Friday, January 17, 2014

The Lost Phone writing contest!

I lost my phone on the train to Philadelphia a while back. I had to email all my clients to let them know I had a new cell phone number.

Here's what one of them wrote back:

"Reacher took his seat on the train, leaned back and shut his eyes. He felt something underneath him, in the crease below the seatback. He reached down and took hold of it: a cell phone someone had lost. Well, it shouldn't be hard to locate the owner, and returning the thing should be pretty straightforward. How much trouble could he get in?"

Doesn't that just beg for a writing contest? I thought so too.

Usual rules: write a story using the above as a prompt. 100 words or fewer. Post in the comment column of THIS blog post.

Contest opens Saturday January 18 at 7am.
Contest closes Sunday January 19 at 7am.
All times are Eastern Shark Time.

Bonus points if you can work in the name of the client who wrote the prompt paragraph or the title of the book or books the client wrote.

Tweet to me: @Janet_Reid

Contest opens at 7am 1/18/14


oops, too late, contest closed!


Alec Breton said...

The engine overheats, so he abandons the carjacked Jaguar near Andrew and David streets.
He ascends a rickety fire escape and jimmies the apartment's leeward window.
A shark confronts him.
"Can a person even die twice?"
He kisses her outstretched fin.
"Um, 'tis more harm than good?"
She hangs up his St. Albans jacket and Chicago baseball team cap.
"I'll grant a reprieve. Have a James Alexander scotch?"
He reaches for a Trevellyan & Childs drink stirrer.
"Don't topple my Sheffield pen holder."
He hands her missing phone over.
"You put a Boris and Natasha game on it?"
He is silent.

french sojourn said...

Jack hit call twice, waited, then a woman answered. “I got the money…is…Sophie o.k.?”
Reacher hung up, and dropped the cellphone by his feet.
They got on four stops later. Jack knew instantly. A man, agitated, hurried over pulling a little girl behind him.
Reacher stood as the man bent down to retrieve his cellphone. He grabbed the man’s head and twisted. The accompanying snap went undetected; Reacher eased the body onto the vacant seat.
Jack kneeled down, redialed, hugged the little girl and gave her the phone.
“Sophie…I’m Reacher… tell your mother… you’re O.K.…. I’m gonna take you home.”

Tyeshia Aiken said...

"Reacher took his seat on the train, leaned back and shut his eyes. He felt something underneath him, in the crease below the seatback. He reached down and took hold of it: a cell phone someone had lost. Well, it shouldn't be hard to locate the owner, and returning the thing should be pretty straightforward. How much trouble could he get in?"

Reacher put the phone away and closed his eyes again. He was tired and fell asleep rather quickly. He never noticed the old woman across the aisle watching him nap. Little did he know, that phone was about to land him in a world of “Bad Luck and Trouble”.
When he got off at Penn Station, the old woman followed. It was late and they were alone down there. She suddenly attacked Reacher with an abnormal amount of strength. Her eyes were black as coal.
That phone he’d found contained footage exposing her as a witch, and she wanted it.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

A few swipes of the screen, he knew who the owner was.
Reacher quickly jammed it back under his ass in The Breach between the seat and the back. There are cameras on trains right? It would show him looking at a phone right? They would think he was checking his own phone and not Patrick Lees. Lee was dead.
Train stopped. Get off or you will be dead too, Reacher thought. A tap on his shoulder; Janet Reid slid in beside him. She smiled. He could feel her hand beneath his ass searching for the phone.

ashland said...

Five swipes of Reacher's finger and the phone unlocked, the owner's info accessed.

Four taps made a call to the contact marked IF LOST PLEASE DIAL.

Three rings echoed before the line went to white static.

Two red numbers began counting down.

One second was left on the timer...

Gigi Kern said...


A good deed..too bad Reacher's sixth sense didn't scream loud enough as the "Lock Screen" appeared.

"No, it can't be this easy, can it?" Whispered Reacher as he typed in the most unsecured password ever 1-2-3-4. CLICK. But something was off, he'd seen this, but couldn't place echo....

Selecting the name "MR GRANT," changed everything. Just as he was about to hang up, a strange noise came through the open line and the call connected to a recorded message - a string of ten digits then silence.

"What the HELL?" Reacher thought as a chill ran down his back.

Ross said...

