Friday, July 17, 2015

Go Set a Watchman flash fiction writing contest

The most talked about book this summer is Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman. I purposely avoided  all the pre-publication reviews and yammer so I could open it with the freshest possible eye.  I read it in a day and I'm still not quite sure what I think of the book.  Mostly I think someone with avarice in their heart had a lot to do with publication.

But, let's mark the week with a flash fiction contest! Prize is a copy of Go Set a Watchman.

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 together and in consecutive order.

Thus: flam/flamingo is ok but man/mean is not.

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

6. 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.

7. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.  Prize is generally a book.

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

9. 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. Tweeting things in general about the contest is fine: "I entered the flash fiction contest!"

8. Please do not add any comments about contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")  They will be deleted and you will find yourself in Hot Water.

Contest opens: Saturday, July 18,  5:44am (ok, I changed this without notice but I got up early, so there ya go.)

Contest closes: Sunday, July 19, 6am (note that this is EARLIER than normal!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?

Not yet!
Oops, too late.
Contest closed at 6am Sunday July 19.



Kate Larkindale said...

Music pulsing, pounding; ears humming and buzzing with bass. On stage, writhing rockers shriek their wailing lament to the beat. I watch, screaming approval, mangling my body in time. Outstretched hands contact famous flesh. Palms touching, a flaming current flows between us. Eyes - blue meets brown – sparks fly. Attraction promises total fulfillment of carnal desires.

Backstage sex is brief, unsatisfying. Fiery breath searing hoarse dry throat, tongue probing, sudden stabbing pain. Commitments made, broken moments later when he leaves, leather scent following skeletal frame.

Flimsy doll-me left by a filthy staircase, glass shards underfoot. Abandoned again, used up. Alone

french sojourn said...

Poor Atticus aged and grew so cold,
His spiteful sister aided, in his sad unfold.
Don’t wait for a sequel, I tell yah man,
the beatnik Scout has Henry in hand.

So with their eyes peeled, they pace and they wait,
longing for a figure to walk through their front gate,
Not the Watchman, nor William the Bard,
but for their Attorney, who’s always on guard.

And when he arrives, they’ll be such glee,
with a check made out to the family of the writer; Harper Lee.
Was it a total flim-flam?
Upon reading it, I would say, “Yes Mam.”

Marc P said...

It was a hot morning by an old, adobe church somewhere south of the Rio Grande. Jim ‘Dave’ Bowie was running the keen edge of his famed wit against a sharpening stone.
A motley fool stepped from the shadows into the brilliance of his lyrical genius, throwing some words in the air. ‘Hey watch, man! Total flim flam!’ cried the lad. ‘Insane,’ thought Bowie. But the words dipped, danced and disappeared as if charmed.
‘Someone will bring ‘em back, son. There’s money in words…’ chuckled old Jim, sheathing his wit. ‘And some folk don’t care as to how they’re arranged.’

Shea said...

Flames licked the edges of the windowsill, the inside of the cabin a tiny sun of yellow-orange glow. A man droned on in the background, catching newcomers up to speed.

“The flimsy curtains were first to spark, which set off the rug. It’s been so dry lately; just a breeze was enough to skip the flames across the floorboards to the kerosene stove. Never stood a chance after that – whole place will be totalled by dawn”.

We stood, watching in silence. A woman’s sigh broke the air.

“That’s what happens when you hold a candle for too long, I suppose.”

M. S. Aarons said...

Daphne’s radio crackled with news of a Latin dance craze sweeping Florida. She spent many days practicing the best dance routine this side of the Mississippi.

In a dress that could make babies cry, she was totally ready for the ‘Annual Bingo Ball’.

She gulped scotch as smug eyes watched.

Daphne raised a flimsy leg and bent her arms, swaying to Gloria Estefan. Someone shouted, “It’s the Flamenco, not Flamingo!”

The blue powder frosting Daphne’s eyes disappeared into deep wrinkles as she glared at them.

Daphne’s middle finger was held high, like her head, as she sauntered out of there.

Lee Kelsall said...

Without the flimsy illusion of theatre, Marilyn’s flamboyant elegance evaporated.
The closing curtain totally swallowing her applause, she dropped into a chair, eyeing the unpalatable truth of her illuminated reflection.
Leaning forward, elbows shoving for room amongst the cascade of makeup and sequins, her thumbs prised the luxuriant blonde wig from her scalp. Manicured hand caressing it, she draped the hair jealously over a styrofoam head.
Snatching a stained, damp flannel from a teetering stack, she hid her face in musty warmth.
Lipstick and mascara melted into clown’s tears.
In sad recognition, Marilyn watched the man in the mirror reappear.

Steve Forti said...

I checked my Swatch. 6:30. Now or never. “Tommy, it’s time.” I grabbed the phone, paused. “Remember what we practiced. Be sure to-“

“T don’t need no flim flam or jibber jabber. Gimme me the phone, fool.”

I gnawed a Lincoln Log like a pensive Hannibal while Tommy worked his verbal maneuvers into the handset. The Night of Total Awesomeness ™ hinged on the next few moments.

“Mom said I can sleep over!”

Several high fives later, I popped the new A-Team game from its case and turned on the Atari.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Amanda Capper said...

She used a silk hanky to wipe his blood from the knife.

“Tad flamboyant, isn’t he?” she whispered to the watching alley cat.

The feline’s total disinterest pleased her. “No loss, you’re thinking?”

The cat yawned and the woman smiled. “A flimsy loss at best.”

She lifted her victim’s head by his hair. “What kind of name is Streckfus, anyway? Did your mother hate you?”

No answer.

“Listen, you-old-killer-expert-you, quit spreading gossip or,” she leaned in, lips to ears, “you’ll gain first-hand experience and will, tragically, be unable to write about it.”

She left the cat to lick the wounds.

