Oct 16 2018

Tree Déjà vu Flash Fiction #FF #WEPFF #WEP and Blog All About It Challenge

WEP CHALLENGE FOR OCTOBER 2018- DEJA VU OR VOODOO Flash Fiction
FLASH FICTION WEP CHALLENGE FOR OCTOBER – DEJA VU OR VOODOO


blog about it challenge
October’s Prompt: Trees


Tree Déjà vu



I’ve seen Tommy drunk before. His days working at the golf club get to him. It’s not the fresh air, but the air of superiority that suffocates him.

“The downfall of society happens before the anarchy. That’s what this is. That’s what we’re seeing.” Tommy says as he starts another of his political philosophy rants. The bartender and I are so glad Tommy went to college so he could sit here, night after night, and impart his over-priced knowledge. So glad.

“First, the society is formed by making a bunch of rules. A group of people agrees to those rules.” His red nose catches on the inside brim of the glass as he drains it. A wave of his finger gets the bartender to pass him another drink. I wish he’d pass out. Just one time. Pass out, fall off the stool, and give us a laugh.

“Then someone breaks a rule, or a bunch of rules. That’s always gonna happen. Which is why you gotta have a system set up to deal with that. Now, here’s the thing. Here’s how you take out a society. I don’t care what one. Rome, Egypt, the Ottoman’s, whoever.” He sucks down the drink with unnatural power and speed. I’d be impressed if I hadn’t seen it six hundred times before.

“Now, pay attention here. This is the important part. To crumble a society, a rule breaker has to escape punishment. But that’s not all. See, everyone has to know about the crime. And generally, there has to be more than half of them agreeing the rule breaker committed the crime. But, somehow, it has to get twisted around. The victim takes the fall, the blame, the hate. That’s who is tossed out of the society. See, that’s when other victims realize how it is. That’s when the society is over.” He drops his empty glass on the bar. The bartender and I have a rock-paper-scissors match to see who will walk Tommy home. I lose. He better not piss on my shoes again.

“Anarchy, war, legal battles, whatever comes next. None of it really matters, it all ends the same way. Because it’s over before any of that. It’s over when rule breakers not only go free, but when the society turns on victims. It isn’t civilized behavior, see. And you can’t have a society that isn’t civilized.”

I sigh. “And yet, here we are. Come on, I need a gentleman to walk me home.” The lie just about burns a hole through my stomach. It is the easiest way to get him to agree to leave though.

Tommy stumbles as he stands. His black hair falls into his brown eyes. Cursing, he bats it away and moans about needing a haircut. I take his arm. The combination of beer, cut grass, and dandruff-control shampoo wafts to my nose. There’s really nothing attractive about Tommy. Not his looks, his scent, or even his personality. His only redeeming quality is that he’s respectful. A rare trait in today’s world.

Tree Déjà vu Flash Fiction #FF #WEPFF #WEP and Blog All About It Challenge by @JLenniDorner

“It’s my first wife!” He declares as we cross into the park. “Jessie! How I’ve missed you.”

Tommy throws his arms around a tree. It’s one of the three old ones left in the city. A trunk so thick, it’d take five people to hug it properly.

“You’ve gotten a bit rounder. But I love you, Jessica. No matter your size. Maybe try a bit of lotion, though. I’ve got some at home. What’d you say, girl? Come home with me tonight. For old times sake. One more roll.”

The tree, shockingly, doesn’t answer.

“Yeah, I remember now. Gotta work for it, eh?” Tommy strums an invisible guitar. He belts out Jessie by Joshua Kadison. The rendition is so wonderful that I consider breaking a branch off of “Jessie” to stab my eardrums.

“We don’t have a cat.” Tommy stops singing. He lets go of the tree and looks at me.

“Did she leave me because we don’t have a cat? I could get a cat. Would you help me find a cat? Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”

I rub my temples. It’s Déjà vu. “I thought you were walking me home.”

“That’s my wife! She can’t see us together. Just help me get a cat and then go away.”

