Friday, May 10, 2019

Return to Chez Yowl Flash Fiction contest!

A writing contest about me of course!

I return to Chez Yowl next week, I can hardly wait!

Her Sleekness has sent me a list of offerings she will accept; whoever introduced Her Grace to caviar has much to answer for!

In honor of the upcoming CatCation, a flash fiction contest!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.
2. Use these words in the story:


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

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.

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: Saturday May 11, 7:32am

Contest closes: Sunday May 12, 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! 

Sorry, too late. Contest closed.


Steve Forti said...

Harry’s limbs were convulsing, reenacting some stupid dance.

“Turn that crap off.”

“Whaddya prefer? EDM, bhangra, cello solos?”

Suzanne rolled her eyes and kept chopping. “It’s all the same noise.”

Harry huffed. “You need some variety in your life, Suz. I mean…” He waved at the counter. “Scallions, leeks, chives – they all taste like onions!”

She set down the knife and spooned her special sauce, offering it up. She knew all about Harry’s variety. His escapist affairs. Harry slurped.

“Mmm…mmmrrrmmhhh!” Harry’s limbs were convulsing again, then he fell. Motionless.

She resumed chopping. The Suz era in this house had begun.

Pericula Ludus said...

When Arben saw the football pitch, he didn’t want to play. He struggled for words in this new language, trying to tell us something important.
“Back home, when we saw grass like that, we said grace,” he finally said. “We’d eat well that day.”
We paused, us well-fed farm kids, limited in our understanding of the world by teachers and parents telling us only that he was a refugee and that we shouldn’t play war with him. They hadn’t told us about hunger.
That night, we all ate our greens. Leeks, peas, even broccoli seemed sweet as taffy.

Marie McKay said...


4 bedroomed house purchased.

Every 22nd September 1989-2019
3 roses
1 slim necktie
2 anniversary cards.
2 two-course meals
1 bottle of House white.

30th June 1992
Child number 1. Grace (his choice.)

26th June 1994
Child number 2. Staff (his choice.)

28th June 1996
Child number 3. Marjorie (his mother Marjorie's choice.)

23rd September 2019
1 sleek, green car (his baby)
4 bicycles
1 bin containing dead petals and the shredded remains of "Happy Anniversary"s.

21st September 2020
1 secret nest egg.
1 way ticket.
1 very fast, very red car (her choice.)

Mark Newman said...

Elizabeth took the sleek staff and gazed one last time at its Great Star of Africa. The largest clear cut diamond in the world sparkled atop her Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. She dreamed of doing this and Diana only encouraged her that day at the Grace Slim cat rescue affair.

With a tug and a gasp the diamond popped free. Britain only had it because of suzerain loyalty from the Transvaal, so the scepter was redesigned in 1910 for Edward. Three hundred million pounds? Philip will turn green when he sees this.

Give it to the people, Diana told her.

Alina Sergachov said...

Every runner knows one word in Swedish: fartlek. (I even have a track t-shirt that says, “I fartlek when I run.”)
Fast. Slow. Fast.
A bolt of lightning rips the clouds apart. The forecast for today is rain and pain. More pain is expected tomorrow.
Inhale. Exhale.
No pain, no gain.
There’s only one more set till there’s only one more till there’s only one more.
I feel like the Little Mermaid—walking on sharp knives and stuff—but none of the coaching staff is mesmerized by my grace.
Sleek smiles. Slim chances.
Green light. Screeching brakes.

Lennon Faris said...

“Miss Avery?”

“Coming!” I called up. We had an offer. This was the last time I’d see it.

Didn’t bother with lights. Mom had toiled over this mural while I’d played Barbies with Grace. Soul, imprinted.

I trailed my hand along the basement wall, ships growing rough, flagstaffs creaking, seaweed sleek and slimy. Two merkids swooped, playing with merdolls. Looked so real. Where’d Grace go, anyway?

I slowed at the green mermaid. Mom painted this as herself, watching over us.

Oh! Her eyes.

I leaned.


“Bob, check out this mural! Looks just like Miss Avery. Wasn’t she down here?”

Mike Hays said...

It’s one thing to be streetwise; it’s another to believe the moon is green cheese. Through God’s grace, Modor was a cat of both philosophies. The moon would have to wait. Right now, his stomach rumbled. Cheese was near. Good cheese. Made by the Jurgeson’s Pub staff.

This tom knew cheese almost as well as these slim alleyways. He took a whiff. A fine cheddar! Perhaps a touch of Cheshire? Jurgeson’s door cracked and Modor edged his sleek frame inside. Dodging and ducking, he leaped to the bar.

