Category Archives: Flash Fiction Friday

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17-Jan-2020

Family. Even a sasquatch doesn’t get to choose them.

A buzz came from my phone.

“Mr. Stick?”

“Yeah, Acorn, what is it?” I aimed the plastic ball at the plastic hoop and let it go.

Nailed it.

“There’s a man here to see someone in production, and Mr. Forest says it’s your turn. I’ll send him right in.”

I swore under my breath and hit the intercom on the phone. “Lance, I’m buried with our next release at the moment.”

My doorknob turned, and an enormous, hairy creature walked in.

I sighed. “Hey, Pinenut.”

He grunted and sat. The chair groaned under his weight. The smell hit me a moment later. Most sasquatches took personal grooming seriously. Everyone except this guy. He smelled of too much moonshine and not enough bathing time.

“Won’t you come in,” I muttered.

“I have a piece for you,” Pinenut grunted. He reached within the folds of his light brown coat and drew out a folded piece of paper.

“You know we prefer digital copies now, correct?”

“Can’t put this on the computer. If they tracked it back to me I’d be a dead beast.”

The paper waited for me to pluck it from his fingers. I wondered what it would be this time. He’d finally run his multi-dimension humans living in the same place we were but in a different…something or other…a few months ago. The faster I let him get it out of his system the faster he would be gone. I took the paper. “You realize that we’ll put your name on the article if we publish it.”

He grunted again. “You think Pinenut is my real name?”

It was. I’d known him since we were kids. I sighed. “Tell me about it.”

“Look at it.” He indicated the paper.

I unfolded it, wary of the suspicious red stain, and found a fuzzy photograph. Of a child’s toy. “It’s a robot,” I said.

“Yes, but not from here.”

Again, better to get it over with. “Where is it from, Pinenut?”

He leaned forward, and somehow his breath of death got all the way to my nose. “The human world.”

I groaned. I couldn’t help it. “We’ve been over this.”

Pinenut held up a ratty paw. “Hear me out. I found this, took a picture, and wrote a note on it. The next day, it was gone.”

“Probably because a cub took it.”

“No. A human.”

“And how do you know it was a human?”

“I saw tracks.”

“Probably of a cub.”

He ignored the comment. “And this was there in its place.” Pinenut once again fished an object out of his coat.

This one was about the size of the end of my finger, and thin. I’d never seen anything quite like it. The color reminded me of shiny, almost orange dirt. Before I could stop myself I held out my hand. Pinenut dropped the item in my outstretched palm.

It held no weight, and was slightly warm, although I imagine that was from it being somewhere in his coat.

The object was roughly oval in shape, and curved along the long direction. The back side was smooth, but the front side had a picture on it. A wiggly boarder surrounded an outline of a blob that sort of looked like Lake CleanWater. There was what could be writing on each side and then again at the bottom.

“It’s from the human realm.”

I shook my head. “Someone could have made this.”

“Out of what? What is it?”

He had me there. “Have you had it tested?”

Pinenut let out a snort. Other, less savory things, came with said snort, and I grabbed a tissue to wipe my desk. “The government would take it, and me, if they knew about it.”

I handed the thing back. “Which is why I couldn’t possibly put it in the paper. It would put you in danger.”

Pinenut’s brown eyes flashed. “The truth needs to be documented.”

We’d been through this a dozen times, although the addition of whatever he had in his paw was cause for actual interest, so I knew the drill. I sat forward, interlaced my fingers and looked him in the eye. “I can see that this might be big. Bigger than anything we’ve ever put in the magazine before.”

He nodded.

“But, we’re going to need more proof. Do you think you can get more of those?” I pointed at the object.

“I can try.”

“Why don’t you do that?” I stood and hauled him to his feet. “Get me so much proof that I won’t be able to refuse you. Then the world will know the truth.”

His eyes shone with gratitude. “Thank you, Mr. Stick.”

“No, thank you.” I steered him to the door of my office. “Come back with more proof in two weeks. Ask to see Mr. Forest. He’ll be waiting.”

More nodding. “I will. I’ll get everything you need.”

I patted him on the shoulder, careful to stay on the clean patches of fur, and watched him leave the office. I rubbed my face. “Why me?” My eyes darted to Mr. Forest’s office, and I glared at him. I mouthed, “You’re next,” before going back into my office and grabbing the plastic ball off the floor.

“He’s your dad,” Mr. Forest mouthed back.

I sighed. Why me?

***

Okay, I’m working with new categories this year. Man, my Facebook friends made them tough!

I think I did okay with this one.

Genre – Sasquatch Magazine (It was supposed to be a naughty magazine, but I had to nix that. Kids read these posts!)

