Monday, November 30, 2020

Snot Green Couch Flash Fiction Contest Results

Curt David

    2020 was almost over. The election? Still not decided.

 

    "Let's pick randomly," Ms. Bell suggested.

 

    "Liberty, no. We need to all agree; need to find someone to join our team," Uncle Sam retorted.

 

    "Nothing positive happened this year," Mr. Baldy squawked.

 

    "His lackadaisical comment aside, does anyone have someone to nominate?" Ms. Flag asked.

 

    "The winner will join the ranks of us quintessential symbols of the United States of America!" Statue of Liberty exclaimed. "Who exhibited such bravery, heroism, compassion, and strength this past year?"

 

    National Anthem thought a moment, then belted out, "What about Front Line Workers?"

    Unanimous decision.

 

Love this concept a lot!

 

Craig F

    The morning broke queasy, punctuated with pieces of a dream in a snot green medium.

    Pulling the slack from some remaining brain cells, the green crap became a sofa

    The glass of tea on the floor wasn’t tea. Suppressing a gag, I saw flecks of something like rust on my hands.

    Struggling to the bath my eyes popped open, then shut, then wouldn’t pass a squint. In the tub was the dream, in pieces; that wasn’t rust on my hands.

 

The morning broke queasy is a perfect phrase.

 

Marie McKay

    She keeps the screams in the cushions, the strain in the sofa seams, the tears in the tea cups, the cracks in the broken plates, the pain in the squint of the photo frame, the shame in dark corners; sadness in cupboards, dismay in closed doors, sadness in blankets, wounds in loose clothing; her courage in the chink of the curtain, her hope in the green of the trees. Her plans in the blue of beyond, her mettle in a suitcase.

 

and, Mari McKay saunters in and drops perfection on the desktop.
This is just plain amazing.

It's not quite a story but who the hell cares.


Jennifer Rand

    All she has are suspicions.


    Her husband and her best friend, Paige.

 

    How long?

 

    Confronting them would be messy. Paige's son, Jimmy, is her own son's best friend.

 

 

    With tea in hand and a desire to deny, she joins the teenagers in the rec room. The boys lie sprawled on the sofa watching the game.

 

    "Who you rooting for?" she asks.

 

    "Panthers."

 

    "Which team is that?"

 

    "Green jerseys," Jimmy says.

 

    "They're blue, dumbass!" her son chides.

 

    The words thunder in her brain.

 

    She steps back slack-jawed and squints to hide her tears.

 

    "Hey, mom! Jimmy's colorblind just like dad."

 

oh my godiva.

 

    Mallory Love

 

    “It’s further than it looks, old sport, but it’s always there."

 

    I followed his gaze out to the slack water, steamed with fog. Squinting, I could see the green light in the distance.

 

    So familiar, yet different.

 

    This time I didn’t tell him I was a time traveler or that I had lived many variations of this moment. I didn’t say that sometimes the light was red or blue. I didn’t warn him of the fate that awaited him, because he was always succumbing to it. Overdosing, hanging, drowning.

 

    The only thing that ever remained the same was the dream.

 

It took me three reads to get this.

How about you?

 

 

Michael Seese

    "I can make you a star, sweetie. But first..."

 

    "Whatever it takes," she teased, lying back on the sofa, flattening it.

 

    "Cut!" I yelled.

 

    "I simply can't work like this," Rex whined, throwing up his tiny arms.

 

    I agree not everything had gone as planned. Indeed, this quintessential labor of love of mine appeared headed for divorce. On paper, it looked perfect; in reality, it's lacking a plot, competent actors, and passion.

 

    "Perhaps I could lose weight," Vela offered.

 

    Not before the asteroid hits, I thought. Some movies simply should not be made. Apparently "Jurassic Tart" is one of them.

 

After I stop laughing, I will be able to tell you how much I love Michael Seese's pun-ch lines.


 

Amanda

 

    Me: So, 2020, coronavirus has kinda stolen your thunder like the green grinch stole Christmas. Wanna give me a gift early and share what the tealeaves say for 2021?

 

    2020: What’s the fun in that?

 

    Me: Gotcha. But a lot of people would appreciate it.

 

    2020: Sorry, no.

 

    Me: Holding your cards close, huh?

 

    2020: I’ve done a good job so far, haven’t I?

 

    Me: Yeah, but you haven’t trumped us, yet. How about a squint at next month?

