Flash Frenzy Round 133

Posted: April 1, 2017 in Flash Frenzy Weekend Flash Challenge
Tags: , ,

Happy Saturday, writers! It’s the first day of April, practical jokers abound, and for once I count myself among them. Best of luck to David Shakes who will be judging this weekend’s collection of rogue tales.

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 and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.




  1. Return Of The Monster
    by Stephen Lodge
    360 words

    “Good evening and welcome to ‘What’s On Your Coffee Table?’ I’m Justin Credible and each week we have a guest celebrity on the show to tell us what they are reading at the moment. Quite literally, ‘What’s On Your Coffee Table?’ Tonight, my guest is world famous actor and activist, Vincent Spies, currently appearing in the West End musical revival of ‘Do You Mind Awfully?’ with Heather Drake and Lew Stools. Vincent? What’s On Your Coffee table?”

    “Thank you. Good evening, Justin. I am reading 2 books at the moment and very exciting they both are in their own way. Firstly, I’m reading ‘Fell Between The Cushions’ by Hoyt E Toytee and Ronald Crump. Now this is the follow-up to their highly successful first collaboration, ‘Unusual Folklore And Legends.’ It’s powerful, gritty and tells the ups and downs of a family who keep a baby otter as a pet. It’s quirky and endearing and I shall soon reach the part where the full-grown otter tries to build a dam in the living room. My friend, the actor, Roland Butter, lent me the book, saying it’s like Tarka meets domesticity, which spoilt it a little bit for me. The clown.”

    “And the other, one, Vincent?”

    “Laying Your Dining Table For Guests From Belzon by Soren Rodvang.”

    “My, that sounds very specific, Vincent.”

    “It is specific. I was attracted to it, as I am a huge fan of Soren’s great, great uncle, the German film director, Uwe Golem, who made some brilliant vampire silent movies in Belzon in the decade between 1910 and 1920. Only one survived ‘Return Of The Monster.’ The others are lost, probably destroyed during the 1950’s Belzon Civil War. In fact my own great grandfather, Ragnar Spies appeared in this movie and others Golem made in Belzon, our home country.

    “Soren’s book doesn’t stop at setting the table. It lists some interesting Belzon dishes to try out on your guests and which songs to sing them between courses. He suggests which soups go with which pieces of poetry, and also the precise etiquette regarding post-dinner late night dancing and wife-swapping. All in all, I am enjoying it hugely.”

    • ewansmithxxx says:

      Why are you wasting time with all this writing stuff, Steve? You should be a TV producer – you have such fantastic ideas! There is NOTHING on daytime TV which comes close to the excitement of “What’s On Your Coffee Table?” 😁

    • stephellis2013 says:

      So much fun to read. I am in awe of all these quirky scenarios which you so consistently come up with.

  2. Rebekah Postupak says:

    Man Toes

    “You have man toes!” he said.

    I don’t think he’d meant it to come out quite like that; his words tumbled to the ground between us with vaguely disappointed surprise, like the face of someone who’s just been shot.

    “So do you,” I said.


    “Also, yours smell bad,” I said, “while mine currently smell like rose petals.”

    He didn’t say anything, just kept staring at my toes, which I’d been wriggling enthusiastically in the Jamaican sand. Thirty-five dollars I’d spent on them, my first pedicure, and I fully intended to get my selfie money’s worth. My toes alone in sand, my toes in the sand with Caribbean waves lapping nearby, my toes and his toes wriggling in sand together framed by a “We’re Not Missing You At All” meme.

    After a minute or two, though, he got up and wandered off in the direction of the bar, leaving me alone with my toes and Hercule Poirot, who was just launching into a speech about the underappreciated state of fine mustaches and who, were he here, would have made heavily accented disapproving noises in my new husband’s direction and ordered me another pina colada.

    In honor of Poirot, I’d drunk three pina coladas and finished an entire Tropical Appetizer Platter for Two before my husband finally wandered back.

    He said, “Dinner’s in an hour. You going?” even though we’d made our reservations for the Honeymoon Table (including the optional violin serenade) only that morning.

    “We’ve got the Honeymoon Table! I wouldn’t miss it.”

    “Oh.” He stood there for a while not looking at anything in particular. And then: “It’s probably going to be crowded.”

    “No doubt,” I said, “which is why we reserved the Honeymoon Table.”

    “I don’t know what to wear.”

    “It’s black tie. You should wear a black tie, I’d guess.”

    He fidgeted. “What are you going to wear?”

