Friday, June 16, 2017

Contest #101

Well I think this week needs a writing contest!

How about we do one with blog reader Susan Pogorzelski's The Last Letter (which got a lovely reveiw in PW recently!) for the prize!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:

pogo (I put this one in just to see what Steve Forti will do with it!)

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: pogo/pogostick is ok, but last/least 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.

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

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

8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

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

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

12. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.

Contest opens: 9am, Saturdy, 6/17/17

Contest closes: 9am, Sunday, 6/18/17

If you're wondering how what time it is in NYC right now, here's the clock

If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's an .xls spread sheet here in Colin Smith's treasure chest list

(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!


oopes, too late! Contest closed!


Kelly Allen said...

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Seeing a friend,” he said. “You?”

“I live here.”

We were waiting for the elevator in my new building. His hair combed back, jeans rolled into cuffs, navy and lime socks sticking up from his boots, the warmth of his cologne. The ease of us together now gone, he wouldn’t look me in the eyes. My heart pogoing at the nearness of him.

Two elevators arrived. We neared one together, until the last moment when he veered into another.

No sign, no letter, no concrete evidence. I just knew. He had moved on.

Unknown said...

Last. That's what place I came in. My dream of a varsity letter vanished like a pogonip in the midday sun, when my face hit the dirt. Embarrassing too, tripping right off the starting line while everyone else finished the race with ease. Nothing to do now, but drown the disappointment in a sixer of Lime-A-Rita.

Emalbom said...

She places the last pogonia japonica next to the lilies. Unusual in a funeral spray but she can hardly argue when it’s for the owner’s wife. And they do look sublime.

Carnation letters on the table spell wife. Pink for love and white for innocence.

“Oh please,” she mutters. “She hadn’t loved you for years and she certainly wasn’t innocent.”

The lump in her throat betrays her. The hardest thing about burying your married lover, she reflects, isn’t gripping your grief so tight it feels like it’ll crush you. It’s wondering how to survive tomorrow if it doesn’t.

Steve Forti said...

I won’t give up. Not til my dyin’ breath. This beat up engine, lett’er ride til her gears grind out. Don’t stop til I’m everywhere. Til I see a sea. Feel that salt in my lungs, the ocean spray on my face. Til I feel no more.

The blood in my cough meets the white of the sand. Blends to pink like the scar of sunset over open water. The waves meet my toes. The evening stars twinkle - that first one’s for me. My breath’s tempo gone – that last one’s for the sea.

Jason said...

I walked by the house on my way home. The house that felt disease​d. The house with plast​er walls crumbling.
The house with lime​ trees no one dared pick. The house with the pogo​ stick by the front door, as if children
would play there. The house with the pair of eyes peeking at me through the letter​box. The house with the
eyes that shifted as they followed me, as if I were the one up to no good. The house with the eyes I
desperately wanted to beat in a staring contest.

Timothy Lowe said...

Approach plotted, Excelsior. Commence flameout.

(A murderous tempo. Going down fast.
No way to attain the speed of the last
Man to fall from the sky like a sublime lost sun -
Shot from a gaping black hole like a gun.)

You’re too shallow, Excelsior! Pull up!

(Streaming down from the stars, a diaphanous cape
Filled with burning unease and a need to escape.
It’s like killing a miracle, just give in and pull it.
It’s dancing with fireworks, ballet with a bullet.

Terminal velocity: so easy, achieved -
But beginnings are deadly if not well conceived.)


“Fuck off, pickup artist!”

Alva said...

Time creeps over us like a shadow over the sundial. With an enviable ease, it creates a past on which we look back with shrieks of pleasure and grimaces of pain, indiscriminately weighted toward pain.
As I read your last letter to me, before time took you away with its great pogo leap of destiny, I remember our hopscotch days, the small tin of shoe-polish, weighted with sand. Our dented, scratched, rusty, trusty plaything with the lime stripe.
I miss you. As if someone chiselled a piece from my side, the chip is permanent, now moved to my shoulder.

Anonymous said...

Nip in the air turned into a pogonip. All flights were delayed. Then cancelled. Even a complimentary crempog didn’t appease seething passengers. Whatever you call it, crempog or Ffroes, a proper compensation it’s not. Besides, it was a crempog, not crempogau! As in, not plural.
One passenger was such a slimeball, he let terrier off leash… A growl. A yelp.
I had a blast. Deportation failed.

