Friday, July 24, 2015

Flash fiction contest!

I'm in Muncie Indiana for the Midwest Writers Conference this weekend so it's the perfect time to have a writing contest!

 The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order (they cannot be backwards either.)
Thus:  Book/bookish is ok, but Book/Brooks is not.
And: Indiana/Indians is ok but Indian/An aid ninja is not.

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

5. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

6. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

7. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

8. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!") They will be deleted and you will be in Hot Water.

Contest opens: Saturday July 25 at 8am

Contest closes: Sunday July 26 at 6am (yes this is shorter than normal; I'm traveling that day)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!

Too late!


Anonymous said...

It’s gonna be a long roadtrip. Dom’s wearing his Indiana Jones hat when we leave the house, which means everything outta his mouth’ll be a movie or song reference. Sure ‘nuff, it starts when we pass a restaurant. The sign says: All Day Breakfast.
Dom, beatboxing, sings: “Every day I’m waffle-in’!”
I shoot him a death glare, but after we pass an ink shop he’s bopping again.
“But it’s the-”
“I know. Shut up.”
“I know!”
“-theme song.”
But I can’t help smiling.
And when a cop car blazes past, we both howl: “Book him, Danno!”

Unknown said...

Lincoln wore it tattooed on his eyes, the certainty of his mother’s betrayal.

She’d owned a house in Indiana with crocuses in the yard. There she’d planted a poison scent. He’d moved to Chicago, where the rendering plants had plugged his nose.

He’d hemmed and waffled, but finally could wait no more.

“Mr. Reynolds?”

“Yes, Lincoln?”

“I quit.”

He drove to Decatur, grim and bookish, noting landmarks, scouring until he found the address.

She bent heavily, tending weeds that had grown out of the skull no bigger than an orange.

“How’s the flowers, Mom?”

“My God - Lincoln?”

“I know.”

A.J. Cattapan said...

Amy drove past many tattoo parlors and waffle houses on her way from Chicago to the Midwest Writers Workshop. The year was 2008, it was her first writer's conference, and she had a book to sell! Although everyone there was nice, no one was interested in her story.

Years later, after she became a published author, she learned that her favorite literary agent was going to be at MWW. "Oh, why am I not at MWW this year?" Amy cried. "I could have had a shark sighting!

But no one believed her that there were sharks in Indiana.

CynthiaMc said...

"Stop singing. Read a book."

From the backseat "GARy IndiANa-"

I groaned.

Goth Girl and Mohawk Boy were in the Witness Protection Program.

I could see why.

GG had to pee.

Waffle House at midnight seemed safe - until a thug tried to rob it.

MB laughed. "Dude! She's a U.S. Marshal."

Thug aimed at me. Didn't see GG back from the restroom.

I looked at her - sugar bowl - thug.

GG threw hard. Knocked him cold.

"Can I get a tattoo that says U.S. Marshal?" she asked.

"In a few years. When you join us."

She smiled.

So did I.

Craig F said...


“Textbook what, Dr. House? Don’t waffle, I’m a tough guy.”

“You have a case of John Dillinger Syndrome.”

“What are you talking about? I came in here because I have a wart on my…well, you know”

“Kill chickens when you were young?”

“Well, I killed a snake once.”

“Did you kill it for food?”

“I…no, at the time I was sure it was a moccasin.”

“Tell me about that map of Indiana you have as a tattoo.”

“I was born there.”

“So you are that proud of it?”

“No, I had a shark tattoo I needed to cover up.”

Summers of Fire said...

Al, short-order cook at The Waffle House, closed the top half of the griddle much like a book, after ladling in the batter. Shoulda known better than to have gotten that tattoo right out of the Indiana prison, he thought. Marylou wants me to get a better job so we can buy a house. But that tattoo is gonna be a problem. What a fool thing to do. What was he thinking when he let that guy ink a “?” on his forehead?

Smoke billowed up from the grill. Damn.

Unknown said...

He was sure the lady at the Waffle House didn’t see the grab, but he needed to move quick. The guy with the Indiana Jones tattoo looked up from his iPad just in time to see it happen, but he was out so fast the rest of them didn’t see a thing.

“Let’s see what we have,” quickly rfling through the purse.

Two undeveloped novels, a rejection letter form, a conference badge, and a wallet with three dollars.

He looks at the name on the badge.

"Books Janet, really?" He throws the purse down and walks away.

Jillian said...

I remember longing to be free of childhood constraints; anxiously awaiting the day. Yet here I stand at the precipice of 18 expecting to feel weightless. Instead feeling leaden.

What I wouldn’t give for one more summer playing Indiana Jones with my brothers. To wake to the smell of Belgian waffles wafting through the house.
A childhood that once felt oppressive now feels like it was taken straight from the pages of my favorite book of fairy tales.

I enter the unforgiving adult world with the memories of childhood tattooed on my heart. A childhood that ended all too soon.

Curt David said...

“IT’S COMING!” shrieked Bill.
Jim looked in his rearview mirror and accelerated.
“Jim, you’ll get booked for speeding,” said Tara.
She looked behind her and became speechless.
Their tough-looking tattooed exteriors couldn’t hide the panic overtaking their bodies.
“GO FASTER!!!!” yelled Bill.
Jim was flying down the interstate, leaving Indianapolis in the dust.
“Over there!” exclaimed Tara.
Jim veered through three lanes of traffic and exited.

They parked at an International House of Pancakes. Little Billy was scooped up (book and blankie as well) as his parents sprinted towards the imminent bathroom break.

Beth H. said...

