“Debut Performance”


Copyrigth Kent Bonham

(Photo copyright: Kent Bonham)

My first time on stage and I’m prepared to deliver my speech.

My lines have been memorized; my body language and facial expressions choreographed to express emotion as my hands are tied behind my back and my ankles bound together.

Sightless behind a blindfold, I hear the boots of men as they line up on the stage before me. I feel the heat of the spot which illuminates my body.

“Freedom!” I shout. “Liberty! Justice for all!”

Curses mix with the rifle shots which end my debut performance. I fall into a pool of my own blood in front of an enemy kangaroo court.

(Written for Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. april 4, 2014.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to “Debut Performance”

  1. Hala J. says:

    Man, that was strong. A debut performance to remember, if anyone on his side was there to see it. At least he could say he died in defiance. Nice imagery, and a powerful story!

    • vbholmes says:

      Many thanks, Hala–mostly for getting the story. I’m afraid I wasn’t sufficiently clear on whether the action was supposed to be real or part of a theatrical production. Your interpretation was spot on–again, my thanks.

  2. scrbwly says:

    i wish you could hear me laughing. that’s a damn good one!

    • vbholmes says:

      Thanks for reading, Shaddie–I’m guessing you’re with Patrick (see below) and read this as a scene from a melodramatic third-rate play. I’m okay with that as I’m a first-class fan of farce and corn and would like to be clever enough to write it.

      • scrbwly says:

        i think you did a really good job 🙂 the melodrama(which i found funny) actually makes the message even more stark, stays with you. it’s a really good piece and i enjoyed it. i’m a fan of farce, too. Too bad i don’t see lots of it

      • vbholmes says:

        This time, thanks for the compliment–always appreciated!

  3. faithsfire says:

    Powerfully frightening!

    • vbholmes says:

      Thanks. The story was inspired by some of the televised “confessions” that were created during the Vietnam war–I just took it one (or two) step(s) further.

  4. wmqcolby says:

    Pop the shot, get it while it’s hot! Very good narrative. Made me want to be there alongside Bravo!.

    • vbholmes says:

      Your provocative photo can take the credit for my story (and for this week’s many other diverse stories). I think it’s interesting that we both came up with prisoner-of-war tales–I guess it was the bright light which I seem to associate with being grilled by the police or tortured by sadistic villains (I’m a victim of thriller TV).

  5. Eric Alagan says:

    Good show – pity, he had to die.

    • vbholmes says:

      Hard to imagine that the trigger-happy firing squad would let him finish his rehearsed soliloquy which, in any case, would have been lost on the non-English speaking kangaroo court. I suspect he was resigned to his fate.

  6. Sandra says:

    This is very convincing vb. I’ve read it several times to see whether you’ve left any clues on the reality v performance issue, but ultimately I’ve decided on reality. Well done.

    • vbholmes says:

      Thanks for the comment, Sandra. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the reality issue. Actually, this story started out as a snippet from a stage play and grew into a “real-life” incident. I had hoped the “pool of my own blood” and “enemy kangaroo court” would provide sufficient clues but I can see how they could also be read as part of a theatrical plot. Some days it’s tough to win.

  7. elappleby says:

    Brilliantly done. I really felt this as if I was there.

  8. vb, you really left this one up in the air, but I opted for reality as well. Really well done!! Man, I looked away for a bit and now there are three more rows of stories I haven’t yet read. Heeeelp!


    • vbholmes says:

      Thanks, Janet–reality it is. I’m with you on the overwhelming number of entries. Good for Rochelle, she’s really enlarged the Fictioneer base–only problem is, it’s impossible (for me, anyway) to read all the stories. I tend to drift back to my old favorites and visit those people who comment on my site. I admire your commitment to reading all of the tales–I know that I’ve missed some really good ones–and also, the work of some of the new writers.

  9. Not sure where I stand on the reality vs performance issue. It’s quite melodramatic so I’ll opt for performance in a third rate play. Beautifully written.

    • vbholmes says:

      I’m not sure my dead guy would appreciate his first, and last, theatrical appearance being categorized as “third rate”–however, I, his creator, take your comment as a compliment. I messed up somehow on presenting this as a real-life incident (based on televised prisoner-of-war videos taken to an extreme) and vow to be more explicit in the future. Of that, we’ll see.

  10. K.Z. says:

    that was really sad and horrifying. very well executed.

  11. vbholmes says:

    Executed=good choice of word. Thanks, kz, suspect even worse things happen to POWs–I hate to say it, but sometimes the better option is execution.

  12. I could only feel reality in this.. too real, too brave… I hope there was an audience to his performance… I guess it’s more common to cry and wet yourself (I guess I would do that)…

  13. vbholmes says:

    It takes a brave person to go against men holding guns and it’s nice to think that his defiance did not go unnoticed. Unfortunately, the odds are that his last words were cut from the tape.

  14. Dear VB,

    How did I miss this one? Did you link? At any rate, I apologize. Better late than never. And I reserve the right to be late only after the next prompt goes up on Wednesday.

    I guess his debut was also his swansong. Well done.



  15. vbholmes says:

    I don’t know how you do everything, Rochelle, working full time and reading all the weekly entries. A humongous job! Your efforts are certainly paying off as the number of Fictioneers has grown to triple digets. I know your work is well-appreciated by your many loyal fans. Many thanks.

  16. I felt from the middle of the story that it was reality. Sad that we’ve seen so many news reports of late where people have killed and been killed. Good story.

  17. Sarah Ann says:

    Wonderfully written – such an innocent beginning the takes on a whole new meaning on the second read. Very powerful.

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