Category Archives: Flash Fiction Friday

  • 0

12-Jun-2020

The War on Rodents: Jerry’s Downfall

Brad stopped in his tracks. His claws sunk into the dirt, and his nose twitched. Moist earth. A hint of fresh air. Worms. Bugs. And…metal.

“Jerry, don’t go out the hole.”

“Yeah, I smell it.” Jerry huffed and backed up, which meant his tail ended up in Brad’s nose, which caused Brad to back up. “Let’s go out the other way.”

“What if they’ve found both holes?” Brad couldn’t keep the tremor from his voice.

“What are we? Cats? We can did another hole you know.”

“Right.” Of course Brad knew that, but the last trap the humans had set had been right by his exit, and in an evening stupor, he’d almost walked right into it. He shuddered, thinking of the snap of the metal, the crunch of his bones, then the end of his life.

When they reached a wide spot in the tunnel, Brad stopped and let Jerry turn around.

“Come on,” Jerry said. “We’re going to miss the grubs if we don’t hurry.”

“There are plenty of grubs,” Brad said automatically.

A soft snort escaped Jerry’s nose, echoing through the tunnel. “That’s mom talking. You need to learn to think for yourself.”

Jerry thought that because he’d been born before Brad that he was smarter. Brad didn’t think this was true, but had yet to find a way to prove it.

“I can think for myself,” Brad said as they turned. The tunnel sloped upward. “I can even do math, and the math says there are plenty of grubs for everyone.”

“Not the good ones,” Jerry said. “Newly hatched. Juicy. Tender.”

Brad’s mouth began to water.

“If we don’t get out there soon, we’ll be left with the big ones.”

“Which are bigger,” Brad said. They turned again, and a hint of fresh air got past Jerry’s wreaking butt.

“Size doesn’t equal taste,” Jerry said in what he probably thought was a wise voice. Instead it made him sound like their uncle. But Brad had made the mistake of making that comparison once before.

“If you say so,” Brad said.

“I do.” Jerry stopped, and Brad almost ran over his tail. “Dang it.”

Brad sniffed again. Sure enough, the tang of metal filled the air.

“We’re going to miss the good grubs,” Jerry wailed.

This is why Brad thought he might be smarter. Sure, Brad was afraid of the human traps, but he didn’t cry when he didn’t get the best food. “Better dig a new hole,” he said.

“There’s no time.” Jerry’s voice sounded manic. “I’m going to sneak past it.”

“Sneak past it?” Brad squeaked.

“Sure. Dumb humans didn’t do a very good job of hiding it, which means I can get past it.”

“Jerry, I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

“Of course you don’t. You’re dumb as a rock.”

“Pretty sure a rock wouldn’t try to squeeze past a trap built to snap it in two.”

“Because rocks are dumb.” Jerry moved forward. “Let me get out, then I’ll dig it wider for you.”

Brad didn’t want to tell Jerry that he’d never, ever, try to get past one of those traps. He eyed the tunnel wall as Jerry’s tail slithered out of sight.

“I’m not getting cracked by that thing. I’ll dig my own way out.” Brad snorted and started to claw at the dirt. If he got lucky, he’d be to the surface before Jerry was.

Brad was good at digging, and it didn’t take him long before his claws breached the surface. Warm air rushed in, and Brad took a deep breath. A small stream of sunlight hit his eye, and he snapped it shut.

At the same moment, a zing sounded, followed abruptly by a crack.

Then a whimper.

Brad froze. His little heart sped up, and his paws twitched to run. “Jerry?” he asked.

Another whimper. Then a gasp. Then nothing.

“Jerry?”

***

I’ve run out of dice rolls, and have a few weeks until I start my next little theme for Flash Fiction Friday, so until July, you’re going to get random stuff.

Enjoy!


  • 1

5-Jun-2020

Two Strangers Bond Over Voltron

Jimmy extracted himself from his 1998 hatchback and stretched. He found a rogue fry in his red beard, glanced around and found exactly zero people watching him, and tossed it into the parking lot for the group of birds that seemed to be waiting for something.

“There you go,” he said as he made his way to the only building at the rest stop.

The place wasn’t bad. He’d been in worse on this trip, but he was happy that he’d be at his destination in less than three hours. And the next morning…Salt Lake FanX would begin! Back outside he breathed in the thin, mountain air.

