Winner of Flash Fiction Contest #5

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.

December 5, 2017

9×11 Twitterflash

By C. Jai. Ferry

In Challenge 5 of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo, writers were tasked with writing a complete 99-word story using Twitter. Of course, we couldn’t make it that simple. Every #Twitterflash story also had to be 11 sentences with exactly 9 words each. We included a ridiculously long set of rules, but everyone #rosetothechallenge and the results were amazing. In fact, the judges’ scoring sheets all had multiple sets of high-scoring ties. So without further ado…

Winner: D. Avery @daveryshiftn

On his fourth birthday his dad went to prison.

Shortly before his eighth birthday his dad was paroled.

His mom and dad partied together until she od’d.

The man called dad left her, left him, again.

He searched the house in vain for hidden presents.

He found needles, empty bottles and some uneaten oreos.

He ate in silence, imagining that she only slept.

Twisting each oreo apart, licking the filling, he knew.

This wasn’t birthday cake and his mom wasn’t asleep.

On TV, 911 calls bring action, help, and noise.

He would call but after the oreos were gone.

Our #Twitterguru judge Mardra Sikora (@MardraSikora) summed up this Twitterflash quite succinctly:

“This story rang innocent, true, and cynical all at once. Like many good flash stories, the emotions twisted and revealed in a quick, short space.”

Judges’ Picks

Wallace Peach @Dwallacepeach

A mermaid’s sequined tail lures me to the sea

Gulls shrill a warning, I’m headed to a drowning

Lulled by a sirens song, footprints forsake the sand

Wash away my castles when love sings me home

She is my nixie, nymph of an airless death

Bare toes sink, swallowed by the sea’s lapping tongue

Fingers caress my ankles, beckoning me farther from shore

Entangled am I in floating whorls of unbound hair

Her silver arms are the surge embracing my surrender

A life forlorn abandoned for her wild blue beauty

Yielding to the tides, breathless in my seamaid’s kiss

Judge Lisa Kovanda (@lisa_kovanda) explained:

“This story made use of lyrical sentences and commas to create poetic lines that have rhythm. This use of poetic pacing made each line tweetworthy. If I read one tweet out of the middle, I would be intrigued to read more. Overall, it has a wild beauty, even though the overall tone is dark, which made for a nice juxtaposition.”

Murder, My Tweet by Bill Engleson @billmelaterplea

As the night choked me, my bowels cut loose.

Taking the case, trusting the blonde, was a mistake.

I made a baker’s dozen of mistakes back then.

My cheating husband owns Dolly’s Delicious Do-Nuts, she said.

Every little hole-in-the-wall tramp has been licking his icing.

So, I said, you want a photograph incriminating him?

She says, screw incriminating, I want to incinerate him.

I followed him 24/7 though a thousand do-nut joints.

Every franchise told a story of cholesterol and infidelity.

My pathetic yearning for sweet, greasy fat overwhelmed me.

I lost my soul going down the donut hole.

According to Mardra Sikora (@MardraSikora):

“I loved the title and it captured a balance of twisted humor, which is particularly difficult in flash. As tweetable lines go, this one particularly amused me: ‘Every little hole-in-the-wall tramp has been licking his icing.’ #Clever”

Michael @AfterwardsBlog

Is anyone else seeing what I’m seeing out there?

If this is how things end I’m getting drunk!

Apparently they come in peace, but my mate Jed’s disappeared!

How drunk am I because I think Im #insideaspaceship

I’ve managed to evade them, is anyone reading this?

Ive found Jed, watching him from an air vent.

Sweet Jesus, they seem to be probing him now!

How the dickens did they fit that in there!?!?.

I think the bloody things are laughing you know.

Oh bloody hell they’ve spotted me, PLEASE SEND HELP!

The visitors are our friends and come in peace.

C. Jai Ferry (@CJaiFerry) commented:

“#PickALineAnyLine! If I had seen any of these lines on Twitter, I would have immediately clicked to read more. Each line is a story in itself, and I had to read faster and faster to see how it all worked out.”

