#5MinuteFiction Week 72

NOTE: New time starting this week! 12:30 Eastern.

What is 5MinuteFiction, you say? It’s an adrenaline-fueled, instant-gratification sort of writing contest. Sound fun? Great! Get in there and get dirty!

The Rules

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

* You must directly reference today’s prompt: planets

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

* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 12:45. 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, Sessha Batto@SesshaBatto will nominate five finalists.

I’ll put the nominees in a poll, and at 9:00 EDT tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.

For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, “like” my Facebook Page, or follow me on twitter. Or follow us on twitter with the #5MinuteFiction hashtag.

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 or notepad. 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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21 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week 72

  1. Looking down, it all seemed to far away now. Just days ago I’d been sat on a beach, enjoying the last freedom I had, sipping those little drinks with the colourful umbrellas perched in them. Now I was staring at what used to be my life as it raced away beneath me. It wasn’t really a choice of mine to be here. I’d been chosen, picked at random out of the hundreds of thousands of people who were the right height and build to fit in the space shuttle. Unfortunately, or fortunately, however one cared to look at it, I had won.

    The all-expenses holiday to wherever I wanted to go was a bit of a bonus.

    The lifetime away from my friends and family, not so much.

    They’d all raved about it, told me how lucky I was to have been picked. How I was off to see new planets, make new worlds.

    I didn’t think so. For me this was hell.

    I was leaving my wife behind, carrying our firstborn. A child I would now never see.

    Yeah, the holiday wasn’t so bad. Still, I’d rather have been looking at cribs than drinking little drinks with umbrellas.

    (Twitter name: @michellebirbeck)

  2. Mitch’s head slammed into the back of the seat as the ship not so much landed on but smacked the surface of the planet.

    “Where are we?” Mitch said.

    Tina was white faced at the controls. She just shook her head.

    “This isn’t the rendezvous.”

    “Yeah,” she snapped, “I got that much. I was only flying the damn thing.”

    “Well then how can you not know where we are?”

    “Lost nav halfway down. I don’t know where we are but we’re in one piece. You’re welcome.”

    Mitch stifled a frustrated sigh. This was a disaster. The third job in a row they’d blown. They’d never work again. And he knew, somehow, his brother had orchestrated this one as well. He must have sabotaged something when he and Mitch last met, to wipe the slate clean and start over, he’d said.

    “Damn it.”

    “Oh come on, little bro. Ain’t this a beautiful planet? You’ll like it here, I think.”

    Mitch whirled around to find his brother standing behind him, gun pointed at Mitch’s head.

    “At least I hope you like it here. You’ll be here for a long time. See, I’m going to borrow your ship…”
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  3. DL Thurston says:

    Billy swept his arm across the table with a petulant scream. “No!” His toys scattered across the room, bouncing off the walls and settling into the deep pile of the shag carpeting.

    “If you’re not going to treat your toys any better, we’re not getting you more,” his grandmother said, carefully picking each wood orb out of the sea of avocado green.

    “Good!” Billy screamed. “These toys are stupid!”

    His parents were gone for the day, and he knew grandma wouldn’t punish him. She never did. She simply returned the toys to the low table. He looked at them with his freckled nose crinkled in disgust. None of these toys would jump or dance or move on their own. He picked one up, gave it a sniff, and tossed it across the room.

    “I want my toys!”

    “These are better than your toys,” his grandmother said, yet again retrieving the forsaken. “You just have to learn how to play with them. Watch.”

    She set the orb on the table, and stared at it. Billy crossed his arms and frumped. “It’s not doin’ anything!”

    “Just watch.”

    The colors on the orb grew, split, merged. Billy fought against his wonder, he would not admit these toys were cool. But a single “wooow” slipped out. His grandmother looked, approvingly.

    “Here. Try it for yourself. You just have to focus on what you want it to do.”

    The ball had a big patch of green amid all the blue. As he stared, it split up, verdant chunks dancing over the surface. He giggled when they would smash into each other. As he watched, the small orb lit up, first at the edges of green and blue, then all over. All at once, the lights went out.

    “What happened?”

    “The game ended.”

    “Did I win?”

    His grandmother took the small planet from him, and examined it closely. “You did very well, for your first time.”

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  4. I sit and look up at the sky in the night and think about planets. I wonder if she is up there, on our home planet, doing the same thing and wondering if I survived the journey.

    The away team planned for a crash. We brought supplies to sustain us for three years and seeds and air generators to build a greenhouse should a return journey be impossible. We have what we need to live out the rest of our lives here, especially after finding this planet so lush and vibrant.

