JULY FLASH FICTION

Entry Conditions:

Entries are limited to financial members only. Entries will not be accepted if they exceed the maximum word limit – even if by a word, and must comply with all the stated parameters. Your email must include author’s name, story title and word count.

All entries are to be submitted to competitions@ballaratwriters.com by 5:00pm Friday, 21 July. Voting will open here the next day and will close at 4:00 pm on Wednesday 26 July.

Come along to our Members’ Night on Wednesday, 26 July, 7pm at the Bunch of Grapes Hotel to hear the winner announced. (Results will also be posted here the day after.)

This month’s Flash Fiction parameters are:

Prompt:      ‘a depressed one-eyed alien at his birthday party’ (you can include some or all of these words in your story)

Genre:     Open 

Word count:      300 – 337

 

1          Title:    Out of Place

Words:    336

Jack felt so out of it, like a depressed one-eyed alien at his own party. Hung over from lunch time celebrations, he looked around at the unfamiliar faces. He was stuck here in a room full of strangers, talking and laughing and drinking the wine he’d paid for. Well, she paid for it, but it came out of his pocket. Danni said she’d be here to welcome them all, but he couldn’t see her anywhere. Where the hell was she?

The group turned around and looked him up and down – the men dressed in suits and ties, staring with disapproval, the women smiling with fixed faces, all done up in expensive designer clothes. And he’d arrived in his drab work clothes. Danni had obviously invited her high class friends from work.  Why didn’t she warn him, and invite his friends too? It was his birthday for god’s sake.

He shook his head, what the hell was she doing inviting this crowd, not his sort at all. She could never be relied upon to get things right. He’d told her only a small group of friends; he meant his friends, not hers. She said she’d arrange it, and sent him a text with the time and venue. He’d left work in a hurry, his mind on unfinished business.

This was the last straw, he would talk to her tomorrow, tell her he wanted a break, that things weren’t working out. She’d be upset, but she’d get over it. He was always picking up after her mistakes, apologising when she didn’t turn up. She always had excuses but he doubted the truth of them.

Slouching by the door, his mouth set, a waiter approached him.

‘Excuse me sir; are you with the bride or the groom?’

‘What?’

‘Are you family or a friend of the couple?’

‘What are you talking about? It’s my birthday party!’

‘I’m sorry but this is a wedding reception.’

Jack yanks out his phone and suddenly it hits him – he’s in the wrong hotel!

 

2          Title:    Zilka’s Clothes

Words: 337

“Party, party, party,” chorused the crowd.

“This is where it’s all happening! Tonight’s the night,” roared Galec the Osternian. His four, two-suckered, hands rose majestically from his highest shoulder-blades, as with a mighty jump, he shot to the ceiling six metres above and commenced dancing from the stainless steel sheeting.

“Come one, come all. This feast is on me. Help yourselves to the delicacies of the universe. Your very own depressed, one-eyed good friend, and alcoholic, drug-addled, gourmand, fashionista of renown, Zilka Bofray Grallancia individually prepared your drinks and treats for his birthday party.”

Many beings in the crowded room, beamed their thoughts to each other, with notions and images of, “Zilka, how in Dog’s name did Galec manage to drag Zilka off Tartha, let alone have him leave Parnathia’s side?”

One being shrouded its thoughts, and to its neighbour, queried, “Zilka? Who or what is he, she, or it?”

“My dear friend. Zilka of Bofray in Grallancia is this universe’s most fashion conscious of all fashionistas. All of this world’s best beings assiduously follow his style, glamour, taste, and fashion. Look around, and you’ll note that our apparel tries to approximate the passion perfected and paraded on all the Infoscreens of this world as decreed by Zilka as today’s highest pursuit.”

“Yes, my awareness is that every living creature in this room is wearing orange trousers, where appropriate, and turquoise jackets over their various differing bodies.”

“Ooh, isn’t it all just sooo wonderful, and such a change from last weeks’ drabness of Perian Green, and Branka Blue.”

“I don’t know how Galec did it, but behold, the being that has just coalesced right beside you is our very own Zilka Bofray of Grallancia. Welcome, beautiful one!”

