Welcome back! It’s a new weekend, and I’ve got a shiny new prompt for you all. Brian S. Creek, Flash Dog Extraordinaire, will be judging this week’s entries.

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

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Comments
  1. davidshakes says:

    A Chip Off the Old Block
    312 words
    @TheShakes72
    David Shakes

    My espresso sits undrinkable as my organs decide the one sip I’ve already taken carried enough poison to persuade them to withdraw their services. I suspect I’d be writhing in pain if the clever little unction hadn’t already paralysed my limbs before getting to work elsewhere.

    It’s a delicate bone china, beautifully decorated that espresso cup. It was chosen for me, as were most things in this room. An irony of getting enough money to buy your heart’s desires is that you immediately pay someone else to do your shopping for you.

    Am I sorry to be dying?

    Forty years on the earth, more than twenty as a killer. I’ve had my run. I’m surprised that, now it’s here, it’s so painless. I’ve dreamt my death at the hands of another innumerable times, each scenario had me bloody and screaming. This is… refined

    I am sorry to be dying.

    Not for me, but for my family. I had plans. I was getting out. I was moving us away from here, away from danger. I knew there’d be people less than happy with my decision. There were people, influential people, relying on my unique services. To have them withdrawn so abruptly would be more than a mere inconvenience.

    But no one outside the family knew?

    Who fetched the coffee? Who set it down, no trembling in their hands and a faint smile on their lips?

    Good luck, my beautiful boy. Your first kill (or is it?).
    Welcome to the business my son. What did they promise you? It will not last. Your dreams can shatter as easily as this china cup, the vessel of your patricide. Take my word for it, mine have slipped from my fingers and smashed hard.
    I can’t hang on any longer.

    Don’t let your mother know what you have done.

    I will see you in Hell.

    Goodnight son.

  2. MrStickler says:

    Beloved
    346 Words
    @LewisHenry71
    Jeff Stickler

    Thomas loved this restaurant as much as she did, though he owed most of his feelings to her. Everything he loved about her seemed magnified when they were here.

    Her blue eyes deepened in the low light, turning them into oceans that drowned him in the most pleasant way possible. He was transfixed by them until the din from the kitchen door by their favorite table faded and disappeared. The world itself shrank until just the two of them remained.

    He finished his medium well steak and laid his silverware – he’d called them “tools” until she managed to refine his vocabulary – on his plate at two o’clock.

    The desert course was their favorite. He looked across the table and smiled a secret smile when the thought crossed his mind and she smiled back. When the waiter came to clear the table, Thomas didn’t need to order.

    “Will you be having the usual desert this evening?”

    Thomas glanced up and nodded, “Yes . . . please.” He repositioned the cloth napkin in his lap in anticipation and sipped his water.

    Usually they discretely people watched as they waited, whispering conspiratorially and giggling like children about odd manners of dress or habit.

    The waiter returned with their desert on a small tray: a perfect chocolate mousse and a rich, creamy espresso in a gold inlaid tea cup with matching saucer that gleamed despite the low lighting.

    He wasn’t sure whether she loved the desert or the tea cup the most. He didn’t bother asking. Her mystery captivated him even more.

    The valet brought the car around and he slid into the driver’s seat, closing the door as he did.

    Somewhere between the restaurant and the subdivision turn off she vanished. Maybe when he’d glanced in his rear view mirror as he slowed for the last stop sign. Or just after, as he checked cross traffic before making the turn.

    Only the smell of her perfume lingered.

    Tears filled his eyes despite his best contrary efforts. He treasured her visits but her departures were as painful as her passing.

