Literary Maneuvers December 2018 - Moon Landing

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Thread: Literary Maneuvers December 2018 - Moon Landing

  1. #1

    Literary Maneuvers December 2018 - Moon Landing

    Moon Landing
    December 2018


    This month's prompt, as voted for by you, is "Moon Landing", for which you are to write a maximum of 650 words of fiction. Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, in whatever prose style and interpreted as you see fit, as long as it's related in some way to the prompt. You decide the best way in which to dazzle your readers - and the judges.

    The judges this month are J.J.Maxxand velo. If you wish to join this month's panel (max of 4), please sign up for judging by PM or in the coffee shop. If you want to judge and I left you out, send me your scores before the end of the month. If you're listed here and don't wish to judge, please let me know at once.

    If you win, you'll get a badge pinned to your profile plus a month’s access to Friends of Writing Forums (FoWF) where you’ll have access to hidden forums. Pretty neat, eh?

    All entries that wish to retain their first rights should post in the LM Workshop Thread.

    All Judges scores will be PMed to bdcharles as soon as possible after the competition closes. Note: I will give judges 3 days into the next month to deliver their scores and then I will post with what I have.

    All anonymous entries will be PMed to bdcharles.

    Lastly, why not check out this ancient text on how to best approach this task.


    • All forum rules apply. The LM competition is considered a creative area of the forum. If your story contains inappropriate language or content, do not forget add a disclaimer or it could result in disciplinary actions taken. Click here for the full list of rules and guidelines of the forum.
    • No Poetry! Nothing against you poets out there, but this isn’t a place for your poems. Head on over to the poetry challenges for good competition over there. Some of us fiction people wouldn’t be able to understand your work! Click here for the poetry challenges. Play the prose-poem game at your own risk.
    • No posts that are not entries into the competition are allowed. If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to take part in discussion please head over to the LM Coffee Shop. We’ll be glad to take care of your needs over there.
    • Editing your entry after posting isn’t allowed. You’ll be given a ten minute grace period, but after that your story may not be scored.
    • Only one entry per member.
    • The word limit is 650 words not including the title. If you go over - Your story will not be counted. Microsoft Word is the standard for checking this. If you are unsure of the word count and don't have Word, please send your story to me and I'll check it for you.

    There are a few ways to post your entry:

    1. If you aren't too concerned about your first rights, then you can simply post your entry here in this thread.
    2. You can opt to have your entry posted in the Workshop which is a special thread just for LM entries. You would put your story there if you wish to protect your first rights, in case you wish to have the story published one day. Note: If you do post it in the workshop thread, you must post a link to it here in this thread otherwise your story may not be counted.
    3. You may post your story anonymously. To do so, send your story to the host of the competition. If you wish to have us post it in the workshop thread then say so. Your name will be revealed upon the release of the score.

    Everyone is welcome to participate, including judges. A judge's entry will receive a review by their fellow judges, but it will not receive a score. Please refrain from 'like'-ing or 'lol'-ing an entry until the scores are posted.

    Judges: In the tradition of LM competitions of yore, if you could send the scores one week after the closing date it will ensure a timely release of results. Please see the Judging Guidelines if you have questions. Following the suggested formatting will be much appreciated, too.

    This competition will close on:
    Sunday night 16th of December at 11:59:59 PM, GMT, on the dot. Please note any time differences where you are and be mindful of daylight savings time.

    Scores would be appreciated by the last day of the current month, at the latest, pretty please, cherry on top, mmm?

    Click here for the current time. Good luck!
    Last edited by bdcharles; December 10th, 2018 at 08:29 PM.

    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge

    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"


    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous


    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!

  2. #2
    The Woodstock Moon
    (650 wds)

    It was August, 1969. As far as the eye could see, there were bodies in varying degrees of nakedness. A virtual sea of humanity. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught movement and then the actual realization that simply everything was moving, made me feel sea sick for a moment. I rolled on my side, just in case and to my right, a girl was dancing. A loose scarf or some such thing, made its way slowly off of her otherwise-nude body as she gyrated, mesmerizing everyone around her.