Michael Seese said...

“Where did Mr. Hippo go?”

Children lack the capacity to understand “gone forever.” So you ease them into it. With a story, perhaps.

“Hippos are what's called an endangered species. To protect them a man takes them somewhere safe. Like a zoo. There they practice the letters of the alphabet. And eat lime sherbet.”

“That's my favorite!”

“It is? Imagine that. So I think Mr Hippos’s at the zoo, with his friends. Koalas, tigers ...”

“No. He's at my house. When are you taking me home?”

I imagine her parents will have trouble wrapping their heads around “gone forever” as well.

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

She wrote the last letter
She put it in a jar
She lay down in the meadow
underneath the stars

No one wants your memories
The ease of young girls
laughing in the sixties

The Countess Pogorsky
Hitler’s silver tea service
hidden in the attic

The Italian daughter
an aging, silent father
tailor shop, matching brothers

the artist of the limelight
awkward, doomed
suicide at fourteen

the Mayflower survivor
four hundred years of family
glass, ships, postcards from the war

She wrote the last letter
She put it in a jar
She lay down in the meadow
underneath the stars

CynthiaMc said...

"Stop singing that lime-in-the-coconut song or I'll take that pogo stick and shove it - "

"Ease up, George. Happy campers!" Jen said.

"Why am I here? You won't let them do PT or rappel any more - "

"They're nine."


"You're here to guard him."


"He's a prince. Last of his line."

Blood spurted from Jen's neck. Hit the letter O on George's shirt.


Screaming kids.

Another counselor grabbed Pogo - good!

Dragged him toward a waiting limo - bad.

George ran toward them.

Counselor aimed at George, then fell.

Limo took off.

"Nice weapon, Kid," George said.

Pogo grinned.

PAH said...



We spilt through the doors like blood from a open vein. The weaker ones of the pack got trampled in seconds. The poor ol’ geezer-greeter were man-slop in a blue vest before he could complete Merry.


I reached for this year’s hottest toy. Last one. So did a blue-haired biddy.



Ever get throat-punched by a grandmama?


The last bounce of the pogo stick crushed my skull with ease—brain juice sluicin’ like a squashed lime.

How’s this for a four-letter word.


Christmas shoppin’, amiright?

Aline Pusecker Taylor said...

The last thing I remember is downing a jumbo fruity drink with strawberries, lemons, and limes sloshing like dinghies in a fishbowl-sized margarita glass. This afternoon, I see my face and naked fanny plastered all over Facebook as I attempt a striptease using a pogo stick as a dancing pole. On my left cheek – face not butt—a fine artist has drawn a picture of a finger and thumb shaped as the letter, “L.” 1,634,719 shares. I call that a win.

Pablo said...

Dear Amelia,

I loved your touching last letter and my emotions are like a sporatic roller coaster, or a pogostick. I wish I could ease your pain, which leaves a sour taste in my mouth like a lime, but alas, I cannot.

With Love,
A Mournful Reader

Unknown said...

Tiny Melody’s letter song ended on lime, and eventually even her crazed pogo dance couldn’t make us smile.

“Daddy, can’t we fly again? Like superman?”

“Maybe later.”

Too young, she couldn’t come. I entered last, sat, and held his hand.

“I love you Dad.” Words I’d never said.

The breathing machine’s sounds eased away, and the real Superman died.

“Your soul is ready,” the priest said. “Now, to Jesus’ arms, fly. Amen.”

We left the room. Melody climbed into my arms, face to my neck, for a very long time.

“I love you Daddy. Can we fly now? Like Superman?”

dsw said...

I ease onto the barstool. “Hey, buddy. Whattsa matter?”

He’s doing shots with cheapo, god-awful whiskey, eyes brimming.
“I thought I was a writer. But that letter from New York…”

“Hey, let’s take a walk.” Blubbering in public. Ugh.

“But, my drink...”

“You’ll get another shot,” I promise.

We move into the alley. He rails at Fate and his own mediocre talent.

Then, the Amontillado moment.

“You… you’re from New Leaf!” He backs up, eyes wide at the .44 magnum.

“Rejections happen. But you shouldn’t have sent that dirty limerick to the agent.”

One last shot, as promised.

Mallory Love said...

