Friday, March 08, 2019

Foil the Forti Flash Fiction Contest!

After being summarily vanquished last week, you'd think I'd retire from the field.

But NO!

I had to spend a good deal of Thursday supine upon the couch, blowing my schnozz. What better use of time than to think of ways to Foil the Forti?!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:
get-go (yes you need the hyphen)

If you are Steve Forti, or want to Be Fortissimo, you must also use:

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: fargo/far gone is ok, but fargo/fear going 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: 3/09/19 6:16am

Contest closes: 3/10/19 9am

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

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

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid

Ready? SET?

Not yet! 

Too late! Contest closed!


Steve Forti said...

The gym stank of old sweat and moldy parget. Gone was the glory, the clog of fans. Just an idiot shouting from the top rope.

“Get your ass down. You ain’t Tarzan, Z. I barely recognize you lately. And stop shouting. What’s the most important tool for a boxer?”

ygen,” Zeke mumbled.

“Damn straight. Speed and strength don’t mean shit if you’re winded. Breathe first, then attack. Jab or slug. One-two combos. Up-tempo. Go high then low. Keep ‘em guessing. He retreats too far, goad him back.”

Zeke exhaled, eyed the empty gym. Two years, yet Coach’s voice lived on.

Marie McKay said...

She pogoes the Tango.
The audience in uproar at this no-no.
A rebel of the Ballroom from the get-go.
Couples still going quick-quick-slow.
A slug of The Judge's water before,
she rips up The Organiser's logo
to protest their embargo on her partner being Margo.
'Security!' calls The Judge. 'You've taken things too far.'
'Go on, Dad. Throw me out. Your water tastes of vodka with a twist of spite. But I'll keep dancing with whomever I like.'

NLiu said...

Chengdu International. Waipo sees me off: Ba and Ma too busy. Students lug on cases, full of get-go. Waipo presses her Bible into my hands.
“You can't give me this!”
She smiles. “You need it more.”

Auckland. Waipo's pickles confiscated: biohazard. Her Bible stays.

My thesis: isotopes of Argon. Hate it.

Crowne Plaza, NZ. I barf, drunk for the first time. Miss those pickles. Go back; read. Cry.

Log onto email. Waipo. Hospital.

Early flight? Then I can't afford to eat next semester.

I take it anyway.

Arrive at nearly six. ER. Oxygen mask on. But Waipo? Gone, flown. Home.

Aphra Pell said...

She stalked into my alley, a golden-furred queen.
“Hello Gordy” she purred.
“That’s Mr Whiskers to you, sweet-ears. What’s the get-go?”
“That new family from Fargo…”
“They’re deciding between keeping me or…” She arched “…getting a D.O.G. Some pogoing idiot, all slobber and walkies”
I clicked my teeth. “That’s bad.”
“Thought you might come play chase. Make them think.”
“I could visit… if you’ve got something to trade.”
She flicked an ear. “Joint called the Zanzibar. Pallet of spoiled cake behind the xerox. Deal?”
Hot damn. “Deal.”
In this slug of a town, a rat’s gotta seize his chance.

Timothy Lowe said...

At seventeen, Matt was an A-plus mechanic, a whiz-bang auto-fixer. Oxygen sensor on the blink? He’d fix it, two shakes of a lamb’s ass. Unfortunately, English class just wasn’t his thing.

“...And then they pogo up, down. Near, far, going every which way you can imagine! Canines go all zanzi! Barrel around in these multi-colored cars --”


He smiled, halo gold as the sun. “Yes, Mrs. Blodget?”

“‘Go, Dog. Go!’ is not appropriate material for an 11th grade book report.”

Later, in the faculty lot, he adjusted her wheel fasteners: lug operation optimal.

Teach her to fuck with the classics.

Craig F said...

“The press’ll make a folk hero out of her. We need to give her a logo.”

“What, make her seem like some cartoon, maybe Pogo or Slugo? Fargo, did your get-go make you hit your head?”

“She has killed six people, all of whom were rich scum buckets. Took their money and made philanthropic gifts.”

“I’ll think on it.”

The front door opened.

“Hey, Dad, I brought take-out.”

He headed toward the kitchen but a whiff of perfume stopped him. It was the same as at the crime scenes. Her footprints left a smudged trail of blood across the floor.

Nate Wilson said...

Philip swerved and hit the brakes too late.

Two tickets to Busch Gardens, to see a giraffe and a hippo... gone.

Just as he'd planned.

A 10th birthday party complete with Jasmine and Jafar... gone.

He'd tried so many times to kick it. But no dice.

A beloved 3/4 size cello... gone.

Every time, he'd find himself back at another table. Or the same one.

The first semester's tuition to SLU... gone.

But no more. Only one option left to set things right.

Gotta get... gone.

In that moment between cliff and gravity's call, Philip closed his eyes. And smiled.

