Friday, October 27, 2023

We had so much fun last time, it's another Flash Fiction contest!


We had so much fun last week, it's only fitting we should have another contest this weekend.

The hours have changed so do take a look (below) so you don't miss out!



 The usual rules apply:


1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.


2. Use these words in the story:







(Can you tell I was making the bed as I was thinking of the FF prompts?)


If you are Steve Forti, or want to be, you must also use the word: clorox.



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. (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 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, October 28, 8:00 am EDT


Contest closes: Sunday, October 29, 8:00am EDT


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. I'm also on Bluesky:

Ready? SET?

Not yet!


oh darn, too late. Contest is closed.



Steve Forti said...

Crusts of old dinner stuck on cast iron
Mold and dead roaches ruled this environ
Then like a ghost, and odd sheet did appear
When it spoke, I admit that it struck me with fear
“I am the Clorox, I speak for the sneeze
Mold spores disrupt how my Auntie Seuss breathes
Clean yourselves up, or I’ll end you all. Please.”
No harm intended, a case of false figuring.
“Your slime and your scum keeps on biggering and biggering!”
The sheet came with vengeance, it cleaned up wi thneed
The Clorox did wipe us out with great speed.

Alice Openshaw said...

Griffando rolled the body in a sheet, cleaned up, counted the bills again. It had been easy this time. Still, he was underappreciated and underpaid. His eyes lingered on the stacks. He tucked a few hundreds in his billfold. They’ll get plenty. They’ll never know. He texted, “JOB COMPLETE.”

Seconds later, the boss knocked on the motel room door.

She looked at the suitcase on the bed. “It’s all there?”

“I counted. All there.”

She nodded. “You Cloroxed everything?”

“Yup. All clean.”

She pulled out her own piece. “How ironic. I’ll have to do it again, you thieving, double-crossing slimeball.”

NLiu said...

Becoming a tiger wasn’t as difficult as she’d been told. She simply untucked herself, stopped ironing her soul tame. Her claws – unfolded now from their polite velvet – rent the sheets, shredded the casement of her dungeon window. She roared herself free and streaked across the snow outside, bright as gunpowder and flame.

Huddled unseen on the tower, the hunter cocked his rifle. Master had paid for this one in rubies with blazing hearts. Quiescent talent, he’d said – don’t lose the girl. But better dead than liberated.

More than his life’s worth if she escaped.

Eyes blurring with tears, he fired.

Craig F said...

Our curse is that the touch of Iron burns. It also happens to those at war against us.

I got the sheet of it tucked into a case. There I can fold it and make it into pieces to set outside our doors. There it will keep the invaders from crossing the threshold.

Our treaty was supposed to allow a two-state system to thrive and let us be brothers, even if they looked to God in a different way.

It is not like they are a different species, in all ways except for God, they are our brothers and sisters.

S.D.King said...

“They’re afraid. Your manifesto is harsh, Mr. A.”

“Bradley, they’re stuck – encased in the past.”

“But you need Ironworkers.”



“Robots, Bradley! Efficiency’s eightyfold.”

“Who makes the robots?”

“Other robots. Zero humans.”

“Who decides?

“Mark, Elon, Peter and I. Maybe others. It’ll be heaven.”

The limo idled, tucked in traffic, ironically near a street preacher distributing hymnsheets.

“He will leave the 99 in the fold, searching for the lost sheep. ’Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.’”

“A nutcase!

Weary, Bradley unlocked the door and stepped out, approaching the preacher.

C. Dan Castro said...

Tuckleberry Fawyer’s house had gone mad.

I ran into a dead-end room.

Behind me, Injun Joe: “You gotta settle!”

I tore back the one bed’s sheet.

Hollowed mattress.

Iron case.

I yanked it open, revealing gold coins. And vanishing half the room.

A river appeared. Nearby sat fence sections.

I dropped one into the river. It dissolved.

Joe unfolded his spring-knife.

Under the bed, I spotted a can.

White paint.



I slapped it on fencing. Instantly white.

I dropped it into the river, jumped on, and floated out of Joe’s murderous reach.

And to the next escape room...

Fiona said...

I dash inside the tuck shop and grab a granola bar labelled high in iron. Munching it down with one hand on the steering wheel, I arrive at the auditorium ten minutes before the concert starts. Music sheets slip out of my arms as I race towards the hall, a violin case slung over my shoulder. Once I take my seat in the orchestra, panting for breath, I unfold my case to find my violin gone.

Beth Carpenter said...

I was debating the merits of rum vs. whiskey when she sashayed in, with the face of an angel and the heart of a drill sergeant. “Grab two corners.”

“No time.” I chose whiskey and poured a generous splash. “I’m ironing out the details on a case.”

“You can do both.”

One look at those doe eyes, and I folded. I set down the glass and grabbed the other end of the sheet.

She tucked in the edges, then glanced at my laptop. “The driver can’t be the killer. He’s left-handed.” She breezed out again.