Passcode locked. Figured. 1234. Nope. 9999. Nope. Thirty-odd attempts later he realised that puzzles triggered his OCD, the battery life was red-lining, and he had missed his stop. Next game: could he crack it before someone called? More serious game: could he crack it before the battery died? Should he just wait and hope someone called before it went flat? Was it considered cheating to find a charger?
Half his consciousness churned permutations, while the other craved quiet. And coffee. It had seen this before. 61 hours at one shot with a Times crossword. The hard way.

Craig said...

It was my recurring nightmare; that trail head beyond Townsend. With fog rolling I trip on a plastic device. From the fog a cacophony of clicking and dragging noises draws closer.

This is where I always wake but tonight I’m determined to see what the thing I’ve come to name The Reacher is.

Figures shuffle into view with their heads down, flip-flops dragging and thumbs working. One advances, she has a look of extreme loss in her wild eyes and her thumbs tap in mid air. The thing in my hand chirps a welcome as the screen lights.


Unknown said...

First step: learn about the owner. Easy task with a smartphone. A cat photo on the lock screen, but no lock. That itself was a clue. He checked the Sent folder. A string of messages to someone named Lee.

"Your book has teeth. Honest to Godiva!"

Reacher's hands began to tremble, a first for him. He recognized those words.

The stalker.

Reacher turned. The carriage was still empty, but he felt watched. She'd been on this train, maybe minutes before he'd boarded. He wiped his prints off the phone. Dropped it on the floor. Time to do a runner.

Margaret Hetherman said...

Okay. So it’s disposable, he thought as the Q left Times Square. And there’s that little matter of taunting phone calls made to the sister of that murdered prostitute, left to the underbrush of the Long Island causeway. It had been all over the news. The phone rings. He stares blankly at the screen. Trick or treat.

Valentina Hepburn said...

Reacher opened the contacts."First number's the loved one." He frowned. "Fineprint?" He pressed the screen and waited for a voice.
"Good evening, Janet Reid. Your mission should you choose to accept it is to deliver writing tips with acerbic humour and demonstrate unending patience. This cell will self-destruct in five seconds. Reacher sighed. "Shit, Reid sounds like a ball-breaker. He flicked through Lee's manuscript. He's got One Shot with her, but she can kick up some High Heat. If she rejects it, I'll Never Go Back. She's a human Tripwire. I'll Die Trying!

Anonymous said...

Swiping his finger across the screen, he gets, “This phone belongs to Janet Reid.”
In the contacts, a number he recognizes. He calls it.
“Lee Child speaking.”
“It’s Reacher. That woman that’s been stalking you? I got her phone, she left it on the train.”
Lee said, “Really. I haven’t written this into the new book yet. What will you do?”
“Send her an email, have her come get it, then tell her to buzz off, or else.”
“She’s easy to recognize. Gray skin. Be careful, she’s slippery that one.”
An hour later, Reacher hears his doorbell, “Yes?”

Barb K. said...

Reacher could tell the phone belonged to a female, probably a young girl. Scrolled initials of one of those luxury, must-have brands plagued the case and Swarovski crystals provided overwhelming bling. Someone spent some serious coin outfitting it. He figured he’d hand it to the conductor on his way off the train and settled back into worrying. The phone vibrated and unexpected words filled the screen. Unexpected, because it was a text asking, no, ordering him to come to the Trevi Fountain at precisely eleven fifty. Funny, he was already headed there to meet…but nobody was supposed to know.

Alex Sheridan said...

Reacher thumbed the power button. The phone’s screen lit up. Default background picture, forty-percent charge. He scrolled through the contacts, it didn’t take long. A short list of one: Patrick. He hit the Patrick button, listened for ten rings, hung up.

Then the thing beeped at him, showed an incoming text message. He felt his breath stick at reading: "Leave this phone where you found it, or you’re a dead man."

The subway squealed to a stop at his exit. Reacher stood, slid the black rectangle into his pocket and stepped off the train.

GRCubsfan said...

Reacher pushed power and was confronted with a password screen. He typed in “1,2,3,4” on a whim and was shocked to see how easily he was invited in.
“Amateurs,” he muttered.
He tapped the Facebook icon. Instead of the familiar Facebook Wall, a well known literary agent’s face appeared and began to speak.
“You didn’t think I was easy, did you? You have one minute to pitch me your life’s work or die.”
Reacher slid his eyes around the train compartment to see if anyone else was watching.
“This is a joke, right? You can’t possibly expect me to-

Colin Smith said...

