IT MIGHT SEEM like some simple task — writing a story in 101 words or less. In our daily interactions with friends, families and co-workers, we relive past experiences by sharing short stories about fun, terrible and just plain weird situations we have gotten ourselves into. However, to make up a story then put it down on paper is another undertaking indeed. That’s why, when we received nearly 100 entries for this year’s flash fiction contest, we were truly impressed.

While some entries missed the point — random thoughts and poems — others were right on target. This year’s winners and honorable mentions were able to encapsulate a story within 101 words, punch line included. From the fun and silly to the dark and twisted to interesting and unique, we read and reread every entry and, through the democratic process, found three winners and nine honorable mentions.

Congratulations to everyone who placed in this year’s micro-story fiction writing contest, and a special thanks goes to everyone who submitted this year. The number of entries doubled from last year. Keep up the good work and interesting story-telling, and we look forward to hearing from you next year. Please enjoy this year’s best Fiction 101 entries!

 

First place

1Hot Dog
by David Dahl

I’m on my break from work. It’s noon, lunchtime, naturally. The sun shines brightly in a spotless blue sky. I walk over to a small park nearby, buy a soda, and a hot dog with mustard, relish and onions — eating it I feel fine, stretched out on the cool grass, leaning against a shady oak.

“I never make mistakes when I feel like this!” I blurt out to an attractive woman sitting nearby, beneath her own tree.

“Nice try, buster,” she says, gathering up empty Tupperware containers, slipping on her shoes.

“OK!” I shout after her, wiping mustard from my chin.

 

Second place

2They Just Couldn’t Help It
by Jan Loren

Due to an irrepressible urge to see if her big toe would fit into the garden hose nozzle, Glenda was stuck outside and couldn’t reach the kitchen phone when it rang.

Roberto, on the other end of the line, mistook the unanswered call as a rebuke of his intended marriage proposal, and in the heat of emotion ran to the nearest army recruiter and enlisted.

Four years later, the impetuous pair met again by chance at a group therapy session for the hopelessly impulsive, and as soon as the meeting adjourned, giddily eloped to Cancun, sans suitcases, sunscreen or sensible snacks.

 

Third place

3Alien Relief
by Azel

Griswold
It came to earth on the first anniversary of the (still spewing) BP oil gusher. The spacecraft was big as a mountain, and impervious to hundreds of missiles, rockets, and bombs launched at it by the military.

The incommunicative spaceship descended past Louisiana, and then hovered over the blowout site. For months it sucked oil out of the ocean, releasing cleansed sea life along with rejuvenated water.

The citizens became ecstatic.

After the oil was removed, a huge celebration began in Washington. The behemoth flew low over the capital and dumped thirty million barrels of crude oil on it.

 

H O N O R A B L E   M E N T I O N S

The “You got us all figured out, don’t you?” award

Untitled
by D. Padilla Morrow
“Dare to be vague.”

“Be the Non-Being You Were Never Meant To Be.”

“Shift your shape while dancing your karma to the sound of one hand clapping while the Bodhisattvas of unknowing enlightenment weave, on the loom of dharma a cosmic tapestry of utterly complex simplicity.”

Roshi put down his brush as he finished writing. “Ah,” he sighed. “What those Westerners won’t buy if it’s wrapped up in metaphysics and tied up with ambiguity.” Smiling, he turned to the plaque on his wall, which read, “All that glitters is not koi.” 

 

The terrible excuse award

All You Need
by Steve Carrier

Finish mascara. Bob in the shower, background noise. It’s calling me, louder than anything. Slide the drawer open. There it is, pick it up.  

Bob got it for protection. It’s small, really. Smile and spin it, like in the movies. Cool end in my mouth. Eyes shut.

Deep breath. Wait, press the short barrel against my eye. Harder. Phone. Damn. Ignore it. Quick.

Against the temple, squeeze. Tighter.

Click.

“Honey? You getting that?”

“Got it!”

Back in the drawer. Pull it together. Phone voice.

“Oh, hi Mom. Of course we are … looking forward to it”.

