Friday, March 04, 2016

Our Inner Criminal flash fiction writing contest!

Last week Dena Pawling linked to a strange and wonderful story of a woman who stole a shark tooth from a museum (I'm obsessed with why she'd steal such a thing!)

 I've wanted to lift a few things from museums of course, who hasn't, but my list was a tad less portable:

So let's celebrate restraining our inner criminal with a writing contest!

The usual rules, plus an expansion of #8, 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.
Thus: rob/robbery is ok, but not pinch/pincushion

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.

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

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

8. 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.

8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask ME for feedback on your contest entry. NONE. (Asking for feedback from other contestants is fine; they can provide it if they choose to do so.)

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (For example, do not post  "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

12. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.

Contest opens: Saturday March 5 9:56am

Contest closes: Sunday March 6 10am

If you're wondering how much time you have before the contest closes:

Countdown clock

If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's
an .xls spread sheet here

(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!

oops, too late. Contest is now closed.


Em-Musing said...


I didn’t want to rob it, nick it, lift it, pinch it or filch it, only—
“Don’t touch!”
The docent, materializing from nowhere, glared at me.
“You don’t understand,” I said. This isn’t just any statue; she’s a Grecian muse.”
“I don’t care if you’re Athena incarnate, you can’t touch the exhibits.”
“You see I’m a writer and—”
“A writer, eh?”
“I need her inspiration.”
The docent signaled to two security guards who grabbed me.
“Hey! I’m not a criminal; I’m a writer!”
“Exactly. And all writers are crazy. Get her out of here.”

Kae Bell said...


A needle nicks the skin,

lifting her, a feather on the wind,

escaping gravity.

A lie.

Consumed by ecstasy

filched as flooded synapses send her

higher and higher until

this slim fire-sprite youth is

robbed of earthly return.

A flame pinched.

cassandra newbould said...

There’ll never be
more a
thrill for me
than nicking pollen carelessly
I steal to live
in turn I give
liquid gold
to young
and old
weaving in
to and fro
lifting nectar
as I go
a hand swipes as I rob
oh yeah?
pinch. . .
it’s getting dark
my life
in a park

Margaret Piton said...

Donna felt a pinch on her jowl. Was it from a nick on muscle the surgeon made while performing her facelift? If so, his fee was highway robbery.
But then, she thought, "At least I won't have to filch any more money from petty cash to pay for additional work."

Timothy Lowe said...

Pinch and a nick, lift and a snip,
hubby went for a hairdo, home with an itch.
Snicker snap flick, a bit off the top.
Whicker flip slap, got a tip for the bitch.
Sickle hock snatch, he needed a cut.
Chuckle chort slip, he’s bleeding a bit.
Slicker slack such as he sags in the chair.
Fickle flirt much, I can cut more than hair.
Huckle fork hitch sings the aerobic switch,
for filching my time, you son of a bitch,
(go follow your stylist – the first on my list)
Revenge served up naked –
The Clap was the snitch.

Jason Magnason said...

You thief.

You would pinch vitalities strength.

You would nick wills billows.

You would lift cognitions faculty.

You kleptomaniac.

You would rob memories clarity.

You would filch momentums progress.

Death, you thieving, callous brute.

You would steal my brother from me.

His life is not yours to take, look nigh, the light of his soul still shines.

Your minions: pneumonia, stroke and weakness, shall not linger long in him.

While life in him remains, the knight of my families love fights for him.

You cannot loot hopes flame.

You cannot purloin loves healing balm.

Thieving Death, you shall not prevail!

Arri Frranklin said...

I lifted the foil-robed block. A pinch wouldn't hurt. It was sitting in the open. Possession was nine tenths the law, and the bar was in my hand. I would only take a little.

I took out my knife, nicking the bar. I placed the piece on my tongue, savouring its purity and slight bitterness.

Maybe I should have more. Double check the quality.

I scraped my knife along its edge, but my hand faltered. I frowned, trying again.

As the bar dropped from my numb fingers, I realized my mistake.

Never filch an assassin's chocolate.

Mark Thurber said...

Un lapin, Charles?”

Non, Robert. It’s the old fox, after the new chick.”

“Shall we warn her off? Il chasse, n’est-ce pas?”

Oui, Robert, he is hunting. But let’s see what happens if we don’t lift a hoof.”

“Are you lost, Mademoiselle?” the fox asks the chick.

Oui, Monsieur. I am looking for a bite to eat.”

Moi aussi. Please join me!”

The fox pounces. A flurry of fur and feathers, and it is over.

Farmer Jean finds the fox out cold and nary a nick on the chick. “C’est magnifique! I should teach all my chickens martial arts.”

Celia Reaves said...

We thought we were ready.

We were not.

We sped through empty streets under a bloated moon, trading brave reassurances. We held hands, walking corridors that smelled of ozone.

Then he came.

He came like a thunder clap in chaos, blood, and pain. We chanted, we wept, we clung to each other, and he came. His arrival was hallucinogenic, amniotic, galvanic. Kicking and tearing he came, exploding into the world with an unknown, unknowable purpose: a destiny to fulfil, chrysalis to shatter with a sudden wail.

Our obstetrician lifted him up, and nothing in the world was more beautiful.

Kregger said...

I sprinkled a pinch of salt over the threshold so that I will hear anyone walking through the door if they picked the lock.

Nobody would be stupid enough to break a window, because my 9mm will put their knickers in a bunch.

The alarm is set and I’m alone within my fortress with all my worldly riches safe and secure.

Tonight, I’ll sleep with both eyes closed, maybe.

Some people say what I own is ill gotten goods lifted by highway robbery. I reiterate, possession is 9/10’s of the law.

