Friday, July 31, 2020

The Particularly Diabolical Flash Fiction Contest

Back in the days of yore, publishing took the month of August off.

Not completely of course, clerks and stenos still handled phones and incoming mail, but everyone else left the city.

August is still the doldrums here, but it's been like that since March.

The only new thing is the lovely heat.
And humidity.
I need to make more friends in Maine!

Nothing to be done but torment writers with a particularly diabolical flash fiction contest!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these italicized words in the story (I took them from last week's entries)
fopdoodle (C.H. Reaver)
stickler (Jan R)
Requin (Matt Krizan)
timpani-Timothy Lowe
regale (french sojourn)

(NO Steve Forti extra prompt word this week.)

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.

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.

9. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE.

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

11. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!"). Save that for the contest results post.

12. 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.

13. 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: 5:40am, August 1, 2020
Contest closes: 9am, August 2, 2020

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! 
oh rats, sorry. Contest closed.


french sojourn said...

A weary Samurai trudges down a dusty road, accompanied by the increasing tempo of a timpani.

“Sono jigoku no raketto o tome nasai, anata wa fopdoodle,” he shouts looking at Sinju impatiently.

A dust cloud on the horizon slowly approaches. The Samurai kneels and takes from his pack some steamed requin with rice. A stickler for routine.

“Kōtei no goei wa watashitachi o koroshimasu,” Sinju says preparing to run.

“Tabun anata wa anata no raketto de sorera o saikon suru koto ga dekimasu ka?”

“Regale?” Sinju looks at him inquisitively.

“Mā, sukunakutomo watashi wa kūfuku de shinu koto wa arimasen.”

Sono jigoku no raketto o tome nasai, anata wa fopdoodle.
Translation; Stop that infernal racket you fopdoodle.
Kōtei no goei wa watashitachi o koroshimasu.
Translation: The emperor’s guards will kill us.
Tabun anata wa anata no raketto de sorera o saikon suru koto ga dekimasu ka?
Translation: Maybe you can regale them with your racket?
Mā, sukunakutomo watashi wa kūfuku de shinu koto wa arimasen
Translation; Well, at least I won’t die with an empty stomach.
d/q word count, but it’s a writing exercize.

B.I.Hirsch said...

“Dylan, mon thé, s’il vous plaît.” Aunt Clarisse’s pretensions at her symphony luncheon were in fine form. “Dylan considers himself an artiste, but he wants, how to say, être qui ne fait pas. He paints nothing.”
I kept stirring the tea as she regaled her cronies with my shortcomings.
“My dear sister pandered him and his petites dessins. Spare the stick? Le rod. She left me a spineless fop. Doodles do not pay for couture.” She cackled.
I kept stirring and imagined boxing her ears until her tympanic membranes burst, but held back.
The arsenic was almost dissolved.

NLiu said...

"...Finisterre gale 8--"

Mary switched off the wireless. "You hear? I'm off. You'll watch Davy?"

"That imp?" Animosity darkened Reg's face. "No."

"Please - it's a prayer meeting."

Reg raised his newspaper; felt Mary's goodbye kiss tickle; relaxed.

Later: droning, like some Churchill-hating fop. Doodlebug.

The world buckled.

He ran. Here - quince tarts by the church hall door. But no door, no hall. No church. Men attacked the rubble.

Reg found them. Couldn't tell where Mary ended, Davy began. Altar daffodils speckled them with bright, mocking yellow.

Reg's old now. But he still sees that colour, remembers how Davy was smiling.

Steve Forti said...

“Blech. This beer’s got too much dreg. Ale should be cleaner.”

“Don’t be an impudent imp. An idiot can see this ain’t the Ritz.”

“Oh, it’s a dive, for sure. Except, you’ve got those fancy wines. Seems out of character.”

“Those are a specialty.”

“And unique. What’s this undertone I taste? It can’t be… gruyere?”

ce paste. Nobody guesses that. Quince… and human blood.”

