Tag Archives: flash fiction

The Clue of the Pickle

copyright Ted Strutz

I froze when I opened the trash. There was a pickle.

I hate pickles.

And I live alone.

Someone was in my house! Eating pickles.

Then a man walked into the kitchen.

He screamed.

I screamed.

Not for ice cream.

I called 911. He did too.

911 came.

They arrested me! They said I was living in this guy’s attic for months.

That doesn’t seem right, but it’s true I’m not in any of the framed pictures.

Which is strange.

They ordered a psych evaluation.

I just have one question.

Who have I been paying rent to all this time?


The Ones Left Behind

copyright David Stewart

The Ones Left Behind

After an hour, I gave in and texted again.

Did you have supper? It was after breakfast, mid-evening over there.

No reply. My heart beat faster, irrationally. His friend Amber was there too. She’d learned Vietnamese, he’d said.

The phone chimed. I jumped for it.

“Is that Stan?” my husband asked from the kitchen.

“Yeah.”

He came over to read the reply.

Yep!

A picture popped up of a glowing building and a lotus flower fountain.

“It’s gorgeous,” I said. “My lucky little boy. Still, I worry.”

“He’ll be fine. After all, he’s nine now. He’s not a baby anymore.”

*

This Friday Fictioneers story is very late, but since Rochelle chose my picture this week as the prompt, I wanted to make sure I wrote one. I took this picture in Ho Chi Minh City when I was there on business a few months ago. I wrote a kid’s book about my travels called Stanley and Amber in Southeast Asia, about a kid and his unicorn friend traveling around Southeast Asia (it started out as a Flat Stanley project for my niece; thus, the name). So, I thought I’d write this from the parent’s perspective.


Trinkets from Paradise Lost

FF 222 Jan Wayne Fields

copyright Jan Wayne Fields

The booth clung to the edge of the fairground like a leech. The owner sat alone, swiping at a futuristic-looking tablet.

“Whadya got?” I asked.

He stood, flashing me a shark grin. “Novelties from lost places.” He proffered a small box. “From the Garden of Eden. Real apple wood.”

I rummaged through the items. “Lost places? Really?” I held up a hat marked CALIFORNIA.

He glanced at his watch. It had no time, just the year: 2020.

“How’d that get in there?” His shark grin widened as he shoved the hat behind him. “Now, how about a T-shirt from Atlantis?”

 


Going the Distance

The door closes, coffin-like. The interior is stifling. I’ve trained years for this moment, braving broken bones and lost hair.

A muffled thump and I’m airborne. I’m tumbling freely until I can work the controls enough to level out.

Impact. I’m slammed mercilessly into the unforgiving sides.

Light streams in. Assistants help me outside to wild cheers. I survey the scorched field strewn with other fridges. I’ve gone two lengths further than the Chinese fridge.

My gold medal for the Fridge Nuke around my neck, I go explore the rest of the Hyperbolympics. Maybe I’ll check out the shark jumping.

Nuke the fridge - The Top 10 Everything of 2008 - TIME

 

In case you’re wondering about the inspiration:

Jumping the Shark

Nuking the Fridge


Fructicide

I am sitting in a hotel room in downtown Hanoi in Vietnam with rain misting outside. Since I didn’t have any meetings today and I happen to be 12 hours ahead of my usual timezone, I decided to write a Friday Fictioneers story right as the prompt was released. This is actually the third story I wrote before I could get one to 100 words. I’ll post the others later.

https://rochellewisofffields.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/img_20190807_112118.jpg?w=1024&h=768

copyright Roger Bultot

By the time we arrived, the pulpy flesh spattering the walls had begun to harden. The stench of smashed strawberries and fear hung in the air with the flies.

The other berries were scared to talk until a lemon pointed us towards the watermelons. We got a warrant to roll them; my partner retched at the carnage we uncovered.

It was a gang hit. The Amesti family was making a move on the upper shelf and the bigger Allsweets struck back. Two of them were sentenced to suikawari. That’s just life—and death—in the jungle of the Farmer’s Market.


Act Hacked

FF x Dale Rogerson

copyright Dale Rogerson

If you’re going to connect your robotic theater to the Internet, make the password more creative than shakespeare123. It took me ten minutes to hack it.

My mother told me not to cause trouble. She also told me to create art. You can see my dilemma.

It started small, like making Hamlet declare “To pee or not to pee,” then changing every instance of “cat” to “pig” in a certain musical. To be fair, Pigs was sold out for six months.

They caught me eventually, after I added a techno remix to Phantom. The good news I’m on salary now.

 

 


Hot Pepper Vacation

FF217 Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

“I’ll have the ghost pepper pie,” I said.

The waitress’s expression was that of a cop approaching a rooftop jumper. The words Are you sure? crouched unsaid on her lips.

I glanced out at the bleak Alberta winterscape. The meteorologists were rejoicing at the mid-February heatwave as the mercury rocketed up to -20.

“I just need a little heat in my life,” I whispered.

Twenty minutes later, my mouth was ablaze and sweat poured off me like a monsoon. I closed my eyes and imagined Cancun.

The manager noticed. The next week, they were advertising Mexican vacations, $4.99 a slice.


