Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike – This Time it’s Warped

Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike – This Time It’s Warped

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: bent

44 thoughts on “Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike – This Time it’s Warped

  1. Although Colin was doing his best to suppress his yawns, Amanda could tell her husband was fading fast. She’d be good for another hour easily, maybe two or three if she had a major project, but he could rarely last much later, even on weekends when he didn’t have to get up early.
    She’d no more than started gathering up her papers when a horrible clatter came from the porch. She hoped it was nothing more than the neighbor’s cat again, until she heard the voices. Drunks
    Her gut clenched into knots of remembered fear. Amanda took three deep breaths, reminded herself that she hadn’t lived under her father’s roof or endured his bouts with the bottle since 1967. “Colin, methinks we’ve got a wee problem.”
    Together they went to the door to confront the dozen students stumbling about, knocking over the porch furniture in their search for the door. “Might I ask what your business is?” Colin kept his voice soft and level.
    Several of the students babbled with enough resemblance of coherence that Amanda could pick out something about a party being shut down and their being in search of another one. Not that they needed any more. Nor did Amanda relish the prospect of cleaning up after them.
    Colin’s voice did not waver or rise. “In that case, I suggest that you be off.”
    Their leader, who actually looked halfway sober, squinted at the house number, read it off. “Joe said there’d be a party here.”
    “Evidently he was misinformed. Now kindly remove yourselves before I call the police.”
    With groans of disappointment the students staggered off into the darkness. Colin closed the door and turned back to Amanda. “So that’s his revenge.”

  2. The Admiral stared at the part on his desk.

    “You are telling me that a trillion credit starship was wrecked because a centicredit part was bent?”

    The inspector nervously said “Yes Sir”.

    1. The Admiral continued “Now how did this part get bent”?

      Nervously his aide replied “Well, your nephew was on that starship and…”

      “Let me guess. This isn’t the first time that my idiot nephew has goofed up and nobody wanted to tell me.”

      “Yesss Sir”.

      “You’re fired and I’ll make sure that my idiot nephew is sent to the same hell-hole that I’m sending you.”

  3. “Unsatisfactory!” he snapped.

    “I beg your pardon?”

    This week’s prompt,” he replied, “is unsatisfactory.”

    “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. I thought it was bent.”

    “Oh, it is bent. Bent all to hell.”

    “Is there really any need to get so bent out of shape over this prompt?”

    “Oh, get bent!”

  4. Aiken the smith was well-named. Although no taller than any other villager, he stood like an oak-tree with deep chest, well-muscles arms, and sturdy legs. He dealt with all the usual repairs of tools and shoed their horses, but he had a particular bent for the sword-smithing that he loved.

  5. There was a young lady from Kent
    Who forsook canoodling for Lent
    She maintained it alright
    To stay resolutely upright
    Declaring she would not be bent.

    This chaste little lass from Kent
    Would not in one whit consent
    She accepted no flirting
    However her hurting
    Lest all her erectness relent

  6. “Hi, My name is Jason Bent. You called for me?”
    I looked at Mason and shook my head. He had a grin from ear to ear over this. When will I learn about telling him off. This would probably be the last time I told him to “get bent”.

  7. With forty minutes until her cargo would be delivered, Jessamin passed the time by scanning idly through the list of upgrades available at this spaceport. She’d been coveting that titanium-blue hull job for months now, and the back-bent fins would add a lovely curve and improve her manueverabilty in-atmosphere.

    “Trying to look good for the stevedores, are we?” Control had noticed her lingering in the cosmetics section. Control was nosy.

    “What, you think I should tie a bow on my spinal column instead? That’s about all that’s left, and I don’t think that’s what they’re looking for in a girl.”

    She overlaid her comms channel with a don’t-bother-me film of static and went back to daydreaming.

  8. Lady Amelia Cornflower, very thin and straight, pale except for her sapphire blue eyes, folded her hands on the table. “The curse is strong. Some are trying to break it, but to succeed, it is likely that it must be bent.”
    “Or evaded,” said Master Bones.
    She nodded. “Or evaded.”

  9. The fence posts were not broken down, or even bent, because they were still needed to keep the beasts in, or out. The tangle about the castle had the youths and maidens laughing in the greenery, but it could easily hold a horde of monsters. Even a drake might hide in there.

  10. “When we are done,” said the sorcerer, “we will be able to break all the rules.” The wall shook the harder. “Now we can bend them.”
    A gap opened in the wall. He stepped through. The other sorcerers followed, and he stopped. “You can’t do that!”
    “Because of what rule?”

