#FlashMobWrites 1×38

Welcome to #FlashMobWrites Week Thirty-Eight

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 (or both!) 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: “creeping on the edge”

Ruth Long: “we’ll be the last”

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


25 thoughts on “#FlashMobWrites 1×38

  1. Enemies, Both Foreign and Domestic

    “Szellem.” The smooth voice picked up on the second ring.

    “Hey, Gabe, it’s Greg Killian. Got a moment?”

    “Sure, what’s up, Killian?”

    “I need a favor. I got a guy harassing a friend of mine, a tattoo parlor owner, and he says he’s got a past with her. I need to take a look at his background. I want to know more about him like his financial status, if he’s been in the psych ward ever, what his favorite color is, et cetera. Think you could give me a hand with that?”

    “This an official investigation?” Gabe’s voice sounded more curious than censorious.

    “No, sir. This one is on the QT. I need to know what I’m facing. He accosted her today in her own shop and if I hadn’t showed up when I did, it could’ve gotten bad.”

    “Did you file a police report?” Before Greg could do more than take a breath, Gabe added, “I know the cops are often slow to act on harassment issues, but this is civilian jurisdiction, and they can do a better job keeping an eye on things in their daily routines.”

    Greg sighed. “Yeah, I know, but she’s reluctant to talk to them. Says the cops don’t give a shit about tattoo parlors or women. Something about the bad element who comes into such places.”

    “Oh, yeah, that fuckin’ stigma. As if cops are pure as the driven snow.” Greg could almost see Gabe shake his head. “You should still try to convince her to file a report. If she gets in trouble while we’re on duty, we’ll be the last to know.”

    “That’s a concern, definitely.” His gut clenched as he watched black Beemer with tinted windows pull out and follow Zamora for a few blocks. “But I need to know if this guy has a history we can point to, and if we need to take more precautions than just the usual. It’ll also help me convince her to file the report.”

    “I don’t know how fast I can get you the information, Killian, but I’ll see what I can dig up. What’s the guy’s name?”

    “Stan Lords, don’t know if that’s his full name or just short for Stanley, but he looks like a pretty, rich boy, if you ignore the cloak of crazy he wears.”

    Gabe snorted. “Yeah, he sounds like a creep. Just watch your six and go to the civilian authorities if it gets squirrely out there.”

    “Copy that. Thanks, Gabe.”

    “You’re welcome.”

    Greg shot a look at the last of the sunlight creeping on the edge of the ocean then scanned the neighborhood around her cottage. All clear. For now.

    500 #WIP500 words

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Motive

    Ace had given us a whole big boodle of pungent, grasping, Crowbar City greed and weed to chew on. I was from old money. It had always been there. I had no hunger for it. Quarry, I gleaned, was from no money. It had never been there. He didn’t present as a man who had money pangs. We were both, by my reckoning, aliens.

    Here, in this desert emporium, flashy dreamers and schemers were constitutionally free to think large thoughts. But the devil was in the detail. Lucky Luciano was a devil of a factor. If it had of been me, I’d have hightailed it to the hills.

    “Ace, just so it doesn’t get lost, one of the main reasons we wanted to gab with Hollis was to get his impressions of Hazel…Hap pretty strongly hinted at the poker game that the Mayor once was smitten with her. Do you know anything about that?”

    “Well,” he gnawed on that hunk of gossip a bit, and then went on a talking stampede, “Haze was seductive, especially when she was younger, when we first hooked up back in the roaring, soaring twenties. The lady was not a bluenose. Not saying age didn’t sit well on her but when she was a younger filly, she was a…what do they call it, a free thinker? Women with their own mind, it frightens men, we’ll be the last to admit it, ya know…took me a while to get used to it. Other women too sometimes steer clear of women like that, rubs some part of them raw, like speaking their own mind will have them creeping on the edge of darkness, but hells belles, it’s the berries to behold. Hazel was like that growin’ up from what I hear, but Hollywood really ripened it in her. And for that brief time, and I’m moving away from what you were asking about poor old love-sick Holly, but for that brief time when she and Thelma Todd rode the Hollywood range, it was pure gold. So, what I’m saying is that as much of a businesswoman as Hazel was, the partnership with Hap, me and Holly, while it might have worked, was doomed once Luciano ponied up. It woulda ended but for her disappearing…”

    Ace looked like he had run out of steam. Soliloquys can be a killer, particularly if you’re a one-syllable sort of guy. Add memories of a disappeared love and you’re no longer hitting on all sixes.

