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  1. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Flash Fiction Contest #2 - Quiet Class

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Flash Fiction Contest Archives' started by Lewdog, Mar 24, 2014.

    Entries for this contest are due by Private Message to me by Midnight EST, Sunday, April 6th. Please make sure to include word count and whether you would like to have your story posted for public or members only. Good Luck!
     
  2. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "Quiet!"
    (499 words)

    It was a standard scene you'd expect to see in any secondary school class. A handful of people in the back corner of the room who never stop talking, a handful up the front listening intently to the teacher, and the rest were somewhere in between. What you would expect in any class.

    A few things were different though. It was last class on Friday evening, everyone was particularly eager to leave and as such were particularly loud. Another difference was the fight going on in the back corner, they were growing gradually louder.

    But the biggest difference was the state of the, usually calm, Mr. Brown, trying to teach the class history. He did not have a good day up to this point. The exact opposite in fact. He had had a rather awful day.

    The first thing to go wrong was his clock, quite literally. It had decided to stop working during the night, meaning no alarm. Which in turn meant he had to dress in and hurry and drive to school with no breakfast.

    Of course on his way out to the car he had stepped in dog poo from his neighbour's dog. He had constant problems with this dog, whether it was digging up his garden, barking through the night or, in this case, pooing in his yard. But he had no time to give his neighbour a few choice words, he was already late.

    Nor did he have time to wipe it off or change shoes, which meant getting dog poo on the freshly cleaned carpet of his car. This of course infuriated him further. And if this was not enough, traffic was of course a nightmare.

    Meaning he was five minutes late to his first class. And who was in the hall but the school principal. After a good giving out to it was fair to say this was not his day. But at this stage he figured it couldn't get worse.

    He was wrong of course, how could he be right on a day like this. All his classes were as loud as could be and by lunch he was in a right foul mood. Then once he got home for lunch he found a house empty of all the food he would like. So he had to get something from the awful chinese next door.

    And all of this culminated in the last class. He had had quite enough. So while not being the worst class of the day, they had the honour of being the class to make him snap.

    “Would you shut up! Just shut up! All of you!” he roared as he spun around from the board. However I don not believe this was Mr. Browns fault. Really it was the fault of his clock, his neighbour's dog, the clean carpets in his car, the traffic, the principal, the horrid classes he had, the lack of food in his house and the awful chinese food he had gotten.
     
  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "Free Period"
    (455 words) Language Warning

    Mr Gribben sits on his sturdy chair at the top of the class, with the big King-of-the-castle head on him. He’s meant to be taking us for a free period, but as far as I can see there are very acute restrictions on the classes’ ability to speak, making said free period not-so-free, but everybody ignores the rule anyway.

    “Hi!” He shouts at the class. “Come on, now. Do you all want to be put on detention? I have work to do.”

    What a dickhead. There’s a sixty-forty split in a new bestseller he’s reading. I can only surmise he’s trying to broaden the mind and expand his knowledge outside of a repetitive curriculum which to all intents and purposes must be murdering his soul.

    “Sir, can I go to the toilet?” I ask, just to annoy him...I don't need to go to the toilet.

    I can imagine all the petty grievances that Gribben holds dear to his chest. I mean he’s obligated to mark exercise books which contain every manner of crummy answers from us, the students. Answers that are usually plucked straight out of the textbooks, combined with embarrassing TV-fed intellects and then re-arranged grammatically to say more or less the same thing said in the books.

    “No” he declares. “You should have went at break time.” He goes back to his book, the big grump.

    Free periods aren't much fun when the teacher doesn't let you talk. But sure like I said, some daring people are given free reign to indulge in a bit of rebelliousness against authority, throwing stuff around the room, sticking chewing gum underneath chairs, flicking people on the back of the head, and talking about shifting women and taking yokes. The last of these activities are extra-curricular and not rubber-stamped by the school, you'll understand.

    "HERE, WHAT DID I SAY?"

    Every time Gribben lets a yelp out of him for us to be quiet, a deathly silence descends on the room. Normally this happens when the noise has breached acceptable decibels, that is to say some arbitrary threshold in Gribben's mind that is enough to take him out of his fictional-escapist fantasy, and into this god-awful room full of adventurous brats.

    Some cut from a more obedient cloth stare at him, with gawping faces. They don't want to antagonise him. Everybody waits until he's settled down again, and then the noise slowly grows again until the next inevitable flash-point.

    Mr Gribben may be an English teacher, but some day he might be a great author...That book he's reading is in a way his own personal homework, trying to gain inspiration from his contemporaries, thus following his dream which will take him out of this nightmare.
     