“I’m sorry, what now?”

“I don’t suffer fopdoodles like you here. And cops are sticklers about murder. So I let the bodies decay in the casks. Ergo, too much dreg.”


“Oh, and rat poison.”

Matt Krizan said...

Matt scrolled through the list of words, muttering to himself as he wrote them down.

“Fopdoodle. Yeah, knew that was coming. Stickler, okay. Requin? Seriously? She picked requin? Oh man… sorry, everyone.” He shook his head. “Timpani, yeah. And regale. Yeesh. Diabolical indeed.” Certain other colorful words floated to the surface of Matt’s mind, but he managed not to say them aloud.

He doodled in the margin of his notebook.

He sighed.

He wrote several words then crossed them out.

Another sigh.

He threw down his pen and reached for his hiking shoes.

“Screw this. I’ll deal with the heat.”

JoeGarland said...

He thought us fopdoodles, he did. Going on about his encounter with a requin, like some old fucking man and the sea.

We believed none of it, but he liked to regale, never a stickler for the truth, and Mike, not much of a stickler for decorum, himself relished banging his stein on the table now and again, his timpani against the bloviating orchestration of our host. But he was the host and he was paying, so we let him explain how he would have caught Bruce.

“I wouldn’t have needed a bigger boat, that’s for damn sure,” he insisted.

Timothy Lowe said...

Lucinda didn’t want a rescue. An eminent professor and vegan, she would raise her boys right. Three perfect adopt-a-pup terriers (terrors) named Fop, Doodle and Sam. Nightly, she regaled them with Go Dog Go as they shredded her John Fluevogs.

“More quinoa?” said Lucinda, ever the stickler.

Head pounding like a timpani, she would get up all hours. Change pee-pads on her parquet floor. Feed Yipper and Yapper (Fop and Doodle). Stroke the head of little Sam, who had night terrors. Curse a lot.

“I need a rescue,” she said one sleepless night.

The next day, she got another dog.

Brigid said...

"Use online services for license renewals," the stickler repeated, after six hours on hold with too much timpani.

Fine. Roy had a Google.

If only the library were open. While the librarian helped, he'd regale her with the one about Helen at the USS Requin, til some fopdoodle interrupted.

Hit On, not Volume. Where was the Google? account? Email? Junior made him an email once.

Junior said that was a Facebook.

Roy accidentally made three emails, but after that the DOL account was easy. 


Told you I wouldn't miss it.


KDJames said...

When the regal envoy ripped up the proposed menu, the head chef, Tim, panicked.

"Mais non! Ma soupe aux ailerons de requin est de renommée mondiale."

"The Queen is a stickler about avoiding cannibalism."

"Cannibalism! Mon dieu, c'est impossible!"

"She's requested a chilled truffop d'oodles o'noodles."

"Truffop? Qu'est-ce que c'est?"

"With a creamy vodka chum reduction on the side."

Tim squinted. "Chum?"

"Various leftover, um, bloody fish parts."

"Pas dans ma cuisine!"

"She was most insistent."

"Zut! Nous n'aurions pas dû annuler l'interdiction de voyager pour vous Américains."

"The Queen has particularly good taste--


--in fiction."

Kregger said...

She pranced down the dingy hallway toward my glass door which reads: Fopdoodle Detective Agency, AKC.

I could tell the puff on the end of her tail was wound too tight.

Her blood-red nails scratched at the door to let her in.

We sniffed on meeting. She was a stickler for hygiene.

”I came to Requin-noiter you,” she slurred. “Mr. Faux Pas Doodle.” She tripped sottingly.

I considered regaling her with stories of my razor sharp paws, but reconsidered.

“My littermate, Timpani, is having puppies with my husband, Hal.”

SOSDD, I thought. Time to crack some huevos.

“I charge extra for anesthesia.”

shanepatrickwrites said...

“Is that one of them fopdoodles?”

“It’s labradoodle,” said The Stickler to the four-year-old.

