#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 383

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 383 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 383:

Patty Knowles

Author and flash fiction writer, Patty Knowles.

Facebook | Twitter

And now your #ThursThreads Challenge, tying tales together.

The Prompt:

“I could work on him.”

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!

20 Replies to “#ThursThreads – Tying Tales Together – Week 383”

  1. Flash Wound

    We’d reaching the tipping point of no return. I’m not sure anyone expected it. Except maybe George Galley.

    If ever there was an ornery writer, it was George.

    When we’d get together at our annual writer’s conventions, George would regularly lead the charge against “those consarned itsy bitsy niblets of notions,” as if they were the devils work.

    “Mark my words,” he’d say, and then add, ”my very long words in exceptionally protracted sentences, it’s pure laziness of the worst kind to take big ideas, complex situations, and mush ‘em up into thimblefuls of stew that wouldn’t feed the brain of a squirrel. A dead squirrel, even.”

    Initially he found the odd convert and they’d rave on into the night but eventually it came down to numbers. Numbers and time. More of us came to recognize that the readers of the world had no time for fat books. “Life’s too short,” they started to say. “We need more short stories. We’ve no time to get lost in opuses.”

    In 2017, George and a small cult of fat book activists issued their Manifesto, NOVELS FOREVER, and then headed up into the mountains vowing to write on and fight on against “your puny vision of humanity.”

    I was authorized by FFLAG (the Flash Fiction Language Action Government) to make one final appeal to George and the dissidents. We were once friends. I could work on him. Appeal to the artist.

    Failing that, it would have to be the Final Solution.

    250 words
    @billmelaterplea

  2. It was midnight. He had left me here, in the basement, with instructions to finish the display before tomorrow’s opening. At The Mütter, my tasks were never-ending. Each piece required painstaking placement and anchoring invisible to the naked eye. I pushed my fists into my low back. Creaking and popping, I stretched, seeking to ease muscles stiffened by too many hours spent hunched at my table.

    On the stairs leading to freedom, a familiar inky mist gathered and swirled. He always appeared during full moon nights, when the lunar glow highlighted his smoky silhouette.

    “Good to see you, my friend. I have missed you,” I smiled as his shape shimmered and solidified.

    “Yes, Emmet has me working late, again. The man is cruel beyond imagining.”

    Admiring my progress, I listened as the bones created their own story. A cold wind whispered, and his voice crackled with the smell of autumn leaves. I toyed with the germ he planted. His plan to relieve the thousand tortures Emmet heaped upon me.

    “You are right, I could work on him. Make him understand.”

    My companion patted my shoulder, and his courage flowed through me.

    “The opening gala is tomorrow night.”

    He leaned toward me, and the seedling grew, producing a perfectly formed, black rose.

    “I could lure him with a cask of Amontillado. We have a wall of bones, and as part of the permanent installation, they would lie undisturbed for years.”

    A faint jingling of bells kissed my ears.

    “In pace requiescat.”

    250 October Words @JoHawktheWriter

  3. “I stumbled across some information about a dead FBI agent who’d been embezzling your club while undercover and a dead US Marshal—”

    He hissed and looked away, his expression stoic. “You need to let that one go, Haley.”

    “What? Are you kidding me? This is a huge story. I’m not interested in your club, only the crooked law enforcement officers who got into illegal stuff—”

    “No, it’s too dangerous. This is bigger than you know.”

    “That’s what I’m trying to understand.” I balled my hands into fists under the table and lowered my voice again. “I can’t trust the cops, which is why I anonymously reported the murder. I don’t know who’s involved with the murder of the ADA or if it’s tied to this group of dirty law enforcement. But I wasn’t going to take my chances with them finding me before I’m prepared.”

    Michael shot me a sharp look. “Prepared for what?”

    “To bring them all down and expose them.” I spread my hands. “Don’t you see? This is a career-making story that could get me into the big time of news reporting. I don’t have to mention the connection to your club. I want to make sure the crooked cops are taken down.”

    He shook his head, his lips tightening in to a flat line. I was pretty sure I could work on him and convince him to help me if I played my cards right.

    “Come on, Michael. You know I’m right.”

    248 ineligible #ConcreteAngelsMC words
    @SiobhanMuir

  4. “I guess I just don’t see myself as having any value. I mean, it’s hard to care about making my life better. I’m just…me.”

    “Okay, are you willing to try a little exercise with me? It’s supposed to help you see that your life means something.”

    “I’ll try anything. This sucks.”