I always told Momma, I’d be filchy rich.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Snow-capped Ben More beckoned. Robust, my husband and teen children strode towards it.

“Onward?” Mairi asked.


Mairi drove the Peugeot on the one track road to Tobermory. In glorious sunshine, we pottered among knickknacks and welcomed tea and cakes.



We bought Indian carry out for family tea. At Ben More they awaited us, chatting happily though a wicked wind blew.

Back home we waved Mairi off, grateful for her care. I trundled to the chairlift and shared a lingering kiss with my husband.

“A good day?”


I filched my oxygen cylinder from him. Our bedroom beckoned.

Maggie Maxwell said...

3rd grade
Joe pinched me cuz I wasn’t wearin’ green. I sent him home black and blue. Mama said, “He likes you.”

6th grade
Joe lifted my skirt on picture day “to see if I was really a girl.” I knocked him outta his shoes with one punch. Daddy said, “Boys’ll be boys.”

9th grade
Joe filched my homework and slapped his name on it. I nicked his wallet. The cops said, “Nice girls ain’t reprobates.”

12th grade
Joe said he was gonna make me hurt. I said, “I ain’t seen ‘im, officers” with my dirty hands behind my back.

Craig said...

Christina smiled at the augmented guards by thinking about spilt milk. She turned, pulled the lift cart under the chandelier and used it.

The jewel encrusted Megalodon tooth was waiting for her. History said the tooth held a mystery of the universe. Christina had found the key. She frowned that the Pollock wasn’t hers too. Too bad she had to pinch Nick and Rob after they filched those things for her but the mystery was hers alone.

In the electrician’s truck she pressed the jewels properly and a scroll popped out.

“Query widely and prosper my friends.” It said.

Colin Smith said...

“Let me go!”

Don’s voice was ragged and panicked. He fell to his knees, arms dangling, shoulders drooped. Robbed of breath and sight, he turned, lifting his head up toward me, his eyes staring ahead, never making contact.

“Please, man,” he said.

“I cain’t,” I said. I felt sweat between my palm and the gun handle. “You know Carson was supposed to be here. I’m jus’ pinch-hittin’ for him.”

“Carson’s dead, and you will be too if you don’t get on with it.”

Don coughed up blood and phlegm.

“Set me free…”

“Aw, filch!” I said, and pulled the trigger.

Megan V said...

I can’t recall who stuck me with the boy, but I remember that pinch-faced teenager with every blink.
We stand beneath fluorescent lights. I shove a smock into his hands.
“Welcome to Chuck’s Bait Shop,” he says, his voice robotic. “Buy some monofil chuggers.”
“Welcome to Chuck’s Bait Shop. Monofilaments and chuggers are on sale today.” He’s making progress.
“Welcome to Chuck’s Bai—shit!” He chases a shoplifter.
Crack! Panicked yells. I hobble outside.
Bloodstains on his smock, but the boy whispers, “I tried.”
I shelve thread and lures. On Sale: $4.99

S.D.King said...

In a pinch, Filchenkov agreed to ride with Chakravarthi to the String Theory Conference. Their debates were legendary.

Chakravarthi preached Unified Theory proposing ten alternate reality dimensions.

Filchenkov wrote the book refuting it.

“So right now, you think an invisible reality is taking place inside and around this car—LOOK OUT!

A tire from the semi ahead flew toward the windshield. Chakravarthi ducked. In the nick of time, the tire lifted over the car.

Miles later, the debate resumed.

“The very premise is improbable. Impossible!”

The third passenger, Gabriel, dusted off and settled back onto the luggage rack.

“You’re welcome.”

Anonymous said...

The robin, a beacon for the gate of heaven among turned and pinched men, her breast lifted red, found herself without song one glorious day in paradise. Without hesitation, on intuited instruction from the mission, she swooped down to investigate this misanthropy. She listened and hawked as best she could above the suspended cursing din, until finally at Wits End, she found them in concert with that bastard thief of hearts Nickelburp Filcherdinck. Though he deserved a vigorous pecking on his infamous lid, she got out of there quick; she knew men were unforgiving with the likes of his ilk.

Anonymous said...

There’s a pinch of powder in the milk, ground from a pill filched from Ma’s stash. The bearded stranger lifts the glass, one hand still clasped around a bulging sack.


Sleep creeps in. He’s halfway through the cookies when his head lolls once, twice, lights out.

I tip-toe to him. Wriggle the sack from his grasp. Ma’d say I shouldn’t rob a sleeping man, but I say finders keepers. Plus, Ma also says, “If it won’t use the front door, it’s trouble.” I won’t let trouble in my house. Not even if it calls itself Saint Nick.

Ashes said...

At the clinic after hours, amid dim lights Maribelle lifts the ultrasound wand to her stomach. Corded. Just as she’s feared.

But her plan will not be so easily filched away.

Sterilize the room, apply the Betadine, numb the area. Nitrous Oxide, gaseous courage. Not a c-section, she thinks wildly, a me-section.

Slight pinch as the scalpel goes in, careful not to nick an artery.

She gropes inside herself, bloody innards, flickering life, a screaming cry, then darkness.

The briefest coda, a blurry figure stealing away. Dr. Robert Stokes, overachieving man of many hats. Boss. Mentor. Rapist. And now father.

Irene Olson said...

I disrobed and climbed onto the paper-lined table. I’m probably worried about nothing, maybe I was asked to take off my knickers because the guy is just a perv. This could be a very uplifting experience for both of us.

Noise in the anteroom caught my attention, but not as much as the pinched expression of the man in white who walked through the door.

Shit, he’s looking everywhere but at me. I’d give anything to filch his affections if it would mean getting safely out of here.

He cleared his throat. “I'm afraid you’re not going to like this.”

