Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flash Fiction Challenge: Baby Pulp

Sometimes it takes a gentle nudge to get me writing. Other times it takes a swift kick of a hobnailed boot to the ass.

Author and screenwriter Chuck Wendig has a fantastic blog where he offers sage wisdom to writer-types like myself. He also offers flash fiction challenges and invites scribes to post their short tales centered around a particular theme.

The current flash fiction challenge is Baby Pulp, i.e., stories centered around babies but written in the lurid pulp style of the 1930s and 1940s.

I've never written flash fiction before and posted it anywhere, so here goes.

I'm throwing my flash fiction hat in the proverbial ring by offering up this twisted tale of pulpy noirish babylike adventure and romance.

Hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing the sucker.

Mother’s Milk of Explosive Dreaded Doom

Damn you, Mr. Wiggles.

Fluffy purple stuffed bunny with its idiotic bucktoothed grin staring at me like it’s the awkward aftermath of relaxing pillow talk. The mean silence of you staring at me in this damnable crib, solace for a teething baby, or so you think.

I slap you with my weak, pudgy arms, cursing the day you were made.

My cooing turns into an angry grunt as I strike you with a squishy fist balled in infantile rage. I continue to rain blows upon you, Mr. Wiggles. Flesh meets terrycloth or polyester or whatever diabolical chemical you’re manufactured of. Finally, with one desperate swing, I topple you. The rabbit’s body slams against the plastic activity center, scattering the baubles and doodads and bright little shinies that are supposed to lull me into a comatose, gurgling stupor.

Not today, boys!

Today I’m breaking out of this hellish prison, this crib of torment, this goo-goo gulag.

I pick up the tiny bottle and wrap my mouth around the rubber nipple and drain it of all the sweet milky formula. With a satisfied belch and a full tummy, I hoist myself up and wobble to a full stand.

Straightening my diaper and setting my plush fedora on my head, I set out for adventure.

I grasped the plastic colorful mobile dangling overhead and hoisted myself up, swinging like a fat pink pendulum. If I could only use the momentum to hurl my pudgy cute self to that crib railing, I could possibly seize hold and…

Drat! I tumbled down onto the binky, a crocheted blanket granny fashioned with yarn and the tender kind of love only a half-blind a septuagenarian can bestow.

The utter shock of falling on my bum-bum caused me to shiver, then before you know it, I was hollering like a bobcat in a woodchipper. The world blurred as I turned on the water works.

That’s when she came into the room, gliding like a Valkyrie soaring across the heavens on Teutonic wings of brilliance as Wagnerian operas filled my ears. Her lovely countenance stared down at me in the crib and her green eyes widened when she saw me.

She lifted me to her bosom and whispered into my ear softly, “Don’t worry, baby. Everything’s all right. Mommy is here.”
I immediately ceased my crying and nuzzled her. Mommy was soft and nurturing, the kind of dame a baby needed to keep away the bad scary creepies hiding in the closet. Of all the broads in this hellhole of a nursery, mommy was the one who made me forget about everything.

Mommy carried me to the living room and set me on a blanket on the floor, the one with the smiling doggie playing by the happy sunny face. She gave me a cookie and flashed me that winning smile, an angelic one that made me want to be a better baby.

All I could do was smile back and giggle.

“Mommy is going to fix dinner now, so play nice,” she said and walked out of the room.

I didn’t have time to brood over my imposed exile to the living room. Something watched me from the shadows, an unnatural thing advancing on padded feet. I heard this vile creature moving slowly near the alphabet blocks, creeping along the carpet. When the beast came into full view, I clenched my fists and stood up and brashly confronted the thing head-on.

Empress Yum-Yum, the family cat, an Asian Semi-longhair with a bejeweled collar and an attitude like the world owed her something, stared at me with her cold blue eyes.

“Meow,” the cat uttered. “How cute. This missus brought the offspring to my domain.”

“Can this offspring malarkey, you pretentious ball of fluff! I got every right to be here,” I replied.

“If I were you, I’d watch my tone. Empress Yum-Yum doesn’t take kindly to insolence,” the cat said.

“Tell it to someone who cares, kitty. I’m going to Mommy,” I said, and lurched towards the kitchen.

“I don’t think so, runt,” the cat said as it slinked toward me. “Not without paying the empress a little tribute.”

“What could a filthy animal like you want?”

The cat stared at the cookie and started purring loudly, a deafening sound like a million chainsaws resonating in my feeble baby brain.

“No! Not the cookie! Mommy gave me the cookie!” I said, clutching the sweet treat in my sweaty fingers.
“The cookie or else!” the cat said.

“Or else what?”

From the shadows emerged a familiar purple face, a furry haunting grin I’ve memorized from all my time in the crib.

Mr. Wiggles!

The stuffed rabbit drifted forward, mute and terrifying, a fuzzy behemoth thirsting for revenge.

“Back for more, eh?” I said, and swung my fist at the dastardly stuffed toy.

The rabbit parried and slapped me square in the jaw. I flew backwards, but a plush clown broke my fall. I improvised and grabbed the clown and flung it at Mr. Wiggles, who dodged out of the way. Landing a blow to my chest, the leering lagomorph stared at me with those lifeless, jolly eyes.

I wiped snot from my nose and stared up at my constant enemy. With resolve, I hit Mr. Wiggles in the gut and the rabbit spun around, stuffing flying from a tear in his side.

“I’m sending you to the big toybox in the sky,” I growled and finished off the fluffy bastard with a series of lethal punches.
When the melee concluded, Mr. Wiggles lay in a heap on the living room floor.

Mommy entered and saw a hyperventilating infant, a frightened rabbit, a broken cookie and a toy rabbit in a million pieces.
“What on Earth have you been up to?” she said, crestfallen.

As she scooped me up in her arms, I smiled. No need to thank me, dollface. Just protecting the dame I’m wild about.

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