UPDATED WITH WINNER: LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: December (Holiday) Edition

Flash fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity.

Welcome to LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown, a monthly bout of writing prowess. You get 31 words and 3 holiday song or movie titles.

How It Works

We give you inspiration in the form of a picture, poem, video, or similar. You write a flash fiction piece, using the inspiration we gave you. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked and awarded a prize.

The Rules

  • 31 words is the limit. (You can write less, but you can't write more.)
  • The story must include the titles of 3 holiday song or movies used either explicitly or implicitly.
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title (not included in the word count, but keep it under 10 words).
  • We're not exactly shy, but let's stay away from senseless racism or violence.
  • One entry per person.
  • Editing your entry after you submit it is permitted.
  • We'll pick a winner on the last day of the month.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before December 30 will be considered. We'll run the winner on December 31.

This Month's Prize

It's a Trekkie's dream come true (and no, I don't mean that George Takei will personally take over your Twitter account). Titan Books is offering a two-book prize pack. Winners will get a copy of Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz  and David A. Goodman's Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years. Here's a summary of each from the publisher:

What if every Star Trek: The Original Series episode was a movie event? What would the movie poster look like? This was the inspiration to develop a one-of-a-kind set of images for the series that launched a franchise. Artist Juan Ortiz has created unique retro-style art with the look of a 60s movie poster, comic book, pulp novel cover or advertisement, one each for all 80 episodes.

Juan Ortiz is an avid Star Trek enthusiast and an accomplished artist that set out to create an art program representing each of the 80 episodes from the Star Trek: The Original Series. The artwork embodies his passion for the series, the transformational Sixties, and the visceral reaction generated from each episode.

Since 1985, Juan has been an illustrator/designer for Disney and Warner Bros. and has penciled covers for DC Comics’ Looney Tunes and Tiny Toons magazines. He is also the publisher of his own comic book series, Silver Comics, seen in the Disney/Dreamworks release I Am Number Four (produced by Steven Spielberg) as well as The Skull Army, a macabre/detective pulp, featuring his creation (named) The End. 

For the first time, an ‘in universe’ history of Star Trek, complete with excerpts from Starfleet records and intergalactic intelligence, including James T. Kirk’s official biography and newly translated Klingon reports.

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the United Federation of Planets.

This unprecedented illustrated volume chronicles the pivotal era leading up to Humankind's First Contact with Vulcan in 2063, the Romulan War in 2156, the creation of the Federation in 2161, and the first 150 years of the intergalactic democracy up until the year 2311. Meticulously researched, this account covers a multitude of alien species, decisive battles, and the technology that made the Age of Exploration possible. It includes field sketches, illustrations, and reproductions of historic pieces of art from across the Galaxy, along with over fifty excerpts from key Federation documents and correspondence, Starfleet records, and intergalactic intelligence.

Your Inspiration

Since you pretty much can't escape them no matter how hard you try, put all those holiday songs and movies to work as inspiration for a Holiday-themed Flash Fiction story.

This month, there will be a 31-word limit (you know, 31 days in December)  but no limit on number of sentences. Also, your story must include a minimum of 3 holiday song or movie titles. The titles can be worked in to appear almost unnoticeable or you can directly use the titles as part of the story.

Also, assuming I have not seen or heard every holiday-related song or movie, you may want to list them after your story, underline them, or even hyperlink them, so that I will be sure not to miss your ingenious inclusion of Rare Exports or some other obscure (but AWESOME) holiday movie or song. (Rare Exports, BTW, is one of the BEST Christmas movies I've ever seen. Creepy and amazing...)

Good Luck, and Happy Holidays everybody!

Now get writing!


And the winner is...Ben Jackson

There were a lot of great entries this month, but Ben's is the only story with a holiday movie I'd never heard of! I love the use of dialogue and the reference to the Alvin and the Chipmunks song. Well done, Ben!

A Christmas Lament on Boxing Day

“Gimme a lemon drop, kid,” Alvin called to the bartender.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas?” the barkeep asked.

“Nah. I’ll never get that hula-hoop. Old dreams die hard,” he replied.

Image of Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz
Author: Juan Ortiz
Price: $30.29
Publisher: Titan Books (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 112 pages
Image of Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years
Author: David A. Goodman
Price: $43.17
Publisher: Titan Books (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 167 pages
Taylor Houston

Column by Taylor Houston

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer and volunteers on the marketing committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College and attended Penn State's MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. She has taught writing at all levels from middle school to college to adult, and she is the creator of Writer’s Cramp, a class for adults who just want to write!

