“Entr’acte” in Rainbow Snippets by Jeff Baker. May 21, 2022.

May 20, 2022

I managed to miss last week, but I’m back.

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

This week, I’m celebrating my sixth anniversary of posting at least one flash fiction story (usually on Friday Flash Fics’ picture prompt site) a week. Whew! I’ve posted the original picture above.

So here’s the very first: something called “Entr’acte.” I wasn’t sure what the guy was picking up off the floor…

“Excuse me,” Kent said, “I think you dropped these.”

“Oh, thanks,” Danny said. “Hey, you want one?”

“No thanks, I don’t smoke.”

“Good. I keep trying to quit, but, but…” Danny shook his head and held up the script.  “Look, are you people sure about this, I mean this dialogue is really lame.”

Okay, here’s a little more…

“Yeah,” Kent said. “We’re really going to talk like this?”

“Yes you are,” said the man behind the podium.

“And we fall in love?” Danny asked.

“Madly,” the man said.

Here’s a link to the original story which first appeared on Monday Flash Fics (Friday’s predecessor) in May of 2016: https://authorjeffbaker.com/2016/05/25/monday-flash-fiction-on-wednesday/

Take care!

——-jeff

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, LGBT, Monday Flash Fiction, Rainbow Snippets, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Old Man River Walks the Mall, Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker for May 20, 2022

Old Man River

by Jeff Baker

(A Food Garden Court Story)

The sun was streaming through the skylight in the Mall as T’amec finished filling one of the canisters with shredded, cooked meat. No customers yet, and most of the stores weren’t open this early but they were way ahead of schedule.

“Comin’ thru! Comin’ thru!” Skid said pushing the swinging doors open with his foot. He was carrying a big tray with an assortment of smaller containers on it at an awkward angle, ready to put in the slots on the counter where they could throw together the made-to-order food the Food Garden Court was famous for. T’amec gave Skid an appreciative glance. Skid was shorter, darker and muscular where T’amec was tall with grubby blonde hair. They had been good friends since they started working there part-time after graduation. They had only pushed the friendship somewhere else when a spell by the fae had required them to make out in the moonlight but that had been almost a year ago.

“Hey, c’mon!” Skid said. “Wake up and help me with this!”

T’amec grabbed the containers off the tilting tray and put them on the counter.

“Another disaster averted,” T’amec said. “All we need now is more room, a few more employees who won’t quit so we won’t have to cover shifts and managers who know what they’re doing.”

“Yeah,” Skid said grinning. “This isn’t what I got my degree for.”

The two of them worked putting the canisters in the slots and keeping them stirred, shooting the breeze and people-watching as the regular trickle of early-morning browsers and mall employees wandered by. Early morning regulars like Mr. Aloysius who ran the Augury shop at the other end of the mall coming up for his morning cup of steamed broth.

Then there were the mall walkers, usually older people (“You know, about 40 or so…” Skid had quipped.) who exercised by walking around the mall some even carrying small weights.

Then there was Old Man River.

Skid had nicknamed him that, an old, wrinkled man (“Looks like a preserved Pharaoh,” T’amec had said) because he kept moving around like in the old song. He had been one of the regulars who strode around the mall in the morning, usually in grey sweats “and matching face,” T’amec said. Sometimes T’amec or Skid would wave at some of them, sometimes they’d just nod. Sometimes they would buy something at Food Garden Court, usually coffee. Then they’d sit down at one of the tables under the indoor palm trees that towered over everything and smoke a cigarette and drink coffee.

“Sort of defeating the purpose,” Skid had muttered on more than one occasion.

It was a weekday morning so there weren’t many people in the mall that early but T’amec spotted someone familiar.

“Hey, look! There he goes.” He pointed.

Old Man River was unmistakable staggering along the side of the mall where the shops stopped and the polished brick wall started near the end where the Food Garden Court and the palm trees were. Some of the Mall exercisers ran their hand along the wall and at least one of them would grab the trunk of the palm tree and old on as they swung around it to head back the other way.

“And you were worried,” Skid said.

“I was not,” T’amec said stirring the broth.