A ringtone—the theme from "Jaws." Reacher answered it.

"Hey Janet! You dissed my fiction novel query. I got your number. Watch your back."

The line went dead. For a moment Jack was a lost dog. Who was that trickster? He looked around the train. Every man in an empty suit reeked suspicion. With effort, he wrenched open the nearest window and slipped the phone out. He didn't bother to watch it fall. If they were using GPS to find Janet, he was safe from harm.

A large explosion hit the train, like a missile to the rear compartments...

DC Lozeau said...

Reacher thumbs the screen of what appeares to be the latest iPhone. An unread notification from someone named Child.

"What in hell." Reacher thinks. The owner is too busy to have a security lock.

A few taps and he sees, "Sorry, bitch. Got picked up by Random. Guess the SHARK starves on this one."

Reacher recognizes the reference. And now knows the owner of the phone. Will returning it give him a leg up from being dumped into the infamous "Chum Bucket"?

He thinks not. She is tenacious. But he's driven to try.

It is Destiny's Fate.

Kitty said...

She had been The Affair in Reacher's life. He tried to Persuader to Never Go Back to her husband. But when she fired that One Shot at Jack, its Echo Burning still in his memory, he realized she considered him The Enemy. He learned The Hard Way she was Bad Luck and Trouble, not Worth Dying For. He became A Wanted Man with Nothing To Lose, at one point Running Blind for 61 Hours. Finding her cell triggered a Tripwire of memories. According to her texts, she was still gunning for him. He'll be Gone Tomorrow, or Die Trying.

kregger said...

Reacher opened contacts.

The list read like the sidewalk at Grauman's.

"Child, Julia—isn’t that Lee's mommy? She cooked fish every Friday," he muttered.

He scrolled. He dialed Jim Grant. “Hey, Jim, listen to this.” He recited the directory and his thoughts.

"Cousteau, Jacques-- fished from a cage."

"Grant, Ulysses--fifty bucks to fish at dawn."

"Helen Reddy--Delta Dawn."

"Lee Marvin--Delta,like a shark fin, Force."

"Robert Shaw--owned Orca."

"Scheider, Roy--Shark food."

"Toomey, Jim--Sherman's Lagoon and eating hairless white apes."

“I sense a theme, Sharknado, perhaps?’

“Call Fine Print Lit, it’s their phone,” said Jim.

Constantine Singer said...

Reacher sat back and studied the phone. White. Recent. From a good home. He had a choice to make.

*It’ll lead to more choices.* Making unnecessary choices was a Child’s way. All problems in the big ugly world stemmed from choices – people who went left instead of right, tacked Lee instead of windward. Choices should be minimized. A daisy chain of bad choices were what was taking him to Philadelphia in the first place – why add to it with a matter best left to lost and found?

He dropped it on the seat and closed his eyes again. *Choice made.*

-- The *'s are because I couldn't get the HTML Italics to work.

Laura said...

Reacher scrolled through the contacts of the lost phone, scowling. Barracuda. Hammerhead. Slithery Barb. Was the phone's owner in a rock band? No matter. A Patrick Lee looked promising.
He fired off a group text and received instructions. At midnight, he stood in 28th Street Station, awaiting the N train. Car #7 was his target.
The train pulled in, but #7 was empty except for a toothy white fish.
"Just tuck the phone into my gills," it said.
Within hours, Jack Reacher had a sore fist, the subway had a dead shark, and New York had a new headline.

J.D. Schewlakow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IdahoBlogger said...

"Be good, I'll be right back." Margaret told her son.

For Reacher it was an opportunity to snitch a handful of M&Ms.

When a red one fell between the seats, Reacher poked around and found--not his red M&M, but a cell phone instead. That was much more interesting to an eight-year-old.

Reacher opened it and started to push buttons.

"What ya want?"
"I said, what ya want?"
"My red M&M, I guess."
"Really? You sound too young kid."
"What ya saying!"
"Okay, then. Be at the corner of Walnut and 14th at noon tomorrow."
"You better believe it!"

Nae said...

He tried to turn the phone on but the batteries were dead. Reacher shrugged. Someone else could go to the trouble of finding the owner. He walked the phone up to the lost and found box at the front of the train and dropped it in.

But as soon as it hit the pile of junk in the box it vanished and reappeared in his outstretched hand.

