#FlashMobWrites 1×11

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Eleven

Come one, come all! This is an open flash fiction challenge with a musical inspiration, hosted by authors Cara Michaels (formerly of #MenageMonday, #WIPflash, and#RaceTheDate) and Ruth Long (of the wicked fun #LoveBites and #DirtyGoggles challenges).

Mob Rules

  • The challenge begins: Fridays @ Noon EDT (Eastern USA)
  • And ends: Saturday @ Midnight PST (Pacific USA)
  • Word count: 300-500 (no less, no more)
  • We love you and wish to heap praises (and random prizes) on you, so be sure to include your name (no, it doesn’t have to be your real name) and a way for us to get in touch (Twitter handles are encouraged)
  • A prompt choice is offered by each judge. Choose one and include it in your story as given.
    • The prompt may be split between sentences, but no order change or dropping words.
    • Words may be added before or after, not in the middle.

The Inspiration

For your musical enjoyment only. You do not need to reference the video or song themes in any way for your story.

The Prompts

Cara Michaels: “if I ever found it”

Ruth Long: “you need to make money”

Now pick your prompt and post your story in the comments below!

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24 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×11

  1. I spotted a possible source of information lurking in the shade between buildings. The girl looked to be in her late teens, but street life prematurely aged a body. Her energy leaned closer to teal than the bright green of a healthy human. Death was knocking on her door, and she knew it. Maybe we could help each other out.

    “Hey, kid,” I said. “You hear or see anything out here? Say in the last hour or so?”

    She didn’t acknowledge me, her eyes focused on the concrete.

    “Maybe someone who didn’t belong here?”

    “Lady, I don’t belong here.”

    “Valid point,” I said.

    “So take your questions and fuck off.”

    “I’d love to, really. But there are a dozen dead people in the building you’re propping up.” I leaned against the wall opposite her. “A dozen families we get to destroy with some meaningless words. We’ll tell them how sorry we are, how we’ll find the fucker responsible. The only words they’ll hear are dead. Murdered.”

    She hunched into herself, so hard I worried she might collapse inward.

    “You need to make money, right? Well, give me some information and Trust Fund here has a Benjamin for you.”

    Graham choked over Trust Fund, while interest sparked in the dull eyes that finally met mine.

    “That gets you a bed for a few nights.” I catalogued the signs. The skeletal weight. The dark half moons beneath her eyes. The track marks scarring her bare arms. “Or gets you your next fix.”

    She sucked in a breath, and what I saw in her expression confirmed my suspicions.

    “Or maybe you want something more substantial,” I said. “Not just a way to dull the pain. Maybe a way to end it?”

    “No one can give me that.”

    “Do you know who I am?”

    “No one important.”

    “Depends on who you ask.” I let her see my eyes in full Iris mode and watched hers widen in response. “Now you know what I am.”

    Her head jerked sharply up and down.

    “I have access to doctors.”

    “No.”

    “I can help you.”

    For one drawn out moment, she considered trusting me, believing me. Her street sense won out though and she scrabbled to her feet.

    “But I can’t help you.”

    I caught her arm, handed her my card.

    “If you change your mind,” I said. “The offer isn’t going anywhere.”

    She crushed the card in her hand and hauled ass. Graham nudged my back.
    “Trust Fund?” He crossed his arms, a perfect picture of indignation.

    “Am I incorrect?”

    “Not remotely the point, and you know it.”

    “Money talks.” Sad truth number one. “Especially out here.”

    “Why didn’t you just offer help? No strings attached.”

    “She didn’t trust me in a trade, Trust Fund. No way would she believe I’d give her something for nothing.”

    “I think I liked it better when you called me English.” He sighed and maybe I imagined a sense of wistfulness in the sound. “You didn’t seem so far away then.”

    @caramichaels
    500 WIP words

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Back to Camp Manureville

    The visit with his mom, Marie, had ended almost before it began. One lousy hour. Sam Butterworth had made up the rules. Not a peep from her or the goof social worker.

    He and Marie had spent most of the visit hunkered down on the picnic bench.

