Like Santa and the Grinch, some people just aren’t meant for each other. And that’s the idea behind linking up two words, ideas or people that don’t fit. What lacks harmony can often spark a unique story.
This week the writers picked their own two words to start their flash fiction. From helpful daughters to random objects about the house to observations on holiday to a random word selector online, writers were as creative in finding dissonant words as they were in writing their stories.
The following stories are based on the November 26, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using two objects, people or ideas that don’t go together.
Irish Baileys at Dawn by Vinesha Andrade
It was still dark outside as she pulled on her boots, climbed out the window and trudged up the hillside. Her coat was threadbare; despite the nip in the air she didn’t care. Nothing could compare to the chill in her heart. She had stared wistfully at the bottle of Irish whiskey for most part of the night: too scared to touch it- lest she….
The call had come: a bolt out of the blue. He had found another, her fiancé. Apparently irreplaceable. Which made her what exactly? No matter. She sat at the apex now, waiting to toast the dawn.
Questions and Cigarettes by Anne Goodwin
“Does your home have more rooms than people?”
Matty stared as if I were the crazy one.
I ticked the “no” box and moved on. “Can you make a meal any time you choose?”
Matty frowned. “May I see?”
I passed the questionnaire across. How to explain our duty, not only to ensure a better quality of life in the community, but to prove it?
Matty dragged on her cigarette. She raised a corner of the printed sheet to meet the glowing tip.
I would’ve scored that as another “no”, had she not reduced the questionnaire to black powder.
Perfect Happiness by Georgia Bell
She rubbed a thumb over her chapped knuckle, her manicured hands thawing from the cold. The woman who sat across the aisle from her smiled warmly and nodded, before returning to her crossword. Ellie stared at her, noting the wisps of hair straggling from her bun, the scuff marks on her boots, the frayed cotton bag tucked beside her full of knitting needles and yarn. Her stomach twisted with an envy she could barely contain. How could this disheveled woman be so content, so at peace, when Ellie had worked so hard to be perfect and was so miserable?
Gun and Bun by Irene Waters
Janelle felt the men watching. She affected them with her perfect body. And she was pretty if not beautiful, although she had to say it herself. Why didn’t they ask her out? She was a girly girl. Even her iphone was pink.
“A bun please.” Her soft, sensual voice floated to the watching men but their eyes had gravitated to her hip. The gun resting in the holster, as cold and hard as the buns she was buying were soft and doughy. She wept, realising the buns were more desired than she.
Children and Serial Killers by Ros Nazilli
Return to the place of your trauma they said.
Revisit and it will help you lay the ghosts and forget. Force it from your soul and free yourself.
What do they know? Do they think that standing in the desolate shell of a building remembering the atrocities will wipe the memories away?
Forty bodies they recovered from that hell hole. Each a child under ten. Those who didn’t die, have lived with the nightmare forever.
It is time for retribution. I am not an innocent child now. I am a serial killer. And they will pay. All of them.
Halloween by Pete
Dustin’s phone buzzed just as he snuck underneath the yellow light.
“Will you pick up some apples?”
“Yeah, the kids want apples.”
“Okay, got it.”
Inside, Dustin remembered that he wanted to repaint the window sills. After a quick detour he found an open register.
“You’re like, serious?” the young cashier said. The sun angled into the store.
“I’m like, what?” Dustin asked. The woman behind him snickered.
“You should call the cops.”
Dustin turned to face the woman just as the girl held up his purchase like evidence. “Razor blades and apples, on Halloween?”
Sweet and Sour Smoke by Geoff Le Pard
‘Mum, are you smoking?’
Mary dropped the cigarette, grinding it out. ‘Sorry, love.’
‘I thought you’d given up?’
‘I had. I…’
Mary marvelled at how like Mary’s mother Penny sounded. She had had a way of tightening her mouth emphasising each syllable; Penny was the same. Mary smiled. It was oddly comforting, having someone else take charge.
Penny held a little bottle. ‘I’m putting this on the cigarettes. Like you did to stop me chewing my nails.’
Later when Mary lit up, she felt real joy; such a sour taste had never tasted so sweet.
Water and Electricity by Sherri Matthews
Mavis’s eyes flew open as the front door slammed.
“Goddamit Frank, what the hell time do you call this? You were supposed to be home two hours ago.”
Frank stumbled into the bathroom, grinning drunkenly from ear to ear.
“Yeah right. Hand me that towel you useless drunk,” Mavis glowered as she attempted to pull herself up to standing.
Frank swivelled to reach for the towel and lost his balance, accidentally swiping the hair dryer off its shelf.
The last thing Mavis heard was the click of the on-switch as the hair dryer flew into the bath.
