What Pegman Saw – Pride!

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code.

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Pride

“We must have gay rights!” declared Marcel, banging his fist on the bar. “Both parties pledged reform in the 2015 election. It’s time they lived up to their promises!”

Akeem watched him from his corner in the shadows. He loved Marcel’s courage, his forthright way of speaking. Less forgivably, in the eyes of most people, he loved Marcel’s strength, his beauty, his lustrous, curly black hair. He wanted to kiss him, but he was afraid. Besides, Marcel never noticed him…

“We shall have a Pride parade. Who’s up for it?”

Nobody stirred. Awkward conversations started. Everybody knew this was a gay bar, but Marcel had gone too far. Akeem’s pulse raced, and his breath came quick. He stood up and sidled to the bar where Marcel stood, dejected.

“I’m with you,” he said.

That June, he and Marcel danced hand in hand among the rainbow crowd of Guyana’s first Pride celebration.

Friday Fictioneers – Modesty

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story with a beginning, middle and end in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz link on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

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PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L Hays

Modesty

Faith had lost her temper and yelled at Mom. She had wept.

She groaned as she pressed the long sleeves of her best dress. Plain. Modesty wear. Not at all suitable for a Prom. Was she supposed to be so modest that no boy would look twice?

She felt even more despondent when she saw the bare arms and elegantly stockinged legs of the other girls. And were those boys laughing at her? Faith watched with trepidation as Adam – handsome, desirable Adam – detached himself from the group and approached her.

He hesitated, then, “Would you like to dance?” he asked.

 

kermit

Click here to join in!

 

Friday Fictioneers – Love in store

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

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PHOTO PROMPT © Marie Gail Stratford

Love in store

Spenser was a hunk, with dark hair and eyes, and a body sculpted by Praxiteles. He swaggered up to Laura, diminutive, bright, management potential.

“I’ve got tickets for a show tonight. Come with me?”

Laura shook her head.

“Thanks, Spense, but I’m busy.”

“Sure, Babe.”

Laura hoped her manager, Craig, would notice her refusal, and ask her out. She loved his gentleness.

Instead Craig said “I must have a word with Estelle,” and sidled across the floor.

“Estelle. Would you like to dine with me at The Purple Pig this evening?”

But, alas, glamorous Estelle only had eyes for – Spenser.

At first sight – part 2

While I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo I have no time to write fresh material for my blog, so I’m reposting a serial from 2017. In the first instalment Jon, a student in London, met Vikki and they fell in love. Unfortunately, Vikki has had to fly back to Australia leaving Jon in London. Will their love survive separation? Read on and find out!

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Despite the long flight from England to Australia, Vikki was up early on the morning after her return. She drank her coffee sitting in the kitchen so she could see the post arrive.

“You’re up early, Pet. Difficulty sleeping?”

Vikki gave her mum a hug.

“Body clock’s all wrong. I expect I’ll go back to bed after the post.”

Margaret Marsden gave her daughter a quizzical look.

“Post takes days from the UK,” she observed. “Would you like a croissant? I’ve been down to the bakery.”

“Mm, please.”

Vikki enjoyed having her mum all to herself over breakfast, but there was no letter in the post.

Daniel came to call on the third morning. His embrace wrapped Vikki in warmth and physical strength. His scent, the pleasant smell of a fit male body, almost overwhelmed her. “Am I allowed a kiss?” he asked.

Vikki proffered her cheek. Chastely, Daniel pecked it. He ran his hand through her honey-coloured hair. The look in his eyes spoke of everything other than chastity.

“We’re having a barbie out at Mothers’ Beach tonight. Do you fancy coming?”

Vikki moved away from him, and sat down on the other side of the sturdy wooden kitchen table.

“I’m a bit tired. Jet-lagged, I guess. I’ll give it a miss this time, if you don’t mind, Dan.” Dan shrugged.

“Jessica will be there.”

“Sorry, Dan, I’m going to have an early night. Maybe next time?”

She woke next morning feeling light-hearted and she was singing as she went downstairs.

“Postie was early this morning,” said her mum, gesturing at the envelope on the table.

The handwriting on the envelope was well formed and fluent. Vikki stared at it, turning it over and over, caressing it.

“Would you like a coffee to take to your room?”

“Gosh, thanks, Mum. That would be lovely.” She stroked her mum’s short, dark, curly hair. “You’re so good to me. It’s great to be back home.”

Dear Vikki

I hope your flight home went well and wasn’t too gruelling. And I hope you received the big family welcome you told me about, with lots of hugs and kisses from your sisters. (How jealous I am of your sisters…)”

Vikki frowned, then sighed. Maybe Jon was premature in writing a love letter, but she couldn’t pretend to herself that she didn’t feel the same powerful attraction. Those few kisses with him after the party had been different from any she’d ever experienced.