At first, I thought it a typo gone wrong, words smeared by a tear or soda. But after reading the letter again, realization hit me like bugs on a windshield. Here was his confession. His last attempt to ease the feud.

I should’ve taken it as a compliment, but I’ve never been that optimistic. I scribbled my own response, folded it, and sent it flying across the classroom.

For years, we had a prank war built through animosity. A pigtails in paint, boxers up flagpoles kind of thing. But our date to prom will end that. Or so he thinks.

Amy Schaefer said...

“Get up.”
“Get out of bed.”
She staggered as another blast rocked the building. The glowing letters on the skyscrapers outside disappeared under rime.
“Please. The city needs you.”
He hid under a pillow. “I won’t fight Captain Cold. He’s bush-league.”
She grabbed the pillow. “You petty… The city is trapped in an ice fog!”
“It’s called pogonips,” he muttered. She flared her nostrils. “What?”
She sighed. “Fine. I thought asking you was a compliment, but they’d better find someone else.” She paused. “Maybe Batman—“
Lois caught her balance and smiled. “Faster than a speeding bullet.”

Deb Smythe said...

Such a frail thing now, sharply creased and frayed at the edges, like a letter well and carefully read. People file up to the box, blink as sunlight bleeds scarlet and lime through the windows. They mouth condolences, their grief, like hers, spent long since.

She steps last to the box, breathing carefully in the silence. He barely fills the uniform, a shadow man. She'd thrown him and his things out before his last tour. Now nothing remained. Breath scrapes her throat.

Clicks echo against marble. His dog, thin and three-legged, but alive. His Pogo. She cradles him. Her Pogo.

Scott Sloan said...

Pogo slowly and carefully inscribed the last letter of his testament, sealed it into the bottle and eased the carrier into the slime of the Okefenokee Swamp.
‘Poor ol’ W. C. Kelly, Jr…’ he mused.
‘Pro’bly a spinnin’ in his grave, ‘bout now…
‘Well… I guess we’uns is on our own…’
He shook his furry head in dismay.
‘We has met the enemy… and they is us…’

Colin Smith said...

I remember our first kiss. I didn’t see it coming. She was so pleased to see me, it just happened. I didn’t care that it was wetter than I expected; I just smiled. That night we watched Letterman, her head in my lap, my hand on her head. A simple gesture forging an unspoken bond. We were inseparable, from pogo sticks to Driver’s Ed, birthday parties to High School proms.

I remember her last kiss. Saliva slime on my hand. I didn’t wash for a week.

I had to carry her, but we went in together.

I left alone.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

NASA's first funding extension request to Congress was a letter. Their last: a bomb threat. That didn't work. Fine.

NASA went to the oceanologists instead. (Should have gone there first.) The oceanologists believed them. (They had suspected.) NASA eased the confiscation of their entire budget with a preferential compo. "Go up, not down, if you wish to save Humanity," NASA said.

"Agreed. Earth's water climes will betray us."

See, NASA knew. NASA had seen into the deep.

NASA's urge to leave the planet grows ever stronger.

Megan V said...

Love isn't a footnote in life.¹
She loved me.²
I pleased her.³
Each day, I wrote her letters begging for another kiss.⁴
My heart drummed a tempo God couldn’t match when I married her.⁵
She cried during our impromptu honeymoon.⁶
Because love lives…⁷

1. Love is an endnote in life.
2. She loved me not.
3. I repulsed her.
4. Each day I read her letter, remembered our last kiss.
5. The Devil’s drumming complimented my heart when I buried her.
6. I cried during her impromptu funeral.
7. All love dies.

Shaunna said...

Ludicrous Lupe's time was up. He was down to his last tooth, his last dollar, and his last lime (for the consolation margarita after his last match).

Nevertheless, he pulled on his mask and leotard, smoothed the two letter L's stitched to the front, and eased into the ring.

Two minutes later, his career had ended. Pedro de los Pogos, exuberant and indomitable, bounded triumphantly around the ring.

"Blast that bungling bouncer," Lupe thought blackly. "That's against regulation."

But in the world of the luchadors, the crowd is the final judge. And who doesn't love a wrestler in pogo shoes?

Steph Ellis said...

He had come back. Had surprised himself. But the letter from Jacopo goaded him. Coward. Too scared to face their father.

Once perhaps. Not anymore.

Now, Alex stood in front of the monster from his childhood and saw how he had shrivelled into a pathetic husk of a man; a sublime disintegration.

