UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: March 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

  • 14 words is the limit. (exactly 14 words.)
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title of 3 words (no more, no 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 March 28 will be considered. We'll run the winner on March 31.

This Month's Prize

Two titles from Two Dollar Radio:

'Radio Iris'

by Anne-Marie Kinney

Radio Iris is the story of Iris Finch, a socially awkward daydreamer with a job as the receptionist/personal assistant to an eccentric and increasingly absent businessman. When Iris is not sitting behind her desk waiting for the phone to ring, she makes occasional stabs at connection with the earth and the people around her through careful observation and insomniac daydreams, always more watcher than participant as she shuttles between her one-bedroom apartment and the office she inhabits so completely, yet has never quite understood. 
 
Her world cracks open with the discovery of “the man next door.” Over the next few weeks or months (the passage of time is iffy for Iris), she takes it upon herself to learn everything she can about this stranger. But the closer she gets to him, the more troubling questions at the heart of her own life rise to the surface, questions like - Why does she keep having the same dream? Why is it that she and her brother don’t seem to have a single shared memory of their childhood? What is it her boss actually does? In the end, Iris is faced with a choice she never imagined, and a reality she never knew enough to dread.

Anne-Marie Kinney's work has appeared in Black ClockIndiana Review, and Keyhole, and has been performed by Los Angeles’s Word Theatre. Radio Iris is her first novel.


'A Questionable Shape'

by Bennett Sims

Mazoch discovers an unreturned movie envelope, smashed windows, and a pool of blood in his father’s house: the man has gone missing. So he creates a list of his father’s haunts and asks Vermaelen to help track him down. 

However, hurricane season looms over Baton Rouge, threatening to wipe out any undead not already contained and eliminate all hope of ever finding Mazoch’s father. 

Bennett Sims turns typical zombie fare on its head to deliver a wise and philosophical rumination on the nature of memory and loss. 

Bennett Sims was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His fiction has appeared in A Public SpaceTin House, and Zoetrope: All-Story. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he currently teaches fiction at the University of Iowa, where he is a provost postgraduate visiting writer.


Your Inspiration

Hey, it's month 3 in the 14th year of the millenium, a.k.a. 3/14 or 3.14....c'mon, Nerds, you know what I'm getting at—it's Pi(e) Month! So, let's write pastry- and/or math-related stories in honor of the tastiest mathematical constant, π. Stories must have a 3 word title and be exactly 14 words in length. No more. No less.

And be sure to have an extra slice on 3/14/14.

Now get writing!


And the Winner Is... Grant Williams

Once again, you all KILLED IT with awesomeness. We even had a picture entry that was pretty awesome (though it sadly missed the word count...). I did, however, have to pick just one, and I kept coming back to Mr. Williams' entry. So simple, so sublte that you almost miss the punchline—but funny when you do finally put the pieces (haha—pun) together. Well done!

The Business Model

"Just once could you report your sales numbers in a bar graph, Mrs. Callender?"

Image of Radio Iris
Author: Anne-Marie Kinney
Price: $16.00
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio (2012)
Binding: Paperback, 208 pages
Image of A Questionable Shape
Author: Bennett Sims
Price: $16.50
Publisher: Two Dollar Radio (2013)
Binding: Paperback, 242 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

shell4805's picture
shell4805 from Branson, via Nebraska is reading The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff March 3, 2014 - 8:37am

"The first taste"

 

The crust... What can I say about the crust? It was so wonderfully salty.

jtbutkowski's picture
jtbutkowski from New Jersey March 3, 2014 - 8:50am

“Pie in NYC”

When he chose a fork to eat pizza, he lost the campaign for mayor.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like March 3, 2014 - 9:35am

The Little Caesar

On March 14 he was served poisoned pizza, another irony missed by a day.

BarryG's picture
BarryG March 3, 2014 - 9:45am

The cannibalistic number

Seven had eaten all the pies but was still hungry. So Seven ate Nine.

Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday March 3, 2014 - 11:57am

The Business Model

"Just once could you report your sales numbers in a bar graph, Mrs. Callender?"

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK March 3, 2014 - 12:01pm

Buy the Numbers

Juan took freedom, fought life's sexual severance, ate none. Teen Elvis shelved flirting forever.

Skygrotto's picture
Skygrotto from Southwestern Ontario is reading Europe: A History by Norman Davies March 3, 2014 - 1:17pm

"Of Three Sticks"

 

I held out three sticks, half-shape of an H, and let the ripchord go.

gravelface's picture
gravelface from Knoxville, IA March 3, 2014 - 2:48pm

My Love, Pi

She's an irrational number. Never ending, never repeating. A transcendental love, squaring the circle.

