Going to School With a Paranormal Octopus: Results for the August Flash Fiction Draw Challenge. August 15, 2022.

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The draws for the August 2022 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were:

A Paranormal Story

Set in an Abandoned Grade School

Involving a Stuffed Octopus

E. H. Timms wrote “Lost and Found.” https://thinkingthinking123.blogspot.com/2022/08/flash-fic-challenge-lost-and-found.html

And I wrote “Sushi.” https://authorjeffbaker.com/2022/08/14/flash-fiction-draw-challenge-story-for-august-2022-sushi-by-jeff-baker-august-14-2022/

Anyone wants to write one, feel free! There’s no real deadline and I’ll add the stories here!

Thanks to all our contributors!

I’ll do the next draw September 5th, 2022.

See you ’round!

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

Flash Fiction Draw Challenge story for August 2022: “Sushi,” by Jeff Baker. (August 14, 2022.)

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Sushi

by Jeff Baker

“She’s in here. I can tell.” Becky said, looking tall in her green dress, contrasting with the dark hallways the three of them had just walked through.

The classroom was dingy and smelled. The old school building had been closed off, but Ray had the key. He looked around. How long since this room had been used? Or the windows had been washed?

Becky darted over towards the row of drawers with the counter top under the windows, moving through the rows of non-existent desks.

“I haven’t seen her in years. I was blocked from her perception for a while.” Becky said.

“Damn shame when a toy squid blocks you,” Doug said, leaning against the wall grinning, looking (Ray thought) good in jeans and a t-shirt.

Becky ignored him, holding her hand above the counter where the teacher had kept the terrarium and a set of encyclopedia.

“Here…no…here…no…here. Yes.” Becky had stopped at the far end of the counter and reached into the top drawer, pulling out a paper bag.

“Sushi.” Becky breathed pulling a small, plush toy octopus out of the bag.

“Sushi,” Doug said with a wry grin. “I remember her dragging that around with her everywhere.”

“Yeah, then one of her teachers said it was time for her to stop playing around and she took it from her.” Ray said. “Right before her Dad got transferred out of town.”

“We’re together again,” Becky said. “We are whole.”

“She’s gettin’ spooooooo-kyyyyyy” Doug said, what he’d said when they were in grade school together. Somehow, Becky had known things she couldn’t possibly have known.

They hadn’t imagined that when she got back into town fifteen years later, Ray would be on the board that replaced the old grade school with the big one down the street.

She’d insisted they come back to the old school and find their old classroom.

And now she stood there with her old toy and looked into its plush eyes and then smiled.

“And right now I can see that you and Doug aren’t really related,” she said. “Your parents never told you…they paid someone for Doug when he was a baby.”

Doug and Ray stared at her, then at each other.

“So it won’t be forbidden love anymore.” Becky said.

“Hey, wait!” Ray said. “My brother and I aren’t. I mean, we never…”

Becky smiled.

“I can see what is underneath, remember?”

“Yeah,” Doug said.

“The night before I got here you were talking about getting married if you could.” Becky said. “Well, now you can.”

The two young men stared at each other with dawning realization and broadening smiles.

The stuffed octopus smiled its secret octopus smile.

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for this month’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were; a paranormal story, set in an abandoned grade school involving a stuffed octopus. This is what I came up with. See you next month!

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Rainbow Snippets for August 14, 2022: “The Lake at Evening,” 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/963484217054974 This is another one from a flash fiction picture prompt a few years ago which inspired a story called “The Lake at Evening,”https://authorjeffbaker.com/2019/06/23/the-lake-at-evening-friday-flash-fics-for-june-21-2019-by-jeff-baker/ set on an alien world where the once a year receding of the lake makes it easy to walk to the island city and they have a festival. Even in the era of bridges and boat travel. It’s an annual event on this unnamed world with three moons which has fond memories for the two men watching from shore.

“Want to go over there?” Kendall asked. “Take in the city? Buy a couple of cheap souvenirs?”

I grinned. “Weren’t we just over there the other day?”

“Yeah, but this is tradition. And remember, we were both over there five years ago for the Festival?”

Okay, here’s a little more

I remembered. I’d been eating sanded lakefish, he’d just bought a mug or Sarga and asked if he could sit down at my table. We got to talking and had walked around the city, taking in the sights and the street shows. We’d kissed for the first time during the fireworks.

“Maybe tomorrow,” I said. “I like where we are right now.”

Yeah, “Awwwwww!” I love romantic stories! Even if I, again, re-defined the meaning of “six lines.” See you next week! ———jeff, 8/13/22

Posted in LGBT, Rainbow Snippets | 3 Comments

Sunflowers. Be Careful With These! Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker. August 12, 2022.

