Friday, October 23, 2020

Get Back on Track flash fiction contest

This was one of those weeks I'd like to forget. I was down for the count for most of it, and have just now resurfaced to start digging around in my inbox.

I think a flash fiction contest is just the thing to get me back on track.

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:

(NO Steve Forti extra prompt word this week. I have retired from the field of battle. Forti Thwarts the Shark!)

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.

Example: "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: Saturday, 10/24/20 at 4:22am

Contest closes: Sunday, 10/25/20 at 9am

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! 


Sorry, contest is closed!


Steve Forti said...

“Steve’s acting super weird since that acouchi bit him.”
“You think it had rabies?”
“No. I sense something’s wrong, though.”
“Give him one of those tests. You know, repeating ‘person, woman, man, camera, tv.’”
“That’s a dementia test. What if we give him some flash prompts?”
“What, make him repeat “track, rant, couch, super, noise”? That seems like cheating.”
“Granted, but he wouldn’t just repeat them.”
“Why not? The thwarting’s over.”
“Fair point. Hey, what’s all that racket?”
“Huh? Oh, that’s just the boarding call for the next Carkoon flight.”
“You got your ticket?”
“Yeah, but I’m in ninth class.”

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

At twenty.
Hard couch not for sleeping. Lonely. Relief balanced on the edge of a razor blade. Track up not across. Super rant of despair becomes noiseless calm. Decision.
A voice?

Eyes closed. Life threatened. Reaching back I screamed inside my head. Don’t do it. Fight for the gift of time.

The voice said time is a gift. I opened it.

Seventy and a day.
Soft bed. Life ebbing. Precious sleep.

Twenty and a day.
Reaching forward I screamed inside my head. Don’t fall asleep. Fight for the gift that remains.

I listened. The gift continues.

Casual-T said...

Silence shook her awake like an unheard earthquake of the mind; her frantic heartbeat the only noise in the dark. The couch soaked in sweat; her anticipation was nauseating. She had smiled when the super said they’d come. He’d have to let them in; otherwise it’d be his life on the line.

How do they do it? How can they know her thoughts, her dreams, needs, and wishes? Why was it wrong for her to think, to feel the way she did? It didn’t matter; they were here. She just racked the slide and waited for a shadow to move.

Brent Salish said...

hide the tracks, dancing a rusty tarantella down her inner arm.

--Yes, look.

She extended her hands, palms up.

--This world makes so goddam much noise these days.

The siren within the syringe tendered songs of peace and reassurance couched in a melody of flight. She tapped, cleared the bubble.

—Look, dammit.

Staring at her reflection, she saw - an instant only - her yearbook photo superimposed on sallow, frail skin. Dissolve and cut, and the needle found its mark.

She thumbed the sweetness home.

Shelved the syringe.

Tugged again at her ragged sleeve, but she couldn’t

Timothy Lowe said...

Greedier stabbed the bank schematic with a sticky finger. “This is incomprehensible! Why did we put Messier on it?”

“I warned you,” said Bossier.

“And you! Get away from that drill!”

“Oops,” said Clumsier.

“Look sharp, people! Where the hell is Lazier, anyway?”

“He’s home on the couch.”


“Quit ranting. That’s Angrier’s job.”

“We’re gonna get pinched,” said Gloomier.

Jumpier spat. Racked his Glock.

“Put that away! Hand me the stethoscope!”

Slow breaths as tumblers clicked. Inside, a faint noise.

“Got it!”

Grunts. The safe squealed open to reveal nothing but a note.

“Who the hell are The Superlatives?”

Ash Complin said...

"Hit next. This track sucks," Adam scoffed from the couch.

"Vinyl doesn't work like that," Brian said.

Adam listened anyway. "Your speaker's dying. Hear that super annoying hiss?"

"That's warm noise... It's vinyl."

Adam laughed. "Dude, just get a CD--"

"I'm working on it," Brian interrupted, having heard this rant too many times. He put a finger on the record and guided it backwards.

A demon appeared. "WHAT IS YOUR OFFERING?"

Brian pointed at Adam, completing the deal.

"DONE." The demon vanished as hellfire immolated Adam.

Brian beamed at the new CD player that had finally taken the turntable's place.

C. Dan Castro said...

"Napping on the couch...a noise. A rapping! Or...tapping?"

Virginia pounds her ceiling, my flooring. "You okay?"



