Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

*Haven’t got a post from the Oyster.  He’s probably playing with his forks. Seriously, not a reproach, I know what his life gets like, and he does this for free.
As for me, I’m dressing to go to the airport and will be back home in some hours.  I feel dead, but that is more that the antibiotic level I’m taking is ALMOST anti-Sarah, because of the levels and compensating for the prednisone.  I hate antibiotics that make you feel like your internals were liquified and hurt all over. Anyway, back home, with not as much written as I wanted to, but hey, that’s life. -SAH*

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: Hair

75 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. The mugger saw the woman wearing sunglasses and a scarf over her hair.

    He didn’t realize that something was strange about the hair covered by the scarf until he tore the scarf off her head.

    He saw the snakes on her head just as she took off her sunglasses.

    Then nothing.

  2. The buzz of the clippers was the only sound in the room. Clumps slowly drifted to the floor. Finally he was done. He looked into his mirror and looked at his now close cut scalp. He was right there was a faint scar that had been hidden by his hair.

    1. Only one? When mine was done that way for the first time I was astonished at the vast array of childhood fun on display in the multiple scars and such among the short stubble – and I had a pretty much ER-free childhood.

  3. “Look, you are basically the barbershop Nazi. Cutting the length exactly based on where it is on the head, not what looks good.” “Whoa. The Nazis murdered a lot of people, really pointlessly. I just give a regulation haircut.” “There are many defensible ways to cut inside regulation. Hair Hitler.”

  4. Joe looked in the mirror. His blond hair was fashionably over his collar. This was going to be a complete change for him, stepping into a new career. Though learning to be a Marine would be tough he was determined to succeed. ‘Oh well,’ he thought, ‘hair today, gone tomorrow.’

  5. Anyway, back home, with not as much written as I wanted to, but hey, that’s life.

    Have you ever been entirely satisfied with the amount written? I know you. You could miraculously write two books in one long weekend and you would still not have ‘as much as you had wanted.’ There is always more to write. Its enough to make you loose your hair.


        1. note — I don’t trust myself when it comes to the written word. I am over dependent on spell check — so when it doesn’t red line a word I will often not make adjustments even when I sense something is not quite right…

  6. The plank wobbled, threatening to topple me into the cerulean sea. It hardly mattered; my life now measured in moments. It seemed so unfair. I wanted to join! I wanted to look a proper pirate! I can’t help my hair only grows to three inches and falls into tidy ringlets.

  7. Snip, snip, snip. The scissors ceased their rasping.
    “How’s that ma’am?”
    “Not quite enough, young man” her voice quavered.
    The scissors snicked as more gray drifted to the floor.
    “Is that better?”
    “Oh no, take more off.’
    “Ma’am, I take any more off and you’ll be mistaken for Susan Powter.”

    1. The woman cleared her throat.
      “And just who is going to mistake me for Susan Powter?” she asked the beautician in a far stronger, more vibrant voice.
      “I’m sorry ma’am, it’s just that most woman your age…” the man trailed off, realizing he was digging himself deeper into a hole.

      1. The woman quirked a smile.
        “You really don’t know who I am, do you?”
        “Uhm, no ma’am. Your reservation just says, ‘Annie’” he said politely.
        Looking out the window of the shop, the woman saw the drizzle start.
        “Here comes the rain again.” She started crooning.
        The man’s jaw dropped.

          1. Thank you.. I managed to keep them each at 50 words. I think I succeeded in keeping the hair theme in each. While the first and the third can each stand alone, I don’t think the second one quite makes it.

  8. “Not very exciting pets, are they?”
    “Nope. But they are fuzzy, soft, cute and cuddly. They don’t make a lot of noise, they don’t smell bad, and they’re simple to care for.”
    “Too bad they don’t live all that long.”
    “Well, you know what they say, hare today, gone tomorrow.”

      1. I kid my wife every Easter that’s what I want for dinner.

        Might happen this coming year since the local farmer co-op is going to start carrying meat rabbits in addition to chicken, sheep, and goat. (I have no idea if they prepare them halel or kosher, or not.)

