Friday, November 07, 2014

Writing contest!

In honor of the Bouchercon anthology let's have a writing contest!

 The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. Thus: Billiard is ok but breach is not.

4. Post your entry in the comments 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 and then post.

6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for overseas addresses

7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

8. PRIZE is the brand new Bouchercon anthology with a whole host of amazing stories.

Contest opens: Saturday, 11/8/14 at 10am

Contest closes: Sunday, 11/9/14 at 10am

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

NOT YET! (comments are closed until the contest is underway)


oops, too late. Contest closed at 10am.


Ashes said...

Bill died while she was at the beach. A cool mojito in her hand, warm sand in her toes, and him, all the while, withering away back at her apartment.

Caring for him had become a tether, one she longed to break. She booked the vacation on a Friday and told herself it would last a weekend, max.

On day four she felt guilty, by day six she had forgotten him entirely.

When she returned he was dead from thirst, the bathroom sink mere footsteps away, and it was all her fault.

She was a me-person, not a plant-person.

Andrew Lipkin said...

The billionaire’s goon paced the living room, glissandoing from expletive to expletive, detailing in long, Russian-laced sentences how he’d maximize our suffering before killing us. Rocco and I were tied to chairs, as usual.

“Picnic on the beach?” I asked.

“Cowabunga motherfucker.”

We tottered to our feet and charged, crashing all three of us through the plate glass window. We fell three stories. Goon broke his neck, Rocco and I broke our chairs. Crabs scuttled by. A squawk of gulls eyed us.

“We should tape razor blades behind our belts or something.”

“And get some vodka.” I replied.

Susan Emshwiller said...

Sixth night of insomnia and I lay like a beached whale waiting to die.

Creak went the door.

Humming his namesake song, the Sand Man did a slow-soft shoe across the floor.

“You’ve not been dreaming.” His words trickled out like time in an hourglass. “Your credit is maxed.” Fetid breath singed my cheek. “I’m here to collect the bill.”

Fight or flight.

Neither. Only my eyes could move. They followed widening as the crusted lips curled back and the long tongue glid toward me —smelling of nightmares.

french sojourn said...

“Allie, stop biting your brother!”

“He started it; he said you and Dad weren’t married.

“Gramma said he chases tail.”

“Thanks, Gramma,” She sighed, just then their fathers voice billowed in the window, softly at first, “Listen kids; your father’s singing you a lullaby.”

“He sounds like a beached whale, momma,” Said Catherine.

“I’ll bet our neighbor’s patience is maxed out” Tom added.

“He thinks he’s a singer, like the sandman lulling you to sleep.”

“He’s serenading you momma, telling how he longs for you.”

“No Allie, he’s singing to you children.”

“Then why are you purring so loudly, momma?”

SiSi said...

My life has become a damn country song. Not a cool smart song by Rosanne Cash, but one full of clichés about cheating husbands and broken hearts.

Like the women in those songs, I married a man with a crooked smile, a maxed-out credit card, and a truckload of charm. Like a fool, I believed his heart belonged to me.

Then his girlfriend showed up while I was paying the dinner bill at our favorite beachfront restaurant. On our anniversary. So of course I shot him.

“Buried in the Sand.” That’s what I’d call the song. My head, his body.

Amanda Capper said...

Drunken Numbnuts started throwing Grandma’s crystal, so I took the car and left him at the cottage.

Few days later I called, but no answer.

Left it a couple more before phoning my sister. “Things quiet next door?”

“Yup. Very.”

“Coast is clear?”

“Apparently. Good riddance.”

Must have called a buddy to retrieve him, so I returned. Brewed a cup of Maxwell, then headed for the beach. Spotted a bright pink bucket, the blue of a plastic shovel, and a long mound of sand. I smiled. Kids with real dads.

Until I got closer. “Bill?”

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

The memory rises to the surface of Bill’s mind, shedding the years as if they’re nothing more than grains of sand brushed from skin, weightless, unimportant.

The past stretches long and languid across time, the way Maxine’s body once did across the rumpled sheets of their bed.

He had long ago beached his heart on the shores of her smile, lost himself in the sound of her laugh, stood hypnotized by the sway of her hips and, despite all the pain, he is not sorry. Never sorry.

Love lives on, even if she does not.

Kitty said...

He's known as the Long Beach Sandman, the lawyer who puts juries to sleep, but he's all I can afford. We're meeting so he can maximize his billable hours.

