The Fan

maradona

© Susan Spaulding

“And here you go. My pride and joy, so to speak. Signed shirt from the great man himself.” Andrew Cullen puffed up his chest as he showed his friend Tommy Cabrera his trophy room. “Diego Maradona. Best footballer ever. Your American mates call what you have football, but this is the real deal.”

“I wasn’t always an American, Andrew, and I know what real football is.”

“Oh yeah. Sorry about that. You emigrated to the States from Argentina, right?”

“Yes.” Tomás and Andrew met online at a fiction writers forum five years prior and hit it off. Now Cabrera was visiting his friend in Swords, outside of Greater Dublin, while on a promotional tour. His fictionalized autobiography had become a runaway bestseller, and he had personal appearances scheduled for all over the UK and Europe.

“Anything the matter? You’ve gone awfully silent.”

“Just remembering, Andrew.” Tomás didn’t give voice to the memory of growing up in a totalitarian socialist regime, nor how Diego Maradona had unswervingly supported the communist dictators who had crushed the souls of his family, and nearly killed him. “Sorry. I can’t say I’m much of a fan.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for 15 July 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 191.

Being an American, I don’t know much about the World Cup, and in fact, I don’t follow sports even in my own country. I had to look up Diego Maradona and discovered he has a colorful history. I chose to focus on his political views and found out he supports a number of socialist dictators, including Carlos Menem, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chávez. No, I’m not much of a fan, either.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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The Last American Flag

old glory

© Yinglan Z.

Alex and Ginnie brought their heavily armed team up to the top of Crystal Peak. They didn’t have much time and had no hope at all. When they placed the flag here six months ago, they knew they were breaking the law, but America had been founded by a courageous group of law breakers. This time, there would be no forming a new nation, because the America they knew, the one their fathers and grandfathers knew, was gone.

First, it was “taking the knee” during the pledge in protest. Then there was stomping on the flag or burning it, and posting the videos to YouTube, which immediately went viral. Finally, at the behest of President Julian Sanders, Congress abolished the Constitution to form the People’s Socialist Party of America. Flying Old Glory became illegal.

“They’re coming.” Ginnie grabbed her husband’s arm. He said nothing and waited. The small band of resistance fighters watched the brigade of black-clad security forces and prepared to make their last stand and die with their nation as did their forefathers.

I wrote this for the 171st FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

After a vain attempt to locate where the photo was taken, I decided on a different approach based very loosely on news items I’ve been reading over the past couple of days. As difficult as some of those events may seem and how some people view the U.S. currently, it could still be much, much worse.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

That Which is of Good Repute

big brother

Image from the film “Nineteen-Eighty Four (1984).

Warning: This is a work of fiction but also a controversial commentary involving social movements, political positions, and religions and it might not be considered “politically correct” by some or most. If you believe you might become upset or offended by a minority point of view (from my perspective), please stop reading now. Thank you.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB)

Joseph Kelley closed his Bible and sighed. “Yes, but what does the world consider true, honorable, right, and pure these days?”

He got up from his bed where he’d been reading, walked into the small closet and felt on the wall behind his jackets. There he found the hidden panel and pressed the three catches in a particular order to release it. With the panel open, he put the Bible back in alongside his concordance, a torn and aging copy of C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity,” and his dear departed wife’s Stone Edition Tanakh. Then he sealed the panel again and rearranged the clothes hangers so his treasure trove was again concealed.

Of course, he had memorized the contacts list for his cell of fellow believers. That was the one thing he could never commit to writing or any other record. Even if he were caught and they found his contraband, they would (hopefully) believe he was a rogue and not part of a larger group or fellowship.

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The Lightbringer

light

Photo credit: Goroyboy

The day the Lightbringer walked into town felt like the best day in everyone’s lives. She was good, pure, and right. Everyone wanted to know about her and she asked the townspeople to gather in the square at noon.

“I am the Lightbringer,” she began as every man, woman, and child were held by her gaze. “I show what is light inside you, what is good, what is pure, but I also reveal the darkness. What you think is light is the darkness and what you think is darkness is the light. I will show you true light that you may purge the darkness. I am the light, you must be like me. There is no other way to the light.”

The townspeople became confused because they had been a peaceful and wholesome folk for so long, and now the Lightbringer had revealed that their wholesomeness was really the darkness. They desired to be the light, but while the Lightbringer seemed so good, should they surrender themselves to her just because she came into their town?

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of January 30, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I’m currently reading Margaret Atwood’s award-winning novel “A Handmaid’s Tale” which has spawned a film and a currently popular television show on Hulu. It depicts a dystopian future where a conservative, religious society has enslaved women, turning the fertile females into breeders and waging war against other countries that hold different belief systems. I’ll subsequently write a review after finishing the book and completing my research on Atwood’s perspectives that led to the novel’s creation.

This morning I also read an article on the ACLU’s website called Let’s Stop Sexual Harassment and Violence Before They Begin With Comprehensive Sex Ed written by Melissa Goodman, Director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project , ACLU of Southern California. She authored the missive in support of a law in the State of California which dramatically changes sex education in the public school system starting at the kindergarten level. What I think she may have missed is what the parents of these students have to say about what their children are taught.

Regardless of how you interpreted my wee tale above, my point is that ANY political or social system taken to an extreme will become a totalitarian regime where the rights and freedoms of the citizens will be subordinate to the will of the State; a State which almost always is controlled by an elite few who are exempt from their own laws.

What I’m suggesting is that no matter how nice, sweet, cool, and beautiful someone’s “line” is and how they promise to do only good things for you if you let them rule over you, it is vitally important that you check in with your own mind, emotions, and exercise your free will. The minute you turn that over to anyone, no matter how much they say they’re a “lightbringer,” you will very likely find yourself dragged into the darkness.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Revolution of 2030

riot

Image: Mark Graves / The Oregonian / Associated Press

“Hi. I’m Susie; she/her/hers.”

“Stop that! We don’t do that here.”

Susie cringed when the group leader Sharon snapped at her.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean…” Susie felt abruptly crushed but was determined not to shed tears, especially in front of them.

“No, I’m sorry.” Sharon realized she’d been overreacting, though she had good reason. “It’s my fault. I’m just so tired of the tyranny of those words.”

“We’re all feeling worn down by it, Shar.” Francisco chimed in wanting to calm the mood a bit.

There were twelve of them gathered in a small room in the basement of the university’s psychology building. It was nearly midnight, but being a teaching assistant, Francisco’s pass card opened the doors after hours.

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