Fiction: What A Million Dollars Won’t Buy #amwriting #fiction


Here’s another piece from my course, edited of course.


Credit: Paul Paul @ProdigyPaul via Unsplash.


Eugene steps onto the plane as his stomach summersaults. In Eugene’s seat, fellow author Jerry Norman, reclines.

“I need the legroom, let an old man have the aisle.”

Eugen shakes his head ‘no.’ He stows his carry on and sits. “Thanks a million for not making this difficult, Jerry. The aisle seats are quicker to leave from when the plane lands.” Eugene winks.

Jerry’s eyes narrow. “I’d watch it if I were you. I don’t like you sassing me.”

Eugene grins, then his stomach flips. The plane’s wheels come off the runway, and he buries his face in his hands. He swears under his breath between prayers until the plane achieves flying altitude.

Jerry laughs, “Think you’re some tough guy, eh? You take an old man’s seat than can’t handle take off?”

Eugene rolls his eyes. He notes Jerry’s red face with sweat gleaming. His hands are fisted tight around the armrests. “I don’t think you’re such a flier yourself. You’re a bit of bullshitter, aren’t you, Jerry?”

“That’s neither here nor there, Eugene. I’ve ridden on a plane that’s nearly crashed. Stop being such an asshole. I’m not a bad guy.”

Eugene snorts. He removes his iPad from the seat pocket and closes his eyes to the latest Avengers movie. When he awakes, screams of terror resonate. His stomach lurches as the plane nose dives, rattling, bumping up, and down as the left engine sputters.

Eugene believes he’s having a nightmare. He blinks, and everything around him occurs in slow-motion. The breathing masks tumble down, and Eugene gulps in oxygen at a slow even pace.

Beside him, Jerry has knocked his head on the window and passed-out. Despite Eugene’s dislike for him, he stretches as far as he can. He displaces his oxygen mask for a moment, and attaches Jerry’s. Then, he does the only thing he can think of doing, he smacks Jerry across the cheek to wake him.

“Jerry, come on. Your head’s bleeding, and you can’t sleep until you see a doctor.” He watches Jerry’s pupils dilate as he sucks in deep breaths of oxygen. Eugene’s numbness permits him to remain calm as the plane alters from a nose dive to a straight position above a grassy field. The landing is rough and jars everyone. At the end, Jerry catch’s his eye. Both mean realize the plane nearly crashed.

Eugene’s numbness fades as his nails dig blood-filled crescents into his palms. When they leave the plane and slide into a verdant feel, he turns to Jerry. “Stay awake, we need to find you an ambulance before you fall down right here.” The other author leans against Eugene, as he supports him. They find a paramedic who checks them both over for injuries.

Eugene thinks of the million dollars he could’ve had for arriving early to the writer’s conference both and he Jerry were attending.

“All that money wasn’t worth this.” Jerry fumbles over his words, but Eugene knows they are the absolute truth. He nods at Jerry lying in a stretcher in an ambulance waiting to leave for the hospital.

“I’ll come with you, Jerry, might as well. Someone has to call your family and let them know what happened.” Jerry makes a noise, Eugene assumes is agreement.

He closes his eyes for a moment. One million dollars.


©Mandibelle16.(2018) All Rights Reserved.

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Sunday Photo Fiction: The Creep #fiction #amwriting


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting the February 11th, 2018 Edition of SPF. This is a bit of a longer piece. Written for a writer’s course, around 500 Words as opposed to 200 Words or less. I cleaned it up and changed the original a bit.


Credit: J. Carol Hardy


Charlene twists her hair. The potent drink on the bar is her fifth tequila shot in an hour. The hazy, dreamlike atmosphere in the crowded town bar confuses her. Most of the crowd puff away, smoke lingering in the air, twisting above her, a toxic dragon of cigarette stench.

An attractive singer who isn’t local, belts out tunes while strumming his guitar. His catchy music has Charlene humming, her fingers tapping to the rhythm.

When he plays a soft song, the crowd boos. Some men throw beer bottles that smash and scatter glass against the small stage’s back wall. The singer peers around the room, his eyes darting back and forth. A bouncer drags away one of the offenders and the singer resumes his music, belting out cheerful tunes once more.

Charlene chuckles. As per usual, the town bar echoes with boisterous laughter and harmless drunks telling tale tales. Then, the creep beside her, pokes her arm. “Drink it, drink the shot.”

She peers up at him and his putrid breath makes her sick. “I don’t want it. Go away.” He leers and Charlene shivers.

She turns, stumbles towards the cracked vinyl booth where her coat and purse lay. Grabbing them she fumbles, zipping up her coat. The creep follows her and pinches her chin, trying to pour the shot into her mouth.

Warm tequila dribbles from her lips, acrid as she chokes. “No more, I don’t want anymore.” She cuts off his words, the poison of the creep’s lizard-tongue. “I’m going home — alone.”

Charlene teeters, leaning against the worn bar. She presses her hands against the humid backs of people waiting to buy more drinks. In open places, she leans on the bar, tracing it’s antique carvings, the dents on its worn surface. Jerry, one of the bartenders, slides her a glass of water. She nods at him, and swallows, her throat aching.

Past the bar, Charlene leans against a lone stool at a table. The stool wobbles on splintering legs. She grits her teeth, than sucks out a sliver of wood from her thumb. A gift from the table top.