    The sounds of Jimmy Hendrix’s steel guitar filled the air, filled my lungs and my head. I simply could not sit still, so I stood. I began to move about, arms up, eyes closed, feeling nothing but the rhythm seeping into my brain, making me feel beautiful. The drugs helped; I was on a high hill in Bethel, NY. So high I could touch the moon.

    Janis Joplin screamed at us about Bobby McGee. It was soulful enough to make me weep and I stood again, this time unremarkable and swaying with a million other emotional, smelly humans. It was two a.m. before she quit and we all screamed with her in the finale.

    Later still, when the sounds had receded some and there settled in a general murmur of dozing, sleep sounds, there was peace at last. The stars above provided a light, and then there was the moon. Not quite a harvest moon, but still on the rise, larger than life, larger than any moon I had ever seen before or since. I felt I could touch it as I lay on my back and stared skyward.

    And as I focused my gaze upon that heavenly orb, I detected movement again. Not in the surrounding masses this time, but overhead. A little red, white and blue flag was swaying at the hands of a tiny astronaut. Although not a half-naked female, it was mesmerizing still. I couldn’t look away. The planet was just above my head, within easy reach of my hands. I smiled at the thought of this little spaceman grooving to Janis’ primal scream too.

    I was sure, whoever it was that had been left behind by Buzz and Neil from the moon landing just a couple of months prior, was waving at me from the “Sea of Tranquility.” We were both, it seemed, pretty tranquil.

    Unbelievably, the music began on stage again. This time, Joan Baez was singing “Joe Hill” and the voice of an angel made me wonder, “Is that Joe Hill on the moon?” I may have even said so out loud to no one, with the moon just feet away from my touch.

    The morning after found me with no such visions. Even though I searched the skies for evidence of what I had seen the night before, it was only vacant azure looking down at me. I shook my head in wonder as I picked up my things, ready to go back to the real world, the one where, yes, there had been a moon landing, and no, no one had been left behind.

    Through the years, the stars continued to shine, the moon still glowed. It’s been almost forty summers since then. My memories of those three days on that small farm in upstate New York in 1969, gets vaguer as time goes on.

    But on some August nights, when the moon is working its way toward harvest, I often wonder what ever happened to Joe Hill. Does he still wave our flag on the moon?

    Sitting on my porch I listen to the sound of crickets. Beneath that cacophony, there seems a silence that begs to be filled. I oblige and begin to hum Joe Hill. That’s all I need to remember.

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, as alive as you and me.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.

  3. #3

    Lack of Practice

    As dares go, baiting the police while riding pillion on my brother’s Suzuki was pushing it for a coming-of-age 18th birthday jaunt.

    BigBro’s Superbike sounds like the devil. He can do a hundred-meter wheelie on the summer promenade when there’s plenty of hot babes looking on! I’ve ridden pillion and watched their pretty heads turn and eye us with wondrous expressions as we wheelie-by, owning the prom.

    It's easy to do wheelies with me on pillion. I’m considerably heavier than BigBro’. Unfortunately, through no fault of my own, I’m carrying a few extra pounds due to my underactive thyroid gland and my overactive greed for junk food. When I was a toddler, BigBro’ was a giant. Sometimes friendly, sometimes a bully. His switch from hero to villain could happen in the blink of an eye – or the closing of a door when mum left the room. I’ve always looked up to him, even after I outgrew him and looked down at him. Hence the dare. His dare; BigBro’ desperately clinging on to any last vestiges of bullydom he had over me as he goaded me into this dare with comments like – “…not scared of the police, are you?” and “Forget it. Really. I’ll explain to any babes that you’re just too nice and safe and - God! Too sensible for anything like this.” Or, the killer – “I’ll explain that you didn’t want to risk embarrassing your mum, (nods head seriously) they’ll respect that.”

    After just two practice attempts BigBro’ suggested more but I refused. I’d had enough and was stressed up with all the worry about the ‘What-ifs’.

    “I’m ready. Let’s do it," I said.

    "Bigger audience this evening,” said BigBro’.