Mike Hays said...

It’s our familiar Saturday morning argument. Two old goths raised on pogo sticks and clackers.

She loves Lugosi’s vampire. Me? I’m an Anne Rice guy.

“That Tom Cruise one is just too far gone for me. Completely over the top. Tom Cruise as a 5-foot vampire? Please. Lost me from the get-go.”

I look at the backward logo on the coffee shop window and sip my tea. “You know...a mermaid vampire would be interesting.”

She smiles her siren’s smile. The one that’s enchanted me for 30 years.

“A gothic mermaid?”

I nod.

“At least she won’t need platform shoes.”

RKeelan said...

PS C:\> RunAs /user:Steve Powershell

Enter the password for Steve:

Attempting to start Powershell as user "FORTIFICATION\Steve"

Windows Powershell

Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

PS C:\> Get-Date

Sunday, March 10, 2019 8:55:43 AM

PS C:\> Set-Location Users\Steve\Documents\Writing\Flash\

PS C:\Users\Steve\Documents\Writing\Flash> Remove-Item -recurse -force .\*

PS C:\Users\Steve\Documents\Writing\Flash> Set-Content -Path Story.txt "

>> Bogo pogo drink some rye

>> Slugo pugo crucify

>> Margo fargo Forti guy

>> Let-go get-go falsify

>> Lingo logo mortify"

PS C:\Users\Steve\Documents\Writing\Flash> Get-Content Story.txt |

>> Invoke-WebRequest -Uri

PS C:\Users\Steve\Documents\Writing\Flash> Invoke-WebRequest -Uri

PS C:\Users\Steve\Documents\Writing\Flash> Get-Date

Sunday, March 10, 2019 8:59:58 AM

PS C:\Users\Steve\Documents\Writing\Flash> Exit

Megan V said...

They say you can spend your whole life finding yourself, but I knew me from the get-go.

Mom pushed me out straight into a dumpster.

My peddler pushed me like he pushed his dope—with a slug or three of Zanzibar whiskey.

No one pushed Xerox copies of me when I ran.

But I ran home.

Home is a picket fence with a preschooler in logos, bouncing on his pogo stick the way I bounced through life. He’s never seen Fargo, but he’ll learn picket fences don’t mean safe when our mom arrives.

Like daughter, like mother.

She is disposable.

SC said...


Tommy knocked harder, and Adrianne braced the front door. Jesus, he was drunk from the get-go. Calling her a dumb-slut slugo and worse. Door was gonna break—so she opened it, and he pitched forward inside.

She aimed the kitchen knife at his throat. “Stay,” she said. And he did, chained in the basement with nothing but old comics, Garfield, Charlie Brown, Pogo. For four years.

First, his bank account: easy. Then, a Zanzibar vacation, and in the Fargo airport she saw his face on a “missing” xerox flyer, under a police shield logo.

Except his name wasn’t Tommy.

katie said...

"I looked it up. It's called anthropo-"

"Going there?"

"As your sister, I have questions, even though I admit he's been perfectly lifelike from the get-go."

"He's not 'lifelike'. He's real. O, go f--- yourself, I see your expression."

"He's a tree! And you want to bring him to my wedding!"

"Think of him as a regular guy from Fargo. Other than being Groot's cousin, anyway."

"Like Groot has ever been anywhere near Fargo!"

"You're just jealous."

"He had a slug on his hand the other night, I'm just saying."

"He's still way better than Dave."

Colin Smith said...

Two weeks in Zanzibar. Some second honeymoon. There was something odd about the whole trip from the get-go. Like it was an excuse for something else.

I log out of Emily’s PC for the last time, and look over her Xeroxed itinerary:

-Gun Expo
-Golf with Eddie—Eddie who?
-Joy at Wells Fargo—Joy?
-Take Joy’s lug—oh, that Joy. I wondered what the blue case was. What did Emily want with her luggage?

I don’t connect the dots until I see the news on my solo flight home: Woman found near bank in Chukwani. Single gunshot to the head.

shanepatrickwrites said...

A Xerox of the day before, I held the first drink, staring across the beaches of Zanzibar. I took a slug of booze to erase that day in Fargo from my memory. Pogopalooza 2022, the tenth anniversary of the first time in history anyone cleared a flight of stairs, me. That’s why it’s my silhouette on the logo; I was the best from the get-go. And I still would be if it weren’t for that sonofabitch, Forti. I saw the ocean through the bottom of my glass when the idea hit me, sabotage.

Karen Jobst said...

The famine had taken hold of us from the get-go. Ma opened the swollen can of corn, took out two kernels, put them in her mouth and swallowed.

We waited while our starving spaniel, Pogo, whimpered at her feet.

The logo on the can read: Fargo’s best. I hoped those words meant what they said.

