Scribblers 4.

 

A Dash of Flash

 

To find and join our group of writers, please go to.

http://scribblers.freeforums.net/thread/1099/flash-fiction-july-27th-results?page

These are the picks from a word prompt.

 

From Suzycue

JUST A SIP

As Tania pulled up at the red light, her washy, blue eyes were immediately drawn to the plastic bottle teasing her from its recess. The lure of the liquid overpowered her… she leaned over and took a generous swig.

She pulled on to the office car park, placed the bottle in her bag then made her way up the stairs to her office, shutting the door firmly behind her. The effort of the stairs had taken its toll… she carefully dabbed at the beads of perspiration that had erupted on her forehead, then switched on her computer. She had become accustomed to and tolerant of, the thumping headaches, the constant anxiety and nausea. She again reached for the plastic bottle labelled ‘Spring Water’ and took another gulp.

Mike, her boss, popped his head round the door. “Morning Tania, have you finished that report I asked for?”

“I’m on to it,” she lied, panic beginning to rise in her.

He stood for a moment, appraising her. “You okay? You’ve been looking really tired and pale lately.”

“I’m fine, Mike, just not sleeping great, that’s all.”

“Have you tried a glass or two of wine? Works a treat for me.”

“I’ll bear it in mind. Thanks for asking, but really, I’m fine!

“As you know, the board meeting’s at two. I need to study the figures in advance, so can you make sure I get that report by twelve o’clock latest.”

“No problem.”

She stared hard at the computer screen, tears beginning to well in her eyes. It had hit her like a sledgehammer when Dan had called time on their relationship. His fervent denials of another woman had, in fact, turned out to be true, but she had been both shocked and stunned when he finally confessed to finishing their relationship for the new love of his life… another man!

The vodka had initially dulled her pain, her emptiness and her humiliation, but it had quickly escalated into a toxic dependence, one that ruled every aspect of her life. She lost touch with friends, had become a sly, scheming liar and a first-class actress, consumed with guilt and shame.

Unable to focus her addled brain, she turned off her computer, slipped on her jacket and walked to her car. On the way home she stopped to buy another two bottles of vodka and drove back to her flat in a haze… to drink herself into oblivion!

***********

When Tania regained consciousness she was lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to an intravenous drip. The harsh reality of her potentially fatal addiction was delivered by a stern doctor at her bedside. For the first time in eighteen months, she was sober and the gravity of the situation shocked her to the core… if she sank any lower it would be into her grave. Coming face to face with her own mortality ignited a flame of determination that burned inside her. She would beat this… she had to!

During Tania’s detox programme, her Mum had revealed a closely guarded, shameful family secret… her Grandmother had succumbed to chronic alcohol addiction, which had eventually claimed her life. It was concluded that Tania had inherited a predisposition for it, and just one sip could result in a relapse.

Pieces of her childhood began to fall into place. Recollections of heated arguments, images of her Grandmother slumped face down in her Christmas lunch… her Mum’s livid face. But now she felt only pity for her ‘shamed’ Grandmother who, like herself, had needed help not persecution.

***********

“It’s great to have you back, Tania. Look, I’ll level with you, I hate these return-to-work interviews, but I have to say, you look and seem so much more like your old self. I’m so pleased you’re…”

“Sober?” Tania interrupted. “There’s no need to tread on egg shells, Mike. I’m a recovering alcoholic, and will always be. Apparently, it’s in my genes… my Nan fell victim to it. I was a mess and in a really dark place, one I don’t ever intend to revisit. So from now on its a life of sobriety for me, and you know what, bring it on.”

A relieved smile spread across Mike’s tense face. “That’s good to hear. Looking back, I should have noticed the signs… you were no longer on the ball and seemed permanently tired… to think I even encouraged you to have a glass of wine to help you sleep! When your Mum rang to explain what had happened, it was a wake-up call for me too… I was drinking far too much, since then I’ve cut right back.”

“That’s where you and me differ, Mike. I’m incapable of cutting back, it’s all or nothing… I dare not even risk a sip… that’s how I’m wired.”

“I appreciate your honesty, Tania, and admire your determination.”

***********

“I can pick you up if you like, so you can have a drink.” Tania offered.

“I can’t believe its Christmas already. I suppose it would look bad if I didn’t go.”

“Pick you up at eight then?”

“If you must.”

Tania smiled. “Mike, its the staff Christmas party, not a funeral.”

“Bah Humbug.”

“Pick you up later.”

***********

“Go on Tania, one won’t hurt,” Chrissy yelled over the disco.

“Yeah, let your hair down for once, it’s Christmas,” Spence added. “What can I get you?”

“Just a soda and black, please. Spence, I don’t need alcohol to have a good time.” She thought back to last Christmas, spent in a miserable drunken stupor. She turned to Mike. “I love this song, come on, it’s time you had a dance.”

Chrissy and Spence linked arms and sauntered over to the bar. Spence ordered their drinks and a Soda and black for Tania. “Go on,” Chrissy encouraged, she’s such a stick in the mud.”

“Can you put a double shot of vodka in that,” Spence asked, with a wink and a wry smile.”

 

 

 

From Toni

DETAILS MATTER

 

I decided my future path very early in life, about age ten as I recall, when Sue Gleeson twitted me once too often about my stutter. She never did find out about Tiddles, the stupid cat she was always boasting about. And a few months later Dave Moreton’s dog disappeared too. Humiliating me in front of the whole school. I can’t help the name my parents saddled me with. I always get my revenge.