Character – The Town Drunk

Setting – Lake Tahoe

Random Object – Toy Robot


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10-Jan-2020

I must be in the mood for a romantic comedy…

“Can we stop at the next fast food place so I can go to the bathroom?” Carl complained from the back seat.

“No way,” Trina said. “I can’t get all of these layers off to go to the bathroom, and I have to go too.” She met my eyes in the rearview mirror as the plastic octopus hanging from it dangled back and forth. “Don’t you dare stop.”

I cocked my head from one side to the other, then tapped my thumbs on the steering wheel.

“Jack, don’t you even think about it.” Trina’s voice grew dangerous.

I laughed in the face of danger on a daily basis, so I signaled and turned off the main road.

“No!” Trina cried.

“Look, sis, I wore this stupid outfit for you all night, and now I’m hungry. So we’re stopping.”

“But we had dinner.”

“I wouldn’t call a piece of meat the size of half an egg with fruit punch disguised as wine dinner,” Carl said.

“Agreed,” I said.

“Will you hurry?” Trina said, sounding like a three-year-old doing the pee-pee dance. “Like really hurry?”

“Or you could get out,” I said.

Rachel, the girl sitting in the front seat threw me a dark look. “She’s not taking that costume in there. And you’d better not get a single grease stain on yours.”

“It’s not mine,” I reminded her. “The two of you begged Carl and I to come so you could take couples pictures. This is the beginning of your payback to us.”

Carl laughed. “So true.”

I pulled into a parking spot and threw the car into park.

“You sure you don’t want to come in?” Carl asked Trina. I’d caught Carl  staring at the results of a corset on my sister a couple of times tonight. We might have to have the “don’t date my best friend’s sister” talk later.

“No. Please hurry.”

Part of me wanted to walk as slowly as I could to the entrance, but considering what I was wearing, I wanted to get this over with.

The door pulled open with a slight squeak, and a rush of deep-fried goodness filled my nostrils. The diner at the Regency party had been less than satisfying. Carl bolted toward the bathrooms. “Do you want anything?” I asked.

“Get me a soda.” His words faded as he got farther away.

“Because you need more liquid in your system,” I said.

Lucky for us, it was late. And the place was almost deserted. One woman sat alone in the far corner, munching down fries and scrolling through her phone. A couple occupied another table, but they only had eyes—and hands—for each other.

I decided if I was going to be spotted in this ridiculous get-up, that I would at least make it look good. So I straightened my vest—er, waistcoat—fluffed my cravat, made sure my collar was brushing my jaw, then strode forward with my knee-high boots clicking on the floor.

I should have brought the walking stick thing.

The bored looking girl behind the counter saw me, and her eyes went wide. “Jack?”

Of course it was someone I knew. Unfortunately for me, after spending an evening with a bunch of people who ran around in Regency outfits playing out Regency dinner and garden scenarios for fun, I’d fallen into character. I walked up to the counter and bowed. “Sandi. So nice to see you.” I came up from my bow. “Are your parent’s well?”

Sandi and I had gone through school together. She was a band nerd, while I was a crazed athlete, but ever since we’d accidentally made a dry ice bomb for science class in junior high, we’d been friends.

She sniggered and did a curtsy. “They are well, thank you. How is your sister?”

Apparently Sandi had at least seen Pride and Prejudice before. “She is in the car, and under some distress.” I leaned forward. “She needs to use the privy, but did not want to do it here.”

“Understandable.” Sandi smiled. “What can I get you, my lord?”

I straightened and tapped a finger on my lips as I studied the menu. “Methinks I would like a large order of thine fries, a large Coke and a large Dr. Pepper.”

“Thine?” Sandi’s smile spread across her whole face. I’d never noticed that her nose wrinkled when she laughed. Nor did I notice the adorable freckles on her cheeks. Or the way her blue eyes lit up.

I was staring. I cleared my throat and raised an eyebrow. “Indeed.”

“Very well, my lord.” She did another curtsy and then typed my order into the computer. “Thine total is three of our dollars and one quarter.”

“Ah.” I reached inside my vest—waistcoat—and fished out my debit card. “Will this suffice?”

“Indeed,” she said.

Why did I notice that our fingers brushed when she took the card?

Why did I watch her the whole time she was running the order?

Why did I want her to smile at me again?

I shook my head. It must be this stupid costume.

The computer let out a pleasant dinging sound. Sandi handed my card back, along with my receipt. When I went to take the card, she held it fast until I looked into her alluring, blue eyes again.

Stupid costume.

“Next time you and your sister go to a regency dinner, count me in.”

I tugged on the card.

She smirked. “My lord.”