    “I can’t stand it there,” he’d said.

    Her dark-circled eyes had stared back, dulled, with that stagnant gaze that had always been there.

    “I…I can’t…”

    “I know,” he’d whispered, “I know you can’t do anything. You can’t help me. You can’t help yourself. What the fuck good are you, Marie? What the fuck good?”

    Then he softened the impact of his vile blurt. He reached out and stroked her cheek, the way he had always soothed her, his fingers inching down her wet cheek, wet from the waterfall of tears she could turn on in a flash.

    “Look, I know you can’t get me out. But I AM getting out soon. You need to be ready. Are you going to find us a place?”

    She’d mustered her voice and, between the sorry sobs, said, “The Half-Way House is helping me. I think, yes, by the end of the month, we’ll have a place.”

    Yeah, he thought. Another cramped piece of shit public housing slum or some fucked up basement suite that they’d get the boot from the first chance the landlord got.

    “Will you get a job, Mom? We can’t do it on welfare. We can’t? You need to make money. We’ll drown without you working.”

    “I’ll try Ricky. That’s all I can do. Promise that I’ll try.”

    He had looked at her, at her massive sadness. He didn’t know much but he knew she could never get a job that would pay more than minimum. Maybe, once, long ago, she could have, but the years of booze and bad guys who’d beaten the stuffing out of her…and he knew, every once in a while, he knew he’d been just like that string of jerks. He hated himself for the way he dumped on her. Hated HER for taking it.

    It would fall on him to provide. There was only one way he could make enough. Be a better thief than he’d ever been.

    And before they had really discussed future planning, Sam has sidled up to the picnic table like a snake.

    And then Wally what’s-his-name followed suit. That pretty much kyboshed any heart to heart they were having. Wally had the good sense to back off but Sam refused to budge.

    Wally the social worker then cornered him and laid it on pretty thick by saying, “my job is to help you and your mom yadayadayada.”

    He’d tuned him out like he had tuned out a whole nest of his kind before. Nothing ever worked for him. Life was a big steaming pile!

    And then it ended. No plans; no information.

    He and Sam Butterworth were jeeping creeping on the goat path, heading back to Camp Manureville.

    500 words
    @billmelaterplea

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Old Pain, New Hope

    The reminder of her missing sister made Jaime throw off her hoodie and strip down to wash away the sweat and memories. She hated remembering why she became a private detective, but she’d saved so many parents the heartache she still carried. I will find you, Mia. I promise. Dead or alive, I won’t give up on you.

    She turned on the shower and stepped under the spray before the tears could make their usual appearance. Mia had been missing for over fifteen years, but Jaime hadn’t given up. Fool. But she couldn’t do that to her older sister. She continued to do research in her spare time, hoping to discover one clue, one piece of evidence to crack the case. If I ever found it, I’d probably hit the ceiling…just before I lose my voice from screaming. Yeah, it wouldn’t be pretty, but it would bring her some relief and satisfaction.

    Jaime finished her shower and toweled off, grateful the bathroom mirror was fogged over. She might have hidden her tears in the spray, but her face would give her away. She wiped the last of the moisture off just as her phone jingled from the bedroom. She picked it up and frowned at the blocked number. What potential clients would be calling this early on a Saturday morning?

    “Hello?”

    “Jaime Hensen?” The deep male voice with a Kentucky drawl sounded cautious.

    “Speaking.”

    “Hi, this is Chief Petty Officer Stantion. I met you at Chris and Ma—Todd Hunter’s wedding a while back.”

    Jaime’s mind searched through her memories. There’d been a lot of Navy guys at Chris’s wedding, but she remembered that drawl like an earworm. The hot, intense, and quiet member of Chris’s SEAL team. And the one I didn’t go home with, dammit.

    “Oh, yes, Chief. I remember you. What can I do for you?”

    “I understand you’re a private investigator specializing in missing persons, is that correct?”

    “Yes, it is.” That was disappointing. She’d hoped if the handsome Chief ever called her, it would be for a date. “Do you know someone who’s missing?”