    “But the consortium,” Quarry kept digging, “It’s still around. And Senator Tyrell?”

    “War hero. Local Boy. Hap ran him in the ’44 election to get him positioned to push the project. But we were planning how to pull it all together around the time Hazel vanished. By then, of course, Luciano was a player. Hazel was openly in revolt.”

    “So, Ace,” Quarry framed this with a dispassionate voice of reason, “we now have a big-time motive. Right?”

    Ace nodded.

    The silent film cowboy had fallen mute.

    500 words that needed to be said

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Adeeva watched out the window as the man seamless glided from roof to roof and down chimneys, balconies on apartment buildings two streets over from her house. Who was this phantom who stealthy tiptoed across slates and shingles and then disappeared from view into the charcoal abyss of the night? Why did he think it was okay to be creeping on the edge?
    Mother hadn’t allowed Adeeva to go to school yet, but she promised that soon she would join the children at the local elementary school now that Adeeva’s English was so much better. She would learn more of the cultural practices in the New Year. Adeeva wondered should they be informing the police; but what if the police were like the security forces in their old country, the war torn country they’d left nine months ago?
    Adeeva continued to examine the man who skulked and realized that seemed as if the man put things in rather than took things out. He carried a sack and when he disappeared it looked huge and overflowing but when he reappeared it was flat and carried easier in his hands.
    A most peculiar undertaking, but maybe it was normal for this country? Soon they would be eligible to take the citizen test; Adeeva decided to continue to observe. This question could be on her citizen test and she was determined to pass. “We’ll be the last apartment that he enters,” she thought.
    The man got closer and she noticed he wore a velvet red suit and had on a red stocking cap with a white fringe to keep out the cold. She became frightened what did this man expect for the things he left behind? Her mother worked hard to support the two of them. They had no extras to offer the man.
    She ran down to the kitchen and grabbed some fig cookies her mother had made along with a glass of milk. Surely this would suffice as an exchange for whatever the man left behind.

    Adeeva left the cookies and milk in the kitchen on the table but hid afraid as she heard someone enter the house.
    The man downed the milk and ate the cookies but spotting Adeeva he said,“I’m sorry I think I came to the wrong house,”
    “Who are you?”Adeeva asked.
    “Santa Claus. I bring gifts to good girls and boys.”
    “I’ve been good,”Adeeva answered.
    “Then maybe I haven’t come to the wrong place.”
    Reaching inside his sack he pulled out a paint set and handed it to her.
    “How did you know that I’ve always wanted to paint,”Adeeva exclaimed.

    His only answer laying his finger aside his nose and up the balcony wall, to the rooftop he rose disappearing in the night.

    Her mother looked on amazed as she came into the room and announced, “We will keep both new and old traditions. He is Father Christmas. He gifted you to show we are welcome here. God bless our new country and Merry Christmas.”
    500 words

    Liked by 3 people

  4. My fingers glided over the white piano keys, my lower lip tucked into my mouth. I hit a C major cord in my right hand and matched it in the left. Nodding, I grabbed a pencil and erased the minor chords I’d had before. I wrote in the major chords, then put the pencil in my mouth and chewed on it.

    We’ll be the last, the last to ever know
    The last ones to walk in the fire

    Frowning, I erased the major chords. I gazed at the keys again. My fingers hit C, F#, and A. It was close, but not quite right. Then, I hit D, F, A.

    We’ll be the last, the last to ever know
    The last ones to walk in the fire,

    “All right,” I mumbled. “That’s the right hand sorted. Now the left.”

    I looked at what I called “the basement keys”. I wondered what a D major chord would sound like with a D minor chord. I pressed the keys and quickly let up.

    “Ouch. No dying cats. Hrm.”

