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Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2

Little and Laugh

By Geoff Le Pard

My father was a man of many aphorisms, epithets, old saws and clichés. A know-all, really.

But one quote he shared with us that not only stuck but resonated was from an American poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh and the world laughs with you

Weep and you weep alone.

Laughter, in all its forms has taken centre stage in nearly every phase of my life, from irony to farce, pratfalls to priceless, life-enhancing fits of giggles. Whether it was as a defensive mechanism or merely because I enjoyed it, I don’t now remember but I’ve always wanted to make people laugh. Over the years I’ve tailored my delivery, become sensitive to my audience and played everything and anything for a laugh. I’m one of those people who you can always trust with a secret…unless it’s genuinely too funny not to be shared. In so doing I exaggerate, elaborate and elongate – no story can’t be improved with a new punchline, another character or an additional crazy side-tracking. Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good guffaw. I never have.

Writing for laughs, is, we are told, difficult. It requires precision, a well-oiled clockwork making the pieces slip together at just the right pace, in just the right places. That may be true of a novel (buy mine and find out!) but in a flash piece, in a limited word count, a simple phrase or a silly piece of alliteration can do what might take pages to set up in a book.

Don’t fight it; it is one of the most fundamental of human urges, this need to, and to make others, laugh.

Little and Laugh is your chance to raise a grin, trigger a giggle, release a chuckle, generate a guffaw, give life to a groan.  Tell us a story – it can be true, it might be a BOTS (based on a true story) or it might be complete fiction – and see if what makes you smile, what releases your funny does that for the judges. After all being funny is no laughing matter.

Submission information

You have 299 words, give or take 9 (ok, that means you’ll still be in the competition if you come in above 289 and below 309) to make us chortle. You need a title and, best of all, the title doesn’t count. Though a title that is similar to ‘This is a story of a Knight Errant and his lonely Pooch, Puddle who undertook a quest to better themselves when the world was young and Nutmeg still known as Crazy Megan…’ is not to be encouraged.

Using the form below, add your name or penname or a recognisable root vegetable and contact details to your story. (Note: These will be removed before judging so judging is blind and the root vegetable will be a small compensation for the blinding of the judges).

Copy and past your stories into the form.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 14.

Contest now closed.

Judging by Barb TaubLucy Brazier  and Geoff Le Pard.

Judges will rate the stories according to

  1. Story length (289-309 words)
  2. Does it make us laugh
  3. Um, well that’s about it.
  4. I suppose we should add that Spelling and Grammar and Punctuation and all that goodstuff will be taken into account but, really? Nah, don’t care. Just make us laugh.

I am very much looking forward to your stories. I do hope you join in. Surprise me. Tickle me. Turn me into a gibbering fatsoid of mirth.

Contest #2 Leader: Geoff Le Pard. For a full line-up of contests, see Events. Next up: Septolet in Motion by JulesPaige on Thursday, October 12.


CHALLENGE OPTION: If you don’t feel up to entering a contest, please feel free to respond to this in the comments as a prompt challenge. Weekly Flash Fiction Challenges resume November 2.


About Carrot Ranch 

Carrot Ranch is a literary community committed to providing all writers access to literary art regardless of backgrounds, genres, goals and locations. Common ground is found through the writing, reading and discussion of flash fiction. The weekly online flash fiction challenges promote community through process, craft and exploration, and regular participants form a literary group called The Congress of Rough Writers. Their first anthology, Vol. 1 publishes in 2017. Carrot Ranch offers an adult-learning program called Wrangling Words, available to all communities where Rough Writers reside.









  1. Charli Mills says:

    Let’s make Geoff Laugh!

  2. […] Source: Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 […]

  3. Charli Mills says:

    308 words

    The Sheriff’s New Truck by Charli Mills

    Dr. Danni Gordon and Officer Michael Robineaux of Homeland Security approached the north Idaho crime scene. Danni raised an eyebrow as they walked past the Sheriff’s sparkling new F-150. Michael shrugged.

    “Doc and her Indian are here.” Deputy Sanders managed to smirk and cast a flirty wink in one awkward facial tic.

    Sheriff Alfred Best tucked his thumbs beneath his suspenders and wobbled his great girth over to his Deputy. A smile pained his face as if he’d just let wind in church and blamed it on his elderly mother.

    “Howdy-do Dr. Gordon. Might have Mike’s next of kin buried in a sand bank.”

    “Michael. Or Officer Robineaux.”

