asked, “So how come I’m the one who had to shoo the monkey?”


  43. Cal’s Promise

    Cal’s keyboard is chattering as he puts one word after another, bowed before the screen’s glare. This week, it’s Gaiman; last week it was Hill and King. Never a choice. Simply an e-mail and he gets cracking with research and reading to perform his best monkey dance, before the inevitable editorial commentary. Always swift; frequently detailed, in rainbow shades throughout the margin. The schoolboy reds are worst. Strings pulling, Cal strains to complete the changes, time fast escaping. Once the final draft is in the Outbox, his breath escapes and he opens the alternate folder; black typescript forming; free from review. After a pause, he adds letters to the lines, increasing their length. There is no looking at the clock in the bottom right hand corner now. He shuts out suggestions he won’t finish; can’t become one of them. Someday, someone will review his work for him. That’s the deal. That’s how it works.

    Somewhere, he can hear simian laughter.

    (160 words)



  44. 3 AM, at the Bottom of a Glass

    I walked into Chinaski’s. Mister Bukowski sat at the end of the bar.

    ‘Hey, kid.’

    ‘Hello, Mister Bukowski.’

    ‘Cut it out. I’ve already told you: call me Charles.’

    I pushed my glasses up my nose.

    ‘Okay… Charles.’ His name came out of my mouth with the submissiveness reserved only for the greatest of gods.

    Mister Bukowski sighed and downed a shot.

    ‘What do you want?’

    ‘I have to write a story about a monkey that is sitting on the balustrade of an apartment terrace in Gibraltar and…’

    ‘Who came up with that shit?’

    ‘The dragon lady.’

    ‘Are you drinking more than I am?’

    He was on the verge of becoming totally wasted, that moment where you know if you have one more drink all will be lost.

    ‘No,’ I lied.

    Mister Bukowski sighed again.

    ‘Don’t try to be me, kid. Try to be you. Try to be the best you you can be.’

    He downed another shot.

    157 words


  45. How The Devil Got His Dead

    The night was insufferably hot, and Kipling woke to find Satan at his bedside.

    “Hello Joseph.”

    “That is not my name sir.”

    Satan shrugged.

    “Nor Cousin Louis mine…”

    Kipling frowned, confused. Satan checked his wristwatch, the decade hand grinding slowly by.

    “Ah, beyond your time. Nevertheless, I don’t appreciate being cast as a Barbary ape.”

    “The Bandar-log? That was not my intent. How odd that you equate yourself with the beast who wants to be a man.”

    Satan smiled.

    “You play games. But so do I.”

    “Our agreement-“

    “Still stands. You will become one of the greats. Only now your words will bring me a nation of the glorious dead, your own son amongst them.”

    “I have no son!”

    The devil smiled at Kipling’s sleeping wife. A flower of red flame glowed briefly on her bare midriff.

    “There, a little man-cub. Now, we shall not meet again, for a while.”

    He winked.

    If you can keep your head…”

    160 words


  46. @stellaKateT
    155 words

    Thee and Thou

    People call it the black dog. For me it’s always been a monkey chattering in my ear. Today it’s silent, giving me the cold stare. I had hoped it would have stayed at home with Alan and tormented him instead but no it had hopped on the plane and sat with me. Only disappearing for an hour or so when I started talking to the old bloke in the next seat, couldn’t believe Salman Rushdie was travelling economy.

    Thoughts of pushing it over the balcony fought to be heard but my psychiatrist’s words rang in my ears

    “It’s not real; it’s a figment of your imagination”

    When my monkey bit him hard on the neck and drew blood. I wanted to say “See!” He mentioned an emergency hospital admission. I decided a holiday would be better. The newspaper headlines scream they are looking for me. My monkey’s sharp teeth will keep me safe from thee.


  47. Josh Bertetta
    158 Words

    “It should say ‘shit.’ They don’t throw ‘feces.’ Hemingway would say ‘shit.’”

    “Hemingway is shit. Besides, I’m the editor.”

    “Yeah, but—”

    “But nothing!” He threw yet another piece of balled-up paper over the balcony. Koko just sat there, listening on the railing. “I want it to mean something.”

    She put her hand on his shoulder and told him to relax.

