Flash Frenzy Round 59

Posted: March 14, 2015 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , , ,

Welcome to Round 59. This weekend, it’s time to celebrate your inner nerd (HAPPY PI DAY! ) and write some pie-inspired fiction for judge Voima Oy.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie, receive a winner’s page, and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

photo courtesy Ashwin Rao

  1. joshbertetta says:

    “Easy as (Apple) Pie (Recipe)
    Josh Bertetta
    351 Words


    6 oz Butter

    1 Tablespoon Salt
    A shelving coast
    Hydrogen and Oxygen

    12 oz All purpose flour
    Carbon dioxide

    Sugar (2 cups) and Apples (3 lbs)
    See All purpose flour above

    Directions: Keeping it Simple

    Now once you have all your ingredients, you’ll need to have a baking dish, a knife or apple corer, and an oven. Now you’ll need people to have already made your baking dish, your knife or apple corer, and your oven. Of course you may have purchased those made by machines, but at some point people were involved in making those machines. And of course the “ingredients” for those people came from two other people, who in turn were made from the ingredients of two other people, on and on we go.

    As stated, those people who have made the tools necessary to make your easy apple pie will have required machinery of some sort. Those machines will have required metals which required various elements, factories, and, most likely, plastics, which require oil and the refineries. In all these instances people are required. In most cases, some sort of education or training will have been required. This, of course, depends on a great many other people too.

    You’ll most likely have to go buy your ingredients, which means you’ll need a mode of transportation. For sake of simplicity, let’s say you have a car. See then, above. Still perhaps you walk or take a bike. You’ll need people and their various materials to have made your shoes or bike.

    And of course to buy the ingredients you’ll need money, which means you’ll need a job, a bank, an economy, a government to regulate that economy, and a society.

    But in order to have any of it, you’ll need fundamental elements, which require billions upon billions of atoms, which, in turn, require countless amounts of sub-atomic particles, all of which need to come together just right in order to produce what you need to make your apple pie.

    Not so easy is it?

  2. stevenstucko says:

    Nice Slice (357 words)

    It started with an Easy Bake Oven when Emma was five years old. Her parents were concerned about the hot light bulb inside so they kept a close watch as she stirred the little packets of filling and scooped it into the tiny pans. When Emma out grew her play oven she begged to use the real one in the kitchen. Emma couldn’t get enough. Her “kitchen time” became her only focus. It became a reward if she got good grades. It was taken away if she needed to be reprimanded for some wrong doing. She had found her passion. The by-product of all this baking was pies. Many pies. More pies than any one family could eat. In fact, they were all sick of pies. Neighbors started to say things like, “Thanks, but no thanks. We’re trying to cut down on sweets.” Emma had to find a new market for her creations; church bazaars, bake sales at all the schools in town, and even a few sandwich shops. When Emma was in high school she started a business with the help of one of her teachers. It was called Nice Slice and it began supplying pies to restaurants in the area. After graduation she received a loan from her father and bought a space in town. Emma set up a large kitchen able to produce a hundred pies a day. The next year she moved to an even bigger space and things really took off. Trucks transported her tasty wares up and down the East Coast. Her pies were chosen as “Best Pies” in both New York and Boston and she even appeared on Oprah. Nice Slice went public that year and overnight she was worth $ 31,415,926. Her business became a national sensation when she set up dozens of Nice Slice franchises; bakeries that sold not only her pies but other pastries and specialized breads. She set up scholarships at her old high school so under privileged kids could go to college. Oprah had asked her, “Why pies?” Emma replied, “Every time I open the oven I see the sun rise.”

  3. stephellis2013 says:


    359 words

    Like a sea of fire, they glowed on the table before me. Soft peaks of sugary defiance that would soon be presented to the Prince and his guests.

    “You followed the recipe exactly?” whispered the voice in my ear.

    I nodded.

    “And the …”

    Again I nodded.

    “Which one?” he asked.

    I pointed to the pie that wore the Judas crown.

    “Good, good,” he muttered.

    A bell rang and the kitchen sprang to life, dishes were returned and the next course sent out as I watched barely-touched meals being scraped into the bins by the starving kitchen boy. The waste was fed to the pigs, as no doubt the boy would be when he could no longer work.

    Those pigs. I would sometimes watch them, snouts in the trough, trampling over each other in their quest for the best portions. It was an image that always returned when I thought of the Prince and his cronies.