Ignore her. "Stepped a stately...parrot? Yes, and Polly wants a cracker." I almost quit writing forever.

Never to write again. Never---

Virginia's rapping knocks my chamber door open. And knocks my brain off its tracks.

"You're okay?"

"Yes, super. It's just..." I could excoriate Virginia. It would crush her, but she'd cease interrupting my writing forevermore. Or...interrupt it--

I gasp. Focus on her. Not the pallid skin--growing paler daily--but Virginia's hair.


My magnum opus comes together.

Linda Elliott Long said...

A Super Surprise
After napping on my couch, I awoke to a mysterious noise.
“Did anyone knock?” I asked myself as I opened my front door.
“Someone left me a package, beautifully wrapped!” “Who?” “Why?”
The messenger left no tracks.
I found the box empty except for a note that read, “From an admirer. Fill me with a gift for someone you love. Place your package at their door tomorrow.”
All day, I pondered to whom I could grant such a wonder – that someone loves me!
Then I knew the package was not empty. What a wonderful gift!

Linda Elliott Long said...

Linda Elliott Long -

A Super Surprise
After napping on my couch, I awoke to a mysterious noise.
“Did anyone knock?” I asked myself as I opened my front door.
“Someone left me a package, beautifully wrapped!” “Who?” “Why?”
The messenger left no tracks.
I found the box empty except for a note that read, “From an admirer. Fill me with a gift for someone you love. Place your package at their door tomorrow.”
All day, I pondered to whom I could grant such a wonder – that someone loves me!
Then I knew the package was not empty. What a wonderful gift!

Brigid said...

"You are sure you translated Abramelin correctly...?"

"You doubt, Nic? Ouch!"

A wry smile. "No, I see now. Clever cypher. Shall we try it?"

"Wear an apron, cher, we can't afford to offend the laundress."

"Unless the chrysopoeia works."

Eight tries, one exploding alembic, one broken coatrack, and three laundresses later: "Gold...superb."

Gilgamesh's Elixir next, first attempt. "Merde, it worked."

"What will we do now?"

"I'm more worried about ten years from now."

"So, we prove the happily in ever after."

"Faking our own deaths is hardly au courant."

Perenelle shrugged. "Alors. We always said we wanted time to travel."

Craig F said...

Xe and I made a super pair, the stuff of fairy tales. Xe moved from the Seelie court to my house, and we were on track to become legend. Then we had to hunker on the couch for too long.

Xe became bored and ranted away with a banshee wail. The noise began to rattle my brain, so I dragged Xe off to the lab, where the magic happened.

Turning from the door, I saw eyes burning bright as Xe surveyed the magic. Then Xe saw the extra easel, brushes, and palette. A smile peeked out of that pixie face.

Amanda said...

Dear Couch,

This year has been one for the books! We’ve spent more time together than I could’ve imagined and you’ve been as dependable as you are comfortable. You’ve been there for me and listened to the noise in my head like an album track on repeat. We laughed at political rants on Super Tuesday. We’ve watched old movie favorites and expanded our horizons with some new ones. So, it’s been real. It’s been fun, but when the vaccine is available…let’s break up.

Mallory Love said...

Bright orange chinoiserie wallpaper covers the wall behind the red-splattered leather couch. A guarantee nothing good happened here, including taste.
I scour the scene for clues….marks, tracks, prints… and come up empty. Nothing but a stain and the stench of death. The clock in the hall chimes. Less than an hour before my boss arrives, along with trouble. Super.
My head whips around at the sound of a crash. I turn in time to see the curtains move. I creep toward them.
“Alright, you little stinkers, clean this mess up and take a bath before your mom get here.”

Unknown said...

Track marks perforated his arm, evidence of an insatiable monster. Once a star athlete, class president, valedictorian, Princeton bound. Injury led to noise in his head, shrieking pain, vanished dreams, addiction. His parents screamed, ranted, plead for him to stop. But the monster had super powers drawing him in over and over until it finished devouring him.
Only eighteen… a future stolen; the coroner reflected. She had seen this black death too often. She wondered how she would tell his father as she lifted her son's lifeless body from the couch onto her gurney. A tear silently escaped.

Just Jan said...

Where was the food?

