Camouflage

3LineThursday:

Model number 2468: sent to watch you.
New design, easily camouflaged; no one will notice the norm.
So I sit, watch, and report back.

Edit: This piece received an Honorable Mention 😀

Judges Thoughts:

“This one made me stop, re-read, and laugh. I enjoyed the break from the typical sweeping, melodic prose for an entirely different take on the image prompt. And beyond that, it was crafted well – enough so to make me really pause and think about who the narrator might be reporting back to.”

Sixty Seconds with: Ashley Gardana

Flash! Friday

Ten answers to ten questions in 20 words or fewer. That’s less time than it takes to burn a match*.

(*Depending on the length of the match and your tolerance for burned fingers, obviously)

MatchlightOur newest Flash! Friday winner is Ashley GardanaRead her winning story here. Then take one teeny tiny minute to get to know her better in the super quick interview below.

1)What about thepromptinspired your winning piece? It had rained earlier; I added the Chief and saw a spiritual journey. The drug use came into play without thought: I’ll blame my fingers and keyboard for that one!

2) How long have you been writing flash? I started a few months ago as an exercise to keep practicing during my work breaks. I quickly became addicted.

3) What do you like about flash? In one sitting I can create a complete…

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Heels and Taboos

“Sexual acts are usually more shocking because of taboos and have nothing to do with the experience level of the person.” I’m sick of her voice, the know-it-all tone that won’t accept criticism or contradiction.  She will only wait, for a moment, for my agreeing nod.

I’m not sure what will happen if the nod never comes, but I’m sure I won’t like it.

She made me leave my shoes on the side of the road, my red penny loafers Nan had bought me for my sixteenth birthday. She told me only children wore heels that short and she didn’t associate with children. She forced me to leave them next to the shoe store and blow three months allowance on uncomfortable tall heels instead.

My heels click along the cobblestone carefully now. I balance listening to her and not catching the heels in a crack of the sidewalk. It’s difficult.

She, on the other hand, floats along, continuing her comments like they are gospel. “So it doesn’t really matter if you’re a virgin as long as you do something daring.”

My ankle curls, soft skin scrapes the cobblestone. I wince but barely pause in my stride to adjust the heel. She wouldn’t wait for me anyway, probably.  “What do you mean daring?”

She looks back at me then and I cheer inwardly that she did not witness my near fall; I am floating now too, just as cool and calm. But her eyebrows rise at my question and I feel like I’m sinking below them, a shame rides up my spine that I cannot explain.

My face must be as red as my abandoned penny loafers.

“You know,” she manages to make the whisper ring along the street. “Mouth and butt stuff.”

I have no idea what she was talking about but an image of Jimmy Chen holding a stick and poking my backside comes to mind. “Right…”

According to her dramatic sigh, my uncertainty must be transparent. “Oh come on, Jamie. You’re so…. bawdy.”

That word does not mean what she thinks it means. Words are my thing, and if anything, she’s the vulgar one, talking about butts and mouths right outside the shops.

Her hair whips around like a shampoo commercial as she turns away from me to continue down the sidewalk. She was wrong about something and it thrills me. I almost call her out on it but then I notice the boy inside one of the shops rubberneck her as we walk by.

I want to be rubbernecked. I want to be a cool sixteen year old that knows what taboos are and how they relate to Jimmy Chen, I want to be bawdy and have hair like a shampoo commercial; so, I nod and continue to follow her along, heels clicking.


This piece was inspired by two separate challenges. The first is #FinishThatThought and the second was from over at Mindlovemisery’snagerie,Photo Challenge #61, Red – to use this image as inspiration for a poem or short-story:

Photo Credits: Zvaella

Flash!Friday Dragon Winner! (Can you tell I’m excited!)

I’m relatively new to WordPress and writing competitions in general but one was hard to miss when I started actively participating in the community – Flash!Friday. I am so honored to be placed on the Winner’s Wall for my story Journey.

FFwinner-Web

Thank you for your wonderful feedback and kind words:

This piece jumped out at us immediately by its simple originality. What seems like a drug trip at first glance, evolves into a modern day vision quest. The vision quest is an approach to the prompt that very few people (if any) took. What worked best for the piece was that the writer does not tell us this outright, but rather shows us this through the words. Instead of telling us everything was a blur, the writer shows us “the gray sidewalk nestled between the gray skyscrapers and gray street.” We also liked the circular nature of the piece. It starts out talking about droplets of rain making rivers on the widow (in that great showing, not telling way) and ends with the voice in the character’s head telling her “No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.” That circular approach is hard to accomplish in flash fiction without seeming too repetitive, but this writer does an excellent job. In the end, we are left with a feeling that something monumental has happened, but neither we nor the character can grasp its full consequence. Wonderful job.

The Journey

I watch the droplets trail down the window from inside my boyfriend’s car. The water makes rivers across the glass, distorting the gray skyscrapers.

We’re tripping on shrooms.

I know, I know, we shouldn’t be driving. I told my boyfriend this, so that excuses my own irresponsibility. I nod at the skyscraper as if they can nod back in agreement. The festival is downtown, so downtown is where our journey takes us.

Plus, the shrooms haven’t even kicked in yet. Well not entirely.

We pull into a spot. My boyfriend slides his hand into mine as we walk along the gray sidewalk nestled between the gray skyscrapers and gray street. The rain soaks our hair and clothes and leaves me with the desire to twirl on the sidewalk, so I do.

“What is a rain dance when it’s already raining?” A man asks me from inside my own mind. It’s a gravelly voice and for a moment I smell campfire smoke.

My thoughts flutter, from gray to vivid, colorful images. As we approach the festival, the man’s voice returns, the shrooms kick in. “No river can return to its source, yet all rivers must have a beginning.

I nod with the man in my head and enter the festival.


Written for this week’s Flash!Friday and as always, the piece follows a two part prompt…

1) Setting in Downtown

2) Photo to incorporate:

Navajo man representing the Yebichai god Zahabolzi/Zahadolzha. 1904 PD photo by Edward S. Curtis; image retrieved from Wellcome Images.

Navajo man representing the Yebichai god Zahabolzi/Zahadolzha. 1904 PD photo by Edward S. Curtis; image retrieved from Wellcome Images.

Mechbot Nanny

This drabble received an Honorable Mention over at Micro Bookends, a weekly micro fiction contest where they provide the first and last words and we provide the rest.


First off, I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m a Mechbot 3827, not equipped for this important mission.

Yet here I am with a baby crying in the corner.

No one is around, no one else can hear. I’m a Mechanic by design not a NurseDroid but there is something wrong, something making this human cry, and my programming wants to react.

I stand, crack my knuckles and gather strength.

The human is even tinier in my arms, the wailing is louder. Through strange instinct, I rock the fragile body against my chest. I can fix this.

The baby quiets as I continue humming. “There, there, sleep little lady.”

Lawyered

It’s Friday and that means Flash!Friday! (Edit – This story received Second Runner Up!)

The challenge is to write a story with the topics found on the bottom.


It’s the type of worry that makes a person nauseated. She’s surrounded by loan statements and unemployment checks with a child, her child, sleeping in the other room. Sandra tried to calm the rocking of her stomach with deep breaths. It wasn’t working.

The rising panic, the crash and burn – when had she taken out so many loans? It’s 2009 and the stock market crash caused Wall Street to explode and, suddenly, being a lawyer is like being a leper.

The beat of her heart races up her throat. Eyes blur before she can calculate what she owes this month. The fridge is empty, Sarah needs school supplies, and none of the hundreds of employers she contacted responded.

Her hand reaches for the doorframe, uses it to pull herself up onto shaky legs. The papers crinkle under her feet as the panic attack swells inside her body. All she can hear is the thumping of blood in her ears as she stumbles to the bathroom and she’s going down, down, down, forehead to porcelain.

Her sparse dinner ends up in the toilet and Sandra immediately thinks of the wasted money, the wasted calories.

Her diploma hangs in the hallway by the nearby, mocking.


(1) Required story element (this week: character. If you want your story to be eligible for an award, the below character type must be central.)

Lawyer

(2) Photo prompt to incorporate:

1943 crash landing on the USS Enterprise. PD photo by the US Department of Defense.