"Attempted murder."

"How long?"

"Fifteen years."

"I'm innocent!"

"Sweetheart, you used your husband as a speed bump...repeatedly."

"He got some broken bones. Big deal! The douchbag deserved to die."

"Is it a deal?"

"He cheated on me, pawned my diamonds."

"Is it a deal?"

"Yeah, sure. I can't afford a trial."

"You'll still be young when you get out, and the douchebag will still be crippled."

"Shoulda used the Hummer."

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Long Beach Island, LBI if you’re from the Dirty Jerz. It was the late 80s and life was American cheese and Bill and Ted on Betamax.

The glaring blue lights of police cars cut through the mist. They were parked on the sand and the area was cordoned off in yellow tape.

“It’s your fault,” the voice said.

Don’t listen to him. “You made me do it.”

It sniggered. “One-hun-dred-cuts-of red. Little-crabbies striped-pajammies.”

Panic. Excitement. Lust. She wouldn’t be the last.

I kept on walking and whistling. “One-hun-dred-cuts-of-red.”

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

It was written in the sand, “Will you marry me, love Bill.” I looked up and down the long expanse of beach, it was empty and the tide was coming in. A little further on, “I love you to the max but I must say no.”

I wondered who they were and was he heartbroken. If she loved him so much why did she say no?
A set of small footprints lead away from the “no”, another set, those of a man, disappeared into the water. As the tide washed away the writing, I walked back to my car.

kregger said...

A 155 mm. German shell exploded next to the troop carrier. Water sprayed the huddled soldiers in the amphibious LCM-8.

The young, First Lieutenant studied the distance to the French beach. It was a long way to Omaha.

The sands were already soaked in blood from thousands of Americans.

He tipped his helmet’s bill to his trusted Sergeant Hobbes and waited for the LCM-8 to land.


Calvin belly crawled from the ocean with a stuffed tiger, squirt gun, and a plastic bucket on his head.

“He’s weird to the max,” groaned Suzie Derkins.

“You married him,” said Calvin’s mother, smiling.

Matthew Masucci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ashland said...

Premaxilla Majora

The beach had always held a special spot for her.
It was here she'd broken free from her husband.
The last time Bill's long fingers choked her.
She swore it would never happen again.
Her toes spiraled into the sand...
Looking for a little comfort.
She felt something hard.
Her special spot.
And his.....

Anonymous said...

Jared hid his face from the blowing sand. The magical duck he rescued lay snug inside his jacket.

“What’s with this wind?” Jared asked Max. “We’re on a beach, not a desert.”

“Quack,” Max replied and poked his bill against Jared’s side.

“Really? You caused this? So, can ya gimme a golden egg?”

“Quack, quack.”

“I know you’re not a goose. Don’t get smart with me.”


“That’s it! Hey, duck eaters, over here!” Jared smiled. “Let’s see ya get outta this one.”

Max ruffled his long feathers. “Quaaack.”

The wind stopped.

*POOF* Jared became a duck.

*POOF* Max disappeared.

D Writer said...

I watched her sleeping. Her perfectly asymmetrical face and dark curls falling over her forehead brought back my memory of when it all began. I had maxed out my credit card splurging on a beachfront villa. She was looking for a man to pay her bills. But when we saw each other across the golden sand, we had found what we really needed.

I longed for the exhilaration I felt then, resigned to chase after the clarity unbridled love provides. It was a futile and fruitless endeavor. So, I took a picture to remember her that way and left forever.

Eli Rhodes said...

Acockbill. Max hadn’t found much use for that term. Until now.

The boys on the cruise ship were teasing the large woman relentlessly. Not that she noticed. Max had served the woman five martinis, which had long ago gotten the best of her. Now she was nothing but a beached whale; her sweaty skin and sticky lotion having collaborated in gluing her to the plastic lounger.

He watched the boys lift the lounger into a damn near vertical position, wondering how long before gravity won.

Then slowly, like tumbling sand, she crumpled towards the pool.

Smiling, he thought “Anchor’s away”.

Lobo said...

The body lay face up, one hand clutched near his face like he was eating an invisible sandwich. Snowflakes melted on the bullet wound.

“Women’s footprints coming down the frozen beach. Nothing leaving. Perfect ground for a sniper.”

I nodded. “Guy was a sitting duck here. Strange though.”