    Danni peered across the yellow police tape to a small gathering of trout fisherman. “Don’t make the candy mistake, Sheriff Best. Michael is Ike’s best friend, but call them Mike & Ike, and you’ll get more of a Hot Tamale response.”

    The Sheriff’s smile deepened to a grimace Danni was certain babies made pooping their britches. “All-righty, then,” the Sheriff wheezed, “Michael, you might identify your kin. Been dead a while we believe.”

    “Sheriff, if indeed the spring floodwaters exposed an indigenous Kootenai grave, it’s unlikely an Ojibwa from Wisconsin would be related.”

    Sheriff Best tugged his suspenders forward, straining the elastic. “Don’t matter none. Protocol says I need to call an archeologist and a Native.”

    Deputy Sanders nodded vigorously. “Everyone knows we call in Dr. Gordon and her pet Indian comes along.”

    “Not worth it, Michael.” Danni stared hard at his profile. She knew he could easily snap the Deputy in two and topple the Sheriff.

    “Who found the body?” Michael asked.

    “Those fisherman. Found it on the backside of Pete’s goat farm along the creek.”

    Danni and Michael broke out laughing.

    “What so damned funny?”

    Michael said, “That explains why there’s a goat eating your steering wheel, Sheriff.”

  4. Lucy Brazier says:

    Looking forward to reading all the entries!

  5. […] Source: Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 […]

  6. Three days to get funny. …… Now how to infuse the form with laughing gas.

  7. Reblogged this on Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) and commented:
    Carrot Ranch Contest two is live. We have to get funny for this one.

  8. Norah says:

    Fabulous contest, Geoff. I’ll see how I go with humour. It’s not necessarily my forte, though I do like to see the (childish) humour in everything. Life’s meant to be fun. I’ll see what I can make of funny. I hope you receive many rib-tickling side-holding stories.

  9. Norah says:

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    My Contest #1 in the Carrot Ranch #FFRODEO is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. I’ll be able to start reading tomorrow. Yippee!
    Today the second of the contests kicks off. You are required to make the judges laugh in 300 words! And you have only until Friday (13th) to do it! I hope you enter. Get those laughing pens ready! Good luck!

  10. julespaige says:

    We have lots of humor in my family. Once I was telling one of my sons that when you laugh you live longer. So he told me a joke…and I laughed. Then he stuck out his hand and said OK pay me for extending your life. Young whipper snapper.

    Some of the best jokes are for children. Like this one: “Why was 6 afraid of 7?”

    Just pause a minute and think. This isn’t deep as a well and when an kid tells you, all you can do is groan.

    “6 was afraid of 7 because 7, 8, 9.” Read that out loud and slow.

    Cheers and best wishes to all who enter as contestants or as a challenge.

  11. […] Source: Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 […]

  12. julespaige says:

    Here’s my Challenge entry:

    Timing is Everything

    We’ve always had humor in my family. I grew up with a Dad
    who did the ‘Pull my finger” when he needed to pass gas bit.
    When I was a teenager he’d answer the phone with; “You
    stab ‘em, we slab ‘em.” He had a bunch of awkward sayings
    that would either get you laughing or get you down right scared,
    especially if you were a guy calling to date one of his daughters!

    There’s a bunch of different types of humor. Some more hush,
    hush and snicker, snicker bordering insulting and grotesque.
    And then there’s the kind that just makes you smile wide like
    Limericks and tongue twisters. Or children using words too
    big for their vocabulary. When a four year old comes up to you
    with disappointment for not getting what they want right now
    and saying with a straight face; “I am not amused with your
    behavior, Mother.” It’s hard to be a parent when that happens
    and not laugh.

    One of the big jokes in my house is that I’m always the last
    to know anything. I’ve got a big calendar on the on the door
    of my Frig to try and stay organized… Does anyone use It?
    Noooo! That would make it to easy for me to know what’s
    going on.

    Last week I’m at home and my front door starts to open
    at 3 pm. This is not usual. Hubby gets home after six. But
    that day he was playing in a golf tourney and I wasn’t even
    expecting him for dinner. Guess who it was… HIM! He forgot
    to tell me that the tournament was taking place in the morning
    after getting a text the day before from his golfing buddy.
    Shoulda made him do my laundry…I didn’t really Sh*t a brick.
    But it would have been nice to know.


    • Haha…out of the mouths of babes 🙂 I laughed just imagining your four year old saying that in all seriousness. Gives me some ideas, thanks! As for the big calendar…I’m reduced to a small diary now which I check umpteen times a day, quite lost without it. You would think I have better things to do living in a van with a field of geese for a view…there has to be a funny story somewhere there 😉 Enjoyed your story Jules!