    “Good. Now take a deep breath and close your eyes. Keep them closed, and don’t open them for any reason.”

    “Oh…okay.”

    “Come to me, O Mighty One. Come to me and help this poor soul.”

    “What are you…”

    “Please be quiet. This is very sensitive.”

    “O Mighty One, this man in front of me needs you. He sees himself as not having any value. Show him that he is wrong, show him his value.”

    “What’s that smell?”

    “It’s brimstone. Now, shush. And keep those eyes closed. You definitely don’t want to see this.”

    “O Mighty One.”

    “I AM HERE.”

    “And we are grateful for your presence.”

    “WHO HAVE YOU SUMMONED ME FOR? IS THIS…IT?”

    “Hey!”

    “This man is ready to see that he has value to someone.”

    “WELL OF COURSE HE HAS VALUE. ALL SOULS BRING ME POWER. BUT THIS MAN IS WEAK. HIS SOUL…NOT MUCH THERE.”

    “O Mighty One, take another look.”

    “FINE. SINCE I CAME ALL THIS WAY. HMMM. I SEE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. YES, IF HE AGREES TO THE DEAL, I COULD WORK ON HIM, MAKE HIM A WORTHY SERVANT.”

    “I…I don’t know…”

    “Do you want your life to have meaning, or not?”

    “I do.”
    250 words
    @drmag00

  5. A knock at the door.
    He had a shock of unmistakable white hair that resembled a flame above his head, and thick, black, bushy eyebrows. His suit was a size or two bigger than required; his pants were baggy, like a 1920s zoot suit. He looked like he was trying to impersonate a mafioso from the era.
    Why he had chosen the espionage game – but worse – why he had chosen to maintain this idiosyncratic appearance as a spy – defied logic; with those features, he would struggle to blend in anywhere. If we were friends, and I knew his intentions to be noble, I could work on him. Now, I knew him as the man who’d been stalking me for weeks.
    “What do you want?” I demanded.
    “Just want to talk to you about why you’re being followed. Can I come in?”
    I closed the door behind me and stepped past him, denying him access.
    “My wife and kids. You’re not coming into my home. Understand? Why you following me? Let’s walk and talk.” I set off up the five-yard driveway. I turned. He was still at the door. “What?” I asked.
    “I might have been followed myself,” he said. “I’d rather stay here at your porch just in case.”
    I sighed, remaining halfway up the drive. “So what do you want with me? I’m just a tailor.”
    “We’ve only been monitoring you to determine your politics. Have you ever sewn surveillance devices into the clothes you make?”

    250 words @ragtaggiggagon

  6. Persia adjusted the aide’s governors with a small-bladed screwdriver, then snapped his access panel back into place. “Of course, Hubert was one of the better synthetics available then but in a way that made it worse. ‘Do they come with a range of appendages? Is he better in every way? Are you having to take supplements so you can keep up?’. It was getting so I couldn’t take him out anywhere; it was just so embarrassing. And we weren’t doing anything that everyone else wasn’t doing.”

    Karen nodded sagely, having been one of the first to go back to the inorganics. “I know exactly what you mean. My Frankie was a dream. Steampunk stylings, easily cleaned; he was better in almost every way. I could get parts for him from the local store – less than half the price of those for a simulant – and with him needing no specialist tools, I could work on him myself. For a while I thought he was perfect. Those were such happy days; who’d have ever thought I’d want another change?”

    “Another change? What do you mean? I know you’ve been away for a few weeks but surely you’d have said…”

    “Well, I’m telling you now. Right now, it’s only me and two cyberneticists that know, so you’d better keep this to yourself.” Karen unfastened the lower buttons of her tunic and pulled it out, flipping up the hemline so Persia could see the latest set of upgrades she’d had done.

    249 words ~ twothirdsrasta.blogspot.com

  7. Doubt and desperation fill Bree as she faces the fallout of her recklessness. Turning to her best friend, Treena, she pleads, “Could you get Darius on board?”

    Nodding, Treena responds, “I could.”

    “Work on him. We need his help for this to come together.”

    “I just have to work my womanly ways on him. And he’ll expect you to give him a little something as well.” Treena wiggles her eyebrows at Bree.

    “I’ve already got something in mind he’s really gonna like.”

    “I’ll call him.”

    Treena walks out with the phone to her ear. Bree hears her friend’s muffled voice, but can’t make out her words. Hoping for the best, Treena begins her preparations for Darius’s arrival.

    A half hour later brings a loud knock on the door and Darius bursts in.

