Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Surprise Writing Contest!

It's blog reader Colin Smith's birthday today.

I thought about calling him up and warbling Happy Birthday, but he did mention he was sleeping in till 10am today.

Thus we have a great chance to surprise the stuffing out of him with this contest.

Contest opens NOW (3/24/15) and runs through tomorrow (3/25/15) at 7am.

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word.
thus: music/musician is ok, but not exile/exfiltrate

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again) It helps to work out your entry first and then post.

5. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

6. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

7. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

Contest opens: NOW 3/24/15 7am

Contest closes: 3/25/15 7am

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?


Jamie Kress said...

She’d sacrificed everything for music—even sold her son to pay guild fees. In return, the guild exiled her. Claimed her too empty to make beauty.

But, the Smith’s magic fixed anything.

A journey of seven years to find the man, before she knelt before him, the tattered remnant of her heart in hand. “I am broken,” she whispered, eyes down, “Please set me right.”

The man lifted her face, his blind eyes kind, but sad. “Mother,” he said, sorrow trickling from his words like tears, “some links once broken, can’t be repaired.”

And then he turned away.

whiporee said...

He’d been dancing for one hundred seven minutes, moving from blonde to blonde without learning a name. He swirled and shifted, slowing his maraca hand swing enough so his zirconia cufflinks would catch the next one’s eye.

There was a connection, he thought as he shifted from red highlights to auburn highlights, between porn stars and 80s rock; like a blacksmith taking the sword off the flame lest it be too soft for the hammer, the music had just the right amount bad guitar solos to gratefully exile just the right inhibitions.

Colin’d be here soon. Then things get crazy.

kregger said...

It’s seven P.M., it’s dark and I’m wearing sunglasses.
I’ve got the POTUS, Felix Buttonwheezer in my trunk. No…not literally…like in a Kim Kardashian way, but in my beat up Pontiac.
In the passenger seat is a washed-up Marilyn Monroe wannabe exiled from the streets of Vegas.
She’s singing “Buenos CumpleaƱos” to the music of Devo and is in-ex-whorably linked to the junk in my trunk. Again…that didn’t come out right.
Yes, I’m Colin “Jake Blues” Smith and I’m going to save the president from himself and Carkoon Prison. If I could only find the place.
Buenos! Buenos cumpleaƱos good!

Happy Birthday, buddy.

Laura Scalzo said...

Truly buzzed. The boy buzzed back. She opened the thick glass door to Smith and Sons, Seven Generations of Timepieces. The 1920’s Cartier tank watch, a wedding present from her husband of three weeks, needed a link removed. Up close, the boy was a man, barely. He held her wrist inside the loose watch. All around was the music of century old clocks whirring and chiming with a mechanical softness nearly extinct in digital times.
An hour, two hours, they stood, exiled in real time. Improbably, no one else buzzed. Three hours.
They met again, over the years, always wondering.

Alex Ivey said...

We entertained seven of them with the music of dogs behind a chain link fence. Smith came to us and said something about the reckoning and keeping my name out of it but we were too late. One of them expired and when he died stinking in exile like a forsaken Bedouin some of his confederates wrapped him in what was left of their rags. They prayed over the body all night and the dogs sat respectful of their song. It was six days until the cameras found the ragged leftovers. That's how I got famous.

Anonymous said...

The blacksmith watched crimson strands of blood drip from his lips to her lace bodice. Seven years at war had numbed his mercy. The victim’s attempt to share his stores of meager supplies with others had woken a deep thirst in him. Death’s hunger ran in his veins like music carried through the air, she didn’t stand a chance.

His sire Constantine had turned him, exiled him to a life of rot and ruin. Looking at her as she fell away, he knew he’d lost the only link to his past.

“Father--.” she pleaded before taking her last breath.

Dena Pawling said...

Dena stared at the blank screen, Beethoven music blaring.

“Write!” Smith bellowed.

Dena typed “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” This is NOT what she expected when she clicked the link for the Carkoon School of Writing. Curse that Janet Reid!


“Four score and seven years ago,” Dena typed, swearing at the blinking cursor. Seeing Smith come her way, she scrolled down and typed “and they all lived happily ever after.”

Smith wasn't fooled. He pointed toward the door.

Dena shuffled out to exile. Lima beans forever. A fate worse than death.

Anonymous said...

A deluge of music hit the stage.

Swells of jazz, slammed like cataracts, blinding the crowd into blissful oblivion.

Would’ve made Morrissey proud.

F*ck seven note scales.

I’ll link these wistful waves how I please. Send the whole lot into a state of synesthesia.

I was born for this: for soot coffee and lucid nights and foamy brews in a French quarter.

I’m a sojourner, in exile.

I’m a grade-A badass.

“Don’t you know, Jazz is dead?” she told me before stepping on stage.

I flipped her the bird.

