Berries deserve music. After all, their sweet-tartness plays a tune upon our taste buds. For writers, how might the two pair? Perhaps it’s like wine and cheese. Perhaps not.
With writers, inspiration can go many directions. Something like berries and music can result in an orchestra of flash fiction.
The following are based on the August 10, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) include music and berries.
Meddling by Kate Spencer
“Dennis tells me Erin is getting married,” said Jim, dropping the grocery bag onto the counter.
“Oh Veronica must be thrilled,” said Gladys. “She’s had her daughter’s grandiose wedding planned for years.”
“Apparently Erin’s all upset about it. She and Jason want a simple ceremony on Blueberry Hill where they met.”
“And so they should,” huffed Gladys grabbing her purse. “SOMEBODY had better get over there and remind Veronica that all she really wants is for her daughter to be happy.”
“I found my thrill, on Blueberry Hill,” crooned Jim and headed for the study with an impish grin.
Price of Silence by Kerry E.B. Black
I asked her to stop singing, but she wouldn’t. Studying grew impossible while my sweater-stealing dorm-mate belted out pop tunes, hummed arias, or whistled nursery songs. No amount of begging inspired her silence.
As a botany student, I knew what must be done. I gathered berries and made the drink, a fragrant tea. Tea soothes the throat of a singer, and the serendipity of it pleased me. She studied philosophy. I provided a way for her to experience a closeness with her idol, Socrates.
Play a Little Tune by Hayley .R. Hardman
Bert’s blueberries were not doing so well this year. The too wet summer was the cause. He had been trying everything to make the blueberries happy as they were his biggest sellers and God knew he needed the money. Finally, he decided to take his violin and play for them though it broke his vow to never play again. As the first notes rang out, tears marked Bert’s cheeks. He played and played till he couldn’t anymore but the magic of the music seemed to work because the blueberries grew and became the best crop he had ever had.
Blow a Raspberry! by Anne Goodwin
Another invitation popped through the door. Blow a raspberry! It couldn’t be clearer. Or easier – even babies manage that. Practising before the mirror, he vowed to do his best.
Meandering between the stalls, his mouth watered. Cranachan with oats, whipped cream and whisky. Raspberry sorbet and ice cream. Raspberry-tinged cider and non-alcoholic cordial. The buzz of bees and equally cordial conversation. Summer’s heat tempered by a light breeze.
Checking in beside the stage, the steward looked at him askance. “Where your pipes, laddie?”
The Scottish word for lips? Alas not: every other contestant had bagpipes tucked beneath their arms.
Farmer’s Market (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
Crowds jostle, fish tossers call, children beg for ice cream, candy, a Starbucks. Pike Place Market bustles and hums, smelling of flowers, fish, peaches, damp. Gulls scream and music threads through it all. Jane wanders the stalls, assimilated.
Two dollars gets her an iced bottle of tea and a basket of blackberries. With no way to store them, she’ll have to eat them all. Back out on the cobblestones she finds a seat on the curb, in the sun, near the busker with the violin, finds another dollar for his case.
In the words of the Bangles – Sunday, Fun Day.
Berry Syrup by Ann Edall-Robson
It’s the season of harvesting produce and picking berries to create all kinds of goodness to enjoy over the long winter months.
What you make with your berries is as versatile as the various types of fruit you have available. Every year produces different quantities and selections. Wild berries seem to have the best flavour; but they take the most amount of time when it comes to picking and cleaning. A local farmer’s market is a good source for your choice of berries.
Choose your fruit, turn on your favourite music and make some of our yummy Berry Syrup.
Squish by Michael
Squish, squish, squish those grapes
Feel that juice between your toes
Drop your feet in one two three
There’s wine to be made so squish, squish, squish.
And so, the song went as we walked in single file around the barrel, the juice oozing out, our feet turning red from the stain of the juice swirling round our ankles.
It was a job, it kept me in cash for the holiday season. But I have to say I was so sick of that boring song all day every day. The free bottle prize at the end was small compensation.