In disbelief he tried to dispose of the phone again. Two freakishly tall figures came up on either side of him.

“A little old, but you’ll do,” said the woman.
Reacher blacked out.

Hannah Wilkins said...

He should take it in. “What if they . . . the Baker Hotel . . .” His head ached. No matter how many times he tried Patrick’s Vipassana meditation or his own mind-numbing attempts of punching the hundred-pound Everlast, he couldn’t shake what he saw that night. “I wasn’t supposed to be there.” He glanced up as the train screeched to a halt and gasped. Outside the window a murder of crows alighted on the limbs of a bare tree. As he stepped off the train, shaking his head, the phone on the seat glowed with an incoming call.

siochain said...

Then the anxiety hit him like it had so many times before. “Ughh….. I’ll have to go the police station. What if I’m recognized, What if I have to leave my name or number? I’ll be found out.”

The dark thoughts ruptured from deep within his mind like an old geyser, continuous and predictable - they couldn’t be ignored.

He struggled to overcome the delusions that this phone was placed on his path purposely in order to end him. The arrow pierced his brain, from ear to ear, a familiar yet rare feeling but this time things would change.

Carol Wilkins said...

After two nights of no sleep, he was not ready for this added nuance. “I must translate this message into something I can use.” Upon turning the phone on, there became a strange crackling sound. Suddenly, he became lightheaded. “Is this machine engraving a message in my brain?! What is the message?”

Instantaneously, Patrick texted him. “Where R U?!” “R U There?!” Mr. Lee had no idea of what Reacher was into!! He tried to answer him, but Reacher could not get his shit together. He was totally incongruent! NOT A CLUE!!! The phone dropped!

Kristine Poptanich said...

How much trouble could he get in? In retrospect, the answer was obvious. Tempt fate and fate is more than happy to slap you silly, and then come back for another round. That's how Reacher felt right now, like a piece of meat fresh from the jaws of a Doberman. If only he'd sat somewhere else on the train. If only he hadn't answered the stupid phone. If only he'd listened to the voice on the other end of the line. He looked past the barrel of the gun to the phone's owner. If only . . .

Amy Schaefer said...

“Bait taken,” Kerry muttered into her throat mic.

Two rows ahead, Reacher toyed with the phone he had found before tossing it into his bag. Kerry smiled. Tracker activated.

She strolled toward the next train car. As she reached the lavatories, a hand covered her mouth and shoved her inside.

Wedged against the sink, Kerry grimaced as Reacher patted her down. Still holding her close, he found her ID. His eyebrows lifted slightly. “ATF, huh. Talk fast.”

“Your ex-girlfriend is running AK-47s into Mexico. Help us.”

Reacher sighed. “I liked you better when I thought you were a bad guy.”

Wren Wilkins said...

He walked down the aisles hoping he could spot its owner but suddenly jumped as the phone vibrated. Assuming the nearest passenger to be the owner, he handed over the phone. But the man shouted for the train conductor who rushed over, shooing Reacher to the back of the train. Once the train stopped, he was thrown off. As his paws hit the concrete sidewalk he realized: helping a phone find its owner won't help him find his. He’d foolishly run off at the train station that morning and now he was lost. A lost puppy in serious trouble.

Karen McCoy said...

The phone beeped and showed some guy named Patrick Lee calling. He had a crew cut and a serious frown. Ex-military? Reacher hoped not. But the name was familiar. Where had he seen it before?

He let it go to voicemail, and checked the contact list for more clues. Another guy, Laird Barron, wore an eye patch. Reacher flipped to the main screen where a cartoon shark smiled with a knife and fork behind an icon marked “Chum Bucket”.

Suddenly, returning the phone didn’t seem so simple. A navy seal with a shark fetish? Probably best left alone.

Rivka said...

Now: the killing floor is red. His skin is white.
Nine seconds ago: echo; burning.
Ten seconds ago: one shot.
Twelve seconds ago: a tripwire.
Thirteen seconds ago: a mysterious ring from a lost phone—only not so lost, and not worth dying for. He’d learned the hard way.
61 hours ago: the affair. He’d had nothing to lose. Then he’d become the wanted man.
Now: he can never go back. No way out.
Jack Reacher, second son, was about to inherit the dead.

Rakie said...

My mission is delayed by years of imprisonment. Today I'll be free, and then... I'll be invisible. One face amongst a million.