    The bell rang and I lined up with the other dumb waiters.

    Despite our reluctance, we walked swiftly to the hall, jostling our way through the door, pushing so as not to be the last, betraying even in ourselves that pig-like trait that rooted for survival.

    Tonight, though, the guests examined us all.

    “So, gentlemen,” said the Prince. “Choose.”

    One-by-one the guests offered us their seats at the table; strange, yet, I allowed a little hope to rise, no torturer’s instruments were at hand, nothing that threatened flesh.

    “All bets placed?” asked the Justice, grinning. “Then … let’s begin … although I do think it’s a waste of a damned fine pie.”

    “Don’t worry, you’ll get yours later,” said the Prince.

    A meringue tart was placed in front of each of us but now their crowns of fire looked more like jester’s caps, mocking me for the fool I was. How did he know that it wasn’t just the Secretary’s portion I had poisoned, that I had shared my murderous revenge equally?

    The Justice took out a stopwatch and our faces were thrust into the pies, snouts in the trough, porcine laughter following us in to the darkness. The pigs were dining well tonight.

  4. stevenstucko says:

    Demand and Supply (330 words)

    The Bakery was located at the end of a dirt road behind a locked gate bearing a No Trespassing sign. It wasn’t the type of bakery one went to or shopped in. They delivered. The breads and pies were baked in a massive brick building that once had been a shoe factory. The tall green copper chimneys billowed smoke as they had always done. The workers lived in simple dormitories echoing the factory’s past. Meals and basic medical care were provided.

    Breads and pastries were carted out daily to trucks waiting at the gate. From there the goods were delivered to local eateries and sold at farmer’s markets up and down the valley. They were exceptional products. Flavors and textures never known before. People would wait in line to buy them. Soon the word spread and neighboring towns clamored for their share.

    There was no shortage of those willing to work for The Bakery. People felt compelled to participate in the growing enterprise. It soon became a movement, a mission. Folks would leave good jobs and drop everything to live in the dormitories and bake in ten hour shifts. Men left their families. Young people by the dozen would disappear into the woods and never be heard from again. Old folks would go there to package the products in tidy white boxes tied with a simple maroon ribbon. People were drawn to The Bakery. It seemed to be the only place that made any sense to them. Hundreds of workers entered the woods to make the breads and pies.

    A steady stream of goods left each day. Always the same four truck loads. The dormitories always were full to capacity. Never overcrowded.

    The breads and the pastries at The Bakery did taste special. They were special. They brought people together. Everybody had to work at The Bakery. The smoke stacks billowed sweet smoke on some days and rancid smoke on other days. The business was a success.

  5. Geoff Holme says:

    Pie Day

    The boy sat crossed-legged by the road, his fishing pole dangling in a puddle.

    ‘Whadya fishin’ fer?’

    ‘Gonna catch me a whale,’ the boy replied, eyes fixed on the water.

    ‘Ha! Any luck, so far, boy?’

    ‘Nossir. It be a waitin’ game.’

    As they left his mouth, the boy’s words set off an alarm bell that echoed loudly round the space between his ears.


    ‘It’s simple, Simon.’

    ‘Uh-huh… Sure…’ replied Simon, a frown belying his words. Slowly realising this, Simon arranged his lips into a grin. ‘Piece of cake! Easy as pie!’

    ‘ “Easy as pie” !’ chuckled Jake. “You crack me up, ya know that?’

    ‘HA! HA! HA!… Ha! Ha!… Mm-mmm… All the same, kin ya run it by me agin?’

    Jake sighed. His little brother never had a lick of sense. Getting Simon to understand even the most basic notion was like herding cats. ‘Lookit, tain’t no myst’ry. Tomorrow be market day. We take us a walk down the lane to the road and you wait fer The Pieman coming back from the fayre. You stop him then get him to climb down from his wagon. I creep out of the bushes, put a sack over his head then steal his takings.’


    Looking up, Simon saw a man on the seat of a wagon, wearing a white baker’s hat.

    ‘You The Pieman?’

    The stranger rolled his eyes and pointed to the sign: “Pete’s Pies”.

    ‘Caint ya read?’


    ‘Now why don’t that surprise me none? You hungry, son?’

    ‘Ain’t hardly never without hunger, Momma says.’

