Take heart, all ye brave Fictioneers
For Wednesday is finally here.
Look at the prompt.
Create what you want.
Work through the blood, sweat and tears.

One week I’m sure that I heard,
“One hundred words? That’s absurd!
I can’t tell my story
In all of its glory
With that few,” some authors averred.

Now that the deadline is near
Even tho’ that story’s so dear
If you wield the scalpel
Relief will be palpable
And your writing all that much more clear.

(Thanks for the striking picture, Jennifer, and for hosting, Rochelle; everyone else for writing and reading.)



Genre:  Science fiction


The searing light felt as if it plumbed the depths of his brain before he went under again.

“More anesthetic! Hurry the download.”


The once-a-month headache always emanated from his right eye.  His government-assigned doctor offered no explanation, assuring him the brain scan found nothing abnormal.  More disturbing were the sense of emptiness and the loss of short-term memory the next day; possible side-effects of age, he surmised.  As he proffered his pass at the high-level security gate, he wondered again why he couldn’t forget that jingle from his “Ancient Advertising” class:  “Is it live or is it Memorex?”

For those of you too young to remember Memorex (pun not intended but noted) , here are a couple links:

This week I had two stories and couldn’t decide which one I liked better.  I’m posting this one today and  I’ll post the other Thursday, then come back and edit this post so the link is included.  (Here’s the link for story #2: https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/friday-fictioneers-2-the-eyes-have-it/.) If you’d like to read both, wonderful; if you have more than enough other stories to read, I completely understand!  🙂  In the meantime, for stories by other Fictioneers, click on the little blue guy that follows and settle in for some fun.

  1. C.J. Black says:

    Without a challenge each day would be a nothing day – great when a third party issues you with that challenge.

  2. rich says:

    i was thinking of writing something very similar to this – in meaning – but that’s where the similarity would have ended. so i’m very glad you wrote this your way, and i’ll keep mine in my back pocket for another day. well done.

    • Sorry to slip in ahead of you, but that means I’ll have a great story from you to look forward to in the future. 🙂 Oh, wait, did I just break my arm patting myself on the back by patting you on yours (back, that is?)


  3. I love flash fiction. I actually encourage novelists (I work with) to try it so that their writing is tighter/ more alive.

    Good thing he had the Memorex jingle in his memory banks
    well executed flash fiction

  4. That was just silly enough to make me lol.

  5. denmother says:

    I love the reference to “Ancient Advertising.” Nice course title!

  6. Dear Janet,
    Your story has an eerie feel to in that I wonder how true this could be one day. Have you seen the movie Final Cut with Robin Williams? Well-written as always in a freaky, subtly chilling sort of way.
    Ah Memorex…I remember. Always bought that brand cassette and VHS tapes. (Why do I suddenly feel ancient?)

  7. I’m getting a creepy “they’re using his eye/brain as some kind of recording device???” vibe here…

  8. claireful says:

    Ooh creepy. If they’re downloading then his whole life might be fake. Great idea.

  9. Once a month headache – you sure he isn’t a she in disguise? 😉

  10. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    Your story is coming true.

    But you knew that already, didn’t you?

    I love the dark feel to this piece and the title as well. The year is here.



    • What, Doug? The government knows where we are, looks at what we say, invades our lives and can even now shoot us without due process? Certainly not. The words of Benjamin Franklin are as true today as they were then: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”

      As always, thanks for visiting and commenting. Have a sunny day in Hawaii!


  11. nightlake says:

    scary..well done

  12. George, or well, Janet.
    Great little piece. The state assigned doctor really made me think.
    And of course, I remember is it live or Memorex.
    So life doesn’t change that much we are affected by advertising and/or ultimately by the state (which is ultimately controlled by advertising).

    Also congratulations on your series of limericks opening up this page – very cute and astute – really was the rage.


    • Several thanks to you, Randy, on this cold but sunny morning. Glad you liked the limericks as well. They were the fun part. 🙂

      Hope your day’s off to a good start!


  13. When I first read this I thought it was a riff on the future of our health care system–then the pass at the high-level security gate gave it a different slant. I love the first Memorex ad–sounds like something out of a B sci-fi flick. (BTW, I prefer this story.)

