Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 22

WELCOME to Flash! Friday! Another gloriously sunny day here at the lair, as eyes strain toward summer. Anybody up for a practice round of ice cream, just to make sure it’s as tasty as we remember? (“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” mumble some of you, “as we just had ice cream for breakfast.” -“You are so right,” I say, cheeks reddening, “I’d forgotten one could do that. My own breakfast was the melt-your-soul soggy bits of leftover Cinco de Mayo chicken enchilada, extra jalapeños.” -“Forgiven,” you murmur, hugs all round. You tactfully ignore my stealing an extra large spoonful of Häagen-Dazs Toasted Coconut Sesame Brittle from your freezer.)

(You people are so very nice to me.) 

Last ChanceJUDGE APPLICATIONS are due by tonight at midnight. Don’t miss the party!! Details here.

Congrats once more to our 2nd Flash Dash winner, Foy S. Iver! Her story was a trip, and if you’ve not read it yet, let me encourage you to do so. (Find BONNNNNNG the story here.) Thanks to all who showed up to play, especially you brave West Coasters who set alarms for I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-Doing-This-O’Clock. Will we do more Flash Dashes in the future? Oh yes, we will. THANK YOU to tho$e who $upport the work here at FF, which make$ thi$ $ort of prize-topped event po$$ible.

♦♦♦♦♦

DC2Judging today is Dragon Team Two: Captains Tamara Shoemaker & Mark A. King.  Tamara loves stories drawn from the fringes of the obvious, the deep, mysterious, beautiful corners of the imagination; Mark requests perfectly lovely ordinary characters that OH MY LANDS DID YOU REALLY JUST MAKE THAT HORRIBLE UNEXPECTED THING HAPPEN TO THEM?! HOW DARE YOU?! and then he’ll be happy. Don’t ask much, do they??   

 ♦♦♦♦♦

Awards Ceremony: Results will post Monday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Thursdays.   Now let’s write!

* Word count: Write a 200-word story (10-word leeway on either side) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (min 190 – max 210 words, excluding title/byline) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

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

AND HERE IS YOUR TWO-PART PROMPT:

(1) Required story element (this week: character. If you want your story to be eligible for an award, the below character type must be central.)  Lawyer   (2) Photo prompt to incorporate:

1943 crash landing on the USS Enterprise. PD photo by the US Department of Defense.

1943 crash landing on the USS Enterprise. PD photo by the US Department of Defense.

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311 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 22

  1. Memories
    (210 words)

    “Help me.”

    It was all just a bloody mess. The decks were slippery with a mixture of fuel and fire suppressant. The air became toxic with a mix of burning metal, rubber and flesh. Sailors and airmen yelled as they tried to get the pilot out of the burning fighter.

    Lieutenant Hicks had reached the bullet-riddled plane before the fire crew. The heat from the fire seared his lungs and singed his uniform as he pulled the canopy back. Inside the cockpit, the pilot was slumped forward, his head resting against the instrument panel. When Hicks pulled the pilot’s head back, blood spewed from his mouth and splattered against the windshield. At first Hicks thought the pilot was gone, until the pilot blinked.

    “Help me,” the pilot muttered through bloody lips. Hicks struggled with the seat harnesses, but they were jammed. Hicks could hear the pilot’s screams above the crackling of the flames as the fire crew pulled him off the plane.

    “Will you help me? “I need someone to represent me after the accident.”

    John Hicks the lawyer stared at the man sitting before him. His fire-scarred face took Hicks back to that terrible day on the carrier.

    For a moment, he heard the pilot screaming again.

  2. Spock’s Mistake
    (210 words)

    “Jim, I’m a doctor, not a lawyer!”

    “Not anymore, Bones.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Spock, scrambled your molecules in that last transport.”

    “Why that pointy-eared Vulcan!”

    “Not now Bones, we’ve got bigger problems.”

    “I’d certainly like to know what could possibly be worse than scattering me into a thousand minuscule particles and failing to put them back together.”

    “Don’t you remember? When the Intergalactic Frapazoid Conundrum Contingency captured the olive-skinned Orion slave girls meant as a present for the new ruler of the Dalgrenian home world, we sent you back to 19th century Earth to bring Abe Lincoln to negotiate their release. That’s when Spock got distracted by the Pon Farr. His finger slipped on the transporter console when you said, ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’ That beard looks good on you, by the way. Lose the tall hat.”

    Jim ordered Bones to solve the riff before war broke out.

    “Dalgrenians, Frapazoids, lend me your ears, or whatever passes for them. Four-score and twenty hours ago you dwelt in peace. I’m here to negotiate a new treaty. Dalgrenians, squish your gelatinous tushes into the contours of your seats. Frapazoids, mold those manifold protrusions of yours around the stools provided and we’ll get started.”

    “Gronk. Squeak. Aargh!”

    “Spock, ADJUST MY UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR!”

  3. Pre-Trial Motions
    200 words

    Fire reached into the cockpit, licking greedily at the pilot’s flight suit. Chuck worked the latching mechanism, trying to open it. Nothing worked. The heat bit into his hands, clawed at his face, searing his eyeballs. He screamed at the pain, falling back from the plane’s fuselage. Falling, falling.
    Waking.
    The bedclothes were twisted round his legs. He wiped the sweat his forehead. Every time there was a big trial it was the same. The fear of failing, like he’d failed the unknown pilot. After twenty years it still ate in his belly, a ravening fear of failure.
    Lying back he stared at the unseen ceiling, the darkness absolute. He tried to practice his opening comments for the coming trial, but tonight all he could think about was the pilot he had failed to save.
    Rationally, there was nothing more he could have done. That didn’t help. It drove him still. Save the helpless, defend the unprotected. The deep blackness softened, allowing shapes to coalesce, revealing the contours of the room. The growing light helped drive out the vividness of the memory and he wrested thoughts to the coming task. The preparation was over.
    Now for the heat of battle.

    @clivetern

  4. Josh Bertetta
    “Jew Dishy Airy”
    210 Words
    @JBertetta

    His counter-suit pressed and ironed, the aircraft carrier pigeon stormed through the door and asked if Judge Dodo knew the difference between unlawful and illegal.

    “Um, well…One is against the law and the other is a sick bird.”

    “And look at my client,” he asked of the jury. “The court would have us think he is on trial for a murder of crows. Isn’t it apparent that my client is sick?”

    “Well if it isn’t apparent, is it a child?”

    “No your honor. My client can no longer fly and thanks to the stress of this trial he is prematurely bald…Moreover, the prosecutor—”

    “She sure is cute isn’t she?”

    “What kind of enterprise are you running your honor? This whole proceeding is a travesty!”

    “Yes, with lemon.”

    “Ladies and gentlemen, this is exactly why this court—nay this nation—should be on trial. Not my client. My client was chosen to uphold this country of ours and look what this nation, this court, and my client have become. Your honor, I must ask for recess.”

    “Why? I removed the playground.”

    “To offer my client wise council.”

    “There are no owls here. This is not parliament. Where do you think you are, England? This is America. We are a democracy!”

  5. The Circle of Life

    @geofflepard 209 words

    I’m shooting for the stars, on an upwards trajectory, flying high, boldly going…
    Fraud. Charlatan.
    Daily they watch me, cups stretched out. Knowing, judging.
    I win. I always win. Against the odds.
    They never speak, the death rattle of the coins in the cups, chains they’ll never shed, following up the court steps. Spare a penny. Spare me. Spare us all.
    I’m there for everyone. All the hopeless cases, all the desperate people. The damaged and the guilty. I’ll get them off and let them slip back to rob, beat, cheat, abuse again. I don’t judge.
    Their gaze never wavers. Eyes crippled by long forgotten battles for land, money, souls. Each hollowed out inside.
    Today it is me, finally broken on the bar. Aspiration corrupted. Being judged and found wanting. Crashing and burning. Pilot of my own destruction.
    Stripped bare, left to hang. Just the clothes I stand up in.
    When I emerge, blinded by the light of relief, they part, heads bowed, those ghosts of my predecessors. They held vigil; they have always known how it would end and they do not gloat. There is nothing now but a space in line and my own cup, forever empty, its echo sounding in the ears of the next generation.

