Welcome back to the home of Weird, Wild, & Wicked Tales. Today is Thursday and that means it’s time to start flashing. We’ve reached our Seventh year of weekly prompts! This is Week 368 of #ThursThreads, the challenge that ties tales together. Want to keep up each week? Check out the #ThursThreads #flashfiction group on Facebook and the Group on MeWe.
Need the rules? Read on.
Here’s how it works:
- The prompt is a line from the previous week’s winning tale.
- The prompt can appear ANYWHERE in your story and is included in your word count.
- The prompt must be used as is. It can be split, but no intervening words can be inserted or tenses changed.
Rules to the Game:
- This is a Flash Fiction challenge, which means your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 250.
- The story must be new writing, not a snippet from something published elsewhere with the prompt added.
- Incorporate the prompt anywhere into your story (included in your word count).
- Post your story in the comments section of this post
- Include your word count in the post (or be excluded from judging)
- Include your Twitter handle or email in the post (so we don’t have to look for you)
- The challenge is open 7 AM to 8 PM Mountain Time
- The winner will be announced on Friday, depending on how early the judge gets up.
How it benefits you:
- You get a nifty cool badge to display on your blog or site (because we’re all about promotion – you know you are!)
- You get instant recognition of your writing prowess on this blog!
- Your writing colleagues shall announce and proclaim your greatness on Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, and Google Plus, etc.
Our Judge for Week 368:
Computer geek, bass player, historical reenactor, and flashfiction writer, Mary Decker.
And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.
“I had to be at work at eight.”
All stories written herein are the property (both intellectual and physical) of the authors. Now, away with you, Flash Fiction Fanatics, and show us your #ThursThreads. Good luck!
16 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 368”
Getting My Priorities Right – By Mason Bushell
I had to be at work at eight. How could I work, when my friend wasn’t answering my calls? Sod work, I had to find her. I jumped in my car and drove through the pouring rain. Arriving at the university campus, I alighted and ran into the tenement block. Upstairs I went to number ten. The white door, open ajar.
“Toni, it’s Wes, are you okay?” no answer, I pushed the door open. “Toni, I’m coming in.”
Down the short corridor to the lounge, I went. There was Toni, knelt on the floor crying into a tea towel. My heart broke as I crossed the floor, dropping beside her. Without a word I hugged her close, comforting her. When I felt her calm, I lifted her head, looking into her reddened hazel eyes.
“Hey, no wonder it’s monsooning with rain out there, with you crying in here.”
“Is that even possible?” she said as I smoothed her blonde hair from her soft face.
“Let’s cheer you up and see if the sun shines, hey.”
“Oh, Wes, I’m supposed to be moving home. Mum’s MS got worse, now Dad won’t let me move home. On Friday, I’ll lose everything and have a bench to sleep on.” Toni began crying again.
“Never, You’re, my best friend, Toni, I’ll never let any bench have the privilege of you sleeping on it.”
“Thank you.” Toni managed a small smile.
“Of course, get your bag, let’s go raise a glass to future and friendship.”
250 words, @MBWorkhouse Twitter and Facebook
249 words. @Stories2121
It was my fault. Too often noodling on my guitar. I’d grown sloppy on my bass.
When Tom called about a weekend gig at a midtown pub, I said I was in. I was the emergency bassist; the regular guy was away.
Back then I was on the night shift. The rehearsal studio was booked for six. I told Tom, I had to be at work at eight. He said that’d work. The songs were familiar and not complicated. He wanted to run through the set.
I was on the A Train. After the westward schlep carrying my Jazz Bass, I got to the studio a bit before six. Third Floor. Tom and Ellie and Jim—guitar and vocals and drums—were waiting in the small hall. Hugs.
The room was a fair size. Sound tech checked everything as I pulled my bass from her case. Way out of tune. I felt guilty for having ignored her for so long.
Over an hour in, my fingers started to go. Lack of use. A blister growing on my right index-finger and after converting to one finger playing—like a middle-finger hook—that middle-finger started to go. Fuck. I was paying the price for noodling on the acoustic six-string guitar. I struggled, but made it. Finally, mercifully, we stopped. I had to be at work at eight, I reminded everyone. At seven-thirty I was gone, heading to my late shift. Hoping I’d have the use of my fingers on Saturday.
“Dude, do you know what time it is?” Grace burst into my studio, greeting me with a serious dose of skepticism and a yawn. “It’s seven-thirty AM and you’re curled up in the window seat in your PJs. Is this some emo, tragic Oracle shit?”
“If it were raining, maybe,” I said.
“Oh, we’re making jokes. I suppose that’s a good sign.” She shoved my legs aside to make room for herself on the seat. “Don’t you have to be at work at eight?”
“I had to be at work at eight,” I said. “As in, I had a job but no longer.”
