Without further ado...
Judge This Week: Rin
Word count: 300 max
How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter hand or blog if you have any). Only one entry per person.
Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT!
Results announced: Next Wednesday (late afternoon).
Remember: The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Don't forget, entries must begin with the prompt!) Pictures are only intended for inspiration(and our amusement) an do not need to be included in your story.
"You have about ten seconds to explain why you pretended to..."
Excerpt of the official inquest into the death of Marie-Augustine Aguillard, the sole fatality in the tragic events of October 22nd, 1895
"You have about ten seconds to explain why you pretended to..."
“What, sir? Know what I’m talking about? Are you suggesting that I am speaking through my hat? Do you doubt my words?”
“Yes, after a fashion. This inquest doesn’t have time for obfuscation. We have here a tragedy of epic proportion. Mr. Westinghouse has categorically stood behind his air brakes. To suggest for even a moment that his mechanism was in some way responsible for this human–caused accident is scandalous, sir.”
“I was there that day, sir, at the Gare Montparnasse Terminal, waiting for my wife who had been visiting family. We had travelled, in point of fact, to France specifically for her to reunite with cousins from her mother’s side of the family. They live in Mont Saint-Michel Bay. She had extended her stay and I was most anxious to see her. We had never been apart.”
“This does not make you an expert in train catastrophes. Not by a long shot, sir. You told the examining magistrate that, from your vantage point, the express was clearly travelling at…and I believe these were your exact words…”an irresponsibly fast clip but not so fast as to render reliable airbrakes inoperable.”
“My exact words. As for the accuracy of my statements, I have a brother who lives in Wilmerding, who once worked at Mr. Westinghouse’s Air Brake Factory, and who once let slip that a socialist contingent within the factory workforce were systematically sabotaging the product.”
“Slanderous gossip. Utter nonsense. We all regret the death of poor Mrs. Aguillard but it was an Act of God, if it was anything. To suggest that hard-working Americans had anything to do with the peculiarities of fate is shameful.”
“I know what I know, sir.”
“Which, I submit, is next to nothing.”
300 speculative words
Excellent. Has the real ring of authenticity :)Delete
Thank you, Steph.Delete
Everybody’s Got a BackstoryReplyDelete
“You have about ten seconds to explain why you pretended you couldn’t speak English all day.”
I’d mastered pre-adolescent miscreants. If only they would figure that out. I was down to ten minutes before the buses left.
This kid. I was pretty sure “Bella” was a nickname for “Belligerence.” I amped my look from Marble to Daggers, and whipped out the Pregnant Pause. Seconds slid by. Daggers flowed full throttle while my mind wandered to the letter waiting on my kitchen table. I’d pulled it out of my recycling after Tuesday’s fiasco.
My eyebrows raised.
“She screamed at us all day.” The bologna sandwich of the excuse-world.
I nodded. “Interesting. And you knew this before you’d met her.”
I almost copped that smirk dancing on the corners of her face. “Yeah, all the kids knew. She’s… ”
My eyes closed and then snapped open. “Fascinating. How long have you been developing your prophetic skills?”
I watched the vocabulary trying to find a synapse. “She always…”
I didn’t have this kind of time. “Don’t play me. She was a new sub to our building. Ya’ll took one look at her and went for it.”
“No. You’ve got one week of lunch detentions.” I started packing my things.
“I ain’t going to no…”
“Okay. Well, then we can call Papi and have him come to escort you. ¿Quieres eso?” She knew the smile was fake. “Now get out onto that bus. See you tomorrow at lunch.”
She stormed away, muttering words I’d never dare to use. A sigh exploded from my depths as I crammed things into my bag.
“I’m calling them. I can’t do this anymore.”
One experiment and I’d be set for life. At this point, it didn’t matter how dangerous it was.
"You have precisely ten seconds to explain why you pretended to like trains." Donald produced his Conductor's Pocket Watch, and clicked a button.
The stopwatch echoed softly through the Train Society Historical Museum.
Jennifer could hear it ticking, but didn't care about the time limit. She batted false eyelashes at her husband. "What makes you say that?"
"You looked at that tragic Montparnasse photo and smirked. You muttered, 'Haha. Good riddance'. No train aficionado would ever say that."
"I hate trains. I hate toy trains, model trains, real trains, train museums...” Her voice rose. “Steam trains, diesel trains, bullet trains, train Christmas ornaments, train coffee cups, sexy train engineer outfits... I hate 'em all."
The other docents were now watching them, intent as prairie dogs upon a passing hawk.