  6. Word Count – 207 without title

    @susanOReilly3

    Per Adua Ad Astra

    I’ve been asked to be a pilot
    Me, I’m shocked and delighted
    and although I’ve never actually flown
    I’m sure I can manage perfectly well on my own

    Flying through the air with ease
    catapulting like on a trapeze
    Streaming smoothly through the skies
    my fellah, open mouthed, can’t believe his eyes

    I’m somersaulting, upside down
    smiling broadly, no sign of a frown
    People coming merrily to see
    My sky diving artistry

    Oh no, there’s a wall
    I realise I’ve no control at all
    Straight back down to earth with an explosive bang
    Crash landing, bedsprings given a mighty twang

    I haven’t been asked to be a pilot
    I’m shocked and delighted
    My hubby is beside me swearing
    As I try to get my bearings

    Realising, I’m better holding the fort
    suited and booted appropriately in court
    I offer my hubby an attractive bribe
    And it halts his annoying diatribe

    We both argued a good case
    Neither of us lost face
    I get ready for work with a big smirk
    This worrying case has its perks

    A busy lawyer I shall happily be
    Flying high is too dangerous for me
    I’m hear to sort out other people’s troubles
    Not to float around in my own little bubble

  7. 207
    @Viking_Ma

    The Human Touch

    The lawyer, the teacher and the cook were all on the plane flying back from the career seminar in Paris, France. The lawyer had argued aggressively to sit in the window seat, and was enjoying the beautiful sunset. The cook was squished grumpily into the middle, leaving the teacher in the aisle where she kept signalling for more gin and tonic.
    The flight had been bumpy, and the seatbelt sign flashed continually. The cook was nervous, and gripped the armrests until her knuckles turned white. The lawyer observed and laughed nastily, folding her arms.
    ‘What’s your problem bitch?’ asked the cook.
    The teacher raised a fist and gave a slurry ‘Whoop!’ She despised the lawyer and her perfect hair.
    By the window, the lawyer stretched like a cat, sinuous and sleek. ‘There’s nothing to be afraid of.’ She smiled patronisingly.
    The cook rolled her eyes. ‘Did I ask for your goddamn input?’
    There was a tinkle of ice cubes as the stewardess handed the teacher a fourth drink.
    ‘Damn!’ she cursed, as her seat jerked, sloshing cold liquid down her arm.
    Suddenly, they all fell forwards as the plane banked sharply down.
    They screamed, and the cook took hold of both of their hands, and held tight.

  8. First Interview
    @FictionAsLife
    197 words

    Sam walks into the lawyer’s office wearing his best suit. He looks at the diplomas and awards on the wall before settling himself into a leather chair. He looks at Mr. Grey across the walnut desk.

    “Rose wants a divorce.”
    “Does she have grounds?”
    “Yes, unfortunately.”
    “What do you want?”
    “I want my life back. I don’t want to bust my back as a pilot and come home to her hawking at me.”
    “So you want the divorce too?”
    “I guess.”
    “Do you have kids?”
    “Three boys. Johnny is in high school and makes straight A’s—“
    “I’m glad you’re proud of your kids. You’ll probably get custody of them. Are you prepared to pay alimony?”
    “A little, although I don’t think she needs it. She works on the assembly line.”
    “You will have to pay alimony, that’s state law.”
    “But she’ll end up with more money than me, taking my money!”
    “I’m sorry, but I can’t change the law. Do you want to fight the divorce?”

    “no”
    “Well, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. As long as you don’t do anything stupid …”

  9. WE’RE IN YOUR CORNER (210 words)

    Has this ever happened to you? You’re sailing along, cutting through waves with your eye on the horizon, and then WHAM! You’re plowed into from behind by a tailgating airplane. Now your freshly painted stern is dented and scorched. Who ya gonna call?

    What do you if your dirigible “accidently” explodes? Or your pleasure cruise has a run in with an iceberg? How ‘bout if a mud slide brings every swimming pool in the neighborhood into your backyard? Who ya gonna call?

    Tacoma Narrows Bridge, 1940, you’ve all seen the video. The whole structure wobbling and twisting like a child playing with a rubber band. Guess who shot the video? If you guessed one of our attorneys, you are correct. We were there, Johnny on the spot, ready to help folks step by step.

    Our team of crack lawyers have been helping folks just like you get what they rightly deserve. Founded in 116 A.D., Tertius, Marcus, Sextus and Sextus is the oldest and most widely acclaimed firm in the Western hemisphere. We’ve helped families recover compensation for everything from plundered tombs to rustled livestock.

    Make your lawyer jokes as you will, but when you need us, we’ll be right behind your ambulance.

  10. Representation
    (209 words)

    Mum popped a cushion behind the Law Man to hide the shine on the worn chair. He looked out of place here like the picture of the waterfall above the fire.
    Mum had spent every moment, since being notified of The Appointment, polishing formica surfaces. She’d choked every inch of the yellowed air with cheap puffs of canned fragrance.

    ‘So you’re from the future?’ Mum said to our visitor, before having a nervous glance over at me.
    ‘Yes. This is a Premature Appointment.’
    ‘I thought that wasn’t allowed? Thought you could only do Early Appointments.’
    ‘Let’s say it’s unorthodox. I know this won’t be easy, but I am scheduled to represent your son, at some future point. He needs my counsel and an alibi.’

    Tears bleed from Mum’s eyes.

    ‘What do I do?’ I hear my voice shout. The deep scars on the Law Man’s face make him difficult to read.
    He takes a photo from his pocket. It’s of some wrecked plane- ancient, from the past.
    ‘It’s a mistake! I couldn’t have done that.’
    ‘The person you become can,’ he says. ‘You’re a Time Breaker, Callum.’
    ‘That’s crazy! No way. Why, then, am I not here warning me! ‘
    ‘I am,’ says the Law Man.

  11. Lawyered
    @agardana09
    204 words

    It’s the type of worry that makes a person nauseated. She’s surrounded by loan statements and unemployment checks with a child, her child, sleeping in the other room. Sandra tried to calm the rocking of her stomach with deep breaths. It wasn’t working.

    The rising panic, the crash and burn – when had she taken out so many loans? It’s 2009 and the stock market crash caused Wall Street to explode and, suddenly, being a lawyer is like being a leper.

    The beat of her heart races up her throat. Eyes blur before she can calculate what she owes this month. The fridge is empty, Sarah needs school supplies, and none of the hundreds of employers she contacted responded.

    Her hand reaches for the doorframe, uses it to pull herself up onto shaky legs. The papers crinkle under her feet as the panic attack swells inside her body. All she can hear is the thumping of blood in her ears as she stumbles to the bathroom and she’s going down, down, down, forehead to porcelain.

    Her sparse dinner ends up in the toilet and Sandra immediately thinks of the wasted money, the wasted calories.

    Her diploma hangs in the hallway by the nearby, mocking.

  12. Turbulence
    @voimaoy
    208 words

    Morning fog obscured the skyline, the city hidden in dreams. Kim Deveen turned from the windows. More coffee was needed, today. She rubbed her forehead, the spot between her eyes. The fog only added to her headaches, a side effect of the pills. The vague sense of foreboding, was that a side-effect, too?

    “You’re working too hard. It’s just stress.” That’s what the doctor said. Well, that’s how you made partner. She was not the only junior associate at Croft and Lockwood who had dreams.

    Kim Deveen was not the only one experiencing sleep disturbances. It was an unspoken epidemic. All over the city, people were having trouble sleeping. They shared a vague sense of foreboding. Every morning, they woke from the same recurring dream. They were crowded on a plane, rocking amid the turbulence, coming out of the clouds. Then, the plane was spinning out of control, crashing on the tarmac. They woke to smoke and urgency, first responders running toward the scene.

    “Great events cast their shadows before them.” She had heard that somewhere. Kim checked her phone for the morning news, fear to fuel the day. Behind her eyes, a continuous throbbing, like restless engines in the fog, searching for clarity below the clouds.

  13. The J.J. Trial
    @hollygeely
    210 words

    “My client cannot possibly have committed the murder because his DNA does not match with that on the teddy bear. If the plane hadn’t gone down, the cow wouldn’t have died. If the cow hadn’t died and subsequently exploded, my client wouldn’t have been in the vicinity. It was all an unhappy coincidence.”

    “Sally’s on fire,” Jacob whispered.

    Mark wished he’d never gone up against Sally Bell. He’d only agreed to prosecute on this case because he thought it was an easy win. He was supposed to be on vacation with Jacob.

    “Not guilty,” said the jury.

    “You’re losing your touch, pumpkin,” Jacob said.

    Mark extended his middle finger in reply (Jacob was right, but Mark hated that nickname). How had Sally pieced that together? He’d known the exploding cow was connected, but Jesse Jones was not a farmer.

    Mark met Jones’ eyes. Jones grinned.

    “Balls. He did it,” Mark said.

    “What?”

    “The cow didn’t explode from the fumes! Jones planted the explosives in the corn. He’s getting away with murder.”

    “Oh well.”

    “Oh well? That’s it?!”

    “You can’t win them all. We have a plane to catch.”

    As Mark watched his boyfriend leave, he realized that the J.J. on the packing slip wasn’t Jesse Jones.

    It was Jacob Jenkins.

    *

  14. @colin_d_smith
    200 Words
    Title: “Closing Argument”

    Kelli took a deep breath, smiled to her client, then stood. Her confident steps toward the jury masked the battle of words playing out in her head. She frowned, attempting to bring order to the chaos.

    Take-off, cruise, landing.