    ‘Ma bakery’s over on t’other side of yonder hill. Come help me unload, you kin he’p yerself to one of ma pies. Sound like a plan?’


    On his way home, feeling fuller than a tick on a cow’s belly, the remnants of a pecan pie slathered round his mouth, Simon spotted his brother down the road a spell; he stood, fists on hips, looking madder than a box of frogs. Durnit! He’d forgotten Jake and his “get-rich-quick” scheme.

    ‘Reckon I’m in fer a whuppin’… But, dang, sure wuz worth it! I’m as happy as a puppy with two peckers!’

    Word Count: 359

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Wonderful dialogue. I don’t think Simon was so simple in this instant, perhaps Jake should’ve known better!

      • Geoff Holme says:

        Thanks, Steph, but it looks like you are very much in the minority with your opinion of the dialogue. Not surprising: you’re in Hampshire (UK) and I’m in West Sussex (UK)… I’ve never even been to the USA, let alone the southern states. D’oh! So, even I’m not convinced by the dialogue! :-\

  6. 360 Words

    Blood Orange Pie

    8:00 AM, Saturday, February 14th

    Almond watched a red bird, ruffled and round from cold, perch motionless on an ice-coated dogwood branch just outside of her kitchen window. She thought briefly about yesterday and the pie in the window of Patty’s Pie Shop.

    4:00 PM, Friday, February 13th

    Normally, on her way home from her job at the library, Almond crossed the street to avoid looking at the luscious pies in the shop window, but with her mind on the predicted ice storm, she’d forgotten until it was too late and the blood orange pie was taunting her to come inside and take it home, and so she did. Holding tightly to her package, she quick-stepped the last few blocks home and darted inside as the storm broke, raining lead-heavy drops that immediately clung to trees, poles, and cars like pellucid skin.

    She switched on the lamps, brewed a pot of carmel coffee, and curled up in the corner of her sofa, sinking heavily into the cushions with her pie on her lap, a fork in one hand and her TV remote in the other. At six o’clock on the dot, a boom from two blocks away resounded throughout the neighborhood, followed by the death of Almond’s electricity. Fleetingly, she reflected on her middle-aged lonely life in Missouri but dismissed it, focusing on the letter she’d received earlier in the week. With some effort, she extracted herself with a grunt from the sofa, and feeling her way to the kitchen, shoved the last piece of blood orange pie into the fridge, then lumbered to bed.

    8:15 AM, Saturday, February 14th

    Turning away from the cardinal on the branch, Almond ate the last mouthful of pie while contemplating the postcard picture of a voluptuous blonde on a beach. Flipping it over, she carefully signed her name.

    Hello Jake,

    Just arrived home today from Martinique and found your letter in the mailbox. You’d asked for a photograph in your first letter so I had an islander snap this of me. I’m looking forward to meeting you when you’re out of prison.


    • stevenstucko says:

      I liked this from the get go. “Ruffled and round from cold” were the words I was searching for last week when a friend and I spotted a cardinal outside our window. He said it was much too fat. I wish I had had your perfect words to explain its girth!

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Lovely imagery here. Such a sad, lonely life she appears to lead. I worry about her now, her escape via her pen pal relationship can only end in tears – hopefully he’s in prison for a long time or for nothing too dangerous!

    • F. E. Clark says:

      I love the blood orange pie, the caramel coffee – colour and flavour in Almond’s life – somehow make me feel that she will find her way to a less lonely place.

    • This is such a perfect depiction of the complicated ways a person can search for or create happiness. Wonderfully crisp words.

  7. davidshakes says:

    Hard To Beat
    360 Words

    Over the years, that patisserie became an obsession. Tastefully lit treats beckoned beyond plate glass as I’d trudge past – first after school, then after work.
    They were always unobtainable.We couldn’t even afford to look.
    A Twinkie was a decadence in our household.
    Tonight as I pass, I linger. The closest meringue tart has twenty one toasted peaks. Each looks like it was sculpted for some Tim Burton movie, but this is my own nightmare before Christmas.
    My severance pay sits in an envelope in my pocket. It doesn’t bulge. I’ve less years than the peaks on that tart but I’ve been discarded.
    Who charges six bucks for a pie?
    Who pays six bucks for a pie?
    I picture my brother waiting at home. Two weeks to Christmas and he knows what he’s getting. Pops does his best and God knows he needs that winter coat. He needed it last month when the wind bit so deep it could gnaw on your bones, but it’s wrapped and ready under the tree.
    I make a choice.
    Tonight, I’m the guy who pays six bucks for a pie. I was going to drink that cash away, so what does it matter?
    I feel like an outsider as I enter the shop. I wipe my feet too many times on the mat. My boots aren’t visibility dirty. The girl behind the sparkling glass counter smiles warmly. How can she help me? One meringue tart is boxed and bowed. There are many remaining but none as special as this.
    The scenery changes as I journey home. Marble fronted shops and shimmering windows give way to empty units and broken glass.
    I make a left and pass the rusting bulk of a burnt out car. It’s been there for as long as I can remember, even before Mom passed.
    The lights are on at home. I can smell dinner in the oven. Pops and my brother will be in the kitchen. It’s the warmest room in the house, at least whilst we’re cooking.
    Tonight, we’ll have dessert.
    It could be the finest dessert of our lives.
    Tomorrow I’ll look for work.
    Tomorrow’s another day.

    • joshbertetta says:

      Never do I cease to be astounded by your work Shaked

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Really touching story, the closeness of the family despite their difficulties really shines through; heart-warming.

    • Sal Page says:

      That’s lovely. Really hope the pie was as good as it looked.

    • F. E. Clark says:

      Love the ‘….21 toasted peaks…’ on the meringue. When I began reading I wondered somehow this would turn out to be a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory lucky golden ticket piece – but I am glad that this character makes their decision – with that there seems strength against the terribly unfair world they are in.

    • My god this is painfully gorgeous. I can feel every detail of this like the points of a star. I’ve been a version of this person and there is something particularly poignant about a decadent dessert in the face of hardship.

    • Stella T says:

      Good one Dave, loved this line ‘I’ve less years than the peaks on that tart but I’ve been discarded.’

    • This is such a lovely story, Shakes. Comparing it with my entry I kinda feel as though you and I have temporarily swopped writing-personalities.

    • Foy says:

      Simply wonderful. Made me think of starving college days when I didn’t have the money for that delicious something but got it anyway because hey, starving and in college.

  8. Sal Page says:


    My brother Ben died last month. He was only fifty-three. Madness. Shouldn’t have happened. He’d been ill for a year. He’d had enough. I was sitting by his bed – was that really only a week ago? – when Ted and Dan came in. They stood there, unsure what to say. Ben laughed at them. We settled into a conversation about Saturday mornings from way back.
    I know it’s childish and messy but I love the custard-pie-in-the-face brand of humour. Tiswas. The Phantom Flan Flinger. Or the end of Bugsy Malone? We never watched boring Swap Shop. Tiswas with Tarzan to follow. Cheese and onion crisps. Sherbet Fountains. School forgotten. Way beyond the horizon. The day after tomorrow.
    I watched dark smoke plume up into grey sky, unable to connect it with Ben. I was a wrung out sponge with a head full of cotton wool as we left the crematorium. Me, Mum and Joan went to the nearest café. Ben’s friends shuffled in, hands in pockets, looking strange in their dark suits. Tea. Stilted conversations. Mum rummaging in her bag for tissues. I lingered with the others as they said goodbye to Mum and Joan and ordered espressos.
    We were right by the counter. Ted stood up and grabbed the first pie, catching my eye. He winked and I smiled. Blackcurrant with meringue topping. I saw the waitress’s horrified expression just before the pie landed. Never been pied before. Takes your breath away. Chunks of crust splatted to the floor, the rest clinging to my best coat.
    Oh Ben, I wish you’d been there. I put lemon meringue into Dan’s face, taking him by surprise. He thought I was aiming for Ted. He gasped. We laughed and did that classic thing of scooping cream from eyes and mouth then got Ted back, a pie from each side. Key Lime. Strawberry. I could see the manager coming over, pulling a phone from her pocket but she slipped on a blob of meringue.
    We three howled. Beautiful hysterical chaos. Like Tiswas. Like Saturday mornings. Like we had it all to come. And this time Ben wouldn’t die. I’d make sure of it somehow.

    360 words

  9. F. E. Clark says:

    Pi Pie Electric Sky

    Fuelled by that grit of fear and endless coffee, I’d spent too many days and nights working straight through. My cravings had subsided into flatline grey after the first week of my Lenten abstinence but, unfortunately, the answers to my research greyed out also.

