Monday, September 14, 2015


So... I FINALLY finished editing the scene I've been struggling over for two months!!! I'm not finished editing the novel yet (obviously), but this scene was brutal and I'm moving on! YAY! This novel will get finished eventually. That's one of the things I love about flash: the sense of accomplishment and completion you get right away. You wrote a whole thing and finished it, and that's worthy of celebration. So go write a thing, and finish it. Prompt is below. :)

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence.
2. Up to 500 words
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is D.E. Park. Read his winning tale from last week here! Dave (D. E. Park) spends his spare time writing flash and micro fiction, and just attempting to get enough sleep. He’s a first-generation computer nerd (older than the internet), a lifetime devourer of SF&F (loser geek), even a comic book fan (three strikes!). He actually hasn’t been actively writing for very long (you can't tell?) He lives in Chicagoland with his wife Annie. Follow him @parkinkspot and check out his writing blog at

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-11 is:

Some mornings you're the [snail], not the [sparrow].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Begin and end your story in two distinctly different settings/milieus. When, where, how, why to transition is up to you. Bonus points for contrast and humor.



  1. Foibles and Follies
    500 words
    Special Challenge Accepted (maybe)

    Some mornings you’re the target, not the arrow. Heading to work on the 5, rolling down the interstate at twenty miles per hour – darn rush hour traffic – and I hit a pothole. Coffee spilled in my lap and I looked down to assess the damage at the most inopportune time. I cursed at the stain on my pants not noticing I’d jammed the accelerator until my car collided with the car in front of me.

    In the ambulance, the EMT put the O2 mask on my face.

    “We need to cut your pants’ leg, assess the situation.”

    I shot up, pushed the oxygen aside, and stared at both of them.

    “These are Saint Laurent pants. There’s no way I’m going to let you cut them.”

    “With all due respect, ma’am, I don’t think you can save them.”

    I looked down at the pants, brown from the coffee and now stained red with blood. The loss of the pants might do me in.

    EMT #1 cut the fabric, and when I looked down I swooned. The bone had broken through the skin, and I’d been so worked up about the condition of my pants I hadn’t felt the pain until that moment. EMT#2 placed a board by the fracture and splinted it. Pain rolled through my body like an electric current. I felt the injection and the last thing I heard before going completely under was their laughter and the words, “She wanted to save her coffee and then her pants—some people.”

    The day only got worse, which seems ludicrous, because spilling coffee, causing a car wreck, and having a portion of your bone protrude from your skin seems bad enough—not to mention having your $3,000 pants cut away from your body.

    The sedative was short lived, and I woke up in the hospital room, all bright fluorescent lights, with a nurse trying to jam an IV into my vein.

    “Maybe you should let me do it.”

    “This is my job.” The nurse huffed, aimed, and missed again. I couldn’t hold back the curse words that flew out of my mouth at her.

    “Well you’re not very good at it. Can you get someone else?”

    I took stock of the fact that they’d put me in a hospital gown. My leg sprinted screamed out in pain. The doctor came in wearing a bow tie, all smiles.

    “Well hello there, and how are we doing?”

    Geez—get a life man, I’m sitting in a hospital room. I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms over my chest much to the nurse’s chagrin. I harrumphed and held out my left arm to her, and to my surprise her frustration did the trick. She slid the needle in and walked out of the room without so much as a good-bye.

    The doctor, upon cutting the bandages, stabbed my broken leg with the scissors. I felt surrounded by dummies. Like I said, some days you’re the target. Maybe tomorrow I’d be the arrow.

    1. "Foibles"? Aren't they what cats in the Bronx cough up?

    2. The Bronx zoo is filled with foibles! There are cages filled with nothing but foibles. There is an episode of Star Trek called -nothing but foibles, or is that tribles? Geoff, that really made me laugh.

    3. "Foibles"? Aren't they what cats in the Bronx cough up?

    4. British humor. I get it--after a little explanation from a friend. Thanks for the laugh.

  2. You know how firefighters love breaking their way into a building with an axe? EMTs absolutely love people in really expensive clothes, for the same schadenfreude.

  3. Pixie Snacks 
    Yes to special challenge

    Some mornings you’re the hungover drunk, not the model student, and I was well on my way to a hangover. The Alpha Chi’s chanted ‘Chug!’ while I funneled cheap beer.


    My new brothers clapped as I belched long and loud. Individuals blurred into a hazy dream. Someone almost knocked me over with a shoulder pat.

    “I need a toilet.”

    “You gonna hurl, brother? Third door on the right.”  

    My former pledge master shoved me into some dancing Gamma girls and down the hallway where I stumbled into a line of girls waiting at the third door. The last beer I guzzled weighed heavily on my bladder. Flirting could wait.