    That’s what her oratory teacher taught her: The trick to any speech is being able to take-off and land; the rest is easy. Kelli cast a warm gaze over the twelve people sitting before her.

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” she began, the words suddenly falling into place. She found her rhythm, then began to soar. Each carefully-chosen phrase painted a picture of mistaken identity, police haste for an arrest, and an innocent man at the wrong place at the wrong time. She could see sympathy in her audience’s eyes.

    Ten minutes later, the runway was in sight.

    “As you can see, the facts clearly show my client didn’t even know his accuser’s wife—” She flourished her hand to a smartly dressed young lady two rows behind and across from her client.
    He smiled. The lady returned the smile. And Kelli saw it. The jury couldn’t have missed it.

    “—and… and so…”

    The landing gear faltered. Too late…!

  15. @seangdaly
    201 words

    Last Thoughts

    Why is that alarm on? Why is there smoke across the deck? The sea is tilting and someone is climbing the wing and screaming at me. I’m a pilot, oh yeah I’m a pilot. I always wanted to fly but my father insisted I become a lawyer from UCLA, no doubt, just like him, the last guy I wanted to be like but I went as commanded and thank God because that’s where I met Maggie. I held her hand and we walked to Royce Hall when the news of Pearl Harbor rang out. Why am I trapped in this cockpit? I can hardly breathe with the smoke. Something tells me to get out quickly, but I can’t feel my legs and someone is pounding on the hatch, smack, smack with an open palm trying to say something, looking all excited, and the fire is creeping closer, chocking me, but I can see Maggie’s face in the flames, freckles across the bridge of her nose, her face on the verge of smiling. She’s walking toward me. It’s all slowing down. I like how we get quiet right before we kiss, our breathing slowing down to almost nothing, our lips barely touching.

  16. Mark Morris – Ferengi Bender – 208 words

    The Enterprise rocked, sending the whole of the bridge crew lurching to one side as though choreographed.

    “There’s a Ferengi ship on the starboard bow, Jim,” Spock dead-panned, raising his right eyebrow a quarter of a millimetre. “I believe we’ve also sustained damage to decks sixteen through to nineteen with maybe thirty crew-members dead or wounded.”

    Kirk’s mouth twisted into a lopsided smile. “OH. MY. GOD!” he enunciated. “Have I caught you without exact information for once? You DON’T know how many crew-men are dead? You’re guessing?

    Spock stared balefully back at his captain. “I merely related the data from the comms report. I suggest we investigate further…”

    * * *

    The turbo-lift doors whooshed open, revealing a drift of red-jerseyed corpses, and beyond them a strange, pointed-toothed alien, hopping up and down and making detailed notes of all the carnage. His ship was juxtaposed with the corridor bulkhead, sparks showering out from the exposed Jefferies tube behind while the familiar brogue of the ship’s engineering officer trying to pull the wreckage free sizzled through the air like a discharging phaser. “He says he’s a lawyer,” he spat, emphasizing the final word as though it were a curse. He keeps cackling something about ‘acquisitions’ too. Can you take over, Jim? Before I use my shillelagh on him?”

  17. Defence Council
    (210 words)

    “Why do I need a lawyer?” It’s usually the first question they ask after I introduce myself.

    Some are surprised that their actions need defending. Others are hard to defend; they have no remorse for what they’ve done.

    Pilots are usually easier to defend, especially ones like the Lieutenant who just crashed on the flight deck. He’s never shot at another plane, let alone taken a life. However, even if he had shot down another plane, I could always argue that the intent to kill was never there. I’d base my defense on the premise that it was his job to destroy the enemy’s resources, in this case, their airplanes.

    If a pilot had died as a result of the Lieutenant being successful in bringing down another plane, I could argue that it still wasn’t the Lieutenant’s fault. It can always be argued that the responsibility for getting out of a plane when it is no longer able to fly rests with the pilot of the plane. If the Lieutenant had hit the pilot, I could always argue that it wasn’t intentional and ask for charges of manslaughter or criminal negligence. He wouldn’t get into heaven, but at least he’d stay out of hell.

    It’s time to meet the Lieutenant.

  18. Jack straightened his bowtie along with his shoulders. Going undercover had never been hard for him, but with so much riding on the outcome of his performance, his stomach cramped with unease.

    Taking a deep breath, he wandered around the art displays, scanning the crowd. Someone had donated a ton of old WWII photos to the museum and the whos-who of the city congregated like pigeons to the opening. Including the charming pedophile standing near the image of a burning plane. I’m gonna make you crash and burn.

    “Mr. Leech. Do you have a moment?” Jack made his voice nasal.

    “Ah, you’re the lawyer, aren’t you?” Sebastian Leech gave him a lazy smile.

    “Yes, sir. I needed to discuss my client’s recent purchase. He claims it was defective.” Jack waved a manila folder.

    “There is natural variation in the products. But now is not the best time. Perhaps you could schedule an appointment with my secretary.”

    “There are just a couple of things I need to confirm with you and then I’ll be done.” Already there. He only needed Sebastian to take the envelope and he could slip the tracking device into the man’s pocket. Then they’d have him.

    199 words from an ongoing #flash project
    @SiobhanMuir

  19. Reposted with minor punctuation error corrected:

    Mark Morris – Ferengi Bender – 208 words

    The Enterprise rocked, sending the whole of the bridge crew lurching to one side as though choreographed.

    “There’s a Ferengi ship on the starboard bow, Jim,” Spock dead-panned, raising his right eyebrow a quarter of a millimetre. “I believe we’ve also sustained damage to decks sixteen through to nineteen with maybe thirty crew-members dead or wounded.”

    Kirk’s mouth twisted into a lopsided smile. “OH. MY. GOD!” he enunciated. “Have I caught you without exact information for once? You DON’T know how many crew-men are dead? You’re guessing?

    Spock stared balefully back at his captain. “I merely related the data from the comms report. I suggest we investigate further…”

    * * *
    The turbo-lift doors whooshed open, revealing a drift of red-jerseyed corpses, and beyond them a strange, pointed-toothed alien, hopping up and down and making detailed notes of all the carnage. His ship was juxtaposed with the corridor bulkhead, sparks showering out from the exposed Jefferies tube behind while the familiar brogue of the ship’s engineering officer trying to pull the wreckage free sizzled through the air like a discharging phaser. “He says he’s a lawyer,” he spat, emphasizing the final word as though it were a curse. “He keeps cackling something about ‘acquisitions’ too. Can you take over, Jim? Before I use my shillelagh on him?”

  20. Scars
    209 words
    @EmilyJuneStreet

    Johnson sits in the grandstands, the trick planes whirling overhead. Another VJ Day. He never misses the show, though it wrings him out like a washcloth.

    The roaring engines set him off. Withered hands clutch seat; knuckles whiten. Real men don’t show fear. They say his war was the just one; only Vietnam boys—or faggots—get terror-struck by the fireworks.

    But the carrier runway lurches before his eyes. He scrambles for control, but the Hellcat’s brand new and unfamiliar. Smoke fills the cockpit.

    Heat. Impact. Screaming aluminum. Flames rising. Pain.

    Scars still tauten flesh and mind.

    He’d been in hospital for months after the crash. That hadn’t stopped them from giving him a blue discharge. He’d fought and nearly given his life for his country, but he was angel food—queer—and they didn’t want his service.

    “Mr. Colton Johnson?” A woman climbs the grandstand and holds out her hand.

    Johnson doesn’t take it. “What do you want?”

    “I’m Virginia Hest, a lawyer for the Board for the Correction of Military Records. I was told I might find you here. You don’t return my calls.”

    Johnson grunts.

    She offers an envelope. “Congratulations. You’re military record has been changed. Your discharge has been upgraded to honorable. New anti-discrimination policy.”

  21. Good Enough
    By Wakefield Mahon

    Rick put the Cheatham in Dewey, Cheatham and Howe. He made his way to senior partner by pulling in the big clients. Naturally the firm turned to him to represent their biggest client ever Andre Gudenov.
    Rick celebrated his victory with a private jet ride to a luxury ski resort.

    “This is your captain, Vic Thames, speaking. Thank you for riding with us today.”

    How very polite. Rick smiled as he settled back to enjoy the ride. The usual pilot is always so rude. Just because I’m a lawyer doesn’t make me a bad guy.

    “Is everything okay?” He asked the flight attendant when he heard a clunk from under the plane.

    “Fine,” she said, while strapping on a parachute.

    Rick remembered where he had heard the name Thames; it was one of the litigants in the class action suit against his client.

    “Excuse me sir, would you happen to know who made the fasteners for this plane?”

    “Well, sure I do,” The pilot said as he strapped on a parachute as well. “Your most recent client; enjoy their handiwork!”

    As the plane plummeted toward the earth, Rick made this mental note. Never trust a parts manufacturer named Good Enough.