Sunflowers

by Jeff Baker

The cloud moved from in front of the sun, spreading light and warmth on the suburban driveway. At the end of the drive stood the two tall sunflowers. The slightly taller of the two sent a thought to the slightly smaller one.

“I’ve been thinking.”

“Nothing else to do,” the smaller sunflower said.

“Here we are, Herodias, two powerful witches, long after death, rooted to the ground…” the taller sunflower said.

“Louhi, you know as well as I do there are far worse places to be.”

“As a Daughter of Hell, we both know that.” Louhi said.

“But how long will this last?” Herodias said. “A flower, even one such as this does not last past the Summertime. Then where will we be?”

“After all these centuries, all these reincarnations we have been fortunate to still be living things. Living things with even meager power.” Louhi said.

“If our next cycle makes us rocks we may be that way for eternity.” Herodias said.

“A cycle which may come soon if the fool in the metal carriage comes closer to us again. He nearly ran over us the other day.” Louhi said.

“Because he knows not our power.” Herodias said.

“The trick is knowing which sunflower is actually the witch.” Louhi said.

There was a rattling rumble from down the street.

“The carriage!” Louhi exclaimed in her inaudible voice.

“Quick!” Herodias said. “Concentrate. With me! Concentrate.”

In another moment, the approaching car gave a loud noise and stopped in the middle of the road, smoke pouring from under its hood.

The two sunflowers cackled with nobody to hear them.

“Listen, Herodias,” Louhi said. “The driver of the carriage is invoking the Damnable Names!”

“Maybe he will wind up growing beside us someday!” Herodias said.

The sunflowers began cackling again.

—end—

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August 2022 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge from Jeff Baker. August 8th, 2022.

First, let’s get to the prompts (a day late!) for August 2022. Then the usual explanation.

A Paranormal Story

Set in an Abandoned Grade School

Involving a Stuffed Octopus

Hi! I’m Jeff Baker. I also write as Mike Mayak.

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 August 15th, 2022.

As I’m no good making videos I did the drawing offstage and the results were the Seven of Hearts (a Paranormal story), the Two of Diamonds (an Abandoned Grade School) and the Queen of Clubs (a Stuffed Octopus.)

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

Thanks for playing!

Posted in Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge | 2 Comments

Rainbow Snippets Rides “The Grey Ferris.” Jeff Baker, August 6, 2022.

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 I wrote this one from a flash fiction picture prompt a few years ago https://authorjeffbaker.com/2022/02/04/ride-the-grey-ferris-for-friday-flash-fics-by-jeff-baker-february-4th-2022/ and took the title from Ray Bradbury’s story “The Black Ferris.” We meet two teenagers on a Ferris Wheel at a county fair, and these snippets are a little more than six lines each.

“Okay,” Ross said. “In another minute, kiss me.”

“What? Are you crazy?” Burt said. “Your Mom and Dad are…”

“Sitting down in the beer garden,” Ross said. “In another minute, the Ferris wheel will turn enough that we’ll be hidden behind the building and nobody can see us.”

Here’s a little more.

“Do you love me?” Ross asked. His eyes were wide and his lower lip was shaking a little.

“Yeah, yeah I do.” Burt said. They’d never said that aloud before.

Ross’ Mom and Dad had driven the two teenagers over to the county fair. Neither of them had a car yet. Ross stretched his legs and Burt stared at his bluejeans-covered thigh.

That’s it for this week! Stay safe! —–jeff

Posted in Fiction, LGBT, Rainbow Snippets, Romance | 4 Comments

“The High Top” by Mike Mayak for Friday Flash Fics, August 5th, 2022.

(I put this week’s story under my pen-name “Mike Mayak” who hasn’t been getting enough attention lately.)

The High Top

by Mike Mayak

The customers stared as the two walked into the barbershop.

“Hey, guys,” Anthony said. “This is my friend Evidivis. He’s the exchange student my folks have living with us this semester.”

“Hello, friends,” Evidivis said, raising a hand and waving.

“Hi,” Mort the barber said.

“Evidivis came all the way from Banouthnian. That’s over past Arcturus.”

“Oh, yeah,” Marcellus, the assistant barber said from behind his barber chair. “My Dad had a run up there back when he was shipping.”

“Yeah, shipping along the spaceways.” That came from the man under the hot towel in Marcellus’ chair.