“You haven’t the guts, boy.”

Once perhaps. Not anymore. He eased off the safety.

“You wouldn’t dare, boy. We’re family.”

Once perhaps. Not anymore.

He pulled the trigger, the blast shattering the silence. All his life he’d been a victim, a prisoner of childhood terrors. But not anymore.

SarahJ said...

Sharpening her resolve with the knives
She stood in his spotless kitchen and practiced on the picture she most adored
A stroke of brilliance. "I'll prove my love”
She said and pressed his picture to her lips, determined not to fail.
“I’m e
nding it”
He said. Too late.
All that work—shark fin soup, ogonori, fish fillet, teriyaki—for nothing. “Please take me back”
She’d be enough.
She wasn’t enough.
She plucked the shards of her shattered heart.
Piece by bloodied piece

(Now read from bottom to top)

Unknown said...

He glared at his exposed reflection in the mirror, grimacing at the sight of his bare skin. The doctor’s letter, now in shreds, littered the floor behind him.


He hated the word almost as much as he hated what it meant. Low testosterone. Inadequate sperm count. Infertility.

Only hours ago, she kissed him awake and whispered the compliment in his ear. “You were incredible last night. I think we finally did it.” And she stood in front of the very same mirror, cradling her naked belly and looking pleased.

How could he ever tell her?

Steve Stubbs said...

Title: The Story of Pogo's Last, Final, and Most Recent Letter Regarding the Ease of Sucking Limes on a Hot Summer Saturday Afternoon in New York City's Washington Square Park With the Five Borough Lime Sucking Contest as an Honored Representative of the South Bronx Summer Lime Sucking Team, Freshly Kicked Out of Gracie Mansion by Ed Koch's Personal Security Team Even Though Koch is Long Dead and How Sucky It Was Even Though Everybody Liked Koch Including Me (And I Don't Know Why).


The story follows this line henceforth:

As Pogo-

Gosh, I've hit my 100 word max count.

E. Berg said...

“The last pogo stick was rented.”
“Please.” I showed the letter to the woman behind the counter. Hoped she didn’t see the blood smear.
She eased back. Stared at me.
Sirens wailed around us.
Then I spotted the framed photograph.
“From a mother to a mother. I beg you.”
Finally she handed over a lime green helmet. “Take the one in stall four. It’s mine.”
I sprinted to stall four, pogoed from the park to the alley behind Chuck’s Chow Mein as instructed.
And there she was. Safe. Eating chow mein like she’d never been taken.
My girl.

Beth Carpenter said...

“Is dinner ready?”

I stare at the screen. “There’s a letter in my inbox.”


“It’s the last full. What if it’s a rejection?” I grab a pencil, set it down. “I’m like an awkward hippo going up a down escalator. Getting nowhere. Will I meander forever?”

“Oh, please. You’re mixing your metaphors. You can’t meander on an escalator, especially if you’re a hippo. Just open the blasted thing.”

I click. I read. I read again. Charming, original … convenient time to call? I remember to breath. “I think – I hope – I’m going to be published!”

“Super. Is dinner ready?”

Craig F said...

In the back of an old desk I found a letter. It appeared to be at least a few hundred years old, maybe from the last millennium when I eased it from its envelope. It had been written with a quill and limed to set the ink.

The emotions of the confessions of young lover jumped from the page and bounced like a pogo stick. As I read it I remembered a similar letter from my youth. I realized that no matter how far we go along the path of humanity this song will always remain the same.

RosannaM said...

“Oh, please.” The unseen voice begs. Desperate.

“You should have tried harder.” Second voice, male this time.

“Help me!”

Other noises now, shuffling feet. A thud, a rip.

“Ow! No!”

“Are you okay?” I call, anxious. My carotid tempo goes triple time. I strain to hear more. What’s happening?

A letter flutters to my feet, tossed from within. I pick it up.

The door opens. The wife walks out of the dressing room, holding the torn dress.

“Another millimeter. That’s all I needed. Blasted Weight Watchers,” she says.

I glance at the paper in my hands, “Class of 1997 Reunion.”

Anonymous said...