The old barkeep looked down.

Modor looked up.

“Dinner time, my friend?”

C. Dan Castro said...

“Gotta slim down your department, Robert. Make it sleek. Efficient.”

Tom’s staff had expanded. Apparently mine must compensate.

I pray to God.

“Fire the Green group.”

My god.

”Blue too.”

My god grants more than strength to live in his grace bullshit.

”Violet goes to me.”

My god doesn’t prostrate me on my knees.

”Red stays with you.”

My god speaks to me, regardless of my position.

“Just Red.”

Usually when I’m screwing/strangling some whore.

”Goddamn board of directors, right Robert?”

But He speaks now.




”Hey, we still on for dinner?”

”Yes, Tom. Bring the family.”

Claire Bobrow said...

I am slim. I am sleek - not a hair out of place.
I have a trained staff. “May we help you, Your Grace?”

Pooh-bahs and Princes come courting my favor.
They tempt me with bribes any despot would savor:

“How about a kingdom, my dear suzerain?”
“That’s marvelous, darling, but I wouldn’t deign.”

“A spoonful of caviar? Straight from the jar?”
“If the spoon isn’t silver, I’d rather eat tar.”

Have you guessed who I am? Are you feeling quite green?
My name may be Duchess, but I am the Queen.

Beth Carpenter said...

The queen sleeked a paw over her ear. Kitten mimicked her action. The imp was green, but under her suzerain, he was learning.

“Grace,” she proclaimed, “is what distinguishes royalty from staff.”

On cue, the female servant clomped in. “Slim pickings tonight. One seafood, one liver.” She activated the food-releaser and slopped the contents into two porcelain bowls. The queen lifted her nose in a haughty sniff.

“Meow.” Kitten stumbled in his haste to rub against an ankle.

“Awww. Does him want seafood? Here you go. Queenie won’t mind liver tonight.”

Queen glared. Kitten smirked. “Cute trumps grace. Every time.”

Sian Brighal said...

Not one for prayer, knowing he was there through choice rather than grace, he lit a cigarette while the others knelt. He'd have laughed once at their begging for a slim chance at this meagre end, but such chances cut the keenest after a while. He inhaled deep, savouring the burn of smoke after the tang of copper. In his last affectation, sliding in their backs like the sleekest blade, he offered the kneeling group a cigarette as his comrades levelled their weapons.

Craig F said...


She will reach a state of grace


She will not be affected by the slimmness they wielded like a quarterstaff


She will feel as sleek as a breeze


The green tinge, from the razor’s bite, will fade to a snowy pallor


The last drops of blood will swirl down the sink.

Flor Salcedo said...

Holding her breath was all she could do to not gag as she picked the green mold off the only food she found.

At one point she’d been smart and sleek and didn’t end up in these situations. Messing with the wrong crowds had left her dumped in the desert.

Jeffrey was catching up.

After reaching the crashed plane they’d spotted miles away, and finding these slim pickings, she wished Jeffrey hadn’t made it this far.

At one point she’d been someone better.

Your Grace, please forgive me.

She snatched a staff off the ground and jabbed it into Jeffrey.

Dena Pawling said...

“Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts. Yum. Your favorite.”

Duchess sniffed. That was soooo 20th century. Effective immediately, she'd require caviar.

But staff were dimwitted. Take petting. Humans were always busy doing inconsequential “stuff”. Time available for petting was slim.

Today she'd change that.

As thumbed-one left the kitchen, Duchess' sleek feline form dashed underfoot.

The fall was less than graceful.

Thumbed-one returned, arm in a sling, and plopped on the couch. Duchess revved up her best purr and worked her way into the sling. Permanently. Now thumbed-one had no excuse.

Perpetual petting.

Mission accomplished.

Michael Seese said...

The covetous sun cast temptation across her face, caressing those Grace Kelly features with slim staffs of light. Eyes greener than Éire spoke through the words.

“Will you help me?”

My brothers under the badge had warned me. “She's sleek as a ’57 T-bird. And just as fast.”

Start your engines.

“When did you last see your husband?”


“Was he going somewhere?”




Throwing the pity card.

“What's in it for me?”

“My eternal gratitude,” she said, lips grazing my ear.

I knew I'd never find him. Someone would. Next to my body.

Somehow, I didn't care.

Steph Ellis said...

“God give you grace,” said the priest and turned away.

She ignored him, kept her focus on the green hills beyond. Feasted on them. Drank in all that would soon be gone. God had no part in this, the Devil on the other hand …

Sleek velvet and slim waists gazed up at her. Still she ignored them.

