affectandeffect.com/tales | and accounts

one-hundred-fifty-one-word story

The afternoon sun shone through the attic window, illuminating dust that had been stirred. Cameron pulled a box down from one of the many stacks and opened it.

“Looks like photos,” he said.

Tucked in a corner, Jake ignored the comment and continued to refold piles of clothing.

“Jake?”

“We don’t have time,” he replied, still folding.

Cameron pushed the box aside and reached up to grab another one.

“What years are they from?”, Jake asked.

Cameron shrugged, retrieved the box of photographs, and started rummaging through the mess of albums and loose pictures.

“There’s one here of you getting a red wagon for your birthday.”

Jake stopped folding for a moment and smiled.

“1972.”

“I think the wagon’s up here somewhere.”

“It is.”

Cameron reminisced about summer trips past as he flipped through an album.

“I wish we could convince Mom to keep the house.”

“Me too, Cam,” he sighed.

one-hundred-fifty-word story

Bronwyn slid the list towards Isaak.

“I can’t think of anyone else,” she told him.

“Me neither,” he replied.

“You won the coin toss. Go first.”

Isaak ran his finger down the list, stopped at a name, and crossed it off.

“Jonathan,” he said, and then put his own initials beside the name.

“Anjali,” she said while crossing the name off and initialling.

“Eva.”

“Eva?”

Bronwyn eyed Isaak suspiciously.

“Beach volleyball.”

“Hrmph,” she huffed. “I guess I’ll take Alexei.”

“He’s my fishing buddy,” Isaak protested.

“And he’s the only other lawyer. I’ll trade him for Eva.”

Isaak nodded grudgingly. Bronwyn gave herself a self-satisfied grin and adjusted the list.

“Ollie,” Isaak continued.

“Tina.”

“Bradley.”

“Trey.”

Isaak paused and then crossed off “Jessica” from the list.

“Why Jessica?”, Bronwyn snapped.

“No reason.”

“Are you sleeping with her?”

“Let’s just finish this. We still have to divide the house contents.”

“That bitch.”

one-hundred-forty-nine-word story

You never forget the first time you get punched in the face. Maybe it’s different for those kids who got into fights all the time. For the rest of us, the first imprint of a fist on your skull never goes away.

Everyone on the playground sizes each other up. I knew I could take Corey Bremen, though I’d never laid a finger on him. I guess Ernie Moraes had sized me up and felt the need to prove it.

It happened quite unexpectedly. I had just finished marbles when he came at me from behind. Cheap shot. I guess it hurt too, but I was mostly shocked. I just told myself not to cry, because that would’ve been embarrassing.

“You’re dead meat!”, I yelled.

We grabbed and shoved and pulled, until we were both out of breath.

Never did manage to land a punch though.

That was embarrassing.

one-hundred-forty-eight-word story

“You’re dreaming,” a voice said.

Anton felt the eyes of forest creatures on him, yet he knew the wizened voice had come from above. He stared at the lonely Moon hovering in the sky.

“Why am I here?”, Anton asked aloud.

“For the same reason that always brings you here,” said a deer that had moved beside him. “You have a lot on your mind.”

As he turned, he was transported to the Mediterranean beach depicted in a postcard his daughter had sent. Anton wanted to visit, but project delays would keep him tethered home until the end of the year. Besides, his wife was recalled to Budapest for work, and he wouldn’t go without her. The house seemed so quiet lately.

A seagull landed at his feet.

“Shall we begin?”, it asked.

“Will I remember this?”

“As always, you’ll remember enough.”

Anton nodded and was transported again.

one-hundred-forty-seven-word story

“Bach, Mozart, and Wagner,” said Roland.

“Excuse me?”, said Malcolm, seeming a little incredulous.

“Bach, Mozart, and–”

“There! You did it again!”

Malcolm stood up and began pacing around the restaurant table.

“What on Earth are you talking about?”, Roland asked.

“Well, setting aside your pedestrian musical taste…”

Roland rolled his eyes dramatically as Malcolm went on in a haughty tone.

“…I’m quite distressed to hear your invocation of the Oxford comma,” Malcolm continued.

“Comma?”, Roland asked.

“Yes. I do hope that you can yet be saved from your untutored generation’s thriftless treatment of punctuation and time.”

Roland scratched his head.

“Please try, ‘Bach, Mozart and Wagner,’” Malcolm explained.