Last summer: We dance barefoot on the lawn in matching dresses. My heart's tempo goes andante to allegro when our hands brush. Lemon-lime pop bubbles on my tongue.
Last autumn: Halloween. You ease my mask up off my face and kiss me, taste of candy corn and chocolate.
Last winter: Caught. Your parents make you disappear. My gingerbread house crumbles, turns to cardboard.
Last spring: You don't come back to school. The world goes monochrome, and maple cream eggs taste like ash.
Today: I get your letter. Drink a pop that fills me up with citrus starbursts. Smile.

Claire Bobrow said...

"Mrs. Danvers - your cap's crooked; your uniform's dirty; you look a mess. Is there NO good help these days? Now, bring me the mail."

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Hell, I'm exactly 25 - at least 30 years younger than you! Ease up on that old lady stuff, would you?"

"Yes, Miss."

"I detest 'Miss'!
One last insult and you're gone, Danvers. And get me that letter opener, pronto!"

"Very good, Ms."

"Mrs. Danvers! You've stabbed me!"

"Sorry, Ms. - a mental typo. Go figure.
It's been a pleasure to serve, but must dash! Time to wash my uniform.
And by the way -

I'm single."

Jennifer Delozier said...

The master sergeant eased his old metal coffeepot, heavy with limescale, onto the stove. Yesterday, his commanding officer had given him an ultimatum – become a pog, or retire. His response lay on the table next to Betty, his faithful revolver. She was the only thing he owned of value, and the only value he owned.
The letter – the longest the taciturn Marine had ever written - recounted tales of battles won and spoke of battles soon to be lost. He’d taken his last order. Betty’s safety clicked, and the pot gurgled a dirge. He let her cry.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

“Where did Mr. Hippo go?”
Michael talked about hippos . I reached for the phone inside my pocket, pressed the letter S - just as Mama taught me.

Last night, while Mama hid her laptop behind Mr. Hippo, she said Michael might show up in my room and invite me for a ride.
“He’s creepy”. I said.
“Go with him”.
“Please, sweetheart. Do this and Papa will be gone forever”.
I like that. Gone forever - Papa, his guns, his hairy hands.
Mama said she’ll find me. “Just keep Michael talking”.

“… lime sherbet.”
“That’s my favorite!”

rea said...


old rusty golf carts lettered with POGO line the road to the inn. discarded. the dining room is packed and the kitchen has stopped. there’s no food service except for drinks; i order tequila with a wedge of lime.

the full moon casts a rough shadow on the Atlantic. a man at the next table smokes a cigar and it’s too much, too much. the last innkeeper introduces himself. there’s a bandage on his ankle—betadine shadows. i'm thinking diabetes but i could be wrong. he eases himself into a chair opposite and whispers, “Stone Cold is here."

Amanda said...

It’d been four months since V-J Day. When people had danced in the streets as if on pogo sticks, exactly three months since Elena had first seen the photo of the nurse and sailor kissing in Life Magazine. She imagined her Limey fiancé seizing her the same way when he came back to her in London. They’d met just before he’d been released from the army hospital. He’d romanced her through letters, his endearing humility as much on display as his ardent patriotism. But as her trembling fingers, opened the telegram, she faced either everlasting relief or despair.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Emma practices her letters. Lime green ink covers the old house's walls. In the distance, bulldozers growl over men's voices.

She has until the last marker runs dry.

The other ghosts rustle, pleased. They were all young when they were taken and only Emma had learned to read, to write, before.

In the living room, the marker dies.

The house is now uninhabited yet the words – Philip Ogoden - scream from the walls.

Soon, the men will come to demolish the building. They will see his name and wonder. They will find all the bones and know.

Marie McKay said...

I half recognise the handwriting; steady, purposeful. But the writer's identity remains a blur. 
A red letter penned on lime green paper:

'Hello Mae, 
If you're reading this, you've forgotten me; therefore, you're lost and in danger.'

An instinct from somewhere to take cover; survey. Executed with a disconcerting ease.

'Waste no time. To find me again, make for Zurich.'

My stomach pogoes as the letter signs off:

'This won't be the last time you'll need reminding. Place the letter beside the currency in your inside pocket.
Be safe. 
Our life depends on you.
Your greatest ally,

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I eased the last letter from my tray into the labyrinth of interlocking words on the Scrabble board.


“What’s that?”

The sunlight danced in the golden silk covering his jaw line and turned the drop of lime margarita caught on a strand near his mouth into a rainbow prism. I caught a whiff of soap and cologne.