The one-eyed, tentacle-covered creature was wearing the orange and turquoise clothing, but with the addition of black piping, just half a clung wide, over every seam.

The beings in the room cheered their approval of the timely fashion addition and clamoured to touch the scaled head of the frog-like creature.

 

3          Title:    Happy Consequence

Words: 330

When I was a depressed one-eyed alien at his birthday party, as earth-dwelling English speakers say, a rude shock awaited me. Master of Sarton, Blaston Highfield, called me into his oblate chrome office and chewed me out. That English expression amuses me now. I was charged with being too depressed. It was observed by the Sarton ruling council that depressed Sartonites especially those of the very fertile stage encountered around 30 micro years, drank great amounts of hayseed wine distilled on the planet Medicinus, and exceeded the council’s ruling for their allowed progenitive couplings. I was, in fact, already on a warning for having exceeded the quota by one. Now I had three unwanted offspring, a ripe insult on Sarton. A meeting with the ruling council was arranged for one week later. Master Highfield advised me not to do a flier, like the previous Sartonite accused as I was. The Medicinites of the hayseed wine, very mercenary types, had given him up because he had only been on one binge before he faced his punishment,and had only spent the minimum tab required by the black market publican. He faced death by suffocation. What horrors the humans would hear if I could talk! What a fateful meeting that was! The council explained that the happiest creature, in exile, was a four-legged one, loved by Earth-dwellers. The creature was especially spoiled by earthlings who lived in small urban houses in a land called Australia. Out in space Australia looks right on top of the southern pole, and I expected it to be lonely, windswept and freezing like much of Sarton. Instead I now find myself looking out two golden eyes from a fleecy dog bed by a gas fire while a silver-haired woman and her grandchildren sing happy birthday. I abandon my chew toy to feast on a cake-shaped mound of steak and liver. Three females on heat were impregnated a week ago, and nobody’s mentioned any punishment yet!

 

4          Title

Words: 335

It’s hard enough to be the new kid at school. It’s much worse when you don’t look or sound like you’re supposed to. But the birthday party was sacred, and Wally (not Walid) had already been invited to three parties along with the rest of the class by the time his birthday rolled around. His parents were a little disappointed when Wally decided he didn’t want to show off his culture with traditional Lebanese party food. “Maybe next year,” Wally had said, with a look in his little chubby face that made his mum doubt it. It worried her that Wally, so popular back home, had become so worried by what his classmates thought of him.

It didn’t help that he had a glass eye. He was scratched by a cat as an infant, but the rumour at school was that it was a war-wound, and how do you put an end to a story as exciting as that? Sometimes Wally thought about just going along with it, but he had three more years at primary school, and the kids weren’t that bad. He’d seen kids be a lot meaner to the fat boy in grade six. And after the party he had planned, they would forget all about it, just like how no one had liked ‘teacher’s pet’ Lucy until her awesome party with the go-carts.

Half an hour after the starting time, Wally’s mum called another mum to make sure they were just running late.

“It’s Wally’s birthday? Maybe she lost the invite…” there was a tense few minutes as Wally’s mum listened to the muffled conversation over the phone.

“I’m so sorry. The kids thought we wouldn’t find out if they hid the invitations from us.”

The mums reluctantly agreed that they couldn’t force the kids to go to the party. And they didn’t want to reward the exclusion with cake. But the little one-eyed foreign boy was still abandoned on his birthday, and his mum was left to tell him why.

 

5          Title:    Gleekr’s Gift

Words: 329

Everyone was all crowding around the tables set up at the park.  Mostly mothers, some grandparents, and a lot of kids- all smiling and laughing, bright and happy.   Each one was wearing their favourite coloured outfit and had their hair dyed to match, as was the custom on Nroovm for Birthday Parties.

Gleekr was the most colourful of all, seeing as it was his birthday.  Each of his tentacles was covered in bright blue and silver glitter, his clothing in matching stripes.  He loved that everyone was paying him attention, and that he had all of his friends and relatives at the party.