  9. Chuck plopped into the chair. “It’s not hair.”

    Kyle blinked. “What do you mean?”

    “It’s keratin filament, but not hair.”

    “So the killer wore a wig.”

    “It has roots, some skin and blood. Sent a sample to someone I know at the university.”

    Kyle waited.

    “It’s not human,” Chuck said.

  10. “No feathers or scales, nor fur as such. Just.. a bit of…’hair’?”

    “Yeah. Mainly on the head, inconveniently in the armpit, and… near the primary reproductive organs. A sort of trace most everywhere else.”

    “You’re telling me that this specimen.. is.. a… human?”

    “I thought they were imaginary, too, sir.”

  11. Hair to the right of them, hair to the left of them, hair in front of them! Into the valley of hair rode the 500…barbers!

    1. send your amazon link to free range oyster. his address should be at the bottom of promos.

      I’ve banned exactly one person the whole time (you probably can guess who.) Other than that, fire at will.

      1. Actually I can’t (and to be honest don’t care who…I’m worried about not getting on your bad side). I will, however, pocket that when I have something book sized out (just one short now with another probably next week).

  12. Vignette: “This Philistine dark imprisons me in my own skull. That faithless Sorek wench– A doze-enabled bronze razor– O, my former strength, now drained– No sight, but I still feel. In my hands, across my wounded scalp, what are these sensations? What are these that rise up to bring Dagon’s fall?”

  13. Ladies of Classic City have long rejected the oppressive aesthetics of beauty foisted upon them by Mainstream Culture.
    A particular trademark feature that these women of a certain age sport is the anti-style expression of their hair: Graying frizz, unbound. Sometimes thin and scraggly like an aging Riff Raff, but more often a thick and dull coat like ruined mohair. Think of Bea Arthur’s shrubbery, if you will, but in terms of acreage…

    Coming soon to Classic City…
    The Freedom-Do™
    “Freedom Means Letting Yourself Go”

  14. “White?”
    “Beige? Grey?”
    “Mix of any of those?”
    “I’m afraid that exhausts the normal range of colors. Try the next set?”
    “Blond? Brunette? Red?”
    “Any combination of those?”
    “Yes! And orange!”
    “One chartreuse and orange checked wig coming up.”

  15. Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk!

    “Dang, my arm’s getting tired,” thought Anderson

    Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk!

    “Sheesh. This is REALLY hard to do by myself.”

    Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk! Ts-chunk!

    But my hair gun will completely revolutionize hair transplants!

  16. “They ordered me to cut it, you know,” said Arakyn, intuiting Ryan’s thoughts with her usual uncanny awareness.

    Ryan flushed and swallowed; she must have felt the movements of his fingers against her nape, for all he had tried to keep his hand utterly still. He would rather have put his arm safely around the waist, but this particular dance required both partners to cup the back of each others’ necks, and the feel of Arakyn’s long red tresses over his fingers was making it altogether too difficult to concentrate. “The Order, you mean? I suppose I can see why,” he managed, over the lilting music of the pavane. “They must have thought it vanity.”

    “That, and long hair is far too easily seized in a battle by ruthless foes,” said Arakyn. “You must have wondered why I went to such lengths to braid it so tightly every morning, during our journey.”

    Ryan startled himself with a laugh. “Actually, Ari, it never even occurred to me. I would have assumed it was simply your personal taste if it did.” He shook his head, keeping one eye on their feet as they traced their way around the ballroom’s marble floor. “A typical arcanist, hm? Never thinks of the simplest answer.”

    “I don’t know, Ryan” said Arakyn quietly. “You’re not so typical, I think.”

  17. Mary was slight anyway, her chest was small and easily bound to look yet smaller, and her hips were not wide enough to draw notice, even here. And in the NeoFatimid empire, females past age 7 were required to keep their heads shaved hairless so as not to draw the lustful attention of the angels, plus wear an otherwise all concealing neck-down psuedoburka to conceal any lust-inducing curves. Wearing this boys school uniform, Mary’s short cropped dark brown hair allowed her to pass as a young NeoFatimid male. The trouble was all the hardware – the burner, spare power cells, and grenades would have been a lot easier to hide under one of those psuedoburkas, so Mary had to manage with a gym bag slung over her shoulder. She was getting close to the team rendezvous safe house, and the latest bunch of EU slave girls taken from the ravaged coast of Italy would only be in town until the next auction tomorrow morning, so Mary expected to have a busy night.

