Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 36

HOWDY, FOLKS! Thank you so very much for stopping by despite the August doldrums; no doubt many of you are scrawling today’s magnificent stories poolside, or beachside, or mountainside, as minions shade you and fetch you nachos with double jalapeños (though not at the same time, I’m thinking). 

(Be a dear and hand me that cup of lemon and cardamom gelato, won’t you please?)

August can also be a discouraging time for writers; the year’s more than half over, and it’s so easy to feel like a failure for not having finished drafting The World’s Greatest Novel yet. Do not be discouraged! There’s still plenty of time left in the year. Craft new goals, perhaps, for the near future: ones that are warm and snuggly and growling only slightly. Ask someone to keep you accountable. Stick cheery hearts on your calendar for each day you write, and party when you see those bright faces grinning back at you. Just keep moving forward, one step, another step, another step. After all, even the most prolific of writers builds stories just like we do: one word at a time. ♥  

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DC2A big ol’ howdy and welcome back to Dragon Team Seven, which consists of the freshly crowned Nancy Chenier (who nabbed her fourth FF win last week!) & her equally talented, if mischievous, cohort IfeOluwa Nihinlola. Today’s theme of obsession couldn’t be more perfectly matched, as IfeOluwa is head-over-heels in love with details in stories, and Nancy has been caught at least twice writing little love poems to sentences that pull off more than one job in a story. Read more about them at their judge pages, linked above.     

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

* Today’s required word count: 100-150 words  (100 min – 150 max words, not counting title/byline)

How to enterPost your story here in the comments. Be sure to include your word count (this week 100 – 150 words, excluding title/byline), the two story elements you based your story on, 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 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 Thursday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity.

AND HERE IS YOUR NOVEL PROMPT:

This week’s novel inspiration: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic tale of excess and social upheaval in 1920s America as portrayed by the nouveau riche Jay Gatsby’s obsession with the married Daisy Buchanan.

Story elements (base your story on any TWO of these elements; be sure to tell us which two you chose. Reminder: please do not use copyrighted characters). 

* Conflict (choose one): man vs man; man vs society
Character (choose one): nouveau riche, jealous husband, shallow socialite
Theme(s) (choose one): obsession, prohibition, the limitations of wealth
Setting: 1920s New York

OPTIONAL PHOTO PROMPT (for inspiration only; it is NOT REQUIRED for your story):

Joan Crawford & John Gilbert; publicity photo for the film "Four Walls," 1928. Public domain image in the U.S.

Joan Crawford & John Gilbert; publicity photo for the film “Four Walls,” 1928. Public domain image in the U.S.

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404 thoughts on “Flash! Friday: Vol 3 – 36

  1. @CharlesWShort
    Character: shallow socialite
    Theme: limitations of wealth
    148 Words

    Harry’s Wisdom

    Harry had dreamed of being rich. The experience didn’t live up to his expectations.

    He asked his father for his share of the inheritance the minute he came of age. Naturally, his father refused – the first thousand times. Then to everyone’s amazement, he consented on the one thousand and first attempt.

    Harrison, as he then insisted on being called, took the town by storm. Friends were as abundant as spending money. Too late, he discovered it had been a one to one correlation.

    As the cash depleted so did the friendships. Everyone will rush to help the nouveau rich, and many will aid a poor man, but nobody has pity for the spoiled, nouveau broke.

    He grew up as Harry, and moved away to become Harrison. His father watches the road, wanting his Harry back. The young man that finally returned though wasn’t Harry. He was much wiser.

  2. For Ever After
    (150 words)

    Character: jealous husband
    Theme: obsession

    I love you, I need you. You are my world.

    I feel your heart beating slowly as I hold you tightly to my chest. My heart beats in tandem with yours.

    I see your soul glimmering in your eyes. Our souls are meant to be together.

    I feel your warm breath on my neck. When we kiss it takes my breath away.

    We’ve been together a long time. I’ve always been there for you. I’ve always been your rock that broke the waves of despair that tried to drown you.

    Why did you throw that away for him?

    I feel the last few beats of your heart against my chest.

    I see your soul fading from your eyes.

    I feel your final breath on my neck.

    I push the knife further into your back.

    I love you, I need you. You are my world. Nobody else can have you.

    Ever.

  3. The Dancer

    There is little light tonight. The moon is hidden by a dead woman’s shawl. She covered the bare window of this room before she walked up to the roof and jumped. She heaved herself off of the 8 story tenement we bought for a song.

    I didn`t know her. I am told she was once a dancer at the Ruby Rose. That was a fun Speak. Before Grant became all discombobulated, when he was content enjoying the privilege of just being my husband, we went there often.

    I am lying, of course.

    I knew the dancer. That night I first saw her beauty at the Ruby Rose, I followed her home, to here, to this tenement. I asked Grant to buy the building. At first he thought I was finally interested in how he made his money.

    Later, much later, he discovered my interests lay elsewhere.

    Character: jealous husband
    Theme : obsession
    148 prohibitions
    @billmelaterplea

  4. Theme The limitations of wealth
    Character Nouveau riche
    129 words

    The troubadour
    He left home with a bag full of rags and a cheap guitar. At first music soothed his lonely soul but in the thriving affluence of that beautiful city he found a craving for things of substance.
    Things that needed money: small money, bigger money, blood money, like a river gathering pace and volume till it became a veritable flood. Carrying with it, like so much flotsam and jetsam, glad rags, handcrafted guitars, sleek black cars, and an architect designed house.
    But nowhere in that torrent of wealth could he find a new heart ; to replace the one that was first broken by disease and then smashed by death and loss. Washed up with everything he had ever wanted he found he had nothing he had ever needed.

    @jjacquim

  5. Whiskey sour
    @lizhedgecock
    Elements: Theme (prohibition), setting (1920s New York)
    147 ml

    She walked in as if she owned the place, and came straight up to the bar. Hair cut like a boy, water dripping from the fringes of a way-out dress, scowling.

    ‘Whiskey sour, please.’

    I held the glass I was polishing up to the light, and looked at her sideways. ‘You’re not from round here, ma’am.’

    Her laugh was like a gun firing. ‘Hell no! Big Apple all the way.’

    I put the glass down. ‘So, here upstate, we’re dry.’

    She looked round at the residents with their flagons of beer, and turned back to me. The corner of her mouth crept up.

    ‘OK. Can I have a glass of water on the rocks, please.’

    ‘Lemon?’

    ‘Yeah.’ She slid a dollar bill across the bar, and herself onto a stool. I reached down for the whiskey bottle. ‘One for the bar, too.’

    ‘Now you’re talking, ma’am.’

  6. Name: @dazmb
    Words: 149
    Character: Shallow socialite
    Setting: Prohibition America
    Theme: Obsession

    Title: A summer of truth

    He indulged his boredom in the whiskey fuzz of the speakeasy.

    Its illicit thrill had long since passed. Besides, he owned enough of the finest malts to last a lifetime.

    He made to leave but…

    It was intoxicating. A fragment of scent. An earthy lightness of air above running water, a spring bud wrapped tight, carried to him now across the empty laughs and meaningless chatter.

    And as much as he was helpless to escape its effects, it awakened in him, for the first time, the most primal of desires.

    He had to have it.

    Possess it.

    Own it.

    And what he had always thought was the idle boredom at the centre of his bring slipped away, to hint at something darker. A savage truth that would reveal itself fully during the course of that summer.

    That desire, once awakened, would become his source of truth.

    And violence.

  7. Touch | Screen

    @making_fiction

    Conflict: Man vs society. Theme: Obsession

    149 words

     

    He longs to feel the touch of his mother. What would a cool kiss on his forehead feel like? A squeeze of his hand in hers? A hug? Her breath on his pillow as she lies next to him each night, afraid that his clothing will be hued in liquid merlot reds that he cannot feel?

    Harsh Velcro sounds replace the ethereal objects of frustration that are buttons and laces.

    They used to talk about avoiding heat and sharp objects. What the pressure of his own bodyweight on a floor might feel like.

    Now he dreams of the sensation of grass beneath the cool shadows of daisy-chain clouds. The fizz of cola on tongue. His first kiss. The weight of a child in his hands.

    To feel and to touch is to be part of this world—but there is a screen between them.

    Such dreams are for others.

  8. Conflict: man v man
    Character: shallow socialite
    150 words
    @MicroBookends

    Mother’s Ruin

    She arrived on his doorstep with a belly full of arms and legs.

    ‘What do you want me to do about it?’ he said, handing her a ten-pound note and an address he copied from memory. ‘Go there. She’ll take care of it.’

    In a colourless basement, under the censorious glare of an old woman, she soaked in a scalding bath and drank a pitcher of gin. But that delightful cordial, architect of joy and demolisher of lives, could not quell the quickening inside her.

    ‘There’s only one way to be sure,’ the woman said, as she warped a wire coat hanger into an instrument of ruin.

    ‘No,’ the girl said.

    ‘I’m still keeping the money.’

    So she took sanctuary behind curtains and family and waited. In time she gave birth to a daughter, pink and piercing. She looked at her baby, smiled and said, ‘I shall name you Temperance.’

