Happy New Year! I am in with a because I think I failed last time or something, I don't remember, but I'll write a story this week.
|# ¿ Jan 9, 2015 02:28|
|# ¿ Mar 22, 2019 18:19|
I opened the door and found Luc holding a bottle of wine. “Bonjour,” he said.
“This is a bar,” I replied, taking the bottle from him.
“Let the spirit move us, then,” he said, sweeping past me. By the time I had relocked the door, he was at the piano, playing scales.
I returned to the bar and turned the radio down, then sat with my ear pressed to it, thinking. Luc began to play an American swing tune. It was an odd soundtrack, the upbeat Saturday morning melody juxtaposed with the cold dread creeping across Europe.
“Why do you play that garbage?” I asked. “Play something French. The customers like French music.”
“The customers like the house white, and that’s mostly water.” He motioned to last night’s empty glass, still perched on the edge of the piano. “I’m playing the future.”
I walked over and filled his glass. “The future is going to find you with less patient employment. Let it breathe.”
“Why do YOU listen to THAT garbage?” he asked. I raised an eyebrow, and he laughed at me. “Come on, let’s see a film today.”
“I don’t like the newsreels.” I returned to the bar and turned the radio up. “They’ve invaded Poland.”
“Probably rolled over it by accident on their way to the beach.” Suddenly inspired, he began to play a bossa nova, and began a horrible facsimile of an American crooner, his accent thick over his hardening of consonants: “When they begin the beguine…”
I turned back to the radio. The world was split between holding its breath and waving the whole thing off. There was talk of the Communists getting involved…
I felt Luc’s hand on my shoulder. I looked at him in surprise; I hadn’t even realized the music had stopped. He held out a glass of wine. “It’s ten in the morning and I’m drinking alone. Where are your manners, Paul? Come, live a little.”
Behind me, the radio hummed, something about Denmark. I hesitated, then switched it off and took the wine.
“They’re not going to come, you know.”
Luc looked up. “Who?” he asked.
“The Americans. They aren’t going to give a poo poo about what happens in Europe. Why would they?”
Luc had exhausted his catalogue of American Neo-Classics and had, begrudgingly, played one Edith Piaf tune at my insistence before declaring “Art was dead in France” and abandoning the instrument. We had worked our way through our second bottle since his self-prescribed set break.
He shook his head at me. “You’re wrong. Surely the Americans recognize the responsibility that comes with advancement. We’re not individual nations any more, or if we are, we won’t be for long.”
"L’union fait la force, and all that,” I scoffed.
“No, that’s not what I mean. Look: it was only twenty five years ago we were still sending pulses across the country just to tell ourselves the weather report. Now I can go to any nice hotel and SPEAK to America in minutes! The world is changing, becoming smaller, the lines are blurring - soon we’ll all be the same, you just wait.”
I shook my head. “You’re talking like a Nazi.”
“Paul.” He put his glass down, a rare moment of seriousness. “This Hitler thing, it won’t last. One country, one man is not a steam train. Remember your history? If Napoleon failed, how can Hitler possibly succeed?”
I looked at the table. “It’s different from—“
“You’re wrong. I’d bet on it.” His eyes gleamed. “In fact…”
He bounded up and behind the bar. Before I could protest, he had returned with a dusty box, which he placed on the piano.
“Put that back,” I said, eyeing him suspiciously.
He gestured with a flourish. “A wager, mon ami. A year from now, if Hitler is anything more than the briefest of footnotes for the history books, I, Luc Lefebvre, will personally open this bottle—”
“Of my wine,” I laughed.
“Of this GIFT of wine, which was presented to you, on the occasion of the opening of your bar, in the Year of Our Lord Nineteen—”
“I was there, Luc.”
“—and pour it, sans regret, down the toilet.” He bowed, his symphony complete, then flopped onto the piano bench.
I clapped twice. “Deeply moving.”
“And if this is all but a fleeting dream, we’ll enjoy a glass instead.” He played a victorious five bars of the Marseillaise.
“Luc.” I started to speak, then stopped. It was hard not to be caught by his optimism.