    I became one who walked alone, ate alone, thought alone – scenting the cloying mist of sugar in the air of my favourite cafes, I turned away. Temptation was everywhere; a treat, a solace, a medicine. Society’s drug of choice, acid masquerading as sweetness, come one, come all – force that legal high down your child’s throat.

    I am of facts, science, I am of reason; I simply avoided all sources of that sweet poison, consoling my lack of progress with this show of will-power. I traced back to where I had started and began to recheck my findings. Funding is fickle and short, my reputation stands and falls on each new theorem.

    In this grey place of broken circles I dwelt, losing track of the days, whilst feeling the clock of expectation tick on.

    Until, one night, my resolve was foiled by an alchemist: Mary, she bakes strong magic. It wafted up in the dark frosty air from her flat below mine, permeating the very pores of the building. Luscious, unbearable torture; I was lassoed by delicious aromas of apple, cinnamon and sugar.
    I was undone.

    One slice of Mary’s apple pie was all it took, after that first jaw screeching mouthful, I was flying high, sweet sucrose serenading through my veins.

    Released from my isolation connections surged like lightening – stars of neurons in the sky, constellations of sparks in my brain – I was in love with humanity and could see the answers, the questions, and tell you why. I was part of this, and every Universe. A wave of perfect pattern revealed itself to me – it reached out and encompassed me, pure simplicity.

    This is it! This is it! This is it ALL.

    My equation of Mary and her apple pie – I damn her, I pledge my undying love to her, in equal parts.

    One slice is never enough.

    Do not watch me while I fall.

    (360 words)
    F. E. Clark

  10. Foy says:

    DB Foy
    WC: 359

    The Ratio of Life’s Circumference


    She listens as the monitor’s metronomic voice states his heart still squeezes life through weary vessels; his lungs still expand, contract, expand, contract; his body still functions beside hers. It won’t be much longer though.
    She pulls the blankets, thin and rough from too many washings, over their knees, their hips, their chests, and tucks it around his cold chin. Everything is so sterile, throwaway plastic and disposable bedding. Even the air burns with antiseptic.
    She kisses his cheek, gray under harsh florescent, and imagines that sunshine smile bursting through cloudy dreams. They were quintessence: she lemon meringue and he the buttery tart. Closing her eyes, she lets the colors seep in until white and black and gray bleed to blues and reds and yellows.
    “Ready, Love.”


    “March 14, 2015, 9:26am at 53 seconds! Do you know what that means, Darling?”
    “I’m up too early on a Saturday?” she pulled the pillow over her ear until he clamped “reset” on his wristwatch.
    “It’s Pi Day!” his voice was brighter than the sliver of morning-sun forcing it’s way through the sash. “This moment won’t repeat for the next 100 years.”
    “Moments never repeat, Dear.” Mumbled from under the fluff and casing.
    He slapped her butt before bouncing off the edge of the bed, saying, “You’d understand if you weren’t European.”
    The door took the projectile pillow meant for her Mathematician.


    In their living room she sat shrouded in darkness, clutching the phone and pleading with his nurse to answer. Her bare shoulders shivered involuntarily. Someone answered.
    “Please, would you check on him? He’s cold, I can feel it.”
    She’d always insisted she could read his mind. Practical to her spiritual, he’d laughed at her “telepathy.”
    Six months since the PEG tube was inserted, but their bond was no weaker for the separation.
    “He’s covered now? Thank you.”


    “He keeps asking for pie.” The nurse said opening the door for her.
    From the bed, he turned and tears escaped the corners.
    “You mean pi.” She slipped into bed with him, complete. “He wants to go out on Pi Day.”

  11. I’m Sorry You Don’t See It

    Here, there, and everywhere they find a place to hide.
    Self-aware and ever mindful of the world within they walk, they practice a beautifully deceptive art of becoming something else.
    In the world of the outdoors I’ve mistaken them for plant stems while out on garden walks and have complimented a flower’s beauty only to see it blush.
    In the worlds of walls and windows, I narrowly missed crushing one while it pretended to be a rubber tipped spring door stop attached to the wall. It was the lack of door in the vicinity that gave me pause. I’ve reached for a spoon that had too many arms and stirred my coffee with a knife once said spoon disappeared.
    I know these moments to be true, factual like the existence of night and day and yet you will not listen to my concern that your tart is a congregation of pixies!
    Those are hats, as plain to the eye as a brilliant red stop sign.
    You will be disappointed when that baked good disappears or bear the raised voice of a well-tricked customer.
    Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
    I’ll take the lemon square to go.

