Friday, October 30, 2015

Where's Colin? (and Lynn?)

Last week's writing contest was the farewell party for Colin (and LynnRodz) who had to be exiled from Carkoon.

This week, we're all wondering where they landed.

Let's find out!

The usual rules, plus the new one #9, 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. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.
Thus:bag/baggage is ok but bag/brag is not

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

5. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.

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

7. 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.

8. 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"

8. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")

9. 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.

Contest opens: Saturday 10/31/15 10am

Contest closes: Sunday 11/1/15 10am

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!

Oh, sorry, too late. Contest closed.


jmaggard said...

I catch the redeye on a budget airline. No snacks, but I charm a scotch out of the attendant. She winks at me, and my heart stops. She’s gorgeous.

I’m nervous during landing. The Rook Card Grey cabal is after me, its eyes everywhere. But my source had come through, and I’ve got a full report. All that remains is getting to the Feds.

Steps from the exit, I crumple. The attendant crouches beside me, concerned, as she slides my report from my bag. There’s no free scotch, I guess. Lesson learned.

She winks at me, and my heart stops.

Unknown said...

“Everything’s… white,” said Lynn.
Colin frowned. “White pixels. We must’ve crashed in a sandstorm.”
“I can see you and your baggage clearly,” Lynn mused, and squinted upward. “Are those symbols in the sky?” Suddenly, she sprung into a perfect back flip, twisting to land on her hands.
Colin stared. “Incredible!”
“This isn’t me,” said Lynn, panicking. “I’ve never taken gymnastic lessons. And I can’t get down.”
“Hello, my dears,” came a grinning voice.
“You hear that?” gulped Colin.
“The island was simply a snack,” it cooed. “An exit remains to be found. Welcome to Word Document… a writer’s real Carkoon.”

Craig F said...

As usual the step ahead was a lesson beyond the previous. The desert was remorseless but they couldn’t go back. Not only had The Great Limabean Bomb had stunk up the place but the bags of kale used as fake remains were too big to eat as snacks.

Lyn found the place. It suited her better than Colin knew. She would have gone anyway, wine and cheese increasingly occupied her mind, but he blackmailed her. She opened a hatch, helped Colin in and slammed it closed. He hadn’t noticed the sign for R2D2 stunt double storage.

Exit Droid, stage left.

Linda Strader said...

George’s cremains sat on the mantle. Scumbag, Etta mumbled. He exited before I could teach him a lesson. He’d said he’d never let her out of his sight. Well, she had the last laugh. But the ashes had to go.

At the old mine shaft, Etta pitched the urn, listening to it tumble to the bottom. Bye Georgie! She trudged through the pouring rain back to the house. After hanging up her coat, she fixed herself a snack, and flipped on the TV. Alone at last! She glanced up, and gasped. On the mantle sat the urn—scratched and dented.

french sojourn said...

Got a call from Scarlet Billows, a dame I used to catch moonbeams with on Bora-Bora.

“What’s up gorgeous?”

“I need you.”

“Be right there.”

“Not that, Felix!…your other…you know!”

I did jobs for alphabet agencies in Langley. If someone needed some shitty ‘bag and tag’ done, they called me…Septic Hank.

Seems a couple cheese-eaters were nosing in on Scarlet’s territory.

“Give them a one-way exit visa, Hank.”

Found ‘em holed up in this dumpy warehouse in Carkoon. So I taught them a lesson, and threw their snack sized remains over the pier.

Scarlet billows danced slowly in the current.

Steve Forti said...

I just wanted a snack. We’re both veggie lovers, so I thought I’d be nice and share. Good grief. Now Darla’s trying to explain the complexities of her new flexitarian diet, but it sounds like cheating.

I offer up my famous rutabaga and cabbage slaw. Goes great on my flourless onion bagels. Darla dumps it in the garbage. Not cool.

I grab the bread knife.

The smell from the grill is intoxicating. Maybe she was onto something. Who’d ’a thunk Darla’s remains went so well with BBQ sauce? I think I could get used to this whole flexitarian lifestyle.

Dena Pawling said...

Colin's knees wobbled. He gripped Lynn's hand as the exit doors opened.

Welcome to Writerhellville, the sign read.

That was thirty years ago today. Back when he wanted to be a writer.

He reached into the bag for another kale chip, remembering when they were snacks and not the meal.

Remembering the Shark's lesson.

Remembering when a TBR pile brought a smile.

“Hand me today's,” Lynn croaked. Colin retrieved two. The stack's remains shifted, threatening to bury them.

Thirty more books appeared at the top of the pile.

Colin sharpened his pencil, licked the tip.

“Synopsis number 21900....”

LynnRodz said...

No bags, no snacks, no exit doors. What kind of plane is this?

I look out the window and see the remains of Carkoon getting smaller. The QOTKU herself had closed the door. "This will teach you two a lesson."

