#5MinuteFiction Week Twenty-One

This, in case you somehow missed the title of the post, is 5MinuteFiction. You have been assimilated.

And welcome to 5MinuteFiction. That means we write fiction. In five minutes. Shocker, I know.

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose in any style or genre

* You must directly reference today’s prompt: sixty

(Note: The prompt is the word. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)

photo by user Kat... on Flickr


* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 1:45. That gives you 5 minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.

At the close of the contest, this week’s guest judge, Neil Shurley, @ThatNeilGuy, will nominate five finalists. I’ll put the nominees in the poll on the side of the page, and at 9:30 PM EDT I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.

For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, or follow me on twitter.

What’s the prize? Well, nothing, obviously. But we’ll all agree to tweet and/or blog about the winner of today’s contest so their fame and fortune will be assured.

A Few Notes:

* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.

* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.

* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

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26 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week Twenty-One

  1. SarahHendrix says:

    Sixty
    The sides of the road were distorted by the thick fog. Driving speed limit was of little use, only a blur of form distinguished anything else. The needle on the speedometer dropped to sixty. I wanted to go faster, I wanted to be with you. But the weather had other ideas.

  2. Sixty.

    Sixty-One.

    Sixty-two.

    Sixty-three.

    And a half.

    Sixty-four days.

    Sixty-five.

    I don’t know why I bother counting.

    Sixty-six.

    That’s a road, isn’t it? In some song I think.

    Sixty-seven.

    Sixty-eight.

    Sixty-nine.

    That’s… well, that’s something too.

    Seventy.

    And I’m done. I promised sixty days. And then I gave ten more, out of some foolish optimistic hope.

    No more waiting, wishing, pretending.

    He promised. Sixty days and I’m coming back. I just need a little time to think.

    He’d thought already. It was a coward’s way out. I knew it then. I don’t know why I bothered counting.

    No more.

  3. Dazriel ducked as another arrow came at him. Three of the black shafted things had already shredded his right wing, making it impossible for him to fly away. He couldn’t use his magic either, making him believe that the arrows were cursed. With no other choice, he kept running. He was hoping to make it to the next village.

    He could hear the barking of angel-hounds behind him. These men were professionals. Dazriel had been warned about angel hunters on the upper plain, but he never really expected to see them, never mind be their target. These men were ruthless. More arrows whizzed by, and this time one hit him in the shoulder. He cried out in pain, ducking to the side. His whole shoulder went dead, and he knew then that the arrows were cursed. He wasn’t going to make it.

    Then, he broke through the woods and saw a village. He ran. There had to be a temple there, even a small one. The priest could use his magic to protect Dazriel, maybe even send him back to the upper plains. The sounds of the hounds got closer. He looked over his shoulder and saw the large, red beasts making their way through the trees. At least ducking into the forest slowed down their wings.

    He turned and spotted the temple. He ran towards it, yelling for sanctuary as he did. A portly priest opened the door, a broad smile on his face.

    “Ah, good,” he said. “You’re here.”

    “Please, good priest,” Dazriel said. “Help me.”

    “Help you?” the priest said. “I think not. I hired those hunters to bring you to me. You see, I wish to replace God as the supreme being, and to do that, I need the blood of angels. Sixty, to be precise. And you, my dear friend, are the last.”

    The angel-hounds closed in from behind. Dazriel screamed as the fat monk laughed.

    @blanchardauthor

  4. Sixty. Sixty days I’ve been laying here.

    On my side.

    Tied to the ground.

    With nothing to eat but some nasty bread cooked over cow dung.

    It’s not as bad as it sounds. It was supposed to be human dung before I negotiated with God for a little bit of a reprieve.

    Did I mention that God was the one who told me to do this? It’s all right there in the third chapter of my memoir, which I’m sure is going to be a big hit. Everyone is big on performance art nowadays. God tells me this is going to be huge, draw in the crowds.

    Sixty days. Three hundred thirty to go. Then I have to turn around and lay on my other side for forty days.

