Friday, February 02, 2018

Flash Fiction contest to celebrate The King of Bones and Ashes

I'm pleased as punch to remind y'all I represent JD Horn, the author of the Witching Savannah series, and now a new series starting with The King of Bones and Ashes.

King of Bones and Ashes got some nice pre-pub mentions, and it's selling quite nicely! That's something to celebrate, don't you think?

Let's have a flash fiction 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. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.
Thus: king/kingdom is ok but bone/blonde 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: 8:08am, Saturday 2/3/18
Contest closes: 9am, Sunday 2/4/18

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

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

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!

nope, sorry, contest closed! Results posted on Monday 2/5/18


Kitty said...

“He loved clean carpets.”


“Your father sold Kirby vacuum cleaners door to door in his herringbone tweed suit. That’s how we met.”

Didn’t we find an old Kirby cleaner among her things?

We dumped it.

“Mother was so impressed with his demonstration, she bought the vacuum cleaner. He took me to Horn & Hardart for a king-sized sundae to celebrate.”

She’s living in the past. Time to take her to the home.

You’ve got Dad’s ashes, right?

No, I thought you had them.


“In the Kirby vacuum cleaner of course.”

Katie Dean said...

The king unhinged his jaw. The bones of the fallen knight crunched with each chew. The waiting knights turned ashen at the sight.

"Sire," the courtier said. "The next battle will begin at sundown."

The king lifted a horn of ale and drained it. Bits of shards stuck in his gums, drawing blood. “I have feeble knights." He threw the horn at the courtier’s feet. “He dies now.”

Shoving the line of knights aside, the king entered the amphitheater. The king’s shout drowned out the crowd. Kirby’s shout silenced them all.

Marie McKay said...

Ashen-faced the lady races from the King's vessel; brain matted with images of flaxen hair stuck with blood.
Twisted bones broke a promise.

When now? Damned? Hard to breathe. Breathe.

Crowds throng the Port. Shrinking at shadows, a ship's horn pins her to the ancient walls. Fate. Her hands chance upon a door. A spot?

She slides a white key, crooked as a kirby hook, into its lock.
The door rumbles open: the sound of a million years.
She propels herself through the chasm; tucks tight her legs; a fetal missile praying to be delivered through a maw in Time.

Timothy Lowe said...

In the League’s final years, chips mapped their movements. Bottled their senses.

Charted their vitals, networking pain. Shorn bones, concussions became things of the past.

The running-back: IR, bypassed by the doctor.

The tight-end: no rolled ankle, back on the field.

The nose tackle, ACL fully intact.

The quarterback, popping right up from the sack.

The plays were recorded, the thrills pre-supplied. It took several more years for the world to realize.

The backlash was fierce. The League folded. But the players glowed on. Millions of fans plugged in to the past, donned headgear and scored touchdowns with guttering eyes.

Craig F said...

Kirby desires becoming the King of the Horn. He practiced his coronet till his fingers bled, then went to a certain crossroads.

He built the design of bone. Then knelt in a pile of ash at the center of the pentagram.

The Devil appeared holding some odd device.

“What the Hell is that?”

“It is your new instrument.”

“I play the coronet.”

“Not as well as Satchmo. I have, in fact, an almost full band. I even have a didgeridoo. This is a Tadhtita, a Berber bagpipe.”

“I hate bagpipes.”

“Tough shit, take it or be bored for your eternity.”

Anonymous said...

What are my plans for the big game this Sunday?

I'll start by drinking a pitcher of kir (by which I mean a mix of bone-dry white wine and crème de cassis), then I'll wash that down with a few bottles of scotch. The maybe a hit or two of meth. Or nitrous oxide. Or both. Probably both. Yeah, definitely both.

In other words, I'll do the same thing I do every Sunday. I don't really follow sports.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Unsolicited Testimonial/Review

Although I had to wait for my tax refund in order to slap down 1200 bucks on a new Kirby Avalir Vacuum Cleaning System, I was glad to do so. Nasty leftovers like party debris, everyday dust, dirt, dog hair and even a bastard’s bone-bits and ash, gone. Kirby, the king of rug suckers and bare floor cleaner-uppers.