Thanks for coming out to play with us and congratulations to everyone for embracing the challenge and writing superb #Twitterflash stories (seriously, the scores were #superclose).


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 your 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. And you braved twitter!

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 few minutes for a brief 5 question survey. Thank you!

My First Flash Fiction Rodeo Carrot Ranch @Charli_Mills

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  1. Charli Mills

    A huge round of applause for everyone involved on this one! It was no easy feat to take to the platform of Twitter to host or enter a literary contest. Many of you weren’t even on Twitter prior to this Rodeo. I know it stretched me in many ways, and that’s always good for growth. Congratulations to all who caught the judges attention. They said it was a close contest with high scores.

  2. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Congratulations D.Avery – Wow. In fact I am in awe of all those featured here. They are all great examples of what elements a twitterflash should have. Thank you to the leader and judges for the hard task of judging and also for taking me, at least, outside my comfort zone.

    • Charli Mills

      I’m more interested in Twitterary now after seeing what can be done and having gone outside my comfort zone, too, Irene.

  3. Reena Saxena

    Congratulations to all winners!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Reena!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I’m among awesome company. Thanks Reena.

      • Reena Saxena

        All the best!

  4. Annecdotist

    What a fabulous collection, but the winner took my breath away. Congratulations all.

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a high compliment coming from someone well-versed in the literary art of short stories. Thank you, Anne.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Now I’m having trouble breathing. Gosh Anne. Thanks.

  5. Juliet Nubel

    Well done all! Fabulous winning story. Great runners up. Bravo ????

  6. D. Wallace Peach

    Congrats to Dave and the judge’s favorites. Great stories. This was a unique and delightful challenge. <3

    • Charli Mills

      It was a good challenge to learn more about literary forms on Twitter. And congratulations on your honorable mention, Diana!

      • D. Wallace Peach

        It was a word puzzle, Charli. A challenge, but great fun. 🙂

  7. Liz H

    Congratulations to D. Avery and runners up!

    Fascinating to see how the platform/structural demands for Twitter and this task resulted in work that fit as tight and satisfyingly as a set of Russian dolls. Awestruck!!

    • Charli Mills

      What a great description of the form, Liz! Thanks!

      • Liz H


  8. Judy E Martin

    Congratulations to all the winners, this was a difficult challenge, but they all made it look so easy 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Kind of like ice skating! Thanks, Judy!

      • Judy E Martin

        Yes! I have still not mastered that, either! ????????

      • Charli Mills

        I still slide and fall down! 😀

  9. denmaniacs4

    Whew…well done D. Avery…We can only hope the Donald takes up twitter flash. What stories he could tell…

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Uh… hasn’t he already? Or are you hoping for alternative fiction?
      Well done yourself.

    • Charli Mills

      I think Donny already Twitterflashes fiction…! Congratulations on your honorable mention, Bill!

  10. Lisa A. Listwa

    This one was definitely new to me. These winning entries make it look SO much easier! LOL Congratulations to D. Avery and to all the rest!

    • Charli Mills

      I think C Jai needs to keep prompting us to practice! Thanks, Lisa!

      • Lisa A. Listwa

        I would love to try this kind again!

      • C. Jai Ferry

        such subtle prodding ROFL 😉

      • Charli Mills

        We’ll get C Jai prodded! 😀

      • C. Jai Ferry

        Prodding okay. Just no probing.

      • Charli Mills

        Snicker, snicker, snicker!

  11. floridaborne

    D. Avery’s piece drew me in like no other. Excellent choice!

    • Charli Mills

      Me, too Joelle!

