Flash Photo Bombs

Written by Charli Mills

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

November 19, 2014

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionWhat works visually isn’t easy to capture in words. Yet, that is what writers do. We tell stories that create mental pictures.

Photo bombs are funny and have been with us probably since the first caveman painted his children on a wall with one giving another the classic rabbit ears. The more serious the photo, the funnier the interruption.

Although the moment interrupted can take on other emotions, too.

We learned that we can photo bomb our own writing; that bombs can be a twist; and that the word has several meanings. The following stories are based on the November 12, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a photo bomb (serious scene interrupted by something absurd or unexpected).

Busted by Larry LaForge

A local news photographer positioned himself to get a great shot. The legendary groundhog would emerge any second.

Would actions of the simple groundhog signal more winter weather or the advent of spring?

The photographer took a picture just as the cage opened and the famous marmot appeared.

As the crowd cheered, the photographer checked the pic on his camera’s screen. He noticed something strange in the bottom right corner. He zoomed in, squinting his eyes.


He zoomed in further and was shocked at what he saw hidden in groundhog’s cage:

Mini weather satellite and meteorological communications receiver.

The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.


Vanda Meets Marius by Tally Pendragon

Vanda felt herded, all the way from Marius Scarlette’s once bright and airy study, into the lift, out again on the ground floor, and into the entrance lobby of UC,W’s History and Archaeology department.

“Oh, dolt is me! What dolt am I?” Scarlette intoned, theatrically.

“Forgotten the wherewithal! Stay there! Back in a mo!”

“Wha–” Vanda began, but the breath was knocked out of her with a whoosh as she landed on the leather sofa with a very unladylike plonk and a noise that sounded like a huge fart. The receptionist giggled, Vanda did too. “That bloody sofa!”


An Order of Valor to Go…by Pete

We’d just come out of the bathroom, ready to hit the road. I had my phone recording because Chris had never been in Virginia when the two girls in pajamas entered. There was some arguing, something about breakfast hours having passed. Then the heavier one tossed the chair and it clanged against the window.

Grandma didn’t even flinch. She looked the girls over calmly and said, “Someone loves you.” The heavyset one froze mid-heave. Glaring, tears bloomed from her worried eyes. Then she slammed the chair down and ran right out of the store.

I hoped Grandma was right.


Photo Bombs by Irene Waters

Pancreatitis. A potentially fatal, painful disease but I couldn’t hide my joy that Jonathon had been stricken. It’d given me this break. The G20 had presented so many opportunities, only not to me. Until now. One of two cameraman onboard for the photo of the year; the shirtfronting of Shootin’ Putin by Mad monk Abbott taking place on a joint parasail. When the world saw my photo I would be famous.

The boat in sight I took aim. The shirt lifted. As I took the perfect shot a hat filled the frame. My opposition smiled.


My Boyfriend by Georgia Bell

He hunched over on the cold bench, head sagging and elbows heavy on his thighs. “I love you, I do. I just feel like we’re so disconnected.”

Wrapping her arms around her waist, she shivered, feeling the wind bite at the skin of her cheeks, raw with tears.

A shadow fell over them, blocking the sun, and she looked up to see a man dressed in tight black clothes, his face white, beret askew. Eyes wide, the man pantomimed climbing a ladder and being trapped in a prison.

“Fuck off, mime,” they said in unison and smiled, hands reaching.


Rabbit Ears by Sherri Matthews

Carrie was losing patience as fast as her head pounded. Grabbing Mikey’s hand while simultaneously jostling his baby sister out of her stroller, she warned him to stay by her side.

“I’m bored…!” Mikey protested.

“Stay here!” hissed Carrie, “Look, we’re up next…!”

“Well, hi there kids! All ready for your photo?” beamed the cameraman.

An hour later, Carrie sighed as she selected the best of the shoot: the baby smiled as red, sticky juice dribbled off her chin and Mikey grimaced while making rabbit ears behind his sister’s head.

It would have to do – the perfect Christmas photo.


The New Cameraman by Charli Mills

“Is my collar straight, Bob?” Cynthia of the Morning Show stared coolly at the set manager. Bob grimaced and gave her a thumb’s up.

“Bob, is that light skewed?” Bob climbed the catwalk and gave Cynthia thumbs up.

“Good morning, Cynthia! I love your show. I’m…”

Cynthia cut off gushing with a guillotine stare. Bob looked at the new cameraman and shook his head, no. Cynthia smiled like a coyote with a dead rabbit. “No talking to me on set.”

Cameras rolled and the new man grinned. He could see the spinach in her perfect teeth. But no talking.


Taking the Piss by Geoff Le Pard

‘Closer Uncle Rupert! You too Mum.’ Penny waved for Mary to move nearer.

Reluctantly Mary and her half-brother stood side by side.

While Penny adjusted her camera, he whispered, ‘How’s the mother hunt going?’

