Friday, July 15, 2022

Yes, it's the return of the Flash!

 I've missed the flash fiction contests too.

Time to dust off your word hoard!

The usual rules apply:


1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.


2. Use these TWO (not the usual five) prompt words:



One of my clients sent this to me-imagine why!




(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 7/16/22 9am (NYC time) SORRY! I opened the comments 99 minutes late!


Contest closes: Sunday 7/17/22 10:39am (NYC time)


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


Sorry, the contest is closed. Results to be posted on Monday 7/18.



Kitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NLiu said...

They sat by candlelight and flipped through the book of names.

"Beatrice Prudence?" he suggested.

"No," she said. "She'll turn out crotchety. Caitlin Apple?"

"I hope that's a joke. Unless you want her embarrassing us on American Idol?" He leafed towards the back. "Zenobia Xanthe Yvette?"

"A tongue twister? Now who's being unrealistic?"

He sighed.

She picked at her oversized robe. "Listen. I've got it. Amelia Alexandra Isobel Emily Eponine Eleanor Elizabeth."

He paused. "AAIEEEE! For initials?"


"I love it!"

She grinned.

They set the book aside and began to chant. The perfect banshee was as good as summoned.

Craig F said...

“Listen, it’s coming.”
We waited quietly until the trap actuates.
The bioengineered unicorns had magic. When all six of them reached their 12 inches of maturity, they walked out, leaving the facility a smoking rainbow pile, like a Squatty-Potty commercial.
At the trap I readied myself.
“Aaieee!” burst out as the unicorn tried to escape, piercing my hand.
A curious warble came from my daughter, the unicorn paused, it bowed before her; she touched its horn.
The locked in intelligence of her cleared and she said “Daddy” for the first time.
The unicorn looked smug and walked away.

Elizabeth Wig said...

"Welcome to Carkoon Tech's club fair! You interested in joining any professional societies? AIAA? IEEE? Entrepeneurial Engineers?"

"Actually, I can't find my roommate. You seen an angelfish around? Mel is tender, a sweet little thing."

"Can't say I have..."

"Great. Say, you're looking fresh yourself."

"Hmm, how about you take a look at Pier Counseling? Under the 'Fish are Friends, Not Food' banner."

"I see it. One last thi- hey, where'd you go?"

"Fins up! Campus security. We have some questions."

"About Mel? I dunno where she went, honest!"

"Sure, ma'am."

"Fine, I'll talk - after I check out Seafood Society."

Division 1 said...

A lone Teva sailed over the opaque sphere encircled by participants. “Listen to me!” Lennox said, slapping his other sandal against his palm. “I CAN’T SAY IT! I’m English.” 

Diouf strolled over, picked up the sandal, and, pointing his index finger at Lennox, said, “You must say it. It will clean your heart.” 

Nods travelled around the circle. Yeshe signalled. 

“Say it, say it, say it,” chanted the circle. 

“Go deal with your mommy issues, Diouf,” Lennox said. 

“I can say to my mommy these three words,” Diouf said, flinging the sandal. 

Lennox paced. “I… I… AAIEEEE! I can’t.”

Steve Forti said...

“New McDonald's has no fun. Gee, I miss those Playlands.”

“You're not a kid anymore, just eat.”

“New McDonald's has salads and apples. Me? I miss the super size fries.“

“The next restaurant or deli’s ten miles away. Eat your burger.”

“Old McDonald’s had Mayor McCheese. Remember him? He, I –“

“Please stop.  It’s a long drive and I want to eat in peace.”

“This new McDonald’s is already falling apart. See, I found here a crack, there a crack…”

“Don't do it. I'm swear to Grimace I'll stab you with this fork.“

“Old McDonald’s had a farm. E-I-E- AAIEEE!

Beth Carpenter said...

“Listen up, soldiers. We’re here for one thing, and one thing only. To rescue this impregnable jungle of tangled prose. Is it worth saving? Doesn’t matter. It’s our job.”


“Quiet, Webster. You’re on redundancy patrol. Search and destroy. Oxford!”