“So are the Smiths. Ain’t stopped ‘em yet.”

MVB said...

After seven years in Karkoon, Colin Smith could no longer remember when his birthday was or even the title of his WIP. His one remaining link with the outside world was on the infamous JetReid blog, the cause of his exile.

When the music started, Colin thought he must be hearing things. It seemed to come from the hut he used as an office. Tentatively, he pushed the door open.

“Surprise!” shouted QOTKU. “Happy Birthday!”

Colin’s eyes filled with tears as all his old friends from the blog gathered around to hug and congratulate him.

matt said...

Samantha awoke at seven. The man she had gone to bed with – “John Smith” – was gone. She normally wouldn’t bring strange men home, but his music had been so enchanting that when he asked to buy her a drink after the show she couldn’t resist.

Outside, people were bustling about. But Samantha felt exiled from the city below. The only link she felt now was to “John.”

She rolled over and found a note on the pillow:

“I’ll find you after dark. I’ll explain everything. - JS”

Then, in larger script at the bottom:

“Stay out of the sun.”

Kelly said...

The exiled gunsmith greeted his visitors with a sawed-off shotgun in one hand, a grenade in the other, and a cigarette tucked in the corner of smirking lips.

It was near dark, the ceiling light in his workshop dangled ominously, casting the music mogul and his seven starving-artist henchmen in sallow light. One of them whistled a tune, probably something from some up-and-coming boyband.

The thought disgusted the gunsmith. Boybands were the missing link between apes and humans. If left unchecked, they’d lured him with their pretty words and harmonic voices.

He smiled, finished the cigarette and threw the grenade.

Michael J. Craft said...

I stood at the back of the mob hiding my face. They yelled, “Burn her! Burn her!”

“For what?” the mayor asked, looking over at the bald woman. “Her crime is no worse than all of yours! She sang, you listened.”

They exiled Smith seven years ago. We use to call her Spears. Any link to her name has been long severed. Maybe she’s dead, I don’t know, nobody knows. What’s it matter? The world is better off without my mom’s music.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

There was a man who flew far from home.
His accent so funny mouths dropped open.
He spelled color with a “u” and his family grew.
He hummed strange music when his tea brewed.
No doubt he drank it with milk. And ate lima beans too.
His car held seven or more. He knew how to link
Text like a blacksmith can shoe.
He hated whisky. That earned him exile to the pit of Carkoon.
Now he lives there in a cave with his kale and brew.
It doesn’t sound bad because lawyers aren’t allowed.

S.D.King said...

“Definitely Tenant.”

“Not Matt Smith?”


“Anyway, it’s all in the writing, and that’s why we’re here.”

“Right. With Moffat in exile and Gatniss busy with Sherlock, who can we get?”


“Busy on Sandman: the Musical.

“What about a Yank?”

“There’s not a bloke across the pond who gets the link between sci-fi and humor, pathos and humanity.”

“I’m thinking of a Brit ex-pat writer from the States. Also called Smith – no relation.”

“Is he any good? Hire him!”

“Honey, wake up. It’s seven.” One eye squinted open.

Then she whispered “Run, you clever boy - and remember.”

Julie Machado said...

The innocent basket of instruments. The starting gun of mayhem. Seven mothers in a circle eye each other coolly as they ready to see whose offspring is destined to be the next musical prodigy. Their manicured hands place their precious Smith or Link, or some other equally ridiculously named child off their yoga panted laps in anticipation. Like racing frogs or turtles, our babies have no idea of the pressure. Just an urge to stick shiny things in their mouth.
I can’t take it. The gasps and smiles, winces and frowns. Self-imposed exile in the bathroom is my only hope.

Chelsea G said...

My solitude is broken by live wire violin and violent beats. It is my only link outside these walls. No locksmith may free me, however they try. They demand my leadership, "Commander, please!" But I cannot answer.

The music stops, and ragged fingers pass through the grate where food and air admit themselves. I am permitted a glimpse of summer, sorrow and golden eyes.

"Tomorrow, mother."

Now she is gone. This self-made exile stands on seven million bones, and oh God, it runs so long.

Jay said...

Smith, Sshmith; Smith,Smythe...Who cares? I'm in exile, and they'll never pin that phony rap on me. I've covered my tracks seven ways from Sunday. I'll be pushing up daisies before I have to face the music. Then, the only music I'll hear is harps and trumpets.

Did I say Smith? Come to think of it, I meant Jones, and that's a whole 'nother can of worms.

Nadine said...

She placed the Smith and Wesson revolver on the table. “Will you wipe off the prints?”
I nodded. “They won’t be able to link it to you, relax.”
She shifted in her seat. “When will he be here?”
“Seven.” I took a drag of my cigarette.
“I want him out of my life. I feel like I’m in exile.”
A bullet shattered the window, drowning out the music. She slumped in her seat, the life draining from her eyes.
“Sorry,” I said as I flicked my cigarette to the floor. “He paid me more.”