    The away team never anticipated the difference in magnetic fields being so vast as to disable our communications equipment. If only a bonfire would suffice, I’d build one so tall it would touch the clouds for you.

    I wonder what they’re doing back home on Targlan. Their atmosphere is becoming choked and heated while we lie here enjoying pristine waters and air so clean you can taste it.

    Is the New Targlan Search Expedition Council telling the world that we’re still on our way, that our signal is strong and we’re reposting good things? Propaganda. Can it be they have no idea we’ve landed?

    I close my eyes and send my thoughts to you Alisnya and will you to hear me. I am here, my love. I have survived. I’ve found the perfect place for us to build a small cabin next to the most beautiful stream of clean drinkable water. And the lifeforms here, my world! If you could see it with your own eyes you’d still not believe it. I dream of you coming here. We’ll live off the land and do all the things our world never did to nurture the land as we do.

    Until we meet eyes again, I love you.


  5. Chad Anctil says:

    It was a momentous occasion, a giant leap forward for all of mankind as the first ever manned mission to a planet outside our solar system set down on alien soil. Voices were hushed in mission control as the dust from the lander settled and the external cameras came online, beaming images across unfathomable reaches of space.

    The picture was grainy, full of digital distortion caused by the lengthy trip the signal was making, but the image beamed back was unmistakable. It was tall, slender, and even with the distortion in the signal everyone in the control room could recognize…


    The three crew members stepped foot onto an alien world, leaving a vessel that was the very pinnacle of all of mankind’s technological endeavors, and stood gaping at the ruins of a civilization infinitely more vast and ancient. For all of man’s success and achievement, it was then made clear…

    We were not the first.
    Chad Anctil recently posted..Blue Star FallenMy Profile

  6. “And here we have a nice one,” the salesman said, pointing out the window of the spaceship. “Three large rings and four moons that present just the most breathtaking sunsets you can ever imagine. The sun is a bright yellow, much like your native system, and the atmosphere is compatible with you and your species.”

    “Wow, that really is a fantastic view,” Adam said, looking at the planet slowly rotating below them. “But, I dunno… it’s just a little… over the top. We just want something simple, but beautiful. You know, large oceans, large land masses for farming, islands for vacations, that sort of thing. Our people are just looking to settle down, start fresh. You have anything like that?”

    “I think I do,” the blue man said, a smile crossing both his mouths. “Come with me.”

    They walked down a corridor and through another teleportation tube, where the salesman showed them another window. Below was a stunningly beautiful blue green ball of a world. It had a single moon, and a yellow sun shining over the horizon, highlighting the seas and oceans. It was breathtaking.

    “I think you’ll find this has all the requirements you’re looking for,” the salesman said.

    “Well, what do you think, honey?” Adam said, turning to his wife.

    “It’s perfect,” Eve said. “We’ll take it. What’s it called?”

    “It’s called Earth,” the salesman said, smiling again. “And I’m glad you like it. We’ll get the paper work all set up for you, if you’ll just come with me.”

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  7. Nicole says:

    The breasts jutting from Luraleen’s sweater were two round planets. Mars, maybe, because her sweater was the red of nose bleeds. And speaking of which, Timmy Stout’s nose was starting to run — not with blood but with snot, because Luraleen stood inside the warmth of JimBob’s Diner, while Timmy pressed his face up against the window from the outside, frigid air grating across his bare neck.

    “She wearing it?” Cleetus asked.

    “Yep. Sure is. She’s looking fine. Like goose grease on a chest.”

    “I’d like to rub grease on her chest. Her sweater bumps rev my engine.”

    Timmy’s tongue flicked out to moisten cracked lips, and that’s where things went wrong. Cleetus jostled next to him and knocked Timmy into the metal railing below the window, mouth making contact with the bar.

    “Fwuck . . . whaaaa? Ohw thwit.” Timmy struggled, arms flailing.

    “What are you doing, hoss?” Cleetus’ tone pitched upward, nervous and agitated.

    “Towngue. Thwuck to the dawmn me’al. Thwit! Hewlp me! Get me thwome dawmn hot wather!”

    “Well, fuck a duck! Don’t go no where!”

    “What’re you boys doin’ out here?” The last thing Timmy saw before passing out where giant breasts in a red sweater.

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  8. The planets were all in alignment, which was odd. They were supposed to be in various orbits and distances from each other. But here they were all lined up like billiard balls. Siobahn didn’t like it.

    Maybe it was the coffee. Too much coffee. She tossed the contents of her mug into the sink at the eyewash station. She wiped off the lens on the telescope, and her glasses, for good measure.

    She looked again. Now they had smiley faces on them. Saturn had big, cartoonish teeth. Mars had a red tuft of hair. Uranus was making a rude gesture. Was their peyote in the coffee? What the hell was going on?

