The word I have chosen for today’s piece of flash fiction is the word…
having or showing tenacity and grim persistence.”success required dogged determination”
1.follow (someone or their movements) closely and persistently.”photographers seemed to dog her every step”Similar:pursuefollowstalktracktrailshadowhoundplaguebesetbedevilassailbeleaguerblighttroubletormenthaunttail
(of a problem) cause continual trouble for.”their finance committee has been dogged by controversy”
2.INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICANact lazily; fail to try one’s hardest.
3.grip (something) with a mechanical device.”she has dogged the door shut”
HERE IS MY ATTEMPT:
I sipped my coffee calmly and turned the page of the New York times. I took a deep calming breath and lifted the paper in front of me as if the story I had just turned to was the most interesting thing in my world at the moment.
I crossed my legs and swiveled ever so slightly to the left so that I could get a better view across the top of my paper at the alley across from the cafe. The man who had dogged my steps for half a week was back. I had done my best to lose him three times, but this private dick was better than the last two Kramer had sent to spy me out. Well, so much the worse for him. I had things to do and a message to deliver, a message to a contact whose cover must be protected at all costs.
I folded my paper and looked at my watch as if I was late. I signalled the waiter and paid him directly leaving without the change. I grabbed my coat and left the open air cafe. I pulled my driving gloves out of my pocket and slung my London Fog over my arm as I dashed across the street and down a side alley adjacent to my watcher.
As I expected he followed. I had to admit he was good. He kept what would normally be a very cautious distance for a tail. Anyone less paranoid would have missed him entirely.
I ducked around the corner. It was such a shame to waste such talent.I would have preferred another route, but the man had made his choice.
He was surprised when he turned the corner and met my silenced revolver. I pulled his body into the darkness of a doorway and looked about to make sure I had not been noticed.
The way was clear.
Before I left I turned to the dead man and said, “That is what happens to gum on the bottom of my shoe my friend. Tell the others to stay out of my way.”
Jared called it “The Garden of Requirement”, a play off of the Harry Potter books, his favorite reads.
Jenna called it a mess. Jared’s garden was a hodgepodge of broken toilets filled with violets and refrigerators filled with manure and beef steak tomato plants.
He haled it as repurposing. She complained it was just putting other people’s old junk on their lawn, but then the people began to come, just to look at the junk. Jared began to charge a walk-through fee. When Jared bought Jenna her first diamond necklace Jenna began to love the Garden of Requirement.
Check out the link for the rules and a list of the stories.
Here is mine:
Just Call Me “Smoky”
by J. Lillie
Z ear tuned his six string one more time. His nerves jangled like his mother’s dinner triangle at 5 P.M.
A piece of his heart wished for the simplicity of those days on the farm with his four brothers and three sisters. Life had been hard. The house had no running water and they heated with wood. The farm work was back breaking, but there had always been time for music and family and God.
Each night after the chores were done and supper was eaten, Momma would gather all the family around her rocker by the wood stove. She would read a chapter from the Bible Daddy had preached from and then she would have Z play his guitar and lead them in a hymn. After that they would sing the songs of the hills, the ones Momma had known since she was a little girl. They would sing until the moon rose high in the sky and the little ones dozed off by the hearth. Z always believed it was his father’s voice that sang through his mouth on those nights, not his own. It was all Z had left of the man who gave him life before losing his own.
Those nights with the family had prepared Z for his big break. They had birthed the story that would launch him to the stars and they had disciplined the talent his father had given him as a parting gift before dying two days before Z was born.
Zeruiah Teague had been discovered one Sunday in church by a Nashville promoter who was visiting his cousin in Robbinsville. It had been a banner day, a day that raised Z’s whole family out of the abject poverty they had always known. But Z had traded something that day when he became a star. He still thought of himself as “Z” but no one called him that anymore. Even Momma had given up using his given name or his nick name.
“Mr. Teague? We are at places in five.” The stage manager popped her head in the door to say.
Z smiled back at the pretty woman and replied, “Not Mr. Teague. Just call me Smoky.”
This is the challenge where flash fiction writers create a 100 word story from a prompt supplied by Rochelle our hostess. Check it out by clicking the link above.
Here is the prompt and my story:
Lost In White
by J. Lillie
Hugh stood with his mother and his mother-in-law in the empty dining room. It was the first day they were actually related and it was the last.
