Page 238, Line 1

If you haven’t participated in this fun little prompt before, it’s quite simple. Grab a book…any kind of book…and flip to page 238, then count to line 1. Use that line as a prompt for a post. You can take the quote directly as use that in a story, or simply find inspiration in the line and come up with something else.

Simply provide the quote (along with book title and author) and have fun! 

If you want to participate, simply write a post and link it back to this post so everyone can read it.

“I’ve got a few questions, ” I say.

My Life as a Gamer by Janet Tashjian

I don’t know where I went wrong, but I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere in my life. It was probably when I dated Dave instead of Rick in high school. I heard that Rick is now a 3rd Major in the USSF and got approved for sixteen children. I have to admit, he was quite the athletic guy in school. Yep, that’s probably when it happened.

Instead of Rick, I opted for Dave. Don’t get me wrong, Dave is a a good guy. Too good. He can’t hold down a job for long because he just won’t get with the program. Every night all he talks about is how things were way back when. Well, this isn’t then, it’s now. He just doesn’t want to accept that. Which is how I ended up where I am today. Yep, it’s all because of Dave.

So, here I am with the others waiting outside his office. We play the same game, so in a way, I guess you could say we are friends. Or, at least friendly to each other. We have to be for all our sakes. The last one who disagreed disappeared. Oh, how that would be, to disappear. I think I would like that. You see, I think like Dave. I do, I really do. It’s just…I’m afraid. I want to speak out, I want to tell the truth about what I see, about what I hear, about what I know, but I can’t. I just can’t.

Why can’t I? Dave will understand. Won’t he? Yes, I’m sure he will. I’m going to do it. I have to. I know they’ll be watching, they have to. I am the only one approved for this hour. Maybe not all will be watching, but maybe enough will be. Enough to hear. Enough to start asking. Maybe Dave will be watching. He’ll know what to do.

The office door opens and we all take our assigned places. This is it. It’s now or never. I have to do it. I can’t take another day of living in this lie, this living nightmarish world we created and that I help maintain.

We all sit and listen. I nod and smile. Show a little cleavage. He likes that. I know he does. His assistant requested even deeper cut shirts after he first saw me six months ago. He’s smiling that incessant smirk that he thinks is charm. If I am right, I will be remembered as a martyr. The one who dared to start it. If I am right. God, I hope I’m right.

As he stops speaking, I raise my hand.

“You there, young lady in the beautiful red dress.”

There’s that smirk again. I will be so happy to not see that again in my life. I stand up and give him one of my perfected smiles. “Thank you, Mr. President. I’ve got a few questions,” I say.


Best Bar in Town (a rejected story – you’ll probably see why)

Scum of every kind packed the bar. Harris squeezed between two bounty hunters from Vox 5 and glanced down the ample bosom of Trixie as he made his way to the back. He paused at the end of the bar and ordered a shot of Twilight. The Howling Brothers from Luna 3 played on the stage. Lousy music. Harris gulped his drink and took a deep breath. No use delaying it any longer, no matter what he said, the boss was not going to be happy about things. Harris’ wandering hand as it shot up her shirt for a feel as she walked past. She had a good right hook, and the boss’ bodyguards had a good laugh as he picked himself up off the floor.

“He’s waiting for you, Harris.” The guards smirked as he walked past into the slime pit.

The slime pit could describe the entire bar, but it best fit the boss’ chamber. Rancid ooze clung to the floors and dripped from the ceiling. There was no avoiding it, and the best Harris hoped for was to not have a new hair style when he left – if he left.

“Boss.” Harris nodded and tried not to regurgitate his last meal.

Syll looked up from his meal, which had, at one point in time, been a young female. Human if Harris had to guess by the fried skin that lay discarded on the floor. Green saliva dripped from his mouth as his blue lips curled into a sneer.

“Harris. I hear you ran into trouble on Thorston 13.”  Bits of food flung from his moist mouth as he spoke, and globs of clear and yellow slime slid down his face onto the plate. “You get what I wanted?”