Mia Siegert said...

She always heard the tap-tap-tap of the blacksmith shaping horseshoes. The sound never went away, not after seven years of exile from the circuit.

Meds didn’t mute the memory of the phone call, the orders given to end Karmic Music’s life. She didn’t know how it’d be done. Didn’t know that someone would take a mallet to the horse’s kneecaps. Didn’t know how loud it’d be when she heard the horse scream and she jumped the chainlink fence, unable to catch her breath when she witnessed it all. Didn’t know winning wasn’t worth it. Wasn’t worth what she had done.

Colin Smith said...

"What ya doing, Dr. Smith?"

I gritted my teeth and turned to see the Robinson boy.

"Fixing the communication link in my ship so I can call for help."

"Where's the Robot?"

I moved to hide the disembodied pincer that sat beside my leg. After seven years' exile with these fools, I was desperate enough to cannibalize that machine to try to fix my ship.

"I'm channeling his music circuits to… uh… enhance the frequency."

"I hope it works. The rescue ship's here and there's only room for the family."

The brat even smiled and waved as he ran off.

ashland said...

“They say music's a window to the soul. Did ya know it can also show the past?”

I shrug. “Howso?”

He flashes his iPod. “Check it out.”

Sunday: Angel's Son, Sevendust.
Monday: Teenaged Wasteland, The Who.
Tuesday: Fell in Love with a Girl, The White Stripes.
Wednesday: Your Cheatin' Heart, Hank Williams Jr.
Thursday: Exiles on Main Street, Bruce Springsteen.
Friday: Everything's OK, Elliot Smith.

“Did you know it can also predict the future?”

He shrugs. “Howso, dear?”

I smile as I flash my knife.

Saturday: Bleed It Out, Linkin Park.

emily durbak said...

She got the call at four-seventeen am. "Jane Doe received for automobile-linked facial trauma. Wants to know if she can get a nose job out of it." Becoming a body smith had its appeal, but the music in the scalpel was being exiled by the favors her patients increasingly requested. She saved lives, damn it, not selfies.

It wasn't until the next call--breast enlargement to enhance back surgery--that she shelved the scrubs. "People have to take cardiology seriously, right?"

bret wright said...


In the seven hours since the robbery, Detective Colins was harassed, beat up, and run off the road. This latter was problematic, as the guilty party was standing over him with a black Smith and Wesson leveled at his chest. He wanted exile. He wanted to forget the whole thing, along with this woman’s link to it. She wouldn’t let it go.

“Nice run, Detective, but it’s time to face the music.”

“I don’t dance on cue, Melissa.”

“Yeah, I know that . . . and you’re under arrest. Hands behind your back.”

He reached for his gun, instead.

french sojourn said...

Bam-bam had a rough night, a seven hour shift at Smith’s Quarry. He had borrowed Mr. Flintstones car, and the soles of his feet were killing him.

Pebbles looked out the cave window wantonly; thinking of her little missing link. She felt exiled and wanted the strong manly arms of Bam-bam. She wanted him to earn his namesake again, and again.

He saw the light flickering, sauntered up, and knocked on the wooden door.

She opened it, and smiled.

They instantly started making their music, as they gazed over the bubbling tar pit, he glanced at her.

“Yaba-daba-do” She moaned.

andrewjasimone said...

The heat of the blacksmith’s fire pulled my eyes from their slumber. Seven years had passed since my king exiled me to the outskirts of the kingdom. I had been forced into becoming an apprentice, forging swords and various goods to sell on the under market. It wasn’t glamourous, or regal. That was my old life. The only link to who I once was had been mounted above the bed in my small room, which wasn’t much larger than an outhouse. I’d often stare at the dulled brass of the harp, longing for the days when my music was loved.

Christina Seine said...

Colin Smith was arrested at Shark’s diner, at noon. He was eating a poached egg with bacon and drinking tea. He was in a booth, reading somebody’s query he hadn’t requested last time and wouldn’t request now: GREAT WHITE AND THE SEVEN WOODLAND CREATURES. FP Literary Carghchoughngcester (car-KOON) had standards, even in exile.

Sheriff Janet cuffed him. “We’ve linked you to Buttonweezer’s murder, Col. You knew those Lima beans were deadly.”

“Killed, was he?” Colin said. “Music to my ears. But I’m innocent.”

“Save it.”

“I can prove it.” Colin said. “Atoll Amy sent that recipe. I was framed.”



Mallory Love said...

It was only a moment. A memory measured by time. Seven minutes, maybe less. But it still resonates.
In my mind, the rock music still assaults my ears, loud and uncompromising. And I can feel the earth turn under the truck as we rolled away from home, exiled for the time being. The Smith brothers on a mission: to live life on our own terms with or without consent. But the dream died young when the Explorer ran the light, crushing Jack and the driver’s side into the console. Death and my delusion of a life without boundaries forever linked.

