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Winner of Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2

Little & Laugh

By Geoff Le Pard

The time has come to talk of many things. Well, only one really. Who won the second of the fantabulous Flash Fiction Rodeo contests hosted by the dynamic, the charismatic, the organic, the titanic Charli Mills.

I had the privilege of setting the contest criteria and, following a theme that echoes down the years from my childhood, I wanted to find the funny in you all. Someone once said, ‘Life is Poor, Solitary, Nasty, Brutish and Short’. Clearly that person needed to have a go at flash fiction; they needed to join the dance at Charli’s Rodeo; they needed to stop looking at their shoes. I mean, feet are funny but shoes? Serious stuff, people.

I’m not a criteria kind of guy. Some of my fellow competition setters had all sorts of rules and stuff. Me? MAKES US LAUGH in between 289 and 308 words. Not hard, huh?

Well, you pretty much all said it was hard. And yep. You’re right it can be. But you tried. 28 of you gave it a shot. A couple of you can’t count but hey, maybe that was the joke. One dudeish kind of guy had a go, flopped the word count spectacularly with a piece of hilarious spam and left us wondering if he (or she, or maybe I shouldn’t be speciesist and genderist and stick with they or it) should at least get an honourable mention.

But this is a serious competition. I mean Charli collects rocks; she might start throwing them if I don’t behave.

So, I fed my fellow judges lime jelly-babies and peanut butter oysters and we set too. Those delightful judges – Barb Taub and Lucy Brazier – had their own unique take on the entries. We battled, and we bartered – I’d allow number 19 if they stopped bighting the heads off first. Eventually we shortlisted three. And then we got really mucky. We dived for more oysters and eventually an arm appeared above the broiling ocean holding a winner…


The Bus Stop

By Colleen Chesebro

In 1971, I was a sergeant in the U. S. Air Force, stationed at Korat Air Force Base, Thailand. The Vietnam War raged around me.

Each morning I took the bus to the base. The voices of my military superiors echoed, reminding me to be careful. Saboteurs were everywhere. The Viet Cong traveled freely between the borders. Last week a sergeant had been stabbed on his way home. I trusted no one.

I strolled into the bus stop like I owned it. Crouched in the shadows, was an old man. He stared at me and our eyes locked. He spoke in Thai, “Sawadi ton chaw.”

My fear erupted. I said defiantly in English, “Fuck you, old man!” I gave him “the finger,” my feeble American attempt to intimidate him. The old man stared at me with razor-sharp eyes.

I worked with Thai civilians and knew they would help me. I explained the incident to a group of my friends. The workers exchanged glances as their eyes creased in laughter, saying, “The old man said good morning to you.”

Now, I understood. I knew if I was to survive I had to learn the language and the customs of the people.
“It is Thai custom to show proper respect for our elders,” they chorused. “When you see the old man again, bow and say the same thing to him that he said to you.”

The next morning at 0500 hours, I set out. I was guarded but kept my wits about me. There in the shadowy recesses of the bus stop, crouched the old man.

I approached him with a smile and bowed, saying, “Sawadi ton chaw.”

The old man regarded me with those sharp eyes I had noticed the day before. In the clearest English I had ever heard, he said, “FUCK YOU,” and gave me the finger!


Charli asked us to say why we chose this entry; we judges talked about that. Actually, we barely said anything. We were stumped as to what to say. See, that’s the thing with humour. If it works, it works. There isn’t really a mechanic. In so far as we articulated (ha! Have you met my judges? Articulated, indeed! Hector; browbeat maybe but something as civilised as articulated?) why it was funny it was because we knew something was coming, the set up was delicious and when it did appear we all barked out a laugh. It worked. Sorry if we can’t say more, but we can’t.

Charli then gave us the option of promoting, as highly commended, our own favs. We had whittled our list down to three, and we loved the above, so we were loath to go outside of those three. So here are the other two finalists. Well done; spankingly good pieces, both. Why did we laugh? We did. End of. Keep it up.


The day my phone turned into a needy surrealist and developed an obsession with otters!