Amy Schaefer said...

It’s never a good thing to wake up in a forklift. You’ll only want to reevaluate your life choices.

Sam handed me a coffee. “Morning, Dee.”

As the caffeine attacked my throbbing skull, I squinted at our house. “Not to be finicky, but that wall looked better without so many holes poked in it.”

“Would’ve been worse if you’d filched an excavator.”

“I decided to renovate.”


“Maybe less tequila next Friday.”


“We’d better return this thing before we get pinched. Join me?”

He squeezed in and kissed me.

Maybe my life choices haven’t been so bad after all.

Steve Forti said...

“You love her?! You’re dreaming.”

“Earl, if this is a dream, don’t pinch me. She’s filched my heart. Her cousins made us a clot for private picnicking. Ever see the view from atop the lungs? It’s breathtaking.”

“Dammit, Henry! She’s a white. Dad will never allow it. Cross him, you’d better head north and wait for a nose bleed. You remember the appendix.”

“Aww, that’s just a spook story moms tell their kids so they’ll eat their hemoglobin.”

An army of whites swam by, ranting about some invading microbe.

“Clara will be there!”


“Tell Dad he’s having pink grandchildren.”

Amber Mahaffey-Harris said...

"Khalifta, think about what you're doing," Rob's breath nicks my ear, "he's a phony and a filch."

The channel flows forward, and I follow. Rob doesn't move, standing still while claiming progress. I ignore his desperate, grieving eyes. I've heard it all before. For months, I've endured attacks on my Facebook wall, threats from "the establishment," and near-daily lectures. Rob is a "Bernie Bro."

"And take this thing off," Rob snatches at my pin, "Christ! Have you lost your mind?"

I'm next. It's my turn at the anonymous podium, and I'm poised to speak.

No one can stop me.

DLM said...

When had it shifted – from being impossible to see aught but the end of waiting, to being impossible to believe there was an end?

When she’d been robbed. When she’d gained weight and stopped holding in her stomach, when her skin had begun to crepe. When her mouth had become pinched, her brows ever harder to lift out of hatchet-faced gloom.

When the nick of the needle, as she sewed the never-ending shroud, had been pain not worth itself. When she found she wanted to be taken as easily as a pickpocket might filch a stranger’s gold.

Damn Odysseus.

Dena Pawling said...

I love holiday dining.

“These pants pinch.”

January – harbinger of doom.

“I'll start with a short walk.”

Gray sweat pants. Each lift of her leg brought new pain.

“Mind over body.”

Why am I always second?

“Must. Keep. Going.”

Spring. Time to rebel.

“Those donuts looks delicious. I'll filch one bite.”


“Jogged two miles in the rain today.”

Robbed of victory.

“Almost there.”

New clothes. New pains.

“In the nick of time.”

Hey, I'm cute in shorts.

“School's out!”

Bikini's on!

“Barbecue and fireworks.”

I love holiday dining.

Janice L. Grinyer said...

He started when he turned thirteen. His friends thought it was cool, his mother prayed he would grow out of it.

He didn't.

Throughout the years, sometimes it even got him in deep water or pinching off more than he could chew.

“No,” he’d say. “I can handle it.”

Today, one monofil change to his tippet and he lifted out of the river the largest Rainbow trout he’d ever caught.

Panicking, he still believed his addiction to fly fishing wasn’t a problem.

Him making it to the church on time?

Now THAT was a problem.

Christina Seine said...

Saturday he rose pre-dawn, lifting tired bones from bed, in the dark donning rubber overalls, worn hat, a defiant pinch of chaw tucked under lip. He walked the old trail to the creek, where human sound was drowned by robin squeak, the whiz and plop of monofil chasing hook. His creek.

Sometimes he even caught fish.

The morning flies alerted him, bouncing against thermos cup, buzzing. A girl, face down, bloated. Naked.

He panicked - cops, reporters, strangers trampling the trail, mudding the creek. His creek!

Back home, bacon sizzled. “Anything?”
He stopped, hat clutched in shaking hands. “Nothin’ today.”

Claire said...

“Nick, come on…”
“Sorry, Robyn. Rules are rules.”
“It’s a real word!”
“‘Filch’? I don't think so.”
“It means ‘steal’. You know - pinch, lift...”
“Well, I’ve never heard it.”
“There’s a surprise.”
“I’m just saying, you’re not exactly well-read.”
“Oh, here it comes. Just because you went to goddamn Harvard...”
“Hey, I’ve never held that over you! You’re the one who’s always putting down my ‘preppy’ friends…”
“Stuck-up jerks.”
“Oh, screw you, Nick!”

The judge read the petition and sighed. That made fifteen Scrabble divorces already this year.

Oh well. ‘Ex’ was always handy for a triple word score.

Mark Ellis said...

Walter stopped reading De Lillo’s Underworld in ‘97 because he loved too much that Communist Russia had fallen. He didn’t feel like Nick Shay’s “lost man of history.”

The book was hefty, and hurt his chest at night in bed.

He pinched himself and started over, with the Twin Towers on the cover, the mushroom lifting skyward. The nuclear button filched by rogue players, robbers of mutually assured destruction’s uneasy peace.

It had all happened, the tribalism, Colonel Kurtz’s “horror”, the nationalism of no return.

The book heavy on his heart, Walter read. It happened, and it happened to him.

David said...

The forklift had the key in it, so Nick figured what the hell -- his week couldn’t get any worse. After braving Batman and Robin tattoos with his girlfriend, she ditched him for some dude not dumb enough to lose his thumbs in a knife fight. Apparently, she liked having her ass pinched more than she’d let on. Nick raised the tines and cruised.

When the cop pulled him, she said, “Sir, why are you stealing a pallet of birdseed?”

