Friday Fictioneers #13 – Photogenic Memory

Studio Lights from Kent

 Copyright Kent Bonham

 

 

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge to create a 100 word story based on a photo prompt and then receive as well as share feedback with writers from around the world. Approx 100 submissions are entered every week.

Please read the other submissions here: 

Photogenic Memory

(Word Count: 100)

“Look at us – why didn’t we work out? I mean, over one cocktail, we’ve picked up exactly where we left off.”

“Please! You were SO career-driven. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep – longing to become your priority.”

“The money was fun to spend though. Remember Fiji and the Maldives?

“Yes and I was furious when you cut both trips short for work! See there’s that photogenic memory of yours again.”

“You mean photographic?”

 “No - photogenic. You remember yourself as the handsome star of the show basking in the warm spotlight.”

“Ok. Got it. Next topic…”

Friday Fictioneers #12 – Family Tree

Copyright-John Nixon

 

 

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge to create a 100 word story based on a photo prompt and then receive as well as share feedback with writers from around the world. Approx 100 submissions are entered every week.

Please read the other submissions here: 

Family Tree

(Word Count: 100)

“Ya gotta believe me, Jimmy – she double crossed us.”

“Ray, ALL I believe is that you’re a damn liar! You and your dumbass girlfriend over there thought you’d use MY car for the getaway.”

“C’mon man, we’re family – “.

“So while ya’ll split the bank bags, the cops would put the A.P.B. out for me?”

“No!  I – I mean…”

 “Guess what she said just before I slit her throat? ‘He buried it under a tree.’ So when you’re done digging her grave, you better find those bags.”

 “And if I don’t, cousin?”

“Then you better dig two.”

The Comfort Zone!

Remember The Comfort Zone?

Tom Cruise (Pete “Maverick” Mitchell) flew his F-14 Tomcat into it during the movie Top Gun right?

 

 

Calm down Kenny Loggins it was, in fact, The Danger Zone!

defintiion
comfort zone:
a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.
“times when we must act beyond our comfort zones”

So dear readers, who among us is coasting/hiding/procrastinating in The Comfort Zone of their own!?!?! (I’ll raise my hand along with some of you other brave souls).

The Comfort Zone!, regardless of what form it presents itself whether it’s a  job, relationship, daily routine, etc., it sucks! It’s the squasher of novel ideas (writer pun intended), it’s the melatonin to our muses, it’s the undetected thief robbing our mental house of joy. Why? Because we aren’t challenging ourselves to achieve, or at minimum, perform at the highest level our current abilities/skill set.

How do I know this? I recognize it in myself. I’m in a dead end “9-5″ job. Anybody else going through this now or in the past? My comfort zone is that I can do the work easily, I enjoy the camaraderie of most of my coworkers (but unlike the previous definition) the job is causing me stress and anxiety. There is a glass ceiling despite my loyalty to the company and (please forgive me for this pat on my own back) my contributions to the company’s bottom line. I’m wasting my talents and it’s begun taking its toll on me. I’m not challenging myself, learning new techniques/processes, etc. The side effects causing the stress are the commute just gets more irritating every week, the slightly annoying personalities in the office are closer to their “retirement” than they think (muhahahaha!) and I’m mentally/physically drained and uninspired OUTSIDE of work! Truthfully, I’ve been in the current job too long and I feel I’m “typecast” as only capable of staying where I’m at in the company.

And this fact has prompted me to draw a hard line! I’m updating my resume/CV this week and will begin pounding the pavement for new work preferably closer to home. To be totally honest, the thought of the unknown changes ahead are unnerving but must be faced head on. The stress, anxiety and frustration is only going to escalate the longer I procrastinate and avoid the reality of my situation.

Some of you may be familiar with author Joanna Penn (if not, you can thank me in the comments after visiting her wonderful website for writers) who has written an excellent “self help” guide I highly recommend and am referring to again entitled Career Change: Stop hating your job, discover what you really want to do with your life, and start doing it!

Do any among you have advice, comments, anecdotes, motivation, and/or snide remarks you’d be willing to share on the subject of this post (or anything else on your mind for that matter)?

I welcome (but moderate!) your comments! :)

Friday Fictioneers #11 – A New Routine

Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright -Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge to create a 100 word story based on a photo prompt and then receive as well as share feedback with writers from around the world. Approx 100 submissions are entered every week.