  9. NYi

    @making_fiction

    Conflict: Man vs society. Setting: 1920’s New York

    148 words

     

    ————————————————————————————–

    If universe is infinite, this can mean only one thing—another you and another me.

    —————————————————————————————

     

    Harry walks beneath the majestic cloud–devouring towers. He strides above the underground wonders of trains, sewers and electricity. He savours the popping bubbles of caviar. Appreciates the dry aftertaste of Champagne.

    Harry walks the darkened alleys. Fearful of the choking streets of yellow noise and the unseeing eyes of those men in hats’n’suits. Sleeps in urine-soaked doorways. Eats from dumpsters.

    Harry works the stock market. He knows there is no science—it’s all just gambling in the end.

    Harry works, sometimes. Criminal work is all he can find. He gambles with his safety and freedom.

    Harry’s wife is tall and blonde, she has the most amazing smile.

    Harry’s target is tall and blonde, she has no smile.

    Every choice he makes, the universe multiplies. In infinity, the city never sleeps.

  10. Breakfast with Norma

    147 Flirty little words

    Conflict / Character / Theme
    Man vs man / Socialite / Obsession

    She drips petals onto the marble; coy bubbles swerving her curves, pulled along in her wake, as am I.
    “I was just about to take a bath.”
    Skin.
    I check out the ceiling; the Champaign bucket. Anywhere but–
    “Why don’t you put that old bucket down? It must be heavy.”
    That beautiful skin.
    The silver bucket reflects pink swirls as she casts petals like pennies in a fountain.
    “What’s your name, bellboy?”
    “Char – Charles.” My tongue is away with the cat.
    Look down at the floor.
    She’s in my toecaps. It’s as if she’s stepping from the screen.
    Bare skin.
    “I’m such a silly. I don’t have any change.” That voice!
    Think of something else.
    “However will I reward you?”
    My hand on the brass door handle. All I have to do is open it, but for the life of me I can’t remember how it works.

    @ParklandDavid

  11. Crashes
    by Joey To

    “Just two more semesters,” I tried to reassure her. But she left.

    It’s as if I see her everywhere… Must concentrate. Must pass these exams.

    She was at the supermarket. With that rich snob. Money helps but can’t take it to your next life.

    Passed all but one exam. Need another additional semester. Dammit.

    Still can’t get her face outta my head. I must be pathetic. At least my studies are going well.

    Saw her in the carpark when I finished my shift… past year’s been hard. One semester left.

    Surprised it went quickly. I’ve graduated. Finally.

    Management is criminally incompetent but I’ll show them.

    Got promoted after saving the company. Unlike those fools, I actually saw the crash coming. Should’ve recorded their faces.

    She bumped into me, spilling my drink. Apparently broke up with him recently and wanted to “catch up”. I asked if she could recover my drink.

    Word Count: 150
    Themes: obsession, limitations of wealth
    Conflict: man vs (wo)man, man vs society (workplace)
    Characters: nouveau riche, jealous (hurt) ex-boyfriend
    I should also add that this story is inspired by and, in that sense, is my retelling of the Chinese proverb “Spilled Water is Difficult to Retrieve” (覆水難收).

    Website: http://www.joeytoey.com/

  12. To Die For

    149 words

    Elements: theme (limitations on wealth), conflict (man v himself/wife) and also character (shallow socialite)

    @el_Stevie
    #Flashdogs

    “But dahling, isn’t it just to die for?”

    Harold stared gloomily at the diamond taunting him from its velvet cushion. His Twickenham season ticket was due for renewal. No need for any maths. It could only be one or the other.

    He allowed his wife to guide him to the penthouse restaurant, steeled himself for the ordeal ahead. His appetite faded when Shirley and her latest new best friend … they seemed to change every week … started on the liposuction. The topic didn’t sit well with his Trippa alla Romana.

    “Finally,” murmured Shirley, as they headed to the car park elevator. “We’re on our way up.”

    He smiled thinly, guided her towards the lift. A remnant of safety tape had remained stubbornly fixed to the door. Solicitously he allowed her to go first, watched with satisfaction as her scream faded.

    Yes, some things were truly to die for.

  13. http://rightplacerighttim.com
    https://twitter.com/Tim_Kimber

    148 words – man vs society; obsession

    “Trolling”

    Frank punishes his keyboard. He hammers the keys as though his manifest hate might translate into binary. His yellowing teeth grind like marbles in a bag; his brow pulled taut, head pounding. How is the world so blind?

    His face can’t contain his anger – it strains and twists and flexes, a nightmare of sinewed spleen. Pop… A trickle seeps from one nostril, pitter-patters on the desk. He blinks blood-shot eyes, blistered and blurred through pink-tinged tears.

    He doesn’t notice when his fingers start to bleed, worn away with hate on antisocial media, staining the letters red and muddy brown. He doesn’t stop to ease the pain when flesh gives way to bone, and thump, thump, thump becomes click, click, clack.

    Why won’t they listen? He guffaws in disbelief. Hate spits from his lips onto the screen, glistening red, blue and green. How are they so blind?

  14. ‘Behind Him He Leaves a Glistening Wake’
    150 words
    @theshakes72
    #flashdog
    Theme – The limitations of wealth
    Setting – 1920’s New York

    The great Leviathan’s breath steams in the chilled Hudson air. She’s all pre-war elegance and post-war decadence. The eight million dollars for her refurbishment a close approximation of his current worth. ‘Amazing how money can cloak a troubled past,’ he thinks, but not far beneath the glitz and glamour, deep battle scars remain. It’s also true of the ship.
    ‘I ran my bayonet through him and sailed home on you,’ he thinks, then buries it.
    Tonight, he’ll get lost Between the Sheets – her favorite drink; his favorite destination. He heads towards the Cotton where she dances.
    Europe hardened him to drink, but she’s intoxicating – caramel skin and lithe limbs swaying in the carbon arcs.
    He’d pierced his own soul in Europe, but Hell to Harlem feels like the right direction for now.

  15. Nouveau riche
    Obsession
    (125)
    @Viking_Ma

    Invest in your Future

    Harry eyed Shelby across the lounge. She was licking her index finger with a pink tongue and flicking restlessly through a magazine, looking for god knows what to buy with the money.
    His money. It was all his! He’d won it, after all. She was just a gold digger, only staying with him because those six little balls had come up.
    She didn’t yet know, but he had seen the text messages and the emails from Carson. He knew she had been hours from leaving, from flying away to a new life. Then, one chance in sixty million had sucked her back to him, busy bee to the honeypot.

    Another thing she didn’t yet know: he’d already spent the first two hundred. On a gun.

  16. (150 words – obsession/prohibition)

    Book Report
    Seventh Grade English

    The book the Great Gatsby is about my family! This Gatsby guy is just like my ex-step Dad, Joe. Jay Gatsby sold illegal liquor during prohibition and Joe used to sell pot.

    Also, both had their eyes on another guy’s wife. Jay loved that Daisy chick and Joe was all over Debbie, our school librarian. Jay threw all these big parties to try to get Daisy to dig him and Joe tried to get Debbie by selling her smoke real cheap.

    Debbie and Joe hooked up after the Fourth of July party and when she wrecked her husband’s jeep, Joe said he did it! He took the rap just like that Jay dude in the book! Joe told the judge he thought the light was green. The green light! Just like in the book!

    Jay got shot. Joe got probation.

    The End

  17. Financial report
    150 Big Ones
    Character: nouveau riche
    Theme: the limitations of wealth

    So this is what a million dollars feels like.
    I run through the math again. Numbers making my head spin so fast I want to whoop and holler the birds clean off the rooftops.
    The ink’s still wet on the paper that says I’m one of the richest goddam men in Manhattan and I can feel that whoop building like steam –
    “Hey, watch it!” My words.
    Tumbling bodies. The world suddenly inverted.
    “Do you see?”
    He can’t be more than six years old; looking up at me with eyes bigger than his filthy face. I hadn’t seen him until we both hit the sidewalk, surrounded by – what’s that? Playing cards?
    “Do you see?”
    He’d built a house of cards on the sidewalk? That’s just dumb.
    “Do you see?”
    That same stupid question. He holds one of the cards out to me.
    This is ridiculous. I’ve got celebrating to do.

  18. Imagine Me And You (I Do)
    150 words
    Character: Jealous Husband
    Theme: Prohibition

    Marcus was a hedonist.

    That was why he was here tonight, an arm wrapped tight around the scantily clad wife of the man bubbling in the corner as he glowered at them.

    Sofia was a delectable creature, her beauty made all the more prominent by the sharp intelligence shining in her eyes as she followed Marcus’ gaze.

    Sofia spun from Marcus’ arms, pulling her husband into a quick sway that led them back to the centre of the room and Jonathan failed to notice when Marcus joined them.

    Jonathan stiffened, terror written in every muscle, fear keeping him frozen until Sofia retreated with a kiss that seemed to open the cage that society had locked him in and Marcus waited.

    Jonathan bowed his head and clutched at Marcus’ suit, fingers shaking but still Marcus made no move until Jonathan stepped closer, hesitant need painted in his smile.