  18. Come on guys… your rhythm is all over the place. Tighten up!
    If you can’t hear the bass drum, turn down your amps.
    There you go… there you go… back off just a hair and you’ll drop right into the pocket.
    That’s it!
    Now, let’s take it from the top.

  19. The flat land went on forever, disappearing over the horizon.
    Crossing over the top of the low hill, Frank looked over the distant view of grasses and scrubby plant life. The few large grazers had kept their distance, avoiding the humans.
    Angela collapsed in exhaustion, laying atop her pack. As a shipside programmer, she’d never seen the point of exercise. Now she was regretting that viewpoint.
    “How much farther?” An unfortunate whine had entered her voice.
    “About thirty miles.” He turned back to his charge, considering her recumbent form. Even exhausted, she was fidgeting with the random clumps of grass. “And stop pulling out the grass.”
    “It’s not grass.”
    The hill shifted.

  20. Fleeing down the flagstones with her hair flying behind her and a dread of tripping in her heart.
    But there, before her, was the throne room. With statues about the door so thick that her heart hammered. She had to slow, and still she bruised herself on an outstretched arm.

  21. A brown-haired woman laughed. “Why, whatever is their objection? They neglect it so much.”
    “That was it,” said Halley. “They were cleaning it.”
    “Because someone was coming in.” Her mouth pursed, and she leaned forward. Halley got a glimpse of the masses of braided hair on her back. She could — hoist someone into a tower on that — but not get someone into a library.

  22. The dawn was brilliant as a tree laden with orchids, pinks and pale purples and delicate oranges. Over the clouds, wisps of cloud gleamed like a princess’s golden hair.
    The princess’s golden hair. We were drawn up in lines in the courtyard while the officers choose her escort, and the princess herself watched from the tower.

  23. “Where’s the bunny?” the little girl demanded angrily, continuing to look around the display.
    “There is no bunny.”
    “But you said there was a hare there,” she whined.
    “No, there’s hair there.” I pointed to the wigs.

  24. Shortly after the liberation of Paris, Gertrude Stein resumed her famous Saturday evening salons. Eagerly anticipated was her reunion with her old friend Pablo Picasso. On the night of his longed-for arrival, when he first removed his trademark beret, Gertrude gasped in shock and exclaimed, “There’s no hair there!”

  25. Cather rummaged through the fire station refrigerator, his growls of annoyance growing louder with every passing minute. “Hey, guys, could we not have any bio experiments around here?”
    One of the firefighters gave him a narrow-eyed look. “What’s you talking about?”
    “This.” Cather tossed a plastic margarine tub on the counter. “I don’t know what it used to be, but right now it’s green and growing hair.”

  26. “Okay, Kelly, your turn. That emitter needs to be aligned within 4 thousandth’s, to be dead nuts on.”
    Machinist’s Mate Mara Kelly said, mildly, “Language, Chief.”
    “Left a little. Little more. Just an R-C-”
    “Chief,” she said, warningly. “You heard the Captain. No more of that.”
    “Yeah, yeah. Stupid rule. Gimme 87 thousandths left. Almost there. Nope, 40 thou right. You got it.”The old chief grumbled, as he helped her tighten down the laser. “What’s this Navy coming to, if you can’t measure things in ‘hairs’, anymore.”
    Kelly packed her tools, and carefully measured her words. “Wouldn’t know, Chief. But, you know, I’m missing a Silverback Hair for my reference collection.” She picked at his collar as she walked by. “Hey, look, a prime specimen.”
    The petty officer grinned, as he followed her to the next task. Kelly would do alright, here.

  27. With hawk-keen eyes, Eric John Stark swept the many-pillared temple hall, empty save for himself and Simon Ashton, his friend and mentor from the so-called ‘civilized’ Galactic Union. His gaze finally settled on the central idol, and of the empty cavity in its forehead. Outside, the priests and worshippers wailed and lamented the loss of the gem that had till yesterday sat therein and would have blazed forth in the morning light.