    200 words
    @wakefieldmahon

  22. @johndotpy
    Discussions with Self
    192 words

    He damns the flames and the oxygen that fuels them.
    He curses his foe and the politics that gives him reason.
    So many years; were they wasted? Old books, dusty shelves, the law in words, stacked. Years, months, days spent: reading, learning, and committing to memory.
    Wasted? No. Sunsets through the university campus, across the Bay Area, the constructions of the future…
    And then there was Sandra. Sandra. The courtroom and the chase; that delicate dance he found so enticing. He had danced around Sandra, wooing her along with the Jury in days of youthful guile.
    Wasted? No. The family that grew inland away from these barmy waters.
    There she would learn, daughter, angel, Grace. Hope is still faithful. Is there any other way now? Is there any other pain than this?
    Wasted? No. Comrades in arms, second family, there behind the melting glass.
    They would continue the fight, this crazy war; over water, across land and in the air. It is fire that burns. It is fire that starts to takes him.
    He can see them trying, climbing, running, but it fades. He is alone now. He has everything.
    Wasted? Never.

  23. Today/Today

    I’m laying on the ground, coveralls soaked in sweat.
    I’m walking down the street, bespoke suit catching the sun.

    Oil, oil, oil, my senses all repeat, the scent deep in my sinuses.
    Coffee, wool, money, my senses detect, sharp in the lobby.

    My hands strain and burn twisting the wrench, unyielding metal, blue veins popping.
    My hands reach out to shake a hand, soft client pump, nails neatly manicured.

    I’m asked to hurry, get out of the way, be done already, grease monkey.
    I’m asked to help, stay by our side, please take our money, lawyer man.

    I get up and stretch, ignored by the pilot while my shoulders scream their protest.
    I lean back and stretch in my leather chair, cradled, while my mouth curves in a smile.

    “Get your ass over to Grady,” boss screams over the mechanical whooshing of the air.
    “Get you another coffee?” asks my assistant quietly in the silent air conditioned room.

    I walk across the tarmac, hot, undervalued, underpaid, and undereducated.
    I walk down the smooth carpet landscapes, cool, collected, rich, and powerful.

    I hear the screech and whine of breaking machinery, a metal beast in its death throes, it’s coming straight toward me, scared stiff, frozen, I
    Wonder what might have been.

    210 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  24. Unex”planed”
    Word Count: 208
    realmommaramblings.wordpress.com

    “Tom, this is your last chance to tell me what happened.”

    “I already told you. I don’t know what happened. I woke up strapped in a seat, lying on the ground. I don’t remember how I got there. I don’t even remember getting on a plane!”

    “If you don’t tell me the truth I can’t help you.”

    “That is the truth! And yes, you can help Jerry. You were the head attorney on the Jonston case and he got off scot-free. He was as guilty as a fox in a hen house.”

    “Ha! True.”

    “Look, you know me Jerry. We were best friends in law school. I may be one of the best lawyers in the city, but I would never lie to friend. I need someone like you representing me.”

    “Tom, it’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s just that your story is so vague and the evidence against you is strong. You were the only survivor out of 200 people, barely hurt, and you were strapped in the pilot seat. How did you survive that man?”

    “I don’t know… I,”

    “Hold on a minute Tom. Don’t say another word.”

    “Who are you?”

    “Lenard Jenkins, interdimensional attorney at law. I will be representing you from now on.”

  25. ROLLOVER MINUTES

    Silence.

    Then the soft tap-tap of dress shoes on metal.

    “Hello.”

    The pilot looks up from the cockpit. He feels his torso, turns his head to each side. Only then does he see the man in the suit with the clipboard.

    “Who are you?”

    “Look, we can’t dilly-dally. Filing deadline.”

    “Filing?” the pilot’s brow furrows. “What? To where?”

    “Oh! I see, sorry.” The man extends his hand. “I’m your time lawyer. Look, if we get things squared away, I think we can recapture some of this for you.”

    “Recapture?”

    “Yes,” the time lawyer says. “Minutes, months, moments, lost bits – you know, in case this doesn’t work out…” he gestures toward the frozen flames sticking out of the plane’s engines. “Missed the carrier by a bit, looks like. Don’t get me wrong, you might be fine. Just eject, and we’ll sort it later. A good lawyer will make sure you get all you’re entitled to. Sign here.”

    The pilot takes the clipboard and signs, hands it back.

    “Great. Here’s my card. Call me and let me know how it goes!” The lawyer flashes white teeth and climbs down.

    The pilot hits the eject button.

    @betsystreeter
    194 words

  26. The War
    (203 words)
    @VedBrown

    It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’m only in the reserves: one weekend per month, two weeks per year. That’s it.

    I fasten the pilot’s helmet beneath my chin as I step towards the plane. The rumble of a fifty nearby propellers shakes the tarmac, agitating the butterflies in my stomach.

    How can this be happening? I was just promoted to partner at the biggest law firm in Atlanta. Bought my wife that new car … baby on the way…

    My body went through the motions of climbing into the cockpit. I start the fighter’s engines, check the gauges.

    It all happened so fast: Pearl Harbor, and now our entry into The War. My hands tremble as I fasten the belt around my waist. The cockpit’s shield descends, locking me in. Men with colored paddles wave the planes into position.

    Objection! The word bounces around the interior of my mouth. The landing signal officer looks directly at me, his hard eyes saying, “Objection denied.” A weak chuckle escapes my throat. Gripping the lever, my plane lurches into motion, careening towards the carrier’s abrupt edge.

    I kiss my wedding ring and soar into the sky. The enemy’s coming, but perhaps it’ll be alright.

    By Valerie Brown

  27. The Moment of Impact
    210 words
    @talithaarise
    ***
    Her mother’d known he was coming in too steep. The scream reverberated even now. A shriek and horrifying crunch as metal folded in on itself. The sound of ripping oxygen as the engine exploded.

    “Miss Johnson?”
    And the fire. The deadly tongues which lapped up her daddy’s plane.

    “Miss Johnson, stay with me.”
    Engulfing, surrounding, overwhelming. Consuming in an instant the gem of her tiny heart.

    “Miss Johnson, you need to talk.”
    Incandescence eating wires and walls. Liquid hate pouring across leather and vinyl.

    “Miss Johnson, I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.”
    Radiant energy emanating without discrimination. Heat caressing and devouring.

    “Miss Johnson, I cannot overstate the seriousness of your situation.”
    Swallowing planes and people, houses and forests, her heart and mind. Becoming one with her and absorbing her will. An ever-present conflagration.

    “Miss Johnson! Tara. You’ve been charged with second degree arson! The court has subpoenaed your information. You’re going to be held in contempt of court! I cannot defend you if I don’t know what happened. Start talking!”
    The scorching wind shifted and through the haze Tara glimpsed a disgruntled attorney. “Ohhhhhh. You’re still here?”

    “Yes, Tara. Please communicate.”
    The thick smoke billowed as Tara opened her mouth. “I just…wanted to see daddy again.”

  28. They Never Taught THIS in Law School!
    202 words
    personalvapes@gmail.com

    WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!

    Salt brine and sea spray fill my nose. The stink of machine oil and burned gunpowder haze coat my lungs with vileness. An unearthly howling/crashing/screaming cacophony batters my ears as a million reflected points of blindingly hot sunshine hammer against my over-exposed retinas. My eyes adjust to focus on the spinning propeller rapidly filling my frame of vision as the airplane gallops across the deck – tossing broken men and the materials of war akimbo – its path of destruction honed on my square-meter of decking.

    I suck in a terrified breath and throw my hands up in meager defense – thus extracting my hand from the crooked old man’s handshake.

    Abruptly – the vision is gone…I’m in one of the cool, filtered-light receiving rooms of the courthouse with a heart threatening to pound itself straight out of my chest, sweat drenching the interior of my Italian suit, and moments away from soiling myself.

    “My apologies,” I whisper hoarsely to my client, who’s eyes flick from his still-outstretched hand to my eyes and back with undisguised disgust. I’ve just broken the first law of Psyche Court: don’t break contact during a deposition.

    It ain’t easy being a paranormal lawyer.

  29. THE CASE OF THE FLAMING HELLCAT

    Brian S Creek
    203 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    “Prosecutions witness.”

    I nodded to the Judge and approached the witness.

    Danny Fields, forty-two, accused of beating his boss unconscious with a crowbar after being, in his words, unfairly dismissed. I had witnesses, a motive, and the weapon. It was an open shut case.

    Mr Fields was a big man, intimidating even just sat in the witness stand. He watched me walk across to him, showing no hint of recognition. He didn’t know me.

    But I knew him.

    It had been a decade since we’d last seen each other. Back then we’d been surrounded by twisted metal and the fires of hell.

    It was 1943, the Battle of Rennell Island. My plane took a hit that caused problems getting back to the carrier. The engine stalled at the worst moment and I ended up clipping the flight deck. The landing was rougher than the time I fell out of an oak tree.