Hours later, the sky's a Saint-Tropez blue. Down below us palm trees and white sandy beaches.

We land, door opens, "Welcome!" says Amy. "You're just in time for cocktails."

A warm breeze blows as we sit in Paradise.

"Here we go!" Janet appears with a tray. "Jeez, the things I do to guarantee a fun time on vacation!"

"Cin cin!"

Kate Higgins said...

Not wanting to bag another stale snack, Colin exits, abolished. Crawling from the shark filled waters, he is astounded by endless horizons, the promise of vast orreries of spinning word worlds; all awaiting his prolific pen.

Behold; moons of cheese or dust, remains of poetry planets that have not lost their nom de plume, (what rhymes with Pluto?), comets cut his dreams – bearing lessons of imagination. Suns and sons, and sons of suns light the way.

He is not chum, he will enter worlds unknown to forever swim among the stars. And maybe be invited into the murky water again.

Colin Smith said...

The wreckage inside is worse
I put what I can in plastic bags
The remains of our lives scattered on the floor
Shattered plates and mugs, picture frames and memories
All that’s left after her exit
I was too selfish for marriage
I guess I learned the lesson too late
She wanted to talk
I wanted snacks and TV
It was a storm waiting to happen

Megan V said...

Lynn paled as her son pitched his bowl at the paper-thin walls.
“No—oh God, please—no.”
But the wail broke through the cacophony like a needy foghorn.
“No.” She wouldn’t go to the baby. Rubbing the bags under her eyes, Lynn plopped the boy in front of the television, scratched a missive to her husband.
The baby should sleep for another hour or so.
Scottie is watching some lesson on Sesame Street.
I’m in the tub, desperate for an emergency exit.

Grinning at the last line, Jim shuffled to the bathroom.
He knocked twice.
Lynn’s remains never answered.

DeadSpiderEye said...

What's in the bag Tegwyn? the remains of lunch I see, sniff... uh, you been snacking on fish heads? Incidentally, how's the love life, oops touchy subject, well you did overreach yourself there slightly. Now don't be like that, truth between friends is no insult, you should remember that lesson. Good grief man, here let you find you a hanky. Pink? no it's faded in the wash, those aren't her initials, it's a monogram, like YSL. Ah right, birthday gift, from you, personalised... nice embroidery! Look, I've got a bus to catch, sorry for the abrupt exit, catch you later.

Marie McKay said...

"Take out pencils and notebook. Gregor, put the remains of that snack back in your bag!
Let's turn our attention to Austen and what the exit of her main character signifies-
We are all tired. Do sit up!
Lilly, whether Cedric joins you for a playdate after class, or not, is no concern of mine.
Now, in the case of Mr. Darcy-"

Mrs. Grace, her temper short after overhearing details of her husband's latest 'business' trip, moved her lips for the first time in the lesson: "ELIJAH, LEVITATION NEXT TERM.TELEPATHY THIS TERM. COME BACK DOWN!"

Redmond Writer said...

The despicable ogre exited the world on Halloween. With no family to dispose of his body, the City coroner used the cheapest method possible, a lesson learned in a NYC mortuary school.

The ogre’s cremains had to go somewhere but even a canvas bag was more than the City could afford. After much contemplation over a snack of pitted prunes, the coroner decided to fertilize the large cactus in his south-end townhouse with the decedent’s ashes.

Next year, the morning after Halloween, the coroner woke up to find the cactus staring at him from the foot of his bed.

JD Paradise said...


"Mr. Murphy--"

"Sure, I get into the snacks, but--

"Mr. Murphy."

"What?" Sullen perplexity. "This cough ain't enough, you gotta insult my ass too?"

"Do you work with cardboard?"

Murphy turns out his palms, each scar a lesson. "Hammerhill, since I was fourteen." He shrugs. "My girl caught pregnant."

"Can you quit?"

He stares past me. "This ain't cancer?"

I hesitate. Knowing where he's going. "No."

"Thank God. I gotta go, then."

"There are treatments--"

"Treatments." He snorts. Coughs, swipes at his mouth. Stands. A fresh strawberry of blood remains on his lips. "Sorry, doc. Shift starts at four."

SheepFleece said...

Grease leached through the bottom of the popcorn bag; it would leave a stain on my pants. I’d have to burn them now. It was lesson number one: dispose of all evidence.

“Remember when we used to watch flicks here, before the war?” he asked.

I passed him the slip of paper. The light from the black and white film danced across his face.

“If they catch me, they’ll snack on me with the rest of them,” I said.

“Kid, we’ve all turned in some way.”

He exited the theater, the remains of my humanity stuffed in his pocket.

CynthiaMc said...

Exit Halloween.

Enter Healthy Snack Day.

"What's the lesson?" Teacher asked then left the room.