Head spinning, Charlene lands in the quiet of the shuffleboard area, dizzy against the table. She presses her phone, fingers clumsy as she sends for an Uber. She downs more water from her purse. With some clarity, she wanders through sweat-soaked bodies towards the main door.

In the chill of the night, the creep is somehow beside her, waiting to follow her into her Uber. She ignores him, hobbling to a bouncer. “He’s following me, make him go away. He put something in my drink.”

The lie slips out; she doesn’t care. The creep who bought her five shots scares her. The bouncer’s blue eyes bulge. “No problem, Miss. I’ll ensure you get into the Uber alone.”

The bouncer offers the creep free beer to go back inside, and Charlene shivers, the wind biting at her face as flurries fly. She falls asleep inside the Uber, and the driver helps her into her apartment on the third floor. He takes the key from her hand and unlocks her door as she offers him a scrunched five-dollar bill.

“It’s fine. I don’t need help.”

The driver shakes his head. “That man you were running from, he’s bad. He has a different woman drunk each weekend night; he drugs many of them. The bouncer’s my friend, and he made sure you got into my Uber. We’re trying to catch him, but this a**holes too experienced to leave much evidence.”

The fact that the creep could’ve drugged her for ‘real’ makes Charlene ill. She rushes to the kitchen sink, throwing up multiple times.

The Uber driver ‘Ahems’ behind her. “I’m going now. Will you be okay?’

She nods. “Thank God, you’re a good man.”

“Stop accepting drinks from weird strangers. Don’t lead guys like him on. You have to think before you accept more than one drink; especially, in a small town like ours.”

Charlene nods, collapsing on the floor. She knows she’s asleep, but a sharp tempo beats against her temples. She’s half-awake, restless, afraid of the nightmares seeping in; the creep’s leering grin and eyes of a predator.


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

Story Continuation Prompt: Fiction – ” Uncle Jerry’s Photograph” 


Thanks to Wandering Soul who hosts this challenge. You are supposed to write one or two more sentences to make a three line story with the prompt sentence. I tend to get inspired and end up with an entire story, jammed into two too long sentences. So I’m linking to her blog with my story inspired by the sentence: ” The picture on the wall was crooked; a lot like the person in it.”

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http://www.denofgeeks.com

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The picture on the wall was crooked; a lot like the person in it. I knew the photo was of my Grandpa’s brother Jerry, who had shot himself in the foot to get out of WWII. He had only been in France a week and spent most of his active duty attempting to make himself throw-up daily, so he didn’t have to fight but could remain in the infirmary. But Jerry’s Captain realized what Jerry was up to and put him back with his company to kill German soldiers.

Sadly, it wasn’t beyond Jerry’s cowardice to hide behind other soldiers in his squadron,  or use them as shields. I doubt Jerry’s company minded when he showed them  a German soldier had shot him in the foot; even though his squadron knew Jerry had shot himself to get out of fighting in the War. It wasn’t as if many soldiers hadn’t thought of shooting their own foot to escape War’s reality, but most of them knew their country needed them and took their duty as a soldier with pride.

Jerry’s fellow soldiers were glad to see ‘useless’  Jerry gone. He hadn’t made any friends and most men knew being Jerry’s friend meant he would desert you when you needed help; infact, life expectancy for members in Jerry’s old company went up when Jerry was sent home with a permanent limp.

Jerry told absurd and utterly fake stories about being a War hero when he returned to his family’s house in London. Jerry had even stolen a poor dead man’s medals to make it appear as if he had been recognized by England, Primeminister Churchill, and the Queen, for defending his country. 

But Jerry’s family didn’t believe his stories and doubted he had sacrificed himself to earn such high honours. Jerry’s family knew his personality, the cowardliness and cunning that always lurked behind Jerry’s every action. 

War was awful and terrifying, but Jerry’s father who had fought in WWI and Jerry’s permanently wounded brother Clancy, who fought in WWII, believed Jerry should be doing his duty back in France. Soldiers were being shipped to the beaches of Normandy and neither Jerry’s father or Clancy thought the slight limp that Jerry most likely gave himself, should stop a soldier from doing his duty.

 Jerry eventually left home during the War, wandering the roads in different towns, lost and afraid that death would catch up with him because he had avoided it in France. In the shadow of a pale moon, a bomb flew from the sky one night, and Jerry met his end in England, near his family’s home. 

Both Jerry’s father and brother Clancy, at last we’re proud of him. The bomb from a German airplane had hit Jerry and not another person or a building full of civilians. Jerry hadn’t intended on being the bombs target, but his family felt they could remember the cowardly man with a bit of pride now.

 Jerry’s photo, Grandpa Clancy said, should remind us Grandchildren to be brave and not use others because we are afraid, as Uncle Jerry had done in his life. Grandpa Clancy’s Grandchildren knew what true sacrifice was when their Grandfather showed them the stump that was once his left leg. 

Clancy had never bothered with a prosthetic limb. His leg stump spoke volumes to a generation who did not realize what a sacrifice so many men had made so their children and Grandchildren could be free from men such as Hitler and his Nazis.

Clancy had loved his brother. The part of Jerry who was a scheming coward, Clancy had never been able to understand. Scared or not, a man has to do what a man had to do, especially during a War. Clancy was cheered that in death, his brother Jerry may have been brave.

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©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.