Friday, November 09, 2018

The Extra Hour Flash Fiction contest! (updated)


We're getting an extra hour this weekend!
Finally, tormenting writers 25 hours a day.

I'm reliably informed that the time change was last weekend.
I didn't even notice!
When I think about it, all my clocks are digital so I didn't have to reset anything.
But what bothers me is I didn't notice the light change. I must really be in a fog.
Anyway, we're still having the contest:

A dream come true.




Let's have a flash fiction contest to celebrate!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:

extra
hour
early
light
dark


To compete for the Steve Forti Deft Use of Prompt Words prize (or if you are Steve Forti) you must also use: Fortran

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: early/pearly is ok, but light/sleight is not. Hours is fine, but grouch is not

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

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

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 for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)

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. (Not for example "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: 8:53am Sat Nov. 10, 2018

Contest closes:9am Sun Nov 11, 2018

If you're wondering how what time it is in NYC right now, here's the clock



If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's an .xls spread sheet here http://www.colindsmith.com/TreasureChest/

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


Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?
Not yet!

Enter!
(sorry, it took me seven hours to update that. Clearly I am in some sort of fugue
state. I'm working on who to blame cause ME just sounds too honest!)

Sorry, too late! Contest closed.
Anyone want to wager on when the results get posted?







34 comments:

Steve Forti said...

Don’t do it. I’m telling you. Do not piss him off or transgress in any way.

Come on. How could he even know?

Old man’s got some built in radar, kid. Like the song says. He always knows.

But he seems so delightful. I’m sure he won’t mind if I eat just one.

It ain’t a complex transaction kid. Milk plus cookies equals presents. You steal from him, coal ain’t all you’ll get.

Nu-uh. I hear lyin’s a transgression, too, you know. Chomp, chomp.

Suit yourself, kid. Was nice knowing ya.

Ho, ho, ho?!

Ur in deep shit now.

Craig F said...

The photo series had become somewhat famous. Next, the best photos. It took extra effort because they would be taken as darkness greyed into light.

I trod the familiar path to the beast’s lair. My watch said I was early. I climbed up and waited for the beast to stir.

She was already up and stirring. I realized that I forgot to set my clocks back an hour.

She stepped out of the shower with a towel clutched around herself. She saw me and dropped the towel to raise a pistol.

“Pervert” her growl clarified to, then a gunshot.

Megan V said...

I arrived too late for Transsexual, Transylvania. The lights had long since dimmed into the familiar hooded darkness of loose velvet curtains. Still, I slipped through the shadows, hovering in the periphery until I reached my usual seat.

It wasn’t vacant.

Frowning, I backtracked through the theater, sneaking into the wings, climbing the scaffolding, and waiting for minutes that passed like hours.

I moved on cue.

“Did I not explicitly instruct that box five was to be kept empty?” I bellowed.

The audience laughed.

Until the curtains dropped—too early, too quickly—brought down by an extra golden tassel.

Claire Bobrow said...

Chip’s career in Fortran had left him with certain habits:
early to wake,
long hours,
extraordinary attention to detail.
Every detail, that is,
except connections.
He figured he might be lonely.

So, he got a cat -
a simple, yet elegant solution.
But she refused to eat.
Chip tried everything:
beef?
chicken?
duck?
lamb?
Chip was in the dark,
so he did some quick calculations, until…
Ding!
A light went off.
He called out in his flat monotone:
“Here. Kitty. Kitty.”

But Chip should have known better.
Tuna? Ha!
Kit-E turned up her nose.
She had been programmed to perfection.

Marty Weiss said...


Called upon to suggest a biographical insert for a story about a movie star, the student submitted the following paragraph to the creative writing instructor of the high school class.

Among the many highlights of Elizabeth Taylor’s fabulous Hollywood career, one aspect in particular emerged after her early and middle years of glamour, romance, and marriages had passed. Despite many dark days of chronic illnesses and hours of debilitating pain, her extraordinary spirit enabled her to be a vibrant spokesperson for equality and fairness for lesbians, for gays, for bisexuals, and for transsexuals.

The student received a passing grade.

Dan Castro said...

In the dim light, I showed the cabal a photo.