“She’s never left prints before. Or witnesses. Too smart.”

Max grinned. “Not as smart as us. Right, Lieutenant?”

The billowing fog shifted, unveiling a long stretch of tundra. In the distance was a dark object—one that seemed to resemble a prone female. And a rifle.

“I don’t know about that…”

Anonymous said...

Flicking the last of the sand from under his fingernails, Max paid his bill at the Long Beach Motel. He was getting too old for this kind of work. He tossed the receipt in the garbage, sliding his Wayfarers down his nose.

The motel manager put out his hand. “Great having you here again, Max. Don’t be a stranger. And bring that pretty wife of yours.” Max smiled, returned the handshake and hefted the oversized duffel bag to his shoulder. “She’s always with me in my heart.”

Closing the door behind him, Max patted his bag. “Ain’t that right, babe?”

Dena Pawling said...

I love the beach in winter. Slow waves caressing the jetty. Gulls floating on air currents, the mad dash-and-grab of the summer season a distant memory. Not another human in sight.

I meander along the shore, cool sand squishing between my toes. How did my life get so crazy? Credit cards maxed out, bill collectors constantly calling. My boss more of a jerk than ever, but I can't afford to quit.

I stop and gaze out over the water. So calm, so beautiful. A tear trickles down my cheek.

The water beckons me to come, and I accept the proposal.

JennyC said...

Max had chosen his words carefully. He took the note from his billfold and centered it on the counter in his fiancée’s kitchen. She would not be getting married today. There would be no moonlit walk along a sandy Hawaiian beach. Another job had ended. Another assignment waited. His heart raced. Paris, maybe, or Beijing. He collected the dried rose petals from the ceramic dish on the bookcase. Pocketed the photographs. Certain no traces remained he closed the back door with a soft click, wondering, not for the first time, what would happen if he ever really fell in love.

Taramoc said...

"You are going to like this one!"

I wish... The endless series of gang homicides made for a long slog to retirement.

What happened to the old school murders, with cryptic clues and an handful of suspects to outsmart?

The body wore a parka in August, his hand clutching a Playbill booklet of The Incomparable Max, an obscure comedy.

"We found the door locked from the inside," my partner added smiling. The sand, miles from the beach, stuffed in the corpse's mouth clearly ruled out a suicide.

Then I wondered: what length would my partner go to make me happy?

Colin Smith said...

Cody's lips embrace the end of the sandwich, his teeth sinking into its crust. He isn't watching me which is just as well. I don't want him to see the longing in my eyes. Right now, that foot-long's worth a billion dollars to me.

Ever since some sicko beached the body of a raped Remax agent, I've had my eye on Cody. He had motive and means, but I had no evidence. Until now.

He leaves the last of his sub on the table and gets up. I walk past with a baggie.

DNA for the win.

Case closed.

Anonymous said...

The beach stretches before her; long, cool expanse of moonlit sand.
Distant billboards back the fairway, shedding comforting light on crowds still in search of entertainment. Cotton candy. Cheap, plush prizes won as testaments to strength or accuracy. Signs of civilization laid out like a buffer zone against the nighttime things of the sea.
Mandibles clicking, she lifts her head, detecting...
...disturbance only yards away in the dunes. A familiar sound. A couple struggling toward climax.
Heaving her bulk from the kelp-laced waves, she moves in on taloned fins.
Flesh in the act of procreation tastes even sweeter than fish.

Tim Casey said...

The shock of the waves to the beach blew a frosty December breath of salty air that made the bills flutter in his hands.
Maxed out again, oh well.
Hey, his kids would finally have the Christmas they had always dreamed of, the one with every present their hearts desired and another without the embarrassment of having him as their father.
It wasn’t a long walk across the crunchy sand and into the frigid water, just long enough, where he would never walk that way again.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Dust from longevous tomes tickled Chris’s nose when he entered the library. He stole down an alley of classics and agitated the jar he held. Paper-hungry worms fidgeted inside.

They’d coined Vermis maxilla: Shelf-life Worm - The Authentic Millennium Bug. He hoped this strain would mutate and devour the mahogany shelves.

A librarian waved. He nodded, removed a book. What was Sommers doing among the classics? In the gap he inclined the uncapped jar. A tourbillion transformed a volume to sand.

Smugly, Chris checked out ‘We are not good People’.

Tomorrow’s headline: Shelf-life worms beach NYPL - Qindel stock soar.