    Siobahn swayed and fell onto her stool, put her head between her legs, and took deep breaths. She was interrupted by a deep rumble. An earth-shaking, mind-battering jangling in her teeth and bones she had never known.

    All the equipment in the lab slid to the east wall and crashed against it. She heard screams in the corridor. Screams outside. Smashing and breaking and renting cries of confusion and terror. The whole world was screaming.

    Yes, it was, she realized with awful clarity.

    The brick edifice before her ripped open as an impossibly large yellow swath of something began to block out the stars and the night. As if a bucket of paint was being poured into the sky. And then, protruding from the yellow crescent lips, a streak of red appeared and grew.

    Siobahn knew what it was — the tongue. Some twisted bastard had chosen Mick Jagger lips for the Earth.

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  9. Tauisha Nicole says:

    She stood in her office, wanting a moment alone. She smiled, standing at her window, overlooking the city below. Her office graced the highest floor, in the highest skyscraper. Angie swore she could see the curve of the earth. Any higher, she’d be orbiting with the planets.

    Taking a sip of champagne, she gave herself a mental pat on the back. After all, she deserved this promotion. She’d worked too hard for it. The group of office croonies she now was the boss of were half-heartedly celebrating her rise to the top in the main offices. But, she didn’t want to celebrate with them. No. Angie wanted to celebrate with Mr. Wallace.

    Ah, but Mr. Wallace wouldn’t have celebrated her success. No. He wouldn’t have even given her the job, what with it originally being his and all. Who gives up a senior V.P position to someone like Angie?

    So, while everyone smiled in her face while silently throwing daggers with their eyes, lying to her with praise, Mr. Wallace was nowhere to be found. He would never come back to this office again. Or any other office.

    What with him being dead and all…

    Ah, the real reason for Angie’s celebration. She remembered being in this office weeks ago. Standing here, threatening Mr. Wallace because he wouldn’t give her what she deserved. His life. His office. So, she pushed him out of it.

    59 floors is a long way to fall. And wouldn’t he know it?

    So, maybe in a way, Mr. Wallace did celebrate with Angie after all. And he went all out. Boy, did he go out with a bang.

    But, no one else knew. That was the real reason to sip on champagne, enjoy a nice view, and chuckle under her breath at all her success.

  10. Lynn Ithaca says:

    “Planets. Rocks infused with living matter, rotating on their axis, revolving around a sun, attracting space detritus, meteors, and the unknown. A hunk of rock teeming with waste spewing beings. A lifeboat of anomalies. A host of humanity. A –” John felt a sharp slap on the back of his head.

    “Was your next line going to start with ‘In a world…..?’ ” Julie asked.

    “Well, you know I’m a big fan of Don Fontaine. I swear that guy was the voice of God.”

    They looked out the window of the International Space Station, in silence, wondering.

  11. Planets
    “Just pick one and land!” she yelled directly in my ear.
    “It’s not as simple as that…” I tried to explain calmly. As calmly as I could… considering.
    “Put them up on the screen. Let me see. I’ll pick…”
    I was getting frustrated, but I couldn’t let it show. Our lives depended on it.
    I put the nearest planet up on the screen.
    “Ooh… that’s a pretty one!” she cooed, distracted by the swirling colors of poisonous gas. “Land there!”
    I held my composure, while waiting for the computer to figure out not just where we were, but whether the system where we found ourselves unceremoniously dumped had any survivable planets.
    “We can not land here. It is poisonous, and has no discernable solid surface.” I looked her directly in the eyes, willing the ditzy rich girl to just… understand. “It is a physical impossibility.”
    “Oh, pooh.” she pouted, and absentmindedly fiddled with the co-pilot controls. I kept myself from slapping her silly and just disabled them from my own position.
    The computer had tallied the next planet, and a picture came up on the screen. “What about that one?” she asked. We went through the same procedure three times, her pouting as I explained why landing on any of the planets was a physical impossibility as I counted down the minutes we had left.
    I calculated in my head how much longer I could live if she… would… just… stop… talking…
    Finally, a chunk of rock showed up, and I whooped with delight. It was a mining outpost, actually an inhabited moon, and they were receiving our distress call.
    “Ew… what’s that? That doesn’t look nice.” she said, and I knew exactly how many minutes I could save if the tiny craft only had to provide air for one.
    Fortunately, I did not need to conserve our life support any longer.
    Rescue was on the way.
    And I avoided a murder charge.
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  12. “Stars, in their multitudes, scarce to be counted…” sang Roger Allam, in my recording of Les Miserables, pouring through my stereo speakers.