He’d been through the list of artists several times, and there were quite a few that he’d never met before. That boded well for his geeky art collection. He needed a few more characters to fill out his Star Wars wall, along with two more versions of Harley Quinn to go with all of the Jokers he had.

This would be his first time in Salt Lake, and he was looking forward to the convention.

“Nice shirt.”

Jimmy stopped in his tracks, pulled out of his musings about art by a short, muscular girl with long blond hair that was up in a ponytail. She wore a tank top and shorts. He looked down at himself, because he had so many geeky shirts that he literally forgot which one he put on about five minutes after he got dressed, and smiled. “You like Voltron?” It was the classic version, not the newer Netflix remake…which wasn’t half bad.

She smiled and held out a notebook the size of a regular piece of paper. “Keith is my favorite.”

So she was into the brooding characters, huh? There could be hope for her. When she turned her notebook around Jimmy’s jaw dropped open.

He’d seen a lot of comic and geeky art. He owned more than most people would ever see in their lifetime. He had whole walls dedicated to different fandoms, and had driven from New York to come to this FanX event.

The drawing was rough and black and white, but in a way that made it better. Keith, the brooding character from Voltron, practically leapt from the page, his dark eyes fixed on Jimmy, and his Blade of Mamora coming for Jimmy’s throat. He looked at the girl. “Wow, that’s really good.”

“Thanks.” She blushed and looked at the drawing with a smile. “Are you going to FanX?”

“I am.”

A couple with a little boy passed Jimmy, giving him the evil eye.

He sighed inwardly and looked around for this girl’s parents or siblings or whatever. The last thing he wanted was for someone to call him in as a creeper.

“Do you like the original better than the new one?” the girl asked.

Jimmy shrugged and made sure there was plenty of distance between them. “The old one is pretty cheesy. Have you seen it?”

“Yeah. It’s okay.” She shifted, and Jimmy couldn’t help but notice the muscles in her arms and legs. Why a thirteen-ish year old girl so buff?

“But you like the new one better?” he asked.

“So much better.” She grinned. “I mean, the plot is great, and I cried like three times. I’ve watched the whole thing at least ten times.”

If Jimmy had had a younger sister, this is the girl he’d want it to be. “Do you have any more drawings?”

Her eyes lit up, and she flipped through a few pages. Different characters from the show that were almost as good as her depiction of Keith. “Seriously, these are really, really good. Are you going to FanX?”

“No.” Her shoulders slumped and she looked down at her drawings. “I’m on my way to a gymnastics meet.”

“Oh, that’s cool.”That explained why she was so muscular. “Have you been doing it long?”

“Yeah, we’re going to a national tournament.”

“Wow. How do you do gymnastics and draw?” And watch Voltron, he wondered. The only personal experience Jimmy had playing sports was in the Wii, but he knew athletes spent a lot of time training. Like all of their time.

“I do it when I’m waiting. It helps me not freak out.”

“Anxiety?” Jimmy asked. Now that he had personal experience with.

“Yeah.”

“That sucks.”

“Yeah. Especially when people keep calling me the Cinderella story of gymnastics.”

Jimmy shook his head. “Sorry, I don’t keep tabs on women’s gymnastics.”

“It’s just a dumb nickname, but it makes me feel like because my family is poor that I have to transform into some perfect gymnast or something. I even have to put glitter all over my face.”

“That would be a lot of pressure.”

“Yeah.”

Jimmy shifted from one foot to the other. He felt for this girl. He’d battled anxiety his whole life, and wanted to say just the right thing to help, but knew that thing didn’t exist. But he did have an idea. “Hey, tell you what, why don’t you go find your mom or whoever, and I can give her my phone number, then she can give me her number and I can text pictures of some of the art that I buy from FanX to you?”

Her clear blue eyes went big like sauces. “Really?”

“Really. And then you can see other styles that you might like.”

She smiled and clutched her notebook to her chest. She looked over Jimmy’s shoulder and waved at someone. “Mom! He’s going to show me stuff from FanX!”

The woman gave Jimmy the once over—he could hardly blame her—then smiled. “What’s your name?”

“Jimmy Warrant, ma’am.”

“Well, Jimmy, I guess I need your phone number.”