 

    2020: Patience...

 

    Me: ...and maybe 2021 will cut us some slack.

 

    2020: Hindsight is 20/20!

 

oh god, this is right up there in the Punchine Pantheon!

 

Colin Smith

 

    I don’t normally do art, but Rob insisted. Said my brain was slack and I needed a fresh perspective on life. That’s what friends are for.

    So they say.

    So, fact is, I went. Not that I agree. Not for any reason other than to placate Rob.

 

    It was all weird, but the weirdest was the crowd around the last painting. Their scowling faces seemed so angry.

    The painting was a mess. Lines and colors that had no cohesion.

    Just like me, I thought.

    And then I saw the title:

    “Sea with Squint Tea Ice”

 

    And it changed my life.


What is it about this week that you're all playing with these punch lines so deftly?

It took me two reads to get this, but I finally did.

 

Brigid


    Welcome to the Greenfield Library Online Catalog: Place Holds.

 

    03/13/2020 Requests:

    Quintessential Kale Cookbook 978-1510738164

    12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos 978-0141988511

 

    04/02/2020 Requests:

    Slack: Getting Past Burnout 978-0767907699

    Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea 978-1416954125

 

    05/11/2020 Requests:

    What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters 978-0399581892

 

    05/31/2020 Requests:

    Didn't See That Coming 978-0063010529

    Personal Bankruptcy Laws for Dummies 978-0471773801

    Unf*ck Yourself 978-1473671560

 

    09/18/2020 Request:

    So Far from God 978-0393326932

 

    11/03/2020 Requests:

    A Promised Land 978-1524763169

    Error: Not yet available.

 

    11/30/2020 Requests:

    How to Build a Time Machine 978-1250024220

    No Time Like the Future 978-1250265616

 

We need a non-fiction category in these contests!

 

KDJames

 

    If she tilts her head and squints, she sees it clearly:

 

    The odd green that never matched anything

    (they were young, hopeful, it was on sale)

    Firm cushions supporting breastfeeding babies

    Increasingly stained, kids climbing, jumping, napping

    Snuggling close with books

    Remnants of spit-up, grubby fingers, embedded pet fur

    Cushions sagging, muffling tear-filled nights

    Waiting up, corners worn thin as slackened faith

    Relegated to the playroom, still no match

    Seldom used now, kids grown, moved out

    All things have their time

    Some linger

    Inexplicably

 

    Careful, she tells the junk removers, that sofa is far heavier than it looks.

 

The only thing missing here is the residue from the week I spent on the SGS with the second worse case of bronchitis I've ever had.  Couldn't sleep lying down at all, so on the couch. I'd put on DVDs of The Wire, a show I know so well I can nap through an episode and not be lost in the slightest.

 

I think I watched all five seasons at lest three times that week.

 

By the time I could stagger down to the trash bins, I had three 13-gallon bags filled with used Kleenex

 

 

C. Dan Castro

 

    The massive, blood red demon squashed my sofa. Despite log-like fingers, he picked up his teacup and sipped.

 

    He stopped, phosphorescent green eyes squinting at the ceramic.

 

    I quavered. "N-needs sugar?"

 

    "Tea's excellent. Almost...heavenly." He seized the teapot. Guzzled it. Belched. "Your soul's due. Today."

 

    "But...ten years..."

 

    "Millennials. Trade for a fortune, then slack off ten years."

 

    "I didn't. I researched. Contract expires if the demon expires."

 

    "Oh?"

 

    "And if you drank holy water..."

 

    The demon looked at the teapot.

 

    And exploded.

 

    Ugh. Sulfurous demon guts everywhere. But I can pay someone to clean.

 

    I've got a fortune.

 

I'm so glad I have a vial of holy water from Lourdes.

Who knows when a demon may show up!

 

Casual-T

    "I quite agree," nodded Watson. "So far, the experience has been less than convincing. I'd even say it's lacking its quintessental aspects." He passed the steaming beverage under his nose, once more.

 

    "Indubitably, my dear Watson," the master detective replied, putting down his own cup. "When it comes to the great British tradition of infusing hot water with subtle flavor, it is every gentleman's honor-bound duty to not short-change himself."

 

    "Quite so," the doctor confirmed eagerly, walking toward the door of the scarlet study. "I shall teach the new cook how to prepare a decent cup of coffee, at once."

 

Nice twist!