"We may be young, but we're not stupid," last year's Caped Avenger said and shared her plan. "Who's with me?"

Every hand shot up. The texting began.

They were too young to drive, but by Common Core math old enough to order from the Internet and charge it to the school.

As teachers handed out kale chips the drones appeared at schools nationwide, showering candy to fun-starved students.

"Halloween remains," the note attached to the candy read "or we come armed next time."

Unknown said...

Their new world was noisy, chaotic, filled with flying garbage. And sometimes, gems.

“Where are we?” Colin yelled.

Lynn pointed out an exit and yelled back, “I think it’s the unknown universe.”

The exit was a cold, cramped crevice. Dark, but for small portals of light. Air pumped in, blowing the remains of snack wrappers along the floor.

“What did we do to deserve this hell?” Lynn screamed. “When is the lesson over?”

The cave fell silent. It was Lynn who recognized the smell.

“Whiskey!” she screeched.

“No!” Colin whispered. “Please. Not her head.”

Janice Grinyer said...

Tami plunged a bullet into the chamber, sliding the bolt home. Her stalking paid off.

He was with a skinny young female, stopping on a rocky trail for a snack. They were oblivious to Tami's intentions hidden in the sagebrush. Dialing up her scope's exit pupil, all that remains now is for her to squeeze the trigger.

He instantly dropped. Tami smiled.

Lessons on the shooting range had paid off too; a direct hit to his heart. She ejected the spent casing onto the red Montana soil. Bagging a royal bull elk - her husband will be so jealous!

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

An embarrassment, his daughter. Nare a tear. Dare brought her wife to the service. Preached her gawdawful humanitarian lessons now of all times. Hundreds of solemn condolences, a good man.

“Eighty percent of paedophiles are close family,” she droned in my ear. “Coercion—”

“Dear, you could have worn a skirt, for once. Look at your nails. And those tattoos.”


“For heaven’s sake, this unfathomable sex, it…” I whispered, “…Doesn’t it shock you, his remains were found in a bag in the tree house he built for you. Show some respect for your beloved father.”

shtrum said...

Lynn: (reaching into Funyuns snack bag) “Hey, Colon. Where are we?”
Colin: “It’s ‘Colin,’ you twit. And couldn’t you have picked a less American snack?”
Lynn: “I like them. And it’s better than that bottle of Ovaltine you carry around.”
Colin: “We’re trying to hide from you-know-who. You’re making us look conspicuous.”
Lynn: “Conspicuous is how you keep that bottle in your front pocket. It’s not fooling anyone.”
Colin: (mutters)
Lynn: “All this white space . . . it’s like. Exit-stential.”
Colin: “Existential.” (dumps the remains of the bag on her) “Let that be a lesson to you.”

Unknown said...

Everyone expects Frankenstein’s monster to be some sort of human remains-eating fiend, but if anyone got to know me, they’d see I only eat little bags of berries as snacks. It’s only because I keep to myself up here in the Alps that the townspeople a few miles below me make up stories. But this Halloween, I’m teaching them a lesson.

I dress in the finest suit I stole from Victor and exit my cabin, headed toward the town. They’ll never suspect it’s me until I announce that I’ve tricked them and—dammit, they’re running at me with pitchforks again.

Cipher said...

“Ss-nack!” Jimmy’s marshmallow cheeks jiggled with effort to expel the word.
“Snack?” his mother parroted, blinking dully, eyes sliding to where her husband had exited. Leaving her alone. With him.
Of course that was what he’d said! Jimmy scrunched up his baby blues. The woman was clearly in need of another lesson.
Jimmy’s lips began to tremble.
“Oh don’t, please! You want this, is this what you want?” his mother scrambled to pull out a lollipop from her fraying handbag.
Jimmy giggled, clasping sticky fingers around the sweet.
She eyed the corner. The remains of the nanny were still warm.

BJ Muntain said...

This isn't bad. Hanging in limbo, nothing can physically stir – not Colin, nor Lynn, who hangs not far away – but his mind can't stop. Fixing his WIP, thinking up conflicts, plotting books.

An inch from his hand floats his bag, with foolscap, ballpoints, and snacks. Too far. Can't scrawl anything. An Xit sign glows faintly...

Xit. That's it!

Full of hop – no, HOPE – trying to drudg... no, DREDGE up that... LETTER from THE DEPTHS of his mind...

The Xit light flickers... and becomes EXIT. He's done it! He runs towards EXIT.

Lesson learned. Now, only Lynn remains...

Unknown said...

Felix dropped the BAG of greens. “Couldn’t have missed them by much.”

“What were they planning to do with all this kale?” Opie wiped her hands.

“REMAINS to be seen. But, Carkoon can drive a person mad.” He squinted at a red-streaked stretch of ocean. “Looks like someone’s having a SNACK.”