LynnRodz said...

All her life she’d been adamant. She had said all she had to say and would never publish another novel. Now totally blind, profoundly deaf, and problems with short-term memory, she's vulnerable. I was her sister, her protector, but alas no longer.

“…she can’t see, can’t hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone in whom she has confidence.”

I watch from afar. What angers me most, she had no say. Her lawyer, agent and publisher pulled all the strings. She was flimflammed.

She sits alone unaware and, by God, I would burn every copy if I could.

Nikola Vukoja said...

Other than Kerrie’s manic need to uphold her marriage vows, little kept Richard from being flambéed and feed to the pigs.
He had become so feeble, so bland. Once he played in a band and licked vodka from her naked body. Now he was a teetotaller and feared licking the backs of stamps.
Far, far away, beyond his flimsy handshake, she sometimes imagined a swatch of hope. But reality doesn’t live in hope and a good murder requires more than cultivated coldness. She damned her Catholic upbringing and her wedding day promises – and with that she damned herself to nothingness.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

At first, it seemed like it might not work. Then the oily smoke filled the flimsy circle scrawled on the floor with Epiphany chalk and built itself into a seething column.

Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" scratched through the wooden speakers until the electric cut out, total darkness. The flip-clink of Zippos, and flames bloomed from glassed-in candes.

"Son of man, break the circle and release me," said the smoke. "Babylon will never fall."

"Just doing my part," said John. His old black Bible fell open to the right page and he began to intone the Roman Rite.

Curt David said...

First Ever Contest Sequel!

The police were listening to a tape of Mr. Chiromancy, Mr. Watchword, Mr. Flamming, and Mr. Totalisator.

“American Pharoah or Flimsy,” said one.
“Should I bet?” said two.
“Give me your palms,” said three.
“PHAROAH!” yelled four.
“Put in dollars now,” said one.
“Can I borrow a grand?” asked two.
“Yes. I foresee you prospering,” said three.
“Yes. PHAROAH!” yelled four.
“Are you still there?” asked one.
“Later suckers,” said two.
(Fading footsteps)
“Technically I was right” sighed three.
“Pharoah” whimpered four.
“System restarting,” said one.

The police figured out who said what. Can you?

S.D.King said...

Pa’s been a judge 9 years total.

Hizzonor never sees me watch’n in the back and I don’t say boo.

I seen flim-flams, cold-blooded rapists, and loose women.

In his black robe, he gets mad as rabid dogs at criminals, but Pa’s a true man and locks ‘em up.

Today’s case is a dilly, but Pa will sort it out. That jury’s got no education, so Pa will have to hint how to vote. He always does.

Today is Friday. The day he takes his black robe to the cleaners, but he only needs a white robe on Friday nights.

Audrey Chin said...

Even at the mouth of the tomb they could hear the woman whimpering.
“Go on. Gotta go in if we want to get her out,” the first one said.
“Something might be watching out for her,“ the other one protested.
“Ghosts, watching with eyes closed and ears stuffed with dirt,”” the first one giggled. “You’re a medicine man. You can deal with them.” He pulled at the flimsy skirt tied around the second man’s waist, the one the woman had been wearing. “Go on, light this up and throw it in, flame those ghosts, total the place.”
“And her too?”

Jillian said...

I watch the sun set as the sky blazes a red orange the color of flames. The perfect backdrop for the intense flare of anger I feel after last night’s betrayal. What kind of man treats a woman that way? What kind of woman stands for it? The love I used to feel has morphed into a putrid mix of hate and disgust. It’s a good thing I don’t have a flimsy sense of self-worth. Nobody stomps on my heart and walks away unscathed. The last two years have been a total waste of time. Tonight, he will pay.

Michael J. Craft said...

The coffee shop buzzed with delight and so did Brenda. She tipped her cup back, but stopped mid-sip. “Oh no. The Rolex Watch Club.”

“Hey, Brenda.”

“Ladies.” Brenda returned to her laptop.

“That girl’s skinny as paper,” they whispered. “Flimsy, too.” They chuckled. “A two-cup woman.”

That’s it! Brenda marched to the counter. The flamboyant barista waited. “Dark roast.” Brenda turned toward the gaggle with her chin up. “My third cup today.”

Any more than two cups and Brenda’s heart might explode—doctor’s orders. She swallowed the risk, the totality of her life, and curtsied.

Rich said...

The woman pulled out a swatch of fabric in front of me. I fingered the thin black fabric and enjoyed the way it was so silky and yet still completely see-through.

“It’s a little flimsy for welding protection,” said the woman.

“Oh, I’m not making it for outerwear…” I said.

My wife had no idea that I was taking sewing lessons, and I wanted to surprise her with my first project. But since I was a welder by profession it still had to be somewhat manly, so an inflammable teddy seemed totally appropriate.

Carmen DeSousa said...

I watched in total desperation as my old flame, Jack—the man I knew I was destined to marry—walked down the aisle with my ex-girlfriend, Jill.

Jill and I had been inseparable growing up. Inseparable, that is, until she stole Jack from me. She’d flimflammed me into believing that she hated Jack, and he’d said that he hated her, too. And yet, there they stood.

I reached for another tissue, but my packet was empty; I’d used every one.

“Here, Mary.” Jill’s handsome ex, Peter, held out a tissue. “Don’t worry. Jack and Jill will fall down a hill.”

Jennifer Delozier said...

“Watch out for that one,” Vito said, pointing to the woman dancing in a flimsy, fringed bikini, a flamboyant cowboy hat perched on her bleached blonde head. He bounced in his seat like a hyperactive toddler. A neon sign flashed above the stage: “Club Lead.”
“Way ahead of ya.” Vito’s companion pulled up his shirt to reveal a total of three bullet holes scarring his midsection. He nodded to the dancer, who pulled the gun strapped to her shapely thigh and aimed it at Vito.
“Wait! What the…”
“What? You wanted to be part of the club, didn’t ya?”