    “Yes, ma’am.” The way he said it made her feel like he respected her as an expert, a rare thing from the men who became SEALs. “Can we meet for coffee to discuss it? It’s kinda personal.”

    “Of course. I’d be happy to meet with you.” Sure she’d prefer coffee with the prospect of sex, but a new job to take her mind off the anniversary of her sister’s disappearance was good, too. You need to make money, too. “When and where?”

    “The Island Breeze Café in thirty-five mikes?”

    It took her a moment to translate ‘mikes’ into minutes. “Sounds good. I’ll meet you there.”

    “Roger that. Er, sorry. See you soon, Ms. Henson.” He clicked off and she sighed. That sounded official. She’d rather be seeing him for a date, but at least she’d get to see him again. Take what you can get, Henson.

    495 #WIP500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    Liked by 4 people

  4. OLD HILLIARD’S SECRET by E.F. Olsson

    We stood at the edge of the forest. It was cold, dark, and quiet. Joseph stood close by me. A man nearing fifty and he was afraid of what was in there. I was unnerved – but it was only a ghost story. The Gray Lady roamed the forest searching for her missing daughter and haunted the men that passed through.

    “Are you going?” Joseph said nudging me with one of the shovels.

    We trended quietly, careful of the sounds around us. I followed the map that Hilliard drew. So far, the route was spot on. When he first told me the story I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How could Hilliard have murdered someone? He was such a kind old man. And to dump the body in a shallow grave? He was rich, but he wasn’t stupid, I thought.

    Leaves rustled behind us. I was afraid to look.

    “Was that a whisper?” Joseph muttered. “She warns all with a whisper.”

    “How’s Edith?” I asked to change the subject.

    “She’s still hounding me. ‘You need to make money, Joseph.’ Here I am. Making money off old Hilliard again.”

    “I’m sure she means a real job. Not a scavenger hunt.”

    There was the small clearing Hilliard mentioned. My heart began to race. This was real. The entire time I wished he had gone mad in his old age and sent us off on some wild goose chase. There’s the giant oak tree – the tree was split now – I’m sure the landscape has changed a lot in the forty years since the crime.

    Twigs snapped in the distance. I fought not to look.

    “Hilliard told you he did this?” Joseph said.

    “The priest was also there. Maybe he assumes the ghost will be waiting for him on the otherside. He wants to die with a clean conscience.”

    “I seen her searching once. When she was alive.”

    “We all mourn differently,” I said.

    We continued to dig. Suddenly, it felt ice cold. Goosebumps ran up my arms and around my neck. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her appear. The Gray Lady watched. I couldn’t hold the shovel steady anymore. I felt a deep sadness. Dirt fell off the spade. Joseph noticed my discomfort. She moved in closer coming up behind him. He glanced at me and noticed the terror on my face. “What is it?” He muttered.

    I couldn’t speak nor look up. Finally, I jabbed the shovel into the ground – it was stopped by a large rock. I kicked away the dirt to free it, and uncovered the skull.

    “There she is.” Joseph said.

    The wind picked up – in it was a whisper, “Help her to me.”

    “We’ll notify the police first,” I said, more for the ghost.

    “What about our money?” Joseph said.

    “This has been buried long enough. It’s time to do the right thing. No one needs to roam these woods any longer.

    “What do I tell Edith?”

    @EFOlsson
    494 words

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Jimmy Rickliefs pulled up a pair of mustard-yellow, polyester pants and buttoned them. He slid a matching belt through the loops. A black, polyester shirt with flowers slid over muscular shoulders and buttoned up the front. To top off the ensemble, he slid into a pair of black and white platform saddle shoes.

    You need to make money, she’d said. Your band’s chances of snagging a recording contract are slim. Fine, he’d said, I’ll go make money. And when the band gets big, I’ll get a new girlfriend, too.

    That fight had nearly cost him the girlfriend he already had. Lucky for him, she forgave him. But it took him two weeks, three dozen red roses, and a month of cleaning and doing the dishes.