    I played around with D minor and A minor, but the E and F discordance didn’t suit the song. Finally, I settled on a D minor chord in both hands.

    We’ll be the last, the last to ever know
    The last ones to walk in the fire,
    Higher and higher we’ll fly

    I wrote that on my paper. That could be the pre-chorus or the chorus. I’d run it by Aldon and see what he thought. I played the sequence again, singing to see if I liked the melody.

    When I was happy, I slowly stood up, right hand gripping the piano while my left gripped my cane. My low back ached and pain zinged down both legs. I had limited feeling in my left leg, but I could feel most of my calf. The muscles tightened and I groaned, immediately planting my butt on the piano bench. I slowly flexed my foot, working the muscles loose. While I did that, I experimented with what I’d written.

    “What if—” I trailed off.

    I alternated between D minor and A minor in my left hand for the pre-chorus. With a grin, I made the change, as my calf muscle finally let go.

    “Yes,” I said. “That works.”

    I slowly stood up again, leaning on both cane and piano until I had my legs under me. My brain had refused to focus on music lately. I lived and breathed music and wasn’t accustomed to writer’s block. I walked toward the living room and my comfortable chair. My back needed a rest and since my muse was on fire, I could write songs while I relaxed.

    My three-year-old daughter walked in and crawled onto my lap. When she laid her little head on my chest and stuck her thumb in her mouth, I decided my muse needed a nap. I closed my eyes, gently stroking my daughters back. She was why I did music.

    498 words

    Liked by 1 person

    The ceiling isn’t mine. No popcorn stuff. I don’t know where I am. My head is a balloon full of rancid jello. I think a rat slept in my mouth.
    Now I am sitting up in bed and the room is spinning. I shut my eyes. Bright blasts of light are creeping on the edge of the inside of my eyelids.
    Empty liquor bottles litter a dresser. It’s a pretty safe bet I’m in a hotel. Yeah. A bet. I had been betting. I bet football. It’s summer. It was slot machines. I don’t like slots, just punching that button. Why had I been playing slots?
    My jeans drape over a chair. Paperwork in the pocket. I can’t focus well enough to read it but I think I must have hit a jackpot. A big jackpot. Yeah. Thirty thousand dollars big. I hit it big.
    No money in my pocket. If I hit it big I probably bought some drinks. And maybe gambled some more. A girl telling me, “we’ll be the last.” I need to soak my head under the shower.
    Now my eyes are functioning at a higher level. I put the paperwork on the desk so it won’t tremble. What is this crap? A federal looking form. W-2G. $32,550 it says, Slots. Date and time. The casino. I’m at the casino hotel.
    Oh jeez. I hit the jackpot Tuesday. That’s what the paper says. What time is it now? My wristwatch says it’s Friday. Mid-day. Did I miss three days work? I can’t afford to be docked. I’m already almost…
    I’m not almost, I am. Bankrupt. I put it off as long as I could. I tried my best to pay. They just ran out of patience. I signed the papers…Tuesday. Yeah. I left the lawyer’s office with nothing to my name but $200. I was lower than snake shit in a wagon rut. Stinking thinking, I had hoped the casino would fix my attitude. I kicked back a couple of doubles. I might remember the jackpot. The celebration. W-2G. Tax. The form has my name. My number. I’ll call my lawyer.
    “Raifferd…the papers are filed. When? Wednesday? I hit a jackpot, Raifferd. Tuesday.”
    “I doesn’t belong to you,” my lawyer is telling me. “It belongs to your trustee. And Uncle Sam.”
    “Raifferd. It’s gone.”
    “Son, you’re screwed.”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: #FlashMobWrites 1×38 : Up In Flames | My Soul's Tears

  7. There was a time I needed those books, depended on them, used them. Before everything ended, burned to the ground, turned to ash. “You work for something, fight for it, build it, protect it, grow it.” I remembered the lost nights, tearing the contents of the books apart. How TCP/IP worked. Securing data files generated by applications using libssh to encrypt them in memory, before storing them to files. How to configure network firewalls using iptables, and when to use a whitelist or a blacklist.

    And in one day, it all ended.

