Tag Archives: Trifecta

Trifextra 103 – One Final Misunderstanding

670px-Know-When-to-Break-Up-Step-07We were finished –

She seemed heartbroken, yet accepting.

‘One of us should go…tonight,’ I said.

‘I agree,’ she whispered, as the carving knife sliced into my kidneys.

Bitch!

She knew damn well that wasn’t what I meant

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These 38 words form my entry into the Trifextra 103 challenge.

We were asked to write a story that ended with the words ‘that wasn’t what I meant‘. To be honest I’m not a fan of prompts which define a story’s last words; however, that said, I hope you find some merit in what I came up with.

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Trifecta 112 – The House on the Corner

CarrHouse_02.28.1898

The housing market in was in a funk: next to nobody was moving. Houses would only sell when the vendor got ‘realistic’. The house on the corner of Evansdale and Darnley couldn’t be given away. No, really – not even for free.

Ever since I could remember the ‘For Sale’ sign was there, stuck in the bare scrub that used to be the front lawn. Winter or summer it would be up, creaking to and fro in the breeze. People came and looked – sure, but the sign stayed. Nobody even cared for the old place – the windows are all busted, the fly screen hangs limply, the darned slates blow off every fall.

There’s stories of people getting close. An art dealer from upstate was closer than most to exchanging. Had sold up his old business and wanted to open a boutique in town. Five miles out on Route 34 his Ferrari ended up sandwiched between the front axles of a 100ft transporter. His wife and baby kid were riding just behind – they never even saw the place: police drove them straight back upstate.

Then there was Big Joe Denmark – he owns, owned, everything round here. Everything expect the house on the corner of Evansdale and Darnley. He didn’t even need it. Why would the man who has everything want that old place? He should have let it go. Think they got as far as busting down the front fence to get his diggers on site. Was a shock to everyone who saw it when he collapsed plumb dead in the street. Black, syrupy blood pouring right out of his eyes, so they say. Didn’t see it myself.

Fools. They should have asked me. I could have told them the house doesn’t want to be sold. It’s happy where it is; what it is. Just leave it alone, it aint doing anyone any harm.

…Don’t believe me? Think I’m full of it?

Go on then , try and buy it. Go on I dare you – I double dare you!

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These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘funk‘,form my entry into the Trifecta 112 writing challenge.

Trifextra 102 – Unseen Advances

bluebells_1633226cHe only wanted to be her friend:
To touch her, to breathe her.
She now lies still in the wood –
Tender bird song framing the silence,
As bluebells sway in the summer breeze.

trifecta

These 33 words form my entry into the Trifextra 102 challenge.

We were asked to write a story about ‘love gone wrong‘ which didn’t include any of the following words: Love, Heart, Sad, Tears, Pain, Wept. I hope you enjoy what I came up with.

Trifecta 111 – Press Intrusions

The_New_York_Times_newsroom_1942”M’ is for making news people – If there isn’t any, make it up. There’s always news!’

That was Jake’s favourite saying. He’d laugh when he said it; we’d all laugh too. Our esteemed Editor-in-Chief didn’t demand toadying, but he still expected it. Heck, none of were innocents – we didn’t do this job for nothing, we could have done something else. We chose to be here; we chose to treat people like shit. At times I hated myself for it. However, one of the Boss’s early forays into conscience reassurance still managed to win me over, most days:

‘They’re celebrities. We pay them – we own them. If they step out of line we have a right to know!’

After a while it just became the way we all thought. Yes, we had our own families, our own secrets – but we were just ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs. Nobody cared whether we’re up to no good with the sister-in-law, the brother-in-law or anybody else for that matter. Those were our concerns, not the nations.

The office was quiet that particular morning in early May – just after the holiday weekend. I noticed the Boss wasn’t at his desk when I slipped out of my coat and into my chair. Soon I received a flustered tap on the shoulder from Frank O’Callaghan – the Deputy Editor. Even this early in the morning his tie was already at half mast, as dark sweat stains puddled under his arm pits.

‘It’s the Boss,’ he began – chewing his lips, while sucking his teeth. ‘New ‘M’ word for the day – manipulate, got it?’ he continued.

