Flash Fiction Draw Challenge for February 2023. Going to the Sun with Aesop! —Jeff Baker, February 6, 2023.

First, here’s the prompts for the January 2023 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge. Then my usual long-winded explanation:

An Aesop’s Fable

Involving a Vintage T.V. Set

Set On, Around or near The Sun

Now, on to the details.

Hi! I’m Mike Mayak, I also write as Jeff Baker and I’m the current moderator for the monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, which was started 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 every month I draw three cards; a heart, a diamond and a club. 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 and link it here in the comments. I’ll post the results (and hopefully have one of my own written!) the week of February 13th, 2023.

As I’m no good making videos I did the drawing offstage and the results were the Ace of Hearts (An Aesop’s Fable), the Seven of Clubs (a Vintage T.V. Set), and the Queen of Diamonds (The Sun.)

So we will write an Aesop’s Fable involving a vintage T.V. set, set on or around The Sun. And I’ve got to be crazy listing not only another writer’s style as the genre but the Sun as a possible location!

So, get to writing and I’ll post the results next week!

Thanks for playing, and I’ll see you next week!

——mike

Posted in Mike Mayak, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge | Leave a comment

Rainbow Snippets Goes “To The Ends of the Earth” by Jeff Baker. February 5, 2023.

Photo by Ju00c9SHOOTS on Pexels.com

Every week we post six lines from a work of ours, a work-in-progress or published or a recommendation of someone else’s work with at least one LGBT character. Posted at Rainbow Snippets here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

I promised you a love story for this week, one that might not have existed if I had read a submissions call more closely! “To The Ends of the Earth” was written for an online anthology (“Seat 14-C”) whose deadline was just a few days after I discovered it! I started writing the story before I double-checked! Here’s our first snippet:

It isn’t even like “The Jetsons.”

No moving sidewalks, no flying cars, no robots everywhere. I got a big payment (we all did) after “The Incident” (as they call it) that slipped Flight 008 into the year 2037. The card they gave us to access any cash we had left in our savings accounts (assuming we hadn’t been declared dead when the plane disappeared from radar back in 2017) was pretty much worthless to me as I’d spent everything following Kyle to Japan and then back to the U.S. when I heard he’d left.

If only we’d gotten on the same plane.

I’m pushing the buzzer on Kyle’s apartment, going over the speech I’ve been rehearsing in my head.

Okay, here’s the second snippet:

I lucked out finding his apartment; it was unlisted but I found out there are ways around that. It helped that the airline was bending over backwards for me, for all the passengers.

The woman who answered the door proved to me that women still wore hair curlers and kept cats in the year 2038. I asked if she knew a Kyle Carruthers, as I was thinking: please don’t be his wife, please don’t be his wife, please don’t be his wife.

She wasn’t. She said she didn’t know Kyle and she slammed the door in my face even as I was showing her the month-old plane ticket I’d bought twenty years earlier in 2018.

I’d written a few stories with romance in them, but this was my first real full-blown full-length romance story. Of course, I never finished the full-length version as I was too late for the deadline and the narrow theme precluded my submitting the story anywhere else. So, I wrote up this condensed version. Check out the link https://authorjeffbaker.com/2018/05/03/to-the-ends-of-the-earth-by-jeff-baker-friday-flash-fics-for-may-4-2018/ to find if our unnamed narrator finds Kyle and if they have a Happily Ever After! —–jeff

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

A Reading of My Story “All The Pleasures Prove” by Angel Martinez! Jeff Baker, February 3rd, 2023.

Angel Martinez does another fine reading of one of my stories, this time “All the Pleasures Prove,” which first appeared on RoMMantic Reads here: https://rommanticreads.wordpress.com/2022/11/11/jeff-baker-all-the-pleasures-prove/

Here’s Angel’s fine reading! Thanks, Angel! Enjoy! https://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/from-angels-cave/friday-reading-day-all-the-pleasures-prove

Posted in Angel Martinez, Fantasy, Fiction, Food Garden Court, LGBT, RoM/Mantic Reads, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

“Get a Horse.” Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker, February 3, 2023.

Get a Horse

by Jeff Baker

“What do you mean the car’s gone?” Roddy asked.