“D.A. R. Keith Thiesh,
our next President.”
……………………………………………“Thiesh? More like
……………………………………………District Attorney Thief.
……………………………………………Remember the state
……………………………………………pension?”
…………………………………………………………………………….……“No one’ll vote for
…………………………………………………………………………….……that thief.”
“Never charged.”
……………………………………………“Isn’t Thiesh a
……………………………………………sex trafficker?”
……………………………………………………………………….…………“No one’ll elect a
…………………………………………………………………..……………thieving pimping—”
“Alleged.”
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………“That accent.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Isn’t he
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………a goddamn
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………illegal?”
“Emigrated from
Aktenstein. He’s an
earl, you know.”
……………………………………………………………………….…………“No one’ll nominate a
………………………………………………………………………….………thieving pimping illegal
…………………………………………………………………………….……for transit cop, much
……………………………………………………………………….…………less Pres—”
“YOU three include a
thief, a sex trafficker,
and an illegal. Thiesh
will be our nominee.”

One angry hour later, he was.

Kregger said...

“You’re late, Pfc!”

“No, I’m an hour early, Sarge!”

"See that clock?"

“Yeah…it’s wrong.”

“Fort Randall, per DoD specs, doesn’t follow DST, for transparency and for transit shipping.”

“How can that be?”

“The west end of camp is in Mountain time; the east is in Central. You shouldn’t have changed your clock Sunday.”

“Light and dark! No wonder the mess-hall, medics and motor pool weren’t open this morning.”

“I hear the latrines calling you, Private.”

“Sarge, I’m Private First Class.”

“Not anymore, Private. Shitters down the hall. Get to work.”

“Even the extra bathroom for trans…okay…okay…stop the death stare.”

Timothy Lowe said...

“Here she is. Top of the line. Sign this here waiver.”

[Identification cleared. Ray, Delmont Cleaves. Tallahassee, Florida.]

“Can’t believe it’s legal in Texas and Arkansas. Hope it’s worth the drive. This ain’t okay with our wives, you know.”

[Activate synaptic circuits. Prepare for copulation]

“Why not? It ain’t sex traffic. Not really. They ain’t alive. Confidentiality’s assured. Take her one at a time.”

[Detect mastication of ear. Lymphatic response employed]

“Christ, Del. This’s better than I thought.”

[Simulate delight. Commence moaning]

“My turn.”

[Prepare for transmission of seminal fluids]

“Oh, God -”

[Transaction complete.]

[E-mailing receipt to amandacleaves342@hotmail.com]

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Curled fetally under a table in the early darkness, the smell of spilled beer and blood baptized me as victim. A madman searching for transcendence within his twisted norm had proclaimed himself almighty executioner.
Don’t move.
For an hour, motionless, eyes squeezed shut, I played the extraordinary game of dead. With each slow and deliberate exhale I prayed for one more gentle inhale.
Don’t move.
Did he run out of bullets?
Did he leave?
Don’t move.
Is he dead?
Am I dead?
Light dusted across my eyelids. I squinted.
“She’s alive.” He shouted.
Was he my savior or slayer?

Colin Smith said...

Shopping List
------------------
Kitchen knives
Mattress and frame (twin size, nearly new).
Bed sheets (twin size)
Paint (dark red, quick dry--max. 1 hour)
Bleach
Flashlight
Sweat pants
Gloves
Hoodie (extra large)
Scarf
Duct Tape
Weight plates (10lb) x3
Heavy-duty tarpaulin (16x20)
Rope
Family lawyer

Marie McKay said...

She found the extra hour beneath her pillow. It was pink and oval, the way she'd imagined her soul might look.
Outside was dark; she dressed,unsure of how this would work. The hour she'd chosen was the hour before she'd turned 16.
The oval ticked as soon as she picked it up: now the bed she stood next to contained her 15-year-old self.
Looking at this early self, the one she'd come to forewarn, she saw the light. An hour wasn't long enough for a kid to digest what she'd come to say. It needed a lifetime.

NLiu said...

They called it a blight. Not to mention the inhabitants: the loud sex, trampling feet at all hours. The smell.