    198 words

  12. Carlos says:

    The Bakery

    Kate stared at the tart with the curly spires that resembled something out of a Dr. Seuss book or Tim Burton movie. She imagined it was the surface of some alien planet. This was her job. Jen her boss would bake and she decorated and day dream.

    Her creations always captivated people’s imaginations. It was the reason why the small bakery wasn’t out of business like the rest of the stores on their block. A few customers, the ones with Prada handbags and Gucci dresses, complained loudly about having to come to the “bad” side of town, but once and sometimes twice a week they were there.

    A handful of times a 5star restaurant owner would come down and ask her to join his team. They would offer her lucrative salaries plus benefits, but she never left. Jen needed her. The shop would surely go under if her wondrous designs didn’t attract customers.

    “Kate, what the hell are you doing? Get off your ass and get to the register,” Jen fumed. “It’s a miracle we are still in business with your horrid designs.”

    Kate snapped out of her trance and walked to the register. She hated when Jen did this. She wished Jen could be a more polite, especially around customers.

    “How can I help you sir,” Kate asked the customer.

    “Let me get one of those tarts, the ones that look like they have a bunch of little turds curling off of them,” the customer said laughing.

    “The lemon meringue you mean?” Kate responded.

    “Oh, is that what it is.” The customer laughed even harder. “I just wanted to give it to a buddy of mine as a joke. It’s his birthday and he is a plumber. I thought it’d be funny. Just give me one.”

    Kate boxed the tart and rang the guy up. He left laughing. Kate sat back down on her chair. She would only have to put up with Jen for another month. After that, she would open her own bakery. Novelty Pies and Cakes, she would call it. Clients would rush in from around the state to get a joke cake for their coworkers.

    360 words

  13. stephellis2013 says:

    What a rude customer. I hope her shop does well.

  14. Amy Wood says:

    A Familiar Enemy

    350 words

    How many calories would he be talking about if he wavered for even one minute in his resolution? One tiny sliver of that pie would probably cost him hours in the gym. All that crispy, gooey deliciousness wasn’t worth it, it was just a pie. Just food. And food was his constant enemy.

    Biting his lip, Ryan turned away from the bakery window. The searing cramp in his stomach was almost a familiar friend now, made bearable by the knowledge that as long as he felt it, he wasn’t putting on weight. Hunger was his ally, his only weapon in the battle against his own body.

    People bustled past, their eyes sliding over him as they slid over everything but their smartphones and iPods. Nobody saw the skinny kid in super-tight jeans. Everyone had seen him when he was the fat boy in high school. Strange how nobody noticed a guy who was starving himself on a daily basis. Was society so used to extremes that seeing them on the street wasn’t worthy of a second glance? When his cheeks had wobbled and his stomach spilled over his waistband, people had noticed. Noticed and laughed and taunted.

    He shook his head, thrusting away memories of barbed comments and cruel jibes. Kids were mean. Adults were harsh and judgemental. He’d show them, oh, how he’d show them all. Even his mother with her incessant, ‘you have to eat, Ry, it’s not normal to be that thin,’ wittering. He’d prove them all wrong. He didn’t have an eating disorder, that was for other people. He was simply on a mission.

    It took guts to be a size zero male model, guts and pride and determination. The industry demanded perfection and damn it, he’d deliver. He’d make it if it killed him. Nobody would laugh at the fat kid again.

    If it killed him, he’d be famous.

    Let them see him and admire. Let them never connect the svelte god on the catwalk to the overweight boy in too-tight football kit. No more jibes. Nothing but admiration.

    If it killed him.

    • Sal Page says:

      This is good. So sad, especially what is he unwittingly telling us in ‘that was for other people’ and the last line …

    • Great piece. I like how you made the MC a boy not a girl; a less talked about issue.

    • Foy says:

      “Strange how nobody noticed a guy who was starving himself on a daily basis”. This brings to mind a video I saw recently with a skeletal girl teaching Youtube how to twerk (now that I think about it, I’m embarrassed to say I watched it!). The point wasn’t how thin she was but it was horrifically mesmerizing. I couldn’t tell if it was a joke or not. So sad. 😦

    • The repetition in the final line works really well for this. Agree with other comments too – good to see a male protagonist as an issue receiving less recognition.

