Frills and Swoon

 

“You really think that delivering a political speech from a Juliet balcony is a wise move, Jenkins?”

“Yes Prime Minister! The hand-holding with the President went down very well with our older-demographic focus group. You aren’t doing so well in that area, and we don’t know how many elections these voters have left in them. This set-piece just ramps up the romance. It’s for those who like their fiction with a little ‘Frills and Swoon’, so to speak. Now is the time to strike. Oh, I didn’t mean ‘strike’, Prime Minister. We’re all very much against those!”

“Quite. And what will the content of my speech be?”

“Content? Oh that’s not important! We’re pulling some old stuff together. You know, the ‘Let’s Make Britain Great Again’ stuff that always goes down well, coupled with a couple of topical references. Oh and it helps if you speak with a haughty, condescending tone. It will remind them of the ‘Good Old Days’, when pensions were worth looking forward to. Let’s not get too political. That’ll get them switching off in droves. Think Romance! So let’s practice with this rough draft shall we?”

“Mr Speaker, Parliamentary tradition forbids me from using your name. But what’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, March 19th 2017.  For more details click the logo.

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Dragon Baby Gone

 

dragon

Photo: © Al Forbes

 

Young Gemma was distraught. Her recently arrived baby dragon had flown the perch that her dad, fireman Sam had made for it.

It’s not every day that an exhausted baby dragon flies through your bedroom window. But a few days ago, that’s just what happened. Sam had reluctantly agreed to it staying a few days to recuperate – he wasn’t a monster – but he had wondered what would happen when it started to grow? There were already some minor scorch marks on the carpet and curtains.

Sam had positioned Baby, as the dragon had been named, so it could sit next to the window. Nobody wanted to put Baby in the corner.

Sam had been leaving Gemma’s window open slightly wider than usual – to make sure Baby got plenty of fresh air. But he looked genuinely as shocked as anyone to find Baby had left the building.

A couple of days earlier this would have been unthinkable, but after two days on the milk and cookie diet, Baby looked as good as new. The spark had returned to its eyes and it began to look restless.

There was no consoling Gemma. Until Sam had the bright idea of searching online. It turned out that Baby was actually a mature female Miniature Norfolk Brown. At this time of year they return to their ancestral home to give birth.

It wasn’t a surprise, a few days later, to see Baby return with her hatchlings. Sam had a word with his Boss, and now the whole dragon family live in a purpose-built enclosure at the Fire Station. They help with the training drills, in return for milk and cookies. And Gemma gets to visit at the weekends.

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, February 19th 2017.  For more details click the logo.

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Prepare To Meet Thy Dome!

 

domes

Photo: © Sascha Darlington

 

The ‘Domesday Book’ brochure was glossy and slick. It promised an idyllic lifestyle that was out of this world. The prices were pretty astronomical too. This wasn’t an opportunity for the plebs – strictly for top-flight one percenters.

Twelve-year-old Duke liked how the pictures in the brochure came to life and the smiling people talked to you about their amazing Dome experiences. “Can’t we have one, Dad? My friends are gonna be so jealous!”

‘Slick Tony’, the grinning virtual salesman, appeared to be stalking them on every page with his annoying comments. “How’s your day going? You’re just the sort of family that will appreciate living in the Ganymede Dome Community. You’d be a real asset to the Jupiter Moons’ System. Remember, there’s no place like Dome Sweet Dome!”

Dad was reluctant. “I don’t know Duke. I’d like to check out the small print, but Perry, our Legal Bot, seems to be struggling with a mystery virus. And the half-price offer absolutely has to end today.” Tony gave a friendly warning that availability was strictly limited. But he was very sympathetic about the virus.

After an hour, Dad caved in. “Okay, Tony. Sign us up!”

*     *     *

The journey to Jupiter’s moon, Ganymede, had been magical. But being forced to work in the Liquid Iron plant was like a living hell.

Every few days they get to see Tony’s smirking image, promising them one day’s R&R at the relaxation domes. But they all need to work harder to earn the credits.

 

This story is inspired by the photo collated by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, February 12th 2017.  For more details click the logo.

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Don Stop’s Bottle Shop

 

bottlesPhoto:  © J Hardy Carroll

 

“Hello folks. I’m Don Stop. Welcome to Big Don’s newly acquired Beautiful Bottle Shop. It’s gonna be the greatest shop anywhere.

It’s kinda quiet inside? I’m expecting my first customer anytime now. It’s quiet because folks are confused about some of the bottles on show. But the numbers shopping here will be huge! Don’t worry about that.

We’ve had some trouble with the green bottles. Terrible! I built a beautiful display wall and put ten green bottles on it. But one by one, they accidentally fell. Broken glass everywhere. Big danger! I’m gonna hand in all the green bottles and get money back on them. Even if the shops don’t give money back. You won’t see those bottles here for long.

I prefer to sell only local bottles, but if I have to have any from further afield, I’ll just order the clear bottles. These bottles are transparent – nothing to hide. They’re the best.

In fact, we’re already getting big, big numbers outside! Shouting and cheering. Walking up and down with their unofficial advertising banners ‘Stop Don’s Bottles!’ Of course it should be ‘Don Stop’s Bottles’, but who cares. They’re not the brightest folks.

Like I say, there’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s being talked about and not selling anything. Period!”

 

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, February 5th 2017.  For more details click the logo.

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To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.

Dover and Out

 

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Jim felt at the stitches in his forehead. He hadn’t slept for three days straight. It had been a crazy few days in Belgium with the lads. Now he just wanted to get them all home.

But he stalled their stolen butcher’s van just at the wrong time. Framed within the yellow hash marks, they had attracted the attention of a uniformed figure who gestured for them to pull off the road.

Jim ignored him, fired up the engine and sped off towards a quiet area near the sand dunes. He knew to leave nothing behind. Within minutes, they were on foot and their transport was a blazing wreck.

They walked quickly to the docks, sweating from the heat and the stress. It was organised chaos at the quayside. They joined the long queue as it shuffled forward towards the waiting boats.

“I hope you’ve pre-booked, Jim”, came a voice from behind, “I only travel First-Class!” Then they were all joining in, to ease the tension.

“When’s the bar open?”
“Tell them to be careful with my golf clubs!”
“I do hope we’re home in time for tea!”
“You should have organised this better, Jim!”

After three hours, they gratefully climbed aboard the ferry and were looking to grab a few hours sleep. In time, the harbour and coastline slowly disappeared from view.

Suddenly, the ship pulled hard to starboard, knocking many off their feet.

“Stuka!” The bomb was a near miss, sending a plume of seawater over Jim and his comrades. A few raised their rifles and fired in defiance at the retreating dive-bomber.

They had survived this time. But there were over seventy miles of English Channel between Dunkirk and Dover. And in May 1940, this was the most dangerous stretch of water in the world. Sleep would have to wait.

‘Lest we forget’.

 

This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, 13th November 2016.  For more details click the logo.

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To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.