Friday, October 16, 2020

Nobody Moves to NYC for the Weather Flash Fiction Contest

We had about three weeks of the AC off but still warm enough to not need the heat. That changed a couple days ago, but the heat isn't on yet. So I'm wearing mittens, a hat, a scarf and my coat IN my apartment.

In the afternoon it's warmer outside than in.
Soon enough, I'll be throwing open the windows cause the steam heat will turn this place into an oven.
Every winter I understand why people move to Florida.
Not that I'm moving to Florida but I get it.

So, to warm the cockles of my cold little heart, 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:



sox (and yes, you MUST use this spelling. NO socks!)


(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, October 17, 7:58am

Contest closes: Sunday, October 18, 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, too late, the contesst is closed.


Steve Forti said...

“Don’t be so xenophobic. Turn off Fox. Not everyone has to be like you.”

“I get that, but there are some things you just cannot accept. Things that are morally wrong. We need a good cultural abluent to cleanse these people from our country.”

“Calm down, Earl. They’re not committing some official protocol deviation.”

“They are! And they’re spreading, like some mindless hive response. It’s sickening. This isn’t the toilet paper direction debate, or pronouncing bah-gle, or leaving one second on the microwave. No, I will not accept it. This goes too far. Nobody should bite string cheese like that!”

french sojourn said...

A cold wind blew through the galley as Jake closed the roof hatch. He shivered and checked the weather radar again, “Goodbye blue skies.”

Pounding on the bulkhead, he yelled, “Sammy, I’m gonna need help reefin’ the main.” He heard movement below and drew a filleting knife from a drawer.

The Pacific crossing had taken its toll aboard the Carbon Foxhole, tempers flared daily.

Sammy appeared, wearing his blue Yankee’s hat, and said, “C'mon Masshole!” as he headed out to the cockpit.

Jake followed and drew up behind him, sliced his throat, then pushed him overboard. “Now…How bout’ them Sox?”

Craig F said...

He sailed up from the islands across the ocean blue, his fortune for to find.
He learned to live with a bitter winter as he found his groove.
The virus crept up, quiet as a fox, and shivered his sox off.
He ran back to the things he loved as a child, and the one waiting there.
But outrunning a pandemic is not a simple thing, it was waiting at the end, or beginning, of his trail; with the one he loved in its cold embrace, beneath the hill xe’d loved.

Michael Seese said...

"You graduated Cambridge, right?"

"It's Oxford," he said coldly, steely eyes bluer than his blood.

I knew full well the old fox was no Cantabrigian. But only saints resist the twist of a shiv.

"Erat quid demonsterdom."

"It's quod erat demonstrandum, you half-wit."

I mulled a few choice piss-and-vinegar comebacks. But why pile on bloke when he's in a bind?

"Look, mate, you're under the gun here."

"What do you want?"

"Just sign the will. Then you and the missus can go."

The ink not yet dry, I pushed the shiv in to its hilt.

Something no sinner can resist.

Timothy Lowe said...

So much depends upon the
Shivering shadows

So much depends upon
Oxazepam in the morning
Clozapine at night
Beds unmade
In the evening shade
My mother’s
Shivering smile

So much depends upon
That fucking word
The not-heard
Memory lost,
Years spent
By gutless words

(You never heard) like


So much depends upon
My father
His oxygen taken
Stolen like breath
From a


Chris Ryan said...

Vinny Stunod had been working on his conversation skills. “Gonna drop to 39 degrees. I hate the cold.”

No Pulse Johnny shivered. “Big Blue and the Jets suck. The Yanks fell short, it’s just depressing.”

“Ayyy, saying that about the Bombers is sacrilege.” Stunod saw their mark.”We really gonna do this, Johnny?”

“Joey Thumbs said do it or we’re done.”

They screamed. “WE LOVE THE RED SOX!”

Pedro Martinez called to the doorman, “Johnny the Fox owes me $500.”

Laughter erupted everywhere.

They been pranked.

“That’s cold,” Johnny said.

Vinny frowned, “That’s New York City cold.”

Ash Complin said...

She entered the party, and the room went dysoxic. Her cold, somber expression froze each guest as she stalked past them like a fox pursuing a hen.

The victim stood wordlessly in the back of the hall, watching her approach. The once-blaring televisions on the wall seemed to quiet.

When she reached him, he felt a shiver go down his spine, and his blue tie seemed to tighten itself. At that moment, he would rather have stared Death in the face. Death's words would have been more pleasant.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Biden," she lamented. "We've lost."

Brent Salish said...

Another jolt to Alison’s hypothalamus. Muscles contracted. Tendons twitched.

And again, her head clamped, eyes fixed on the fox.

Sweet, loving silver fox. Luxuriant fur, two white paws.

Alison shouted, screamed blue murder, cried, peed.

The hard-eyed man set the animal in a carrier, fingered a switch.

Alison braced, but the apparatus released. She turned, vomited.

Her mind reached for dear Sox, her gold-eyed familiar - and she doubled over, retched, drooled bile onto the kitchen floor.

