Friday, December 09, 2022

Flash Fiction Contest!


It was such fun last week, let's do it again!


 The usual rules apply:


1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.


2. Use these words in the story:









To compete for the Steve Forti Deft Use of Prompt Words prize (or if you are Steve Forti) you must also use: Yamoussoukro


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.


8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)


9. 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"


10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")


11. 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.


12. 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, December 10, 7:24am (EST)


Contest closes: Sunday, December 11, 9am (EST


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!


So sorry, too late. Contest closed now.

Look for results...oh hell, I'm awful at keeping my word on when results will be posted!



NLiu said...

Snow crunches. My eyes open onto blank whiteness.

No, not blank. Two faces, peering.

"Coal?" says face one – runny nose, fluffy hat. "Where’d you— The ears too?"

"It’s pretty," whines face two – same nose, smaller.

"I told you, pure carbon’s how they work!"

I try to reach out. But my arms are plastic skittles, won’t obey.

The small one backs off, whimpering. "Mumma—"

"Shush. I’ll fix this." Big one rummages in her pockets.


She grabs for my eyes. Everything goes dark. "Gumdrops, sister. C12-H22-O11. Learn chemistry already."

I wish they knew I only wanted to take them flying.

Timothy Lowe said...

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.”

S.D.King said...

“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.”

Steve Forti said...

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

Lisa Bodenheim said...

I park my gumdrop-shaped bag on the table. No way Lily would rather read the skittle-scrabble rough life yarn ‘bout a blue-skinned coalminer’s daughter. I toss my sister braids behind my shoulders.

She ignores me.

I twitch the bag a smidge, give her a whiff of the pecan crunch afore fisting it shut again. Her nose twitches. Yep. Bartering time.

“A mighty fine snack fixed with Kentucky’s best maple syrup from our very own woodlot and theee most deee-lectable crème pats o’ butter from our very own Daffy-cow, who feeds only from pure spring-fed grass. One bag for one book.”

Casual-T said...

The night was moist, like the half-desolved gumdrop in my mouth. They'd tried, but momma was still on the train, still alive, still crunching on Skittles.

The three men fell silent as the door opened. Momma was a commanding figure, although it might have been the gun pointed at them which prompted their respectful tacet.

In a voice as clear as coal she said, "Which one-a-yous kill'my sister?"

Three hands pointed, three shots fired, three bodies crumpled.

"See, boy, 'swhat happens 'fya blame someone else fo'ya mistakes. Take 'sponsibility. 's the right thing to do."

Momma knew how to teach.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Since my sister, Yamoussourkro was allergic to pets. I snuck the kitten up the stairs in my backpack after I ran over the mother. I crunched up some saltines in a glass of warm milk and named her Gumdrop. Gumdrop was my second rescue. I’d thrown a soupbone to the skittish dog that slept in the alley by the coal bin. Thereafter, he waited for me every night with soulful eyes. He’d lost his bark and needed a bath. I called him Skittles. They slept together, but yesterday Skittles recovered his bark and Yamo kicked us out.

Craig F said...

We were perfect together in an imperfect world. We tried to make our own perfect world, my sister grifter.

The scheme was paying, our budget of skittles and gumdrops would soon be champagne and truffles.

I will love you forever, though that is a short time, as my heart dries to a crunchy thing with gunpowder stipples around the bullet hole.

My blood slogged slowly away, like the coal train through the Cote d’Ivorie to Yamoussoukro,

The guns were a necessity, but I seemed to have forgotten that you were the most dangerous beast on the Ivory Coast.

CraigPh said...

At Hogwarts, Sister Theodosia was Frosty the Snow Nun. Cold and distant, she smoked a corncob pipe and her eyes seemed made out of coal.

Others taught math using gumdrops and Skittles, tasty prizes after lessons. Theodosia? Crunchy lumps of moldy horehound, an indescribable taste. Go figure. No one wanted the prize. Grades sucked.

A new kid answered a four-digit multiplication problem correctly.

“Try one,” Theodosia insisted.

A tooth broke on the first bite.

“Curses!” Theodosia swore.

Lester Lestrange had had enough. Remembering something from Incantations class, he uttered, “Yamoussoukro!” subtracting one “Frosty” sister into a molten pool of zero.

Beth Carpenter said...

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.”

Bee said...

It’s been three weeks since my sister died.
Now, it’s two weeks until Christmas.
Mom will probably still put gumdrops in my stocking, along with my favorite popcorn; she knows how I love its crunch.
Maybe mom will mix us up this year. She’s been in this this fog, chewing on gumdrops and skittles to pass the time.
I won’t mind.
Hell, she could give me coal, like you hear about the “naughty kids” getting.
Or holy water from Yamoussoukro to bless my soul.
I’ll smile, regardless.
As I know she’s remembering sis.
And we’ll quietly enjoy our sweets together.