‘What’s up Frank? Where’s Jake?’ I replied.

Behind Frank’s flushed forehead, the local TV news channel was paused on a grainy, slightly pixelated image subtitled ‘Gazette Editor, Jake McGivney and friends‘. I didn’t recognise the women, or man, he was with. Almost didn’t recognise the Boss without his clothes.

‘On it’, I nodded, just about managing to suppress a smile.

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These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘manipulate, form my entry into the Trifecta 111 writing challenge.

Trifextra 101 – Opportunities Lost

trifextra101

I pass here every day,
Checking my reflection;
Looking, but not looking –
Willing those eyes to notice mine.

Today the table lies empty.
My reflection walks by,
Heartbroken and alone,
Praying you’ll return.

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These 33 words form my entry into the Trifextra 101 challenge. The story was in response to the above photo prompt (picture courtesy of Thomas Leuthard/Foto.com). I hope you enjoy what I came up with.

Trifecta 110 – The Cost of Discovery

victorian_study

‘Ahead and to the left’ came the whispered, nicotine inflected instruction. Turning, I could now see it: in between the rocks shone a small fissure of light – a glimmer of flaming yellow and orange.

‘Got it. I’m moving in,’ I replied, guiding the eye carefully into position.

As I moved in tighter the light grew stronger; it’s lure warm and inviting – the coldness of our own distant sun’s embrace briefly forgotten.

‘Closer,’ insisted the voice.

Soon the thin flash of light filled the screen. It was no longer a narrow gap in between rocks: it was a window. From within, the source of the flame was clear as a roaring fire licked through an open grate – a black kettle steaming furiously, yet seemingly unwatched, from inside.

‘Can you see this control? ‘ I stuttered.

‘We see it. Get in as close as you can,’ demanded the previously calm, monotone drawl.

As the extended eye roved the room, silence gradually fell over my headset. The scene was one straight from the pages of Dickens: the wrinkled, red Chesterfield armchair by the fireside; the quaint collection of porcelain figures arrayed on the mantelpiece. On the wall pictures, maps and portraits of people and places – too faded to see details, despite the eye being on maximum zoom.

For the briefest of moments two tiny flickers of light emerged from the darkest, farthest corner. Then again. The eyes betraying a fear – a fear that their life was about to change forever. As I remained, almost frozen, a hand slowly emerged – long, pale fingers gripping the arm of the empty fireside chair. As slowly as they had appeared, the fingers once more retreated, fearfully into the anonymity of the dark. My heart suddenly sank, guilt replacing the explorer’s inquisitiveness of moments before.

Soon radio communications once more crackled through the gravityless atmosphere of the red planet. It was me who was first to speak – to state what they already undoubtedly knew.

‘Houston, we have a problem.’

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These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘quaint‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 110 writing challenge.

This piece was placed second by the esteemed editors of the Trifecta Writing Challenge. As ever I am flattered that those judging saw something in my work. Much appreciated!

Trifextra 100 – Self Assembly

ikea1

The first time I saw them words I think I cried.

I  can’t do that, I can’t, I sighed.

Yet how so much I tried;

Till my brain was all but fried.

Flat pack just aint for me.

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These 38 words form my entry into the Trifextra 100 challenge. The Trifecta editors asked us to add 33 of our own to their starting five. I hope you enjoy what I came up with.

Trifecta 109 – A Fisherman’s Tale

mallaig-highlands-scotland

As the sun slowly edged its way over the horizon, the working day began for those aboard the boats that bobbed gently within the protective embrace of Achnashean harbour. Up high, noisy seagulls circled, greedily anticipating the ripe remains of yesterday’s catch. From within the limpid, gulf stream warmed waters a seal’s head appeared – silver whiskers glistening in the early morning light, bold grey eyes investigating before returning beneath the lapping waves.

On board the Jeannie May young deckhand Alan McBride prepared the creel nets. As he hurried to finish, he noticed a van drawing up to the harbour master’s office. He knew the van, as well as the driver who now strode purposefully towards the boat. Alan had always supposed, and assumed, his father had wanted more than a fisherman’s life for his only son. However, Alan was happy. He had a job he loved, and more importantly a person in his life whom he loved even more.

