Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike AND A Deadline

Okay, this is weird. No, stone cold weird. I guess you guys really are living on your nerves, or my mail has decided I don’t need to hear from you.

There were no books to promo. This is the second time — 2, in however many years of promo — that this has happened. It has me a leetle on edge.

I could go hunting, see if some of you forgot to send me listings, etc.

But I’m building bookshelves. Yeah, I SHOULD be writing, but I guess– rolls neck — I know how you’re feeling. So, I’m building bookshelves. I’ll write this evening.

So, you have until Wednesday, when I’ll run a promo, (So I guess you have till Tuesday Night) to get me links to your Amazon-published books.

Until then, here is the vignette challenge, to take your mind off things.

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.

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.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: Pleasure

42 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike AND A Deadline

  1. We rotated back for R&R. In line for food, I hoped it was hot this time, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a hot meal. The young lady in the red shirt looked asleep on her feet as she handed out bags. “Thank you.” “My pleasure,” she replied.

  2. We rotated back for R&R. In line for food, I hoped it was hot this time, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a hot meal. The young lady in the red shirt looked asleep on her feet as she handed out bags. “Thank you.” “My pleasure,” she replied.

  3. “What’s your pleasure?”
    “Bourbon, neat. Ganymede liquors, if you have it.”
    “Coming right up.”
    The dive bar was a hole in the wall sort of place. The kind you dropped in to for a quiet drink and to be left alone. The patrons were few and none of them made eye contact as the tired man leaned back against the bar.
    “Your drink sir.”
    “Appreciate it.”
    The liquor wasn’t cheap, and tasted like it. Two men entered the bar carrying their heaters openly. They had the look of the sort that isn’t picky about the jobs they take, so long as they paid. One of the men had a badly healed broken nose that twisted to the left. The other one spoke.
    “I’m lookin’ for-”
    “Apologies, sir, but not you’re not.”
    “Listen here, bub-”
    “You’re not looking for someone here sir. This is a place for quiet drinks. Not sweaty assignations concluded in alleyways for a centicred.”
    The thug with the better nose purpled at the implication.
    “Why I’ll kill-”
    The broken nosed thug froze with his heater still pointed at the floor. He looked at his formerly breathing companion. His face turned white.
    “Do be a friend and take out the trash when you leave, will you?”
    The bartender’s voice remained even. Polite and gentile. His hand cannon did not waver in the slightest. The broken nosed thug put his heater away and dragged the newly dead weight out with him. The doors shut and the bartender returned to wiping down imagined imperfections in the bar.
    “Friends of yours?”
    “Not likely.”
    The tired man sipped his drink.
    “You know the girl has been missing you, don’t you?”
    “I do.”
    The bartender finally looked at the tired man. It was the same face as always. A little older. A few more gray hairs in his beard. It was like nothing had changed in the past three years. Even though everything had.
    “Be seeing you, Thomas.”
    The tired man stood up, leaving a fifty credit chip on the bar. The bartender made no move to take it. The door opened, then closed once again. The bartender spoke once more, at a whisper.
    “Be seeing you, Captain.”

    1. Side note: 11,000 words this weekend and four full chapters loaded for next week. Almost got a full week done on the weekend. *happy dance!*

      1. Which sounds like it really put the “gateway” into “gateway writing”… many happy returns!

        And for those of us too forgetful / lazy to know Web-where to look for this..? (At least I’m figuring this is open content, like the zombie story and the longer space-girl-comes-to-Earth one.)

  4. (Sigh)
    Remember, you asked for it.

    I hate squicky ideas that make want to bathe in high proof alcohol to try and make the skuzziness go away.
    But I don’t think I’m going to be able to exorcise this one without pinning it to paper.

    1. Henry wasn’t punished for the murder of Beckett.
      He was punished because his followers were too incompetent to perform the act discretely, without his having to publicly shame them into it.
      If you anticipate your King’s wishes and remove obstacles before he encounters them, you will be handsomely rewarded. Especially as it would be impolitic for the King to recognize your services in an official capacity, so you must simply anticipate the rewards he would shower upon you if he could, and award them to yourself.
      My name is Mauvais, and I make things happen.

      And so, when the King’s mistress appeared at my door in fear of a rumor I’d started, I bowed humbly, and told her it would be my pleasure to assist. And indeed, it would be. Even if she was certain to soon feel differently.