We had so little time together before you had to leave today, and yet I feel that in some way we know the essence of each other. I hope you don’t think I’m being too pushy, but – I love you. Is it ridiculous to feel that some people are made for each other? Reason tells me it is. And yet, how strongly I feel that we belong together.”

Vikki nodded, thoughtfully. She knew what it was to be roused by a man; Dan excited her intensely, for instance; but, yes, what she had felt with Jon was different.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to see my Professor, to ask if he can arrange some more paid work for me supervising undergraduates in practical classes. It shouldn’t be too long before I can afford to fly out for a few weeks and stay close to you in a B&B or somewhere. If you want me to, of course.”

Vikki’s face lit up. She read the short paragraph a second time, and a third. She could think of nothing she would like better than to have Jon visit.

Four days earlier, as he had written the lines, Jon had agonised over this last sentence. Still, now it was done; he must close.

And now I’d better seal the envelope and post the letter.

With all my love,

Jon”

He looked at the crumpled balls of paper on his desk, the discarded drafts. The letter had taken him the whole evening to write. Feeling foolish and infantile for doing so, he nevertheless touched his lips to the fair copy. He slipped it into the envelope, and tucked it into the inside pocket of his jacket. A great wave of exhilaration lifted him. He trotted down the stairs and out into the night.

Two strong arms seized him, one pinning his elbows against his ribs, the other pressing like an iron bar across his throat. There was a faint scent of expensive cologne.

“I think you know Vikki’s Australian address,” hissed Guy.

The next episode will be posted tomorrow, 21st Novemeber. Don’t miss it!

 

Some you win

One of the blessings of maturity is that you realise that winning is not the be-all and end-all of life. Sometimes trying too hard to win can cost you a high price. This short story tells how Damien and Gill, Sue and Tim, compete in the College tennis tournament. The prize for winning is a trophy. But what might you lose if you pursue it ruthlessly?

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“Did you manage those problems for our physics tutorial next Monday?”

Sue and Gill had brought folding chairs into the quad so they could enjoy the sunshine of a glorious early June morning while they studied. Gill nodded.

“Yes, I think so.”

“I suppose you couldn’t go through them with me? I’m struggling to do even one of them.”

Gill looked up from her book. “Do you mind if I just finish this section?”

“No, of course not. I’ll go and fetch the work I’ve done so far.” Sue jumped to her feet and bounded up three flights of stairs to her room, gathered an untidy armful of papers from her desk, and scuttled back down.

Gill looked through the assortment of pages until she found the first problem.

“Look!” she said. “You’ve almost finished this. You’re using the right equations, you’ve just made a mistake in the arithmetic.”

Sue scanned the paper.

“Oh, yes!” She took the paper from Gill and corrected the error. It didn’t take her many minutes to finish the problem. Meanwhile, Gill glanced through the others. ‘Sue seems to have completely misunderstood the concept’ she thought. Carefully she talked her friend through the work.

“Oh, wow! Thank you so much, Gill!” Sue hugged Gill warmly.

“Is this a private hugfest, or can anyone join in?” Gill jumped. Sue laughed.

“Hi, Tim!”

He leaned forward, and she kissed him tenderly. They’d been dating for a couple of months, and she could still hardly believe her luck. She gazed at him, eyes shining. Smiling he took both her hands in his, moving even closer. “Tim! Look out! You’ll have the chair over!”

“I’d better be off,” said Gill. “I must take this book back to the library.”

“Get off, Tim!” Sue pushed him away. “Gill, I’m really grateful for your help. Would you like to join a few of us punting on Saturday? We’re going up to Grantchester.”

“For a liquid lunch,” added Tim. “You’d be very welcome. Bring a friend if you like; there’s room for another one in the punt.”

“Yes, I’d love to join you.”

On her way to the library, Gill paused at the College notice board. The advertisement for the College tennis tournament was still there, and she looked to see whether Sue had signed it yet. She’d been talking about it for ages.

“How about teaming up for the tennis this afternoon?” Gill jumped. She hadn’t heard Damien approach.

“I’m not very good,” she said.

“No problem. I’m no good either. But I expect it will be fun!”

Gill smiled shyly at him. “As long as you’re sure you don’t mind if I’m useless.” Her blue eyes, with their long dark lashes, peered up at him from beneath a heavy fringe of blonde hair.

Damien fished a biro out of his pocket. “Damien and Gill”. His handwriting was neat, even on the vertical surface of the notice board. He grinned, teeth creamy against his short, curly beard. “Got a lecture now. See you at the tennis courts at a quarter to two!” Gill looked again at their two names, paired on the notice board. She stared at them for several long seconds.

Sue came panting up.