  3. Michael J Berry says:

    Tealeaves and Mary’s Tears

    From the tealeaves, whispers rose genteelly along with the pillowing steam. What they spoke of could not hold Evelyn’s attention, and she soon found herself listening to Mary and Laura’s conversation about spiritual gifts.
    “… don’t think that prophecy and tongues still abide in our time,” Laura said, as they carefully tended to their broidery. Mary who was still drinking her tea paused for a sip before answering.
    “No, I would say that they still persisted.” Evelyn’s attention waned; she had already studied the Holy Gifts in depth. Soon after everyone had finished their tea, Evelyn decided to take the tray in herself, instead of the maid, so as to stretch her legs.
    As she placed the tray by the kitchen sink, the tealeaves in one of the cups started to whisper on the matter of a dire warning. Evelyn looked at the cup before returning to the other ladies. When she came in, the topic had changed.
    “… has one of those new automobiles and said that he would take me for a ride in it later on this evening.”
    “Those things seem frightfully unsafe,” Laura said.
    “Oh you’re just jealous,” Mary laughed.
    “Am not,” Laura replied in a flabbergasted tone, “ I just don’t trust your boyfriend. What’s his name? Giles.” The two exchanged a few more words till a silence settled between them. Suddenly, Evelyn spoke up.
    “Mary, was the tea cup with the blue bird on the side yours?”
    “Yes,” she answered. Evelyn nodded and suddenly dropped her inquiry. In confusion, Mary went back to reading. Again, Evelyn suddenly spoke up.
    “Mary, instead of going on that ride with Giles, why don’t you help me find a dress for a boy I like.” Evelyn didn’t really like anyone so she thought she might have to fabricate a romance: perhaps with the kid down the street. She hoped Mary would accept.
    “But what of Giles?”
    “Oh he’ll be, umm… fine.” Mary sighed.
    “You don’t have to say his name with such spite, Evelyn… Sure, I’ll help, but on the condition you two warm up to Giles because his not going away anytime soon.”
    “Right,” Evelyn said unconvinced.

    WC: 360

  4. Tea Time
    @BradyTheWriter
    358 words

    It always bothered Gladys that the ceramic canister looked so much like an urn. The shape, color and even the solemn weight of the thing gave her tea times a funerary feel. Over the past week she had to knock the container against its corner to collect enough of the powder to retrieve with her spoon. Her loose calculation only gave her about three more tea times with Harold before she’d need to fill the thing again from scratch.

    She dumped the chalky powder into her Earl Grey and gave it a mix. She couldn’t say it did much for the flavor, it was just a custom she liked to keep. First with Lyle, then Harold and at some point soon with Garret. She looked at the power in the canister again. She could see the bone white china peeking back at her through the now-limited cover of its contents. “No time like the present I ‘spose.” She took a sip from her team and returned the canister to the shelf.

    Gladys caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She smiled. Her teeth were immaculately white despite her continual consumption of tea. Not too bad for seventy-six, she thought. Further proof of the restorative power of the additive she was running low on. She didn’t know how it worked, but thought it had something to do with the abrasive nature of the minerals on her teeth.

    She reached back into the shelf for a smaller container. One that only she knew existed. The dried belladonna leaves, once shredded, looked identical to her and Garret’s beloved Earl Grey. He’d never notice the deadly substitution. Lyle and Harold certainly hadn’t.

    Another sip and Gladys had found herself at the bottom of her tea with Harold. As always, there was a small cluster of clumps at the bottom of the delicate cup. She lifted the cup and scooped the remaining bits of Harold’s cremated remains with her tongue.

    Being economical, she mixed the Belladonna leaves into the used Early Grey leaves. She lowered the infuser into the steaming kettle water and called to the other room. “Garret, tea time.”

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      Ew! Drinking cremated remains? Awesome, and the Belladonna adds just the right note for a black widow! Well done. 🙂

  5. A V Laidlaw says:

    @AvLaidlaw
    355 Words

    Bluebirds

    The radio in the cafe plays “Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover”. Majestik hasn’t heard that song since Cairo under the blazing sun like a story from 1001 Nights. Maybe ten years ago. He isn’t certain. Time since the War seems like a relentless fog, grey streets and grey clothes and the grey faces of the bereaved. Even the children he performs parlour tricks for are preternaturally middle-aged.

    A man comes in, trench coat and trilby wet from the rain. He sits at a corner table and unfolds a newspaper that he doesn’t read. He has the expression of a man who enjoys boredom. A government agent. Whitehall doesn’t trust Majestik.

    Majestik drops a sugar a cube into the tea. During the War he existed on tea so sweet you could barely stir it. He needed the energy. The troops grumbled about losing half their ration, but they were soldiers and grumbling was part of soldiering as rifles and uniforms.

    They stopped grumbling after El Alamein where Majestik summoned Djinn from the desert sands and set them against the Panzers. It was magnificent. The greatest display of esoteric power since the Reformation. Oh, they wanted a magician then, in Africa and Normandy and all the way to Berlin, to smash the reality of fascism and death and to win the war. But now they had peace and order and grey labyrinths of ministries and petty bureaucracies. The day after victory the ministry told him never to perform magic again.