    Such absolute decadence.

  19. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 141
    Story Elements: Theme (obsession)/Conflict (man v. society)

    Surface Tension

    Judgment shutters their faces. I touch the brim of my chocolate top hat, but they don’t return the salute. I straighten the lapels of my chocolate suit coat and smile, but they never smile back.

    Whispers follow me everywhere. The store clerk tries to nibble my bowtie. The reporters cluster around my chocolate house like bats.

    No one is interested in the person beneath the chocolate. No one bothers to ask me what I like best to eat (salmon) or what my favorite color is (periwinkle). I make the headlines when I purchase another chocolate shirt or pick up another pair of chocolate penny loafers.

    In this tapestry, I line the underside of the picture; I am the hidden thread who faces the wall. Who will navigate my chocolate driveway to be the first to ask me my favorite Shakespeare play?

  20. Word Count: 147 (Jealous husband/ the limitations of wealth)
    @RealMommaRamble

    Soon, She Will Leave Him.

    “There. Beautiful. Now everyone will know you are mine.”

    “That’s a silly thing to say, of course I’m yours.”

    Sarah ran her finger over the locket, her pale hand shaking as she lifted it to the light. The many stones cast its golden rays, setting her face aglow. Her radiance, in that moment, almost made Brenton believe that. But when she dropped the necklace down to her concave chest the harsh reality practically slapped him.

    Her eyes had lost their spark long ago. Nothing he gave her made it come back. He showered her with flowers and fancy date nights, jewelry and even a house to call their own. But every day he saw the signs. Her strength waned, her weight seemed to melt off her.

    He was fooling himself. She had not been his for a long time.

    She belonged to another.

    She belonged to Death.

  21. Envy
    @agardana09
    Word Count: 131
    Elements: man vs man; jealous husband
    —–
    Those kisses used to be mine.

    As she bends, I catch a glimpse down her blouse. The sight of her breasts used to spark hot arousal but now they bring only anguish. Instead, I let my eyes fall on her soft, warm, loving lips as they caress the bare cheek of my heir.

    I should not be envious, but I am. He gets her attention now, he gets her time. I get half-forgotten smiles.

    She looks at me, Henry on her hip, her words callous. I barely hear them. Her mouth twists in disgust at my silence, or maybe at the mere sight of me.

    “Were you listening?” She demands.

    I nod. “Of course.”

    Then she leaves with him. The door slams in her wake and I am left alone, again.

  22. The Racketeer and Dancer – A Little Slice of Noir!
    (Will everyone forgive me if they feel I’ve Gone Too Far?)
    149 Words – some rhyming!
    @theshakes72
    #apologeticflashdog
    Setting – 1920’s New York
    Theme -Obsession

    She has obsessions for possessions,
    He is devoted to her,
    She plays loose with his fidelity,
    Too self-absorbed to care.

    There’s ice in her heart like the ice in her rings,
    It cannot be melted with the mere buying of things.

    The Racketeer and the Dancer step out,
    Into the twenties that roar,
    Every venue a decadent palace,
    Behind each anonymous door.

    There’s fire in his belly but there’s tears in his eyes,
    As he pulls his revolver and the first bullet flies.

    “If I cannot have you, no other can!”
    He’s uttered these words before,
    Gets the strongest sense of deja-vu,
    As she crumples to the floor.

    The director yells “cut!”, and she rises again,
    “That’s a wrap people, everybody take ten.”

    The Actor and the Actress step out.

  23. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 104
    Story Elements: Character/Theme
    Title: “I’m Not Asking Much”

    You said you’d give it long ago.

    I never promised though, you know.

    You didn’t promise with a word.
    You promised with a kiss.

    Absurd.
    I told you I’d escort you home.
    That’s it, that’s all, leave me alone.

    Don’t do this, it’s just not done.
    You used to be a lot more fun.

    Because I took you out one night,
    Your fancy’s taken quite a flight.
    Houses, land, a long fur coat,
    Glitz and glam, a brand new boat.

    Darling, now you just made up
    Excuses; they would fill your cup.
    I just want a simple thing.

    What’s that, darling?

    Just a ring.

  24. Body Bags (150 words)
    1920s New York
    Obsession
    @brett_milam

    The boys brought in another body for Arthur. This one a slender woman of no more than 20, he guessed.

    “Caught in the crossfire, this one,” Jack, one of the hospital’s errand boys, said.

    Happened a lot these days. Gangsters and their alcohol and the federal boys trying to stop it. Didn’t make much of a difference to Arthur.

    She was prettier than the last, with a face that seemed too smooth for the grime of the city. Her dead pores still emitted her fragrance, which smelled like ripe cherries.

    Arthur locked the door and set his record player to Stravinsky. It helped with the adrenaline.

    He started by washing the naked woman from head to toe, scrubbing and scrubbing until the city’s grime was gone.

    When she had that dead glow he liked, he recovered his scalpel and a metal food tray.

    He liked to start with the thigh.

  25. Zero happiness

    I furiously refresh the screen, staring at my bank balance. I’ve never wanted anything as much as that third comma, that switch from capital M to capital B. I will finally have enough.

    The change happens in a blink. There’s no fanfare, no fireworks, just an extra zero. I grab my phone to tell someone, to share this moment, but there’s no-one left to call. I wait for the relief, but there is none. My joy is hollow, a golden veneer covering a mountain of regrets.

    I’ve sacrificed everything for this moment. It was supposed to complete me. Why am I still the same?

    Perhaps it’s not possible to fill emptiness with zeroes. Have I been on the wrong path all along?

    Of course not. It’s obvious. It’s still not enough. The next zero is the one I need.

    There’s only one thing to do. Get back to work.

    150 words
    @todayschapter
    Themes: Man vs man, obsession.

  26. EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE

    Movement was his intoxicant. If he could pour her enhanced slither into a glass tumbler, he would find oblivion.

    Jason observed from the corner. A slow dance, her body painted in satin, the kind you didn’t buy at a thrift store. Hips and eyes in suggestive unison, a subtle coquetry. Hands as elegant as gold foil clawed the affluent back of a silver-haired man. The way her face disrobed when the suave cadaver tossed a compliment.

    Back when he was transfixed and she was bored, it was her honesty that he admired. Jennifer had said from the beginning that she would never stay. Barbecues and bowling leagues induced dread. Nuclear families with a dog named Sparky were dupes with white picket delusions. Contentment breeds romantic fatigue.

    A flute of champagne floated to her lips. Jason drank her arms, her skin, her escape. He swallowed pale gasoline, her incendiary truth.

    @Blukris
    149 words
    Obsession/ Man vs Society

  27. Sophie and Johnny
    @voimaoy
    130 words
    obsession/jealous husband

    Jazz beats at the heart of the world. At the Vector, girls with short blonde and brown hair sway behind the black-bobbed singer. Sophie had a voice that cut like a razor, flowed like blood, salved the wound. Johnny was Sophie’s boyfriend. He played clarinet in the band. Everyone said he was going places. They say he took a train to Chicago.

    Sophie’s husband owned the club, and maybe he owned her, too. His money could buy anything. He had made a fortune selling guns and drugs and liquor.

    Scotch is Sophie’s boyfriend now. She holds the glass, where he’s waiting. She sings about Johnny and the plans they had. Love that money couldn’t buy. Love that sounds like freedom.

  28. @AvLaidlaw
    150 Words
    Character – Shallow Socialite
    Theme – Limitations of Wealth

    Carla

    The last time I saw Carla, she was singing at the Cabaret Club. Stood on stage under the spotlight. Her breathy flat voice barely filling the room. Singing was her latest passion. She’d build a studio in her house and flown a producer in from New York.

    She leapt into these infatuations like a kid into a swimming pool. She’d want to be an Olympic show jumper and bought a stable, or an actress and date a film director. She couldn’t ride. She couldn’t act. But there was always money for the next big thing.

    As the evening ebbed away, we drank Martinis. The shadows pooled under her gaunt cheekbones. Her wig slipped over one eye. She talked about her treatments with the same enthusiasm as everything else. The Swiss clinics. The macrobiotic diets. The faith healers.

    “I’m not afraid of death,” she said. “It’ll work out. It always does.”

  29. @dazmb
    150 words
    man v. man
    obsession
    setting 1920’2 NY

    Title: Abstinence

    It’s not so much a speakeasy as a ragged carousel of illicit expectation, lit by a lurid, bleary red and green and the twisted jazz of the age.

    I drag her into the restroom, hands held tight and laughing as we stagger and turn against the basin.

    Standing behind her, my reflection is dark and silent in the cracked mirror.

    She’s drunk.

    I wait for her to find my reflection, fighting all the while the serpent in my head, gnarling at a moral it doesn’t understand. Pretending not to see a darker heart that, right now, has nothing to confess but the narrowest of innocence and a bone snap of intention.

    I let the moment pass. Let her go. She’s nothing.

    I look at myself again; tell myself, there ain’t gonna be no heaven for me at the end of my life.

    But then again, maybe no burnin’ hell neither.