The card came free. I bowed. “My lady.”

Another worker handed me my order and I did the only thing a sensible young man worth at least five thousand a year should do.

I fled.

***

Not going to lie, I almost didn’t write this one. But then, when I did, it was so fun!

Like I said, I must have romantic comedy on the brain. Yes, I stretched the genre a bit…I hope you liked it.

Genre – Regency Romance

Random Object – Octopus

Setting – Fast Food Place


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3-Jan-2020

Cookies and romance? Fine. Whatever.

“I told you he worked here,” Brittney said.

Brittney thought she was the brains of this little operation.

“Everyone knows he works here,” Harry, short for Harriet, grumbled. She was the only one allowed to drive us to the shopping complex.

“Well Brittney found out when he’d be here,” I said with a smile.

“Someone brought money right?” Harry asked.

“Duh.” Brittney waved her phone. “I’ve got it covered.”

“Do they take phone payments?” Harry asked.

“Who doesn’t?”

“The last three places you’ve tried to pay at.”

I put my hand up, cutting off their bickering. The three of us were slouched down in Harry’s family’s old mini-van. It smelled faintly of pizza and dog, but at least we didn’t have to ride our bikes or beg someone else for a ride, like the flock of girls who had just walked into the shop did.

Brittney scoffed. “Ametures.”

I raised my head to see what they’d done. The flock, six strong, had split up. Half of them stood in line to order while the other half lurked near the little counter where orders went out.

“He’s so handsome,” Brittney said in a breathless voice.

Harry gave me a hard look.

I smiled. Yes, I owed her. She knew I was good for it.

“Just look at the way he boxes those cookies!” Brittney squealed.

Yes, squealed.

Why had I come back as a teenage girl? I hadn’t squealed in millennia. Still, Brittney’s excitement rolled over me like bad perfume, and I took a moment to study the target of our operation.

Tall with bronzed skin and bleached hair from being outside so much, Zack gave the flock before him half a wave as he kept filling orders for the other customers, which the flock had moved in front of.

I had to admit, he was handsome. Chiseled jaw, nice muscle lines and those dimples…

“Here comes the manager,” Harry said.

The woman, a thin woman in her mid-thirties, came up next to Zack and smiled at the girls. I could imagine the conversation.

“Have you girls ordered?”

They looked down.

“Well, these nice people behind you have orders to pick up, so if you have nothing to pick up, would you please move to the door or go outside.”

The crestfallen faces filled my mind, and I grinned as half of the flock came outside.

“There’s a lull,” Brittney said.

She was right. The rest of the flock moved to wait for their order. Only two people stood in line. “Let’s go,” I said.

The three of us got out of the minivan and slammed the doors shut in perfect sync. We strode down the aisle of parked cars, made sure no one was coming along the front side of the strip mall, and then crossed to the cookie store.

The scent of sugar, dough and chocolate came all the way to the edge of the sidewalk. It rolled out the door as Harry opened it. I inhaled and took a moment to enjoy the fact that I could eat food again.

Zack looked up, smiled at Brittney, then went back to boxing cookies.

Brittney immediately pressed up against me, her body trembling. “Did you see that? He smiled at me.”

I patted her on the arm. “I saw it. Nice job.”

Harry rolled her eyes.

I watched Zack for a second, looking for anything besides his painfully attractive appearance that was out of the ordinary, then joined Brittney at the counter to order.

“Don’t you have anything smaller?” Brittney asked.

Harry scoffed. “We’ll take one chocolate chip, one sugar cookie and one of the orange dream ones.”

“Great choices,” the girl at the register said.

Brittney held up her phone. “You guys take phone payments, right?”

The girl smiled. “Sure do.”

Brittney stuck her tongue out at Harry.

Really smooth, I thought. Then we got to go into the waiting line, and that’s when I got my first good look at the guy everyone in school was talking about. No one knew where he went to school. He’d only revealed his first name, and he seemed like the nicest guy in the world.

The man before I picked up his order.

“Have a nice day,” Zack said.

The hair on the back of my neck rose. It sure sounded like him.

Brittney stepped up to the counter. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Zack said. “You ordered three cookies?” He frowned.

“That’s right.”

“You do know that four is a better bargain, right?”

Brittney laughed. “We only need one each.”

Zack leaned forward and winked. “Everyone needs another cookie.”

The air around him shimmered. Brittney’s eyes went glassy.

I suppressed a groan and gritted my teeth.

How had Loki gotten here?

His eyes darted to me, and he gave me a wink.

I’m sure he expected me to freak out, but instead I gave him a little nod. Then I held my thumb up to my ear and mouthed, “Call me.”

Zack raised an eyebrow.

