Friday, September 28, 2018

Summer's over, time for a writing contest!

I've got some terrific books to choose from for the contest prize!

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: fall/fallacious is ok but fall/faille 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: 9:07am, Saturday, 9/29/18

Contest closes: 9am, Sunday, 9/30/18

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!

oops, too late, contest closed!


NLiu said...

'He's had a fall.’
She focussed on the tips of the nurse’s spring yellow nails. 'Ernie’ll... be okay, right?’
Ernie called her spring chicken. She let him. Naturally. Unless his daughter was there - too tactless.
‘I'm afraid he’s broken his hip.’
She pictured that miniature plummet,knew exactly where. The listing paving stone, where she'd stamped her Jimmy Choos when the concrete was wet. That slant, sly as his eyes when they’d first met.
Geriatrics don't survive broken hips, she told herself in the Jag, later.
Sobbing for that nurse had been draining.
It was hard being a gold-digger sometimes.

Pen Name said...

Damn. This one’s going ballistic.

The bombs blink slowly on my screen, like radiation-spreading, pernicious lanterns.

I deploy the nuclear shield. The bombs fall, along with our budget. Here’s a tip—nuclear war makes your economy plummet. I’ll raise taxes when this is over.

My attacker has some powerful allies, twenty nukes, and an ego the size of China.

But everyone meets their downfall eventually.

I click the launch button.

Ten minutes later, there’s one less dictator on that leaderboard. My name slides in to takes their place.

A smile tickles the corner of my mouth. Game over.

Steve Forti said...

Me: I give up. You’d thing I was trying to feed him offal.
L: I st
ruggled with him all day. It’s your turn to figure it out.
Me: Come on buddy, you need these prunes. Much as I appreciate the clean diapers, you gotta poop, pal! Open up, please?
L: You think I didn’t already try begging? Amateur. Just face it – my mom was right. The little guy’s got a condition.
Me: Which is?
L: Anti-plum.
Me: T
hat’s not a real thing!
L (with a shrug): It is to him. You ain’t gonna win an argument with a baby.

Writer of Wrongs said...

“Don’t fall,” he cautioned. “Easy to trip on a boat.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah. I was Navy.”

“There’s fruit and wine,” he continued. “They pair well for dessert.”

She selected a fruit and savored as the plum met her lips. She handed him the Chianti. “Pour?”

He guzzled, refilled his glass. She held her own, untasted, as he explained tide charts.

His voice faded. Finally, she spoke. “Mind if I light this lantern?”

He didn’t answer. His head drooped. She smiled, slipped over the side. Paused. Swam away.

The yacht listed. By morning, it was on the ocean floor.

Kregger said...

I study the streaming tell-tales. My classic schooner-tall and stout.

Frozen water encrusts the bow pulpit like a deconstructed mummy.

An Albatross plummets to the deck-death by ice.

I pull off my gloves to scratch with blackened fingertips.

The sun's slant nearly at the horizon along the Furious Fifties north of Antarctica.

I want to fall asleep, but I don't dare. . .

. . . I stare at my toes peaking through my bath's bubbles like the Martial Mountains of Tierra del Fuego. My plastic sailboat lists between my knees as I contemplate my future.

Someday, I'll install a hot water heater.

Barbara said...

George sighed. "Listen, I said hang the brass lantern, not bang the crass slattern. We're kidnappers, not Harvey Weinstein."

"And I said dumbass, not plummets," the slattern said.

Ralph bound and gagged her. "Sorry. Forgot my hearing aid."

"Your husband," George explained, "thinks you're the best. Ipso facto, he'll pay the ransom. If all goes well, it's a simple exchange."

Hubby arrived with the cash. George squirmed.

"Something wrong?" Hubby asked.

George scratched. "Just an itch."

Ralph shot the woman dead. Hubby ran, cash in hand.

"Why?" George cried. "Why?"

"Sorry," Ralph said. "I thought you said snuff the bitch."