Mary detected a smirk in his voice.

‘You worked out father’s secret yet?’

Mary began to speak when she noticed some spilled tea had left an embarrassing stain by his fly.

She surprised him by taking his arm. ‘Try now, Penny.’

She hoped the angle worked. In any case, she intended to ensure he pissed himself for real by the time she finished her research.


True Love by Love Happy Notes

You feel the warmth from the first touch of hands, but when the sky shows you this, you know: True love has begun…

Wanting more than whispers of affection,
years plodding alone, needs veiled.
Below the shroud, two hopeful hearts wait.

By chance they meet.
Beneath the words, True Love speaks:
integrity, devotion, joy, innocence, acceptance.
Without warning, the dream is real.
Hearts full, they can breath.

‘We will stand together whatever we weather,
joined but not tethered.
Care of each other, preceding all else.
Regardless of circumstance, near or apart
we choose to be joined at the heart.’


Cheating Husband by Anne Goodwin

When I found the texts on Brian’s phone I assumed our marriage over. Yet, following the tears, slings and arrows, we booked the second honeymoon we couldn’t afford first time. Confirming our vows in a hot-air balloon above the rift valley, a champagne breakfast laid out for us below. Our Massai guide was somewhat clumsy with the camera, but we raised our glasses and beamed.

Brian had been dead a year before I could face the photos. Our joyful innocence made me weep. Distant, but crystal clear, our marriage end was looming: it was breakfast time for lions too.


Be Nice to Mother Nature by Charli Mills

Mother Nature peeked in on Glacier National Park.

“The park’s biggest glacier is retreating,” said a Park Ranger.

Tourists huddled to look. Bessie crunched on Skittles and mouthed, “Boring.”

“One day, Glacier Park will have no more glaciers at all.”

“Big deal,” said Bessie, shrugging. A Park Ranger cleared his throat and asked the tourists to line up for a photograph in front of the melting ice. Bessie rolled her eyes and squeezed in.

No one saw the fingers of Mother Nature flick Bessie into the glacial lake, but everyone laughed at the photograph that caught Bessie’s surprised face.


Assassin by Sarah Brentyn

He couldn’t do it.

For some reason, he couldn’t kill this one. He leaned in and stared at the eyes. He had never spent any time actually looking before. Sitting back on his heels, he felt the weight of the weapon in his hand.

He thought about the term “taking a life”. What was he taking? Ending a life. That’s what he was doing – what he had done countless times before. He would stop a heart. He would prevent any more air entering lungs. He would crush a body.

“Bloody hell, Carl! Haven’t you killed that damn spider yet?”


Offertory Giggle-Bomb by Paula Moyer

That Sunday morning, Jean was thrilled to meet Sally. Her boyfriend Teddy was excited. His older sister was home for the summer.

Jean was nervous. She and Teddy sat behind Sally and her friends. Sally was gorgeous, with black, curly hair and doll-like features. And she was a college girl. Jean was barely fourteen.

Then came the offertory. When the maple offering basket came down their aisle, it was full of the usual coins, bills, and offering envelopes. On top, inexplicably, lay a tortoise-shell barrette.

Jean saw the barrette and giggled. Thought about it and giggled. She couldn’t stop.


A Hike to Remember by Ruchira Khanna

Laura and her family went on a hike in the woods. The surroundings were serene except for a bunch of squirrels who would go hither and thither. That would make them pause in their steps by giving these little creatures the way.

Seeing them nibble cutely on their food, she showed interest in being clicked with one of them.

Her son brought her and the little creature into one frame, and was about to click, when his eyes widened, and he screamed in horror.

Curious Laura turned around and to her dismay; she saw a bear in the background.


Video Bombing by Norah Colvin

Are you a video bomber?

Ever tried making a video but

the subject won’t cooperate,

or turns its back to you,

or perhaps it even disappears Poof! It’s out of view.

You shoot upside down or to the side,

the focus you can’t get right.

You shoot with the camera supposedly off,

then close-up your fingers when on.

You record to capture a photo,

or snap when it’s action you want.

If your answer is ‘Yes” to just one of these

come join the vid-bombers club.

We’ll commiserate

And then celebrate

When your video capture’s “the bomb”!


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  1. Sarah Brentyn

    This is the bomb. (Oh, stop. Someone had to say it.) 😀

    • Charli Mills


  2. Norah

    No bombs in these photo bombs. Great compilation Charli. Thanks for including mine! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      None bombed! Thanks for the terrific video to wrap it up with!

  3. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Another great compilation. Norah’s video I totally relate to. I don’t do too many duff photos but videos particularly filming the ground, I know all about.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes! We have a great sequence from our wedding video back when video cameras were large and required a shoulder strap. Well, he hung the camera on his shoulder and forgot to turn it off so we have all these crotch shots of guests!


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