“Well,” said young Tim Pani around a mouthful of watermelon, “Next time he drops a deuce in Ma’s daffodils, it’ll positively regale Dad to toss him to the requin in Carkoon Cove.”

L.M. Davis said...

The timpani sounds in the golden moment before twilight. Requin settles, dagger teeth showing beneath his pointed snout in a wide smile as tiny pink and yellow sticklers laugh and clamber upon his broad back.

Tiago begins to regale us with a tale, a silly story about fopdoodles and grimpopples warring over a single rose just outside an entire rose garden.

I laugh with the rest, as my eyes search for Orion. Across the clearing, the princess lounges against him, her delicate head on his shoulder. His hand is in hers, but his eyes are on mine.

Craig F said...

“Don’t bother with fopdoodle Louise, I see you watching her.”

I couldn’t regale him with the truth.

I knew the cause of it. I saw the requin smile when she made Tim panic himself to death. She was probably already spending the insurance money.

Tim wasn’t a stickler for details, though. The million dollars of his insurance money was still in the name of his first wife.

Colin Smith said...

Mary at the Spelling Bee
beamed with great alacrity.
“With words you’re quintessentially
akin to Webster’s Dictionary!”
her mother said emphatically.
“But the rules are held tenaciously--
they’re sticklers for legality;
Be sure to mind your qs and ps
and knock ‘em dead—metaphorically.”

Round by round, consistently,
she showed lexical mastery.
‘Twas at the last, unfortunately,
her pride gave mental laxity.
The buzzer buzzed; no-one breathed.
Mary screamed obscenities.
“Oh, fopdoodle timpani!”
She stood and glared audaciously.
“Serious, you cannot be!
What err doth thou accuseth me?”
The judge, with firm finality,
said, “Regal ends not with an E.”

Tara Tyler said...

Though Mr. Klum is a stickler when grading grammar, he tries to be funny with our online lessons, but looks more like a fopdoodle.

“Hello, class! Today, I’m at the beach to regale you with examples of adjectives and adverbs.”

As he backs into the water, we wave and shout to warn him of the requin lurking behind him.

“Now, settle down, class. Don’t make me bang your empty heads together like resounding timpani!”

Before I can look up what timpani means, Mr. Klum is chum.

BrianH said...

Jim didn’t know dogs. It could be a mixed-breed – a fopdoodle or somesuch? Didn’t matter, he was no stickler. It’d followed him for days down the ash-strewn roads. At night, he’d regale it with stories of the world that was. It’d listen patiently in the firelight.

When a man slid from the shadows, smile greasy with malice, its ears pricked.

“I’ll be requi’n your coat, m’friend.” The smile faded – wrong victim. Panic lit the man’s eyes, but only briefly.

The creature crunched a new bone as Jim told an old favorite.

How many fangs should dogs have? He didn’t care.

John Davis Frain said...

Mrs. Richardson, stickler for neatness, went on the attack. Trash this time. Or laundry. “I didn’t raise a slug. Did you finish your homework?”

Pulled the bud from my ear to enter the game. “Fopdoodle-doo.”

“Fine. Don’t do your homework. See where that takes you.”

I nodded.

“Is your room clean?”

“Tim panicked gurgleschnitz.”

“No surprise. I already do everything around here. Where’s your father?”

“Grand Requin Blanc.”

“I knew it!” She stopped sweeping. “I’m like a single parent. When’ll he be home?”

“You’re gal etcetera.”

She yanked out my other ear bud. “Brad!? I thought you were my son.”

Michael Seese said...

The Franco-fopdoodle tottering on his barstool waved a cautionary half-finger as he regaled a raft of downtrodden sots.

"I tried to stick le requin, how you say, shark, with my harpoon. But she escaped, and now could be anywhere."

I snorted skepticism.

"C'est vrai! Tell him, Timpani."

"It's Tiffani," she said, topping his scotch.

"Take care, mon ami. She is close. Watching. Waiting. Hoping to taste blood again."