The rain beat a staccato tattoo on my windshield. I usually find this sound relaxing, but today, it was military march to doom.

What the hell had I been thinking? IU is a great school, but leaving Seattle to move to Indiana was destroying me.

Even though the school had make me a great offer, I’d waffled for months before accepting. I sold my house, booked movers, and said goodbye. I was trading salmon for pork, mountains for plains, rain for blistering heat.

The rearview swallowed the last vestige of Seattle. I sighed and settled in.

Time for another journey.

LynnRodz said...

"Comon'inDiana and set aspell. I've beenawaitin' for ya." BooKnickerbreaker lit his cornpipe and swayed in his rockin' chair.

"Dun mind if I do taka weight off." Diana wiped the sweat from her brow.

"I'ze hear ya gotta bun in d'oven."

"O'Lordy, can't wait til it's dun baked."

"MableJean was asayin' jest this mornin' the heat has gone clear to da moon and her thermastattoo. No mo' cold air acomin' til 'tober."

"Whoused ta say, it's gonna' get hodder til kingdum com?"

"Dunno, but wafflew over my head?"

"Nuttin —landed" Diana wiped the blood. "Dun need a fawder that stupid."

clarkkers said...

Indiana stared at the open book before him. The image of the tattoo looked back with fiendish glee. He knew he had seen it before, but where? His reverie was interrupted by the Waffle House waitress. Indy's blood froze. Peaking beneath her grease-stained sleeve was the hawk-faced witch doctor. The tattoo of the Crooked Hand. She looked at him with the same fiendish glee. A virulent light was in her eyes. He knew his morning was about to get interesting.

katie said...

"I didn't move all the way to Indiana, of all places, to live in a house where I can't even take a hot shower. Get to work."

"Plumbing isn't something you can fix any old way. We need a real plumber."

"Well, I left you in charge of that and you waffled for weeks and I'm not waiting one more day. I'm tearing into that wall and replacing those valves and I'm drywalling your tattooed ass up inside there Edgar Poe-style when I'm done if you don't help me."

"I knew giving you that book was a bad idea."

Dionne said...

Indiana moseyed down the sidewalk turning his ice cream around as he licked it. On his usual afternoon walks, he rarely saw a neighbor-until today. At Mr. Jones house, in a ragged chair, sat an anteater! Indiana thought for sure he was seeing something that wasn't there, but no it was an anteater sipping ice tea and reading a book. And as if seeing the anteater wasn't odd enough, he was tattooed from head to toe with what Indiana could only describe as a waffle pattern.
Did Mr. Jones really own a pet anteater? Indiana had to find out.

Colin Smith said...

As was his custom, Sam Jones let his tattoos tell the story:

A book, because Ronald was their bookkeeper.

A waffle, because Ronald talked too much.

A house, like the one where Ronald met with the Feds.

A map of Indiana. Sam smiled as he finished the star marking both Indianapolis and the bullet wound. He liked these cryptic clues to his identity.

He took a step back to admire his handiwork.

"Okay, Mojo, take him away."

Mojo heaved Ronald's limp body off the metal table and carried him out the door while Sam made the call.

"Job done, boss."

Steve Forti said...

Jan1: New year, new love?

Feb14: Heart-shaped waffles! Jason is soooo sweet!

April1: Woke up with “Property of Jason” henna tattoo. Not cool!

June5: Big fight. So confused.

Aug11: I miss my friends.

Sep29: ER docs suspicious. Convinced them I’m clumsy.

Nov2: Still wearing Halloween makeup. Staying in house.

Nov18: No escape. He’ll never let me get away.

How could she do this to me? What went on in Diana’s head? I let the notebook dangle from my fingers, eyeing the last page.

Dec9: Payback, asshole. The poison’s already on your fingers. Buck up, honey. I’ll be seeing you soon.

Unknown said...

My head throbbed. What happened last night?

Right. I paid my BOOKie, then met Janelle. Like usual, she’d strutted into the bar like she owned the place.

“What’s up?”

“Hello to you, too. You left your INDIANA Jones hat at my HOUSE.”

Smoothing the brim, I stood. “It’s called a fedora.”

“Whatever. Stay for a drink.” She gave a heart-breaker smile.

I WAFFLEd, then sat. After that, the night blurred.

My headache sharpened. I stumbled to the bathroom, leaned against the sink and moaned. The word ‘A**’ was TATTOOed in blue across my forehead.

Good thing Janelle returned my hat.

posse said...

From Indiana’s bed, Jane watched him. She rested her hands inches away from where he sat and admired his golden complexion. Then she grabbed him, wishing his name were tattooed across her collarbone.

Holding him with desperate fingers, she waffled. She felt guilty devouring him at her best friend’s house, inside her best friend’s room.

“You belong to Indiana,” Jane said.

A moment later, she pulled him close and pressed her nose into his spine.

“Screw it,” she whispered. “You now belong to me.”

And with a pounding heart, she slipped her best friend’s book inside her backpack.

Lance said...

Dingle Tingle owned the Indiana franchise for boutique breakfast houses in a flimflam agreement with Atlanta. He waffled over a corporate logo for his girlfriend's totally wonderful ass.

Fangle this. Let's meet Dongle for a drink.

She managed to ignore him, browsing for alternatives. After ten minutes, he dangled his watch in her face. She wouldn't tear her eyes from the book of tattooed customers.

I'll get your corporate ink, if you'll let me pick yours. And buy me a bangle.

Which tattoo?

I'll tell you when it's done. You first.

She whispered to the artist: Hootie & the Blowfish.