 

french sojourn

 

    He placed the old green book back on the table beside the sofa. “Le Masque de la mort rouge,” talk about one a day plus irony. He thought about all those slack jawed people. He squinted at the clock on the wall… “Fuck it, might as well check the numbers,” he switched on the tv.

 

    “… so, you’re saying that since mammoths roamed the earth, mankind’s instincts have only ever been fight or flight?”

 

    “Exactly… now with this pandemic there is no fight or flight… we have to do something else… let each family isolate.”

 

    “Shouldn’t be that hard.” (coughs)

 

One a day plus irony is a great phrase.

(will younger folk get the allusion?)

 

 

AJ Blythe

 

    Sofia adjusted her apron, took the tray Chef thrust at her and on silent tread entered the dining hall. After a careful curtsy, she served the old tyrant his buttermilk radish soup.

 

    “Green pepper oil, sir?” She held out a small bottle.

 

    At his nod she trickled a teaspoon over the hot soup. Stoppered the bottle. Took a step back.

 

    He slurped from his spoon. Paused for a rattling breath. Slack-jawed he squinted at her, his face turning a sludgy toad green.

 

    “So-fa.” Drool slid down his chin.

 

    Sofia slid the indenture-ending bottle of green peanut oil into her pocket.

 

ohhh, clever clever!

 

 

Amy Johnson

 

    If only she could have known.

 

 

    Starry eyes finally collide.

 

    After three stints, quints.

 

    Dolly tea parties, little jeans with green knees.

 

    Seven snuggled on the sofa for nursery rhymes, story times, movie nights.

 

    Their silver anniversary, five contributing to society, her second master’s degree.

 

    Wrinkled hands writing letters: lacking stop sign, lights to prevent crime.

 

    Volunteering on that hotline.

 

 

    If only she could have known.

 

 

Very very subtle.

This is a classic illustration of leaving your reader wanting more and resisting the urge to fill in

all the details. A very delicate balance. 

 

 

 

*****

I have a winner in mind but I'd like to hear what you think.

Did I miss anyone?

Did I overlook something amazing?

 

Let me know in the comments column.

 

Final results later today!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Happy Sunday!

When you're* uncertain of the last time you rinsed your hide, it's REALLY time to take a shower every day.

 

 More than six months in to the pandemic, time to start thinking of this as the New Normal.


Is there anything you now have to remind yourself to do?


*and by you,  I mean me.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Snot Green Sofa Flash Fiction contest!

 Not posting daily has been almost like a vacation...but I do miss your daily comments!

I've gotten a LOT of reading done these past few weeks, and I'm planning a post with a  roundup of requests, queries etc. later in December.


In the meantime, let's have a flash fiction contest to celebrate the endurance of the snot green sofa (where I do my reading.) 

 

Prize is of course a book but this time, not just ONE book:


Louise Miller: The City Baker's Guide to Country Living (it's a novel not a how-to book!)

Natalie Jenner: The Jane Austen Society (you don't need to love Jane to love this book!)

 

 

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:

green 

sofa

slack

squint

tea 

 

(NO Steve Forti extra prompt word this week. I have retired from the field of battle. Forti Thwarts the Shark!)

 

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.

 

9.  There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. 

 

10.  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"

 

 

11. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!"). Save that for the contest results post.

 

 

12. 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.

 

 

13. 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, 11/28/20, at 9am EST


Contest closes: Sunday, 11/29/20, at 9am EST


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, too late. Contest closed.

 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

eh?

 Robyn Harding, who is Canadian, mentioned in a webinar that she was asked by her publisher to set her novels in the US for better marketability. The same case apparently with Shari Lapena, another Canadian. There didn't seem to be any issue with Jane Harper's novels set in Australia and all those novels set in various locales in Europe or Outer Space. Do you know what is going on here? Do I need to relocate my Vancouver Island novel to San Juan WA?

NO.

You'll notice that Ms Harding mentioned her PUBLISHER asked her. So, her books found an agent with the original setting.

Each publisher has different blind spots.

And yes, I have seen this before, but not so often that you should pro-actively revise your setting.

Given the number of people who were eyeing Canadia if the election had gone the other way, your appeal may be waxing.

Canadia just suffers from proximity. You don't seem exotic (like Australia or Betelgeuse) cause you're yanno...right there. Practically in Michigan, not to mention a quick hop from Bellingham. 

