Friday, December 02, 2022

Is the flash fiction contest going to the birds?




Let's celebrate Emmanuel the Emu who was felled by some sort of illness recently, but has been recovering miraculously to the joy of his many fans: about 847,000 people.


You can find out more about Emmanuel Todd Lopez on Twitter: @hiitaylorblake


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: imaginarium


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, 12/3/22 at8:23 am EST


Contest closes: Sunday, 12/4/22 at 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. Contest closed.

Look for results on Monday 12/5/22




Steve Forti said...

While other clutches wasted their days in what she called the Outback Imaginarium, Mom made us ready. Trained us for the day the Aussies would return. “This time we can’t merely resist. Eradication is the only way.”

Still, the day came too soon. Even with the knife at her long, feathered throat, Mom remained defiant. Her last command, drilled like the familiar tone of her zuffalo: vengeance. There may be far more of them, but this is our land. The human who killed Mom would be the first to die in the Second Emu War, but far from the last.

Michael Seese said...

The life of an emu is nothing to flight home about.

That's a little joke I tell myself to ease the sting of having feathers, but only vestigial wings. Even Henrietta, that annoying little clucker, sometimes takes off and alights on the roof, just to show she can.

My sister Ostrid tries to lend a sympathetic ear. But she's so tall, it's not like I can whisper into it.

How I'd love to soar, a far more glorious existence than scavenging for scraps, earthbound and ashamed.

At least I don't taste like chicken, I thought as they led Henrietta away.

Colin Smith said...

I touch the dry blood on the feather scarf. It’s all I have of my sister after they took her. I can hear her voice: "Emu feathers." Still don't know what that is. Or where she got this thing. Black market no doubt.

When darkness falls, I slip out the back. After miles of farmland, I reach the government building. I can taste my fear, but my sister’s love is with me.

I take out my only weapon. The paint runs down the wall, but the words are clear:

bù zìyóu wúnìng sǐ

Give me liberty or give me death.

C. Dan Castro said...

We storm the basement. Stone walls. Damp.

On a chair, a gaunt man. Eyes white. Blind.

My glower is useless. “She’s gone?”

“Must be. You’re talking to me.”


He shrugs. “I love my sister. You shoot her?”

“A dozen times. Useless against her bulletproof armor.

“But it makes her slow. We tracked her here.”

“And she still eluded you. Quite a feat.”

“Her last, I think...” A small crack between the floor and wall, the stone above a hidden panic room door. The kind that slams down. No safety. Unforgiving if you’re slow.

A buzzing blowfly lands. Crawls inside.

S.D.King said...

Wish List

Farmer’s Daughter
5’ 2” frame - featherweight
Sister Act
Two big cups
Black underwear
Pert (but demure)
Blender- but flashy

“Jason, about your Christmas List.”


“They don’t make Pert Shampoo anymore.”


“And 'black underwear' - do you want boxers or briefs?”

“Mom, you woke me up.”

“You need to be specific if you expect to get what you want, love.”

“I want a MacBook.”

“That’s not even on your list. “Farmer’s Daughter” - DVD? The wine? And stiletto- is that a knife? Is the featherweight frame for your bike?”

“Whoa - wrong list. Erase that. I’ll resend.”

Amanda Capper said...

It was a picture of a carcass. "A lemur?"

Sister Jolene shook her flaming locks of auburn hair. "No. it's your devoted squirrel, Mincemeat."

I shoved the picture at her. "When?"

"While you were at the farm, plucking feathers."


"Hen pecked by the look of the leftovers."


Sister J shrugged. "Revenge, I'd guess."

My tears fell as she patted my back. "We'll trap you another after Thanksgiving."

But I knew, I could never love again.

Karen K. said...

The crowd waiting to enter the imaginarium was getting antsy. My sister and I wormed our way to the front and made a beeline for the virtual reality studio.

I tried to swallow my trepidation, badgered into coming. “Aussie Adventure?”

Love it,” she crowed.

Soon we catapulted into the Outback. We craned our necks, catching sight of koalas, wombats, and kangaroos. So far my favorite was the kookaburra.

Suddenly, a long-legged creature hurtled toward me, feathers flying. Terrified, I chickened out and ripped the headset off my eyes.

“Didn’t know they had ostriches in Australia.”

“It’s an emu,” she sniped.

Bethany Joy said...

Friends, rivals, comparing notes. Sipping cocktails sweet as nectar from stemmed glasses.

"He swept me off my feet. Literally!" He waved a token from our ex-lover. “Isn’t it divine?”

"A feather?" She laughed. "Not impressed. He showered me with gold."

"I win," said L. "Our precious daughters." One sister outshone the other, but still L had a point.

All three looked at me. Far meaner, my experience. "I don't kiss and tell."

They booed. I blushed.

Hell, I couldn't even admit to myself I fell for Zeus disguised as an emu.

Luralee said...

Sister opens the door. I hop out.
“Can’t you sleep in a bed like a normal kid?”
“It’s cozy in there.”

I get skittles on my Captain Crunch.
“Tell me again, how’d we defeat her?”

“I defeated her. You…didn’t do anything.”
“And then we ran?”
“As fast as we could?”
“Wasn’t far. Maybe a mile.”

We have some music and we bake cupcakes.
I can’t eat cookies anymore.

Late at night I go back.
The house is mostly gone now ‘cuz mice and foxes and stuff.
The old coal oven is cold.

I didn’t always have gumdrop eyes.

Kregger said...

“For the love of Mike, Doug, he can’t fly!” said Les Nessman Jr.

The yellow-helicopter blades pulsed.

“He’s fine,” came from above. “He’s got feathers. Sister’s Imaginarium paid for his stunt.”

“He’s going to buy the farm if he jumps.” Les peered up. “My dad tried this. It didn’t work.”

“It’s okay. He bought a customized insurance policy from Liberty Mutual.”

“Which is?” asked Les.

“Accidental death, and I'm the beneficiary." Doug kicked Kevin Emu from the chopper. “Next time, don’t object to LiMu’s marriage!” Cupping his mouth and shouting, “Watch out, Les!”

On the ground, Les exclaimed, “Oh, the humanity!”

Karen McCoy said...

The canoeing trips with my family are a more frequent occurrence. My sister, the daring one, is reluctant to steer today; says her hair is falling out. Little brother is at the helm instead, and my paddle swings fruitless while he drives the canoe into shore. I lunge, ready to thwack him with my oar but stop when father pulls me back with love. Mother says, “Chill. Johnny takes it far more hard.” My oar is now lighter than a feather, family frozen like mosquitoes emulsified in amber, showing me what life could have been. If only I’d shown up.

Craig F said...

The first time he saw it, it broke his heart.

He still loved his sister, even if she decided to be an actor.

The second time he saw it, a mere hour later, he sank into depression. Emus were the proudest birds, strutting around the farm, and preening their feathers.

Twenty minutes later another damned Liberty Mutual commercial showed his sister making a stereotype of their kind, it was too much. He was Emu though, not some sheep with a death wish.

He vowed to rise above it, but the next day the rancher stopped by with a hatchet.

Mallory Love said...

Emulating love with his fake fiancee shouldn’t have been this difficult. He'd been in love once with someone he actually thought he would marry. But nothing ever seemed to go according to plan, including faking affection for a large inheritance. It wasn’t because his fiancee talked excessively, or because her family’s farm stank subtly of manure, or because chicken feathers were clogged in his Audi’s engine thanks to the awkward run-in (or run down) at their arrival. No, it was because of the woman standing before them. The woman he had almost proposed to six months ago. His fiancee’s sister.

Heather Wardell said...

Safe at her throat, the massive loaned diamond had glimmered.


"So, it was stolen in the second my back was turned. How, exactly?"

"Um, telekinesis?"

"Terrible." The security guard sighed. "Pull the other one, love, it's got bells on. Far more likely you pocketed it."

"No pockets in this dress."

His eyes sank to the swell of her breasts, and the corset holding them up. "Still. You hid it somewhere. Admit it."

She couldn't, because she didn't. And she'd told the truth. But of course he didn't believe.

Who believed in Santa anymore?

Magical thievery. Cheaper than elves.

Timothy Lowe said...

To defeat her psychosis, terrible actions had to be taken.

“I can’t get that stupid song out of my head.”

“It’s called an earworm,” said Sheila. “Put these on. They’re soundproof.”

Arming herself with the noise-canceling headphones, Renee closed her eyes.

“Now listen.”

Sheila played a different Barenaked Ladies song. Three agonizing minutes later, Renee took a steadying breath. “Thank God. I never want to hear that other song again. A million dollars can’t buy love.”

“It can buy a llama, or an emu.”

“Shut up. That damn song almost killed me.”

“A funeral’s nothing to laugh at.”

“Oh, shit.”

Just Jan said...

Growing up as twins, we swapped everything, from toys and bikes to clothes and boyfriends. Then she moved to the country, lived off the land, and thought emu feathers were fashionable. I bought a penthouse, edited a travel mag, and joined the jet set.

When we reunited, her body was ravaged by cancer. She had only one thing to lose. The pandemic had stolen my lifestyle; I had nothing left to give. Before she bought the farm, we made our last trade.

Now I’m back in my penthouse and grateful for two things: sisterly love and life insurance policies.