Sunday, July 24, 2022

Preliminary flash fiction results


Here's an early look at the entries that stood out for me.



Lisa Bodenheim


She sneezed and sniffed.


“Like this?” He aimed the camera.


The viewfinder framed the shadowy grays of sky, river, and hills.


A breeze ruffled his blonde-tipped fake Frohawk with its perfect zig-zag design, wafted his musky pheromone cologne her way.


She sneezed again and wheezed. Shitty bombshell of a billionaire!


How do you tell this life-long boyo his taste stunk? The new camera, appropriated hairstyle, synthetic musk cologne—-all for her sake.


Her eyes watered and itched.


“You have your stuff, darling?”


He was supposed to have been her next victim. Instead, he’d become her one and only vanishing point.


The descriptions here are excellent.

Where I foundered was "vanishing point."

I had to look it up, but that's not the problem. I like looking up things.

The problem was I didn't understand how becoming a vanishing point related to the story.

Now, that may just be me. Ok, probably is.






They'd thought she was blonde, natural, soft.


She wasn't. But she was catwalk perfect, spotted in the street: shadowy cheekbones, billionaire lips, unsettling eyes.


The fashion houses fought for a contract.


Her photo? Everywhere. Fast.


Now, at the pinnacle of her career, she was glitzy, gleaming, full of life - but hungry. So hungry.


Time for her bombshell.


She screamed. Loud. Piercing.


All those who'd gazed on her - envied over magazines, lusted over the internet, ill-wished and gossiped over soggy posters on rainy stations… stopped.


Her smile grew, eclipsed by her teeth.


They'd thought she was human, natural, soft.


She wasn't.


billionaire lips!



Just Jan


Sixteen missing to date. Cold cases, all of them.


They look to me for comfort, and so I deliver: fudge bombshells to the muddied volunteers, blonde-brownie sundaes to officers burdened with overtime, and frosty treats for the bloodhounds. On the house, of course.


In this life, I’m the king (emperor, if you will) of ice cream.


The local news loves to run stories about the billionaire who scoops up hope while a shadowy force preys on the neighborhood kids. The entire town eats it up. It’s the perfect spin.


Just don’t look in my freezer.


Nice twist!

It says nothing good about me that I saw it coming!



Steve Forti


“A perfect call”


“Billionaires shouldn’t exist”


“Bombshell new testimony”


“Ugh, Lon.  Why must the news be so stressful?  And what’s with the need for superlatives in every headline?  Like here: “Rights demolished by Supreme Court’s shadowy docket.”






“Nevermind.  It sucks, Mel.  Long-cherished freedoms taken for granted, now taken away by unelected overlords.  But that’s life in this post-word splitting reef.  When you gotta go whole hog on prompts, the world goes whole hog on chaos.”


“What can we do?”


“Only thing there ever is to do: rebel.”


“That’s dumb, Lon.”


“Desperate time, Mel.  Desperate times.”


post-word splitting reef just doubled me over with laughter.



Michael Seese


High in the Hollywood Hills, billionaires are a dime a dozen. Many earned their money through perfectly acceptable means, such as going all Elon then price gouging the world. Others profited through more shadowy endeavors.


The bottle blonde—peroxide and whiskey—dropped on me a bombshell of an offer.


"My richer-than-god dumber-than-dirt husband is testing his home-built airplane Saturday. Make it look like an accident, and you'll get a cut."


Pity that the signature on her ill-advised "miscellaneous expenses" check was carboned to two other documents.


A confession.

And a power of attorney.


Life is good here in the Hills.



Nice twist!






Blonde curls. Pressed khaki uniform. 127 Badges. 21,566 boxes of cookies sold. That’s billionaire equivalent for Junior Russian Girl Scouts. Her prize? Present cookies to the President.


Marching Bands. Bunting fluttering. Shadowy bodyguards forming a perfect semi-circle on the podium.


She stepped up. Smiling, she held out a box of home baked cookies. He took two and patted her on the head while cameras flashed. No one noticed her ruffled blue and yellow anklets.


It would be almost 12 hours until the bombshell hit. She would be high in the Ural Mountains by then, practicing wilderness life badges 26-54.


Nicely political without being over the top!





Amy Johnson


Annette had a perfect, millionaire’s family. Then she spotted the gorgeous blonde in Oliver’s arms and knew things would never be the same.


She cleaned up bombshell after bombshell from the shadowy places in the home they’d built together. Before the kids could see. It was for the best, she figured. Soon enough they would have to deal with the stench life can bring.


The kids were playing in the yard when Annette glanced out the kitchen window and saw her approaching them. The golden girl opened her mouth. A stick fell out. Annette smiled, knowing she was a billionaire.


Is Annette a dog? I mean a four legged canine dog?

I don't quite get this.

Let's just blame the heat, and the fact I woke up in the middle of the night worried my air conditioner would stop working.  (not good in 95+ heat!)





I died alone. A perfect ending to an unfulfilled life. Within seconds I went through a dark tunnel with no light at the end as many had described. I arrived in front of a blonde androgynous being who looked over my shadowy past with a handheld device. I had been a billionaire who bought whatever I desired regardless of the consequences to others.


