Friday, December 01, 2023

Flash ficton contest to assauge my thorough besting by Steve Forti


I am surrendering to the brilliance of Steve Forti.

I've never managed to thwart him.

I slink off in shame.


However, we'll have a flash fiction contest to assuage my pain.



 The usual rules apply:


1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.


2. Use these words in the story:








If you are Steve Forti, or wish you could be, just enjoy your victory.


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, December 2, 2023 6:46am EST


Contest closes: Sunday, December 3, 2023 10:00am 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. I'm also on Bluesky: @janetreid.

Ready? SET?

Not yet!


Sorry, too late. Contest is closed.



Steve Forti said...

“I mean, who mixes meerkat with warthog? Ridiculous. And don’t get me started on Pac-man. ‘Cuz there’s Ms. Pac-man. Did she have just one choice in a guy? Is there like a whole race of Pac-men out there running from ghosts? And how do sheets stay on ghosts, anyway? Or pants. Is there naked ghost butt on every surface top in haunted houses? Oh, remember that ghost episode of Punky Brewster, when… hmm? Oh dear… I’m doing it again. What was the question?”

“Have you reached a verdict?”

“Oh yes. We the jury find the defendant guilty of first-degree murder.”

Amy Johnson said...

Help. I—"
Phone hangs up.
Unknown number.
Just some youth, wart.
Acme of his day: prank calls.
Button up coat.
Rush to the train.
Dad’s voice?
Call him.
Fine, honey.”
Xerox machine.
Lost in thought.
Operator, . . . trace the call?”
Should I have checked on the neighbors? Familiar voice? Prank?
Zigzagging thoughts.
Gasping for breath.
Missed you in the meeting.”
Everything okay?”
Trying . . . can’t get a response. She’s catatonic. Hurry!”
Kin? They’ll want to contact someone.”
You’re going to be okay, ma’am.”
Very unusual.”

french sojourn said...

He paused, in suspended cartoon gravity, and reflected on the gravity of it all.

One of many things that escaped him, yet again, was his punk-ass fowl nemesis.

Had he been thwarted by the time / distance variable? No.

Had he re-wired the faulty recalled ACME activator button? Check.

He went over the formula he had used… Height over Mass times the square root of pi, should equal the foot/pounds applied to the radius of the…

Why was he getting that sinking feeling?

He heard a distinct beep-beep, as he started accelerating.

He pulled out his sign that read.


Kregger said...

Minnesota Fats stared down his cue. “You got spunk, kid.”

“Rac’ me, Rudy.”

The corpulent man obliged, aligning the “one” ball on the button.

Fats blew chalk from his felt tip. “I’ve never lost a match with money. Bet a buck?”

“I eat pi’ for breakfast. Make it a fin. I feel lucky.”

“No luck involved.” Fats watched the rack scatter, sinking the seven. “Nice shot.”

“Rac’ me.”

“Make it a C-note?”

“How about a stack of C-notes?”

“You’re on.”

Break. One ball left.

“Athwart side pocket.”

Fats exclaimed, “Who are you?”

“I’m a skinny little boy from Cleveland Ohio.”

BJ Muntain said...

Sarah buttoned the tall boots and pinned up unkempt black hair. All the make-up in the world couldn't cover that goliath wart, so she wore it proudly, like a badge of honour.

The sumac meatballs took a little longer to cook than she'd anticipated, but they were perfect. Her sisters would have to accept her into the coven tonight, right?

She rushed, but traffic stalled. Thirty minutes late.

She cursed.

At the corner, fire trucks blocked her way. A deep pit burned where the coven once met.

At home, she ate her meatballs alone. Perhaps witchcraft wasn't her thing.

Colin Smith said...

“We want the truth. Warts and all.”

The Senator peered over his glasses at the punked-out figure sitting before him.

Menacme Spike, aka John Jones, shivered, cold perspiration beading on his lip. He pulled at his unbuttoned collar and cleared his throat.

“No,” his voice shook. “No, you don’t.”

“This is a congressional hearing,” the Senator said, glancing at his colleagues. “You must say what happened. Whatever the consequences.”


“Whatever. It’s time to come clean.”

“But it was murder!”

“I know.” The Senator smiled uncomfortably.

“Mum…” The word caught in Jones’s throat.


“But Dad… it weren’t your fault.”

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

She twists me – the top button – into place, her fingers nimble, her nails painted pink to match the diner's uniform. She smiles at the mirror. Nothing thwarts her spunkiness.

The stranger in the grimy Mac Meats cap orders peach pie, coffee. His greasy gaze lands on me, lingers too long. She tenses. Her heartbeat races at my back.

In the alley, he shoves her down, tears her clothes. The other buttons fly off.

I hold on. She does not.

When he's done, he cleans up, leaves.

But his fingerprint, pressed into me, stays.

Craig F said...

It was just supposed to be an acme knockoff kind of maze I entered it at the Fall Festival, but it was thwarting me at every turn. There was no big red easy button and I was feeling punkish, probably from that pie I ate.

The I heard a voice I now loath.

“You called me a witch when you left me. You had no idea, but now you will.”

I looked around and saw that I was in a ring of fire.

Just Jan said...

“You got a punk deer,” I say. “Foot-and-mouth.”

The elf bristles. “He’s still flyin’, right?”

“Whole herd’s quarantined, sir.”

“You tryin’ to thwart Christmas?” he sputters.

I can’t let him push my buttons. “You’re grounded tonight. No one’s leaving the North Pole.”