S.D.King said...

Scanning the crowded airport he spotted her: long sandy hair, squatting by her backpack, eyes closed, looking sick,. He just needed fifty bills max for a cab to the beach and a cheap motel. Snatching the bag, the straps tangled round her feet, and she fell forward. Grabbing his ankles, she pulled him to the floor.
To reach her bag, she crawled atop him, and it almost looked like she might plant a kiss, but instead she vomited in his hair, and collapsed.
Still dripping in the cab he read her passport: Emergency Medical Personnel, World Health Organization, Sierra Leone.

David Claude McCoy said...

“I want that bitch dead,” Bill yelled, “and I’ve waited long enough. What’s the fuckin’ problem?”

Max holds the phone away from his ear and smiles as Bill continues on with his rant. He lies down in the sand and turns the scope toward the beach house. It’s never a good idea to yell at your hit man, he thought, especially when he’s glassing your fat ass from fifty yards away.

“The problem,” Max answered, “is I’m going to need a little more cash.”

“Fuck you,” he yelled and Max squeezed the trigger.

“Double pay for a double cross… sweet.”

Kat said...

Max spotted it: a sliver of gold gleaming under silt-thick water. We splashed into the marsh, found three heaped bricks. Heavy sons of bitches to carry for so long.

“He’s getting tired,” I said.

We beached our skiff. Continued on foot. Four days of tracking since our last sign of him—a charred billet ringed by rabbit bones, scraps of tin foil, bloody sand. But here were boot prints. Broken-branch tamaracks. And behind a switchback: he was waiting.

“Mother,” he said to me.

“Thanks, detective,” I told Max, taking his gun. “We never would’ve made it this far without you.”

Shaunna said...

"I call band meeting! First item of business: role call. Sunny? Present. Sand?"

"Here, obviously."

"Okaaay. Second item of business: new band name."

"What's wrong with--"

"Doesn't fit the bill."

"It describes us perfectly!"

"No. It literally doesn't fit the playbill. It's too long."

"Well, what've you got?"

"We play accordion, bassoon, and cello. So The ABCs."


"Or The Alphabets."


"The Beach Boys? Because of our names, see?"

"Already taken. And you're a girl. What else?"

"That's it. I'm maxed out."

"Great! We keep Sunny and Sand's Accordion Band, then."

"For a cellist, you have no imagination."

Anonymous said...

Oddly, the long wait between the first and second waves was the worst. You’d think the later, shortening intervals would be what crushed the spirit and forced acceptance that a bill must be paid. Buried to my neck in sand, I swiveled my head up and down the empty beach. The rising tide my only company – that, and the memory of the girl I killed. Max loved his daughter and therefore hated the one who took her too soon. The sea overtook my mouth, then my nose. A debt owed, a debt paid.

Steve Forti said...

“You ready?”


“Good, let’s go.” Chet donned his mask and charged the door like he was storming a French beach. I followed, gun drawn.

The beautiful sandwich artist screamed, feebly waving an oblong wheat roll in defense. Chet leveled his weapon.

“All the bills in the register. Now!”

Her pretty fingers fumbled to open the drawer. Empty, save a small velvet box. Her fear became confusion. And I went to one knee, removing my mask.

“I’d serve a max sentence for this crime of loving you, Luanne.”

She still trembled. I smirked.

“And you said I couldn’t surprise you.”

Kim English said...

I tossed a Beta max recorder into a box.

“Why did they keep all this stuff?” my brother asked, holding up a Beach Boys cassette.

I shrugged and flattened out a playbill from my elementary school production of Jack and the Beanstalk.

My brother pointed at front yard, “Sandhill cranes are back.”

“Every year.” I smiled.

“Mom and Dad used to feed them.”

We took one last look around outside.

“So long,” I called to the cranes.

The deputy nodded curtly and replaced the yellow crime scene tape. I left the blood on the stoop to the clean up crew.

Christina Seine said...

What do you kids know about anything, walking around like hillbillies in sandals and pajama pants? When I was your age we had style, stamina. When I was your age I was charging a beachhead in Anzio, sustaining fire, sand so far up my crack it turned to glass. Bet you couldn’t do 20 push-ups, much less wade through a marsh with a 40-pound ruck.

What do you know about longing? You with your maxed-out credit cards and your iPhones, always instant gratification.

I carried your grandmother’s picture folded inside my helmet.

I got home in time to bury her.