    It’s going to be worth it in book sales alone. Who wouldn’t want to read about my year plus of lying on my side?

    I’ve come up with a title. Ezekiel: I’m Not Crazy, God Told Me to Do It.

    Okay, It’s not great. I know. It’s a working title. I’ve got a lot of time to still think about it.

    A lot of time.

    @briefconceits

  5. Oops. A mistake. It should be FOURTH chapter.

  6. It’s like a nightmare. Everywhere: 60. Speed 60. 60 minutes to the hour. 60 seconds on the game-show clock. Back in 60 seconds. 60 Seconds of fame. 60 seconds to change your life. 60 seconds to find me guilty.

    I swear your honour! She held a broken bottle to my nuts! I dunno how long, maybe 60 seconds!

    So this little reality-show tart didn’t like me elbowing over her shot. Not like it was my fault, the bar was full. I order my beer, hear a crash in the background. Next thing, this pint-sized, top-heavy twit is pushing me back. She glares up at me, says she thinks I’m ugly, then whispers how ugly I would be without a dick. I look down, there’s a jagged bottle in my groin, against the zipper. So i clocked her. She went down, out for 60 seconds. Next, I’m all over TV has a woman hater, a woman beater, a woman killer cause she fell on her empty little head.

    And I got 60 years.

  7. R.C. Murphy says:

    There wasn’t enough.

    Billy stopped at the end of the row and sized up the figure huddled below him. Flaming orange eyes crept over the boy, then back over the long line of similar bodies. All dark-haired. All weak. All pissing themselves scared of what was to come.

    But sixty just wasn’t enough to meet his quota.

    “One hundred fresh souls by Sunday morn, Bilbous.” Lucifer had commanded. “Or I will wear your sac as an earring.”

    Bile burned the back of his throat as he watched Lucifer’s current earring move with every word spoken. Somewhere in the Pit there was a soul seriously missing his pride. Yet the Master wore it like the damn thing was made of priceless gems. The sonofabitch for his rocks off on being the cruelest creature to fall from heaven.

    Whimpering brought Billy’s head back to the here and now. His foot shot out, catching the frail teen’s body right in the ribs. A fleshy snap answered the blow and he smiled.

    “We have more work to do, boys.” Bilbous called down the line. “Forty more before we can go. Now get to work!”

    Minions were so easy to find. So easy to manipulate. But God help them all if only ninety-nine souls reached the Pit Sunday morning.

    @RCMurphy

  8. whoops, twitter handle: rosemartland

  9. Ruth says:

    Lunch

    Today is Tuesday so lunch is baked beans.

    Anna opened the fridge door and bent down to the shelf.
    Toes aligned to the front edge of the floor tile, inside edge of her feet parallel to the sides. Back straight, exhaling slowly and bending at the knees through the count of six.

    As poised and controlled as a dancer. Once crouched she retrieved the plastic container from its position on the second shelf, underneath the dairy and above the meat, just as the health and safety website suggested.
    Straightening up, closing the door and crossing the small kitchen to the stove top.

    Four steps exactly, right foot back, left foot making the turning step, right left to position herself correctly.
    Right hand reach for the pan, left hand front hob.
    Turn the nob, click click click to number three, a red electric heat begins to glow. Anna hated the thought of gas, too unruly too unpredictable.

    Opening the lid Anna lifted the spoon that she had laid out in advance and counted in the beans to the pan. Sixty exactly.
    Counting steps, beans and button clicks Anna delineated a precise sanctuary from a wild and unpredictable world.

    @summerlandc

  10. Sessha Batto says:

    When he was a child, sixty seemed so very very old. Michael had been sure even his grandparents weren’t that old, and they were all twisted and shriveled.

    As a young man he swore never to trust anyone over thirty. At twice that anyone over sixty never even got a second glance.

    By the time he hit his fortieth birthday, sixty wasn’t looking so bad. “I’d sign a contract for sixty,” he remembered saying, sure he had at least twenty more good years ahead of him, but equally certain that he wouldn’t want to continue past that. He swore the infirmities of old age would never have the chance to wear him down.

