The Return of Flash Fiction Friday

I’m getting this in just under the gun this week, but here’s my “entry” in this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge from Chuck Wendig: That’s My New Band Name.

My band’s name, per this site, was “Possessed Success”.

Not my best work, but I’m just trying to flex my muscles again as my new job now includes much more creative writing.

Enjoy & Happy Friday!

Possessed Success were a shitty band.

Possessed Success was a shitty band.

I’m no good at verbs of being – especially as it relates to groups of things like bands or assholes – and this group of guys was definitely a little from column A, a little from column B.

Shane (the guitarist) had started Possessed Success when his old band, Orthogonal Unorthodox, had split up over religious differences. It seems you can’t have a speed-metal band with a Catholic lead singer (go figure). At least *they* weren’t able to figure it out.

The rest of the new band came from similar backgrounds: endless squabbling over cash and transportation and booze and venues that eventually ended in burned bridges and failed friendships. The drummer, Knox, even got kicked out of his apartment (though, to be fair, that probably had something more to do with the fact that he’d slept with the guitarist’s sister).

“What? She said she knew him. How was I supposed to know that knowledge was sibling-dependent? For all I knew it was carnal!”

Possessed Success was as much a barbaric yawp or wishful thinking as it was a functioning band. Mostly it was just an excuse to shred really loudly in an abandoned warehouse over on the west side.

“I’m pretty sure they filmed an episode of that zombie TV show here,” Shane had mentioned on their first night of practice.

“Walking Dead,” Jimmy interjected.

“I thought we were Possessed Success,” Knox pointed out to no one in particular.

Once the pleasantries and chit-chat were out of the way, they rattled off some old Megadeth and classic Metallica (pre-Black Album *only*) and shook the girders for more than an hour. It didn’t seem to matter to any of them that no one could meedly or squeedly like Mustaine or howl like Hetfield. It only mattered that they weren’t at home or at work or fighting. Not with family, not with friends (especially girlfriends), not with old bandmates or building managers or anybody else.

The three of them against the world.
They were possessed.
They’d find success.
They were: Possessed Success.
[Cue Flaming Logo and Gong crash!]

When they were here in the (relative) quiet that came from deafeningly loud music, nothing else mattered (except, maybe, arguing over whether they should play “Nothing Else Matters”).

And that’s how/when the fighting started.

Shane said “Yes” to the question at hand.

Jimmy, the singer and bassist, said “No”. Those Sting-tooled types could be typecast as tools just like Sting. The shoe certainly fit.

Knox pointed out that “Lars killed Napster. Plus, he’s like a complete tool.”

“Isn’t that like saying the same thing twice,” asked Jimmy.

“Your mom asked for it twice,” Knox responded and was promptly hit with the butt end of the mic stand.

Retaliation with drumsticks and forty five minutes of sweaty expletives and ridiculous wrestling followed. The melee was over when Shane’s brother tossed everyone PBR’s to cool them all off.

“I never thought I could diffuse a situation with a brain grenade, but they’re a lot less violent than the real thing.”

“Anything is less violent than the way these two pussies fight,” Shane interjected.

The next round of brawling kicked off by that comment was bloodier than the first and, also, much wetter and foul-smelling, thanks to the addition of the beer.

Once everyone decided they’d rather be drunk and happy than sober and slapped, morale improved. But only just a little.


“So,” someone sighed, “is this it?”


“I guess so,” two others answered in unison.


“Y’all are all ridiculous.” This was Shane’s brother. He slipped out the back narrowly avoiding a shower of beer cans being rained down upon his head.

There were all ridiculous. A bunch of dumbies worthy only of ridicule. So they did the only thing that came naturally: they got drunk, played one last song and promptly broke up.

The final tally:
No shows
No t-shirts
No songs
No groupies
12 cans of beer
4 hours of lost time

They possessed no success, Possessed Success, only proving how elusive it can be to reach your dreams.

Great band name, though. They were (was?) possessed of such high hopes.

Until next week (or I write again)!

Flash Fiction: Irregular Creatures

Here’s my entry in Chuck Wendig’s Irregular Creatures flash fiction challenge. I’m used to 1,024 character (1kb) fiction (read my Ficly stories that meet this constraint) so I didn’t quite fill 1,000 words, but I’m happy with what I wrote.

I call it “Three”. Enjoy!

Warning! Warning! Warning!

The mechanical voice didn’t sound all that concerned so why should I stop my work? Progress marches on; Down the hallway and to the left.

In between the triune and untroubled transmissions a siren sounded, whirring an alarm like a lost ambulance ambling and echoing down each corridor.