    I should have burned then and there, trapped in my Hellcat coffin. But a deck hand named Danny Fields ignored the dangers and dragged me screaming from that wreckage.

    I wouldn’t be stood in this courtroom today were it not for him.

    So, how can I send this hero to prison?

  30. Casualties (206 Words)
    @SarahCain78

    “Lives have been lost, Mr. Richards. It’s an inevitable casualty of the war on terror.”

    The jet pinwheels across the deck of the carrier, a twirling flame of destruction. Men cry in agony. Lives are snuffed out like so many candles. Is it better to die instantly in a fireball or of hypothermia in fifty-degree water?

    “Naturally, there will be an inquiry into the safety of the aircraft itself. The design. The engineering. The fuel. You understand what I’m saying. Our firm has been retained to provide the best possible legal defense for NorCom Industries. We expect your full attention to this matter.”

    One after another, standing jets ignite on the deck as burning drops of fuel rain down. The green blue flames shoot into the violet sky like fireworks. Metal twists and groans as if the heat is a knife cutting the ship in two. Men leap overboard, their bodies ablaze. The ship is melting.

    “The Navy is calling this the worst peacetime disaster at sea ever recorded, but I believe we can turn this situation around.”

    Debris litters the surface of the ocean. Waves rise and fall. Black slime covers the water like a shadow.

    “Let’s get to work then.”

    There are no survivors.

  31. The Civilian’s Purpose
    words: 207
    @meganbesing

    It’s been hours. However, the air still smells of smoke, serving as a reminder of the flames, blood, and screams. Tired, ash covered faces stare at me. My shoes clink against the ground.

    A sergeant marches over. “Can I help you, sir?”

    I tighten my grip on my briefcase. “I’m here on behalf of the fallen.”

    “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave. A press conference will be scheduled later this afternoon.”

    “Not press, Sergeant. I’m representing the families of this…accident.” I can’t help but glance at the wreckage behind him. I swallow down the lump in my throat.

    He crosses his arms. “One of our own will be covering the case. No civilians necessary.”

    “I’ve offered my services to the Jones family. There can never be too many hands on deck for something like this. Am I right?”

    I’m led to a red-faced Major. After he reads my affidavit from Mrs. Jones, he reluctantly hands me the report. Since I am a civilian most of the important information is blacked out. But I know what I’m looking at. The only reason I became a lawyer. Thirty years ago this same accident happened to my father.

    Except this time, it won’t be covered up.

  32. Loophole
    @lizhedgecock
    204 words

    ‘So, an urgent case…’ The lawyer spun in his chair.

    The man twisted his cap in his hands. ‘Your guarantee…’

    ‘No win no fee? Heck, I’ll give you £500 if you lose!’ His palms went from steepled to desk-smash in an instant. ‘Come on, hit me! What did you do? Speeding? Run a light?’ So timid, he thought.

    ‘You’ll represent me? You promise?’ Puppy-dog eyes like his kids wheedling for a new toy on weekends.

    ‘You didn’t kill anyone?’

    ‘Of course not!’

    ‘Injuries?’

    ‘No!’

    ‘This is car-related, isn’t it?’

    ‘Well, van-related.’

    ‘Oh I love a van case! So much fun turning the jury!’ The lawyer leaped across the desk. ‘I’ll take it! Shake on it!’

    The man, grinning broadly, pumped the lawyer’s hand.

    The lawyer settled back. ‘So, the detail.’

    ‘I was parking for a delivery, hit the accelerator by mistake, and hit a car in a company car park…’

    ‘Private land! Off the hook!’ The lawyer’s fist pumped the air. ‘Nice car?’

    The man looked sheepish. ‘It was beautiful.’

    ‘Not now, eh?’ The lawyer chuckled. ‘Well-parked?’

    ‘Outside the lines…’

    ‘Excellent! Can’t wait.’

    ‘You don’t have to.’ The man rose, smiling. ‘It’s right outside. Black Bentley, reg L0 OPY.’

  33. To Boldy Sue Who No One Has Sued Before
    A.J. Walker

    “I’ve heard you’re the best in the business.” Benny said. “I want to hire you.”

    Harry smiled. “What business?”

    “Ambulance chaser.”

    “Ha, I don’t like the terminology, but yeah best in California.”

    Benny held out his hand which Harry shook firmly.

    “You been in an accident then?”

    “Oh, yep. Not my fault. I want you to sue them for me.”

    “Great. Any witnesses?”

    “Oh yeah, many.”

    “Will they remember the accident?”

    “I’d say so.”

    “When did it happen?”

    “A week ago, on the 1st December.”

    “Do you have the details of who was to blame and the vehicle registration?”

    “It was Admiral J.T. Church, he moved the runway.”

    “The runway? Is that a foreign car?”

    “No the runway, on the USS Enterprise. Just when I was due to come in. Such idiots.”

    “You were parking on a ship?”

    “Not so much parking as landing. I mean, how dangerous?”

    “So, you’re a pilot.”

    “Of course.”

    “But, an aircraft carrier? The whole point is that they move isn’t it?”

    “That’s what they seem to be using as their defense. But it wasn’t really implicit during training. It seems almost negligent to me to expect us pilots to land onto a moving ship. Isn’t it?”

    Harry sighed. “No win, no fee?”

    “Fair enough.”

    (210 words)
    @zevonesque

  34. Contract Killers

    205 Words

    @el_Stevie
    #Flashdogs

    The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and bad lawyers, thought Daniel as he looked at that morning’s headline. An inquiry had already been launched into the safety of his planes following the crash.

    His eyes flicked again to the contract that covered such eventualities.

    The document threatened to sink his business. How he could’ve even considered signing the paper, he didn’t know, yet there was his name at the bottom of the page. His lawyer doubted anyone could get out of it; he’d been fired.

    His secretary came in and laid a business card on his desk, Abaddon and Abaddon, Contract Killers; Daniel smiled at the pun. Any lawyer with a sense of humour was welcome. Mr Abaddon himself followed shortly after.

    “You do not wish to honour your contract?” he asked.

    “I can’t afford to,” said Daniel.

    “Your previous lawyer was almost right,” said Mr Abaddon. “Except in one respect. There is a way out. Do you wish to take it?”

    Daniel was desperate. He’d do anything.

    Mr Abaddon pulled out a gun and fired. Daniel slumped over his desk.

    Abaddon and Abaddon, Contract Killers. Abaddon grinned as his phone vibrated. The slogan was definitely good for business. He had another customer.

  35. Spokesman for the Despised and the Damned

    Lt. Barney Platt had wanted to be a lawyer ever since the Scopes Trial. His father, the Platt of Platt Law Firm, had made sure ten-year-old Barney followed the proceedings in the paper. Platt Senior was an admirer of Clarence Darrow. Darrow knew the law, and despite the trial’s outcome, Barney Platt wanted to be Clarence Darrow.

    Seventeen years after Scopes, Barney made his father’s firm Platt and Platt, but his biggest case involved a widow who sued her neighbor because his hogs escaped and ruined her prize roses.When Barney saw a Naval Aviation recruiter in Nashville, he didn’t think twice before signing up.

    As Barney wrestled his wounded Hellcat toward the Enterprise, he decided those petty lawsuits were better than dying in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, especially after his buddy radioed Barney’s left landing gear had not deployed and that he was leaking gas.

    Pilots say any landing you can walk away from is a good one, but Barney, legs burned to stumps, got carried, all the way home.

    Platt Senior pushed Barney’s wheelchair to the courthouse steps. They might as well be a mountain.

    “Well, son,” Platt said, “what you gonna do about this?”

    Barney wheeled forward. “Pops, I’m gonna sue.”

    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    207 words

  36. Time Machinations

    “My Lord, my client’s estate pleads not guilty.”
    “So entered. Let’s begin? Call the first witness.”
    “Herbert George Wells.”
    “Mr. Wells, you are the complainant in this fantastical matter?”
    “Correct.”
    “Can you summarize your case?”
    “Certainly, some years ago I published a novel, The Time Machine. Subsequently, Horace MacInniny approached me with a plan to build an actual time machine. I was intrigued and, after some trepidation, agreed to finance the building of the device.”
    “What transpired next?”
    “The brilliant devil built it. Using my sketches, of course. Once built, we agreed that a test flight was essential. It was here that our different natures took hold. We were to go together but MacInniny left me behind.”
    “Where did he go?
    “Based on the evidence, it appears he landed on a large vessel sometime in the future.”
    “Evidence?”
    “This photograph of some other flying machine in flames.”
    “How did you acquire the picture?”
    “Some days after MacInniny disappeared, the machine re-materialized… without Horace. This photograph was inside.”
    “May I see the evidence?”
    “Yes, my Lord.”
    “This is fraudulent, Mr Wells. Your reputation for imagination precedes you. This court will not tolerate such fakery. Be gone, Sir. We don’t have time to engage in speculative fiction.”
    “Yes, My Lord”

    210 words sans title
    @billmelaterplea

  37. A Wolf in Plane Sight
    Margaret Locke (margaretlocke.com or @Margaret_Locke)
    210 words

    “Somebody’s gonna need a good lawyer,” you say. “Hell of a lawsuit.”