Anonymous said...

A treatise on exile in paradise
(in poetc form)

There once was a Smith in Carkoon
Who was exiled from seven to noon
He knew how to link
His music was synched
And his birthday was over the moon.

Happy birthday, Colin!

Kat Waclawik said...


It’s a performance, yes, but also my last rehearsal.

The audience is receptive, mine from the first skirl of music. As notes flow, bodies sway like the cobras on which I’d trained.

I slide into alternating seven-four and five-four, a jagged rhythm where exiled beats slink back for vengeance a measure later. The audience follows me, moving in unison to my melodious demands. I force them to their feet, yanking their puppet strings before releasing the last note.

Eyes glazed, they roar with applause.

I hide triumph behind a humble smile. Tomorrow, my performance is nationally televised.

REJourneys said...

What a busy day! I've always wanted to participate, so here is something. Happy Birthday Colin!

Music played from the heavens, signaling seven in the morning, as music never reached this place at any other time. The train, the last link to humanity, dropped off a new exile - a little cottontail.

Cap’n Smith surveyed the land, looking for the promised threat, but the train flew away without another drop.

“No one should be enjoying exile, especially in Carkoon.”

That’s what she said. Other woodland creatures would agree, but when you are fed coconut milk all day, every day, you get a little squirrely.

“Hello there,” Buttons the cottontail said. “The Queen sent me.”

LynnRodz said...

"Where’re the seven bottles of tequila?"

"Someone’s in a tizzy." Kitty said.

"It's Colin's birthday, I’m gonna bake a cake."

"We drank it last night.” Craig wasn't too perky himself.

"Colin's out to smithereens." Christine stuck her tongue out as Lynn walked away.

"I saw that!" Lynn turned. "You guys can be so Carkoonish!"

Colin stumbled from his cave, music blaring; he blinked at the sun. "Honey," he held his phone, "I promise I won't complain again about the noise, the kids...I don't wanna be exiled anymore.

"Sorry, dear, it's so peaceful without you, er, I mean, ask Janet.

Unknown said...

To planet Reven: harsh climate, hard-rock mining, no music.
“You’ll write?” Bonnie smirked. She had blue eyes, clear skin, a dollar-sign smile.
Yeah, write. Across seven augmented light years?
“The money’s locked in,” he countered.
“Come again?”
“Solid growth. No cash.”
Math don’t lie: she’d do better flipping burgers.
His math: Seven years in, seven served, seven out. At light speed, time equals zero?
His board pass (for a prison ship?) said it: .9C, cargo bay, mumble mumble:
Transit: 900 years.
Each way.
Exile a cuckold sans dignity.
Return: 3827 A.D., seven years older.
Much richer.
Her? Long dead.

Sandra F. Cormier said...

I barely heard the smith over the music of his hammer. He angrily twisted another link in Lord Avery's new chainmail shirt. "I was meant for more than this," he muttered.

"Exile isn't so bad," I responded, taking another bite of my apple.

"Maybe for you," he shot back. "I'm here for life, or as long as Avery lives. Your term is over in seven years. You have your whole life ahead of you."

"I might, but Lord Avery doesn't." I spit out the apple seeds and ground them into a paste, adding to my cache of cyanide.

Roger Toll said...

Felix was a remarkable wordsmith. There was music in his writing, and poetry, so obvious a moron could see it. It was baffling none of his seven novels had made it to the top of the best-seller list. Or been published. Or gotten him any response beyond a form rejection from a single agent. Talk about morons.

Felix's plan was simple. Murder a top agent; go into exile somewhere with no extradition; comment on news stories about the killing, confessing and including a link to his self-published novels. If his books didn't sell, at least there'd be one less agent.

Lisa Armosino-Morris said...

“For you, Miss Baxter,” Anna smiled as she offered the waxy Granny Smith. “Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Give apples to teachers?”

“How thoughtful, Anna. Please take your seat now, it’s already half past seven.” She turned and began writing on the chalkboard, her long, dark hair shining.

Anna sat down and glanced in Jason’s direction. Mesmerized as usual, he didn’t take his eyes off the reason all the boys took Music Theory.

They’d link the apple to her, of course, but living in exile, in confinement, was nothing compared to a shattered heart.

Irene Olson said...

Honestly, if Tinder Guy can confuse Smith with Smyth, he doesn't deserve to get tender with me. TG had the gall to imply that my last name is spelled incorrectly. Even though my entire family is linked to Smiths, not Smyths, the pretentious SOB confidently harassed my ancestry. "Surely you were exiled from some ignoble UK territory that doesn't know any better." Prick.

Just two days later, seventh in line to pick up a prescription, music emanates from my phone; a Tinder call. I smile and answer the call, "What the hell, it's just a name."