“Yeah you were. The last couple of weeks you kept saying ‘Hey, I wonder where our Old man River is?’ You made it sound like you were in love with him.”

“I did not!” T’amec said with a laugh. “He’s too old and wouldn’t look as good in a Food garden Court uniform as…” He stared for a second and looked away.

Skid grinned.

“Anyway, you notice he got a new suit?” T’amec asked.

Skid craned his neck to look down the mall.

“Yeah. Must have a formal to go to later.”

“Or his sweats are at the cleaners.” T’amec said.

They finished the prep work and all that was left was the stirring. After a few more minutes Old Man River came back around, followed closely by three men in uniforms. One of them grabbed him by the shoulder and escorted him back down the hall, swinging him right past the counter where Skid and T’amec were working.

Enough of a moment for Skid and T’amec to get a good look at his face. Emotionless and a lot more grey.

A little bit later in the morning one of the regular mall Security came up to the Food Garden Court for a cup of vegetable root coffee.

“You had a little excitement here this morning,” Skid said as he filled the cup.

“Yeah, I heard,” said the guard.

“We saw it,” T’amec said, stirring the broth. “They arrested the guy right in front of us.”

“That wasn’t an arrest,” the guard said sipping his coffee. “They apprehended him because he walked away and wasn’t supposed to do that.”

“From a hospital?” T’amec asked.

“From the cemetery,” the guard said. “He went all zombie a few days ago and crawled out of the ground. I was amazed the tux looked as good as it did.”

Skid and T’amec stared at each other; the glimpse they’d gotten of that face…

“Hey, will ya lookit this?” The guard set his coffee back on the counter and pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket as he bent down.

He stood up and showed them the handkerchief which he’d used to pick something up from the stone floor.

“Must have fallen when they got a hold of the guy. I’d better take it to ‘em.”

The guard grabbed his coffee and walked off nonchalantly carrying Old Man River’s fallen, stiffening hand.

—end—

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, Food Garden Court, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, Horror, LGBT, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Flash Fiction Draw Challenge for May 2022—The Results!!

Photo by Rasmus Svinding on Pexels.com

The results are in!

The draws of the May 2022 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were:

A Thriller

Set in an Alien Palace

Involving a Bear Trap.

Our bear friend in the picture above is too leery to be trapped, but other beings might not be so lucky!

Here are our stories:

E. H. Timms wrote “Time to Run” https://thinkingthinking123.blogspot.com/2022/05/flash-fic-challenge-time-to-run.html

And I (Jeff Baker) wrote “Bear Trap” https://authorjeffbaker.com/2022/05/16/a-thriller-a-bear-trap-and-an-alien-palace-bear-trap-by-jeff-baker-flash-fiction-draw-challenge-story-for-may-2022/

So how about you? It’s not too late! Post your story and put a link in the comments and I’ll add it to this post when I get it!

Meanwhile, we’ll be back with another draw next month, around June 6th (unless I’m late again!)

—–jeff baker

Posted in E. H. Timms, Fiction, Science Fiction, Short-Stories, Thriller | Leave a comment

A Thriller, a Bear Trap and an Alien Palace: “Bear Trap” by Jeff Baker. Flash Fiction Draw Challenge Story for May 2022.

Photo by Cristian Grigore on Pexels.com

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for the May Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were

A Thriller

Involving a Bear Trap

Set in an Alien Palace.

Here’s what I came up with…

Bear Trap

by Jeff Baker

How the hell am I getting out of this?

Tomas stared at the stone walls, the large greenish jewels glowing in the corners of the ceiling, the window looking out on the alien landscape.

Long, long way from Albuquerque, he thought.

It was going to be easy, they had said. In and out of the Imperial Palace on Gruvanor, find the bag and get out and become rich.

It had been easy. All they had to do was bribe a few guards, sneak past a few more guards and sabotage the security system.

The Old Imperial Palace was considered a Historic Site and the brochure Tomas and Victor had downloaded noted that the security measures were tougher than at the current palace.