    • julespaige says:

      OK I found two minor mistakes.
      “Or children using words too big for vocabulary.”
      Should read “Or Children using words to big for ‘their’ vocabulary.”
      & “…getting a text the day before from his golfing buggy.”
      Buggy should be buddy.
      So that brings the count to 309.

      Thanks for forgiving my phat-fingering.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Got it!

        Great challenge response! Oh, I recall some of those phone answering jokes. Such a pity we no longer have that with cell phones. I think we have a similar calendar issue — I bought one to keep track of the Hub’s VA appointments and I just found it underneath a stack of appointment letters. The calendar is empty, of course! We have to laugh at life’s silliness sometimes! Thanks for joining in the challenge!

      • TanGental says:

        House rule is if it isn’t in the family diary it’s not happening. I’m the worst culprit too which bugs me if I’ve booked tickets for a game, forget to write it down and end up at the MIL’s instead for nut roast and some really sparkling conversation about the neighbours.

      • julespaige says:

        Ooo…that’s nasty. Bet it doesn’t happen that often though! 🙂

    • TanGental says:

      Yep you are so right. Those small people are chock full of wonderful material.

  13. C. Jai Ferry says:

    I woke up in the middle of the night and read this challenge. I got all excited because I had a great idea…but then I fell asleep and totally forgot it. *sigh* More proof of what I have been saying all along: Sleep is dangerous!

    • TanGental says:

      just take a pencil to bed and see what’son the walls in the morning…

    • julespaige says:

      I was up around then… since Hubby was out of town I just sat down and wrote my piece. But then I would have done that if he was home too.
      And then I stayed up until four AM finishing a murder mystery.

      No sleep can be dangerous too! 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      I have scribbles all over the house because inspiration in a flighty duck! I like Geoff’s idea of using the pencil to sleep with. Is this the part where it wouldn’t be funny to admit I have about 30 sticky notes already next to my bed on the wall? Gives new meaning to “scrap-booking”! Hope your idea returns even funnier than the original!

    • Many times C Jai have i had to get up onnout of bed cuz i thought i had some brilliance that must be written down. Now, with my memo app on my phone i can type it up real quick and dont have to worry about getting a light on.. but it def bugs me in thr morning trying to recall the ones i just let loose in dreamland

  14. Darn it Geoff, that’s the very title I had in mind… Ha, seriously, we’ve shared a few good laughs haven’t we?I’ll do my best to turn you into a gibbering fatsoid of mirth, in the best possible way, naturally… 😉

    • Charli Mills says:

      That should be our collective goal! 😀

    • TanGental says:

      Dang soz Sherri. I’m sure you’ll th8nk of another

      • Okay Geoff…dang it all I missed your cut off…but then I’m better at posting as a challenge, can’t take the pressure! Sorry I’m so late though…as per 🙁 I’m blaming Charli for this story…ooops, I meant inspiration. Hope it gives you a giggle at least…

        Goose Flight (299 words not counting title)

        By Sherri Matthews

        All day long she heard them. Geese. A field full of geese, honking and calling and barely sitting still for a second, a sea of long white necks floating on a field of green.

        “Don’t they ever fly away?” she asked the farmer one morning.

        “I have this fear that I’ll wake up and find them swimming happily on the reservoir,” he teased.

        “Don’t you clip their wings?”

        He laughed. “No, no need. They’re domestic geese, too heavy to fly.”

        So she got to watch them every day through her camper van window while she performed her online tasks on her laptop, thanks to her ever-present dongle.

        How did she ever manage without her dongle, she marvelled? In fact, the more she used her dongle, the faster she got at everything, and not all online. Her dongle empowered her. And not just her, but the geese too. The quicker she typed, the louder those geese honked.

        “How was your day darling?” asked her husband when he returned from work.

        “Great! I’ve already finished my book and submitted it to a publisher.”

        The next day, when her husband asked the same thing, she gleefully boasted that not only had the publisher offered her a six figure sum, TV and film rights, but her book had already hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

        “Wow. That was fast.”

        “Yep,” she smiled as she glanced down lovingly at her dongle, which by then glowed with a thousand shards of light, like the sun itself.

        But when she sat on Oprah’s couch a few weeks later, she didn’t mention that her husband left her and the geese flew away. No more goose & plum sausages for her.

        But she didn’t care.

