Rainbow Snippets, April 30th, 2022. “Will You Still Respect Me…” by Jeff Baker

Rainbow Snippets April 30, 2022

Every week we post six lines of a work of ours, or a recommendation of a work of someone else’s on “Rainbow Snippets,” here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?multi_permalinks=7268901533179846&notif_id=1651353382055545&notif_t=group_activity&ref=notif

This week, another of my weekly flash fictions from a picture prompt (which I posted above.) In “Will You Still Respect Me in the Morning?” https://authorjeffbaker.com/2018/01/05/a-swap-meet-for-friday-flash-fics-by-jeff-baker-january-5-2018/ best buddies Johnny and Luke are checking out each other from a different vantage point; they’ve spent a few bucks to have themselves temporarily transferred into each others bodies.

In the 23rd Century, you can do that!

Here’s snippet one:

Luke stood in the doorway running a hand through the short hair. He looked down and flexed the right bicep, staring at the tattoos.

“I don’t remember this one, the one of the face,” Luke said.

“You should,” Johnny said, from in front of the mirror.

Luke flexed the biceps again. “Seriously, you really took care of yourself. This body looks good.”

Here’s snippet two:

“Thanks,” Johnny said with a grin. “Yours does too.” He grinned into the mirror. The face that grinned back was tanned and dark haired. The body was lean, not as muscular as the figure standing in the doorway but with some good definition.

“Be careful with that body, I get it back tomorrow afternoon,” Luke said grinning with Johnny’s teeth.

Okay, a little more:

Johnny’s body (which Luke was occupying) was muscular, tattooed with reddish brown hair. “This is crazy, you know.” Luke said.

“Yeah,” Johnny said. “But it should be worth it.” Luke grinned again; he was getting used to seeing his own face and hearing his own voice coming from over there.

Well, that’s our snippets for this week! Take care and I’ll see you in May! —–jeff

Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, LGBT, Rainbow Snippets, Science Fiction | 4 Comments

“Something Up in Barracuda Flats, Part Two.” Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker, April 30, 2022,

FFF Something Up in Barracuda Flats Part Two

by Jeff Baker

AUTHOR’S NOTE: In part one of this serial,https://authorjeffbaker.com/2021/07/02/something-is-up-in-barracuda-flats-for-friday-flash-fics-july-2-2021-by-jeff-baker/ Murdoch has been called out to Barracuda Flats to investigate strange doings at a ranch. Very strange for the post-Civil War era. Hiding in the brush, he sees a strange device with a mysterious glow at one end in the yard of the ranch.

I stared. The glittering swirling light was hypnotizing. I stayed hidden benind the brush and watched as a weatherbeaten older man, followed by a younger man with a stern expression, wearing a battered sombrero. The younger man grabbed the two handles at the one end of the long rod just under the glowing end and at the older man’s direction swung the device so it was pointing away from the ranch building.

A weapon.

In another minute, my suspicions were confirmed as the glow at the base of the device shown brighter. In another instant, a bright light, like a sunbeam, shot from the device and struck an old, gnarled tree which burst into fiery shards.

I hoped Griggs wasn’t standing behind the tree.

I stared from the device to the smoldering tree and back again. I remembered during the Siege of Petersberg a few years earlier when General grant had wheeled out one of the new Gatling Guns and after seeing that horror in action I wondered if anyone would dare ever make a weapon of war again. Now, looking at what was left of the tree, wrought by the machine and watching the matter-of-fact way the two men seemed to analyze what they had done I wondered what man might unleash upon himself in the years to come.

But what were these men planning to do with the device they had made?

ADDENDA: So ends part two of this ongoing serial. Hopefully I’ll add more another week.

——jsb

Posted in Barracuda Flats, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, Science Fiction, Short-Stories, Western | Leave a comment

Rainbow Snippet for April 23, 2022: “Ticklish Days,” by Skip Hanford.

Photo by Ben Mack on Pexels.com

Every week we post six lines of a work of ours, or a recommendation of a work of someone else’s on “Rainbow Snippets,” here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?multi_permalinks=7233704850032848&notif_id=1650674708101991&notif_t=group_activity&ref=notif

Something a little different, definitely PG-13 this week. From my (as “Skip Hanford”) science fiction/BDSM story “Ticklish Days” that was published in “Rule 34, Volume Two” from Sin Cyr Publishing. https://sincyrpublishing.com/2020/04/01/rule-34-volume-2-release-day/

In this dystopian world, 20-something Bobby Sanchez, like other guys his age who qualify, must turn himself in for two weeks of state-sponsored tickling for paying customers who can also stream the videos. A tough spot to be in, but fortunately, Bobby finds a friend and maybe more.