Finding out where the Old Documents Room was located had been the hard part. The Government of Gruvanor had regular guided tours during the tourist season. But this was the Sacred Season and so there was only a skeleton crew guarding anything. And Tomas and Victor had also copied the program that provided extra information on the tours of the Palace to their savers so it wouldn’t register their presence. Then they simply avoided the tourist route because the Old Documents R room was not on any published diagram of the palace.

The bag in question was not supposed to be in the palace. It had been stolen on another world and brought to this one. It had been hidden in the palace because the thief had the opportunity and Tomas and Victor had intercepted the message.

But the thief had never been found.

The contents of the bag, old-fashioned information chips, nonetheless had new and valuable information on them.

The word “valuable” was why Tomas and Victor were risking so much to steal the bag.

The two of them were walking through a back hallway with a big window when Victor must have triggered something; a thick steel door slammed shut between Tomas and Victor, blocking Victor’s way to the Documents room.

More for me, Tomas thought.

Tomas walked further down the hallway until he came to a shadowed patch of floor, partly illuminated by the glowing green jewels on the wall rumored to be a long-dead emperor’s gallstones. There was a window further down the hall.

Tomas stopped dead; there was a huddled something on the floor.

A body. Maybe another treasure hunter. Maybe the one who first stole the bag.

It smelled.

Tomas looked up at the ceiling for a booby trap and stepped into the shadow.

There was a sizzling sound. A pattern on the floor glowed green. Tomas found his feet stuck to the floor.

Inside his boots his feet stung.

The corpse was also within the pattern. That was probably what happened to him.

Tomas looked at his saver; no signal.

Tomas remembered reading about ancient Gruvanor. This was what scholars of Gruvanoran technology called a “Bear Trap.” Tomas had seen an old Earth bear trap in a museum. A brutal device. This one was no less deadly.

Tomas glanced at the rotting corpse. The trap would go dormant once it no longer held a living thing.

How the hell was he going to get out of this?

—end—

Posted in Fiction, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Science Fiction, Short-Stories, Thriller | Leave a comment

Running Fast With Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker. (Friday May 13, 2022)

Running Fast

By Jeff Baker

The grass, trees and bushes were a blur as Jakeem clung tightly to the horse.

How much further, he wondered?

Beneath him, the horse Clyde was breathing hard.

Jakeem wasn’t sure what was in the envelope folded in his pocket but his Uncle had assured him it was important. He was eleven years old. No one had ever trusted him with anything important before.

He had ridden all his life. He had never been so unsure of himself. The green hills all looked the same, what if he got lost?

Clyde made a long, slow turn. Was he supposed to do that?

Jakeem remembered what his Dad had told him: Trust the horse. Trust Clyde.

But Clyde was definitely running somewhere unfamiliar to Jakeem. He clung to Clyde.

They raced between two tall, green hills.

There! The house, the barn, the familiar dirt road! His Grandfather’s shiny red pickup truck parked by the buildings.

Clyde had known a shortcut.

Clyde slowed to a trot as they approached the gate. A line from a song he’d heard was playing in his head:

The horse knows the way/To carry the sleigh…

—end—

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Flash Fiction Draw Challenge Draws for May, 2022! (A Little Late or Early, from Jeff Baker, May 8th, 2022)

First the results (Ignore the above picture!)

The May Draw results are:

A Thriller

Set in an Alien Palace

Involving a Bear Trap.

Now for the details:

I’m Jeff Baker https://www.facebook.com/Jeff-Baker-Author-176267409096907 and 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’m doing this late the evening of the second Sunday, I’ve been busy and I forgot!) 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 May 16th. (But take as long as you want! I sure did!)

As I’m no good at making videos I did it off stage and the results were the Eight of Hearts (a Thriller), the Queen of Diamonds (an Alien Palace) and the Eight of Clubs. (A Bear Trap.)

So, that’s it for the draws! See you in a week!

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

A PG-13 Rainbow Snippet, from “Tatts” by Jeff Baker. May 7th, 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 somebody else’s that has at least one LGBT character at Rainbow Snippets here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

This week, something PG-13 that I’ve been working on off-and-on for a few years. A BDSM Sci-Fi book called “Tatts.” Set in a post-cataclysmic world where slavery (usually for criminal offenses) is legal. Our main characters are two thirty-somethings: Kyle who bought Andrew (renamed “The Kid”) to work in his construction business but they start becoming friends and more than that. But freeing a slave is complicated and expensive and Kyle has had some financial reversals and may get in trouble himself. The bands of servitude tattooed on The Kid’s right biceps will cause him intense pain if he disobeys or tries to escape.