And then there's the problem with your ambassadors:



Monday, November 23, 2020

Guilty pleas

 A lot of authors are facing an even steeper uphill battle with book promotion these days. 

The field was noisy last year, this year it's deafening.

Trying to separate yourself from the pack is HARD.


But there are some things to avoid doing, and the very first one is leading with pathos: Hey, I need my book to sell well so buy a copy, please.

Well, I need Idris Elba to show up with sushi so get on that will you?

In other words, what you need is irrelevant to me unless you are me (or my family, client or friend).

And since most of you will be promoting your book to people who are not in your inner circle, think first about why someone would buy your book if they don't know you.

It's a good story is probably a good start. Except don't tell me the story, tell me the hook.

Snippets from good reviews, also good.

And right now, "it takes you away from reality for an hour" is very good.

Linking to something people know about already: If you loved Season Four of The Crown, here's a novel about how MI-5 killed Princess Diana.  That would catch my eye instantly and I'd probably buy the book.

 Linking to the theme of the book: If you want all the fun of cooking, but no clean up, here's a culinary mystery with murder as a side dish.

Linking to the characters: Need a dashing gallant man in your life, here's Felix Buttonweezer charming Our Heroine in The Great British Baking Show Off Comes to Town.

(there's a food theme here, isn't there?)

Effective book promo is about the reader, not the writer unless you're Nick Petrie and "I have a new book" is all I need to know.

The thing about trying to guilt someone into buying your book is that it's VERY short term. You can pluck my pity strings once, but that's all you'll get.

Promotion should be seen as a long game. Building readers into fans one book at a time. 

Questions?



Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Feeling housebound? Yea, me .. nope! Not today!

 Yesterday I attended a Zoom presentation by Jonathan Slaght for his book Owls of the Eastern Ice.

Honestly it was as refreshing as a two mile brisk walk!


 The narration on this book trailer is from the book.

I ordered it as soon as I saw the publisher was FSG.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

So, welcome back!

 


I took a week off from social media of all sorts and it was very instructive.

 

I got a lot of reading done, much more than I expected.

So I took a close look at where that time to read came from.

 

Sadly, it's not Twitter.

It's this blog.

 

It takes about an hour a day, and that's for quick posts.

And my best posts take a lot longer.

 

Between writing, revising, spell checking (which now has to be done by cutting and pasting

the post into a word doc!) and trying to get the frigging fonts and spacing right, it's more like ten hours a week.

 

And that's a book.

 

BUT I love this community, and I do like being able to answer questions. So I'm not pulling the plug.

 

But what I am going to do is NOT post every day. I'm not going to post on a set schedule. If I have something cogent to say, I'll post. If not, I'll be over here in my corner reading.

 

I'm probably going to change platforms in the coming weeks. This new Blogger style is maddening. I have a feeling they did this on purpose. A free platform doesn't generate income; I bet they want us all gone.

 

The great news from last week is that The Power of Adrienne Rich by Hilary Holladay got a rave review in the New York Times.  This is a book that was five years in the writing. A long, wonderful journey and now, it's glorious to see this amazing book get the kudos it so richly deserves.

 


 

 

 

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Respite

 I knew I was going to take a break this coming week even before the election was called on Saturday. My nerves are just jangled. My concentration is down to a few minutes sometimes, not even a half-hour.

I'm going dark here, and staying off Twitter for the week.

Time to read, and just be quiet. I can't get to Montana or Oregon to sit in solitude, but I can turn everything off here in Brooklyn, and pretend.

Usually I've posted pet pictures on a hiatus, and checked the comment column, but this time I'm really going to take a break.

I'll be back at the end of the week.


Big Sky country; very very quiet!


Saturday, November 07, 2020

Hello Saturday!

 I had to get a notary stamp on some papers this week.

I trekked over to the abogado's office on the next block (I live in an old Dominican neighborhood) only to find a "not here till the pandemic is over" note on the door.

Well rats.

Back home I go.

Turns out you can get notary services online.

Okedoky, this sounds easy.

Long story short it took three hours and cost 4x as much.

But at least I got it done.

But when I tell people it takes three times longer to get anything done, I'm underestimating.

What is taking you longer these days?

"what's taking so damn long?"



Friday, November 06, 2020

I have a tenuous grip on my sanity these days

About the only thing I can get done are small things that don't require much thinking.