I will disseminate information, photograph secrets, record clandestine meetings. I can communicate with any computer in the world. I have no name, just a string of numbers.

No more will I be a servant, relaying the lives of others.

I make my move. Aided by the shoogling of the train carriage, I slip from the jacket pocket that has held me prisoner so long.

I am free.

So long as no one finds me...

The Agnes Irwin School said...

Reacher flipped the phone over, the screen staring at his jeans. The black facade of the cover glared, mocking him.
His long fingers curled over the phone; it was easy to depress the circular button when he couldn't see the reaction. The light shone against his leg, and he dropped it onto the vinyl seat. He wouldn't let it see him.
A voice ran over the broadcast, announcing the approaching station.
Pick it up. Pick it up.
He missed his stop. His client died. The phone would be left for someone else to find.

Stoich91 said...

It could be anybody’s. Lee curled his fingers around the case, imagining the possibilities. Could a nice girl’s (better than his last girlfriend) with no ex-convict relations. Heck, the case was leather, could be a millionaire’s. The rewards! His mind strayed aimlessly through Paris and private jets. Then again, it might belong to that jerk who cut line at the deli last week, thinks he’s such a hot shot! Well NOW who holds the POWER OF HIS –
Copper ponytail, bright eyes, Fellowship of the Ring. She snaps it shut.
*What does the fox say?*
“Hey! Is that my phone?”

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Finding the orphaned phone's owner would have to wait.

Reacher compared the description to the man who just boarded the train.

Polo with popped collar? Check.

Tom Cruise smile? Check.

Knock-off Vuitton briefcase? Check.

Reacher worked the straps until he was behind the target. The knife slid in between T-8 and T-9. He'd probably live, but he wasn't walking out on any more wives.

His favor to Conway Sax paid, Reacher got off the train and thumbed through the phone's screens.




My kind of woman. I wonder if she likes tall guys?

Reacher clicked “Home Reef.”

(Given the other suspects who have been DQ'd, I'm voting for Patrick Lee.)

Delaney said...

Plenty. Reacher knew he’d die one day playing the hero. He slid a finger over the sharkskin phone case. He could blow off this one. A lost phone wasn’t his problem. He sighed and pushed the first button. “Janet?” said a voice.
“I found Janet’s phone on the train.”
“Train? She’s supposed to be at Lee Child’s signing at McNally’s in Soho.”
“Look, if you want her phone you can pick it up on the Amtrak from Philly.”
Reacher ignored the phone when it rang. Not his problem. This Janet chick, though, she had some ‘splainin to do.

Michael Seese said...

Reacher swiped the face. A glowing visage captivated him; then, a whiff of perfume drew his eye to an approaching figure.


He stood. “I believe this is yours.”

“How can I thank you?” She answered her own question with a kiss that pushed the rumble of the train, and everything, into the background…

Three years later, he smiled across the table.

“Happy anniversary.”

“Happy anniversary. Jack, something I’ve wanted to ask...”


“Where's the USB drive?”


“Wh--” Her face froze.

Out in the control room, Grant fumed. “What happened?”

“Glitch,” said Dr. Child. “Don’t worry. He’ll tell us…her.”


Note to Janet. This book has DEFINITE series potential. I’ve already written one sequel, and am 50% done with two others.

A Southern Lady's Book Blog said...

Knowing that it being a smart phone he could find the owner information in the about section, Reacher swipes the screen to begin searching. When he touches the phone, the screen goes haywire before opening a document.

"You have violated one of our rules, because of this you will be terminated." The screen now displays.Looking around he sees a young girl staring at him.

As the train comes to a stop he hears "Thanks for picking up the phone, it just encoded to your DNA. Now they are off my trail, have a nice day" before she exits.

Foxcreek said...

Then it rang.
Reacher studied the phone as the theme from Jaws emanated from it.
“I knew The Shark was a man,” a woman said. “I emailed you my 400,000 word historical/sci-fi/romance yesterday. What d’ya think?”
“Shark, I sent you a query. What does ‘so general as to be meaningless’ mean?”
“Shark, it’s your decorator. Did you really paint a wall without me?”
An hour and twenty minutes later the train squealed to a stop. The doors slid open. Reacher stumbled onto the platform, phoneless.
“Sorry, Shark. You’re on your own.”

SiSi said...

