Last week, Broadway and television veteran Sherman Hemsley joined his television wife Isabel Sanford on the other side of the Twilight Zone. 

Sherman was best known for  his role as the crotchety middle-aged dry-cleaner, George Jefferson, trying to make his way in a predominately white business world.

The comedic duo made a cameo in the movie Mafia! as "The Jefferson's who moved up from the east-side to get a piece of the pie"

This week's theme was chosen in their honor.


Shameless Promotions

  • The charity anthology "The Spirit of Poe" is now available for the Kindle.
  • The Red Empire Collection is now available in Spanish.

The Judge

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Stevie McCoy is a paranormal romance writer and hostess of the #TuesdayTales flash fiction challenge.  Let's give her a warm welcome and show her the best quality stories we have.

And now a message from our judge:

"Great things happen when you least expect it and I am honored to be this week's judge-master. It's that time again. To brew some strong coffee, to dust off your keyboards, and to embrace your inner crazy. That's right let the muse speak to you without fear of being shackled, bound and thrown into a padded room. On with the TALES!"

The Prompt

He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky

The Rules

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  1. The story must start from the prompt.  This means the prompt must be the
    first words in the story.
  2. No more than 500 words (not including the
    prompt).  No less than 100 words.
  3. Any genre (in fact an
    unexpected genre will get you more points.)
  4. Entries must be submitted
    by Tuesday Noon EST
  5. The winner of each week's competition will be
    invited to judge the following week and post the winner's badge similar to the
    one on the right.
  6. Have fun!

Example Story

Lucky Guy
By Wakefield Mahon

He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky. Gary Alan Jackson had hit the big time and his old co-workers were greener than pine tree with envy when he called them.

“Chip, I’ve got some great news!”

“I know I heard.  Gary, dude, you are so lucky!”

“Yeah, Chip, you are right about that much.  I am the luckiest man alive.”

“You moved from this dump to top job with FarTech Industries, got you an apartment in the sky…”

“It’s not in the sky it’s on the ground.”

“It’s on the ground on MARS, which relative to us puny earthlings is in the sky.”

“Fine, your point is taken, Chip.  But that’s not…”

“I heard from Jay that you’re banging a hot stewardess.”

“I just started dating Maria, yes she’s a flight attendant but I’m not ‘banging’ anybody.  I called to…”

“Dude, why are you always trying to play everything down?  Do you know how much I wish I were you?  You should be ecstatic!”

“I am ecstatic, but I would give all of that fluff away in a heartbeat.”

“Why?  What are you talking about?  You’ve lost it bro.”

“Actually, I’ve finally found it.  The only reason any of that matters is because I get to see my daughter’s first dance recital.  When her mother moved to Mars, I never thought I’d see Tommy or Lizzy again.  Now I can and THAT is what makes me the luckiest guy in the solar system!”

@WakefieldMahon
246 ineligible words
7/30/2012 03:43:23 am

He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky after working all of his life to get there. He’d been on several lists, just waiting for the opportunity to arise. Months had passed before he’d gotten the call, and while the rent was a tad higher than he’d expected, that was the price to pay for luxury, and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

As he was in the middle of unpacking his knick knacks, he heard a knock on the door. He sat the box down and sprung to his feet, eager to meet his new neighbor. Would he be a business executive? Or would she be a twenty-something heiress? When he peered out the security hole though, nobody was there. Puzzled, he undid the security chain, opened the door, and was greeted by a pudgy, yellow-skinned woman in her late eighties who stood about four foot nine inches tall.

“Hello ma’am,” he offered, but she just kept squinting at him through her thick glasses, her eyes appearing much larger than they actually were. With those glasses and the sleeves of her sweater tied around her neck and hanging loosely against her chest, she resembled an ochre-skinned octopus. She said nothing, inspecting him up and down, and finally he could not stifle his laugh at the awkwardness of this encounter.

“I’m Kevin Ramsey,” he said, extending his hand to her, but she refused to take it. What a strange little woman?

“Is there something I can help you with?” he asked.

Several moments passed before she replied, “It’s a shame. You are a good-looking young man.”

He snickered. Crazy old lady. “What’s a shame?” he inquired.

“A shame you will die so soon.”

The conversation had suddenly become much less comical to him, and he folded his arms across his chest. “What? Why are you threatening your new neighbor, old lady?”