    At the end of the hall I spotted a blue door with nobody waiting. Not caring what room I peed in anymore, I staggered toward relief and turned the knob. Feeling for a light switch, I stepped into the pitch black space.

    My left foot caught on the door and I dove headlong into the room, never finding the lights. As I landed face down, my overfull bladder nearly burst. Something mushy, like soggy lawn, pushed into my face leaving blade impressions. I sat up to find myself in a sunny meadow full of large insects.

    Great. Someone slipped drugs into my beer. Most likely, I laid in a dark room staring at the ceiling like an idiot. These drugs made everything feel real, though.

    As insects circled closer, my hallucination gave them little human bodies with swords. The bugs danced through the air, making my chugged beer demand an upward exit. I didn’t want to wreck one of my new brother’s rooms, but they shouldn’t have drugged me either. I planned to pee in this field no matter whose room it might be.  

    After an awkward moment wavering, I positioned my body to relieve myself on a white daisy. Instantly, the oversized bugs swarmed around me. Sharp stings came from all directions. Swatting with one hand, I tried to run off, but my unzipped pants began falling down and tripped me. I landed in the squishy field a second time. The swarm hovered over me, laughing. One humanoid bug approached, wings sounding like a motor. He aimed a sword at the bridge of my nose.

    “Welcome to the pixie playground, human. Per our contract with Alpha Chi, you will now feed us in repayment for damages.” He sniffed me.

    “Damages, really?” My bleary eyes saw nothing. “You want cheesy puffs? Just show me the way out.” If my hallucination wanted a snack, I’d feed it.

    “You misunderstand.” The Pixie laughed and did a little loop in the air, so I laughed too. “I hope the drink has not spoiled your flavor like it spoiled your mind.”  

    My laugh turned into a scream as the pixie horde surged forward, covering my body with lacerations and stinging pain. I let my bladder go and hoped to wake up, passed out on a floor anywhere else, as darkness overtook me.

  4. Danielle Donaldson
    Word Count: 461
    Special Challenge? Perhaps!

    Sometimes you are the mouse, not the cat, I thought to myself as I balance against the bathroom wall, trying to squeeze my body into a completely flat surface. Mice can flatten themselves to fit under doors and into the walls, at least, that's what I think I heard one time. The sound of little feet running around the hallway made the breath catch in my throat. My heartbeat thudded in my ears and I tried my best to think like a mouse and disappear into the wall.

    The stomping twin sets of adorable, perfect feet that were attached to noise machines covered in sticky messes disguised as tiny humans beings stilled their movements outside the bathroom door. The shadows of two year old bodies shifted outside my hiding spot. They consulted with each other, whispering behind their grimy fingers in a language that I still didn't understand.

    They suddenly moved deeper into the house, passing by the closed bathroom door because they couldn't quite reach the doorknob yet. I breathed out. My shoulders slumped forward and I pushed sweaty strands of my hair out of my face.

    I grasped the small package of chocolate between my two fingers and silently prayed that the heat in the tiny room and from my own anxiety didn't prematurely melt it. I ripped the corner of the package so slowly and quietly that for a moment I thought that I should have went into special ops for the military. I leaned forward for one more check for noise outside the door. The girls must have found something to occupy them elsewhere in the house. I was sure that I would find them in some sort of mess, probably covered in flour or face first in the overfilled laundry hamper.

    When the first bite of chocolate hit my lips and melted onto my tongue, I was transported out of my dingy bathroom and into a seaside spa. I was lounging on a beach chair, wrapped up in a oversized waffle-knit robe with the sea breeze dancing through my beautiful and clean hair. I leaned back, letting the sweet darkness run down my throat. My lips were coated in the warm softness of luxury and I wanted to bask in the sunlight for just one moment more.

    Then, little hands started poking under the bathroom door and banging on the other side.

    “One minute! Momma will be there in one minute!” I yelled in the dark bathroom as whiny voices rose on the other side. I shoveled the remaining pieces in my mouth and down my gullet. I wrinkled the wrapper, the only evidence of my sin, and stuffed it in my bra.

    Another day in paradise...


  5. Johnny Lightning and
    the Lost Civilization of Toys


    Some mornings you're the night, not the morning. That's what happens here in this desolate tundra of frozen wasteland.

    I'm part of an excavation team that's examining the discovery of an ancient civilization that existed at least a thousand years ago. Antarctica melting has caused great alarm in the world but has also revealed hidden treasures.

    A huge dome was revealed. It was hard and transparent and resisted all efforts to break it.

    The civilization that created this curiosity was clearly highly advanced and possessed superior engineering skills.

    The temperature must have been -50. We took turns with a rotating group to do research and take photos. My shift was over and I was now headed to our large heated structure.

    Inside, we watched television and ate and talked about the day's findings.