"Sure, pal. Hey, honey," I said to Tiffani, "Hit me. Seriously, does anyone believe that guy's stories?"

"Lucky for me, almost no one," she said, flashing row upon row of razor teeth.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

“Triple word score, so 48 points.”

“Fopdoodle isn’t in the Scrabble dictionary.”

“Being a stickler is the last refuge of a LOSER,” he said making an L on his forehead.

“Why don’t we have another game?”

“I didn’t have time to shop before the quarantine. How about some music?”

“What have you got,” I asked with a preemptive cringe.

“I can regale you with Requiem for a Requin, a Symphony in Timpani.”

“You mean surf music?”

“Well, yeah.”

“You do know that if effusive pedantry lasts for more than four hours, you should seek medical attention.”

“So, 48 points?”


C. H. Reaver said...


"Wassup d00d."

"Welcome, DT20."

"Folks say I have a poor vocabulary & get facts wrong. Need to learn how to write ASAP. I admit I'm panicking!"

"Those are quintessential problems beginners face. Try becoming a stickler for the rules first. No issue will resolve itself, OP."

"Dood, le
mme tell ya: believability matters, not accuracy."

"Been following that one!"

"There are links to useful tools under the bar (e.g., a learning app)."

"So is the option to select the genres you write in."

"Can't find 'presidential speech'!"



"Also need one for 'inauguration speech'!"

"We hope it falls under fantasy."

BJ Muntain said...

"Playing the bongos" sang the fopdoodle-in-law as he pounded my orchestra-quality timpani with bare hands.

He wouldn't stop, so they came with us on our trip to the ocean. I'd promised him the chance to regale Les Requins with his music.

"Say." He attempted a roll with ham fists. "What are those? The Requins?"

"They're swimmers." I loaded the boat. "Sticklers for music. They'll love you. We need the boat to reach them."

"What's this stuff?" His nose wrinkled at the container.

"It's a new kind of sun block. Tres chic. Les Requins just eat it up."

They did.

Adele said...

Week Three: French Country Desserts

I was sure galettes would end it. Chef was a stickler for precise fruit placement - my Achilles’ heel.

TV loved him; he looked a fopdoodle and told scandalous stories. He terrified us contestants, but I would stop him, revenge myself. My gift to all.

Prowling the workstations, a requin scouting victims, king of the surprise attack. "You! Recipe! Verbatim!" Panicked, I blurted inane monosyllables. They'd send me home, but no matter. Under harsh TV lights I opened a packet, small and plain, and sprinkled it onto the fruit.

Pity about Mary Berry, though.

Just Jan said...

I pull into a parking space and adjust my face covering. The fop-Doodles in the next car regale me with barks, competing for my attention. A stickler for protocol, I don’t engage.

Inside, it’s more of the same. Mind the directional signs. Dance with your neighbor (from six feet away!) around the Baby Requin display. Cue the timpani.

The young cashier is muffled, so she blinks once for yes, twice for no, and gives incorrect change. I return home, disheartened. Once again, my weekly trek provides sustenance without substance.

In the age of COVID-19, there’s nothing social about social distancing.

Marie McKay said...

He played in the school orchestra, the love of my life. He regaled me with his stamp, and requin shark teeth collections. He was a stickler for shoe polish and spit-slicked hair. All of these things might have made him unattractive to the other girls. A bit of a fopdoodle, maybe. Too boring. Too shy. Too quiet. But not me. Not me.
For when we danced, I'd put my ear to his skinny chest to hear the sound of the timpani heart inside it.

RosannaM said...

The store quintupled my winnings. Six scratchers. This month is starting out fine. Preacher David regales his meager listeners with his message from God. Cause God talks to him. Right.

The dust coats me like a Hostess donut. Skyward, a single helicopter looms. Rotors timpani against my tympanic membranes discombobulate my thoughts.

All is not right. I forget about the Lottery. Run.

Stickler for my situational awareness training. Escape, hide, fight. That order.

Rotor wash stirs up trash.