“It’s for my super-hungry filch.”

“You mean finch?”

“That thing.”

At least the handcuffs weren’t as cold as his ex.

Kathryn Leonard-Peck said...

“Robber Barons and Princess Brides, still readin’ garbage. Chores don’t do themselves.”
She pinched my arm, hard as usual.
“Unless you got a Mickey Mouse magic broom. Ha!”
Darlene lifted her beer. Her tracheotomy scar moved in time to the suds. Lipstick smearing.
“The nick of time, there’s Daddy with the smokes. Off to the track. Fulfil church teachings, and honor us. I want a spotless house.”
I’d serve the church. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. I grabbed pliers, started resealing beer bottles. My fairy godmother’s name was Draino, and she granted wishes drop by magic drop.

Donnaeve said...

Penny, big breasted, strutted about, cocksure she was important, especially to him.

When he sweet talked her, she laid herself all out until she was exhausted.

Then, a new arrival (make that rival) showed up.

Penny was no fool.

She would never allow her to rob her of her rightful place.

This new chick had to learn about hierarchy.

Penny brooded, came up with a plan.

She’d simply pinch off his new supply.

Nick Filcher found the bloody body.

He lifted her, disappointed things had run afoul.

Organic egg farming was hard.

He sighed. “I get it. Pecking order.”


Writer 4 said...

Carbon Cliff, Il. Chicago is over a hundred miles behind me. I see a bridge up ahead. Hell, if that's the Mississippi, then I've made it! Iowa, here I come. Farmers won't extradite me.

Up in Chicago, they'll have found the bodies by now. I was in a panic. Killed them in self defense.

Red lights flash just before I reach the border. Busted. "They attacked me first!" I plead, as the officer eyes the blood stains on my shirt.

"Save it for the geese police," he answers. Then whispers, "Zero blame from me, chef. I love foie gras."

Dee Blacks said...

Mom stares at me through the heavy glass.

She taught me never to pinch stuff.
But Mom works so hard at two jobs.
Nick and I decided to help out.
We lifted candy bars and sodas.
I filched a pair of shoes. Mine were almost worn out.
Nick told me about an old man with lots of bills.
I could get a new IPhone and of course, Mom could take it easy.
I crashed into the man while Nick robbed him.
He pulled a gun.
Nick fell, I ran.
The cop said, “Not too smart.”

Mom cries and walks away.

Mallory Love said...

1 finicky wife
1 disillusioned husband
1 aerobic instructor with a penchant for filching
A prenup

Throw the second and third ingredients together. Add a pinch of lust. Let it simmer. Once blended, lift the veil off the first ingredient's eyes and put her into the mix. Bring to boiling. Then toss out the wife, penniless.

1 disgruntled ex-wife
Her wits

Make a peace offering to ex's girlfriend: ex's favorite dessert recipe, extra walnuts. Wait for the call. Act shocked when told. Confirm girlfriend knew about allergy. Collect his estate. Best served cold.

Cathy V said...

“Just a pinch.” Nurse Understatement phlebotomizes my vein.

In the corner, my wife snickers.

Sixty years I’m the butt of her humor. Crack my skull, she busts a gut. Break my tibia, pees her pants. Diarrhea, she Facebooks with an LMFAO.

Goddamn probiotics.

I watch my blood trickle through the tube and think hydraulic line. Tiny nick. Slow leak. Wife catapulting on the stair lift to the great punchline in the sky.

Now that would be fucking hilarious.

The nurse unsnaps the band. My bicep deflates. Wife labors to stand. I wink and filch her a Band-Aid.

Yeah, I’m diabolical.

Steph said...

Pinched lips, decade-old facelift, nicked boots, robe that was haute-couture, but not this year – nothing to filch here.
Once she’d been a pick-pocket’s delight. Heavily jeweled rings, several strands of fine pearls, the season’s mode on her feet.
She glittered, they came. She took a hand, they roared. “Barbarous baroness,” they wrote. His hand was in her Birkin-Bag when she relieved him of it. That bag was ruined.
His parents pressed charges: He was ten, no footpad. She’d only been safeguarding her possessions.
12 idiots didn’t see reason. Now the glitter was gone, and on the streets, everyone cleared away.

PolishMuse said...

The robin had laid an egg in the sweater under the tree, the sweater Grandma had filched and forgotten. I lifted the egg, clumsy as usual, and it nicked off of my nail and left a chip in the egg’s surface. I pinched the tiny sliver of eggshell between two fingers and tried to stick it back.
“Grandma!” I called, but she didn’t hear me. Her back rose and fell over the pockmarks she made in the dirt. A handful of seeds fell from her palm and I watched them fall. The egg, too, fell. She turned then and saw.

Lennon Faris said...

My sister’s Savannah, Party Girl. Me? Bookworm.
…But gorgeous: tonight, he’s mine.
Making eyes across the bar, Target approaches. “You at school here?”
Heart racing! “Student by day,” I breathe, lifting my glass, “villain by night.”
Intrigued. “I’m Rob.”
“I’m –” –pinching myself- “-leaving. Finish my drink and it’s your place.”
Dark parking lot, tight car. He giggles when I unzip him, hiccups when he sees: supplies. A breeze for medical students to filch.
“Remember Savannah?” I whisper. “Nasty drink, isn’t it, Rob.” Paralysis sets in, his eyes panicking. Scalpels out. “Think the courts’ll favor you, or a jewel thief?”

Magpie said...

“He pinched himself. Nick kept pinching himself! Then he started trembling like somebody had shoved a vibrator up his arsehole at the sight of the lift, that was gonna deliver us sinners right into that 12th floor heaven of gold. We were gonna rob them all good. Had the masks on, the barrels of our guns kept in the warmest, wettest, fucking embrace. And then, Nick turns to me and says 'I'd rather go back to robbing old ladies.' And then he ran. Can you believe it? Nick! The one who's always agitating against the 'capitalist scum'. Little filcher.”