“That fin. You think-“

“Yeah. They wanted off this rock.”

“Not the EXIT I’d take.”

“Guess they thought they could outswim her.” Felix shook his head. “That’s a LESSON I learned years ago: The only thing missing from ‘chum’ is the p.”

“Well, they probably did that, too.”

Obscene said...

What is with this goddamned bag? It’s a snack, not a diamond ring. Aaargh! let me have it.

God, I hate flying.

Look at these people. Staring at their phones like zombies. Eventually they’ll shuffle to the exit, pick up their belongings and reconnect with what remains of their pitiful lives.

How embarrassing would it be to ask for help opening these peanuts?

Wait! Spinoff idea! Zombies On a Plane. No. Too limited.

Should I wake her up? Too soon? She’s going to be a bear anyway. When will she learn her lesson? One drink is enough.

Damn these peanuts.

Sally said...

Entered through the exit, racing the doors to closing. Like a game. Like a child.
Put the baggage by bathroom doors, left to buy a drink. The helpful flight attendant, wondering if he’d lost his parents.
No. A shake of the head. Pointing toward the bathroom. Mom’s there.
Security check, all clear. Cute smiles to the gun-bearing innocents.
Waiting. Snacking. Pulls out a fried digit. Yum, chicken fingers.
Flight number blaring overhead. He stuffs the remains into a trashcan.
To her, he bids farewell. Learned your lesson mom? Not just a child.
Two lifeless globes roll out, forever staring.

Steven D. said...

My Ultimate Halloween

I was twelve. Finally allowed to trick-or-treat with just my friends, we killed it, candy-wise. We even double-hit some houses during our three-hour grand tour of our Milwaukee suburb, filling two large bags each and snacking along the way.

The highlight was our neighbor’s haunted house (lesson learned: not all vomit is fake vomit on Halloween.) Everything seemed so disgustingly real with blood-soaked animal and human remains scattered throughout. Unable to locate the cellar exit, our panic turned vocal before some teenagers arrived. Epic!

Thirteen didn’t measure up. The police took creepy Mr. Dahmer away that year.

Pam Powell said...

The shark puffed the blender large and threw it, Colin and LynnRod inside, into the sea.

The shark jumped in with a toothy grin. “Lesson learned?” she asked. The two nodded as the clockwise-spinning water sucked them down into darkness.

AJ Blythe found them on a tiny spit, remains of the blender nearby.

“Where is the shark?”

“Exited for now.” AJ held out a bag.

“What’s in there?” Colin inquired.


“A fate worse than kale!”

“It’s the shark’s snack for later. She has it with ...” AJ’s voice faded.


AJ shivered. “Never let her call you her ‘chum’”.

Donnaeve said...

Janette exited the subway hopeful of what she’d find.

She held a bag filled with their favorite snacks, in case they’d learned their lesson.

After all, 304 days was enough. Wasn't it?

Whispery pleading began soon as she arrived.

Foot tapping, she pointed at the remains of their work, “Well?”

Lynn griped, “I told him! He wouldn’t listen. As usual.”

Colin huffed, rolling his eyes. “Oh, tiddly poop! Persistence pays off! Behold! Kale Dreams!”

Janette glared. “By the looks of it, no one’s listening! This time? I want to see some Razzle Dazzle!”

Grumbling, they lifted paintbrushes, up, down, up...

Calorie Bombshell said...

A Serial Killer’s Guide to Surviving Halloween:

Lesson One: Never trick-or-treat alone; take an adult along, preferably an NRA member.

Lesson Two: Never approach an unfamiliar house, especially the last one on the left.

Lesson Three: Wait until you’re home to dig in; that handmade snack is laced with GHB.

Lesson Four: Though nauseated, never use a stranger’s bathroom. (See Lesson Three)

Lesson Five: Keep your costume short and wear sneakers in case some sleazebag chases you.

Lesson Six: Never run toward an exit; it’s a trap.

Lesson Seven: Always carry photo identification; your remains won’t be found anytime soon.

Michael Seese said...


An empty can rattles along the road. Gravel scuffles the once-shiny metal as it rolls past an empty snack bag of potato chips.

And a small spiral notebook covered with dots and lines, a piece practiced endlessly in preparation for a violin lesson.

And a shoe, worn when the winning shot fell through the basket.

And a freeway exit sign, crumpled in the median.

And a cell phone, miraculously, still alive, a desperate girlfriend on the other end, screaming.

Then silence falls over the scattered remains of a life that would soon be collected and renamed “evidence.”

Timothy Lowe said...

Time’ll turn champ to chump. But goin the distance near killed me.

Name was Hodges. Two-fifteen soakin. A mauler, bad as they come. A contender workin up to the main course. And ahs his nacket.

Thought ahs a palooka, them ringside bag-holders. Seven to one and I fed em all the rope-a-dope.