Please read the other submissions here: 

A New Routine

(Word Count: 100)

She disappeared behind closing elevator doors. Again David took the stairs, two and three at a time.

He retrieved the squirt-top bottle from his gym bag – dowsing his face and neck with ice cold water.  Next the Binaca spray.  Clumsily missing his opened mouth – it burned like mace in his right eye.

In the lobby – a hand towel masked his tearing eye while the other focused on “the mystery girl from 6A”.

They exchanged smiles.

Once the elevator doors closed for him, David finally exhaled and leaned against the hand rail. This new workout routine may be getting results already!

Friday Fictioneers #10 – The Man Of Her Dreams

AdamIckes-boardwalk

copyright – Adam Ickes

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge to create a 100 word story based on a photo prompt and then receive as well as share feedback with writers from around the world. Approx 100 submissions are entered every week.

Please read the other submissions here: 

Word Count: 99

The cabana shade they ran to at the end of the long boardwalk offered little refuge from the sweltering heat…which was only intensified by the desire burning inside them both.

She summoned him with her eyes.

His olive complexion and chocolate gaze would have been enough for her to write volumes about but then there was his naturally chiseled physique and slightly callused hands: one buried in the hair at the nape of her neck and the other slowly unbuttoning her blouse.

Her arm raised then forcefully slapped the snooze button on her alarm clock for the second time.

Tox-i-Cality

***Dear readers the following has foul language and violence. It’s my attempt at horror a la Stephen King or Thomas Harris. If that’s something you like please read on, otherwise, don’t. Any names of people living or dead are strictly coincidence.***

This is my first attempt at a Chuck Wendig flash fiction prompt. I welcome all constructive feedback.

Word Count: 1,438

Tox-i-Cality

Sycophant was the best word to use to describe William – at first. Chuck Davidson might describe him as a “psycho-phant” – if only he could.

The extremely lucrative industry of online gaming created a fever pitch of competition among software companies to be first to market with the best of the best in uniquely creative gaming experiences.

Chuck Davidson’s Rabid Widgets, LLC single handedly created a proprietary software platform entitled “Tox-i-City” that trumped the standard role playing games like World of Warcraft and blew away the traditional console gaming model dominated by Sony Playstation and Microsoft X-Box.  Ingeniously, “Tox-i-City” was an extremely fast loading and streaming game that allowed users to create 3-D avatars of themselves on their Mac, PC, and/or smart phone using personal panoramic photos and (with the help of Google maps) recreate their own virtual 3-D world which, if desired, could parallel their reality with one extraordinary difference…the user could create and manipulate their own storyline. Users were simply creating a new reality. So, for example, if you had a bad day at work and wanted to “bitch slap” your boss for his blistering commentary of your work during the quarterly meeting – now you could attack his virtual 3-D twin again and again. If you’ve always had the hots for the milf three houses down…you could have your way with her virtual twin again and again. Users could also participate in Armageddon-like self-scripted games that would assimilate all of the user’s photos on their hard drives to serve as the virtual settings and characters. The game’s website also boasted “Tox-i-Community” forums allowing users to share as well as create team narratives and, if desired, form factions to combat others (virtually speaking) across the globe.

The response from the gaming community was overwhelming and the ripple effect was evident in social media as buzz words like “Tox-i-Cality” took the place of virtual reality and catch phrases like “What’s your Tox-i-Cality?” both entered the lexicon. Some of Hollywood’s biggest names began licensing their images to maximize revenue during new television campaigns and movie launches, etc. Inevitably, however, there was also criticism from numerous special interest and religious groups with claims that youth and young adults (especially) were losing grip on exactly what reality was compared to the “Tox-i-Cality” world they preferred.

Regardless of the controversy, it was a brilliant concept. It was also completely 100% William’s.

In fact, all of Chuck Davidson’s ideas over the last 2.5 years that catapulted him from obscurity into the stratosphere of technological and financial success all came from the mind of William. Davidson may have been the genius to help create the first online role playing game series but, in spite of its critical acclaim, it was on the brink of bankruptcy. During this time a friend emailed him a link to William’s blog. He was impressed and soon coveted every word of every post from that day forward. Davidson immediately grasped William’s genius as well as his obvious business naiveté. Once he convinced his current venture partner to file Chapter 7 and dissolve the company, Davidson seized the opportunity to ensnare William by encouraging the cultivation of his fascinating ideas via email. He made numerous promises of wealth and fame if William would write code exclusively for his new upstart Rabid Widgets. In reality, Davidson couldn’t even afford a programmer at the time so he let the exuberant neophyte create, develop and execute all the code to realize this one of a kind virtual experience.