Having always been a broom and dust pan kind of woman, I don’t mean to blow the commercial horn for a high end vacuum but when I need to get rid of unwanted evidence Kirby is my choice.

Mike Harris-Stone said...

The final notes of the horns died with the sunset. The King’s gray eyes
swept the darkening battlefield, noting where his generals’ bodies lay.
Gloucester sprawled like a drunkard, one arm embracing the spear piercing
his chest. And brilliant young Kirby like a child asleep, split open to his
backbone. So many lives ruined. The King blinked, disbelieving.

Rowan, victorious, laughed in his face, smeared ash on his father’s forehead.

“Make sure he’s chained tight. Use no oil! Burn him slow.”

“My son,” the King said, weeping at last. “My dearest son. Tell your mother I’m so sorry.”

“Light him.”

Unknown said...

“They are coming.”

He grabbed the fakir by the neck, lifting his ashen feet off the coals.

“What did you just say?” the king hissed.

Hassan stared through him with eyes deliberately blinded by the sun’s unflinching glare.

“When the horn sounds, your wall will crumble. All are lost, save one.”

King Nerebai’s eyes widened. He tightened his grip.

“Am I the one?”

One word rattled through Hassan’s collapsing airway.


The king tossed the limp ascetic to his guards.

“Burn him to the bone.”

Hassan smiled as they dragged him through the streets of Jericho.

Divinity through pain.

Sara Codair said...

The king of 24th street gamed in the dungeon. Every bone in his body ached.

“Liam, dinner is getting cold!”

Kirby leapt, turning into a rock, smashing an enemy.

“Get up here, now!”

What’s the point? Gaming is all I have. I can’t skate. Everyone hates me.

The ceiling creaked. Dust rained from the underside of ash flooring.

“I’m counting!”

Growling, Liam grabbed his crutches. Bandages on his three-fingered hand made them difficult to grip as he climbed stairs. Sweat dripped down his forehead.

The door opened. A horn blasted.

“Surprise!” shouted a dozen friends, smiling with cake and balloons.

Amy K said...

He uses a hammer and stone.

I use fire formed from a crescendo of violet and ash.

He falls from the sky in a torrent of flower petals that drift to land on my matted face.

I am the king of darkness, the embodiment of death and hatred and shadows. I am the one who kills a man as they blow a horn of surrender.

He fights me because it is right. I fight because it is fun.

He is Kirby. I am Ganondorf.

When the brawls come, only bones will be left.

Old Friend said...

“Call him what?”
“King Ash.”
“You didn’t.”
“A dying ten-year-old shriveled to skin and bone? I sure did.”
“Cremation then?”
“He asked for it. Didn’t want to be trapped in a box.”
“Did you know today was the day?”
“I try not to horn in on death’s plans. Makes me feel like a ghoul, but I figured. He wanted his Kirby Puckett card. He never takes that one out of the case.”
“You have a new assignment yet?”
“The agency will send one tomorrow.”
“You want dinner?”
“In a while. I need to rest my mind.”
“Of course.”

Mike Hays said...

Every inch of Kirby the Younger’s body ached to the bone. Another day, another public whipping for the young prince—the duly appointed Boy Blue. Another day, another cart of mined stone to physically haul from his cell deep under Haystack Mountain. Stone to build the Dark Queen’s wall around Cairn Castle.

Someday, he thought through the pain and the weariness, he’ll strike revenge upon his stepmother. Someday, he’ll rise from the ashes to defeat her and save the people of his kingdom. Someday he will reclaim his murdered father’s horn and take his rightful place as the Orange King.

Colin Smith said...

I became suspicious when I arrived home and found my wife scrubbing kitchen utensils in the sink—a task she would abhor, normally.

"Is everything okay?" I said. "Jim been bothering you?"

Jim's our neighbor. He lives alone, doesn't go out much. I don't like the way he's been looking at her lately.

"No," she said. "Everything's fine."

"Have you been cooking?" I saw burnt wood and ashes in the fire pit.

"Hmm?" she replied, and resumed her work.

"And where did Kirby get that bone?" The dog was too busy to come to me.

"Probably from Jim," she said.