“Shit.” The heartfelt epithet summed it up nicely. “What happened?”
She didn’t end her question with ‘this time,’ though this wasn’t my first unemployment rodeo.
“Two detectives called the boss with questions.”
“And a news crew is camped outside the office.”
“Waiting for—you?” Her jaw dropped. “Zeus’ balls! You reported a vision, didn’t you? And you aren’t in jail?”
“Day ain’t over.”
“I’m your emotional support nymph, woman. I’m supposed to know these things.”
“I couldn’t wait.” I jerked my chin toward the trio of covered canvases against the far wall.
“This is what you saw?” Grace’s gaze skittered nervously towards the paintings. “It’s okay if I don’t look, right?”
“Always.” I closed my eyes. “I could use that emotional support now, though.”
Grace shifted to snuggle beside me, wrapping me in a hug scented of deep, earthy forests.
“Always,” she whispered.
250 #TeamTrouble WIP words
I sighed with pleasure and snuggled back into the blankets and the man holding me. Normally, I had to be at work at eight, but the snowstorm ensured that wouldn’t happen. Not that I was complaining. Michael was a fantastic lover, attentive and responsive. It’d been a long time since I’d been with someone who both gave and received. And damn, he’d received very well.
I wanted to stay in the warm cocoon forever, but my body had other needs and wasn’t going to wait. I wiggled my way out from under Michael’s arm and padded to the bathroom, naked. I snorted. If this had been a TV show or movie, I would’ve been tastefully covered in a long T-shirt or nightie. Thank goodness we weren’t on TV.
I finished in the bathroom and took a moment to savor the dim light coming from outside. There was a quality to “snowlight” that always made me want to snuggle in bed with a cup of coffee and a good book. And having a hot man to share the space with wouldn’t be bad either.
Michael was a hot man, but I knew so little about him. Despite that, he made me want to spend as much time with him as possible. Dangerous addiction, Haley. Yeah, it was, and I’d have to be careful I didn’t imagine stuff that wasn’t there. But it felt so good to be wanted instead of needed for a change.
243 ineligible #CockyBiker #WIP365 words
I had to be at work at eight. Eight sharp, my new boss said.
Me, I couldn’t keep my big trap shut. I had to ask. “How sharp is that?”
Cuz I’m thinking, what if I show up just a wee bit later? Say 8:01?
What would happen? Would the puff pastry droop?
I mean I don’t say any of that, certainly not the extra minute thing. I needed to nail down the job before I showed how witty I can be in a pinch.
Like I said, though, I was thinking it. And when I’m thinking something, it can pop right out like a pimple.
Anyways, he gives me this look, a look like the way you ogle a cute puppy. Then he sidles up to me as if I’m some long-lost friend, puts his big flour-crusted paws on my shoulder, says, “My little kluska, you come work for me, you KNOW quick as a blink what I mean.”
Well, apparently, I had the job, but here’s the wrinkle in the ointment. I’m wondering, how did he know to call me a ‘kluska”? My snarky old babushka had called me that for years. She embellished it, mind. Didn’t just call me dumpling. She called me her little glowa kushka. Dumpling head! I hated that. Hated her.
I never told her of course. Not even that afternoon when I baked her the poisoned Angel wings.
“Don’t worry boss,” I said. “I listen good. And I love to bake.”
Why I Couldn’t Make It
@ragtaggiggaon c. 240 words
I have a responsibility deficit. I start work early, so… My earlobes are lactating and…
My friend’s dog is mildly dyspeptic and needs to be taken to the vet.
I missed the flight…once, a couple of years ago, but I got thinking about that and forgot the time and then it got too embarrassing to go because it was very late.
My mother’s haemophilia is acting up.
I have a round…ehhh…fanny.
I had to start work at eight.
My brother is mildly older than I am.
I have a dose of unrequited epididymis and I had to stay home and…shower.
I have to bingewatch a Marvel-a a a marvellous boxset-from the 80s.
I suffer from social anxiety, so it helps that there are lots of episodes.
I had to be at work at four. I got a case of explosive…s…that I had to move out of my car…from the construction…industry. My gay gardener got…married. My cereal is out of date, and it caused a spitting mild grain.
I suffer from inveterate laziness.
I had to be at work at eight…minutes…past…two.
I collapsed while I was asleep in bed. I mean I fainted, yeah. Lucky I was already asleep, or, ehhh… No it’s a genuine thing.
I’m nervous about things. I walked under a black cat this morning. I didn’t think it wise to continue.
I got a blister on my lactating earlobe.
My sixteen-year-old daughter stands before me, biting her lip, eyes welling, wringing her hands. A paper rustles in my hand, printed with more information than I care to read at the moment. Instead, my eyes focus on the bottom, where my budget bursts into flames.