Jenny Chou said...

All because of stupid Harvard University my parents sent me into summer vacation exile. Not a job at Surf’s Up, blasting music and linking up hot guys with jet-skis. No. Seven weeks of SAT prep class.

I stared down at the vocabulary list. Who even used adverbs like graphosmithtically anymore? In my clenched fist, the #2 pencil suddenly snapped. The eraser end shot through the air and hit a guy wearing a red Polo. He turned around, eyebrows raised. Mischievous ocean-blue eyes met mine, and he smiled.

My heart fluttered and I realized his shirt wasn’t red. It was crimson.

(Happy Birthday Colin!)

Jennifer Delozier said...

Pyotr took a deep breath and felt the music flow over him like liquid gold, shimmering, evocative.
Malia could work magic with any melody, but this time, for this profound occasion, she had outdone herself.
He closed his eyes. D minor. Very Russian. As the wordsmith of their team, Pyotr envisioned phrases linking to her notes and prayed his lyrics would be worthy.
For seven years they had languished in political exile, but change was coming, and this piece would mark their triumphant return. People would listen and forget the past. Pyotr and Malia would be shunned no more.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

He is The Linkmaster, the connector for all woodland creatures of the World. As the Prime Minister of Carkoon, a place in paradise for exiled writers drenched in the music of words left bloated by meanings, he is Sir Colin the explainer, the commenter of commenters, with no less than seven annotations a day. Like Washington crossing the Delaware, he stands on the bow of Amy’s boat, in a Speedo. Tattooed on his bare chest a red and yellow shield with a giant S. Some say it stands for Smith but we know better. He is our Superman.

charles joseph said...

-Exile on Main Street-

Frankie always felt like a woman trapped inside a man's body, but he couldn't afford a full transformation. I mean, it took him seven years to pay off his breast augmentation, and the costs associated with severing the last link to his masculinity were astronomical. So, every night, with a bit of music in the background, he would stretch it out and hold a knife to it. Of course, Frankie was too timid to mutilate himself, but after he hit the lottery, Dr. Smith was happy to do it for him.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Oh where, oh where have they all gone? —Colin Smith and the seven exiles of Carkoon. I missed the connecting link, only one minute after the hour.

I rush outside. The snow is cold and up to my knee bones.

In my imagination I see them; gathering around tea and whisky in twilight, the warmth of a white-sanded beach and palm trees in the background, as they sing music merrily, “…., happy birthday, dear Colin.”

I whisper, “happy birthday to you.”

Richard Reed said...

The Matrix Relived

It was his seventh time returning to the Matrix. His seventh time on this dark street. He’d been beaten, exiled, and even killed, but they were powerless against a virus that could be rewritten and linked in at any time.

The two men stared each other down as lightning flashed, thunder clapped, and cold rain pelted their faces. There would be no fanfare, no music, no celebration of good defeating evil. This time, he would defeat The One.

Agent Smith clenched his fists and slowly walked toward the man the people of Zion called “Neo”.

“Mr. Anderson…”

Karen McCoy said...

“Cut!” Smith yelled from his director’s chair. “Come here, knight!”

The knight shuffled his creaky armor over the chain-link fence. “But—”

“Spare me,” Smith spat. “How many takes was that--” he checked a clipboard. “Colin?”


Smith thwacked Colin’s helmet with a rolled up script. “Try thirty.”

“Sorry.” Colin gasped. “Need--water.”

“There’s only one well in this God-forsaken exile,” Smith groaned. “Say the line right, or you’re fired.”


“Do it!” Smith roared.

Colin lifted his helmet. “The—hiccup—lady—hiccup—music.”

“Stop.” Smith held up a hand, finally understanding. “Someone get him some water.”

Brigid said...

"Seven," he said finally, as if he'd been counting.

The newcomer gawped. "Exiled on a tower? Nothing but a forge?"

He placidly welded the next link.

"Forever?" Suuure, 'the gods won't be that angry'!

The blacksmith dropped his hammer, the clatter almost musical. "Gods, no!"


He gestured. "Make chain. I'll show you."

They worked in near-silence til he understood the concept, almost the execution. But... "Then what?

"Someone else comes." He hooked the chain on the anvil, throwing the length over the parapet. "Luck!" As his head vanished, the chain began to crack. The scream's echo lingered.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Seven women stand before Lara Smith, Warden of Compound M. Wounded, starving, they still manage to stand, arms linked, in front of their children - a human chain formed by instinct, forged by bondage.

They beg for exile over execution - let them take their chances, take their children, beyond the Walls.

But Lara has orders.

She also has a daughter.

She points – the women before the guns, the children through the Gate. She prays she is saving more than one soul.

That night, Lara hears the women’s cries of grief, of gratitude, inside the music of her daughter’s laughter.