    “How can I relax!? I have a deadline for Kong’s sake. Twelve midnight! I mean all I ask for is 160 words max. Max! Is that too much for me to ask? You’ve seen the dribble they keep giving me. It’s nonsense. Did you see that one that guy Josh what’s-his-name wrote about a month ago? He hardly spelled a single word right and won! Just one more example of why we will rise. It’s not Shakespeare I’m asking for. 160 words. Simple!”

    Caesar opened the sliding glass door. Not a single monkey sat at its typewriter.


  48. The intruders. By Mark Driskill
    Wc-150 without title
    “What the Dickens was that?” Scrambling from my bed, I rushed toward the noise. I hadn’t heard anything sound like that since I was lost in a forest in Virginia. Woolf sounds in the morning Frost sound especially Wilde. I knew I had to get out of there or Orwell, you know what can happen to a Poe man like me. Now, hearing this cacophony in my apartment frightened me. Someone or something was rummaging around. I looked around my bedroom searching for some type of weapon to Thoreau at them. All I could find was a Shakee-speare. For a moment I considered trying diplomacy. But if the intruder has violent intentions, what are Wordsworth anyway? Finally I mustered the courage to sneak onto the balcony. I was embarrassed to discover that my intruders were simply a pair of monkeys, Browning themselves in the sun and playing Tennyson the balcony.


  49. “To Be Heard”
    John Mark Miller – 160 words

    “I just wanted to be heard,” Zane whispered, leaning over the balcony.

    Behind him, the lounge was buzzing with agents, reporters, and adoring fans. Everyone was dressed to the hilt for this red carpet event, and a dizzying display of hors d’oeuvres swirled about the room. Zane couldn’t close his eyes without seeing flashing camera bulbs.

    This was the greatest moment of his life… so why did he feel like vomiting on his crisp Armani suit?

    Zane sighed. He had made it, but his book was trash. He knew it. They knew it.

    And everyone laughed.

    He followed his editor like a circus monkey. Her wish was his command… smiling for the cameras and dancing… while his writing lost its soul.

    She appeared beside him. “They’re comparing you to Hemingway,” she mused. “And I need you in there. Now.”

    Nodding, Zane found his plastic smile.

    “I just wanted to be heard,” his mind whispered, begging the world to forgive him.



    I, Isope, find myself weary from long months aboard a junk. My captors stole this square-rigged ship; now I have been dumped unceremoniously on this bay island while my almond-eyed slavers go in search of food.

    HO! Folks of red skin approach me: friendly people with smiles and…………food! I shall use my hand signs as I have in myriad strange lands.

    My stories, too, shall captivate them; an added benefit for my captors. But as a slave, that monkey on my back, my status may be difficult to explain to these souls. With calculated moves, I animate my whole self to tell my story:

    “Clam and bay fish stuck in tidal pond.
    Bay fish orders clam to filter water for fish’s comfort.
    Tide comes in, bay fish swims away.
    Clam happy: his job, to filter water for food anyway!”

    Gentle people of the bay share food and a laugh with me; the monkey has sloughed off for the time being.

    WC = 160, exclusive of title


  51. “Falling From Grace”
    by Michael Seese
    159 words

    Some monkeys you just can’t get off your back. (And here, in Singapore, some monkeys you can’t get off your balcony.)

    “Come on, little fella,” I said, easing him down from the railing, my intended launching point. No sense in accidentally taking him with me. My soul is saddled with enough collateral damage.

    The psychologists sang hymns of “addictive personality.” The doctors read the scripture of “chemical imbalance.” F-ck them all. It’s none of those. It’s who, what I am. Lord knows I’ve tried like the dickens to end it.


    Shock treatments.

    Straight-up withdrawal.

    Nothing works.

    Happy people are often described as “addicted to life.” Let me say, it’s no picnic. Being “addicted” to life. To living, that is.

    Each time, on my way down, I ask God to end this curse. This crippled immortality. He says I must “cure myself.”

    But I need His help. He needs to give me back my wings. Or let me fall.


  52. Jill shivers; the metal floor of her cage is cold and hard. Her muscles ache. It`s lighter so it must be day. She doesn`t know how long she`s been here – a few days, a few weeks, a few months – here, time has no meaning.

    There are other prisoners here too; each is squeezed into their own cage. The room smells of urine, vomit and despair.

    Occasionally they`re taken out of their cage, tied to a cold hard table, injected with strange chemicals. And sometimes more inhumane ‘tests’. Reactions range from constant puking to death. Jill wishes for death; it would put an end to this nightmare.