Damn it. She was right.

Michael Pappas said...

The impact had knocked the man from his seat and onto the kitchen floor. One leg was hanging in the air, held up by a foot caught between spindles in a chair. The cast iron skillet that killed him was on the counter, the knife she used just in case was deep in his chest. The detective couldn’t help but laugh.

“What’s so funny?” someone asked.

The detective looked beyond the body and the folded bills scattered and stuck in the sheet of blood to an open door under the sink, where a bottle of Clorox bleach sat mocking them.

Alec Breton said...

Detective Willis tucks the cold iron into a holster, freeing a hand to remove the sheet. A pallid form is revealed.
"Such a shame. What an astounding star college athlete … back in the day."
His throat constricts.
"This isn’t the first case … and — unfortunately — it won’t be the last."
Willis hesitates.
"I hate this crinkly sound of unfolding a body bag. Wait? He won’t fit?"
He gasps.
"Even clorox won’t kill this odor!"
Willis radios backup.
"I warned you. At your age, don’t enter the Widow Maker chili eating contest."
A tear appears.
"I'm gonna miss you, old fraternity roommate."

Earls said...

In the clamor of her leaving, I didn’t realize it was Halloween.

I just stood on the buckled sidewalk, pleading for her to stay, as she tucked her life into that trusty Civic.

I staggered back to the rowhouse with her departing words boxing my ears. She had stripped sheets from our mattress, leaving a case of Iron City to prove her point.

Now, every October 31, I put her favorite candy in a plastic pumpkin with a “Take Two” note.

Inside, I open a tallboy and remember: “You were a hand worth folding long before I met you.”

Andrew C. said...

Cody’s skin is porcelain. I tuck him in and he watches me as his eyes drift off. I watch him fall asleep.
Cody’s skin is iron. I imagine the taste the blood on it. I can see rivulets pulsating beneath, waiting to be freed, sprayed onto white sheets beneath.
Cody’s skin is wineskin. His eyes make the case for softness, his skin tells stories of time and grief and loss.
Cody’s skin is folds of wax paper. It hangs on his bones like syrup, threatening to slough away momentarily.
Cody’s skin holds a moment, moments even, for forever.

Naomi said...

“The Ghost”

There once was an old man named Oliver who lived in a cabin. Well, “lived” wasn’t right, because Oliver was a ghost. A ghost with a problem: he couldn’t remember how he died.

He remembered his mornings: folding sheets and getting stuck on the wordle.

He remembered his afternoons: reading books from his bookcase.

But he couldn’t remember how he died.

How ironic, he thought. I’ll never know how I die.

As he thought this, he reflected. He may not remember how he died, but he remembered how he lived.

And that was the important part, he supposed.

Timothy Lowe said...

Hardcase Crime. Flatiron Books. I had my submission list ready. Only problem? No story.

I played at cops and robbers, imagined a thousand crime scenes. Nothing.

Finally, I did the only thing I could. Folded my napkins, cloroxed away sugar stains. Shop closed, I tucked my trusty firearm into my waistband. Trundled across the street, fingers purring on plastic, glaring at the hand-lettered sign painted on a bedsheet:


“No fair,” said Krystal Cummings. “You can’t rob somebody.”

“Who says?” I said, drawing a bead. What a story it would make!

She harrumphed. “That’s a squirt gun.”

BJ Muntain said...

Jason couldn't tell if the perspiration on his forehead was from the heat of the forge or the delicacy of his work. The tiny shoes threatened to slip from his smallest tweezers. A fold in the ultrathin sheet of iron here; a tuck there to fit the mount's feet. With a pinhead for a hammer, he completed his greatest work.

He'd asked the fae why she wanted to shoe the insect she'd flown in on, in case it affected the shape.

"I tried to ask the wizard something. He said, 'Shoe fly,' waved his hand, and I was here."

Jan Alexander said...

“Mulberry silk sheets might save your marriage,” said Mom’s gift card, which Grace tucked away.
“They don’t feel like reality,” Jon scoffed, gliding his cheek across the pillow case. “Reality is not getting tenure and not knowing if your wife will fold up and go where you end up.”
In a week the pristine silk was defiled with fierce attempts at rowdy love.
Wash by hand with eco detergent, Grace read. Dry in gentle sunlight. Iron with reverence.
“Why,” he asked, “don’t I get gentle sunlight and reverence?” He grabbed the topsheet and it billowed heavenward, too delicate to capture.

novazed said...

Her parents sat heavily on a couch tucked under a poor-quality reprint of an Impressionist painting, its frame fastened to the wall with iron bolts.
I folded into a chair, smoothing the sheets of paper in my white coat pocket. Hand sanitizer made my cracked knuckles sting.
“I’m one of the doctors,” I said, extending my hand.
Neither offered a hand back.
In case I could be spared breaking the bad news, I asked, “Has anyone talked to you about your daughter’s case?” I hated these discussions. Like I was responsible for ruining someone’s life.
Both shook their heads no.