        She had her dongle that shimmered and zimmered and nothing else mattered.

      • TanGental says:

        Ah to dongle or not to dongle there’s the rub

      • TanGental says:

        Yes that raised a welcome smile

      • Charli Mills says:

        Now I have to have a dongle! 😀 Great story, Sherri!

  15. Reblogged this on A View From My Summerhouse and commented:
    Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2, Geoff Le Pard’s challenge Little and Laugh, is up and running live at Carrot Ranch! Geoff wants us to make him laugh. That’s it! Deadline Midnight EST October 13. Read on for full details and keep flashing!

  16. Woohoo! I’ve entered and only hope you find my entry to be funny. 😀

  17. Pete says:


    That’s My Girl

    We’re at the Woodchuck when the local news leads with the campus protest. A young reporter is on location, clutching a microphone and fighting back a stray curl in the wind.

    “Julia, can you turn this up?”

    …this on the eve of Senator McFadden’s visit to Woodberry College. As you can see, we have a group of protesters…”

    Kurt looks at me. “Is that Emma?”

    Julia turns it up, squints at the TV. “Which one?”

    Kurt points. “The cute one, with the gray stocking cap.”

    Julia squints. “I see like six of them wearing gray stocking caps.”

    They cut to a clip of Senator McFadden, lauding family values and vowing to fight the constant defacing of culture.

    Kurt’s snapping his fingers. “Wasn’t that the guy who got caught with the hooker?”

    I nod. “That was before he found God, Kurt. And no one paid attention because of OJ and his glove.”

    The McFadden scandal went mainly unnoticed, but I remember it well because McFadden’s call girl had nothing to lose, claiming that she could pick the senator’s genitals out of a lineup, if given microscope. Direct quote.

    Julia hustles off. On screen, the reporter turns to my daughter and asks if she has a problem with free speech. Kurt and I exchange glances. Emma lets it rip.

    “I don’t have a problem with free speech. THIS is free speech. We’re expressing our concerns with what’s happening in our country and in congress. We just want to have a conversation, voice our opinion, to ask publicly why micro-dick homophobes are preaching to us about the sanctity of marriage.”

    Kurt whoops. Julia returns, smiling. “Did she just say ‘micro-dick homophobes?’”

    The broadcasts cuts, leaving us with two wide-eyed anchors. Kurt is maroon with laughter. Julia gives us two beers on the house.

    “That’s your daughter?”

    “My one and only.”

    • julespaige says:

      Sometimes ya just gotta call a duck a duck….

      “The duck test is a humorous term for a form of abductive reasoning. This is its usual expression: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics.”


    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m whooping it up, Pete and I think I found a new favorite phrase! A nice piece of American humor, modernized.

    • TanGental says:

      Just love the line up line. Perfect!

    • Liz H says:

      As if ripped from the headlines themselves. Ah! Articulate, unabashed youth! <3

  18. Ritu says:

    That’s it… Entered!!!!! Hope it gets you giggling!

  19. Etol Bagam says:

    Just submitted. This one was the one I saw as the hardest, as I have a hard time being funny on purpose. Then yesterday, while writing for a daily prompt I realized it could fit this contest, and refrained myself from publishing so I could enter it here. Not sure if funny enough, but decided to give it a try. ;o)

    • Charli Mills says:

      Great strategy, Etol! It is tons of pressure to perform humor. I make my family laugh all the time and, at work I used humor to soften the tensions on a management team that didn’t always see eye to eye. But tell me to be funny — I go blank! So this is a great exercise for us all and like you, I think we just need to unwind and let lose from a prompt or funny story we recall or the last time we had the giggles. Thanks!

    • TanGental says:

      Looking forward to reading it Etol

  20. Initially i think “i am going to use ‘centre’ instead of ‘center’ from here on out.” Idk why but i think it has more of a fascination…. Then this post makes me smile quite a few times! ! Very enjoyable. Perfect idea Geoff!! Short turnover yee-owzers. But see if i can produce something in a …..flash!

  21. Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:
    The Rodeo rocks on. The second event challenge is to provide a little laugh. Read on and mosey on by the Ranch to enter this free writing contest. It should be good for a laugh.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks for spreading the funny stuff around!

    • TanGental says:

      Give it a go! You know you want to!!