    As we continued our investigation we saw through the dome to what appeared to be a brown haze. We looked at each other with puzzlement.

    It would soon be time to return home.


    The year 3056, in Hollywood, California. A little boy woke to greet another hot day; 147 degrees. Global warming had caused many changes in the world and wearing air-conditioned clothes was one of those changes. People now vacationed places where it was cold. Cold was the new hot. The South Pole was a destination spot for the rich and powerful.

    The boy who was 9 had already graduated college thanks to university implants that offered a college education in the womb. A downloaded implant taught: Quantum physics, literature, advanced calculus; etc. This did away with the unnecessary element of childhood so as to allow more adequate societal participation.

    The little boy had a very curious nature. One day he found an old box in the attic and opened it. Inside, there were various things such as a top, an electric football game, a Johnny Lightning track, and Hot Wheels.

    "Father what's that?" He asked.

    "That's the past. Those are something called toys."

    "What do you do with them?"

    His father took the Johnny Lightning track out and set it up and then took the Hot Wheels and put them on the track. They raced around the track propelled by a small device that pushed them forward. The little boy started to play with the track. He liked playing and played all day. When he was not working at his prestigious law firm he was at home playing. His mother and father were very touched at this outdated behaviour.

    The little boy looked in the box for other toys. He pulled out what looked like a small plastic ball.

    "What's this?"

    "It's called a snow globe."

    The father shook it and handed it to his son.

    Inside the boy could see a beautiful home with small trees in a little town with snow swirling all around with what appeared to be a bunch of little men that were heavily dressed, banging, trying to get out. The little boy looked up.

    "I love toys, daddy."

    (500 words)

    1. Wow! No wonder I struggled to find inspiration, Richard: you soaked it all up. Fantastic story!

  6. Sometimes Expressions Are More Than "Just an Expression"
    Word Count: 491
    Special Challenge Accepted

    Some mornings you're the snail, not the sparrow. And sometimes you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I thought that was just an expression. Who cares what side of the bed you get out of? Apparently, I was wrong.

    I had hit the snooze button for the gabilianth time, dreading going into work. Not because I hated my job, but because Serin would be there. I had mustered up the courage to finally ask her out. She answered with a big, fat "NO!" So I was completely justified in my NEED to stay in bed, I wanted to forget that I ever came out of my shy, little, self-protecting bubble. The office would surely survive without me. My little cubicle would still be exactly how I left it, sales wouldn't be down by much; I was not the number one salesman.

    My alarm shrilled again. I reached over for it but it wasn't where I left it. I rolled toward the sound. There it was on the floor on the other side of the bed. Reaching for it I lost my balance and tumbled. There I was, in all my glory, sprawled out for... well, no one... to see. The fall seemed to cause everything to shift. Like I was dizzy except I wasn't and it was only for a second. I stood up and waited to see if it would happen again. Feeling confident, I pulled on some boxers and then remembered my still-ringing phone.


    That's when the world turned upside down. I felt the ground shift under my feet. My stomach lurched. I could feel my midnight beef burrito threatening to come back up. Was that possible? Shouldn't my stomach be empty by morning? And why was I worried about my burrito and the biology of digestion when something big was clearly happening?

    Wake up Charlie!

    Everything suddenly stopped.

    Cautiously I walked to the bathroom and hurled stomach acid into the toilet, which I apparently forgot to flush last night.


    What was going on?

    I stumbled into the kitchen and turned on the tv, background noise always calmed me down.

    "Who are you?!"

    I whirled around. There in my house was a whole family of strangers.

    "I'm calling the police!" The man with the beard and flannel robe said.

    "Wait, what? This is my house!"

    "No... it's not," he said apprehensively, a stern, yet concerned look on his face.

    That's when I noticed that it wasn't. The furniture was different, seeing as there actually was furniture and not just a couple beanbags and and old card table.

    I was not in my house.

    "I don't understand. I fell out of MY bed, got dizzy, threw up in MY bathroom. How did I get here?"

    "You fell out of bed? The wrong side?"

    "I don't know... I guess."

    "Didn't your mother ever tell you not to get up on the wrong side of the bed?"

    1. Correction. It should read "and an old card table." not and and. Thank you.

  7. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 52
    Special Challenge Accepted
    (Late Entry: spent the early hours seeking inspiration, then woke with this buzzing round my head)

    The Journey

    Some mornings you're the cowering prey, and not the one who chases.
    Some days you do not fold your cards; no, you hold all the aces.
    Just remember life's a journey, so I think we'll all agree:
    We may start our day at A, but we should strive to get to B.

    1. Amendment request: in the first line, I think "fleeing," rather than "cowering", fits better as a counterpoint to " one who chases". Thanks.

    2. ...oh, and "we'd all agree", instead of " we'll all agree" in line three. Sorry!