Unknown said...

Waffles the cat snuggled in my lap, my second favorite movie on Netflix and a new book for bedtime. What more does a girl need?

Bradley plops down, upsets the popcorn, and points the remote at the TV.

“Wait!” Waffles scurries away. “This is the best line!”

“We named the dog Indiana!” says Sean Connery.

Bradley switches to the HBO crime series Tattooed in Muncie. “They’re remaking Raiders with cool new special effects. Should be awesome.”

Nausea burns my throat. “Leave my house.”


“We’re through.”

I get the remote back, calm Waffles, and start all over at the beginning.

Unknown said...

Frances smashed my finger in the waffle maker for covering up Dad’s weekend trysts with Maureen.


Maureen tattooed “Accomplice” in black marker on my forearm after I used Dad’s Chromebook and “accidentally” deleted his emails to Diana.


Diana threatened to burn down our townhouse unless I revealed the name of Dad’s new ladylove.


Later she apologized over a bowl of my homemade menudo.


Cops stopped me just shy of the Illinois border, driving a rented Beemer.


Already dug up Frances, they said. Tell us where you put Maureen.


Told the truth, as always.


Maggie Maxwell said...

There's no place I love more than Grandma's house. Every room's tattooed with my childhood. Crayon on the wall where us kids drew our own picture books. Grandma didn't want to paint over original art. Ice cream stains from fumbled waffle cones. Grandma didn't like the carpet color anyway. Dents in doors from recreating Indiana Jones's boulder scene. Grandma didn't care about door dents, just kid dents.

I asked her to leave the house to me, but Grandma didn't change her will.

I light a match.

Grandma didn't understand. No one else can have her house. Just me. Only me.

DeadSpiderEye said...

The Indiana chin on Jake Steel's jaw jutted, a salutation to the virtue of the indelible conviction that brought to book his nemesis, Doktor Waffle (pronounced Vahvfel), now vanquished before him. The Doktor's bloody face sneered defiantly, 'Too late Shteel, I hef alɹeady von'.

'I'll make you talk you worm!'

'Eh Eh Eh,' the mocking laughter echoed through the empty house, 'I'll tok u vant Shteel, here's a vurd fur u...'. The Doktor's eyes narrowed, two slits amid a morass of swollen flesh and broken bone, '...perspicacity'.

'What!' queried Steel angrily.

'Oh, I meant, tattoo'.

Scott Sloan said...

Got an unsolvable case?
If you got the money, honey, I got the crime.
Dubois’s the name.
Duff Dubois.
The Indiana big house is the address.
Doing five to ten, ‘cause I waffled up a perv’s face pretty good.
The Judge threw the book at me.
Naturally, I ducked.
But my mouthpiece had a deal with the prosecution.
And lady justice chose that moment to forget she’s blind.
You follow?
Somebody wanted me outta the picture.
They tattooed me with bogus charges.
When I get sprung, I’ll find that rat of a lawyer.
And when I do…
Hoosier daddy, now?

Megan V said...

As Brenda built two miniature houses with her morning waffles—the way she had ever since she’d seen 50 First Dates—Gerald stifled a laugh. It was a phase, he thought. Less annoying than when she’d played OKLAHOMA! on repeat, less troubling than the Indiana Jones wanna-be she’d dated, and less permanent than the dragon tattoo on her ass, but still a film-induced phase.
Then she took out the notebook.
At first, he listened to her with polite interest. Another writer’s phase, he mused.
But the words and waffles together jogged...something...
“Susie?” He croaked.
“Hey Grandpa.” Brenda-not-Brenda grinned. “Welcome back.”

Unknown said...

Dear Diary,

I just arrived in Muncie, Indiana! Tomorrow is the Midwest Writers

Conference. Janet Reid will be there. My five page query letter is

ready. After she reads it I know she’ll want to see the manuscript of

my first book, Bedbugs of the World, all one thousand, one hundred

and twenty-two pages of it!

She’ll be amazed at how prepared I am and will ask to represent me on

the spot. I’ll say yes and show her my new tattoo of her cat

Gossamer. Then we’ll go to the Waffle House for dinner.

Time for bed.

Dan Phalen said...

Coach says forget the 300-pound gorilla, Indiana’s defense will collapse like a house of cards. Second play from scrimmage, QB calls my number: a run off left tackle. I get the ball, I go. Linebacker and gorilla bookend me like a waffle iron. I get up grinning.

Third down. Short pass over center. I go up for the ball, linebacker crashes into my chest, we both land on my back. I roll to my feet with the ball and a wide grin.

Ink artist pushes the shirt off my shoulder, starts the tattoo. I cry like a baby.

Alan Milner said...

I looked up from my book when Joe took the Muncie exit.

“Muncie, Indiana? Really? You found a job in Muncie? That’s the big surprise?”

Joe shrugged. “Gotta go where the work is.”

We passed the old Waffle House. “Grew up here. Used to eat there when I was a kid.”

“I know. Wanna stop?”


Joe pulled off the road to make a U-turn. Stopped.

“What’s up?”

The big Beretta appeared like magic.

“Your number is.”


“The tattoo lady says good-bye.”

“Why Muncie?”

“You came home, despondent. Killed yourself.”

Joe never saw the Baby Browning. I’m that fast.

Matthew Wuertz said...

Becca was tired of Indianapolis. More than that, she was tired of Jeff.

It was everything; it was nothing. Just a snide comment reminding her of a past fight.

She’d get rid of that tattoo of his name whenever she got... well, anywhere but here.


She paused at the driveway where weeds grew up through the cracks.