Didn’t stop me, wouldn’t stop me, couldn’t stop me.

I round the bend and there are lab coat rats – regular science folks – rushing in the exact same direction as me.

Passing me.
Lapping me.
Paying me little to no attention.

They don’t know me and I don’t know them. We’ve only ever seen the backs of each others heads bent over rows upon rows of microscopes or glowing terminal access screens or, heaven help me, grading papers. We might as well all be numbered samples, vials of this or that, locked away in a storage freezer waiting to be viewed in close-up detail, sliced into pieces or presented before a throng of jubilant onlookers.

But that allusion is too literal, too cold, too much like a craven killer collecting bodies; counting coup.

A guard or three now race past me, in what would appear to be full-on riot gear, going the opposite direction. They’re joining the fray and I’m just trying to get out of the way, get away (getaway).

It’s a stark contrast between the uniforms of the regular janes and joes in our long, white coats and the dark black body suits of the guards. I’d say they were military but there are no patches or insignias, no identifying marks or chevrons, save for a simple, rectangular text box over each left breast: NuMove Research.

That’s our unifying characteristic, us and the guards, we all have that same phrase on our personage. I’m headed for the parsonage to pay the patronage.

Will the people even notice me?
Will the people ever notice me?
Will the people never notice me?

I kinda hope not.

There’s screaming up ahead, sheer terror, and for what? There isn’t smoke streaming or rubble rabbled to rouse us from our work. There isn’t even any blood or gore or horror anymore. It’s all just a fake thriller to disguise the real surprise.

People stop to stare or pointedly point at some part of the structure, unseen, where something (anything) must be happening. But it isn’t. Not now anyhow.

I turn back to shake my head, make it seem as though I care as well. Share the shock, feel the pain.

I manage to avoid the gazes as most folks are too busy ogling nothing to bother with me. I maintain my momentum, working my way toward the back of the crowd. I feel the fringes and take a turn one last time to make sure I remember my home, my birthplace, and fix it in my mind’s eye.

My mind’s third eye. The one that winks at the little boy who has seen me for who and what I am.

He’s pointing to the place I used to be when he finally has his father’s full frontal attention. Neither of them really want to believe that I was ever there at all.

I’ve made my escape unscathed and now I get to see.

See what all the fuss was about.
See what I was missing.
See the sea and beyond.

See, as three, as I was meant to be, when and where they can’t hold me.

I hope you liked it. If you want to contribute your own “Irregular Creatures” Flash Fiction story, you have until tomorrow, March 11, 2011.

For good measure, here are some eBook, internet fiction & general writing links I’ve been saving up for a post. Draw your own conclusions.

Ficly Friday: The Big Death

Not too long ago I got a line from the book/film Dune stuck in my head and that got my subconscious mind doing some background thinking:

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of Sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains. The stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

I couldn’t tell you why, but that particular quote lead me to thinking about the French phrase “la petite mort” or “the little death” a euphemism for orgasm or the afterglow. Maybe it’s because of all that Fremen language and weird wording in Dune.

Whatever it was it lead me to my story for this week’s Ficly Friday, The Big Death.

The title is a play on the French phrase and also a little nod to Raymond Chandler’s novel The Big Sleep, which I read for the first time earlier in the year.

It’s less than 1024 characters of your time so please give it a read and I’ll try to keep writing short stories for Ficly Friday each and every week for the rest of the Summer.


Bulwer-Lytton 2009

I’m not expressing regret that I didn’t win Bulwer-Lytton this year since I didn’t enter this year and haven’t entered ever.

I did want to highlight my two favorite entries as a means of building myself up for hopefully similar dizzying highs/terrifying lows in my own creative works tomorrow: Ficly Friday.

True, I haven’t participated yet this year, but I’m sure my output will equal these.

Take of that what you will.

My Faves:

The wind dry-shaved the cracked earth like a dull razor–the double edge kind from the plastic bag that you shouldn’t use more than twice, but you do; but Trevor Earp had to face it as he started the second morning of his hopeless search for Drover, the Irish Wolfhound he had found as a pup near death from a fight with a prairie dog and nursed back to health, stolen by a traveling circus so that the monkey would have something to ride.

Warren Blair
Ashburn, VA


Towards the dragon’s lair the fellowship marched — a noble human prince, a fair elf, a surly dwarf, and a disheveled copyright attorney who was frantically trying to find a way to differentiate this story from “Lord of the Rings.”

Andrew Manoske
Foster City, CA

Take some time and read all of them. They’re quite brief – single sentences, obviously – and there are some “gems” in there.

They’ll also prepare you for the dreck I’m going to spew. 😉