“You’ve got adverbs. Obliterate anything ending with -ly. Macmillan!”


“Strengthen those verbs.” She pulled a machete from her belt. “I’ll hack my way to a succinct ending.”

“Watch out, Sarge. It’s—"

“Get busy, Webster. I know what I’m doing. What th—AAIEEEE!”

“I tried to tell you, ma’am. It’s a cliffhanger!”

Timothy Lowe said...

“Found one,” said the man. They stood on a mountain of waste, surveying, pinging the ground, listening with earbuds screwed in.

“What kind?”



The man winked. “An artificially intelligent, energy-efficient electron emitter.”

“Wiseass. What’s the charge left in the battery?”

“Eighteen percent.”

“Worth going for,” said the cybernetic woman, clambering aboard a lithium-powered pneumatic drill. She pulled a lever. The machine hummed to life, scouting for another defunct smartphone. “We can get a few hours out of that.”

The man touched a button to adjust the temperature of his thermal suit. “Crazy, what people used to throw away.”

Colin Smith said...

He watched while I attached the last strand of Christmas lights, but my attention was more on my display than the strange man in the suit.

I flicked the switch. Spectacular!

“Listen!” the man finally said. “Precisely the correct frequency.”


He extended a card: Dr. Samuel Jordanson, AAIEEEE.


“Abram Armstrong Institute for Electrical Engineering and Entropic Experimentation,” he explained. “May I?” He took out his phone, approached the display, and tapped the screen.

The lights flickered.

My house disappeared.

“Hey!” I shouted. Dr. Jordanson smiled.

“The power company says if you want your house back, pay your bill!”

Dena Pawling said...

Prosecutor: Defendant is your wife?
Key Witness (from hospital bed, full body cast): Janet… Yes.
P: What happened?
KW: I… I should have… listened to Janet.
P: Why?
KW: She… wouldn’t have had… toss me… off the roof.
P: She’s guilty then?
KW: (groans) Yes

Public Defender: She “had to” toss you off the roof?
KW: Yes.
PD: Her action was justified?
KW: Abso…lutely.
PD: Why?
KW: She told me… I… needed killing.
PD: But Mr. Frain, you’re not dead.
KW: Flash fiction… still hurts… like hell. (grimaces) Please… jail… make her stop.

Jury: Not guilty.

travelkat said...


“Listen, you’ll grow into those ears.”

“I look like furry Dumbo.”

“Be grateful you didn’t get your brother’s mutation. He looks like a land narwhal.”

“Why did this happen?”

“Remember that gingerbread house we nibbled?”

“We got cursed?”

“We roamed too far, forgot witches moved here so Potterheads couldn’t bug them. I’m glad daddy thinks my eyes are beautiful, cause I’ve got eight now. Moral of the story: sometimes the grass is greener because it’s highly radioactive. Last one out of the exclusion zone’s a Hasenpfeffer.”

The bunny helicoptered away on giant ears, her spiderbun mom skittering after.

Amanda said...

Hide-and-Seek hadn’t been what Annie and I’d had in mind, weeks before 9th grade, but with our little sisters to babysit, at least it kept them busy.

Emily's and Izzy’s high voices carried through the hall with their scampering feet. “Not there! Here? No. Annnieee!”

Where could she be? I’d checked the typical spots, like a list engrained from childhood. Pausing at the bathroom mirror, a shadow seemed to wobble behind the curtain of clouds. I crept toward it, one arm raised. With my other, I yanked it back.

AAIEEEE!” Annie screamed. “Allie! Who are you, Norman Bates?”

Mo H said...

Verdi pressed the quill to his chin. ‘Hmmm, a good name for a princess who falls in love with the general leading the war against her country.’
‘No. My muse will guide me.’ He listened to fighting kids outside his window.
You’re a dingleberry!
You’re a mushroom face!
His wife swept the floor nearby; the scritch, scritch, scritch of broom over brick soothed his wandering mind as the beats inside his head pulsated.
A poisonous one?
‘AAIEEEE!’ cried the wife.
Duh! yelled the kid.
‘Verdi, there’s a rat!’
‘I’ll name the princess Aida!