They complained. That bloke - what was his name, Noel? Neal? - didn't flinch. They got the planning department onto him. Court summons. He ignored it, claimed divine inspiration, holy immunity.

Pearly dawn. It rained. Ark doors shut. The end.

Alina Sergachov said...

The bus pulls to a curb. The driver gets off first. Passengers follow his lead.

No rush, no panic.
No bus stop.

I pull one earbud out. A piercing two-tone howl of a siren syncopates with the symphony №6. ‘Code Red’.

No fort.
Ranunculus instead of a bomb shelter.

I never had sex. Tragic waste.
It was too early. Is it too late?

A man who dared to waste one hour of time.

Others crouch. And kneel. I wait for the incoming missile in the comfort of a bus. Alone.

Dark sky. Light rain.
Crescendo. Explosion. Silence.

Unknown said...

"One extra hour," she pleads. The dark figure isn’t swayed.

Time for transit; no extra hours, it says without speaking.

"But sunrise is nearly here! Let me see the light one last time. I don't have to be alive, just let me linger."

The figure is inhumanly still.

Fine. It says. But I watch you.

She smiles softly. That's everything she needs. "Thank you.”

Sunrise comes early, light softening and brightening. Sunlight starts leaking out over the horizon, triggering her trap.

Her hidden symbols activate.Years of research pay off.

The figure shrieks. She smiles, genuinely this time.

Dena Pawling said...


In the early morning hours, her full bladder demanded that she rise. She stumbled past a darkened window, praying to make it in time.

9:05. She's overslept. Shouldn't it be light by now?

She flushed, thankful for still-dry pajamas. Window now showing dark red, promising an extra-beautiful sunrise. Odd it was late. She peered outside.

Flames!

Grabbing her cat and keys, she dashed outside barefoot. Through swirling black smoke and blowing embers, she tossed the cat in the car and screeched away.

Worldly possessions: Car, cat, pajamas.

But alive.

Welcome to
Paradise California
Population: 26,682
Now: Gone


David Jesson said...

The Bandleader blamed the comic, for adding extra material. The Comic blamed the Bandleader for coming in too early, drowning out the punchline.

Less than an hour after the end of the show, the Comic stood in a darkened doorway. He'd arrived early, and removed the light-bulb.

As the musician fumbled with his keys, a voice tickled his ear:

"Laugh this off."

Puzzled he turned, only to see a figure turning the corner at the end of the street. His back began to itch as if it were on fire.

He turned and, in extreme discomfort, ran to the shower.

Leone said...

"What time do you have? Quick, before their frappuccinos come."

"It's noon. What time do you have?"

"Eleven. Too early. I didn't add the extra hour."

""What went wrong?"

"I tried to reboot myself, but my screen went dark and then nothing."

"Pull up your light folder, the one with time zones."

"I don't have a light folder."

"Did you set your System Preferences to include poetry? Look for 'A light exists in spring." Or 'Light, more light! The shadows deepen.'"

"What are you speaking? COBOL?"

"No, poetry."

"It's all Fortran to me."

Sherry Howard said...

As Albert fiddled and fritzed with code, light left the sky. The magical night of time exchange.

This had to be the night, the evening of the extra hour, the coalescence of all particles.

Darkness at last. He kissed the picture of his wife and kids.

Thanks to early IBM for transportation, for the genius that allowed this teleport.

He steadied himself with a double bourbon, then hit the button.

Everyone knew wormholes didn’t spit you back-he’d miss pizza.

Hello, Stars!

Python, eat my dust.

Michael Seese said...


I prayed for an extra hour. He must have heard me.

Starting.

The smell of purity hovered with me in the aether, enveloping me in peace.

Bag.

She always said not to jog in the dark. But the virgin air of early morning cleanses my soul.

Anything?

The car never saw me. The driver never stopped.

Resuming.

Her voice broke through the veil, her light piercing the fog.

I saw the path home.

My new home.

What should we do, Mrs. Nash? said the voice I’d been hearing, assuming it was God.

“Nothing,” my wife said. “He has a DNR.”


The Noise In Space said...

“Negative results are still results,” said our lab director. “Besides, it’s still early.”

