#5MinuteFiction Week 125

#5MinuteFiction: Week 122

November 13, 2012 · 

It’s 5 Minute Fiction time! You know the rules (and if you don’t, check here — and make it quick because you’ve only got a few minutes!), so here is your prompt:

Your entry must include these three words in any order: spruce, trek, compete.

This week’s judge is Dave Galanter.

Dave was born on a cold, snowy day, in a log cabin hospital somewhere in the deep woods of Royal Oak, Michigan. Ok … well, maybe not. No one cares about that anyway.

By day Dave is a computer “geek” who gets paid to build servers, administrate networks, yada yada yada. But in the evenings and on the weekends, he devotes his time to his writing and spending time with his lovely wife and their cats.

Dave used to collaborate with Greg Brodeur, the husband and collaborator of author Diane Carey, and some of his past books were written with Greg doing major plot and characterization. Now, however, Dave is a solo act, with recent works being short stories in the Tales of the Dominion War anthology, and the Star Trek: Constellations anthology. He also wrote his first Classic Trek novel in 2009, called Troublesome Minds and an episode of the Web series “Star Trek Phase II.” His books can be found in bookstores and on-line.

He’ll be giving away a copy of Mere Anarchy to the overall winner!

A Few Notes:

  • In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear in a couple minutes, email me.
  • I don’t use capcha, but I do have to check “OK” on each comment. I’ll be sitting here doing exactly that, so after you hit enter, wait a few seconds then refresh your page (That’s F5 for most browsers.)
  • I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.
  • This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

Go, go, go! You’ve got until 8:45p EST (on the dot. Yes, I’m serious) to submit your entry in the comments section of this post.

I’ll see you back here at 10p EST with the finalists.

…and now, a moment of shameless self promotion!

AmyBeth’s short story The Peanut Gallery Rebellion is entered in the America’s Next Author competition! Please read it, and if you like it, click VOTE. It does not require a log in to do either. If you are feeling especially generous, leaving a review is also greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week 125

  1. Meredith says:

    She was never one to spruce up before meeting a guy or guys, for that matter. She pulled her black, of course, dress over her head and shimmied it down her lithe body. Tonight was going to be interesting.

    She arrived at the hotel 5 minutes early and strutted in as if she were going to compete in some hipswing contest. And perhaps she was. She found the speed dating room without a problem and began scanning the guests. She had done this so many times before, she knew exactly how to plan who she’d see first. Ah, there he was.

    The caller called time and they all sat down at tables, she across from her first choice. When he asked where she was from in that tight Southern accent, she knew the trek had been worth it.

  2. The last leg of the race was through a massive spruce forest–a trek of more than 50 miles for those who chose to compete and had made it that far.

    Lizbeth stared at the line of trees ahead of her and tightened the straps on her gloves. She’d survived a two-day climb over a glacier and more than 120 miles across a frozen tundra, but she’d been warned about this stage. Two years earlier, only two of the fifteen competitors who entered the forest came out on the other side. The other thirteen had never been found.

    She hitched her pack up higher on her shoulders and breathed into the heavy muffler that all but covered her face. The huge trees seemed to welcome her in as she entered the shadow they cast on the tundra. Sound, what there was of it this far north, faded away.

    Memories of mornings waking up to new-fallen snow floated to the surface, making her smile. She watched the others–she wasn’t sure how many had made it this far, but she’d seen at least seven ahead of her when she’d descended the glacier, and there’d been four above her by the time she’d made it to the bottom. Two bodies had met her there as well; evidence that this race was no game.

    As the shadows deepened, Lizbeth found herself taking longer strides and listening for whatever sounds could be heard. The prestige of finishing this race was what drove her, but she hoped to place as well.

    A movement to her left brought her gaze around, but nothing stirred. Before she could relax, a sound tore through the air, bouncing from tree to tree. Not an animal, she thought.

    But what? If that sound had come from a human…

    Her steps quickened. Fifty miles.

    She just had to make it fifty miles.

  3. “Hurry up, Dan! We’ll be late for the Star Trek convention!” Sarah yelled.

    “I’m trying to get the costume on, it must have shrunk in the last few years,” he replied.

