#FridayFlash · Writing

#FridayFlash – ‘The Strugglers’*

Planet Starbucks, home of coffee and struggling writers, is under attack! It is a hostage situation, the ‘Starving Artists Movement’ have swept in with their arcrylic paints. We have had no demands thus far, though we are expecting them soon. We send out a plea to other desperate writes in the far off corners of the Mocha Galaxy, we need your skills, you must help us end this!

“Have you read this, Zak? Planet Starbucks? We were there on holiday a few months back, remember? Before we got those publishing deals.” Eoghann peered closely at the newspaper, it was a morning ritual. He would read the news, and point out the interesting bits while Zack made breakfast. “Really? Do you think the SAM want the free coffe too? I mean it’s not like the Writers have ever stopped them.” Eoghann furrowed his brow, it certainly was strange. This newspaper never covered interplanetary news, especially when it came to the ‘strugglers’ – it was more of a ‘let’s praise the published ones’ paper. Why on earth would they have posted such an ad? Zack noticed his worried expression, “Well let’s help them then! Gina still lives there, you know how she’s addicted to the place. We could call her, find out what’s going on?” Eoghann nodded, still wondering what the hell the SAM would be taking over Planet Starbucks for.

Gina Frost was panicking, she was so close to finishing this book. SO close, but somehow the ending would just not come to her. And now the SAM had turned up, demanding that the ‘strugglers’ vacate the planet. No one had ever stopped the SAM members from staying here, making full use of the coffee and paninis. That’s what the place was set up for. For people who needed the caffeine and mozzarella to stay inspired. She paced around her little pod, out here things were different. People weren’t judged for not being published or successful. Everyone was in the same boat, it wasn’t like Earth where status was the only thing that mattered anymore. There was an incessant beeping from the kichen, someone was calling. She ran through, wondering who would be calling her. It wasn’t like Gina had any friends – not really, her writing had taken most of her spare time. She pressed her thumb to the glossy screen in front of her, the screen instantly filled with an image. “Oh my gosh! Zack, Eoghann! How are you?” She was so excited to see them, since they had become one of the Elite and returned to Earth she hadn’t heard much from them. Zack’s benign smile, and Eoghann’s furrowed brow were the last thing she had been expecting to see. “We heard what’s going on, can you tell us anymore? What can we do to help?” Eoghann, always straight to the point. “Ooh I love what you’ve done with your hair Gina, the red really suits you!” Zack, ever ready with a compliment. Gina took a deep breath, feeling herself blush – if she was honest, she had always had a bit of a crush on Zack. “I’m not sure exactly, guys, but the SAM members have turned up and they’re wanting all the ‘strugglers’ to leave. They’re saying we don’t deserve this place. Everyone’s telling them that they’ve always been welcome here,” she shook her head, her red hair billowing about her, “they just can’t seem to accept that writers and artists can co-exist.” Zack and Eoghann both sighed in frustration, the same old story. the Elite had thought that by designating Starbucks to all those who were struggling would put an end to the age old struggle. Clearly it hadn’t. “But what can we do, Gina?” She shrugged her shoulders, just as clueless as they were.

 The Starving Artists Movement has made a demand. A list of demands. They want Planet Starbucks for themselves, and they want the Struggling Writers to leave. They also want Planet Starbucks to become a Vegan-only society. We plead with all writers out there, we need your help! The Elite has also sent a message to the SAM but they have taken no heed, writers please help.

Gina watched as the members of the SAM removed all meat and dairy products from the ‘strugglers’ pods. They were dragging people out on to the walkways and jeering them. She felt awful, all she could think about was finishing her novel and getting back to Earth. She had spoken with Eoghann and Zack for most of the night, but they had been able to come with nothing that would help. She had suggested offering the SAM Planet Costa, but according to Zack it was seen as ‘less’ than Starbucks. Eventually she had conceded that there was nothing they could do, after all the dancers lived on Costa and they were unlikely to give in to the SAM. She had gone to bed with her thoughts racing.

Zack and Eoghann had been up most of the night, drinking copious amounts of coffee and making notes. They could think of nothing, the suggestion of Costa had been thrown out as soon as it had come out of Gina’s mouth. That left only Planet Nero. And that was inhabited by the Elitists. Not to be confused with the Elite who inhabited Earth, the Elitists were the ones who thought themselves above everyone else. Eventually Zack spoke up, “Since when have the SAM been Vegan?”, Eoghann had been wondering the same thing, “Honestly, Zack, I have no idea. But you know what they’re like – always on to the next big thing.” They looked back to their notes, “You know Eoghann, maybe it’s time the Turks got a look in. Planet Wendy’s is falling to bits. No one goes there any more. Maybe we should suggest this to the President. After all, he is your brother.” Zack had that grin going, the one that meant he was feeling a little mischievous. Eoghann couldn’t help but grin either. “Zack you are an absolute genius! I knew there was a reason I married you!”

President Carl Hitchkins was pacing his office, this was a complete mess. What the hell did the SAM think they were doing? They weren’t the only ones suffering for their art. How many writers had given in to the madness? How many writers had died under the burden of unfinished novels? It was complete insanity, and they knew it. He couldn’t understand what had come over them. And with it being Christmas, most of his aides were on holiday. He had briefly considered calling his younger brother, but had tossed the idea aside. A high pitched ringing from his desk brought him back to reality, the call screen was flashing. He touched his thumb to the screen to be greeted by a familiar face. “Eoghann! How are you?” Eoghann smiled, he didn’t get to speak to his brother often enough these days, “Hey big brother! I’m doing good. But enough of the formalities, I can see you’re doing well – you’ve got a nice shade of grey going on.” Carl was indeed looking rather pallid, “Look, I’m calling with a suggestion. You know Wendy’s is dead, so why not give the Turks a call? You know Hassid Ali makes the best coffee on Earth. We could send the writers there, and let the SAM have Starbucks.” Carl grinned, why hadn’t he thought of that? Then again, that was why they had asked writers for their help. “Eoghann, you are quite possibly the smartest person on this Earth. Why did no one else think of doing this?” Zack’s face filled the screen, “Actually, Mr President, it was my idea. And you haven’t tasted Hassid’s coffee!” With quick thanks, Carl signed off and went about getting in touch with the right people.

The SAM have been given Planet Starbucks, and their vegan menu. The Struggling Writers have now been given a new home in the Mocha Galaxy – Planet Kahve. It has the best coffee, the best kabob and the fastest internet speeds known to man. We had always know that the writers would come through, and it is thanks to Eoghann & Zack Hitchkins that we found a solution. Undoubtedly the SAM will soon want some thing new, but until that day good luck with your writing and enjoy your lattes!

*This piece has been recycled, but I love it so much I thought you guys deserved to read it all over again (and I do hope you enjoy it!)

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