  12. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Hey Kid, ya ever twitter flashed?”
    “Kinda personal Pal, askin’ if’n I ever flashed my twitters.”
    “No, Kid, ya ever tweeted?”
    “Ever’one tweets, Pal, but some of us try’n be discreet about it.”
    “No, Kid, I mean like all that hashtag business.”
    “What’re ya sayin’, Pal? Did ya slip a tweet an’ acciden’ly leave a hashtag? No wunder ya sit tall in the saddle.”
    “Jeez Kid. I mean Twitter, ya know that so-shall media thing that folks ‘r doin’. An’ now some a the hands been writin’ flash on it, even D. Avery. Where she at?”
    “She-at, she’s dumbfounded.”
    “Hey, Kid, be nice. Anyhow, I don’t find her soo dumb.”
    “Pal, she’s jist not sure what ta say ‘bout all this.”
    “Well ya’d think she’d thank the judges fer their great idea fer a contest and fer their time an’ all sortin’ through all them fine entries.”
    “Yeah, ya’d think she’d thank ‘em, an’ take her hat off ta ever’one that tooted.”
    “Tweeted, Kid, tweeted.”
    “Right. #thanks ever’one. Yer very tweet.”

    • Charli Mills

      These fine ranch hands have me laughing so hard I think I tweeted! Congratulations, D. That was some fine flashing and a powerful story you wrote.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I am still dumbfounded. Accept a heartfelt Thanks to you and all the Community. I do appreciate all the kind comments here.

      • Charli Mills

        I’m so glad you get to hear them. 🙂

  13. Sherri Matthews

    I love all these twitter flashes, so wish I could have had a go just to give it a shot if not for embroiled in a house move. Fantastic winners, many congratluations to all and especially D Avery for her winning entry which blew me away… and thanks C Jai for a wonderfully intriguing and creative contest, particulary for this barley-knows-how-to-use-twitterer!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Regarding twitterature, see above; C Jai is being pressured and prodded into prompting us to practice prescriptive prose.
      Regarding your congratulations; thank you.

      • Sherri Matthews

        Then I’ll tackle my twitter terror and get typing! And you’re very welcome, well deserved.

    • Charli Mills

      Maybe a later follow up, writing a Twitterflash BOTS about a house move! 😀 It has to include a dongle and geese!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Ha! Last time you suggested I write a flash about geese and a dongle, I ended up with a good old fashioned zimmering lol 😀 😀 😀

      • Charli Mills

        It’s a zimmering combination, Sherri! <3

  14. robbiesinspiration

    Some great little stories here, Charli. Congratulations to the winners.

    • Charli Mills

      It’s a challenging and yet rewarding form. Thanks, Robbie!

  15. Colleen Chesebro

    Oh my goodness! These were so good! Diana’s was haunting and beautiful but the other stories were stark and hit you right in the gut! Congratulations to the winner and honorable mentions. I am so impressed. <3

    • Charli Mills

      Good stories, all of them! Thanks, Colleen!

  16. Norah

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    Congratulations to everyone who entered Contest #5 Twitter Flash Fiction, but huge congratulations to D. Avery winner! What a challenge! Check out her entry and others over at the Carrot Ranch.

      • Norah

        My reading and sharing pleasure. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing, Norah!

      • Norah

        My pleasure, Charli. 🙂

  17. Norah

    Congratulations D. Avery, D. Wallace Peach, Bill Engleson and Michael. What fantastic stories – and a new genre to learn. Well done! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I agree, Norah. Well done!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for sharing!

  18. Sarah Brentyn

    Congratulations, D! Nice one! And congrats to all the winners here (and everyone who entered). A lot of writers stepped out of their comfort zone for this one. Well done, all.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      It’s an ironic situation, as I am twitter challenged. If you liked the little story I am gratified.

      • Sarah Brentyn

        I love the dark, little story. I really do.

    • Charli Mills

      It was good to experience the Twitteracy that happens over on Twitter. Thanks, Sarah!

  19. Hugh's Views and News

    I thought this was a particularly hard contest, so congratulations to everyone that entered it. I had great fun with it and loved the idea. Well done to all the winners and everyone that had a go.

    • Charli Mills

      It was definitely challenging! I think we’ll have to practice. Thanks, Hugh!


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