"Does this mean I'm going to Hell?" I asked.


The being looked at me and smiled. "You mean, back to Hell. Yes, I'm afraid so. Right through that door," he pointed. "Planet Earth."


It was a bombshell.


Now this is a very interesting concept!



Melanie Sue Bowles


“Know what your problem is?”


My stomach lurched. I looked up from my laptop. My husband’s perfectly tanned face darkened the door of my cozy writing nook.


“You sit in this shadowy hole, doom-scrolling. Wasting your life. Wasting!”

He flipped his bleach-blond hair off his forehead. I suppressed an eye-roll.


“Lucky to have me,” he muttered, stomping away. I waited for the front door to slam then looked back down at the screen to reread the email from my editor:


“Your book is going to be a bombshell! Who would’ve thought murder could be so funny? We’ll all be billionaires.”


I'm a little worried for Jim!

 (that's Mr. Melanie Sue for those who wonder)




M.R. Howe


That’s a bombshell, alright.


Some little blonde kid found it under the swingset during recess, I guess. Thought it was an old shadowy bottle or something. Started playing with it and tossing it around before some ex-military gym teacher shit his pants, blew a whistle, and ran for his life.


It could have blown at any point. Lucky kid; probably end up a billionaire if he can keep that curiosity in check.


There’s a catch to disarming these. One wire, five or six seconds later you know if you live or die. Snip and pray.












oh geeze. This is cruel, cruel I tell ya.

Maybe it's a test?

Did it blow up?

Did it not?






Roman Ivanov


“They’re perfect.”


I glance across the room at the tiny, blonde woman who had just broken the silence. Darla. Of course this had all been Darla. The rest of our colleagues stare out the window, faces wan, slack jawed.


“How can you say that?” I point at the shadowy forms hulking overhead. Monsters, our monsters, consuming life as we know it. The weight of everything hits me like a bombshell. “We’ve ended the world, Darla.”


She nods. “And after they’re done, they’ll know who to thank. Not Jamie, that billionaire prick. Us. The scientists.” Darla smiles. “We’ll rule the world.”


oh boy, this does not bode well does it?





Dad was right; Evvie should've been a copyeditor. Marketing influencer was all dreary sponcon and shadowy TikTok contests for creepy billionaires.


This promised world-changing bombshell turned out to be a slogan contest for 'the perfect blond roast', which the world needs like another indie hole in the head. Still, $1000 and a tropical vacation was worth it. Evvie only grumbled a little that 2019 marketers got salaries.


It was the surprise of her life when she showed up to collect her prize. It was 'the perfect blonde roast', and she should never have accepted that free dye job from L'Oreal.


Nice twist!



I had to look up sponcon. How behind the times am I? Did you know the word?








Mitzie was blonde beyond her roots, one too many cousins married down a branchless family tree.


In her trademark manner—vacant blue eyes, tapping a manicured finger against perfectly ruby-glossed lips until her teeth bled Dior 999—Mitzie offered a petulant sigh.


“Hurry, darling. Get your vacation trinket. Anything'll do.”


A vapid ancestral twig and billionaire’s boy through and through, Billy flung fistfuls of sand, shouting with glee, “I got one, Mommy!”


But when Billy’s unexploded bombshell, the American’s Golan Heights souvenir, rolled from the shadowy depths of Tel-Aviv airport’s x-ray, Mitzie’s stupor stopped.


“Run for your life!”


Bye-bye Billy.


One of the best first lines I've ever seen, ever.





Tain Leonard-Peck


The blonde walked in. She was smirking and shadowy as always; a perfect disaster of a dame.


"I've a bombshell for you," she drawled, lashes fluttering like a flag in wind.


"Come on, out with it." I don't play games.


"Got a racing tip your life's about to change. We're getting the professional stuff now."


I blink, incredulous. "Fortified oats? The boss must be a billionaire. Lucky day!"


She tosses her silky mane.


"Lucky day, huh? Hope that luck follows you to the track."


She turns and leaves, her hooves clicking, tail waving high.


The odds always favored Lady Luck.


I'm always a sucker for unusual view points, and of course, being horse-mad since the age of 10, this one is right up my alley.




AJ Blythe


Meeting of the Banished, Craig F’s bar, 10am

Present: Colin, JDF, NLiu, Dena, Craig F.

Colin: JDF is right, I have a clever escape route out of here.

(Excited chatter from group)

Colin: Janet has her eagle eye on character cliches. Let’s mix it up, slip out when she’s chomping elsewhere. Take a cliché and re-pair.

NLiu and Craig F.: We’re shadowy and blonde.

(They side-step a renegade cop and flee)

Dena and JDF: We’re a bombshell life.

(They abscond past a beautiful female)

Colin: That leaves me with billionaire and…

(Realises he’s alone)

Colin: almost perfect plan.


This is hilarious and meta and did I mention hilarious.




Megan V


The day Jenny turned ten, M.A.S.H. dreamed up her perfect man. Blonde. A billionaire. (He had to be a billionaire on account of the mansion they’d live in).


