Fiction 101

Fiction 101

By VCR Staff 06/27/2013


Over the last several years, we have seen our flash fiction contest entries change and morph. While the range of quality and ideas always varied, it didn’t have as much diversity to contend with. This year, however, with the help of social media, we not only saw a wide range of flash fiction stories, but also our count when from dozens of entries to nearly 100 entries. Of those entries, we found some fun, quirky, thoughtful and unique stories that made the grade and some that we felt were so clever they placed at the top of the stack. For placeholders (1-3), email to claim your prize.



First place

by Katy Porter

Monday morning, boss yells, “Jack, coffee!” Jack, grumbling, disappears into the kitchenette.  “Coffee’s ready!” The resulting black, thick brew jolts me hard – shaking and sweating I try to work.

Tuesday, boss yells, “Jill, coffee!” Jill, sighing, disappears into the kitchenette. “Coffee’s ready!” The resulting pale liquid looks like tea and tastes like landfill runoff. Without caffeine, I doze at my desk.

Wednesday, I’ve had enough. Boss yells, “Mary, coffee!” I stalk into the kitchenette, palming a baggie of oleander leaves. The coffee mill easily blends poison with passion. As the deadly brew fills the pot, I call out, “Coffee’s ready!”


Second place

by Cyndy Taschman

On his 90th birthday, Ritchie reminisced about the sacred relationships in his life.

Eying the nearest photograph, he thought of George.  “You were a kind, thoughtful man.  We went through the wars together,” Ritchie smiled.  “You died too soon.”

“And John,” he continued to the next photo.  “All you wanted was to bring peace and love to the world. Your murder was the hardest to accept.”

“Ah, Paul,” he smiled at the last photo, “we fooled the world!  You were the first to die, but your replacement was a perfect cover-up!”

“Time for your meds, Mr. Starr,” the nurse stated.



Third place

Motel 101
by Lisa Snider

She parked facing out, remembering last time — naked meth-freak swinging a hatchet. “Paint your toes red,” he screamed, sliding across the hood, tearing off her windshield wipers. Never again. Got to get enough cash for a first and last. Sick of shacking up with those losers. Leave their dishes in the sink till they stink.

This guy’s not so bad. Even lit her a smoke. Long as he doesn’t ask for baby talk. He’s not that kind of guy, though. This one’s easy money. Called her pretty. I believe that about as much as I believe he’s Richard Gere, she thinks.


The go-figure award

by Scott Newton Twombley

Every night, that damn cat paws at my bedroom door, meow meowing her incessant song and keeping me awake. But not tonight! Armed with a spray bottle of vinegar, I think, bring it on, bitch!
Around 2 a.m. the feline opera begins. In an arthritic haze, I hobble across the room, wholly intent on blasting my tormentor into submission. With dramatic flair I open the door, which causes my back to erupt in wild spasms.
“Shit!” I yelp, collapsing to my knees.
And so vanquished, all I can do is watch as the cat glides past me, purring all the way.


The great accomplishment award

by Azel Griswald

Little Freddy squirmed, realizing the time had finally arrived.

He’d suspected this day would come.

No more subterfuge.

There was no one to help him. Sis was away; the family dog/vacuum cleaner chained outside.

Adults were hanging around, eating cobbler. He wanted some. 

Mommy was watching. He couldn’t tuck them into a napkin and discard.

Freddy scattered them around the plate, giving appearance of partial consumption. But she shook her head while regrouping the little green monsters.

He was missing Sponge Bob.

Resigned, the boy held his nose, took a spoonful, swallowed … chugged milk … repeated.

Lima beans down! 

Ghastly, yet doable. 

Someday beets?



The no-one-gets-out-alive award

The Buzz
by Scott Newton Twombley

Raul pulled his magnifying glass from the pocket of his Monsanto lab coat and leaned over his desk for a closer look. The dying bee grew into focus next to a pile of classified pesticide reports, its forelegs still twitching alongside the words “help us” spelled out in tiny, bright-yellow strands of bee pollen. Raul checked his surroundings as he filled his lungs with dank laboratory air, and with one mighty puff sent the bee and its desperate plea flying to the floor. Certain that none of his assistants had noticed a thing, Raul picked up the reports and walked away.