Mallory Love said...

“Listen,” she started her slurred confession. She always swayed as if she were tipsy when the morphine hit her bloodstream. “I stole it. All of it. My windfall wasn’t because of some loaded dead relative. I have to make it right.” She sucked in a breath. “I need to return it, before I…before the end.”

I nodded empathetically. She needed to rest. I shushed her while making the injection. Her heart rate plummeted. It wouldn’t be long now. I scribbled her slanted signature on the DNR. Her secret was safe with me. So was the money.

Anonymous said...

Falling in love always took her by surprise. By the time she realised, she was already in it.

Surely there’d be a sign —some way to notice things were slanted and close to tipping over. That way she could catch herself before the the plummet. But no. It hit without warning.

Falling out of love was predictable. It always started with a list: duct tape, gloves, rags, hydrogen peroxide…

She sighed as she cleaned dirt off her shovel.

Mental note to self. New Years Resolution: Fall in love less.

Craig F said...

I was checking the list again when the door opened.

“Hey, honey, what are you doing here?”

“I came up with an idea. I can still make the signing after I’m done.”

“Is this for the new book?”



“The perfect crime. I can slant the entomologic cycle to tip the postmortem interval by a week.”

“Say what?”

“Chill the body so the temperature plummets. Then add bug eggs from later in the known cycle. It will look like the victim died days earlier. Move over there, please.”


“I don’t want you blood to fall on the carpet.”

Timothy Lowe said...

“Plum me.”

Tabitha reached into the icebox and hurled a piece of fruit in William’s direction. It slapped his open palm.

“Good toss.”

“Fuck off. You need to tell her. Tonight.”

“No way.” He gathered his pants from around his ankles. “Mrs. Williams would be crushed.”

“Then when?”

“After I apologize.” He scrawled a few words, fingertips sticky with black juice.

“Of all the - ” she fumed, reading his slanted script. “You’re apologizing . . . for eating the plum?”

He shrugged. “It was the last one.”

“Some fucking poet.”

“Hey, at least it’s got stanzas. Last time I published my grocery list.”

KariV said...

Tip back my drink, sink down at my desk

End of the day

Unwind, decompress

But I just can’t because of this mess

My heart starts to plummet

To fall


Who’s telling the truth? It’s anyone’s guess

All the lies about sex

Why don’t they confess?

Can’t make them listen

Can’t handle the stress

The slant


But I digress

It’s not about me

A nation once blessed

We had success

We used to impress

Now the world laughs at us and we hang our heads

As well we should because justice is dead

Konnie Enos said...

“Don’t fall!”
The words echoed through my head as I plummeted from the tip of the summit thanks to the slight forward slant in the path leading to it.
I spent those last moments of free fall going over my long, undone, never ending to-do list.
Well, maybe it does end.

Colin Smith said...

You could say mine was not so much a climb but a plummet to the top.

It started with an anonymous tip. One of my own was running a drug ring. I went through the list of possibles and identified the culprit. Wasn’t hard really. The guy drove a Beemer to work. Wore designer suits to parties. Lived in a nice house in a swanky neighborhood. Found he made more last fall than I did last year. I should have arrested him, but I took a different slant on things.

After the funeral, I traded my badge for his office.

Brigid said...

Elle barely listened. “I’m sorry, Lannie, I’m going out.”

By the looks of it, she was going far. That dress. Her chignon hid her neon tips entirely, and she was dabbing crème céleste over her telecom scar.

“Solferino's not your usual shade. And is that a plum—?”

a guy.”


“He's marvelous, Lan, too marvelous for words. To keep him, I'll have to be showstopping.”

“Where are you going?”

She pinned her last curl and stepped into the whirring NEXUS. “If all goes well, not The Ford’s Theatre.”

Lannie shouted, but the curtain fell.

Jennifer Delozier said...

