Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flash fiction contest from Janet Reid, #8



Another flash fiction contest from the urbane hipster Janet Reid:

100 words or fewer, using:  
beautiful
downtown
queens
rental
cat


In the Valley of the Queens, Bastet ruled.

She rose from temple prostitute with a rental booth outside the main shrine in downtown Thebes, to the beautiful and feared chief concubine to Pharaoh himself. 

She was the official palace mourner. If someone you cared about died and you wanted a proper show, you called her.

If someone you didn’t love refused to die, well, Bastet could fix that too.

Every day she fed her clowder of cats on human blood. Every night she pleased Pharaoh and stirred her potions. 

She was carved into eternity with trembling hands, reborn a goddess.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Flash fiction contest from Janet Reid, #7





Another flash fiction contest from the highly (tooth) polished Janet Reid:


100 words or fewer, using:  

degrees 
chum 
bucket
pants
3

(This one merited, "Special recognition for entries that cracked me up.")

“Look on Chumster.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s a selachimorpha-sharing website. There’s only 3 degrees of separation between sea-going creatures.”

“Expensive to join?”

“Just a couple buckets of clams, and you see everyone’s dating profile.”

“Is it some fancy-pants sharks only site? What about the cartilaginously-challenged?”

“No, it’s not selective. Even lawyers and literary agents are allowed.”

“I’m game.”

And that was how they met. He was a nine-armed tugboat-chasing architeuthis, she a high-minded blood-swilling carcharadon.

Ships were sunk. Legends were written. They swam off into the murky sunset, suction cup in razor fin. 

Flash fiction contest from Janet Reid, #6



Another flash fiction contest from the flinty-eyed Janet Reid that I should have posted earlier:

100 words or fewer, using:  
fiction
slush
spade
hear
262 

“Get the icicles out of your ears. Call Wisconsin.”

“Keep your snowpants on, I heard you, I’m scooping up slush.”

“262-get-snow. They’re the only ones with summer product.”

“Toss me that spade, it’s like a glacier’s calving.”

“Can’t...I’m melting...”

“You’re stealing the witch’s line, careful about copyright, we have enough trouble.”

“Ice me down.”


“The Feds drained the power by running their ACs.”

“My artillery...the snow balls...”

“When Snowface told you to go into powder, he meant pharmaceutical grade, not ski quality.”

“Damn Snowden, the traitor. I swore I’d never sell to Tehran, that’s pure fiction.”


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flash fiction contest from Janet Reid, #5


This one is a writing contest from A.S. King, originally brought to my attention by Janet Reid's post.

You can find this author at:  http://www.as-king.info/2013/08/win-advance-copy-of-reality-boy.html

Want to win an ARC of REALITY BOY? All you have to do is follow 3 little rules, and you're in. Go crazy. You have two whole weeks. 

CHALLENGE:
  1. Your story MUST start with this sentence: Janet was early. **
  2. Your story MUST end with this sentence: Of course, she didn't.
  3. Your story must be 100 words or less.



Janet was early. Early to bed when tempted by Franklin and friends. Not early to rise because there was no dough in it. But her publisher client had left her an ARC as a tip. 

She noticed she’d slept in her stilettos again. She wriggled into what was left of her dress, and downed her morning whiskey, neat. Janet hoisted the girls, tucked the manuscript into her lace-swathed cleavage, and smiled. She’d have done him just for the tip. 

Time for a fix at the corner bookstore before hitting her day job. Feel any regret?  Of course, she didn’t.




Flash fiction contest from Janet Reid, #4


Another flash fiction contest from the toothsome Janet Reid that I should have posted earlier:

100 words or fewer, using:  
blitz 
tube
blackout
finest 
hour



“One more tube of lemon-yellow. Flourishes, careful, careful.”

“That’s nice...”

“A blitz of candied violets for the finish. A spun sugar crown, and done!”

“But...”

“Here we have it-my finest sugar-blackout Divorce cake.”

“I’m not...”

“One hour after eating yours, ten years of marital misery will melt away.”

“I was really...”

“Two hours after sending his, your former partner will follow suit.”

“I don’t...”

“The piece de resistance, why, frosted arsenic on his rose petals.”

“I’m actually looking for a wedding cake.”

“Oh, well. Come see me in a few years then. Never mind about the petals.”