I went to get some napkins and left a little card with my number on it.

Brittney continued to talk to Zack, who responded with more enthusiasm than he had any other customer. I was sure Harry and I would hear about it all the way home.

That was fine.

Now the question was, would Loki help me? If so, what would he want in return?

***

A few months ago, as I may or may not have been picking up a cookie from Crumbl in the middle of the day, I had the idea for this story.

The kid boxing up cookies was way too young for me, but he was seriously handsome, and this little ditty came to mind. Someday you might get more.


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20-Dec-2019

There’s always that one person at work who has to predict the end of the world…

I shifted my weight from one foot to the other and glanced at the timer for the third time in fifteen seconds.

Why did everything feel like it was taking forever today?

Ten.

Almost there. Only six more batches to go before I went on break.

Eight.

Ugh. Time had to be going backward.

Five.

This. Day. Would. Never. End.

Two.

“It smells like something is burning,” a voice said from behind me.

Beeeep…

I pulled the basket of now crispy French fries out of the oil and hooked it in place so the oil could drip off. “Nothing is burning,” I said in a hollow voice.

Violet said she smelled something burning at least once an hour. Personally I wondered if she was having a permanent stroke. She was like fifty years old. Practically dead.

As I loaded the next basket of fries, the world seemed to wobble a bit. I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment before shaking my head and taking a deep breath. When I reopened my eyes, for a short second, I saw something totally different than the fry machine before me.

The glimpse was too short for noticing details, just the big picture. A door with a gold frame filled with what looked like water. And a hand reaching through it toward me.

Nope. Not again.

I shook my head again and dumped the new fries to the pile under the heat lamp. A salty cloud of oily smell rose as I tossed the pile, so no one would know how long the oldest ones had been there.

“Something’s burning,” Violet said.

Jack, the manager, looked at me and rolled his brown eyes.

I smiled. He was cute. And almost twenty. I liked it when he paid attention to me. So I giggled.

“Come on,” Jack said to Violet. “Nothing is burning. Why don’t you go and run the drink machine for the drive-thru?”

That brought a smile to Violet’s wrinkled face. “Okay!”

Jack shook his head.

“Crystal is going to be mad at you for that,” I said.

“Naw. She owes me for being late again. Besides, Violet is actually good at running the drinks. She just talks the whole time.”

“I still think she’s having a stroke.”

We laughed.

Then a deep, dark voice spoke in my mind.

People that old should be put out of their misery.

My jaw hinged open. What had I just thought? What did that even mean?

Violet, who had been heading toward the drive-thru, stopped and stared at the ground.

Jack groaned. “Here we go.”

“What?” I asked.

Jack pat the air with his hands. “You haven’t heard this yet, have you?”

“Heard what?”

He grinned. “You’re in for a treat.”

“Uh…”

Violet looked up at me. “Do you know how it got here?” A shaking finger pointed at the tiled floor under her feet. A deep score had been cut into the tile, but it looked as if it had been made with a round saw blade, with the center being deeper than the edges.

“The cut?” I asked.

She nodded.

I shrugged.

“A ghost.”

“A ghost?” I tried not to laugh.

“It comes through a door.” Violet raised the same trembling finger and pointed right at the fry machine. Her voice got deeper. “There.”

I blinked.

“A man. Wearing strange clothes. He comes.”

Jack moved to her at took her by the shoulders. “Now now, Violet, let’s get you to the drink machine.”

Violet’s head remained looking at me as Jack turned her body. “He comes with his knife.”

“Knife?” The word came as a whisper. I’d never seen him with a knife.

“The golden man.”

I shivered despite the heat coming from the deep fryer.

No, no, no. My therapist told me it was stress. But how could Violet and I see the same thing? A golden man.

“He did that,” Voilet pointed to the floor.

My eyes drifted back to the cut in the floor. One would think that it would be a safety hazard, but no one had fixed it. And no one ever tripped on it.

“Violet,” Jack said with a laugh, “stop scaring the new employees.”

“But he did it. With the golden man.”

I nodded, despite myself.

“It’s just a tall tale,” Jack said as he finally steered Violet around the corner. “Made up by some of the kids after they’d taken a class in Incan history.”

His words faded, but Violet’s did not.

He had done this. The ghost from the door. He’d shown me, and then he’d told me that I was to be his next vessel.

The one to extract the blood sacrifice.

Beeeep

I shivered and suddenly felt as if I’d forgotten something. Again.

***

That was pretty fun! Who would read a story about a 50-something, half crazy, herald? I probably would.

Genre – Tall Tale

Random Object – Tumi Incan Knife (See picture for reference)

Setting – McDonald’s or equivalent


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