Guns and Apples by Charli Mills
The sweet smell of rotting apples wafted across the meadow on west slanting rays of sunshine. It was late afternoon and time to start dinner. Ramona shifted her prone position in tall grass to ease the pain of old arthritic knees. The VA had more paperwork for her to file before they’d pay out widow’s benefits. The last can of pinto beans was simmering on the stove back at the house. Something had to give, and soon.
A breaking twig snapped. Dry leaves crumpled. The buck had come to eat apples. She steadied her dead husband’s rifle for provision.
The Prophecy & the Pig by Tally Pendragon
“Goodness me,” Francesco says, once the Prophecy has broken free. “I’m ravenous. Would you care to break bread with me, young Merlin?”
“Only if you’ll share some of this glorious ham I have here.”
“I’d be delighted, young sir,” he replies, tearing his small round loaf in half. “I find a nice piece of smoked Pig always grounds one to perfection after a dose of Prophetic wisdom.” He looks wistfully into the middle distance, then continues. “Would that we had some wine to wash it down with.”
“I have a small flask of mead,” I say. “Will that do?”
A Fruit in Sheep’s Clothing by Geoff Le Pard
Mrs Kiwi stared at her husband. A supper for the French ambassador and his wife. They were the epitome of culture and sophistication; she was to entertain them to dinner.
‘We need to show them we’re not some hick nation, Doreen. You need to show them the best of New Zealand cuisine. Something unique.’
That’s what stuck as she poured over recipes. Something unique, she thought.
The ambassador was lost for words; his wife made a gurgling sound. The sheep’s head with gum for eyes and an enlarged peeled kiwi in the mouth had certainly ticked the unique box.
Peaches and Rock by Pat Cummings
The line of hip and thigh shifted under silk, stirring the covers. “Time to get up,” came the murmur, “You’ll be late for work,” then, slightly louder, “Damn! I left my lipstick on last night.” Sliding from the bed, Peaches peeled nightie straps down, silk pooling around toes.
It was harder for Rock to get ready for work in the morning when he had lain with her warmth all night. At last, roused by the shower, Rock caressed the nightie and laid it on the bed. Checking in the mirror for lingering lipstick, he zipped his jeans, and left.
Lipstick & Radar by Sarah Brentyn
An hour ago, her biggest decision had been which lipstick to wear—the red or the copper. Which would look best on camera with her navy pinstriped pantsuit?
She set her face in a sympathetic yet confident mask for the broadcast. The radar showed a Category 3 hurricane headed for Florida. Her copper-colored lips issued warnings, preparations, evacuations.
Wind intensified and changed direction, heading northwest toward Louisiana. The storm surge would kill hundreds and there was no time to evacuate.
Now her decision was who to text first. She might have time to send two if she was lucky.
Confidence and Fear by Larry LaForge
He was the envy of friends and foes alike. Wagner seemed in absolute control at all times—comfortable in his own skin, as they say.
The crowd waited in the Grand Ballroom with great anticipation. His name would be called shortly, and Wagner would accept the nomination.
In a remote bathroom in the hotel’s back corridor, Wagner hunched over the toilet. Sweat pouring from his forehead, he heaved almost uncontrollably, making sure his expensive suit was out of harms way. He had perfected the technique.
Less than thirty minutes later, Wagner wowed the audience with his brilliant acceptance speech.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
This Christmas? by Ruchira Khanna
I was taking a walk around my neighborhood when suddenly there was a loud thunder followed by torrential downpour. That made me duck under the roof of a home. I started hearing some familiar, but loud voices coming from the four walls.
Could not resist, I walked around the home, to be able to recognize those sounds that seemed to have quite a conversation. As I glanced through the window; I jumped in horror.
Took physically broad steps towards my home; sure that a catastrophe is about to strike since Santa and the Grinch are under the same roof.
The Beetle and Computer by Sarah Unsicker
The creature flies around the room, silent, stealthy. She watches its tiny black wings out of the corner of her eye, before it disappears and she turns back to her monitor. Still, she can feel it behind her, watching her, judging.
“You’ll never be good enough,” she hears it whisper.
It flits into view again. She closes her eyes, and the beetle disappears, along with her manuscript. All that is left is the critical voice of the beetle.
She opens her eyes to see the beetle sitting on her computer. Quickly, she picks up a shoe and smashes it.
Unicorn and Coffee by Norah Colvin
People crammed in, around and in front of the small sidewalk cafe, reminding her of the fairy-tale pageant that had bypassed her radar. She couldn’t move now. Her coffee fix, too hot to sip, had just been served. So, as always, she retreated within.
Cocooned in thoughts flittering across years and experiences, she barely noticed the cacophony of the crowd or passing parade.
The sudden shout of “Unicorn!” penetrated, startling her.
She was six again, cowering with her unicorn, avoiding mocking stares.
But this time pitying and unbelieving stares watched the spreading stain of scalding coffee.