‘Alan, have you got a minute, son?’ shouted his father, squinting down from the quayside.

‘What is dad? We’re about to sail,’ he replied.

‘Aye, fine – just wanted to make sure you were coming to your mother’s birthday meal up at the Hotel tomorrow night.’

Alan hadn’t been a great one for family events in recent times. His mother though was always an exception to the excuses.

‘I’ll be there. I might bring a friend if that’s all right. There’s something I need to speak to you and mother about. Something you need to know.’

‘Absolutely, whatever, son. As long as you’re there and as long as you’re happy. That’s all that matters  – that’s all that any of us have ever cared about. We’ll see you later. You and your friend.’

A quick smile up to the weathered, handsome face in the wheel house signalled reassurance, as well as love. Steaming from the harbour, the lone seal resurfaced, watching them on their way, while above the still screeching gulls now trailed in their foaming wake.

These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘whatever‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 109 writing challenge

Trifextra 99 – An Imperfect Trio

2014

Don’t Stress About Rules.

These words form my entry into Trifextra 99 where we were asked to come up with a three word resolution for 2014. Mine is based on my continuing attempts to write things people might actually want to read. I hope you like it! 

Trifecta 108 – Three Men (One Wise)

doorFrom outside, the sandstone tenement stands as bold and regal as the day it welcomed its first hopeful occupants. Inside, the faded splendour now barely houses even whispered echoes of those first, innocent days. Dark, musty corridors vibrate to the shrill tones of screaming children, while droning televisions go unwatched.  Behind anonymous doors lovers argue and hungry dogs bark. Emergency sirens rise and fall like the threat of approaching thunder before once more fading into the distance.

On the third floor two suited gentlemen challenge a misguided stare.  The warned eyes sensibly sliding back into the safer confines of their room. From the suffocating murkyness one last door begins to form. Blocking the way sits a crumpled old man, seemingly daydreaming as he follows the night stars through an open window. As the men pass under a lone bare bulb he slowly turns to size up the spotlighted visitors.

“Aw right, father? Is he in?” the taller of the two suited men asks, as the fleetingly awkward silence is broken.

The old man locks his gaze on the tall man’s colleague. The silent man appears to squirm under the scrutiny of those wise, if somewhat tired and bloodshot, eyes.

“He is, but he doesn’t want to see you. Not today. Do yourselves a favour lads and go home. Kiss the wife; tell your children a story. Enjoy your Christmas. This can surely wait.”

The one who spoke turned towards his colleague and chuckled.

“Come on old man, move it. We haven’t got all night,” he said.

The two suits squeezed past, the now unguarded door gliding partially open at the merest touch. Scented, smoky air  billowed gently into the corridor as they walked through.

“Hello? Hello!? What the hell is going on in here.”

The door clicked shut; the key turning firmly in the lock.

The old man opens a beer and swallows hard before grimacing; a single tear flows down his weathered cheek. His bones creak and grind as he stands and shuffles away from his post.

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These words, based on the third definition of the word ‘father‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 108 writing challenge.The picture used to frame the story is courtesy of Kenneth Todd.

This piece was placed third by my fellow writers within the Trifecta Challenge community. As ever I am flattered that those judging saw something in my work. Much appreciated!

Trifextra 98 – Vegetable of Mass Destruction

2666 Brussels sprouts-2
On Brassica Oleracea they wait.

Patiently.

On earth hapless, festive fools prepare;

Oblivious to the perils of ‘The Boiling’:

Its pungent, noxious cloud crumbling earth’s already withering defences.

Paving the way for invasion.

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These 33 words form my entry into the Trifextra 98 challenge. The Trifecta editors asked us to write a humorous, festive themed story. I hope you enjoy what I came up with.

Trifecta 107 – Urban Clearance

boardeduphouses

Our flat was on the corner of Methodist Lane. It was a typical red brick corner upon which pressing issues of the day would be discussed and argued over cans of the cheapest beer money could buy. Nearby stores sold cigarettes and booze to kids barely big enough to reach the counter. It was rough. The rest of town said it was dangerous. However, it was my home; it was where I felt safe.