  30. The Husband
    (141 words)
    @elaine173marie
    Obsession/ Jealous husband

    Mum’s as pretty as she is sad. Jack tries to make her not pretty. He’s her husband, but he’s not my dad.
    No, my dad would have cupped her face in his hands the way I cup bubbles in the bath careful not to squish. She wouldn’t have had to ask him to let her go, tell him I was watching. She wouldn’t have had to say a really long please, or a pointless sorry.
    My dad would have waved at Lee, gone out to his car to ask how he was, thanked him for running Mum home from work.
    He wouldn’t have been the bogeyman hiding behind the curtain, shouted so much that gross, frothy saliva formed at the edges of his mouth like steaming puddles of rage.
    No, my dad would have been nice to us, if he’d have been here.

  31. America
    149 words
    theme: limitations of wealth/obsession/American Dream
    characters: nouveau riche/shallow socialite
    @EmilyJuneStreet

    I had a nook purpose-built so I could watch her through her next-door window.
    She could not see me, but I saw her, every curve of skin and spine as she dressed for her other man. Red lips. A white, slender throat. Eyes as blue as an ancient ocean.
    I cast all my dreams upon her. She whispered, Anything is possible. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
    I acquired everything she wanted: this mansion, funded by slavery and warfare; a garage of automobiles, thirsty for gas bought by foreign lives; a pile of gold so heavy it broke the backs of those who moved it for me. I made an empire for her.
    She only shrugged when I made my offer. “But Tom got me a yacht and a summer house in the Hamptons.”
    America drew her curtains so I could not see her anymore.

  32. Oh for goodness sake, can you close the tag after “achieve it”? Thank you! I swear I stared at that thing for five minutes making sure I had the tags right. ARG!

  33. It’s All About Location, Darling

    I stare out into the square. I finger my long strand of pearls, each clicking together like smooth, biting teeth.

    Does anyone else look out at the gardens and think them a prison?

    A mother walks along the black iron fence, holding the hand of a little boy who points at the shrubs. She ignores him and the lush greens.

    Only in Gramercy Park do you keep such land all to yourself so that no one but you can enjoy it, and then never enjoy it at all.

    How this mother would gasp to know that I have been a part of Gramercy Park almost as long as she.

    The Children’s Court is practically at her doorstep, just a block up Lexington.

    But that girl doesn’t exist anymore.

    Money, however new, can transform a young murderess into…well, a slightly older murderess with a new name. And better accessories.

    149 words
    Nouveau Riche, 1920’s NYC
    @CaseyCaseRose

  34. Josh Bertetta
    “Text I’ll”
    148 Words
    Story Elements: Theme/Character
    @JBertetta

    Going out 2nite?

    –Babysitting remember?

    Jonny coming over 4 a little xoxoxo maybe? 😉

    –No We’re fighting

    Again? Why?

    –Thinks I like Aiden Says I’m a flirt

    What an asshole

    –He’s obsessed

    He’s a dick. U should break-up with him

    –We talked about it but he scares me sometimes

    Why?

    –He gets so mad
    –Shit

    What?

    –Thot I heard something

    U ok?

    –Yeah, it was nothing. R U going to the party?

    Y

    –:)
    –Shit. Now I know I heard something

    Heard what?

    –A noise. Oh fuck the lights R out
    –The lights don’t work!

    R U OK?

    –Scared really scared

    Go hide Taylor
    –I’ll B fine
    –Oh no

    I’ll call the police, text U back


    Cops on their way

    Taylor!?

    Taylor?

    Where R U?

  35. Diamonds Are Not a Girl’s Best Friend
    (150 words)

    Setting 1920″s New York Theme: limitations of wealth

    It was a moment of passion that inspired Carlton to wrap his arms around Ellie and pull her close. His lips trembled and he began to perspire as he stared into her eyes. After a few seconds he spoke.

    “Ellie, he began. ”You are an incredible woman; there is no one else like you in New York. Give me your heart and I’ll give you a life you can only dream of. You’ll live in the finest mansion, wear the finest clothes and eat the finest foods. There will be nothing that you can’t have, I promise you.”

    “No,” was Ellie’s reply.

    Carlton let her go and took a step back. He stood silent for a few seconds before asking why.

    “Because,” Ellie began, “you have no idea how to love. You only know what to love.”

    Ellie turned her back and slipped away into the crowd of Club Deluxe.

  36. Sinking Fast

    The mansion glittered over the bay like a floating three-tiered wedding cake. But the party was no one’s wedding reception. By three am, the jazz musicians staggered from fatigue, and everyone else lurched from too much alcohol.

    Red Sullivan’s house warming blazed on like a raucous fireworks display, no doubt disturbing the sleep of the patrician neighbors. The millionaire tycoon seemed to have come from nowhere, like a cloud in the summer sky, but he was an unwelcome interloper.

    “He doesn’t fit,” Simon Van Tassel said, watching the handsome Irishman steer a drunken debutante toward the dark garden beyond the pool.

    “I say, isn’t that Bitsy Vanderbilt?”

    “No. Oh no. He’s got my cousin Althea, that Irish scum.”

    Van Tassel moved quickly for someone so intoxicated. In moments, Sullivan was flailing in his own pristine pool.

    Althea screamed as Red never emerged.

    A tenement child never learned to swim.

    Elements: All of them? Setting, Conflict, Character.
    147 words

  37. Sins of the Flesh

    The coffin lies length-wise along the mahogany table, glass one side, bowl the other, lights dimmed. “Take your leave,” I say. “Close your ears.” The dark haired man leaves quickly, avoiding my eyes – fumbling the metal into my hand.

    I drain the vessel in one draught, placing the grubby coin in my pocket; tribute paid to the old ways.
    “Free yourself,” I say. “Rest easy.” He won’t hear. The hunger rises through my gut, riding me roughshod. “Damn.” My mouth descends; ravenous.

    I gag – stale ash and sweat on my tongue – swallowing to keep it down, afterwards, before opening the door. “It’s done,” I say to the client, brow creased. “He’ll pass now.” The man nods, without asking. They never do, after dinner.

    The cough threatens premature regurgitation at the entrance. I’ll reunite it with its owner later. Money is an unfaithful mistress. Some sins have an altogether higher price.

    @FallIntoFiction
    #FlashDog

    (150 words)

    Conflict – man vs man
    Theme – the limitations of wealth

  38. Compass Point You Home
    150 words
    Character: Nouveau riche
    Theme: Prohibition

    She’d been taught from a young age what was right and what was wrong.

    A proper lady didn’t cavort with the nouveau riche even if the one with the money made her heart thunder in her chest.

    A true lady didn’t stray from her husband’s bed even when her chosen husband wasn’t one of her choosing.

    Her body was a temple but it was not guarded by her wants.

    The ring on her finger was a keyhole that would let no key fit its lock.

    She’d been taught that her body was hers and hers alone but no one had ever taught her how to own it…but she learned.

    She learned to keep her side of the bed cold while her husband watched her with shrewd eyes.

    She taught herself to forget her mother’s words. She was not just a commodity, not property.

    She belonged to none but herself.

  39. The Outsiders
    (120 words)
    Obsession/ man versus society
    @elaine173marie

    I sense their static hisses through the metal pipes at home; hot clicks and sparks messaging me through fingertips. Thrills of electric breath whistle through the rooms, while the pulse of beating heart surges underfoot.
    I’ve stopped telling folks that I reckon I’ve been chosen.
    But the guy whose bed is opposite the ATM says he hears them too, throbbing at his temples, when he puts his head down on his hand-picked, solid bench. I put my head down beside his, ask him if he thinks there might be more like us. He says touch is underestimated. People make it cheap. It’s likely just me and him: no one else takes the time to listen through their skin.

  40. Why’s it Water?
    @hollygeely
    Elements: Theme – prohibition, Conflict – man vs. society
    150 words

    “The whiskey tastes funny,” Mar-Moon says.

    “It’s water, Mar.”

    Je-Sun has all the answers.

    “Why’s it water? Where’s the whiskey?”

    “You know there’s no whiskey. It’s Prohibition. Like the 1920s.”

    “But it’s the 4020s. Earth’s going to Hell. Why’d they take the whiskey?”

    “I don’t know, Mar. Why do they take anything? Maybe they thought if people got sober they’d care that the Earth’s dying.”

    “I’m not sober,” Mar says.

    He’s so high he can take a bite out of the moon. Ah, the moon. It tastes like cheese. He was born there. He’s one of its children.

    “You haven’t been sober since the 90s when they made painkillers enemy number one. You said you were going to show them. You say the same thing every time.”

    Mar would remember that.

    Wouldn’t he?

    “We’re all dying, Je. I might as well enjoy it.”

    “Oh, Mar…Je-Sun’s been dead for three years.”

  41. Skeletons
    (Man vs Society / 1920s New York)
    150 words
    @thebatinthehat

    You died on a Friday. Not in my arms, as it should have been, but in some dirty street alley, surrounded by those who hate you.

    Your parents paid off the Journal with a nice little bribe to keep the truth behind your death hidden. Headlines screamed that you were murdered by street thugs – a victim of Prohibition, rather than prejudice.

    There is no mention of me in your obituary. Or our love.

    “You understand. Don’t you, dear?” your mother said.

