The Assignment

clock

© J. Hardy Carroll

“I’ve got to write a hundred words about that?” The creative writing student balked when his instructor placed the ornate clock on his desk, which was to be used as a writing prompt.

“That’s the assignment, Mike. What’s the problem?”

“It’s hideous.”

“It’s an antique.”

“It’s repulsive.”

“Then you should be able to write a piece of flash fiction about something hideous and repulsive.”

“Do you remember the scene from ‘Office Space’ where Peter, Michael, and Samir take the office printer out and smash it to pieces? I can write about that.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 92.

Yes, that was more or less my reaction to seeing the prompt. Not all prompts are created equal and this one rubbed me the wrong way, so that’s what I wrote.

Oh, for those of you who haven’t seen the excellent 1999 film Office Space, here is a YouTube video (unedited, so language) of the infamous destruction scene of the office’s constantly malfunctioning printer.

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

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My Only Night With You

vashti

Queen Vashti

“…I swear you get better looking with every year…your sexual peak, your full figure physique…”

Every year in the Spring, the Queen of the West gave a banquet. It was opulent beyond the dreams of avarice, but the Queen had great wealth which she administered for the benefit of her people. At the banquet every year, she held a lottery. All of the eligible males were required to enter (and they were all eager to do so), all of those unmarried and between the ages of fifteen and thirty. Every year only one man would be chosen to be the Queen’s consort, and only then for a single night. Afterward, the man joined the others from previous years, where they were kept for the rest of their lives in comfort and ease on the nearby island of Stateira.

They were never seen or heard from again and, if the stories were true, they would never willingly leave Stateira and return to their previous existence.

Lugo was in love. Of course, all the men, even those who were married, even boys too young or men far too old, longed for a night with the Queen. She was the very essence of beauty, charm, graciousness, and poise. The image of her body burned in their hearts and minds. The loins of old men long dead were still stirred by even the mention of her name. Men would kill to possess her. Men would surrender their limbs, lives, and souls for a night in her bed chambers.

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Far Too Late

older cary grant

Actor Cary Grant in his later years

“God knows I never meant to hurt you…I never meant take it that far…”

He was the perfect man for her but she was born far too late.

Alec Bristol (born Archibald Leech) died of a stroke when he was 82 years old. Throughout his entire film career, he was the quintessential leading man, suave, debonair, charming. He had first melted Chelsea’s heart at the Anza Classic Movie Theatre when she was only twelve-years-old.

When she was twenty-two, she visited his grave at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park near UCLA. He’d been dead longer than she’d been alive. It didn’t seem fair.

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High Stakes Roulette

indy and rene

From the 1981 film “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

The two men were sitting at a table in the back of a bar in Marrakech. It was hot. It was late. The overhead fans spun in lazy circles casting a march of shadows on the two patrons below.

The bartender was cleaning a glass. He got mostly westerners in here, either low life bums down on their luck with no money to get back home, or French, British, and Americans who were doing business and didn’t want to be bothered.

He looked casually at the two men, one French, one American. The Frenchman was in a rumpled white suit. Why white in such heat? The American looked like an oil rigger or longshoreman except for the whip on his belt. It didn’t matter to Hassan. They paid for their drinks. Who cared what else they did.

“I’m tired of chasing you all over the fucking world, René. I find something and you steal it from me. You find something and I steal it from you. Where does it end?”

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