Richelle Elberg said...

Ashley and Kirby, first time.
A tangle of boney, horny limbs.
Asking, is this okay? Is this okay?
A wayward elbow, the horn blasts. They giggle and giggle.
Again with their clumsy, delicious exploration.
And again and again.
Could anything ever feel better?

Old pros now.
In the basement, in the car, in a store dressing room.

Mother: Ashley, dear, have you gained weight?
Father: Oh, leave her be, Carol. It’s just a little baby fat.

Unknown said...

He celebrates. Makes a kir by adding creme de cassis to his champagne until it is to his liking.

He hears the horns. No matter. They won’t find his stash.

“He was shrieking! And squirming, like one of those inflatable balloons! Then he went in back and threw a bunch of supplies in the dumpster!”

Bollocks. His distraction failed, she saw his hiding place. How is he going to eat now?

“Then he mixed Sprite with Pibb and sat down smiling at me. It was so creepy.”

The officer approaches.

“Sir, please exit the Cinnabon establishment and come with me.”

Unknown said...

A Father’s Vengeance

He almost always finds them lurking near the edges of things. They hide in plain sight, waiting for the most inopportune moments. Waiting to inflict maximum casualty.

Their attack is always sudden.

Contact. Impact. Squeal. Crash. He falls and more of them spring forth. A sharp jab in his shinbone.

“Goddammit,” escapes his lips.

“Didn’t I tell them…”

Mechanical vehicles offend his ears and the stuffed things overtake spaces. But the thorn in his side is the effing legos.

There is no room in his soul for remorse as they are sucked up into the Kirby.

Amy Schaefer said...

It was a rare quiet Tuesday. Smoking hash, playing Kirby on the Nintendo. Lance and Hunk demolished a chicken and were bickering over the wishbone.

"Keith." Pidge nudged me and cocked her chin at the window. "Godzilla."
Sure enough, I could hear the giant asshole stomping through town. "Fuck."

I tossed down my controller. "Ready to form Voltron?"
A chorus of groans. "We fought aliens yesterday!" "Send Superman." "I'm high as balls!"
I blasted my airhorn. "Godzilla, then pizza." Mollified grumbles. Like wrangling toddlers, some days. "Ready to form Voltron!"
"Let's go Voltron Force!"
Once more unto the fucking breach.

Kregger said...

Savannah vacuums up history like an old Kirby. Hand in hand at sunset, she strolls Laurel Grove and Liberty square with Juliette Gordon Low and King Tomochichi, her best friends.

At mid of night, she tips an Apparition Ale with Toby from Moon River Brewing while Anna Powers dangles from a window, awaiting her lover’s return.

In the distance, not nearly daybreak, a horn sounds. When old bones ache, and the last ash flicks, it’s time to go home.

Through the gates of the Mercer-Williams House, Savannah passes beyond midnight and into the garden of good and evil.

Unknown said...

Mom quickly glanced at the open curtain, ignoring the long, dangling ash attached to the cigarette stuck between his boney, nicotine-stained fingers. She went back to running the Kirby vacuum aimlessly over the thread bare carpet, a vacant stare hiding the truth behind her watery blue eyes. Pops’ smoking had always been a thorn in her side. But his disability check paid the bills and for the cigarettes she now needed to keep lit.

Amy Johnson said...

The Cliffhanger by Amy Johnson, Organic Gardener Wannabe

Christmas gift: Kirby’s Guide to EASY Organic Tomatoes

These plants won’t fruit.
“Potassium deficiency. Amend soil with potash.”
Amend? Plain dirt isn’t okay?

Fruit rotting from the bottoms up.
“Blossom end rot due to calcium deficiency. Amend soil with bonemeal.”
You gotta be kidding--I’m a vegetarian.

Where’d all the leaves go? What’s that?
“Tomato hornworm. Very destructive.”
But it’s one of God’s creatures. Drive to the overgrown field behind the library. Your new home, caterpillar (you little thief!).

Lawn mower incident.
No point asking Kirby’s.


Gayle said...

The horn flute’s haunting melody echoes around the cavern until the earth itself seems to weep.

Outside, Kir by the Sea mourns. The king is dead. My father.