She mourned her confinement on the fallow, terraformed land, a violin slanted between her chin and the fur tippet shielding her from the frigid air. Her bow danced over the strings; notes spilled into the burgundy sky, lit by the kiss of binary moons.
The deep chords sank in the intense gravity, plummeting to the ground like the meteorites that had destroyed the crops and triggered the famine which left her alone. But the high notes floated, drifting listlessly through the stratosphere like volcanic ash. Maybe someone, somewhere would hear them. And maybe they’d come to take her home.

Tara Tyler said...

Sweet Plum met her fate and was missed
In a fall from a cart which did list
It slanted and tipped
The farmer, he tripped
Now he’s a purple-tailed agriculturalist!

Daisy Morin said...

Beautiful fall day, shuffling down the street. I grab a newspaper and grunt at the usual leftwing slant of the headline. I tip the paperboy anyway. I'm generous like that. Flip to the financial pages where of course, I see my stocks plummet by the day. Trudge home, make the list of names, load the gun. I tip the doorman on the way out. I'm generous like that.

Unknown said...

He scrabbled through the tall grass under the slanting trees, feeling for the round firm falls, bruised from their plummet to earth, but could find nothing.

He found them on the way home. His brother held one out to his sheep—by the knuckles, to avoid bitten fingertips.

“Seriously? Again? I told you.”

His brother frowned. “They were getting mushy. You couldn’t possibly use them.”

“We stew them, feed them to Enoch.”

“You feed apples to your baby? Seriously? After what happened to Mom and Dad?”

He huffed. “Listen. Keep your mitts off my apples, Abel. Or else.”

John Davis Frain said...

Soon as I saw the contest posting, I sent him tickets. Weekend getaway. No wifi. No phones. Commune with nature.

Finally, an opening. I labored over my wordplay. Edited. Polished. Proofed. Ready to submit.

Then I saw it. My heart plummeted on cue. He’d already entered. Hope had fallen to zero.

I gathered my writing team in the lower forty.

“Check the blacklist,” I said to my assistant. “Which direction does he live?”

“He’s north by northwest from where you’re standing, sir.”

I turned fifteen degrees. Tipped my cap. Slanted my head. We all solemnly bowed in Forti’s general direction.

french sojourn said...

Darn, even a needle and thread won’t mend this.
She folded her old cheerleader outfit and placed it carefully in her bureau.

The mirror confirmed, fall was indeed approaching. She licked the tip of her finger and dabbed at a little dried blood under her lip. She straightened the slightly tipped lamp shade, and picked up a few empty beer bottles.

Sometimes her self-worth plummeted, other times it was bearable. Listen, be strong, for the children. She looked at his weak slanted smile as he slept.

“Wake up honey, don’t be late for your first day on the new job.”

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Yesterday morning
She woke me up with her tongue
Making its wet periplum
I quivered

Farfalle for breakfast
iPhone recipe, she boasted

Hunter and bounty

Listen, I said
Run away
She smiled
He’s coming

He arrived at midnight
Where’s the bitch?
A slant of light
A noise from behind
He turned around

This morning
She woke him up with her machete
Making its wet periplum
He quivered

Lennon Faris said...

for answers, he always said, take a walk
so I did

maple, sassafras, stippled gold, crunching underfoot
fragrance of fall holding me, like he did
sky through slanted leafy shimmers
a Heavenly blue tribute to his eyes
I find our old fort
by accident since I can’t read the sun, like he did
Looks smaller, run down now
like he did
Mustn’t cry
he never did

Monkey limbs, tiny tanned forearms
Ambush from the underbrush!

“How’d you find me?”
I help her stand
Blistered knees, blue eyes, tearless
“Read the sun,” she whistles.

I smile
like Dad did.

Richelle Elberg said...

Fall brought the miserable diagnosis.

She started a bucket list. As few as four—as many as ten!—months. How was a dying woman to plan? Infuriating.

In the end, just one idea made her tingle, right to the tips of her toes.

Day 30 AC (after cancer, as few as three—as many as nine!—months left).