Craig said...

“Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, to the fight of the Millennium. For twelve seasons in the last millennium we watched the two boys know by the pseudonyms Flimathy and Flammeron grow in their riveting totally must watch TV series. We watched their manipulated twin zygotes grow, brawl with a belligerent peerage, struggle with homework and have food fights. Tonight, in an epic ten hour mano-a-mano match we will finally get a winner. Within ten hours we will know who mom really liked best. Go to your corners and come out fighting. No eye gouging or rabbit punches allowed.”

CynthiaMc said...

"Hold my beer. Watch this."
Before I could say "Hell no" my flamboyant twin brother tossed me his Bud and climbed the flimsy rigging.
"You're a Supreme Court justice. Show some decorum."
He mooned me.
364 days a year Hal and I are total professionals. On our birthday we sail my boat to the Caribbean and relax.
This year we weren't alone. Snickering carries over water.
I closed my book, grabbed my 30-30, shot the camera out of Mr. Paparazzi's hand into
"Shark-infested waters!" we yelled.
The man dove anyway.
Crimson tide.
"Thanks, Sis," said Hal.
"Thank the shark."

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

I abandoned her on Pub Row. She’s missing. My flimsy excuse, I was schnockered. The night’s deleted.

I need to find her.

I watch my bare foot navigate shards of green glass and sick. Last night’s spills, baked onto tropical tarmac, suck and smack my progress. Strawberry daiquiris, flambéed crepes, jalapenos. My stomach, filleted by vodka shots, convulses when yeasty air exhumes from Late Bar. A couple stumbles out. Liquid relief — even at dawn.

A pigeon whooshes past, lands on a wire, frightens me prone. Dreadful flying rat.


Lace-locked to a man’s dress shoe she dangles. Total recall.

Dan said...

It’s the Second Annual Carkoon Bungee Jump. Dewey Buttonweezer waves to me from the top of the crane. “Watch, man!” Then he grabs his crotch, taps his flimsy helmet for luck, and does a total inverse quad somersault from a hundred and seventy feet in the air.


Girlfriend walks up to the rules judge. “Overs?”

Anonymous said...

And you? How do you respond?

Do you chuckle to find so many stranger-friends flocking beneath your oriflamme? Justice! Justice! their hue and cry while claiming that flimsiest of associations.

Do you rage against the manacles of age that tie your tongue and stop your ears? Those you thought allies peel back deceitful skin.

Do you smile for those who’ve long-loved you, able now to hold a subtotal of your soul? It was for them you wrote.

Or are you swallowed in oblivion, surrounded by a world outwatching your breath, all answering on your behalf?

I’m listening.

Steph said...

“… gotten totally flamboyant lately.”
“There’s only so bright you can get, geez.”
Siri heard them whispering; saw them looking. They were right. And they were stupid, staying there, staring, when they should be drifting away.
“It’s a vast expanse, so much to see.” Flimsy excuses like she’d once given, when it was someone else’s turn.
“They’ll be watching you,” they said, “On the little blue orbs, they’ll be watching you millennia from now.” Yes, it was the perfect mantra – of death.
Hotter; her light was eclipsing her consciousness. She let go, light fled in every direction as Siri collapsed.

PL Alston said...

The railway in Flam provides breathtaking views of the fjords, and I'm on my way to the station when I'm pulled to a stop by the British accent in the market square.

“How much for the watch?”

“That'll be a flim for you, sir.”

“Too much. Two pound fifty.”

“Oy! A'right, three pound twenty.”

I move along the table, fingering several pieces, before turning back to the man with a sigh. Just in time to make the train, money tin deftly tucked into a pocket. The slight detour wasn't a total loss.

Beth said...

Marcus glowered at the spectators.

“This is sick. Watching a man flying a Little Red Wagon over a flaming pit? They want to watch me die.”

“No,” Jens responded. “They want to watch you survive.”

The flames roared, groping for their victim. Marcus shuddered.

“It’s not too late to get some hotdogs, turn this into a cookout.”

“You’re a total wuss! Just think; one ride, and you’ll be famous!”

Marcus tested the wheels.

“I think it’s broken.”

“Let me see.”

Jens climbed into the wagon.

“I don’t see anything…”

“See ya, buddy,” Marcus said, giving the flimsy cart a shove.

Opal Swan said...

I stand transfixed at the mangled body. Althalos. I scream for the guards but I know they're dead. I turn back to the body and the total of what this means rushes me. Assassins were neat, quick, efficient. What killed my Seeker-brother had taken is time. The flame vanishes. My eyes fly open. I rush to the palace cursing my pity that had spared the creature so long ago. I can sense Watcher following: a flimsy shadow. I still don't know if Watcher's good or bad. Nobody can out run the past, to save Althalos I will change the future.

Elena said...

Sarah clutched the flask. Watcher’s Whiskey, cheap rotgut her flimflamming husband favored. Ten ounces total, and the sympathetic chemist had doctored it just right. Nothing detectable.

“…Like to go home,” a woman opposite mumbled at the subway floor.

“Come on,” the woman’s companion, aggressively petulant, draped further over her rigid shoulders. Sarah narrowed her eyes as he clapped a palm upon her knee, forced it back toward him. “You owe me.”

The woman closed her mouth.

Sarah supposed she wouldn’t need all ten.

“Mister,” she said congenially, extending the flask. “You look like a man who could use a drink.”

Donald Mabbott said...

Dill's story was flimsy at best, but Atticus let him stay just the same. In the time it took him to convince Jem he'd been chained up in that drafty old basement, a total of five cicadas bounced off the window screen. I know because I counted and watched.

I heard the front screen open and close, then the tell-tale creak of the front porch swing. i can't count how many times I've heard that familiar sound.