Megan V said...

The sun rises and, in the silence, a trill rises.
I stop everything to listen. I have no choice. The call burrows into my brain.
No sleep. No peace. Just laughter—day after day.
It's mocking me, this bird, though it’s not a mockingbird by name.
That’s right, Kookaburra. Keep laughing. A little longer.
I lower my bow and a grin spreads across my weary face.
For once, I can nestle into my blankets. For once, the open window will only invite the breeze.
I turn toward the house. Finally free.

John Davis Frain said...

In the judge’s chambers, the attorney stands. “The sentence, Your Honor?”
“Is life.”
“Actually, that’s a sentence fragment. Haha. Does that indicate it’s a reduced sentence?”
Judge removes her glasses. “Listen up, counselor. That life sentence is for your client.”
She cleans her lenses. “I have a run on sentence for you with the executioner is waiting for you at the electric chair.”
The attorney gulped. “May I address the court?”
The lawyer runs, “AAIEEEE!”

At home, the judge finishes her ice cream. Studies her two children. “And that was the last time I saw your father.”

Luralee said...

Interdepartmental memo

-Carkoon Museum employees are asked to refrain from repositioning the mannequins—toasting marshmallows and playing corn hole were not authentic cro-magnon activities.

-Marie Antoinette’s head has been returned. Again. It’s getting old, people.

-The kinetic I-beam sculpture entitled: “AAIEEEE!” Will be moved to an enclosure to reduce the risk of future accidents.

-In addition, due to the recent disappearance of “Full Stop” a minimalist engraving attributed to Georges Seurat, the Art of Punctuation exhibit has been closed indefinitely since it now has no point.

Jack Castlewhite said...

Irina pushed against the cellar door and prayed the debris outside would retreat noiselessly.

Dasha pulled at Irina’s dress. “Now can we go to Uncle Grygoriy’s?”

Irina reached back and found her daughter’s hand. “Shhhh.”

She listened through the gap in the doorway and heard nothing except Koloradi Potato Beetles buzzing.

Crossing their neighbor’s field with Dasha in her arms, the rubble of their now unrecognizable home behind them, Irina saw no one.

With each step her despair grew and displaced fear.

Until she felt a metallic click underfoot. Then fear flooded back.

But only for a split second.


Claire Bobrow said...

Junior replayed the accident in his mind.
It made no sense.
Standing in the desert,
creosote perfuming the air,
hope in their hearts –
together they watched the balloon rise with its precious payload.
“Listen,” said Father.
Junior cocked an ear –
caught the thrum.
There! Again. Louder.
The rest was a blur.
Dust obscured the payload as it fell...

flattening Father.

Junior howled.
The officer patted him gently. “Did he say anything? Before the...accident?”
“Ah. Must have realized his mistake. I mean, an anvil attached to a balloon...”
But Wile E., Junior didn’t get it.
They’d bought it from Acme!

Kregger said...


I don't care if you are a foody...

It's mayonnaise.

It's got to be the least scary of all the condiments.

So what.


I don't care how big your cocktail fork is, or how much the garlic repels vampires.

A food-based superhero is dumb.

Although, your roach coach called "Chef's Lair" is moderately cool."


"And your sidekick's name? What is he? A boy names Sous?

Seriously...a character from a Johnny Cash song?

Come on? Captain Aoli?

You're kidding me, right?

What is that?"

Dodges a white spurt.

"Is that a supersonic sauce dispenser?


Mallory Love said...

She’d been arrested for protesting a government now run by ogres who didn’t think women were worth listening to. I watched helplessly as they dragged her away and made an oath then and there that I wouldn’t rest until she was safe.

The journey was long, but finally, I arrived at the place where she was being held hostage. Darkness shrouded the stone building. Entering would be easy. Escaping with a prisoner, not so much.