Donald sobbed. "We met at a train expo!"
She smiled nastily. "Research. You know how much spare cash you train dweebs blow on your little hobby? Disposable income!"
"So you showed up at that train convention digging for gold. Everything was a lie."
"Oh, not everything. You're not so bad at the Choo-Choo-Tunnel Game." Jennifer straightened the strap of Donald's pinstriped engineer overalls.
"But you never loved me?"
"The only thing I ever loved about you was my prenup. No fault. 3200 shares in the Amalgamated North American Railway Network." She stepped back. "So I guess my lawyer will be hearin' from your lawyer”"
"That train's left the station," he snapped. He pulled out his commemorative, limited-edition 9MM Western Pacific Railroad Police Detective Pistol and shot her point-blank under the jaw, at an approximate 50º angle through her brain.
The docent team helped Donald clean up. Part of Jennifer's decomposed body washed up on a beach three months later. Her death? Declared a suicide.
We Trainiacs stick together.
Alana Guy Dill
@alanapaints on Twitter
“Adrian, you have about ten seconds to explain why you pretended to be a superhero.” Viv held the phone in her hand. “Otherwise, I’m calling the police and telling them who the ‘mystery man’ is.” She pointed to the TV, which was broadcasting the details of the incident and a blurry picture of a man in a blue, full-body suit and a mask.
Viv crossed her arms and gave me a hard stare over the top of her glasses.
I scratched the back of my neck and decided to go for the clueless approach. “Superhero? Me?” I laughed, but from the look on her face, it wasn’t convincing.
“Gallivanting around town in a sparkly suit doesn’t automatically give you super powers.”
“It’s not sparkly,” I said defensively.
A satisfied light gleamed in her narrowed eyes. “I knew it was you! Before I call and claim my reward, you’ve got an extra five seconds to share your reasoning behind dressing like an idiot and then fleeing the scene.”
“There’s nothing wrong with the suit and I wasn’t running away.”
She pushed her glasses up her nose. “Let me guess, you were trying to catch the ‘bad guy’? You can’t catch a speeding car on foot, you halfwit.” She pressed the call button. “This is for your own good - you’ll get hurt if you keep this nonsense up.”
“Breaking news!” Viv and I turned to the TV, where the reporter was excitedly relaying information. “It appears the man responsible for the accident was found near his car, cuffed to a sign post. He told the police that a man in a sparkly blue suit had stopped the car with his bare hands.”
The phone’s screen cracked as it hit the tiled floor. “Impossible,” Viv whispered.
I huffed. “It’s not sparkly.”
I love this.Delete
Thanks Alana! :)Delete
So much fun! The tension between the characters is offset perfectly by the preoccupation with costume sparkles.Delete
Thanks Nancy! Glad you enjoyed it. :) Maybe he'll get a better suit after this... ;PDelete
“You have about ten seconds to explain why you pretended to be an officer under my command before I have you shot on sight.” The gun didn’t waver, it was held by hands that didn’t shake.ReplyDelete
“I was trying to get close enough to save your life.” He said finally. “And I am one of your officers, just in another timeline.”
The MP’s burst in, weapons held at the ready, and recognition dawned a moment later as the now-prisoner leapt at one of the MP’s and struggled for his weapon. It took three tries to stun the MP long enough to wrench his laser pistol out of his hand. The trigger was depressed twice and the MP and the prisoner both fell and were still for a moment. It was a few tense moments before the prisoner stood, shakily to his feet. “I guess I know what happened to me in this timeline.” He said as the other MP rolled hid friend over and looked from one copy of the face to the other, one dead, one living.
A Sweeter ManReplyDelete
by Stephen Shirres @The_Red_Fleece
Word Count = 264
“You have about ten seconds to explain why you pretended to be me or I leave you forever.” Sarah stood over her seated sister Alyson. Her pale skin bright against the deep red chair.
“Because you deserved better.” Alyson sipped from her goblet. “He was one of those guys who always had a cigarette in his mouth. His blood was filthy.”
“That is not the point.” Sarah turned towards the bay window. Despite the curtains being pulled across, she stood as if the view was clear. “I choose to be his bride. I wanted him.”
“I brought you the priest. He was much sweeter.” Alyson took another drink.
Sarah looked back at her sister. “Men of God are always sweet but I wanted him, my husband to be.”
“Even though he didn’t notice he was marrying your sister rather than you.” Alyson couldn’t help but smile.
“So he was an idiot.”
“No, he was scum.”