William was simply ecstatic to see an unprompted email from Davidson and having his work validated by an industry pro that he admired (i.e. a cult follower) bolstered his confidence.

William thought the first email was just spam sent from the then unknown Rabid Widgets website. He then realized it came from Davidson personally once he noticed it was signed off with “Sincerely, Chuck”. William read about Davidson in a trade magazine about the time he began making the connections between his love of computer programming code (J2ME, JAVA and HTML) and his first attempts breaking into the phone app and gaming industry. He was a quick learner and, due to the fact that he still lived at home in his mother’s basement near Schenectady, could’ve been the poster child of a clichéd introverted computer madman that lived on a steady diet of pizza and buffalo wings with horror movie poster images adorning his walls and digital wallpaper. “The Silence Of The Lambs” was his favorite. His virtual call center job afforded him the opportunity to work from home and forge professional relationships online via Twitter, Facebook and blogging. Every new contact responded positively to his cell phone apps, games and his compelling rants about blowing the roof off of the current consumer gaming model. William simply hated the current market stranglehold the big software companies had. From his perspective they seemed content with keeping consumers limited to their “buggy” releases and consoles that cost the end user a hefty sum. All this and the consumers still had to suffer through rigid, preconceived storylines that were boring and, to William, only visually stimulating. He simply wanted more out of the gaming experience.

He wanted more out of Davidson too.

Rabid Widgets achieved a $30.5 million valuation in its first year and is set to triple this amount. William never saw a dime of it and never once received a follow up email to his repeated demands for Davidson to stop aping his ideas or else he would sue and defame the entrepreneur into oblivion.

No matter how nasty he was able to be to Davidson in his virtual reality, it wasn’t enough. The rat bastard was going to have to pay. Davidson’s personal website showed that he would be appearing at the annual gaming conference held in New York City. A diabolical plan began to unfold. William’s mother was unwittingly complicit when she dropped him off carrying a backpack into the Hilton the morning of the conference. He hovered near the hotel conference rooms and lobby waiting for a glimpse of Davidson. He finally spotted him wearing a pressed business suit and tieless buttoned shirt. His heart sped as he looked at the man he simultaneously idolized and vehemently hated. Although he’d never met Davidson he still darted his eyes as Davidson scanned the room certain he would somehow be figured out.

William shadowed Davidson until he had time to settle into his penthouse suite. From a corridor, he overheard his personal secretary assure Davidson he would have two hours to himself until his speech and then there would be a podcast immediately following. She was attractive and William could smell her perfume as he passed her in the hall on his way to Davidson’s room.

Knock Knock.

“That will be all Karen!” Davidson said.

Lowering his voice William replied “Room service.”

No sooner than the door latch clicked William forced his way in and shoved a wash cloth dampened with chloroform over Davidson’s shocked face. There wasn’t much of a struggle as William’s forced entry completely took his victim by surprise.

William acted fast. Two hours seemed to pass like minutes. His frantic attempts to search Davidson’s laptop lead to no trace of the code samples he had previously submitted for review. Meanwhile, when Davidson groggily began to regain consciousness, another application of chloroform was administered. Once he set the laptop to automatically scan for specific keywords, William went through Davidson’s bags and inconspicuously hidden in his shaving kit was a thumb drive. William connected it to the laptop and was both satisfied and enraged when he saw the drive was full of not only William’s code but correspondence including numerous memos to board members and other investors outlining Davidson’s future plans regarding all of William’s untapped ideas.

William disconnected the thumb drive and slid it in his pocket. He went back to Davidson’s shaving kit and retrieved the straight razor he noticed earlier. In a fit of rage he slit Davidson’s throat and the blood spewed from his neck as the victim gurgled. This reminded him of that horrific scene in “The Silence of The Lambs” wherein Dr. Hannibal Lecter creates his “monster piece” by gutting and otherwise mutilating the security guards’ bodies as part of his escape plan.

When Davidson’s secretary returned to the suite she found the undressed, faceless corpse of her former employer. Her screams were muffled by the applause of the awaiting audience as the conference room lights dimmed and a well dressed, well deserving William ascended the steps to the podium.