“Gone.” Alec said. “Not here. I went into the Old Courthouse or about thirty minutes and the car was, well gone when I got here.”

“You don’t have a car alarm in that piece of junk do you?” Roddy asked.

“No. I chained the car to this old horse hitch, this ring still in the pavement on the curb.” Alec said.

“Chained it?” Roddy asked “Didn’t you lock it?”

“I haven’t fixed the locks yet, so I padlocked the chain to the bumper.” Alec said.

“The car doesn’t lock? Where did you get this? How much did it cost?” Roddy asked.

“From an estate sale.” Alec said. “You know that old guy who said he was a wizard? His family wanted to get rid of all his stuff cheap. Real cheap.”

“Better call the police. Hey, was that a horse I heard?” Roddy asked.

“Haven’t been horses in this part of the city in a hundred years or so.” Alec said.

“What on earth is this?” Grover said.

“An automobile, I think.” Dillard said. “I saw an engraving in Leslie’s Illustrated a few months ago. Wheels, metal.” Dillard tapped the windshield of the dingy green Nova out of place in the brick streets of the still-new city.” “Still, I’ve never seen one like this.”

The two men stopped to tip their hats to the lady in the hoop skirt who walked past, barely acknowledging them.

“When did you find this…thing?” Grover said.

“I stepped into the courthouse on business and I admit I lingered a bit to take in the brand-new building.” Dillard said. “When I stepped out, to ride home, my horse was gone and this was chained in its place!”

“You left your horse hitched here?” Thorne asked, kicking the ring sticking out of the curb.

“As I always do.” Dillard said. “But it was gone, the rope was gone and in it’s place this…this…”

“My Uncle saw an automobile in Paris.” Thorne said. “He called it a fire-breathing monstrosity.” Thorne sighed and shook his head. “He told me it would never replace the horse.”

—end—

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, Short-Stories | 2 Comments

“The Adventures of the Puzzle Club” by Queen and Pachter. Reviewed by Jeff Baker (February 1st, 2023.)

Adventures of the Puzzle Club by Ellery Queen and Josh Pachter

Reviewed by Jeff Baker

“The Adventures of the Puzzle Club,” the latest in publisher Crippen and Landru’s fine series of mystery short-story collections features two (or rather, three!) mystery masters and brings together the complete series of Puzzle Club mysteries begun by Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee, in case you don’t know!) and continued in recent years by contemporary master Josh Pachter who sold his first mystery to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (edited by Dannay by the way!) when he was sixteen years old!

The Puzzle Club is a group of mystery lovers who get together and propose a mystery scenario which one of their members (usually the fictional version of Ellery Queen himself!) must solve. The puzzles are fairly-clued and the interactions between the club members are half the fun!

The initial five stories were written by Queen and published in the 1960s and 70s and include references to other mystery writers, quotes from the Sherlock Holmes stories and even a line from “Mission Impossible!” There is no discernible change in style or tone in Pachter’s continuation of the series, but the final story “Their Last Bow” has the club facing a real-life mystery with a “dying clue” of the type Ellery Queen specialized in.

Wrapping up the book are four mysteries about the Griffen family by Pachter (written mostly when he was a teenager!) concluding with the recent “50” which is a follow up of sorts to Pachter’s first story.

(And while Ellery Queen is the detective most often invoked, Pachter’s “Sam Buried Caesar” is a Nero Wolfe pastiche with grade school kids acting like kids in a perfect and grim puzzle plot.)

Altogether, a fine collection. Highly recommended!

Posted in Books, Crippen and Landru, Fiction, Mystery, Reading, Reviews, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Ready for a Closeup for Rainbow Snippets from Jeff Baker (January 28, 2023.)

Every week we post six lines from a work of ours, a work-in-progress or published or a recommendation of someone else’s work with at least one LGBT character. Posted at Rainbow Snippets here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

Last week I promised more of my freelance photographer Oscar Del Fuego and his boyfriend/husband Lucas. I hadn’t expected to write two stories about them! This was the first, “I’m Ready For My Close-Up. Mr. Del Fuego” also for the old Monday Flash Fics prompt page and posted here: https://authorjeffbaker.com/2018/04/01/closeup-for-monday-flash-fics-april-2-2018-by-jeff-baker/

It was about 11:45 at night and Oscar was sitting on the edge of our bed with his camera, still talking about what had happened earlier in the day.

