Causing a Splash

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #108, where we write about this photo from Ba Tik at Pexels.com.

Erica had just moved into her new apartment and had decided to redecorate the entire place.

It was a Saturday, and she had enlisted the help of her identical twin brother, Eric. At twelve o’clock, there was a knock on the door and… bonus! He had brought his roommate, Billy, along with him. Great – three people instead of one. She had met Billy a few times before but never really talked to him. Despite this, she found his company pleasing. The conversation was so easy with him, he seemed to be flirting with her and, playing along, she flirted back.

At five o’clock. Eric had to leave to prepare for his evening shift as a waiter, and as Billy needed the ride, Erica was left on her own. Assessing the situation, there was several days more decoration required and Billy asked whether she’d like some more help Monday.

“Would I?” was her simple response, and Billy arranged to stop by after work.

She had assumed that the pair would be coming around, but on Monday evening, Billy turned up alone. Still, he was eager, and she would take all the help she could. The flirting continued, and Erica had decided that she quite liked Billy. When he suggested coming back Tuesday to finish the job, she eagerly accepted.

Tuesday, he arrived at 7:30 on the dot. There was a lot to get through, although the company made it a pleasant experience. The pair were joking with each other but, later, they were starting to wane. As he finished painting the doorframe, Billy’s hand slipped and dashed the wall. As a punishment, Erica flicked her brush at him.

“Hey!”, cried Billy, “what’s the game?”

“Be careful, Klutzy. We’re gonna have to do that bit again, now.”

A second later, she felt a splash of paint hit her cheek.

“What was that for?”

“Well, hey, missy, you can’t go round throwing paint at people.”

A second later, Billy felt a brush hit his beard. He looked up at a very smug-looking Erica, who seconds later received some facial decoration of her own. The next time, she found his hair, and was similarly decorated for her trouble. Then the poking started. For each poke, she had one back in reaction. Her mistake was to start tickling. Billy used his strength to return the favour, until Erica begged surrender.

Climbing off her, Billy came to his senses and offered, soberly, “Now, don’t be putting me off. Half a minute here, and we’ll be finished.” And, regaining her breath, Erica watched as Billy finished the last of the room.

The job was, indeed, very shortly finished, They both sat to admire their handiwork, tired but proud. It was gone 11 PM. “We’re both a bit messed up here, don’t you think?” She leaned in toward him as they relaxed. “What say we take a shower and get all this paint off?”


Mrs Bump’s Influence

Mrs Bump is here today. I showed her the photo, and shared my idea that she was saying “no chance, mate”, but she assured me that this was very much not the case. But I couldn’t resist Eric and Erica!

The Injured Party

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #107, where we write about this photo from Pixabay.

She sat dozing in her armchair. She spent most afternoons like this, dozing, since her retirement almost two years ago. A shrill knock at the door aroused her. “Who could that be?” She did not get many visitors, these days.

She padded down the hallway and meekly opened the door. “Mrs Evans ?” She didn’t recognise the man standing before her, who was wearing an ill-fitting suit and who smelled of cigarettes.

“I’m Terry McFarlane, from Sun Hill CID. Are you Mrs Linda Evans?” “Yes, officer”, she looked taken aback, “how can I help?” “It’s about Colin Dermott Evans.” Her husband. Without hesitation, she replied “yes, officer, please come in.” She led him into the parlour. Seated, she asked “What do you want with Colin? We split up, you know, it must be five years ago now. So I’m not sure how much I can help you”, she added for good measure.

“It’s a strange one, Mrs Evans. It comes vie New South Wales State Police, a Mr Terence Evans is worried about the whereabouts of Mr Colin Evans.”

“Terry?”, she replied, aghast. “But Terry’s been over there, must have been thirty years since. Even when he lived here, there was no love lost, they didn’t get on.”

“Apparently, Terence Evans has been trying to contact Colin Evans for the last six months, has been unable to trace him and contacted his local police, who in turn contacted us.”

“So, how can I help?”

“Well, we wondered if you might have any idea of your husband’s whereabouts?”

“I’m sorry, officer. I threw him out for the last time, five years ago.” She added acidically, “he always had a string of women – you could try finding one of them…”.

“So, can you tell us anything that might help us?”

“Well, I bumped into one of his old gambling buddies about three years ago, he said Colin had flown out to Thailand at the start of the winter.” The policeman noted this down. “And can you tell us the name of this friend?” He noted that down, too.