Slugo, my younger brother, leaned into me. Two kernels of corn wouldn’t make Ma die. They might make her sick, but...

Ma reached in again and ate some more. She pushed the can toward us.

“Slow,” she said. “Make it last.”

cjohs said...

The Zanzibar bar was closed. Somebody had thrown a pogo-stick through the window.
He thought it rather fitting.
'When you call a bar "The Broken Pane", and logo it with stylised broken glass, you have it coming.'
He stood for a moment, looking into the future; it loomed like a sad xerox of the past.
'I think this town was against us from the get-go; also it reminds me of Fargo.'
The dog just looked at him.
'Come on Slugo, time to move on.'

Dena Pawling said...

There once was a young lad from Fargo
Who loved on his dream girl named .........
Margo sighed, stared at the xeroxed poem. What was that next word?
She closed her eyes.
And smiled.
Darren. She saw him clearly. Their honeymoon.
They walked hand in hand down the beach. Bathed in moonlight.
She'd loved him from the get-go.
Margo opened her eyes, and frowned.
“Mom, it's me. Your son. Steven.”
Confused, she stared at the sweet, sad smile. He looked like Darren. Except, not quite.
“Who? Who are you?”

JanR said...

I’m a xero. Xip. Froxen out. By Her decree.

True, I never seixed much buxx. I’m no whixx. I’m a slugo, laxing along at the back of the line. It’s pretty far, going to the endxone when you need me.

But Xounds! I’ve been there from the get-go. Hello, got amaxing words to spell all through the Greek era.

And snooxing on the far left of the keyboard, that’s not craxy. You realixe I’m almost never seen in a typo.

sh! They’ll never be able to spell Xanxibar now. I know she needs to foil Forti, but geex!

Sara Frost said...

I found the dead body in a marsh in Fargo, North Dakota, and I knew from the get-go who murdered her.

I had just turned twelve that summer. I remember it as sticky and sweet. Every day, I bounced around on my pogo stick and indulged in strawberry pie. I played innocently, near the flowering swamp. Until I found the girl.

I recall rolling the decaying log off her body. And pulling a bloated slug out of her mouth. But she deserved better than me. I shouldn't have left her there.

I had to protect my brother.

Steph Ellis said...

‘Can you hear me?’ His voice shot at her in the dark, a slug of death, silver-plated.

She did not answer. They had been cat and mouse from the get-go. Predator and prey. Taking turns in their circus of pain.

‘I know you can hear me.’

Closer now. Her skin burned beneath the freezing pogonip, its ice casing her exposed flesh but she held herself ready.

Logo.’ Their safe word. But she could hear the lie beneath it, the far gone corruption of what they had been to each other.

Kill or be killed. Both, she decided … and took aim.

Michael Seese said...

The GetGo 99-cent breakfast burrito trampolining in my gut threatened to pogo back up to the pavement. The super-sized slug of vodka fortifying the Slush Puppie didn't help. I trudged onward, officeward, my wake reeking of regret. Inexplicably, my shoes had gained a few pounds since last night. Beneath them, the sidewalk sighed, saddled with the weight of my world.

I arrived to find the switchboard lit up like the heavens, and pushed the button blinking the loudest. A shaky voice beseeched.

“Hello? God?”

A far gone conclusion. My first day on the job would be less than divine.

Mallory Love said...

After a slug of whiskey or four, he’d been too far gone to remember the conversation, the music's tempo going strong, the alcohol stronger. The girl was gorgeous, no Jenni but enough to forget. She’d been burned, too, by her boyfriend. He remembered that much. She mentioned something else: eye for an eye? Or was it limb for a limb?

The detective stared him down across the table. They'd found Jenni dead this morning. On her corpse was a message written on a napkin with the nightclub's logo.

"Your turn," it read. "Better get-going."


Murder for a murder.

Dan Castro said...

I tremble.

She steps onto my shack’s steps.

I don’t dare look at her eyes. Focus instead on her white, summer dress. Perfectly tailored. Probably Daslu.

Go home, I think, hands shaking unnaturally.

On the dirt road, her Rolls-Royce idles.

She smiles. “Hello.”

Go home.

I pull my fraying shawl tight. Shiver despite the Brazilian heat.

“I’m looking for Senhora Acampo—Go home—ra. I’ve come far—Go home!—to get-“



Her money could buy me a lifetime of product.

“She’s dead.” I close the door, the second kindest thing I ever did for her.

K said...

"Gotcha, Jake."
Space cops and their oaf argot.
"No proof," I said.
His grin was as bouncy as an anti-gravity pogo stick. "Audio. From the museum."
Nope. I loathe logorrheic robots, so my partner was a reprogrammed Xero-XII. They keep quiet.
"It's a setup. Stinks like a slug on Saturn. Has from the get-go."
"Your buddy listened to a song during the break-in."
The reprogramming had turned Xero into a Billy Joel superfan…
"We all like music," I offered.
"Just one download of this tune in two centuries." The cop laughed. "Forget about it, Jake. It's 'Zanzibar.'"