    “I’m ready now. NOW! ”

    For the first time in my life I witnessed BigBro’ scared - looking around at the sky, buildings, nothing in particular. He was scared, I wasn't. I felt power over my brother for the first time in my life. It was only momentary.

    BigBro’ stared at my eyes, down to my feet and back to my eyes. “Let’s do it.”

    And so, ten minutes later we were cruising slowly onto the start of the one-mile prom. My breath fogged my visor. My zombie-emblazoned helmet was done up far too tightly – I could hear my pulse because of it.

    The police car was there! Parked a few yards away from the burger stall, as it normally was; ostensibly keeping an eye out for crime but they really were just pigging-out with fries and burgers and watching for bikini babes without seeming too obvious about it. The protruding elbow of the cop in the driver’s seat was just visible. Window open – Perfect!

    “Look at them!” said BigBro’. “Just look at them sitting there like drunk old lords of the manor – this is our prom. You’re gonna show them, little bro. I’m proud o’ya’ !”

    I took my gloves off and pocketed them, then took out the squeezy bottle, filled with water (BigBro’ wanted urine but water was my safety insurance in the event of getting caught).

    “Hey look!” I shouted . The helmet muffled my voice like cotton wool. “Babes moving along the right. Now, now, now! Blast the horn to make them look.”

    BigBro’ beeped the horn, throttled back and we lurched forward. We slowed down to the cop car on the left, horn beeping. I squirted water onto a startled cop's face and shouted “Go,go,go!” to BigBro’.

    The police were frighteningly fast. But not fast enough. Emboldened, I stood up on the back pegs and lowered my jeans, wiggling my bare backside at the chasing cops. Eat this!

    BigBro ’bottled it. He pulled too hard on the throttle and as he accelerated I came off the back and my tough landing on the road was cushioned by my unfortunate bare buttocks.

  4. #4
    648 Words – Language and content warning.

    One Giant Leap for Barbara

    As she scrubbed at the baked-on remains of the cottage pie, Barbara tried to remember the first time she'd considered killing her husband, but it had happened so often, for so long, that she couldn’t recall.

    The pie had gone down well tonight. Though he never said so, of course, she knew from the long, loud belch that followed; a habit which set her nerves on fire. He had a liking for saying the months of the year as he burped too. It was most frequently May but sometimes March or June, as more than one syllable was beyond his talent. The grandchildren found this a blast, frequently sniggering in the kitchen when it happened, but it made Barbara want to cut his throat open with her favourite paring knife.

    A strand of grey hair fell onto Barbara’s steamy face and stuck, despite her blowing upwards to shift it. She sighed and wiped it away with the back of her hand, then left the dish to soak until tomorrow. On second thought, she covered the sink with the chopping board so he wouldn’t see the dish and get annoyed that she hadn’t finished.

    ‘Barb!’ He was back from the pub and shouting from his chair. He always shouted, whether he was angry or not. ‘Those bloody yanks have only gone and done it!’

    Barbara shuffled in, drying her hands on her apron. ‘What?’

    ‘Bloody hell, Barbara, landed on the moon! Don’t you keep up with anything that’s happening around you! Too much time reading women’s shit all day. That’s why you’re so bloody stupid!’ He laughed meanly, his red cheeks glowing in the light of the TV. ‘Look, that’s the moooon,’ he said, like he was talking to a child.

    Barbara clenched her fists behind his back while, on the screen, an astronaut lowered himself from a ladder. She knew it was either Buzz Aldrin or Neil Armstrong as tonight was the culmination of everything she had been listening to on the radio. As the miracle unfolded, a fire was ignited in her belly and she smiled, feeling unexpectedly strong.

    ‘And that’s an astro-naut, ha!’ He carried on watching, barely interested in his own insults but unable to stop, such was the habit.

    Barbara’s anger had dissipated and she laughed inwardly, throwing off indecision and enjoying clarity for the first time. They’ve really done it, she thought excitedly as she went back to the kitchen and picked up the iron skillet from the stovetop.

    While she assessed the weight of it in her hand, she wondered at the world outside and how little she had seen of it. Men were walking on the moon and she was still stuck here, taking insults from a prize pig. She lifted the skillet with one hand and brought it down gently onto the palm of the other.