    “Okay, ladies. What have you got for me? Mmmm . . .” He breathes in a deep breath. “Somebody’s got it smelling gooooood in here.”

    “Darius! Hi!”

    “Treena tells me you need my help with a little problem?” Darius’s head swivels around the room. “I see she didn’t overstate the issue. Payment?”

    “In the kitchen. It’s a recipe called Mississippi Mud Cake. I think you’re gonna like it.”

    “So, you threw away the instructions?”

    “It was an accident! I dumped all the parts out and heard the garbage truck coming down the street so I ran out with the box. It’s Erin’s birthday and she really wants a doll house!”

    “No worries. I just did one like this for Rachie.”

    @TeresaMEccles
    249 words

  8. I could work on him.@Stories2121, 218 words

    They were quiet. My mother and my father were staring at me from chairs that faced the sofa where I sat. And they were quiet. Importantly, I was not sitting alone. I sitting with my boyfriend, Mel, and the stares were the result of my saying, “Mom, Dad. This is my boyfriend, Mel.”

    “Aren’t you going to say something?”

    “What’s there to say?” This was my father and he said it as he stood to walk out the door.

    My mother looked embarrassed, in a way I’d never seen before. After watching her husband leave the room she got up, as did we, and she gave Mel a hug.

    “It’s so nice to meet you.” Looking at me she smiled. “Why did you keep him hidden for so long?”

    “Well, you know. Dad.”

    “Yes. I know your father. He kept saying you didn’t bring girls home because you were too busy to date. I knew better. So why did you bring Mel home?”

    “Cause I think I love him.”

    “Think?”

    “OK. I love him.”

    She turned to Mel.

    “And you?”

    “I love him too Mrs. Alton.”

    “Good.” Turning back to me, she said, “I could work on him.”

    “That’d help.”

    “With time, I think he’ll come around. You knew your father.”

    “Yes, I do. That’s what concerns me.”

  9. “I could work on him, with more time. I know he has killed before. These murders are just the tip of the iceberg!”

    “He’s not likely to break. He’s angry, not that they found him guilty mind you, but he’s pissed off they convicted him on fake evidence. Go figure!”

    “Give me one more crack at him. If I don’t get anywhere, we’ll just let him go to his grave, knowing there were more victims.”

    “Alright. I’ll assign somebody else to patrol but you gotta promise me you’ll play by the book. You hear me?”

    “Gotcha boss! Cross my heart and hope to die!”

    The next morning Grace Cooper was sitting in interrogation with McDonald’s coffee and a sausage Egg McMuffin on the table when the guard brought in Sam Steyer.

    “My little Gracie what do you want now? I done told you all I know and now they might hang me.”

    Grace turned to greet Sam Steyer, uncrossing her legs, shiny and encased in handcrafted silk stockings.

    “Good morning Sam. I thought we could talk some more, now that your trial is over.”

    “Well lookee here she done bought me breakfast. Gracie, that’s the nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time.”

    Sam sat down, corralling the bag with his cuffed hands, pulling it towards him.
    “And she was wearing stockings just like those.”

    “Who was Sam? Who is she?”

    “That hooker I strangled in Memphis. She wore stockings just like the ones you got on.”

    @taforu
    Word Count: 250

  10. From my studio, I heard the front door open and close, Cerese groaning as her boots dropped to the foyer floor with a thud.

    “Today kinda sucked, and I could use a beer,” she called. “Please tell me we have beer.”

    “New sampler from the microbrewery on Castillo in the fridge.”

    “Yes.” A moment later she stood in the doorway, chugging the longneck.

    “Bitch, that is too expensive to drink it like it’s a frat party challenge.”

    She lowered the bottle with a happy sigh and a not-so-discreet belch.

    “I’m only buying you cheap light beer from now on.”

    “So mean.” Cerese pouted, the amusing expression out of place on her intimidating visage. “I could work on him, if you like.”

    The non-sequitur drew a questioning sound from me.

    “Hm?” I glanced away from my canvas, bringing brush to palette, barely skimming the Alizarin Crimson. “Him, who?”

    “Your detective.” She pointed at the shadowy masculine figure in my painting, who did not in any way represent Detective Jesse Davis, but that wasn’t the worrying part.

    “Define work on him. What exactly are you working on? And how much blood is involved?”

    “You’re not even denying that’s him?”

    “I’ll do that after you tell me how much you plan to hurt him.”

    She rushed me, wrapping me in a bone-squishing hug.

    “Stop that.” I swatted her arms. “You know he didn’t do anything wrong.”

    “He hurt you.”