Flames of Memory by Bill Engleson
The air this morning is a smoky hymn, a thin grey hum of haze hanging from the horizon like a tract of flimsy flypaper.
Though she knows this choking vapour has floated in over the straight from the interior of the Province and that it’s the residue of fiery loss, of dislocation, she is mesmerized by its fugue of gloom.
She has always loved fire.
“Many have lost their homes, their livelihood,” I remind her.
“I know that,” she snaps, “but…what would Grandma say if she was here…it’s the berries.”
That crazy old lady also loved a good fire.
The Mulberry Tree by Jeanne Lombardo
This is how my little story ends.
A cup of tea in an easy chair. A slide into memory as a corona of flame licks at a burner on the stove.
The mulberry tree in the scruffy yard on East Las Palmaritas Street. A tinny song from the radio wafting through a window. “I want to hold your haaand…”
I balance under the canopy. Lift one foot and reach, reach, reach for the purple bounty. And slip.
The ground rushes up. The last thing I feel is my small chest expelling its wind.
And I go up in smoke.
Ripe for the Picking by Irene Waters
“I said bring your bog boots.”
“Should’ve told me I’d need clothes for the Arctic as well. I may have listened to you then.”
“It’s summer. Not that cold. Don’t be a wuss.”
“It’s not the cold that’s getting me. It’s these huge bloody mosquitos.”
“Ah!” Johanna fumbled in her back pack and pulled out an item that looked like a memory stick. She flicked its switch to on. “Music for female mosquitos. They won’t come near us now. See those yellow berries.”
“Low to the ground. Cloudberries. Musky, tart, exotic, and elusive. An enigma.”
“Just like you.”
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
My sister sits with her feet propped up on the dinner table. She tosses blueberries into her mouth, one after another, recklessly, how she does everything. Without rinsing or worrying about E Coli or choking hazards.
It’s a mystery we’re related. Mona flies into each day, bobbing to the music in her head, trusting things will work out. Not me, I wash everything—hands, food, teeth—compulsively.
Mom and Dad return from their walk. Dad steals a blueberry and one of Mona’s ear buds, bobbing along like a goof. Mom settles beside me. She asks how homework is going.
Early Berries by Kerry E.B. Black
Erin and Marlin squeezed berries at each other, laughing as the early sun bronzed their noses and cheeks. Erin considered her stained fingers. They stuck together and tugged when she peeled them apart. “Don’t get the juice in your mouth, Marlin. It’ll make you sick.”
Marlin’s laughter rivaled the lazy music of the bees. “Who’d want to drink this mess, anyway?” A berry burst within his grasp, erupting pulp and seeds. “I do wonder what they taste like.”
Erin chewed the inside of her cheek. “Me, too.”
Marlin touched his tongue to his palm. “Sweet.”
Erin ran for help.
Squish by Pensitivity
Please join me in a little game reminiscent of our days in Lincolnshire and the local radio station.
How many songs or pieces of music can you name with ‘berry’ or fruit in the title?
Strawberry Fields Forever
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
One Bad Apple
I heard it through the Grapevine
The Banana Boat Song
The Lemon Song
Little Green Apples
My favourite cheat is The First of May (Date, get it?)
Then you could always ask for cover versions by the 1950s group
The Rockin’ Berries.
Mulberry Stew by Norah Colvin
Branches hung heavy with berries in reach of even the youngest child. They ate more than they bucketed; but there were plenty, including for birds singing in higher branches. Mum had forbidden them. “Mrs Wilson’s poorly. Don’t disturb her.” But they couldn’t resist. They scampered the instant she called.
“Where have you been?” She eyed the purple stains.
“We …” the youngest began to sing.
“Nowhere,” they shushed with hands concealed.
“What were you doing?”
Her lips twitched. “Hand them over.”
Later they pondered together how she knew.
When Dad got home, they’d have to face the music.