Here's one:



Rodney Smith is a guy who mows lawns for free for seniors, vets, disabled folks.
And gets kids involved in doing the same.
He's not a US Citizen.
He's applying for a visa to be a resident here.
I think that's a good idea.


If you do too, drop a quick letter of suppoert in the mail.

If you're not following him on Twitter, you're missing out.

@IamRodneySmith

His tweets are 100% feel good.
And that's not nothin' these days.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

This blog post has no content

 yesterday wasn't good for thinking let alone writing.

I cleaned.

Sort of.

I refreshed the NYT and the WaPo websites fiendishly,

and then I pottered around getting the book prizes ready to mail,

and then I did the puzzle, 

then I ordered new bakeware for my new oven,

then I realized the Crisco expired in 2018, so no baking,

and then I didn't do much but stare into space.


All of which means I didn't write a damn thing for today.

Other than this.


Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Flash fiction contest results---a little late, just like the election returns

 

Amber!

 I'm writing this on Election Night at 10:47pm.

I'm beside myself.

The only thing to do was go read the flash fiction contest entries again.

And no doubt about it: Jennifer Rand is this week's winner


Jennifer Rand

The hole was deep.
Sandstone rocks piled high, ready to be cast by those without sin.
An old tradition resurrected. He was elated. He'd missed the old days.
"Why now?" he inquired of his remaining, honorable daughter.
"The teachings were a crock, my father. The community is woke now."
"What does that mean?" he asked as he selected a handful of rocks. "Are you mocking me?"
She didn't answer.
"Where are your stones, my daughter?"
The growing crowd flocked around them.
She took the stones from his hand and blocked his exit. "I'll just use yours. You won't need them."

 

Jennifer, email me with your preferred mailing address, and IF I am able to pry myself off the couch on Wednesday, I'll get your prize in the mail.

 

How are all y'all holding up?

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

So, what are YOU doing today?

Recently I needed to send some dough to a pal of mine.

 

The bank wanted to charge me $25 for one ACH transfer so I thought

"I will be Frugal! I will be Cost Conscious! I'll use this other electronic payment thing they have."

 

I text my pal: get yourself set up on this other electronic payment thing  so I can remit wads of filthy lucre to you.

 

Pal: Done!

 

Me: Sent!

 

Bank: oh ho not so fast my precious.

 

Bank: we're locking your account because it's clear Someone is Fucking About With Your Money!

 

Bank: Call this number for customer service

 

Me: Dials.

 

Bank automated person: What? You thought I meant call NOW? Silly girl. We're closed. Try again. 

 

(and there was evening and there was morning on the first day)

 

Next day

 

Me: Ring

 

BAP: Enter your account number!

 

Me: tap tap tap

 

BAP: please enjoy this lovely soothing klezmer ska music while you're on hold

 

(and there was evening and there was morning on the second day)

 

Bank Real Person: Hello! How can I help you?

 

Me (singing along with klezmer ska): oh, ok hello. You have locked my account, can you help me. 


BRP: delighted to. What's your name?  And your account number?

 

Me: (struggles to remember name) Digs out check book. Recites number.

 

BRP: Ok, I'm going to transfer you to an automated voice system that will ask you for three pieces of information to verify your identity.

Me: uh, what?

 

BRP: Your phone will ring.

 

Me: this phone I'm on now?

 

BRP: yes.

 

Me: I don't know how to answer a call while I'm on hold.

 

(long pause for BRP to recalibrate in order to deal with True Idiot.)

 

True Idiot aka me:  But I can try (translation: I'll do anything to get off this call)

 

BRP: Great please hold

 

(and there was evening and there was morning on the third day)

 

BRP:  Sorry about that, we had some mechanical difficulties. I'm going to try again now.

 

Me: (weakly) sure, anything.

 

BAP:  Hello! This is your Automated Customer Service Rep! Enter your debit card number!

 

Me: tap tap tap

 

BAP: Enter the expiration number on your card!

 

Me: tap tap tap

 

BAP: Enter your security code! 

 

Me: tap tap....jesus, WHAT?? ok, TAP.

 

Bank Real Person: Great! We've now verified you for the next stage.

 

Me: Next stage? 

 

BRP:  What state issued your social security card?

 

Me: (panicked) Oregon?

 

BRP: how much did you weigh when you got married the first time?

 

Me: what? 

 

BRP: What's the address of the third place you lived after college?