Luc smiled and blew me a kiss. “You have nothing to worry about, my friend. Remember: artists, we only speak truth!” He laughed again, his voice tinkling more than the keys ever could. “Sing and be merry, won’t you? So don’t let them begin…the Beguinne…"
I watched him play until he stopped being my friend and became the music again. I returned to the wine to the bar and turned the radio on, then sat with my ear pressed to it, thinking.
A little under a year later the bar was the last stop I made before I left. There was a part of me that hoped Luc would be there, laughing, playing something, finding any American hope he could muster, but that was folly. It was all empty, empty of joy and hope, and empty of Luc, the latter only a memory that had defected to the Nazi party months ago. I gathered the few personal necessities I had hidden there in the last calm between unbearable and impossible. There wasn’t much. I wasn’t much. France was not much.
I poured the wine down the toilet myself. I did not relish my victory, but I did keep my promises. As I locked the door, I heard music in the street, an aria in German on the National Radio Broadcast.
The world had changed, the lines had blurred, we were all the same. It wouldn’t be much longer now.
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2015 01:43|
200 words about a diagnosis gone wrong.
|# ¿ Jan 12, 2015 17:52|
FIRST SIGNUP I AM IN
make me a new one~
|# ¿ Jan 13, 2015 09:24|
I will not submit. Or I will submit a story about unicorns and no metal. I am the realization of the Curse of Muffin.
|# ¿ Jan 14, 2015 06:17|
Sebmojo I signed up a while ago but can I have a flash rule that sounds fun and you're handsome
|# ¿ Jan 14, 2015 09:53|
Y'all gonna regret wildly castrating your word count. I prefer brevity myself but you people crazy.
|# ¿ Jan 14, 2015 16:49|
Late better than never!
The Sweet Smell of Success
“Hints of strawberries and coriander. Under tones of pain, abandonment, and personal tragedy, but by far, much too saccharine to be anything more than bubble gum, at best. Prognosis for success: Absolute Bottom.” Thomas clicked off the recorder and made a note on the paper in front of him, then pressed the button connected to his microphone. “Next, please.”
A door at the end of the hallway opened to reveal five large tattooed individuals. They were dressed in what looked to be two thirds of a goat between them, and their faces were painted with what Thomas hoped was strawberry jam. They smelled of desperation and cocaine.
“Welcome.” Thomas nodded curtly at them. “Which of you is the band leader?”
The men looked at each other for a moment, then the one with the most spikes on his loincloth raised his hand.
Thomas made a clucking noise with his tongue and scribbled a note on their paper. “Name?”
Another note. “Group name?”
Arnvold swallowed heavily. The slight stink of fear crept out of him. “Bloodstained Corpses of the Twisted Quest.”
“THE QUEST!” The remaining men all shouted in unison and brought their large fists to their mostly bare chests. Arnvold smiled sheepishly as he slowly brought his hand to his heart.
“Charming,” Thomas said. He picked up the breathing mask next to him and began to wipe it down with his handkerchief. “Well then, please set up while I ready my instruments.”
“Oh, uh…” The men looked at each other again, then Arnvold rasied his hand. “Excuse me?”
Thomas looked at him down the bridge of his nose. “Yes?”
Arnvold looked around helplessly. “We’re, uh… we’re ready?”
“I beg pardon?”
The men all nodded aggressively and one bounded forward a step. “Sing, we!”
Thomas looked at the lot of them. They were truly a hapless bunch, he could smell it on their faces; if he was generous, he would say that the five of them had the intelligence of a ten year old. They stood, grinning stupidly, stinking of dumb aspiration. Only Arnvold seemed to have a whiff of reality in him, and he smelled like he was about to poo poo himself.
“Very well, then, give me a moment…” Thomas stood up and disconnected two cables from the bass and guitar amps, then connected one end into the second microphone monitor. He motioned at the two mic stands in the front of the room. “Please sing into those, if you please.”
The men shuffled forward and crowded dumbly around one microphone. Thomas rolled his eyes and unplugged the microphone he had just taken the time to set up. Empty channels caused too many extra flavors.