He jogged over, holding a half-eaten waffle.

The kids watched from the house, their eyes red with tears.

She should book a hotel and go. Before he could... "I'm sorry, Becca. Please."

He took her hand.

She let him.

This time.

KC said...

We booked into the hotel, then hit the minibar in my room. Rita waffled over her drink. Vodka or gin? I didn't care as long as mine had ice. India naturally was hot as blazes. Great choice for a tech convention, though not in May.

I put my briefcase down, then unbuttoned my blouse.

"You've got a tat, too! Is that the..?"

"Queen of Hearts. You bet."

She traced it with her finger, then pulled a gun.

"Give me the drive," she said.

I did. Even with a card up your sleeve, the house usually wins.

Meike said...

A shudder ran through the ship. “Can you tell me what that was about?” a voice demanded. Indiana closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. All the voices, waffling about, distracted her. She knew it was very important to find the cause. She had to find it this time. She thought about the Tattoo, the sign that proved her mind housed more than knowledge of countless books. Suddenly, the voices seemed to be muffled and the salty air invaded her nostrils. She couldn`t refrain from opening her eyes. Grey was all she saw, but a smile spread across her face.

Anonymous said...

When he finished his pathetic "De plane! De plane!" shtick, Tattoo started announcing the guests. Yawn. I'd rather be swimming with Esther Williams. Hell, I'd rather sort my sock drawer than watch these hopeless yokels disembark. No such luck. First, the smile and the handshake. The "Welcome to Fantasy Island!" line, accompanied by the network-required arm gesture. "Mrs. Booker from Indianapolis, how lovely to meet you, my dear." What an annoying voice you have, you old hag. Coconut waffles (again) up at the main house. And so on.

They don't pay me enough for this garbage.

Anonymous said...

For an Indiana boy, Zouave uniforms were nothing short of magical. I waffled back and forth about joining a regular unit or the Zouaves. The red legs won and I booked a ticket to New York, leaving Mama crying in that empty house.

After months of training, the New York 5th stepped out to the drums' smart tattooed beat and my first battle. We marched to a second Bull Run to make an end of the war. In ten minutes most of us were down, including me.

"Oh, Mother dearest. It's the end of the war for me."

Cindy C said...

Tommy sat on the porch and stared across the flat Indiana farmland. The incessant rain tattooed an irregular beat on the roof. Inside the house his mother cooked a breakfast he couldn't eat.

"Wash up," she said when he forced himself to return to the kitchen. "You got so muddy."

She added syrup to his waffles. His old spelling book was still wedged beneath the table leg. The bunny salt and pepper shakers grinned at him as they always had. Everything looked the same.

Except the box of rat poison on the counter. And his father's empty chair.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

The denim blue eyes beneath the Stetson appraised me like I was a promising colt. In this poker game, he was broadcasting a straight-flush.

Closing my book, I suddenly wanted to take this cowboy to my house and roll him like a pair of dice. Before I could move, his phone vibrated a steady tattoo. Answering it, he whined that he already owed child support in Indiana.

My breakfast arrived, and as my ardor cooled, I realized an essential truth. When fate offers you men or waffles, pick waffles. They’re always tasty and even the bad ones leave no regrets.

Mark Ellis said...

They’d been responsible for Princess Diana’s death, and Carmichael still loved her. Having recently received an aggressively terminal diagnosis, he crossed state lines into Indiana to perform a last retributive act.
Ozzy and Sharon were scheduled to appear on Muncie This Morning to promote her book, The Oz and I. Carmichael baited the paparazzi with a false sighting report at Waffle Kingdom and waited. His crosshairs fixed on one sleazoid photographer’s neck tattoo, he opened fire. Three were dead.
There was a clamor in the street outside the jailhouse.
The press, the paparazzi, coming for him.

Michael Seese said...

The Indiana line lay just ahead.

It's close. Closer than the girl I left behind ever could be.

Forever. "Forever," she wrote in my yearbook.

Twelve days. Twelve days until I turn 18. But I can't wait. So I race to escape this place and its Waffle House "culture" before it imprints me permanently.

A tattoo. The first thing I'll do is get a tattoo that says "Freedom."

Just short of freedom, they stop me and bring me back. They say they want me to see her, the girl I left behind.

The girl I left behind, in a ditch.

Anonymous said...

The first thing I saw when I crossed the  state line, after the obligatory "Welcome to Indiana" sign, was Tito's Tattoo House, an establishment promising  "Ink with a Wink...and a smile."  If Marcus was here he'd make some quip about how you should always be pleasant while penetrating someone with your "needle."

But Marcus wasn't here. He was in Muncie.

At Waffle Emporium.

With her.

Book agent, my ass. She was a shark.

I wasn't jealous, I told myself as I checked the GPS. I just wanted to try the waffles.

Kathryn Clark said...

Red lipstick became my war paint. I marked myself with their names, a dozen tattoos from boys who’d been gone within a week. Booked it to Indiana with a guy named New and Improved, dumped him and hitched back with the next in line. Choosing guys I didn’t think could hurt me. Shooting up behind the crumbling waffle house, walking away with their bruises as jewelry.

Momma said trouble was headed my way. Should’ve known she was always right.

The police shoved me against the cruiser, bagged the gun still splattered with boy thirteen. But somehow I couldn’t stop smiling.

Christina Seine said...

Name was Gary, but we called him Indiana. Like Jones, the movie. Strangled four women with a bullwhip, tattooed their names on his fingers.

Never heard where he got that whip though. He was one sick mother.