"Shiversion therapy." Stepdaddy as scold, his demonic voice and Jameson breath in Alison's ear. "Ain't gonna be no witchin' in my house."

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

She is his oxygen. His passion. His obsession. She just doesn't know it. Yet.

He is the shiver down her spine. The shadow sliding behind her on the sidewalk. The sly fox slinking in the woods near her house. The presence she senses but does not see.

He daydreams. His knife traces the cold blue roadmap of her veins. He licks the hot red river it leaves behind.

She pays attention now. Looks over her shoulder. Watches out her window.

He has gotten sloppy. She has gotten ready.

He just doesn't know it. Yet.

Brigid said...

The car roared as it sped off. It had a foxy sound, she had to give him that, deep enough to give her shivers unrelated to the cold. And that turn radius was so...xyresic. Still, the neon blue muscle car made him look like he was compensating for something. He probably wasn't taking her rejection well. If he could just trust her, he'd see they'd all be happier this way.

Sighing, she shifted into the highest gear.

C. Dan Castro said...

Our kitchen. Our little table.

He caresses my hands. So gentle. "How you feeling?"

Blue. Black. "Good," I lie, shivering.

"You cold?"

"Talk tech. What they'll do."

"Y'sure? Well, the surgeons'll use Superimposed Order X-Ray Tomography, SOXT, to..."

I’m Coleridge's Mariner. Between Death and the Nightmare Life-in-Death.

The silver fox lectures on, unaware my request is to sooth his nerves. To feel there's something he can do.

I've long dreaded the possibilities. Mom's disease. Dad's wasting.

Stomach throbs. Ice picks.

I remember why. For now.

The silver fox pauses. Can't recall his name.

But he caresses my hands. So gentle.

Tess Rook said...

Returning is easy, the blood-scent of the copper plated doorknob pulling me back to the cold chasm. Out of the blue-fir copse.

At the crest of the hill I stop. There is a light in the house. I didn’t leave one on when I left. The shadow of a fox skirts around me. A wide berth given.

Halloween adrenaline junkies inside, probably. Shivering teenagers, pushed to bravery by dares and desoxy chemical courage. But it’s a fool’s errand. I have never seen a ghost in the house, and I have lived there for over 300 years.

Kae Ridwyn said...

The bell rang. Everyone left, then Tess slipped the card into Steve’s desk tray. She shivered, thinking about tomorrow. Would he like it? She’d tried her hardest, rubbing out the wonky lovehearts. She’d also pasted fox pictures onto it, cut from Grandpa’s encyclopaedia. (Steve liked foxes. See? She’d thought this through!)

Then she’d spent ages writing the words. The front: Be my Valentine. Inside: Roses = red, Violets = blue. Once I was cold, now I’m hot for you. (Something grownups said on Mummy’s TV shows.) Then she’d signed it.

Unfortunately, their Kindergarten teacher checked desk trays each morning.

Marie McKay said...

I've to feed the fish. Twice a day as instructed- the instructions are specific and numerous. I head next door, shivering, nauseous, oxygen overload, overbreathing. I should never have agreed to this. The fish needs a certain light, certain temperature, certain .... I open the bag.Throw the fox in the tank. The blue, cold water blushes with frenzy. But it's the speed that's unnerving. I stand back. Wait.
The fish nods. I've done well this time. But his planet-sized eyes say more. More.

KDJames said...

"Gram, this is Isaac, the writer I mentioned."

She wore Foxy-Sox, compression socks adorned with cartoonish blue-haired 1940s pinups. Perfect for concealing a sheath.

"Ah. I've been expecting you," she said.

"Ma'am. I'm eager to hear your stories."

He questioned. She spun lies about truths she couldn't reveal, even now. Forever guarded, always prepared…

Someone nudged her awake. "Gram?"

"Where's Ivan?"

"Isaac. You drifted off; he said you'd earned your rest."

The old code phrase made her shiver.

"He asked when he could come back."

Gnarled fingers brushed the familiar cold handle in the sheath. "Anytime, dear. I'm always prepared."

Just Jan said...

Grandma Nell’s ox-tail dumplings are too salty. Crazy Uncle Max claims his savory pie is made with fox meat. (It tastes like chicken.) And Great Aunt Gladys layers the wrong kind of truffles into her trifle.

Tempers flare as contestants are eliminated.

Then a wheelchaired grandpa passes his wife a shiv--ergonomically crafted from a toothbrush--and the fun really begins. Dentures clack! Canes crack! Suddenly, someone yells, “Code Blue!”

The crowd parts to find Nana Betty on the floor, coldcocked by her own portable oxygen tank.

Jerry Springer? Nope. Just another episode of The Great Nursing Home Bake-Off.

RosannaM said...

Faux fur sox and fox fur stoles held October chills at bay. Oh, not outside under skies blued with unshed sleet, but in Gabrielle’s beloved rent-controlled studio. But barely. Her nose never got warm until the heat came on mid-November.

Shivering substituted for gym workouts, fasciculating muscles generating a slight thermal bump, from freezing to merely cold.

But 2020, an anomaly, pushed Gabrielle to act. No more. You hear that everyone? No more.