Elizabeth Adkins said...

Mining coal, ‘round here it’s all there is. Underground. Half-lit. Explosives that make the tunnels shudder. The crunch as rock skittles down the shaft. Sister cared once, before daddy died. Now it’s all about my paycheck and keeping up the insurance. Still, a man needs to relax when he’s above ground. She used to laugh that this job’d be the death of me, but it weren’t true. Seems coming home with empty pockets, smelling of whiskey and women is worse. Saw the barrel of the old squirrel gun as soon as I opened the front door. “Dadgum! Drop that …”

Michael Seese said...

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.

Mallory Love said...

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.

Colin Smith said...

“Whachya get, Sister Skittles?” Don’s watery eyes smiled as she peeled off the paper.

“It’s beautiful,” Sue gasped, admiring the brightly colored gumdrop tree. “What about you, Captain Crunch?”

Don tore away the wrapping to reveal a soft woolen scarf, the crocheted stitches even and tight: the work of seasoned hands.

“Just what I need,” Don said leaning over to peck Sue’s wrinkled cheek.

“That’s enough of that!” The nurse with the lunch cart dropped bowls in front of them, muttering “who has cereal for lunch?” as she left.

Sue grimaced. “Skimmed milk again.”

“Guess who’s getting coal,” Don smirked.

Just Jan said...

The phone rings.

Active shooter alert.

My heart skips, and my vision darkens. The phone skittles across the counter.

The entire school is celebrating Mass this morning. Sisters and brothers. Angelic faces practicing carols for the Christmas concert.

It rings again.

Hoax. Everyone accounted for.

I sink to the floor, legs melting like gumdrops. Thankful the threat took the form of words, not bullets. Condemning the perpetrators to the coal-black depths of Hell.

In a crunch of footsteps, my son appears, whisked from the sanctuary of the church to the sanctuary of my arms.

There is light.

Sherin Nicole said...

“What is it called?”
“Trans-sister Radio.”
A giggle coalesces but is swallowed. “Brills,” the only answer, acknowledging but cut to lessen it.
What to do when your dreams are being crunched like skittles in other mouths? Treacly sweet grins. Lips stained rainbow, purple poisoned, with self-satisfaction.
And you would kill for a little sugar in your bowl.
That was your face once. A replica of your lips; painted candy apple and tooth marked from frustration. Perhaps DNA steals.
Now decades later, gumdrops turned to gunpowder.
“To my daughters,” you toast and giggle (to chase the bitterness down).

RosannaM said...

Snow slips down my ponytail like a sled on a favorite trail.
But I barely notice.

She begins.

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while the critter skittles around in their heads.”

Polite applause. My inner face winces.

“To the snowmen you go, build them high, here’s the coal. Now dash away, dash away, dash away all.”

The audience crunches home, snowman contest abandoned.

Silent night.

A lei of popcorn, gumdrops, and poinsettias gets draped around her snowman.

Christmas gets mixed up in my sister’s mind.

But we do it her way. It makes her happy.

Shah Kou said...

My little sister: Svelter than me, prettier than me, loved more dearly by our parents than me. “Isn’t she adorable? Just look at that perfect smile.” (To me) “We must get something done about your teeth.”

My bucket of Halloween candy stowed in my closet. A greedy little thief's hand scoops up skittles, M&Ms, and giant gumdrops so large they look like miniature replicas of the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro.

Crunch, crunch, cr…

The sound of enamel striking coal and shattering. Screams and blood…lots of blood.

She really must get something done about those teeth.

shanepatrickwrites said...

The crunch of a seashell underfoot woke her from her stupor. Tied to the tusk of a once majestic creature with six other slaves, she and her sister had been captured, beaten and forced to carry the ivory from Yamoussoukro to Abidjan. It was destined for the New World to be carved into skittles, knife handles and toothpicks.

“The lucky ones, like your seven times great-Gran, were raped, sold and thrown in the hold atop the ivory.”

The gumdrop turned to coal in my mouth the first time my grandmother told me how we came to America.

Laura said...

My sister believed in Santa Claus until she was seventeen. We were Jewish and didn’t know where this came from. So convinced was she that Santa would ignore our faith and pay a visit that she insisted on leaving snacks for him every Christmas Eve. She would lay out bowls of Skittles and gumdrops, then lie awake listening for the telltale crunch.

One year I waited until she fell asleep, emptied both bowls into my pockets, and left her a lump of coal. She never left treats out again, though she still believed for two more years.