When word came down, we took bets on his Last Meal. I read this book once, 'bout the Lindburgh baby kidnapper. Got chicken, peas and cake. But there’s options.

Me, I’d pick chicken and waffles.

Didn’t matter anyway. Gary gave ’em all the finger, chose the Big House Special: hanged hisself in his cell, firstlike. Sure beat them.

Gary. Indiana.

Now that’s funny.

Donnaeve said...

I escaped captivity days ago, my untimely end thwarted.

Freedom compels me to find the one I’d known before.

Many miles later, I sense he is nearby.

Cautious, I watch a door.

It opens.

A stranger walks out.

Behind her, the one I seek.

I recognize his voice.

Waffle House is great.”

“Yeah, it is. What made you tattoo that date on your arm?”

“To remember when he went missing.”

“It happened in Indianapolis?”

“Yeah. I searched for weeks.”

I move quickly.

He sees me.

“What the…! Booker?”

I leap onto my master, licking his face in greeting.

Steven D. said...

Momma always said Indiana would serve as the bookends of my life; I just didn’t think I’d return before Daddy’s last breath.

Her panicked call yesterday, as she waffled between reporting his drunken advances and reminiscing happier times, is the reason for my revoked teenage pledge to steer clear of Jasper.

As I drove, I recalled many horrid nights I’d use his chest wide cobra tattoo as a meditational focal point for escape.

When I entered, Daddy manacled my wrist as Momma, clenching her tattered housecoat, bolted for the door, saying, “Tag, princess. Time for my twenty years of freedom.”

Dena Pawling said...

Welcome to Indiana!

I was never so glad in my life to see that sign. Ten long months......

So tired of flipping through guidebooks, living out of suitcases, eating strange food in even stranger restaurants, pantomiming communications with tattooed strangers.

No more “Does anyone here speak English?”

No more “Yes, I speak. Sorry. Please you no stand chair sit? Thank you.”

No more! I'm home at last. Time for a down-home American breakfast.

“Velcome to ze house of ze vaffle.”

“It's waffle.”

“Zat iss vat I said. Vaffle.”


“Does anyone here speak English?”

Anonymous said...

The Music Man was her favourite. She'd sing "Madame Librarian" and stamp every book in the house. One entire summer, I had that damned "Gary, Indiana" stuck in my head. Her dream? To perform on Broadway.
Too few roles.
Too many auditions.
Never a callback.
Drink drink drink, shoot a lot, snort a little more.
She got to know the territory.
Yes, sir.
Sweet dreams be yours, dear--
We ID'd her by the trombone tattoo, that morning the cops interrupted breakfast.
--if dreams there be.
I'll never eat waffles again.
Sleep tight, my someone,

Amy Schaefer said...

She didn’t waffle when opportunity knocked. Just grabbed it and ran away for good.

“First job!” the postcard read. I flipped it over. Greetings from SINdiana! There she was, winking and blowing a kiss, overripe t&a bursting from poison green lingerie. The state of Indiana loomed behind her, picked out in dildos and decorated with paraphernalia I could barely peek at through my fingers.

The rain beat a tattoo on the tin roof and dripped through the holes. The house felt empty. I tucked the postcard into a book and tried to be happy for her.

But really, mama. Sindiana?

ashland said...

You don't know what you're doing. The cheap ink poking out your low cut shirt proves that. Looks like your jail-yard tattoo is trying to crawl away from your sagging tits.


You waffle around, almost tipping over. Drunk this early?


The rent-a-cop turns his head but he's about to meet the Indiana Jones of petty theft.


You slap my shoulder and we book it like a 90's Pizza Hut read-a-thon. You manage not to get caught and still reach our FrigidAir house before me.


You offer “half” but I see your stash.

We hug. "Thanks, Mom.”

Unknown said...

Feet dangling catch my attention. Behind the curtain hangs Veronica, the prettiest girl in Indiana.
I use the never-locking screen door my neighborhood has to get in her house. The bedroom door shatters against my shoulder. She breathes in as I lift her.
I slacken the noose and press her coughing form against me. A ladybug tattoo behind her ear greets me.
She whimpers, "Let me die. My life is horrible."
"But, you're any guy's dream."
"There's nothing left for me."
She expects me to waffle—not happening.
She recovers. "What now?"
"Let's go read my sister's ladybug book."

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Once Gary gave Linda the waffle iron cookbook, they fought less, smiled more. They bought maple syrup and better grade butter, grass-fed, soft yellow in its white waxed paper.

Burgeoned by a few beers with the guys one night, Gary went out and had "Luckiest guy in Indiana" tattooed on his bicep.

The house was invitingly almond scented when he arrived. "I got this for you, sweetie," he slurred.

"Have some dinner." Her back was to him, iron steaming.

"Smells good," Gary said.

"It's a new recipe."

Ten minutes later, with his plate cleared, Gary slumped and dropped his fork.

Unknown said...

Beyond Indianapolis the Midwestern plains are laid out like toppled bookcases. I stare down without sympathy, housed in riveted steel. Since the launch I've heard a mechanized announcement on repeat: “Evacuation protocol initiated.” The voice has tattooed its staccato diction upon my mind. Looping circuitry, I suppose.

Cauliflower ghosts of grand explosions are still evident through my viewfinder, despite the waffle-shaped ice forming on the lens.

This overly-trusted Chief of Staff now occupies a presidential capsule designed for scenarios of mutually assured destruction. My penance for treason is another year in solitary orbit before the nuclear winter subsides.

Marc P said...

I was sitting in a waffle joint.

