Monday, October 26, 2020

Get Back on Track Flash Fiction Contest results

We had a low turnout this week; Might it be exasperation about how slow I was on last week's result?

 What we lacked in quantity, we made up in quality.

This was a terrific bunch of entries.

Words I had to look up

acouchi-Steve Forti



chinoiserie-Mallory Love

 These look like good prompt words, no?


Herewith the entries that really caught my eye.

Steve Forti

    “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.”

I'm laughing so hard as I read this!


    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.




Timothy Lowe

    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?”

Who the hell are The Superlatives?

Well one of them is named Lowe.


Ash Complin

    "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.


It's worrisome how much this appeals to me.

C. Dan Castro

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

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

    "I'M WRITING!"


    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.

Very poe-etic.


    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.

The snot-green couch did NOT like this entry at all.


The snot-green couch

Mallory Love

    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.”

 A guarantee nothing good happened here, including taste.

is one of my favorite lines EVER.


Just Jan

    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.



Colin Smith

    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.

This is deeply disturbing from our friend Colin, given we know he has six lovely children!


Jennifer Rand

    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.

Nice twist there!!!


Fearless Reider

    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.”

The Snot Green Couch LOVES this one!

french sojourn

    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?”





    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.

double yeesh!

Michael Seese


    "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.


Turkey Day at the Seese residence promises to be quite the day!


 This was a VERY hard choice but I don't want to put it off till later today, or you'll all be forgiven for gathering with hot tar and a bag full of feathers.


After reading these over several times, I had to go with KDJames. 

KD, drop me a line with what you like to read these days and I'll get your prize in the mail.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and post entries.

Reading them was the hightlight of my Sunday!





nightsmusic said...

Tim, I just wanted to say I'm so very sorry for your loss. *hug*

nightsmusic said...

And! KD, Congrats!!

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats, KD

Loved the piece!

Jennifer Rand: Breathtaking, all the way. I gasped on that last line.

Steve Forti said...

Congrats KD.
And condolences to Tim.

Colin Smith said...

Congrats, KD!

And, again, thanks for the shout-out, Janet. Don't worry, the kids are safe. In fact, I only have one non-adult kid left, and only two who are technically "teens"... 5 out of the 6 are 18 or older.

Nope, that wasn't a door creaking... it was my bones... 😕

Colin Smith said...

Oh, and I have updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

NLiu said...

Congrats, KD!

(I had several ideas this week [Supermodel sells couches! POV: Couch, who just hates being sat on and taken for granted! Antman vs Centipede Woman!] but alas my brain was too overworked this week to write anything resembling a story. ) Well done all who entered!

RosannaM said...

Up early, just before six a.m. Pitch dark, cold. Poke the laptop keyboard, sticky with old spilled wine, and settle in for a good read.

Dang, you guys are good! Funny, or sassy, or poignant--it's all there.

Read comments from the last couple of days. Oh, Timothy. I am so sorry for your loss. I have been there, and in the month of October, too. I remember being glad it was long-sleeve weather for quite awhile after, because the eyes had a spontaneous habit of dripping. Long sleeves are good blotters.

To Janet. I don't think the low turn out had anything to do with your response time. From what I see here, folks are pretty empathetic toward each other and can understand when the gravitational pull of the bed outweighs the corporeal desire to stay upright. Hope this is a better week for you.

Ash Complin said...

Congratulations, KD!

Casual-T said...

So many great entries! (This week as well as last) Thanks much, Janet, for the mention, and congrats to KD. As a parent, KD’s entry very much spoke to me! And, again as a parent, Colin’s gave me a deep sense of calm and relaxation (and a couple of ideas!)... Ha!

Well done, everyone.

@Timothy... My condolences for your loss. Your poem is stunning. Thank you for sharing. My mother died 2 and a half years ago, and it still hurts; although the pain is somewhat less sharp these days. It's the memories, good and bad, which keep her alive in my heart. I’m sure there will be more words, be they in poem-form or otherwise, that will come to your mind. Writing is a catalyst, sometimes soothing, sometimes enraging, but always helpful in ordering ones thoughts and recognizing ones emotions.

Brigid said...

Tim, I'm so sorry for your loss. May her memory be eternal.

Brigid said...

Janet, between toad-in-a-hole and chrysopoeia, my fellow writers are going to pool their royalties to buy me a one-way passage to Carkoon. In a suitcase. Or two.

Can chrysopoeia at least be for Steve?

Fearless Reider said...

Well done, KD! And another standout entry from Timothy Lowe -- I can't resist a great grammar joke, and that one is perhaps the greatest.

Amanda's entry made me snort. With my third son, I was on total bedrest for the second half of my abbreviated pregnancy. After spending 5 months in the NICU with our second, I was the world's most diligent bed/couch-rester, but the only thing I wanted after 3 months of horizontal living (besides a healthyish baby) was a new couch. The replacement set us back $15 at Goodwill, but it was worth every penny. We did check for cat pee -- can't fool me twice!

My husband edged out that old couch for MVP, but I still owe it a debt of gratitude. The one thing I could do for 6- and 3-year-old sons during bedrest was lie with them on my little couch island and read them book after book after book after book. We could never have guessed that before the year was up, our 3-year-old son would be gone. It took cancer only 4 months to claim him. For our family, 2020 has got nothing on 2002.

I know this is all exhausting, friends, but don't fail to watch for the silver linings, and try not to wish away time. When it's all done, though, you all get a new couch! You get a new couch! YOU get a new couch!

french sojourn said...

KDJames, well done and well deserved. cheers!

KDJames said...

What?! I won?!! I never win. What sorcery is this? Is this even allowed?

How exciting, Janet, thank you! Especially so among this crowd and these entries. I'm chuffed. (I've always wanted to use that word)

Thanks, all, for the congratulations. Forgive me if I spend the rest of the day over in that far corner, quietly basking.

Jennifer Rand said...

Congratulations, KDJames! Nicely done!!

Timothy Lowe, thank you so much for your comment.

Mallory Love said...

Congrats, KD James! Great entry. I also loved Timothy Lowe's and Jennifer Rand's. Thanks for the shout-out, Janet. I'm thrilled to have written one of your favorite lines. : )

Just Jan said...

Congratulations KD!!

Michael Seese said...

Nice work, KD.

And, if you factor out the medieval torture devices, that IS my family Thanksgiving.

Amanda said...

Congrats to everyone on their entries!