  15. Mark A. King says:

    The Silver Ticket


    357 words


    After Charlie found the Golden Ticket, he kicked the bucket.

    Let’s just say that the tour of magical factory was not without incident.

    Several kids had industrial accidents. You know the sort – big machines, sugar, and exploding candy.

    Where there’s blame there’s a claim,” the adverts say, and so after the incident with elevator (in which my poor brother, Charlie fell from the sky), our insurance company went to town on the Wonky factory and took the old man for everything he had.

    The factory went to ruin. Nobody would buy it. They said it was haunted by Charlie and the wizened hat-lovin’ cane-swingin’ old codger.

    We lived in the shadow of the steel frames that jutted out like the decaying bones of a fallen Pterodactyl. We breathed the oh-so-sweet clean air, no longer choking on the billowing milky clouds of tooth decay.

    One day, with my last remaining pound-coin, I entered the final remnant of the town confectionery empire, the cake shop.

    Coin in hand, I exchanged it for jester’s hat lemon tart.

    Running out of the shop, I devoured it there and then, on the street, in gluttonous view of everyone.

    Then, I felt the sharp jolt of metal against my teeth fillings. I put my sticky fingers in my mouth and retrieved what I now know to be the Silver Ticket.

    That night I slept with it under my lumpy pillow.

    “Awake, young Charlotte,” the voice whispered.

    Not fully knowing if it was a dream, I didn’t respond for fear of waking my parents.

    “To the factory, chosen one,” the voice enticed.

    I grabbed the ticket and my coat, leaving behind my house, my future and my life.

    At the gates of the factory, the old man was waiting. He took my hand and led me in.

    Where once the walls were made of cola-cubes, they were now made of grotesque formaldehyde sculptures. Where once the floor was made of icing, there was now gnarled bone.

    I heard the sound of the gates closing.

    Then he said they were hungry, so very hungry that only the sweetest dish would satisfy their unsated sugar craving.

  16. Pastry
    360 words

    “Ma? What…what are you putting in that pie, Ma?” he’ll say, suspiciously. Cautiously.

    He’ll edge across the kitchen, eyes darting as if he can see the dark smell that’s snaking round the room.

    “Meat,” I will say. I’ll let the word land with a dull thack; a heavy slab on a heavy slab. “I have put meat into this pie, Tom.”

    Tom’s wide eyes will slowly digest the large bleeding cuts on my oak chopping board; the sliced chunks dropping from my blade to my pan. “M-meat, Ma?” he will say. And he will do what he always did, even when he was a child: he will grab the situation and try and make it stand up straight. “But you are vegetarian, Ma…”

    He’ll become mesmerized, then, by the hissing and popping of fat in my pan, as the red flesh shrinks to brown in the heat. Bright to dull. Blood to mud.

    And then he’ll lift his eyes to meet mine, searching desperately for the mother he thinks he knows. For sunshine yellow sweetcorn; for tender green florets. And he’ll silently beg for fluffy pumpkin fillings and feather-light toppings; for cinnamon dustings and warm toffee endings.

    “Where’s Dad, Ma?” he will suddenly demand, as he snaps from his pie-high dreams.

    I will move the meat around with my spoon. I won’t resent Tom’s concern for his father, because pastry can cover a multitude of sins. (When Tom was a child I covered the truth portrayed in bowls of bleeding blue fruit with toasted mallow towers, and sugar-spun clouds. I let him live in a world where black coffee and his father’s mumbled apologies could wash down the past; time after time, slice by slice.)

    “Dad? Dad!” Tom will call, as he searches the house; as I fill my pie dish with sizzling flesh.

    Upstairs, he’ll find a duvet, dolloped like a huge dirty meringue on the bed. Lumpy. Raspberry flecked.

    And as his trembling fingers peel back the duvet, I’ll be laying a pale, waxy blanket over my pie.

    I’ll ignore any lumps. I’ll just crimp the edges.

    Because pastry can cover a multitude of sins.

  17. Weekly Solutions

    Lemon inspected the solution on the bench. “Needs a hint of sour. Can’t do a Monday without.” She eyeballed the light haired girl to her left, brows raised.

    “Plus some bitters,” added Olive, to their right.