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Comments

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" December 3, 2013 - 9:55am

Where do you submit this, or does it go here, as a comment?

Ben Jackson's picture
Ben Jackson from Natick, MA is reading The Thicket, Joe R. Lansdale December 4, 2013 - 6:14am

A Christmas Lament on Boxing Day

“Gimme a lemon drop, kid,” Alvin called to the bartender.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas?” the barkeep asked.

“Nah. I’ll never get that hula-hoop. Old dreams die hard,” he replied.

decastam's picture
decastam December 3, 2013 - 11:47am

An Immovable Feast

"I want a hippopotamus for Christmas," Leo Felida sighed as bullets rang off the zoo cage bars like silver bells in the otherwise silent night. "They taste delicious."

Vanessa Zarate's picture
Vanessa Zarate December 3, 2013 - 12:15pm

Under the Christmas Moon

"I need to talk to you," she says, voice quivering in the silent night.

He quirks his brow. "About?"

"Love, actually..."

He smiles. "Baby, it's cold outside. Let's go somewhere warm."

Kyle Tobias's picture
Kyle Tobias from Atlanta, GA is reading Damned, Blue Adept, Fool December 3, 2013 - 2:10pm

Disney XD presents: The Holiday

Searching the "housing swap" section on craigslist, Frosty found his solution.  The email to lildrummerboy@gmail.com simply stated, “Hate the heat? We should be trading places.”

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" December 7, 2013 - 12:56pm

                                                                                Immaculate Companions 

One Silent Night God brought more Joy to the World  by breathing life into dogs, cats and hamsters. A Little Drummer Boy proclaimed, "Amen," and the world rejoiced.

Murasaki_Ducky's picture
Murasaki_Ducky from Austin is reading Stardust December 4, 2013 - 8:07am

A Joyless Noel

Four Christmases ago, in the shadows of a burning street fire I saw what looked like three gremlins chanting “white christmas” incessantly. I found no comfort and joy that night.

rrrosebud's picture
rrrosebud from rolling green hills is reading Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus December 4, 2013 - 7:14pm

Ditching the Wrapping

The babes in Toyland glittered under the flashing lights. “Let’s go Daddy,” she tugged his coat-sleeve, “Mummy’s home alone for Christmas.” “Yes, Virgina,” but he couldn’t split from the shimmering sirens.

Amanda Crawford's picture
Amanda Crawford from Sacramento is reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter December 6, 2013 - 11:07am

The nightmare before Christmas came. It began at Christmas vacation and ended when ‘twas the night before Christmas. Every silent night he’d awake screaming, “Bad Santa!” Ho, ho, ho haunted him.

Werdy's picture
Werdy December 8, 2013 - 12:54pm

A Merry Affair

"Can't sleep because Santa Claus is coming to town?" She yawns,"I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus." He hears the front door. "Honey, sorry I'm late. Mistletoe and wine crisis."

Geekamicus's picture
Geekamicus from The Rockies is reading The Complete Roman Army by A. Goldsworthy December 7, 2013 - 5:23pm

Why I am the Way I am

It came upon a midnight clear, word that Grandma got run over by a reindeer. It was then, after the funeral, that I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. I was Scarred.

Dino Parenti's picture
Dino Parenti from Los Angeles is reading Everything He Gets His Hands On December 7, 2013 - 8:52pm

Here Comes Santa Claus

“Purr me a Christmas story, sweetheart. Something saccharin.”
“It’s your money, Santa baby. Keep the boots on if you want.”
“Naughty girl. Or is it…?”
“Name’s Mistletoe and Holly. Whatever jollies.”

Tobacco Jones's picture
Tobacco Jones December 7, 2013 - 10:03pm

“Oh, holy night,” said Father Omerta.
“I saw three ships. Armed men approach,” Sammy whispered, too loud.
“What child is this?” asked Omerta.
“Do you hear what I hear?” thought Sammy.

 

 

Natso's picture
Natso from Mongolia is reading Moby Dick December 10, 2013 - 1:14am
Missing Husband Returns

Bells jingled. Door slammed.

Emma rushed out, saw John standing.

Tears came spontaneously.

"Where’d--”
“--worried--”
“--leaving me HOME ALONE!"

John held her. “We gotta disappear.... S.C. is COMING TO TOWN.”

Tobacco Jones's picture
Tobacco Jones December 10, 2013 - 1:08pm

Nice job on that one, natso. 