I’d been invited for supper, presumably to discuss the position. The offer was superior, I thought, lazily licking a paw. Room and board in a noise-free neighborhood, with a plethora of juicy benefits (if the holes behind the couch were any indication.) The only drawback was a vaguely unpleasant odor that spoke of errant spells or musty cauldrons. Or…wet dog?

No backtracking now. My stomach rumbled uneasily.

The moon rose, dispersing beams across the room. My employer uttered a cry and changed into something snarling and hairy.

Too late, I understood what was on the menu.

RosannaM said...

Rapid three tap. Thin panel opens noiselessly.


Couples enter and cozy up on velvet couches tucked into barred cells. Fifteen dollar drinks flow until eyes have difficulty tracking the swift soft shoe of the dancer.

He laughs, jumps and every so often narrates (or rants) about his life. His drink of choice straight out of the bottle, the silvery glint matching his hair.

He passes a battered dog bowl for tips, then slaps his leg and slips out.

“Superb! I’ve missed live performances.” The woman clings to the man as they leave.

Rapid three tap.

“Password?” she hears.


Colin Smith said...

Sunday afternoon.
Comfy couch.
Noise-cancelling earbuds.
Breakfast in America.
Track one.
Pure music.
No ranty neighbors
With their politics and problems.
No screaming teens
With their juvenile shenanigans.
No screeching cars
With their drunken drivers.
No roaring motorbikes
With their leather-clad hooligans.
Just me and Supertramp.
And my shotgun.
And my noise-cancelling earbuds.

And the smell of gunpowder.

Jennifer Rand said...

2632 C.E.---
Their love began with stolen glances under the watchful eyes of Supervisors. Forced to wait each morning on opposing couches in the transfer station, the two nurtured a quiet romance, unstoppable even by their imprisonment.

Awaiting transport to work camps, they'd mouthed their devotion. A noiseless communication no one could track.

But work assignments were changing. Their mornings together would end.

He slipped into the seat behind her. "I can get us out," he whispered frantically. "Meet me in lavatory C." He squeezed her shoulder.
She placed her hand upon his.

If only he'd known she was deaf.

Fearless Reider said...

It’s subtle at first, faint whiff of sulfur wafting from the couch. I air the cushions in the April breeze and reduce my cruciferous veggies.

By July, infernal noises join the mephitic stink. “Fireworks again?” I rant and burrow beneath throw pillows.

By October, it’s bad enough to call the super.

“There’s your problem.” He pulls goopy fistfuls of snot-green fluff from the cushions, shushing demonic howls.

“The sofa’s possessed?”

“Worse,” he grunts. “See?”

There are words in the fluff. Revise WIP. Dust off NordicTrack. Master macarons. Kondo closet. Learn Italian.

He shakes his head mournfully. “Upholstered with good intentions.”

french sojourn said...

Their prison was a bleak uncharted island. The only noises were the waves, the relentless waves, like some mind-numbing slow-motion Disco beat. Weathered pine trees fought to pierce the fogbank that blanketed the shore. At low tide, itinerant crabs skulked about the seaweed capped rocks.

Their sanctuary, a dark dank cave, granted them little warmth. The crates and parachutes were fashioned into two uncomfortable couches for sleep.

Luckily (?) a shipwrecked barge offered them tons of some canned meat substitute, marked “Soylent” in green cans, on rusted bent racks.

“Steve, what’s up… er… still mad about that "respectable Yankees" quip?”

KDJames said...

She couched it in terms even a child could understand, her rejection.

I'd always been her defender, her knight errant. Hadn't I? The one who protected, slayed monsters, kept her safe. Her superhero.

Now she's saying she doesn't want that. She wants the vibrant heat and light and noise of the real world. She wants the risk, the danger. The wild possibilities.

My eyes track her expressions, recognizing the confidence and intelligence and courage I'd always suspected were in her. My girl has grown into the person I feared she might become.

There's no choice but to try again.

Michael Seese said...


"Ouch. Could you try to be a little more careful with those nails!"

"Oh, all crucifixees complains about that," he said apologetically.

"How about that rack over there?"

"Actually, it's a Catherine Wheel."

"Learn something new every day."

"What do you think?"

I never was good with snap decisions.

"I don't know…"

"They do comes with a 100% money back guarantee."

"Super. I'll take them all.

Granted, it might be overkill. But with the family coming over for Thanksgiving, and the "rigged election" all they'll want to talk about, these little beauties should help keep the noise down.