    At fifty he finally realized what had been missing from his life all these years when he met the man of his dreams. Perhaps fifty was late to meet your soul mate, but at least they were still young enough to enjoy themselves.

    Today Michael would turn sixty. He fidgeted, checking his tie for the hundredth time that afternoon. Despite all his trepidation he’d reached this milestone and was preparing for another. Sixty suddenly seemed young as he pictured the years reeling out ahead of him. He clasped hands with the man next to him, looked him in the eyes and answered. “In sickness and in health, til death do us part.”

    As his new husband leaned in to seal their bond with a kiss, he decided that sixty wasn’t so bad.

  11. Sarah E Olson says:

    5 minute fiction from an iPhone
    is an exercise in futility
    300 seconds is not time enough
    for my index finger to tap tap tap
    out characters on the keyboard
    300 seconds is not time enough
    for my brain to map map map
    those characters into a story
    my shaking index finger collapses
    god I need a nap

    @saraheolson

  12. Seashells

    She doesn’t know I still have them, that I’ve kept them tucked away in a small satin lined box. But I have. Conchs and augers, scallops and clams, mussels, helmets, oysters, olives, turbans; every seashell unique and beautiful.

    Serena left them behind on purpose, of that I know, thinking them a silly reminder of times passed. I, however, keep them, treasured for what they are; little keys to snapshots in time. Memories.

    I count them out every year on her birthday, let them play through my fingers, remembering each beach; sandy, rocky; that we scoured for them. Some years she answers when I call, others not. She has her own life now.

    This year, though, it’s time to return them to her. They are hers as well as mine, now. Because next year I won’t be around to count. My handwriting is careful, the wording specific. I fold the letter, tuck it inside, tape a nametag to the box. ‘Serena’.

    Hopefully those sixty shells will help her remember me when I’m gone. Remember when her hand, tiny, fit into mine, and we created memories, mother and daughter.

    @AislingWeaver

  13. Jules Carey says:

    @JulesCarey

    Jerry had already visited the first five people on his list, but there were many more to see tonight. Sixty in all. Sixty people he wanted, no needed, to see before the authorities caught up with him, and they would catch up to him. He didn’t delude himself about that.

    Number Six, Seven, and Eight lived about thirty minutes away from the rest, but they were worth the time lost. Number Six had betrayed him. She’d married Number Seven after dating him for over a year and breaking his heart. Number Eight was sorry the result.

    They would all have to go.

    All sixty who had hurt him, broke him, rejected him, scolded him, or lied to him. All sixty who had made him the mad man he was today. They would all get to see him one last time.

    He knocked on the door. He had no reason to hide from anyone now. He was confident, he had the upper hand. There was no answer. There were a few lights on in the back of the house so he walked around to the kitchen. Peeking in the windows, the house looked abandoned. The knob was locked, but was a quick and easy fix.

    He let himself in and took a look around. Meals sat half eaten on the kitchen table. A cordless phone on the counter. He picked it up and threw it out the still open door.

    Turning around, he was met with the barrel of the shotgun. It wasn’t the end he had in mind, but it would do. He raised the hand with the pistol and pointed it at Number Seven. Not sure if he got a chance to pull the trigger, his world went dark.

  14. Shane Arthur says:

    She moved by me at the edge of the crowded dance floor, her cute, mulatto face barely getting my attention before her numeral 55 t-shirt stole it away with huge tits distorting the numerals’ values like a Photoshop Spherize Effect. At barely 5-feet tall, she was a well-built firecracker, tall and curvy enough for my liking.

    No sooner than I could process this split second encounter did my animal brain take over and order my mouth to blurt out, “Damn!” causing my rational brain to raise my beer to my mouth, hiding any subliminal signs of my slight embarassment over the matter.

    And no sooner than I finished that sip of beer did her friend tap me on the shoulder and say, “My friend wants to meet you,” pointing to what I believed were those same tits pushing 55s. My reptilian brain transformed those 55s into a pair of scrumptious sixties and it replied, “Tell her to come here.”

    She did.