By the time my father put a flame to his pipe, I was neatly curled up next to him ready for our nightly chat.

Megan V said...

Definitions are vicious things.
def·i·ni·tion /defəˈniSH(ə)n/ noun a statement that explains a word’s meaning.
Example: The MAN didn’t know the definition of inFLAMmable.
mean·ing ˈmēniNG/ noun intend to express
Example: He didn’t understand the word’s meaning when he struck the match.
in·tend /inˈtend/ verb to plan.
Example: He didn’t intend to hurt them (a FLIMsy excuse).
in·flam·ma·ble inˈflaməb(ə)l/ adjective easily set on fire
Example: But the house was inflammable.
fire /ˈfī(ə)r/ noun destructive burning.
Example: And fire killed my family while I WATCHed; TOTAL survivors: one.
Definitions can’t tell me why.

Anonymous said...


I can't see the car from here, only sunset-colored flames. Flimsy piece of crap is totaled, but I'll be okay. I don't even feel anything. No pain in my legs, none in the back of my head. I'm sure I'm fine.

Damn iPhone's stuck in repeat mode. Must've tapped the screen when I hit the ground. Total nose dive, which is funny, since that's the new Saskwatch album playing. Track Six, "Call Your Mane." No, wait, it's "Mall Your Cane." Maybe "Call Your Name?" That's it. Call … Your … Mall …

My head's fine. I'm sure of it.

Irene Olson said...

I couldn’t bear to watch the flamtastic scene unfolding fifty feet ahead of me, but I did anyway. Who could successfully manage to turn away from such total lunacy?

Not me.

I’ve seen my fill of sidewalk berzerkness in my day, but rarely such utter contrariness amidst the throngs of determined gotta-get-to-my-next-destination citizens during the Friday night rush hour.

Why are you stopping at the curb? Keep moving, you're holding everyone up!

I brusquely walked past her into the crosswalk tripping over her flimsy two-toned cane in the process.


Arya al'Thor said...

Anger flames inside me, because my flimsy arms do nothing to defend myself. If I think about other things they will go away. Other things… right. I was looking at a ladybug crawling across my watch… until they pushed me. Other things… right. We were learning about totalitarian governments today in school; the authorities use strict laws to bully the people. Other things… right. Proper manners are important; it is impolite to want to hit people. Other things… right. Blood is red. Other things…

Matthew Wuertz said...

Destruction is total, our mission complete.

The dead lay in random piles, their bodies as flimsy as their fallen structures.

Their world is gone, along with any hope of life or peace. It ended here today. For them, what might have been became what wasn’t. And I am part of the reason why.

I wonder about the thoughts of the last person before he or she died – to know there’s nothing left.

An android shouldn't experience emotions; that’s part of what separates us from humanity. Yet as I watch myriad flames clouding the morning sky with smoke, I feel... joy.

Anonymous said...

Vapour poured from the crestback’s snout, every snore a noxious cocktail of methane and tar. Even asleep the eyes stared, licked with flames, ever watchful.
The rumble of deathly breath made the ground shake. Me too.
‘Be totally silent,’ Grubber the rat catcher had warned me. ‘The hide is flimsy. You’ll stand no chance if he sees you. And be sure to bathe in the village pond before you go. Those dragons can smell a man from ten leagues or more.’ Life saving counsel.
And I had to learn. My chance to be a dragon whisperer relied upon it.

Jeffrey Schaefer said...

Byron watched from his beloved perch, waiting for the man below to finish.

“How much longer you reckon he will take?”

Byron cocked his head leftward.

Sylvia stared back at him with beady eyes, totally black.

He scoffed. “Must you come every day?”

“Times are good,” she replied. “Morality is at an all-time low.”

“Clearly.” Byron noted the flim and flam growing beneath her feathers. He officially considered her large. Even though the men used the square more frequently, he still liked to show restraint.

“He’s ready.”

Byron acted first. He cawed and then swooped down towards the gallows.

Anonymous said...

He's a flim flam artist. I'm watching him from a seat in the park. He's wearing the expensive computerized watch I gave him last Valentine's Day, charming another poor woman.

I bought that watch. I've modified the app that controls it. I wait until he pulls that slick line of his, holding his watch to his ear, saying, "Is this thing working? Because I totally think time just stood still."

I tap the button on my phone. The watch explodes. Screams are totally not charming.

Michael Seese said...

The persona, flamboyant. Total glam. It screamed, "Watch me!" As she stepped onto the red carpet, flimsy dress miraculously clinging to her curves, her tortured journey felt as distant as the name she no longer owned.

A thousand lifetimes ago, she stood tall on the world's biggest stage. The spotlight felt good. Warm. Then obscurity came calling and pulled her, kicking and screaming, down its slippery gullet.

She was back.

This is my night, she thought. Nothing could ruin it.

Until the question perched, vulture-like, on everyone's lips managed to take flight.

"Hey Caitlyn! Do you miss being a man?"

Calorie Bombshell said...

Even on her deathbed, Mama played favorites. Gave Georgie the choice. Stay and fight, or run for her life into the forest surrounding Godwood. I watched as she bolted out the back door wearing nothing more than the same flimsy nightgown that spawned this fresh hell.

Rules are rules they chided. It’s all right there in the manual. But Georgie got careless and did the unthinkable with a total stranger.

The tines of his pitchfork scrape against the battened steel shutters as I cock the hammer, remembering Mama’s final words:

“Get your gun, Girl. Flamethrowers don’t work against the Devil.”

Kitty said...


Day 1.
I'm gliding through the restaurant on my husband's arm wearing a flimsy, yet elegant, black dress. A smile graces my flawless face. My willowy body commands all eyes to watch me, inflaming men's desires. My husband is radiating total bliss. His ex is there wearing cellulite, leathery skin and an icy stare.