Evidivis was looking around the barber shop, his eyes full of excitement. He stood four-foot-eleven and was a pale green. His body and head were each round, giving him the look of a greenish snowman with thin, spindly legs, matching his long skinny arms. He was wearing shorts and a Monroe High t-shirt. His facial features looked human, except with large yellow eyes with cat-like pupils. There was a small fringe of black hair running from his forehead to the back of his neck.

Anthony Manuel stood five foot eight, had his hair done in a fade. He was a sophomore and was wearing the same Monroe High shirt as his friend. He had been coming into Mort’s since he was little.

“So, how do you like Earth?” Mort asked.

“Earth fine,” Evidivis said. “I make more friends here. Not have as many friends on home world.”

“How come?” Marcellus asked.”

“Aw, this sucks!” Anthony said. “You won’t believe this! Some people there say he’s the wrong shade of green.”

Evidivis shook his head. “That the way it is on home world. I not dark green like many others.”

“What’s that about?” Mort asked.

“On home world, dark green is considered the norm. They rule us for many years.” Evidivis said.

“Like the way they did it with us down here,” Marcellus said. “Long time before I was born.”

“Yeah, that’s what I was telling him,” Anthony said.

“You know my Grandfather’s Grandfather marched in what we call the rights wars over a hundred years ago,” Mort said. “Anything like that going on where you come from?”

“Not yet,” Evidivis said. “But there is talk. There is hope.”

“Good,” Marcellus said. “So, you want a trim while you’re waiting for equality?”

“Yes. I want that.” Evidivis said, rubbing the frizz of hair on his head. He grinned as he sat down in Mort’s chair.

“Just take a little off the top,” Evidivis said.

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Again, not the story I envisioned when I started writing. I guess the times influenced this one. And maybe Zenna Henderson’s classic story “The Closest School.”

—-mike, a.k.a. jeff

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“But Not a Drop to Drink.” Rainbow Snippets from Jeff Baker for July 30, 2022.

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Rainbow Snippets for July 30, 2022.

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/?multi_permalinks=7692389787497683&notif_id=1659146476310253&notif_t=group_activity&ref=notif

This one is from my literally latest story for my weekly flash fiction posts https://authorjeffbaker.com/2022/07/30/but-not-a-drop-to-drink-friday-flash-fics-at-demeters-bar-by-jeff-baker-july-30-2022-saturday-but/ and is pretty much hot off the presses. Appropriate as it deals with heat and water Here, from the opening, a bunch of guys talking at the bar, trying to keep cool..

“Welcome to the drought,” Zack said.

“Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”

We sipped in silence for a few moments. Then, somebody broke the silence. It was an older man in a grey suit and a loosened tie.

“You know, a long time ago I knew a way of extracting water from the ground,” the man said.

Okay, that’s it for this go round. See you next week! —–jeff

Posted in Demeter's Bar, LGBT, Rainbow Snippets, Science Fiction | 3 Comments

“But Not a Drop to Drink…” Friday Flash Fics at Demeter’s Bar by Jeff Baker, July 30, 2022. (Saturday, but…)

But Not A Drop to Drink

by Jeff Baker

(A Demeter’s Bar Story)

“Could it get any hotter?” somebody at the bar asked.

“Only if we all press together,” Paco said, sipping his beer.

About five of us were sitting at the bar at Demeter’s, mainly to be under one of the air conditioning vents and to get a look at Zack the bartender who was wearing a tank top and shorts. He’d tied his long red hair in a bun. It was the middle of summer and the sixth day in a row where afternoon temperatures hit over a hundred-and-three.

“Welcome to the drought,” Zack said.

“Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.”

We sipped in silence for a few moments. Then, somebody broke the silence. It was an older man in a grey suit and a loosened tie.

“You know, a long time ago I knew a way of extracting water from the ground,” the man said. “I mean, really.” He took a sip of his drink and started in on his story.

My name is Gil Chester (the man said) and back in the early 70s I was working with a company out in the Arizona desert. We were doing a lot of scientific experimentation and one of our problems was water. The head of the project, and my boss, was a guy named Buddy Closter. He was about sixty and he was not afraid to think outside the box, a phrase I hadn’t heard back then.

Buddy called in a guy my Granddad back in Missouri would have described as a “Water Witcher.” He wasn’t some guy they’d found living in a shack with his burro, he was in his late forties, (I guessed) and actually nice-looking. Five-foot-eleven, lean, buff, tanned with silvery-black hair and a big toothy grin. Jake Ohmley had at least three degrees, including in Meteorology and something called “Applied Magnetics.” And he didn’t have a burro, he drove a shiny red Jeep.