Here’s snippet one:

Bobby was exhausted when the tickling stopped at least an hour later. He tried to catch his breath as he heard the kid strapped down next to him on the upright leaned platforms laugh and scream and swear. Then Bobby heard the voice from somewhere behind him.

“Hey, new guy, you okay?”

“Yeah.” Bobby’s voice was hoarse from laughing and yelling.

“I’m Carlos. How you holding up?”

Here’s snippet two:

“I’m Bobby Sanchez. Doing okay, except for being strapped down here.”

“Doesn’t get a lot better, ‘bro,” Carlos said. “We just have to tough it out.”

“Got two weeks, not sure how I’m going to get through it,” Bobby said.

“Tough it out, Roberto,” Carlos said. “I got into a fight my first day here, so they got me here for a couple of months ‘till they decide what to do with me.”

This stretched a bit over six lines, but I couldn’t resist!

Hope your week, dear reader, does not put you in any ticklish situations!

—–jeff

Posted in Fiction, LGBT, Rainbow Snippets, Science Fiction, Short-Stories | 2 Comments

Friday Flash Fics. “Up There” by Jeff Baker, April 23, 2022 (Yes, Saturday!)

Up There

by Jeff Baker

It seemed the two of them were high enough at the top of the small hill to touch the emerging stars or to see them wobble in the wind which blew their grey hair.

“I think that’s it!” Willie said.

“Where?” Ellen said, staring at the sky.

“Right there. There.” Willie said pointing upward. There was a bright dot hanging over the western horizon in the blue dusk.

“That’s Venus,” Ellen said.

“I know Venus, that’s not Venus.” Willie said. “I’ve been watching the skies for oh, sixty years now and…”

“It’s not moving. That’s Venus.” Ellen said.

Willie squinted. “All right, maybe it’s Venus.”

“Look up there!” Ellen said excitedly.

“Where?” Willie said.

“Straight up!” Ellen said, pointing.

“Oh, there it is!” Willie said. “Look at it move!”

The dot of light moved toward the Western horizon, growing brighter as it moved into the sunlight far above the Earth.

“Oh, here comes another one!” Ellen said as a second dot emerged from the shadowy blue, following the first.

“Looks like they’re busy tonight,” Willie said.

“I’m just glad you don’t work on that damned loading dock anymore” Ellen said.

“You’d think being only a sixth of Earth’s gravity would help,” Willie said. “But not when you’re loading a thousand boxes a day. Or night. It never felt like night to me with the Earth up there in the sky.” He smiled and drew her close.

“You know what they used to say when they saw what they used to call a shooting star?” Willie said, eyes twinkling.

“What?” Ellen said smiling.

“Make a wish!” Willie said.

The two of them stood there and kissed as the sky darkened and the stars smiled down.

—end—

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

Rainbow Snippet: “The Well-Lit Room” by Jeff Baker, April 15, 2022.

Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels.com

Every week we post six lines of a work of ours, or a recommendation of a work of someone else’s on “Rainbow Snippets,” here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

This week, from something I just wrote and posted as my weekly story on “Friday Flash Fics,” another adventure for my Bi private eye, Andrew Navarro. Check the Author’s Note at the end of the full story and you’ll see it took me a while to finish this story: https://authorjeffbaker.com/2022/04/15/the-well-lit-room-a-much-delayed-friday-flash-fics-by-jeff-baker-april-15-2022/

Most of the time I don’t spend my time peeping through keyholes. Mainly because most people who hire a private eye in the 21st Century like me, Andrew Navarro, don’t have doors with keyholes. In fact the last few clients I’ve had you needed a keycard not a key to open a door.

And most of my cases don’t involve ghosts.

My latest client named (so help me) Eggbert Walton, had offices in a renovated Victorian house, that had originally been built for a wealthy family and I guess had been pretty ritzy and modern in its day. Now it looked like the Addams Family lived there.

That’s it for this week! Wishing you all the best for Passover, Easter and the rest of the days ahead. —–jeff

Posted in Andrew Navarro, Fiction, LGBT, Mystery, Rainbow Snippets, Short-Stories | 2 Comments

The Well-Lit Room: A Much-Delayed Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker (April 15, 2022)

The Well-Lit Room

By Jeff Baker

Most of the time I don’t spend my time peeping through keyholes. Mainly because most people who hire a private eye in the 21st Century like me, Andrew Navarro, don’t have doors with keyholes. In fact the last few clients I’ve had you needed a keycard not a key to open a door.

And most of my cases don’t involve ghosts.

My latest client named (so help me) Eggbert Walton, had offices in a renovated Victorian house, that had originally been built for a wealthy family and I guess had been pretty ritzy and modern in its day. Now it looked like the Addams Family lived there. The client had been getting odd calls from friends who’d been driving by late at night when the office was closed and had seen a light on in the top floor. He gave me the grand tour during the day and I made sure that there was no awning covering a porch that someone could have used to climb into the office window on the second floor.