After all this was his “Tox-i-Cality”.

Friday Fictioneers #9 – Kept Quiet

Copyright - Danny Bowman

Copyright – Danny Bowman

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge to create a 100 word story based on a photo prompt and then receive as well as share feedback with writers from around the world. Approx 100 submissions are entered every week.

***Dear readers! The last line below is supposed to read “Until we meet again…our words are our kisses”. I triple checked the translation online but please correct me if this doesn’t translate as intended. Also, The 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion was the first African American United States Army unit to come ashore on D-Day (June 6, 1944) during WWII***

Word Count: 100

June 6, 1984

Mon chéri,

Should we tell our families the truth?

Seeing the grandbaby’s face has so overwhelmed me! Even more than these views of Normandy shoreline. If I could’ve stayed with you after my long stint in rehab…I’d have cherished every inflection of your broken English.

As we celebrate another anniversary through letters and photos, the televised memorials of D-Day will come and go with little discussion of the 320th battalion’s contribution to the allied invasion. Race relations here still have a long way to go.

Jusqu’à ce que nous nous réunissons à nouveau…nos mots sont nos baisers.

What Zen It For Me?

Hello dear reader! Today I would like to help you by introducing (or reintroducing) meditation as a new daily habit. This post stems from my admiration of the Japanese as they live in such a hectic and overwhelmingly output oriented culture yet are able to ground themselves in Buddhist traditions such as meditation.

I thought I would share with you an example of a Zen meditation technique (“zazen”) that I have acquired.

*** for maximum effectiveness of this post please allow the audio of the following video to play on another (minimized) window while reading the rest of this post ***

Click Here

Go ahead…I’ll wait…

……

Didgeridoo it yet? :)

Ok then…let’s proceed with calming thoughts for mediation that you should consider while breathing in through your nose and exhaling out of your mouth slowly:

1) That nasal whistle of yours is worrisome. Please blow your nose. The didgeridoo is all the instrumentation we need while meditating.

2) Why haven’t you called your mother? You know how much she worries.

3) You should really take the pet to the vet more often. An early diagnosis could make all the difference.

4) Congratulate yourself for filing your 2013 taxes early! You didn’t forget any 1099′s or W-2′s did you?

5) How many more miles do you think your car engine will continue to operate before you have the oil changed?

6) How will you ever save enough money to retire?

7) Have you achieved enough of your goals for your upcoming job review?

8) What else was it you needed from the grocery store?

9) Did you pay ALL the bills last month?

10) Why are you sitting still listening to yourself breathe when there’s at least a thousand things that must be done today because you procrastinate too much!?!?

Feel better? I thought so. Now, by relaxing just 20 minutes per day in the morning and allowing your mind to run freely in a similar manner, you should be better able to cope with life’s great demands.

If needed I can suggest more prompts to ponder.

Domo Arigato Demi Lovato

roboto lovato

Friday Fictioneers #8 – Equinimity

image

Copyright Sandra Crook

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge to create a 100 word story based on a photo prompt and then receive as well as share feedback with writers from around the world. Approx 100 submissions are entered every week.

Word Count: 71

“At least this job tending to your ex’s horses will be STABLE work.”

“Stop it.”

“Just having a little fun. Don’t want to STIRRUP any trouble.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“I MARE may not be but I’ve got a lot of creativity. You should accept it with EQUINIMITY .”

“You know what…I don’t need the money bad enough to put up with this. I QUIT!”

HAY!

“WHAT?!?!?”

“…don’t BALE on me now!!!”

2014 Winter Olympics In Review

Admittedly, I didn’t pay close attention to much of the 2014 Winter Olympics or I probably would’ve resembled this guy from staring at the television for too long:

 

It became apparent that, due to the awkward toilet accommodations, many of the socially inhibited athletes’ performances suffered as they opted to “hold it” while competing:

Constipation copy

And I, for one, was appalled at some of the new events this year:

1) Couples ice wrestling:

1D18DB2C

2) The Miley Cyrus Free Style:

3) Whatever the heck this person was doing:

But hey…who am I to judge?

I did think it was nice that the janitorial staff was allowed a little face time in front of the camera:

Well it will be nice to get back to regular television programming next week…I mean…they wouldn’t dare replay ALL of the events would they?

Well…would they?!?!