Anonymous said...

A dozen workers erected the Big Top near the beach as Maxine Stark looked on. The top billed attraction from the moment she’d arrived, they changed her last name to Star.

The Ringmaster studied his latest money maker, “What’s it called, officially?”

Maxine’s hand stroked a long beard, “Hirsutism.”


“Small consolation for those with it.”

The Ringmaster nodded and crossed the sand, yelling, “That pole’s crooked!”

Maxine entered a private tent and began the transformation. Dress first, then, stuff the corset. Maximilian, his real name, didn’t mind. Money was money. The Ringmaster said so himself. Besides, family came first.

eparentcoach said...

Sharing the Sand

“This is my beach, bub.” The duck’s bill wasn't moving but the voice seemed to be coming from him nevertheless.

“Come along. I'll show you a place you can play,” he said as he waddled over the sand.

Nothing better to do, I followed him into the tall reeds where tea was set for four.

We were joined for tea and cookies by a sandpiper and a tiny crocodile.

I politely thanked them as I headed back to Mommy under the umbrella. They all waved.

The duck called, “Bye, Max. Same time tomorrow.”

Rakie said...

Every year, kids excavated tunnels beneath the soft dunes, to wriggle in amongst cool clots of sand and witchy-fingered grass roots.  Inevitably some tunnels collapsed and buried the digger.  Then the beach would erupt in a flurry as sun-ripened bathers ran to help.  A panic of digging where sometimes the child was extracted, pale but alive, rebirthed... and sometimes wasn't.
Max hadn't wanted to dig.  Bill twisted his ear and called him a baby.  Now, Max retreated, leaving his brother inside, still shovelling. 
Two kicks and the unstable tunnel fell.  Max waited too long before running for help.

Amy Schaefer said...

The general squinted along the beach. “Biters?”

“Ready, sir,” hummed the sand-flies.


“Maximum strength,” quivered the jellyfish.


“Caw!” shouted a seagull, french-fry in its bill.

“We shall not fail or falter,” thundered the general, “we shall not weaken or tire—”

“Is he quoting Churchill?”


“We shall defend this beach to the last grain of sand!”

The soldiers cheered. The general smiled. They would crush the human menace.

“Mommy, look!”

An enormous pink hand plucked the general from his sandy bunker. The sand-flies began defensive manoeuvres.

“So cuuuuuuute!” shrieked the giant.

“Fucking hell,” muttered General Hermit Crab.

Steve Wilkins said...

Andy and Jess ran onto the sand, no cares in the world.

The easy going, jovial innocent beach life would soon be interrupted.

"Any second now," remarked Andy turning his head.

"Hey you! You didn't pay the bill!"

"That took way too long," commented Jess.

"Yeah, well that food sucked," snickered Andy pulling out his Desert Eagle.

Three shots are wildly fired. People scream why the bullets continue flying.

"You are psychotic. A real the max," adds Jess furnishing a Beretta.

"What about you babe?" he asks still pulling the trigger as the police respond.

Ryan Neely said...

Russell staggered down the corridor. He couldn’t see the concrete and metal, the grey and fluorescent of his prison. His mind flashed to images of surf and sand. Women in the sun. Maxine. Russell sucked air through his mouth that wheezed out his chest over bloody fingers. He’d find her at the beach, then she’d pay. They both would. Russell fell into his cell. The springs of his cot creaked with his weight. He saw them both. Together. Saw his knife in Bill’s throat. Crips be damned. Russell’s hand fell limp, spilling life across his cell. “I was wrong.”

Megan V said...

It’s past midnight when the weight pressing down on Jodi’s chest becomes unbearable. Though she shifts to ease the pain, it doesn’t help. The sand shifts with her, trapping her in the long strip of beach like a damp trash compactor.
“Max,” she croaks. “Please don’t…”
“Don’t kill you?” Max’s lips stretch into crooked smile. “Sorry love, but I’m afraid I can’t stop now. Some bills can't go unpaid.” He caresses her chapped lips. Brushes her cheek. And as he pats down the last wet grains over Jodi’s face, he answers his phone.
“Payment collected,” he says. “Who’s next?”

saustin said...

“Max, come! Stop rolling in the sandbox!”

I hear my master‘s voice. But the memories, oh the sweet memories ...

