Sunday, October 22, 2023

Flash fiction contest results



It is lovely to see so many familiar names back in the comments section.

Thanks to all of you for writing and sharing your work.



Special recognition to Colin Smith:

Fork she's a dish might be my new favorite laud.

My former fave? Hubba hubba.



Special recognition to Kregger for putting Tim Lowe in steerage on the way to Carkoon. Double whammy!




As usual Steve Forti has thwarted me:


We were somewhere around Carkoon on the edge of the reef when the kale began to take hold. A week of fast food had me clogged, and I needed roughage. The fiber ‘round here was asbestos (oof) or kale.

I debated for a while.

Now this poo needed daylight. I sliced through the Carkoon Unwelcome Center like a dull knife and crashed into the bathroom stall. Needing leverage, I grabbed my hightop laces for support and bared down.

Once it all went bye bye, I reached for the paper and stopped cold. I shuddered.

Carkoon uses the three sea shells.


The use of oof here is hilariously on point given I was late closing the contest cause I was at MoMA looking at the Ed Ruscha exhibit. One of his better known works:



I'm of two minds here.

One is complete and total disqualification due to subject matter.


The second is to just give him a prize.


What do all y'all think?





On the first pass I listed all the entries that stood out (not necc. in a good way!)


Timothy Lowe


Steve Forti 


Colin Smith

Craig F

Madeline Mora-Summonte 



BJ Muntain



Just Jan


John Davis Frain 






Mallory Love



Then I went through and kept those that were a story


Here are the semi-finalists.



"Didja hear? The dish ran away with the spoon," the bartender said.

"Muffet's a floozy," said Mother Goose.

"Not our place to say," said Mother Hubbard.

"Old King Cole was an idiot " said Tommy Tucker. "She just wanted his money."

"He was smart enough not to give it to her," said the bartender.

"Knife to his heart," said Hubbard. "He needs a good woman."

"Like you?" Goose asked.

"Man's at a fork in the road," said the bartender. "He's looking."

Mother Hubbard grabbed her purse. "I think I'll offer condolences. "

"Not if I get there first," Mother Goose said.


This really made me laugh.



Madeline Mora-Summonte

Lizzie studies the empty dish then looks around. She doesn't know this place.

At the stove, an old man hums, spoons scrambled eggs into a bowl. She doesn't know this man.

Lizzie flings her fork at him. She tries to run, but she's wearing slippers, a robe.

He says he's her husband, Paul. Married many years. He points to her diamond, holds her gnarled hands. Says sometimes Lizzie forgets things.

He serves her eggs, butters her toast.

She doesn't remember. But she forgets.

Or so he says.

He turns away. Lizzie slips the knife into her pocket.

Just in case.


Oh man, this one gets ya, doesn't it?






BJ Muntain

Seven plates. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven...

Seven forks.

Seven spoons for dessert.

Six steak knives and a butter knife for the kid.

Dishes for the Caesar salad. Dad's favourite!

Bringing out the food now: ham, scalloped potatoes - cheesy, just the way Dad likes them - creamed corn, peas...

The turnips. Where are the turnips? Dad will freak if there aren't...



Burning eyes, removing the place setting at the head of the blurry table, avoiding the looks of the others as they take their seats.

No turnips tonight.


I really like things that are understated but pack a wallop, like this.







Just Jan

When their memoir placed at the top of the NYT Best Seller’s list, I almost puked. I’d been in bed for a month with double pneumonia--a consequence of blowing down houses for a living--and too weak to lift a spoon. Now I was nursing an undeserved reputation and a budding ulcer.

Those fork-tongued porkers didn’t care who they knifed--they were squealing all the way to the bank. Yet, I’m the bad guy.

One day, it’ll be my turn to dish. I’ve already written the first line: There were three apples, one for each pig.



I'm always a sucker for the other side of the story!

This one is wonderful.



“You have to come, see for yourself,” my sister said. “The dementia’s getting worse.”

Dad carefully places dishes out for tomorrow: bowl, spoon, cereal. Plate, fork, knife, for the frozen meal he’ll insist on for dinner.

“G’night, Timmy,” on his way to bed. It’s barely seven.

Timmy. My twin who died when we were ten. “Sleep well, Dad.”

I grab the milk carton next to the bowl, return it to the fridge.

He needs the visuals: Rolls of tp piled on the bathroom counter. Mismatched clothes laid out. Old photos of Mom.

And I wonder… will I, too?




oh. oh. oh.






Bye bye fork. Bye bye knife. Her foods requiring only a spoon and a dish in this place. Twice a day the slat slid open to deliver something soft and digestible. That left fifteen hours, forty-seven minutes to consider that hard and repugnant act that put her in the Land of Banned Silverware.


Love the entries that are elusive and intriguing.





Mallory Love

Marty was my everything: the cream to my coffee, jelly to my donut, big spoon to my little. Until he left me for Betty. Her threat level was more butterknife than razor-blade. I never saw it coming.

I saw them everywhere. The grocery store. The post office. Even church. When those dishonest yahoos walked in without pitchforks raining down, I questioned my faith a bit. But it wasn’t my place to judge. I left that up to Betty’s husband, who had been overseas. Rumor was he was a great shot, and the headlines the day after he arrived confirmed it.