    I glance at the picture. “What kind of idiot climbs onto a burning airplane?”

    “A hero,” you say. “For king and country.”

    “We don’t have kings.”

    You snort. “You know what I mean.”

    I do.

    What would it be like, to want to save people so badly you give your own life?

    I can’t imagine. The only people I save are the ones who don’t deserve it.

    “Innocent until proven guilty,” you always say.

    But I can see it in their eyes, the ones who are lying. They all lie.

    I see it in mine. I lie, too. For a living.

    “His family deserves compensation,” you insist.

    As if money can replace a life. I know. I tried.

    I bought you everything, spending funds siphoned from the rich protecting their own. We throw the poor to the sharks. I threw your mother to the fishes.

    I look again at the image. “The photographer must have died, too.”

    You shrug. It makes no difference to you, that extra death.

    It made all the difference for me.

    “They need a good lawyer,” you repeat, eyeing me.

    I shrug, my mouth twisting in a bitter grin. “Better not hire me.”

  38. Everyone Loves Lawyer Jokes
    209 words

    A blonde and lawyer are on a commercial flight.

    “Hey, wanna play a game?” the lawyer asks.

    The blonde, rather tired, politely declines and closes her eyes.

    The lawyer insists. “We trade questions – when one doesn’t know the answer, they pay the other $5.”

    Again, she declines.

    “OK – if you don’t know the answer, you pay me $5, if I don’t know the answer; I’ll pay you $500!”

    This time, she agrees, visions of dollar signs dancing in her head.

    So he asks the first question: “What’s the distance between the Earth and the Moon?”

    She thinks about it for a moment, opens her purse, and hands him $5. Then she asks him: “What goes up the hill on three legs, but comes down it on four?”

    The lawyer takes the challenge in earnest. He fires up his laptop and scours the web. Taps into the Library of Congress. Sends a dozen emails off to coworkers and family members. Nobody has an answer.

    As the plane is announcing its decent to the airport, he wakes the blonde and hands her five crisp, $100 dollar bills.

    She smiles and thanks the man.

    Beyond frustrated now, he demands – ‘Well, what was the answer???”

    She opens her purse, and hands him $5.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Please do NOT consider this one in the judging – it’s an older joke I’ve told often – but it’s not a ‘Peg’ original.

  39. Widdle Finishes One Enterprise and Begins Another
    A.J. Walker

    “Barnstable, Barnstable & Fletcher, Inc” was actually just Eric Widdle, but he thought the business sounded better with a few more names; none of them being his.

    The strap-line on his advert read “your nightmare could be your opportunity” – he’d come up with it himself one night after a heavy cheese session. He didn’t like the idea of paying for some highfalutin ad agency to come up with something corny, when he could do it himself for the price of some oatcakes and a slab of Danish Blue.

    He was just starting out in law after his mishap on the USS Enterprise. It hadn’t been his fault; shoddy foreign workmanship. A lens had fallen out of his glasses just as he was lining up the landing. Then it all got fuzzy; until he woke in hospital.

    The headlines had been quite hurtful and he still didn’t know where his parents had moved to. He understood that divers had now found most of the Enterprise.

    The navy had been good paying for him to do the correspondence course in “Law for Beginners” whilst he’d been bedridden. The whole crew had signed a card to him too. He still couldn’t quite work out the handwriting, but was sure it said something nice.

    (210 words)
    @zevonesque

    #Flashdogs

    • I had a picture of Eddie the Eagle as I read through this. And the thought of his own parents running away from him – hilarious.

  40. Edward had held the role of The Devil’s Advocate longer than he cared to recall. It was truly amazing how argumentative the newly dead became. “I didn’t realise”, “I thought I had more time…” Oh shut up you whiny maggots – a deal’s a deal!

    Captain Buck had made his deal back on his father’s farm. He’d watched in awe as the crop dusters had swooped like larks over the fields, spreading their payload of DDT on the crops.

    Sitting on the porch he’d begged to be allowed to join the flying corps. It was a clever Luce who’d materialised and offered the deal. When you sold your soul, the marker could called in at any time.

    Edward reared in the cockpit as the plane limped to the deck. “It’s time, Buck.” Fighting physics and death turned the young man into barrack room barrister, arguing every point. The look of triumph when the plane hit the deck, shuddering to a halt, then collapsing to the left, was a picture. The straps refusing to budge was a nice touch; the look on the young man’s face as he scrabbled for life, realisation dawning over his features, exquisite. Edward extended his hand.

  41. “Homecoming”
    by Michael Seese
    209 words

    “Today’s the day, kiddo. Daddy’s coming home. Finally. It sure will be good to see him. To have dinner with him. To hold his hand again. It’s been…”

    In truth, Angie lost track of exactly when Tom had flown to Boston. She remembered she’d packed his summer suits. Now, the leaves on the stately maple had assumed a fiery fringe.

    “… too long. That’s how long it’s been.”

    And it would be good to hear his voice. He’d call whenever he could. But the meetings often lasted well into the night, and then he’d be in the hotel reviewing papers, sifting through the corporate garbage. So most of his communication came via email, sometimes sent while sitting in the conference room he labeled the “Black Hole of Calcutta for lawyers.”

    But each one ended with “LuvU.” That was all she needed.

    “Well, even though his plane just took off, it’s a long drive to the airport. We’d best get going, little one,” she said, placing two loving hands on a belly that was not yet swollen, but soon would be. “I can’t wait to tell him our news.”

    She turned off the television seconds before the headline, “Tragedy In NYC. Plane Hits WTC” could bring her world tumbling down.

  42. “The Red One Or The Blue One?”
    by Michael Seese
    206 words

    William wiped mock sweat from his brow.

    “Which one? Which do I cut? The red wire or the blue one?”

    Gracie’s expression did not change.

    “Damn it, Jim! I’m an attorney. Not a munitions expert. Why don’t you ask that cursed Vulcan which is the more logical choice?” William chuckled a little, remembering evenings spent on the couch, basking in the cathode glow. “Dr. McCoy always was your favorite character. Though I know you secretly had a crush on Kirk.”

    His wife of 47 years snorted slightly.

    “It’s too bad Artie’s not here. He would know. Artie was good with electronics. Remember how he used to fix our TVs?” Regrettably, William’s only brother had passed ten years prior.

    A tear surprised him, and hijacked his sense of humor. “I can’t wait any more, Gracie. They’ll be in soon to check on you.”

    William decided to err on the side of caution, and gave both wires a sharp tug. The staccato pulse that had haunted his days and nights for three months gave way to a shrill high-pitched squeal. Her sunken chest offered one final heave, then fell still.

    He kissed her forehead.

    “Good night, dear,” William said before finishing her medicine, and joining her in sleep.

  43. What a terrible decision to have to make! And yet, I can completely understand his sentiments.

  44. Going Down in Flames

    207 words

    The court room is stuffy, the Judge visibly wilting. My client has been on the stand all day. She’s been a star. The strategy worked out pre-trial is working beautifully and the prosecution fails to land a blow. The next question sounds like one covered an hour ago, I object.
    “I’m allowing it,” says the Judge. He turns to the Prosecutor. “But make your point swiftly.”
    He does and for the first time my stomach sinks, the sushi gulped down at lunch churns ominously. My client looks at me in panic. All the hours of preparation, of testing her story, of priming the defense, are useless now. Her eyes are wide and pleading. I shake my head.
    “I shouldn’t need to remind you that you are under oath,” says the Judge.
    My client nods, and answers. From there it’s like watching a crash in slow motion. Knowing what is happening, and being unable to do anything about it. Each question by the prosecutor unpicks things a little further and the cloak of our defense falls open more raggedly.
    When we adjourn for the day, it is nearly over. The jury already seem convinced.
    The prosecutor leans by my desk.
    “Crash and burn, counsellor, crash and burn.”

    @clivetern

  45. My Enemy’s Face

    I became a lawyer to bring justice to people. I became a soldier to bring justice to the world. But that will not be my fate, in the end.

    I brought closure to families who had lost loved ones through the violent actions of others.

    The face in the mirror became the enemy’s. Drawn and haunted, dark eyes. A perpetual death mask. I tried not to look.

    I killed families’ loved ones. They would not have closure. But I’d seen enough people face to face with those who killed their loved ones. My face became that of each guilty man.

    My face haunted me. It glared at me, judging me. And I? I was on the ocean, alone between thousands. I did not have wings like others. There was no escape. Only salt water for raw wounds.