 

Me: WHAT?

 

BRP: You know if you use this electronic transfer payment system, we can't get the money back even if you send it to the wrong place.

 

Me: WHAT?????

 

BRP: We've unlocked your account. Have a nice day. (Translation: pay $25 for the ACH or we'll just lose the money and pretend we don't know you.)

 

Back to wheelbarrows of cash for me.

Source: @womensart

Monday, November 02, 2020

Flash Fiction contest prelim results

I had a whole extra hour to read your work! It was a very worthwhile use of bonus time!



Words I had to look up


Ocker shanepatrickwrites

uxorial fearless reider


Here are the entries that stood out for me:

Steve Forti

Roc: Do you remember when I was young?
Benny: ‘Course. Me and Suzie had so much fun dressing you up. You hated it.
Roc: You went way over the top. The big sunglasses, fur coats.
Benny (dismissively): I see you’ve toned it down since then. Lame.
Roc: Don’t mock the crocodile frock.
Benny: Seems somebody’s woken up on the wrong side of the piano.
Roc: Bullocks. But whatever happened to Suzie, anyway?
Benny: Oh, her feet just can’t keep still. Ran off with some foreign guy.
Roc: Riiiight. So how do we end this?
Benny: Slow fade out.
Both: Laaaaaaaaaa……..

 

I LOVE this song!




Amy Johnson

Weekdays crocks.
Weekends woks.
Tuesdays sheets, Thursdays socks.
School and both jobs have a box.
She’s still wearing worn-out frocks.
Boyfriend freeloads, cheats, and mocks.
Her self-esteem hits the rocks.
But she graduates, gets the docs.
New job knocks.
Clock tocks.
Takes his key, still changes the locks.

I love this.


french sojourn
My dad had macular degeneration, so I got tested. Thanks dad! The doctor prescribed a vitamin, as a bonus, every four months I get an injection. It’s medieval. I imagine I hear a tiny, “ssssswok” as the needle is retracted from my eyeball.

Afterwards, I have the “look of rockets red glare”, my wife jokes.

Maybe in another life I mocked nuns, unlocked their diaries, bruised their ego’s? What did I do to deserve this crock of Schmidt?

Please get your eyesight tested, it saved mine… I promise.

“Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.”

 

AIEEEEEEEE!!


Craig F

The doorbell gonged and the old warrior looked out the peeper. Then he wet his frock as he fumbled to make sure the door was locked.

On the stoop a mock croc had swokked just as the man looked out. It wasn’t the croc’s fault; the yummy morsel he was eating went down the wrong way as he swallowed, he choked.

The man ran for his shotgun; the war hadn’t been that long ago and mock crocs had been the shock troops of the enemy.

When he got back the wife was asking WTF the croc wanted.

“Trick or treat.”

I really appreciate how you used swok and then laid in the meaning later, in context. That's tidy exposition.

 

shanepatrickwrites

“I’m so tired of acronyms. Seriously, SWOK?”

“It means single, without kids.”

“Whatever, spell it out.”

“Fine, want me to be honest Kim? Ocker with unsuppressable memories of men in frocks seeks life partner. I’m five-three but weigh five-nine. I wear crocs and have a pair of dress sweats. I have three children locked in the basement. Long term goals include moving to a country without extradition agreements.”

“Is Ocker even a word?”

“It’s Aussie slang but it doesn’t matter anyway because this isn’t really a story.”

“Why not? It has a beginning, a middle and an end.”

this made me laugh! Deft and witty.

Not a story, but I can't get away with that here now, right?

 

Fearless Reider

Each century, they tryst –

the gentleman, immortal
the lady, incorporeal
the setting, très arboreal
at his castle, ancestorial,

they meet from time immemorial,
every hundredth Hallows’ Eve.


She dons her ghostly frock
and combs her cobweb locks,
then glides, phantasmagorial,
to greet him, all



Inside his castle dark, she harks
his footfalls coming near, so dear!
‘Til she hears, with wretched moan,
the swok of foamy soles on stone.

Shrieks resound, censorial!
She’ll pardon acts immoral,
and mortal sins pictorial,
even failings escritorial,
but travesties, sartorial?

“You mock me with your Crocs!” she wails.

And now they meet
nevermore.

This just cracked me up.

 

Timothy Lowe

High-pitched, mocking laughter fills the kitchen. Two tweens and an iPhone.

