Vote for your favorite. The challenge was to write dialogue.

2 (14.3%)
1 (7.1%)
Red Devils
3 (21.4%)
Tripping Out
2 (14.3%)
The Bean Counter
6 (42.9%)

Total Members Voted: 10

Voting closed: July 17, 2016, 05:00:33 PM

Author Topic: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120  (Read 2298 times)

Offline kateD

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VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« on: July 12, 2016, 05:00:33 PM »

Daniel and Carol were hiking the river trail, deep woods and undergrowth on each side. Each had a daypack and heavy boots. Daniel had a sidearm, a .357 revolver, just in case. These woods near the city were not always safe from human predators.

Carol stopped and backed into Daniel.


“Let me see him better,” he said, as he passed her and moved a few steps ahead.

“Kill him.”

“No. It’s a king snake. He’s not bothering us.”

“It’s a goddam snake. Kill him.”

She grabbed for the pistol, but it was secure in a snatch-proof holster.

“Listen, if you ever expect to see me naked again, you’ll kill that sonofabitch.”

“That old chestnut. You are willing to withhold sex for this?”

“Yes. You know I’m afraid of snakes.”

“Don’t you listen? He’s not bothering us. Snakes don’t eat people. He is just minding his snake business.”

“Gimme the gun and I’ll kill him.”

“Snakes are useful. This one is not venomous. He eats bad snakes and rats. You don’t like rats, do you?”

“About as much as I don’t like snakes. How do you know he’s not poisonous?”

“Snakes aren’t poisonous, you mean venomous. Poison is something that hurts you if you ingest it. Venom is injected by something like a scorpion or jellyfish.”

Or a goddam snake! Do it.”

“Let’s turn the tables. If you make me kill this harmless snake, you’ll never see me naked again.”

“What? You are lumpy and hairy and bony. What do I care if I never see you naked again?”

“Lumpy, Hairy, and Bony. That would make a good Vegas act.”

“Look. He’s getting away. Shoot him!”

Sure enough, the snake had finished his snake business and slithered off the trail.

“I’m not going that way. He might jump out and bite me.”

“You think he’s waiting to bite you and then swallow you?”

“I want a divorce.”



Harriet noticed the irritated look on his face as he leaned on the door jamb. She closed the oven, walked around the kitchen island counter and looked up at her husband, "You asked me why?"

"It wasn't a question, sweetie."

"But you ended with an upward inflection."

"Your detection of an inflection needs a bit of fine tuning, I think."

"If you have no question, what do you want, Stan?"

"What makes you think I want anything?"

"You asked me why."

"That a question?"

"No, I answered your question."

"I'm leaving." Stan reached for the door knob.


"You asked me why."

"Where are you going?"


"Don't start again. I want to know where you are going. Dinner is almost ready."

"Ah, but this time I did ask a question. I emphasized an upward inflection. And did you not notice the question mark?"

"Why are you being such a jerk? I worked all afternoon on this dinner. Is this what you think of our anniversary?"


"Was that a question?"

"Oh,... of course not. Did you think I'd forget?"

"Well, why are you leaving?"

"I'm just going out to the car. I, uhhhh...forgot your present. Be right back."

Harriet noticed a red smear on Stan's shirt collar when he turned toward the door.

Two hours and five cucumber martinis later Harriet looked at her reflection in the door of the smoke-filled oven and said, "Why?"

The apartment door flew open, her husband slinked across the threshold, carrying a bouquet of flowers and said, "Harriet, sweet Harriet, you are the love of my life. Please forgive me. You asked me why? The truthful answer is I forgot."

Harriet took the flowers, carefully placed them in the empty martini shaker before clutching the carving knife on the counter. "And I will forget why you bled to death when the police arrive."

Red Devils

“So, Gary came up with this idea for a little payback. I thought first that it wouldn't work, but now I'm pretty sure it can.”

“Yeah, he told me over lunch. I nearly warmed the waters from laughing so hard.”

“What you two on about?”

“We're discussing Gary's plan.”

“Ha! I want in.”

“Well, you're a small fry, so am not sure you can really help.”


“Do you think we can lure them in? I know they're picky bastards.”

“Oh yeah. Gary's collecting for this all year. They're so shiny. We all know how beautiful a devil can be in the right light. Hell I was almost tempted myself.”



“So when is this going down?”

“Let's wait until next week, when they're good and desperate.”

“I noticed a new crowd up by the falls. We've sent a few of the girls to flash them a few times, just to perk their interest. You should see them casting about, hoping for a bite.”

“Damn trolls.”

“Come now. Don't be a hater. The weather is going to be bright and warm. More reason for them to take the bait.”

“Alright, til next week then.”


“Put that one right there, Gary. No, not there. Over there!”

“Look! Here comes one already. Jiggle it a bit. Not too much. Just enough to tease.”

“Where's Louie?”

“What do you want?”

“Jesus, Louie. Are you on the juice or something? I haven't seen muscles like that since I went to the beach.”