    Sarah rolled her eyes at this response; just about everything in his closet had gotten smaller in the last few years according to him. The man refused to get on a scale, or to see that it wasn’t the clothes getting smaller, it was him getting bigger. Oh well, she thought, at least he still likes going places with me, and is willing to compete in a Captain Kirk look-alike contest. The grand prize was a meet and greet with the man himself, along with various autographed Star Trek memorabilia. Sarah really wanted this prize, she had been a trekkie since birth, or at least as long as she could remember.

    Sarah gathered her purse and the tickets for the convention, then started looking for her keys. She had the worst habit of putting them in a different place every day when she got home from work. For some reason, all other areas of her life were orderly, but her keys? Forget about it. It was a minimum ten minute search for those every time she wanted to leave the house.

    “I’m ready,” Dan announced as he came down the hall. The costume was bulged out over his belly, but otherwise seemed to fit all right. Oh well, didn’t Kirk have a little bit of a pot belly towards the end of the series? She would ask him to suck in his gut during the competition, maybe that would help with the jerky speech that was Kirk’s trademark.

    “Come on honey, I left the car parked under the spruce tree, let’s head out before it gets any sap on it,” Sarah said.

  4. “That blue shirt is cute, did your boyfriend pick it for you? Or maybe your faggy dad?” I restrained myself from growling as Quincy’s jabs poked at me from in front. The non-stop flow of verbal emesis hadn’t stopped since he started making fun of me for needing to sit down. Quincy was in shape, out-doorsy, and enjoyed killing things just like his outdoorsman father, who was my dad’s brother-in-law. In stark contrast, I was thin and far too pale to have seen much sunlight the past summer, or perhaps in the last few years. Where Quincy liked to compete, I liked to observe, fantasize about Star Trek and wish; he would be a football scholarship for some big name school, while I just wanted to go to Star Fleet academy. “Hey, do you see that?” He wheeled and came back to me, curious what I had noticed. As he looked down the line of my pointing index finger, straight down the sheer rock face, I gave a shove with all of my might. Quincy’s body crashed through the branches of the spruce trees below the cliff – I heard them snapping under his weight, and perhaps his body colliding with the stouter branches as his descent neared the conclusion. His voice, unbelieving and indignantly screaming, still rang back from the cliffs across the canyon; it did not, however, continue from the source as one final, sickening thump was heard. “I like your shirt too, Quincy. Red is an appropriate color.”

  5. Tauisha Nicole (@shells2003) says:

    “Just drink it.”

    Paul looked at the mug in his hands with much speculation and hesitation. “What is it?”

    “Drink it, dude. It’ll put hair on your chest.”

    “I’ve already got that.”

    “You’ll grow more when you drink that, man.”

    Shrugging, Paul decided to do as his friend, Andy suggested. He took a hefty gulp of the mysterious brew.

    Within seconds, that brew spewed forth from his lips in several directions. Andy laughed, unable to control himself.

    “What on earth was that, dude?” Paul was incredibly angry.

    “Spruce beer.”

    “Spruce what?”

    Andy chuckled. “You heard me. My grandfather only makes the best, or so I’ve been told. People come to his cabin in the mountains to compete for it at least once a year.”

    Paul rose a curious brow. “Random strangers make the trek out there?”

    Andy shook his head. “The natives there. They swear by it. Good stuff.”

    Paul sat his mug down. “In what universe?”

    “It grows on you.”

    “That the hair you talking about?”

    Andy laughed and slapped his knee after taking another gulp of his beer. “No. My grandfather used this drink to discipline us. Whenever we ran too far off in the woods, or untied his horse, or tried to scare the girls silly when they tried to sleep at night, we had to down a shot of this stuff. Nasties stuff to a twelve year old. Best thing on God’s green earth now.”

    Paul shuddered. “I’d do whatever he said if he threatened to make me smell it.”

    “Dude, it’s just spruce molasses and yeast,” Andy scoffed. “Be a man. This is why you’re still single. You’re too afraid to embrace new things.”

    “And I suppose married people embrace new things?” Paul pointed out. “You’ve had the same woman for five years.”

    “And I’m glad,” Andy smiled. “I met my wife when she came to compete for some of this stuff. Instead of winning the beer, she won me.”

    “Some consolation prize,” Paul smirked. “You suck.”

    “Well, at least I’m happy,” Andy took another hefty drink.

    Paul had to agree.