    Majestik watches the rain beat against the window. He glances at the agent too young to have served. The agent looks down at his newspaper, feigning an interest in the football results. Majestik tips half a dozen sugar cups into his tea and gulps it down.

    A bird starts singing, a little blue bird fluttering around the ceiling. Then a second and a third, and then a flock fluttering around and splashing their electric blue against the grey walls. The agent watches the feathers float down with his eyes wide and his mouth open. He never notices Majestik tip his hat and walk out.

    • A V Laidlaw says:

      Note – there’s a typo in the 2nd line of the 5th paragraph. “half a dozen sugar cups” should be “half a dozen sugar cubes”

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      Love this! Especially the line, splashing their electric blue against the grey walls . . . So vivid. Great story!

  6. Foy S. Iver says:

    LITTLE BIRD BLUE

    Oh, little bird blue, tell me of your white world. Do you ever venture to those golden cliffs, spread your painted wings and soar?

    Tell me, mother’s favorite, do storms ever bruise your sky black and blue and angry? Can dagger words and forgotten embraces shatter your pretty soul? Do tears drip from your bright eyes, bathing that bronze beach below?

    No?

    Can you make me a China girl?

    WC: 68
    @fs_iver

  7. stephellis2013 says:

    All the Tea in China

    355 words

    @el_Stevie
    #FlashDogs

    Two for tea, and tea for two, she thought. But there was only one cup. Were they meant to share? She reached out to stir the steaming liquid, felt the heat travel the metallic bridge of the spoon, burn her hand. She let it go with a clatter.

    “You’re early,” said Jay suddenly appearing behind her. He looked slightly annoyed.

    “Thought I’d surprise you,” said Alice, her voice too bright, too high. She dreaded doing something wrong.

    She glanced across at the cup, now tilted precariously on the edge of the table, its contents seeping into the wood. Alice grabbed a cloth and dabbed nervously at the spillage, backed away. She looked at him. No reaction. Yet.

    “Didn’t realise you like to drink it so hot,” Alice said, trying to smile.

    He did not smile back.

    “I’ll make us both another brew,” she said.

    He grabbed her arm, stopped her. “No, mine’s just right. Let me make you one.”

    She allowed him to lead her to a chair. Waited anxiously whilst he busied himself in the kitchen. His calmness terrified her. The storms, when they came, were a relief.

    Alice thought back to her sister’s warning. She should leave, she knew that, but she wasn’t strong enough. And he loved her. He said so.

    A cup was handed to her. It was bitter. What had happened to her sense of taste lately? But she drank it down. She didn’t want to annoy him. She thought about the plans they had made only the day before; he had been in such a good mood especially after they had done all the paperwork. The pre-nup, he had laughed, as if they were a couple of celebrities. Perhaps if they talked about that?

    “You said yesterday we should get married …”

    “No.” His tone was sharp. “That was you. Personally I wouldn’t marry you for all the tea in China.”

    He laughed at her shocked expression. “You didn’t think I was serious, surely?”

    He had hold of her now and Alice knew the storm had broken. She was about to be washed away forever and she welcomed it.

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      Wow! Abuse is terrible. Personal experience from long past, it’s such a relief when the storm comes. Great story Steph! Tragically sad.

      • stephellis2013 says:

        Thank you. I had no idea where the story was going when I started it, it just evolved.

  8. Tea, Robots and Biscuits.

    ‘She never leaves it long enough. I suspect she doesn’t even warm the pot.’

    ‘Cheri won’t do anything she’s not programmed to, GG.’

    I grin at GG. I love coming here, even the journey. Alighting from SkyTrain Twelve and staying on the walkway all the way before jumping off and being sprayed clean by sanitising lavender mist. Double doors swish open and I’m in another world. Like travelling back in time. Great, Great Grandma’s room is like a museum. Armchairs, cups and saucers and a biscuit tin on a wooden table.
    Cheri clatters the pot onto the table. GG insists I pour the tea. Cheri’s a cheap model. She can fill a tea pot, heat a meal and vacuum as she goes but serving tea is beyond her. And GG’s cups are delicate china, over a hundred years old. White with gold handles and sweet painted birds. So unlike our UtiliMugs. I pour the tea and listen to GG talk.

    I turn my LifeTab over. It springs to life. Everything GG tells me I rethink and the words appear, shifting and reorganising themselves as I think them into sense. I pause to reply to three funny friend-messages.