“Mind your mouth, or I'll beat the colours out of ya.”

“Yeah, angler face, keep blowing bubbles.”

“Shut up, Gary, or you'll be next.”

“Do I have to put you two in the shallow end? Louie, quietly come over and loop this around that broad, if not somewhat synthetic back of yours.”

“He looks like a humpback.”


“Okay. Okay.”

“When I say go. You take off, Louie. Don't go until I tell ya, okay?”

“I heard ya the first time.”

“Paul! Spit that out! Why does everything have to  go into your mouth?”

“I have a sickness, what can I say?”

“Bass tacks, you're such a crackie. Junior, take that out of Paul's mouth, and don't mar the finish. It's got to be brilliant.”

“I'm on it.”

“After you’re finished, stand by. When buddy makes a grab, I want you to distract him. Timing is everything, junior, so don't mess up.”

“You can count on me, Uncle.”

“I'm not your uncle, Uncle Gary is.”

“You all look the same to me.”

“Just what are they teaching these kids in school nowadays, Gary?”

“Don't ask me. I've been living off the main stream for years.”

“Here comes one. Everyone ready? Now! Now! Now! Go Louie! Louie, stop looking at your reflection and Go!”

“Told you he's on the juice. Hanging around that sewage plant made him big and stupid.”

“Yeah, but look at him go. Even current conditions aren't slowing him down, and dragging that sinker doesn't seem to bother him at all.”

“Let's just hope he remembers to look before he leaps when it comes to the falls.”

“It's only forty meters... maybe he'll land on his thick head.”

“And if not?”

“Well then, more fish food for us.”

“You're a cold-hearted bastard, Sammy.”

“Don't judge me by scales.”

Tripping Out
Pizza with Cock Roach Topping & An International Phone Call

"Yoshida Inn.  Hold on, wait, wait... Yes, he's right here.  Saum,” said Helen, “long distance for you.”
“…So the dentist, he says, ‘Abscess makes the fart go Honda!’”
“No shit.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Mira, watch over my cuts here, don't let that roach or Rog get to them...  Mushi, mushi.  Ola, it is I.  Papa?  Yes, yes, everything in English?  Why?  Slow down…”
“What’s not to get?”
Mushi, mushi?”
“He just call you a cockroach, Rog?”
Roger beamed, “Cock brothers unite!”
“What’s that Papa?  I think we’ve got a partyline…”
“It’s not a party Mira, this is work.”
“That bugger was nothing like what I saw, in Manila... or San Fernando. Yeah, scurrying up and down the cross this guy was nailed to…”
“Say that again… Papa what’d you say?”
“In and out of his drawers, up and down the beam.”
“Like I said Mira, guys here have major fetishes and Mama-san knows it. 
“Ain’t there a book on fleas doing that?”
“She’s good, keeps the men in line…”
“Who’s got her where?”
“Doing what?”
“Yes, in the paper, on the news… But Papa, how’s she involved?”
“I hear they're good deep-fried.  They got sweet parts.”
“Roger Sweetie, we’re eating…”
“But Maggie, I’m dressed to the nines, and Mama-san says, ‘Those pumps are history Honey, get yourself spiked’.”
“Pumps woulda come in handy in Pampanga…”
“Say that again Papa.”
“Bash them mothers!  Three, six, nine times!”
“As many as you like, cheap pairs in Harajuku.”
“Stiletto me woman, what makes your head so big…”
“Big?  C’mon, we all know New York has the mother load of roaches right?…”
“No, It’s not possible, simply can’t be.”
“I ain’t making it up.”
“No, no, you’re not alone.  Don’t go alone.”
“If you want, I'll go with you tomorrow to get your heels.”
“The domestic types fly here, you know that?…”
“Yeah?... Thanks.”
“But poor assed, dive bombers.”
“Pretty mamas, can I pitter-patter along?”
“That an Asian variety?”
“In your face like.”
"Only if you promise…”
“Promise Papa, promise not to do anything rash…”
“Oh I do, I do.”
“Maybe.  Maybe the New York mothers are too damn big to fly…”
“I was thinking red.”
“In your face…"
“What, like Dumbo?”
“Like Dorothy’s?” 
“Oh no!”
“Oh my!”
“Or maybe it's been mutated out of ‘em.”
“More like Hepburn’s, you know, in Summertime…”
“…in the fall.”
“What’s that mean?”                 
In Venice… Uh-huh, the slippery kind, all the way up the banister…”
“Which way you think... I mean are they meant to fly?”
“Oh yeah.  Good flick, way to trip.”
“What’s meant to be?”
“What can I do from here?”
“What, like Adam and Eve?”
“You talking God’s intentions?
“A trial?”
“I don’t get it.”
“Trial n’ error, trial n’ error…”
“In God’s hands?”   
“OK Papa, sit tight.”
“Gimme a bite.”
“Or morphed, meta meta morphed.”
“Gimme a slice.”
“Like Darwin?”
“Someone, cut him a piece.”
“Like Kafka?”
“I knew it!”
“Papa, the lines all…”
“You, me, all this shit.”
“That’s a shitty piece.”
“Working out the bugs.”
“Got a bad line…”
“What’s that?”
“The way they buzz…”
“To save face internationally at least…”
“Buzzing in your face.”
“Not the Ayatollah…”
“Spreading the plague and who knows what…”
“What channels Papa?  What connections?”
“You think a department would OK that?”
“They have to follow procedures, protocol…”
“Tell Ma I’m coming home.”
“Fly away (mmmm)  Fly away (mmmm).”
“Mira. The police…Papa says the police, somehow, they think Anis is connected to those bombings in Tehran.  They took her away Mira, they came and took Anis away.  I’m going home.”