  5. For two long years they locked us in
    To be unmasked made mortal sin
    While the rulers took their pleasure
    Punishing should we disobey
    But we watched and silent lay
    Stay, wait then give full measure

  6. “Why are you digging lines of holes, Space Boy Bob”
    “Well I can’t afford a rocket ship to get to Ringling Brothers world, or any of the other fun places in the universe, so I figure the only thing I can do is grow my very own pleasure plant its.”

  7. AQUARIUS (Born/Activated 20 January – 18 February): You will meet a special someone today. You should have had that hemorrhoid removed before Mercury went retrograde.

    Ernie Boyleston didn’t look like much dead. Of course, he didn’t look like much alive, either. At least that’s who MEDCOM said it was.

    “Is that a confirmed ID?”

    The assistant medical examiner gave me a look that spoke volumes, all of them sarcastic. She finally smiled and said, “It’s as good as it gets with a DNA typing. If you’re not satisfied, ask him yourself.” She went back to scanning the inside of the dumpster, describing the scene to her laplink.

    “Sorry. I just didn’t know they went to the trouble of typing fecal matter.”

    “FT,” she laughed, “you are the most cynical bastard I’ve ever met.”

    “Yeah, well, you see enough humans kill each other, you tend to be able to spot the ones that float to the top.”

    I walked over to the van. The bum who found him still had that 1,000 meter stare. Palsied hands had spilled half the coffee on his leg, but he didn’t notice. A light rain would rinse the stain from his pants, but not the scene from his mind.

    “Yo, Freitag,” an irritated voice called from behind me. “Who called you in on this?”

    Without turning I said to the bum, “Did you just hear a buffalo fart?”

    He wiped his nose with his sleeve. “Nah,” he said, then sniffed the air. “I dunno, buffalo… can’t be Blue Plains ’cause the wind’s not right.”

    “Very funny, Freitag.”

    I turned, feigning surprise. “Sergeant Latansky! What a pleasure to see the lobotomy was a success.”

    “You still haven’t answered the question, putz.” He looked worn down, as though he’d been without sleep a long time.

    “I got the call as soon as the description of the body came in, Paul,” I said. “Not many people can forcibly separate a torso from its appendages by themselves.”

    “Yeah, a real shame a scumbag like him had go that way,” he said. “Anyway, you’re welcome to it. I’m outta here.”

    The M.E. was finished. I reviewed the holography to ensure the crime scene could be reconstructed if necessary. When I left, the fire department truck was still washing the street down. Even the rain couldn’t clean all the blood up. They had to spray pretty high up on the building to change back to the usual dirty brown.

  8. “Enjoying your new form, doctor?” said Diane archly. “That’s the price of a weekend’s unbridled lust, here on Hedon Atoll.”

    “Mmrreeow!” Jim yowled impotently.

    “It’s inspired by another famous pleasure island,” Diane remarked. “Only here it’s, ‘Give a sleazy man enough rope, and he’ll soon make a tomcat of himself.'”

  9. I’ve been reading some of my stories on youtube under Cyn’s Shadowland. Since I started this new venture, I’ve started to write a little more. Nothing finished or published. Plus I’ve finally just deleted Green Knight Terraforming Company off Amazon. I was able to download the stories once and now it doesn’t work. When I put up a new interior, it won’t let me do it. I think Amazon’s programs are getting hinky. I may have to use another site or go back to Smashwords.

  10. When you have a spoon to spare, might want to check Mad Genius Club’s spam filter. I’m getting caught in it, so other folks probably are, as well.

  11. The picnic, thought Ava, would have been more pleasant without Nigel’s ejecting them.
    She walked along the corridor with Julian, and wondered a little why Phoebe had allowed it. Perhaps Nigel had told her things in the past about her studies.
    “He’ll interrupt like that,” said Julian, abruptly. “Whenever he wishes.”

  12. He looked over his shoulder just as the drunk swung.
    The Old Thing blazed across his nerves.
    Time slowed to a crawl.
    His possessed flesh met the attack in a puppet’s dance of denial and destruction.
    As the berserker’s crippled assailant fell, the joy of absolute supremacy was all he knew.