Hot, bothered and ready to kill for the diet coke that shouldn’t be taking so goddam long already! Were they getting the ice cubes from Siberia?

The guy opposite talking like the place was named after him. But I was here for housekeeping, to balance the books not listen to excuses. Yammer, yammer, yammer - as relentless as the drumming in a military tattoo and just as soothing.

Indiana. I wouldn’t be coming here again.

‘Just gimme a week, sugarlips,’ the verbal percussionist said. ‘You’re killing me here!’

Then again, neither would he.

A said...

Upon entering Gemini's House of Tattoos, he knew he'd made a mistake. The girl gave him a once-over, raised an eyebrow, and saw through him. Instantly. Check and mate.

"Come back in a week, book an appointment then." She said too kindly. "First times are hard."

"I want this." He shifted his weight. "Really."

The constellation on her shoulder twisted stars into knots as she tucked her hair back. "It's okay to think about it."

She smiled again in that benign Indiana way, and in that instant became everything he'd ever hated about the Midwest.

This time, he didn't waffle.

AAGreene said...

The killing frost evaporates as they flee, their soggy footprints vanishing in the misty sunlight. They separate, then rendezvous. By the book.

But then, he wants waffles.


“Felonies always make me hungry.”

Then she sees it. The house of cards, tumbling down toward a dark oblivion.

A bright tattoo emblazoned on his neck. She points. “When?”

“Last night. Cute, huh?”

Oh, oh. The cameras. “Imbecile!”

She stares at him. Three crimes this night. What’s one more?

Prison in Indiana ain’t that bad. Not this time of year, anyway.

SimonFrancisDowling said...

“Have you seen the state of the new student” scoffed Gregory.

“International?” said Joffers.

“States,” Gregory whipped his neck and flicked the hair out of his eyes, “Indiana I think.”

“Pfft,” said Charles, “I bet she lives in one of those bungalow houses downtown and eats waffles for breakfast.”

Joffers rolled his eyes. “Who the fuck lives in Indiana anyway?”

Gregory coughed twice as the girl approached. She fumbled toward an introduction, books cradled in her arms.

Charles stuck out his hand, exposing the borders of his tattoo, and immediately retracted it before making contact.

“Welcome to hell.”

Unknown said...

She opened the book of sample tattoos. Commemorating her win with some new ink seemed like a good idea -- last night. But now those five glasses of house red were curdling in her stomach and the waffle breakfast was threatening to come back up.
"See anything you can't live without, cupcake?"
She looked up at the tattoo artist and flashed him her best Miss Indiana smile. Her finger hovered over the skull and cross bones then came to rest on the 'tramp stamp.'
"That one. It'll look real sweet with the sash."
"Hey, I knew I recognized you!"

Tamlyn said...

I never wanted to be in Indiana, let alone sitting in a stranger's house listening to them waffle on about their apocalypse plan. I'm not even sure where Indiana is. The US, sure, but southern? Central?

If I'd known I'd end up here, I'd have read a non-fiction book about the states instead of the latest King. Or maybe something on teleportation. Or how to listen to your mother when she says tattoos will bring about the end of the world.

I didn't think anything of it when the new tattooist said he made his own ink.

Fricking ex-sorcerers.

Gigi Kern said...

It was Saturday, the best day ever according to seven-year-old Indie. His dad made him waffles and let him eat in front of the TV.
"What movie today Indie?" His dad asked.
"Um, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?"
His dad laughed, remembering the first time Indie saw his most favorite movie ever...
Indie asked, "Daddy, am I named after the dog too?"
"No silly. We don't have a dog. It was either your name or from the book your mom was reading called This House is a Tattoo. I vetoed that one." His dad said with a laugh.

Gabby said...

She waffled on the job offer in Indiana. They gave it to Harvey Ford.

She needed time to consider Paul’s marriage proposal. Apparently a week is long enough to fall into someone else’s bed. She kept the ring.

Her dream house went up for sale. She waited to put in a bid to make sure it was within her price range. It sold within hours. She still drives by every Tuesday.

She flips through the book of designs, determined to make the best choice. She closes her eyes and points blindly. She goes home with a shark tattoo.

Matt Adams said...

True story an hour ago:

From the corner of his half-asleep eye, he saw movement. Next he felt creeping.

“There’s a bug. In my ear,” he said, running into the house, the insect’s scurrying sounding like an Indiana fans after a loss. Cara eschewed medical books and quoted her IPad. “It says not to panic;” he complied despite feeling the creature tattooing his eardrum. “It says use baby oil.”

He nodded. In went the oil, out crawled the bug. “Oh God,” Cara said, rushing to the toilet to lose brunch’s waffles, disgusted the earwig had lived up to its name.

Anonymous said...

I eyed a book tattoo scribbled across her wrist.

Order Up. Smothered, covered, and diced hash browns placed in front of me, and the oniony stench wafted to my nostrils. I reached out and touched the ink etched on her skin, an intimate gesture between two strangers in a Waffle House in the foreign territory of Indiana. Startled by my touch, the waitress looked at me. A stare really. I held her gaze. Fork to mouth. A taste of the South exploding in my mouth so far from home. The waitress never came back to refill my drink.

Scrambled3ggs said...

“Another contest?” My goal was bold, and tenacity soon forged mediocre stories featuring Indiana. Rationality arrived; knowledgeable is relative.

A book provided positivity and confidence while a 2:00 a.m. TV commercial made me drool. “Mmmmm, waffles.”

Eventually, my house dark, the printer tattooed paper; I was ready; posting provides reachability. Bravery and politeness were decisions before sleep.