Flash fiction contest from Janet Reid, #3


Another flash fiction contest from the fantastic Janet Reid that I should have posted earlier:

100 words or fewer, using:  
art
jersey
lily
double
kiss


I held my sweating cocktail glass to my face, then scrubbed my cheeks with a bar napkin.

“Delightful. The old double kiss. Is he Eurotrash or a gangster?”

“Neither. He plays artist so he doesn’t have to sully his lily hands with actual work.”

“He doesn’t want to whack me?”

“No, just couch-surf you. He’s kind of a rent boy. Scammer.”

“Any family?”

“Died in a fire in Jersey.”

“Hmm. My dungeon is short a slave. Won’t the artiste be surprised?”

We laughed and fixed our lipstick. I sent the poseur a drink. Patience. Patience. Sharks circling bait. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Flash fiction contest from Janet Reid, #2

A flash fiction contest from the great Janet Reid that I should have posted earlier:

100 words or fewer, using:  
coop
claw
ratchet
full
back



“She used a blade for the coup de grace on Harry. Got him when his back was turned.”

“The coop has no grace. We’re trapped in a dump. Full of crap and old seeds.”  

“I mean he got axed, birdbrain. Choppy-chop. I’m clawing my way out before I’m next. Wanna come?”

“There’s all those roads to cross...”

“Chicken?”

“Of course. Rhode Island Red and purebred.”

“Take care, Chanticleer.” 

“For a rat, Chet, you’re ok.”

“And with a small sharp instrument I’m unbeatable. Ever notice ratchet rhymes with hatchet...Watch your back, farm-girl.”

Chet crept away, knife in teeth.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. (Churchill)






Here's to the magnificent experiment.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #17


No word generator this time. This flash fiction was written as a response to the following image, found at flashfictionfridays@wordpress.com



The Snow Wife

Above the clouds, above the tree-line we hunted. 
Just a man and his son, tracking the footprints of a lost mother in the snow.
Pumori, Ama Dablan, Cho Oyu, 
Chomolungma. 
We searched the giants. She wasn’t there.
Once, there had been a fall.
Once there had been shelter, a cave of ice.
One night spent with a woman, a demon, 
trying to keep warm in all that whitened cold.

One year later, I climbed again. 
Reached the summit, descended again into the white, into the blind 
desire of a satisfied dream.
Awoke, in a tent this time, 
to find a child by my side, 
a human infant with frost-white hair and eyes of ice.
My child.
The union of a peak-bagging mountaineer 
and the lost mother of the snows.
One slow heartbeat and those glacial eyes,
one small cold hand in mine,
nothing left of mother but spindrift in the snow.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #16


5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have:  advertising, purse, cottage, dragon, comic. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.

     “What are you advertising, dressed like that? Is this a joke?”
     “I’m not comical.”
     “Is that glitter on your wings?”
     “Maybe.”
     “And a gold lamé purse dangling from your tail?”
     “Perhaps.”
     “Did I see you coming out of Courtesan Cottage at 3:00 a.m. last night?”
     “Must have been someone else.”
     “If you’re short on cash I can help.”
     “I have my pride!”
     “Dragons have pride, dragon street hookers, I’m thinking not so much...”
     “It’s just till I get my fire-breathing back. Doctors aren’t cheap.”
     “As long as dragons are. Look, a knight!”
     “Catch you later. Girl’s gotta eat.”

Friday, April 19, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #15


5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have:  parity, hammer, frost, stone, pebble. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.

     “Still on strike?”
     “We want parity!”
     “Like what?”
       “Better weapons for one thing. Look at you with your hammer!”
     “I need it. We have to fight frost giants, serpents, and giant wolves, while defending the World Tree.”
     “Well, we have unlucky people to eat.”
     “Don’t call a pebble a boulder.”
     “Stone is stone.”
     “Get a grip, Bunyip. It’s cute when overgrown koalas get mad.”
     “Screw you, Thor. Hammer-headed hairball.”
     “Enjoy picketing. Excuse me while my hammer and I cross the line between myth and legend, and, uh, things like you. Hermes sends his love. And some catfood.”
     “Mythist bastards!” 


* A Bunyip is a human-eating, swamp-dwelling evil spirit from Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is sometimes described as looking like a mutant starfish, but is also sometimes pictured like a saber-toothed tiger. Thor is a Norse god, while Hermes is a Greek god.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Paul Revere's Ride

In honor of the anniversary of Paul Revere's ride and the start of the American Revolution, and in remembrance of the people of Boston, where the American quest for freedom and democracy began--


Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon bombing


Our thought and prayers are with the people of Boston and the visiting tourists, all the people who were injured or lost loved ones at the Boston Marathon bombing yesterday.