    • Thanks for reading both, vb. Those Memorex ads were really good but they seem so dated now. (What does that say about me??!!) 🙂 As for a riff on the health care system, I’ll leave that one completely alone. No firestorms today!


  14. The poem is great. You tell the fictioneer’s story. The above story is funny. I guess if he remembers the memorex jingle 2084 would make you think if you’re really living this. Imagine what advances will be then.

    I read the second story and thought of what it would be like t if we could see others for who they really are.

    • I had fun doing the limericks for the Fictioneers. I’m glad you liked the two stories as well. I think if we could see everything about others, it would be terrible!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  15. yepiratehere says:

    Very clever – and yes…a step further from 1984. I am not sure what it’ll be soon, government won’t quite be the right word; some sort of “them” alliance of huge corporations world/government and the rest. Ceaucescu, the everything-maniac dictator of Romania, complete with his Lady Macbeth wife had planned cameras in all home TV sets in the 1980s, though this of course has been superceded by webcams/microphones on laptops working without our knowledge. Thank goodness you sidestepped the healthcare issue..I felt my blood level rise……heehee!

    • Thank goodness your blood pressure didn’t rise! While you were in getting it checked, this might have happened to you. 🙂 Glad you liked the story and hope you’re having a great day.


  16. I liked it! Loved the pun.

  17. Kir Piccini says:

    Oh I loved the memorex reference..that is so telling. That is one hell of a government induced headache.

    Plus I so loved the poem at the top, it’s absolutely perfect for this exercise/challenge that we all work so hard at.


    • Thanks very much, Kir. The Memorex line came into my head as the perfect man-or-machine summary. I’m also glad you liked the poem. It was fun to do.


  18. JackieP says:

    I think this story is much nearer to truth then people want to accept. Very nicely done.

  19. Sarah Ann says:

    “More anesthetic! Hurry the download.” – creepy. A great departure and I also loved your intro this week.

  20. jwdwrites says:

    Hi Janet, I read this story then read the comments and had to read it again. I can’t believe I managed to miss things in a 100 word story! Thank goodness for the comments, it made me realise what an art there is in leading the reader to infer where the brevity of the story prevents more than subtle suggestion. Thanks for the lesson!

    • What a lovely thing to say, jwd! I’ve had comment-based insights before, too. Thanks so much for stopping by and again, welcome to your newest addiction, Friday Fictioneers.


  21. Tom Poet says:

    First off I am not sure if cute poems count as Limericks…You may have the AA BB A pattern down but you are lacking in crude humor and as far as I am concerned that is not a limerick at all. A limerick should be obscene with a humorous intent. But I know crude isn’t your thing….as far as the story goes I do like your concept. I wouldn’t have thought of going under for this prompt but it works well. The light, the spiraling feeling ties right to the photo rather easily. I thought potheads were paranoid but political minded people may have them beat. Great job on concept alone and as always you brought us there with precision writing but leave the limericks for those of us who embrace the raw vernacular of the English speaking world. POWER to the People!

    • Good morning, Tom. I thought of coming up with a crude limerick for you, but as you mentioned, crude really isn’t my thing…and I’m glad you know that. I looked up “limerick” and found this: “A limerick is a kind of a witty, humorous, or nonsense poem,[1] especially one in five-line anapestic or amphibrachic meter with a strict rhyme scheme (AABBA), which is sometimes obscene with humorous intent.” While acknowledging that limericks are often crude or obscene, I didn’t find any limerick laws laid down, so hopefully mine fell into the witty and humorous and were acceptable to most of the FF for what they were intended to be. 🙂

      As for the actual story, I’m glad you liked it and in this man’s case, he wasn’t paranoid. He didn’t really know what was happening except at an intuitive level. Perhaps he’ll figure it out, perhaps not.

      I shall leave the raw vernacular limericks in your more-than capable hands and thank you profusely for taking them off mine. Hope your day’s off to a great start and as always, thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting in non-raw-vernacular language. 🙂


    • This non-obscene limerick popped into my head while fixing Bill’s breakfast and so I offer it to you for this Friday:

      Tom, it is totally true
      Crude is what I don’t do.
      Your use of vernacular
      I’m sure is spectacular
      so I yield that field to you.

      Hope you have a great Friday and weekend!


      • Sorry, guys, I’m deleting those responses. As I said, I love and appreciate both of you and your comments on my stories and limericks but that’s as far as I’m letting things go on my blog.