“You’ve had ample time to prove your theory, Rick,” snapped the senator. “They’ve been like this for weeks, and you mean to tell me they haven’t produced a single sheep among them?”

“Unit 6 managed a sort of three-headed llama yesterday,” said our technician.

“Enough. I’m pulling your funding. This experiment is terminated.”

He slammed the door, knocking over stacks of simulacra and scanners darkly and owls in daylight.

Rick gazed out over the droids, all asleep.

“Give them an extra hour. Then we’ll retire them all.”

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

If only I had an extra chance to see one more time,
the one I loved dearly, the one I loved most.
The one who brought the brightest light into my life, the one I lived and breathed for.
Now I live in the darkness of despair, in a depth I had never before realized.
Loneliness, tears, sorrow and pain are my companions.
Along with hopelessness, disappointment, anger and regret.
The hourglass of time is emptying. I am ready

RKeelan said...

There's something exquisite about snow falling in darkness.

The warmth of her crew cab contrasts cozily with the chill outside, while hour after hour, the snow accumulates, muffling all, covering all.

There's something magical about that, too.

Her shovel and tarp and bleach are stowed in the cargo bed. The headlights are on, illuminating fragrant pines and the road between them.

She takes a sip of over-extracted coffee, her hands still trembling.

She wants to savour this moment, long-planned and dearly bought, but she relives it.

The shock of impact travelling up the handle.

Last words cut off mid—

Scott G said...

I’m a killer. It’s what I do. The way I’m built.

I never kill intentionally. Someone always makes me.

They make me do the dirty work. They press my buttons and I explode with the fury of a thousand sparks of light.

In my finest hours, I kill dealers and dopers and sex traders, but I never get the credit. They do.

In my darkest hours, they make me kill students and clubbers and dearly-loved kids, but they never get the blame. I do.

Go ahead. Destroy me. They make me by the millions. You cannot stop us.

Only them.

BrendaLynn said...


THE MECHANICS

Hawking, Einstein, Feynman and their dog walk into an agency.
Hawking: “We forgot Schrödinger!”
Feynman: “Arrested hours ago for inciting cat mass...”
Einstein: “Mass?”
Feynman: “Massacres. He’s old school, Hawking. You were pre-calculus when he died.”
Hawking: “Nope. Early energy. I was pre-calculus when Albert died.”
Einstein: “Energy?”
Agent (darkly): “Ummm ... Gentlemen?”
Feynman (flashing the extra-famous, thousand-watt smile): Delighted...”
Einstein: “Light...”
Agent: “Cute dog. I’m guessing she’s your strong female lead.”
Feynman (winking) “Her name’s Fortran. She’s old but she’s still got speed.”
Einstein: “Speed! C’mon, boys. We’ll write the book later.”
Agent: “That’s what they all say.”

Jeannette Leopold said...

Dear Lynne,

According to the calendar, Karen’s been here twelve days. Feels like forty. I left the door open yesterday hoping she’d take flight, but instead she ate my bacon and took a drooling three-hour nap on my new leather couch.

So for the fifth time, Lynne, I have your daughter. If you ever want to see her again… swing by and grab her. Google maps says it’s a seventeen-minute drive. I’ll throw in ten thousand bucks. And don’t go thinking the next ransom note will be for more. I’ve already robbed the neighbors blind.

Have a heart.
Frederick

John Davis Frain said...

July. Mom bought me a Judy Blume. Who knew she wrote for grown-ups? But wow, this one! I quit reading around family. I craved solitude, desperate for Mom to drive my brother somewhere. Never happened.

September. When school started, I tried Netflix and chili. Never understood what friends raved about?

Finally, November—the extra hour. Nearly 2am, my Fitbit buzzed. Like that was necessary! I was feeling all the things. I delighted in the danger zone. Whispered my name. At 3am, still dark, I set the clock back. One hour of history forever wiped out.

I was still a virgin.

Daniel Steffee said...

First, denial: They wouldn't disown me.

Next, rage: Didn't need them anyhow.

Now, doubt: Should I have lied?