    “My slinky red dress.”

    “I mean, what shoes?”

    “The matching red sandals.”

    “Oh,” he said, turning to face the sea. The setting sun stretched his shadow long and dark across me, across my toes, across one day down, and thousands, so many thousands to go.

    357 words
    Inspiration: Man Toes

    • ewansmithxxx says:

      I love this story so much. It seems like just fun relationship bickering until that final sentence which comes as a totally unexpected lurch into the abyss. 👏

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Wonderful story from such an unusual prompt. I felt so sorry for the new bride.

  3. crsmith2016 says:

    The Devil’s New Job

    The show was broadcasting live and his staff had deserted him, again. How the hell was he supposed to run a radio station like this? “Sorry folks, we’re having a few technical issues. I’ll bring you the news ASAP. Until then here’s something to listen to.”

    Nick sighed. It was too early to ring the agency. He could imagine what they’d say when he requested another newsreader — not to mention another intern. If Bob didn’t show he’d need a new engineer as well. Cat jumped onto the windowsill. She made him uncomfortable. He didn’t appreciate her scrutiny.

    Nick rummaged for the bottle of something stronger he’d hidden away. In the process he kicked the old box Bob had brought up from the basement. What the hell was inside? He hauled it onto his lap jamming a screwdriver into the wood. The lid flew open emitting a cloud of dust, sending tears streaming down his face.

    “Hello. We meet at last.”

    Nick squinted. “Great! You made it,” he croaked, thinking he was looking at the show’s expected guest. “Take a seat. Put those headphones on.” He tried focusing. Curiously the man kept fading in and out. “What’s your name again?” Nick rasped.

    “Nick. Nick Hobbs,” came the reply. “For years I’ve waited for someone to let me out.”

    “No — I’m Nick Hobbs! And out from where?” said Nick, confused.

    “The box of course. All that time trapped inside listening to you made me realise I need a media presence. Radio will be perfect. You just have to take my place.”

    His laugh unnerved Nick. “S…sorry?”

    “For me to take your place you have to take mine — in there.”

    Nick was incredulous. He stared at the box until a shadow loomed over him. When Nick stood he found he was facing himself. A couple of steps behind was a woman. Nick noticed her glowing yellow eyes and lethal nails and backed away, but her long dark tail wrapped around his throat. The more he struggled the tighter the noose became. He felt light-headed, felt the hollowness of the box, felt its walls enclose him. He felt the lid slam shut.

    WC 360

    • ewansmithxxx says:

      Now this is very satisfyingly horrible! Who doesn’t have a broadcaster or two they would love to have shut away in a box for all eternity?

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Oh, oh, oh, a sequel! Recognised the #InfernalClock characters straight away, great to see they’ve got more ‘life’ in them so to speak!

  4. “Overlooking the River”
    by Patrick Stahl
    355 words

    Norton watched the river flowing far below. He stood at the craggy peak of one of the Green Hills, which had taken their name from the short, mossy grass that suffocated their black-and-white granite mounds. The morning sun bathed the valley in yellow, misty light. Norton’s shoes squeaked from the dew.

    At first, it felt like any other morning. The air was light and cold. Norton stretched, pulling energy into his body from the earth. But something was wrong.

    The sky seemed to be overcast, though there were only a few gray clouds near the horizon. The hills looked flat, yet Norton knew they curved gracefully for miles. And the grass. It was pale. It couldn’t possibly be pale.

    Norton wondered whether he had ascended the wrong hill on this young spring morning. It looked like the right hill. It had the right amount of grass and the right amount of stone. It fell off toward the river in a slope so sheer that not even the hardy seed of the hills could sprout. There could be no mistaking that this hill was the one.

    A small brown bird alighted on a rock a few feet away. It trained its black eyes on Norton. The two beads peered at him suspiciously. Even the bird knew that something was wrong, but Norton could not think of what that wrongness could signify for the life of him.

    Norton would’ve sat down, but the ground was wet, and he knew that if he bent down he wouldn’t want to get back up again. And maybe he was a little tired. He was breathing heavier than usual. Maybe he hadn’t slept right that night, or maybe he’d forgotten to take his vitamins.

    The river called out to Norton. It was moving so swiftly now. Faster and faster every moment, it seemed. Norton peered over the cliffside and nearly fell, catching himself at the last moment to fall onto his rear. He laughed, and then he frowned.

    Norton realized suddenly what it was that was wrong: his wife wasn’t there. But of course, she hadn’t been there for years now.