    Everyone hurts me.

    I didn’t say it aloud.

    She cuddled me closer anyway.

    @caramichaels
    249 gods & monsters WIP words

  11. I stared at my brother, torn between incredulity and indignation.

    “What are you suggesting, Brent?”

    “For some unknown reason, that biker is totally into you.”

    I blinked. My brother had never been kind to me when it came to my weight but the implication that a man might find me attractive despite my curves felt like he’d shoved a knife between my ribs. No, I wasn’t skin and bones like his girlfriend, but I dressed nice and more than one man had mentioned I had a pretty face. Too bad they mostly had the same tastes as Brent. Wizard was different. Or so I believed.

    “You could work on him.”

    I processed that, but any attempt to decipher my brother’s intentions never worked well for me. “I could…work on him.”

    “Yeah. You know. Work him.”

    Huffing out a breath, I closed my eyes as I searched for patience. “I have no clue what you are insinuating.”

    He rolled his eyes and smirked. “God, you are such a putz. Since he’s into your tits and ass, work it. Men talk in bed. Put out. Find out what you can about the Nightriders’ operations. Pass the info to me.”

    My whole body clenched tight of its own accord—all but my heart which beat like a drum line in my chest. My brother wanted me to set up the man who seemed to genuinely like me. The words were out of my mouth before I could think. “Go to hell.”
    ****
    250 Nightrider WIP words #TeamJen
    @SilverJames_

  12. “Geordie is never going to like me,” I complained.
    “You did mace him,” Jayce commented.
    “But I want him to like me,” I stated.
    “You want everyone to like you. You should work on that. ”Jayce exclaimed then seeing my face he said, “I could work on him.”
    “Would you?”
    “But then you’d owe me, big,” Jayce answered.
    “What would I owe you?”
    “Wine and food?”
    “A date you want to date me?” I said thinking how the heck do you turn down one of your best friends, “I’ve never seen you like this. I thought you were a ladies’ man.”
    “All of those women were substitutes.”
    “For me? You’re telling me that you’ve had a crush on me. Sorry Jayce, you’re my friend you’ll never be anything else. I’m going to put in my own good words with Geordie.”

    I sent Geordie apology letters, coffee coupons and basically stalked him until he forgave me. Jayce is the best person of honour at our wedding and is engaged to Simon my brother who I introduced Jayce to a year ago. Everyone’s happy so why am I waiting for the other shoe to drop? Oh yes the reason why I maced Geordie in the first place, he was turning into a werewolf at the time and I was a she-wolf in heat trying to control the change. Oh well, I’ve already accepted that we’ll have cute werewolf babies. Everything’s fine that is until Jayce finds out Simon is a werewolf too.
    250 words
    @SweetSheil

  13. Usually people take their death in stride: they were sick or elderly or whatever, off they go. But once in a blue moon, I get one that’s stubborn. In this case, it’s a man of ninety who still runs ten miles a day dontchaknow? And eats kale for breakfast.

    Doesn’t change the fact that I’ve disconnected his soul from his body. His wife is standing here, one foot tapping impatiently.

    “George! I’ve got bread in the oven and so help me God, if it burns you’ll eat the entire loaf for supper tonight!”

    George grunts, one hand running over his thin grey hair. “I have to spend eternity with her?”

    I try and nudge him toward the afterlife. I could work on him but his wife should be able to sway him. After all, they were married for over sixty years!

    “Well, if that’s how you’re going to be!”

    She turns to leave and I take her arm. She fixes a spine-shuddering glare on me and crosses her flour-covered arms. I put on my best smile.

    “For now you have to go with your wife. She’s your guide across. I’m just the person who collects you when you die. Don’t make Delores burn the bread.”

    His moment of indecision works in my favor: I push him into his wife’s arms. She drags him across, yelling about the bread, and the door slams shut. I cross him off my list and hope the next one goes with less of a fight.

    @Aightball
    250 words

  14. The medical team scurried around the corridors—several nurses in the ER waiting for instructions. Two doctors in Trauma Room 12 talking to the First Responders.
    Drip.