“I was standing there out in the street by the police car y’know,” he was saying.

I knew. He’d told me this story about four times earlier. Oscar free-lanced but mostly he took pictures for the local newspaper and a couple of news websites. Usually he didn’t bring his work to bed with him.

Here’s a little more:

“I’d gotten a call about three-thirty this afternoon,” Oscar said. “This girl, well, woman, was on the fourth floor of her apartment building. She’d barricaded the door shut and was out on the ledge outside the window threatening to jump. Uh, Lucas, I told you this before, didn’t I?”

I nodded. I was standing in a corner of the room in my jogging shorts, leaning against the wall, watching my husband jumping around as he was telling the story and loving every minute of it.

Reading this story now, I realize a little of it probably came from my husband and my telling each other stories we’ve heard several times before and each of us loving listening every time!

Next week, another love story, and what happens when I don’t read submission calls closely! See ya!

——-jeff

Posted in Fiction, LGBT, Oscar Del Fuego, Rainbow Snippets, Short-Stories | 8 Comments

Try And Relax On “The Sofa” for Friday Flash Fics, January 27, 2023 from Jeff Baker

The Sofa

by Jeff Baker

The skies were gray and the grass was brown. It was in the cold of January when the narrative I am going to relate took place.

I had firmly believed the couch was out of my life, having been safely and discreetly dumped in a landfill. But to my abject horror I saw it days later on a street corner on the edge of town. Someone had doubtless fished it out under cover of blackest night and found it was too lumpy to comfortably sit on. Indeed, with what I had stuffed the big cushion, my late partner Griswold, I wouldn’t have wanted to sit down on it too.

But I couldn’t leave it there; someone might pick it up and take it home. They wouldn’t take long to investigate the strange lumps under the black vinyl. So I waited for darkness and stole a pickup truck. I tried to lift the sofa into the truck bed but I could barely get one end off the ground. There was a chain there in the back of the truck so I hooked it to the sofa and dragged it behind the truck, hoping to find a place to hide the sofa and Griswold again. Killing him was easier than hiding him.

I found myself driving through downtown during morning traffic, trying to look inconspicuous. Hoping Griswold wasn’t doing anything to attract attention.

They keep telling me that all they found under the vinyl fabric of the couch was lumpy fabric and a battered, worn frame and no sign of Griswold. I keep telling them he’s there. They say they checked the landfill where I dumped the couch and didn’t find anything. They say the couch I found either isn’t the one I used to have or I made up the story. I keep telling them it’s the right couch, that I killed Griswold, that I stuffed him in the old couch and disposed of it so they wouldn’t find out but the joke’s on me because he got out somehow and he’s laughing through bony fingers and toes and they say they can’t find him and I keep saying I killed him, and I keep yelling it and it echoes off the walls of the little room they have me in and echoes and echoes and echoes…

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Last week was the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe and I missed it in time for the weekly story. So, I put on my raven-feathered hat and worked this up. It went in more of an E.C. Comics direction, but I like it. So does Griswold. ——-jeff

Posted in Edgar Allan Poe, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, Horror, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

“Friday’s Child Is…” Rainbow Snippet for January 21st, 2022 (and for Friday the Thirteenth!) By Jeff Baker

Every week we post six lines from a work of ours, a work-in-progress or published or a recommendation of someone else’s work with at least one LGBT character. Posted at Rainbow Snippets here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

I slipped-up last week (Saturday the 14th) and didn’t post my Friday the 13th story! Even this one (“Friday’s Child Is Full Of…”) is about the week before! Here’s the whole thing https://authorjeffbaker.com/2018/04/12/something-for-friday-the-thirteenth-okay-actually-a-week-earlier-for-friday-flash-fics-april-13-2018-friday-of-course-by-jeff-baker/ and here’s the first snippet:

“You’re kidding!” I said. “You’re not going in to work today because of the date?”

“I’m not kidding,” Oscar said. “And I freelance; I really don’t have anywhere to go.”

“If it was Friday the thirteenth, I suppose I could understand, but the sixth?” I said.

