March 19: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

March 19, 2014

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionThis buckaroo would like to whoop and holler for all you lads and lassies who wrangled 99 words for last week’s response. We had 10 stories that showcased a variety of creative talents and interpretations.

In fact, that’s one of the amazing traits of creative writing–the power of perspective. Each writer interprets the prompt, and sometimes we think alike and sometimes we get a glimpse of a new idea. It inspires us for the next time.

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction has two goals. First, to build an engaged community of creative writers and second, to build an engaged community of inspired readers.

Writers can benefit from weekly practice. The challenge is like an open-mic night after strumming at words alone in our minds or at our desks. We get to step up and perform for an audience.

Which makes readers important, too because they become the audience. In an effort to build up readership, we’re going to cut short the deadline by one day (it still gives writers 7 days to fulfill the challenge). The new deadline is Tuesday by noon (Pacific Standard Time).

On Tuesdays, I’ll post and promote all the compiled responses like I did this morning in the post, Flash Fiction: Giving Up a Prized Possession. I’ll continue to promote each individual response through social media. On the following Monday after I’ve compiled all the stories, I’ll repost a link on Twitter for #MondayBlogs.

Onto the next prompt! While working on this post and simultaneously doing other stuff online, my computer crashed. When I rebooted, this post was gone and yes, I fussed…loudly. However, after running a 2-hour system scan and updating a few computer-thingies, I returned to WordPress to find my post intact. WHEW!  But I’ve changed my mind as to the prompt, inspired by the day’s crash and ensuing gamut of emotions.

March 19, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a hyperbolic response to a frustrating situation (an hyperbole is an exaggeration). Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, March 25 to be included in the compilation. Please note that I’m investigating the best way to post “duplicate content” for those of you who blog. I might have to revert to posting just links to blog responses so as not to impact your SEO rankings.

No Survivors by Charli Mills

Nan’s glasses slid down her nose as she pecked at white letters on black keys. Type faster, type faster, her mind hymned. A ding like a doll-house doorbell chimed. Nan paused to read the instant message. Responding, she glanced at digital time wasting away in the bottom right corner of her screen. No, no, focus. Seconds before the deadline, Nan’s mouse heaved like a rodent biting arsenic; the screen froze and dashed all words. Screaming, Nan hurled her computer out the second-story window, toppling the satellite internet dish and causing the fatal wreck of the Edmonds Fitz Rocket Ship.


And that is why the prompt is late!


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  1. Norah

    Poor Charli. Writing in real life! An interesting prompt and response to get us started. Thanks.

    • Charli Mills

      Nothing like a dose of real-life to get me motivated! I will choose to be creative…

  2. susanzutautas

    “causing the fatal wreck of the Edmonds Fitz Rocket Ship.” Pretty funny last line 🙂
    Putting on my thinking cap and hopefully will come up with a flash fiction for this weeks challenge.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Susan! I look forward to what your thinking cap reveals.

  3. Paula Moyer

    Here’s mine — hyperbole is hard for me, but this was a stab. The title is “Vengeance is Mine.”

    It had seemed so innocent – it was the 45th reunion of the little class of 1970. Jean had graduated 4th of 19. After the reunion, a small group went into Lawton, the county seat, to an oldies karaoke bar. They had just seated themselves when she saw her ex-husband. His back was turned, but she would recognize him anywhere. She signed up for a spot, flipped through the book and found the song. Her turn came. “This song is dedicated with love to Ollie,” she said simply. The song sang itself: “Cry Me a River.” He did. She didn’t.

    • Charli Mills

      You did it, Paula and very well, I might add! I love the snappy ending.

  4. Pete

    There was a time when I knew the cashier. My groceries were bagged neatly, and for a buck they were loaded into my trunk. Today, I’m the cashier and the bagger. The machine beeps and barks at me while kids snicker and laugh. Without help, I give up and hobble out to my car.

    “Oh dear,” I moan, hiding my smile. I explain my confusion with the gas and the brake. My tires are still spinning as the car sits on the toppled self-checkout register, the warbled voice repeating its mantra underneath the wreckage.

    “An attendant has been notified.”

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, dear, indeed! That the first sentence is fully loaded, but the reader doesn’t realize how loaded until the end and the scene sinks in. Great writing, Pete!

    • Charli Mills

      Great contribution! Thanks!

    • Charli Mills

      Great play–leaving the worst of the hyperbolic moment to our imaginations!

  5. Norah

    Hi Charli,

    Here is my contribution to this week’s collection:

    • Charli Mills

      Terrific contribution! Thank you for helping to get the word out on Twitter, too!

      • Norah

        It’s fun! Thank you!


  1. Flash fiction: Hyperbole – Spider attack! | Norah Colvin - […] The third flash fiction challenge from Carrot Ranch Communications: […]
  2. Flash Fiction: Hyperbolizing Frustration « Carrot Ranch Communications - […] No Survivors by Charli Mills […]

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