    I watched the plane burst into flame and burn.
    I waited for it to hit me.
    I waited for the darkness to come.
    I waited for the moment I could escape my own face.
    The metal casket burned. A fiery grave. Dust to ashes. Ashes to dust. Heat seared my face.
    I stared at my dead enemy.
    I watched and wished it was me.

    And I hated him for letting me live.

    Words: 209
    @CarinMarais
    http://www.hersenskim.blogspot.com

  46. Emily Clayton
    @emilyiswriting
    209 words

    An Act of Innocence

    “BOP BOP”

    Mikey Weathervane’s eyes flew open. What the hell was that?

    He glanced across the lumpy mattress, weeks-old sheets and food stains ground into the fibres. Since when does my alarm bop? And why are my walls streaked with tiny handprints?

    He hit snooze, that familiar, magical device that extended his slumber ten minutes at a time. He was an immigration lawyer at Robbins, Marshall, and Firk, yet he never lived up to standards. Too trustworthy. Too understanding. More often than not, tearful couples had sham marriages.

    Today. A hearing for his “clients.” Mikey gazed out the filmy window, his mood as dark as the green hazy sky. “Why can’t I play hooky? Someone else can fill in. The hearing is a joke anyways.”

    Ten minutes later, he sat in his pillow plane, merrily launching a mid-flight battle. “Take that, you scum!” He simulated machine gun fire, blazing a path through the enemy line.

    “Kaboom! They got me!”

    He never noticed the bright flare swelling outside his windows, turning the sky fireball orange.

    A knock on the door. Two police officers. Pink horns twitched near their ears.

    “Don’t you know that whatever you act out becomes reality on this planet? How else do you think we became coppers?”

  47. Foy S. Iver
    @fs_iver
    WC: 210

    We Rest on Thee

    Gray breaches blue.
    Then eclipses it.
    Consumes it.
    Fear takes over; the illusion of control lost. Chemicals push through turgid veins; oxygen floods the organism; rational thought gives way to reflex.

    This is it. I’m gonna die.

    Lone pines on smoke-colored mountains. Biscuits and bitter coffee. Momma stringing green beans.

    We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender;
    We go not forth alone against the foe.

    Yellow, orange, black, heat swelling. Salt stings eye-flesh, mouth like cotton. Ground rising up with deadly force, eager to embrace that burning carcass.

    Strong in Thy strength, safe in Thy keeping tender.
    We rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go.

    Angry words unrepented, lies too late to disentangle, a heart kept closed.

    We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling,
    And needing more each day Thy grace to know.

    Teeth set to teeth. The limbic system signals the bladder to void, warmth spreads between clenched legs.

    “We’ve all committed crimes, Son.” Preacher’s red hand strikes his back in love. “Let Jesus be your lawyer!”

    Christ! Help me.

    Impact. Steel crushing inward, groaning. Head whipped forward, brain numb.

    Sounds without edges.

    Singing.

    Yet from our hearts a song of triumph pealing;
    We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go.

    • I love the use of the lyrics. It was beautiful against the “life flashing before his eyes” moments.
      It also makes me wonder if something similar happened in the last moments of the men of “Operation Auca”…

    • Holy cow, is that impactful! Love how the short, choppy language emphasizes the immediacy and horror of the situation. Blending the lyrics throughout was beautiful, and stark in contrast to the darkness of the man’s final moments.

      • Wow, thanks, Margaret! That IS a compliment. 🙂
        I’m glad it resonated with you. I got to listen to a Celtic version of the song while writing and it helped immensely.

    • I’m not a religious person but this is a powerful story. The weaving in of that hymn with the man’s last moments, the fear he experiences and the use of his faith to heighten the emotional impact – terrific writing.

      • Thank you Steph! I’m glad it resonated with you. The power of a mortal in last throes (or what he thinks might be), transcends spirituality.

  48. Guilty as Sin
    207 words, @pmcolt

    The foreman’s verdict thundered in my head like the roar of propellers.

    I mentally reexamined my closing statement: The crash was accidental. My client’s plane hit treacherous turbulence. His oil line ruptured; he fell from the sky. This was not premeditated murder, but an Act of God.

    Twelve men had seen through those shameless lies, but what could anyone expect? My client was a fighter ace, and a close childhood friend. I was the best man in his wedding. Now the battered American hero wept as the bailiff led him away in handcuffs. In the front row, his wife bowed her head.

    “You tried,” the prosecutor said, patting my shoulder. “But he thought that his Hellcat wife was cheating, and he kamikazed the man’s house.” Not a word was untrue.

    “You’ll push for the death penalty?”

    “He’s guilty as sin. It’s my job.”

    I wandered away from the courtroom. In the shadow of a marble pillar, his wife stopped me. “He’ll get the chair?”

    “Yes.” My colleague was the best prosecutor in the state.

    Then her cherry lips pressed against mine, as they had done so many lonely nights during the war. For all the lies the jury saw, they had missed the biggest lie of all.

  49. Heroism Recalled
    @210 words
    @rowdy_phantom

    The man framed in Lana’s screen-door held his briefcase like a placard announcing that the government’s lawyers finally made it to her doorstep.

    She pantomimed hospitality: coffee, talk of the farm in vocabulary the shiny-shoed would understand. When he mentioned Red Menace, though, she pushed aside her mug.

    Suddenly all business, he presented a photograph. “Do you recognize this?”

    Lana’s childhood was steeped in war stories. Yeah, she knew the lieutenant clambering up the fiery fuselage to save the Hellcat pilot.

    “Daddy.”

    “It seems you’ve inherited a measure of Lt. Chewning’s bravery. And I’m afraid that heroism is property of the Department of Defense”

    She grit her teeth around a No! She’d heard about what happened to resisters.

    “Can’t have patented courage running loose in the general population,” he explained. “It would upset the status quo.”

    Wally found his mother huddled in the pantry. His heart stuttered at the terror warping her face. He fumbled in his belt pouch.

    “Get in!” she panted. “It’s not safe!”

    She lunged, but Wally was ready. The syringe pierced Mom’s jug-you-lar. His thumb managed to sink the plunger. Like they’d practiced.

    Steel hardened her jaw and she caught him up with familiar ferocity. “My brave boy,” she murmured as he surrendered to his sobs.

    • What kind of world would it be where courage is not allowed…that poor child. That poor woman.

    • What a unique take. Scary to think that a government would try and control certain qualities in a person – although hang on, isn’t that beginning to happen. Nicely Orwellian.

      • Thanks! I think it was the need to include a lawyer that drove me into an Orwellian corner. I was going to do a second where the lawyer was the force for good, but couldn’t wrap it up by the deadline.

  50. SEA QUESTIONED
    WC = 200 ((05-08-15)

    Pragmatic and dogmatic, the seabee swam easily in a blue surge of questions. Men, riding the murky cusps of storms at home, flowed toward Chris on board. The sea lawyer provided watered-down, tongue-in-cheek advice because he possessed just enough salt to make the information palatable and useable.

    “How do I get out of jury duty? I’m on board. Don’t they know?”

    “My taxes are due, Chris; what do I do?”

    Chris weathered the swell each available off-duty period. To answer legal questions of desperate and concerned swabbies quelled the below-decks climate. Less sea sickness for stateside issues, and more concentration on aircraft and carrier jobs above decks.

    He flagged the planes and assured their takeoffs and landings. He assured the fliers of the conditions and rules for safety just as he assured the sailors of their legal rights and responsibilities. The surety of continuing of life in a chaotic sea theater.

    The ultimate jury for Chris and all men on board the craft heaved beneath. The depths held all tenets for life and man’s small decisions. All his expertise was but froth in the vast sea of war and convention. He knew his place on ship and in God’s order.

  51. Conviction

    The war caught everyone by surprise. I was used to fighting for a living, but my battleground was far more civilized. I was soon summoned for duty, with no hope of appeal.

    Basic training lived up to it’s name. The other lads teased me, they thought I was soft. They didn’t understand that a courtroom is no place for the merciful.

    We were quickly shipped to the front lines. My hands shook as my plane raced towards the end of the boat. I prepared to engage.

    I quickly spotted the enemy. I paused, waiting to assess their opening arguments. Their volley took down three of our squadron. They had made their case. I answered with a salvo of my own, but I missed the mark. That happens sometimes. You just have to keep moving forwards.

    I broke free, making myself an easy target. Never look strong, always appear vulnerable. When one came after me I turned the tables, switching to offense. I peppered him with a cross examination. Today there would be no pardon, no settlement. I wanted nothing less than the death sentence.

    The verdict was made as the enemy’s defense crumbled. He tried to bail, to escape justice. I lined up his parachute in my sights. Motion denied.

    210 words
    @todayschapter

  52. Trial of a Lifetime
    204 words, @pmcolt

    “You know why they call me Hellcat?” he shouted at the stormy sky through the enormous gash in the fuselage. His legal briefs lay strewn throughout the wreckage; his briefcase drifted away. “Because law is war, and I’ve shot down more Zeroes in the courtroom than any Pacific fighter ace.”