By Sam Catchpole

When I set my phone the task of writing poetry, I never expected it to reveal a secret life full of angst, rich plotlines and otters…
“I hate it when people think they know me
I have been thrown away
It does not matter
I hate it when you don’t think of me
I have just noticed the otter
It seems that there is no such thing as Tuesday”
That could have been extremely depressing if it hadn’t turned suddenly, into a surrealist, near future expose on a world with otters peering at you from behind the impending destruction of Tuesday.
“During that moment you can tell me how you feel
Yes it was meant for you but I am not
Soon I will be honest with the otter”
It would seem that I have been lying to the otter. But what about and why? Was it about the destruction of Tuesday, which really can only be a good thing. Why would anyone lie about that? Maybe it was something else, something I was not sure that the otter could handle. Maybe I was concerned that the otter would indeed tell me how he felt…
I had to find out why I lied to the otter!
“I don’t know what you are
Otters and I have gin and tonic
I am just so ready for a new wildcat”
That explains it, the otter didn’t know about the new wildcat. Everyone seems to have gin and tonic though so I think the honesty went well. I am not so sure about the wildcat however…
“The otter is definitely the best sort of dragon
We need a better wildcat
Don’t forget to check out the other angry bears”
I think the otter should possibly lay off the gin…


Flash Suit

By Dermott Hayes

Bullying, Salvatore resolved, can never defeat me but resolve can be a tough and exacting master.
The politics of envy makes people mean and desirous of everything they don’t have and want, particularly when someone has it who they believe don’t deserve it as much as them.

Just don’t ask them to tell you why they deserve it because they become all bitter at attempts to deny them something they now claim as a natural right.

That’s why irony seemed an unlikely saviour but Salvatore was determined to recruit Irony Man to help his cause in his struggle against the bullies.

Irony Man is a modest superhero who dresses like a dandy with the whimsical character of a Limerick poet. His laconic demeanour, fancy clothes and manicures would set him aside.

“So you want me to make myself the object of their destructive derision?” Irony Man, clad in an emerald tweed tailored suit, asks Salvatore.

“Well, yes, or at least make them appreciate the inherent contradictions in their own position,” Salvatore suggests, “so they recognise its true intention and their own negative delusion.”

“I see,” says Irony Man.

Three weeks later, Salvatore’s on the receiving end of yet another lesson in, apparent communal intimidation, according to the report, when his shoes are stolen.

On the night of the High School Prom, Salvatore arrives, bouquet in hand, for his Prom date.

She arrives, in a Cadillac, with her father.

The bullies turn up and glower.

Only until the latest glare of a new arrival makes them squirm.

Irony Man is in a brilliant shining suit.

‘What the fuck?” asks Salvatore.

“I did what you asked,” Irony Man offers.

“How, for fuck’s sake?” asks, Salvatore.

“It’s a mirror suit,” says Irony Man, ‘anyway, I buy all my suits from Goodwill.”



Congratulations to all the writers who entered! You dared to stretch your writing and braved the first Rodeo at Carrot Ranch. Each participant has earned the following badge, which you may copy and post on you blog, social media or print out and frame. It’s a badge of honor. And now you can say, you have had your first rodeo! You wrote well.

We want to share all the contest entries in a collection. We’ll be contacting each of our contestants and challengers to seek interest and permission to publish a digital collection in January. Writers retain all copyrights to their work.

We’d appreciate your feedback! We want to make this an annual event that is fun, engaging and supportive of literary art. Please take a a few minutes for a brief 5 question survey. Thank you!


  1. Charli Mills says:

    Geoff, Barb and Lucy — you did not give us an easy ride, picking humor! But in return, you had the difficulty of picking. You did well and I hope Colleen is having the biggest laugh! Congratulation Colleen, and to Sam and Dermott for gifting our judges and readers guffaws!

  2. […] sure to check the results of Contest #2 at the Carrot Ranch. I’m not the winner. Nor is it Nanjo. Could it be […]

  3. Brilliant stories. Well done guys!

  4. Ritu says:

    Wonderful well deserving winners!

