Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Flash fiction contest results


This was a hard week on sisters!

Should I read anything into that?


 I am in a particularly crabby state of mind because for some bizarre reason I decided I would stop drinking coffee. Clearly I'm completely out of my mind.


Here are the entries that stood out for me.



Timothy Lowe


    This isn’t the first time I’ve had to help.


    A year ago, the poor girl had floors to degum. Droppings to mop up. Coal stains to scrub. Bippity, boppity, boo! and mice scattered like skittles. I waved my wand, gave her a complete sister-ectomy.


    But the bastard turned out to be not-so-charming.


    Now he’s dead, stabbed through the eye by a glass heel, and she’s facing life.


    Luckily, I have some background in alterations.


    When crunch time comes, yamoussou kromousso! I magically shrink a certain stiletto, making things easy for her lawyer.


    “If the slippers don’t fit, you must acquit.”


Jeeze, I hope my sisters don't get any ideas from this!






    “Dad made enough money for a hundred lifetimes, so why not just be 100 people? No lack of intelligent conversation. CRISPR was made for this. Like taking candy from a baby.”


    “But, why?”


    “Because it’s candy.”


    “DNA’s not Skittles or gumdrops.”


    “Won’t those 100 invitro moms be surprised someday when each kid inherits 1/100 of my billions? I’m thinking an annual reunion in Monaco – all 100 of us. Should I make a couple of you, Sister Do-Good? You’d have another whole lifetime to save the planet.”






    “FBI code word. Better put your hands up.”




    “Now, Alexa, call Greenpeace.”

 Nice and subtle.



Steve Forti


    “I’ve driven everywhere. Paris is terrible. Ivory Coast, Bayamo, US.”


    “UK roads? Used to think they were the worst. One time some joker mixed a bowl of Skittles, M&Ms, and marbles. I done broke a tooth crunchin’ through that mix. Popped three tires racing through them British roads rushing to the dentist. Dadgum Dr. Openwyde had to root canal me by the time I got there.”

    “What’s your point?”

    “The road up here is even worse! No wonder your boss flies reindeer. I’m done with coal deliveries. Tell the fat man the naughty kids should go solar next year.”


Every single time I think I've got him, Mr. Forti once again proves his genius.






Beth Carpenter


    The kiss is interrupted by a flash and the tell-tale crack of gum. “Drop it!” I yell.


    My sister, mad because Mom put me in charge, executes a skittle sideways and runs inside.


    Eventually, I locate her behind the Christmas tree. “Gimme.”


    “Make me.”


    I lunge. Her phone flies, then crunches under my foot.


    She grins. “Coal in your stocking. New Black Diamond iPhone in mine.”


    “You forget—I’m in charge.”


    “Ha. That photo uploaded to the cloud. We’ll see who’s running the family trust once Mom finds out what you and our darling stepfather have been up to.”


Oh! Oh! OW!!!

Nice twist there!




Mallory Love


    My sister suggested Skittles, like how Elliot used Reese's Pieces. I reminded her this was Santa, not an alien.

    "Gumdrops, then?"

    "Peppermints are better."

    Thus the trap was set.

    At midnight, we heard a clang, followed by a crunch. We snuck down the stairs, passed the family room lit by the tree, and crept out onto the porch.

    There he sat, bottom stuck in the fire pit.

    "Grab the bag then light the fire."

    We intended to put last year's stocking full of coal to good use.




Oh ho! Revenge of the Miscreants! Love it!







    We’re going to catch The Fat Man.


    “What’re these for?” My sister asked, scattering skittles.


    “To hear him coming,” I hissed. “I’m sick and tired of getting coal.”


    The telltale crunch of his heavy boot would be fair warning.


    We hear the clatter of hooves.


    I ready the hatchet.


    Then the thump of the glutton.




    Do you hear chains clanking in the night?


    A silhouette darkens our door, wicker basket dangling from a hairy arm.


    My sister’s mouth falls open, gum dropped to the ground.


    The Krampus.


    “You’ve both been bad,” he said, raising an ax of his own.


boy oh boy am I glad I didn't learn about Krampus until long after I grew up.

I'd have been warped forever.

Ok, MORE warped.



And the entry that takes the prize this week is:


Michael Seese



    I'd wanted nothing more than to finish my morning joe. The bank alarm skittles that idea. Outside, the scene before me is a fiasco al fresco, with this costumed freak holding perhaps 100 grand in cash.