    • This story was inspired by and built around a photograph, but I don’t believe there’s an open link to it. I asked my cousin to suggest prompts, and the one I used was the third one he showed me. Cheers.

      • ewansmithxxx says:

        There’s a lovely sense of strangeness to this story. (And I reckon there’s more to that little bird than meets the eye…)

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Seeing the strangeness of things when those ever present are gone never really goes away. Sad story.

  5. ewansmithxxx says:

    316 words

    The Poet Goes To The Shops

    Assistant: Morning. A bit chilly out there.

    Poet: Mayhap, sweet maid. Tho’ I admire the pattern of the seasons; cyclical, reliable and yet within that certain grid an inner ordinance of constant change.

    Assistant: What can I get you today?

    Poet: Have you Wisdom? Is there Sense or Beauty to be found upon these crowded shelves?

    Assistant: We have turnips on special.

    Poet: Earth’s glory; proud expression of life’s primal urge to recreate. I shall have two.

    Assistant: And those dirty carrots are tasty. I had some last night; very sweet.

    Poet: (Aside) With leaping eagerness, I wonder how she cleansed the dirt from off their firm and upright stalks. Perhaps she rubbed them with a gentle touch, or dripped some honeyed waters on their filthied skins. (Sighs) It seems to me I have some happy memories of licking…

    Assistant: Those ready-meals in the basket; they’re reduced because of their sell-by dates.

    Poet: O piteous world! Were mankind slaves, when then our sell-by dates once beauty’s gone, and strength, and crude capacity to breed? No recognition of the virtue to be found in age or harsh experience; disposed of on some dump to be the food of rats and birds and sundry vermin. (Droops) Were mankind slaves…

    Assistant: Would you like a bag?

    Poet: NO – by every god! I spurn with all my soul this need for life to be contained, curtailed and limited. Break out, I say; tear down those ceilings, smash those walls, remove the fetters from your wrists and legs and breathe at last the tang of fresh, free air!

    Assistant: That’s 27p change.

    Poet: Three coins; a trinity of baseness. And thus the solemn course of pure existence is degraded.

    Assistant: Anything else today?

    Poet: A word of love? My searching lips upon your breasts? A sweet caress that stirs my swelling bits on gradual waking with the dawn…

    Assistant: Next please.

  6. Big Richard

    Me, Dave and Andy do maintenance on coin-operated amusement rides. Usually straightforward but this one had us flummoxed. Green car with Garfield in. Kid sits in driver’s seat. The café owner kept ringing. We thought she was daft, the stuff she came out with.
    The kids were too frightened to ride it a second time. Some had nightmares. It emitted a smell that put everyone off their lunch and made weird whining noises. Now it’d moved overnight of its own accord, unplugging itself and was found upside down with its wheels clogged with what she described as slug-slime. The place was locked up. No sign of a break in. I went over there. It was working fine. Did a full check. Found nothing.
    She rang next morning. The same thing had happened, she was sick of it and would I remove it. It ended up in my garage. Still couldn’t work out what was wrong with it.

    Big Richard’s a joke name. Well under three foot. Seriously tiny. Sits on a barstool, drinking halves from a glass mug though they look like pints in his diddy hands. We’d had a few pints ourselves and one of us – was it Andy? – had the idea of getting Big Richard into my garage to have a ride with Garfield. We put it to him with promise of free beer. He rubbed his hands together, saying ‘bring it on.’
    He wedged himself in beside Garfield and had what he called ‘a very boring ride’ then told the three of us to go and leave him to it.
    Ten minutes later we opened the door. There was an evil smell and Big Richard was absolutely covered in slime. And the look on his face. I took a picture. Talk about frozen in terror. Would make a great cover for a book of horror stories like that one Dave keeps on about. Internal-something-or-other.
    Big Richard was shaking. Wouldn’t tell us what happened. Says he’s going to write a novel about his ‘nightmare journey to hell and back’ and then we’ll know. For now he’s going to need pints, he says. And maybe a whiskey chaser.

    360 words
    I’ve posted the photo, taken 1st April 2017, that inspired this flash on my blog …


    • ewansmithxxx says:

      Honestly, the lengths some people will go to get a free drink or two! 😜

      I like the way the horror element of the story is based around such an innocent machine.

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Great story and I love the reference to a certain book …

  7. stephellis2013 says:


    360 words


    “Little pig, little pig, let me come in,” whispered the voice in the dark.

    Maisie giggled beneath her duvet, she loved the creepy games Daddy played. Being scared was her favourite thing.