Day 2.
We're at the beach. I'm wearing a thong bikini. My husband's totally blissful. His ex is there wearing cellulite, leathery skin and an icy stare.

Day 3.
We're somewhere. I'm thin. He's blissful. She's leathery.

Day. 4
I want a hot fudge sundae.

Aaron Cole said...

The grey-bearded man stared down woefully at the watch upon his wrist.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The second hand moved slowly by as another minute passed. While it had only been a total of three minutes and five seconds since she left on the train, in his heart it felt like an eternity.

“Great…,” he muttered as the flimsy wristband broke and the watch fell.

A nearing train could be heard just around the bend as the watch rattled upon the rails. Irregardless of the imminent danger, he leapt down. It was his first gift from her; his heart’s only flame.

katie said...

The boy watched the lion, lazy on his side behind the plexiglass. The zoo was crowded but the boy had managed to get right up front.

Suddenly, a woman elbowed into the boy so hard a flame of pain shot down his shoulder. He didn’t make a sound. The woman pushed more, totally blocking his view.

She had a flimsy purse so that was easy and her pocket wasn’t too hard, either. The boy waited and eventually she left and he was back to looking at the lion, his backpack heavier.

The lion yawned. He saw this every Saturday.

Mmokain said...

Old Granny Weatherbee watched the man through her window. A total scheister. Selling his flim-flam door to door and stepping on her petunias. When he rang the doorbell two times instead of once like a man with manners might, she bolted towards her half swinging screen door and lashed a broom at his face. She remarked to herself as he fled sobbing down the steps of her stoop, that salesmen these days seemed to be shrinking, and wondered why any person might think selling candy to an old woman who had lost her dentures was a good idea.

Mae said...

She woke chained to a wall. The flambeaux cast a flickering light, causing specks of quartz to shine like diamonds. Flambeaux — why couldn’t she just call them torches?

“Too smart for her own good.” Grandma Jean’s words seemed prophetic now. The old bat.

Footsteps echoed. She watched the shadow grow on the wall. She felt like she was in a horrific version of Plato’s allegory.

He pulled a flimsy chair away from the wall and sat, smiling. “I’ve finished your song. It’s totally awesome!”

She looked at the other bodies, each holding a different instrument. She’d always hated the mandolin.

Scrambled3ggs said...

My eyes opened wide in total astonishment as I watched the woman walking toward me as if she didn’t have a care in the world.

Despite the cold, she was dressed only in a threadbare housecoat, flimsy, almost transparent. The faded images on the material provided a glimmer of how flamboyant the garment once had been when full of huge tropical flowers, bright, and vibrant in color.

Our eyes met, and I, looking into hers, was both sad and hopeful at the same time.

My mother, who wandered off years ago, did not recognize me as she walked passed

Roslyn Reid said...

I watched the beautiful middle-aged woman walk by, wondering if I would be able to age so gracefully.
“Now there’s a MILF,” my man mumbled under his breath.
By the time he remembered I was with him, it was too late—I was already concocting creative ways to flambé his brain.

(Well, the rules don’t say the words can’t be used backwards!)

Julia said...

Scout’s sister June typed. Quickly. Tat-tat-tat – last words in a last book the world never saw coming.

“Is the Watchman out there?”

“Yeah.” Scout peered past Dutch lace down at the Watchman, pacing along rain-moistened cobblestones below. “He’s there, all right. Gotta be careful.”

Their gaze met over the old author. Harper slumbered in total peace. They patted her head and summoned the flying finch – flimsy wings for such a flamboyant dream – who swept in, swiftly carrying the manuscript over the Watchman’s head, into the hope Shark Books offered.

They smiled, having ensured smooth sailing for the finches after all.

wrekehavoc said...

For the umpteenth time, I watched as Hellboy rummaged frantically through his school backpack for his homework. A big man of middle school, he continued to possess the organizational skills of a puppy lost in a paper sack. By mid-December, I had contemplated creating a total backpack flambé, but L. L. Bean predicted mothers like me and had pre-treated the thing accordingly.

Then...Victory! Homework retrieved with five minutes to spare! Hellboy aggressively zipped up the backpack. RRRRip! The zipper flew off the rails. Frustrated, he looked at me, then at the flimsy backpack, now agape.

Return or burn, I wondered.

Joseph Snoe said...

Forty years ago my daddy nearly killed a black man walking along Chelsea Avenue.
“Watch this, son,” he said.
He drove the Chevy on the shoulder of the road, missing the black man by inches.
My daddy laughed. “You get twenty dollars for everyone you hit,” he said.
I totally freaked. My daddy almost killed that man.
My daddy laughed again. “I’m flim-flamming you, son.”

Today I killed a black man walking along Chelsea Avenue. My car swerved as I checked my cell phone. Killed him instantly.

Today I killed a man. It was the worst moment of my life.

Marie McKay said...

He watched every move that she made and so she began to shrink. The flamboyant gestures she used to flesh out her stories became a flimsy version of themelves. Next, the round, robust words themselves diminished so that they too were whittled down to skin and bone.
His maniacal eyes drained the color from her hair, her clothes, her laughter. Acquaintances faded from her address book, friends from her table. The reduction was almost complete until the salty solution in her own eyes cleansed the clouded view. This sum total, he had decided. And so she made sure she grew.

Timothy Lowe said...

Darkness so total it hums.

He taps an old man’s cane along withered scraps of streets, feeling the watchers, their unblind eyes heavy but unseeing.

“C’n I help ya mister?”

A young boy. Polite. Freshly scrubbed. He can smell the soap on his skin.

“Can’t see, can ya mister?”

Another, a girl. She’s a towhead. He hears it in her voice.

“Dear,” he begins. Pauses. Decides. “No, but thanks to you and your brother here.”

He hears her frown.

“How’d you know he’s my brother, mister?”