“I blame you.” His mother-in-law said.
“You have got to be kidding!” Hugh’s mother spat out, “Hugh was the one your daughter left at the altar.”
Hugh looked back at the toile-draped arbor, then out through the snow covered windows into the complete white out of the setting night. He didn’t care whose fault it was. He just hoped Karen was OK. Even as that hope dawned, he knew it was false.
You can learn the rules of the challenge by clicking the underlined link above.
Below is my chosen prompt for the challenge and my story:
Chasten and Catherine’s favorite date location all through high school was The Lois’ Cafe just outside the drive-in theater. Their table was table three right at the edge of the chained courtyard. From there, they could sip their shared malted as they waited for the previews of the movie to start. It was at that table that Chasten first proposed, and it was at that table that Catherine first told him, “Not yet.”
Chasten and Catherine went off to college. Chasten proposed every year on the anniversary of his first proposal.
Each time Catherine said, “Not yet.”
By the time they graduated The Lois’ had burned down and the drive-in had closed. So, on the sixth anniversary of his first proposal Chasten took Catherine to the overgrown lot where the Lois’ and the drive-in had once been. Now all that was left was table three.
The lovers sat together at the favorite table in the long grass. A pizza and a bottle of wine was the “romantic fare” Chasten had chosen for their dinner. As the couple finished the last piece of the small pie between them, Chasten got down on one knee and presented Catherine with a piece of paper.
Catherine read the first line “Deed of purchase.”
“It’s mine now Cat.” He said gesturing to the panorama around them.
“Ours if you’ll have me.” He finished the annual proposal.
“We’ll rebuild it from the table up!” Catherine said, and she kissed her fiance’
I looked out the window on the back yard and my heart turned to ice in my chest. The masters were in the back yard where they often took their afternoon bones brookside. Ordinarily it was perfectly safe, our town being accepting of small dogs in spite of the prejudice that ran through our country about them.
The shepherd gang had come into town last night, though, and it was well known they did not like our kind. The masters were surrounded by six large dogs whose fangs were bared. Mercedes our matriarch and alpha had drawn Jacopo and Snug behind her protectively, but I knew they didn’t stand a chance if left to themselves. This is exactly why small dogs purchased attack people.
I sprang to the back door and pulled it open using my opposable thumbs and sprinted out into the midst of the pack. In one hand I wielded my oak club. In the other a sharpened stave.
“Back off!” I hissed.
The Shepherd gang’s alpha circled in front of me twice with ears laid low. Then he spoke to my masters, “Don’t plan on staying long you Maltese scum! This town isn’t big enough for both our breeds. If you’re not gone the next time I come to town, I promise even your watch human won’t be able to protect you from me and my pack.”
As one the pack turned tail and leaping the brook they were gone.
Mercedes was whimpering behind me, “Why can’t they just leave us alone?”
I have been wanting to take up writing challenges like this again, and now I have some time to do it. This challenge involves writing a flash piece (usually under 250 -300 words) inspired by a picture. Here is this week’s photo.
To read all the other submissions click on the underlined link above.
Here is my attempt:
The Bulletin Doorway
For the last week Tom had been drawn to the bulletin board just outside his physics classroom. It started as a tickle in the pit of his stomach on Monday. By Tuesday he was almost forced to stop and gaze at each of the pages stuck helter-skelter across the surface of the board. Wednesday and Thursday the the bulletin board danced through his dreams. With each dream Tom awoke in a cold sweat with the “@” sign strangely burned into his mind’s eye.
Friday came. Tom had all he could do to sit through physics class. When at last the bell rang Tom nearly knocked a girl in a green snow hat over as he barreled through the door to gaze, once again, at the bulletin board. Students jostled him as the mad rush to get to final period came and went.
The last bell rang. The hall grew quiet and then Tom saw the “@” sign stamped at the top of three bulletins tacked to the board. Each bulletin had two words on it. Tom read them aloud in order as he somehow knew he should.
“Now the… Visionary says…Be opened!”
The girl in the green hat whom he had nearly stomped in physics class stood beside him.
“I’ve been waiting for you to figure it out all week. You are the slowest visionary I have ever walked with.” She said.
Then she took his hand and the door opened before them. Without another question Tom stepped through and was gone.