Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Flash Fiction Challenge #3

Welcome to the week 3 of the Potato Chip Math / Tales of Whoa flash fiction challenge!

The rules are very simple: we give you a prompt and you write 500 words or less.

You can write in any style that you wish; just be sure to use the prompt, keep it under 500 words, write it in English, and ensure it's completely made up (this is a flash fiction challenge after all).

Next week Gordon and I will post links to the pieces we liked the best and will probably do a shout out on Twitter to those folks if they so desire. After a few months we'll compile a list of our favourites and we'll get the Internet to vote. The winner will win stuff (to be determined, but we're sure they'll love it).

Now, without further ado we present this week's prompt (thanks to Chuck Wendig who inspired this 'pick list' style prompt):

If the last digit of your house number ends in:

0 or 1 = Paranoid
2 or 3 = Thoughtful
4 or 5 = Courageous
6 or 7 = Clueless
8 or 9 = Humorous 

If your birthday is in:

January or February = Politician
March or April = Actor  
May or June = Office Worker
July or August = Scientist
September or October = Teacher
November or December = Politician

If the day of your birth ends in:

0 or 1 = Montreal 
2 or 3 = New York City
4 or 5 = Hollywood
6 or 7 = Iowa
8 or 9 = Moscow

If the year of your birth ends in:

0 or 1 = Stumbles across an assassination plot
2 or 3 = Steals something
4 or 5 = Commits a murder
6 or 7 = Falls in love
8 or 9 = Loses everything

So for me I would be writing about, a clueless actor in New York City who commits a murder.

Use the comments below to submit your work. You can submit anonymously, but if you don't leave us an email address or something you can't win.

Have fun!

~ Andrew & Gordon

7 comments:

  1. Just a quick question. Does the character's job need to be stated in the course of the story, or otherwise obvious to the reader? I'm having a difficult time finding the opportunity to bring it up organically.

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    Replies
    1. It's entirely flexible, so do whatever works. Even if you simply elude to it that'll be fine I'm sure :)

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    2. Thank you. That helps.

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  2. “What are you saying, Dr. Peterson?”

    When the doctor’s face fell into care-worn lines, Steven’s heart plummeted. Dr. Peterson fidgeted with the clipboard. “I’m afraid it’s a malignant tumor. At this stage, it is inoperable. I’m sorry.”

    Everything in the world receded. How could this be happening? Outside the window, hot California sun baked glittering Hollywood. Heat waves distorted the sidewalk. Traffic snaked on black pavement. Life continued, would continue, except for his baby girl.

    “Mr. Pleasant?” Dr. Peterson placed a gentle hand on Steven’s shoulder. “Mr. Pleasant?”

    Steven ignored him and stood, numbed. “Thank you. I’ll…I’ll take my daughter home now.”

    “But we still haven’t discussed-”

    “I’m taking my daughter home,” Steven repeated. That would be best, safest, for her. “We’ll set another date for the details.”

    Steven left Dr. Peterson and concentrated on placing one foot in front of the other. Like a robot, a nice shiny mechanical robot that marched without thought. Without emotion. Forward. Forward. Nothing had prepared him for seeing his sweet little girl, pale and blue-lipped, hunched on the table.

    When he’d been eight, he’d slipped from a tree limb, and had slammed into the ground from ten feet up. The wind had been knocked clean out of his lungs, and soreness from head to toe plagued him the next week. Unable to breathe. Heart twisted enough for him to want to scream. Jamie would die, and nothing could be done.

    “Daddy!” Jamie perked and smiled at him. His eyes stung. “I waited forever. Hey! Hey, what’s wrong, Daddy?”

    He didn’t stop the tears. Instead he said, “We’re going home, baby girl. Do you have everything?”

    While his precious daughter gathered her accessories (her word, not his), he wiped away the tears. These doctors. These doctors with their inability to do anything except be sorry. He didn’t need their apologies. He needed their action. They paid for medical school, so why couldn’t they do something?

    Anger flooded the sorrow and grief and fear, sped up the thud of his heart. Stupid, over-paid liars. Who were they to dismiss his baby girl? Was it because he was a lowly cubicle rat? Heat burned across his face, in his chest, flowed into his bones. Something had to be done. Something, anything, and it had to be done right now.

    Gentle, fluid watercolors of Venice Beach decorated the room’s walls. Without thinking, he ripped one off. A faded patch of the wall lived beneath the painting. Good. Fine. Better. Breathless, he grabbed Jamie’s hand as they navigated the winding hallway to the elevator.

    “Daddy? Why did you take that picture?”

    “I told Dr. Peterson you liked it, and he said we could take it,” Steven replied, his tone reasonable. His heart pulsed behind his ribs from the lie. “We can hang it in your room when we get home.”