    It’s my turn to live, she thought as she returned to the lounge and stood behind her husband’s chair.

    ‘For god’s sake, where’d you go? Where’s my bloody drink, you stupid cow?’

    It’s not too late for me, she thought, moving around to face him. ‘And I am not stupid!’ She brought the skillet down on the top of his head and, with arms strong from years of housework, killed him with one blow.

    Standing back to assess the damage, she found she was impressed with the result; his head was comically close to his shoulders and his eyes were fixed in a death-stare of disbelief, making Barbara chuckle as she went to pack.

    She smiled as she closed the door behind her, giggled her way around Europe, and even hummed as she was arrested.

    And still she smiles today, as the guard pushes her dinner through the flap in her cell door. ‘Cottage pie, Barbara?’

    ‘Ooh, yes please.’ She takes the tray and settles down on the bed to read her magazine.

  5. #5
    Plucking the Eagle
    633 words

    “Look Charles, is it not odd?” Tatianna said, the spindly legs of the lunar monument reflected in Charles’ dim visor.

    “And this is where I took the first lunar samples, while Buzz was kicking around a load of dust.” said Neil Armstrong, helmet under his arm, brown hair neatly combed into a parting.

    Charles’ head turned to consider something further away. “Hey, why’re the Stars and Stripes on the floor?”

    “Well, when the ascent stage, the Eagle, launched it unfortunately knocked the flag down.”

    “Let’s pick it back up then, eh Neil, my boy?” and Charles strode off towards the prone flag in looping strides. Armstrong kept up with him effortlessly.

    “Please don’t do that. This is world cultural heritage site, and the first off Earth. We like to keep it exactly as it was left for posterity.”

    Charles stopped some metres away from it and for a while Tatianna thought he was going to pick it up despite the spaceman’s whining. She hoped he would; it would be interesting to see how Armstrong would react. It had all got rather boring since they left Earth orbit. But there were other visitors on the site, and actual human guards somewhere about no doubt; even Charles wouldn’t risk it, would he? A pair of suited visitors were ambling around the monument, their suits and low gravity making them clumsy.

    “Let us see the monument up close, yes?” Tatianna said, breaking Charles’ focus on the flag.

    As they approached Armstrong rattled off various facts and figures about the lunar module, something about a descent stage, but Tatianna’s mind wandered. She caught Charles’ eye through the smoky visor and saw a twinkle shine through. He was up to something, and she hoped he was thinking of getting her a souvenir: she had mentioned it briefly. She didn’t need another honeymoon gift, but a little memento to impress the friends would be quite nice.

    “This is as close as we’re allowed to the module now.” Armstrong said, two meters away from it, before giving more technical details.

    Tatianna caught Charles making eyes at her again. It took her a while to realise he wanted her to look away. She looked around the site, first at the objects they had just visited then further away. It was only when she looked back to see Charles inch back slowly that his planned dawned upon her. Clever boy. She turned away, looking to some distant hills.

    “Tell me Armstrong, about those hills over there.” She said, knowing that distracting Armstrong, so seamlessly augmented onto her field of vision, was pointless. But it made her feel as though she were helping. In fact, merely looking at the crest of the grey hill was enough – looking at anything but Charles would help. She knew too that Charles was even now finding some suitable part of the monument to take. She resisted the temptation to look back, knowing to do so would only alert the AI. Quite how Charles was going to take something without looking at it was beyond her, but the AI only saw what you saw – it didn’t feel what you felt through your gloves. It need never know.

    Tatianna looked up, surprised by how so few stars she could see. She was startled when Charles suddenly appeared.

    “OK Armstrong I think we’re done here.” He said.

    “Well thanks for coming. Be sure to head over to Fra Mauro crater and take up the challenge of finding Shepard’s golf ball. 1000 Bits to the first person who finds it!”

    It wasn’t until they were on the shuttle back to Earth that Charles showed Tatianna the golden foil he had peeled away from the monument. Tatianna thought it would make rather a nice Christmas card for one of their geeky friends.


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