“Shut yer piehole! I’ll sue for malprac—”

“Medicine,” I insist. “License. References. Remember?”

His cheeks redden. “Kringle. Claus. Beloved. BELIEVE?”

I sigh. Being Santa’s vet isn’t the dream job I thought it would be. “I hear Babe the Blue Ox is available.”

He deflates. “See if I can borrow her, would ya? I got toys to deliver.”

Tomas Zandir said...


“In 150 CE,” said Mr. Winston to the class, “the great mathematician Ptolemy was at the acme of his mental powers. He calculated pi to four places, and by doing so was able to thwart his Chinese competitor, Chen-Yang.” He paused and eyed a girl sitting in the back of the room. She had purple spikey hair and wore a ratty sweater with a button for a punk rock band.
“Rachel, do you know what pi is?” he asked — well, sneered.
“3.14159265359,” she replied laconically. “Shall I continue?”
“You surprise me.”
“Glad to oblige.”

Dimitrius Harmata said...

“Here they bastards come, Arvo!”

“Potbelly” Pietari is as spunky as ever. It’s my fifth wartime mission with him in this forward position.

I unbutton my mitten, take it off and ignite the lighter. It glows assuringly with lilac melancholy.

Tank engine hum grows unsettlingly louder, yet several hundred meters behind us sits our firepower – a platoon of machine-gunners.

“Now!” – Pietari growls and we hurl our Molotov cocktails at the two leading Soviet T-26’s.
A few seconds later their engines catch fire from flames sucked into air ducts. The column stalls.

Another “motti” is created for our boys to slay!

Michael Seese said...

I loved Lilith, warts and all. Spirited, spunky, with hair of enchanted gold and eyes of midnight. Alas, I could never free her from the elegiac memories’ wicked whispers. And once her inner demons began worming into me, I could no longer have her in my world. My pitiful “I'm sorry” sounded wholly insufficient, as she fought back the tears.


“Tonight let’s just be together, and forget. Then tomorrow, you must leave.”

Her resignation weighed heavy on both of our souls.

“You'll be happy on Earth,” I offered, stanching my own sorrow. “I hear there's a lovely garden.”

KDJames said...

The look was probably more punk than goth. Spiked hair with blood-red tips. Plaid flannel shirt, arms ripped off, buttoned up to the neck with the lower ones open to reveal bare stomach. Shellac metallic black polish on ragged nails. Tight black jeans, torn. Army boots. Cold stare.

I looked in the mirror, nodded. Close enough.

Seemed strange to think of it as a battle, with all the “real” war in the world. But I had a goth war to win and I was fucking prepared.

First step: find my baby sister. And hope she’s still alive.

NLiu said...

Kidnapped Bobbin Button, held in Castoff Castle,
Discovered Count Stitches had been a dreadful rascal.
He’d bred Monopis Crocicapitella, farmed an army.
Soon to be unleashed in a wool-ravaging tsunami.
But Bobbin was courageous, and also good at reading.
She sneaked notes to Polly and Esther. Together they got weaving.
The moths flew free. Chewing ensued.
But in the end their only food
was Stitches himself. He’d miscalculated,
and by his minions was masticated.
‘Cause manmade is mothproof, and linen too,
But fin-de-siècle Stitches? Thwarted moth poo.
In stitchpunk an acme soon comes unravelled.
Little Bobbin grew up – and travelled.

John Davis Frain said...

Mom hits the AC. Me? I crank the heat. Thank goodness for our dual-zone climate control sofa. We watch split-screen TV together. Horror on her half, comedy on mine.

She taps the volume button, but I’ve thwarted her this time. Removed the batteries from her remote.

A ding from the kitchen. Dinner is shrimp—sweet for Mom, sour for me.

“What’s dessert?” I ask.

“Apple pie with arsenic sauce,” Mom says. “I’ll have the pie.”

Always the spunky one, Mom almost Forti’d me again! I replace her remote-control batteries. She won’t hear the oven ding, and the pie will burn.

Mallory Love said...

He’d been called everything from “punk” to “maniac mess.” The worst was “delusional.” That one came from the court-ordered therapist and caused him to be locked up in the psych ward on Christmas Eve. Made him so mad, but he had a list for people like her. Come tomorrow she would regret trying to thwart his plans.

He heard tapping at the window. Showtime. He buttoned his coat. Glass shattered. The alarm sounded as he took a flying leap. He waved to the stunned faces below as the sleigh rose higher.

He’d been called everything, but the best was “Santa.”

E.M. Goldsmith said...

She said he was pretty. He thought she was talented.

She could sing. She could banter. He laughed. They kissed.

The punk puked, his butt on the ground.

The girl is napping. Not dead. No.

Maniac meets victim. That’s what those pills are like.

A game of roulette between mortality and divinity.

They ran, trying to feel it all. No harm in it, the powders, the smokes, the pills, all of it driving away the noise, cancelling the world. He looks at the last pill. He will take it. F-them all.

Love thwarted once more.

Ash Complin said...

My daughter has her mom's button nose, a reminder of who I lost that day.

I started overeating, my bad habit.

She grew, became smart, like her mother.

She got me a wrist tattoo: a crossed-out pi, a joke to thwart my irrational dessert binging. She wanted me to live forever. She made me want to live at all.

She went to her first punk concert, the ACME Rockets, but never came home. Overdosed. I never knew she had a habit, too.

Now when I reach for a donut, I see the tattoo, and I take two.

I miss you, Bunny.