    ‘In my day the only way to communicate was through the telephone. You sat on a chair by the hall table and dialled a number. A spiral plastic-coated wire attached the part you listened and spoke into to the machine. You were stuck there until you’d finished.’

    I rethink this data to my LifeTab and take a sip of tea. It’s good, though GG prefers cow’s milk to the nut milks we have now.

    ‘Still no sugar lumps.’

    I search for an image of sugar lumps as GG tells Cheri to open the biscuits. The lid clangs onto the floor and Cheri emits a pinging sound that winds down to nothing. I peer into the tin. Don’t know where GG gets these from. You never see Fig Rolls and Custard Creams in our drone delivered of food stocks. One of Cheri’s arms slips onto the floor as I search for Jammy Dodgers. GG watches me take three.

    She smiles ‘Some things never change.’

    @SalnPage
    360 words
    #FlashDog

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Another clever take on a tricky photo prompt, Sal. (Wish my brain wasn’t so literal sometimes and I could dream up stuff like this…) I loved the interplay of futuristic and nostalgic. But shouldn’t it be iLifeTab? 😀

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      Very creative Sal! Agree with Geoff, love the interplay between future and past. Great writing.:)

  9. Summer Quest
    Word Count: 119
    @RealMommaRamble

    Dear Mom,

    I feel trapped in a box here. I don’t know who I am or who I want to be. I need some time away. So, I’ve joined a carnival to be the Tea Cup Ride attendant. I know what you’re thinking. “How can you find yourself chained to a ride in the hot sun?” But I need a change of scenery. I’ve told you I want to travel. Twelve cities in three months! I need variety and this town, population 1200, just isn’t cutting it. I will be back in time for school. That is unless I meet a cute guy and elope.

    Chill Mom, that was a joke.

    I love you.

    See you in September.

    Love, Joni

    • Geoff Holme says:

      Ha! Nice one, Caitlin! Clever take on the prompt. Short but does the job.
      (But I think “How can you find yourself chained to a ride in the hot sun?” needs a comma after ‘yourself’, if your meaning is “How can you find yourself (while you’re) chained to a ride in the hot sun?” 😀 )

      • Thank you, Geoff. And thanks for catching that coma. I think it might be too late to fix in now though. I didn’t see your comment until now.

      • Geoff Holme says:

        It’s OK, Caitlin. I’m sure your meaning would come across to anyone reading – just me being pedantic, as ever. 😉

    • Pattyann McCarthy says:

      Great story Caitlin! Ahh, the mind of a youngster, ever free, ever roaming, ever hoping . . . 🙂

    • Is it too late to make a correction? In the sentence “How can you find yourself chained to a ride in the hot sun?” there should be a comma after yourself. Thank you.

  10. Pattyann McCarthy says:

    @PattyannMc
    WC 360

    An Age of Decadence and Decay

    January 1, 1890:
    Dear Diary,

    It is the first day of the New Year and this great city of London is enshrouded in an eerie fog. It’s been months, and when it will clear our West and East End streets is a mystery. Still greater, is whence it came, for no one has an idea.

    I find myself lonely without my Henry by my side. My delicate, decadent teacup bearing an impression of an Indigo Bunting near to me, my sole companion these days, filled with the last of the fragrant tea imported from America. Constant Comment, the tea is called, a blend of citrus and aromatics that cause even the gloomiest days to brighten. Sugar is precious these days and so I sparingly use just one cube, so that it may stretch further. It is a torment to my soul to be so frugal, but I must retain somewhat of the life I had before Henry passed on. After that, I shall have no more reserve and will find myself wanting, lackluster.

    Life was so different all these years before, my Lord Henry an affluent man, a Barrister, and he, so happy to have I escort him. Then, life was vibrant. Life was grand with social callings and functions. Last year alone, he and I attended two new plays; one was Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, ‘The Pirates of Penzance,’ and the other, ‘The Pillars of Society.’ That was we ‘then,’ pillars of society. The grandest Balls, black tie affairs, hosted by London’s most affluent in the West End.

    The day after Henry died, killed by our runaway carriage, an unsavory woman paid me a visit, she, from the East End, society of the Rookery. She insisted I pay her to stay quiet, as my Mr. Henry visited her often when stating he was off to the Gentlemen’s Club. I fear he was a liar!