Flames eat his flesh and blacken bone. Soon, only ashes will remain.

And I’ll be free.

Poisonous-yellow eyes stare at me from the depths of the cave. My new jailors. Waiting to see if tears fall. If I regret our bargain.

I spit. The melody falters.

I turn and stride toward the sea, a sparkling reflection of light stretching for eternity.

I regret nothing.

Dena Pawling said...

Breaking a bone is good and bad.

The good – staying home from school.

The bad – it hurts.


Today – revenge.

Using my unbroken arm, I set my dolls in rows on the floor, like a classroom.

I raise my weapon. “You'll pay for this!”

In the window's bright light, they stare back with clueless smiles.

I start with Kirby, the one who tripped me.

One-by-one their smiles disappear. Somewhere close, a horn screams congratulations.

“Ashley!” Mom grabs me. Outside, we watch the flames.

“Accident. Sunlight reflected off magnifying glass.”

The fire report's wrong.

No accident.

Marty Weiss said...

Slashing his way through the Yankees, Red Sox, and Royals with his punishing bone-shaved bat, Kirby Plunkett succeeded in entering the Hall of the Fame while serving as the King of the Minnesota Twins for twelve years. Baseball fans remember when he faced beanball pitcher Lefty Bullhorn in a critical playoff game that was lost when Kirby hit into an around-the-horn triple play to end the contest. Plunkett made up for it the next day when he smashed a grand slam home run to win the series against the Indians.

Lynn said...

Mallory stumbles from Peter’s car and runs.

“Get away!” she screams.

King Street is deserted and foggy. Bums keep warm at a corner trash can fire, faces eery and black from the ashes. A Rottweiler on the next block barks viciously before returning to its bone. She jumps at a sudden blaring car horn. Terrified, she runs into her apartment at Calhoun and Kirby Streets, bolting her door with a sigh of relief.

Peter emerges from the dark and shoves a knife into her heart.

“No one walks away from me,” he snarls, watching the light die in her eyes.

Unknown said...

I want her back.

Her absence churns my gut, eating at my soul. It’s unbearable.

My bathwater has cooled from scalding to chilled around my motionless form, and it’s offensively clear. The blade splits skin, for a few moments taking the misery and drowning it in sweet pain.

For a few seconds I can forget the sight of her ashes and bone being thrown into the wind. I can forget the mournful horn.

I swim in blissful pain for a few moments before, like a fish caught on a kirby, I’m tugged relentlessly back into reality.

She is still gone

french sojourn said...


“How did some hayseed from Kirby, Texas end up on this 60 year-old dilapidated icebreaker?” He wasn’t asking to be interesting, he was being a dick. I ignored him.

He’d been a thorn in my side since I’d signed onto this expedition. Quarters are tight on a cold piece of steel, one hundred feet by twenty. One evening at mess, someone trashed my T-bone with Tabasco, he laughed. I ignored him.

Rounding Elephant Island in a howling gale at night, while standing watch, I saw him washed overboard to port. I worked my way to starboard. I ignored him.

Casual-T said...

As a kid they tol' him he a prodigy. Didn' know what that meant, but sure love playin' that trombone. Father hit him, mother drank, he jus' kep' on playin'.

At 15 he split for Nashville; 17 he livin' the dream. Bars, clubs, dives - wherever they let him, he blow that horn like nobody' business. Couple dollars here and there.

Ended up homeless, when he couldn' blow no more. Last winter they found him froze to death, behind that 24-hour Burger King on 115, still holdin' his horn. Never knew his real name... We all jus' call' him Kirby.

Steph Ellis said...

“My address? Kirby Hall, near Colby. It’s the old ruin,” Leonard paused, stared at his wife on the sofa, “you’ll find us in the Lodge.” At last she was silent. Every day he had had to endure her hornet sting of words, her constant criticism. He was shaking, with rage and with cold … only ash remained in the hearth, much like his marriage. He replaced the phone, shuffled over to her. She was just bone, she should’ve been so easy to crack, but instead it was he who’d snapped first. His gun held one remaining bullet. It was all he needed.

Michael Seese said...

A fakir by trade, faithfully I rise with the sun and settle into my ritual.