Chad

FF215 CEayr

copyright CEAyr

“So, who else should be in the club?”

“What about Chad?” I suggested.

Marcus choked.

“Chad?” he shouted. “Chad Shermanburger? Investigated-by-the-FBI Chad? Started-a-forest-fire-testing-his-homemade-rocket-fuel Chad? Brought-a-baby-cougar-to-school Chad? Sold-his-own-version-of-the-Nobel-Prize-online-sparking-outcry Chad? You want Chad freaking Shermanburgar, who somehow sneaked aboard Air Force Two and met the vice president to join the Adventurers’ Club?”

I gulped. “Not at all. I meant Chad . . . Parsons.”

“Oh. Okay.”

Looking back, I should have stuck to my guns. Chad Parsons was boring.


Bear Meets Absorbed Nurse

bear hall

Credit to Gomerblog for the unauthorized use of this Photoshopped picture

 

The doors of the hospital slid apart with a cheery ding as the bear walked in, a small cub lying unconscious on its back. The emergency room waiting room went quiet as only the sudden appearance of a bear can cause. A quick-thinking woman with a head injury tried to call 911 but instead called 822. A teenager with a broken arm tried to turn on the video camera on his phone. The clatter of the phone falling to the linoleum tiles and a strangled scream of pain were the only sounds besides the bear’s heavy tread as it approached the reception desk.

The nurse on duty was as harried as the new patient was hairy. Two of her co-workers had called in sick and another one had gone on a five-minute smoke break twenty minutes ago. She sensed the approach of someone at the window as she worked away frantically at the computer.

“Here, fill this out,” she said, pushing a clipboard of papers at the bear.

The bear searched its memory, but the closest thing in its experience to a clipboard were the flat rocks under which ants and beetles and other delicious insects lived. It nosed the clipboard up a few inches experimentally, but the underside was clean.

“Do you have insurance?” the nurse asked as she kept typing, sensing that the presence at the window had not moved. “I’ll need to see your insurance card. Do you have a copay?”

The bear gave a tentative growl.

“Good. We’ll need payment up front.”

It was probably just as well that the bear was unaware of how much it did not know about the healthcare system. All it knew was that its cub had eaten some bad berries and was very sick. It had seen one of the humans eat those same berries the year before and after a while a vehicle with a colorful cross on the side had come and gotten him. So the bear had put the cub on its back and started walking until it saw a building with that same cross on it. For all it knew, this was the Go-When-You-Eat-Bad-Berries place.

The nurse kept typing, trying to get through the backlog of notes on the last dozen patients. They just kept pouring in. She gritted her teeth as she saw out of the corner of her eye that whoever was at the window still had not taken the clipboard. The last thing she needed was a high maintenance patient she’d have to handhold through the ten-page intake form.

It was at that moment that Dr. Elizabeth Gauss walked into the emergency room. She took in the scene in a glance: the frozen expressions of the waiting room patients, the bear standing patiently at the reception desk window, the cub lying motionless on its back, the nurse typing madly at the computer.

This was new, but Dr. Gauss worked the night shift in an emergency room, so it was not the most surprising thing she had ever seen. She walked over to the bear, who turned expectantly. Seeing the cub’s half-open eyes and the color of its protruding tongue, she guessed what had happened. She motioned for the bear to follow her and it did, with the innocence of a toddler trying to make a withdrawal from Fort Knox.

Dr. Gauss got the bears settled in the extra-large examination room and came back to the reception desk. “Jane,” she said. She repeated it three times before the nurse looked up.

“What did you think of that last person who came in?” Dr. Gauss asked.

Jane looked at the blank forms on the clipboard and gave a noise of disgust. “He didn’t fill out the paperwork. Probably wasn’t more than a sore throat anyway. He sounded like he had a growl.”

“Just put him down as John Doe,” Dr. Gauss said. “Actually, no, not that. Say John Ursine.” She looked kindly at Jane, noticing how tired her eyes looked and just how frazzled she was. “Why don’t you go take a break for half an hour.” She handed the nurse a twenty-dollar bill. “Get a snack and coffee, on me. Don’t worry,” she added at Jane’s protests, “you need a break. I’ll get someone to cover.”

“And Jane,” she said as the nurse gratefully accepted the money and started to walk away. “Don’t go into Examination Room 3.”


Team Sisyphus

FF214 Linda Kreger

copyright Linda Kreger

“Come on, team!” Larry bellowed. “There’s no “I” in Sisyphean!”

“There’s a ‘y’ though,” I said, ignoring the fact that there obviously was an “i”. “As in, why should we try?”

“I’ve got a good feeling about today,” he said, just like every day.

We sighed and started shoving the rock. “That’s it!” Larry screamed as we approached the top. “You’re almost there. Three more feet!”

Ryan slipped. The rock crashed back down.

“Good effort, team,” Larry said. “Let’s break for lunch and try again this afternoon. Just stay positive. At least we’re out here getting exercise, unlike Team Prometheus.”

 

 

The Mythological Punishment Olympics is a pretty depressing spectacle. Here are some of the teams in contention:

Team Sisyphus

Team Prometheus

Team Ixion

Team Erysichthon

Team Tantalus

Team Danaïdes


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