    We chatted.

    We danced.

    I removed that restricive 55 t-shirt in her bed, and did 55 wild and crazy positions with her 22-year-old body—her two, out-of-wedlock preschoolers sleeping in the next room.

    I slept over.

    I said hi to her baby’s dady when he visited at 3:A.M.

    She told me to write down her number.

    I told her I’d just remember it.

    I didn’t.

    All I could remember was it had two fives in it.

    DAMN!

    @shanearthur

  15. Cyndi Tefft says:

    Rolling over, I nuzzle my face into the pillow and inhale. Warm, downy comfort begs me to stay, burrowed deep in its busom. With a groan, I turn my face toward the clock radio, crack open one eye and stare at the glowing red numbers. Three minutes until the alarm goes off. Three minutes until I snake a hand out of the cocoon of my bedspread into the chilly air to hit the snooze button. Three minutes. No, now two. I swear these minutes are not sixty seconds long. I barely breathe and only one minute remains.

    Maybe I need a mental health day. Maybe I need to call in sick. I scan my body for the slightest ache or twinge. Nothing. What’s on my calendar at work? Any meetings I can’t cancel. Well, there’s the one. Damn. And I should probably go in early. Frack.

    With a fuzz, crackle and pop, the radio clicks on, the cheerful tune annoying in the dark. I groan and throw back the covers, the icy air on my skin like a slap on a newborn’s behind.

    @cynditefft
    http://ctefft.blogspot.com

  16. Raziel Moore says:

    Julia frowned at me, clearly annoyed.

    “I’ve only got a minute, Steve. Really what is it that you need so bad you have to pull me out of a meeting _I_ called?”

    “Just one minute? Sixty seconds?”

    “Fifty now, if you want to be smartass about it.”

    “Then let’s not waste any more of it.”

    I pulled Julia to the copy room and kicked the door closed.

    I won’t lie. We took ninety. Ok, 94 – but Julia has long hair.

    But she wasn’t frowning when she returned to her meeting.

    @_Monocle_

  17. A Minute of Infinite Choices

    Carl hated waiting rooms. He liked to think it was because there was never anything interesting to read. But not knowing what came next is what truly bothered him.

    The woman across from him shifted around in her seat. She had smiled when he first arrived. Then he had taken off his hat and jacket. Now her every movement was an attempt to find the position where she was least likely to look at him.

    It was something he had grown accustomed to. He had never been an attractive man and lacked any type of meaningful friendships when he was a child. So when the disfigurements began taking over his body he was well equipped to handle the rejection of those around him.

    Except for Alayna.

    A bell rang and the door slid open. The nurse called the woman’s name and she entered the long hallway into the lab. Carl was left alone with his thoughts and he relaxed just a bit. But he still had to sit up straight because the fleshy folds and crawling lesions were too painful to lean on.

    In his head he reviewed the instruction sheet he had been handed during the initial consultation. The doctors had told him the memory had to be specific and taken from his mind alone. That meant reliving that terrible scene when he revealed to Alayna what was growing on his body.

    Another ring and this time it was his turn to follow the sterile faced woman with the chart in her hand.

    He had been promised a simple procedure. A chair and two wires attached to his head. Then an injection followed by some memory that would trigger the emotional recording they had taken from his mind on the last visit.

    “Are you comfortable?”

    It was a cold voice, piped in from the observation window. So different from the salesperson who had made the pitch to him.

    “This is the opportunity of a lifetime. You can choose any moment from your past, change how it played out. And you get to decide what happens, what more could you ask for?”

    Carl had wanted Alayna to hold him when she saw the terrible thing he was becoming.

    There was a painful prick in his arm and the icy fluid began flowing in his bulging veins.

    “Try to relax, the process will take about sixty seconds, but in your mind you’ll have as much time as you need to do whatever you want. Are you ready to begin?”

    But he wasn’t. Carl pulled the electrodes off of his scalp, placed them on the floor and walked out of the room.

    Then he opened his eyes. Through the blur he could see the doctors leaning over him.