Adding up the score, he said, “With that word, you win. When am I going to find out what it means?”

“I’ll tell you later. Better yet, I’ll show you.”

ES Grace said...

I'm supposed to be writing Gram a letter. A thank you letter. For the sublimely ugly sweater she gave me for my birthday. It's too horrendous to even be ironic.

The color: a shade of mauve even mauve wouldn't claim.
The collar: scalloped.
The cost: she must have bought it in some after Christmas sale last year, because who gives a sweater to someone with an August birthday?

Since I can hardly write "Sweet pony on a pogo stick, please never send me something like that ever again" I've been struggling.

Anyone with some tact that can help?

Julie Weathers said...

It was over at last. Mosby would disband rather than surrender. Baron's letter was smudged throughout as evidence of the many fallen tears. There were no compliments and vows save one. He was coming home, never to part again.

"Miss Mac! Men coming with a wagon."

I raced down the lane, looking for Baron, but he was not among the riders. Their grim faces told me all. They eased to a stop so I could climb in. He was covered in blood. His pulse beat a faint tempo, gossamer whispers of his failing heart. "Told you--" He smiled wanly.

Barbara Lund said...

Dear Sir, the reply reads.
I’ve never been a sir, but I didn’t have anyone to help write the letter.
We would like to assist you, and you certainly seem worth of our aide –
I’ve never been worthy of anything.
But –
Now we get to it.
Unfortunately, at this time we are unable…
Blah, blah, blah. What they mean is NO.
I toss the letter onto the cardboard and rags that serve as my bed, use the lime-colored pogo stick to ease myself upright, and pretend the leukemia won’t soon steal my last breath.

Dena Pawling said...

The athletes stood together, wearing lime-green bibs.

Stuart eased forward to check the stats. Maybe this time he wouldn't be last.

No such luck.

Stuart took his place in lane 47. The worst.

“Take your mark.”



The athletes surged forward, across the asphalt, into the field. Around the gates. Dodging rocks and gopher holes. Over hills. Across ditches. Home stretch.

The referee marked the time and location of each fall.

Only three made it back.

Stuart took his place on the center podium. Screamed the letters U-S-A. Accepted his gold metal.

Slalom pogo. An Olympic first.

Unknown said...

From his seat in the airliner, Abdul watches the sun over the refugee camp at Aleppo go down magnificently hued by campfires and a sandstorm on the horizon.
It is the sublime vision, the last, for night advanced out windows across the aisle; darkness moving west to east, and this night would let terrible things happen.
A small explosive, screams, the cabin door is breached.
“Ease off, easy now,” he instructs the infidel pilot in the London accent that kept many secrets.
“We’re turning west.”
The copilot watches him, a brother in faith, and surely now in shared fate.

Scott G said...

Breathing hard, I stood over my landlord. “You come here, waving this lease in my face?”


His cigarette still smoldered, a thin line of smoke curling toward the exposed wires in the ceiling. “Eviction notice? That’ll be the last letter you ever send.”


I kicked the gasoline can. The bubbly, amber liquid congealed with two years’ worth of construction dust and slimed its way under his body. “Oops.”


“You think they’ll pin this on me?”


“I think not.”

Flick. Flame.

I held it under the lease, and smiled.

“Just a Zippo gone bad, they’ll say.”

Anonymous said...

You want fellas, this is the happening place, the matchmaker says. No more boyfriend roulette.

Really??? I say.

Yep. Og—

Ogres? No way, I say. Dated those. Scars to prove it. See?

Ogres’ll never hassle you here, I was gonna say, she says. And that’s gross.

I want brawny knights, princes on horseback, fellas like that.

Huh, she says. You got expensive tastes for a scaly ol’--

Please, I say. I’m so flaming hungry.


Lonely! I meant LONELY! I shout, but she’s already gone.

I weep a little for myself. Slim, exotic, gorgeous—so why’s my love life draggin?

Just Jan said...

Dearest Jane, my first pen pal! Your sweetly scented missives, mailed from exotic locales like Peoria and Walla Walla, were sublime. You never described yourself, but I imagined you a beauty because of the throngs of people who followed wherever you went.

In your last letter you agreed we should meet. I immediately traded my entire savings for a one-way train ticket. It wasn’t until I saw you across the crowded tent that I knew I’d made the biggest mistake of my life.