  13. It was weeks of labor elsewhere, making that beam.
    He was proud of his work, the clean lines and strong joints, but there is always a small nagging uncertainty until the work is finally assembled on site.
    As the large part slid home, the carpenter’s face lit up almost as brightly as his customer’s.
    “Math,” he said, “It works.”

      1. At least you still have bookcases. Mine were apparently lost in a tragic boating accident (since I never had any firearms).

  14. Probably the best thing about this weekend was that we had the pleasure and joy of letting Viola cook. Seriously, whatever else she can do as a Servant and whatever other magic she has, she’s a cooking goddess. And, on amazingly short notice as well. Sayuri tried to throw Viola off by asking to have tonkotsu ramen and asking in the morning for dinner. And, she got perfect tonkotsu ramen, enough to make the person she invited to dinner with us-a five star cook in Japan, who is as memetic in Tokyo as Gordon Ramsay in the English speaking world-to cry in joy and frustration because he could never make anything this good.

    Deborah asked for a Dublin Coddle-which I’d never heard of, but fell in love with after Viola made one that gave the whole kitchen a perfect smell for days. And, Aretta made the mistake of trying to throw Viola by asking for Ugali and Ndizi na Nyama…and, Aretta’s grandmother-who is reputed to have only smiled when she was at the execution of her husband’s murderer-smiled when she had some.

    All I asked for was a beef and barley stew. And, she made something stunning out of that simple request.

  15. Slowly, she calmed as she walked. There was more pleasure in this woodland night than in the ball. No one expected her to gossip in barbed rumors, or flirt with men she could never marry. Moonlight colored all gray, but the light was enough to see by.
    A bird sang.

  16. Strictly speaking, the Russian equivalent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff serve at His Majesty’s pleasure. Unlike their American counterparts, there is no requirement for any approval from the legislature. In practice, there are certain limits to the Tsar’s ability to appoint and dismiss them, and many of those limits relate to the curious balance of power between the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Security which trace back to the Soviet era.

  17. Pleasure boating was my first thought when I saw the prompt. I closed my eyes and remembered the steady hum of the engine, the soft mattress and warm quilt, the whoosh of a whale coming up for air, my boyfriend checking the radio, and the scent of freshly brewed coffee.

  18. A fiddler began to play, and the larger figures started to form. Rosaleen went to join them. These were the first, stately dances, such that even the oldest villagers would dance, but they were still a delight.
    Her ladies had not yet joined the festivities, and neither had the gentlemen.

  19. So I head over here every once and a while from Instapundit, but I’ve never posted before. I like prompts though.

    It most certainly is not my pleasure!” growled the captain after his superior had left.

    For over ten years, his men had been clearing the detritus of war, building sewers, digging graves. Even the ones still rated for combat had not seen action for years.

    Back into battle again. Why?

  20. “So you’re running for town select person?” she asked.
    “Yep” I replied.
    “How long is that for?”
    “Three years, or at the pleasure of the voters in case they vehemently disagree with my ethics.”
    “What’s that mean?”
    “It means if I really piss them off, I’ll be pushing up daisies.”

  21. “Have I ever mentioned, Captain, that it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with you?”

    “Maybe you have, once or twice, though likely it was when you were drunk or out of your right mind.” His voice was relaxed and at ease, as it was just about all the time no matter the circumstance. “Though if that’s the start of some pitch angling to catch some sort of re-signing bonus…”

    Adrian smiled, disarmingly but also amusedly. “No, and I think you know me better than that, by now. Or at the least, that I’d have better sense than to try something so… chowderheaded as that, here.” It was the sort of conversation that might as well have taken place — or so many might have thought — at a bar in some watering hole as on the control deck of an interstellar spaceship. But one of the things most of those old fictional imaginings of starflight had left out was the impressive boredom of the days (or weeks) between your last Jump exit and making orbit around your planet or sidling up to your station. Not quite nothing to do but listen to the soft whine as the Mach frame reaction drive ground down all those dozens of miles per second, on and on till you got to rendezvous; but all too often none too much.

    “No, really, it’s been an honor and a privilege, and even a pleasure to follow you around and see how you handle things. To watch and to learn, the slack times and the quick ones, the easy times and the bloody near impossible ones. For all that it might’ve seemed a hard slog at the time, it’s been a good ride, and the worthiest of educations.”