Matt L.'s picture
Matt L. from Texas is reading Tenth of December: Stories March 3, 2014 - 9:31pm

Why Waste Pie?

Irrational obsession with pie resulted in his transcendent circumference. Yet, he saw no solution.

Benjamin Joseph's picture
Benjamin Joseph from Southern U.S. is reading Knockemstiff March 3, 2014 - 10:43pm

What Pi Is

 

A three, followed by a dot, followed by a one, then a four, then...

Kenneth Jobe's picture
Kenneth Jobe from Wichita is reading American Gods March 4, 2014 - 4:42am

The Secret Ingredient

As Bonnie let the pie cool, she was confident no one would taste Butterscotch.

Angel Colón's picture
Angel Colón from The Bronx now living in New Jersey is reading A Big Ol' Pile of Books March 4, 2014 - 10:33am

Last Bite

"Great pie."

"Old family recipe."

He choked, neck muscles seizing.

"Careful, it bites back."

PinupCenterfold's picture
PinupCenterfold from The Sunshine State, USA is reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane March 4, 2014 - 8:08pm

My Number Lust

I am perpetually counting silently to myself. Consumed over numbers; digits dominate my existence.

Merran Jones's picture
Merran Jones from Australia is reading All That I Am, by Anna Funder March 5, 2014 - 3:46am

Differently Weighted Dave

He had to stop eating her pie. He’d gained 14 pounds in 3 weeks.

Merran Jones's picture
Merran Jones from Australia is reading All That I Am, by Anna Funder March 5, 2014 - 3:46am

Differently Weighted Dave

He had to stop eating her pie. He’d gained 14 pounds in 3 weeks.

Twistedsage's picture
Twistedsage March 6, 2014 - 10:00am

God of Pi

An endless harmonic countdown in the waking dreams of a dying architect, ad infinitum.   

Luis Oliveira's picture
Luis Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is reading Iliad by Homer March 6, 2014 - 2:50pm

Extra! Deli Robbery


Another two sided story. But I ensure: only one delight on the pie delict.

Josh Zancan's picture
Josh Zancan from Crofton, MD is reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck March 10, 2014 - 7:42am

Life of Cake

Dear Diary,

I can't compete.  Bought a fork.  Gonna take that bastard down.

-Cake 

 

Natso's picture
Natso from Mongolia is reading Moby Dick March 10, 2014 - 11:15pm

Fibonnacci's Fateful Breakfast

No want-a eat. I search-a, look-a for this ratio...

Wait, look-a cinnamon roll!

Eureka!!!

WilliamGrit's picture
WilliamGrit March 12, 2014 - 6:42pm
James Matterhorn's picture
James Matterhorn March 12, 2014 - 9:57pm
The Hunger Pang

"I'm sorry, I'll make another pie! Please, don't!"

"Can't hear you, my stomach's growling . . . "

 

James Matterhorn's picture
James Matterhorn March 12, 2014 - 9:57pm
The Hunger Pang

"I'm sorry, I'll make another pie! Please, don't!"

"Can't hear you, my stomach's growling . . . "

 

debcoffey's picture
debcoffey March 14, 2014 - 4:48am

Seducing a Mathematician

“Time for pie?”

“Maybe to a thousand decimal places.”

“So smart!”

“Such a tart.”

buddhistalin's picture
buddhistalin from Indianpolis is reading Breakfast of Champions March 14, 2014 - 11:06pm

Treason's the Reason

She picked her pie, planted his poison. Mr. did die, and Mrs. to prison.

sandratherman's picture
sandratherman from Canada is reading The Witches of Eastwick March 25, 2014 - 4:44pm

End of Pies

Finger scoop, taste, grab foil sides, smash into floor, fly chunks. Do it again.

chrisatsac's picture
chrisatsac from California is reading The Shining March 29, 2014 - 10:20pm

Death Point One-four

His life in a pie.

One slice at a time.

Each bite tastes regretful.

Matt L.'s picture
Matt L. from Texas is reading Tenth of December: Stories March 31, 2014 - 1:22pm

Nicely done, Grant!

Angel Colón's picture
Angel Colón from The Bronx now living in New Jersey is reading A Big Ol' Pile of Books April 1, 2014 - 4:23pm

Congrats, Grant!