Please forgive me. It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t know I suffer from pogonophobia.

Sherry Howard said...


Like a starlet in the limelight Natasha bestowed smiles on all two of her fans. How I'd gotten stuck babysitting her on this book tour I'll never know. She signed books and pranced. Then, like a cheapo going to the movies, Natasha lined her purse with treats. She snatched the last Snickers, something I'd looked forward to as a balm for my sore feet and bruised ego. I couldn't let that slide. I eased up to her purse, popped the letter in, and grabbed the Snickers. Later, she'd read: Book tour cancelled due to lack of interest.

Steve Cassidy said...

“Tell me about her, the last time you saw her,” she softly pleaded. “I need to know her, to know you. Please Flynn.”

“She wore pogonias in her hair and drank vodka martinis with a slice of lime.”

“Was she pretty?”

“She took my breath away every time I saw her.”

“How did she die?”

“By her own hand.”


“Because I couldn’t do it for her. She begged me, but I’m a coward, I just couldn’t.”

“She left you a letter?”


“What did it say?”

“I told you I’m a coward, I haven’t read it.”

“Let me Flynn.”

Barbara said...

Tom smiled at the pink pogonia. A lime bow dressed the pot. An envelope, marked with the letter G, leaned against it. Thirty years, and she still cared enough to find the perfect gift.

He eased the card from the envelope.

Happy anniversary, Tom. Our nest is empty, and I must fly, too. I gave you thirty years. The rest are mine. Enjoy the orchid, given with love.

An engine started.

He had to stop her.


He, too, would give a last perfect gift.

He took the orchid to the greenhouse and, with tear-filled eyes, he let her go.

RKeelan said...

One missed period, then nine more.

Thirty-three hours of labour.

One last scream, one last push, one last breath. Surgery to save the baby.

First word, first question, first lie: "Mommy's away."

One fake letter, then hundreds more.

A pogo sick, a skateboard, a bicycle. All "from mom".

My daughter discovered the truth: fighting without surcease.

One lemon-lime margarita, then countless more.

A red light, a squeal, a crash.

Surgery to save my baby.

Karen McCoy said...

“A pogo stick might work.”

“Please. A repo goth can take care of him.”

“A gestapo godfather is more likely. Next.”

“Alpo goose-liver?”

“He smelled it last time. Something more contempo. Go.”

“Plug his nose with lime, then. Mask the smell of his cheapo goldfish.”

“He’s already in the pagoda. P-O-G-O-D-A?”

“Wrong letter. Needs another a, Po. Go spell check.”

“Fixed. From Po, Gold Commander, to Mochi’s court jester, to be opened in the pagoda. As soon as he reads ‘Po,’ go in and kill…ah, I know what to bring him!”

Explosion. Hippo goop. Jester gets away.

french sojourn said...

Who knew her last letter, stuffed in such a slim envelope, could weigh so much. I examined the envelope as Stokely stamped up and down the hall. Little fucker.

“Knock it off.”

I tossed a dead soldier towards him. The bottle broke against the record player, “Island of Pogo Pogo, by the Groovie Ghoulies” started, as I drained another Mai-Tai.

I ripped open the letter.

You get the cat.

“Come on!”

Stokely jumped up on the sofa with ease and curled up by me. He looked at me regally and closed his eyes.

I pet him. Little fucker purred.


John Davis Frain said...

We were in love. Hadn’t admitted it yet.

I arrived on time—that is, early—for her party. Toured her apartment. Her highlight: Chekhov’s gun on the mantle. Certificate of authenticity on letterhead.

Twice, we made eye contact across the crowded apartment. Grinned.

In the kitchen, I brushed against her. Power decreased, all electricity rerouting between us.

We danced the pogo-a-gogo. At last, guests departed. She crooked her finger. “Help with something?”

My smile lit the apartment. Crept over, eager to “help.”

She aimed Chekhov’s gun. “Sorry. I’m a writer.” Like that explained things. Then, she fired.

Unknown said...

Do these slimes think they can take advantage of me with ease? As I said in my last letter to the editor, I demand an investigation. An international consortium of criminals stole my private files and blasted them across the Internet. I’ve been violated, humiliated, stripped naked. The entire country is in ruins because of what they stole from me. Why doesn’t somebody do something? Where is the FBI, CIA, NSA, DOD, and my local police? Why doesn’t somebody protect the Internet?