    His leg was pinned within the twisted wreckage, bleeding profusely, but his immediate concern was the rising water. The pilot floated face-down nearby: there was no one to rescue him. Within minutes, the downed aircraft would drag him to his watery grave.

    Twenty years of legal experience had taught him that litigation, like life, was a give-and-take struggle. Know what you want. Offer a compromise. Take what you want, and concede what you don’t need.

    “I’m going to live!” he raged against the heavens as he struggled to free his leg from the wreck. Lighting cracked the sky in half as the rain pelted him. “I’m going to live!”

    His hand came across a bent piece of shrapnel. He gripped the jagged steel and raised it high above his head, then took aim at his crippled limb and laughed wildly.

    “You want me?! You’ll settle for my leg!” He plunged the makeshift blade fleshward.

    • *Winces* What an ending. ‘Take what you want and concede what you don’t need’, in this case his leg. A painful settlement indeed.

  53. Barry sat at what used to be their dining room table, holding the manila envelope that he had not yet opened. He knew the woman standing in front of him, lit only from the back by fluorescent light from the hallway, wanted him to open it and sign what was inside. Barry had asked her to tell him just to do that very thing. But once the moment had come, he found that he couldn’t take that step.

    “Counselor, did I ever tell you about how we met?”

    “Don’t do this, Barry. It’s a fair settlement. It’s more than fair.”

    “We were flying back from Long Beach. Not even on the same flight. But then some fool crashed his prop plane into one of the ponds near the airport, and all hell broke loose.”

    “Barry, the deal expires at midnight. You don’t sign that, you’re out ten grand in fees. Minimum.”

    “They sat her next to me, and by the time we’d landed at Dulles, we were in love.”

    “Were. Past tense.”

    Barry looked up at the woman who he’d soon make his ex-wife with a stroke of his pen. “We even got married on that same plane. Didn’t we, counselor?”

    “But all flights land, Barry. All flights land eventually.”

    210 words
    @drmagoo

  54. Taking the Fall

    “Sorry, what?” The Lieutenant asked the stranger.

    “You have been charged with Historic Genocidal Negligence.” The man in the silver suit repeated. “I was sent to inform you and to offer my services as a defense attorney.”

    “Sent from…”

    “The future.” The Suited-Man answered. “Very far in the future.”

    The Lieutenant was tempted to pinch himself. He had just returned to his quarters following a double shift. There was still plenty of cleanup to do following the crash landing. It was very possible he was overworked and seeing things. That was the logical explanation for the Suited-Man’s sudden appearance.

    “Okay,” He indulged the hallucination, “and I’m being charged… in the future… with Historic…”

    “…Genocidal Negligence. Yes.” The Man finished. “You were the officer on duty when the crash occurred. The event has been found to be a focal point of causality leading to the creation and implementation of the atom bomb.”

    “The what?” He started, but dismissed the question with a wave of his hand. “Why am I being charged for historical crimes? Shouldn’t you charge Hitler or Churchill or FDR?”

    The Man laughed. “Oh they’re far too high-profile. We couldn’t pluck them out of history and try them. We need someone that history won’t miss.”

    “Lucky me.”

    @acmarkz
    208 words

  55. Restitution

    There’s only one law, really. Everything ends.
    If this were a trial, I’d mark my marriage as Exhibit A. Maria and I were happy in the beginning, when we didn’t have anything. After law school, though, things changed. I wanted the bigger car, bigger house, bigger life. All she wanted was the old me.
    “Our life together is going down in flames and you don’t even care,” she cried.
    And she was right. It was like our marriage was crashing and burning before my eyes and I was watching, idly, as she tried to save it. Alone.
    A decade has passed since she left, and not a case that I’ve won or a cent that I’ve made has erased the sting of her accusation. I can almost hear her words as I pull to the side of the road.
    The accident looks awful, horrifying, but there is movement in the wreckage of one of the cars. Through smoke and flames, I see someone clawing for help.
    I am out of my car now. I am running. There’s another stopped driver standing by, idly. I pass him without a second thought.
    Because there’s only one law, really. Everything ends.
    And I cannot bear another selfish ending.

    @mikeashell
    205 Words

    • Great use of the prompt, neat tying together of the story with the repetition of the first line in the penultimate line.

  56. Live Well

    “Department of Defense didn’t know Bobby had that,” when the navy man holds up the photo, the tremors worsen. “U.S.S. Enterprise.”

    Tears rim his eyes, and he pulls a kerchief from his pants pocket. “This pilot missed the run, ship hit a swell, and it nearly pitched him over the edge. Bobby strolled up, cool as can be.” He wipes his nose, “Excuse me.” The cotton square disappears again. “When Bobby was dying, he asked me to write the letter to his mama.” He pressed the image into my hand. “That’s Bobby, there, yelling into the cockpit. He was studying to be J.A.G.”

    I pretend not to see the tears. He turns away. “Never understood why I survived. After the war, I became a lawyer. I did that for him.”

    200 Words
    @msbbrumley

  57. Of Children and Pilots

    The catapult officer was the first to reach Johnson’s wrecked craft on the deck. As he pulled the ensign out he was rewarded with a wry smile.

    “Any landing… eh LT?”

    The Lieutenant shook his head as he led the pilot away from the burning craft.

    “Son, you’re lucky to be alive.”

    The Ensign watched as his flaming craft was lifted guided over the side.

    “I guess that means you’re not going to repair her.”

    His lamentation lasted two seconds before he asked, “How soon can you have another one ready to fly?

    The LT shook his head. “You just wrecked your Hellcat…”

    “No, sir. I allegedly ‘wrecked’ my Hellcat, but I don’t see my Hellcat so… with no evidence to the contrary. You need to load my Hellcat into the catapult.”

    The Lieutenant shook his head as he signaled his team to prep another craft.

    “Just be sure and watch out for alleged Japanese allegedly trying to kill you.”

    “No allegations on that, LT. Them trying to kill me is their modus operandi.”

    Johnson smiled, saluting before he climbed into his craft, and prepared to take off.

    “The lord watches over little children, pilots and lawyers,” The LT intoned as Johnson took off. Johnson was… allegedly all three.

    209 Words
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    • Enjoyed the legalese infiltrating the story, particularly the use of allegedly; wonder how many more planes he’ll crash?

  58. 210 words

    Piccolo Against the Torpedo

    My client, Johnny “Piccolo” DeMeyer, is five foot five in socks, has a slight build and a face as innocent and tinged with gray as an overcooked pork chop. If he carried a lit candle and wore a black cassock instead of denim bell bottoms and a sky blue jumper, you might mistake him for an altar boy.

    Last month a plane piloted by an Admiral’s son crash landed on the USS Enterprise. Piccolo had been the Landing Safety Officer responsible for guiding the plane in. The Navy put Piccolo on trial for incompetence.

    The judge was a career Navy man nicknamed “Torpedo” Johnson, a longtime friend of the Admiral’s. I knew I was in for a fight. When the bell rung, it didn’t take him long to start punching. Hard.

    “Your client crashed an expensive plane,” he barked.

    “Sir, DeMeyer performed his duties. The pilot crashed–,” I countered.

    “Because he could not see DeMeyer’s signals.”

    “Sir, regulations mandate a man must be at least five foot ten–“

    “Are you saying Navy command made a mistake?”

    “Regulations clearly sta—“

    “Son, the Navy did not make this man short. God did.”

    “Then the mistake was God’s, sir?”

    The top of Torpedo Johnson’s bald head flushed red. This fight would leave marks.

  59. Well, I missed a bit – posted the wrong one. (Not embarrassing at all, is it? Eeck!)

    Corrected:

    Live Well

    He speaks clearly, “Department of Defense didn’t know Bobby had that,” when the navy man holds up the photo, the tremors worsen. “U.S.S. Enterprise.”

    Tears rim his eyes, and he pulls a kerchief from his jacket pocket.

    I notice the excess of fabric, realize that time has stolen his vitality, worn away his muscle.

    “This pilot missed the run, ship hit a swell, and it nearly pitched him over the edge. Bobby strolled up, flames crawling up the plane, cool as can be, helped that pilot out.” He wipes his nose, “Excuse me.” The cotton square disappears again. “Bobby died later that year. When he was dying, he asked me to write the letter to his mama. She gave me this – wanted me to remember him as he was. She begged me to live well.” He presses the image into my hand. “That’s Bobby, there, yelling into the cockpit. He was studying to be J.A.G.”

    I pretend not to see the tears, pretend not to hear the break in his age-raspy voice.

    He turns away. “Never understood why I survived. After the war, I became a lawyer. I did that for Bobby.”

    192 Words
    @msbbrumley

    • I haven’t read the earlier one, have started reading entries again but this time reading from last to first! Handing over the baton, nice way of honouring someone’s memory (had to look up J.A.G. – learned something new today).

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