  4. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "A Question Unspoken"
    (553 words)


    “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”
    Proverbs 18:13


    The sound of Father Bartholomew's footsteps echoed throughout the hall as his feet raced, pounding the stone floors.​

    * * *

    The monastery was quiet as the monks, under a pouring rain, were retiring to their cells after Compline.
    A young monk walked through the church's doors.

    “Father Bartholomew?”

    “What are you doing here Brother Nathaniel, prayer is over, you should retire to your cell.”

    “Father please, I am in need of your wise words.”

    The old abbot twisted his beard with his hand.

    “There are no answers I could ever give you Brother, you need to remember the importance of silence and prayer in our lives.”

    “But Father, please.” The monk insisted.

    “Speak no more, young Nathaniel, we are not given time on this Earth to ask question, for there would be too many answers to be given. Retire to you cell, and may the peace of the night time enlighten you.”

    “Father Bartholomew.”

    The abbot put his hand around the young monk's shoulders, guiding him towards one of the nave's lateral exits.

    “Good night Brother Nathaniel, memento mori.”

    Father Bartholomew shut the heavy wooden door and Brother Nathaniel found himself alone in the dark cloister.
    Pulling the hood over his head, he looked to his feet.

    “It's not an answer I'm looking for, Father.”

    He just stood for a moment before he started walking towards the door which would lead him from the cloister to the monastery's inner courtyard. It was still raining, and it didn't look like the storm would pass anytime soon.

    He walked under the rain as the weight of the whole world rested upon his shoulders, he could feel the bitter taste of failure on his tongue. He failed.
    The fabric of his gray tunic was now turning black as it got soaked in the rain. If Father was not going to help him, he definitely was not going to be able to help himself, and he could not speak to his Brothers about it, silence was too precious to be spoiled by personal feelings.

    By the time he got to the dorter hall his tunic was completely black.
    He found his cell, and passed out on his bed trapped by a deep and dreamless sleep.
    * * *

    The following morning the rain lifted, and the monastery was covered in mist. A bird sang timidly in the distance.

    The sound of Father Bartholomew's footsteps echoed throughout the hall as his feet raced, pounding the stone floors.
    The bells failed to announce the time had come for the Lauds, and all the monks were missing. The abbot was short of breath, but he kept on running. He ran as fast as his old legs would let him.
    He managed to get his trembling fingers to behave, and opened the door to the church.

    The monks were all there, leaning on the pews, lifeless.
    They were all dead.

    Distorted tongues of red blood flowed from their bodies to the cold stone floor and met in a gruesome kiss at the base of the altar.
    Brother Nathaniel was there, kneeling at the end of the red trail.
    He looked up, meeting the old man's eyes.

    “Father, why wouldn't you make me say.”​
     
  5. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "The Classic"
    (684 words)

    “Is this our new starlet?”

    In answer, I shove forward the girl behind me.

    “Here you go, Joe. She slimmed down just like you wanted from a diet of lettuce and asparagus on the boat over. Got the shakes from seasickness.”

    Joe captures her trembling visage in his palms, assessing her like a jeweler with one eye.

    “She’s got a boney face now,” Joe says, carding her blonde hair and rubbing her cheekbones gingerly. I don’t blame him; they could cut through butter. “Long and horse-like.”

    The girl stabs me with a fiery stare although she’d maintained a confident poise when I escorted her down to Hollywood.

    “Well, swaddle her in the head cover of a harem girl or something, Joe.” I light a cigarette, not meeting her gaze. “I’m not about to go back to Europe to steal you another dame. This is the one you wanted.”

    “Can’t you speak a little more civilized?” Joe purses his lips. He’s always putting on airs after he moved up to chief manager. Marrying the studio head’s niece opens doors for you. “You sound like one of those Brooklyn mobsters.”

    I shrug and take a long drag on my Camel.

    Joe turns back to the girl.

    “She looked different in that Swedish film.”

    “Well, Olga or Helga or whatever, she’s not my problem anymore.” I grab my hat off the clothes’ rack. “I’ve got to get back to storyboarding the new short.” The sweat along my temples condenses at an alarming rate.

    “Joe! Joe!”

    I leave the casting office in a huff, cigarette in one hand and derby in the other, watching her facade shadow in worry. Before I’m away, I can hear Joe confide to her: “Don’t worry. We’ll make you a Bathing Beauty, show off your nice Nordic figure.” He pats her hand. “The makeup people will put some drama around your eyes. So you’re a bit ugly, but they’re not so bad.”


    When I get back to my flat, I throw my suit jacket onto the couch and fall face-first into my bed. I sigh and let my shoulders relax. It’s a rickety mattress and has one bad spring that creaks the wrong way when you move to the right. The faucet is leaking, but I let it drip. Sometimes, the rhythm is steady. Other times, it speeds up and slows. I never know with that leak, but today it seems to sing.

    “You stupid, no good, lazy con!”

    I groan and the tune breaks.