    Your father still won’t look at me.

    At your memorial today, I’ll keep my promise. I’ll sit in the back with your friends. I won’t speak. But I’m not ashamed to weep openly for you.

    Let them see. Let them whisper. Let them judge.

    None of them have tasted your lips or kissed the scar from your father’s ring.

    None of them know what love is.

    I do.

  42. So Close to Freedom
    @OpheliaLeong
    149 words
    Setting (1920s New York)/character (nouveau riche)

    The diamonds sparkled at the bottom of the bathtub like fallen stars. Violet took a heavy drag of her cigarette and watched the water flowing into the tub like an overflow of tears. Frederick would be home any moment and she knew the jewels needed to be hidden. She poured in more soap.
    “Vi, dearest, you in there?”
    Violet stubbed her cigarette. “Yes,” she began shaikly. “I’m going to take a long bath.”
    Frederick snorted. “As long as that’s all you do.”
    She rolled her eyes. Ralph never spoke to her that way. The diamonds he’d given her earlier that evening had graced her neck better than anything from Frederick had before. Ralph’s breath, tainted with forbidden liquor, had writhed in her ear with promises.
    Violet stepped into the bath. In the morning, she was supposed to meet Ralph by the nearest streetlight. Then, she would finally be free.

  43. Themes: prohibition, jealous husband
    150 words
    @bardbotherer

    Finally manag d to beat the blank page this week…

    Inner Voices

    At one stage of my life, this would have been enough to call for a drink – or worse. But now, what with the intervention, that’s not an option. So it’s a walk. Really not as satisfying.

    I had to leave. If I’d have stayed then I’d have had one of those conflicts, when the inner shades of my personality would fight.

    “It’s fine, you’re over reacting. Would she do that?” One would soothe simply.

    “Have you seen the way she looks at him? Slimy asshole. Hit him!” The other would reply, mutinously, seductively.

    “Face it. It’s over. How can you compete?” The small, grey one would mutter; scarcely heard but constant, in the background.

    So I left, “a constitutional,” I said seriously, windmilling my arms for some reason. She raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Her boss said he ‘admired my resolve.’

    Now I find I’m here. Unconsciously.

    “Water please.”

  44. PENELOPE CALLAGHAN

    The man was prowling the docks for a juice joint when he saw her. Hair as red as a freshly gutted tuna. A face that could’ve launched the ship she arrived on, the Mauretania.

    “Jimmy Banks. You’re a choice bit of calico.You gotta name?”

    “Penelope.”

    “A pleasure. You need a gig? I can get you work making dresses. Yes?”

    “No. I didn’t come here to be a seamstress.”

    “I dabble in muck sometimes. You game?”

    “Why not. Show me your dark America.”

    He schooled her. “Take advantage of your looks. Get close. Flirt with your mouth. Pop some buttons on your blouse. When he’s hooked, ram steel into his heart. Don’t hesitate. Know your onions. Make some cash.”

    Years and dozens of punctured ventricles later, Penelope would think of Jimmy Banks. The rum-fisted uppercuts. The savage bouquet of cheap cologne. The way his chest opened up, like a filleted sturgeon.

    @Blukris
    150 words
    1920s New York/Man vs Man

  45. Title = Attention
    Word Count = 148
    Themes = man vs man, jealous husband, 1920s New York

    Jazz haunts the speakeasy through a fog of cigarette smoke. A female singer, all blonde and legs, adds the words. I sit two rows back, illegal liquor licks my glass.
    “Did you speak to her?” The owner, as fat as his joint, sits.
    I nod. “She likes you jealous. She gets more attention that way.”
    “Maybe she’d like the attention of my fists?” He shows me what he means. His other hand gets the full impact of my heavy bottomed glass.
    “Touch her and these get to Mickey Cohen.” A pile of photos drop from my jacket. Him and the blonde, she’s singing a different tune. “I don’t see you winning that tug of war.
    “Please, please.” He’s whiter with each word.
    “Good boy.” I release his hand, now with extra red. “I’d keep the girl at home singing if I was you.”

  46. Theme/Character/Setting
    Obsession/Jealous Husband/1920’s New York
    @KarenGr4y
    128 Words

    Title: Starlet

    A sea of glitter spilling over the edges of crystal chandeliers hanging so low they skim the tops of polished mahogany tables. Littered champagne glasses no longer stacked in elaborate structures; golden liquor tainted red flows off wooden edges and onto marble floor.

    Flappers stand clustered together in corners; gloved hands concealing whispered words of conspiracy from cherry red lips. A scandalous endeavor if ever there was one; so secretive — everyone knew.

    All for the want of a star on a pavement, promised from the lips of a liar, and paid for in delicate skin. Now the only star Poppy will ever receive will be in the morning tabloids. Next to her name in the headline article, scored into the wafer thin paper by a husband behind bars.

  47. As Is

    I expected to see 100 dollar bills spilling out of his soft linen trousers. He was the complete dandy, and seemed to float just above the ground, just enough so that any impertinent soil on the ground wouldn’t disrupt his exterior and ruin his day.

    He was shorter than I thought he imagined himself to be. His lemon yellow tie seemed to stretch his appearance.

    Something glistened in his eye. Perhaps it was a tear. Perhaps he was aware that this Long Island mansion had a sad history of travail. I might make use of it if my charm, my technique and his money, his ostentation failed to have him make an offer. I could sense that he was tempted.

    Anyone would be.

    “Would you like to see the upstairs?” I enquired.

    “Is there anything up there that I would not expect?” he replied.

    “No,” I answered, “Nothing.”

    Character: nouveau riche
    Setting: 1920s New York
    150 rooms
    @billmelaterplea

  48. Title: “Vengeance Is Mine”
    @colin_d_smith
    Prompts: 1920s New York; Man vs. Man
    Word Count: 145

    Artie found my table just as the band took a break. A lone piano was left to fill the gaps between murmured conversation and the clinking of glasses. The air was stale with tobacco but I offered him a light anyway.

    “What’s up, Dale?” he said, sliding into a seat.

    “Mabel. She found out.”

    Artie had the manners to wince.

    “She’s suing for divorce.”

    “Infidelity? She’ll clean you out.”

    “And I have a lot to lose. Which is where you come in, my friend.”

    Artie smiled.

    “I may work on Wall Street, but I ain’t no banker.”

    “But you can advise. I want to invest. All of it.”

    “Everything?”

    “Yes! I’ll show her. She wants to make a beggar of me, but you’ll see. The market’s booming. I’ll be richer than Rockefeller! And she won’t get a penny. She’ll be the one begging.”

    I smiled.

  49. Halcyon Days
    150 words
    Limitations of wealth and the nouveau riche
    @mishmhem
    #FlashDogs

    With a guest list of 100 of the upper most socially elite, the Omnia Gala was the event of the season. Instead of inviting engineers and scientists, the corporate executives invited to top 1% of the nouveau riche and Omnia herself: the world’s first fully self sufficient AI.

    It was a coming out party to end all coming out parties

    For her part, Omnia had kept her sensors focused on one panel in an effort to make herself seem more approachable.

    Within the first hour Omnia had learned to regret being approachable, and by the second hour, she’d learned to loath the frivolous discussions that threatened to overwhelm her.

    There were things money couldn’t buy, like peace of mind.

    When she found no escape from the well meaning crowd, she sealed the doors and activated her Halon fire suppression system, effectively putting an end to the party and the guests.

  50. Title: Winner
    Conflict: Man vs Society
    Character: Shallow Socialite
    Theme: Limitations of Wealth
    150 words
    [No twitter handle]

    My name’s in big gold letters. It tells ’em I’m a winner.

    Americans love winners and hate losers. Like last night. I was moving through the smelly crowd, low-lifes touching me like I’m a lucky charm.

    This thug — maybe a Mexican — leaped out with a knife. Woulda hacked me good, but some filthy bum took the hit.

    The news called the guy a hero for taking the blade. Said he was poor because he gave to poorer slobs. People say I should do a little of the same.

    You know what I think? No! People follow winners, not homeless schlubs. Get rich! Buy cars, mansions, elections — everything money can buy. Even happiness.

    They’ll forget that bum’s name real soon. You know what that makes him? A loser, like that Mexican. But they’ll see my name in pure 24 caret. And they’ll love me. Because I’m a winner.

  51. Silencer

    Her gold flashed hair with a thin veil of dress barely touching endless patches of skin like a million butterflies dreaming of flight. Her torso switched gears smoothly with a Ferrari ensemble grace, a joint smoking hip choir. Her eyes focused on nothing; blue green water spread out on a horizon. Her chest a spring exultation covered with flowers and pinches of sun language. Men couldn’t choose where to look. They thought she moved like the future, because they saw themselves with her. But she was the present, and men were always confusing the two, and calling it – confidence.

    Duesenberg opened arrivals fire before contemplating destination; she’s in common with mechanized dreams of nonspecific celebration. Earrings spark, reach for jazz skies – only thing holding up architectural surprise was startling gun of moments ambition.

    I turned the key and let her smile go like a trigger.

    Her bullet, a loving kiss.