Across from Methodist Lane was the park. After school it was where we all gathered. Fumblers in the bushes, pushers over by the toilets, the rest of us in the playground. The swings forever hung loosely on rusting chains; the seesaw hadn’t seed or sawed for years as it lay snapped in two. The roundabout creaked and wobbled slowly as we lay back staring at the stars – planning a way out.

One freezing cold night my view of the skies was obscured. In their way a set of shining, bluey green eyes. Eyes which instantly began to melt my previously uncontested heart. I’d seen her before in the park. She was hard to miss.

“Gotta light?” she pouted, one bejewelled hand resting on her narrow hips – the other cradling a cigarette between red tipped fingers. She looked like a rock star, and she was talking to me!

I began to stutter something unmemorable, underwhelming, uncool. The words were there but they wouldn’t come. Before I could answer she laughed: a callous, hurting laugh. One of the older boys suddenly appeared: slicked hair, a golden earring glinting, offering his silver plated lighter. As she cupped her hands round the flickering flame he leered in a way she seemed to like. They both giggled. I resumed spinning slowly on the roundabout as their voices faded.

Today I’m back. Behind the fluttering tape I watch on. Unsure whether I’m sad, happy or relieved. As the bright orange bulldozer fires up her engine it is the end for Methodist Lane. The memories though will stay forever.

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These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘melt‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 107 writing challenge.

Trifextra 97 – To Be Forewarned is Forearmed

penguinsThe sun’s rays dazzle against the crumbling basin of the central Antarctic reservoir.

High above carrion circle;

Emaciated penguins collapse in the dust.

Meanwhile politicians fester in their myopic delusion:

Global Warming?

Nonsense!

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These 33 words form my entry into the Trifextra 97 challenge. The story is based on the words ‘Basin‘, ‘Dazzle‘ and ‘Myopic‘. I hope you enjoy what I did with them.

Trifecta 106 – The Spirit Never Dies

3700ZiegfeldFolliesGirl

Barely had the adrenalin infusion of my dawn coffee filtered to the tips of my fingers before we were on our way. Worried neighbours had not seen the elderly occupant of the top floor apartment since Friday.

“She’s in the bedroom, but hurry” pleaded a youthful officer in the doorway.

Lying propped up, seemingly drowning in two enormous pink pillows, was the ghostly outline of a tiny,  pitifully frail, old woman. Within moments we had her hooked up to a drip, electrolytes pulsing through her veins. The young policeman at the door had followed us in; his hands now pumping away at an Oxygen bag  The merest hint of condensation formed on the inside of the mouthpiece: she was still with us – fighting.

Tension gradually gave way to relief as colour returned to once pale, lifeless, wrinkled cheeks. As the young, ruddy faced policeman continued to gently push air into aged, weary lungs the panic seemed over. For a brief second I allowed myself to relax. It was only then that I noticed: the bedroom was crammed with old pictures, the railing next to the window alive with a glittering array of dresses. A feather boa wrapped itself seductively around the back of a pale blue Lloyd Loom chair.

On her bedside table sat a framed cutting from the local paper. In it was a young, beautiful woman wearing a flowing silk dress, just like one of those on the rail. With shafts of sunlight beginning to pierce the slatted blinds, the old woman suddenly sparkled into life. As she continued to suck at the oxygen she gripped my hand – a wicked glint in her eye. She had seen me looking at her bedside picture; it was then that I knew who this was. It all came together: the pictures, the clothes, the mischievous look.

I almost blushed; she almost cracked a smile.

If my Dad could see me now – he’d have a fit. His son holding hands with the ‘Tush of Tulane’.

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These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ‘tush‘ , form my entry into the Trifecta 106 writing challenge.

Black Friday Deals

orderconfirmationThe confirmation email made it clear:

Delivery in Seven Days. No Cancellations.

Eyes briefly flickered from the screen as the neighbour’s dog growled;

Watched as dark clouds tumbled past the window.

And waited.

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These 33 words form my entry into the Trifextra 96 challenge. I had this idea almost straight away, but it took ages for me to fit it into 33 words. I confess the premise is quite subtle so I hope people will get what’s going on/down!