“RAF OP” doodled on a discarded napkin against my face.

Seems it wasn’t the Russians or the Chinese. The British are coming.

Jennifer Rand said...

Tim panicked as he awaited sentencing. His antics from the night before, while still a free man, crashed down on him.

"You're quintessential fopdoodles!" he'd yelled recklessly.

A stickler for au courant debate, Tim couldn't resist. They were fools, especially the tall man, Alistair, with his greasy hair and his stupid notions. He and his band of sycophants regaling the entire pub with their ill-informed ideas on policy were more than a man could take.

Now, in the clear-headed light of day, Tim could see his colossal mistake as the bailiff called out,

"All rise for the honorable Judge Alistair Smythe."

Thomas Woodward said...

Shark Affairs

The S.S. Fopdoodle's maiden voyage took her within a breath of Puerto Rico. Captain Morgan, stern of eye and composure, a born stickler, regarded the swaying dock just beyond the bow of his vessel.

A trio of requins circled ominously just beneath the waves.

"Firstmate McGuire," the captain bellowed. "Lull them to sleep with your music!"

McGuire looked up from the helm and made a salute. "Aye, Captain." Then he swiveled on his chair, began a slow beat on his timpani, and regaled the poor creatures with song.

smoketree said...

Captain Cuttlefish and the Cerulean Sea-Creature

Down in the depths, the foe danced darkly
Timpanic tremors tumbled the ship,
The poisonous perequinations of portentous appendages
Captain Cuttlefish called on the cavalcade, cannoneers coming
To smite the sea-creature, a sounding of sirens
SS Mountweazel mustered mettle, mincing the mass,
A peristalstickler, protuberances pressed on
While the cranium of the creature was cleaved from its corpse
Great rejoicing was felt, a regale-force release
And yet
Dark words came to each ear:
“You’ve chopped my noble noodle,
I’ll have revenge next year
Or brand you a fopdoodle.”

Megan V said...

Fintastic Fopdoodle @TheOneTrueBlue · Aug 1 ˅

I just entered the flash fiction contest on that stickler Janet's blog (where I deftly regaled everyone with a story about that time I ate a timpani) and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt. I don't get it. My cousin Bruce ate a tuba and he got a whole movie. Ah well. I did get a callback for that one show, you know, with the trash cans and jugs and things.
Yeah. I am so going to nail it.
Look out Bruce! There's a new grand requin blanc in town.

Sherryl said...

Requin returned from his timpani rehearsal with the hairs on his teeth quivering. Franz Nitpicker was a stickler for exact rhythm. They’d rehearsed for hours, fists and sticks flying. Franz had started throwing insults and a screaming match ensued.
Requin couldn’t wait to regale his darling with the best insult of all – fopdoodle. What a pity Calumny had finally lost her temper, but the sight of her timpani smashed onto Franz’s head was one he’d never forget.

travelkat said...

“Play the Requin theme.”
“Requiem? From Mozart? With timpani?”
“No, da-dum-da-dum, from the shark movie, I’m a a stickler for accuracy. I could regale you with stories of one tuba solo saving lives.”
“Very well. Music cued. Port engines aren’t responding, sir. We’re sinking by the head. Approaching crush depth.”
“This is the last transmission of the USS Fopdoodle. Hit by a Megaladon. Warn approaching vessels. Prehistoric creatures rising from the depths.”
“Sweetheart, bath time’s over.”
It’s hard to be an eight year old when there’s so many scary fish in the sea.

C. Dan Castro said...

Obediah Ackermann (1751-1790): inventor, war hero, Founding Father. But no one reads obituaries, so here's the truth. Inventor? He claimed the timpani, the Requin pastry (who bakes shark cakes?), and the button. The button! You'd point out the button was invented ~1300, but Obediah was a stickler for his lies.

He'd regale you with tales of fighting besides Washington. Not George. Carl. Yes, of "Carolina Coward" fame. Fled every battle.