Staking my claim, a crowded stretch of urban Purgatory, I brave the slings and arrows and taxi horns and weekday warriors and dog poop, touting the tenets of Allah and Buddha, with a zest of Lennon & MarxCartney added for flavor. Pity prompts some to press a token of cash into my skin and bones.

We all follow the sun home. They to manicured McMansions. Me to my cozy loft, where I count my blessings, green and otherwise.

Did I say fakir? I meant faker.

Brig said...

Even Kirby Ashford-King’s mink-bone horn couldn’t cheer her. Being bad used to be so easy.

Jack bounded in. Golden, dependable, Jack.

‘What’s up?’ He glanced around the room, noticing nothing. How strange to be good. To not even consider what might be pickling in the pickle jar.

‘We have to break up’.

Jack’s golden turned gray.

‘We’ll never work. I’m bad.’
‘And I’m not changing.’
‘Kirby, I know you’re bad. You have days-of-the-week capes.’
‘But you’re good’
‘Hero, yes. Good? No career hero’s hankering for world peace. Really, which one of us is worse?’
‘See that pickle jar?’

Barbara said...

He was a fakir by trade. Charmer of snakes and rope climber, newly shorn of his profession. They put him in western clothes, chained him to a computer and headphones, and made him 'modern.'

For years, he pushed fashionable scarfs, tracking devices, and trombones on strangers a world away until, one day, he went to the men's room and never returned.

All they found was a small carpet and a length of rope.

Far away, a stranger suddenly appeared in a small Himalayan village. No one knew how he had gotten there. He seemed to have fallen from the sky.

KariV said...

Home alone. Sick as a dog. Chilled to the bone. Fucking furnace broken. Middle of winter. Ashes from the fire slowly growing colder.

Sure could use Kirby now. He used to split the wood. Wasn't good for much else though. At least he’d fed the fire one last time.

For too long he'd been a thorn in my side. Now he was gone. He went after dinner. The proverbial last meal.

He never realized the mushrooms weren’t edible. I never realized the spores were just as poisonous. Karma’s a bitch.

Emalbom said...

Cardboard, damp polyester and an unwashed body were shoehorned into my porch. I let myself in, but when I made the call, I didn’t recognise my own voice.

We bookended the door. Or maybe only I did. A sharp knock from London’s finest evaporated my moment. ‘Your hobo never stays away. D’you know her?’

She hadn’t broken my heart, she’d ground it to smithereens, boiled it and sucked it into a syringe. My pink tutu girl, bun made crunchy by more haphazard kirby grips than hair. Looking at her like this would kill me. ‘No. Take her away.’

Will MacPhail said...

Kirby wakes up on his bathroom floor with the empty prescription bottle still in his hand, an old cigarette in the other, the long ash threatening to break. He studies the bottle, the last thing left in his medicine cabinet to overdose with.

A 50 mg recommended dosage.

The depression no longer has control.

Kirby isn’t depressed anymore, he’s incredible horny. Other side effects may include: priapism, nausea, irregular heartbeat. He looks down at his King Kong boner raging within his pants and starts to laugh, and expects to do so for the next four hours

Lennon Faris said...

OMG. He’s here! Packed bar. Armpits sweating.
Baby blues: surprised. Recognition?
Licking my lips: “You dated …a friend. I got a haircut, snip-snip.” I scissor my fingers. SMH! Tug my ultrashort skirt.
Handsome smirk, eyes undressing me.
“Whaddaya do?”
“Vet assistant. I fish on weekends.”
“Little tomboy?” he teases.
My words linger – “I also play …ball.”
“Rawr. Me, too.”
“Are yours fun?”

I close the door quietly. OMG! Easy as it looked at work.
I dial the ‘friend’ that courts never avenged.
“Babe, boat packed? --Yep, got bait. Horny bonehead supplier called 'em ‘irresistible.’”


walkie talkie said...

Detective Kirby’s cheeks filled with air. He blew the ash from his cigar. The glowing tip sent his thoughts to a Hawaiian volcano tour. It was a bucket-list trip. His suitcase was packed. Kirby was on the horn with the airline when his boss called.