I head over to the trashcan. The times Tommy has stood up for me play through my mind. How he kicked out the drunk frat guys who mistook me for a whore. The night he helped me when my shoe broke after someone pushed me. He’s a good guy, under all the drinks. I grab a brown bag with a yellow M on it from the trash. Despite smelling of fries, it’ll probably fool him.

“Look, here’s a cat.”

“Moses!” He carries the bag to the tree and gets down on one knee.

“Jessie, I know I wasn’t the best husband the first time. But I’m willing to try again. Look, I got you a cat. Just like in the song. What do you say? Marry me again?”

I can’t believe Tommy is doing this. It’s the third time this month he’s asked that tree to marry him.

“Why are you ignoring me? Fine. Take your cat. I don’t need you!”

I walk Tommy home. Once he’s locked safely away, I hit the button on my bracelet. A moment later, I reappear at the bar. The bartender has closed down everything human. I tap our transponder.

“Report number 601. Subject Thomas “Tommy” Hodges survived another Earth day. Has not found a new life course. The fate of this world remains unchanged. Continues to sedate with alcohol.”

Observe and report. Not sure if watching his fate drain away is more or less pathetic than me just sitting around, waiting for him to not become important. As long as he never sees the real Jessie again, he’ll never ascend to power, and this world will be an easy conquest. So far, so good.


Tree Déjà vu Flash Fiction #FF #WEPFF #WEP and Blog All About It Challenge by @JLenniDorner

From Pinterest:

tree Pin

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FCA 996 words

The unnamed main character is sarcastic. (Some people have trouble recognizing sarcasm.) Neither she nor the bartender is actually glad in the opening. And Tommy’s singing is horrible.

You’re welcome to guess what the main character and bartender really are, just don’t expect an answer. My site/ brand is named what-are-they for a reason! Ha ha.

Inspiration came from the tree prompt, an actual tree, and a pin on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

54 comments

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  1. Another good tale, J. Lenni. I knew it was sarcastic all along. The ending got me though. I thought he was just being a good friend. Should have known better from you.

    1. Indeed. 😉
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  2. I had a great comment but the site censored me. Rules. I was going to say I liked the sarcastic narrator, but you stole my best line.

    Fun piece with n unexpected transponder – oops twist. Ivy?

    [Comment: Sarcasm is a dish best served cold in a bar with olives.]
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    1. LOL!
      No idea how that triggered the censorship meter. But thank you for it!
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    • Yolanda Renee on October 16, 2018 at 8:21 PM
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    Tommy sounds like someone I know! Really enjoyed the ending and the sarcasm! Observation with interference takes away all the fun, but I guess that’s the point!

    Happy Halloween!
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      • Yolanda Renee on October 16, 2018 at 8:25 PM
      • Reply

      I meant ‘without ‘ interference….

      Tried to publish once already but got an error message for not enough words! Silly stuff….
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      1. Thank you! And I hope you had a good Halloween.
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  3. That was fun! I love a drunk guy who has all the answers to the worlds problems, it makes for a good laugh. And hugging his tree wife? Hysterical. On to world domination…

  4. Loved all the nuances in this piece – and the sarcasm! 🙂
    Did NOT expect the ending – very cool twist!
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    1. Thank you!
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  5. Who knew that aliens were sarcastic. I like them more and more all the time. Mind you, as someone who is owned by a machiavellian feline I despair of anyone who could be fooled by a paper bag. That is potent rot-gut Tommy is drinking.
    Elephants Child has this post to share Words for WednesdayMy Profile

    1. LOL. Yes, true cat people know the difference.
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  6. I picked up on the sarcasm immediately. I liked it. This is intriguing. And it sounds like Tommy is remembering something, if he’s proposing to the tree. Loved the little hints of something not quite right, despite the tree. Drunks can be wierd, lol. Nicely written.