 

The sick and twisted but understandable award

Johan’s Vacation
by Scott Twombley

Johan stared at her sun-spotted calf starting to swell in the heat of day two. The resounding silence was sublimely intoxicating, his first “vacation” from her suffocating nagging since the skiing accident that rendered him dependent on her for everything that a body requires, if not the soul. He hadn’t moved in five years except by her hand, her will. God! It felt so good to do nothing, and he hadn’t felt bad at all when she dropped like a sack of flour there in the hall. The smell was awful, but the peace and quiet was wonderful.

 

The “between a cop and a hard place” award

Easy Prey
by Azel Griswold

My neighbor pounds on my door, yelling that my van is being towed.

I bolt down the street, just in time to see the space where it was.

A young, starched parking official — sheriff wannabe — sits in his car watching me.

“I parked in the white zone,” I protest as I point to the curb.

“Doesn’t matter. You were within 15 feet of a hydrant. State law.”

“But there’s no sign. No red curb. Everyone parks there!”

“Take it up with your City Council.”

Towed AND ticketed.

Three hundred bucks later I’m wondering how I’ll pay the rent. 

 

The gossip girl award

Untitled
by Zoe Murdock

If I could think of your name, I’d tell you what I heard about the man you think is your man. I’d tell you how he met that sweet young girl down by the train tracks and how they crept off into the trees and made love there. Now she’s walking around town smiling from ear-to-ear, and he’s talking about how she’s his for the taking any damn time he wants, while the rest of us stand around wondering what you’d do if you only knew. And I’d tell you, I really would, if I could just think of your name.

 

The best escape award

Royalty
by Jay Windsor

Given her station in life as the progeny of royalty, she knew from the beginning that expectations would be high.

Which was fine, that. Yet, she felt so utterly constrained. 

Time went by, it got worse. She struggled. She wanted to scream! But she persevered, hoping that someday, some way, she would realize her own dreams and somehow find … freedom.

One day she noticed the smallest of openings in the fortress around her. No more than a crack, but light! Hope! She examined it. She forced her way through it.  

After drying her wings, she flew away displaying her Monarch heritage. Free.

 

The thicker than water award

Brothers
by Sean Colletti

“No.”

“No?”

“Yes.”

“Wait, yes?”

“No, you moron. I mean yes to the no. The answer is no.”

“I’m confused.”

“You’re a different kind of stupid, aren’t you?”

Jim was, in fact, a different kind of stupid. The kind of stupid that somehow got Derek in jail overnight.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Jim, if I wasn’t completely drunk right now, I would punch you in the face.”

“Is that a yes?”

“Guard!”

The guard walked over.

“Can I request a cell change?”

The guard walked away.

“Can I have the top bunk?”

Derek stared, sighed and sat down.

“Yes.”

 

The ironic psychopath award

Jump On Trouble
by Dana Huse

“It’s KCLU’s Handyman Helper!”

“Thanks! I’ve a broadloom rug in the bedroom. It has a bloodstain.”

“Must be an heirloom.”

“Exactly.”

“How big is the stain?”

“Six by four feet.”

“Ah … how old is the stain?”

“Twenty minutes.”

 “So … it’s not dry, then?”

 “Lord, no. But, jump on trouble, I say. The walls I’ll paint later.”

“Ma’am … what happened?”

“I caught Herbert with his filthy little slut and next time, sir, teach your daughter some Christian morals. Good Day!”

 

The metaphor taken to a new level award

Please, Nothing Personal
by Miss Ahjanee (Gerome Mauricio)

In a fabled area of the forest overlooking a lake, a scorpion and frog unfortunately witness a natural occurrence. He twitched on an alter; her web. Each action worsened his situation. She remained safe; tactically encroaching. He pleaded. Yes, some suffered from his spinning. These were desperate times. He beggingly wriggled for freedom, vowing to not be so careless. She vowed to not let this one get away. Her hypnotizing eyes paralyzed him. Nothing could be done. Teasingly, she asks him, “Any last words?”

He looked around, no objection for rescue. He stared back at her, finally giving in, “I do.”