Entering through the open front door he wondered if Jackson Pollack was the decorator. There’d been one hell of a mustard accident. The carpet was missing pieces cut in organic shapes. A bone rested in the center of each shape.

A lifeless body stretched across a king-size mattress jammed between the kitchen counters.

Goodbye vacation.

Unknown said...

“Are you here to blow my horn?” The curator, with “Kirby” on his nametag, flashes me a smarmy smile revealing two rows of crooked teeth.

I cock my arm back with visions of slapping the pervert’s teeth straight, but his boney hand shoots out to stop me.

He pivots, retrieving something from a glass case and facing me again, reverently strokes an antique-looking instrument the color of ash. “This is a replica of the horn musicians used during the time of King Henry the VIII. People come from all over the world to blow it.”

Casey Karp said...

"Jeepers, creepers, where'd you get those peepers?" Kirby half-sang. He was a crumb, one of Lena's crowd.

"From my mother." I scooped the jar into a drawer with the petty cash. "She collected prostheses."

Half-true--but I wasn't going to clue this tinhorn in--let Lena educate her own goons.

I freaking hate that song.

Mallory Love said...

The diner held more neglect than nostalgia. Old fashioned decor complemented the chipped bone china. The place had been a thorn in Andy’s side and a pit in his finances ever since he inherited it. But no more after tonight. After forty years, the Kirby Cafe would be closing its doors for the final time.

Andy lit a cigarette and looked out at the empty tables. He was once a busboy here. Then a waiter. He was almost going places, until Dad died, along with Andy’s dreams.

The smoking cigarette fell into the trash, catching fire. Andy walked away, smiling.

Jeannette said...

The spirits ascended.

They glided, no longer human, not yet ghosts, to Kirby. In a dark clearing, he stepped around a fire, a dance of compassion too deep for words. The spirits ached and pressed tight around him.

“Ash of kings,” his dance said. He threw ash into the fire, which lunged outwards. The spirits swayed.

“Bones of beggars.” He dropped white dust into the flames, which cringed and darkened.

“And the thorns of angry men.” Kirby stepped. The spirits screeched their rage into the fire, and it bellowed outwards and welcomed them to death.

Peace descended. Kirby was still.

Unknown said...


Macerate blackcurrants
Soak in alcohol
Smother in sugar
Steep until the mélange loses piquance

Make KIR by incorporating the purple-black crème de cassis into white wine. (Not too much, or the currants will steal the flavor.)


Today, you buried my bones and ashes beneath the hidden blackcurrants. (The woody shrubs bred fungus that slayed pines. White pines. America prohibited them.)

Shorn of dignity, black-purple, America prohibited me too.

Not you.

Don’t stand gawking at my grave! Fling your kir, smash the glass! Devour raw tangy unsullied berries! Let the pungent coursing juices imbue your magnificent soul.

Melissa Hintz said...

Amphibian Flash Mob

Mom called me lazybones, but who is she to talk? Laid her eggs and skedaddled. Or lumbered, probably.
Turtles do not dash. We amble.
I try to ignore the car horns as I cross Coventry Road. Orgy of sex, bugs, swimming, and nude sunbathing awaits if I can get to the other side.
Halfway across, a two-legged darts to my side, picks me up.
“Don’t Kirby,” a voice calls. “It’ll bite your fingers off.”
I wag my tail, grateful. Soon I’ll be basking on my favorite log.
But he puts me back where I started.

Karen McCoy said...

Shut the window, hope parents don’t hear.
Sneak into night. Pavement throbs heat.
Find his primer-painted truck.
Climb in, give him a kiss.
Moose-knuckled jeans indicate boner.
His defense is immediate. “No.”
“Just asking.”
Desire turned ashen.
A line of dust. Smoke.
Drink all his kir by morning.

Narcissism and denial, fueled by toxic powders,
Liquid death.
Squints in mid-daylight, hung over (still drunk?)
Barely-on bathrobe.
Forgotten baby crawls stairwell in neglected diaper.
Diaper is changed.
But nothing else has.
We close the windows, doors, for good.
Shut her out.

Megan V said...