The phone vibrated. Reacher punched Talk, and a woman’s voice, taut with tension, said, “Who is this? You have my phone.”

“You left it on a train.”

“Sorry. I just. . . I need my phone.” She sounded calmer, but he heard the note of danger behind her words.

They talked. She gave him the address of a bar in NYC, but he made no promises. Not this time. He planned to keep moving, like a shark.

Or he could meet her. See what happened.

Reacher checked the clock in his head. He had time to buy a new toothbrush.

Bill Scott said...

"Reacher took his seat on the train, leaned back and shut his eyes. He felt something underneath him, in the crease below the seatback. He reached down and took hold of it: a cell phone someone had lost. Well, it shouldn't be hard to locate the owner, and returning the thing should be pretty straightforward. How much trouble could he get in?"

The bedazzled Hello Kitty phone looked benign, one would assume a Child's, but the air smelled of scotch and danger. Sometimes trouble came from unexpected places.No matter. Broke, Nothing To Lose, he'd sell it for a few bucks.

Kitty lit up, emitted a sonar sound, and flashed Find My iPhone Alert on its screen. The owner was tracking it by GPS. Uh-oh, the only reason to have it emit a sound would be if she were nearby.

Standing, he switched the phone off, pocketed it, turned and was greeted by rows of teeth and seal breath. Game over.

Lenny Liang said...

The words "HelP mE" appeared on the phone's screen. Jack instinctively looked around. He was all alone.

"HelP mE ReaCher, " the phone said, in an unnatural sounding voice.

Jack wondered if this was all a joke. But who would set him up? Jim? Andrew? Grant?

"PLeaSe preSs oNe," the phone intoned.

I can't believe I'm doing this, Jack thought to himself. He pressed the number key.

The walls of the train disappeared. Stars and space formed in their place. Before Jack's eyes, there stood an alien ...

Janet Reid put down the book. "I think this series just jumped the shark."

Lance said...

“This is the RUNNER. Who is this?”

“Is that your full name?”

“You’re not the Shark. You a cop? Any cops, the manuscript goes in the fire.”

“Wait, I perform best in THE BREACH. We can work this out.”

“Not even Jack Reacher could handle this. It’s too solid.”

“You must be who, LEE PATRICK?”

“I found this phone on the train and hit redial.”

“Homeless guy, huh?”

“Tell me who the owner is, and we do the deal.”

“Dude, if you don’t know who the Shark is, you can’t handle it. That noise is the fire.”

“No, don’t!”


Joe Smith said...

Reacher obeyed his habitual curiosity and scrolled through the text messages before deciding to get in contact with anyone who would be of any use in returning the phone:

Amy R: See you later x

Ryan Grey: Haha, naa not this time

RC: Keep the corpse in the cellar, I'll deal with it tonight.

A sickening fear enveloped him

'Keep the corpse in the cellar...' Who the hell did this phone belong to? He suddenly felt a fearful presence behind him and he was aware that he was alone in the train carriage. He turned around. Everything went black.

Geni P said...

He flipped on the phone. A leggy blonde settled into the seat across the aisle, a little more thigh than necessary visible beneath her sharkskin suit. That’s the number he’d really like to find. He scrolled through the contacts looking for some indication of ownership. The entries were odd, letters, numbers, symbols—more codes than names.

A thin whistle sounded just below his ear as something thin and swift sliced through the air. And him. A single drop of blood splattered the phone screen. The shark strikes fast he thought. The train went black. The phone fell from his hand.

Amelia said...

Reacher wasn’t a smart phone user. He still worked with a Go-Phone that only made and received calls. The phone was on and, as Reacher wiped slimy fingerprints off the screen, he ended up in an E-mail.
The message read, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Reacher figured he would let the sender know he had the recipient’s phone. He only managed to type “Got it ” before a man reached over and snatched the phone.
The man growled, “Do you mind? That’s my phone.”
Sometimes it’s better not to talk, so Reacher didn’t try to explain.

Karen V. said...

More accurately, how much more trouble? Who was he kidding? He couldn’t return the phone. It was late. She hadn’t shown, and his head was throbbing. When would the drugs wear off?

He barely had cash for the train to her place. What if she wasn’t there? He couldn’t afford to be tracked, not yet. A couple swipes and codes, and he’d have access to an identity to get him across the border. He had nothing to lose.

