Flash Friday Fiction: 1001 Nights

Sinbad the Sailor. Illustration by Frances Brundage, published 1898 in The Arabian Nights, edited by George Fyler Townsend.
Sinbad the Sailor. Illustration by Frances Brundage, published 1898 in The Arabian Nights, edited by George Fyler Townsend.

1001 Nights – 250 words

She wanted a magic lamp with a genie. Not the Robin Williams, in-your-face kind of genie; big, loud guys weren’t her type, though she dealt with her fair share. No, she wanted the I Dream of Jeannie genie, but a male version, of course. In an outfit like cartoon Aladdin wore, only he – and his six-pack – would be real.

Where was her rags-to-riches story? Her Prince Charming? Her Richard Gere?

Life on the streets was no Hollywood movie, for sure.

She shoved the mass of bleached-blonde hair out of her eyes and sighed. A glimpse in the mirror told her yesterday’s make-up was today’s clown mask. A clown. That’s what she was. A gross distortion of the little princess she’d once been, back when she had a home. A family.

She’d thrown it all away like a farmer emptying slops, spreading venom and hatred far and wide, encasing her parents in chunks of anger, denial, rebellion, fear.

This was no fairy tale. This was Good Girl Gone Bad, the privileged reduced to the prostitute, desperation oozing out of every pore along with cigarette smoke.

The light from the bulb in the ceiling sputtered and went out.

She closed her eyes. She should go out, too. Out with a bang, or with a whimper. It wouldn’t matter. Just out.

She rubbed her belly. It kicked in response. She was out of options. Out of wishes.

One thousand and one nights of hell.

She picked up the phone.

“Hello, mom?”

As you might have guessed from the picture and the title of my story, this week’s novel inspiration is The Arabian Nights, a collection of ancient Middle Eastern folktales. Among the more famous of these stories are Sinbad the Sailor, Scheherazade, Aladdin, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

Our challenge was to craft a story of exactly 250 words using 2 of the following story elements (picture was an option prompt, and not one I used).

* Conflict: varies; often man vs man or man vs self
Character (choose one): street urchin, adventuring sailor, girl unaware of her true heritage
Theme(s) (choose one): Rags to riches, justice, forgiveness
Setting: ancient Persia

I chose street urchin (of a sort) and man vs. self. What do you think? Wanna read other contributions? Grab that magic carpet and head on over to Flash Friday Fiction.


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