    “So it’s true then,” he rumbled. “The Eye of Ares has been stolen.”

    “The Eye is more than a mere gem, Eric,” Ashton said grimly. “That icon is a relic of the Ancient Ones, and a key to technology advanced beyond anything the Galactic Union can muster. It’s not for nothing that the Ancient Ones were worshipped as gods, or that its coveted so dearly by the cult of Wrath.”

    Stark clenched his fists at the mention of that fanatic sect and the thought of what they might do with such power. Something caught his eye and he ran his finger along the floor.

    “But how was the theft accomplished?” Ashton mused as a crone, one of the devotees, began to cross the chamber, carrying an empty bucket. “The temple is sealed nightly, with only the attendants inside, and all of them have been scanned. The priests beseeched me to use my own instruments to sweep the temple. The Eye is simply not here, so how did the thief enter and escape with his stolen goods?”

    “The thief did not escape.” Stark said and rubbed some substance between thumb and forefinger. “Guano,” he said. “The Eye was borne away by a trained bat. The thief remained in the sealed temple, waiting for the clamor and search to die down, to casually walk out the doors – or so was planned.”

    The crone was passing them and suddenly made to sprint for the doors, but Stark pounced with the speed of a panther and seized her. He pulled back her hood tore away her grey hair. The wig came away and an assortment of pins scattered as well, freeing a thick cloud of sable locks. A young woman struggled futilely in Stark’s grip, glaring at Stark and Ashton.

    “How did you know?” Ashton gaped.

    Stark merely shrugged and ran one of the thief’s black tresses through his hand, a contrast to the grey wig. “A few loose strands of hair gave away the thief.”

    1. And I couldn’t stop. I think I’ve got a book to write now:

      Ashton glowered. “Where the real crone? The devotee who’s place you took?”

      “Drugged and sleeping at an inn, for the rest of the day by the strength of the brew,” the thief spoke with a distinct Martian accent.

      Stark pulled then neck of her stolen robe aside to reveal a tattoo on one shapely shoulder. “A member of the thieves guild. You must have been well paid indeed to commit the sacrilege of stealing from the temple.”

      She twisted in his grasp and tossed a dismissive look at the idol. “What good did that jewel ever do anyone up there?”

      Stark shook his head. All unknowing, this girl had delivered her world to tyrants who would usher in a thousand years of darkness unless they were stopped, but there was no time to explain and little chance she would even believe them.

      “Nonetheless thief,” he shook her. “You will help us retrieve what you stole, or we turn you over to the justice of the Hierophant of the temple.”

      At that, the thief’s eyes widened and she became very docile, a posture Stark trusted not at all. No matter: they had a quest ahead.

  28. Patterned after the Heinlein “mobile infantry jump suit,” the armor was ten feet tall, fusion powered and armed with a wide variety of weapons. It was also coated with stealth technology, so if the wearer moved slowly, it was impossible to see. With the stealth turned off it was big, bulky and low-observable two-tone gray camouflage, like a fighter aircraft. Alice’s had a shark face painted on the helmet and “Uncouth Ruffian” in a curly, feminine script on one side of the chest. The other side had her name in proper military stencil. Sylvia’s had flaming hair on the helmet, her name stenciled and “Deplorable Ruffian” on the chest. All the stencils and markings were a lighter shade of camouflage paint, to keep with the military theme. They could have made them fire engine red and the stealth coating would have still turned them invisible, but Alice liked the camo effect. It looked badass, and as she always liked to say, it was better to plan for equipment failure. She did not want to be in a bright red suit if the stealth system futzed out during a battle.

  29. “Turn around, please,” said the doctor. “Bend over … spread your cheeks … Hmm, Nurse! Forceps.”

    Twisting his neck, the red-faced man asked, “Doctor? Do you know why I’m always irritable?”

    Holding a mirror up, the doctor displayed the bunny’s twitching nose. “Here’s your problem: there’s a wild hare up your butt.”

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