I have to do it, Bill. It smells like the ocean and like the little Bills. I love the ocean. Do you remember when you used to take me for long walks on the beach every day? You’d let me off my leash, and I’d splash in the water. We had so much fun. Why’d you stop taking me there, Bill?

Tribaliz said...

The long beach was always littered with candlesticks, bundles of talismans, powdery sand and prayers. Bobbing in the water, the talismans would duck underwater as if trying to avoid the missiles of prayers from the mouths of those who rejected their mojo.

Other times, the sea spat out the bloated talismans as if by decree of the gods.

Sometimes a juju man wearing a wooden mask, with a bird bill protruding from its mouth, came by to collect the talismans. He made sure to leave the candles and prayers behind. Maximillian the candle seller always picked up the candles.

Loulymar said...

As long as memory served, the elders met on the First Saturday, of every New Year. Perched on a bench, they plotted and schemed death scenes beneath the innocuous palm trees. Like the palms, they were life-blown, yet sturdy, survivors.

Quintessential Golden Girl Janet, had it all: fame, fortune, and fuchsia walls. She blithely pushed her all-terrain walker along the littoral toward her two minions. The fat wheels rolled effortlessly over the beach sand as if the rollator glided on Zamboni-smoothed rink ice.

Disgusted by her charmed life Maxine and BillieJean decided the golden Tiburon must die.

Manda Zim said...

“Welcome to uDie Incorporated, where you choose your demise and we maximize your death experience. Packages include everything from a classic mugging, to the exotic, like a beaking by the majestic spoonbill platypus. Or maybe you’d like a long walk on a sandy beach followed by a serene drowning. So, how can we murder you today?”

“Which one Mom?”

“I’m not ready.”

“I promised Dad you’d not suffer the indignity of dying in bed. Hurry up or I’m getting you the mugging.”

“Oh. I guess I’ll take the platypus then.”

“Excellent choice. That’s a very popular package. This way please.”

the editors said...

The Long Beach Public Library lady had legs to die for. I got a good look as her hands tried to keep her flimsy dress from billowing in the wind. It was a prettier sight than the stiff sprawled by the after-hours book return bin.

“Lieutenant, this is the climax of a bad week for me,” she said with a smile that men dream about.

I glanced at the gritty Glock by the body.

“How did you know it was me?” she asked as I put on the cuffs.

“Sand on your hands,” I said.

Brig said...

'No one understands me Maxine'.

His long fingers stroked her sandy-hued fur. He'd of course requested black but they'd been all out.
Another failure.
Not to mention the litter from his supposedly male cat.

Satan give him strength.

The bills dried by the fire, the corners curled from today's beachside debacle.

He massaged his hands. The knuckle implants always ached this time of night. would soon be on the receiving end of one strongly worded letter.

As every night , he spent an hour on his mwahaha, ordered a murder, and fell asleep, to dream of a career in HR.

Ginger Mollymarilyn said...

Every Friday at noon, Diane ritually lunched at The Only Cafe for a mile-high-corned-beef sandwich and, with a one-dollar bill, bought her lottery ticket. She’d dreamt of winning Lotto Max ever since she could remember, playing the same significant numbers each week. Now, watching Roy Barko and his Elvis hair on the flat screen announce her very numbers as the ping-pong balls, popping out seemingly just for her, made their proud appearance one after the other, she elatedly jumped up and down, her long golden strands flying above her! “Beachfront condo in the Bahamas, here I come!”

Curt David said...

The police were listening to a tape of Ms. Misandry, Ms. Dishabille, Mr. Longanimity and Mr. Maximalist.

“Beachboys?” said one.
“Makes me uncomfortable,” said two.
“I’m hot,” said four.
“Okay, Beatles?” said one.
“Or Aretha?” said two.
“ARETHA, OR I QUIT!” yelled three.
“I have to take off my sweater,” said four.
“Anything works,” said one.
“Thanks,” said two.
“HAPPY DAY!” yelled three.
“I would kill for a massage,” said four.

The police figured out who said what. Can you?

Lenny Liang said...

"Let's try some word association."

"That may be beyond my abilities at the moment."

"Just do your best."

"Who, me?"

"Yes, you. I'll say something. You say what comes to mind."

"I figured as much."

"What do you think of when I say the word 'longing?'"

"I think, therefore I am. But let's not put Descartes before the horse."

"Interesting. How about 'Sandy Beach?'"

"Ok. I found this."


"Which Bill?"


"There's no one in your contacts matching 'Max.'"