    “What production had your favorite Javert, London or Broadway?” Mark asked as we studied for our astronomy test.

    “London, hands down. Roger Allam was the benchmark,” I replied, flipping through my book to find a particular answer. “How many planets did Mr. Mastersen say had been discovered so far?”

    “Crap, I don’t remember. Isn’t it in there?”

    “If it is, I can’t find it,” I replied, shoving my textbook away. “I’m going to fail this test, I know it.”

    “You’ll get it,” Mark encouraged. “Just quote Les Mis if that question is on the test.”


    “Put down ‘Scarce to be counted in their multitudes.’”

    I laughed. “Mark, while that is a great idea, he won’t give me credit for that answer.”

    He shrugged and went back to his book. “You never know.”


  13. “Which ones are the planets?” little Jane asked as she pointed up to the stars in the dark sky. We lay on a blanket on the grass in our back yard. My little daughter’s head rested at the crook of my arm.

    “I’m not sure, hon. Maybe the larger ones?” I asked, trying to identify one that might help. I shifted slightly, to find more comfort, as the hard ground pressed against my back. The air was warm was warm and still. But the coolness of the grass was comforting.

    “Like that one? The one that looks like it’s just above us.”

    I still couldn’t tell which one she was pointing at. There were millions of them, riddling the black sky. “Maybe, babe.”

    “How about that one?” she moved her arm along the sky, still pointing.

    “That looks like a shooting star to me.”

    “Nana told me she’ll become one when she dies.”

    My throat tightened. It wasn’t much longer before her grandmother would leave us. “Is that what she said?”

    Jane nodded. “She said that when she died, she would become a star so she could watch over us every day.”

    I sighed. A hot tear, ran down the side of my face into my hair. I shifted my head slightly so she wouldn’t see. “I sure hope she’s right, honey. I really do.”

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  14. Jennifer Brinn says:

    When we looked to the stars, we wanted planets to be there. Hidden behind the brilliance of light, tiny as we were in comparison to the sun. Now we’ve found them, and wish it weren’t so.

    I walk on the shore of a distant land. Behind me, children play, unaware of the dangers. There was a reason we’d never been visited by aliens. They knew better than we that each life only gets one world. Just one. Because science hadn’t caught up to the matter of what the Others call something that means “home soul.” That’s a stupid translation. It just means that we’re stuck on that broken Earth, because without its internal rhythms, we can’t survive.

    I know this, yet I’m here among the tourists. It takes a long time for the true travel sickness to manifest. Once it does, any additional time means a death sentence. And death, so far from the planet that gave us life, is one of unpleasant solitude.


    This is where he died. If there is a soul, his is lost here on this distant world when we learned the truth. Unlike the children who dance in the violet grass-like meadows, who can go home after a week or two, he never will.

    And neither will I.

  15. N.R. Brown says:

    The boardroom was silent, for th most part. Only the ocassional whisper exchanged between partners to defile the rage that simmered beneath the surface. The groups had arranged themselves according to direction but the two most powerful, the Yakuza to the east and the Mob to the west were the ones everyone watched.
    “Fine!”. Said the lawyer from the mob. “We will take possession of the Earth, but in exchange we get one planet of our choice.”
    “one condition, you ca’t destroy it” said the lawyer from the Yakuza.
    The room sighed. We were back at square one, again.

  16. Time’s up, folks! See you at the new time, 2:00, with the finalists!
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  17. N.R. Brown says:

    Btw, participating via iPad virtual keyboard=no fun!!! 🙂 Forgive the typos, please.
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  18. Sent via email. *waves from Seattle*

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  19. He did indeed. Posting from an iPhone (or the virtual keyboard on an iPad) takes dedication. 🙂

    Here’s Day Al-Mohamed’s:

    “Planets, swirling giant spheres, their colors a kaliedascope as they move through a cosmic dance that has been unchanged for millennia. The sheer physics of their momentum offers us a glimpse…what? Why’re you making that face?” Barry asked, pulling on his tie and patting down his white hair.

    I sighed and straightened his nametag, “I think it’d be much better if you didn’t sound like some documentary. Maybe something more entertaining and simple?”

    The retired astronomer huffed and snorted, slightly offended, “This is my first observatory tour in 30 years. This should be educational, professional and thorough.”

    I eyed him narrowly, “Barry, they’re 6 year olds.”

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  20. spbowers says:

    Aaaahhh, I totaly missed the new start time. I’ll have to remember to put the kids down for a nap a little early on tuesdays.
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  21. redshirt6 says:

    Totally didn’t realize the new time. Oh well, I’ll read and vote this week. See you next week at the new time!


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