Write what you know haunted my dreams.

Re-reading the seventeen works I bellowed “Imperfection!” before dreamy-inspiration visited.

“Lesson learned. Tattooed women at Waffle Houses in Indiana can be dangerous. Doc says the dent in my skull was from her book.”

Warily, I submit.

Karen McCoy said...

I hadn’t expected to spend time in Sotheby’s and my Indiana Jones shirt showed I wasn’t dressed for the occasion. “Who would paint a bunch of squares gelled together like that?”

My husband pointed to the description. “It says, ‘Book of Scars, by Smith.’ Must be some kind of metaphor.”

“For what? And $20,000? That’s a down payment on a house.”

A man tapped my shoulder and glared. It looked like a griddle waffle was tattooed to his cheek. He worked for Sotheby’s and his nametag said Smith. “It’s a self-portrait. Supposed to help pay for punitive damages.”

Just Jan said...

"Don't leave," the house pleaded silently, as the parents booked a hotel for the Indianapolis 500. But they left anyway, and the boy's heavily tattooed girlfriend moved in, bringing with her unsavory guests who marred its walls and shook the rafters with their music.

"Be careful," the house shrieked, as smoked billowed from an unattended waffle iron and collected in the attic. But the boy only laughed as he poured more batter into the machine.

"Watch--!" the house boomed, as the boy and girl stirred cold medication into the concoction cooking on the stove. But there was no reply.

Unknown said...

Faking smiles comes easily to me, almost as easily as faking orgasms.
What I couldn't fake was sustained interest when he waffled on... and on… Yesterday it was the Indianapolis 500. I was paying more attention to my book than him.
He’d said sorry, he always said sorry.
I touched the spot where his knuckles had temporarily tattooed my ribcage and winced. I’d wanted be House Captain, and Head Cheerleader, and to be envied for having the hottest boyfriend. I should have been more specific about my third wish.
But faking smiles comes easily to me.

RachelErin said...

I breathe deeply of daydreams to distract from the burn -- anything permanent is proof of true love -- a house in Indiana, kids, a dog.

The tattooist slowly traces a book over my heart, lover’s names on the cover.
I wonder what he picked; we’re surprising each other.

I tug up his waffle-weave henley as we walk down the stairs,
A fiery Incan sun: the tattoo’s center is bare.

Unknown said...

I turn left at Indiana Station. Her thighs squeeze my hips. Against my naked back she smashes a waffle of skin snatched from the chump we housed on San Pedro. Calls it my new tattoo.

Booking it to Inglewood, front wheel in the air, she puts a finger in the hole in my side leaking a remoulade of fat and blood. I try to tell her I love her over the sirens. She smiles against my neck.

Cops ahead. I set the bike free to find its path across the asphalt. She holds my hand as we slide.

Unknown said...

“Hard to find a man in an Indiana cornfield,” the old priest tells me.

He ‘s fading but still he wants to talk: about the Good Book; about cornfields going as far as eye can see; about cornstalks taller than our jungle longhouse.
“I’ve never seen a cornfield,” I say. “It’s beyond me … Llike your talk about corndogs and waffles.”
He draws the waffle for me in the dust with his finger. Then he dies.

Later, I tattoo that cross-hatched square on his chin.
Best thing I could give him for the afterlife.
He was my father after all.

smoketree said...

Start from the beginning.
Had waffles for breakfast and left.
I had never been to Indiana.
Booked a ticket on the 6AM train.
She had a tattoo that I had never seen before.
Tried to explain.
They took me down to the big house.
Start over.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Inglenook Pocket Neighborhood
Carmel, Indiana

Inside the house, the victim lies on the floor. Brilliant blue eyes, cat-lined, stare ahead. Long hair. Enticing full-lipped mouth. Half-sleeved tattoo. A knife stabbed into her lower abdomen bloodies the sundress. Legs splay awkwardly.

On the table, sit two plates of waffles and a picture book with a Mary-Poppins panda, “Zen Shorts.”

A man in black pants and shirt sits on the couch, a clerical collar in trembling, bloodied hands.

“She’s our Children’s Pastor.”

He wears a wedding band.

The dead woman—I do a double take—the dead man does not.

Unknown said...

“Beautiful service,” he said. Some old friend of Dads—I’d waffled on the name.

I thought of the shabby sanctuary, hymnbooks tattooed with graffiti and Ma next to me in her housecoat. No mention of what everyone was thinking: high-rise, long-jump, closed casket, splat.

I smiled. “Thanks for coming.”

“Certainly,” he said, fedora cocked over one eye. “I loved your father.”

Of course he had. My Dad—the charming chameleon.

The Indiana Jones wannabe squeezed my shoulder, “He’s smiling down on you from heaven.”

I doubted that. I think I saw the last of Dad’s smiles.

Right before I pushed.

Unknown said...

-Do you want to get a tattoo?
-We're at a Waffle House.
-Duh. I mean when we get back to Indiana.
-Can you even get a tattoo in Indiana?
-I read a book once that said people who get tattoos are trying to fill a void in their lives.
-Only void I'm trying to fill is in my stomach. Pass the syrup.
-You sure about that?
-The syrup?
-The void.
-I'm sure. What? Don't look at me like that.
-OK then, which one do you want?
-Which tattoo?
-Which syrup.
-Now I’m not so sure.

Unknown said...