The astrology lovers award

by Jessica Lopez

The lights dimmed in the apartment as he perused his date’s bookshelf, waiting for her to return with a nightcap. One well-worn book in particular caught his eye; “How to Seduce any Man in the Zodiac.” As he thumbed through the pages, rolling his eyes dismissively, she returned with two drinks.

“Ha,” he said with a smirk, holding up the book. “You don’t mean to tell me that you believe this mumbo-jumbo stuff really works, do you?”

 “Gemini, right?” she coyly asked.

 “Yeah, so what?” he answered.
She licked her lips, “You’re here aren’t you?”


The insanity plea award

by Noel Angelo Toling

Michael turned away from the TV as he turned it off. He had had enough. Another girl had been found. Numerous cuts were all over the body, lying in a pool of its own blood.

He went into the kitchen to wash the dishes when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. It was a bloody knife. Without much thought, he washed it.

He then retired to his room where he saw a stack of papers lying around. He picked up one, when something caught his attention.

“The patient has been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.”


The big-payoff/big-loser award

Fractured logic
by Azel Griswald

They’d been assured that after the onslaught of trucks ceased, there would be minimal presence on their property. Next: a lifetime determining how to spend fat monthly royalty checks.

It was “impossible” to predict the flawed composition of the cement encasing the drill bore, especially when the entire installation process was self-regulated.

The family agreed not to divulge terms of the settlement. The gas company would pay for any medical treatments and provide bottled water for the rest of their lives, as long as they maintained silence about the chemical leak. 

Horizontal fracking would remain absolutely safe, just as the ads promised. 


The typical relationship award

Sibling Rivalry
by Deanna Nese

It streaks past my head with shocking force, slams into the wall, knocking a family photo down, an awkward, ugly one, cracking the glass. Bring it. I whip around the corner and grab the first available weapon, a permanent marker. The precious blouse rips with terrifying permanence, beyond repair. Grab a handful of hair and draw one long black streak from face to neck, impossible to disguise.  Retaliation comes in purple, blue and red.  Bodies rolling on the unforgiving hardwood floor, insults flying. “What the devil is going on?” “Nothing,” shouted in unison, followed by an eruption of giggles.


The real inspiration award

by Miss Ahjanee

 He sipped hot tea while the sun beat overhead, a peculiar approach to the senses. His smile proportionally increased as the brunette neared. He, too, caught her eye. She adjusted posture without losing stride. A flood of emotions overcame him. His spoon dropped into his soup.

“Are you OK?” said the now not-as-beautiful female voice from across the table, obliviously.

“Huh?” he replied. The brunette happened by.

“Anyways … as I was saying, which will you finish first? The song or painting?

“Uh …” He threw a 50 -dollar bill on the table with his napkin and ran after his Inspiration.


The not-so-vegetarian award

by Cyndy Taschman

“Why fancy dishes, Ma?” 8-year old Timmy wondered as he tossed his catcher’s mitt in the air.

“We’re having Elsie for dinner. Wash your face! And those hands!  Go take a bath now!” June scolded as she rubbed dirt from his skin.

“Oh, Ma!” he whined — but headed upstairs.

Elsie, meanwhile, was preparing for her big dinner.  She knew she looked good – everyone was praising her beauty as she paraded past the men around her.

“It will be a pleasure having Elsie tonight!” Kendall smiled and rubbed his big belly as he led Elsie from her pen to the slaughterhouse.


The looking back award

101 words for Amy
by Tico man

I got dressed and tied my shoelace, and already she had disappeared as a serious event in my day.  It made me think how I miss having a “real” woman in my life, like Amy.  Next to being shot at, and missed, nothing was as exciting as living and working with her.  Robbery, too, was her thing, she just loved gun play.

The past is a bum way of living but sometimes I revisit our last day together.  In my truck I leave the cemetery thinking about whether she would have felt as I do … if she hadn`t missed and I had.                                 


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