She climbed the sharp slant of the arch. At the apex, she smiled. The Bloukrans River sparkled 700 feet below.

Geared up, she plummeted. Five long— Exhilarating! Life-altering! —seconds.


Bungee severed.

As few as 1—as many as 2!—seconds.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

He placed his Paddy Cap on her. It covered her eyes. Giggling, she slanted her head backward to peer at him.

“Where, me colleen, might you be from?”

“South Tipperary.” She imitated his accent.

“A plum metropolis that.”


“A big city.”

“Oh.” She meticulously settled the cap on his head, her breath sweet. “Uncle Robbie?”

He ran a finger along her soft cheek. Taking little thing.

“Does Gold Vale really have the best racehorseys?”

“They do!” He set her on the floor then stood. “Shall we go to your room? You could show off all your dollies to me.”

Michael Seese said...

The World War I flying ace cradled the controls, fighting to maintain the dance. His trusty Sopwith Camel spat black blood as she slanted earthward. Pulling hard, he regained altitude. But hope exploded with the engine, and the Camel plummeted, her graceless fall ending in a ball of flame.

Outside the fourth wall, the bespectacled man chewed his pencil, its once-sharp tip a nub, then breathed a sigh of mixed relief.

That’s how we end it.”

God had seen enough.

“Listen, Chuck, I totally get the ‘My creation’ thing. But I’m exercising My right to veto. You can’t kill Snoopy.”

Marty Weiss said...

The list price for the new slant-six hemi-engined limousine from Chrysler was almost enough to give a tipsy Brett Kaveman pause.
I may have to cut down on my partying to afford the monthly payments, he thought, then remembered his imminent promotion.
“What the hell. I’ll take it,” Brett said, “if it comes in plum metallic.”
“That’s a special order color, but I’ll throw it in at no additional cost if you buy the car today,” the eager salesman replied.
“Great! Where do I sign. Just wait until my old buddies see me in this at our next class reunion.”

Karen McCoy said...

He proposed to her before the fall

She bought a new dress, off-white, with sequined straps

Lost amid endless planning, color schemes, lists

And non-refundable deposits

Overzealous bachelor party; an anonymous tip

Rending of words, promises

Dress, back into the bag, plummet.

His only souvenir, given to a new girl who agreed to a hug

A jilted groom’s slant

to his irreparable heart.

He proposed to her before the fall

Amy Johnson said...

They called me “Slant” every stinking day. Jerks! So what if my left three legs are a micrometer shorter than my right three?

I’d been expelled from the colony after dismal performance reviews. The harder and faster I worked, the more I spun in circles. So, I became a rogue among rogues.

The fall rains came earlier than expected. Everyone scurried for higher ground. I concentrated on going straight. But growing listless, I unintentionally veered left. Just in time. The others didn’t realize they’d reached the tip of the hill. Full speed ahead, they plummeted.

Nobody’s calling me “Slant” now.

CynthiaMc said...

"I hate mountain climbing," I told my brother.

"Suck it up, Buttercup. You lost our bet."

"What if I fall and plummet thousands of feet to my death?"

"Here's a tip: don't."

I made it halfway up the cliff. Gave a list of reasons why I was done.

"You coming?" he yelled from the summit.

"I can't!"

"You seriously expect a one-armed man to rescue your ass?"




I pulled myself up the slant, cursing.

"Atta girl!"

"Go to hell!"

He laughed.

Made it in time to watch the sunset. My useless legs dangled over the cliff.


David said...

How could it be Fall again? Summer had seen my bank balance plummet, to the point that I was starting to tip into the red – a double whammy of too much fun and too few clients. I looked at the dog-eared copies of my favourite ‘tec novels slanted against each other on the shelf. What would Philip Marlow do? Sam Spade? Nick Charles? They’d shake things. They’d damn well find a client. I found a pencil and paper and started to write a list.

Katja said...

I shouldn’t be here, sat on her windowsill. Captured. Alone.