    Existing( this was definitely not living) in a Stephen King horror story was not in her plans. Why had she ever complained before? Before she stumbled into this alternate world. A world where monkeys ruled the world. And she was one of their research specimens.


  53. Rice-Paper Battlefield

    The moment she touched brush to paper, he swung down in a purple flurry of wisteria. When she refused to look up, he bounced a chestnut off her head.

    “Teaching his daughter kanji?” Maboroshi chattered from the banister. “Your father was a fool.”

    Murasaki slid the shoji shut and settled back at her writing desk. The next line stuttered down the page.

    The monkey’s voice poked through the door. “It’ll never be as good as Pillow Book.”

    “It doesn’t have to be,” Murasaki whispered to her faltering hand. Maboroshi bedeviled her ever since the Empress requested the Genji tale.

    Maboroshi grappled with the hem of her kimono. “Such a waste of charcoal.” He swiped at her brush, scoffed at every sentence, but she forced the words, delicate and indelible.

    At the end of the section, she plunked down the brush.

    Maboroshi made a grumpy retreat. Murasaki savored her tiny triumph over a cup of sencha.

    “See you tomorrow,” she murmured.

    160 words
    Nancy Chenier


  54. Pleasure of the Damned

    He was raw chaos and words off the cuff, pure sin beneath the sheets. We were the same kind of different embodying the poetry in things. I wore red lipstick, and he’d kiss it off. He told me I was pretty, but I knew I was not.

    I’m drowning above water and staring down the demon as I write. I sip my bourbon straight and prefer rejection whiskey-neat. Though, things are seldom what they seem or what we wish.

    Bukowski’s best lying on my nightstand makes me think. Is this all there is, a reduction of things? Words that once held meaning are gathering dust. Pretty things, pretty useless things. This is what love does grabs a hold, sucks you under when you least expect.

    Mess of bones with tunneled out marrow, all that’s left.

    The monkey’s off my back, and here we sit. Now, I’m staring down the demon as I think.

    Red lips, no goodbyes, I leap.

    160 words


  55. Sequestered Vessel

    He didn’t have the breadth of thought he was once capable of, but Byron was more than able to preserve his sense of self and his desire to reclaim his life. Byron had tracked down Dr. Skinner after the previous scientists had no answers to share.

    There was a chain of command that Byron was killing his way up and everyone blamed the same thing: the government sequesters. Thanks to legislative gridlock, all funding for the secret Permanence Project had been frozen. Eight months in, and no end to shutdown in sight, the Project and is mission of permanent life through consciousness transfer had been abandoned.

    Byron, had been in a temporary host, awaiting a human vessel when the lab was shut down. But now he was a macaque with a knife hunting for answers. If Dr. Skinner had no answers, Byron was more than happy to embrace the instincts of his current vessel and open the man’s neck.

    159 words


  56. Earth has a Clearance Sale
    Evan Montegarde
    158 words
    (Motivated to do two FF stories for the heck of it)

    Shakespeare, as the big apes called him, had lived on the slab for all of his twenty years, an eternity, swinging amidst the trees, cliffs and rocks. The big apes had constructed huge nests and long, almost endless winding hard places that the fast killer beasts seemed to follow. The big apes seemed to like Shakespeare and his kind, feeding them and basically acting like they wanted to mate continually.

    Oddly, Shakespeare discovered that he had started to understand their language. He began to know what they meant by their actions and sounds. He wondered if it had anything to do with the silver ape visitors and their strange lights but he wasn’t sure. One of the silver apes had said something he understood, that the seeding was complete and that the big apes would soon be gone.

    When the flashes came in the sky Shakespeare knew that he was to lead his kind into the deep caves.


  57. Dishonor Thyself
    Jim M
    160 words (and some questionable punctuation)

    “Listen up”, chittered Danielle Steele the monkey, “Things are gonna get literarily freaky around here so it’s manning up time. Take your trousers off, get your nipples out and smash raw onion in your eyeballs.”

    I flinched, whimpered a little. I cast my eyes to the sea, trawling for elusive escape.

    “Do. As. I. Command! I’m the fourth bestselling author in the history of forever, media goddess, Shakespeare’s progeny. Figure out where you can get one bright red rubber boot.”

    “I don’t want. I don’t like it when you get weird”, I stammered, frantically untrousering.

    She chinned at me, teeth bared. Snarled, “Don’t argue with allegory, it’s more relevanter than you are.”

    “Yes Danielle Steele.” I humbled. I’m not proud of it but I started streaming. Not blubbering, just hot, abandoned tears of helplessness.

    “Skin you a pelican. You’ll only need the face now but you may as well get the lot, keep the rest for hurling at children later.”


  58. The Monkey, the Balcony, and me.

    I yawned as I stretched my arms out, walking towards the balcony to slide the curtains open. I looked at the blue sea before me. The harbor was surrounded by white washed buildings, red roofs, and a monkey. Wait… What? A monkey?!

    “Geh! You scared the crap out of me!” I yelled at the monkey, almost falling back. “How’d you get up here?”

    “It was quite easy, actually. I teleported here,” said the monkey.

    “You did, huh? Wait, did you just talk?!” I slid my curtains back. “Did I imagine that?” I slid the curtains open again.

    “Are you done with your pondering?”

    “I don’t know what you are but you better get out of here or else I’ll call animal control!”

    “That’s impossible, I’m afraid. For you are the only one that can see me.”

    “So you’re a figment of my imagination?”

    “Not exactly. I am here yet not exactly here.”

    I woke up with a monkey poking me.

    160 words


  59. The Things I Do For You
    by Alissa Leonard
    160 words

    He’d said to meet him at the docks and bring his amulet. Odd request, but that was Sam.

    A broken heel, a stolen purse, and three – yes, THREE! – monkey attacks later, I gave up.

    Sam’s ‘research’ has landed him in some pretty tight pickles, but if he’s dead, I’ll kill him.

    My pacing has worn a path across the carpet when that same rascal monkey lands on the balcony, glaring at me. Now, I know monkeys: they snatch and dash. None of this glaring business.

    Oh no.


    “Sam?” I whisper.

    The monkey launches into a tirade, screeching and squeaking, gesticulating wildly. Finally he pauses, glares, and holds out his hand.

    I drop the amulet into his open palm and cross my arms as he transforms. “’Bring the amulet?’ That’s it? Not ‘I’ll be a monkey’?!?”

    “I’m getting into the Jules Verne mindset.”

    “Want help with that? I can get you six feet closer to the center of the earth.”


  60. Time and Time Again
    Jess C @Lunalynx
    157 Words

    “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

    With the sonnet’s final line, he’d cursed her.

    She knew the magic in a well placed turn of phrase, and Shakespeare was indeed a wizard. Red nails traced that line, but she focused on the horizon. Sea melted into sky. The only interruption was the fuzzy macaque perched watching, waiting for her.

    “My sweet Nell, none understand the trap of time like us.” Herbert’s deep voice enveloped her. His arms cinching her waist

    “He called me his muse too.”

    “I want to call you my wife.”

    The intruding salt breeze crept through the open doors. “And if the words fail you?”

    “We’ve all of time to get them right. If you’ll be my Mrs. Wells.”

    Exhaling deeply, she tore the page from the book, crushing it into a ball. The monkey was pleased with his new toy.


  61. @elfenkate
    156 word count

    Bye Bye Monkey

    “Kipling! Here sweetie!” Damn monkey. Stupid pet. But Stewart loved this creature. It bit, pulled hair and spit. It was an awful pet.
    “He won’t come to you if you call. You have to lure him.” Stewart walked past me with a blue glass bowl with fruit in it.
    He stepped forward with a bunch of grapes. The pet eyeing me, ready to run or pounce. Undecided in which.
    Then, the loud shriek, The swooping shadow, Suddenly it was all wings and fur. Screams from both the creatures. Stewart ran to grab Kipling. He tripped. I tried to catch him. My fingers grazed his shirt. I missed.

    The older man finished writing.
    “I wouldn’t believe it,except we have witnesses. We’ll be in touch if we have more questions. I am sorry for your ma’am.”
    I nodded.that I understood.

    Outside I realized I had no more monkeys jumping on the bed. And then I laughed.


  62. @mattlashley_
    160 words

    A Room Next Door

    Dueling odors of gourmet cheese and fresh gardenias welcomed the guests to room 507. The rather opulent, given the tiny country’s financial state, official government welcome basket on the entryway table was the source.

    Dr. John Gupta, always cautious, visually inspected the room as suggested in the security brief. Mrs. Gupta, admiring the eclectically decorated hotel room and spectacular view, performed a different type of visual inspection.

    “John, look at this view.”

    “Mmmph. One moment dear.”

    “Oh! A monkey! Well hello clever little thing. How did you manage to get up here? John, it’s adorable. It’s wearing a silver necklace and playing with some kind of charm. ”


    Fifteen minutes prior, a stone-faced man checked into room 508, welcomed not by flowers or cheese, but by a monkey, a vile on a silver necklace and a copy of Forsyth’s “The Day of the Jackal” which on page 192 were inscribed the words:

    “target:507, vile: anthrax, use monkey to deliver”


  63. A Fistful of Ashes
    157 words (sans title)

    I banged my head against the table, missing the keyboard by less than an inch. Something told me that if I’d actually hit the keyboard, whatever I’d ‘typed’ had to have been better than my last draft.
    I wonder if Shakespeare ever had days like this.

    I actually had hoped to make my deadline, but then my assistant showed up. I’d sent him to the market for a gold monkey. I figured I could do a Maltese Falcon type story or something… only of course instead of a statue he brought me… a gold monkey: a Macaque to be exact. So now, instead of writing I’m dealing with a monkey who’s only slightly more manageable than my assistant.

    I hate to think what would have happened if I’d sent him for a cappuccino, but I can’t help but wonder how a Macaque would get along with a Capuchin.

    And that, dear editor is why … I’ve got nothing.


  64. Broken Heads
    158 words

    Steve looked down, and the vertigo hit him. He clenched the rail with hands and feet and barely managed to stay on the balcony.

    Ever since death claimed his brothers he’d developed acrophobia. “What kind of a monkey is afraid of heights,” his psychologist had told him. The day after that, Dr. Chimp gave up on him.

    The relief Steve didn’t find in therapy, he found at the bottom of the bottle, and in the Ziploc baggies he bought in bad neighborhoods. He fell into addiction, and he didn’t miss the irony in that.

    The wind and alcohol caused him to teeter on the rail. He imagined Jean-Paul Sartre on the balcony with him. “It’s not your fault, Steve. They had freewill. They chose to jump.”

    “But it was my idea.”

    “They chose to follow.”

    “No,” Steve screamed and flung the bourbon bottle at the hallucination. “No more monkeys jumping on the bed,” he whispered and jumped forward.


  65. A Question of Authorship
    [Judge’s entry — less fun than a barrel of monkeys]

    Elizabeth dismissed her guards as she entered the chamber of the renowned playwright. “William? We need to speak with you privately.”

    “Lizzie! I wrote you a poem!” Dropping his quill, the macaque leafed excitedly through scattered pages. “Shall I compare thee to a ripe banana? Thou art more fragrant, but less squishy…”

    “This is serious, William. Rumors are spreading.”

    His eyes widened. “Do people know I’m a monkey? I had that fake portrait painted…”

    “No. They say you did not write your plays.”

    His jaw dropped. “Sure, I stole a couple from Marlowe, but there are no more original ideas in literature! And my last play was brilliant!”

    Elizabeth picked up a handwritten folio of “Love’s Labour’s Won,” and read: “Ook. Ook? Ook! Ook! Ook. Ook?”

    William chuckled to himself. “Brilliant! My work-in-progress, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, will be better yet!”

    Elizabeth sat down at the table and picked up a quill. “We shall help you edit.”


  66. Behind the Scenes (159 words)
    “You promised me a vacation, A cabin on the steamboat—just you and me. No one would recognize me—no autographs to sign. No pictures, just you and me enjoying a few days on the water. I’ve stayed by you all these years, covering for your mistakes. Sure, they all thought you a little odd, but they respected you—all because of me. I gave you the best years of my life, and this is the thanks I get…”
    “I’m sorry, Sam. I truly am. I didn’t mean you any harm. Your stories are great. So what if no one believes them. They love those stories. Does it really matter if they believe them or not?
    “What’s really eating at you Sam? I Aren’t you enjoying the cruise? What is eating at you?”
    “You just don’t get it, do you? I gave you my name. Sure you brought me on this cruise… but you fed me bananas, Mr Twain, bananas!”
    @ marthajcurtis


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s