Roger Hargreaves spotted his old friend and waved him over. "Good to see you, Leo. How are things?"

"Times have been better but you learn to adapt."


"You booked in overnight?" Leo asked.

"Wild horses couldn’t drag me away. How about yourself?"

"No." Leo took a sip of his martini. "Just drinks. I can't afford to spend an entire weekend mingling with you merchant bankers - especially with so many auditors about."

"Oh, I know. Eyes everywhere. I'll have to go easy on the Bollinger. Doesn’t do to rub their noses in it." Roger straightened his tie and leant closer. "I heard you and Neilsen parted company."

"Fortunately," Leo said. "I got out before they went under. Slight debtlag, but I’d made some good investments. Enough to cover the essentials until I got back in the saddle."

"Good for you. So what is it you do now exactly?" Roger asked.

"Freelance. Consultancy work." Leo glanced around the room, searching for a waitress. "Flat out three days a week."

"Getting your hands dirty again, eh?"

"It keeps me occupied," Leo continued. "People call me in and I spend a couple of days looking at their books. Find the problem then negotiate the solution."

"And it pays?"

"Well, lets just say I've never failed to spot a discrepancy yet. I'm an expert in the black arts after all. It’s not rocket science."

Roger tapped the side of his nose. "That’s what I tell the boys."

"You still at Bormans?" Leo asked.

"For my sins. It was touch and go, but that RBS fiasco was the best thing that could have happened."


"Oh, absolutely. A bail-out was a certainty so all we had to do was lie low, carry out a little creative accountancy and cover up the commission we charged. Made a killing."

Leo turned to the nearest waiter and deposited his empty glass on their tray. "I’m impressed."

"Huge shake-up afterwards, of course. Head Office nervous that certain shady dealings might come to light."

"But your job’s safe?"

"Oh, too bloody right." Roger straightened his tie again. "The good ship Hargreaves is unsinkable. They can’t afford to pay me off. I know where all the bodies are buried, and whose fingerprints are on the spades."

"I've heard they might not be paying out a bonus this year," Leo said.

"It’s a bloody disgrace. There’s talk of cutting back by as much as 33%. I’ll be lucky to go home with six-figures."

"Oh dear."

"I’ll be fine. Let’s just leave it at that," Roger said. "You should bring your clubs next time you’re in town. We managed to fit in 18 holes at the R & A on Wednesday. Dreadful battling against the elements on those links. Couldn’t get anywhere near par."

"I’m over in Edinburgh on Tuesday actually," Leo said.

"In that case look me up. But bell me first so I can clear my diary. There’s some bean counter due in one day next week. The FSA sniffing around. Once I put him off the scent the rest of my week’s pretty clear."

"I’ll look forward to it."

"Business or pleasure?" Roger said.

"Strictly business. A standard contract. I’ll take a look and advise accordingly."

"Poor buggers. I bet they won’t know what hit them."

"Absolutely," Leo said. "Queens Parade isn’t it?"

"My office? Well remembered. We're opposite the station."

"Good. See you Tuesday."

"Drinks at lunch time at the ‘Vic’ if you can."

"We’ll see. It depends how many beans there are to count. Anyway, must mingle. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Roger."

Offline CindyWA

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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016, 12:56:58 PM »
Red Devils, followed by Bean Counters. It was a tough choice, but I like to fish,, so I'm a little biased....

Offline kateD

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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2016, 04:24:11 PM »
Congratulations to hillwalker3000 for winning the flash fiction challenge with The Bean Counter!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 05:41:15 PM by kateD »

Artemis Quark

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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2016, 06:29:08 PM »
Congrats, Hilly. Counting beans can be hazardous to your health.

Can't wait to see what your challenge will be.


Offline Laura H

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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2016, 07:01:08 PM »
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Mister URL

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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2016, 07:35:37 PM »
Good dialogue!

Offline Simple Things

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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2016, 08:34:07 AM »
Well done, Hillwalker.

Offline Tom 10

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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2016, 09:27:10 AM »
Very nice!! :)

Offline heidi52

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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2016, 11:44:59 AM »
Got my vote, looking forward to your challenge. Make it a good one.  ;)


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Re: VOTE: Flash Fiction Challenge #120
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2016, 12:30:17 PM »
Thanks everyone. . . and here goes: