“Long Time No See.” Rainbow Snippet from Jeff Baker, July 3, 2022.

Photo by Ben Mack on Pexels.com

Every week we post six lines from a work of ours, a work-in-progress or a work of someone else’s that has at least one LGBT character, posted on the Rainbow Snippets page, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

This flash fiction piece, posted here https://authorjeffbaker.com/2021/02/26/long-time-no-see-friday-flash-fics-by-jeff-baker-february-26-2021/ is for all of us who feel like high school and college were a hundred years ago. For youngish-looking Andrew Dominski, it actually was…

Here’s snippet one from my story “Long Time No See” where we catch up with Andrew at his school reunion…

“What have you been doing with yourself?” Dewayne asked.

“Um, various jobs.” I said. “Worked out of a warehouse for a while. Drove a delivery van.” Got picked by some alien overlords for a few galaxy and time-spanning missions; spent some time in the 1800s, lived through Reconstruction twice, that was no fun, I thought.

Here’s snippet two, after Andrew finds that his unrequited College crush Kenny is gay and happily married to Marc. He asks Mark and Kenny if it’s okay if he and Kenny have the next dance:

Kenny nodded and we made our way onto the dance floor as the band slowed the music down. We held each other and danced and I don’t think anybody noticed.

“You doing okay?” Kenny asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “Yeah, I am.” The dance was worth waiting a hundred years for.

Okay, that’s it for this week! May all your dances be wonderful and may you not have to wait a century! ——-j

Posted in Fiction, LGBT, Rainbow Snippets, Science Fiction | 2 Comments

Summer Nights. Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker, July 1, 2022.

Summer Nights

by Jeff Baker

The late afternoon shadows stretched toward the first-floor corner window of the dorm. Inside the four friends sat around in the dim light, blinds drawn, radio turned low to a rock station.

Chris Goldman sat on the floor by his bed, his shaky fingers flattening the cigarette papers he had spread on the two dictionaries laying side by side on his dorm room floor.

“Okay, who’s first?” Chris asked.

“You go first,” Laura Scott said.

“Yeah,” Will McAndrews said kissing her. The two of them were sitting together on the other bed in the room snuggling in the space cleared by pushing Chris’ books to one side.

“I think I got this right,” Chris said shaking the dried leaves from the envelope onto one of the papers. “Hey, you checked that door was locked?”

“I should have brought the padlock,” Deborah Arno said. “We don’t want someone coming in and catching us while you’re rolling up tobacco when you could have gone down to the store and picked up a pack. You know they make them pre-rolled?”

“Yeah, yeah. I know.” Chris said. “Just my older brother said he used to do it this way and what’s the use of being here by ourselves for the summer if we aren’t gonna be adventurous.”

“We’re hardly by ourselves,” Deborah said. “They sure aren’t,” she said indicating the bed where Will and Laura were moving from PG to PG-13.

“Yeah, but we study, we eat, we go to class, we work,” Chris said. “These are the days we should be able to tell our kids about.”

“Like how this room still has a five year old calendar on the wall?” Deborah said.

The calendar, with a picture of a stagecoach in front of a Colorado mountain was dated 1977.

“That’s an heirloom,” Chris said. “It was here when I moved in with Pete. It had been here when he moved in. Look on the back, I think everybody who lived in here signed it.” He looked up. “I think they did.”

“You know, maybe we should all sign and date that thing,” Laura said.

“Mmmmmmph?” Will said, nibbling on Laura’s neck.

Laura, Chris and Deborah started to laugh.

There was a huge burst of sound as Chris suddenly sneezed, the echo hanging on the walls for an instant. The tobacco scattered onto the smashed shag carpet.

“Okay, so much for that.” Chris said, standing up and brushing off his pants. “Who wants to see if the snack machine over in Huffman Hall is working?”

“After that,” Laura said, “we can see if we can find a vacuum cleaner.”

—end—

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Sleuthing Abord Ship for Friday Flash Fics (June 24, 2022) by Jeff Baker

The Mystery of the Venerable Beade

by Jeff Baker

“Golly!” Danny McFarlane said.

“Don’t say that, you sound like an old movie,” his older brother Russ said, grinning.

They stood on the sunny dock staring upwards at the masted ship there in the dock at Gravity Cove.

“The Venerable Beade,” Russ read aloud. “Or at least, a good copy of the Beade.”

“Yeah, but we’re not here to gawk.” Danny said. “Commodore Reginald is actually paying us to investigate.”

“Yeah, but what are we looking for?” Russ said. “Still, it beats mowing lawns.”

The McFarlane Brothers had gained a little notoriety by figuring out who was blackmailing the heads of the company their Dad worked for and then uncovered who was stealing money from the High School. Luckily, the story hadn’t been on the news or they couldn’t do any inconspicuous snooping.

Which in this case was as easy as buying a ticket and taking the tour of The Venerable Beade.

The ship had been built on orders of Commodore Reginald who had bought what was left of the original Venerable Beade which had been wrecked nearly 120 years earlier after Admiral Blankenship’s unsuccessful attempt to sail to the North Pole. Commodore Reginald was wealthy and eccentric which explained why he was paying the two brothers to investigate a ship he owned. He told them they would attract less attention “than a raft of policemen.”

He wasn’t sure what was wrong, but he knew that something was.

“Watch your head,” Danny said as they walked down the steps. “And quit humming that song.”

Russ had been humming the theme to Gilligan’s Island. He grinned again.

The Commodore had taken pains to make sure that everything on the ship was the way it had been in the Admiral’s time, except for a modern navigational aid and a radio. Picture hung over the cabin door, curtains on the window, engraved plaque on the wall, navigational charts.

And, most importantly, original timbers salvaged from the wreck of the original Venerable Beade incorporated into this copy of the ship.

If it was the copy. Commodore Reginald had a suspicion that this was yet another copy, minus the historically priceless timbers from the original ship. Something, he had explained, had felt wrong the one time he had been on the ship since returning from a six-month stay in the Far East.

Danny and Russ looked around the cabin, admittedly gawking at items nearly 175 years old.

Then, Russ called Danny over to one part of the cabin and pointed. Danny stared. Then the brothers turned and looked at each other with widening eyes.

It was two hours later and the boys were sipping on sodas in Commodore Reginald’s hotel suite and telling them what they found.

“It was the plaque on the wall,” Danny said. “They were careful copying everything on the ship but my guess is they had somebody else do the plaque and they slipped up.”

“It was a prayer Admiral Blankenship had inscribed,” Russ said.

“I remember. ‘God be with us whether we turn this ship to starboard or to port or go forward,’” the Commodore said.

“When was the last time you looked at that plaque?” Danny asked.

The Commodore shrugged. “I probably just barely glanced at it when I was looking around before I headed East,” the Commodore said.

“You said something felt wrong,” Russ said. “Well, that was it. Even clever criminals aren’t all that smart.”

“How so?”asked the Commodore.

“The plaque in the phony ship doesn’t read ‘Starboard’ or ‘Port,’” Danny said. “Instead it says ‘Right’ and ‘Left.’ That’s not in the original, we checked online. And anyway, ‘right’ and ‘left’ are not something a Nineteenth-Century Admiral would write in a prayer about his ship.”

“Oh, I should have noticed,” the Commodore said.

“I bet you did but it didn’t register,” Danny said.

The Commodore took a sip of his cognac. “Now, how do we find my ship?”

The boys looked at each other.

“That’s probably out of our league,” Danny said. “I’d say you call the police.”

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’d been reading through one of Leslie McFarlane’s original Hardy Boys mysteries, admiring his gripping storytelling and decided I’d do a riff on the whole thing. Hence, the McFarlane Brothers. Any errors in nautical terminology are mine. —–jeff baker, June 24, 2022

Posted in Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, McFarlane Brothers, Mystery, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Rainbow Snippets, June 24, 2022. “Dance of the Hours” by Jeff Baker.

Every week we post six lines from a work of ours, a work-in-progress or a work of someone else’s that has at least one LGBT character, posted on the Rainbow Snippets page, here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets

This week, a taste of October. I wrote this with Halloween in mind and posted it as one of my weekly flash fictions from a picture prompt (which is at the top of all this.) and posted on my blog in November 2016. Here’s the link:https://authorjeffbaker.com/2016/11/06/dance-of-the-hours-monday-flash-fics/

“Look! There they are!”

“Which one’s yours?”

“That one. The grey one with the creases.”

“Eeeeew! That tie!”

“Yeah. Birthday present. Any of those your clothes?”

Okay, here’s a little more.

“What did you do, anyway?”

“Same thing you did, told the old lady she was too old for trick-or-treating.”

“I told her she was pretty convincing as a witch but that we didn’t have any candy. Then, when I tried to get dressed for work this morning, my clothes just danced away!”

“Same here, I didn’t think she was a real witch!”

“Me either.”

Okay, the next lines are just too good not to post!

“ Hey, there’s my bathrobe!”

“Yeah, it’s dancing with my swimming trunks. I tried putting them on when my other clothes danced away.”

“Just glad nobody can see us back here.”

“Especially with that tan line, eeeeew!”

Okay, those snippets stretched the six lines a bit but they were fun! Hope everyone has a better week1

———-jeff baker

June 24, 2022.

Posted in Fantasy, LGBT, Monday Flash Fiction, Rainbow Snippets | 3 Comments

Hanging On; a Progress Report from Jeff Baker. June 23, 2022

Hanging On; a Progress Report

by Jeff Baker

A while back, when I started posting these reports my intention was to keep those regular readers informed on what I’m writing/doing.

And lately, as of June 2022, that hasn’t been a lot.

My Mom’s in a retirement home and about February she was hospitalized with pneumonia and was hospitalized (in the hospital and then in the care wing of the retirement home for about three months while she was treated and recuperated. She also has pancreatic cancer which had been dormant for a couple of years. She had a Doctor’s appointment and found that her tumor is growing.

So; my Mom has moved into Assisted Living, which is like an apartment only with intensive care people checking in on her. She is not in any discomfort, she can get around and she has her friends and seems to be pretty happy in her ninth decade.

Me, I spent the last month running around like a chicken with my head cut off, arranging to have some of my Mom’s furniture moved either to her new, smaller apartment or into storage.

So, now that the moving is done I get to take a breather. Checking in on Mom every day and doing a few other things. Little of which involves writing. I’ve managed to do the weekly and monthly flash fictions and write up my monthly Queer SciFi column, and that’s about it. I’ve put everything else on the back burner, including a full-length mystery a friend of mine gave some kind and helpful input on. To say nothing of a few other writing projects I was really hoping to have finished by now.

All I know is, I am hanging on and even the inevitable doesn’t seem as dire as it could have. If it wasn’t for Darryl I might be going crazy right about know but I have managed to blow off a lot of stress.

So, that’s about it for now.

More later.

—-jeff baker, june 23, 2022.

Posted in Non-Fiction, Progress Reports, Writing, Writing | 2 Comments

The Eyes of Argus Open for Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker. (June 18, 2022.)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: A day late with this, and I’m dipping here into my love of Mythology. And I have been around peacocks.

Argus Panoptes

by Jeff Baker

I served Queen Hera.

For her I spied, kept information and protected the transformed Io who was really the lover of her faithless husband Zeus. He had transformed her into a cow so Hera would not suspect another woman. But Hera knew; I had told her.

I am Argus Panoptes, “Argus the All-Seeing” or “Argus Many-Eyes.” And I did have many eyes. I was a Titan. I was mighty. And none could catch me by surprise.

Even when I slept, some of my eyes remained open.

But there was one stealthier than my sight. Hermes. Lord of swiftness and of travelers. He who could travel between Earth and the Underworld of the Dead.

He also practiced magic.

One day when I was guarding Io, Hermes passed by, I believed on one of his many missions.

I did not know his mission involved me.

Hermes called upon the power of slumber, made the sunlight drowsily warm, made the grassy ground look comfortable and inviting and before I realized it all of my eyes were closed and I was asleep.

An instant later, I was dead.

It was, of course, Hermes who escorted me to the Underworld, and he explained and apologized for what had just happened. But at the gate to Elysian Fields, there was a message for the Messenger. Hera wanted me, and I felt myself vanishing.

So, now my eyes and I still exist. I am on the feathers of the decorative bird, the Peacock. And I could still see wherever the peacocks were, I was, still spying for Queen Hera. Not a bad afterlife at all. The Peacock was Hera’s bird, her emblem and through me it became her avatar.

Now Hera and the other Gods are gone, ascended to what realm I do not know but I remain, witnessing the endless parade of life on this world. And wherever a peacock is, there I and my eyes are.

The peacock’s cry is a howl, but beneath it if you listen closely, you can hear my laughter.

Be seeing you!

—end—

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Romance, a Sopping Wet Sponge and a Country Road. June 2022’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge Results!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here’s the results for the June 2022 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge.

The Draws for the stories were:

A Romance

A Country Road

And a Sopping Wet Sponge.

E. H. Timms wrote “Returned With Interest.” https://thinkingthinking123.blogspot.com/2022/06/flash-fic-challenge-returned-with.html

And I wrote “The Road Home.” https://thinkingthinking123.blogspot.com/2022/06/flash-fic-challenge-returned-with.html

Thanks for participating and remember, it’s never too late to do a story for any of these challenges and post it to the challenge blog post and I’ll add it.

Since July 4th is a long weekend, I’ll do the next draw on Monday July 11th. See you then!

Posted in Fiction, LGBT, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Romance, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

“The Road Home” for the June 2022 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge by Jeff Baker.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The Road Home

By Jeff Baker

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for this month’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were:

A Romance on a Country Road including a sopping wet sponge. Here’s what I came up with.

There should have been a Moon, Shawn thought as the horses pulled the old wooden wagon full of hay down the old dirt road in the starlight. Trees to one side, open field to the other.

“Bet the horses would go this way even if you weren’t holding on,” Lonnie said sitting next to Shawn on the wagon’s front seat.

“My Dad always told me to hold on to the reins anyway,” Shawn said with a grin. “Anyway I think Summer Hayride ‘22 has been a success. Everybody seemed to have a good time.”

“Yeah, we didn’t even have to use this,” Lonnie said tapping the bucket full of water and a sponge on the floor beneath the seat with his foot.

“Still not sure why we bring a wet sponge along on the ride every year.” Shawn said.

“Tradition,” Lonnie said. “When my Granddad ran this ride his Dad kept a wet sponge around to throw at girls who got too fresh with their boyfriends.”

Shawn laughed. “Wish he could have seen the necking going on tonight.”

“Yeah, now that’s tradition,” Lonnie said. “Hey, what time is it, anyway?”

“About eleven-thirty,” Shawn said.

“Let’s make our own tradition,” Lonnie said sliding close enough in the seat to kiss Shawn on the cheek. Shawn turned around and kissed Lonnie’s lips. They lingered. The air felt warmer.

“That’s about the first time we’ve done that in public,” Lonnie said breathing heavily.

“What public?” Shawn said. We’re here alone.”

“Alone, my butt!” The voice came from behind them. “Get a room, guys!”

Shawn’s brother, Sky stuck his head out of the straw, his girlfriend hanging on to his neck. They were both laughing.

Shawn and Lonnie joined the laughter.

“Hey, you two behave back there,” Shawn said. “Or I’ll use the sponge on you!”

“I gotta work tomorrow morning,” Sky said. “Just decide. Either neck or get us home.”

“We can do both!” Lonnie laughed, kissing Shawn again.

The horses pulled the wagon down the well-worn road.

They had seen it all before.

—end—

Posted in Fiction, LGBT, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Romance, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Mergen. Friday Flash Fics for June 10, 2022 by Jeff Baker (as Michael J. Mayak.)

Mergen

by Michael J. Mayak

Damn!

Mergen spun around too late as the rings surrounded his head like fallen halos.

They were screened somehow, still were. Even with Mergen’s advanced sensory powers he couldn’t make them out clearly.

He tried hitting them with a telepathic bolt and doubled over in raging agony, clutching his head, his fingers stinging with cold from the rings.

Damn, again! He’d known not to touch those things; the rings floated around his head without touching him, blocking the use of his powers.

“Who the hell are you?” Mergen yelled.

“William Gaynes Turner, Junior,” the first figure said. “You seem to have gone to the other side since your youth in Othcault.”

“Trying to stop guys like you!” Mergen yelled, his head throbbing.

“You were a very successful criminal at such a young age,” the second figure said. “They could call the movie ‘I Was A Teenage Mesmerist.’ But your powers were far more. Your telepathy and telekinesis made you a formidable foe.”

“That is our problem,” the second figure said. “You endanger our operation as you have been capturing our criminal operatives in the act, as it were.”

Mergen fought against the pain, aimed a psychic blast squarely at the mind of the second figure.

The pain nearly blinded him.

“I advise you not to try anything like that again,” the second figure said.

There was a clicking as blueish chips formed around his body, starting from the legs and moving up to his torso.

“In a moment you will be prepared for transport,” the first first figure said. “The blue shielding will hold you until we have you at our facility where you will be held in our suspension tube.”

Through a fog, Mergen could make out a smile where the face of the first figure registered as a foggy silhouette.

“The same tubes used to hold our adult colleagues incarcerated in Nix Olympica,” the second figure said.

“Understanding how these worked and making our own is crucial to our plan,” the first figure said.

Mergen, by now, was covered in the small blue chips. He felt cold and woozy as if he was falling asleep.

“You’re showing off that body just wearing a tight pair of cutoffs,’ his brother had said of his superhero costume.

That wasn’t what made him feel cold.

He was nearly unconscious and felt hands lifting him when his subconscious mind, long trained and programmed, sent out a fleeting, desperate telepathic burst.

No pain. Just the message which he realized had been sent, but where.

He remembered the god Mergen, where he’d gotten the name, was depicted as an archer.

His last conscious thought was of a poem: “I shot an arrow in the air…”

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Another excerpt from a larger work I need to go back and finish some day. I posted another bit of this right here https://authorjeffbaker.com/2016/10/24/unbreakable-monday-flash-fics/ about six years ago.—–jeff baker aka michael j. mayak

Posted in crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, LGBT, Mike Mayak, Science Fiction, Short-Stories, Underlords | Leave a comment

Flash Fiction Draw Challenge Draws for June 2022. (Halfway Through the Year!) Jeff Baker, June 6th, 2022.

First the results:

The June 2022 Draw results are:

A Romance

On a Country Road

Involving a Sopping Wet Sponge

I’m Jeff Baker:https://www.facebook.com/Jeff-Baker-Author-176267409096907

I also write as Mike Mayak: https://mobile.twitter.com/MikeMayakAuthor

I’m the current moderator for the Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, which was stared by ‘Nathan Burgoine a few years ago and carried on by Cait Gordon and Jeffrey Ricker. It’s a monthly writing challenge mainly for stress-free fun that anyone can play.

Here’s how it works: The first Monday of each month I draw three cards, a club, a heart and a diamond. These correspond to a list naming a genre, a setting and an object that must appear in the story. Participants write up a flash fiction story, 1,000 words or less, post it to their website/blog and link it here in the comments. I’ll post the results next week, sometime around June 13th. (But take as long as you want!)

As I have no idea how to make a video, I did it offline. The results were a six of Hearts (a Romance,) a three of diamonds (a country road) and a three of clubs (a sopping wet sponge.)

So, that’s it for the draws! Good luck! Have fun, and I’ll see you next week!

Posted in 'Nathan Burgoine, Cait Gordon, Jeffrey Ricker, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge | 2 Comments