He taps his empty sockets. She’s another he’s flimflammed.

“I’ve been watching you both.”

Colin Smith said...

Becky was visiting family for the weekend, and Alicia was pursuing her dreams in New York. The total solitude was driving me nuts, so I was glad for Tom's call:

"Come visit the man-cave!"

Twenty minutes later, Tom and I were crashed on his couch, laughing over cans of Bud.

"Alright," he said at last. "Want to watch a skin flick?" He pulled a DVD from behind a cushion: "Candy Does the Big Apple."

I expected flimsy clothes and an even flimsier plot. I didn't expect "Candy" to have Alicia's flame-red hair, and her mother's eyes.

I left feeling sick.

Matt Schild said...

Fanning her fingers on a flamboyantly outstretched hand, she casually mentioned she spent more on her manicure than she did on my wristwatch. That didn’t surprise me: it’s a flimsy import she picked up two days before my birthday to test my declaration that expensive gifts didn’t impress me. I’ve worn the watch -- a total piece of shit -- on every date since. At first, because I thought her gift was cute. Now, just out of a stubborn need to piss her off. I don’t know what this says about us as a couple. I’m sure it isn’t good.

Christina Seine said...

The monitor beeps. I watch her tiny chest rising and falling. There is always that flimsy hope – just one twitch is all I need. I wipe my eyes with my sleeve. “Sorry.”

“It’s totally fine,” the doctor says. “It’s normal.”

I swore I would not do this, this crying. I swore I would be strong. We would manage it, together. I look up at Steve; he is stone.

Please, God …

Steve says, “Let her go, Kath.”

I can’t.

When death finally comes, there is no shudder, no rush of air at the window. Only silence. A little flame extinguished.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

She was flim flamed from advancement by the promise of a man whose total focus was commitment to his own success. He the supervisor, she the subservient dedicated to coat tails and riding them.
She knew the man was a watcher, a studier, a man totally pledged to self, with a focus so narrow, he would not notice a flim flam flipped his way. She promised total dedication to his accomplishments until she reneged with a Beretta, a silencer and an alibi of vacation.
Sitting at the man’s desk now, she watches and flim flams the next in line.

allierat said...

“Boo!” said Radley, jumping out from behind a tree.
Unflappable, Louise said, “I knew you were there.” Her .22 rifle remained pointed at the sky.
“What ya doing?”
“Scouting out a new hunting spot. Last year’s was a gem, but I can’t use it again.”
“Want to go to the carnival tonight?”
“Nah, it’s a total flim-flam.”
“Yeah. But there’s nothing else to do.”
Louise brought the gun up and sighted. “Hey man, watch this!”
The shot broke. A bird fell to the ground.
“If it’s a mockingbird, we’re in trouble,” warned Radley.
“We’re ok,” said Louise. “It’s a finch.”

Pharosian said...

You used to protect me. I looked up to you because you're my big brother.

But when I started to think for myself, you grew angry. And when I learned to destroy your specious arguments with logic, you struck me.

Then I met David, who delighted in my totality. We would talk into the night, and laugh, and love.

Your flimsy ego, bolstered only by an inflammatory religion, couldn't stand the idea of my independence. Your jealousy poisoned your brotherly love for me. Your so-called honor demanded putting me in my place.

And now you watch me burn.

Laura Mary said...

‘Do you promise we’re safe?’

My sister’s eyes are too wide as they dart around our flimsy makeshift shelter, a film of tears ready to fall. ‘Will the Shadowmancers find us here?’ her eyes fix on mine and I haven’t the heart to tell her they are the least of our problems.

‘So long as the Tower stands, we’re safe’ I reply. It’s not a total lie.

Behind her, in the distance, I see the Watchtower burning bright, engulfed in flames.

As the smell of smoke reaches us, my trembling hand finds hers, and the tears start to fall.

Kat Waclawik said...

“Feel,” she demands, so you lie awake tracing tiny feet as she dances flamencos inside your distended belly.

“Watch,” she demands, so you roll out of bed in total darkness to see what Santa brought her.

“Listen,” she demands, so you wrap the robe tighter around your shoulders as she lays out her flimsy, post-curfew excuse.

“Smell?” she asks, so you rub sleep from your eyes before concurring her daughter needs a fresh diaper.

“Eat,” she pleads, so you lift your head enough to sip a spoonful of your—now her—famous chicken soup.

“Rest,” she concedes.

So you sleep.

Steven said...

I should be elated, right?

Under my watchful guidance, Bill changed radically, presumably for the better. He transformed from dipsomaniac to teetotaler in record time. He replaced womanizing and nightclubs with couch-surfing, and foodie blogs. Once a trading floor workhorse, he’s now devoted to me … endlessly … and his meager take-home corroborates his renewed commitment.

I douse him with my favorite fragrance and we head to Havisham’s; he adores their cherries jubilee.

A strange coincidence occurred as the flambé was served. My flimsy heel snapped, my foot collided with the waiter’s, and the sloshed cherries ignited Bill’s cologne.


John Frain said...

Night watchman darkens the store one last time. Lock clicks. I peek from my hiding spot. Toy soldier, teetotaler it turns out, toots his trumpet. Party!

There are flimsier reasons to celebrate. Black Friday comes to mind.

Barbie tickles the Big piano. I gnaw a fire-sale price tag off my neck – even this stuffed lion has some pride – and share a drink with an American Girl. Hey man, ya never know, right? Then G.I. Joe saunters over and kills the mood.

This, too, will flame out. But not till we cross Fifth Avenue and rock the Plaza one final night.

Dena Pawling said...

Yale and Haerter drew sentry duty.

“Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.”

“Yes, Sergeant.” Duh. They knew their jobs.

Minutes later, a large blue truck accelerated down the Iraqi alley.

Six seconds to live.