“How fast were you going?” I ask, my eyebrows shooting toward the ceiling. A fine of a grand isn’t gotten by going a little over the posted limit; that takes work.
“Uhm. Well. I had to be at work at eight.” I wave the paper at her, jabbing the total with my finger. She sighs, one tear sliding down her cheek. “Fine. Ninety. I was doing ninety.”
“On the interstate?” She nods. “Jesus Christ, child.”
We stare at each other for a few uncomfortable seconds. How do I punish this? She’s probably going to lose her license for a bit. Of course we’ll take the car away. But good god…can she re-take driver’s ed?
“What do I do now?” she asks, chewing on her lip again.
“Well, we’d better show up to court next week. Then we’ll know if you’ve got a license or not and for how long. And then we’ll talk about how to pay this blasted fine, once they add the damned court costs. And that car stays parked for the rest of the summer, you got me?”
She wails, her bedroom door slamming shut moments later. I am definitely not getting father of the year.
Shandy’s coffee grows cold in the mug, as the deafening silence echoes around her. The house is too quiet without the sounds of Jason banging around getting ready for school. She stares out the window, seeing nothing beyond.
“Mom, would you take me to school today?”
“I can’t today, Jason, I have to get to work.”
“But, Mom! It’s raining.”
“You’re not going to melt. Wear your rain poncho over your backpack. That’ll keep you and your stuff dry. It’s only a mile to school.”
The conversation rings in Shandy’s head. Her jaw clenches and she refuses to allow the tears to fall.
Why hadn’t she just given him a ride?
“I had to be at work at eight.”
The sound of her voice cracks the heavy silence.
“Mom, please. I hate riding my bike in the rain. I spend the rest of the day trying to get dry.”
“Jason. Asked and answered. I have to get to work on time. My big presentation is today. Don’t be so whiny.”
She had noticed his jaw clench at those words, but ignored it.
“I’ve gotta go. See you tonight.”
She didn’t tell him she loves him.
If she’d only known those would be the last words he would hear from her. The tears spill down her cheeks and a moan of dark pain escapes her lips.
“I’m sorry. If I hadn’t been so . . . self-absorbed you wouldn’t have been on your bike. That car . . .”
Shandy’s voice breaks, “I love you, Jason.”
Cooper was waiting in the kitchen when she walked in. “You snuck out again this morning.”
“I had to be at work at eight.”
He raised a brow. Britt raised her chin. He had to be a truly sick puppy to enjoy her stubborn temper as much as he did.
She gave him the stink eye, arms crossed, feet splayed for balance as she leaned toward him.
“I didn’t want to be late.”
“How long would it take to wake me with a kiss and tell me goodbye?”
Color rose up her neck to eventually stain her cheeks. He liked that he could have that effect on her.
“You don’t do goodbye kisses.” Her hands came up to make air quotes.
She wagged a finger. “No, you don’t. You start with a kiss and then you get all grabby hands and…and…I’m suddenly naked and late. I’m not a big boss like you. I’m a lowly adjunct professor, and part-time at that. I can’t afford to be late and it’s a longer drive from your house.”
Britt was gearing up for a tirade and whatever happened next was sure to be entertaining. He added fuel to the fire. “But you’re closer to the TV station.”
“I hate it when you’re logical,” she groused.
“Then I’ll be illogical. Marry me and quit.”
“Don’t even go there, Just because I’m pregnant—”
“I love you.”
Her eyes softened and he had hope until she spoke.
250 words in the CORRECT version of my Red Dirt #WIP, (Deadline Brain!)
Just another day
Jennie slid into her parking spot at 7:45, hitting the lamp post with her front bumper as she skidded to a stop. Then she promptly locked her keys in the car and then hurdled through traffic, leaving the light still swaying just a bit. Jen broke a heel in the manhole cover in the center of the street, tossed down her shoes and continued with quick strides toward security at the door.
At 7:51 Jen jerked her badge out of her purse for the cutest security guard, Darrin, only to spill the contents onto the conveyor through the xray machine, unfolding a dozen condoms for the world to see, as well as her Blistex, Chapstick, Extra strength breath mints, and lastly, her small but conspicuous tube of anal anti-itch ointment.
Her look of horror was met with amusement as Darrin returned her badge, as well as the scanner operator collecting her items one-by-one, placing them back into her purse individually, and then returning her huge bag of humiliation.
Her best friend, Virginia, saw the whole fiasco. “Jen? What is wrong with you? You came skidding in here on two wheels. Pretty much asked Darrin out with a pack of rubbers and then chased him away with your anal itching cream. Why in the world are you in such a hurry?”
Jen looked at her phone at 7:59. “I had to be at work at eight.”
Virginia chuckled. “And what do you do here?”