    I hadn’t touched those books in over five years, and I knew I’d never touch them again. They’d been collecting dust on my bookshelves all that time. Once, I’d had a use for them, needed them. They were part of how I survived in my job, the work I once did. The work I’d loved so much.

    Until the day everything burned.

    A simple sentence, “They don’t want you to come back.” That’s all it took. That was the end of everything. People I’d worked with for over a decade were gone when those words were spoken. The fires erupted that day, I couldn’t think, couldn’t talk, couldn’t sit still, couldn’t focus on anything. It was like creeping along the edge of a cliff, knowing one slip would send me plummeting to the ground, hundreds or thousands of feet below. One slip, and I was dead. Creeping on the edge of that cliff, all I could do was watch the fire burn. And pray. Pray it didn’t reach me, it stopped, and left me a strip of ground, bare rock, by the cliff.

    A few days later, I knew the fire wouldn’t stop, with another simple sentence, “No contact with any of the people you worked with.” I was in free-fall, the fire pushed me off the edge.

    I’d put every book on a shelf. And never touched them for five years.

    Until now. The first time I’d put a fire in the fireplace. It had been expensive, we’d had to have a chimney sweep out to clean it. We had to put in a grate, and screen, and add tools, then buy a cord of wood.

    She’d gone to work, like she always did. I had Wednesdays off, didn’t work. It was snowing outside, the weather report said the temperature was in the teens. “Stay inside if you can.” I could.

    That’s when I decided to do something about the books from the life I’d had. The leftovers. I’d gone outside, got some wood, and started a fire. And I watched the books burn, one book at a time.

    And finally, I was free.

    447 Words

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The Last One Standing

    The sign on the door was menacing, ‘Welcome to HOtel. Enter at your own risk. Once in . . .’

    Was this some kind of a sick fucking joke? Guess it didn’t matter much since Joey and I took the bet with the gang; we didn’t wanna look like pussies.

    “Dude, should we keep going?” I wanted Joey to be the one to back out without him knowing I was scared. This place had a bad reputation, but who was I to judge.

    He swallowed hard; I heard his throat clicking. “Nah man, it’s probably jes someone’s sick sense of humor. There’s two-hundred large each riding on this; let’s do it.”

    Electronic music with a killer bass kick and a thick snare split our skulls. Underneath the bass, the click of stilettos on hard tile kept time with the beat. Pulsing red light blinded us, the air filled with heady perfumes. A line of bare backs faced us, G-strings disappeared under shapely asses sitting backwards, straddling wooden chairs. Fishnets and garters rose and fell in time to the electronica.

    A delicate hand slid over my shoulder, sweet breath whispered against my ear. “Choose the one that tantalizes you.” I handed her a fifty over my shoulder.

    Joey’s eyes were wide with lust. I swear he was slathering. He chose first. He didn’t waste time either, going right for a blonde. She stood towering over him by two feet; her lithe, sinewy body almost slithered to him. He followed her up the stairs like a bitch in heat, briefly leaning over the polished railing, “Man, this is dope! We’ll be the last to leave, homie. We’re gonna close this joint down!” He disappeared into the shadows and as I turned my head, in my peripheral, I swear I saw something creeping on the edge of the balcony, but there was nothing there.

    A raven-haired siren turned her head slightly, checking me out over her shoulder. I caught the outline of her silhouette, her little tits and rock-hard nipples rising and falling as she breathed, I felt my prick stiffen. She flicked her tongue between voluptuous lips and that was it for me, I found the one who tantalized me. I took a step towards her and she was out of her chair in a flash, knocking it over. Fast as the flick of a whip, she was standing in front of me; hand in my front jean pocket, pulling my pelvis towards hers. Staring in my eyes, she lowered herself into a squat before my hard muscle and worked at my zipper. I thought we were gonna do it right there in front of everybody!

    Over the drums, I heard a shrill cry. “What the fu . . .”
    She tugged at my zipper and reached in for my –
    Shrieking from upstairs. “Is that Joey?” I tried to push her away but she held fast, and then I saw her fangs . . .

    WC: 493

    Liked by 2 people

  9. 1600 kCal/lb

    “Is this ethical?”