    “No, no by the hair of my chinny chin chin,” she laughed in reply.

    “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down,” said the voice and she felt warm air tickle the top of her head. She giggled again. Waited. But when she peeked out Wolf Daddy had gone. Her dreams that night were filled with the sound of squealing swine.

    “Sleep well, darling?” asked her father next morning at breakfast.

    “Yes, Daddy,” she said, stretching and yawning. “I had a lovely dream.”

    He smiled absently at her before returning his attention to the stock market downturn, another late night ahead he thought but at least this time he had got in before dawn. And Daniel was around … somewhere.

    When Maisie got home from school she found a note. Daddy would be late. She smiled, not in the least concerned. He was always back in time for her bedtime story. She drank a glass of milk, dreamily gazing out of the window at the sun slowly setting on the horizon … blood-red, her favourite colour. Time for bed it told her. She brushed her teeth carefully, picked up Teddy and snuggled down once more. And waited. She heard a door. Footsteps on the stair. A creak by her bed. Daddy.

    “Here comes the candle to light you to bed,” he crooned. “Here comes the chopper to chop off your head.”

    A soft kiss and then he was gone. Her dreams that night were filled with the sound of axe on wood.

    When she woke in the morning she opened her eyes to a wonderful surprise. Her walls were now crimson! Daddy had re-decorated for her as she slept. Maisie stepped over the body on the floor and made her way to the kitchen. She put down the axe and poured out her cornflakes, thought about her pig brother in the basement. At least she wouldn’t have to share her chocolate milk with him.

    My story was inspired by the brick house at Pepperpot Hill in Wiltshire – lovely place for a walk. Here’s a pic http://bit.ly/2n0ZzKd

    • ewansmithxxx says:

      Honestly, Steph, I don’t know how you sleep at night with all that stuff going on in your head!

      Great story. 👏

      • stephellis2013 says:

        Thank you 🙂 I sleep quite well actually, the stories only ever appear once I start writing although I suppose that means something must be buried in the depths of my subconscious – and that is a scary thought!

  8. Voima Oy says:

    Confessions of a Portal Guardian
    359 words

    I’m just a brown tabby, with a job. Most days, people see me at the bodega near the entrance to the subway on their way to work or heading home. Maybe they come in for a newspaper, coffee, or an apple and chips for lunch. Me, I’m just minding my own business, lounging among the bottled water. People are glad to see me. And they are happy to see Rajeev and Salman, who run this place. It’s a good place.

    One day, this guy came in. His name is Jared Griffin. He mentioned it several times before he filled out a complaint on Yelp about how a cat was violating some city ordinance. Imagine what trouble he caused. I haven’t forgotten him.

    I have another job, too. I am a portal guardian. It’s my job to guard one of the portals between this world and…another place.

    So, this evening, I sit at the entrance to the subway, watching the people come and go. I’ve been waiting just for him. Jared Griffin, hedge fund trader. Multi-millionaire. A hopeless romantic, they say. I’d say it’s more complicated than that. There was a recent incident involving a model and silk ropes.

    Quickly I transform myself into his erotic ideal. It’s cliched and sexist, but that’s my job. I toss my long red hair. Yes! He sees me.

    I pretend to struggle with my fare card. “Oh dear, I can’t get it in.” I purr, teetering on four-inch heels.

    “I can help with that.” he grinds against me, and I growl.

    Once through the turnstile, I take his hand. No words need be said, as the demons come out of the shadows. Down here, no one can hear the screams.

    Back at my post, I clean myself. I’m a brown tabby, again. Then, I see her, Hazel Metcalfe, works in HR. She’s had a long day of restructuring, three departments cut, how many people laid off.  Do I sense a feeling of remorse? Is she crying, or is that the spring rain? “Hello, Kitty,” she says. She reaches out to touch me, the moment suspended, a soul in the balance.

    • stephellis2013 says:

      Jared certainly got his comeuppance I’m glad to see. I’ll be looking at the cats in our road in a slightly different way – there is one ….

  9. Voima Oy says:

    there’s a great photo that inspired this story, but i can’t figure out how to post it!

  10. Angelique Pacheco says:

    Word Count: 306

    Painting your troubles away.

    “I don’t require you to flatter me.” She hissed. “Just who the hell do you think you are?”