    In tiny Buxton, California there was a 70s theme bar. It was well known about town for the food, the drinks, and the performances. The bartenders were required to roller skate, sing, and dance, sometimes all at once. It’d been years since he’d been on roller skates, but much like riding a bike, he didn’t forget how to do it. Now, three weeks into his new job, he and another bartender were the most popular act in town.

    Double checking his bag, he pulled his skate key out and looped it around his neck.

    “I’m off to work!” he called.

    “Have fun!”

    He ducked through the doorway, the heels on the shoes making his 6’4″ frame even taller. By now, the neighbors were used to him clomping down the stairs and didn’t peek their heads out of their apartment doors to see what the racket was.

    He walked into work fifteen minutes later.

    “Evening. You and MacKenzie are up in an hour,” his boss said. “Get clocked in, I need you on the bar stat.”

    Nodding, Jimmy tossed his bag in the employee room, made sure he had everything, then set to work taking care of barstool warmers and new customers alike. The hour flew by and out of the corner of his eye, he caught a small red light. It blinked twice, the signal to get ready for a performance. After making change for a customer, he went to the back and grabbed his skates.

    “Ready?” MacKenzie Bartlesby asked. She skated circles around him, a key dangling from her neck.

    “Let’s go.”

    They waited through their introduction and then Brand New Key started up. It’d been #1 in 1971 and it was #1 in a 70s bar in 2003. Jimmy and MacKenzie skated out, Mac taking the lead vocal. She played hard-to-get but Jimmy captured her as the song ended, seized her key and pretended to kiss her. They took their bows, then skated back to the bar, applause ringing in their ears.

    Jimmy caught his girlfriend’s eye and smiled. If having a job made her smile, he’d work all she wanted.

    @Aightball
    478 words

    Liked by 4 people

  6. When Dreams Take Flight
    By Wakefield Mahon

    “If I ever found it hard to make it through a week, it was this one.”

    Jamal slapped an envelope against his hand and sighed.

    Kiara wiped the sweat from her forehead and pulled off her gloves. “You’re telling me! If someone told me before I earned my degree, that I’d still be doing what amounts to manual labor, I would have told them where to stick that tuition money.”

    Jamal shrugged. “Professor Wen thinks we show promise. I’m sure we’ll be able to get our own grant soon.”

    Kiara eyed his carefree smile suspiciously, then shook her head. Jamal was still a dreamer. She kissed his forehead. “I just wish the day would come sooner than later.”

    “Sooner than you know, shorty. Then we can move in together and get married, it will be the bomb.”

    Kiara crossed her arms. “I think you have your chronology scrambled, Mister. We’ll get married and THEN move in together.”

    Jamal laughed, “You can’t blame a brother from trying, can you?”

    Kiara rolled her eyes, but stepped into him, letting him wrap his arms around her. She said, “Remember how used to dream, when we were kids about building a rocket ship and getting the hell off this planet?”

    “Yeah watching the suns set over the hills of Alpha Centauri Prime is so worth the headache you get from FTL travel.”

    “Have you been reading those silly sci-fi stories and comics on your lunch break again? I bet you spent all of your money on comics and anime.”

    “Actually, I used all of my breaks and money I’ve been saving up to build that ship we were talking about. And now thanks to the folks at General Aviation,” Jamal held up the envelope he’d been carrying. “I’ve got my money back and more. We can both take a year off.”

    “Wait, are you actually telling me that you built a rocket capable of interstellar flight. That would could just hop on and quickly get out of here to a viable planet, but you sold it?”

    “What can I say? You need to make money!”

    @WakefieldMahon
    358 words

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Dewey sketched a two-fingered salute to the last of the regulars on their way out the door and leaned across the bar to refill Twitch and Moixa’s glasses.

    “It’s less a matter of what you want,” Twitch said, turning to me, “and more what you need.”

    “To make money. The exchange rate on favors is abysmal.” You couldn’t call in someone who owed you one for credits or stock unless you wanted to rip yourself off, and parlaying those into profit opportunities was too long a game for even my liking. I had to move faster than I had been, and that would be noticed. Eighteen years of slow accretion, even with the odd jump or spike, still left me far below the threshhold for individual sovreignty.