    Jimmy spun around and faced his former dorm mate and current CEO. “These people know the tradeoff for using a free app. We get the data. We get the insights.” Jimmy turned back to the pair of computer screens. “If you wanted to raise an ethics flag on any of this, you could have done it before any of those rounds of venture capital.”

    “You’re right. I relent,” Bryant sighed and sat on the stool to get a closer eye on the dataset. “Any good stuff in here?”

    “I broke it down into people’s consumption by weight and goal weight.” Jimmy scrolled through screens and screens of charts, raw data and pivot tables comprised of March’s total data from their calorie tracker application. Now that he was in charge of their little company, Bryant didn’t get to play with the data as much would have liked. He was stuck working with selling their insight to food companies. The ads in their App were pennies compared to the shopping habits living in this data set.

    Jimmy was pointing to the screen, “Guess what the number one food a three hundred pound person eats that a hundred and eighty pound person doesn’t.”

    A lone spike form a bar graph caught Bryant’s attention more than learning more about Jimmy’s facts. “What’s this creeping on the edge here?”

    “Oh that’s just Rhode Island.”

    “The whole state?”

    “No. I sort by Rhode Island for a laugh. We only have one user there so it’s fun to see what that one guy is eating.” Jimmy grabbed the mouse to navigate through the spreadsheet. “Here’ I’ll set back to a nationwide look.”

    Bryant gently brushed his partner’s hand from the mouse. “But look at his month over month. What’s that category header?”

    Jimmy leaned forward. “Assorted meat.”

    “Just look at it go up like that,” Bryant said, tracing his finger up the curve to the apex of the spike.

    “Only one percent of our users even use that category. Could be a typo.”

    Bryant took to the mouse and started routing through the information on this lone user. “No it’s the same entry over a number of days. Hmmm. A total outlier.”

    “What else is he eating?” Jimmy seized the mouse back to answer his own question. “Some condiments.”



    “That’s like two hundred eighty-eight thousand calories in like a week.”

    “Dude was hungry.”

    “No, this is something different,” Bryant determined, furiously typing in his smart phone. Searching
    for something. “What’s city does that guy live in?”


    “Call the police in Rhode Island.”

    “Did this guy steal a bar-b-que stand or something?”

    “No. It’s worse,” Bryan said, holding out his phone. Jimmy skimmed the article from the Woonsocket Call, the local newspaper. QUESTIONS REMAIN: WHERE’S KIMBERLY? Apparently the Kimberly in question had disappeared in the past month leaving only three fingers behind.

    Bryant lowered his head. “I think we have a cannibal. A cannibal counting his calories.”

    495 words

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Brotherhood

    We’ll be the first; we’ll be the last… we’ll be the ones between…

    When I first heard the oath I took the words as they were: first ones in, last ones out: a human border between destruction and the lives of those we’re protecting.

    They were words I could live by, and willingly chose to accept them and embrace the life they represented.

    The words were simple enough, the life was too. It was easier to dedicate yourself to a cause than to make your own way… or so I thought.

    I have learned so much since the day I took that oath, the day I joined my life to a band of misfits who laid it all on the line.

    I learned that the ‘we’ is fallible. That ‘we’ means every loss is ours to bear, and to grieve. I learned that ‘we’ are mortal and our enemy is eternal.

    I learned that first and last isn’t always final, and that even when you hold a line – lives will be lost. I learned that serving others, losing yourself… doesn’t mean losing your self at all. I gained far more than I gave up… but I have lost so much more.

    Other jobs, a bad day means a client isn’t happy; that someone didn’t get enough fries with his meal; that someone has left your firm for another. Here a bad day means people die.

    We can’t afford to have bad days. There is no ‘can we reschedule?’ It’s all out war whenever a battle is declared.

    I learned that last doesn’t have to be final – you can go in, get out… lose the battle and still achieve your goals… I learned that when you’re between certain death and life… there’s a lot you can do, but most importantly… I learned that the oath means, you will never face the enemy alone.

    We are the first, we are the last… we are what stands between a normal bad day… and a very bad day and our days are mostly good.

    340 words

    Liked by 2 people

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