Five seconds into the fight, and Bob knew it was a mistake to have placed the bet. Never mind the ethics of it, there was the very real chance that any action in the ring was going to equalled by action taken outside it when Hannibal found out he had no money.
With a growing sense of appalled immanent doom, he watched as limbs flailed between the equally matched opponents. Harnesses contained the fighters, and reins attached to them were quickly deployed when voices of authority rang out to halt the barbarism.
“You’re making our babies wrestle? What’s your problem?”
She looked him in the eye and saw the end approaching like an oncoming freight train. Even now with the clichés, she thought, and prepared for the worst.
“Listen, can we talk?” He said. He had at least brought coffee and what looked like cookies in a bag.
“Go on then.” She said, pausing her editing to give him her full attention. It was only polite.
“Look, it’s not you…”
“Correct. I’m working damn hard on things from my end.”
“Yeah. I know.” He looked embarrassed. “It’s just, this is all so new for me.”
“Fine. Start the story again.”
I’d heard many of the trophies taken in the Ninety Second War were virtual: snapshots of archives, or copies of entire databases. There were physical prizes though: confiscated possessions such as high status cars or particularly well-situated houses with lavish grounds attached that found themselves with new owners.
I never thought that I would ever get my hands on one of the weapons with which that war was won. Like all well-crafted weapons it was simple in its appearance, but you couldn’t underestimate its power in the right hands. You can do a lot with a laptop in ninety seconds.
The end of the argument was neither polished nor eloquent. It ended rather in punches and gasps, cries and moans. It wasn’t clean or simple, and blood fell on the dusty floor.
The shaky victor still felt as though they had lost, while the battered loser felt vindicated in their martyrdom.
To the jaded onlookers, it seemed barbaric: the once refined and distinguished garb and demeanour of their presumptive leaders now wrenched and torn in vicious disarray.
All was well however; both sides reassured their captive audience that this was all merely part of the rough and tumble of politics.
Loosely based around #Tuesday shenanigans, but I’m not sure if it goes anywhere:
We watched as Anna dipped the beer mat closer to the candle flame. Soaked in untold beverages, the nearest corner caught and burned reluctantly. The flame wasn’t candle-bright, but was instead dominated by a sullen green-blue hue for the duration of its brief existence. She flipped the mat around and attacked the other corner. Then she frowned in concentration and bit her lip.
She moved the mat more quickly this time, igniting the two charred corners in turn and then lifting it upright in triumph. Tiny flames curved up on each side. “Devil horns!” she proclaimed, a broad grin spreading across her features.
She half sang, half murmured the beginning of a poem she’d written when she was fifteen – a song of being missing a puzzle piece, or of being a piece for the wrong puzzle. It was a simple cadence with a soft lilt, bearing with it another thirty years of experience and new insight.
A pint glass sat before her, symbol of this foreign land now more familiar than her native stars and stripes. She’d seen such things, both painful and joyous, and yet right in this moment she still wasn’t sure if she was the puzzle or the piece.