“Me? Oh, boy, I’m not threatening you. You must not know about this place though. Every year this apartment opens up, and every year a new tenant moves in, thinking he’s landed some wonderful prize. Then, after eight or ten months, he throws himself out the window and plunges to his death. Surely you knew about this before renting it.”

Kevin scoffed at her tale, and he hastily replied. “No, I haven’t heard this. So tell me, how many tenants have jumped to their deaths? Two? Three?” He didn’t believe her story one iota.

“Nineteen,” she replied, glaring at him through those thick glasses. “And I’m afraid you will be twenty, boy. Better live the next few months to the fullest, because that’s all you have left.”

440 words
@rastrohman

Reply
7/30/2012 03:52:32 am

'I Called Him Dad"

He had finally moved up to that deluxe apartment in the sky. He had worked hard all his life at menial jobs barely making ends meet. He never owned a house the bank didn’t have a lien on, as he would continue to have several ‘bad streaks of luck’ as he called it. In these streaks of bad luck, he would suffer ill health and not be able to work but his loving wife would take up the slack stretching what money they had and he would get better again and go back to work.
He’d worked tirelessly ministering to those who needed, never taking credit for what he did just saw the need and filled it. If someone needed food or clothing he would give his own to fill their need. Something needing to be repaired would find his brilliant mind scanning through the many ways to fix the problem and then chose the best way, succeeding. What he didn’t know he would read about and then devise ways that others would marvel at his ingenuity. Nothing ever went to waste. He was ultimate recycler before the phrase was ever coined.
His true comfort in life was his beloved wife, and his six children. They gave him some of his greatest joy and some of his greatest sorrows. He thought he couldn’t give his children more than the food in their bellies and the clothes on their back but what he gave them was worth more than gold. He taught them to be self-reliant, that if bad times came you could strive and survive. He taught them humility tolerance, compassion, empathy, courage and ingenuity. He taught them to support your family. People who knew him marvelled at the united family and felt happier for knowing him. When he suffered through the loss of one of his adult children his wife was there to care for him and together they mourned as one. When his beloved wife passed he felt forlorn and forsaken, but for his children’s sake he ventured on. When he died his children mourned the father they all loved but they were happy for him .He had no pain, no more trials, just utter joy. He moved up into that deluxe apartment in the sky, he could now share with the wife he still loved. They could not be selfish they wished him well.I know because I called him Dad.
404 words
@SweetSheil

Reply
Robin Abess
7/30/2012 04:30:26 am

Heavenly Business

He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky. When George had first entered the pearly gates, Heaven wasn’t quite what he’d expected. Oh, it was breathtakingly beautiful, with mountains and rivers and every kind of flower and animal he’d ever heard of and some he hadn’t. For the first six months, he got to live out each and every fantasy he’d ever had, no holds barred. Time passed differently there as well, for he soon discovered that a month there equaled to about an Earth year. They didn’t really worry too much about those things though. Also, he was given a pretty nice house by Earth standards, so he had nothing to complain about.

At the end of the vacation period, an Angel came and knocked on his door. Jim let him, inviting him to have a seat.

“So, what can I do for you today?”

“George, you’ve been with us for a while now. It’s time for you to pick the task you’d like to perform.”

“Oh…nobody mentioned anything about that…”

“Not a big deal really, but we all do our share. It won’t take a lot of time, but even up here we remember ‘Idle hands are the Devil’s work’.”

The Angel led George down the streets of gold to a large marble structure and they passed through an arched entryway into a room. In the center of the room was a comfortable chair, where George was asked to sit.

“After a moment, a list of tasks you’re suited for will appear before you. Simply point to the one you’d like and you’ll be shown where to go every day.”

Soon a piece of parchment appeared on George’s lap. He looked over the list and saw what he wanted immediately. He pointed, smiling, and the Angel nodded, then led him back down the streets to a white stone building near his house.

“Welcome to your new job. You’ll only be expected to be here an hour a day. Enjoy!”

With that, the Angel went on his way. George stepped behind the counter, smelling the familiar scent of cleaning chemicals, and proceeded to clean all the robes that had been turned in. It didn’t take long at all, and he felt very satisfied.

After he had been doing his job for several months, the Angel returned.

“George, you’ve been doing such a splendid job here, the Boss wants to reward you with a new place to live. Would you prefer a mansion, a villa or a deluxe apartment?”

