UPDATED WITH WINNER - LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: September Edition

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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 prompt. 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, tops. No more. 
  • It can be any genre.
  • Give it a title. Please keep it to 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.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All stories submitted on or before September 29th will be considered. We'll run the winner on September 30th.

This Month's Prize

This month, we are giving away a copy of Patrick O'Neil's Gun, Needle, Spoon, which is our Book Club selection for October. Get it just in time!

This memoir follows a punk rock pioneer on his slide into drug abuse and life as as an armed robber, all the way through life in recovery and what it's like to look back on those times, knowing all the while that the third strike might hit at any time, triggering a life behind bars.

Your Inspiration:

Opus T. Penguin is back. When I was a kid, my dad LOVED the comic strip Bloom County by Berkeley Breathed and especially the character of Opus T. Penguin. We even gave him a stuffed Opus for Christmas one year. Breathed stopped writing Bloom County in 1989, and stopped drawing comics for newspapers in 2008. Just last month, Breathed revived the whitey-tighty-wearing water fowl in a new running of the Bloom County strip by waking Opus up after a 25 year nap. 

This month, write a story that picks up 25 years later. Not necessarily about Opus, just imagine a story about anything, and then write as if you are checking back in on that storyline 25 years later. What things are different? What things are the same? You get 25 words. Go.


And the Winner Is...RosieToesAmarose

A fine crop of entries, again, you all! Quite a few past winners, too! This month, though, the blue ribbon goes to LitReactor Rookie RosieToesAmarose! She's only been on the site a month!  Congrats!!

Coffee Shop

Sip. Don't look up. Don't look desperate.

Today's his birthday. 25 years since that indifferent nurse carried him out.

Shoes.

"Beth Anders?"

Look.

Look up.

Image of Gun, Needle, Spoon
Author: Patrick O'Neil
Price: $12.86
Publisher: Dzanc Books (2015)
Binding: Paperback, 300 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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Grant Williams's picture
Grant Williams from Wichita, KS is reading Friday September 3, 2015 - 11:47am

Until Death

She did love him, but now that he was in the ground she could finish what she put on hold so they could be them.

The Dark Lord's picture
The Dark Lord from The Void is reading The Book of the Dead September 5, 2015 - 3:50pm

Family Business

“Shop closed sometime back. Ain't been right since they found his boy." Black teeth. Unforgiving eyes. "In town awhile?” 

“Nah." I lie. "Just passin’ through.”

Christopher Peterson's picture
Christopher Peterson from Illinois is reading the tea leaves... September 4, 2015 - 11:50am

That's a Quarter of a Century! Makes a Girl Think...

Osgood held Daphne's hand as he breathed his last, "Zowee!" Jerry wiped away Daphne's tears. Jerry would inherit millions but missed his millionaire. Nobody's perfect.

Mikeydee's picture
Mikeydee September 5, 2015 - 7:09am

Patience was a Virtue

 

Lonely widower in search of fit, open-minded adventurous type. Requires minimal integrity, one evening, shovel. Weak stomachs need not apply.

Pat Cloherty's picture
Pat Cloherty from Montreal is reading Moonlit Earth by Christopher Rice September 5, 2015 - 4:52pm

The Note

All the hatred I built about her crumbled like my body when I found the note years after her disappearance. She didn't just leave me.

 

TheScrivener's picture
TheScrivener from Seattle is reading short stories September 7, 2015 - 8:45pm

None of My Friends Are in High School Anymore

His hair is falling out and now he's got reading glasses. Price tag still attached. But that Trans Am sure is cool. 

 

Michael Wais Jr's picture
Michael Wais Jr from San Diego, CA is reading "The Iliad" September 6, 2015 - 1:58am

                                              "Senseless Racism & Violence"

I smacked my friend over the noggin with a rubber chicken and screamed "Left-handed people can't draw Otis The Penguin!"

RosieToesAmarose's picture
RosieToesAmarose from Oneida, NY September 6, 2015 - 9:59am

Coffee Shop

Sip. Don't look up. Don't look desperate.

Today's his birthday. 25 years since that indifferent nurse carried him out.

Shoes.

"Beth Anders?"

Look.

Look up.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal September 7, 2015 - 7:48pm

We Finally Meet

“All grown up.”

“Yeah.”

“Married?”

“Yep.”

“You know I never knew. I’d have been there.”

He nods. “Taught myself to shave, too.”

Phil Jones's picture
Phil Jones from San Francisco Bay Area is reading The Troop September 8, 2015 - 9:42am

The Next 25

Their 25th anniversary.  Surrounded by friends, he clinked her champagne flute.  He smiled, remembering his life would begin again tomorrow after meeting with his lawyer.

BarryG's picture
BarryG September 8, 2015 - 10:31am

Tale as old as Time

Only later, at their silver anniversary, did Belle, now bored with his beastly ways, begin considering speeding up the "'til death do us part" bit...

Abadox's picture
Abadox September 9, 2015 - 1:27pm

Unfolding

Quarter century after their last conversation and he suddenly remembers what he wanted to tell her, but cannot recall what has happened to his life.

 

Jacob Allen's picture
Jacob Allen from San Diego September 9, 2015 - 5:51pm

Interrupted

One week in Venice. One drunken indiscretion. He is twice now what his age was then.

"How could I have not seen this coming?"

Cams316's picture
Cams316 from Wichita,KS is reading The Dead Hearts series September 9, 2015 - 7:35pm

‚ÄčTribute to a Great 

"Did...did you just ask me for a tuna sandwich?" the boy asked the tattered tiger that had just come to life next to him. 

Nekro21's picture
Nekro21 from United States September 13, 2015 - 9:14am

Wake up Call-

Tears explode from my eyes. Realization hitting hard, so long since I drank and drove, taking that poor kids life. Twenty five years now sober.

James Matterhorn's picture
James Matterhorn September 24, 2015 - 7:43pm

Weigh the Cost

"You were expecting me?"
"Yes"
"Then you remember our deal."
"Yes"
He knew it would end like this...just wished the devil wasn't so punctual.

jimmymauthe's picture
jimmymauthe September 27, 2015 - 2:48pm

Unfinished Business

“I can’t forgive him,” she thought as she slipped her ring into her purse and approached the man smiling at her from across the bar.

jimmymauthe's picture
jimmymauthe September 27, 2015 - 2:48pm

Unfinished Business

“I can’t forgive him,” she thought as she slipped her ring into her purse and approached the man smiling at her from across the bar.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 2, 2015 - 2:53pm

Ooo, I did really like that winner the moment I first read it...

Taylor's picture
Taylor from Portland, Oregon is reading 'Alexander Hamilton' by Ron Chernow October 5, 2015 - 8:49am

Yeah, Thuggish, you and RosieToesAmarose were on the same wavelength there!