Jen shrugged, “I’m a professional procrastination councilor.”
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Good God ..250 words.
It’s been a while… forgive me.
I ducked through the flophouse doorway and shielded my eyes against already intense morning light. It was the same everywhere; give the half giant the summer day shifts. He can take it.
I covered the pommel glint from my cutlass with one hand. Four months pay for the materials, as long again to forge it myself and it hadn’t left my side since.
My blade pulled forward out of my hand even as I perceived the movement at my hip. Just ahead the tiniest thief I’d ever seen held my prized possession. Four feet tall at most and audaciously dressed in tailored captain’s regalia.
“You’ll want to give that back.” I weighted each word with restraint.
The thief looked back with a golden cat eye opposite an ostentatious eyepatch. Feline ears wiggled under her hat; a matching tail swished under her coat. She bolted around a corner.
I gave chase. I had to be at work at eight, but I was not losing that sword.
The size difference between my sword and its captor would have been comical, if not for the fact that she was getting away with it clean. Only my knowledge of the city kept her from losing me.
Chasing that crazy cat cost me a day’s wages, and likely my job at the docks. At day’s end she sat with my cutlass in her lap, and I was thoroughly winded. She lifted her eyepatch to study me with both eyes.
“You ever been a first mate?”
250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
The emergency number rang, and Harry hurried to grab his gear. We’d been watching “Beauty and the Beast” with our almost sleeping five-year-old.
He threw his bag on the table and sat to buckle his boots. We had been through this routine many times.
Glancing up, he mouthed, “Sorry.”
I knew he meant our interrupted plans once Little K had fallen asleep.
I visibly shivered, noticing the wind, rain, and lightning for the first time.
He pulled me into his lap and tugged my chin up. Our lips met in one of those gentle kisses, melting my fears.
I pulled away first. “Go on, get out of here.”
He glanced at the clock. “I had to be at work at 8, but that isn’t going to happen now. You’d better call Larry and let him know I’ll be late.”
Sirens began to screech.
He grabbed his gear and hurried out the door.
Again, I followed to the edge of the porch.
Overhead, black clouds churned in a pea soup sky. He turned to me, and I reached for him. Thunder made both of us jump.
He tilted my head and looked directly into my eyes.
“Get Little K into the basement. I’ll call when I can.” He kissed my forehead. “I love you.”
“I have to. People depend on me.” He ran to the waiting truck.
“So do we,” I whispered. “Please come home to us.” I forced the door shut against the storm to come.
I had to be at work at eight but the something special that my grandmother had left me in her will had arrived and I was dying to try it out; so I called in sick. I read over the instructions then I placed the broach on my chest and waited but nothing happened. The magical stories my grandmother had told me were just that stories, I thought.
Just then the room started to spin, then change as if it were a carousel slide projector. Suddenly it stopped and the room was like something out of the 1950s. I’d seen pictures of this room my grandmother’s bedroom and it looked just like this.
“You made it granddaughter,” my grandmother said as she saw me.
“How did you know it was me?”
“Only my granddaughter would have access to the broach. Do you have daughter?”
“No not yet,” I answered.
“Better get cracking then; you’re not getting any younger. What are you thirty?”
“Are you married?”
“No,” I answered.
“Maybe you’ll find someone as I did and bring him back with you. Tell me your name before you go.”
“Good, now make sure your granddaughter is named Cecilia too.”
“I’ll try, bye Grandma I love you.”
“I love you too.”
I touched the broach again and I was back in my own time. Who knew where it would take me next time. Maybe grandma was right and I’d meet my soul mate. I’d certainly try.
I had to be at work at eight o’clock sharp.
Wait, let me rephrase that.
I was supposed to be at work at eight o’clock sharp. I never actually made it to my first shift, or any other shift for that matter. No I wasn’t fired…officially at least. It was a mutual parting.
You see, I ended up not needing that job after all. I had found another one walking through Belladeer Park at the tip of dusk on my way to that overnight job. Or rather, it found me. Only this one was ten times as important as paying my bills and keeping a roof over my head.
Two things I never actually have to worry about again.
Turns out, along the outskirts of the park where the trees grow thick with ivy and strange plants, there’s a secret hiding amongst them. A group of people living in a parallel dimension that can see the future and the past of our world. They call themselves time travelers; I call them Triple T. Time Traveler Tweakers.
No not that kind of tweaker.
These guys tweak the past and the present of our world with a careful hand and some creative steampunk magic-like shit. These guys are fixing our world and all the horrors mankind brought about one history event at a time. They are erasing and rewriting it, even in our very own minds, to guide us toward utopia.
And it turns out I’m one of them.
249 sparks of new novel inspiration
#ThursThreads Week 368 is now CLOSED. Thanks to eveyone who wrote this week and I hope to catch you next week.