Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.
The Writer's Challenge by Lori Colbo
It's been about thirteen months since Lori Colbo issued this writing challenge. Some of the photo prompts got me going, so here I am, right on time, which is late according to anyone else's standards. Here are her guidelines:
1. Choose at least two photos (but certainly three if you want) from at least two categories. One must be a person. Any others are your choice. You can even add an extra person if you want.
2. You can make your piece any form of creative writing - short story, flash fiction, poetry, even song lyrics.
3. Make your piece either humor, mystery or fantasy.
I chose humor because I need the practice. I hope this brings a smile to your face. About halfway down, I've provided you a choice of a music video. Choose Bobby Pickett singing Monster Mash or David Bowie performing Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
K'o and Rheca sat on a straw bale watching people enter the dilapidated barn. Jack-o-lanterns, with a yellow glow, grinned, scowled, and frowned their greetings to the guests. Ghosts swung through the air on invisible strings, and a corpse leaped from a casket and let out a scream as Bowie told how scary monsters, super creeps, kept him running, running scared.
"I wonder if these strange gatherings are typical for the beings on this planet? Rheca adjusted her mask to make sure it covered her crest and at least some of her green facial features.
"I believe it is a religious ritual through which they face their worst fears." K'o straightened his crown as a man stumbled by with an ax that appeared buried in his skull. "See what I mean?"
"Monster Mash" By Bobby Pickett (American Bandstand)
"And that horrible noise." Rheca covered her ears when Bobby Pickett started growling out Monster Mash.
"Observe how they laugh uncontrollably in their grief-induced delirium."
"It makes you wonder if they even notice how different we are from them?"
"We were fortunate to have landed our spacecraft in front of that communication station where the helpful young female asked if we wanted fries with that order."
"Yes, and when we followed her directions to First Window, she insisted we accept these crowns with built-in goggles from the King of Burgher. I must say, yours does draw attention away from your big nose."
"I am of the Gator Clan. It's not a nose, it's a snout, and it's normal!" K'o took a cleansing breath to calm himself. "But I think it was a brilliant idea to grab the white capes hanging over the long cord. They hide our tails rather well." He looked over his shoulder at the bed sheet draped over all but the tip of his tail which he quickly twitched undercover.
"Yours does. My cape is all bunched up on the corners. Do you think it makes my butt look big?"
Scary Monsters (and super creeps), David Bowie
K'o pretended not to hear the question because of a loud roar of thunder.
Outside, clouds gathered above the barn. Lightning flashed, thunder rumbled, the barn creaked and moaned like a ship in a gale with each gust of wind. Near the road, a sign informed passersby that the Halloween party for Community Hospital employees was in full swing.
Inside, the crowd began dancing to an eighties Halloween mix.
"We should join them in their ceremonial dance, or we will look conspicuous." K'o stood and held out a rough-skinned arm to Rheca. They swayed to the beat along with the others. K'o's tail swept the dance floor causing people to hop over it.
"Hey, dude, those are wild costumes. Who's inside?" One of the partiers reached out and touched K'o's arm. K'o snapped at the hand and recoiled.
"Easy, man. I was just wondering who the best-dressed couple of the evening was. I'm Stan, surgical tech in the O.R. You must recognize me. The hospital isn't that big."
Rheca stepped between K'o and Stan. "We're not actually from here, and we won't be staying long."
"Oh, I get it. Like traveling nurses. That's cool."
"Hey! Stop that!" K'o pivoted, and his tail swung like a scythe over the dance floor sweeping everyone off their feet. "Who pulled my tail?" The music stopped. Toppled dancers scurried away like mice from a hungry cat.
"If you took off the costumes it might make dancing a little safer. Seriously, you already won best dressed," said Stan.
"Sure, no problem." K'o reached for Rheca's manicured claws and led her outside to a secluded place behind some bushes. The rain was just beginning to fall. "It's time for us to go."
"Wait a minute," said Rheca. "We could shapeshift like I suggested in the first place and stay for the rest of the party. That Stan guy is kind of cute."
"I said it's time to leave this planet."
"Lighten up. There's no top toad on this mission. We're equals."
"I'm older. That breaks the tie. Now come on, we're leaving."
"Show me the keys, and I'll go."
K'o checked his pockets. Being an alligator, he had lots of pockets, like an expensive purse, but the keys to the spacecraft weren't in any of them. He stopped searching and looked at Rheca. She was dangling the keys by two of her five iguana claws.
"You dropped them...again. Fortunately for us, I found them."
"No problem. I have a spare stashed under the deflector shields."
"Wrong. Those keys have been in the glove box since the last time you used them."
The two reptiles heard voices of humans approaching. Rheca shapeshifted into a blonde with tight jeans and strolled out to meet Stan.
K'o morphed into a sad clown and sulked off to beseech the King of Behrger for more fries.