    “You’d know,” Honey said, shrugging.

    “Save the sweet for last thing Friday,” Lemon added. “It’ll need putting in first though. Remember.”

    The blonde girl turned towards the darker head, eyes wide. “Just who d’you think you are, again?”

    The other girl frowned before responding. “Lemon. This week. Sorry. Always takes me a while to adjust after switches. Although you’re pretty snippy for Honey at the minute, you know! Comes of being Lemon last week.”

    “Fair point,” Olive commented, to no one in particular.

    “It’s all right for you!” Honey said. “You’re pretty much always Olive!”

    “Only ‘cos no one else wants to be.” The girl’s voice took on a sharp note.

    “Yes, we know, Olive. You’re really hard done by. Especially compared to everyone you inflict yourself on,” Honey said, tone dry.

    “Including us,” Lemon added quietly. Honey smirked sideways at her sister in response.

    “No need to get personal,” Olive grumped.

    “Lighten up,” Honey said, before adding hastily, “yes, yes, I know you can’t – genuinely – but you get what I’m saying. We know we couldn’t do it without you, okay? Just give over whinging about it, hey?” She pressed fingers either side of the other girl’s mouth, forcing them upwards into a smile. “How about sorting your section of Tuesday and Wednesday out? You’ll feel better once you’ve got some of it out of your system. You always do. Remember?” Honey sighed. “God, between the two of you, it’ll be a wonder if we get the week sorted on time!”

    “It’ll get done,” Lemon said. “Always does. Somehow.”

    “Touch too much optimism for Lemon,” Honey cautioned.

    “Working on it,” Lemon said, wincing.

    “This Monday’s pretty dark,” Olive commented, dipping a finger into the mixture. “Figures.”

    “A very Monday Monday,” Honey said, observing the murk. “Saturday’ll make up for it.”

    “Spoils the fun,” Olive complained.

    “Jesus, Olive!” Lemon exclaimed.

    “Look – I’ll be Olive next week,” Honey said hastily.

    “Great idea!” the other two chorused.

    (360 words)



  18. mariemck1 says:

    The Weekend
    (257 words)
    Weekends are red faces and chases. Cramming seven days into two. Anxious his love might be swallowed up by the weekday abyss. Scared I’ll fall out of the metrinomic beat of his regular life.

    Even the elements are against me this visit. I have to compensate. The rain hits hard against the pavement. We are marooned in my tiny bedsit. I make it a game:

    This is the ship.
    The cushions?
    Yeah, the cushions.
    The carpet’s the water.
    I’m scared of water. Might have sharks in it.
    Well then it’s the sand.
    The bedcover’s the night sky.
    I want day sky.
    Well, we’ll use the blue bedcover.
    We are great explorers whose ship has been shipwrecked.
    I don’t want to be shipwrecked.
    But the carpet’s the sand, remember.
    Well, I don’t want it to be sand anymore.
    Right. We’re flying upside down, out of the water. How’s that?
    We are great explorers.
    Don’t wanna explore.
    We are astronauts flying upside down above the water looking for-
    Don’t wanna be an astronaut…

    Two thick slices of pie and lashings of ice cream. The weekend’s failings in one bowl.

    • I love how there’s so much story told with just those last two sentences-his plans, how they failed, how he’s just sitting alone now in his bedsit…really skilful writing.

    • Foy says:

      Brilliantly done, Marie! Though I haven’t stumbled into this stage of life yet, it pinched my heart tight.

    • Marie McKay says:

      Thanks, everyone. I hesitated posting it. I thought it might be a little weak for this company. You’ve made me feel a lot more positive about it though. Glad I put it up.

    • Really poignant ending here, Marie. The interplay in the penultimate paragraph works really well as a set up for it too.

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Such a sense of desperation from the parent shines through in this dialogue; felt so sorry for him (or her – I make the assumption it’s the father but you never actually say). It would be interesting to hear the child’s inner voice.

  19. stevenstucko says:

    This was bitter sweet for me to read. A parent trying so hard to keep the connection with their child when life’s other demands take so much time…and using every ounce of creativity (and patience) to bond with their child…finally giving in to the old stand by: sweets (and probably video games as well).

  20. […] honor of Pi day over the weekend, the prompt over at The Angry Hourglass involved the photo depicted below. This generated a whole slew of interesting stories, including […]

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