How We Write – Flourishing Trumpets

Our prompts: Prompt attention, Flags, I’m late

This week, we celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969. Those protests took place just two weeks after Kyros was born, so gay pride has had special meaning to him ever since he came out.

The events around Kyros getting kicked out of the military in 1989, before the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy went into effect, also shapes his view of how our country can treat gay people.

All of these experiences went into the writing of this cautionary tale in June 2016, right after the current president won his party’s nomination. Kyros knew from history and firsthand experience that discrimination is never fully eradicated. That even the smallest shift can undo years of hard-fought-for rights.

Happy Pride Week everyone!


“It’s hard to believe it’s only been eight years,” Dennis said, shaking his head. “We never believed it could happen here.”

The two men paused, staring up at the flags waving in the breeze over the central plaza.

“I know. So much has changed….”

A flourish of trumpets rang out from the loudspeakers, cutting him off.

“Citizens, we require your prompt attention,” the disembodied voice demanded. “All citizens must report to your residential towers immediately. Failure to comply will bring swift reprisals. Repeat….”

They tuned out the loudspeaker, beginning the long trek back to their shared apartment.

“I wish we’d listened to the warnings. Everyone said that things could get bad, but I never thought….” Larry’s voice trailed off.

Dennis nodded. “We threw our votes away. Out of spite. How could we have been so damn short-sighted?”

His companion shrugged. “We were young and we thought we knew better, that’s why. We were convinced the establishment was against us.” The man squeezed his eyes shut momentarily. “Establishment.” A harsh chuckle escaped his throat. “That’s just a name we called anyone who disagreed with our grand plan for the country. Now, we really have an establishment that dictates our lives.”

A lone tear slid down the man’s face.

Dennis reached up to wipe the tear away, but his companion smacked his hand. “Are you crazy? What if someone saw you? Are you trying to get us both killed?”

Dennis snatched his arm back, cradling the wounded palm to his chest. “I was just….”

“Don’t!” Larry growled. “Not until we are safely behind closed doors in our residence.”

With scant minutes to spare, they arrived at their assigned tower.

Roll call in their building went smoothly.

“Thank you, citizens. You are free to go now.”

As they were about to disperse, one of the bright orange-skinned leaders barked out, “Wait! Bring me the residents of C26, J29, N41, and R33.”

The two men froze.

“J29? That’s our apartment!” Larry hissed.

Soldiers stormed into the milling crowd and half-dragged eight residents to the front.

“You have all been found guilty of immoral acts under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2020. You will be taken to the perimeter walls of New Philly. You will be cast out of the safety of the dome and into the Eastern Seaboard Nuclear Wasteland as punishment for your crimes against nature.”

Larry glared at his lover. “I warned you, Dennis. It’s your fault they found out about us! I told you they have eyes everywhere!”

As they were being dragged away, they heard the commander complain, “Damn them, now I’m late for my commendation ceremony with President….” the man paused, looked around furtively, then corrected himself, “I mean, Emperor Trump.”

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