“I’ve never had anything bad happen to me on Friday the thirteenth,” Oscar said, “but I’ve had a lot of things go bad the Friday before. Friday the sixth.”

I may be stretching “six lines” this week but here’s a little more!

“So, you’re staying here?” I said. “In the apartment? All day?”

“I’m not even going to go near the window,” Oscar said.

“All the better to keep a gang of shadowy boogiemen from grabbing you and dragging you out into the street,” I said.

“Lucaaaaas,’ Oscar said teasingly.

This one was written for a picture prompt of shadowy figures grabbing through a window! Spooky! And I had written about Oscar and Lucas before! We’ll sample that bit next week! See you then!

—–jeff

Posted in Fiction, LGBT, Oscar Del Fuego, Rainbow Snippets | 10 Comments

“Early Morning Thoughts Near a Quiet Road.” Friday Flash Fics for January 20th, 2023 by Jeff Baker.

Early Morning Thoughts Near a Quiet Road

by Jeff Baker

Joey sipped from the can of soda and pulled his jacket around him. At least it wasn’t freezing and windy. He glanced around the old garage; had they been sitting here on the milk crates and talking all night? The lights under the canopy at the back of the repair and tire shop were starting to fade compared to the January dawn.

“Hey, Joey, what time you heading out again?” Rog asked.

“Sometime around nine,” Joey said.

“You can probably sleep on the plane.” Andrew said.

“Yeah,” Joey said. He looked around for the hundredth time that night and let out a deep breath. “How many times have we done this?”

“Counting when we were sixteen and got that six-pack of beer and drank it here after the store closed?” Andrew said.

“Yeah, and your Dad found us here, you hanging onto the wall and Andrew throwing up in the back because we’d set off the alarm trying to get in to use the bathroom?”

The three of them laughed.

“Yeah, and I had to work extra hours here on the weekend in addition to going to school hung-over the next day.” Joey said. “Wow, that was five years ago!”

The three of them sat there and sipped their sodas.

“You know, this was my first job, working here on the weekends,” Rog said.

“Yeah, and his Dad fired you right after the first weekend!” Andrew laughed.

All three friends laughed again.

“And now you’re heading out on your extended vacation,” Rog said. “What we call a career.”

“Yup! Gonna do great at the new job Joey!” Andrew said.

Joey nodded his head and blushed. “Thanks!”

“We’re gonna miss you, guy!” Rog said.

“Hell, we’ll see each other again! I’ll be back here!” Joey said.

“Yeah, but I may be leaving town too,” Andrew said. “Got a line on a job upstate.”

“Wow.” Rog said. “This is like end of school vacation but we’re all going our separate ways.”

“Okay, so let’s make it like school was,” Joey said. “Let’s keep in touch and try to make it back here, this very spot once a year before school would be starting up.”

“Think that’ll work?” Andrew said.

“Hell, yeah!” Rog said. “We’ll make it work! Friends like us shouldn’t lose each other!”

“Okay, we meet here every year at the end of summer, okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Right.”

The three friends clinked their cans together for what would be the last time.

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Looking at this I see similarities between this and my earlier story “Christmas at de Obra’s Garage.” Oh well! I guess the early-morning garage pic got me thinking of endings again!

—jeff

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

Flash Fiction Draw Challenge for January 2023—The Results! January 16th, 2023.

Photo by Boris Ulzibat on Pexels.com

The draws for the January 2023 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were: A Ghost Story, set in a Desert, involving a Roll of Film.

E. H. Timms wrote “Digging Deeper.” https://thinkingthinking123.blogspot.com/2023/01/flash-fic-challenge-digging-deeper.html

And I (as Jeff Baker) wrote “In the Amalfi Desert With Dead Folks.” https://authorjeffbaker.com/2023/01/16/on-the-amalfi-desert-january-2023-flash-fiction-draw-challenge-by-jeff-baker-1-16-23/

My special thanks to everyone who wrote or read a story and it’s never too late to write one and post it in the comments here and I’ll post it here!

See you on February 6th for the next draw!

———mike

Posted in E. H. Timms, Fantasy, Fiction, Ghost Story, Horror, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Short-Stories | Leave a comment