Sarah wanted to slap Alyson’s goblet out of her hand but it was such a waste. What made it worse was that Alyson was right. He wasn’t good enough; the priest was far better prize. Sarah took her goblet from the table between their high backed chairs and drunk it dry. “Get me another?”
Alyson smiled again. Sarah’s request was the closest thing she’d ever get to an apology. She nodded, “with pleasure.”
Sarah rose from her seat and walked across to the wall where the Priest had been pinned in the shape of his saviour. From the blood that dripped from his side, she refilled her sister’s cup.
Sibling rivalry taken to a whole new level. Loved the last para and the image of the crucified Priest.Delete
Glad you enjoyed it Steph.Delete
by Sara Codair
"You have ten seconds to explain why you pretended to be a poodle,” said Dean Dellastair.
Kayden, who was now in the form of a llama with a poodle’s haircut just brayed in response.
“You’re an idiot,” said Dean Dellastair.
Kayden spat at him. His llama brain wasn’t capable of as much thought as the human one or the poodle one. Spitting was the only response he thought was appropriate for the dean’s tone.
Dean Dellastair, on the other hand, was capable of much harsher thoughts and words. He started shouting in words Kayden’s llama brain couldn’t comprehend, until Kayden’s body began to shrink and twist and sprout feathers.
“Now you should be able to respond intelligently,” said the Dean.
“Polly want a cracker,” cawed Kayden. He flapped his wings soared out of the deans reach, finally free from the school his idiot parents were forcing him to attend.
The Long ConReplyDelete
by Brian Cohn
"You have about ten seconds to explain why you pretended to..." He stopped and winced as a wave of pain washed over him.
When it passed he looked back, hoping to find pity in her face, instead finding only cold eyes and grim determination.
"Pretended to what?" she asked. "To be in love with you? That's a bit dramatic, isn't it? A wound like that'll take more than a few seconds to kill you. I'd say you've got five minutes at least."
She turned and set the gun on the bedside table, then sank heavily onto the bed, jostling him where he lay.
"Because you were playing me this whole time."
"No," he started. "I would never...Why would you—"
"Because I talked to Charlie. He told me everything."
"Charlie?" He coughed and winced again, then said, "Charlie's a fucking con artist."
"Yeah, well so am I. And so are you. And Charlie's your partner."
He laughed softly, his hand cradling the wound in his lower abdomen. "Jesus Christ. There are no partners in this game, only—"
"—only traitors you haven't met. Yeah, I remember. You told me that the day we met."
"Then why would you believe that asshole?"
She sneered at him, betraying her emotions for the first time since pulling the trigger.
"He played me the tape. That's why."
"Yeah. The one where you said it was over. That it was time for the long con."
He laughed again, harder this time, enduring the pain. He closed his eyes, his already pale face turning as white as the sheets around him.
He drew in one last breath, and when he spoke his voice was barely a whisper. "That's right. The long con. I was going to ask you to marry me."
Back on TrackReplyDelete
by Nancy Chenier
"You have about ten seconds to explain why you pretended to know me."
The only reason she’s giving me ten seconds and not speed-dialing the cops is because of my eye color--the same as that of the teaching assistant for her astronomy elective. She’s spent most of the semester paying more attention to his grey-blue peepers than to Lagrange points or red shifts. She stares into mine, probably wondering if I’m a sister.
Rail Faire bustles around us. Corn-on-the-cob stands, animal balloons, locomotive memorabilia—all contend to worsen my vertigo.
Ten seconds isn’t enough, but it beats last time. Did you know that your body can scream on a cellular level? The paradoxes strain to resolve themselves. It’s nothing personal (despite what it feels like).
The rumble goads me. A thunderous sound. Inevitable as taxes.
"You failed yesterday’s test," I croak, yanking her away from the old station facade.
"Dr. Adams." Weird to refer to him like that. All my life she has been Dr. Adams.
"What about him?" She wrenches her arm out free. I’m about to get a hand blade to my throat (like two times ago).
I duck before it happens. "You need to visit him in office hours."
At that moment, the nostalgic train excursion ends in disaster. A concussion of glass sends us to the pavement, but I’ve steered us far enough away that she’s no longer a casualty.
Screams—metal and human—settle with the concrete dust.
I help her up. "If you want to save your grade"—and your career and your project—"you need to discuss it with him. Pronto."
She sidles away from me like I have my priorities completely screwed up.
As my cells relax back into full existence. I whisper after her, "Good luck, Mom."
I love this one! Confusing at first, but in a good way that unravels as you read further! :)Delete
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