She’d stood in their shoes. Been party to the condemnation of the innocent, diverting attention away from herself.

She didn’t hear the hangman’s instructions, the thud of the staff signifying the end.

Green had turned to black and the blackness was forever.

MaggieJ said...

“Let me get this straight.” The Duchess of Yowl stretches languorously on her cushion, slim and sleek as when cats were Egyptian goddesses. “A contest celebrating your return as my serv—staff, and some don’t reference me? This is unacceptable.”

“There are several about cats, Your Grace. Duchesses, even.”

“Duchesses of what? Mere moggies! Did these felineous entries come with appropriate offerings? Tuna? A nice speckled trout?” Her green eyes glisten. “Caviar?”

“You can’t send piscine presents electronically, Your Grace.”

The Duchess yawns, curls up again. “Wake me when a proper tribute arrives. And Janet . . . welcome back.”

Megan V said...

"What do you think, Suze? Rain, or no rain?"
"From the pergola. Personally, I’m leaning towards no, but, well, what do you think?" Carrie gestured to the slim archway.
Suzie bit her lower lip, tried to grab hold of the perfect day that hadn’t been. Eyes closed, she envisioned the grotto awash in a pale green glow—Titania’s garden—as she floated (gracefully) down an aisle of lilacs. No sleek tuxedos, no staff. Just her, Carrie, and a jewel-bedecked officiant.
It would be a perfect day.
Except it wouldn’t be.
Suzie studied her brother’s fiancée.
“Rain fits.”

Will N Rogers said...

Grace was only supposed to be a secondary character. Slim, mild and meek, too green for the world in which I put her. A pawn in my story. Grace had other plans.

Fewer than 20,000 words in, she stole across the room, sleek and quick, and killed my primary antagonist. A single blow to the back of the head, with his own staff no less. Grace is something more than a secondary character now. I’m not sure what, but I’m listening. I only hope I still have characters left when she’s finished telling me how my novel should run.

Mallory Love said...

Over the years, she'd been many things to me.
Nurturer in my childhood.
Suzerain in my adolescence.
Mentor in my twenties.
Inspiration when I became a mother.
Therapist when my husband left for a sleek newer model.
Then she became a ghost of her former self, confusing me often for one of the nursing home staff.
As we sat on the back porch watching her last sunset, my mother’s slim arthritic fingers squeezed my hand and she smiled, whispering my name in a rasp. Frost once wrote nature’s first green was gold. I think the last gold must be grace.

Colin Smith said...

The recipe is an old family prescription:

6 green onions
2 lbs leek, chopped
Slimy horned toad
3 Batswings
Uncle Joe’s taffy
1 garlic clove
Dash of salt

I left the pot simmering, the full aroma seeping into every crevice, while I took some samples outside. Anointed the grounds with ritual sincerity, the high priest of noxious concoctions.

The family arrived as I was emptying the pot in the garden.

“Yes, Mr. Briggs,” I said. “That’ll be $50.”
He wrote the check while I swept up the roaches.
“Same time next quarter,” I smiled.

Mat Thorne said...

They reached the ridgeline as the sun fell below the caps of the western mountains. Deepening green of the pines along the lower hills, grey swell of thunderheads rising in the south.

"We can’t stop here," he said.

She only nodded.

Darkness now beneath the forest canopy. Leaves drifting graceless in the growing wind.

She walked ahead of him, favoring one leg and leaning on an oak branch as though it were a staff. Her silhouette so slim with hunger. Sleek hair whipping about her face like live wires and when she turned he could not meet her eyes.

Uncompliant said...

My first car was a sleek 1976 Ford Elite. It was emerald green sporting a flawless white vinyl half-top and gleaming whitewall tires. Everything inside was sweet white leather. The white rubber mats inevitably became shoe-scuffed on every trip, but, religiously, I scrubbed and bleached them.

One Sunday, my mother borrowed the car and the engine caught fire. She stood on the slim shoulder of the highway 20 feet away, all calm and grace, watching it burn. The tow truck driver solemnly intoned: "Dearly departed..." The staff at the repair shop solemnly confirmed.

I had a funeral and cried; Mom refused to attend.

Christine said...

“Leave me alone!”
“That’s fine with me.” The door slammed and the nurse, sleek hair swinging from side to side, muttered Bitch as her footsteps receded down the hall.
Grace turned and fell. Hard.
Her heart pounded. Her hip throbbed. Hours passed.
“Enough of this nonsense,” she said to the empty room. “I have things to do.”
Rolling onto her stomach, she pulled her knees under her, braced her forearms, and collapsed.
She lay on her side, head in hands.
Across the room, a slim green button labeled “Staff” mocked her from the wall.