But he wasn’t playin possum. One rabbit punch and ahs out. Thirty seconds from the purse and they wheelin my remains to the exit.

Didn’t go the distance. Ended on a long count, woke one tumor lighter.

Nowadays I count fights.

One less. Only one.

I’da been out.

Alan Milner said...

I came in through the snack bar window in the middle of the performance dressed in a Carkoon Sanitation Department uniform, looking for Colin and Lynn.

The problem with exiling malcontents is that, sometimes, the malcontents refuse to remain in exile, necessitating a more permanent solution.

I am a more permanent solution. I provide the object lessons that keep the other potential miscreants in line.

They had almost let the cat out of the bag, but I snagged them in the vestibule before they could speak to the press, and made my exit through the lobby, leaving the remains behind.

Cindy C said...

He hauled out the spare tire to make room for the bodies. Damn neighbors, always nosing around. Well, he sure taught them a lesson.

Been years since he took the Old Carkoon Highway exit. Run-down houses. Rusted cars. Suspicious glares. Passed a gas station advertising SNACKS! BAIT! Buy a bag of kale and a bucket of chum all in one place. He shook his head. Carkoonians.

Twenty miles later he stopped by a broken roadsign. Recognized the motto:
Whether nightmare or dream
Remains to be seen

Propped the bodies against the pole. Laughed out loud.

First line was missing.

Mark Ellis said...

There’s a lesson to be learned here, Ms. Reid wrote on her blog.
So true, thought Lynn, settling with a snack in front of a film favorite, Remains of the Day.
You never know who you’re dealing with on the internet.
The literary agent had been stalked at a writer’s conference by a frequent commenter on her website: Colin. Frighteningly, “Colin” had identified Reid in the baggage claim area of Rochester International Airport and followed out the exit to her rental car.
Lynn paused the movie; hadn’t this Colin offered to database everybody’s website information? Hadn’t she taken him up?

QuirkyElf said...

I wish I could doggy bag my life. Take the tasty snacks and leave the rest but it’s a bitter lesson I keep taking again and again because I never learn. I’m so tired. I pick over the remains and head for the exit.

S.V. Farnsworth said...

I discovered the remains of a snack bag wedged in the emergency exit. School was out but someone had a lesson to learn. I leaned down to pick up the trash. Bits of pretzel bites oozed peanut butter. My nostrils flared and I pulled back. Any closer and I’d end up in the hospital.
I should have let it go, but a gust of wind blew in. The pretzels had stopped the door from closing. Why hadn’t the alarm gone off? Stepping in the mess, I pressed open the cold steel portal to find a gun between my eyes. Bam!

ashland said...

Her recipe read:
Your favorite, for old time's sake.
I was relieved, though the divorce was final, she held no ill feelings.
Mix 3 eggs, ½ stick butter, 1Tsp vanilla, 1c sugar, 2c flour. Beat furiously.
Sometimes she was hard to get along with.
Take dough and knead. Slice the edges.
Sometimes I was too.
Bake at 450 for 35 minutes. Burn the skin.
I got heated when drinking.
Sprinkle remains of Ziploc bag—a pinch of love.
But I'd loved her.
I down a snack, my throat swells shut.
The exit was locked.
Ground-up peanuts.
Lesson learned.

Unknown said...

She smelled like the coal merchant’s horse. She licked her thumb then proceeded pasting her wild hair into order. “Bagged yourself a rotten one, mi-lady?”
Clearly I’d lost my senses, getting involved with Squizzy Taylor’s former mole.
Nicotine stained teeth worded, “it’ll be a snack.”
“Just enough so he remains in Australia.”
Her eye’s narrowed. “So, it’s not a lesson yer teachin’ the bugger?”
“Here’s £500, you get the rest when the jobs done.”
“Ah!” she said, “the war.”
I handed her the deposit and made a quick exit, hoping his beating would be enough to stop his conscription.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

The gypsy fortune-teller machine was near the carnival exit. My husband Herb jammed in a quarter.


Another quarter.


The third coin.


“Dumb ass machine.”

The next day I was a widow before lunch. Lightning strike.

After a funeral full of snacks and platitudes, Herb's mistress introduced herself.

The gypsy’s lesson crystallized.

Liar Liar,
Pants on fire,
Hanging from a telephone wire.

The remains of my marriage. Ashes in a bag.



I turned up the radio. “Oh lessons learned, man, they sure run deep. They don’t go away and they don’t come cheap.”

Karen McCoy said...

I checked my devil horns in the side mirror, ready to pick up my friend for a night of candy and booze. Cobwebs breathed beneath her building’s brick awning, and my car door slammed.

A skeletal man with bloodshot eyes sat in my back seat. He snacked on bag of corn nuts, ignoring the brown, salty remains in his rotted teeth.

I screamed.