“Phew! Just as well the notice is still there. Tim would have killed me if we weren’t in the tourney. I said I’d sign us up last week!”

Hastily, she scrawled “Sue and Tim” onto the notice.

“Damien’s partnering you? Wow! Lucky you! What a hunk!”

“I just hope I don’t let him down.”

“Don’t worry. It won’t matter how badly you play. It’s not the tennis court where he hopes you’ll be brilliant!” Thus, the wisdom of a twenty-one year old to a nineteen year old. Gill blushed crimson.

As luck would have it, Damien and Gill were drawn against Sue and Tim in the first round. They were on Court 3, a pretty court a little distance from the pavilion. The grass was smooth, short, and scarcely worn. The lines were fresh and bright white. There were birch trees to shelter it from the prevailing wind.

Damien tossed the ball high and opened the match with a clean ace. Fifteen-love. Tim shook his head. He should at least have laid a racket on the service. Sue moved from the net to receive Damien’s next delivery.

“Go back a pace,” suggested Tim. “The ball came high off the ground.”

Sue retreated well behind the baseline. The service was fast. She poked at it, connected, and the ball plopped invitingly over the net, ideally placed for Gill to hit a winner. Gill swung hard, and despatched the ball heavily into the net. Fifteen all.

Tim was ready for the speed of Damien’s next service, but not for its direction. The ball swung fiercely and landed just the right side of the centre line. Tim’s attempt at a backhand return missed completely. Thirty-fifteen.

Sue stood well back again. Damien slightly mishit his serve, and Sue returned it straight down the line. Damien was left flat-footed. Thirty all.

Tim grinned. “Nice shot.”

A double-fault. Thirty-forty.

Damien’s next service was gentler, as he sought to recover his accuracy. Sue stepped in and hit the ball hard towards Gill, who squealed and dodged. Damien ran across court behind her and just retrieved the ball. Hit at full stretch, his shot rocketed down the line leaving Sue stranded. Deuce.

Damien’s next service was fast and accurate, but Tim returned it.

“Yours!” yelled Damien to Gill, inviting her to take the volley.

Gill turned. “What?” she asked. The ball bounced between them, neither of them touching it. Advantage Tim and Sue.

Trying to conceal his exasperation, Damien walked across to Gill.

“I’m sorry I distracted you,” he said. “When there’s a ball that either of us could hit, I’ll shout “Yours” if I want you to play the shot. And will you do the same for me, please?”

“Yes. Silly of me. Sorry.” She felt as though her blush extended right up to her hairline.

Damien double-faulted, and the game was lost.

After a while, Damien stopped trying to coach Gill. He tried to cover her, so that when she missed a shot he was able to keep the ball in play. For a while the strategy succeeded. They were ahead three games to two after Damien’s second service game.

Tim was next to serve. Damien won the first point with a blistering return. Tim served to Gill. The sun was in his eyes, and the ball went into the net. His second service was slightly mishit, and bounced well for Gill. She gritted her teeth, opened her shoulders, and swung with venom and frustration. The ball flew between Tim and Sue, bouncing just inside the baseline.

Tim put down his racket and applauded. “Good shot!” he called. Sue ran up to the net, beckoning to Gill to come close.

“Don’t let Damien get you down,” she whispered. “Play for yourself, not for him.”

Gill tried to take the advice, and she did, indeed, play a few more good shots. But all the time she felt that Damien was watching her, covering for her, trying to win the match for both of them by his own efforts. Her shoulders slumped, and the corners of her mouth turned down. She trudged from place to place on the court, wondering what she was doing there, and longing for the ordeal to be over.

Slowly the first set slipped away from Damien and Gill.

Sue and Tim were starting to show their quality. Tim played hard. ‘The quicker we win, the less embarrassing it will be for Gill,’ he thought.

Sue became very cross at her friend’s humiliation. When one of her shots hit Damien in the face, she was hard pressed not to show her delight. Sue and Tim won the second set six-one, and with it the match.

As soon as they’d all shaken hands, Sue grabbed Gill, and walked back to the pavilion with her. Damien watched them go. He’d begun to half-realise that Gill was upset. He watched as Sue passed Gill a tissue to wipe her eyes.

‘Shit!’ he thought. ‘You stupid so-and-so. You’ve totally blown it!’

He looked at Tim, who shrugged. “Not clever, Damien. Not clever at all.”

Damien looked towards the pavilion. Would it be worth trying to apologise? No. That would just make matters worse. He chucked his racket into his bag and slunk away to sit and sulk in his room.

Tim sauntered back to the pavilion. Perhaps tomorrow he would invite Damien to the punting party, give him a chance to recover his position with Gill. He’d better check that with Sue first, though. He couldn’t be completely sure, but he thought she’d deliberately tried to hurt Damien in that second set…