She’d be an architect, busy drawing up plans. He’d be Bruce Wayne, minus that whole shadowy alter-ego. (Bats were definitely not her thing).


The day she turned twenty, Jenny married him lakeside at the country club. (Too good to be true).


His fist dropped the bombshell a week later. (Followed by his boot).


Suddenly, Jenny realized she’d never had a reason to pick up a bat before. (Now, she had a billion).


oh my!

The only problem is I don't understand what M.A.S.H. refers to.




There were a lot of terrific entries that weren't quite stories.


What did you think?

Any I've over looked here?

Which ones are your faves?



Craig F said...

I think I hurt myself when I read A.J.'s. Since that is an entirely new reading affect, I have to pick her.

Steve Forti said...

Good to see some people having fun with it. And hoping the "post-word splitting" isn't a real thing. I fear I'd find myself banished quite often.

Anyone else have a moment of panic in the 96 degree heat when finding out a hose popped loose and drained a quarter of the pool? It was a hide inside kind of day.

Amy Johnson said...

Ha! and Oooohnooo -- I got an "I don't quite get this." No, Annette is not a canine. She is the mom of a "millionaire's family" (one daughter and one son). I was going for less than transparent with this story, attempting to make it seem at first that Annette's husband was cheating with a gorgeous blonde, and that Annette tried to hide the dad's infidelity from the kids. The blonde even approached the kids! But it turned out the blonde was a new dog; Annette was literally cleaning up the dog's messes in the house; and the blonde's dropping the stick revealed she was a canine, not the dad's new love interest. That was supposed to be the surprise. Then the reader reads the story again and sees it a different way -- all along it was a dog, no cheating husband. And now that the family has a dog, their lives are even richer -- billionaires instead of mere millionaires. A happy story.

I might have been trying to pack too much into 100 words or fewer (and/or it was simply bad writing). I even included an early hint that the story included a dog (Annette for Annie, and Oliver, the first name of Daddy Warbucks from "Annie" -- another story with a dog.) Yeah, maybe too much. When the explanation requires more words than the story ... :)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

I enjoyed AJ's meta story and Forti's bravery in splitting up a word and MR Howe's bit of schadenfreude ... or do I mean Schrödinger’s cat...

RE: Vanishing Point
I was alluding to 2 things and perhaps neither worked.
1-A vanishing point is 2 lines that join to become 1 point, sorta like a marriage unity candle set. No?
2-Vanishing made me think of the witness protection program. Oh, wait..if she intended him as "victim" then I used it the opposite of its normal meaning ... she, the criminal was vanished with him to protect her. Hm...well, blame faulty thinking on my being drunk with glee that it's great to have these flash fiction contests again!

AJ Blythe said...

Thank you for the shout out, Janet. Rather thrilled at the moment. I hope I didn't cause you too much damage, Craig!

There were so many good entries this week! I'm at work and have gone well over my break reading them. Oops, but they were all worth the time.

NLiu said...

Wow, I'm super happy to make the mentions again! Thank you, Our Lady Of The Fins.

My favourites were Just Jan (ice cream puns!), S.D.King (I just loved the girl scout and the writing was perfect) and also Melanie Sue Bowles (murder so funny!)

Also the UXB story. I'm still holding my breath, M.R. Howe, and it's your fault.

I am exceedingly grateful to A J Blythe for finally getting me out of Carkoon! It was an ordeal. I can't even look at kale any more.

Oh, and commiserations to Ash Complin. I assume that was a true story. Yikes! Are you okay??

M.R. Howe said...

Amy's was my favorite. I'm a sucker for revelation dog.

I was a big R.L. Stine fan when I was a kid. One of my favorites was a Ghosts of Far Street book called Don't Ever Get Sick at Granny's.

You can imagine how the story goes, but at the end, there's a twist: our protagonist wakes up, realizing the horrors he had just experienced at his grandmother's house were in fact all just a dream. I know, you rolled your eyes.

Also, he's actually a dog.

The whole story was a dog's dream.

As a child, I thought this was a genius literary subversion.

Maybe I still do.

(Also apparently the entire Ghosts of Fear Street series was ghostwritten. Normally I'd feel betrayed, but I'll make an exception purely on grounds of pun.)

Beth Carpenter said...

So many great entries! I'll probably have nightmares tonight about exploding bombshells and murderous blondes.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

Oh...! What fun, a mention. Thank you. I love how Colin used all the prompts in his opening sentence. And I'm torn between JustJan, LynnRodz, and Steve Forti's entries. "post-word splitting Reef" HA!

And just so everyone knows - the only reason real-life peach of a husband Jim's face is tan is because he's outside all day tending horses and pastures here at the sanctuary. He was tickled to see his name.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

These were all freaking amazing. I wouldn't be able to choose. Not in a million billion years. Kind of glad I missed this one. The Reef was really on their game. Wow.

Kate Larkindale said...

I don't envy you having to pick a winner. So many very clever people here! I'm in awe...

Kimberly said...

I loved all the entries - Just Jan and Mallory love stuck out to me - the twists! This was fun. Mine turned out paranormal, but I don't even write paranormal. :)