When the hurlyburly’s done

Copyright - Connie Gayer

Copyright – Connie Gayer

The racket from a nearby excavation infiltrated the heavy boardroom silence as they counted votes.

Mack was rapt, at the start, when Beth told him what they’d said: she was chairman material.

Strategic gossip was enough to assassinate her predecessor, but when things got tough, they all deserted her – even Mack, her own husband. He pushed her on, then lost his nerve. He should have covered her back.

She’d persevered, buoyed by assurances that she was unassailable. The ground would open before she’d be toppled, they’d said.

Beth braced herself. Outside, the machines stopped; someone shouted – “Cables …”? Then the lights went out.


This is for Friday Fictioneers once again – my 100 word story in response to the photo above. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who posts a weekly prompt and manages to respond to all the contributions so encouragingly.

I’ve just been to see the 2015 film version of ‘the Scottish play’, and the phrase ‘untimely ripped’ came to mind when I looked at the picture. In the end I didn’t use the phrase itself, but the play was lodged in my mind, and this is the outcome. I’m crossing my fingers that it can stand alone.

Here’s a brief trailer for the  film, which really covers the main stages of the story surprisingly well. 

Here’s another clip – from the Polanski version. Look at how they dig, and the coiled rope they handle. Echoes of our prompt?


26 thoughts on “When the hurlyburly’s done

  1. Funny, Margaret. That very thing happens here. One time some thieves dug down and stole some phone cable. We had to wait some days to get service back in our area as the cable had to be imported. Well done. 😀 — Suzanne


    • Thank you, CE. I’m so glad you pointed that out. Actually, driving home from work today I realised that in trying to get it down to the word limit I’d left a gaping big hole in that area. So, I’ve tweaked it. I hope that now it won’t confuse readers. Perhaps I was too ambitious trying to reduce such a story to 100 words. If you see potential in it, I’m delighted.


  2. She sounds easily influenced as a bit naïve. If getting rid of her predecessor was that easy, what makes her think she’ll be around for long? I did like the names, but like CE, I’m not sure I understood Mack’s role.


  3. Surprising but believable connection between the prompt and the play – highly modernised but same story.
    I saw the 2014 screened Kenneth Branagh version – in traditional costume – played in Manchester last year. Such a powerful play.


    • Thank you for such a lovely, encouraging comment. I’m so glad you got something out of it as a stand-alone. You know, McDuff tried so hard to get in. He had to be ejected, kicking and screaming something about how no writer worth her salt would contemplate leaving out the key character. My only defence was the word limit, but I don’t think it washed with him.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think it could have been. If I’d had more words to play with it would have been a female McDuff, but I couldn’t come up with a modern name for her except ‘Duffy’, and that sounds way too close to ‘Buffy’ (or worse) and I didn’t want to go down that track.


    • Thank you, Gah. It sure was difficult. If I’d had another idea about the prompt I think I would have gone with it, but that ‘untimely ripped’ phrase had me hooked – and in the end I couldn’t even fit it in. Flicking through the YouTube clips whetted my appetite for more, too. I did enjoy the new film I’ve just seen. It had mixed reviews, the main criticism being an over-reliance on violence and big battle scenes, but I really liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a thoughtful, inventive Margaret. I’m really impressed. I like that the husband and wife carried the Macbeth name together and how you brought to story to the modern day landscape in the boardroom. Very well done.


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