“The apartment,” George said. “It’s what I always dreamed of on Earth.”

The Angel nodded. “Here is your new address. Enjoy your new abode.”

And that, dear friends, is how George Jefferson became dry cleaner to the Angels and finally got the ultimate deluxe apartment truly in the sky.

472 words {including title}
@Angelique_Rider

Reply
Robin Abess
7/30/2012 04:34:56 am

Resubmitting to correct the name flub. Please disregard the first one! Thanks.

Heavenly Business

He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky. When George had first entered the pearly gates, Heaven wasn’t quite what he’d expected. Oh, it was breathtakingly beautiful, with mountains and rivers and every kind of flower and animal he’d ever heard of and some he hadn’t. For the first six months, he got to live out each and every fantasy he’d ever had, no holds barred. Time passed differently there as well, for he soon discovered that a month there equaled to about an Earth year. They didn’t really worry too much about those things though. Also, he was given a pretty nice house by Earth standards, so he had nothing to complain about.

At the end of the vacation period, an Angel came and knocked on his door. George let him, inviting him to have a seat.

“So, what can I do for you today?”

“George, you’ve been with us for a while now. It’s time for you to pick the task you’d like to perform.”

“Oh…nobody mentioned anything about that…”

“Not a big deal really, but we all do our share. It won’t take a lot of time, but even up here we remember ‘Idle hands are the Devil’s work’.”

The Angel led George down the streets of gold to a large marble structure and they passed through an arched entryway into a room. In the center of the room was a comfortable chair, where George was asked to sit.

“After a moment, a list of tasks you’re suited for will appear before you. Simply point to the one you’d like and you’ll be shown where to go every day.”

Soon a piece of parchment appeared on George’s lap. He looked over the list and saw what he wanted immediately. He pointed, smiling, and the Angel nodded, then led him back down the streets to a white stone building near his house.

“Welcome to your new job. You’ll only be expected to be here an hour a day. Enjoy!”

With that, the Angel went on his way. George stepped behind the counter, smelling the familiar scent of cleaning chemicals, and proceeded to clean all the robes that had been turned in. It didn’t take long at all, and he felt very satisfied.

After he had been doing his job for several months, the Angel returned.

“George, you’ve been doing such a splendid job here, the Boss wants to reward you with a new place to live. Would you prefer a mansion, a villa or a deluxe apartment?”

“The apartment,” George said. “It’s what I always dreamed of on Earth.”

The Angel nodded. “Here is your new address. Enjoy your new abode.”

And that, dear friends, is how George Jefferson became dry cleaner to the Angels and finally got the ultimate deluxe apartment truly in the sky.

472 words {including title}
@Angelique_Rider

Reply
7/30/2012 10:55:13 am

“He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky,” Herr Nunemeyer nodded the observation through his thick mustache and thicker accent.

“I see,” The calculating magnate interlocked his fingers thoughtfully. “Do you have his number? Some way of contacting him?”

“Nein,” The old gentleman shook his head regretfully.

Pressing his face against his interlocked fingers darkly, the magnate considered his options.

“I don’t like delaying production, but your partner’s expertise in the field could very well make the difference between monopoly and mere competitiveness. I’ll make some calls and see about tracking down this deluxe apartment.”

“Sir?” A secretary interjected, “I think Nunemeyer means that his partner has died.”


110 words
@DavidALudwig

Reply
Rebekah Postupak
7/30/2012 12:37:00 pm

He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky, after three seasons of fighting off vicious, fanged mermaids (the beach house), five seasons of defending himself against snarling, temperamental werewolves (the cottage in the woods), and almost half a season soaking himself daily in garlic to ward off vampires (the abandoned mansion in the mountains).

Sky living would bring its own challenges, of course. Though safe from the reach of the peskier creatures (crows and their indiscriminate and enthusiastic droppings rushed immediately to mind), he still had to do battle with eagles (“It’s an apartment, not an eyrie!”) and the occasional phoenix (“No, a fireplace and pyre place are QUITE different!”).

Still, on the whole the apartment proved a vast improvement over the previous residences, and he thought he might manage to be content there. Maybe even happy.

He blew a lazy puff of smoke which swirled its way sleepily across the cloud tops.

Not half bad for a modern dragon’s lair. No siree, not half bad.

168 words
@postupak

Reply
Bob Mahone
7/30/2012 01:46:45 pm

"He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky."