Kathy Joyce said...

You can see the grain elevator for miles, Sykeston’s pitiful Manaslu, going nowhere. Farthest we traveled was Jamestown, Fargo might as well have been Zanzibar.

When Korea exploded, I volunteered from the get-go. No more beefalo, gourmet instead. Good riddance rural America.

Ignoring grenades, I tended the wounded. Fearless. I’d lived through worse.

The town’s pastor could have been Gestapo, goddamned cruelest man alive. His son, argyle-soxer, ox-bloody jackass, pulverized me daily. He’d slug on my face, screaming “coward, sissy,” until others abetted.

“Don’t leave me,” he sobbed now, bloody, terrified, longing for home.

I held him while he died.

RosannaM said...

The invitation reads,
“Big Celebration! Saint Paddy’s Day mixer. O X O X.”

She always got that backwards, my ex.

Almost late, I get going.

She’s jubilant, waves her laptop.

Log on.”

I obey. “Typo. Gotta be,” my voice shaky.

She shakes her head no.

We down slug o’ whiskey or five.

Neurons ferris-wheeling, noodly o’ z feet, z anz,
I bar
ricade in z bathroom, peek at computer again. All z zeros.

Rest of night a blur, stumble-dancing with my ex-girl, current partner.

Too far gone to drive home, we call Lyft.

Lyft, our company, which just launched its IPO.

Sherin Nicole said...

Her song used to grow from the roots.
Medusa child, hair in pogo springs, voice potent as a slug of moonshine.

Wild child from the get-go, her magic came from far gone, far beyond the Isle of Ellis where the ancestors hummed elegies.

No one believed she could be branded, skin etched in logos, writ in the names some called fashion.

This life sought to gentrify her kinkiness, to nullify her brown.
“Less money, mo problems.” None of us remain unchanged.

Dreams of Zanzibar, while the relaxer oxidized her scalp, silencing the crown the ancestor’s bequeathed, leaving only straight-up ambiguity.

AJ Blythe said...

But I live.
Death everywhere.
I know.
Must move.
Like a slug…or…snail
I shift.
Pain churns.
Blink open heavy lids.
Knowing makes chill worse.
White mist
Carries wafts of poppy
Fog swirls. A figure.
Good night.
Help. Me.
The mists, her head, shakes.
It’s time.
Is it far?
What if I forget—?

Alina Sergachov said...

Dear Agent Reid,

I wrote a fiction novel, set in Myanmar (or Zanzibar), about nefarious horses who solve problems with logorithms and a duct tape. Spoiler alert: it includes allusions to alligators with a strange affinity for foods that start with the letter "P" (like people).

I xeroxed it for you 54 seconds ago.

P.S. I almost fargot to mention that English is my third language, but I’m totally fluid.
P.P.S.-the title will be Slugo. Or Pogo. Or Get-go (something that ends with ‘go’—it must rhyme with my name).

John Davis Frain said...

Our arrogant auctioneer reviewed item 29482. Snorted.

I smiled. “He’s a celebrity of sorts.”

“A celebrity for…?”


Arrogant peered over his spectacles. “Again?”

“A DJ of the dictionary, if you will. A barista belletrist. A logophile on the loose.”

“So, a typo gone wild?”

“If you’re a glass-half-empty guy. Which you’ve been, from the get-go.”

“A slug of immense proportion calls me a realist? I’ll take that as a compliment.”

I was too far gone. “You couldn’t raise money on an escalator.”

He turned. I wondered why his fist was getting bigger. Then it hit me.

And we hit quota.

french sojourn said...

The Old Panther whiskey was harsh. I took another slug of it.

She sat there on the Barcalounger, reddened eyes, a low growl coming from her lips that showed just a trace of blood

I knew from the get-go, they weren’t meant for each other. Just like two rumble fish, stuck in the same fucking fishbowl. A single-wide with just her dreams, his debt, and their anger. They settled in the panhandle after pogoing around the state.

Behind the sofa Jacob was so far gone even his pit bull wouldn’t recognize him. I tossed another log onto the dying fire.

Just Jan said...

The Zanzibar Spa and CafĂ© had seen better days. Even their pogonia logo was dated. Didn’t matter. I only came for the cocktails and free gift.

The saleswoman praised their new menu. “—-delicious appetizers--"

Something crawled up the mildewed wall. Slug?

“--or escargot--”

I made a face, sipped my drink, made another face. Too much mixer.

“--ox tail soup, one of our specialties--”

I checked my phone. “Must get--”

“--gorgonzola, prosciutto, and cavatappi. Another guest favorite--"

Tried again. “I live too far--”

“—-goat yoga--”

Wait, what? “Where do I sign up?’