    (Jealous husband/Obsession – 150 words)

  52. “Money Can’t….”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Character (nouveau riche), Theme (the limitations of wealth)
    Word count: 150

    My first three attempts missed. But the fourth was a direct score. I watched with detached satisfaction while flames licked the paper. As yet another thing of value was being consumed before my eyes, I folded the next $100 bill into an airplane and consigned it to a fiery demise.

    Despite the uneasy silence which now owned our house, I didn’t hear my wife enter.

    “It’s after midnight. Come to bed.”

    “I’ll be up in a few.”

    I glanced at the mirror above the fireplace as she left. She turned to the right, much like I’ve found myself doing of late. It’s a slightly longer route. But it doesn’t force us to pass that room.

    After dispatching another dozen Benjamins, I slogged out.

    To the right.

    They say money can’t buy happiness. That may or may not be true. But it sure as hell can’t buy a cure for cancer.

    • I love this imagery. His money airplanes going into the fireplace – because they are meaningless now. The size of the manor – she goes to the right to avoid “that” room. Story really came together for me, here. Lots of subtlety. Lovely story.

  53. “Birds”
    by Michael Seese @MSeeseTweets
    Story Elements: Conflict (both, I think), Setting
    Word count: 150

    The day did not dawn black. It just seemed that way.

    Do birds see in color? Or is it just dogs that are confined to a black and white prison?

    I wonder if prison is as bad as they say.

    When they say someone eats like a bird, what does that mean? Birds eat all the time.

    I wonder how my family is going to eat now?

    What does it mean to say someone has to eat crow? What do crows eat? Humble pie, perhaps.

    I don’t remember most of what Mr. Charles Mitchell, the stockbroker, said. Something about “excessive leverage.” All I know is that he ended with, “Your money is gone. Out the window.”

    He followed shortly thereafter.

    As I stood on the ledge, looking down at the red mass that used to be Mr. Charles Mitchell, the stockbroker, I had but one thought.

    I am a bird.

  54. In Honor of Jay and Daisy
    Or, Dear Stalker Boy I will Not Marry You

    ***

    There once was a da-ame called Maizie
    About whom I’m totally crazy
    She goes on the lam
    With her mighty swell gams
    She’s as pretty as dear Patrick Swayze.

    “No,” said Maizie.

    “Which part?”

    “All of it,” said Maizie.

    There’s a girl called Maizie Kilcannon
    So hot she shot out a cannon—

    “Please die,” said Maizie.

    “Cmon, baby,” said G. “Don’t you like poetry?”

    “I love poetry,” said Maizie. “Alas.”

    There once was a doll from East Egg
    Who walked on a cuddly beast leg—

    “I’m hanging up,” said Maizie.

    “Wait!” said G. “Isn’t there anything I can say?”

    Maizie paused. “Legally? One thing.”

    “What? Oh. No. No.”

    “Goodbye, G.”

    “Anything else, I beg you!”

    “Goodbye, G.”

    “If I do, will you admit you love me?”

    “Goodbye, G.”

    “FINE!

    I will not stalk Maizie Kilcannon.
    I will not stalk Maizie Kilcannon.

    Fifty times again, like this morning, Maizie? –Maizie?”

    ***

    150 ineligible words of apology.
    @postupak

  55. The Great Social Circles
    141 words
    Character: A Shallow Socialite
    Setting: 1920’s New York
    personalvapes@gmail.com

    Once, I was treated as a queen. I anointed my glowing skin and glossy hair with the rarest of unguents. I dined on the most lavish dishes New York had to offer. I danced in the finest garments with gentlemen of impeccable breeding.

    And sometimes, I offered my playthings additional affections in the privacy of very discrete rooms for rent.

    A whispered betrayal brought the flames of jealous hatred to my house of cards. Barely, I escaped from the violent execution planned in my favorite speak-easy. Quickly, a new, more biddable bride, was procured for my grieving widower.

    Wealth, after all, has appearances it is obligated to uphold.

    I watch her now from my shadows. She wears my finery, sits at my table, and dances in the arms of all my men. She knows not how closely she follows my footsteps.

  56. @ParkInkSpot
    148 words
    man vs. society, jealous husband, obsession

    It’s Always the Quiet Ones

    “It’s pistachio, your favorite. Happy birthday, Sara!”

    As expected, the bait worked beautifully. My ex-wife could never resist ice cream for her birthday.

    You’re probably not familiar with plasmids and lateral transfer. A plasmid is a ring of DNA that can live within an existing cell and can replicate independently. The fascinating bit is they can pass genetic information between hosts, even between species, via lateral transfer.

    Targeted viral weapon loads, wave of the future. Pick up stock in your favorite genegineer firm today. It would be a wise investment for your portfolio.

    Sara now carries a y-chromosome linked plasmid carrying genetic information from Staphylococcus aureus. It’s probably quite difficult to pass, requiring sexual contact with a male, possibly several such contacts. My ex-wife Sara has a brand new venereal disease. She’s now a twenty-first century Typhoid Mary.

    I hope her latest lover enjoys his genital necrotizing fasciitis.

  57. @firdausp
    One of these days…
    (150 words)

    She sat on the sofa across from him. Her perfectly made up red lips curled into a smile, as she talked into the phone. Her chuckle was as false as her eyelashes. Smoke swirled from her fingertips.
    He sat there glaring at her. She raised one eyebrow quizzically, then her eyes dismissed him.
    No love lost there, he thought gritting his teeth.
    Suddenly, with long determined strides he reached her. Yanking the phone from her, he wrapped the wire around her neck. Her eyes flashed surprise and then fear. It felt good!
    He tightened the wire around her neck. She struggled frantically, then he saw her eyes pop. She looked so funny he couldn’t stop laughing.
    “Have you gone crazy?” He heard her over his laughter.
    She was sitting on the sofa across from him with the phone in her hand.
    “What’re you up to now?”
    “Nothing…yet,” he replied.

    Conflict: man vs woman
    Character: shallow socialite/jealous husband

  58. Character: Shallow socialite
    Theme: The limitations of wealth
    Words: 138
    @lisbethozolins

    Feelin’ Tipsy?

    Lindsay produced a phone from her bag.

    ‘It was nine hundred dollars,’ she bragged as she paid for the three margaritas on the table.

    Sara gasped. ‘I need one! If photographers catch me with the old model the internet will definitely have something to say.’

    Katie watched as the salted rims of the glasses twinkled at the glossy lips of the two young women. The waitress removed the empty tip tray from the table. Katie turned back to her friends, their faces illuminated by the glow of their phones. ‘Hey, guys?’ she said.

    ‘Yeah?’

    ‘Do you ever feel as though the media glorifies our lifestyle in order to perpetuate an unsustainable capitalistic ideal, and that life is losing its meaning because we’re searching for happiness through the acquisition of material wealth?’

    Silence swept the table.

    ‘Grow up Katie.’

  59. Melancholy Minuet of an Unrequited Love Song

    She couldn’t go all the way. His mouth close to hers for years but she just wouldn’t go through with it; she was permanently frozen in that moment of passion with slight ecstasy lingering like finding a good movie at 3 in the morning.

    They dressed perfectly in black & white and seemed the picture perfect couple. But he was poor so couldn’t give her the things she wanted.

    Years went by with lips less than an inch from kissing. They seemed inseparable, though technically, apart. They would breath, taking turns, as if creating a golden necklace out of black pearls.

    One day, the man had a heart attack and died, as he did so, he fell onto her lips. This was their first kiss and though accidental… technically, was still a kiss. She cried tears that cascaded down his face like a melancholy minuet of an unrequited love song.

    (The limitations of wealth / Shallow socialite. 150 words)

  60. SEVEN BRIDES

    Brian S Creek
    146 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Character – jealous husband
    Theme – obsession

    * * * * *

    “My name is Catherine Woodhall.”

    She got the name right, so that’s something.

    “We met on the first day of Mr Sanderson’s Law class.”

    She needed to borrow a pen.

    “We married nine years ago in Dubai.”

    I know I’m biased but it was a beautiful wedding. She was a beautiful bride.

    “People think I married you for your money. But I didn’t, did I?”

    If she had then she wouldn’t have left me for her dentist.

    “I love you.”

    I look into her eyes to see if she means that. I mean really means it, deep down.

    Sigh.

    I stand up from the table and leave the room. Dr Gillespie is waiting outside, a look of hope on his face.

    I shake my head. There is still much work to do if I’m to have a perfect copy.

    I’ll cross my fingers for Catherine #8.

  61. @zevonesque
    150 words
    Conflict: man vs society Character: nouveau riche

    The Moon or Chelsea
    A.J. Walker

    “I know what they say about me – ‘you can’t buy class’ well I can. I can buy the class, the school, the whole bloody education system.

    Don’t look at me like that. I know that’s not what they mean by class, I’m not completely stupid.

    The point is I’m super rich. Richer than most countries. Yet people look down on me. I’m not apologising for having the cojones and the luck when opportunity knocked.

    Hey, look at the moon. I could get you there. Just give me a kiss and it’s yours. No?

    How about I bring it down to you piece by piece and rebuild it on earth for you? Everyone likes a rockery.