(Happy Birthday, Colin! I know, I know not the cheeriest story ever.)

Katie Loves Coffee said...

Happy Birthday Colin!

Philomena Buttonweezer kept one hand on the metal rail as her boat oscillated on the choppy ocean. Carkoon was so distant, she might as well be in exile.

Sliding the Neptunic over her head, the links clinked softly, and the chum being tossed between waves was a good reminder of the chain mail’s necessity. Counting backwards from seven to regain her courage, she reminded herself that more wordsmithing wouldn't help when she met The Shark.

Out of excuses, Philomena slipped into the ocean, query letter in hand, to find the shark they called the QOTKU and face the music.

Anonymous said...

The very last thing Smith heard was music, that song by The Exiles, I Want To Kiss You All Over.

He’d taken seven shots. By all accounts, he should be dead, but the sun hitting his eyes said otherwise. He ran a fuzzy tongue around his parched mouth, afraid to move much else. It was hard to tell how long he’d been out, and moving his head was out of the question.

Suddenly, the door crashed open.

Four year old Abigail leaped on the bed and yelled, “Mommy’s cooking link snausages!”

He groaned.

Some birthday party.

Definitely no more tequila.

(((Happy Birthday, Colin!!!)))

Lilac Shoshani said...

"My brother is Colin Smith," I said.

"The exiled inmates can't receive visitors in Carkoon prison," the guard said, then added, "How did you get here anyway?"

I wanted to say that despite Donna's advice to visit in my mind, I ate Carolynn's lima beans. Then I crawled into Christina's Pinterest board, after inhaling the secret potion that the QOTKU gave to Julie.

Plus, I was ugly enough to receive a massage from Jed. Which linked me to my superpowers and to star music.

Instead, I said, "Dena, the lawyer, brought me here."

Seven minutes later, Colin was released.

BrandyM. said...

Jack tried his luck with the slots but the machines were linked together like strong arms in a game of Red Rover.

“C’mon red sevens,” Jack muttered.

One good pull and he could pay his loan shark. Three hundred gone in thirty minutes. One arm bandit strikes again.

He was on his fifth Jack and Coke and down to his last fifty dollars. The loud music and booze clouded his judgement. Five dollars left.

“Dammit,” Jack said slamming his drink down and shattering his glass to smithereens.

He was forced into exile, a.k.a the penny slots.



Jeffrey Schaefer said...

As the youngest of seven, I’m often exiled to the closet. My parents are not cruel, just poor, and my older brothers are territorial. Ma and Pa try their best, but life likes to kick them in the pants. We had a larger house on Earth but then Pa drew short straw. After the war, the government sent several families unwillingly on space colonization missions. We linked up with Project Echo. Pa works at the smithy, turning space junk into—well—normal junk. I never admit that to him though. The anvil and hammer are music to his ears.

A Velez said...

The chains hung lank from the control booth, the padlock in smithereens. Today of all days, Colin sighed.

The carousel was exiled to the rear of the carnival, overshadowed by newer, faster rides. He’d lost count of the graffiti scrubbed from the old wooden ponies. But today, it looked untouched.

He pulled the lever to be sure. The Wurlitzer sprang to life with a plink and a whistle. The music different from usual-a happy birthday tune.

It was only then that he noticed, gleaming new and seven ponies over: a new mount—in the shape of a shark.

Amy Schaefer said...

The Grand High Emperor of Carkoon plotted in his underground palace. Had he exhausted every link in the conspiracy? Was exile too soft for these characters? He glared at his musicians. The Smiths weren’t nearly wrathful enough to plot by. He swiped a finger; they instantly switched to Metallica. He nodded. Better.

The door creaked open. “Sweetheart, dinnertime!”


“Sorry. Um, Great Hermit of Cartoon—”

“Grand High Emperor of Carkoon!”

“Your Imperial Majesty, your unworthy family humbly begs you join our lima bean feast.”

His plot lay abandoned as seventeen-year-old Colin pounded up the stairs.

Abandoned, but not forgotten.

Peter Cooper said...

When I walked in the forest I heard music. It was not the sound of a song or instruments; it was an earthy sound, more ancient: whispers of boughs in the breeze, echoes of roots and pools and cracked stone.

Then I found a ring of seven trees, standing like old men in solemn prayer. Their bark was grey like iron forged in the deep smithies of the earth, shimmering softly in the moonlight. Perhaps these were exiles from another world, a last link to a forgotten race.

As I listened they sang to me softly, telling me their cares.

emjay grueso said...

His name was Mr. Smith. Nobody knows what his first name was. We just called him Mr. Smith, his wife, of course was Mrs. Smith. But today has nothing to do with Mrs. Smith.

His name was Mr. Smith. Technically he should be dead. Seven years ago he died. But now he walks again. Like so many others who came back from the dead.

A link to my exiled past I wish to forget.