He flipped me off, took a picture with his phone, and exited. The building guard grabbed his arm and asked him to explain.

A lesson for us both.

Apparently, he thought I was his Uber.

KayC said...

The red cape bobbed tantalizing between the trees ahead. Her scent drifted back to him on the breeze, teasing his gastric juices. His grip tightened on the bag slung over his shoulder to carry any remains. He only wanted a snack – there would be plenty left over.

His pace quickened. Grabbing the red clad shoulder he spun her around.

Sea-blue eyes gazed up at him. She smiled, two rows of sharp teeth gleaming in the sunlight. “My, what chubby cheeks you have!”

The lesson learned too late – always have an exit plan.

Kregger said...

“Cremains or bag-and-tag?”

Colin’s eyebrows drew together as he glanced about the aerodrome.

Bonero’s skeletal jaws frowned without lips. “Dust or flesh?”

Lynn winced. “Oh! Snack? We like it dirty, no formalin, les sonmelier.”

TSA Bonita held Bonefido’s choker as the anorexic dog sniffed at the exit for the living.

The dragon class aircraft engines roared to life.

“Where are we going?” asked Colin eyeing the buxom statue of the Amazon Goddess.

Bonero laughed, “The land of writer’s dearth. Your next stop, the ABNA Necro-Manse.”
Eerie winds whistled through skeletal ear holes. “And you thought Carkoon was desolate? Ha!”

casdoyle said...

"You can do it baby," we cheer.
Yoghurt covers the carpet, banana mush covers everything else. Remains of her snack cling to her hair.
Her complexity surprises us.

"This time," I say.
Her hands shake as she reaches for the spoon. They shake as she misses, swipes the bowl away and screams. Lesson over.

Please, I think.
Her hands shake. She sticks her tongue out, fighting to keep them from betraying her.

Ben’s home late, again.
My excitement: "She did it!"
His deep sigh. "Elly," he shakes his head, "she’s nine years old."

I leave his bag by the door.

Amy Schaefer said...

It’s that time again! To promote a safe (and fun!) Halloween, our community board has prepared these handy tips:

For best results, follow this three-step procedure:
1. Blend in.
2. Bag your snack.
3. Exit.

*Target the weak and unnoticed.
*Catch first, feed later.
*Ignore inaccurate costumes; do not try to teach trick-or-treaters a lesson. Although their ignorance hurts, this is not the forum.
*No flying, transforming, or public grabs. These maneuvers are fun, but your discretion helps the entire community.
*Please pull all remains down into your grave with you. A tidy graveyard is a happy graveyard.

Happy hunting!

Steve Cassidy said...

She softly caressed the ampule with her sons cremains in her trembling hand. The bagpipes cried “Taps”.

In his last email he asked for snacks; potato chips, cheetos, doritos.

“This is a lesson from God about faith, the complexity of his love. He is holding your son in his arms right now.” the Chaplain whispered. “He died bravely for God and Country.”

“Fuck you, he died protecting his unit and his buddies. He was an atheist, he didn’t die so he could go to heaven. There was no prize, no reward for him dying. He was braver than that.”

Unknown said...

Creepy Neighbor Bobby exited the courtroom in cuffs and shackles. First degree murder. Life without parole.

The jury went either for my closing or my reputation, the Vigilante Lawyer.

Grieving Parents Ned and Judy faced the microphones. Through tears, they repeated my lines about moving on, about the lesson Baby Kayla's death taught everyone. Love your child while you still can.

That night, while nursing the remains of my 100 proof snack, I got a text from Ned.


I forwarded to Chuck. He went the next day.

Locker 36, two bags inside.

One to keep. One to burn.

CED said...

“Trick or treat!”

Three ghouls faced Lili with unblinking eyes. Screams echoed through the yard on the dead's favorite night.

“You're late. Only snack-size left.” Lili dropped gummy eyeballs into the offered bags.

“We want more!”

“Don't make me teach you a lesson. I'll weave a hex--”

“It won't work on us!”

Lili considered her mini-foes and their permanent smiles. “Wanna try me? Go haunt someone else.”

The ghouls skittered.

With no more remains to give out, Lili was done for the night. “Another year,” she sighed. She snuffed her candle and stepped back into her crypt.

Unknown said...

Professor Auchterberry’s wife owned the bakery downtown. The just-kill-me-now pumpkin spice cheesecake bars and other snacks were worth an hour-long lesson on THE REMAINS OF THE DAY.

Jess sat in the front row, MacAir on her desk, and leather tote bag at her feet.

I sat in the corner, ink stained backpack at my feet, jotting notes on the flaps of QUICK EXITS FOR SERIOUS HACKERS.

Jess nodded along sagely.

I pounded Mountain Dew.

On the final day of class, we flipped a coin for the last ├ęclair.

Mrs. A. made the Double Chocolate Raspberry Mousse cake for our wedding.