      • 200 Shy

        “Hey, Pal, what’s funny?”
        “I ain’t laughin’, Kid.”
        “I know. But what’s funny?”
        “Yes, seriously, what’s funny? ‘Cause the more I think on it, nuthin’ seems funny. ”
        “Jest consider yer audience.”
        “That’s easy. They laugh at men dressed up as dowdy women.”
        “Really? Why?”
        “Kid, I don’t wanna know.”
        “What else?”
        “They’ll laugh at innuendo, if ya know what I mean.”
        “Uh, no, what do ya mean?”
        “You know, talk about, you know, but don’t actually say anything, you know?”
        “No, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Jeez, this humor challenge is no laughing matter. “

      • TanGental says:

        ‘They laugh at men dressed as dowdy women’ ha! That’s how we chose our governments. Excellent.

      • julespaige says:

        I’ve watched some of the ‘British’ comedy…Like ‘Are you being served?’ and ‘Faulty Towers’ …. I get tears in my eyes from laughing. 🙂

  22. dgkaye says:

    Oh this sounds like fun! I only just saw this and not sure if I can whip something up in the next 3 days, but if not, I sure look forward to the reads. 🙂

  23. […] the honour of being a judge in the humour section of the Flash Fiction Rodeo Competition over at Carrot Ranch Literary Community. There are cash prizes, apparently. Follow the link for the details, I have to admit to being a bit […]

    • julespaige says:

      There is something about ‘natural humor’ – like getting caught in the rain. It just happens. Especially if you are open to it.

      Nice post – thanks for being a judge. Hubby was a Ref for Little League one year – That’s a thankless job. Reminds me of “Do your job well and you will be rewarded… with more work” or “No good deed goes unpunished.” and “If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.” So let’s laugh long and loud!

  24. Juliet Nubel says:

    Hi Geoff and Charli,
    Mine’s in! Sarah Brentyn was right. Flash fiction is addictive. Hope you enjoy my offering. It’s so hard to know what might make others laugh. It was fun to write anyway. And as my old Granny used to say ” it’s the taking part that’s important…” But she was a good liar!
    Have a lovely day.

    • TanGental says:

      Thanks so much Juliet; I have it!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ha! I think I’d like your old Granny! Thanks for entering, Juliet. Yes, humor, for as much as we all like a good laugh, is not easy to write. Flash fiction is addictive and I can excitedly tell you why (I’m a flash fiction pusher). It’s the same as getting addicted to crossword puzzles or solitaire — our brain recognizes a game as a familiar and satisfying form of problem solving. Flash fiction is addictive because our writer’s brain recognizes that it solves the problems that block us from writing. Therefore it’s all good! Flash fiction is both a fun (and powerful) literary form as well as a tool. I hope you’ll join us for more contests this Rodeo and our weekly challenges that resume Nov. 2. You have a lovely day, too!

  25. Liz H says:

    Mine’s in as well…I realize that nobody finds my jokes as funny as I do, but I hope this one does crack a smile for a few of you-alls.

    Loving the new submittal form & process…so easy! Thanks!!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ha, ha! I think I would find your jokes funny, Liz, because I have a quirky sense of humor and find most everything funny in one way or the other.

      Thanks for the feedback on the form! We kicked around different ideas and were going to try different platforms, but files became problematic and forms the solution. Good to hear it was user-friendly! 🙂

  26. Reblogged this on judyedwinamartin and commented:
    I have entered, why not have a go too. 🙂

  27. Chris Mills says:

    Can we submit more than one entry? With the deadline extended, I can probably do better than my first go at this. Comedy writing is hard work, something I usually try to avoid. But for the Ranch and the Rodeo, I’ll sweat it out.

  28. cam8510 says:

    Well, number two is submitted and it’s actually got some humor in it. Charli, thanks for setting the standard high. Nicely done. I’m looking forward to reading as many of these stories as we can put up.

  29. julespaige says:

    Darn tootin’ comedy is hard. I’ve entered one in the contest and one as a challenge. I don’t think I can do a third!

    Keep ’em coming. We can all use a laugh. 🙂

  30. I’ve written the most peculiar story which will no doubt convince everyone who knows me that I am totally bonkers. Will submit it soon…

  31. Had pressed send!!

  32. I submitted then hit the red ‘go back’ I assume you got it? Eric

  33. […] Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Charli shared a “possibly spam” email received as an entry into the Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest #2: Little and Laugh. You can read the email in Charli’s post, which also includes the challenge to […]

  34. […] This post was written for the Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2. […]

  35. […] Carrot Ranch Rodeo#2(10/13/2017) Little and Laugh:  You have 299 words, give or take 9, to make us chortle. […]

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