I was in my twenties, just out of college and I couldn’t have been more nerdy. If I’d met Ohmley here at Demeter’s, I would have bought him a drink. But it was fifty years ago and I was stuffed in the closet and the only drink we were interested in there was water.

Ohmley demonstrated to all of us how the divining rod he’s brought with him would be “pulled down” by the presence of water and he assured us that it was a sound scientific principle and not magic. He also maintained that with a rod made of the right material and the proper use of electromagnetic fields it would be possible to “reverse the dowsing effect” and actually pull water up from the ground.

“Even in the desert?” one of the guys asked.

“There’s water everywhere, Ohmley said.

Buddy’s calling of Ohmley was not just an impulse. Over the next two days, a truck brought Ohmley’s equipment out to our camp along with a small crew to install it. When it was finished, it was as strange a sight as the desert had ever seen.

The set up was a long, thick pole made of some metal I didn’t recognize, propped up at an angle and hanging several yards over the desert floor like a huge fishing rod.

“This is a combination of alloys, most of which aren’t supposed to be blended together,” Ohmley said with a smile. “But they are.”

I stared as he pulled out a small, black case, about the size of a transistor radio, which he identified as a battery pack.

“It just takes a small bit of electrical current running through this rod to activate its potency, which will be demonstrated in a matter of moments,” Ohmley said.

He connected the battery pack to the end of the rod which was attached to the ground on a huge steel winch which was seemingly bolted to the desert floor. There was a crunching noise from the ground and the rod dipped downward as the hard desert floor cracked and a jet of water spurted upward, splattering against the metal rod.

We began rushing towards Ohmley, congratulating him, but he was staring upwards. A small clump of filmy clouds were suddenly roiling and swelling in the sky, the cloud growing progressively darker.

Ohmley had stepped back from the metal pole as he was staring upward, presumably to get a better view, but his and our distance from the rod and winch was actually very fortunate as in the next instant the cloud let out with a roar and emitted a swirl of rain which seemed directed at the rod. In another second there was a blue white streak of lightning and a brittle clap of thunder as the bolt hit the rod and we were thrown back away from it by a burst of force. And then the ground rumbled and a tower of water erupted from underneath the rod, leaving the small area underneath a small pond the size of a swimming pool.

Gil Chester finished his drink and set it down on the bar.

“The device was totally fried, we were all just lucky we weren’t fried along with it,” he said. “Buddy and the project were affiliated with a large corporation which saw they were losing money and pulled their funding and we went our separate ways. But I still think of Ohmley when I see it rain. Or when I see a tanned, greyish-haired man with a killer smile.”

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I hadn’t visited Demeter’s Bar, my gay watering hole where strange science fictional tales are told in a while, but the hot summer seemed to call for a tall cool one, a dark bar and a story about water——jsb.

Posted in Demeter's Bar, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, LGBT, Science Fiction, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Rainbow Snippets: “Corn Maiden” by Jeff Baker. July 23, 2022.

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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 We join two Native American twenty-somethings at a diner with an angry toddler. But things are not what they seem; The young men are “Two-Spirit” people, but the supposed toddler is a spirit herself.

Jeremy “Mac” McCabe and Samuel Oldtree had met at the annual Native Coalition on Understanding Myth and Legend three years ago. That was before Mac found out that some legends weren’t just legends. Corn Maiden, for example; she supposedly became a young woman and aged into an old one over the year before repeating the process. Corn Maiden was Sam’s great-great-something Aunt. This year the annual transformation had gone a little extreme and she’d become a toddler.

“I have to be careful of eclipses,” she’d explained, “it threw me off.”

Here’s another snippet

“We’re ordering corn,” she said to the server who was taking their order. “And fry bread. With butter.”

“She’s been studying our culture,” Sam explained.

“I AM your culture God dammit!” Corn Maiden said. “I’m the one who showed your people how to make…”

Okay, just one more bit, to see if Corn Maiden calms down…Oops. I didn’t think so…

Mac wondered why a Native goddess swore exactly like a white Protestant guy whose lawn mower wouldn’t start.

“I should forbid the corn crop from growing this year,” Corn Maiden grumbled when the server left.

“You do,” Mac said, “and I have two words for you; Day Care!”

“You wouldn’t!” Corn Maiden said shocked. Mac glared. She sat back in her chair.

The eclipse referenced was the August 2017 one which had just happened and which I saw! Here’s the link to the original story: https://authorjeffbaker.com/2017/08/27/story-for-monday-flsh-fics-august-28-2017-corn-maiden/ Have a good week!

Posted in Fantasy, LGBT, Rainbow Snippets | 2 Comments