Sara Halle said...

To my esteemed colleagues,

Though I am in the midst of a new experiment, an unforeseen emergency has compelled me to make a hurried exit. I would appreciate your assistance with the following during my absence:

Everyone must remain silent when outside my laboratory. The experiment must not be disturbed.
My trusted assistant, Igor, will handle all laboratory cleaning and garbage removal. There is no need for anyone else to enter the premises.
Please do not bring snacks anywhere near the laboratory. I think we all learned our lesson after what happened the last time!

Dr. Victor Frankenstein

John Frain said...

Our Commissioner banged her gavel. “Denied. Can’t send them to Hell. We can’t even agree on where Hell is. Think of the complexity. Other nominations?”

I swallowed my snack. “County Clerk’s office – Rowan County, Kentucky.”

Nods around the table.

“Good lesson,” Commissioner said. “But too harsh.”

“Nothing remains on the list,” I said. Checked the mailbag. Empty.

“Ooh, I’ve got it!” Commish rubbed her fins together. “What’s the worst fate for a writer?”

Nervous glances.

“Ask them to submit a story about their desired destination…”

We leaned in. “Yes? Yes?”

A grin. Silence. She left. That was eighteen months ago.

Michael Rigg said...

The alligator finished its snack and exited into the murky waters of Bayou Teche. Nearby, a Bluetick bayed as if it had treed a raccoon. Flashlights and lanterns interrupted the darkness.

“It’s after midnight, Sheriff,” Deputy Boudreaux said. “Shouldn’t we stop until morning?”

“Keep going, Boudreaux. There’s a full moon. And Sally’s after something.”

Depending less and less on their own senses, they followed the hound to a legless female torso.

Nonplussed, the Sheriff looked at the remains and mouthed a silent expletive.

“Not much more we can do here,” he said. “Let’s bag this one for the Coroner.”

Unknown said...

Six days ago I had it all figured out. I’d have the girl and the gold.

We’d be makin’ our exit in style right now if it wasn’t for that dirtbag Stoltz.

Instead her cremains are comin’ off a C130 in Berlin.

“A hard lesson and you’ve learned it well,” Stoltz said after the lead hit home.

He musta been gradin’ on a curve though, cause it didn’t take.

My heart only stopped once.

Come noon, his train will hit Bad Wilsnack and that’s where I’ll learn him.

You can take the girl but you better leave the gold.

Anonymous said...

Minerva stared across shark infested waters. “Clarence, is that just another island?”

“Don’t know. Put the campfire out and let’s go see.”

As the flames died so did the flickers of light from their target destination.

Clarence grabbed his “I SURVIVED CARKOON” snack bag. “Farewell, Wretched Island!”

They reached new land, exited their makeshift raft, and gasped. There on the beach, next to the remains of their previous campsite, stood a familiar boulder. Letters spelling “LESSON 1: NO ESCAPE” appeared on its surface. Horrified, they glanced toward the water – toward a shark sporting a crown and a smug, toothy grin.

Kae Ridwyn said...

“You stirred the crema instead? Seriously?! A child would know better!”
My new boss.

“You just needed to open the bag! A child could’ve done it!”
Annoying, but I’ve had worse.

“The ILLs are on the counter; less one that the idiots didn’t send. Honestly! A child could see them!”
Maddening, but it’s not like she has a baton. Or a shiv.

“You’re as dumb as my ex. It was heavenly, getting rid of him! Honestly. A child’d be smarter than you.” I grit my teeth.

“You tried searching MSN?! A c…”
Killing her - worth the trip back inside.

Anonymous said...

The End

(Or so they thought)

Adrift and lost, they clung to wreckage—-alive

While sharks circled, begging the ship’s remains: a duet of human snacks, no less, on the menu

The pair’s desperate cry for aid

--was then devoured by--

The roar of a thousand ancient dreams exiting the past

And in that immortal instant everything changed

They realized daylight could never again be

Overwhelmed by darkness

For together they had looked into the deep and witnessed hope

Their hearts burst in purple wonder

Talking of cabbages and kings,

Once upon a time

** by Rebekah Postupak. Whether this translates into a sad or happy ending for Colin and Lynn depends on you: will you read top/down or bottom/up?

Kate Larkindale said...

I stepped into the alley through the emergency exit, my snack, a bag of chips, rustling in my hands. A dark shadow fled into the orange blush of the streetlights on Main. I rounded the dumpster, a lesson in poise as my sneakers skidded across decaying food remains.

He lay in the shadows, too-thin arms and legs at weird angles as oily blood pooled beneath him.
“Hey!” I said, kneeling beside him. “You okay?” He stared at me, eyes cat-like in the neon glow from the Chinese restaurant. The eyelids lowered, the eyes beneath glazing over, losing focus.