  11. Dammit, Jackson. Why are you hell bent for blood?
    Sir, you know that stronghold the Blackhearts built near the Rogue River?
    Yes.
    My spies say they’ve seen a bridge going up.
    Deploy our Rangers to confirm — undercover!
    Yes, sir!
    No blood, Jackson!
    Sir!
    The Blackhearts WILL agree to my deal!

  12. “What do you mean, someone bent the blade?” asked the sergeant-at-arms, fuming.

    “Well, you know how that smith is known for making strong swords?” answered the courier.

    “Of course. He’s known throughout the land for the strength of his swords.”

    “He decided to demonstrate the strength to His Majesty, and set it like so… ” picking a blade off the wall, he set it angled against the wall as he spoke, ” … and then stepped on it.” He briefly mimed stepping on the blade.

    “And it bent.”

    “Yes, sir. Quite cleanly.”

    “So can he fix it?”

    “Not and have it be presentable to the Duke of Aquilonia. He’s going to have to remake the blade.”

  13. Trap

    Starships were only quiet in death. They groaned, clicked, creaked, and hummed.  Air handlers, fuel pumps, drive machinery, the breathing of other human beings… Some people never got used to the constant noise. They never stayed around long. Never made sailing the eternal stars their life.

    Captain Everts shrugged his way into the hard suit with practiced ease. Small craft always got more practice in EVA, and Celerity’s crew was no different.

    “I still don’t like it, Captain.” Sergeant Woods didn’t like anything, as far as he could tell. Well, maybe a good fight. And a good single malt, as he recalled.

    “Be that as it may. We need every hand for this one, since the remote passives are too massy to hump with nine marines alone. And maneuvering the ship, well. “I’ll not risk doing this with too few hands.” Woods harrumphed. It was a private conversation. He could bitch all he liked, as far as Everts was concerned, as long as it didn’t go any further than that. Morale was a bit shaken as it was. The ship had taken damage, but could not be repaired by her small crew until they were no longer drifting.

    He and the sergeant were the last two in the lock. Bob Lasceau appeared at the tiny observation window, tapping it with his armored glove. Time to get a move on. Everts locked his helmet down, and swapped equipment checks with Woods. It never hurt to be too careful.

    He stamped his boots to get the maglocks engaged, and stepped out onto the hull. Celerity was drifting slowly towards the big wreck, hidden in the shadow of the wound that killed the giant ship. Twisted plated traced the path of destruction aft, towards what would likely have been the CIC, and whatever engines drove her. Tough old bird, to still be holding together after all these years.

    “Woolgathering again, sir?” Petty Officer Lasceau remarked wryly, as his helmet clanked against his captain’s.  Sound traveled through the air inside the helmet and by direct contact- no extra electronics on the hull.  Too risky.

    The older man was technically too senior for a scout ship. He’d been busted down in rank several times over the years, though.   Everts had managed to keep him on with a combination of bluff, bribery, and outright lies.

    “Got the first pair of winches set up already. Once we get the last ones down and tight, we’ll crank her in, then get lines up to that old turret and set up there.” Sergeant Woods tapped Lasceau on the shoulder. He made a few quick signs, saying he’d get set up on the ventral side. Lasceau nodded, and waved Everts over as he stomped over to the port antenna mount.

    Once the captain explained the rough plan to him, the P.O. had detailed both engine room smokers and the second shift maintenance section to getting every scrap of cable and anchors out of storage. Celerity needed to be stable before hauling the P.E.S.T system up where it would do the most good- without getting them killed. Passive Emission Sensing Tachiometer was a stupid name anyway. Too stupid to end up dying over.

    Everts watched as visual signals passed from Lasceau to the work parties on either side of the ship. He’d just had the idea to take a peek with the remote passive system, but his people were the ones who made it work. And Liu’s expert flying had saved their lives of course. He planned on recommending a commendation for that bit of work, once they got back to Fleet. It would put her too senior to fly a scout if the Scout Captain chose to promote her at the same time- which was just possible, of course. Her captain’s recommendation would go a ways towards that, too.

    Movement caught his eye. Something in the derelict glittered in the harsh lighting. The mass of his little ship was orders of magnitude less, but it still caused some slight movement. He fumbled at his belt for his optical scanner to take a closer look, but stopped when the object broke free. It was just a mattress, he could tell by the red cover and blue stripe over the top.

    The approach was slow, but steady. Hand winches required brute muscle power to overcome the gentle push of the few attitude thrusters still working that were keeping them from crashing -slowly- into the wreck. On the hull that meant careful bracing before applying torque, lest you go dutchman. Nobody wanted that to happen here. Without power sources and EVA control was limited to manually directed gas jets with very little fuel. Ship sensors tended not to ping on something as small as a suited human, but it had been known to happen. Everts didn’t know which would be worse, drifting until the air ran out in hope of rescue, or getting fried.