In this snippet, Kyle and the Kid take in a local Faire and meet two acquaintances: Gil and Shane who are happily showing off their new acquisition…

Their acquisition stood between them; he was six-foot-one, about an inch taller than Gil, well-defined muscles, reddish-brown hair cut short and a reddish goatee, wearing jeans and a sleeveless gray shirt with a bill of sale fixed to the front. The Kid looked the man in the eyes and nodded slightly. He had been in a few of those shirts in the last eight years. Gil and Shane had their arms draped around him, Shane holding happily to their acquisition’s arm right where the bands of servitude were.

The man looked to be about Gil and Shane’s age, about thirty and had a resigned expression on his face, but with a half-smile.

Not your first go-round in servitude the Kid thought, self consciously rubbing the chain tattooed around his biceps.

Here’s one more snippet.

Gil grinned broader and slipped his hand under their acquisition’s shirt.

“Does he have a name…yet?” Kyle asked.

“Uh, my name is Steve,” the slave said. “Unless they decide different.”

“Well, I’m Kyle and this is The Kid.” Kyle said. “He came with the name.”

Hope your week is going better than Steve and The Kid’s in the story. There is always room for optimism. ———–jeff baker

Posted in Rainbow Snippets, Tatts | 4 Comments

Word on May Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, from Jeff Baker (May 6, 2022.)

Photo by Nick Rtr on Pexels.com

The May Flash Fiction Draw Challenge will be held next week. Things have been a little haywire for me lately, and I just forgot! Nonetheless, the cards will be drawn and the stories written because we all need this distraction!

Thanks!

——-jeff

Posted in Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge | Leave a comment

Hear “The Rubaiyat of Joseph Zachary Barstow” for Friday Flash Fics. By Jeff Baker, May 6, 2022.

The Rubaiyat of Joseph-Zachary Barstow

(A Bryce Going Story)

by Jeff Baker

I first kissed a guy in public the day of the Bicentennial, July Fourth, Nineteen Seventy-Six. We thought we were alone.

I had a job working at a concession stand at a boat rental at Lake Manakopa that summer. It was up near the Canadian border. It wasn’t an Indian name, my Boss’s family owned it and it was a version of their original Russian name. I didn’t mind. It fit since “Bryce Going” wasn’t my real name anyway.

It was a pretty easy job, and that was where I met Jozac. Joseph-Zachary Barstow was sixteen, I was about the same age but pretending to be older. He was a little shorter than I was but we were both tanned and muscular (he more than me) and had a big grin that could melt butter.

I was falling for him. He was my first big summer crush. And nobody knew. At least, I thought nobody did.

Usually, I manned the stand while Jozac (as he insisted on being called!) helped with the boats and other stuff, like sweeping the small wooden boardwalk. When things were slow, Jozac and I had time to talk and he would ramble on about everything. He said he was going to write his ramblings down and maybe call it “The Rubaiyat of Joseph-Zachary Barstow.” I laughed and told him I’d read the poem a while back.

He stared at me for a moment and said he’d never met a guy who liked poetry. He said he was serious about doing the book, all about his misadventures which included running away when he was thirteen and hiding in an abandoned building for a week before the police caught him and took him home.

A few days later, I caught him in a mirror very definitely giving me the once-over. Checking me out. It wasn’t the first time someone had done that since I’d been out on my own.

Being a teenage runaway, especially a closeted one I was pretty careful around other guys, especially older ones. But Jozac was actually the same age I was. And I started checking him out when he wasn’t looking. I think he knew. He started wearing tight t-shirts to work, saying it was to “entice the girls to rent boats.” But when he said that, he gave me this look.

It was early one afternoon in June when he and I were both in the concession stand, unpacking boxes of canned soda when I blurted it out. The first part anyway.