Losing life.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Some say,
To a baby, birth is a kind of death. Perhaps to us, death is birth. If this is so, than we are delivered from the lessons of life when our last breath exits.
What remains? A tidbit, a memory-snack?
And, what happens after our new birth? Where do we go, heaven, hell, Hoboken?

Why are some life-stories written short and some filled with bags of words that reach beyond time?
The answers are out there.
Lynn, maybe she knows.
No, ask Colin. If he doesn’t have the answer he will create the link to the one who does.

Just Jan said...

No matter what lesson my father tried to teach me, I managed to screw it up.

I snacked before dinner and ruined my appetite.

I put all my eggs into one bag. They broke.

Worst of all, I killed the goose that laid the golden eggs and served the remains for Christmas dinner.

"What would he want?" the baby-faced physician asked gently as we watched my father's chest rise and fall to the rhythm of the ventilator.

That was easy. Dad always told me to leave sleeping dogs alone. I signed the DNR order and headed for the exit.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

The morning news is plague in Middle East.

“Take out the garbage,” I tell my son.

“Yes, father.”

“Did you do your lessons?”

“Yes, dad.”

Exit is backed up. We’re late.

By lunch plague creeps into Europe.

“Want to give blood for plague victims?” I ask.

“Sure, dad. Whatever you want.”

My son smiles at needle and nurse.

He shares his snack.

Night falls. Plague is everywhere.

“His blood is the cure,” the doctor claims.


“We need all of it.”

My son or the world? Oblivious, the world rejoices.

All that remains is a cross marking my son’s sacrifice.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Cocooned in the Velocicopter, Colin quaffed another drink from his shoe.

“How‘bouta schhhwede by ‘nother name?”

“Roo’baga.” Lynn licked the remains of their kale snack from her fingers.

“Aww, Berguine.”


“Noooupe. Rum nun.”

They giggled. Colin held out his shoe. Lynn poured the rum.

He peered into his shoe, “Tha’s lessonalashwon.”

Lynn threw her hands out and singsonged, “Colly mex’it all-gone”.

They landed.

“Your new home,” the aeronaut said, “Constellation of Cepheus.”

Slowly, clumsily, they suited up. Then, at the open door stopped, aghast.

Swimming the black sky across from them, amid the glittering starlights—a dark Shark Nebula.

Lance said...

“You there?”


“Where ...”

“Leave the blindfolds. Drop your bags. Welcome to LAX.” A gravelly female voice.

“Who's …”


“LA airport?”

“No, the Literary Agents' Cross-Dimensional Construct for Information: LAX.”

“What's here?”

“The real slush pile: queries, unsolicited, rejected fulls. Remains.”

“Why are we here?”

“Readers. First lesson: Find a best seller, find the exit.”


“Second: read a whole box, get a snack. Come.”

“My leg's heavy!”

“Electronic ball-and-chain. Weight's proportional to Her e-mail load.”

“Awful ...”

“Today's Sunday.”

RachelErin said...

My reactions to death at fifteen confused me. I bagged up my feelings, rationally disproportionate.

Aunt Joanna was found rankly bloated in her apartment. Flakes of cremains invaded the memory of her tobacco-wreathed hug.

A folk-dancing partner shot himself in his girlfriend’s driveway. My counsellor struggled with the complexities of alcoholic depression over snacks.

Cancer withered the lungs of my dear friend’s father, striking the roots of herself. Her eyes, the sharpest lesson of vicarious grief, taught me the mark of loss.

What hurts most, as I empty, is knowing tomorrow you will have her look in your eyes.

Manda Zim said...

Colins put down the saw, taking a break. "How'd you get into this job Rodz?"

"Hmm. M'mom at 14. Belt."

"Stone cold man, stone cold."


"What this guy do?" Colins resumed sawing, grunting as the femur finally gave way.

"Hmm. Cut up bossman's little girl." Rodz arranged the head in the cake box. Prying open the mouth, she stuffed in a sack of honeyed nuts.

"Honey Nut Killer. Never got that. What's with the nuts?"

Rodz closed the box lid and added a bow. "Hmm. One lesson remains from m'mom; never exit the house without a bag'o'snacks."

Unknown said...

Rustling bag, way loud. Quiet! Her indoors mustn’t know.

Mithering old bag near skinned me alive last time, hollering and shouting woke the whole damn street.

‘Wicked pilferer,’ she cursed, swearing worse than a bag lady.

Snacking at midnight. Always my bag, my bad.

Valuable lessons stopped me being a bag o’ bones tho’.

Exits are key. Ready a bagful, instinctively, no time to ponder in emergencies.

No remains. Remnants tell a story. Bagsy every last scrap.

Ignore bread…loaves, bagels, boules...each leaves a crumby trail.

Don’t obsess about the fish. Plunder every bagatelle or she’ll know it wasn’t the foxes.