I crept through the halls, overcoming obstacles. A door was in the distance. Almost there, one more jump.…


Game Over.

Until I played again.

smoketree said...

I pulled my tongue out of her armpit to listen.


The boat tipped as I rose to my knees. The water’s surface was placid, speckled with warm rain.

She wriggled beneath me and chewed my inner thigh. I tried to focus. “Did you hear—?”

Her eyes flashed blanks. I couldn’t remember the last time she’d spoken. Couldn’t remember how we’d met.

She flexed and threw me into churning foam. When I surfaced, there was no boat, no girl, just a muscular mass snaking through the water.

As it wrapped around me, I screamed like I was home.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I apologize.

The words were sharp to be sure. I was angry.

You cried and screamed as if I had chopped off your arm.


The sound of the mob. What does it mean?

I am sorry. I meant no offense. Listen.

My job is gone. Are you not satisfied?

I am not a monster. I have no power.

My family is gone. Is this not enough?

Let me explain what I meant.

I am homeless. Are you well-pleased?

I am a pariah with no voice.

I ended where your feelings began.

Will my corpse pay the debt?

Nick Douglas said...

“It’s late capitalism,” said Hollysnap. “One Christmas isn’t enough, we’ve gotta do Christmas in July.”

“We give out the toys for free,” squeaked Kringlepants.

“Capitalism infects all of life. Even NGOs. Read your theory.”

“Listen, we consented. We were bored summers.”

“But him?”

“Who, the owner of the means of production?”

“Point taken. But the whole getup, the sled, the coat, the physics-defier bubble, it’s designed for winter, not for this. It’s record highs out there.”

“I’m sure Flutterflake adjusted the bubble.”

“Flutterflake takes July off. You think someone covered—“


Hollysnap sighed. “Time to update my LinkedIn.”

Sharon K said...


Come, young ones - listen to the tale of Shark|Woman, guardian of our reef.

Shark|Woman’s sandpaper-rough skin shimmered gold beneath the waves when our sister fish were plenteous and full of sacred purpose. She brought balance to our world and dignity to our stomachs.

The day Shark|Woman’s skin spiked fuschia with anger, we saw strange and profane vessels of white men, stealing more fish than our entire people could eat in one moon’s journey. Shark|Woman grew three times in size and devoured every white man, save one. His terrifying tale protects us still.


Tain Leonard-Peck said...


I pressed a finger to my lips. Nothing stirred in the dusty dark. The only illumination was a viridian exit sign, far behind us.

"There's something there," my friend whispered. I tried to shush him, but it was too late.

Motion. In the distance, in the dimness.

We stayed still, hoping it wouldn’t notice us. But that awful clicking came our way…


We let out a scream in unison, bolting blindly for the exit. A voice called behind us.

"You'll pay the fines for those overdue books!"

The librarian always got her due.

Arley Day Author said...

Border Crossing

They hid in the brush. No moon, the river was black slate. She heard others cross, splashing.
“No,” the old man said. “We’ll cross back there.”
They had met on the road. He earned her trust.
They waded into the muddy river. Across, they dashed to another thicket.
“Wait,” he said. “Listen.”
The other group was moving. They heard a whoop of siren and saw flashers.
“Pray those aren’t los malos,” the old man said.
A woman screamed.
They froze; more screaming, ice picks in their ears. She saw his wet eyes, rubies in the flickering light.

Just Jan said...

“What’s he doing?” Jack asks, as he nuzzles Pearl’s ear in greeting.

“He watches, he waits. He listens.” The cat is her nemesis. “You smell fabulous, by the way. Where have you been?”

“Impounded for eating delicacies at the dog park.” He cocks his head as the terrified squabbling ramps up inside the walls. “They’ll send a tribute out any minute now.”

As if on cue, a tiny morsel scurries across the floor. Pearl’s adversary pounces.


It’s over quickly. The cat stretches luxuriously and leaves behind a writhing and bloodied body.

“Disgusting.” Jack belches. “And they think we’re uncouth.”

mila said...