    The hit on Vlad was sufficient to cascade into something big enough – and potentially far more than enough – if we could position ourselves to use what we extracted from his data cores, especially in the back channels where the moves that didn’t make the news feeds happened. Rumor and speculation drove some of the markets, but mostly for the big stakes players like Erzebet. Down in the corners, where people scraped by on their dividends, shaving a couple of shares was enough to matter and get noticed. Causing a big move, and being positioned ahead of it, was the only way to level up. Moixa was an anomaly, comfortably padded with stock, but unwilling or unable to stop tinkering. It wasn’t greed, precisely, it was to stave off respectability. But for the rest of us, there wasn’t a lot of buffer between owning shares and being owned by them.

    Mo looked at me speculatively over the rim of his glass. He had to know that if I bought myself out, it meant we’d have to be partners in the shop’s above-board business, but that was the least of the complications. “I have,” he said, stirring the ice cubes slowly, “taken out certain insurance policies on the Light, its various properties, as well as my person. Not all of them are contingent on a terminal event.”

    Until that moment, the prospect of killing him hadn’t iterated in my processors. But it didn’t shut down once he’d said it.

    # 376
    @etcet

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really want to see more of this tale, to better understand all the wheeling and dealing going on… but wtg on the ripper of an ending. 🙂

      Like

  8. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

    Damn but he hated relying on anyone but he hated the fucking white cane even more. Duke wasn’t a small guy by any stretch of the imagination but Bear put the big in huge. He had to be at least six-six if not taller, barrel chest, shoulders so wide he had to walk through a door sideways and arms that’d make Popeye jealous. The guy had worked at Mother’s for as long as Duke could remember. Bartender. Bouncer. And now Seeing Eye Dog. He fumbled his hand against Bear’s arm in the attempt to find his shoulder.

    “Not happenin’, Duke. Gimme your frickin’ hand.” A moment later, Duke’s palm was secured against the top of Bear’s forearm just below his bent elbow. “You’ll feel my movements better here and I don’t give a damn if your pansy ass is embarrassed. We got three blocks to walk.”

    Duke concentrated on sounds, smells, the number of steps and turns because they sure didn’t walk three straight blocks. Every time there was an obstacle, Bear patiently warned him. “Curb down.” “Step up.” “Coeds.” He figured that last one was supposed to make him lighten up.

    “Why is Mother doing this?”

    He felt the big man shrug. “You gonna live on pity and VA disability?” Bear’s scorn came through loud and clear. “Bottom line, you need to make money. But even more important, you need to know, Duke. You need to know what happened on your last mission.”

    Bear stopped, tugging him to a stop as well. “What would you do, Duke, if you found out what went down. If you find out the truth.

    “If I ever found it? And it’s as bad as you and Mother seem to think? You don’t want to know, Bear. Twenty-five to life, if they took me alive after.”

    “First things first. Once Doc Pemberton restores your sight and you start training with the team, Mother will see that you get your shot.”

    “Who the fuck is she, Bear?”

    “A woman with friends in all sorts of places, and the brains behind a multinational commando team. You want in?”

    “Hell, yeah.”

    “Then get your ass up these four steps, and six steps across the porch to the door. It’s time to face the rest of your life.”

    “I’m ready. I want the truth, and the justice that goes with it.”

    “I figured as much. So did Mother and Mother always knows best.”

    “Well, happy frickin’ Mother’s Day, then.”
    ****
    413 words
    @SilverJames_

    Liked by 4 people

  9. “You need to make money. Especially if you want to get out of debt before you’re eighty. Plus the boss isn’t going to wait until you’re eighty anyway.”

    Reagan let out a breath and straightened up from putting her dinner in the oven, glancing over at Wrench. He was sitting with his feet up on her table, taking a bite of one of her apples. His hair was spiked up in a mohawk, the ends dyed red.

    “How did you get in? I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to do any jobs. Go away. And stop eating my food. I can’t afford to feed other people.” She went over and shoved his feet off. “And feet off the table.”