Katelyn Y. said...

In hindsight, he shouldn’t have kissed her. But in his defense, there should’ve only been one sleeping woman in a tower. “You’re not Aurora.”

“Obviously.” Her slim form slid off the bed with a graceless thump. The green eyes were luminous against the sleek black hair, matching the smoldering orb on her staff. The one pointed at him. “I should kill you,” she said. Then smiled. “But not yet.”

He blinked as she swept past. “The kiss – ”

“Worked.” Another smile, sparks dancing in her eyes. “But unless you want to explain why you woke Maleficent, you’d best forget that.”

Sherin Nicole said...

We were kidnapped separately, but shoved out onto the green turf together.
Three combatants.
He’s round and stone-faced. Tough guy.
I’m the slim one, frail but crafty.
She’s sleek in silver, teetering on stilettos. They probably grabbed her while cutting a rug.
All around us the crowd chants, “Fight, fight, fight!” while the coliseum staff hawks popcorn and beer.
No one has the grace to tell us what’s going on.
I can guess though.
The Tough Guy, he’ll crush Stilettos under his bulk.
Then he’ll come for me (arrogant and oblivious to strategy).
That’s why I have him covered.

RosannaM said...

Dear Fellow Reiders,

I sorrowfully must bow out of this week’s competition. It conflicts with my annual tomato planting race, but I will be with you in spirit as you tussle, eking out your story one excruciating word after another.

Our suzerain reigns like an ogre energized, flinging words at us in devilish delight. Then, as we toil, the puppetmaster likely eats taffies and quaffs bourbon, under the comfort of DoY’s limbs upon her lap.

Sadly, that luxury is not afforded us. Well, sure the taffy, and absolutely the bourbon, but the Duchess? Not a chance.

In commiseration,

Aphra Pell said...

Walk 5k for suicide prevention. It’s a small ask.

Death held me close for years, a promise of escape that let me live another day. By grace of pharmacology, I refused the dust and ashes of the reaper’s kiss. Others aren’t so lucky.

We walk in their memory, to share hope.

At 3k, my joints rebel; the disabled body’s regular game of Russian roulette. Finishing was always a slim chance.

But I hold suzerain over bone and gristle. Clinging to my husband, a living staff, I stumble under sleek flags, as sunrise feeds green grass and brings light into dark.

Just Jan said...

Eddie hunkered down on a moldy green tombstone. “Hey, Sleek, what’s a ghoul’s favorite dessert?”

My nickname’s Slick, but Eddie always got it wrong. Mama said he was a ‘there but for the grace of God’ person.

“Give up?” he asked.

I shrugged. I didn’t share his latest affinity for the dead.

“Key Slime Pie!”

One thing about Eddie, he never shut up. I didn’t mind anymore. It was lonely here since Mama stopped coming.

“Gravediggers at six o’clock,” I said, pointing.

He kicked at the ground. Still guilty.

The other thing about Eddie, he was a lousy lookout.

Patriciamarw said...


To: Chez Yowl Staff and Residents

From: Your Grace, The Duchess of Yowl

Date: May 12, 2019

Subject: Sidewalk Debris

The owner of the slim green garden house that is placed on the sidewalk in my sun spot should alight from the rolling office chair and remove the sidewalk debris at once. I may be sleek, intelligent and beautiful, but unlike the west coast feline suzerain, Marino, I lack the opposable thumbs necessary to crank the maddening hose reel. Thank you.

katie said...

Old Grace Green had a sleek slim staff, a sleek slim staff had she.
She called for her pipe, she called for her wine, she called for her fiddlers three.
Her Majesty said, show me wit. I deserve some play.
The third played the cleverest tune and she alone got to stay.
The cleverness grew, multiplied, 'til she stole the royal staff.
Now I'll rule, she told the court, for Grace Green I've locked her off.
The staff glowed green at the name of her Grace; the fiddler turned to clay.
Her Majesty said, make a kiln. I deserve some play.

RKeelan said...

“Repent!” cried Jane the Rodent. “Repent, O Mighty Suzerain!” The wizened rat bore only a slim, yellow staff and huddled beneath brown felt robes, but caution stayed Susurrafax’s paw.

Jane's black eyes were as sleek and sly as a summer shadow.

Jane pointed her staff's rubber tip at Susurrafax's chest. "The persecution of my people must end, your grace."

Susurrafax held green eyes fixed on Jane, but his ears told of vermin filing through the walls to surround him.

"You may go," Susurrafax said.

But a rat could not be allowed to win, even when she had.

"Happy Mother's Day."