UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: June 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.

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

  • 25 words. You can write less, but not more.
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 10 words or less.
  • 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.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before June 27 will be considered. We'll run the winner on June 30.

This Month's Prize

This month's winner will get an ARC of The Big Hit by James Neal Harvey. Check out the description from Amazon.com.:

In Harvey’s first new thriller in more than fifteen years, a starlet’s murder draws an NYPD detective into a cross-country manhunt.

Mongo wakes up, brushes his teeth, and prepares to kill a movie star. He needs a wig and a phony press pass, as well as a very special tape recorder that holds two fléchettes, one of which is earmarked for screen siren Catherine Delure. A bit of smooth talk takes Mongo past Delure’s security and into her hotel room, where he completes his assignment with ease. The hit was simple, he thinks. But it is about to go terribly wrong.

Delure appears to have been shot during a robbery, but homicide detective Jeb Barker is not fooled. Tracking the self-assured assassin leads the PI first to Las Vegas, then to California—where blue sky and palm trees cannot distract him from the darkness within the hit man’s heart.

Your Inspiration

100 years ago, in June 1914, James Joyce's book Dubliners was finally published. Though he finished the book of short stories about middle class life in turn-of-the-century Dublin in 1905, he had to submit it to 15 different publishers and wait almost 10 years to finally see it in print. Let's celebrate the tenacity of Mr. Joyce with flash fiction stories of our own that deal with the every day life of regular people. Ready. Set. GO!

And the Winner Is...MAC

Once again, there were only a few entries—but they were of very high quality. Thank you ALL for making this a hard decision. Even though I was a little grossed out by the idea of flying toenail clippings, MAC's tale was whimsical and real and completely imaginable. Well done!

Scoring in the Toenail Olympics

Clip! Coffee table hit hard. Clip! Belly-
up in the carpet. Clip! Little-piggy shavings score girlfriend's belly button.
You're sick, she says.
Kiss me.


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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Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday June 2, 2014 - 9:19am

The Ride

The highlight of Harold's life was when he saw her enter the elevator each day, whoever she was.  It made the grind worth it.

NegativeDave's picture
NegativeDave June 2, 2014 - 8:47am

There I Am

Here I am. Waiting, ever-waiting, never sound, only found, for the bus that takes me into our small, milky town.

brianbrianbrian's picture
brianbrianbrian from Ireland is reading short stories June 2, 2014 - 8:48am

The Bloom Garden Competition

We had been north-side all week preparing and still lost. Later, to compensate, we bought two bottles of champagne and avocados on our way back.

Twistedsage's picture
Twistedsage June 2, 2014 - 10:44am

Not yet.

"I don't want to break up with you yet." She said, naked.  

I know what yet means. Just not what I can do next.   

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami June 2, 2014 - 11:22am

Till morning came, she coughed her glasses off in a cold cracked bedroom.

Robert.B's picture
Robert.B from Northern Ireland is reading The Last of the Savages By Jay McInerney June 2, 2014 - 12:52pm

The Daily Grind. 


Wake up, go to college, check your phone, drink, you regret it the next day, then do it all over again.This is your life.

Laia Planagumà's picture
Laia Planagumà June 2, 2014 - 1:21pm

Anytime, anywhere, anyhow

Stuck. Feeling people's bodies passing next to you in the street. Pushing. The city is going to eat you. Every day. A little bit more.

Peggi Wood's picture
Peggi Wood June 2, 2014 - 9:08pm

There Was No She, Dogs or Otherwise

On an east side lawn, a shopping cart sprawled like a snoring drunk, clothing and blankets tumbled out and a plastic igloo rested upside down.

Tokato's picture
Tokato from Germany is reading Junkie (William S. Burroughs) June 3, 2014 - 5:40am


Every morning seeing the same selfish body drowning in the vast, cold, blue ceramic of a wash room. Skin, hair and meat. Ready for shipping.

Angel Colón's picture
Angel Colón from The Bronx now living in New Jersey is reading A Big Ol' Pile of Books June 3, 2014 - 6:55am


Wake. Cheap breakfast. Late bus. Traffic. Walk. Dodge dog shit. Work. Quitting time. Walk. Dodge dog shit. Late bus. More traffic. Cold dinner. Sleep. Repeat.

Christina Re's picture
Christina Re from the United States is reading something a friend wrote June 26, 2014 - 12:02pm

Bacchanalia at the Battle of the Barbeque

Revelational beef riblets,

Tenderest pork tenderloin

Nothing placed, but we partied anyway;

Danced victory laps 'round pinecone firepits.

We should stay this way forever.

Potter's picture
Potter June 3, 2014 - 9:55pm

A Perfect Day

The last shovelful was thrown over his shoulder with a gasping thud. He smiled at the perfectly shaped grave around him.

Jason Van Horn's picture
Jason Van Horn from North Carolina is reading A Feast For Crows June 4, 2014 - 2:50pm

In Search of Purpose

Her shadow refused to move, tired of the morning walks wearing the same clothes as the night before, wondering if the seed will take.

Kevin Maddox_2's picture
Kevin Maddox_2 from Melstrand is reading The Hip Hop Reader June 4, 2014 - 10:59pm


Wake up for the morning coffee. Try to take a shit before work, so the thought of quitting is a bit more bearable throughout the day.


MAC's picture
MAC June 24, 2014 - 4:06am

Scoring in the toenail Olympics

Clip! Coffee table hit hard. Clip! Belly-

up in the carpet. Clip! Little-piggy shavings score girlfriend's belly button.
You're sick, she says.
Kiss me.

Werus's picture
Werus from Portland, OR is reading Secret Acension June 24, 2014 - 1:54pm

What's Your Point?

He stared out the window. ”Does he really need to mow three times a week?”

Without looking up, she said, ”He runs marathons you know.”

Casey Hicks's picture
Casey Hicks from Brooklyn, NY is reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman June 27, 2014 - 5:51pm


What was the point? She pushed his body off her own and rolled out of bed, disgusted.

She would be back tomorrow.

Allison Blake's picture
Allison Blake June 27, 2014 - 7:45pm


These days, the face in the mirror looked less his own and more the man he swore he wouldn't be. Life always collects its debts.