This man, Carlos Arredondo, lost his son in Iraq, and leaped over a security fence to help some of the victims in Boston. In another photo he seems to be clamping the artery shut on a man who had lost both of his legs at the knee and was being rushed away in a wheelchair, helping to save the man's life. 

In the midst of this cowardice and depravity, it is important to see the essence of human decency and courage shining through. The fact that numerous people ran toward the blast to help says more about us than whatever message the bomber or bombers were trying to impart.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #14


5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have:  roof, motorcycle, slide, morals, music. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.


     “Nothing like lying on a rooftop at night, sipping wine, shedding morals.”
     “Don’t slide too far. You’ll lose your reputation, and risk a fall.”
     “What is life without risk? I’m listening to the music of the spheres in the Eternal City. The world is beautiful.”
     “Tempus fugit.”
     “My motorcycle fugit. Breaks 140.”
     “Tough girl.” 
     “That’s a sour taste. I want sweet.”
     “Creep over here, I’ll oblige.”
     She reached a little too eagerly. He stumbled back to save himself, but his buttons tangled in her long hair. Together they fell, spilled wine and shattered glass, a shriek like blazing stars.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #13


5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have: ravioli, raincoat, rose, second, peace. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.


    “Want seconds on peas?”
     “A Separate Peace? I read that. Spells ASP. Creepy. I hate snakes.”
     “Peas. No serpents involved.”
     “Piece of what? I have lasagna. Are you a herpetologist? My dating profile said no scientists.”
      “Never mind.”
     “Don’t get mad at me. The world can’t be all rose-flavored raviolis and unicorns. A guy’s gotta have standards.”
     “Your chair’s on my raincoat.”
     “Brain of goat? For dessert? I said no Satanists either.”
     “I said no poets. Rhyming dictionary’s rotted your mind.”
     “You take what you find, but I’m outta here.”
     My fate-this loser date? Dear God, it’s contagious.




Friday, March 29, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #12


5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have: market, leech, kiss, injury, ipad. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.


     “Are those earbuds or do you have leeches hanging from your ipad again?”
     “Slimy little vampire bastards are everywhere. I went tarantula hunting in the jungle. Selling them in the market. Beer money.”
     “They really got you. It’s like you’re covered in love bites.”
     “Kiss this. Nothing like a work-related injury to make a girl feel pretty.”
     “How many letters in your advanced degrees did it take to spell ‘slacker entomologist?’”
     “Dating the local talent by the hour is making you bitter.”
     “Ever notice ‘beer’ and ‘love’ have the same letter count?”
     “Secret to happiness, baby. Secret to happiness.”

Friday, March 22, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #11


5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have:  navel, trophy, conductor, mime, finger. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.

     “Give the mime the finger. Speak his language.”
     “Act this out, buddy.” A stubby finger sailed into the air.
     “Damn street performers. Everybody’s an artist nowadays. Junkies with busted two-string guitars are conductors, any kid with a crayon’s Picasso.”
     “I know. What’s in the bag?”
     “That’s my trophy for best navel in a pose-off. I won best spray-tan lines too.”
     “Sweet. I won best use of makeup to hide juice tracks.”
     “Wanna go lift?”
     “Sure. Let’s bench some writer clowns too. What a piece of work.”
     “Is a man...hey, move it, Shakespeare. Real artists coming through.”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #10--St. Patrick's Flash



5 words picked in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, 100 words or fewer story.  We have:  green, clover, leprechaun, gold, snakes. Bonus words:  shillelagh, shoemaker. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.

“Look up! Is that the Shoemaker-Shillelagh comet?”
“Have you been smoking clover again? There’s nothing there.” 
“Gold streaks--writhing like pythons in the sky!”
“Sky snakes? Um, no. I also didn’t see some homicidal baby with a bow and quiver, a manic bunny employed by the chocolate lobby, or a bad-tempered jackass o’ lantern with dental issues.” 
“My girlfriend says...”
“Don’t get me started on that imaginary chick with wings you claim you met at the Green rally when you lost your tooth fighting.”
“Chill, San-Man, ol’ St. Dick, give a leprechaun a break. Ride the Rainbow...”