 

I realised the possibilities of social network sites very early on. My brain works that way – always one step ahead of the mob. So over the years I joined them all – Netbookers, Palster, Moodler, DateMe, Liaisons – in different names of course, sometimes a young girl, sometimes a young man my own age, sometimes a mature older woman. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as normal as the next man—I just love women to death. Hehe. Gettit!

 

But sometimes I get the urge to get involved with the schoolkids, to sort of make up for the stuff I missed out on. Geek-beak, they called me then. What with the stutter, the big nose, the unfortunate name, and the giant intellect I had a pretty miserable time in school. That’s gone now, the nose; it’s just a normal nose. My parents could have had it fixed any time but they were too mean. Of course, I managed to play my little “tricks” on all of them, one way or another. The stutter too. Using my very personalised therapy.

 

And in case you are wondering, no, I’m not into grooming kids. That’s a sort of little break for me, away from the serious stuff.

 

But for the best trick I waited until I was legally adult. So I could inherit, see.

 

After the house fire that killed my “beloved” parents the insurance payout on their million-dollar property and dad’s life insurance (too mean to insure mumsie) meant I could do whatever I wanted, go wherever I pleased. I became a pretty astute investor which gave me more than enough to live the simple life I wanted without the tedium of a nine to five.

 

So I did. Bought a bike, not a Harley, just a nice medium sized Suzuki. Quite big enough to get me from A to B to C. Three months here, three months there. I picked up a new ID in each town, they come in handy. It’s amazing how trusting lonely women can be.

 

Police didn’t have a clue.

 

 

So which face shall it be this time? MaryAnne Benson, Lizzy Smythe?

 

Sarah White? Maybe. Brunette, 40-ish, attractive in a matronly way, non-threatening. Ah yes, why not dear Sarah. We had a lot of fun and she twigged pretty quickly what I was up too. A matter of like recognising like.

 

Not that she was really competition as she was after their bank accounts and I was after the owners of those accounts. We parted a little … shall we say, unpleasantly. Mace at dawn! Not quite that but I did notice the gun in her handbag. I don’t think she saw my knife.

 

No, on second thoughts, best leave that one alone.

 

I’ll try DateMe this time, since I’ve used Liaisons twice now. It’s a bit cheaper than Liaisons too. Not that the cost would bother me but it’s always good to save money when you can.

 

My DateMe name: Margo K. Age range: 40s. Seeking: F 35 to 55.

About me: Recently widowed, I’m new in town and looking for female companionship for outings, dinner, concerts, plays. Friendship only.

 

There that’s done. If it’s anything like the other places I should get responses fairly soon. Well, there you are. One, two, three … bingo. Rebecca S. Bit frumpy but I never let that bother me.

 

We are meeting tonight, going to see a play. Rebecca tells me her daughter is playing the lead and even though it’s an amateur company they have an excellent reputation. I can’t imagine anything more tedious but of course I won’t actually be subjecting myself to that particular torture.

 

In case you are wondering, I never dress as a woman. No, I’ll be wearing my usual jeans, trainers and black hoodie. I buy them new in each town, then bin ’em well away from … well, you know.

 

This is a very dull suburban place to have a theatre, but there it is, The Victoria – looks as though it was once a cinema. I’ll park the bike around the corner and wait out front. She’ll just see this chap waiting for his girlfriend and maybe we’ll get chatting while she waits for Margo. Not that it’ll make any difference.

 

Funny there don’t seem to be any folk around.

 

And there she is. Rebecca. Bit on the scrawny side, but that makes it easier. The knife should slide in easily.

 

Hang on. No, it can’t be … ! What did she say? Becky Smythe. Her cousin? What’s she holding?

 

“I’m Becky Smythe. This is for Lizzy.”

 

I get careless just once!

 

Nooo!

 

 

From Baccus

Spinning Out of Control

He had been hooked at the age of eleven when he first saw a plate spinner. Awesome. He wanted to be able to do that. In fact, he wanted to become the best plate spinner in the world, with the most plates spinning. It took a lot of trial and error to arrive at the ideal shaped poles for the gyroscopic effect, and to save up for his own plates because his mother put her foot down at the third breakage.

By the time he was eighteen, he was making a living from his act which involved spinning fifty plates while behaving like an idiot and telling a few jokes. Money for old rope. That said, fifty was nowhere near the world record. His ambitions of becoming the best spinner ever had slowly drained out of him along with the pleasure of learning and performing. It was as repetitive and boring as any mindless job, but at least it was a short act that paid reasonably well.

One night, as he was setting his fortieth plate spinning, he noticed a child – a boy of about eleven – gazing up at him with a look of awe on his face. It felt like staring back in time at himself. There was nothing to be amazed by. At eighteen, the spinner knew he should be studying to be a doctor or an engineer – something useful and challenging. He had squandered his youth on a pointless act of trivia, and he could see the child falling into the same trap.

There was a knack to keeping the plates spinning. There was also a knack to stopping them, and it was a spectacular knack, a chaotic chain reaction. Of course he would never do this on stage. It had only ever happened during practice. If a plate spinner were to appear clumsy, that would instantly break the spell. And it did. As forty sticks began lurching like drunkards and forty plates smashed noisily onto the floor, the child turned his back and walked away.