 

AnyDaveWillDo's picture
AnyDaveWillDo from England is reading Lots of books December 11, 2013 - 3:00am

Christmas Tryst

It’s Christmas Eve,
I’m Home Alone.
Santa comes.
It’s late August,
What Child Is This?
It’s a Santa Baby.

willit's picture
willit December 14, 2013 - 10:49am

A Farewell to Grams

Did you hear?

What?

Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

Well, joy to the world. We’re finally rid of that nasty old hag. It’s a wonderful life.

kmmorris17's picture
kmmorris17 from Fort Worth, TX is reading Heart of Darkness December 14, 2013 - 2:08pm

The Best Christmas Present

Happy X-mas, the war is over” the radio blared.

Everyone froze. On this silent night they were saved.

The shrieking of a descending bomb made them think, well there’s always tomorrow.

Angel Colón's picture
Angel Colón from The Bronx now living in New Jersey is reading A Big Ol' Pile of Books December 14, 2013 - 3:25pm

Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding

We wish you a Merry Christmas!” the carolers sang as they mobbed Figgy Mancuso, their knives drawn and leaping at his face. This would be his last Christmas, a black Christmas.

Christopher G's picture
Christopher G from Australia is reading The Dervish House December 14, 2013 - 6:48pm

My father’s nickname is The Hebrew Hammer. “We’re no Angels,” he says, “but the bills get paid.”
The man who came to dinner was clearly terrified, just how dad liked it.

Lori-L's picture
Lori-L December 15, 2013 - 11:11am

Arresting Christmas

“Figured I was home alone.” I shrugged.

“You’re a bad Santa stealing silver and gold.” The policeman smirked. “Instead of a Holiday Inn you’re spending the holiday in handcuffs.”

I’m scrooged.

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works December 23, 2013 - 9:29am

“Do They Know?”

Know that the birth that slouched toward Bethlehem now hisses at our feet! And we’ve no mountain to tell it on. Christmas once white, now darkened by that o’ holy night.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. do they know it's christmas?

2. go tell it on the mountain

3. White Christmas

4. O' Holy Night

 

mttaggart's picture
mttaggart December 28, 2013 - 5:34am

"The Last Christmas at SETI"

It came upon a midnight clear: a new signal near the Silver Bells, pulsars too similar in rhythm to be natural. Three gamma bursts, then a silent night. Their arrival heralded.

BarryG's picture
BarryG December 29, 2013 - 8:40am

Partridges, pear trees and parricide  

“I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus,” Grandma announced last Christmas. “I’m gonna tell your Daddy tomorrow”.


I called the North Pole immediately.

That evening, Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

BarryG's picture
BarryG December 29, 2013 - 8:40am

Partridges, pear trees and parricide  

“I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus,” Grandma announced last Christmas. “I’m gonna tell your Daddy tomorrow”.


I called the North Pole immediately.

That evening, Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

DaJoHi's picture
DaJoHi from MA is reading Wool (1-5) December 30, 2013 - 2:24pm

Wishing For A Snowblown Christmas

After the police crackdown it was Silent Night in Manhattan, but he looked for A Miracle on 34th Street. When he saw the fishnet stockings he thought: It's a Wonderful Life

Frank Chapel's picture
Frank Chapel from California is reading Thomas Ligotti's works December 31, 2013 - 10:45am

Congrats to Ben for the excellent flashing. 

Lori-L's picture
Lori-L December 31, 2013 - 9:11pm

Great job Ben!

Alan H Jordan's picture
Alan H Jordan from Reno, Nevada is reading "The Whisper Jar" and "The World Beneath" January 1, 2014 - 8:35am

Congratulations Ben,

You evoked many childhood memories, for many people and even created sensory detail.

Ben Jackson's picture
Ben Jackson from Natick, MA is reading The Thicket, Joe R. Lansdale January 2, 2014 - 5:06am

Thanks all!  This was fun, and it was especially fun to read all the great shorts.

Angel Colón's picture
Angel Colón from The Bronx now living in New Jersey is reading A Big Ol' Pile of Books January 3, 2014 - 6:28am

Nice job, Ben!

miketyson's picture
miketyson November 25, 2014 - 3:12am

"Jingle Bells" is one of the most popular Christmas songs in the world however, history tells us it is not specifically a Christmas song. Known today as a fun and laughter filled Christmas song and is popular as the subject of parody. James Lord Pierpont originally wrote the song in 1857 and was owned at the time as "One Horse Open Sleigh".

Christmas Bells