He slowly shuffled towards me, uncomprehending, bent on one thing. So with Eminem’s music shouting in my ears I shot him in the head.

Just Jan said...

"Earth to Carkoon."

"Go ahead, Earth."

"You got Smith?"

"In exile."

"Woodland creatures?"

"A few squirrels and a hare."

"Mood music?"

"Barry White, Madonna, Mormon Tabernacle--whatever he wants."


"Seven varieties of kale plus a can of lima beans."

"Queen of the Known Universe?"

"Standing by via underwater satellite link."

"Sounds like you're all set, Carkoon. Proceed with festivities."

"But who's going to sing Happy Birthday in both proper English and Carkoonish?"

(Audible sigh.) "There's only one person up to the task."

(Pause.) "Surely, there's someone else."

"Nope. Have Agent Buttonweazer finish his tea and teleport to Carkoon immediately."

SiSi said...

The frantic author wordsmithed his way to the end of chapter seven, then collapsed. His agent called reinforcements, but no one could reach the Isle of Exile in time. Next she tried to contact a ghostwriter. Unfortunately the psychic link between our world and theirs had been severed years before. She couldn’t scare up any of them to help. The author muttered nonsense as he lay face down in the white sands of Carkoon.

The other characters and I waited in the shade, listening to music and munching fried lima beans, worrying that maybe this time really was The End.

Craig said...

The seventh son’s exile wasn’t bothering him. He would have time to write the great British novel. But more things changed than trading keyboard clattering for the music of a hammer on an anvil. Family Smith sprouted like Lima Beans. The novel languished.

Then he linked a link too many and was exiled again. Now there would be time for the next great British-American novel. But more things changed than the clank of a typewriter for the keyboard clatter. Exiles arrived in droves and they had enticing accents from all corners of the globe. The great British-American novel languished.

Lobo said...

Indus’rial sabotage. Murder. Same ta me (truth b’told). ’Specially after that tex’ile mill job. But we’d already hit two competitors and my sevens game was callin’.

Creep kept squintin' at the building through oily Detroit smog. “He sleeps here with all them T-cars.”

“Model Teas, ya wordsmith.” I said. “An’ people say yer the smarty.”

Creep linked up the dynamite plunger, grinning so wide I thought his cheeks would bury his eyeballs. “Whatsa fella’s company again?”

I shrugged. “Stars with an F.”

“Should I start the music?”

“Nah. Leave ’im. Man sleepin’ with cars pro’ly don’t have much a future.”

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Remember the little program "Sheep" for Windows 97? Click on it and wee cartoon sheep ran around your desktop, eating your icons.


Whenever you tried to close them, they’d multiply until your screen was covered with the buggers. Couldn’t get rid of ‘em.

I created the app "Music" and sent Colin Smith the link. (I told him it was my chordal notation to the Magical Mystery Chord.) Hope he likes "This Is the Song That Never Ends." 'Cause it won't.

All this because I could not exile the earworm he dropped in my ear last week.

Happy Birthday.

Cipher said...

It was fitting, Smith realized pulling the petite white buds from his ash-covered face, breaking the auditory link, that the end of the world should be witnessed by an exiled slacker from Jersey and musical soundtrack consisting primarily of the genius of Freddy Mercury. After all, it could have been worse. Like Abba. Not even the end of the world deserved Abba. Smith’s phone flashed up petulantly for attention. Seven. Somewhere in the distance Mount Aso gave a threatening grunt. Without looking, Smith replaced the headphones, turning them up—“my make-up may be flaking but my smile still stays on”

JaredNGarrett said...

“But Mr. Cage!” Smith paced his office. “The first recording of Thriller is stored in a vault with seven levels of security, all of them biometrically linked to Michael Jackson. There’s no way to get in there.”

Nick exploded in brief, insane laughter, his eyes going wide. He grinned. “That’s okay. There’s always a way.”

The executive paused. “But your ways get you exiled to B-movies.”

Silence filled the room. The executive spoke again. “We need that recording. The world needs that music.”

A smile stretched Nick’s thin lips. “I’m going to steal Michael Jackson’s body.”

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

Trolling the smoky glittering aisles, I picked one. Lucky seven. That’s what drew me to the one-arm bandit. With one firm pull, three silver-lined blue sevens, one after the other, rolled into perfect centered alignment. Excitedly my heart thumped, but my skin crawled in fear. Cheap recorded circus music leaking, sirens flashing. Absent was the clink clink of coins, the amount won was too large. Susan Smith, I told the casino manager, was my name. Revealing the truth would return me to exile.

(Happy Birthday, Colin!)