“Uhhh…” I managed. “I’m doing the same thing you did when you were thirteen.” I said. “But I’ve been doing it for about a year. Since my folks bailed on me. My name isn’t Bryce Going. Not really…”

I had my hand on the last unopened box of sodas. Jozac put his hand on mine and we looked at each other for a moment. Then, Jozac looked around, saw nobody and kissed me. Really fast.

Then we went back to unpacking boxes and stocking soda.

That wasn’t when we kissed in public. We made out a few times, catching moments when we could. Jozac was still living with his folks in town and I was sleeping in the back storeroom. I think our boss suspected I wasn’t who I said I was but I don’t think he knew Jozac and I were gay, even though we really were spending a lot of time together, even when we weren’t working.

Jozac and I were sitting pretty close at the beach party some of the employees threw the last week in June, but nobody noticed. It was a little cool after dark and a bunch of us were huddled together around a fire actually toasting hot dogs.

“Naw, man, hey these hot dogs are good.” That was Bryan, one of the guys we worked with who I thought really looked good in a Hawaiian shirt halfway unbuttoned. It was cold, but he liked to show off his abs. The girl on his arm thought so too.

“Yeah,” the girl said. “That way we won’t have to throw them out into the lake, like my Grandmother used to….”

“Throw them out? What for?” Jozac said.

“To appease the Gods of the Lake,” she said. “The Natives who lived here told her that the lake was one of the original Great Lakes and its bottom stretches to infinity.” She laughed. “My Grandmother believed things like that.”

“Well, I’m from New Jersey and I don’t,” Bryan said.

“I heard some of that stuff growing up in Kenosha, when I was a kid,” one of the others said. “Old legends.”

I was about to say I’d run into a few odd things since leaving Philly, but the less said about me, the better.

We sat, ate, talked, laughed and watched sparks from the fire drift up to the stars.

The days were busy leading up to Sunday, July 4th. On the day, Jozac and I were working the booth. We had a little black and white TV in the booth and got to see some of the specials with the tall ships in New York Harbor. When things slowed down a bit, the boss told us to take an hour off and enjoy ourselves a bit.

“This is only going to come around once,” he said.

I think he probably knew but wasn’t saying anything.

Anyway, Jozac and I walked a ways down the shore watching the people swimming, throwing beach balls and boating. We were up near the rocky part of the beach when we heard some fireworks popping. Small ones at first and then a huge BOOM!

We about jumped out of our skins. And then we heard a splash and we looked out at the lake in time to see a huge, no other way to describe it, sea monster jump halfway out of the water. Blue-green skin, long neck, sleek body, serpent like. It splashed back into the water and was gone.

Jozac and I gawked at the lake then at each other. And that was when I pulled him over and kissed him full on the lips. After a moment, we pulled apart and he smiled and said “Happy Fourth.”

We glanced around. Most of the people were further down the shore and everyone was distracted by the fireworks but I could see a couple of people pointing to where the sea monster had been.

“Yeah, happy Fourth,” I said.

Then we started walking back to our booth, holding hands for another moment.

We stayed open until later in August when school started up. That was when I decided to take the first bus out of town. I’d noticed a couple of cops lurking around and a runaway didn’t need the attention. I said goodbye to Jozac and left, wishing him luck.

He smiled and said he’d put me in his book. I told him to wait about four years until I actually was twenty. The only time I’d told him anything about my real life.

I had other reasons to leave.

I kept having dreams about that lake monster one night slithering ashore…

—end—

Posted in Bryce Going, Fantasy, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, LGBT, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Angel Martinez reads an Unsettling “Arrangement” by Jeff Baker. April 29, 2022.

Angel Martinez does a weekly Friday reading on her webpage. Here, she again reads one of my stories: “Arrangement In Black and Gray.”

My serious thanks to Angel for her fine reading of this story!

Here it is. Better turn up the lights for this one…https://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/from-angels-cave/friday-reading-day-arrangement-in-black-and-grey?fbclid=IwAR1BIEPKQi0ohYg6KbE3F1jqdfwKnvNsRqJCfPynkKutC6juiL2wexIl-JY

Posted in Angel Martinez, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, LGBT, Short-Stories | Leave a comment