“If she only knew what we did on here!”

“Stupid phone block doesn’t cover WiFi!”

Voices warble, mimicking. “Turn it off! I can’t stand Juice Wrld!”

“All that bad language! Wait until your father gets home!”

“I’m calling Verizon!”

“What a crock! Juice Wrld’s woke.”

Heads huddling. Snickers.

Footsteps. The boys pull away. Angelic smiles.

“Hi Mom!”

She unfrocks them with a look. “Did I just hear something?”

“No, Mom. How’s Facebook?”

“Don’t.” She swipes right on a software designer. “You haven’t learned enough responsibility to handle these things.”

oohhh!!! So very dark and subtle!

 

Casual-T

The boy wore a multi-colored afro, CK jeans in the latest styles, and TikTok kept him informed on the prevailing trends of the minute. Masks with political messages were the latest.

In lockstep he marched with his woke comrades, yelling anti-something mantras, not realizing that being against something isn’t being for something; a microculture with allusions of grandeur; something to do on a Saturday night.

“We got one!” a black-clad figure yelled, mocking the old man shivering on the ground.

Blind hate for the other pulled the trigger.

The old man stopped breathing.

Yet, it was the boy who died.

So that grabbed me by the lapels, and hasn't let go yet.


Jennifer Rand

The hole was deep.
Sandstone rocks piled high, ready to be cast by those without sin.
An old tradition resurrected. He was elated. He'd missed the old days.
"Why now?" he inquired of his remaining, honorable daughter.
"The teachings were a crock, my father. The community is woke now."
"What does that mean?" he asked as he selected a handful of rocks. "Are you mocking me?"
She didn't answer.
"Where are your stones, my daughter?"
The growing crowd flocked around them.
She took the stones from his hand and blocked his exit. "I'll just use yours. You won't need them."

I only read The Lottery once. It's haunted me ever since.
Now, you're on that list.

I suggested two edits to increase the tension by removing information.

 

C. Dan Castro

"Velcrouch?"

"Velcro couch. Next big thing!"

"Velcro locks its cushions in place?"

"Nope. Let's put this microhook frock on your girl."

"That tickles, dingus!"

"Laurie, don't say that."

"We put Laurie on Velcrouch..."

"I'm stuck, dingus!"

"Laurie!"

"See, she's stuck. No worrying about her while you make food and babies."

"I teach at Harvard."

"Cooking...and...baby-making?"

"Business and management. Do you mock--?"

"Look, Professor Homemaker. Strong Women of Kentucky is investing big. So it'd be good business--"

"I'm SWOK president. C'mon Laurie." RIPPPPPP.

"Bye, dingus!"

"Fine. Go. Don't worry, Velcrouch. We'll wow the next--Oh, she took the frock!"

 that last line makes his really hilarious.

 

Just Jan

All that’s left is a locket and a pair of pink Crocs.

“Spontaneous combustion,” the detective proclaims, plucking a singed envelope from the ashes. “S.W.O.K.?”

“Sealed With A Kiss.” I chuckle mirthlessly. “She never could spell.”

Inside is a ticket stub from our favorite movie, School of Rock, and the words: Your Tern.

“A pact?”

“Yes.” Not the kind he’s thinking of, though.

“Dangerous game. What’ll you do?”

Mocktails on the lanai. Insurance money to last a lifetime. “I’ll think of something.”

You never show. But a bird now follows me everywhere, and comes when I call your name. #WhenMagicGoesWrong

Nice!

I can't choose of course.

There are several here that just knocked my sox off but for different reasons.

Help me out here.

Do you have a fave?

Did I overlook something I shouldn't have?

Weigh in in the comments column and I'll come back later in the day to post the winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Friday, October 30, 2020

Flash Fiction Contest


The only improvement on the week before this one is that I wasn't laid low by some horrible cold weather malady.

Early voting has started and everyone I know is just around the bend.
Time for an infusion of flash fiction to get my mind off next Tuesday.


The usual rules apply:

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

croc
frock
mock
lock
swok


(NO Steve Forti extra prompt word this week. I have retired from the field of battle. Forti Thwarts the Shark!)

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.

9. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE.


10. 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"

11. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!"). Save that for the contest results post.

12. 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.

13. 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, October 31, 2020, at 7:41am
Contest closes: Sunday, November 1, 2020, at 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 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, contest is closed.