    Brian dos Santos leaned back in his chair, The Chair. And gave his First one of the lesser-strength versions of The Look. “So, now you’re gonna tell me that you’ve met a rich-girl, and you’re soon to be wed to her and to her not-inconsiderable fortune. Or that you’ve tired of the glories of the not-so-spiffy end of the merchant service, and you’ve enlisted in the military service of the Glorious Empire of Whatever. Or at least that’s how the rest of this conversation usually goes.” Again, if they’d been up in some dim private corner of some port chandlery bar, bright retro-chic oil lamps flickering in the gloom, he could’ve taken a swig of his beer (always bottled and always worth drinking on its merits) for emphasis.

    But being who he was, of course, the Captain didn’t really need to.

    “None of the above, but maybe close. And you will of course know that my latest enlistment onto our Articles is coming to a close, and… it just so happens that I’ve been approached by someone, a captain-owner who’s looking to hang up one of his hats for a while and give more attention to his affairs on-planet. If all that goes through, and you don’t have any deep objections to the proposal, I’ll be signing on for a limited tour as First of the Philosophic out of New Athens” — he pronounced that Ay-thens like the town in old Illinois, not Ath-ens like the ancient city in Greece it wasn’t named for — “and then become her Captain once I get the local brief over a loop or two and he’s had a chance to see me work.”

    “So what exactly did you imagine those ‘objections’ might be, possibly? Never mind all those tales you’ve likely heard, this isn’t like one of those old manor-house servant gigs where you needed permission to quit and find another job, or even marry the wench of your dreams.” Left silently aside was their joint acquaintance with places where, five centuries into bog-standard starflight, that old 19th-century quirk still hung on. “And no matter your starry-bright ideas about the prerogatives of command and the faster-than-light grapevine of captainly mutual influence… you’ll find soon enough, once you make the Jump from First Officer to Top Dog, it simply ain’t all that. For all we try to watch each others’ backs, for the many as merit such, it’s not so close a club as one might guess.”

    Adrian Flowers smiled, that disarming sort of smile he usually had unless he was really about to get serious. “But, Captain, your opinion on it does matter to me. I’ve learned, with you and a few other people in my life over the years to now, some people are worth paying the attention.” As he said it, he even let a little of the common lilt of Rosaleen where he’d been born and raised into the words, as he so seldom did on duty.

    “Bob Shaw is a worthy captain and a bit of a friend from way back. Though he’s mean and tricksy as a skunk in any real fight. And it might be some passing bit of interest to you to know he did not come to me and ask for my perspective on you, first — he’s always been one to take the measure of anyone he’s considering tangling up with, himself and up close.

    “And as far as the rest of it, I’ll just say you’ve been just a touch of a disappointment to me, in this, for the first time in a long while.” Once again dos Santos’ voice was neutral — not that ‘flatness of affect’ so many really hard-shelled people got, just before things really splashed in the pot, but simply neutral. Equanamity, the Buddhists liked to call it.

    “And how would that be, Captain?” His First’s voice was likewise neutral too — while what this man in front of him said mattered much, so many other things mattered more. “Hurt feelings” here… made about as much significance as a downpour of rain made to a granite rock. Another thing a young Mr. Flowers had learned, and leaned into, over his years here.

    “Only that you’ve deprived me of the pleasure of kicking your ass out of this fine and bizarrely-feathered nest we have here, between the stars. Young fledgling, it was your time to fly whether you knew or not. Now go fetch me your report on the half-hourly star sights and locator beacon reductions.” And as his First turned to obey, he stopped him briefly in mid-step with just a few more soft words.

    “Just remember, Adrian, always pay it forward. No way in all God’s wide black sky you’ll ever pay it back.”

  22. Longest Run Kindle Edition
    by David Sutton (Author) Format: Kindle Edition
    5.0 out of 5 stars 3 ratings
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    Longest Run is set in North America a thousand years after nuclear war has knocked the tectonic plates off the table. Ecologies are in flux. People are trying to cope with the mess they have made. Since that mess includes humanity’s own genetic instability, Brand Levin is willingly engaged in a live-or-die wilderness proving trip; at stake his right to become a parent. Explicitly Libertarian (that “right” is actually “societal willingness to trade).

    1. DAVID, Send it to the book promo email. I will not remember this in two hours when I setup the post.
      The boilerplate: If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only.

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