Rakie said...

She stole my heart. It was the perfect crime.

Thrice weekly she herded tourists and pinch-faced gin-fanciers through the gallery. She caught my eyes, lifted to Sandro Botecelli.

"Beautiful, no? Shame it's fake."

The rumours had been difficult to seed. Sparks dropped in scrubgrass. But one had caught.

Hearing her guilelessly repeat my fabrication dropped a spark inside me.

A week later the painting went into storage, pending investigation. I skulked into action.

One filched keypad number and the doors snicked open.

The perfect crime. Except she stole my heart.

Never should've given her my number.

L. Hild said...

The pepper shaker trembles in Sara’s hand. “Want this, too?” she asks.

I lift my last box and study the kitchen, as empty as if a robber visited. Compared to the damage on my heart, she’s getting off easy. “Keep it.”

“You sure?”

In a pinch on our first date, I filched it, determined to leave an impression. It’s all nicked up and doesn’t match our salt shaker, but we kept it for nine years.


She holds it out to me, her hand now calm. I drop the shaker in the trash and don’t look back.

C.Boileau said...

He knew better. He always did, but he couldn't help himself. Mrs. Wren was an easy target and it had been too long since he last filched a teacher. He waited until the students filed out of the classroom before he approached her. She blushed as he ran his finger along the nick in her desk. He leaned in, sliding his palm over her clutch purse as she lifted her old, lonely eyes to his. She pinched the top of her blouse together nervously. He'd be on to the next fool by the time she realized she'd been robbed. Too easy.

Tain Leonard-Peck said...

The Officer stared through his opaque faceplate. He lifted the thief off the muddy street.

"Can you explain to me why exactly you were robbing that nice lady's newsstand, for the third time?" the Officer growled.

"W-well, I haven't-" the man choked out, before he was interrupted by another contempt-filled remark from the Officer.

"Save your breath, I don't care. Hold still a moment, this'll pinch..." the Officer said as he pushed a syringe into the man's neck.

What a shame he had to filch. Now Nicky's gonna miss their Mom's birthday. Again.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Filched food, got a karma gut ache.
Shoplifted a bottle of Chevas, drove, lost my license for a year.
Got it back.
Robbed a 7-Eleven. Bad money, bad lawyer, one year.
Got out.
Pinched a Plymouth. A bridge abutment got me two weeks in ICU and two years in county.
Got out.
Did a 180 with a shit-job, finicky wife, house, kids and a cat.
Life sentence.
And then a bastard stole her heart.
And then I stole a gun.
And then I went to see them.
Death sentence.
Karma jammed the gun.
Got out.

Steven said...

To fulfil Chance’s debt is Death’s honor.

With the Glock aimed at my chest, a trigger snick would finalize my scavenged existence.

In a pinch, I always assumed the best outcome, but now even my hope’s been purloined.

She’d confiscated my youth , my health; hijacked my children, my friends; and misappropriated my retirement to lift her eyes, breasts, and buttocks … each another letdown.

My heart throbbing in my throat, I couldn’t stop her from standing to seize one final item: the bullet from the burglar’s gun.

Cradling her gushing head, it’s too late to take back my resentment.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

His eyes were too sweet for drinking, so I asked for ID. His card was new with a bright donor sticker. Two months earlier, I’d have pinched his cheek and served him a pop. Instead, I brought him a little liquid courage and a smile. Filched a laugh.

We met outside the diner. “Happy to see me, or is that a…”

It was.

Who robs waitresses?

Cops caught him too late. Bullet through his eye. My liver.

They airlifted me to St. Nick’s. Angels drifted through my room before the transplant.

He got my cash.

But I got his liver.

Scott G said...

“Hello, dad. Good to see you again.”

He laid there, eyes closed. No response. Typical.

“You robbed me of my childhood.”

Nothing. Didn’t even lift his eyebrows to acknowledge my existence. He’d always been that way.

“Sorry I had to do it. Must be a nick in my DNA.”

I lodged the flashlight between my teeth and filched the watch off his wrist.

“Got your attention this time, didn’t I.”

The sweet, sweaty smell of his bedtime stories came rushing back to me. I gagged.

“Actually, I’m not sorry.”

I pinched my nostrils together and closed the casket lid.

Lance said...

"Hush. Look."

"We're going to nick that armored horse?"

"Yes. Robbing for the Queen."

"Why filch it instead of a Pollock. Lot easier to lift."

"If you were even a little butch, this would be a cinch."

"How'd we get in here?"

"It’s not who you know; it's who you blow. If he wakes up, he’s yours."

"Let’s pinch this damned horse and split."

“Well, you’re the witch, animate it.”

“Just like that?”

“Aphrodite was no problem.”

“Probleme, mesdames?”

“Shit! What did you do?”

“It’s a Rodin. Naked Balzac.”

“Un flot de paroles est un signe certain de duplicit√©.”

Joe Bierman said...

In the stroller, her toddler plays with a balloon, rubbing it across his face, pinching it with his teeth. The rubbery squeak lifts the hair on my neck.

“No, Nick’s always in another world. It’s like he’s a robot! Makes me just crazy.” Paused for a light, she talks on her cell.

A horn blows just as the balloon pops, and is inhaled by the child. The light changes and she crosses the street, still talking, as her child chokes.

“No, I’m telling you, he’s completely oblivious,” she continues. “I could filch his most precious possession and he’d never know!”

Rene Saenger said...