“Not on my watch.” The two sentries stood their ground and leveled their weapons.


The truck accelerated, the man behind the wheel resolute.


Without hesitation, the sentries faced death and opened fire, emptying their weapons.

The truck detonated, explosion and flames shattering the sky.

Total devastation.

Two Marines dead. One hundred fifty brothers safe, offlimits to terrorists.

Semper fi.

Aimlesswriter said...

“Gotta watch dat man,” George Lagis said as he reached down to scratch his crotch. “He be trouble.”
Seven year old Jake looked over at the man stepping out of the big black car. “Who is he?”
“You jes stay away, dat’s all ya have ta know.”
George reached out the same hand he had scratched with to tousle Jake’s hair.
“You had that hand on your balls.” Jake ducked away. “Total gross out.”
George barked a laugh and held up one finger to the boy, “Jes watch out fo’ dat flim flam man.”

Jeff Deitering said...

It was the electric peach Izod polo that caught my attention. Not one with the new monogram but the old kind with the TOTALly obnoxious gator on it.

He reached up and with a FLIMsy flip of the wrist refeathered his hair. A FLAMing red SWATCH with a gray rubber face protector adorned his wrist. Designer acid-washed jeans and synthetic leather boat shoes completed his grody ensemble.

Why he thought something transformative decades ago was worth revisiting now MANaged to baffle me. Must be one of those Buttonweezer types.

AC said...

“Take it,” she said. “You’ll need it.” I took the watch, kissed her and managed to fit into the capsule. I had been training for weeks, but the timing was unexpected. The flames were closing in on the final survivors, and I knew soon there would be a total of one human left.
As the capsule began to spin at full speed, I wondered about the flimsy siding used to piece the machine together. After about ten minutes, I stopped abruptly. I looked at the watch and opened the capsule door. The time of day was right--50 years earlier.

Karen McCoy said...

“Syd, this lizard has a third eye. Come see.”

They approached the lizard, sunning itself on a rock. The rogue eye was above the jawbone and blinked more slowly than the others.

Syd shuddered. “Let’s kill it.”

“I wouldn’t,” the lizard said.

Darius’s jaw dropped. “It’s talking.”

“Cut the ‘it’ nonsense. Man, totally superior? Such flim-flam. You disgusting—”

Boom! Syd’s bullet struck the lizard’s chest. Syd and Darius looked at each other, then ran.

The lizard watched them flee with all three eyes, pain blossoming his cold blood. The wound was healing. He’d get revenge. Soon.

racherin said...

“Chris’ll take ginger ale with lime.” His wife watched his reaction.
“Bit early for you?” someone joked.
“No, no,” she said, “He’s become a teetotaler.”

His friends unconsciously cradled their mint juleps a little closer. Chris longed for the flaming coolness. Maybe he could sneak a little moscow into his mule.
Alice said liquor, or her. He couldn’t imagine being that low.

Except he just did. And Alice’s announcement told him she had, too.

Suddenly, he knew last week was a flimsy imitation of rock bottom. He excused himself. He needed to be alone.

SiSi said...

I leaned over the flimsy railing and checked my watch. Thirty minutes since lunch.

My new husband emerged from the ocean, his normally flamboyant gray hair plastered to his skull. “I love you,” he mouthed.

Yeah, I love you too. Forty minutes.

A handsome man offered me a drink. No way. I pointed to my wedding ring, pleased to prove my total faithfulness. Forty-five minutes.

My husband stiffened in his beach chair as if planning to stand. I looked concerned. Fifty minutes.

His body relaxed. His head lolled to the right.

Fifty-five minutes. My late husband was early for everything.

Bisi Cameron said...

“WATCH OUT!” I swerved in response - heart pounding , knuckles gripping the wheel.
“What? What happened?!”
“Didn’t you see the sign?”
“What sign?”
“The caution sign?”
“The bridge may be icy sign? That sign?”
He chuckled.
“It’s August for Christ sake! “
He smirked.
“You’re an idiot” I said as my pulse slowed – “I could have wrecked, the car could have been totaled. We could’ve been killed.”
“I’m not an idiot – I’m a flim-flam man” he said with smug pride.
“Well, then, I guess I’m the idiot”, I muttered
“What’s that?” he asked
“I said I love you”.

Anonymous said...

Flambé! You went all out, didn’t you?” I giggle and twirl my hair.
“I did, didn’t I?” he agrees. “I am the Home Ec teacher.”
The cherries are hot as I bring them to my lips, but I make a show of licking them anyway.
Flimsy black netting peeks out beneath my skirt. I lean back on the couch. Man…too easy.
He moves in, begins unbuttoning my shirt. “Sure you’re only fourteen?”
Totally,” I agree, pulling the gun tucked under my waistband. Yes! Not even nine o’clock, I think, watching the color drain from his face. “Dude, you’re under arrest.”

Scott Sloan said...

Who dares judge society’s watchdogs?
People say they want a hero.
Someone above the petty struggles of race, or religion.
A champion, to ensure justice is served – to guarantee everyone gets their fair slice of that bitter, inflammatory pie.
You haven’t the faintest idea what justice is.
What you want is the other guy put away; for any flimsy reason.
Catch the other criminals.
Punish them.
Not you – your actions were justified.
Well… when it’s all totaled up.
Be careful what you wish for.
You might get it.
I flex my mandibles, noisily.
Justice is near.
… soon.

Mallory Love said...

The flamingos were her favorite. The slender neck, the pink feathers, the legs that looked flimsy but were probably sturdier than her own. She watched them with delighted curiosity, so enthralled that she didn’t notice the man who was talking to her mother off to the side of the exhibit. She didn’t hear the hushed tones of a hatched plan plotting the murder of her philandering father. She didn’t see the money that exchanged hands or troubled glance her mother sent her way. The total experience lost on her, the memory only fully returning twenty years after her father’s death.

cgarwriter said...