    “Welcome back Carl. Did it go as you planned?”

    Carl felt the two wires on his head. Now, maybe the confusion of his choices would mask the compounded pain of Alayna’s horror when had taken off his shirt in front of her.

    @robertstories
    http://www.robertstories.com

  18. Tauisha Nicole @shells2003 says:

    “Oh, my god…”

    Holly looked around her office in complete shock. There were way too many roses all over the place. They were in vases, glasses, on her desk, scattered on her coffee table…everywhere.

    It almost seemed like not one place in her office wasn’t covered in red softness. The roses made her office smell of perfume.

    The smell flared her allergies.

    She grabbed a puffs and gently sneezed into it’s softness. How tricky it was to walk over all the stems, and buds. Ugh. Holly made a mental note to ask her personal assistant, Kathy, to clean this mess up. To think Kathy even allowed someone in her office to do something like this was insane!

    Holly shook her head, grabbed one of the roses and looked at it. Sighing, she took a wiff…bad idea…ACHOO!

    She groaned as she tossed the rose back on the overstuffed chair it was in, walked around her desk and…

    Oh. My. God.

    “Steven…” she gasped, watching her boyfriend of two years kneeling beside her office chair. He was dressed in a super snazzy suit she picked out for him, his hair freshly cut, and a huge gorgeous smile.

    Clearing her throat, Holly said a little stronger, “Steven…what are you doing here.”

    He chuckled and looked down at his hand. Was that…was that a velvet box in his hand? One from Tiffany’s?

    “What does it look like, baby?”

    Holly shook her head as though she were trying to clear all thoughts from her head. “On your knees? And all these flowers?” ACHOO! “What is this all about?”

    “Marry me,” he smiled even larger. “I love you more than anything. Please. Marry me.”

    Holly just stood there. Dumbfounded.

    Steven chuckled again, standing up. The three steps he took lead her right in front of Holly. He placed a hand on her face. “Marry me, baby.”

    She blinked several times and just stood there.

    Steven frowned. “Holly. Holly, are you listening to a single word I’m saying?”

    Shaking her hand again, she stepped away from Steven. “Gotta call Kathy and get her to clean this mess up,” she looked at her watch. “Client coming in 30 minutes…not much time.”

    “Holly?” Steven turned and stared at his girlfriend in complete shock.

    She pressed several buttons on her phone after putting on her headset.

    “Holly!” His voice boomed as he disconnected her call. “Mess? Is that what this is? Five dozen roses scattered everywhere? A princess cut diamond ring? Promise of forever with me, and you say it’s a mess?”

    She frowned. “Five dozen?” she looked…annoyed. “You mean to tell me there are 60 roses scattered all over my…”

    Steven stood there, waiting for some kind of reaction “Forget the stupid roses! I just asked you to marry me!”

    “Sixty roses….oh, this is a mess,” she shook her head.

    Steven shook his head and sighed. “You’re right. This is a mess. Forget I said anything.”

    He turned and stormed right out of Holly’s office.

    He didn’t notice her lone tear that slid down her cheek. After wiping it away, she muttered, “Better this way.”

    Then, she called Kathy to clean up the roses…

  19. Jeff Pfaller says:

    Sevan Mizrahi swatted at the gnat buzzing around the week-old stubble haunting his face. Sweat beaded all over his skin – a sticky layer of anxious moisture that was, at the moment, largely being ignored.

    He tested the weight of the bag of rocks in his hand. He had no idea what was coming next.

    He decided to act. His foot touched the loose stone at the base of the pedestal, and when the arms of the ancient Mesopotamian deity came together he deftly set the bag of rocks in their cradling embrace.

    This exposed the small cavity in the deity’s stomach which held…”it.”

    The lamp.

    Sevan wasted no time snatching it up and rubbing it’s dull bronze surface. Nothing happened. No smoke. No flashing lights. Nothing. The map Izaak had given him was useless! A fraud!

    He wound is arm back to toss the cursed thing and nearly jumped out of his skin at the voice behind him.

    “Ahem.”