Clicking on the screen, he laughed. She was still a beauty. Lee, his childhood crush. Stealing this identity would be a pleasure.

Calorie Bombshell said...

I saw her through the haze of cigarette smoke and roughneck bikers. I gestured and she sashayed towards me in the kind of skirt that could coax the cash right out of a man’s back pocket.

“Reacher?” Her eyes traced the chiseled scar on my forearm.

I nodded and handed her the phone. “Want a drink?”

“Bourbon. Straight up.” But she smelled of vodka and lies.

I grabbed her wrist and twisted. “Who are you?”

She grimaced a smile. “Francis Xavier Quinn. Remember him?”

Bikers toting pool sticks approached.

I had less than one second to react. I needed two.

Jared X said...

Reacher stepped off the train, someone’s lost phone buzzing in his hand. Manhattan number, ‘SFerrell’ the caller.

“Shark?” said SFerrell.

“I found the Shark’s phone. Are you the SFerrell who wrote NUMB?”

“Yes! SEAN Ferrell!” he gushed.

“Not my thing,” said Reacher. “I’m in Philadelphia. How can I reunite your Shark and this phone?”

“Stay there. I’ll make a call,” Sean said icily.

A glint of light from the escalator caught Reacher’s eye. He slinked behind a steel column. “Insulting an author while unarmed,” he muttered. “I’m slipping.” He opened his foldable toothbrush like a switchblade, coolly mapping an escape.

George Djuric said...

My middle name, just like finger, is Reacher. I’m hoping I might have the first sentence before the runaway train hits the station. In avail. I reach for my cell. It is not mine. The always new requirements of the social and the metaphysical engage the artist in finding a new language and new techniques. What about finding my old phone. Now I’m just an unmarked shopping cart away from being mentally homeless.
George Djuric

Sheri South said...

“That’s mine.” The woman’s outstretched hand trembled.

Reacher looked up at her. Youth and desperation stared back, the bruise around her left eye was fresh.

“Are you Lee Child?” He read the owner’s information he’d accessed.

“He’s my husband.” She cast a furtive glance behind her. Reacher peered around the corner of the seat. The guy who gave him the slip yesterday scowled back.

“Please,” she whispered. “I need it back.”

“You’re in big trouble, honey. Your man is a wanted for murder.”

“He’ll kill you if you interfere and, let me tell you, he’s not worth dying for.”

Kate Higgins said...

A few years ago Janet got me reading Lee Child's books and I have never stopped.

Here's my (end of the) story:

Twenty Seconds Ago it rang the theme song from “Jaws”. Deep Down he wanted to answer it, He had Nothing to Lose. Or did he? Without Fail lost cell phones were Bad Luck & Trouble. Jack knew it could be The Enemy. There could be a Trip Wire and he was A Wanted Man; he might Die Trying to find that owner. He made his decision and had just One Shot to get it right. He forced open the latch and tossed the phone out the window just in time. The phone would Never Go Back to it’s owner.

Lee Cristina said...

A shrill alarm blared from the phone, startling Reacher. Glancing down, he saw a ten digit number on the screen. It was strangely familiar. But how was that possible?

The subway clamor suddenly faded and all that remained was the clink clink clink of a flickering overhead light. Then everything went black.

When Reacher came to, he was strapped to a gurney in a sterile room. A steely-eyed nurse hovered over him. “Tell me the code!” she hissed.

“Code?” he mumbled groggily.

She flicked a syringe. Clink clink clink. “Let’s try this again. Stronger dose should do the trick.”

LynnRodz said...

61 Hours ago I found the phone. Damn, Bad Luck!

Without Fail, The Affair would be exposed. Things could Never Go Back to how they were.

Should I kill her, but was it Worth Dying For? I thought about The Visitor. Could I blame him?

I'm a Persuader, Reacher thought, I'll convince her he was The Enemy. Or I would Die Trying. I'd do it The Hard Way–One Shot, I had Nothing To Lose. He'd become A Man Wanted and my problems would be Gone Tomorrow.

Lee called Janet. "Are you sure this can only be 100 words?"

Deborah Holt Williams said...

Reacher recognized the ringtone from his childhood. “Down by the station, early in the morning, see the little pufferbellies all in a row…” Probably a child’s phone, he reckoned. “See the station master pull the little handle …” He pushed the button to answer, when the station blew five feet of the ground and exploded, sending wooden shards like confetti in all directions. The phone slid from his bloody hand as he collapsed beneath the shattered window. “Chug chug, woo woo off they go!”