Home, working furiously. Fueled by an inner kerosene lantern. Fingers flashing, fashioning.

Flannel, fleece, folded three-ply, bilateral ear straps.

Not Covid mask. Nose mask.

Not rebellion.


Jenn Griffin said...

I met a fox, he did me woo
with words of charm that made me quiver.
Under skies so blue, with sheepskin sox
I felt no cold; I did not shiver.

Truth be told, I came to rue
the way he snuffled and beckoned me hither.
I dared not scold, I tell you true
once did his Mum; he ate her liver.

Colin Smith said...

I thought Bob was the perfect guest to take to the party. Smart, funny, friendly—never cruel or harsh. I’ve reconsidered my opinion. He was so xenophobic. Cold to everyone. Just sat in the corner, Bluetooth earphones in, staring shell-shocked like a cornered fox.

“Bob?” I said, when I finally got his attention.
“SHSHHSH!” he said. “Don’t let them see me!”
I started to object, but he glared at me.

His plan seemed to work. All night I tried to introduce people to him. They would look at Bob, look at me, and smile. As if there was nothing there.

Dwane G said...

A magnificent splash of red stood out from the monochromatic landscape of leafless trees and fresh snow. “Do you think it’s the same one we spotted last spring?” Margot asked. “Could be,” Todd replied. The scene forced a recollection from her childhood. “It brings to mind my great-aunt Sophia. She occasionally wore this creepy blue fox stole she nicknamed Sox. The thing still had its head, feet, tail, everything. I was scared to death the first time I saw it. I thought she had skinned her dog! It still sends cold shivers down my spine when I think about it.”

flashfriday said...

-It is cold for octobre, he says.
-Yeah, I say, tugging my ice-blue scarf tighter. Perfect for pie-baking.
-Pas pour moi, he says. Without my gym, I must avoid the carbs.
-Sorry, I say, checking my ID for the hundredth time and scooting forward.
-I still walk, he says. The mask cannot stop me.
-Stops me sometimes, I say.
-Not today, he says.
-Not today, I agree.
Time passes comfortably, despite the toes numbing in my fuzzy orange fox sox.
-It is cold, he says, shivering.
Ahead the doorway yawns; something sparks.
-Only outside, I say, and we step in.

Jennifer Rand said...

She shivers, not from the cold, but from the life-affirming moment. Everest's icy blue summit. She takes a cheeky thumbs-up photo and dances a jig.

Upon her descent she stops short. The queue down is a hundred climbers deep. Her guide's panicked words sink in. He'd turned back 800 feet before the top. "We can't continue-the wait's too long!"
She'd refused to turn back. Now she's trapped in the death zone running out of oxygen. SHIT!

She pens a note:

...forgive me, my darlings. OXOX

While she's wedged in line, her life and note drift away unnoticed.

Megan V said...

"I'm cold, Mama.”
Of course, he's cold. The wind's been hollering ever since his daddy went looking for a pot to piss in. Not that the man ever found a pot. Oh no. He found a bed that suited his blue balls better—a love nest with some fox willing to steal a man with no prospects and too much charm.
“It’s okay, baby, not much longer now.” I shiver.
“How much longer?”
The headlights are so xanthic, it’s hard to tell, but I hug him as I say, “Just keep looking for the light. You’ll see.”
They’ll all see.

Tain Leonard-Peck said...

She shivered in the cold.

"What can we call our team?"

A voice rang out. "White Sox! White since it's always freakin' snowing here!"

"That's too simple! Call us the Black Sox, after all the coal!"

A third cry. "Go with Green Sox, for the trees!"

She felt like a fox in the henhouse. So many names to choose from.

"Blue Sox, like all the sea ice!"

That. That was it.

She punched her palm, smilingly brightly for all to see.

"It's settled. I'll put in the paperwork for the North Pole Blue Sox of the Arctic Baseball Conference."

AJ Blythe said...

Look, sir. Look, sir. Mr Knox, sir.
I’m back with rhymes and dimes and chimes, sir.

First, I’ll make a liver sliver quiver.
Then I’ll make an Indian giver shiver.

You can make gnu goo glue.
You can make shrew stew blue.

Try to say this, Mr Knox please…

Szold rolled old mould.
Skold soled cold gold.
Szold sold Skold mould.
Skold sold Szold gold.

Stop it! Stop it!

No, I won’t sir.
One more line of silly stuff, sir.

Fox in sox with lox in box, sir.
Thank you for the detox vox, sir.

NLiu said...

"Cold blue shiver, please."

The barman raised an eyebrow. "Okay."

She watched him pour blue curacao and… mint syrup?? into a pint glass.

She sighed.

So, this was Oxford.

She liked the lectures but the rest? Disappointing. She'd been here seven months and not discovered one magic portal.

No wonder everyone drank.

The cocktail arrived: looked exciting. Tasted of fox piss.

But when the barman turned aside, she saw it, behind him: the door.

Ancient wood, rimed with ice. Carved with mysterious figures.


She leapt the bar, brimming with electric certainty--

It was a freezer.