R. Michael Burns said...

The music was the link. He knew that now.
The tune had gnawed at Elias Smith's mind for weeks, until at last he'd understood what it was. A conduit to something beyond belief.
But -- what tune, exactly? Each night, the seven notes danced about his dreams, making half-patterns, almost-guessed melodies . . . then dissolved into senseless fog.
He tried the piano keys again, striking each note with trembling care. Trying for the hundredth time.
A chill shuddered through him, seemed to fill the room.
Something darker than shadow stepped from the corner.
"Well done," the Exiled God told him.

Julie Weathers said...

Colin was an extraordinary wordsmith, bard among bards, and a renowned musician. He could have performed for kings, and had. Rumor was he'd been exiled because of a certain unflattering tune about a king's mistress named Esmiralia. The beautiful young golden-haired woman demanded him banned.

He was.

Forever linked to the song, she left in shame never to be heard of again. Well, almost never. Clever Colin now travels with a troupe, his seven children, and his adoring, golden-haired wife, Esmi, who sings with him about the bard who freed a damsel from an ogre and lived happily ever after.

(Happy birthday dear Colin.)

Braiden and Brittany Pickett said...

The clock struck seven.
The bartender stated, "It's time, Smith."
Colin wished the violin would stop with the ominous music.
It all told him what he already knew. He was being exiled to the place of dog feces and week old trash: the alleyway.
Colin was scared. He had never been in a fight before.
He imagined himself as Jackie Chan. His scrawny legs tripped over themselves, and he was reminded he was just Colin.
He pulled the last chain link from his watch with his toughest look.
He would stand up for himself once and for all.

Rami McShane said...

She organized his suitcase. “I thought your car was at seven.”

“Eight.” He swatted her away. “Stop touching my things.”

“Sorry, sweetie.”

“Well, I’ve told you before.” Jaws clenched, he grabbed his bag. “Going downstairs.”

Bastard should already be gone. Turning up the music, she dialed her phone. “Make it ten.”

“Car’s here,” he yelled. “See you Friday.”

She was packed when the movers arrived. Final box loaded, she dropped her wedding ring on the counter—her last link to him.

She’d been in sexile for years. Bastard never touched her.

But now, she had a real man, her wordsmith.

Anonymous said...

Her face was unmistakable - raven hair, vermillion lips, skin white as snow – but (curse my memory!) I just couldn’t place her.

“Smallville High?”


“Metropolis Community College?”

“No.” Her voice was gloriously musical. Regal, almost.

“Gotham Fashion & Design?”

“Not a chance, Hunter.”

Her cheeks glowed like apples – enchanting creature! – and hope sprang to life. “Want a boyfriend?”

“Thanks; I’ve already got seven.”

From hope to exile. “WILL YOU AT LEAST TELL ME YOUR NAME?”

She blinked. “Smith,” she said, a forest-full of birds and bunnies joining her howls of laughter.

I fled, humiliated. Never did place her.


Shea said...

The silversmith hunched over his workbench, humming to himself. Tiny pliers pried open the clasp of the bracelet, allowing a new loop to be added. “Seven…” he muttered. “Odd numbered links are always the hardest, eh?” The cat at his feet pretended not to hear the question, still cross after being exiled from her spot under the work light.

He closed the clasp onto itself, and held the finished piece up to the bulb. A tiny music box gleamed, garish compared to the worn, patinaed charms in the rest of the row. “S’alright”, he squinted.

“Age will give it character.”

Sam Hawke said...

My fingers hover. Can fingertips sweat? My heart has been in exile for so long. Seven years of ice and silence. And yet, this man, this Colin, he is different. We like the same music. We laugh at the same jokes. Through ones and zeroes we have tentatively bonded.

I breathe. And click the link.

A blur, and then pixels resolve into a face. I suck in the breath again: he didn’t lie. He does look like a famous musician.

But the musician is Robert Smith, not Bono, as promised.

I click a different link. Another year won’t hurt.

Anonymous said...

Music, if it could be called that, blared from Eighty-nine Dogpaw Way.

“Damn, they’re here. Why not sing the happy birthday song instead of torturing me with that gawd-awful noise?” Jonesy swallowed hard, their message clear enough.

Sweat beaded his forehead. He pulled the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard from his waistband and jumped onto the porch. He flattened himself against the wall next to the dilapidated door and tightened his grip on the gun. His finger rested against the link to his survival. He kicked the door down and opened fire.

His exile ended when the seventh man dropped.

Eileen said...

“How long has he been at it?”

“Seven hours.”

Smith’s twitching eyelid kept time with the music of the keyboard, seemingly linked directly to his deranged mind.

“What’s he doing?”

“He calls it ‘commenting.’ He’s created a whole cast of characters: Everheart, Dead Jed, Buttonwheezer, the Shark.”

Smith wiped his mouth and muttered. “The problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of lima beans. Oh, that’s good 2Ns. Music to my exiled ears.”

The guard rapped on the Plexiglas. “Keep calm and eat your kale, Smith.”


The guard shrugged. “Just another day at Carkoon Mental Asylum.”