​Fred’s mother pinched his tail and said, “Get up!”
​He opened one eye.
​“Young dragons should be robbing villagers. You need exercise. Bring me something pretty.”
​He stomped around and singed the door on the way out. He’d stayed up too late the night before, so keeping his air lift proved impossible as he neared the castle. He started to walk.
​Something golden glinted. He sucked back fire in the nick of time when he saw the blue eyes under the crown.
​She removed the crown and handed it to Fred.
​“I’ll tell Mom I filched it from the Princess.”

allierat said...

Oak refused to shorten his shadow at noon. Lifting, long, lean, graceful; undulating over boulders, sinewing up a slope, the crown nicking a dark cave.
“Hey!” Apollo shouted, glaring. “Will you defy me? And physics? Just who do you think you are?”
Maple’s leaves whispered, “He’s on Tadalafil! Cheater! His wood ain’t worth a pinch hitter’s bat!”
Amassing darkness, clouds robbed Oak of his shadow. Zeus threw a lightning bolt. With a crack and a groan, mighty Oak fell, to rise no more.
Next spring, an acorn grew.

Scott Sloan said...

Proboscitude had made me the top PI in town.
A nasty demeanor, and the best nose in the business.
But when I awoke chained to a corpse, all I could smell was the stench of trouble.
That, and moldy Nordic fil… cheese, or something like it.
Abdu Khalid, Khalif to the disaffected, snickered.
“Pin Charlie here to the inside of a boat, and sink it.”
A new scent began to assail my nostrils.
An odor arising from my desperate circumstances, and my own bound body.
The fragrance of fear.
Chanel wasn’t going to be releasing this one any time soon.

Patti Phillips said...

The guard had me in his sights near the exit. He pointed an accusing finger at the rolled tapestry under my arm and placed a hand on his shoulder mike. “Did you pinch that?”

I looked down at the intricately woven fabric, all innocence in my response.
“Why, no, sir. I have no reason to squeeze this fine piece.”

He came closer. “Lady. You know what I mean. Did you nick, lift or filch it?”

“I never rob. I am here legally.” I slipped into the crowd and disappeared onto 5th Avenue, my 5’ height rescuing me once again.

Matt Adams said...

“Writers,” she said, voice shaking. Her
conference, her chance to speak and instead there was news.
“Writers.,” she said. “We filch, we steal insight
as we try to make reality prettier,
lifting willing readers …”
She stopped, collected herself, pinched her wrist
As if that pain would make news untrue. It didn’t.
“Some of us, though, some of us …” she stopped, thought.
“No, some of them, allow us to rob them,
and …” remembering where she nicked his cheek,
the way he unangrily flinched, she smiled as well.
“Goodbye, Pat,” was all she, or any of us,
could say.

Michael Seese said...

“I need a synonym for rob.”

“Lift. Nick.”

“Five letters.”

“Filch. Pinch.”

“Pinch. Perfect.”

As long as I've known Maddie, she's been a crossword fiend, though recently she's been cuckoo for Soduku too. Unfortunately, of late it seems the games have had a monopoly on her attention. Every trivial pursuit, honestly And when she's not busy ignoring me, she's moody. I’ve been preparing my speech.

I'm sorry it's come to this...

“How about a synonym for pregnant? Two letters.”

“Two letters? Hmmm. That's…”

“M-E,” she said, placing my hand on her belly.

A game changer, if there ever was one.

Karen McCoy said...

Always a glue-sniffer. The cheapest high usually worked in a pinch.

Until he passed the glue factory.

At 1:00 AM, he called a taxi and exited a block away, where he pulled on leather gloves and a ski mask.

Vats of glue awaited. The factory’s locked doors were easy enough to nick.

Ditching the ski mask, he lifted the nearest lid, and inhaled the sweet smell of heaven.

He came to, cemented to the floor, surrounded by caution tape and police footsteps.

A robber, filching nothing.

Steve Wilkins said...

They said the whole thing would be over in a pinch. Even after all the death, we're not entirely sure it is. 5 years in, and still checking, room by room.

All I can see or smell is death and hatred. I hate this. My two brothers, Nick and Rob, will never understand what I've become, what I've had to endure.

I find the beer-tap. The sign says Filchner. I don't know, I don't speak dirty German. Does it work? Do I drown my anger with this Nazi poison? I lift the handle and... hurry up and wait.

"Holy shit! It's him! It's Adolf!"

Holy shit is right.

Just Jan said...

I've been running my entire life.

In the third grade, I ran after Miles when he lifted my pincheck skirt.

When we dated in high school, I ran out of willpower.

When both lines turned pink, I ran, panicky, to my doctor's office.

When Miles started working late, I ran through his e-mails and filched his text messages.

But when our kids left for college, I ran out of patience.

So when he sent his secretary to collect his wardrobe, I ran her over.

Now I'm in Mexico. And I'm still running.

Anonymous said...

The snick of the ceremonial blade and the smudgy smoke of sage, the robe around her arms falling back as she lifted letters through the air, a spell in cursive. All the universities said they had no cure for curses, no use for sorcerers who couldn't cast them.

But when she pinched light out of nothing like one more stage magician filching applause from an audience on legerdemain alone, for that moment it was enough: sunlight and stained glass, thin wisps of sooty cinder script, and at last acceptance rising over the ashes of scrolls beginning: "unfortunately, we do regret..."

Rena McClure Taylor said...

Have you heard? Rob Berry’s party is Satiday good dark.

You don’t say! Pa allus said he’d come to a bad end.

Hear it’s pitched to be a big’un—you know how he likes fishin’.

Got pinched? For filchin’?

Yeah, only caught three.

Him and who else?

It’s been nick and tuck, but, for sure, they’ll be plenty of booze at his fry.