What’s Raspberry Picking Without Music? by Joe Owens
This was the first time Ed had picked berries in so many years. The dream job pulled him to the other side of the country and away from his family and traditions. Still, something seemed strange about this berry patch he remembered so well. Try as he may he couldn’t place what it was.
Two hours later while emptying his smaller container into the larger one he began to sing. His mother, sister and cousin peeked out of the berry bushes to listen as he crooned a song sung by his grandfather years before.
“That’s my boy!”
Laying By by D. Avery
“Thank you for the coffee in bed, sorry I’m so lazy, it’s just that morning sounds have become such sweet music to me.”
“That’s okay, Mom, we don’t mind, do we Dad?”
He grunted his assent and lingered with his own coffee after Hope left to tend her chickens. “Everything okay, I mean, you ain’t got your traveling itch again do you?”
“If you must know, I plan on traveling to that spot over the hill where the blackberries are, fill some buckets, and then come back, scratches and all, and make jam… Stop worrying, I love it here.”
(Follow the story…Offerings)
From the Obscuring Mist by Kerry E.B. Black
A merry band of trick-or-treaters skipped along the sidewalk, elbows locked, voices raised in wolfish songs and merry laughter. Parents followed, lugging the kids’ sacks of sweet loot.
Fog curled from the valley, obscuring autumn leaves gathered along bone-white fences underplanted with berry bushes. Nearby, an owl hooted.
From the obscuring mist another costumed group emerged. The small ones added their voices to the wild song. Their caregivers’ lips sparkled with adult distractions- drinks and elicit kisses.
The youth embarked on promised adventures with their new companions. As the children sampled other-worldly treats, the others gathered their innocent souls.
Can You Hear the Music by Robbie Cheadle
The small blonde boy sat at the piano, his little face white and pinched with determination. He ran his fingers lithely over the keys, the music flowing directly from his heart to his fingers. The audience sat and watched. Their faces agog with astonishment at this tiny child’s huge talent. One plump lady tapped her foot in time to the prolific flow of notes. Only one face showed anxiety and concern. His mother’s face was tightly drawn as she thought about his obsessiveness. Nothing could distract him from his playing this morning, not even his favourite berries with ice-cream.
Music and Berries by FloridaBorne
“What’cha doin’?” six-year-old Jennifer asked.
“What’er you listenin’ to?”
“Debussy,” I sighed.
“It’s weird,” she said, picking her nose.
My home was small but freshly painted, had a nice flower garden, and…manners. A child that age should know to ask for tissues!
“Where is your mother?” I demanded.
She pointed at a woman slumped over the filthy couch on her front porch. “She was ‘sleep when I woke up.”
“When did you last eat?”
Good. A reason to contact abuse and get more riff-raff out of our neighborhood. While she devoured lunch, I’d make the call.
Tart by Jack Schuyler
“I like the ones that aren’t ripe yet,” Max picked a purple and red berry from his bucket and popped it in his mouth. His face puckered into a smile, “It’s so tart!”
“Don’t eat all the blueberries,” Mamma said picking at the bush next to him, “we haven’t payed for them yet.”
Max shifted guilty eyes her way and sat down. Tart turned to sour in his mouth. A jay tittered its song from a post at the end of the row. If I were a bird, he thought, it wouldn’t be naughty to eat too many berries.
Grim Harvest by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Lilimor slipped out the back gate, trotting to the meadow as fast as her little legs could carry her. She’d wanted to arrive at sunrise, before anyone noticed she was gone.
Rounding the hill, she crowed in delight at the sparkling field of dewy wild strawberries. She plucked one and tasted the sweetness of afternoon sun and magical, cool nights.
Squatting, she strung berries, tiny as her pinky nail, onto a thread-thin stem of meadow grass. Her mother would be so pleased to have these with her morning smørbrød.
‘Twas then she heard the fiddle, beckoning from the waterfall.
Forbidden Fruit (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills
“Save the seeds,” Nancy Jane said, berry juice running down her chin and cleavage.
“Nah. To make Otoe dice. Fun game.”
A canopy of trees dappled the sun where bluffs and a thicket of buffalo berries barricade this hidden spring. Nancy Jane bathed here. Naked. No wonder she laughed when Sarah protested hiking her skirts to ride horseback astride.
Sarah sank her teeth into the small black fruit with a golden center, wanting to laugh. If she did, Cobb might hear. Perhaps a trick of the mind, but she swore she heard strains of his fiddle nearby.
Solo Honeymoon by Diana Nagai
Untying her swimsuit top, she reclined in one of the many chaises which lined the white-sanded shore. She felt daring, being half naked in public, but when in Rome, right? Laughter and splashes composed a summer’s cadence, producing an atmosphere of leisure.
A shadow eclipsed her sunlight. Opening her eyes, she took in the Greek god standing above her. With her best attempt at the local language, she accepted the cream and liqueur smothered berries.
The handsome waiter offered a lingering smile making her glad she didn’t refund the honeymoon tickets. Emboldened, she flirted and smiled back.
Strawberry Wine by Rugby843
Washing the berries in the old sink, she felt like singing. Thinking of the previous night, she dreamily sang “Strawberry Wine”. It was true, not a fantasy, that he loved her. She could still feel his touch on her lips, the scent of strawberries on his breath. It started as a friendly picnic and ended as a beginning.
She washed them thoroughly but left the stems. It was much easier to feed someone a strawberry with the stem attached. Whipping the cream, she planned it well. The wine would be the appetizer, feeding him berries and cream the dessert.
Berry Befuddled (Janice vs Richard #17) by JulesPaige
Carla Scott was visiting Janice when Longhorn called.
Richard had been back to Janice’s home with some nasty
intent. He must have lost some focus on his reality. He had
taken and eaten berries from her bushes, But had a violent
reaction, and vomited in the kitchen sink. Although he had
attempted some clean up – Richard left fingerprints, as well
as shoe prints in the garden… and he left a trail.
This was music to Janice’s ears. Though there might still
be a long row to hoe, at least maybe there was going to
be a soothing Coda soon.
Hedgehog and Mole by Michael at Afterwards
“Do you like berries Mole?” Hedgehog asked, emerging from the thicket to the sound of Sparrow’s morning music.
“Oh yes, especially plump and juicy ones!” Mole replied licking his lips.
“Then follow me” said Hedgehog, “I know a place where the juiciest berries grow!”
Hedgehog led Mole to a clearing where the bramble bushes strained under the weight of the dark fruits.
“I can smell them!” said mole excitedly, “Oh Thank you hedgehog!”.
As Mole devoured berries hedgehog crept slowly away, passing Fox at edge of the clearing.
“He’s all yours” Hedgehog snarled “I expect payment in full tomorrow.”
Plum Crazy by D. Avery
“Is Shorty plum crazy? What’s she want us gathering buffalo chips for? That what she uses fer charcoal?”
“No, Kid, she wants berries. So let’s go git some buffalo berries.”
“Hmph, buffalo berries. Shorty makin’ pies agin? I reckon with buffalo berries it’ll be like a cow pie.”
“They’re not chips.”
“Hey, while we’re at it, let’s git some horse muffins too.”
“Kid, will you ever stop fiddlin’ around?”
“Heck no. Shorty wants music too, so I’ll jest keep on fiddlin’, thank you berry much.”
“I hope Shorty is plannin’ on fermentin’ some of these berries.”
“Yep, wine not?”
A sweet harvest you’ve gathered here and beautifully displayed. Thanks for another bountiful week, Charli Mills.
It was good pickins’ this week! Thanks for adding your sweet berries to the basket!
What a collection, beautifully orchestrated by the conductor. I smiled at so many of these when I first read them, but I think you’ve increased the humour with your arrangement. Well done. Great selection.
These are fantastic! Great ideas.