    Every fiber of muscle in her body twitched, in anticipation of what was to come. Her fists were balled up tightly, ready for action. She stood lightly on the balls of her feet ready to launch herself at the target. She was ready. Her fists flew into a frenzy, front hand then back hand, over and over she pummeled. She would not relent. Her target was soft and malleable and the indents showed the damage caused by her assault. Knee kick, side kick, and upper cut. Front kick to the face.
    “You’re a pompous ass!” she yelled as she continued the battle. He had tried to flatter her by telling her how good she looked and she caught him on the phone ten minutes later talking to his friend about his latest “conquest.” Anger had seethed inside of her like a flaming tide of fire. Revenge would not be sweet, but salty, like her sweat and his tears.

    “Take that! And that!” she cried as she continued the outpouring of her rage. She used every tactic in the book, every technique was executed in precision style and she would gain the upper hand. Right hook, front kick, punch again.

    Sweat was cascading down her face, her skin slick and shiny to the touch and she knew she had to stop before she hurt someone. Like herself. There was nothing like punching the boxing bag and going over the argument in her head again. She hit the showers and stood there for a long time, allowing the water to run over her in a calming gesture. She turned off the taps and smiled. A plan began to form. It involved two paintball guns, but only one would be loaded.

    • Angelique Pacheco says:

      I couldn’t figure out how to post the pic, but I went paint-balling for the first time this weekend 🙂

  11. I AM A GOD

    Brian S Creek
    358 words

    + + +

    I am surrounded by illness.

    For five hours I have sat in his sterile place, suffering in agony while watching the drunk and the drugged cause havoc, drawing the attention from the nurses and doctors.

    I should not even be here.

    Pain? What is pain? Something that bothers mere mortals. I am a God, and so above such things.

    “You’re doing it again.”

    “Doing what?”

    She rubs something on my forearm before sticking a needle into a vein. It hurts.

    “You’re talking out loud like a crazy person.”

    “And I keep telling you; I am not crazy.”

    She attaches a receptacle to the end of the tube and dark red blood starts to fill it. Once she is done, she pulls it apart, screws a lid on the receptacle, and places it in a tray atop the trolley beside her.

    “Careful with that. A God’s blood is the most precious thing in the universe. It can cure any illness, fill a dying man with the strength of twenty-”

    “It’s not a God’s blood, it’s your blood.”

    “I will forgive you for your ignorance, your people are primitive. But you must cure me so that I can return to my realm.”

    “Why do you need curing? You know, if you’re a God?”

    She pulls the needle out and places something soft and white over it.

    “I am as mystified as you. Something has torn me from my home, and dumped me within your plane of existence. Perhaps that is why my powers do not work at the moment.”

    “Course. That’ll explain it.”

    “So, you do believe me!”

    “Take your stuff, go around the corner, sit in chair seven, Someone’ll be with you shortly.”

    I want to shout at her, to call down the very thunders of my realm and smite her. She talks to a tall man wearing a yellow vest. He gives me a look, one I have given mortals many times over the centuries.

    I will bide my time then. I will wait until they fix me. Then I will find a way-

    “Yes, yes. I’m going. Chair number seven.” I sit down. She’ll rue the day.

  12. @stellakateT
    306 words

    Wasn’t My Fault.

    “Officer I thought she’d realise it was a joke” I wheezed removing the oxygen mask from my face. He looked at me gravely. Was I giving a dead bed confession? I mean statement. I wasn’t going to confess to nothing, me old mum used to say Admit nothing. Maybe that’s why us kids landed up in care and she in clink with 405 crimes taken into consideration. We never lacked for anything we’d just ask and it would be there next day. The judge said she was the most prolific shoplifter to ever come before the bench. My nana had the newspaper cutting framed and put above the mantelpiece. She did have to ask Len next door what prolific meant. Our mum was famous!

    Lydia was fantastic. Me mates all said she was too good for me. I’m alright when I make an effort. Designer stubble, me hair pulled into a man bun. Didn’t want to grow a hipster beard had a horror of those. My mum always had bearded blokes in tow and more often than not had food trapped within. Yuck! I feel my stomach heave and hope I don’t puke into this mask.

    “Am I going to die?”

    “Not today” says a nurse hovering at the side of the bed.

    “You were lucky lad? The doctors said the knife narrowly missed vital organs”

    The nurse lifts an eyebrow. Maybe I should report her when I’m feeling better.

    Was it my fault that Lydia has no sense of humour?

    I told her that babe on the TV had rung and wanted her to appear on The Next British Model I knew she’d applied months ago paid good money for photos. Was I to know that she’d tell all her mates, the local newspaper and radio station before I had chance to say April Fool!

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