"How may I help you?"

"Did you kill them?"

"I can't answer that."

"I see."

DIAGNOSIS: Dissociative Identity Disorder

Kristine Poptanich said...

I'm never going to give you long walks on the beach, so don't bother asking. Louboutins don't do sand, and don't tell me to send you the bill for another pair. That's just crass. Ladies have prerogatives; that's my maxim. Today my prerogative is to walk away from you. Safety, security, and boredom can kiss my ass. I'm done playing the doll. I'm done looking up at the world from my knees. I'm done hoping to find your corpse in bed with me rather than your . . .

"Is that for me! Maybe just a short walk . . ."

Michael Seese said...

I have so many good memories of this place. Building sandcastles with my brothers. Chasing seagulls. My Dad’s white nose. Sometimes, seeing dolphins dancing above the waves. And eating ice cream ALL DAY LONG!

So many good memories.

And one horrible memory. Hearing my Mom’s screams when she looked out into the ocean and saw that Bill and Max were gone.

We come back to this beach every year. I think my parents hope they’ll see them again.

Why don’t they? I wonder.

I do.

I tell them. But they don’t believe me.

“Maybe when they’re in heaven,” Max says.

LynnRodz said...

"Think we'll ever see home again?" Maxwell peered out the porthole at the flashes of light. "When you think about the billions of stars and galaxies...we'll be a long way from home."

"That's not what this trip's about." Nemes said. "Remember the double sunrise-sunset we saw on the beach with the coquelicot ocean and magenta sand? Who back home can say that?"

Maxwell pondered this, but he'd heard rumors. Only one of us makes it, only one of us gets through. We weren't talking rocket science or quantum physics here. He just needed to be the fastest swimmer.

Leah B said...

“Hey, we're going in circles. You can't paddle a canoe with only one oar.”

“Maybe you can't.”

“Neither can you.”

“Ouch, dude.”

“... I could be watching the Longhorns game right now.”

“For the thousandth time, I got this, bro.”

“Oh sure, keep throwing the rope, maybe you'll lasso an oar. That's some real Maxwell Smart caliber thinking.”

“Damn, missed it by that much!”

“... I'm staying home tomorrow.”

“Bro, you're better off stranded out here than watching a Bills game.”

“At least the beach house has air conditioning.”

Kelsie Kasandria said...

She opened her eyes.

A man wearing a beach shirt stared at her. “Miss Billie, do you remember me?”

“Who is Billie?” she asked.

“What does this mean, Doctor Max?”

“I'm afraid the attack caused amnesia.” He turned to his computer, his long sand-colored fingers typing away.

“Well, aren't you gonna do something?”

“I can't, but you must. Take her home.”

A smile crept across his face as he picked her up. Then she had a vision.

Her horror replayed before her, and she realized who this man was.

His hand prevented her scream.

Hillary Cusack said...

Veteran’s Day made her miss her father.
She trampled leaves in the silent graveyard and wished she could see him again.

Worms wriggled in the sandy dirt on my face.
I held my breath and dug upwards.

There he was, William “Bill” Maxwell.
So far from the French beach where he died.
She sat along the line of gravestones, waiting for a sign.

I was close; light filtered down.

She sighed and stood to go.

Don’t leave. I came to see you.

She panicked, pulling her leg away. White, shriveled fingers, growing out of the dirt, held her ankle.

Just Jan said...

You might think that being marooned on a desert island with a long, sandy beach and a hunky, world-famous actor would be heavenly. But you'd be wrong. Even the rotting whale carcass that washed ashore was better company.

I have to admit, I sighed when Famous Actor stripped off and dove into the surf. He really did have a fabulous gluteus maximus. Swimming out a bit, he turned and waved, oblivious to the approaching dorsal fin. I smiled and waved back. Then I pulled the bill of my cap down over my eyes, so I couldn't witness the ensuing carnage.

Karen McCoy said...

The beach funeral carried on as planned, despite blustery winds and a cheap urn. “Sure is taking long enough,” Bertha grumbled.
“Why not scatter the ashes in the sand and get it over with?”

“Max wanted a dignified send off,” her daughter whispered.

“Only because he didn’t want a hefty funeral bill.” Bertha shot back. But as soon as the words exited her mouth, a sharp gust knocked over the urn, blowing the contents in her face. She swallowed a mouthful of ash, and pointed a middle finger to the sky.