    1. Thanks for reading and enjoying.
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  7. Hi J Lenni. What a great tale. Aussies totally get sarcasm. Loved it. A shame you felt you had to explain, but I guess I’ve been in trouble with sarcasm before.
    Love the character Tommy. He was just your run-of-the-mill drunk until the end. What a great surprise to end the story! Well done!
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    1. I know some spectrum people who aren’t able to process it. However, if they are told it’s there, they seem to be able to grasp it. Given the wide range of readers here, figured it was best to just point it out. Unlike a book, there wasn’t room to make it clear.

      Glad you liked the end.
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  8. Love the unexpected twist at the end. Alien invasion, no less! Poor Tommy.

    1. Glad you liked the ending.
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  9. This was such a fun piece! I love the snarky sarcasm, and the overall writing was very smooth and natural. However, I did NOT see that ending coming. Great job!

    1. Thanks so much!
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  10. That was fun! I love a drunk guy who has all the answers to the worlds problems, it makes for a good laugh. And hugging his tree wife? Funny.

    On to world domination for the narrator…

    1. 🙂 Glad you had fun reading.
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  11. Hmm my guess is robots, but could be aliens. The sarcasm shined through, gotta be weird watching someone propose to a tree haha

    1. I’ve seen stranger. ha ha ha.
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  12. This was so fun to read! I loved the narrator’s sarcasm. I had a good laugh when she wanted to stab out her eardrums. And I didn’t see that ending coming! Nicely done!
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    1. Thanks so much! Glad I could make one of my fav comedy writers laugh! *self high-five*
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  13. Love the sarcasm. I picked it up immediately.
    Tommy is something else!
    Such great writing that flows…

    If you’re on facebook, please link your flash fiction to the WEP+IWSG badge that’s pinned to the top, over at the IWSG Facebook page, so that others can read your lovely work.
    Thank you!
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    1. Thank you!

      Facebook, right. I always forget that site.
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  14. That was a fun read, with an unexpected twist at the end. I wonder Tommy truly is, and why he must be kept under close observation though. Got to love the sarcasm element though, it was well woven throughout the story.

    1. So glad I could leave you with questions!
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  15. A well crafted twist. Didn’t see that coming at all.
    Enjoyed the sarcasm. I think I might just join Tommy in getting that drink.
    Earth is not giving up yet. It’s Friday. The party just started:)
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    1. LOL. Thanks!
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  16. The twist in the tail was a real surprise . No explanations needed for the sarcasm – loved the narrator’s voice and tone. Cool take on the prompt.

    1. Thank you!
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  17. Very smooth and snarky! Like the others, I did not expect that ending. Well done!
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    1. Thanks so much.
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  18. I enjoyed this piece and loved the sarcasm. It was spot on. I didn’t see that exact ending coming, but I felt like there had to be a reason she was so willing to play along with his tree delusion. I was pleasantly surprised by the reason. Nice piece.
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    1. Thanks for enjoying it!
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  19. What a strange story, I didn’t expect the scifi ending. Why did he pick one particular tree? I need a little more background on what seems to be a weird situation. Who are the people in the bar, if they get rid of anything human. . .well done.

    1. I’m glad I made you want more.
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  20. I enjoyed the story and the sarcasm! I was definitely taken by surprise by the ending. Not at all what I expected.

    1. I love ending with a twist.
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  21. I got the sarcasm as well and wondered where your story was going until the end – great surprise there.

    1. Thank you.
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  22. I love this. If only we could send someone to anaesthetise certain other people in their pasts. Sigh.
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    1. LOL. Thanks!
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    • Ellis W Moore on October 23, 2018 at 11:20 AM
    • Reply

    I saw no defining who is who
    only at the ending
    I got the one clue

    if conquering this world was their plan
    it won’t be saved
    by just one man

    1. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
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  23. Well, I loved this. Very much. The tree, the cat, the final alien twist and all the snark.
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    1. Thanks so much!
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    • kèo nhà cái on October 23, 2018 at 8:26 PM
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    What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious experience concerning unpredicted emotions. http://cado789.com

    1. Thanks.
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  24. What a deliciously sarcastic character – although I couldn’t really blame her/him/it. Loved the twist at the end too.

    1. Thanks.
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