“Why would anyone settle for an apartment in heaven? When I relocate, I’m asking for one of those mansions that Jesus talked about.”

“Rufus, that’s just stupid. You can’t bust up in heaven asking for things.”

“Well I’m not that stupid. I know that mansion is like the French word maison which means house. And, I’m looking to chill through eternity in a house, with a pool. God knows what’s up.”

“God is what’s up, and who’s up, and where up is. You’ll be lucky, I mean blessed, if He even lets you show your nappy head up in His heaven. A pool you must be out yo mind.”

“Why not? God put a love of swimming in me. I never got to have a pool here, so why not put one in the yard of my heavenly mansion.”

“Why not just welcome you to heaven as a fish? You ole fish eyed fool.”

“Naw, you can’t do that. See, that was Aunt Esther. You mixin up your sitcoms now, you big dummy.”

"Ahhh, shut up!".

“Yeah, but Alice only said that after he said …”

“Bang zoom, …”

“Straight to the moon.”

“Gol uuh ol ly”

“That’s right, that was my boy Gomer. You know, I’m a year older than he is, and thankfully we’re both still here. But, Barney Fife is probably standing up there waiting for George, with a bullet in his shirt pocket.”

“Yeah, I just watched Andy Griffith’s A Face in the Crowd the day after he moved up a few weeks ago.”

“You know Butch, God has given us something unbelievably special in the people who make us laugh. I probably won’t even think of swimming up there.”

“Naw you’ll be too busy getting used to flying.”

“Well, I promise you, I’ll let God be the pilot. I’ll be happy just hanging on, like Lois Lane with Superman.”

"Great Caesar's ghost!"

“Okay chief, let’s go watch some TV”

"How many times do I have to tell you, don't call me chief!"

“Only until heaven.”

@Computilizer
350 words

Reply
7/31/2012 01:45:43 am

The Wetcleaner's Dream

He finally moved to that deluxe apartment in the sky. For Washington Thomas it was the ultimate validation of a lifetime of sweat, hard work and always being thought of as second best by others.

Surveying the opulent comforts of his Aerie City penthouse, he couldn't help thinking how much Isabel would have loved it here. He'd always promised her their day would come and now that it had, she wasn't there to share it with him.

A tear came to his eye as he thought of his long-suffering wife. Her life with him hadn't been an easy one and her death, because of him, had been an especially unpleasant one. She'd passed in screaming agony, the meds insufficient to grant her ease. His son, Ritchie, had left the hospital and refused to accept any contact with Washington. He couldn't fault his son for the anger that consumed him.

It had all been so needless. With over 30 years in the business he felt foolish for what had been a rookie error in judgment.

By the dawn of the 24th century, overpopulation, rampant industrialization and lax discipline regarding the disposal of hazardous and toxic substances were wreaking brutal havoc on humanity. As a licensed wetcleaner, Washington and others like him were the last hope of many.

He possessed both the knowledge and the tech required to purge their bodies of even the most virulent stains their DNA had been plagued by.

Unwilling to spend his life toiling away in one of the fancy corporate facilities, Washington had embarked on the risky path to of an independent. From a single squalid lab with barely-adequate equipment, he'd expanded his business to offer six of the brightest, cleanest, most effective freelance operations in existence.

He'd been on the cusp of finally achieving both the clinical and financial acclaim he so richly deserved when Isabel became ill. Having been subjected to the maladies of countless clients, he'd been imbued over time with a certain immunity to their effects. Fatigue and hubris had combined one especially long work day and he'd foregone the time-consuming decon process. For
his laxity, Isabel had paid the ultimate price.

He was drawn from his reverie as Milan, the maid, shot him an angry glare and a muttered imprecation on her way out. Even before the unfortunate incident, she'd always been far more fond of his wife than of him. Her loathing was now barely concealed.

Uneasy in solitude, he considered and rejected seeking out the company of his few
acquaintances in the building. His neighbor,
Astin-Marton was some sort of minor government functionary. His hedonistic and vapid lifestyle repulsed Washington. The mixed-race couple from downstairs, Sawyer Bruce and his wife, Hayes, annoyed him with their assumption they shared some bond with him they did not.

500 words. @klingorengi
Nursing a stiff drink and gazing out the window,
he wondered wistfully if the fall to earth when he
flung himself out would be anywhere near as
painful as had been his fall from grace with
everyone he'd ever cared for

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