  5. […] via Winner of Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 […]

  6. Congratulations … to all who entered and those who made the judges laugh most … looking forward to reading all.

  7. Norah says:

    Congratulations, Colleen, Same and Dermott. You showed us how humour is done! I’m also looking forward to reading all the entries. Laughter is the best medicine.

  8. Congratulations Colleen, a very well-deserved win. Sam and Dermott did a fabulous job too! 🙂

  9. […] via Winner of Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 […]

  10. […] Source: Winner of Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 « Carrot Ranch Literary Community […]

  11. Mary Smith says:

    Wonderful story from Colleen – really made me laugh.

  12. Great stories. Congratulations Colleen, and also Sam and Dermott. And congratulations to the judges – a hard job well done.

  13. Reblogged this on Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) and commented:
    The humorous competition results. Congratulations to Colleen – I love to have a laugh.

  14. […] Winner of Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 […]

  15. […] were allowing me to be the third judge for Charli Mills’ flash humor contest at the famous Carrot Ranch. So I knew right out the gate that no matter what the entries looked like, the judges’ […]

  16. julespaige says:

    Good job everyone Contestants, Challengers and Judges!

  17. Congratulations, Colleen, worthy winner and hilarious story. This was fun.

  18. Awesome! Congrats to winners ALL! More fun than humans should be allowed to have for free. 🙂

  19. Reblogged this on Colleen Chesebro✨The Faery Whisperer✨ and commented:
    I’m proud to share a story that tickled the fancy of a few judges. Enjoy! ❤️

  20. olganm says:

    Excellent work Colleen, and Sam and Dermott. And well done to the judges. Very difficult task indeed!

  21. Allie P. says:

    Congratulations Colleen!

  22. Liz H says:

    Congratulations to Colleen, Sam, and Dermott. You all started my day off with a much-appreciated chuckle!

  23. Brilliant! Woo hoo everyone!

  24. Congratulations Colleen! And to Sam and Dermott for the highly commended. Great flashes all, just what we need, thanks again Geoff 🙂

  25. Wonderful! Congrats to Colleen for the hilarious story and to runners-up Sam and Dermott. I love the humor and the laughs. I think this was the hardest of all the challenges, so well done!

  26. Congratulations, Colleen! 🙂 Great job judges and runners-up. Looks like a difficult job judging these.

  27. Congratulations Colleen, on a most amusing entry. Well done to the runner-ups too.

  28. […] had a blast at the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo, and great guffaws from Little and Laugh thanks to the Real Geoff Le Pard and all who entered his contest. And we’ve had fun with […]

  29. dgkaye says:

    Yay, so happy for my dear friend Colleen. Loved the story too! LOL <3

  30. […] winner was announced yesterday on Carrot Ranch Blog and this week’s great prize went to Colleen Chesbro with “The Bus […]

  31. Many congratulations Colleen, and also to Dermott and Sam. A tough challenge indeed. I find writing humour not easy to do, but you all brought a smile to my face. Great work from all the judges as well.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Humor is tough — timing, execution, knowing what others will find amusing (or not). All the entries brought smiles and laughs. Thanks for stopping by, Hugh!

  32. Thank you, everyone, for your kind sentiments. Colleen’s story was brilliant, hilarious in itself but also an allegorical tale about humour and communication. Undaunted, Irony Man will rise again so look out for his occasional intrusions. Onward, eventually, he says.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Good assessment of Collen’s story, Dermott. Miscommunication can often lead to humorous stories. Irony Man is a brilliant reflection and I suspect his work id far from over. Funny, yet serious business. Congratulations on tickling the judges and the Ranch with thought-provoking humor!

  33. HOW did I miss this announcement??? Terrific way to end the day. Congratulations to Colleen! And to Sam and Dermott, as well!

  34. […] Winner of Flash Fiction Rodeo Contest #2 […]

  35. […] Rodeo #2: Little & Laugh (“The Bus Stop” by Colleen Chesebro) […]

  36. […] Rodeo #2: Little & Laugh (“The Bus Stop” by Colleen Chesebro) […]

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