***
Yes, in this case Voltron qualifies as a toy robot.

Genre – Olympic Fairy Tale

Character – Geeky Art Collector

Setting – Side of the Highway / Rest Stop

Random Object – Toy Robot


  • 0

29-May-2020

One Wife’s Search for Her Drunken Swede

Liam stumbled along the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. He stopped to look at the full moon glittering off the surface of the lake, then held up his bottle in salute. “Here’s to another year,” he said softly. The shaking bottle met his lips, and Liam took a swig of…

Liam swore under his breath as he lowered his arm in defeat. When had he run out of rum? Or whiskey? Whatever it had been, it had been good.

Squealing that could only be a teenage girl chased into the water by a teenage boy filled the air, and Liam winced. He should probably get off the private beach before anyone spotted him. He didn’t need to spend the night in the Carson City jail during the summer. In the winter was an entirely different matter.

The act of putting one foot in front of the other shouldn’t have been difficult, but Liam scowled as he willed his body to obey his simple commands.

Ever since he’d given up his memories he’d had a hard time staying coordinated while drunk.

“Stupid woman took more than I asked her too.”

Then again, didn’t they all?

After only falling down twice, Liam made it to the edge of the private beach and managed to get to the main road before a light ten times the brightness of the sun hit him in the face. He threw a hand over his eyes and groaned.

“Dang it, Liam, the kids on the beach thought there was a murder down there.”

Liam started to raise his empty bottle in greeting, but thought better of it. “Down where, deputy Smith?” It probably wouldn’t help to play stupid, but he may as well try.

The deputy snorted and the light went out. Liam briefly entertained the idea of bolting, but where would he go? It’s not like he had a place to call his own.

“Come on, Liam,” the deputy said. “Someone is looking for you.”

“Looking for me?” Some of the buzz from the alcohol burned away. His mind snapped into action as the possibilities rolled through his head. “Who?”

“Don’t know. The sheriff put out an APB on you. Said we’re supposed to bring you in.” Deputy Smith walked slowly toward Liam. The man had never done more than give him a fine or take him to the holding cells before, but now the hair on Liam’s arms stood on end.

“I—I don’t want to go in,” Liam said. He took a step away. “It’s a beautiful night. Why waste it indoors?” He took a second step back.

“Come on, Liam, either you come quietly, or I can make you come.”

Liam snorted. He had at least thirty years and fifty pounds on the scrawny deputy. One didn’t grow up carving ice out of mountains and not end up nice and strong. Old man strength was nothing to scoff at.

“Please?” Deputy Smith asked, in what sounded like a sincere voice.

“No,” Liam said. “Unless you have charges I don’t have to go.” He’d seen enough cop shows on television to know that much.

Deputy Smith sighed. “I can get the charges, but that means you’ll go to jail, and no one wants that. Just come in. For questioning.”

“Questioning about what?” Liam’s eyes darted back and forth, looking for a secure escape route.

“Nothing you’re in trouble for.”

Liam narrowed his eyes. Was this kid stalling? Just as he turned to look behind him, something sharp bit his back, and a wave of pain rolled through him. The bottle shattered on the asphalt just before Liam hit the ground with a thud.

Had someone just tazed him? He could see the stars. Or was that a hallucination?

Gravel crunched as someone approached. “You were always difficult, my love.”

The voice started out garbled, but quickly cleared up.

Liam winced. He’d given up most of his memories. He thought he’d gotten rid of all the ones of her. One more thing the witch hadn’t done right.

Greta’s long, white braid fell over one shoulder, and her bright, blue eyes stared down at him. “I’ve been looking for you, my love.”

Liam didn’t have enough control over his body to speak. She had to get away from him. He’d left for a reason. A reason he couldn’t remember, but knew was dangerous enough for him to throw his whole life away and come here.

Greta squatted down—impressively stable for a seventy year old woman—and stroked his cheek. “Do you know me?”

He managed a sort of jerking nod, and got one word from his lips. “Go.”

She shook her head. “No, my love.” She reached into a bag hanging at her side and pulled out a scroll the length of a hardback book and the diameter of a tennis ball. The red parchment glistened in the moonlight.

Liam’s heart went cold. “No,” he said.

Greta smiled a sad smile. “I’m sorry, my love, I know you thought hiding would keep me safe, but it hasn’t, and now you’re not safe.”

What was she talking about?

“Forty years of marriage makes us stronger together, no matter what.” She patted him on the cheek and looked at Deputy Smith. “Can we get him in the car?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Cold gathered in Liam’s stomach.