“AAIIEEEE listen…heard rumours of a buy going down. He cased the joint. At first glance it seemed innocent enough. Then he blew the fenced proceeds on some smackdown. “

Cass couldn’t stop laughing. “Ya mean he bet on that fake wrestling malarkey!”

Danny wasn’t the brightest of crims. He could’ve been on a Hawaiian island by now! “Aloha dude - you’re going down!”

Right now looking down the boiling flow of a volcanic crater would’ve beat the red hot embarrassment outta him. Just like ma! Yeah not on top of the world right now!

french sojourn said...

“Jerry, I’m pretty sure it’s not abstinence, that makes the heart grow fonder,” Mark said as the two continued along the narrow precipice.
“Listen, sorry you weren’t invited to our wedding, your ex-girlfriend looked stunning in white, just sayin’.”
Mark clenched his teeth… just sayin?
A cloud slowly waltzed by the sun. They paused at the rope bridge.
Mark viciously kicked the back of Jerry’s knee, he stumbled. With a quick push, Jerry fell headlong into the deep rocky gorge.
“Actually, Amanda looks much better in black,”
a ray of light washed over Mark’s dark grin,
“…. just sayin’.”

Debra Giuffrida said...

Our fiftieth anniversary and Alice and i were visiting Paris.
“Walter,” she started in again. She never really stopped, talking, picking nits, complaining. The elevator ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower took forever.
We stepped out onto the observation deck and walked around. I marveled at the vista, Alice kept yapping.
No one was near. She turned to me.
“Walter, you never listen!”
One push.
I heard her loud and clear.
“Walter! Do you even hear a word I say?”
I turned, looked at her and sighed. Maybe next year.

shanepatrickwrites said...

“Listen, this is a big deal. Reef wants them back on a regular basis and three have gone missing. You crack this one and sky’s the limit, fail and it’s night watchman at McMurdo.”

“Got it. Witnesses?”

“Noisy neighbor in 5B. Claims she heard a girl scream, ‘AAIEEE!’ and a door slamming.”

“She step into the hallway?”

“Nope, peephole. The perp either ducked under or took the stairs.”

“So I’m looking for a guy somehow subdued five subjects, absconded with three of them, no clues, and a worthless witness?”



“Guy by the name of Forti.”

InkStainedWench said...

Selena's eyes narrowed as Arnold entered the conference room. He was notorious for talking over women and taking credit for their work.

As Selena wrapped up her presentation, Arnold interjected, "What Selena is trying to say..."

The crash of her chair resounded as she leaped to her feet.

"I am not TRYING to say anything! AAIEEEE AAM SAAYING IT!!"

Arnold recoiled coyly. "Goodness! I hope you aren't having cramps as well!"

They say that when the moon is full and you listen carefully, you can hear chains and moans as Arnold's ghost haunts the conference room.

Curt David said...

In chat room

“1195555! What would that be?”

“AAIEEEE! What? No. Listen. A is 1…Z is 26.”

“Got it. 91225?”

“IABBE? Nevermind, I thought this would be fun.”

“No! There were supposed to be spaces. 9 12 25.”

“ILY? I should get going.”

“Wait. That’s an acronym. How bout 9 12 21 22 2”

“ILUVB? I’m signing off now.”

“NO! Let me explain.”




“A joke, I was translating your letter.”

“That’s what you wanted to say?”

“No! I wanted to say the last 2 was supposed to be 21.”



User signs off


Winter Krane said...

"Coffee?" Ann asked her new stepson, attempting to squash their morning tension.

The kid kept his Walkman blasting, glaring at her. "Sure."

She poured two cups, pulling out her prescription pill organizer before she took a sip.

"You do drugs?" he was pointing at the pills.

Ann rubbed her eyes. "Sure, they're drugs, but listen, kid, even coffee's a drug. And—"

"AAIEEEE!" He screamed- knocking over his cup, clawing with despair at his newly awarded D.A.R.E shirt.

It was then Ann realized coffee might not be a strong enough narcotic to get her through the day.