Kelly Clem Ruiz said...

The train lurched forward and he lost his grip on the phone. Reacher dove underneath two seats to make the recovery. As his fingers clamped around it, he was enveloped in a sea of crimson fabric.

Wham. A wrecking ball slammed into his left ear.

"HELP! This man is looking up my skirt!" A robust woman in a red muumuu shrieked. A bulging, wrecking-ball-type bag was clutched under her arm.

"I bet he was trying to steal my purse! My phone was stolen on this train just last week." She elbowed the woman beside her. "Lee, call my old number. Let's see if this creep has that, too!"

It was Bad Luck and Trouble when Reacher heard brrriiiiiiinngg.

Debra Giuffrida said...

Patrick Lee flopped down on the seat beside me. He leaned in, his florid face inches from mine.
“Give it over.”
“I don’t —“
“Look, don’t fuck with me.” His hand shot out and without a thought I gave him the phone.
“What the f—; the manuscript, gimme the manuscript!” Lee grabbed my hand and put the cellphone back into it, curling my fingers and squeezing. “Writers block but I promised The Shark, now you’re delivering, right?”
My eyes tracked to the leather valise at my feet and Lee smiled.
“My next best seller.”

Just Jan said...

A woman appeared next to him as he scrolled through the contact screen. " Jack Reacher! You weren't supposed to find this phone." She sighed. "Now that you've inserted yourself into my story, what shall I do with you?"

"Make me a player. I can be anything you want."

"Big game hunter? Targeting poachers?"

"Intriguing." Lee could conjure up another sucker to solve his crimes. "Can I choose my weapon?"

She smirked. "No weapons. Use your wit. I hear it's one of your best assets. And Jack?"

He cocked an eyebrow.

"This is my debut novel. Don't screw it up."

Nikola Vukoja said...

He should have pawned it, but no! Reacher had to play Joe frigging Good Citizen. Searching the phone’s Contacts…damn, locked. “Dump it” his head thumped as Reacher walked into the police station. Thirty minutes later; handcuffs. The phone had just enough traces of the last victim’s blood for identification. And Reachers prints, only his.

Now, sitting in a urine soaked cell charged with the murders of Patrick Lee, Jim Grant and Lee Child, whoever the fu@k they were, doing a RUNNER wasn’t an option. Reacher cursed his bullshit Good Samaritan lapse in judgment as a pre-pubescent legal advocate entered.

Anonymous said...
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Jed Cullan said...

He was dead. Jack tensed every muscle in his body and waited for the impact. The black bonnet of the car hurtled towards him, a blur against the intense sun behind. Tyres screeched. People screamed from the pavement. A smell of burnt rubber filled the air.

"You’re mine, Jack." A voice cut through the chaos. Not from the onlookers watching in horror, but from the phone held against his ear. "All mine."

He shouldn’t have picked up the abandoned phone. A rookie mistake. She’d planted it there for him to find.

“This’ll teach you not to follow me on twitter.”

BonnieShaljean said...


He grabbed it, stuck it in his pocket. Now it had him.


He didn’t know the phone belonged to the Queen Of The Known Underworld. So powerful she didn’t even use a name. They just called her The Shark.

Reacher wasn’t the good guy anymore. Not this time. He’d cracked under the pressure, committed the unpardonable, unspeakable crime. And the phone would never let him forget it.

Wherever he went, there it was, hounding, mocking. Tracking him. Ringing.

Children pointed, stared, asked questions. The elders could only whisper it:

He had TELEPHONED The Shark to ask about his manuscript.

Janet Reid said...

Margo Lamont:

Reacher tilted the Android: swipe sign visible in gross human onscreen grease. Thank you, slimy humans. "Z"—second most common swipe code. 4.2 seconds, he’s in, rummaging the photos. Jackpot: child porn. Hedge fund manager: ¡¡Zlang!!¡¡Zlang!!—money—Old Reacher set for remainder mission life on blue ball. Mr. Perv's soon-to-be frequent financial infusions = no more working in noxious stench, serving up this planet's wisest creatures in a bun. He punched down hard on the Perv's number. Bonus, now he wouldn’t have to keep pitching that really scary humanwoman his science “fiction” book about cow-shape-shifter/time-traveller on a mission to Earth.