The pogo virus? Phishing scam? How was I supposed to know it didn’t really come from Google?

Unknown said...

“At last!” Smith exclaimed. His lime green shaker bottle rattled as the ship rocked back and forth.

“Sorry, I was writing a letter to your mom,” I said. “Offered her a ride on my pogo stick.”

He scoffed. No comeback at 0200. He shuffled out, not even a good night. Whatever.

The collision alarm sounded: sharp, insistent. We didn’t have time to guess what kind of drill it was. Metal screeched against metal, it increased with every violent quake. Water poured in. Close the doors; lock the hatches. We had to save the ship.

I hope Smith made it out.

AJ Blythe said...

A shark once thought she'd have the last laugh
But with letters Steve's too clever by half
"Tempo Gone" he wrote
Pleased he could gloat
“Sublime” carved the shark for his epitaph

Mark A Morris said...

The sky flipped to black and the day ended.

“It’s peculiar the way things are going now the End of Days is near,” Clarisse mused, adding some lime to her tequila.

“I know,” I said. “The last thing I wanted was to die before I’d chance to celebrate. Ease into The Last Day, rather than rush into it. At least the Jumping Jews of Jerusalem are happy. The Government’s funded their grant for ten thousand Pogo sticks.”

“Really? I bet they don’t get them. The application will be void. There’ll be a letter out of place or something.”

Eileen said...

She scratches away at this, her last letter.
Dearest, I feel certain that I am going mad again.
It will be my last letter, too. I feel the ink running dry.
You see I can’t even write this properly.
I have felt her hand upon me, her madness and genius flow through me. Together, we have wrought worlds.
Until this terrible disease.
I shan’t recover this time.
With grave tempo, go to the lighthouse. Fill your pockets with limestones.
I bequeath the last of my ink.
Be not afraid. Beyond The End, our words will live forever.

LynnRodz said...

Please God let them ignore me. Macy quickened her pace toward the cafeteria line, her thighs rubbed against each other in protest.

"Hey hippo, go feed yourself at the trough." smart-ass Kenny said. Others at the table laughed.

'Today's Special: Meatloaf - Mac & Cheese'

Macy filled her plate. No more counting calories. She reached for the last key lime pie.

Alone, in the far corner, she sat. Her letter already written — they'd all be sorry when she was gone.

"Mind if I sit here?" Sweet, kind eyes James smiled. "They're idiots, ya' know."

Macy pushed away the 450 calorie pie.

sophistikitty said...

She’d promised it would be the last time we moved.

I wave her resignation letter in her face; point at the signature.

She bats it away. ‘Don’t flail. I’m ending my contract; it’s not the end of the world.’

‘But, please –‘

‘Everyone tells me, “You work at P.O.G.? Oh, you’re so lucky!” Piece of Goatshit, that’s what everyone says. Fucking bastard.’

I don’t need to ask to know who she’s talking about.

‘Going back to his wife,’ she continues, in a bitter singsong.

I blink back tears and go upstairs to pack. At least she wasn’t fired this time.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Sidewalk Café

“Gah! Why can’t I remember its name?”

Complaisant, I listen to ma femme courageux.

“Ugh,” she taps a fist to her forehead, “Italian. Begins with the letters p-o.”

I savor the shish ta’ook with tabouli, melding and mingling the aroma. Délicieux.


Ha! She is returned! Ma femme méthodique.


Gone, at long last, la fatigue.
La cuisine Lebanese? Her favori.


I relish her energie.


Ah! Anticipation is merveilleux.

“That’s it!” Delight dances on her lips, “The Pomodoro!”

This Lyme Disease? Long has ma femme laborieux.

“See! I will be a writerly dame!”

Kitty said...

You wrote: “I was plastered.”
I meant to write, “It was plastered.” It’s a typo, GOT IT?
What was plastered?
My hand.
Your hand was plastered?
A plaster is what you Yanks call a bandage.
Tell me again.
(sigh) I lost control of my car because my HAND was bandaged and slipped on the wheel, and I accidentally hit your police vehicle.
But you wrote…
Blimey, I forgot one lousy letter!

Hassling the perp, Officer?
A bit, Sir. He hit the police car...accidentally.
I’ll release him when he’s finished his statement.
Carry on, Officer. (wink)
Yessir! (smile)

Kate Higgins said...
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