“Hey Manny, try to pull a swatch of blood from the carpet in the kitchen,” Detective Goodman said pointing toward the back door. “Careful, there’s glass all over the place.”
“If there’s anything left after the flames,” his partner answered.
Goodman sat back looking over the body.
“It doesn’t make sense to me. Why break the glass when all the perp had to do was lean into the back door? It’s so damn flimsy,” Manny said. “More importantly, who murdered the mayor, stole his car and totaled it?
“The person who torched this place. That’s who.”
Manny’s eyebrow lifted.

Keisha Martin said...

The servant watch me as she makes the bed, I know who I am the product of the man; some call the legend, yet they never total the atrocities he's responsible for. My life cannot be simplified in less words because pain although it gets well--easier nonetheless the memories of pain lingers, the flim flam of my fathers personal and professional life is like a haunting thinking back to the place I called home and the person I became truth of the matter I had a choice to be different but I chose the easy path.

Just Jan said...

It was a flimsy way to die. Instead of being buried in an avalanche or attacked by a mandrill, my body chose to mount an inflammatory attack against itself. One by one, my organs failed. The nurses on the night watch hovered, awaiting my last breath. I drifted in and out of consciousness until midnight, when one of them announced, "The family's arrived."

My brain rioted. Having to listen, mutely, to my wife and her teetotaling relatives was a fate far worse than death. With one last, supreme effort, I reached up and disconnected my respirator.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

On flimsy, whimsy wings
hov’ring above the feeder,
a helicopting bird
quick quaffs the sweetened water.

Never a teetotaler,
(hence their red swatch-ed throat?)
it darts a look, here and there.
Then, quiv’ring, soars en garde.

Opposite floats an intruder.
Inflamed they rush and thrust
Maneuv’ring for the prized treasure,
Parry, riposte, and flunge.

With one last thrilling chase,
the champ returns for a breather.
(How shall I know who won?)
It perches and sips red nectar.

Leigh Ward-Smith said...

“Good gastronomic evening, watchlings!”

“Bloody good one, if I do say so," he gestured to the mannekin holding his apron, paraboling flimsy arms the girth of dual popsicle sticks.

A lackey gave the grinder two test-cranks off-stage.

“We’ve already experimented with broasted, flayed, and julienned. Or should I say Julienne?” His white-picket grin cued bloodless laughter.

As the machine was wheeled out, he explained it was already loaded.

“Tonight we flame-broil,” he promised, to a riot of cheers.

Chef Dirk set to mincing the meat, yet I couldn’t help but hear Total cereal crunching under mukluks, Neanderthal diet be damned.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

The need blazed in his steel blue eyes as my flimsy negligee surrendered to his impatient hands.

“Mommy! Watch me!”

The scene retreated into the glaring light ricocheting off poolside concrete that was as harsh and unyielding as the totality of my loveless marriage.

“Yes, Honey, I’m watching.”

Clutching the romance novel that spurred my dream, I closed my eyes, longing to experience what came next.

Blond hair. Shimmering bronze skin.


“I’m watching.” The indulgent reflex was heavy in my voice.

Rippling muscles.


“What is it?”

The empty flamingo raft, swinging gate, and man-size wet footprints answered me.

Janice Grinyer said...

She adjusted the manifold just so after watching him do it all these years. However, this time his tractor ride in the field will be different. With the turn of the key, the flames should engulf the tractor and him totally.

"Like a flimmer parade" she mused.

Everyone knows the old German didn't take care of his things; the same way he didn't take care in his marriage. It will be a fine accident.

Anonymous said...

The downtown night air reeked of booze, cheap perfume, and suckers ripe for the pickings. Josh, self-proclaimed world’s greatest flim-flam man, backed into the shadows to scope out his next mark.

“Fifi, Snookums, where are you two?” a curvy red-head hollered.

Josh’s watchful eyes zoned in on the diamonds dangling from her ears and stepped into the light. “May I be of assistance, Ma’am?”

“Oh, goodness you gave me such a fright,” she said, theatrically patting her chest. “Why, yes.” Her onceover took in his designer suit. “Yes, you may.” This will totally be my easiest con ever. She smiled.

Erin Szczechowski said...

The old woman’s already flimsy sanity had deteriorated exponentially of late, and so a decision was made and she was passed onto her daughter.

If the man had known this, the killing would've been simple, not the flamboyant affair of cut flesh and oozing blood—a tedious process, but, well, artistic integrity.

The old woman watched, paralyzed, by the doorway for a total of two minutes before he noticed.

He winked before climbing out the window. Screams followed.

He didn’t care.

Even if her mind wasn’t half gone, no-one would believe it was black-caped Death who had courted her daughter.

Mark Ellis said...

Tottestossen—total destruction--was the Fuhrer’s order. It was the job of soldiers like Lieutenant Schenkner to ensure that everything of infrastructural value was blown apart or reduced to flames.
His squad stood before a Polish chapel, its vestibule made flimsy by bombardment. Schenkner and his father had prayed at the small church years ago, on the way to visit Helena in the sanatorium. Both were gone now, all his family. The Fatherland was in retreat.
Hoffman approached with his flamethrower. Schenkner checked his watch as a Russian shell burst in the nearby cemetery.
“No time,” he ordered, “Move out.”

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

Everybody knew him as the flim-flam man. He was a douche. A total douche. For shock effect, he’d pull out of thin air, a lifeless white mouse, dangling by the tail.
“Watch closely, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, as I give this dead mouse life.”
Such a charlatan! Why couldn’t anyone else deduce it? I’d seen him administer a drug by syringe. Impossibly, it seemed to make the poor rodent’s heartbeat stop.
More potent than I thought. Douche now lies on the floor, saliva drooling. I should feel sympathy. I don’t. I have to finish him off.