    “Who’s there?” Sevan asked as he whirled around.”

    “Who do you think?” The genie stood with his arms crossed, looking annoyed. For an all powerful being, he looked surprisingly…human.

    “Where did you come from?” Sevan asked.

    “The lamp, master.”

    “No, I meant…nevermind.” He realized he was wasting valuable time and the other fortune hunters couldn’t be much further behind him.

    “I am ready to make my wishes.”

    “Of course you are. Your first wish?”

    “I wish for sixty more wishes.”

    The genie rolled his eyes at his foolishness, and started to pick at a hangnail. “Do you think you’re the first jackass who has made that wish. It doesn’t work that way. No genie will grant additional wishes as part of another said wish. Sorry, that wish is void. You have two remaining wishes ” he said, and smiled. A smile that irked Sevan.

    Sevan thought for a moment, and grew a small smile of his own.

    “Fair enough. My second wish is that after I make my final request of you, you are banished into the lamp for sixty million years and cannot return to this world, even if you are summoned.”

    The genie, to his credit, remained stoic. But there was a fear behind his eyes. Fear of whatever demons and horrors would accompany him alone in the lamp for sixty million years.

    “And y-y-your last wish, master?” he said, his voice breaking.

    Sevan tossed the lamp back into the deity’s stomach, and it came to rest on its side in a small pile of fossilized rat dung.

    “I wish for a different genie that will grant me additional wishes,” Sevan said.

    Jeff Pfaller
    @pfallerj

  20. Cyndi Tefft says:

    I submitted my piece, but it doesn’t show up in the comments. I don’t remember there being a delay before…

  21. Jay says:

    “Can you pass the salt please, Ruth?” He held his hand out as he spoke, not looking up from his meal. Another fork full of food entered his mouth and he began to chew as the small, silver satlcellar was handed to him immediately. As he finished his sixtieth chew he swallowed, then shook the condiment over his plate three times before placing it in front of him. “The meatloaf is different tonight; did you add anything extra?”

    Her knife cut through the tender meat with a little too much force, metal scraping across porcelain with a grating shriek. She stabbed at the food, missing twice before managing to finally trap it between her knife and a potatoe. She brought the morsel towards her lips then paused, staring at the man across the table. The fork trembled, slightly, and she placed it back on the plate as she smiled a thin smile. “A little oregano, is all; do you like it? Is it ok”

    The question hung in the air as, with another deliberate motion, he cut off a parcel of pastry covered meat and began to chew it. Expectancy hung palpably in the air as sixty times, in quick succession, his teeth ground the food to a pulp and then, with a simple swallow, it was gone. The fork was laid beside the knife, quietly. A sip of water and then his lips were patted dry, the folded napkin placed on the table, neatly. “It was ok, Ruth.”

    Relaxing back into the chair she smiled, the quivering in her hand stilled. Glancing at her husband she saw him look at his watch, for the third time since he had returned home, and she picked up her still full plate, reaching across the table to lift his. “Can I get you anything else, Frank?”

    “No.” He stood, slowly, but she tensed. Reaching out he placed the knife back on the plate as he moved around the table and opened up one of the closet doors. He pulled out a small, leather, bag – the once bright logo of a bowling ball now little more than a faded memory upon it. “Don’t wait up.”

    He moved past her, pausing briefly to brush his lips against her cheek before walking out of the room. She stood there. A door opened, then closed and she waited. A car engine roared to life, then faded as it moved away. She remained still; her knuckles white as she gripped the plates.

    @thejayfaulkner

  22. Oh, time’s up! I nearly missed it because I was enjoying the entries. You people rock.

    Back at 3:00 with this week’s finalists and the voting! Get on that, Neil.

  23. Oh, I forgot my twitter handle. Of course, I think most people here already know it, but still. @blanchardauthor

  24. Fixed it, Cyndi. This week three entries went into the spam folder. Very odd.

  25. Cyndi Tefft says:

    Thanks, Leah. Whew! *grin*

  26. Jay says:

    @thejayfaulkner … forgot to put it above, sorry!

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