I was too young when I fell. Premature. A glistening brown baby. The first of us!

I plummeted hard and fast onto the slanted rock. Pointy tips had protected me. But I cracked, popped, rolled down, and shot across the gravel. That’s how I was found.

She took me away. Rolled and turned in her palm, my vernix caseosa is gone. Now I’m crumpled, wrinkly at three days old.

I'm staring out there, yearning for when my siblings fall. Get me a mate… I'm going nuts!

Megan V said...

Who you gonna call?

When the world tips and its buildings fall
Who you gonna call?

When those fires fly and those bullets maul
Who you gonna call?

When handprints scar a frightened face
Who you gonna call?

When lust leads to a forced embrace
Who you gonna call?

When bridges slant and cars collide
Who you gonna call?

When all you want to do is hide
Who you gonna call?

When living means another summit
Who you gonna call?

When a leap-of-faith is the word for plummet
Who you gonna call?

I have to know
Who you gonna call?

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

"Here's a tip for escape," #6858 told me. "When you take the fall, don't panic. Keep your body straight and at a slant. The wind will catch your sails." 6858's neutral expression confirmed he'd done this dozens of times.

But you can't fool a telepath. "Why are you doing this?" As we stood atop the prison walls, I caught the hidden thrill of him claiming my extra portions of prison food after my "escape". The sails never worked, he knew.

I turned, and shoved, listening to #6858's screams as he plummeted over the edge.

Extra food for me.

flashfriday said...

Found out tonight my baby’s one of the fallen ones. Though tbh I don’t know exactly what she did, she won’t tell me.

I ask her, What’d you do?

(Not so much fallen as plummeted.)

Sometimes her skirt’s too short, maybe that’s it.

Or too much smiling. Smile all the time, people get ideas, that’s how it works.

I ask her, Were you tipsy?

Her long-lashed eyes slant over at me, daring me to ask twice.

(Too much mascara?)

The tech pulls a checklist out of the rape kit and gets to work.

Guess I’ll never know what she did.

Ly Kesse said...

The listing oak grinned. "Hey, Sugar. I got you beat this year."

Maple shook its branches, watching ever more leaves fall and plummet to the ground: beautiful, yellow ones. "Maybe. But mine are prettier." Sugar looked at Oak's pile of dead, brown leaves.

Oak glared and exhaled, scuddering leaves. "There, now you don't."

Maple slanted its branch tips together. "Oooh, Oakie, you will pay for this." He called on the gods to smite it.

Using a blowtorch, Billy, the woodlot's resident human, incinerated Oakie, using the smoke to fuel factories. He thus enriched himself while warming the world.

Sugar smiled.

RKeelan said...

Joseph Blowseph is an ass, a fool; no man’s friend, every man’s tool.

Joseph Blowseph’s not on the level: slanted lies, plumb to the devil.

Stipulate, manipulate; castigate, prevaricate.

Joseph Blowseph has changed his mind. Love thy neighbour—gotta be kind.

Joseph Blowseph is doing his best, nothing is working, now depressed.

Falling guy, through open sky; doesn’t cry, now say bye-bye.

Joseph Blowseph is a fatalist, a plummeting nihilist.

Joseph Blowseph was a decent man; life cut short, before it began.

Where There's A Quill said...

We've been falling for years. That's what we call it. Falling. Like down a rabbit hole. Like into despair.

Sometimes, it's a hard plummet. You're dropped in a cursed forest. Dungeon. Or a battlefield, and you've got someone's sword tip scratching your throat before the world even stops slanting. Lost Jennifer that way. Lost Toby worse: plague, blistered and begging for home.

God, we just bumbled through that portal in my closet, high on childhood fantasy. We never dreamed the portal wouldn't bring us back the way we came.

We don't dream anymore. We just close our eyes and fall.

KDJames said...

Fall is good for checking items off the To Do list. Before temps plummet deep into winter's cold, too hard for reckoning, ground.