Deborah Herd said...

‘Bring me heart of boar, breast of swan, tongue of nightingale,’ the 4th Earl bellowed.

‘I want maximum flavor, short on the tongue, long in the stomach. Ha! Ha!’

A woman emerged from the kitchen, a silver platter piled high with meats, the head and bill of a black swan crowning the pile.

‘How am I supposed to eat all this at once? Bring me bread the length of Norfolk Beach,’ the Earl of Sandwich roared.

‘Slice it in two, fill it with the meat and feed me. Henceforth, when I call for a sandwich, bring me this.’

Pharosian said...

Max sat in the meager shade of a stone wall. The sun and heat were relentless, and the damn sand got in everywhere.

He pulled her picture from his breast pocket where he always kept it, next to his heart. She stood on the beach, her gauzy white dress billowing around her. He stroked the paper along the curve of her dark hair.

He wondered whether the child they were expecting was a boy or a girl.

"All right, men, let's move out!" the Lieutenant shouted.

He shouldered his pack, picked up his rifle. Just sixty-two more days.

Lilac Shoshani said...

"Maximize your potential," the huge billboard said.

Going to Mars had nothing to do with my potential. The space cop cuffed me, as if I was going to run away to some sandy beach on Venus.

"You are not going to last long. Not where you are heading." He looked smug.

Someone walked in. Dressed in an army uniform she said, "We will take her now."

The cop was going to argue, but her rank was higher than his.

"What took you so long, sis?" I asked.

"Real rebels."

She didn’t know that I was one too.

Charlotte Jensen said...

She wasn't supposed to be here. It wasn't in the plan. Of course, Maxwell hadn't been in the plan either, had he? She watched her cherubic toddler as he played in the sandbox, focusing intently as he filled buckets and pushed around construction trucks. He was happy here--easy when you’re too young to understand why they’d fled their beautiful beachfront bungalow for this new life. "Sweetie, lunchtime," she said cheerfully, though she didn't feel that way at all. Like it or not, Billings was their home now; it was time to stop longing for something she couldn't have.

CED said...

I should be writing for Nano right now. Fifty thousand words in a month ain't no day at the beach. I think these contests are designed to distract me.

Ooh, maybe I can work my contest entry into my novel. It's not very long—a hundred words max—but words are words. And my main character's name is Bill. It's perfect.

In fact, I think I can use this as my query!

Your plan has backfired, Shark.

Liz Mallory said...

“Took you long enough,” she commented, staring at the maxi pad wrapper in my hand. “Welcome to womanhood. Monthly pains and an insatiable lust for chocolate. Oh, and you won’t be able to tan on the beach unless you’re comfortable with tampons.”
“There goes all the fun.” I tried to sound off-hand. Another spasm made me cringe. “It feels like sand leaking out of my uterus. How do you stand it?”
“There are advantages.” She smirked. “Gives me an excuse to say no to Bill.”
I straightened.
“Mom, I didn’t want to know.”
She grinned. “One day you will.”

Craig said...

The beach sand up the crack of her ass was a renewal. The already long, cruel winter had torched her to the max in body and soul.

Now she was going the get torched the max in body and soul of her own accord. Screw thoughts of that long, cruel winter. Until her flight back, at least.

She downed another shot and pulled the bill of her hat over her eyes.

She smelled the gas right before the match fell. Then she was torched to the max in body and soul.

TheOneWriting said...

The first date was disastrous. The guy – named Max, a name she’d always hated – ordered a “Sex on the Beach” with his steak. Who gets those? Then when the bill came, he’d explained he was a modern man, and they’d split it down the middle. Split his steak and cocktails versus my sandwich and water.

“So, wanna come along to my place?” he asked, eyebrows wriggling.

“Not in a million years.”

His eyes widened. Then he laughed.

He apologized for the whole thing, and asked for a redo.

We married a year later, the rest of the royal family beaming.

KariV said...

“What’s this?” he says accusingly.

I hold his gaze as long as I can, then drop my eyes and mumble, “A credit card bill.”

“Don’t tell me you maxed out another one?”

My designer sandals wink up at me, glittering in their prestigious glory. I feel guilty – it’s like having an affair – I’d picked the sandals over him.

I sense, rather than hear him go. He’ll be down at the beach, wishing I were there.

But I don’t go.

Because the items in my online cart won’t stay there forever, and they’ll satisfy me more than he ever did.