    “Really? That’s so nice,” she said. “That one’s my favorite! I’ll love it forever and ever.”

    Steven’s throat clotted.

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    1. Sorry, forgot to add my email address to this!

      miss_greene83@yahoo.com

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  3. His good girl, walks with ghosts. She was once afraid of running out of things to say to him, and he, in turn, was once afraid of running out of things to say to her, and if it were true, that there were no more words, then maybe she wouldn't have turned to that cut up method, and maybe he wouldn't have found an office on the second floor of a beige building with fourteen windows and two doors.
    --
    She drew blood with them lonely boys on the west end of Sunset. It wasn't like a gang to name themselves the sharks or jets since the bloods and crips, so them lonely boys were taking a trust fund risk and she loved that wild side.
    "What's else?" Those words from the them lonely boys' girl from her back. But them lonely boys couldn't answer, never could. Drowned from the aphasiatic curse of the cut up method. She didn't mind, never did.
    And after soundlessness, was her and them lonely boys, back at bored and without a score, so they turned to each other. It was hard for her to stay after the first lonely boy got off, and her arms hurt from pushing and couldn’t go another round. But you can’t keep a lonely boy lonely for too long, and her fighting only got harder.
    --
    They say, "We're going to the titty bar, you in?" He, with a brown suit, says simply, "No." It wasn't like him to go to titty bars, never was. Instead he was on his way to the west end of Sunset to find himself a sunset girl. They walked the strip looking for a hit from a fag and a drink or two. And if he had cards to play, he couldn't play 'em wrong there.
    He walked his way to the sunset girls. “It isn’t my fight.” He says as he walks past a group of young men holding up or holding down a young girl, whichever you prefer. But the flash of a green shoe without a foot, next to a garbage bin caught his eye, and He, in a brown suit, made it his fight.

    --

    Them lonely boys ran as fast as young men coming down from a high could when they saw a man in a brown suit come their way. Ghosts after a few minutes. She could mouth “thank you,” and He expected tears, but she had none to give, and instead fumbled over words and mouthed “thank you” again.
    He wanted to say something, and panicked as nothing came to mind. She wanted him to say something and panicked when nothing came. So she mouthed “thank you,” and walked the way of them lonely boys. And the words she wished she had when he was there came rushing to her head, but He, in a brown suit, was gone. Back to the second floor of a beige building with fourteen windows and two doors.

    email - aschillinger29@gmail.com

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  4. Michael Dunstan looked over his shoulder before entering the apartment building where he lived with his second wife. For the last three months, he was sure someone had been following him. He had not actually seen this shadowy person but he knew he or she was there. Someone was onto him he was sure, now was not the time for his secret to be exposed. It would completely derail his run for the senate and make all the moves he had taken since leaving high school in rural Iowa a waste of time.
    His secret was that Christina did not know that she was his second wife. In fact their marriage was illegal; for Michael Dunstan, county commissioner from Iowa, senate hopeful with dreams of the Oval Office in his future, was a bigamist. His first, and only legal wife Louise, had no idea that Christina existed. Louise was his meal ticket. Her family had money and political influence, there was never any thought of divorcing her. While Michael was away campaigning, Louise preferred to home-school their three children at the mansion that her father had built for them
    Christina was sexy and beautiful, but she had no money or family connections. Uninterested in politics she had no idea who he was, he also knew she was sure to find out eventually. He was debating whether it was better to pay her off or get rid of her more permanently.
    He checked over his shoulder again before opening the door to his apartment onto a scene of horror.
    Christina lay on the floor with a large kitchen knife sticking out of her chest.
    Her eyelids fluttered weakly, “Micha…”
    “Oh God, Christina.”
    Kneeling down beside her, Michael grasped the handle of the knife as if to pull it out. The apartment door slammed shut.
    “I wouldn’t do that. It’ll just hurt more and make her die quicker.”
    “Louise!”
    “Did you really think I was that stupid Michael?”
    Without giving him a chance to reply she went on, “You know you’ve lost everything don’t you? My money and family influence are out of your reach now and Daddy will make sure I get custody of the kids.”
    Christina gurgled as her final breath rattled in her throat.
    Michael took his hand off the knife. “Did you have to kill her?”
    “I didn’t kill her Michael; you did.”
    Still kneeling, he muttered, “I don’t understand.”
    “You will.” Louise laughed. “Is it paranoia if you really are being followed?”
    “You? It was you that’s been following me.”
    “One of Daddy’s contacts. Don’t think anyone is going to believe any story you concoct. We’ve covered all scenarios. You’ve thrown away everything you cared about. You’re going to lose your freedom too; maybe even your life if the death penalty is returned. How ironic that it’s a cause you’ve been supporting. You traded everything for a fuck. I hope she was worth it.”

    email jayesse7@gmail.com


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