Love a good revenge story!




Let me know what you think in the comments column.




Steve Forti said...

Aye. Apologies for the content. The opening line homage just hit me right away and I had to run with it.
I'm partial to Jan and Mallory's entries this go round. Always dig the alternate take on a known tale.

Craig F said...

I also apologize if it was my story that added funk to you.

I know that most of the world is inducing guilt trips for too many people.

My story kind of felt like piling on to that guilt trip, but my brain would not let it go to try something else.

Maybe that is because Halloween is approaching, and different levels of grief are a haunting of some sort and there are so many types of haunts we can feel, many of which are grief based.

Of the semi-finalists, I can't really pick one. The grief trip I feel currently is too dominant.

Colin Smith said...

I'm torn between Madeline and BJ. Both are well-written and deliver a punch. I also like that you barely notice the mandatory words because they fit the story. Tough call, Janet. I'm glad you're the one who has to make it. Bwahahaaa!! 😉

Thanks for the shout-out, btw. Unexpected since I didn't think this was one of my best efforts. I was pleased with that first line so I'm glad you liked it.

And as for Mr. Fortissimus... give him a prize. Not only did he rise to the challenge, but he took the plunge and overcame the blocks in his way. I'm sure he is flushed with his success! 😁

KDJames said...

I wasn't expecting results tonight! But my blog feed refreshed and here we are.

Thanks for the mention, Janet! Your comment is either the best, or worst, I've ever gotten for my writing. I'm going with best :)

Of the finalists, I can't decide. I always love the ones that make me laugh, even if I don't quite understand them. And the ones that touch my heart. And of course the ones that showcase great writing -- a given over here.

I agree, I've missed these voices and all this ferocious talent. Thanks, Tim Lowe, for "suggesting" Janet do this again.

BJ Muntain said...

I'm afraid I'm not as knowledgeable as I should be about science fiction movies. I had to Google the three sea shells.

What makes the idea hilarious (and even more fitting for Carkoon) is that no one really knows how they're used. People have theories, but the writer, Daniel Waters, didn't have any method in mind. He just wanted something odd.

When trying to figure out something to make a washroom futuristic but confusing, he called a friend who happened to be on the can. His friend said, "Well, we've got decorative sea shells in here." Waters ran with it.

I think this perfect addition to Carkoon lore deserves a prize.

(Me, over here dancing at semi-finalism...)

BJ Muntain said...

Also, thank you, Colin.

And (((hugs))) Craig.

french sojourn said...

Never cared much for the three churlish pigs.
Give the asthmatic wolf it's due.
Well done JustJan.

I enjoyed so many great ff stories this week, well done all.

Cheers! Hank

CynthiaMc said...

Such joy seeing everyone again!
Of course Steve should get a prize just for being Steve.
Great entries, y'all. Well done.

Amy Johnson said...

Congrats to all! Such a treat to read these stories.

Alas and alack, Tim. My attempt to provide a brief respite there on Carkoon – a riddle to ponder as you trudge through the kale fields – fell flat. Lemme see if I can pull a lesson from my fail. Yes! The value of feedback on our writing. I very much agree with what’s been said about how these contests are so useful in honing our craft. Still, in the years I’ve been entering these contests, I’m not sure I’ve gotten any better at gauging how well my stories will go over. Aaaand, that’s another reason for seeking a good literary agent. 😊

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you for the mention, Janet! And thank you for running a contest this past weekend. I've been struggling writing-wise lately, and this was the creative jolt I needed.

And yes, a prize to Steve!

Colin - thanks for the shout out!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Such a joy to read all of these. I hate that I didn't have time this weekend. A lot of the entries were sadly about why I don't have a lot of time. And really hit home. Loved the entry with "Land of Banned Silverware" - that made me laugh in a rather sinister way.

I always enjoy seeing what magic so many of you weave with 100 words. Whoever the Shark chooses will be worthy the reward.

Luralee said...

Oooh! These are GOOD!
The instructions don’t specify no potty humor, so yeah, a prize for Steve.
I was so excited for this contest, but own little story stubbornly refused to come together. Sigh.
I look forward to reading the rest of these later today. Congrats to all the finalists.

Just Jan said...

It is so great to be reading these stories again! And making my own attempt at one :)

Kudos to Steve for potty humor.

I think my fav was Mallory's. The last sentence fulfilled everything I wanted in the story plus it made me gasp.

Thanks for the shout outs, Hank and Steve!

Lisa Bodenheim said...

So many inspiring stories. And great to read through them and remember the names around the Reef again.

Mallory Love said...

These contests are always so much fun. Thanks Janet for having one and thanks Tim Lowe for suggesting it. : ) So many great finalists, and I’m so honored to be among them. JustJan’s is so great. I love a good villain perspective. CynthiaMc made me laugh out loud, and Madeline Mora-Summonte’s just hits you right the gut but in the best way. Thanks for the shout outs. Wishing you all the best!

AJ Blythe said...

Congratulations to everyone who entered. Well done! Huge cheers for everyone who made Janet's list!! And of course Steve Forti deserves a prize for that story - funny and clever.

I couldn't enter as my youngest Barbarian's computer crashed and he had a big assignment for school due yesterday, so he took over my laptop.

Next time!! (there will be a next time soon, I hope ;) )