    That is me.
    Drip.
    This is my life, slipping away. An actual drip because I am hooked-up to some machine, a robot that is frantically trying to save my life.
    Drip.
    So I have to do it now, before the drip becomes real.
    Because if I don’t, I will really be
    A
    Real
    Drip.
    And everyone will hate me.
    The biggest guy was new on the job and had never been thru anything like this before. Oh, they tried to warn him, but he knew better—he was dedicated to helping whoever the Lord brought into his path. He could hear God now, up above, responding to Satan’s offer: “I could work on him.” God knew He would have to get to Bert first.
    Why me? I was just on my way to work, running a little late. I shouldn’t have taken any chances. Wait—get your fucken hands off me! I don’t want this contraption in my arm—take it out! Now!
    Bert tried his level best. He did. But the sight of all that blood was too overwhelming-—school had not prepared him for anything like this. Old farts are a dime a dozen, expendable…But new mothers with little babies at their side…
    As much as he liked to think of himself as a strong person, even that had its limits…
    word count 250 @rrats1231

  15. Rakin Rahal raised his lantern and peered through the bone chilling white toward the shadowy suggestion of Ghost Island. A dusk run in with pirate hunters had damaged both ships and jeopardized The Pajamas’ rendezvous with her captain. There was little chance of spotting Captain Kinnery this far into The Phantom Reef. Rakin just hoped the captain found them before the pirate hunters.

    Someone clambered noisily onto the port outrigger. Swinging his lantern out over the side, Rakin beheld his tiny captain looking up at him from over a prone figure in dark clothes.

    Moments later they were below decks with the stranger stretched out on the worktable under all the lantern light they could manage. He didn’t look good. Broken and twisted limbs were the least of his problems, even his seeping side wound was less concerning than his head. His fine hair was matted and discolored beyond recognition, and his delicate elven features were ruined where a side of his face had been caved in.

    “What do ye do with a broken elf?” Caitlin Kinnery sighed heavily.

    Rakin ran a hand heavily over his shaved head. “We had a bit of trouble on the way, so Olivar won’t be working any more miracles before dawn—and even then, I’m not sure he could fix this.”

    A wood stool scraped over the boards, providing a perch for the ship’s tinker to join them at the table—saw in hand and apron laden with tools.

    “I could work on him.”

    250 Cat’s The Pajamas words
    @DavidALudwig

  16. The swarm inhabiting Delilah Jacobs continued negotiations with the swarm that inhabited Howard Wilson. “She has no interest in him.” It was how negotiations went. Two swarms came to terms with the result of two humans mating, and producing offspring.

    Howard’s swarm answered, “I could work on him. Tune him up. Lean him out a bit. Dress him up a bit. What is she looking for?”

    Delilah’s swarm had been through many negotiations over the centuries, and moved from Delilah’s great, great grandmother, through one daughter at a time, ending up in Delilah. “It’s a biochemical thing. She thinks he smells funny.”

    “I could work on that too. Change what he eats. Change how his metabolism works.” There was a pause. “How would he need to be modified?”

    Negotiations for modifications lasted two weeks. Howard and Delilah never figured out why their paths always crossed. When the final list of biochemical modifications for Howard was completed, Delilah’s swarm agreed to a few biochemical tweaks to improve her interest in him.

    Then, they kept Delilah, and Howard, meeting, which eventually turned into dinner, and then dates, and finally a happy couple.

    Delilah never did figure out why she fell for Howard, but she did. Even after they were married, she still wondered why she was so attracted to him. The swarm in her knew. It was as planned, and guaranteed the growth of the swarms. It didn’t care if the humans ever understood. Only survival mattered.

    245 Words
    @mysoulstears

  17. “I could work on him.” A young man, about twenty-two with a nose ring stopped by the fountain in the center of the food court.
    I nearly spit out my drink but instead choked on it. Wheezing, I slammed my fist against my sternum. “Dang it, Randi!”
    Across from me, my best friend grinned. Around us, the mall was hoping for a Thursday night.
    “What?” She sipped on her own milkshake – as if her lewd innuendo hadn’t caused several people to stop and stare.
    “You could’ve warned me,” I gasped, finally able to breath.
    “Naw.” She shook her head and continued to watch the flow of foot traffic. “How about him?”
    I groaned, but glanced in the direction she nodded in. A casually dressed, middle-aged man with a crew cut rushed towards the GAP with two teens in tow.
    “Probably taken.” I leaned back in my seat. “I don’t know why we keep doing this.”
    “Because your divorced ass would never leave home if we didn’t.” She kicked me under the table. “Six o’clock.”
    “Really, you couldn’t just say behind you-” I glanced over my shoulder. The world stopped. The people around me froze as I spotted him. A silver fox with startling blue eyes making his way toward us, pushing a janitorial cart. His wide shoulders and trim build filled out his uniform in ways that should be illegal. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach for the first time since my divorce.
    “Oh yeah, I could work him,” I whispered.
    250 words
    @dakota75

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