  6. Nathaniel didn’t spruce himself up for job interviews. It just wasn’t in him to compete. As far as he was concerned, anyone who tried too hard when it came to finding employment had their priorities all screwy. After all, seventeen years in discount retail hadn’t brought him any closer to retirement. Twenty more weren’t going to make a difference either.

    On the morning of his interview at Jake’s Emporium, he put on his second best pair of jeans and a reasonably clean t-shirt and made the trek in just under an hour. It was hot again today, had been all week. By the time he arrived, the sweat pasted the shirt to his back and chest. It seemed to improve the peach colour, a detail he didn’t fail to notice.

    When the interviewer called Nathaniel into the board room, he introduced himself as Steve.

    “Where’s Jake?” Nathaniel asked.

    “Who?”

    “Jake. The guy who owns this joint. Why isn’t he doing the interview?”

    Steve looked at his pad and ticked a couple boxes. “Sense of humour,” he said.

    “Really,” said Nathaniel. “I made it all the way here. Least the guy could do is spend a couple minutes meeting his future employee.”

    “Uh, so where do you see yourself in ten years,” asked Steve.

    “Well, not in that chair,” Nathaniel said, pointing across the table.

    Steve ticked another couple boxes and told Nathaniel the interview was over.

    “So, when do I start,” Nathaniel asked.

    “I think you’re done,” said Steve.

    “Me too,” said Nathaniel. He shook Steve’s hand and picked up a fresh t-shirt from the pile outside the boardroom on his way out.

  7. onetarot says:

    Greg was the first to make the trek up the “mountain” — what we called a boulder-strewn hill a few klicks from the house. It was the first time either of us had made it.

    “Getting old presents all sort of new challenges,” Greg said. He had found a particularly smooth boulder to sit his bony butt on by the time I came up puffing between the trees.

    “Christ, no foolin’,” I said. I took a swig from my water bottle. “I think the aliens can come by any time now and give us… well…” My train of thought slowed to a halt in my oxygen-starved brain.

    “Free health care?” Greg grinned.

    “Yeah. No, I mean, you know… new technology.” I sat with my back to a rough spruce that appeared to have been struck by lightning long ago.

    “You just want them to rescue us.”

    I nodded. “I do, dammit. No one else will.”

    “Man, we do get desperate as we age, don’t we? Time runs out and we break out the magical thinking.” He pulled a burr out of his silver hair.

    “You don’t even think ‘they’ are out there, do you?”

    “I don’t know. If they were, you know…” He trailed off.

    “Where are they?” I finished. “I know.”

    He slid off the rock and landed well on both feet. “It’s a mystery. And one neither of us will see to solve, more than likely.”

    I nodded again, but just took another drink.

    “Let’s go see what’s on the other side of this baby,” said Greg.

    “Jeez, give me a minute, will you?” I said, while following him down the slope. I turned to look behind me just in time to see the smooth, round boulder pick up on several legs and follow.

    @onetarot

  8. Rebekah Postupak says:

    @postupak

  9. Alissa says:

    The summit was beautiful. I don’t think I had ever seen anything as breathtaking as the wilderness stretching out as far as I could see. The sharp scent of spruce was intoxicating. I could hardly believe I had made the trek all the way up. At any moment I expected to hear the laughter of my friends. I told them it was fine if they went on ahead. I couldn’t compete with their lung capacity. They had grown up in these mountains, and lived here still, while I was from a family of sailors. I don’t remember how high they said I was, and it didn’t really matter. I loved this height…and breathing was overrated anyway.

    My friends must have been playing a game or something. I didn’t see them anywhere. I stopped the crunching of my feet and attempted to breath more quietly. I heard a soft skitter of some small animal and the twittering of some birds, but no giggling or whispers or anything else. Where could they be. There was only one trail up. I know I didn’t get lost, there were no forks or anything. I spun in a circle, again awed by the snow covered peaks in the distance and the lake in the valley below, glimmering in the noonday sun.

    Perhaps they left clues as to which way they went? They had been trying to teach me tracking skills on the way up. I rubbed my hands together and surveyed the ground. I didn’t notice any scuffs in the dirt. Nothing broken that didn’t look like it had been there for a very long time.

    I scratched my head. Where could they be?

    In the distance I heard a scream.

  10. And…. TIME!

    (Yes, I gave just a couple extra minutes just in case there were any issues with finding the guest site this week.)