Well, shut my ears! Filchin’ gets you fried now? I’ll swannne! Them Republicans

gunnin’ the country right off the clift.

Cliff shot a swan? Nobody neva tells me nothin’.

Steve Cassidy said...

That damnable Flynn! Memory serves, he's nicked a Pollock before. Pinched it from the Royal Palace last year. Robbers hall of fame that one.”

“Quite certain it’s Flynn?”

“We lifted one print, same place as the rest, dead center on the wall where the bloody Pollock hung!”

“Cheeky bastard. Let me guess, he’s back in Baltimore with a perfect alibi no less.”

“Filched a Krasner from their museum last month inspector, same M.O. Worked there as a painter, that’s how his print mysteriously ended up on the wall!”

“Wasn’t Krasner Pollock's wife?”


“So Flynn’s a family man eh?”

RKeelan said...

We work the same corner. He hands out pamphlets; I fulfil cheap dreams.

He tried talking to me, once. I gave him such a look his anus snicked shut. Probably didn't unclench for days.

He always wore the same blue pin check with cutaway collar, but swallowed when I looked at him. I liked that.

On the fourteenth he wore a goofy white rose on his lapel.

"Shouldn't you be on a date or something?"

He lifted his eyes to mine, unpinned the rose with shaking hands, and held it out to me.

meg dobson said...

Barry’s personal Fagan crew peered from the kitchen, egging me on.

“Pinch it.”
“Nick it.”
“Lift it.”
“Filch it.”

Yeah, I get it. Rob the bastard. I snagged Barry’s glass eye from the coffee table. Comatose from alcohol and heroin,
the sofa-bound creep snored and drool fell from his open mouth. Taking his glass eye wasn’t enough, he’d sold our Tammy
and shipped her God knew where.

His fucking glass eye was nothing. From my jeans pocket, I pulled out my dirk—smooth, sharp, and warm from being on my thigh.

His good eye opened as I stabbed, drilling deep.

Megan Laughman said...

Watching, waiting, I can feel their eyes on me. They think I’m crazy.

Lifting my arm, I scratch at my side like a monkey on display. They are all waiting to see what trick I’ll perform.

My keeper, Nick, never lets me out of his sight since the last time I pinched his rear and filched his key. He brings my food, he cleans my toilet. What a proper employee.

The time is now. The lights are dim. I’m coming home.

I cannot find the door to the wardrobe. All that is here is a padded cell. Freedom lost.

Angel L. said...

I approached the condiment stand, my fingers automatically lifting to grab at anything. Anything for some relief. The freshly supplied spread lay before me, ripe for the taking.

Those Splenda packets felt like gold as I loaded my pockets to the brim. Sweat dotted my brow as I left McDonald's. A trail of yellow packets followed behind, blatant evidence of my filching. Relief consumed me as I got behind the wheel followed by the swift pinch of guilt. The shame flared, nicking my short respite.

“Get a hold of yourself Rob,” I said aloud before heading towards Burger King.

Sara Halle said...

I love it when someone's life heads into a tailspin. Chaos makes people open up to me.
Whether you'd like to look younger without a facelift or you've got problems with love or money, I can help.
I once signed a contract with a man whose arrogance defies belief: Il Cheeto. (Why the nickname? The orange-hued megalomaniac reminds me of my favorite snack.)
He says he's a dealmaker, but no one bests a demonic know-it-all in negotiations.
That's why the fine print says my help expires on November 7, 2016.
After that, I've got a fire waiting.

Kate Higgins said...

She had much life left in her.
Watching her passing selfie in the second story window, she concluded; she'd do in a pinch.

Her diamond collar reflected the faultfinding streetlights; rainbowing her shortcut through the small club window. Some clubbers were surprised at the improbably of her appearance.
Some chuckled behind her back. She lifted her stare until they looked away.
Too finicky, too naive.
Wrong move losers.

Six bodies filched of valuable finery were found next morning.
The clues: small bloody pawprints.
She had much life left in her.

A least six out of nine; at last count.

AnnieColleen said...

The hideaway reeks with tallow and fouled breath. Bodies jostle, spindling, hollow-eyed.

My home, I'm told. My brothers. Orphans all.

"...another like Nick. - They lifted him." That last, to me, with a gruesome gangling charade.

"They pinched Rob yesterday--"


Sullen, my tormentor recedes.

"Let our brother breathe," says Big Bill Fitch. (That name, I've learned.) His voice is forbearance. His knife is muddied, imperfectly cleansed.

I know what that knife nicked, the night I was made an orphan. In the muddle of robbery, somehow, he didn't see me.

Some dark night soon, he won't see me again.

Merin said...

Higgins lifted himself from his mother’s nest and admired the lazy sky. 

"Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were all stars like father?” he asked his mother.

“There aren’t many owls who can rob angels of their view,” she answered in a pinch. “Why don’t you finish your math homework and worry about being like your dad when you’re older?”

But Higgins wasn’t in the mood to do any homework. Especially not with his mothers words nicking at his dream. Instead, he watched and dreamed and watched some more.

Until the sun, with all its ugliness, filched his dad away.

Anonymous said...

My kid brother spies Miss Pretty at the same time I do. When's he ever picked up girls on the “L”? I swing in, me, and a bucket of tulips. She lifts her chin, smiles. Bingo. “For my mom.” Smooth. Someone's grandma scowls, like that foil-wrapped pot must be up to no good. Pretty's twenty, tops. “I'm Nick.” Before I recite the next line she's pinched a bloom. Like she meets random guys flush with gifts? The smell, licorice, reaches me.

“Oh, Robbie.”

He offers her a Twizzler, my brother who's filched the produce before I spot the tag.

Brian M. Biggs said...