Dee Garretson said...

“Tuck your chin before you hit the ground,” Amos yelled.
I took a look at the dead pilot before Amos pushed me out the plane.
The cemetery below rushed toward me and I just missed landing on the wrought iron fencing surrounding it. I was trapped under the parachute sheeting until Amos rescued me.
“Shouldn’t we have tried to land the plane?” I asked.
“Nah. Why do you think I had two parachutes? In any case, it’s done. Your debt is paid. A bit of advice though. Next time you have a bad poker hand, fold instead of bluffing.”

Colin Smith said...

Jane carefully folded her resume—two sheets of neatly typed ivory paper—and tucked them into the envelope. Taking her premium Parker from its case, she inscribed the address on the front.

Donning her shawl, she braved the street to find a mailbox.

In her day, she would have seen at least a couple of those iron boxes within five minutes’ walk.

After an hour, she slumped into a bench seat, took a frail handkerchief from her sleeve, and dabbed her eye.

Almost a month. No job. No money

Silently, she pleaded for another time storm to take her home.

Luralee said...

“A plague of squirrels!”
the neighbors joke.
Busy rodents tuck nuts in once-smooth lawns
where grass won’t grow.

–too shady–
It’s a mystery.
The sun always glares at Bellwood Estates.
Ironic Name

Beyond the fence
The holdout waits.
The only tree for miles.
On foggy nights the phantom forest looms.

In showcase houses,
neighbors tighten their blindfolds
and prepare for fall.
Rake leaves, blown in from who-knows-where.

Pull sheets over pools that don’t hold water.
Patch cracked foundations yet again.
Siding’s moldy–
scrub with Clorox.

Come spring,
the nuts will sprout.
Beyond the fence,
Fangor is regrouping.

KDJames said...

I’ve come a long way from playing birthday parties. But gigs are scarce lately, auditions feel like a godsend.

It’s raining, coming down in sheets. I tuck my violin case under my jacket, fold my body over it, and run.

Blocks later, the auditorium.

“Congrats! You’re the only one who showed. Meet Bethany.”

Small girl, maybe 10, dark greedy eyes, sinister smile. “A magic unicorn!!” Shit. “Play Happy Birthday!”

Irony? Tragedy? Doesn’t matter, I’m outta here.

The agent follows. “Wait…”


“The parents are rich!”

“Hell no.”

I tug drenched hair back over my tiny rainbow-striped horn, and run.

Mallory Love said...

Some people would see being stuck in an elevator with a beautiful woman as an opportunity. James saw it as a case for his anxiety to spiral. He spent his days with spreadsheets; she looked like a centerfold.
A few awkward glances ensued, then stilted starts of small talk. Eventually the conversation began to flow. James forgot about being trapped.
Suddenly the iron hinges lurched.
He was about to ask her out, when she turned and whispered.
“I’ve wanted to tell you something for a while.”
James leaned in and smiled.
“You have a piece of spinach between your teeth.”

Lennon Faris said...

My boyfriend closed my book. “Hell-ooo. Are you even listening? WeneedtotalkaboutThanksgivingbecauseblahblahblah…”

I took out a personal ad.

“Wanted: strong silent type. Pumpkin festival, tonight – I’ll have a pencil tucked behind my ear, downing a case of wine. Come whisk me away.”

“Wanted,” someone wrote back, “smart companion to help me get ahead in life. I’ll be your knight.”

He came at dusk, his dark stallion galloping off old sycamore leaves, cape a sheet of billowing iron.

He one-armed me up behind him.

“So,” I said, “got plans for the holidays?”

The Headless Horseman kept riding.


I opened my book.

french sojourn said...

Shadows march obediently after the setting sun and blanket the horror of a besieged city. Folded girders and sheets of plywood defy physics and hang frozen in place. Rusted iron structures lose the last light, stolen by shadows continuing forward.

Tucked inside a crumbling refuge, parched survivors dare to hope. Sleep escapes them. A pained murmur echoes off shattered glass throughout the broken buildings, barely audible, hushed. Bodies are encased in rubble and broken roof tiles, as their last words drift slowly away.

They lay silent, hopeless as the promise of dawn quietly lies to them. Again, and again.

Amy Johnson said...

“I thought I’d go to Ron’s Place tonight?” He always assumes I mean my cousin Rhonda’s apartment. If he finds out, I can say I wasn’t lying.


I finish all the dinner dishes, then tuck a roll of bills under the tampons in my purse – he never searches that section.

“Laundry done?”

“Your shirts and the sheets are ironed. Everything’s folded and put away.”

I park along Rhonda’s street, in case he’s checking the GPS tracker, and take a bus downtown.

The bartender waves me on.

I clean up at Ron’s Place. Now I finally can afford my own.