    My Swedish girl fumes at my open entrance like the devil, spouting shrill curses in a New England accent. I’d grown up with that accent; it had harangued me from the pulpit when the minister told everyone I’d been stealing alms from the collection dish; with paternal anger, it had chased me out of female bedrooms.

    “Boney!” She yells. “Horse-faced!”

    “You said you wanted to be a star, Laura.” I raise my left arm in self-defense as she nears, grabs a pillow and pummels me with it.

    “I slept with you as me! As Laura Mucciarone! How am I supposed to fake being a Swedish meatball for the rest of my life?!”

    “We didn’t go over the details.”

    “So what?” She stopped hitting me and breathed harshly. I knew she was gathering the strength to start again. “You expect me to go around not even knowing English or how to ask for the john?!”

    “Come on baby, Swedish gals learn. You can just fake an accent. No one even cares. No one’s going to hear you anyway.” I touch the wad of cash in my pants' pocket where the unused ship fare still sits snuggly. “You’ve got elegance just standing there, Laura. Quiet class.”

    “You…You think so?”

    “I know so, baby,” I say, thinking of how much more I'll need to get before I can finance my first talkie. Experimental stuff, but I know it’ll pay off.

    Laura protests, less vehemently this time. I kiss her sweetly and she makes a coo that vibrates about as pleasantly as a jackhammer.

    I wince. “Don’t worry, baby. You’re a classic.”
     
  6. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    "16B"
    (618 words) Language Warning

    This was Leonard’s reward for fifteen quiet years at Gardner/Hoesling, being forced to fly to the desert to represent the Athens branch at the company’s annual meeting in Phoenix. Leonard wished he was in the quiet confines of his cubicle walls, not sandwiched between the world’s most obnoxiously joyful couple. He had offered to switch seats with one of them, but Kathy with a ‘K’ just loved to look out the window and her life mate, Phil with a ‘Ph’, volunteered he need the aisle seat due to having a tiny bladder.

    “Welcome aboard Flight 136, nonstop service from Atlanta to Phoenix.” The homely flight attendant began her tired speech over the intercom which was also a cue for the infant two rows in front of Leonard to start crying.

    Not wanting to be outdone, another child began wailing somewhere over Leonard’s right shoulder. Leonard began his silent prayer to nobody that the children will quiet down when the plane gets in the air; his thumb rubbed over the crumpled boarding pass for seat 16b in his left fist like a rosary. An hour into the flight, the crying continued occasionally interrupted by short phlegm filled gasps for air.

    “Going to be nice to get away from the heat, huh?” Phil asked Leonard.

    “We’re flying to the desert.” One of the only things that Leonard loathed as much as screaming kids was small talk with strangers.

    “But it’s a dry heat.” Kathy with a ‘K’ answered across him.

    “Hope you packed a sweater!” came a shrill voice from one of the ladies behind him.

    “Yep, still gets cold at night.” One of her friends added.

    Before he knew it, there was a five way conversation between the ladies behind him and his two neighbors. He closed his eyes and attempted to block out the noise, his jaw muscles sore from being clenched. He had never had a migraine, but this must’ve been what one was like. Leonard thought he could hear the crinkle of the cellophane peanut wrapper across the cabin over the children's screaming. He couldn’t take it anymore.

    “Shut up! Everybody just shut the hell up!” Leonard yelled as he unlatched his seatbelt and stumbled over Phil into the aisle.

    “Sir, is everything OK?” the stewardess asked as she ran up and placed a soothing hand on Leonard’s back.

    “No. Everything is not OK. I can’t take all of this noise! Why can’t you people just shut up and be quiet? Just be quiet for four goddamned hours!”

    The flight attendant removed the crumpled ticket clutched in Leonard’s trembling left hand. “Well here’s the problem, sir. This is Business Class. You should be in Quiet Class.”

    “Ooh, Quiet Class!” cheered Kathy with a ‘K.’

    “Yeah, Quiet Class!” said the three ladies in unison.

    “Would you like that?” asked the flight attendant as the entire cabin started quietly chanting Quiet Class in unison.

    “Yes. Yes, I would like that very much.” answered Leonard as he straightened his shirt acting dignified by his upgrade.

    Leonard was escorted to the front of the cabin towards the cockpit. The stewardess picked up the phone and informed the copilot there was a gentleman being upgraded to Quiet Class. Leonard looked around for a staircase that might lead to another level, or perhaps he would get to finish the flight in the cockpit. The cockpit door opened and the the copilot lurched out grabbing a hold of Leonard as the stewardess donned a pair of goggles and attached a tether from her waist to a hook by the fuselage door.

    “Enjoy Quiet Class, asshole.” the copilot yelled in Leonard’s ear over the rushing wind as he threw him from the plane.
     
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