Be ye ware that man of sand—the king with wishes in his hand
for he’ll invite you to his table—spin you an unending fable
fill your cup with kir by spell—but drink ye naught from its sweet well
for if you sip you’ll run ‘til mourn—ignoring his dear dragon’s horns
you’ll chase that dragon and its clones—until those dragons gnaw your bones
until you wither into ash—cause nothing matters but your stash
and the mirror shows you eyes so hollow—cause you’ve run—as I’ve run—where none can follow

Unknown said...

It was the first king snake he’d seen in nearly ten years. He stopped to admire the stark black and white bands. Must have been in its shell when the ash fell. Somewhere back in a cave. The bones of its spine rippled as it eased between the hot rocks seeking the cool of the shadows. He wished he could get on the horn and call Kirby. They’d been in the bunker, but Kirby hadn’t lasted a year above ground. God, he missed his voice. Any voice. And the sounds of birds. Even the soft slither of snakes.

midwestern_ohper said...

Kirby Jackson straightened in his chair, eliciting a satisfying series of snaps, crackles, and pops.

Stiff from hours spent hunched over his workstation, adding painstaking detail to miniature recreations of famous paintings, he decided it was time to stretch out the old pedal pushers.

He opened the door to a woman, one hand raised to knock, the other holding a fistful of red meat – ribeye, the bone-in kind – a slash of purple streaking through dark hair, and horn-rimmed glasses sliding perilously down her nose.

“Have you seen a white cat around?”

Before he could answer, braking tires screamed behind them.

RosannaM said...

Bones of a forest stand forever ghostly.
Lost to surging waters; date 1700.

Fascinated by the history I’m reading, drinking kir by the fire.
I’m warm, happy, oblivious, ensconced in my beach house.

To the danger of the far away and long ago.
Until the couch shaking, sirens sounding, horns blaring.

Impels movement.
Pitching floor
Impedes movement.
Fifteen minutes to safety.

Running east. Up.

Six minutes. Not enough. Not nearly enough.
Feet shredded from glass.

Wall of water propels me inland, dashes me against debris, hides me with sand.
Fate same as ghost forest.
Date: 2018. Cascadia-eighteen years late.

RKeelan said...

Dr. Eustace Kirby liked to wear horn-rimmed glasses, herringbone suits, and a mocking look of utter superiority.

Then a young woman of no particular acquaintance proposed he conduct a thought experiment, which he did, that afternoon, over a cup of tea.

Thereupon Dr. Kirby’s face grew ashen, and his expression fearful.

Afterwards, he would not speak of what had transpired, save to say the experiment was very consequential, and he must heed its outcome.

Dr. Kirby went on to make many important discoveries, and received many accolades, but always he’d mutter, “not enough.”

And his expression was never again superior.

Steve Forti said...

I always love entering these contests, but I'm just not up for it this time. Yesterday I lost my freaking job for the second time in eighteen months. Today's been a numb one. Feeling pretty crummy. Not very wordsmithy. Can't even think of a clever way to use "kirby".

I'm nervous as hell. Not much of a safety net. Should I take the first offer, if one comes? Is that too rash? Or not take it and hope for something better, but have no other offers?

Either way, this sucks, and I got nothing. Good luck to everyone else.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

He tosses the bag and sits, a king taking his throne. “I can’t believe I’m using the occult.”

“I’m no devil with horns.” Ripping the plastic, I ignore the bribe inside and sprinkle your ashes into my cup, brewing a tea of bone and spirit.

Your father won’t release your estate to your husband until I clear him.

Eyes closed, I sip. Your soul burns down my throat then curves back up, landing me like my kirby hooks a hapless trout. Now giving you peace will be my only escape.

We open my eyes to face your killer.

Just Jan said...

A thorn in my side for years, Delaney was finally history thanks to a clumsy partner and my Kirby Upright.

“Who’s King?” asked Rio as I retrieved an engraved box from the closet.

“Ma’s dog. She couldn’t take him with her to the home.” I emptied the ashes into Delaney’s urn. “The Boss will never know the difference.”

But our boss had a soft spot where Delaney was concerned. When he began to sift the powder through his boney fingers, I knew we were in trouble.