If Greta was here, then his sacrifice had been in vain. The scroll would return his memories—things he knew were best left forgotten.

***
This is as close to a Nordic Romantic Comedy set in Lake Tahoe that I could get!

Genre – Nordic Romantic Comedy
Character – The Town Drunk
Setting – Lake Tahoe
Random Object – The Scroll of Forgotten Memories


  • 0

22-May-2020

Giant Monsters vs A Toddler
Who is your money on?

Frank waited at the mouth of the alley, watching the fog swirl in the moonlight. A car drove by, upsetting the fragile balance and scattering the mist in its wake.

A light hiss sounded behind Frank. Sneakers on asphalt. Frank turned and saw the silhouette of a man approaching, a single orange prick of light flared as he took a drag of a cigarette. The man stopped, and Frank took a step out of the shadows.

“You Francis?” the man asked.

“Frank,” he said in a flat voice.

“Sure. Whatever.” The man took a step forward and squinted down at Frank. “So, the rumors are true. You’re a dwarf.”

Frank snorted. This guy was stupid enough not to be able to tell the difference between a four-year-old and dwarf. “Did you bring what I ask for?”

“Yeah, I got it.” The man reached into his jacket, but didn’t pull his hand free. “You got my payment?”

“Of course.” It’s not like this was Frank’s first clandestine activity. “Can you guarantee me that this will be the winning ticket?”

“On one condition.”

Frank narrowed his eyes. “And what would that be?”

“You tell me your age.”

Frank sighed. He’d spent the last six months, right after he’d emaciated himself from his idiot parents, building his reputation. If he told this man his age all that work might go down the drain. “That wasn’t part of the deal,” Frank said.

“The deal changed. I had to pull a lot of strings to get this ticket. Call in all my favors and—”

“And you’re getting paid handsomely for it,” Frank interrupted. “Enough that you can retire.”

The ground under their feet rumbled enough to make Frank take a step, reminding him and the man that the concept of retirement was a farce unless someone could figure out how to stop the giant monsters that had risen from the earth, as if from a bad Japanese film.

Frank was that person, if this dolt would give him the ticket.

“What do you need a robot for anyway?” the man asked.

Frank pointed in a random direction. May as well give this guy something to gossip about to his criminal friends. “To stop them.”

“The monsters?”

“That’s right.” Frank smirked.

“How do you expect to do that?”

“I expect you to give me the ticket, then you’ll see.” Frank wasn’t surprised when the man snorted in disbelief.

“The best minds on the earth are working on it.”

“They’re trying,” Frank said. The ground shook again.  He needed to get out of here before the police “rescued” him and tried to put him into child services again. He didn’t have time for that. He sighed. “Fine, I’ll tell you my age, but in return, you escort me to get my winnings.”

The pause that followed lasted longer than Frank had anticipated.

“What cut do I get?” the man asked.

“Cut?”

“Yeah. I help you save the world, I’m sure you’re going to paid for it. I want a cut.”

Frank rubbed his forehead. Of course there would be a reward, but if all of the governments fell before then, then there wouldn’t be much left.

Still, Frank could use a man to pose as his father when he went into public, and this guy was at least twice as smart as his own dad, rest his soul. Frank had told his parents they needed to run from the coast, but they wouldn’t listen. “Okay, tell you what, you work for me and I’ll pay you one percent of what I earn.”

“Ten.”

“Don’t be absurd. Two percent.”

“Five.”

Frank sighed. “Four. Final offer.” If they lived, they’d both be filthy rich.

“Done.”

Frank held out his hand. “Ticket.”

The man stepped close enough for Frank to see his face. He was older than Frank had thought. Deep lines etched his face, and thick peppered gray hair topped his head. Maybe Frank would say this guy was his grandpa.

“You really think you can use this robot to stop the monsters?” the man asked.

Frank reached out and took the ticket. “I can.”

The man shook his head. “A kid is going to save the world?”

“The adults are too busy panicking to do it.” Frank checked his watch—a huge thing that he’d had to make a custom band to fit his scrawny arm. “We’d better get going if we’re going to make it to the drawing.”

***
That was fun!

Genre – Giant Monsters
Character – Super Genius 4-year-old who adopted himself
Setting – A foggy, moonlit street late at night
Random Object – Winning Grand Price Raffle Ticket


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 26 other subscribers