He walked back to his desk, checking the monitor cable as he went, then plugged the XLR end of his breathing mask into his mixing board and attached it to his face. He took a deep breath to re-adjust his sense of smell to these men, to their heavy, nervous breathing into the mic. Their sweat smelled like dirt and the stale minutes immediately after a day of manual labor. Their hands balled and unballed, sending out waves of chicken casserole, the stink of high nerves. They weren’t ready for this; Thomas wasn’t sure how they passed the screening exam.
He leaned forward and pressed a button to activate the mic in his mask. “Began,” he said, his voice coming through the monitor speakers.
The men took a deep breath, and began to sing.
It was truly awful; there was no tonality, or rhythm, or sense to it. It was an assault on the ears, an affront to music in general, quite possibly the vilest, most disgusting piece of sound that Thomas had ever heard in his life.
It smelled absolutely delicious.
There were so many layers as it went along. Euphoria first, a sudden blast of intense joy that he wasn’t expecting and that took him out of the sterile room and sat him at the center of a summer breeze, the pollen and fragrance of flowers mixed into the warmth of the midday sun. Then a calm, the rocking of the boat on the ocean, a hint of the salt and sand of the sea air tickling at his nostrils, and was that a seagull call? He wasn’t sure, because he was drinking from a mountain stream as his goat companion bleated gently (or was that just the man with the horns?), and suddenly it was night time and he was smelling a warm cup of coffee underneath a blanket fresh from the laundry. It was all things good at once, and beneath it all was one beautiful, brilliant, pulsating stench.
Thomas watched them between the flashing images of his sense memory, and he saw it in their eyes. It was curious, because they didn’t seem to know it, had no sense or understanding on their faces, but it was there in their eyes. A slight flash behind a grind that was a tad too big; a note caught in the throat before it fired forward like the hammer of a crossbow; the fist clenching too tight around the microphone stand. It clung to them like a fungus.
It took Thomas a moment to realize they had stopped. Happiness hung in the air like a cloud of opium. “How we do, boss?” It was the imbecile from earlier, grinning dumbly.
Thomas smiled coldly from beneath the nose mask. “I’ll have my people call your people. Thank you for stopping by, you may see yourself out.”
He watched them exit, then flipped on his recorder. “Recommend applicants #1592.43.122 for Homeland Security Weaponization division. Casualty estimation: Large, township or city. Training required. Reprogramming required. Prognosis for success: Mid-High.”
He pulled the mask off his face and clicked off the record, then pressed the button connected to his microphone. “Next, please.”
|# ¿ Jan 19, 2015 00:23|
This is a very angry thread :/
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2015 00:55|
Yeah let's try it! I'm in!
EDIT: THE DEADLINE IS EST
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2015 03:43|
Crabrock, I like your anger, please hit me with an angry flash rule
|# ¿ Jan 20, 2015 23:26|
What the gently caress is happening to this thread.
|# ¿ Jan 21, 2015 00:35|
That Doof post, that's some irony right there :v
|# ¿ Jan 21, 2015 10:15|
In with a
|# ¿ Feb 3, 2015 23:57|
I had double parked, and I was somewhat concerned that covering the “GENC” meant that only people named Emery would feel comfortable inquiring within, but really, I couldn’t worry about that. I half dismounted, half fell from my seat to the waiting asphalt below. I somehow managed to close the door and push the “lock” button on my keys from my prone position. My car beeped in response, assuring me that my collection of Counting Crows CD-R were, indeed, secure. I briefly weighed the benefit walking into the hospital would hold over dying where I lay in the street, but I hurt pretty much everywhere, so I dragged myself up. A loudspeaker on the door hissed banally: “Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson, the doctor will see you now. Mr. Johnson.”
The automatic doors “bing-bonged” behind me as I flopped onto the counter. I panted a greeting, fully drained from the extreme physical exertion of fifteen steps. Having introduced myself, I explained my symptoms: “Flu. Bad. Me. Sick is seen?” I clasped my hands in prayer, eagerly awaiting a response from my savior in powder green scrubs.
“Identification and proof of insurance,” she intonated, not looking up from her Reader’s Digest. My prostration was not enough to rouse in her the benevolence I so needed. O Nietzsche, how right you had been!