“That’s what I said. Bach, Mozart,–”

“Comma!”, Malcolm exclaimed and threw down his napkin.

“What?”

“Do try again.”

“Bach, Mozart, and Wagner,” said Roland.

“Bach, Mozart and Wagner,” said Malcolm, shaking his head.

“You’re mad!”

“Try again, please.”

one-hundred-forty-six-word story

Pierre typed into the chat window.

r u there?
u gotta see this

He pasted a YouTube link. Minutes later, Francis typed his response.

yo. that’s messed up.

Pierre sent a link to a video depicting protesters singing followed by riot police pounding on their shields and seizing seated protesters. Francis kicked his desk.

complete BS.
wait. did you see this?

Francis sent another link, this one depicting people smashing storefront windows and cheering as a police car burned. Pierre responded minutes later.

wtf?! maybe protesters deserved it

They continued for an hour, watching videos and getting angrier. Alyssa walked into Pierre’s room.

“G20 videos?”, she asked.

“Yeah,” he snapped. “Aren’t you pissed?”

“Appalled.”

“And?”

“If you want to stay angry, I’ll send you more links. If you want to discuss what we can do, come find me.”

She walked away. He clicked on another link.

one-hundred-forty-five-word story

Heidi sped down the nearly deserted street on her bicycle. The ominous security fence, a few blocks away, still seemed imposing. She spotted the newly installed CCTV cameras and shuddered. A police officer motioned for her to stop. He said they needed to do a security check. As one officer searched her backpack, another asked, “Where are you going and why?”

“I have a right to be here,” Heidi replied.

Elsewhere, two people with loose, black clothing and with concealed faces rushed at a storefront window and hurled paving stones. Some protesters rebuked them loudly, a few tried to restrain them, while others cheered them on or laughed. Shui moved in close with his camera when another person in black garb pushed him back and yelled, “Go away! No video, no pictures!”

Shui approached again and shouted back, “I have a right to be here!”

one-hundred-forty-four-word story

“Slow down,” said Gabe. “Don’t look like you’re in a hurry.”

“What?”, Otto quizzed.

“Up ahead. Checkpoint.”

“So what? We bought beer. Big deal.”

“Just slow down.”

Otto shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Sure.”

Gabe clasped his hands in front and they continued silence.

“We need to ask you a few questions,” boomed one officer. “Your bags need to be searched.”

Two more officers stepped in and grabbed their bags.

“Where are you going?”, the first officer asked.

“We’re going home,” Gabe began. “We live around Church and–”

“We’re going home,” Otto interrupted impatiently. “That’s it.”

“Where did you come from?”, the officer continued.

“Why? What’s going on?,” Otto protested.

One officer held out a beer bottle.

“This is a potential weapon,” he said.

“We’re going to have to detain you.”

Gabe and Otto glared at each other angrily.

“I suggest you co-operate.”

one-hundred-forty-three-word story

“Thanks for bringing Charmagne,” said Sandra. “Kyle has been so bored. And I’m just happy to have an excuse to turn off the news.”

Charmagne ran off to join Kyle.

“It’s so terrible,” replied Odette. “Who’d want to be there?”

“I’m happy to be far away from downtown. Tea?”

“Hey kids, settle down in there,” Odette called out as she nodded to Sandra.

Sandra put the kettle on. The children could be heard squealing and making a commotion.

“What on Earth are they doing?”, she asked.

They poked their heads into the living room.

“I’m a police!”, Charmagne yelled. “Wheee-ooooo, wheee-ooooo!”

“Run! Everything’s on fire!”, Kyle yelled as he smashed toys together.

The children imitated flames with wiggling fingers.

“Mommy, do you want to be a protestor or a police?”

“Hey, let’s play a different game,” Sandra said as she grabbed a toy.

one-hundred-forty-two-word story

He rifled through the rack. Some of the items were plain. Others were hideous. None came close to what he was searching for.

He left the store and continued along. It was a hunch that brought him to the mall, the mall that triggered a memory, and yet another hunch that brought him from store, to store, to rack, to store.

His hunch now told him it would be this next store or none at all. He meandered around the racks and displays, astonished at how much fashion changes. Eventually he came to a standstill, marvelling at the sales associates’ timely disappearances.

A flash of colour caught his eye. He picked up the garment. The style wasn’t quite right. And of course, it didn’t have that smell–her smell. But the colour was an exact match. He held the sweater and smiled.

 

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