The truth slithered out during my family’s annual road trip North. Our RV, like a miniaturized ark, overflowed with siblings, siblings’ friends, and loudest of all, three delighted dogs and one yowling, imperious cat we couldn’t bear to leave behind.

The problem arose during one of Dad’s heart-lukewarming story/sermons, when he asked a rhetorical question I found myself unable to answer:

“Do you believe in God?”

Damn, if only I could bear lying about the things that matter.

french sojourn said...


There was a lightness about him. With the world falling into darkness, he somehow stood above it all. Economic indicators were the last things on his mind.

He loaded his rusty Dodge pick-up and threw a tarp over the pile in the back. A worn shovel was tossed on top of the tarp to keep it honest. His ex traded in their double wide for a ticket out of dodge. She thought she did anyway, and he…well he was thorough; our sheriff wasn’t. He drove into the night.

In late fall, early winter, unlike his ex, the soil was amenable.

Steph Ellis said...

I’ve been standing in the dark for hours, awaiting her blackmailer; I’d promised to help. His game is industrial espionage and now he’s here.

“Have you the code?” he asks.

I nod. “And have you the photos?”

We swap envelopes.

He opens his. “What … ?”

Fortran,” I explain. “An early language …”

“This isn’t …”

He is interrupted as the light grows and Dawn emerges, on time. She too glances at the paper. “Seems pretty BASIC to me,” she smiles. “Logical.”

“AND?”

She nods. “DIMENSION variable. PUNCH.”

“END,” I agree and hit him, enjoying the sensation, a delightful extra.

Aphra Pell said...

Sept 2118

5th.
It’s all over. No more green fields, no fish in the brook. When the lightening paints electric pictures in the sky, we rush our carts back to camp. No one wants to be caught in the storm.

13th.
Old Arkwright’s gone. Saw a vision in the ancient text – rash old fool – climbed out the fort, ran into the dust. His bones were picked clean.

28th.
They’re coming. I see their shadows in the haze. The boy is paralysed with fear, lying on his bunk catatonic. I won’t run. Mothers can’t

Just Jan said...

“It’s your holiday,” said Rabbit. “Pig’s is Christmas. Lamb and I handle Easter. Be an early bird. Stay for an hour. It won’t kill you.”

“And you never have to come back,” gushed Lamb. “After Easter, I’m going somewhere with green meadows and lots of sunlight.”

Pig grunted. “Why leave? They give us extra grub here.”

“I would run away if I could,” Rabbit sniffed. “I’m always brought back to the same dark barnyard.”

Tom shook his snood. “Alright, I’ll go. Who’s my handler?”

Rabbit consulted the list. “A man of the cloth. The Turkey Friar. Good luck.”

Mallory Love said...

Yes, it was a lie, but only slightly one. Nearly a half truth. Told for tranquility, we claimed. Actually, it was a way to wash our hands of something that had gotten out of control. The questions were mind numbing; the demands, relentless. Every time the commercials came on between cartoons, after every hurried push of the cart past the toy aisle, we uttered those three little words: “Sure, for Christmas.” We didn’t understand the dark consequences that would befall us then. Extra days dwindled down to none. That morning we prayed that Amazon’s shipping was quicker than little feet.

Sherin Nicole said...

For Tran, it seemed obvious. From the wee hours ‘til the early dark, the entire city conspired to poison her.

Oh how they smiled, like cherubs of plight and pestilence, “Come have a taste, dear.” Offering up trays of sickly orange, as though she couldn’t smell the c. zeylanicum stink.

She’d sniff and she’d glare.

Was it ageism? It hadn’t been this bad twenty years ago.
Sexism? The men seemed immune.

If she’d known who she betrayed to trigger this complex trap she’d apologize. Though, Tran couldn’t ask without revealing she’d caught on.

What the hell was Pumpkin Spice, anyway?

Amy Johnson said...

To enter or not to enter?

That was the question. I resumed pondering before dawn’s first light.

One early attempt was too dark. I’m writing MG—gotta consider my reputation. One idea could make a good short story, but not a flash piece. Another story was a maybe. Had mystery and humor. But did I do first person pencil before? With an extra hour I might be able to finish that Forti Award attempt. At least now I know of thirty-one towns in Arkansas that end in “d.”