FFfAW — Greasing the Skids

82C27BC6-29B2-40A3-B15E-A95DA59D0254Hank walked into Milton’s office, shut the door behind him, and sat down in the chair opposite Milton’s desk. “Would you mind telling me what’s going on, Hank?” Milton said. It was less of a question than an order. “I went out to the construction site this morning and no one was there. What the hell, Hank? You’re my operations manager.”

“Sorry boss,” Hank said, “but the EPA shut us down. Something about toxic chemicals in the soil. I’ll look into it.”

“I’ll handle this, Hank,” Milton said. “Tell your guys to be ready tomorrow.”

******

The next day Hank returned to Milton’s office. “Boss,” we just got clearance to start working at the site again. How’d you get that done?”

“It’s not what you know, Hank, it’s who you know,” Milton said. “I gotta guy at the EPA who’s going through a tough time, you know. So I greased the skids a little.”

“A payoff, boss?”

Milton got a smug look on his face. “Hank, always remember this. Money talks, bullshit walks.”

(175 words)


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Photo credit: wildverbs.

FFfAW — The Old Stone Building

A1CC2EB6-C300-41CC-972B-B9AFBBDA8B93I used to stand outside of the old stone building, wondering who lived there and what was going on inside. I never saw people going in or out. Sometimes I would see a silhouette in the small window above side door. But I couldn’t see any features to identify the age or gender of the individual.

I asked around, but no one knew for sure what the purpose of the building was. Some claimed it was home to a reclusive religious sect. Others argued that it was a medical treatment center for the indigent, or a hospice for the terminally ill. Another theory was that it was a secretive government facility that could only be accessed via an elaborate labyrinth of underground tunnels.

It wasn’t until after I was arrested, charged, tried, and found guilty that I learned the truth about the old stone building. That’s when, very late one night, I was escorted, through that same side door that I used to watch, into the hospital for the criminally insane.

(171 words)


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Photo credit: Jade M. Wong.

FFfAW — Something Fishy

C1DA0867-0D87-4865-B450-45E64CE722C6“Let’s play hide and seek,” Goldie the goldfish said to her fellow aquarium-mate, Tex, a Texas cichlid.

“Cool,” Tex said. “Shall I ask Angie, the Angelfish, if she’d like to join us?”

“No, she’s too delicate. She never wants to play games with us,” Goldie responded. “I think she thinks she’s too delicate. But how about Bozo?”

“Great idea, Goldie,” Tex exclaimed. “That clownfish is always fun to have around.”

“And Peter?” Goldie asked.

“Peter? Are you kidding me?” tex said. “That guy sucks.”

“Well,” Goldie said, that is his job. He is a suckermouth catfish, you know.”

“Okay, so just you, me, and Bozo, then,” Tex said.

“You and Bozo go swim off and hide,” Goldie said. “I’ll count to ten and then go find you.”

After a minute, Tex got tired of waiting, left his hiding place, and swam to the middle of the tank, where he saw Goldie. “Why aren’t you playing?”

“Playing what?” Goldie asked.

“Hide and seek.”

“I forgot,” she said. “You know I have the memory of a goldfish.”

(175 words)


Written for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Photo credit: Jodi McKinney.

FFfAW — Juxtaposition

84938BC7-9239-40FD-875F-36E5889D166B

“Is that a lantern?” Jayne asked, pointing to the orange item.

Yes,” Tim responded. “It’s a battery operated lantern that my parents put out on our front porch every year on Halloween.”

“But that winged lion on the lantern’s top,” Jayne said. “Isn’t that a Christian symbol?”

“Yes,” Tim said. “It’s one of four creatures standing around the throne of the Almighty in the Gospel of St. Mark. The winged lion appeared in Prophet Ezekiel’s vision, where four winged creatures represented the four evangelists — Matthew the human, Mark the lion, Luke the bull, and John the eagle.”

“But Halloween is a pagan holiday?” Jayne said. “Why would a Halloween lantern have a Christian symbol on it?”

“Well,” Tim explained. “It’s a compromise between my mother and father. Juxtaposing a Christian symbol on the pagan holiday sends a spiritual message, thus satisfying them both, since he’s an atheist and he loves Halloween, while she’s Catholic and not a Halloween fan.”

“Oh,” said Jayne, But what does that make you?” Jayne asked.

“Very confused,” Tim answered.

(174 words)


Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers from Priceless Joy. Photo credit: wildverbs.

FFfAW — No One Will Get Hurt

1975E33D-C414-4DF2-9658-8A5D0FE80F6E“You will be outfitted as a janitor and will have access to the building on Saturday as part of the normal weekend cleaning crew,” the chief said. “Once you’re inside, all you need to do is to make your way to the main lab and place the milk carton on the table and the envelope on the floor outside the lab door. Then just continue to be unobtrusive and leave with the rest of the cleaning crew. Understand?”

“I get it,” Michael said. “But you’re sure no one will get hurt?”

“The building will be empty. It’s locked tight after the cleaning crew leaves on Saturday afternoon until 6 am Monday morning,” the chief explained. “The timer is set to activate the antenna at noon on Sunday. That will direct the drones to a surgical strike on the lab. The letter you leave behind will point back to the Chinese as the perpetrators of the attack.”

“And if I get made?”

“You’ll be on your own, Michael. The agency will disavow any knowledge of you.”

(175 words)


Written for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers from Priceless Joy. Photo credit: Yinglan.