Another five minutes, and Linda had clearly been as much help as she was going to be. The policeman said his thanks, and departed.

Returning to her lounge, Linda walked to the sideboard and gently patted the skull, which formed the centrepiece. She wondered what she should do next.

“I think you need to lie low for a while, Colin, don’t you?”

Showing Your Age

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #106, where we write about this photo from the Google Home Photo Frame.

“You all right to finish off this last stake?”, uttered Ken.

“Sure thing, old timer. You feelin’ the pace?”, replied Cody, but Ken was already heading back to their pick-up.

Cody deftly finished the barbed-wire fence, then walked back to the truck. Effortlessly tossing his sledgehammer into the back, Cody watched Ken, standing by the open door, staring into space. He stood behind Ken. What was the old guy looking at?

“What ya viewing?”, asked Cody. All he could see was a vista, the mountains in the background and some buffalo grazing about a half-mile away.

“Don’t you ever think?”, replied Ken. “This place has been like this for tens of thousands of years, and two guys come along, all of a sudden one day, and in the space of a few hours, we change it forever.”

Cody pondered. Five seconds later came his philosophical response. “Meh. People gotta have their ‘lectricity. Puts food in our mouths, remember”.

Another five seconds, and Cody was back in the real world. “Come on”, he slapped Ken on the shoulder, “we got another two of these fences to build today”. Ken slowly turned and, showing his age, slowly settled into the passenger seat.

As Cody started to drive off, his foot suddenly hit the brake.

“Almost forgot the sign”, he explained.

He jumped out of the pickup, and lifted his hammer, plus a pre-made wooden sign, out of the back. A minute later, he was back. “All done”, he murmured triumphantly, as he started the engine.

As they drove off the site, Ken looked back dolefully at a sign reading “newly acquired by Edison Corporation”.

A Cold Decision

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #105, where we write about this photo from aw-landscapes at DeviantArt.com.

George had really got into this. Since he discovered Geocaching, last summer, there had been no stopping him. His wife, Mary, couldn’t complain, either, as George was getting good exercise and losing weight with it. Anything which helped counter his middle-age spread was welcome. He had even tried to enthuse her, but while she enjoyed the odd ramble in the country, hunting for something as silly as a notebook did not excite her.

“I’ve taken next Monday off, by the way”, he had announced, “thought I might go over to Ditton Wood, see what I can find over there“. “Are you sure that’s wise? The weatherman predicted snow”, replied Mary.

“Ah, bloody weathermen, they never get things right. I’ll be fine.” Mary noted, however, that as George was leaving the house on Monday, it *had* started snowing. It was only light so far, and George had pooh-poohed it. “It’s only a flurry, it’ll be stopped in five minutes”. But Mary thought it was getting stronger. “More fool you”, she thought, as she turned the heating up. There was nothing would get *her* to leave the house, on a day like today.

She made a brew, sat down, and found an old Bogart film on TV. It was just concluding when, just over an hour later, the phone rang. “Mary? It’s George. I’m coming home, make sure that the kettle is boiled and that there’s plenty of hot water. I’m at the wood, but all these bloody trees, they all look the same. There’s no way I’m gonna find anything today, and I’m freezing cold, so I’m coming home for a long, hot soak.”

High Spirits

For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #103, where we write about this photo from Tim Grundtner at Pexels.com.

“Come and look at this! This looks really creepy”, Suzy exclaimed with excitement.

Having gained his attention, Duffy checked the monitor. They were partnered up in the after-school photography club, and experimenting with how they could use one of the school’s copies of Photoshop to manipulate images. Suzy had figured out how to reduce the opacity, then merge two completely different images together.

“Oh man”, agreed Duffy, “that image looks really spooky. Like she’s some kinda poltergeist or somethin’. How’d you do that?”

So Suzy gave the tutorial. “Well, I just picked these two separate images up off the web, the attic and the girl”. She then started going into more detail, until Duffy interrupted her “Whoaaaa…”, pleaded Duffy, “slow down, there, sis”. It was true, Suzy was a natural with computers and Duffy had hardly taken in anything she’d said. His mind was racing, though, but in a completely different direction.

“Could you do that again?”, he asked. “Oh, yeah, now that I know what to do, it’s easy”, came the reply. “Then what say we have ourselves some fun?”, suggested Duffy, picking up their camera. “You wait here, see if you can find any photographs of any of the teachers.  I’m gonna get some photos of the school, that we can use as backgrounds. It’s about time some of ‘em get spirited away, don’t you think?”