“Are we there yet?”
“No!” The parents growled in unison.
A squish soars by. Freedom.
“Are we there yet?”
“No!” The parents growled in unison.
Another squish departs as I sigh and open my book. “Exactly how long will it take to get to Indiana?”
“N—Oh, about another sixteen hours.”
“Squish!!! Squish back, squish back now!”
“One more time and I’ll tattoo the squish to your forehead!”
“Who you gonna call? The Wah-bulance.”
Fists. Tears. Screams.
Pausing to turn around in the Waffle House parking lot, the parents look to each other and whimper, “Are we there yet?”

Maire @ Stringchronicity said...

“Have you noticed there’s a waffle house beside every tattoo studio we’ve passed?”

She looked over to the passenger seat, surprised. He had put down his book and was staring out the window. The drive from Calgary to Indiana was a long one and he’d barely said a word once they crossed the border. Convention season was exhausting. The rain didn’t help.

“Look, there’s another one.”

“Kinda like back home where there’s a lube shop next to every adult video store, eh?”

He grinned back at her. “Probably says something, don’t you think?”

“About us or them?”

SalT said...

I looked up from my breakfast and book and studied Chuck, the tattooed short-order cook at the Waffle House. Why did he seem so familiar?

Chuck glanced my way and quickly turned away. Was that a guilty look? What was it about him?

I returned my attention to my eggs-over-easy and let my brain rummage through its archives.

I looked up again. Shave the beard. Swap cropped blond hair for long dark tresses.


Chuck ran for the back door. I called 911 to report that on-the-lam murderess Charlotte Harris was headed west on foot on Indiana.

Tony Clavelli said...

On tour, we heard about a tattoo artist whose work moved beneath your skin. After our show, we drove to Gary, where pink neon bled onto the sidewalk before Cutlip’s Broodmoon.

I waffled over a skull or our logo, but Cutlip shook her head and began. The pain? Fantastic.

“Don’t let it out,” she warned.

The show we booked in Indianapolis was a full house. I played terribly, trying to contain my bear tattoo.

Eventually the bear ripped itself from my arm, scampering through the crowd. It took so much of me with it.

“Best show ever,” I heard.

Shaula Evans said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pam Powell said...

“I won’t lie!”

The old woman puffed a cigarette. “Just don’t tell the whole truth.”

The younger woman drummed an angry tattoo on the table. “As a witness, I can’t waffle!”

Miss H. demurred, “The black deemed guilty but is innocent; his attorney, also innocent.”

“The attorney’s guilty. I know!”

“Dig deeper. It’s not just Alabama. There’s Mississippi, New York, Indiana….”

“He’s –”

“Innocent. And so are you – powerfully innocent. Do it for the country.”

The witness touched her fingertips together to form a house. A house of prayer? Could she see Atticus Finch differently? She nodded. Revise the book.

french sojourn said...

I remember watching the clouds of my childhood stumble along, skulking across a bruised sky, high above our Indiana corn field.

Back then, people expected the victim of domestic violence to be a “her”, and acted as though she should be tattooed in undeserved timidity. They waffled morally like total flim-flam artists…painting perceived guilt.

My dad never sang, but man could he dance. In our house he wrote the book.

You see, he was a gregarious kind soul, constantly laughing, with bright eyed wonder. But seeing her lift a glass would furrow his brow, praying tonight was not that night.

John Frain said...

I go to Indiana sometimes still. Five thousand miles away, but I close my eyes and go. Half-mile in from Normandy Beach, yet I smell grandma’s peonies.

Three months remaining in my tour, the B-29’s revving like Indy engines.

France isn’t Indiana. France isn’t mine. But you’re not mine anymore either.

I waffled that day – you know the day – you stood in my house and promised me. Just three years, you said. I’ll book the hall, you told me. But you couldn’t wait.

I got a tattoo. Shorter hair. Scars. You’ll recognize me in church though, hurting more than ever.

Steph said...

“…round and round, round and round.”

“Pennsylvania: 25% done!” East coast states are small.

“On the road again, just can’t wait…” Radio off. I can’t wait to leave slow-state, at least Indiana’ll go by faster.

“Seven states. Seven books. Don’t you love road-trips?!” Close your eyes. Deep breath. No, eyes on the road.

“I spy something silver.” Blessed, searching silence.

“Nooooo, my tattoo is glitter!” Shattered.

“Your face is all waffled.”

“At least my face isn’t stupid!”

Outside there’s a house. With a bed. I pass it with longing. America’s Heartland is breaking mine.

Six more states to go.

Anonymous said...

Crimson tablecloths—bad omen. I sucked up my misgivings and slid into a corner booth to wait for my unknown contact.

“What’ll ya have?” a gum-snapping waitress asked.

“Just water.”

“If you sit, you order. What’ll it be?”

What’ll it be? That’s it! Crap! What’s my reply? I patted my jacket, wanting to pull out the codebook. Thoughts of an automatic’s ratatattooey if I failed haunted me. “The house special, a waffle shaped like—Indiana?”

“Wrong answer.” Her hand disappeared into her apron pocket.

I needn’t have worried about the noise —no automatic. Silencer —no one heard the fatal shot.

Anonymous said...

Knew he’d hurt me eventually. Just didn’t expect it to be today.
Punched me so hard my tattoos flinched.
Or maybe it was the way my skin crinkled as the rest of me folded.
Trouble is, not sure I’ll ever unfold. A well-thumbed book snapped shut for the last time.
Neighbours must have heard the screaming. Paramedics came straight into the house without knocking; green uniforms, worried faces.
Tried to talk. Waffled on. Impossible to speak with a broken face.
He was gone. Not his fault. Should never have interrupted during his favourite film.
Never did like Indiana Jones though.