Founding Father? Obediah was my illiterate doppelgänger. This half-, no, quarterwit couldn't sign his name, much less the Declaration.

Obediah Ackermann: fabulist, poltroon, fopdoodle. And the brother I never wanted.

Tain Leonard-Peck said...

Click, clink. "Timpani. Eight points."
A good move. Hard to counter, but His advantage wasn't insurmountable. Not yet. Ah! An opening!
"Fopdoodle. Thirteen points."
My opponent laughs-- a dry, humorless noise. Click, clink. "And you engineer your downfall. Regale, seven points."
Sweat rolls down my cheek. This is getting bad. Not long until the game is over…and me, with it.
"Stickler. Seven points as well."
He meets my gaze. His bony hand, bleached white as paper, goes click, clink.
"And you sign your death warrant. Requin, ten points. It's over."
So it was. Death never loses, especially at Scrabble.

Mallory Love said...

Tim panicked. He shouldn’t have. Gaslighting was our game, and we were good at it.
After all, we’d convinced the neighbors we were quintuplets when we'd moved into the dorms, although none of us looked alike. We had fooled Professor Ling into thinking “fopdoodle” was a dirty sex game. We'd always regale the ladies at Tap’s Bar with all the great adventures we never took. Sure, the chancellor was a stickler for law and order, but come on. Who was really going to believe it was the five middle-aged CEOs, here for the class reunion, that burned down the stadium?

Writer Geek Esq said...

“Sid, why have two identical lead characters?”
“They only seem to be. The distinctions won’t be subtle.”
“Such as?”
“Say there’s shark attack. One spins a yarn about an old fool getting his leg bit clean off by a great white; the other – a stickler for fifty dollar words -- regales us with a parable of an unfortunate fopdoodle suffering an external hemipelvectomy from a requin’s mandible.”
“And neither understands the other?”
“Only when it’s funny.”
“Comedically, those are monster tubs. Gotta play ‘em cool, Daddy-O.”
“Pianissimo on the timpani, right. Let’s pitch the show to Patty.”

Casual-T said...

A Percussionist's Tale

Tacet-80 bars.

Due to his nervous tick Leroy looked like a middle-aged, balding man trying to get back into the dating game, after having been absent for however long it had taken to gain 50 pounds.

"Why you winking at me?--25, 26," Quincy whispered.

"Nervous tick--37, 38--from when--."

"Don't really care," Quincy interrupted, barely audible. "You look like a--59, 60--fopdoodle."

"A what?--62."

"An idiot!--66."

"Psst, guys, I lost count," Tim panicked, triangle at the ready. "Are we at 71 or 72?"

"Now," Leroy whispered. The percussion section announced Idomeneo's regal entry in perfect unison.

Tacet-112 bars.

flashfriday said...

“I am,” she said, clinging to the beam, “a codswallopping fopdoodle for trusting you.”
“Rather… unconventional final words.” (This from the dock, looking down.)
“I’m a stickler for unconvention,” she said. “Maybe I should swallop you with a requin.”
“You said codswallopper.”
“And sharkswallopper. Cursed lakes require resourcefulness.”
“Can you even reach me from there?” (This with a glint.)
“Animus, at last! I knew it wouldn’t take long.”
“Listen, you strega—”
“Lecturing me??! After my warnings?”
“What warni—ARRRRRBBBBBBLE!” (This sea-bottom, blinking up.)
“Turns out,” she said, wringing the fringes of her dress, “I’m also an impswallopper.”

Jackie said...

Of all the gumshoe joints in New York, she had to requinista mine.

I had no bamboo stickler to shut her up regaling me with some fopdoodle malarkey about a panda went missing in Columbus, then came back again like a bad penny.

It was a put-up job, she claimed. The old switcheroo. A body double, with her being the real deal. Her bandito eyes bloomed tears like a horse she’d bet the farm on was caboosing down the stretch.

Great. Just what I needed. A Manchurian panda case.

Then two zoot-suited goons timpanied my office door.