  11. Gwendolyn Wilkins says:

    “Are you going to compete tonight in the dance contest?” Lacy asked Morgan as they made the trek over to the country western bar they frequented on Friday nights.
    Morgan gave a noncommittal shrug, “I’ve been practicing off and on but I don’t think it’ll make any difference.”
    The two loved taking part in the monthly contest to come up with the next big line dance to the latest songs. Generally they just enjoyed making slightly inebriated fools of themselves, but Lacy knew her friend had higher aspirations than just raising a good laugh out of the regulars at Bo’s Stop. She knew Morgan secretly practiced tirelessly to come up with new choreographies and moves and that she put a lot into the contests.
    The place was under new management and the owners had gone to great pains to spruce up the place and take it out of the 80’s. They were met with the usual jovial greetings upon arrival. Morgan stopped dead in her tracks when her eyes fell on a well-dressed gentleman in a cowboy hat and boots.
    He grinned and approached the two. “Morgan Connelly?” he asked the correct female.
    “Yes?” was the uncertain reply.
    “Buck Tompson, talent scout for ‘Livin’ Country’.” It was a country-western themed variety show both girls watched religously. “I’ve heard great things about you from the new owners around here and I’m really excited to see you dance tonight!”
    With that he went back to his seat, leaving the friends in stunned shock.
    “This is great!” Lacy whispered to Morgan. “Congratulations!”
    “I have to dance though!” Morgan whispered back frantically.
    “So?”
    “So! I twitsted my ankle yesterday! I can’t dance!”
    “Just do something short and sweet. Make him like you!”
    Morgan pressed her lips together and tried to remember her shortest piece. This was her big chance; maybe her only chance to shine like the start she just knew she was!

    @Kiuslady

  12. Gwendolyn Wilkins says:

    Oh bummer!!
    Thought about it too much ;P

  13. One more entry that is approved… it came via e-mail after having technical issues…

    Nathaniel didn’t spruce himself up for job interviews. It just wasn’t in him to compete. As far as he was concerned, anyone who tried too hard when it came to finding employment had their priorities all screwy. After all, seventeen years in discount retail hadn’t brought him any closer to retirement. Twenty more weren’t going to make a difference either.

    On the morning of his interview at Jake’s Emporium, he put on his second best pair of jeans and a reasonably clean t-shirt and made the trek in just under an hour. It was hot again today, had been all week. By the time he arrived, the sweat pasted the shirt to his back and chest. It seemed to improve the peach colour, a detail he didn’t fail to notice.

    When the interviewer called Nathaniel into the board room, he introduced himself as Steve.

    “Where’s Jake?” Nathaniel asked.

    “Who?”

    “Jake. The guy who owns this joint. Why isn’t he doing the interview?”

    Steve looked at his pad and ticked a couple boxes. “Sense of humour,” he said.

    “Really,” said Nathaniel. “I made it all the way here. Least the guy could do is spend a couple minutes meeting his future employee.”

    “Uh, so where do you see yourself in ten years,” asked Steve.

    “Well, not in that chair,” Nathaniel said, pointing across the table.

    Steve ticked another couple boxes and told Nathaniel the interview was over.

    “So, when do I start,” Nathaniel asked.

    “I think you’re done,” said Steve.

    “Me too,” said Nathaniel. He shook Steve’s hand and picked up a fresh t-shirt from the pile outside the boardroom on his way out.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Not sure why it didn’t take. When I tried to post, WordPress asked me to log in.

    Odd. Haven’t had that before. Not sure what my password was. Hope it made it.

    Rob Brunet

    Twitter: RRBrunet
    LinkedIn: RobBrunet

  14. Dave Galanter says:

    I thought this was great, but unless I missed it, also left out the word “compete.” 😦

    • Rebekah Postupak says:

      Yeah. Checked twice and swore the word was “complete.” Kinda ironic on all kind of levels, eh?

      • Rebekah’s entry was great! At her request I’ve removed it so she can take the story elsewhere. That’s the great thing about flash fiction… sometimes the little story you come up with in 5 minutes turns out to be a gem in the rough! 🙂

  15. Dave Galanter says:

    I’ve sent Amy my finalists but was very excited to see so many well done pieces! Interestingly, those who left out a word which I commented on were two of the top ones I’d have chosen! Keep up the great work but be careful about those details! And everyone keep writing!

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