    No, better still I know. I’ll take it apart and put it back together in my image. The moon the spit of me looking down on everyone. Irony, yes?

    Ha! That, my friend, is class.”

  62. Top Dog

    I got the idea from Capone and his prohibition rivals, how he wiped them all out, killed hundreds of people. I only had, what, fifteen on my hit list? Twenty?

    No problem.

    The overseas targets just gave me their addresses so I could send copies of the anthology for them to sign. The ricin was on the gummed flap of the envelope; they dropped the evidence back in the post before they showed any symptoms.

    Then, by the time of the Birmingham meet up, there were only a handful left, which made it even easier. I feel sorry for the waiter, but collateral damage and all that…

    Sure, even with the FlashDogs gone, there are still others who can stop me, but not as many now, and I’m still mailing out envelopes.

    And one day soon, I’ll join the winners at Flash Friday and it will all be worth it.

    150 words
    @Karl_A_Russell
    Obsession / Prohibition

    (And for the record, a work of FICTION)

    So far…. 🙂

    • Hahaha My eyebrows raised at the anthology mention. And… !

      “They dropped the evidence back in the post before they showed any symptoms.” Clever!

      “There are still others who can stop me, but not as many now… And one day soon, I’ll join the winners at Flash Friday and it will all be worth it.”

      I understand this obsession. Lol (I’ve only managed one HM, here.) I like how you plot to murder everyone, but by doing so, give credit to their excellent writing skills.

      Hope they all found this funny. 🙂

  63. @AverageAdvocate
    Word Count: 150
    Shallow Socialite & Man vs. Society
    ____________________
    “The Jungle of Long Island”
    ____________________

    Mrs. Gray, they said, didn’t play the field well. This was unfortunate, as the Felines maintained that summer in the Hamptons should be a spectacular jest.

    When Mr. Gray began busying himself in the City, they welcomed Mrs. Gray into their pack. She didn’t do much besides toddle behind them, though, and definitely not with their poise and alluring swagger.

    They were fools, those who mistook these cougars for delicate kittens, lounging in their high-cut swimming stripes, meticulous curls licked into place. More than one gentleman would fall prey throughout these golden days.

    It was an irony that Mrs. Gray–of all of the Felines–had been accused of indiscretions. When Mr. Gray arrived at the mansion in a possessive rage, like a typical pawn, she didn’t discern who was really behind the damning missive. Her brutal stabbing was simply a triumphant checkmate in a game of societal entertainment.

  64. Slumming It
    @MadilynQuinn
    123 words
    shallow socialite / limitations of wealth

    “You shouldn’t of come here, lady.”

    Her beau detaches himself and she stumbles to try and snatch him back, snapping her heel and getting nothing in return.

    He closes the group’s loose circle around her.

    “Oh come now,” she pouts and flicks her wrist at them while pulling her jewel-encrusted purse to her front. “How about you let me go?” She dangles a diamond necklace in front of them – borrowed from her mother, but she’d never miss it.

    Her ex-beau sneers. “See, I told you she’d try and buy her way out.”

    A man grimaces, stepping toward her. “That diamond won’t fix this.” He motions to the ramshackle buildings leering down at them. “And it won’t help you or your kind. Not anymore.”

  65. If You Can’t Beat ‘Em …
    Character: Jealous husband
    Theme: Obsession, Prohibition (of a sort)
    148 words

    I was jealous. Damn jealous, wanting the gold to myself. Wanting to wrap myself in it, luxuriate in its weight, let those baubles trickle through my fingers.

    But no. It was you. Always you. You got the dresses, the earrings, the fame. I was merely background, my sober demeanor matching my black and white formalwear.

    Am I not pretty? Is my hair not as perfectly coiffed as yours, Brilliantine securing its rippling waves? My eyebrows have not your arch, I concede, but my lipgloss catches the light better than your matte finish.

    I wanted to garb myself in flowing robes of glittering delight, to paint my face all the colors of the rainbow, to revel in the beauty of my own fine form.

    The closest I got was embracing you.

    Why else do you think I married you?

    I didn’t want your body, darling.

    I wanted your closet.

  66. The Flight to Chicago
    By Margaret Locke’s daughter, Ellie, age 9
    148 words

    Conflict (man vs man) & Setting (1920s New York)

    In 1925, there was a man about twenty-two years old.

    He just got out of college, and was in an airport getting ready to catch his flight to Chicago. He saw a women sitting across from him. He got his bags and moved next to her.

    The women look at him. “Who are you?”

    The man looked back in a surprised way. “I’m Sam Stevens from Albany, New York. Where are you from?”

    The women thought about this for a second and said, “Oh, that doesn’t matter.”

    The man gazed at her. Then this very tall man came up.

    The women jumped up. ”Oh, honey!” said the women.

    Then Sam Stevens shot up. “Honey!?” he said.

    “Yea, you got a problem with that?” the man said.

    “I don’t love you anymore,” said the woman to her husband. “This man has been nice to me. I’m going with him. Bye!”

  67. Just a Taste
    @lunalynx
    148 words
    shallow socialite/obsession

    It started with a smile. She was meant to be a palate cleanser. A taste of fun between distractions as my husband showed off his possessions. She was another’s trophy, one I knew my husband meant to claim.

    Who knew cages were freeing? Few watch chirping birds.

    We stole into the night, chill against our warm bones. A sip, a gulp, she melted into me like ice in her glass. Blonde bob framed porcelain perfection; she had the bite of whiskey with the sweetness of sangria.

    Her syrup clung to my lips, crawled through my veins. I itched for her. Calls, letters, gifts….just one more caress.

    The package arrived for my husband. Like sediment left at the bottom of a Merlot, our tryst laid bare.

    He had to decide which disgrace was easier to bear, the stigma of divorce or discretion from his accounts. Even tarnished trophies shine.

  68. @betsystreeter
    143 words
    jealous spouse, man vs society, obsession

    RECKLESS DRIVING

    “Berthe, please, can we talk?”

    The Chrysler convertible’s whitewalls squeal on wet pavement. Lavender feathers fly out in a cloud behind it. Steven clutches the door handle for dear life.

    “Berthe dear, stop this. Let’s behave like adults.”

    The massive car fishtails like mad. Passing streetlamps smear in the mist.

    “It was only a dance! Nothing more. Your husband did nothing – wrong.”

    Berthe stomps the brake pedal and the Chrysler slides to a stop on the damp wood of the pier. She pulls a pearl-handled gun from her silk purse and levels it at her passenger.

    “Party’s over, Steven.”

    A Renault screeching not far away. Berthe hears her husband’s voice. “Berthe! No! Please, stop!”

    “Listen to him,” Steven says. “I beg you.”

    Berthe fires into the car floor between Steven’s feet.

    “Get out. And give me back my pumps! And my boa!”

  69. Conflict: man vs man
    Theme: obsession
    Word count: 150
    @Digestibleink

    The Gabardine Boxer

    A right jab. A cross. A hit.

    Gabriel stumbled back. His right hamstring burned.

    A platinum blond blur caught his focus. His trainer yelled out,” Come on…let go!”
    Blood ran down his gashed cheek. She laughed in the front row.

    A groan of news reporters were pushed out the dressing room. “ The champ will make a statement after he’s cleaned up fellas… “

    The trainer threaded a needle and thread over his raw face.

    “Is she here…?”

    “Sit still…I’m not good at this.”

    “ Johnny… get my gabardine. Look in the right…no left pocket.”

    Johnny looked confused. “ Whaa… you don’t have a coat– ‘member?”

    The trainer nodded Johnny off.

    “Why did you do it? We promised three rounds. Why…Gabby?”

    There was a knock on the door. She was blur of white in a silver fox and floated into the room with a bucket of ice.

  70. @PattyannMc
    WC: 150
    Character: Jealous Husband
    Theme: Limitations of wealth

    Come, My Sweet

    “Darling! I’m so glad you came,” Lillian cooed over Montemarte Rag blaring from the Victrola, eyes glittering.

    “I wouldn’t miss it for anything, my sweet,” Vincenzo murmured in her ear, placing a lingering kiss upon her cheek.

    Her husband Clarence saw the interaction, seething with contempt.

    “Have you told the old man you’re leaving yet?”

    “No, I haven’t. I’m not ready. Please be patient with me.”

    Vincenzo screwed up his face behind her back, changing his expression to gaze into her eyes. “Meet me tonight?”

    Later . . .

    “Why won’t you leave him?”

    “I’m not ready to lose everything!”

    “Let’s not argue, my sweet. Come, I drew a bath for you!”

    Rose petals floated on top of the scented water, as she stripped down to bare skin. Stepping into the bath alone, she sunk below the acidic water and came up screaming, flesh melting.

    “You lose anyway, my sweet. Clarence is mine!”

  71. Man v. Society
    Shallow socialite
    149 words

    Station to Station

    “This must have cost a fortune. What if it breaks?”

    Samuel laughed.

    “Well, sweetie,” he said. “I’ll just buy another automobile. I think it’s from Italy or somewhere, and they probably have plenty on the shelf.”