Action figures were Gleekr’s favourite toy. He played with his Cousin Garvay’s sets when visiting at his Aunt’s house.  Gleekr and Garvay had created a galaxy in peril, requiring rescue by the Super Power Figurines, and for the Fires to be extinguished by the Nroovm Disaster Crew. All the Figurines had special uniforms pertaining to their skill, and a couple of them even looked just like Gleekr.

Gleekr had seven tentacles, and one eye, the only one of his family to have these traits.  The majority of his family had three or more eyes, and most had an even number of tentacles.  His mother had the most beautiful tentacles of all- sixteen of them, more than anyone he’d ever seen.

His mother came over to him, carrying a very big box, wrapped in Blue sparkly paper, tied with a large silver bow.  His friends all started to get excited, laughing and making whooping noises. Gleekr just knew it was the Nroovm Disaster Crew Figurines… or maybe even the Nroovm Super Crew Figurines!

Excitedly, he gave his Mum a hug, then snatched the gift, ripping open the paper.  The clear shiny packaging held seven Figurines- and the words emblazoned on the front- “Earth Human Family Figurines”.  Gleekr’s smile disappeared and was very depressed all of a sudden- “Mum, I told you- I don’t believe in Humans anymore!”

 

6          Title     Hip, Hip, sigh

Words: 335

A tear slipped out of Zaphod’s eye and fell onto the candle, making it hiss as he sat watching it melt into the icing. He’d been left with only one eye after losing the other while escaping Xorphian in the Yezyer solar system 3 eons ago. Just one of the many adventures he had been on in the last 100 eons, exploring other civilisations.

After meeting so many interesting creatures, he had hoped some of them might have come to his birthday party. He had traveled so far as all of his kind do after their first 100 eons to learn, observe and share with other civilisations. From the Roggians on WeggerWegger that he knew would never leave their planet, to the already well advanced Thwilians who he met while on the Gerdans planet.

To not have a single fellow traveler show up had him feeling a little glum. If a beautiful Lillyickin showed up that would have been so special. They weren’t so strong in the math and sciences, but they surpassed any he had met at sharing love.

One civilisation he had the most hope for was the humans on planet Earth. Their young were so full of hopes and dreams and had such vivid imaginations, he was certain they would soon be able to travel as quickly in space as they could currently on their own planet.

He turned to head to his pod for the night as a flash of white and colour zoomed past his eye. His hand shot up and grabbed, catching a paper plane which looked to have a message inside. He opened its folds so he could see the rest of what he could see glimpsing out from the inside. It was a colourful drawing of his ship with the words “Happy Birthday” scrawled underneath in very rough English. Turning to see the pilot behind the plane, he was greeted by someone looking similar to John yet a little bit different. Could John have had a daughter?

 

7          Title:    One Eyed Alien

Words: 331

He threw the mug from his hand, watching it spin through the wall of his shelter creating a perfect hole.  Forgetting his strength on earth. It made him more distressed, as he knew the peoples of this planet were being kind, helping him make this day his greatest joy.

He had shared with them parts of his life that they could understand, which included how old he was. So today they were celebrating his 50th birthday. Even that was hard, as he was three times older than he said. He knew they would find it hard to understand a long living one eyed alien.

The earthlings only understood what Caesar had evolved. A limited calendar and time so he could manage the crowds, and keep them occupied. He wished that Einstein could have been here. Then he could have ‘come clean’ as the earthlings say. He would have understood, as he had studied quantum physics, which had every happening simultaneously, and time didn’t matter.

But he was deeply depressed, and had to lift for the people’s sake.  They were to dress up with one eyes to make him feel special.

He was to judge the best costume. He secretly was looking forward to that, as he would feel like being home. Yes he wanted to be home, but his ship had left without him. Their return would be when his brother, realised he was missing. The ship sped off to get away from the authorities. It would be four light years away before it slowed.

The farmer found him hiding in the hay shed. Didn’t show any fear and helped him to adjust to this situation within his family, naming him Edward the first. The first he’d ever seen.

Supplying him with enough turnips to keep him healthy. ‘It was the turnips they were gathering for food on our ship, he told Farmer John.

Now the neighbours were coming and the parade would start, which helped his new friends be happy.

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