Mr. Walton gave me the key so I could enter the building after dark. It wasn’t the first time I’d had to take a long nap during the day to prepare for surveillance at night, but something about this one made me uneasy. He rented the room at the end of top floor and so I sat cross-legged on the carpeted floor outside the room in the hallway. The doors were old and solid, all painted a dull gray. The doors all had old-fashioned knobs above an old keyhole you could peep through, but each door had a modern deadbolt as well. In the dim light of summer dusk I could make out the name on the door: E. G. Walton.

From where I was sitting, I could see the big old staircase leading downstairs at the end of the hallway. Trying not to doze, feeling the floorboards beneath the carpet.

I could hear the bells from the old clock tower at the nearby University, a building that must have been built when this old house was new. I sat there and counted the strikes of the clock from nine o’clock on.

Against all my plans, I dozed.

I woke, just in time to hear the tower bell chime what Dickens called “a deep, dull, melancholy ONE.” But that wasn’t what had awakened me.

There was a light streaming through the old keyhole. A ghostly blue light.

I was wide awake. I crept over to the door and, for the first time in my professional career I peered through the keyhole.

I could see a good slice of the room. The window, half of the old-fashioned wooden desk, and a round shape silhouetted in an eerie blue glow.

The shape moved slightly from side to side.

I wasn’t breathing.

I stood up, very carefully and quietly in the deathly still dark hallway.

I could get a better angle through the keyhole. There was a skinny young black kid, huge Afro (the kind I’d seen on kids in my older brother’s High School yearbook) sitting on the floor, tapping quietly on a laptop. I reached in my pocket for the key to the office door and very carefully, very carefully, very slowly inserted the key into the lock over the old doorknob and keyhole and carefully turned it. It felt like twenty minutes before the key turned and the lock opened as silently as possible.

I realized I had no choice but to open the door fast. The ancient knob was going to make noise.

In the instant that I banged the door I realized this kid might have a gun. He looked up shocked. He was working on a small laptop plugged into a strip beside the desk.

The rest of the story is quickly told. The kid’s name was Keenan, he lived down the street, he’d bought a secondhand laptop for school but he couldn’t get internet at his house “Since the new radio station opened up next door,” so he found this place.

I asked him why he didn’t just use it outside, he said because “outside doesn’t have a plug.”

I asked him how he got in the office, nobody could climb in and he laughed.

“Just a matter of shimmying up the drainpipe on the other side of the corner and stepping over to the window ledge.”

A very thin ledge.

“And the window pulls open form the outside.” Keenan said.

Mr. Walton had assured me that the building was secure. He’d be interested in knowing that it wasn’t.

I wasn’t a cop, but I searched Keenan. No sign that he’d taken anything. He showed me the pictures of himself on the laptop. It was his. I’d done a bunch of crazy things when I was a kid.

I sighed. I told Keenan I’d talk to Mr. Walton. I did have Keenan’s address and he would be more than grateful to learn about the window. It’d be up to him on whether to press charges or not.

As I watched Keenan walk down the street, I thought of the instant before I peeped through the ghostly glow of the keyhole, not knowing what I’d see, when more words from Dickens ran through my head:

“He knew that nothing short of a baby or a rhinoceros would surprise him.”

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I started this story from the picture prompt which first appeared on the old Monday Flash Fics site in January 2018. A man looking through a lit keyhole in a darkened room. I didn’t finish it, possibly because I didn’t have a handle on the character. (Or the plot!) And possibly because I was doing a couple of other stories that week. So I dug it (and the pic) out of mothballs and decided to give it a go. Oh, and the lines from Dickens are from “A Christmas Carol.”

Happy Passover and Easter, Everybody! ——jeff & darryl

Posted in Andrew Navarro, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, LGBT, Mystery | Leave a comment

April 2022 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge—The Results!!! (from Jeff Baker)

As you can see from the cards, 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 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. As I’m no good at making videos I did it off stage and the results were the Jack of Hearts (a Sports Story), a Seven of Diamonds (a Piano Factory) and the Ace of Clubs (a Pair of Handcuffs.)

Here’s the results for April!

E. H. Timms wrote “Take Your Cue.” https://thinkingthinking123.blogspot.com/2022/04/flash-fic-challenge-take-your-cue.html

I wrote “Will I Be Rich Say the Bells of Shoredich?” https://authorjeffbaker.com/2022/04/11/will-i-be-rich-the-bells-of-shoredich-chime-for-aprils-flash-fiction-draw-challenge-by-jeff-baker-april-11-2022/

Thanks so much to all our participants! It’s not too late—if you want to write a story for this, post it in the comments and I’ll stick it up here! And I’ll see you on May 2nd, 2022 for the next draw!