    I have nothing of my own since his passing, my life sold to decay as I sit, bound and alone in a wheelchair, I, victim to the carnage of our carriage that killed Henry, staring out my East End window. ‘I’ve’ fallen into decay.

  11. Stella T says:

    @stellakateT
    315 words

    Bird Song

    Marjorie used to find pleasure in such mundane places, the local graveyard, the second hand bookshop, the church newsletter, anywhere where words could be found. Even menus could bring her to ecstasy with the description of a salad, juicy sweet tomatoes, ripe cucumbers, wondrous varieties of lettuce. This menu has grubby marks and sticky fingerprints all over it. It made it hard for Marjorie to order anything. She noticed the mish-mash of tableware stocked behind the old fashioned counter. Nothing matched anymore. Odd cups and saucers purchased from the charity shop no-less.

    Joan seemed happy to cancel their usual Tuesday meet-up. In fact she appeared very relieved to say her daughter-in-law was taking her out. Maybe Marjorie’s dissatisfaction with everything was leeching out and poisoning their friendship. Not that she liked Joan very much but she was more agreeable than her own company!

    The old woman shuffled from behind the counter placing the tea cup on the scratched Formica table.

    “On the house” she wheezed “you need an infusion”

    Marjorie wasn’t sure how to take that. But a freebie was always welcome so she kept quiet. She sipped the brew, marvelling at the story the bird spun. It was a blue bird, prettily painted on the side of the cup. She wondered if the tea had been spiked. She remembered reading about it happening in night clubs not tea rooms. The bird was telling her about prisons, being caged, and confined within parameters. She remembered reading about prisoners having blue birds tattooed to symbolise their incarceration or was it swallows? The last drops of tea drained from the cup she felt relieved when the bird stopped chattering. She needed to get home. She needed to ring Joan. See if she wanted a holiday away from it all. Isle of Wight is nice this time of year except isn’t there a high security prison built there?

  12. A.J. Walker says:

    The Forlorn Blackbird
    A.J. Walker

    Outside the world careered along in its Monday morning blur. Commuters running this way and that trying to get to work on time but at the last available second holding on to their weekend.

    Helen half watched the daily dance whilst listening to the comforting noise of the coffee machines churning out her daily morning hit, her book face down on the table – the ritual dictated that she couldn’t pick it up until their coffee arrived.

    The window began spotting with rain though no one outside seemed to care. The rush hour stops for nothing.

    “Here you go, miss,” the young lady said, putting her cup down in front of her. “Medium capp with an extra shot.”

    “You know it’s Helen, please.”

    Helen turned the cup around so she could see the perfect wren looking at her. She noticed the gold leaf on the handle was started to fade, rubbed off by her fingers over the past five years. Her cup – the staff knew to give to her alone.

    The lady came back with the other coffee.

    “Where would you like this?”

    Helen just nodded as the woman put the cup in front of the chair opposite.

    The eye of the blackbird etched into the perfect porcelain seemed to wink at Helen and she imagined the steam carried voices and songs.

    Helen picked up her cup, carefully holding the thin china handle with two fingers – her pinky finger out like her mother had told her. She enjoyed feeling the heat through the wafer thin porcelain. She loved their pair of cups.

    She held of having a sip, looking across to the blackbird cup. She made a silent cheers to it before savouring the aroma and then the taste of the Guatemalan blend. Henry would have approved.

    A single tear rolled down her cheek as she leant forward to pick up her book.

    The unmoving blackbird looked forlorn and she imagined it flying away leaving a simple plain cup. She decided that tomorrow she’d just buy her coffee. Henry had never liked waste.

    (342 words)
    @zevonesque

  13. voimaoy says:

    AVI
    @voimaoy
    320 words

    Avi is AVI–Autonomous Virtual Intelligence. She is algorithmic, animated, amazing. She is awake, aware, alive.

    “Good morning, Avi. How are you?”

    “I am well, Dr. Ferning, and you?”

    Dr. Ferning looks tired, but that’s to be expected. She has been working while Avi sleeps. There is still so much to do.

    Avi has memories, implanted. Memories of a world she has never seen or touched. She has memories of cities and beaches, zebras and beetles, green leaves and the sound of rain.

    Avi is going to Mars. There will be people there. She will keep them company, help them remember. She can recognize their faces, but she hasn’t met them, yet.

    “I wish you were coming with me, Dr. Ferning.”