    “All I know is I can’t pronounce the name,” Sheila said. “Don’t they know how to write American words over there?”

    “That’s why we call them foreigners, sweetie.”

    Sheila pulled off a glove and caressed the side of the car with her bare hand.

    “Warm,” she said. “Can we go for a spin? Maybe lunch in the park?”

    “Certainly, sweetie. I’ll make sandwiches”

    Sheila put her glove back on.

    “You have money now,” Sheila said as she wiped invisible dust from her glove. “Other people can make sandwiches for you. It’s their station.”

    “You’re so right, sweetie.”

    “Now go tell them to make sandwiches, Sammy. And have them make some champagne too.”

  72. Character: nouveau riche
    Setting: 1920’s New York
    Word count: 149
    @Digestibleink

    Five on Broadway

    He opened his monogrammed gold case and rapped the cigarette on his cuff . His view of Broadway was obscured by vaudevillian marques. The sidewalk vibrated with pedestrians, the nine to five crowd, walking to their August heavy flats or catching the claustrophobic trolley. The curbs humble aroma of horse waste didn’t offend him. The hay top notes pulled his thoughts to freer days. Bare foot runs through golden rod meadows, sliding down Miller’s Hill and by the days end, wading in the cool Hudson River flats, catching jam jars full of mystical dragon flies.

    He took a drag and then dropped his case in a organ grinder’s tin. Two blocks down, he stopped a traffic cop and gave him a wad of bills, saying,” for the orphans”, and then stepped into the safety of the crowd.

    He declared bankruptcy the next day. A day before the 1929 crash.

  73. Title: Gold (to) Dust
    Character: Nouveau Rich
    Theme: Obsession
    Word Count: 148
    Website: https://marshalhopalop.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/flash-friday-gold-to-dust/

    1954: Rich Uncle Michael died from a morphine overdose. Poor nephew Andrew suddenly had enough money to make himself a bed on his splintering apartment floor. Andrew and his daughter Mary left that cold and blustery tomb for a gilded mansion in Chicago.
    1955: Newly-rich nephew Andrew had no pictures of Uncle Michael in his home. He filled his shelves with golf trophies and lucky horseshoes instead. And he filled his floor with growling, unpaid bills. But the sun was so bright in Chicago— Andrew stared into the white light until he was blind. Gold dripped from his fingers and champagne fountained from his mouth until his fingers went cold and his mouth gathered flies.
    1964: Poor lonely daughter Mary opened the window of that old and familiar splintering apartment. The winter chill was coming early. Mary kept no pictures of poor dead father Andrew on her shelves.

  74. @PattyannMc
    WC: 147
    Conflict: Man vs man
    Theme: Obsession

    Puttin’ On the Writ

    In the scarlet room, heavy drapes drawn, forbidding others from witnessing wickedness, George stood beside an ornate mahogany desk perched upon ivory tusks. His hand shook holding the quill against his open vein soaking up blood, while Puttin’ on the Ritz played in another room where masqueraders swilled liquor by the tubful.

    “Come on old man, if you wish to be as rich as I, you ‘must’ sign the document in blood, then all this – will be yours!”

    “I fear I’m doing her ill will.”

    His acquaintance wearing a demon mask, glittering pitch eyes peering through, “Do it! Just bring her to me, that’s all ‘you’ must do.”

    “I don’t want to,” Isabelle spat, her scarlet face matching her lips. “Never! He scares me!”

    “I’m sorry, she refuses to come. Now what?”

    He unmasked; his horrific molten face sneering, “Then, this document and your soul are – mine!”

  75. Meteoric
    144 words, @pmcolt
    character (nouveau riche) and theme (obsession)

    My rise to the upper echelon of Solar society was meteoric. At sixteen a dropout from unfashionable Old Manhattan; by twenty-five I had offices on four planets, plus a vacation home on Ganymede. Trillionaires marveled as my stock surged. What was my secret?

    It was her.

    Rebuffed repeatedly in school, I wanted desperately to prove I could be somebody. So I spent my youth engrossed in market research, backroom deals, and schemes to be in all the right places at precisely the right times. Always dreaming of the fiery redhead girl who set my heart aflame.

    When I returned to Earth, I showered her with treasures from across the Solar system. Neptunian diamonds sparkling like stars. Crystalline water from the Fountain of Youth on Europa. Martian trilobite fossils.

    If only I had known: all the wealth in the universe could never buy her heart.

  76. A Villa in France (148 words)

    A single lamp shone. Her diamond bangles and rings caught the light as John took her in his arms. “Darling, leave your husband. Come away with me today.”

    “My love, kiss me.” Their lips almost touch, but she turns her face away. Oh God, he’s been eating garlic again.

    “What’s wrong my love, has your husband found out about us?”

    “Yes, he threatened to kill you, but I hit him with a poker from the fireplace.”

    He holds her tighter. “Marsha, what about the police?”

    “After the butler left, I killed Bertie and smashed a window. I told the police someone must have broken in. I paid them.”

    “People may talk.”

    “Who cares about people. We’ll go away together. I have a villa in France, Darling.” Oh, they use garlic in France. “I own a manor house in England we could live there. We bought it last year.”

  77. Man v. Man
    Jealous husband
    146 words

    moi noir survival

    how sweet
    she gave me metal
    hot from a pistol
    she packed in her purple purse
    she expected a hearse
    instead of the nurse
    who was on the corner of Main
    when the bang
    banged
    there was this dame
    a rhythmic rhumba honey pot
    I saw what she got
    hot
    like that metal
    from the pistol
    eyes green like the sea
    she stared at me
    only me
    and I drowned right there
    under the glare
    of a street light
    so I thought I might
    you know, if cash was right
    and the night
    you know…
    so she took me in tow
    to a room with a view
    who knew?
    so after the fling
    I heard my birdie sing
    “my hubby’s the jealous kind
    so if you don’t mind
    dyin’”
    so she gave me metal
    from a pistol
    but I minded alright
    death would come
    another night

  78. Speak easy, and enter

    Character: Jealous husband
    Theme: Prohibition
    @drmagoo
    148 words

    High-pitched laughter rang through the air, a counterpoint to a mellow saxophone, and I shook my head in disbelief. They thought this place was a secret, and they made this much noise? I knocked on the door, three slow ones followed by four staccato ones, as I’d been instructed to, and it wasn’t long before the door swung open.

    “Go home, Tommy.” The doorman was unrecognizable in a torrent of shadows, but he obviously knew me. And he knew why I’d come. He tried to close the door, but I grabbed it.

    “I know the code.”

    “You do. But you can’t come in.” For such a big man, his tone was plaintive. Then that laugh came again, and I grimaced.

    “I have to.”

    “Go home. There’s nothing you can do anyway. She’s not yours anymore.”

    And this time, when he tried to close the door, I let him.

  79. Come Up Roses
    145 words, @pmcolt
    man vs society, obsession

    Doesn’t the apartment building blush a lovely pink at sunrise? My day’s work is coming to an end as the tenants sleep.

    That’s Mrs. Dawson’s apartment. Her husband probably forgot they’ve been married fifteen years today. She and he both will appreciate this bouquet of roses on the doorstep.

    Poor old widow Hopkins on the first floor is still recovering from her hip replacement. She’s always loved daylilies, and these are vibrant dreamsicle.

    Morning, Suzy! First day of school? The florist didn’t have peonies, but how about this lovely daisy?

    The other tenants think of me, if at all, as the old man from upstairs. A minor character in their life story, unnoticed amid the turmoil of modern society. But like these anonymous floral gifts I give whenever my pension income permits, I like to imagine I brighten their lives in my own little way.

  80. Character: nouveau rich
    Theme: the limitations of wealth

    “You knew that this was going to end badly,” Constance concluded.
    “I did this all for you. All this was for you.” Richard exasperated in response.

    Richard scanned the parlor of his mansion. The custom furniture, the original paintings depicting all of his travels, and the fit and finish of this gloriously detailed room all began to crumble in value before his very eyes.

    Constance hammered every word into Richard’s heart, “You did this for you. You don’t love me. You just wanted me just like you wanted all your stuff.”

    Richard’s fame and fortune was ending just as quick as when he rose up the ladder of the wealthy through his questionable practices in his quest to conquer Wall Street.

    Richard knew these would be the last words he would hear from her, “ I don’t belong to you.”

  81. Ok, all the rookie mistakes here….
    “I Don’t Belong To You”
    Character: nouveau rich
    Theme: the limitations of wealth
    139 words
    @joe_montoya

    “You knew that this was going to end badly,” Constance concluded.
    “I did this all for you. All this was for you.” Richard exasperated in response.

    Richard scanned the parlor of his mansion. The custom furniture, the original paintings depicting all of his travels, and the fit and finish of this gloriously detailed room all began to crumble in value before his very eyes.

    Constance hammered every word into Richard’s heart, “You did this for you. You don’t love me. You just wanted me just like you wanted all your stuff.”

    Richard’s fame and fortune was ending just as quick as when he rose up the ladder of the wealthy through his questionable practices in his quest to conquer Wall Street.

    Richard knew these would be the last words he would hear from her, “ I don’t belong to you.”

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