    "Ha ha!" he krackels. "I am Dr. Dum Dum, supervillain."


    (The onlookers snicker.)


    Another nemesis. Terrific.


    The laffy stops when he brandishes some bizarre bazooka.


    "He's got a gum!"


    "Drop it, punk!" I bark.


    He draws a bead on me. Not a smartie move. A sour bullet betwix his eyes crunches him to the sidewalk.


    Just another day for the Candyland PD.


Clever twist!


One of the many things I appreciate about this is that the "errors" are on purpose and add layers to the story. That's a whole lot harder to do than it sounds.


Michael drop me a line to confirm your mailing address and let me know what kind of book you'd like to get.


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

I really love reading these.

You're all a bunch of talented writers!











Colin Smith said...

Congratulations, Michael!

I've updated the contest spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

Just for fun, I asked the ChatGPT AI language site to write a 100-word story using the prompt words. This is what it came up with:

Samantha sat at the kitchen table, staring at the bowl of coal in front of her. She couldn't believe her sister had tricked her into eating it. Just as she was about to get up and storm out of the room, her sister walked in with a bag of gumdrops. "I'm sorry, Sammy," she said, "I was just trying to teach you a lesson about not judging things by their appearance." Samantha grinned and reached for a gumdrop. As she took a crunch, she realized that the coal wasn't so bad after all, and even tasted a bit like skittles. She and her sister shared a laugh and enjoyed the rest of the treats together.

If that's the best AI can do, I think us human writers are good for a while. 😁

Beth Carpenter said...

Congratulations, Michael. Yours was my favorite story, too, although I really enjoyed all of them. I'm even impressed with Colin's AI story--it's not great but it's a story.

Steve Forti said...

Congrats Michael. Well done indeed. I must say, these contests in December are always my favorite because I love seeing how some people incorporate (usually) sadistic Santas and holiday themes into their stories.

Luralee said...

Congratulations Michael! Candyland PD—loved it! And Nliu, you mean I’ve been making my snowmen wrong all this time? Next time it snows I’m Walking in the Air! Thanks for the earworm, by the way.

NLiu said...

Congratulations, Michael Seese!

This week's contest was so fun. I'm always thrilled by everyone's brilliant wordsmithery, but this time felt extra sparkly. Maybe it was all the tinsel?

Tim Lowe had my vote. The combination of fairy tale and legal drama was extremely entertaining. I want a fairy godlawyer for Christmas.

NLiu said...

Haha! Luralee! I'm glad someone got the reference! We used to watch The Snowman every Christmas but I can't do it any more, it makes me cry too much. My kids like it though. I just need to put myself on emergency kitchen duty when they start watching...

Michael Seese said...

A big "thanks" to Janet for the nod.

And thank you to all for the kind words. Though, Mr. Forti's dissection of Yamoussoukro WAS pure brilliance.

Once I had "He's got a gum / Drop it, punk," the rest just fell into place. And (though no one asked) once you start down one of those paths, you've just gotta go ALL IN.

Timothy Lowe said...

I've been doing these for a few years, but I gotta say the synergy of the past few weeks has been special. Congrats, Seese. You're formidable competition every time. And thanks, Janet. Great fun.

S.D.King said...

I LOVED Michael' story! I thought this was a particularly good week of writing by all.

I read Michael's and thought, "I wish I had thought of that!"

Theresa said...

Michael Seese (congratulations!) and Timothy Lowe wrote my two favorites. But I loved reading them all.

Kate Larkindale said...

Everyone is so clever! What a great bunch of stories!

Just Jan said...

Congratulations to Michael Seese! I also loved the entries from Timothy Lowe and Beth Carpenter. Thanks for making me laugh.

Mallory Love said...

Congratulations, Michael! Yours and Timothy Lowe’s were my favorites. Thanks for the contest, Janet. These are more entertaining than Wordle, which I’m addicted to. I love seeing how creative everyone can be, and every time I am impressed by the talent.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congratulations, Michael Seese! So many talented entries and so fun to read.

John Davis Frain said...

That was a gem, Michael. Well-deserved honor.

Beth Carpenter said...

I'm so excited to make the short list! Thanks! So many great entries. Every line of Tim Lowe's made me chuckle, S.D. King's was perfectly relatable, KA Claytor had the perfect final line, and of course Steve Forti juggled those words like the legend he is. I couldn't possibly choose a favorite.