——–jeff

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

“Will I Be Rich?” The Bells of Shoredich Chime for April’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge by Jeff Baker (April 11, 2022)

Photo by Tembela Bohle on Pexels.com

Will I Be Rich? Say The Bells of Shoredich

by Jeff Baker

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for the April 2022 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were A sports story, set in a piano factory involving a pair of handcuffs. I write too many stories using song titles as titles, and I apologize to all those who know London if I didn’t get it right!——jeff

Padraig Denny huffed and puffed as he ran through the barricaded London streets. He was in the back of the pack of the marathon, but that was where he wanted to be. Less people watching.

Being a runner in a marathon was a perfect alibi. And nobody was going to look for stolen gold certificates hidden in a runner’s shorts. All he had to do was follow the marked route and get into the car after blending in with all the people who didn’t cross the finish line first.

Good thing he’d run track in school. At least he’d stayed fit.

He kept jogging. The rhythm of his shoes hitting the pavement made him think of a song or a poem.

“Will-I-be-rich? Say-the-bells-of-Shore-dich…” His Grandmother used to recite that to him.

He jogged on.

“Will-I-be-rich? Will-I be-rich? Yes-I’ll-be-rich. Yes-I’ll-be-rich…”

Padraig smiled as he jogged along.

Up ahead, one of the arrows pointed down a side street. Padraig was probably in last place. He wasn’t trying to win. He turned down the street. Up ahead, another arrow pointed to the big, open garage door of an old brick building. He jogged in and saw upright pianos in various stages of assembly but no people around. The room was like a big garage with a clear path leading to another open doorway on the other side.

Several policemen jumped up from behind the pianos, guns drawn yelling for him to stop and put his hands up.

As they bent Padraig over one of the pianos and snapped the handcuffs on his wrists behind him they explained that one of his confederates had talked too much and they had nabbed the rest. It was just a matter of getting him off the main road and into the factory they had evacuated, where there would be nowhere to run.

They’d gotten the idea for turning the sign “from an old cartoon, one of those about that cheeky road runner…”

As the cops led him out to the police car, one of them said “Look at it this way, Mate. You may not be the first one in the marathon to cross the finish line but you’re the first to finish the race in handcuffs.”

—end—

Posted in crime, Fiction, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Short-Stories, Sports Story | Leave a comment

Progress Report (Remember those?!) from Jeff Baker. April 9th, 2022.

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

Not much progress to report since mid-February, but there has been some. Personal stuff and genial laziness have kept me from writing anything full-length, but I did get the weekly flash fictions and a few extra ones done.

And I saw my story “Nereus” published in the first quarterly issue of “Orion’s Beau,” where it looks wonderful!

So, I’ll keep at the short-short stuff and start working on the larger stuff. That’s progress too!

Hopefully it will not be as long before I post another of these.

That’s about it for now!

Posted in Progress Reports, Writing | Leave a comment

Everyone is Writing a Book. Friday Flash Fiction from Jeff Baker, April 8th, 2022

Everyone Is Writing a Book

by Jeff Baker

It was the early spring of nineteen-seventy-five and I was trying to be a writer.

I would park in Old Man Emmerdale’s lot in front of the store and then go into the back of my delivery truck, pull out my notebook and write, and write, and write. Usually until Mr. Emmerdale would show up and let me into the store with his order.

Now, usually Mr. Emmerdale wouldn’t get there until around Nine-Thirty but he said he would be there at Eight, so I was there by Seven-Thirty in the morning. This sometimes left me with about two hours to write. Which would have been wonderful if I had anything to write about, instead of random scribblings.

That one morning in that spring, Mr. Emmerdale got there just after Eight. I started unloading his order, several stacks of heavy boxes which I wheeled down the ramp from the truck and then into the store.

I had them all in and he was checking the order when the front door banged open and a youngish man with a growth of beer staggered in, smelling of whiskey, gun in his hand.

“Gimmie everything in your register!” The man barked out the order, but the gun made it a command. I just stood there terrified. Mr. Emmerdale fumbled through the register and pulled out a couple of bucks swearing it was all he had.

“Don’t bullshit me, man,” the gunman yelled. “I used to work here. You got the money in a deposit bag under the register. Under the floorboard!” His voice was slurred. He was smashed.

Emmerdale stared at him for a second, like he was trying to remember him. Then he pulled open the floorboard, fished out the bag and handed it to the man.

The gunman staggered out the front door. In another instant we heard a crash.

The gunman had passed out right there on the front stoop. We called the police.

That evening at home, I sat at my desk and wrote. No random scribblings, this time I had a story to tell.

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: For the record, the picture was taken by me from my delivery truck before I quit my job to write. And I’ve been watching a lot of “The Waltons,’ and I see the influence of the opening/closing narration of that show here. Oh, the title is from Cicero. —–jsb

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