    Since she had buried her grandfather, she had barely done the basics of cleaning and working. There were Ramen wrappers all over the place. Her fern wasn’t looking too healthy. She knew she should clean up but that seemed like more effort than she wanted to expend. Reagan wanted to curl up on the couch and lay there all the time.

    “He’s not going to be happy if you don’t go on the jobs that he is assigning to you.”

    “He can jump off a cliff.” Speaking of the couch. She laid down, tucking an arm under her head. She had a timer for when the food was ready.

    “Yeah, that isn’t an acceptable answer. Come on. Get up.”

    “You don’t get to tell me what to do. Tell him whatever you want. Working for him will wind up with me dying somehow anyway.” She closed her eyes. This is why she didn’t like dealing with people anymore. She really should untie the houseboat and let it float where it wanted. Who cared where she went. No one would worry about if something happened.

    Boots hit the floor hard. Jerk must have put them up after she turned her back. “That’s enough. I gave you plenty of time to wallow in your self-pity. Oh boohoo, your family member died. It sucks. I understand that, but you can’t sit around doing nothing. And when was the last time you cleaned anyway?”

    She peaked open an eye to see a jeans clad leg in front of her. “None of your business.”

    “Wrong.” He yanked her up like a rag doll. “You’ve been made my business and I’m not going to look back because you don’t want to help yourself. Get fucking dressed in something you haven’t worn for the entire week and let’s go. I’ll even take you to get real food.”

    She was so sick of him! Sick of being told what to do! Heat flared in her face and there was a moment as she dropped her hand, palm burning.

    His head slowly turned back, the imprint on her hand bright red against tanned skin. Wrench held up a finger in her face. “That is the one and only time I will let that fly. Let’s go.”

    500 #WIP words
    @solimond

    Liked by 4 people

  10. A Matter of Methodology

    Detective Jacobson slides into the booth. “Thanks for meeting me here, Ms. Connolly.”

    She lets the waitress top off her cup. “I couldn’t figure out a justifiable reason for passing up a free cup of coffee.”

    He’s not sure whether to smile, and since he’s already strained their relationship beyond the snapping point, he stays on task. “I know you’re on a schedule so I won’t keep you. Just wanted to take a moment to apologize, face to face.”

    “Last time we met, you said you couldn’t see your way clear to sanctioning what I do without a damn good reason.”

    “Yes, but I also said that if I ever found it, I would admit I’d been wrong. That’s what I’m doing now. Telling you I found a damn good reason to reconsider. The city is even talking about offering you a seat on the Juvenile Supervisory Board.”

    “I found a missing fifteen-year-old girl tonight,” she says, stirring sweet-and-low into her cup. “Alive and unharmed. A scant five hours after she went missing. A girl you and your department couldn’t be persuaded to look for until after the requisite forty-eight hour waiting period was over.”

    “There is a protocol -”

    She gets to her feet and retrieves her keys from her handbag. “Thank you for the apology, Detective, but I can’t help you. I am not going to stop turning a blind eye to informants who sell petty amounts of weed or siphon cable when their information leads to the quick recovery of missing children.”

    His pulse is so loud he can’t think straight. Maybe it’s career suicide. All he knows is that he wants to – no, needs to – know how she does it, how she recovers the kids so quickly and easily. “If you won’t stop and you won’t join us, maybe you can see your way clear to training me.”

    She turns back and looks at him appraisingly. “Maybe. You any good with a butter knife?”

    “I’m not sure what you’re asking.”

    “Do you know how to make peanut butter sandwiches?”

    “Sure. Doesn’t everybody?”

    “No. And that’s the first thing you need to learn about what I do. I don’t go after kids by kicking down doors and packing a gun. I reel them in with pbj sandwiches, boxes of tampons, and algebra tutoring.”

    He sits there, speechless. This den mother and her paper bag lunches are putting the police department to shame. Thirteen kids in the last six months. That’s tough love he’s more than happy to get behind.

    – – – – –
    500 ineligible words / @bullishink

    Liked by 3 people

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