    A smaller figure crouched by the blocky P.E.S.T, cinching the cat’s cradle of lines that would carry the equipment up to the wreck. A part of Everts wanted to lend a hand. To do something, at least, rather than stand around feeling useless. He quashed that impulse firmly, the memory of his old captain telling a much younger man to stay out of the way and keep his eyes on the future. Let the men take care of the present, lad. They are counting on you to watch out for what’s coming. So he did.

    Which was why he saw the meter long scrap of hull that parted the dorsal forward line and sliced into the crew working there a split second before it happened.

    The snapped line whipped back down to the deck like a blade, cutting a gouge into the hull plating, through one man’s side and slicing through one unfortunate rating’s hand in its path. The slow drop became a spin, as the other lines halted too late. The ship dent down, towards the wreck. The leading edge was dropping fast as men scrambled to escape being ground between their own ship and the wreck. A few paused to scoop up the wounded. Everts slammed his helmet into the Petty Officer’s- no time to be gentle.

    “Get them in to the port lock. Get Griggs in after!” Lasceau launched himself forward in a shuffling run to get the ventral crew- their one medically trained rating among them- in, as the sergeant began hustled two damaged hardsuits up from the ship’s dorsal spine. Everts cranked the lock open as quickly as he could. Woods snatched his two in and slammed the hatch shut with a heave. The captain glanced forward to see if there were any more wounded and his heart lept to his throat.

    Dutchman.

    Limp, drifting towards the pinch point. Not leaking. It was Liu. Smallest of the crew by far. Everts was already rocketing towards her as he recognized who it was. His gut told him they could make it, just beneath the angle the ship would hit, barely, as he twisted his gas jets to full, emptying the tiny tanks in an instant of hard thrust. He bent his body over her limp form and spun to put his nearly empty maneuvering pack between them and whatever awaited them in the wreck, hopefully not a spear of steel to gut them both…

    Then they were in, and darkness took him.

  14. Edward knew he should not have signed on with such a ill reputed caisson company, no matter how much they offered to pay. This was the third time in four months he was bent.

  15. Ed groaned and sat up. Dried bits of gore tumbled down. He smelled gunpowder beneath the blood human waste, but his mouth tasted like french fries and whiskey, thank god. He hadn’t eaten anybody. Hadn’t shot himself in the head. Still had his memories, mostly bad.

    Hell of a bender.

  16. Ensign Jones stood stiffly at attention, sweat pouring off his head, in front of the captain’s desk. He knew he was in serious trouble, and it was all because he’d misplaced the decimal point on the approach velocity.
    “Ensign. Do you have any excuse for why you bent my spaceship?”

  17. Boris Petrov held up a stack of flimsies, all with complaints about lost benefits, higher costs and lousy food, and shook them at the ‘productivity expert’ the home office had foisted on him. Pointing out the viewport to the newly decorated giant pink holding tank that stored rare helium isotopes awaiting transport to Earth, he snarled, “This is the result of your ‘increased productivity’ changes? I’m going to see that every day!”
    Ben Trask stuttered, “What is that? I though they were writing a safety message about decompressing, when coming up from the ice mine!”
    Indeed, he could see the teeny little letters of the word ‘Don’t’, but they were vastly overshadowed by the much larger fluorescent message of “Get Bent!”

    1. And let met just say, “Thank you”, and “Curse you!”
      This little writing prompt drug me into a short story that’s now 5000+ words, and still has 3 or 4 vignettes I want to add. Mr. Trask was not very s-m-a-r-t.

  18. A wave of intense pain shot through his body. It was pretty bad, he had to admit. He supposed he should be glad he’d survived at all – he’d just barely made it into this lock…He winced as another wave of pain hit. He’d be happier if the regulator on this airlock was’t all bent to heck and gone by whatever had blown out the section, leaving it stuck at a pressure setting that was really too low. With the sudden decompression combined with the low pressure in the lock, it was no wonder he had ended up with a severe case of the bends.

  19. What is the specific gravity of dark matter?
    What is the air velocity of a laden swallow?
    What is the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?
    How does air work?
    Why do pedants yell at me when I say “zero gravity”?
    When did the universe begin?
    Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp?
    Who is “Bent”?

    What?!? You said, “If you have questions…”.

  20. My older son says that and the depressive tendencies are how Himself keeps me from taking over the world. I think he grossly overestimates me.

    I read that as “underestimates you” initially and was in complete agreement.

    You, my dear, are underestimating yourself even more than your son.

  21. The Emwash technician declared that, from an insurance standpoint, the companion was totaled. Sure, some damage was repairable: derma could be resurfaced, a bent fibula straightened. Unfortunately, two of the servos were waterlogged beyond saving, and the firmware module had burned out. Maybe the bot could be stripped for parts.

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