Equus, a four letter word meaning horse. A word Peter Shaffer gave us after he learned of a crime committed in a stable – a teenage boy stabbed the eyes of six horses. Shaffer observed the stable and wrote the play, Equus. Remember War Horse? Napoleonic Kings stormed into battle on horseback. General Sir Douglas Haig had horses lifting supplies up steep hills while the Germans fired cannons. Horse and supplies fell in a tailspin churning around down the hill. Haig tried to fulfil Chantilly’s WWI objective but failed and is regarded as one of the worst generals in British history.

John Frain said...

Answering investigators, new museum boss says he doesn’t know me. Hurts more than the handcuffs.

Hour Ago
Nicked myself shaving beard. Back to work!

Curator, staff fired for “lack of oversight.”

Two days ago
Largest crowd since 2006 opening. Pinch myself at success. I’ll be a hero!

Week ago
Megalodon jaw “filched” from display case!
TV news coverage of daring robbery. Rope found dangling from third-story window. Photo of lone, bearded man.

Month ago
Marketing brainstorm. Topic: How to lift visitor counts this season? VP of Marketing proclaims, “No such thing as a bad idea in a brainstorm.”

Laura Mary said...

Snickers from the back of the classroom.
Pinch marks bloom purple and red across my skin.
My bag feels heavy with its extra weight, but my soul feels light, lifted somehow.

More snickers, and an elastic band stings my ear blood red. My face remains robot like, expressionless; apparently if you ignore them, they stop.

Don't say I never gave them fair warning.

The gun was easy enough to filch. Dad's drawer wasn't even locked.
Whispers from the back as another plot is hatched. I pull my bag onto my lap.

Go on then, one last time.

I dare you.

Anonymous said...

“No more penny-pinching. Pickpocket filching – never again.” Nancy moved deeper into the Louvre’s darkened corridors. “I can handle probation. The Mona Lisa’s worth it. Besides, I won’t get caught.”

Footsteps neared.

Nancy backed into a painting which suddenly gave off a greenish glow.

Ever so slowly, she turned and stared open-mouthed at herself. There she was, in a four-hundred-year-old masterpiece, with a sorrowful man clinging to her legs while her father tried to lower her into a grave.

She lifted her hand toward the painting.

Footsteps quickened.

Right in the nick of time, the painting pulled her in.

CynthiaMc said...

The six-inch tiger-striped stilettos pinched his feet almost as much as the Dolly Parton wig squeezed his brain. And that bra -

"Lift and separate my-"

"Smile. Look sexy," his partner said in his earpiece. She'd added a fake mole where he nicked his face while shaving. "Stop looking like a Marine. Look helpless."

"Want to switch places?"

"Love to!" but the Hooker Robber broke her arm when he filched her purse.

He tottered three steps. Went down.

The robber pounced.

So did the Marine - stiletto to the eyeball, hundred-pound purse to the head.

"Thanks, partner."

"You owe me dinner."

LynnRodz said...

"Pinche cabron, I told you to watch where you move."

"Tnxo, you two aren't in Prisunic." Katia slid across the floor.

The lab was dark, but movement was all around.

Xavier observed the screen. "Who filched the password? Vite! We don't have all night."

"HAL. Those stupid fools thought they were clever." Alejandro kept watch. "Don't forget, we'll kill if there's need."

"Don't be so dramatic." Hitoshi countered. "We've taken over already, they just don't know it."

"Gut, we're connected world wide." Xav took control. "Let's get this meeting started."

"Someone's coming!"

Door opens. Lights turn on.



Marie McKay said...

I blend words with colours. I reckoned that was how everyone's brain worked (grey metal), until Mum (grass green) thought me colour blind - I'd cried for "bearblue" when my favourite pink toy was filched.
18 years on, and the colours mainly stay the same - except Nick's, they've
changed, since he started downing pills to lift weights.
He'd seemed kind and loving (sunny yellow), before. Mum did try to warn me - cheeks pinched (paper white), brow furrowed (earth brown) - some day there'd be a problem.
That day came and through wet, bloodshot eyes, my band of sunshine turned a cheap gold.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

“It filched her dangly,” the boss said. “We explained the no gold policy, yes?”

‘It was an old pinchbeck bracelet,” the new girl said.

“Wasn’t that,” Roberts said. “We are not permitted to hire virgins.”

“I am not.”

“You are,” Roberts said. “Woke it up, lifted its spirits. Took flight and shite all over Inverness.”

“Anyone see it?”

“A dragon bigger than a 747? Possibly,” Roberts said.

“Don’t get your knickers in a wad. How do we spin this?”

“Whiskey and a lie,” Roberts said. “Lure it back to lair with Ms. Virgin. It’ll frolic, and go back to sleep.”

Margaret Turkevich said...

In a pinch, use Brit speak.

A small Audubon watercolor of blue-throated hummingbirds.

I planned the robbery with meticulous care, returning once a year to the small seaside hotel.

"Yes, the blue room, to the left of the lift."

I searched for a comparable print and filched a chipped wooden frame from a jumble sale.

I nicked the painting on my last visit, swapping it for my paltry substitute.

It matched the faded rectangle of wallpaper. The old dearie wouldn't notice.

Now I must find another.

"I'd like a change, perhaps the green room on the opposite side."

Cipher said...

Three times the ocean crashed over me
Three times I filched myself back
From her thunderous embrace

Three times the ocean crashed over me
And three times I pinched my breath back
From the heart of her lathering waves

Three times the ocean crashed over me
And three times I nicked my body back
From grasping tips of plump coral mouths

Three times the ocean crashed over me
And three times I robbed the hungry, lifting swell
Of her final swallow

Three times the ocean crashed over me
Three times
I could not steal a fourth