“What went wrong?” Rio mumbled through the mouth gag.

“He found the microchip.”

Picks by Pat said...

At ninety my father-in-law, the horny rascal, had lived a full life. But I was sick of him feeding the dogs from the table and sneezing without covering his mouth. The axe took care of that problem. Next, a gallon of kerosene and a backyard barbecue left just some bone and ash. I spilled some while bagging it. The kirby sucked up what remained. I was king of my castle again. I even left the kirby out with the trash. My big mistake, as the police later explained. The kirby's new owner found teeth in the vacuum bag.

Tony said...

Martin leaned against a tree. Flicking ash from the campfire off of his sleeve, he excitedly unwrapped his evening meal, courtesy of the Burger King in town.


Panicked, Martin looked around, chilled to the bone--no animal big enough to make those sounds lived in these woods.

Now he saw it: From the ground, the monster seemed eight feet tall, with two curled horns framing its head. Wetness seeped down Martin’s legs as it growled.

Then, laughter.

“Fuck, Kirby!” Martin yelled, hurling a rock at the “beast” as it ran away. His childhood friend had gotten him again.

Anonymous said...

After the flaking began, a vague worry flashed across Flo’s mind.

“Don’t be paranoid,” said Eb.


“Anyway, I can fix it.”

“With another fluorocarbon, Eb? Your last anti-allergy concoction about killed me.”

“But didn’t.”

“Sound the fluegelhorns,” said Flo. “You only nearly killed me.”

Weeks stumbled drunkenly past; the flaking only intensified.

“I’ve just lost a pinky,” said Flo.

“Your supergloves will compensate.”

“Like my wretched supersuit? Everyone’s laughing.”

“So move.”

“Where? Flakir-by-the-Sea? Flaketown?”

“Bitterness is unbecoming, Flo.”

I’m unbecoming.”

“You’re a superhero. Go save lives.”

“Okay,” said Flo miserably as another finger fell, “but who will save mine?”

Sherryl said...

Maggie barely raised an eyebrow when the leprechaun abseiled down her chimney. Dunkirby was riddled with them. The little lad brushed off the ash, played her a tune on his bone horn, and then ate half of her breakfast porridge.

‘I’m guessing you want something,’ she said.

‘I’m running for king,’ he said. ‘Just after a small donation.’

‘What’s in it for me?’

‘I’ll build you a wall. No more leprechauns in your house. And I’ll make them pay for it.’

‘Ridiculous!’ She shooed him out the door with a swift kick. ‘The blarney never stops around here.’

John Davis Frain said...

The man in black fled across the boneyard, and Stephen followed. He eyed a tent, shoehorned into the corner of this pet sematary. Sign on front: Madame Carrie.

Stephen stepped inside. “I’m skeptical.”

“Most are at first.” Madame gazed into her shining crystal ball, goblet of kir by her side.

She gasped. “You’re on the road to hell.” Wind thrashed the tent.

“Such misery,” Stephen mocked. “You see Satan?”

Madame Carrie said, “Nothing so shocking. This road though? It’s paved with adverbs.”

Stephen went pale. “It’s my wake-up call. I better get busy living.”

Carrie cackled. “Or get busy dying.”

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

The dash-cam caught it all on video. Justice was served.

A simple traffic stop, but Officer Kirby gripped his holstered gun so tight his knuckle-bones turned white.

The driver appeared cooperative, handing over the requested documents, smiling and nodding. Suddenly, the horn blared as Kirby lunged through the open window. The two men began to wrestle. Kirby overpowered the driver, dragged him out of the car, shoved him to the ground then cuffed him face down.

Thankfully, the dash-cam caught it all. Including the striking footage of a small, bloody hand frantically waving through the cracked-out taillight.

Justice was served.

Unknown said...

Organics, Earth 2068, had a saying: a Fakir by himself starves. Three hundred years sinking, and me—your standard Salvo-Robo—never had a neighbor.


Cup of sugar according to the archives.

[Error: No protocol found.]

Tsk. Elon would be ashamed. Readings indicate life form is a primate, only shorn.


2068 Organics had another saying:
Shoot first, ask questions later.

Look where that got them. I’ll try the sugar.