The neighbor bellies over, slanting beady close-set eyes toward my nearly loaded car.

"Boyfriend not helping with the move?"

"He went on ahead." To hell.

He leers, assessing vulnerability.

I smile, brightly. "We won't need this shovel in the city. Want it?"

"Sure." He grabs the handle, marking it, not noticing the "rust."

An anonymous tip should keep him busy for 10 to 20, maybe life. Far too busy for assault.

After all, that's my specialty now.

C. Dan Castro said...

Wake up!

The bowl slides across the galley table. Plummets. Fruit falls onto a pirate. Mouth open. Eyes unblinking.

I gurgle. Throat incorrectly cut.

Don’t black out.

Emergency kit. Useless.

Flare gun. Useful.

Stagger along a wall. Ship listing. Slanting 30 degrees.

Guttural French tips me off to the men. Loading my no-longer-secret crate on their dinghy.

Hermes’ port side sinks below the ocean.

One pirate shoots the other. No honor.

Aim the flare gun. One shot to live.

Don’t black out.


The smoldering corpse stench revives me.

I pilot their boat away.

Don’t black out.

Unknown said...

My insides plummet.

We're at Dina’s Diner, number one on Seattle Times’ list of best brunch spots and where I've just seen a ghost.

Sort of.

“It's the waitress,” I tell Robert, “We dated.”


“When we were kids. I don't think she recognizes me. Do I say something? God, what do I tip? How much to make up for-”

“Shush,” Robert says, adjusting my slanted glasses. “It wasn't your fault.”


“Whatever it was. I know you better than you think.”

I smile back at my ghostbuster, the only man--only person--I’ve ever fallen for.

Tesshirecat said...

Pen in one hand, phone in the other, Alice thanked her lucky stars she was ambidextrous. The tip of the pen slanted across the next name on the list, while she made the last touches. Covering the tender flesh with saran wrap, she texted her boss for payment and placed her calling card on the doorstep of the silent house.

A plum met her eye and she corrected its unwieldy shape on the skewer before it could fall. Fruit baskets were such a memorable message.

Even the police thought so.

Marie McKay said...

Existential Shopping List

1 chicken
1 egg
4 thought.
Their minds
over what matters
2 you.
1 stipulated slant-
Your side of the
only make you
Free fall
2 despair.
But in time-
Time needed.
We get
2 hear your voice
1 clear point of view.
And we all keep the

Kate Outhwaite said...

Notes to self:

1. If Client’s list of stipulations exceeds one side of paper (double-spaced), reject and refer - preferably to someone you don’t like. (I’m thinking Julie, the treacherous hag.)

2. If any stipulations mention fallen angels, dogs of war, horsemen, apocalypses etc., then Client’s worldview may be slanted away from full respect for your dignity at work/personal wellbeing/life. Reject and refer. (Julie again, hah!).

3. If, in course of delivering assignment to Client, you have to choose between plummeting to fiery death in pit below and grabbing rope ladder dangled by Julie, don’t automatically dismiss the pit.

Just Jan said...

Nero left in the fall. Some said he died of a broken heart, but I knew the truth. He went into the bad room and never came out.

He wasn’t the first.

All day we listened anxiously for our names to be called. At night we tiptoed into dreamless sleep only to start the waiting again the next morning.

My heart plummeted when it was my turn. I slanted away from them, but they plied me with treats and patted my head, and called me a good dog. I wagged my tail and never looked back.

Just like Nero.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

The scene made me shutter. An eight-point buck had emerged from a stand of hardwoods. In the slant of light filtering through the brilliant fall colors, the tips of his antlers appeared to be on fire. I upped my resolution and zoomed in for the shot. Got him! Just then, a ruby red maple leaf plummeted from above and landed on his back. The buck listed to the side and shook it off. I went for a wide-angle view. A split-second before he scampered back into the cover of dense woods I’d captured another perfect image. Talk about an F-stop.