      • Tom Poet says:

        You know I was playing with you since you know a bit about my personality. I am didn’t mean to go over the line with my limericks but I am not one to back down from a challenge. Randy I hold nothing against you and take your comments in good fun. I would be happy to engage you on my blog or yours…

      • I know you were playing but Randy didn’t and while I appreciate his spirited limerick defense, I don’t want to go there in the comment section. The both of you feel free to engage elsewhere. 🙂


      • Tom Poet says:

        I know that there are no hard set rules about what a limerick should be about…They have limericks for kids but I personally feel a limerick should be crude…I grew up with them as a kid and we often made them up behind our parents backs or repeated the ones we were not suppose to hear…You did a fine job with your last one making it relevant and humorous…


      • nice limerick….ceding is a powerful motion

  22. I like both takes on an Orwellian future, as well as the possible double meaning of “Memorex.” Interesting use of the prompt too.

  23. Michael Fishman says:

    Interesting take on the prompt. I really want to know more about who this guy is and what he does!

    • Thanks, Michael. Other than working at a top secret, high-security facility, we don’t know his job. If we did, they might have to kill us!

      Glad you stopped by. I’m hoping to start reading the rest of the stories soon, but it’s a busy Friday, so we’ll see when I get done. It’s always a pleasure, no matter how long it takes.


  24. t says:

    Nicely played…!

  25. bnatividad says:

    I could actually feel the pain in my right eye (where I usually get sinus headaches) as I read this! I totally forgot about the Memorex commercial — nice! I also love your take on the prompt because instead of concentrating on the stairs, you saw something in that bright light above them.

  26. tedstrutz says:

    I remember Memorex. I’m also feeling like your character, wondering if things are just a sign of old age… and they’ve arrived!

  27. Joe Owens says:

    Should I say I remember Memorex? I guess that places me in the same range as most everyone here. This kind of put me in the mind of Logan’s Run and Total Recall.

  28. Nice intro poetry.. And a great story. And ancient advertising 🙂 fun

  29. rgayer55 says:

    I’ve had several brain scans–all came back negative. No big surprise there. I remember the Memorex commercial. They wasted several perfectly good wine glasses. Thank God she didn’t get too close to the bottle. That would have been criminal.

  30. Janet –

    Could you send me back my limerick via my personal email as I did not save it.
    I’d like to see Tom’s response if you feel like you could share it.
    I may take him up on his challenge.

    i was defending you although I understood completely that the two of you may well have a relationship that i don’t know about – although i had not seen him comment in the time i have been following your blog – but most of all i saw an opportunity to have a little fun with him after his sharp comments – and realized that I would be seen as challenging in my response to him. but felt like having a little fun and taking a little risk.

    Please excuse any offense.


    PS – and I don’t believe for a moment that you needed any defending. I’m sure that Bill would have had your back, if need be. I wondered though, and looked forward to what, if anything, you might come back with.

    • Randy, I’ll send it all back to you and you guys can have at it if you like. 🙂 I knew what you were doing and completely appreciate it. I wasn’t offended, just didn’t want to get a bunch of risque limericks going on my blog. I did do another limerick for Tom, so perhaps you’ve seen that by now.

      Thanks for having my back. Your friendship is always appreciated.


  31. k~ says:

    Great write Janet. Dare I say I DO remember Memorex and the breaking glass of Ella Fitzgerald. 😉

  32. Trudy says:

    Puts me in mind of The Matrix, a favourite of mine, so that’s a good thing.
    Enjoyed your second story too, be careful what you wish for!

    • Hopefully it puts you in mind of the original Matrix and not the lesser sequels. 🙂 Seriously, thanks either way and for taking the time to read both.


  33. Iris says:

    Quite a nice foray into science fiction as you promised 😉

    • Thanks, Iris. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s not my usual thing but it’s what the picture conjured in my mind.

      Hope you have a lovely Saturday,


  34. kz says:

    really very imaginative! and as usual,the intro rocked:)

  35. Carrie says:

    it’s very Big Brother. That ominous sense of always being watched, never free to just live our lives without consequences for inconsequential things.

  36. Janet, I like these kind of tales. I found this very chilling. Good stuff! Yes, I remember Memorex…am I getting old.