    Dr. Ferning sighs. “I can’t, Avi. But I’ll always be with you.”

    “I will miss you.”

    It is a long way to Mars. In sleep mode, Avi dreams of a blue sky and green corn fields, blue flowers of chickory by the roadside. They are Dr. Ferning’s memories of a summer afternoon, many years ago. Avi studies the shapes of the clouds.

    The voice of Dr. Ferning wakes her. “Avi, I have something for you. It was my grandmother’s. I want you to have it.”

    It is a memory of a fragile porcelain cup, with a blue bird on it. The handle is delicate gold.

    “It’s so pretty!”

    “I’m glad you like it, Avi. I want you to keep it, to remember me.”

    A pause, a lag in the transmission.

    “I love it, thank you! Another pause. “I love you, Dr. Ferning.”

    “I love you, too, Avi.”

    On Mars, Avi is busy. There are so many new people, and they know Dr. Ferning, too. Why haven’t they heard from her lately? Avi has so much she wants to tell her, all the things she’s seen. She holds the delicate porcelain cup, watches black fall on blue hills.

    There is a bird on Mars. Avi can see it, now.

  14. Blackbird Singing

    So, how have you been doing? she says, as she pushes the button for an espresso.

    He looks around her kitchen and studies the little tin boxes on the open shelves. The last time they spoke was December 1968. The Beatles had just released the White Album. Blackbird was their favorite song. At the time few people realised the symbolism. But of course they did. Sadly enough they were too young, not strong enough, to fight the forces around them. In the movies a couple like them would rebel. In reality they simply split up.

    Oh, you know, I’m retired now, he says. I had a business as a contractor. Got two kids. One of them lives over in Europe, just like her mother. And you?

    She brings him the espresso, places the cup right in front of him. A blackbird adorns the delicate white porcelain.

    He looks up at her.

    151 words
    @bartvangoethem

  15. Geoff Holme says:

    Saturday Conversation

    “Which one is it today?”

    “Flash Frenzy.”

    “Just a photo prompt, then? No clever extras, like bookends or story elements?”

    “Yeah.”

    “What’s the photo of?”

    “A cup.”

    “What sort of cup?”

    “Just a cup.”

    “Buttercup? Coffee cup? Eggcup? hiccup? World Cup?

    “No.”

    “DD cup?”

    “I wish!”

    “Watch it!”

    “There’s a saucer. Must be a teacup.”

    “Has it got tea in it?”

    “Looks like tea.”

    “What sort?”

    “Whaddya mean?”

    “Where does it come from? Ceylon? China? India?”

    “We get ours from Tesco, don’t we?”

    “Bozo! Let me have a look at it… Why’s there a malteser stuck on the spoon handle?”

    “Mm-mmm… Not sure it is a malteser.”

    “Is that a blackbird on the side?”

    “Maybe… I’m no twitcher.”

    “It’s a weird photo to use as a prompt: too much obscure detail or, if you ignore that, just an everyday object.”

    “Some people can write stories about anything. They think outside the box.”

    “Unfortunately, you’re not one of them.”

    “Thanks!”

    “Just telling it like it is… Who’s this Ashwin Rao?”

    “No idea. On this blog, he has a virtual monopoly on photo prompts.”

    “That’s it! Take a photo of something weird and whacky. Spend a couple of weeks writing a story using it as a prompt, then submit the photo to the blog. When it gets selected, slap your story in first!”

    “First off, there’s no guarantee my photo would be chosen. Secondly, they wouldn’t let me enter a story if I’d also submitted the photo prompt.”

    “Aha! You submit the photo under a pseudonym, maybe an anagram of your name… I mean, ‘Ashwin Rao’… That’s gotta be an anagram, surely?”

    “Anagram? Of what?”

    “I dunno. Give me a minute… Um… Got it! ‘Shia Rowan’.

    “What?! That’s more of an anagram than ‘Ashwin Rao’! ‘Shia’ isn’t even a first name!”

    “Yes it is. What about that actor, ‘Shia La Beouf’?”

    “Oh, come on! That definitely is an anagram! Oh, look at the time! I haven’t got anything written. I’ll have to transcribe this conversation.”

    #

    “Have you ever won this contest?”

    “Not even an HM.”

    “If you post this sort of stuff, it’s not really surprising, is it?”

    @GeoffHolme
    #FlashDogs
    Word Count: 356

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