I fumbled with my wallet, dropped it, spent the better part of a year bending down and picking it up before finally placing it on the counter. I wanted to register (because I was dying), but I was having trouble finding the items she had requested. Finally, sweet success was mine. I held out my driver’s license and a Frozen Yogurt rewards card to her. “Help,” I croaked.
She sighed heavily and lowered her literary masterpiece. She then began to rouse a forgotten relic of Dell from its slumber. I thought maybe I should feel bad, since clearly my malady was greatly inconveniencing her two fifteen in the morning, but I also thought that the black squares were hot lava, and it was taking all of my mental facilities to keep my toes perched upon the two nearest white ones. “Are you a member, sir?”
I gripped the counter and nodded violently. “Since the Second Bush.”
She raised an eyebrow at me. “I’m sorry, sir?”
“2000, since 2000.”
She began to type, slower than any person has ever typed in the history of typing. This hospital had at least gone the distance for the very best in ergonomic mechanical keyboards 1993 could offer, and each click clack chunk drove the nails in my skull down a little further. I was beginning to miss the street in front of my car. “Lee?” she asked.
“Yes. Edward E. Like the general. No relation.”
She raised an eyebrow at me as she pressed a few more buttons. “History teachers, your parents?”
“Confederate holdouts. It’s ok, they’re both dead now.” I was looking forward to seeing them in about 20 minutes, I couldn’t wait to hear their opinions on Obama. “I would very much like to see a doctor, or an intravenous rehydration unit, if you please.”
“You’re in good hands, Mr. Lee.” I did not believe her, but she was motioning me to a chair with an arm handcuff so I stayed my complaints and fell into that. She pressed a button and my arm drowned in puff plastic. “Did you speak to anyone before coming to the hospital tonight?”
“I told my roommate to burn my porn if I died.” I poked at the Iron Maiden slowly destroying my bicep. “This hurts.”
She gently removed my hand. “Please don’t poke that. I meant at the hospital, sir.”
“I called the advice nurse and after describing my symptoms she prescribed chicken soup and bedrest.” I had prescribed “get right hosed, you quack,” but I left that part out. Florence Nightengale looked from the readout to her clipboard and clucked her tongue in response, so I inferred she was privy to that information already. I clucked my tongue too, because it seemed like fun. “This hurts,” I said, poking my arm again.
“All done now,” she said, rattling off some numbers that meant nothing to me. She shoved a thermometer beneath my tongue and pressed a button. Something beeped. “Thiff hurfs,” I said.
“You have quite a fever, Mr. Lee.” I silently thanked Our Benevolent Lord for the glory of modern medicine. “We’ll get you to see a doctor right away. Probably only twenty to thirty minutes from here.”
“Swell,” I said, the words freeing themselves from the bile in my throat.
“Have a seat in any available chair, if you please.”
I thanked her with my eyes and pushed myself out of the chair, making my way to a seat by the window via blood pressure machine, desk, wheelchair, and chair-I-am-not-sitting-in. The plastic was cool to the touch, but that was probably only because I had turned into Dr. Manhattan. There was a basketball game on television, two teams I did not follow who were exceptional at playing silently. The tint was broken and everything was green, or maybe everything was green. I took a breath but nothing came in, so I coughed, then picked up where I left off.
I exhaled and looked around. It was two forty now, and the waiting room was empty. I lay my head back and closed my eyes, letting the nausea and the aches and the splitting headache wash over me until they gave way to a nirvana that never came. I turned a card over and over in my head, calming my mind. Twenty more minutes.
From the front desk, the registration nurse spoke softly into a microphone, and her voice wrapped me like a blanket as consciousness slipped from me: “Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson, the doctor will see you now. Mr. Johnson.”
|# ¿ Feb 9, 2015 03:50|
Did you miss me, thunderdome?
|# ¿ Aug 4, 2015 22:13|
Dropping out because I am a terrible, hand me that loss for the week.
|# ¿ Aug 9, 2015 20:01|
|# ¿ Mar 22, 2019 18:19|
I want to take a moment to say something to those of us who didn't/don't ever submit when we say we will.
Do it! Me too!
|# ¿ Aug 10, 2015 15:19|