Harris cleared his throat. “You know, Boss –”

“Excuse me, Sir, but the waitress would like to know if you are ready for another drink.”

The makeshift room shook as Syll laughed. “When am I never ready?”

Harris turned and watched as the bodyguard popped back into the bar. He took a deep breath and looked at Syll again.

“What are you waiting for, Harris?” Syll splattered Harris’ shirt with spit.

“You know, Boss, it was like this,” Harris said. “There I was on Thorston, getting ready to do the job, when –”

“Here you go.” Trixie brushed past Harris with a tray of drinks and chuckled.

Damn, can’t a guy get himself killed in peace! Still, not a bad last thing to see. “Don’t suppose you brought one for me, huh?”

Syll slapped Trixie on the ass soaking her skirt with ooze as she turned to leave. Harris closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. He was the only one allowed to do that to her. Trixie ignored both men and left.

“Anyways, Boss,” Harris continued as Syll gulped the first drink. “I was there, and the supplier was there, but, well, you see, it was like…you okay, Boss?”

Syll’s face turned from blue to grey. His eyes bulged, and he clutched at his throat. Harris watched with disgusted fascination as his boss shriveled and dried.

“Um, Boss?” Harris nudged Syll’s corpse with his slime covered boot and watched as he rolled off the cushion onto the floor and disintegrated into powder. “Never mind then.”

Harris walked back into the bar. Trixie stood on the corpses of Syll’s bodyguards and laughed. No one in the bar seemed to notice or even care that there were now three corpses with them, but then again, this was the last place anyone got involved with another’s business.

“Hey, Harris.” Trixie smiled and whipped her magenta hair back over her shoulder. “Did he like my new drink?”

His mind wandered as he imagined her sun-touched skin in bed next to him. “Why’d you do that?”

Trixie grabbed him and pulled him into a deep embrace. “You’re my best tipper.”

Harris chuckled. “Man, I love this bar.”

When Exactly?

Harry threw the paper down on the table and sighed. He longed for the old days. The days when people were reasonable; when people listened to others. A time when the real threat was clear and identifiable. Now, all one had to do to stoke another’s enmity was to open their mouth. It came from all sides and no one listened…no one heard…no one cared. Even those who pretended to care, only served to stoke the fires more. Everyone lived on the edge, but in the old days, life was calm, peaceful, and collected.

Paula looked at her husband as she poured his orange juice and chuckled. “The old days weren’t as grand as you think you remember, Harry.”

He snorted. “Of course they were! We didn’t have all the problems we have today!”

“Ha!” She sat the juice carton back in the refrigerator. “When were the good old days, you long for, Harry?”

“The 50s are a good place to start! We were all happy and free and …”

“A child.” She looked at him and shook her head. “You were a kid in the 50s, Harry. Adults were dealing with McCarthyism, Korean War, assassination attempts, protests, nuclear testing, and labor disputes.”

Harry waved his hand at her. “Oh, poppycock. Sure, those things did happen, but we got along much better than we do now.”

“Who’s we? Do I need to mention the entire Civil Rights Movement?”

He took a deep breath and sighed. “Fine, I’ll give you that. We’re better now than we were then. But the 1920s were a great time, and don’t try to deny they weren’t. I love swing and jazz. Parties all over. Those were the good old days!”

“World War I, prohibition, labor strikes, Red Scare raids, immigration quotas, increased tariffs, KKK march in Washington, St. Valentine’s Day massacre –“

“Fine, fine! Maybe that does sound like now, but…but, fine Victorian age. The rise of travel, tea houses, grand houses. Now those were good old days. You can’t say we were in any world wars then!”

“Annexation of Texas, Trail of Tears, attempted impeachment, wars with Native American tribes, Pittsburgh nearly burned to the ground, Great New York City fire, Mexican-American War, Bloody Island massacre, Utah War, do I even have to mention the Civil War?”

Harry huffed and showed her the newspaper headline. “Okay, history professor, when he is talking about so I can go back to it!”

This was inspired by FOWC – enmity