Thursday, 16 December 2010


As a treat I'm highlighting several authors (myself included) who contributed to the second FLASH FICTION compilation FLASHBACK 2010.
The story telling discipline that only allows 150 words.
If you like these BUY THE BOOK, there's another 130 + stories just dying to be read.

The way to go out

As he lay in the foxhole clutching it hard against his chest Corporal Todd felt a blinding chill pierce his very being when the cry went up.


He looked to his left at his comrade. Dead, but no sign of proof to show for it. It was like he was sleeping.

He didn’t look to the right.

He already made that mistake and only saw a body, no head.

Both men he knew intimately through conversations he had but never considered either a good friend.

It would be a lonely death.

The charging Japanese were getting closer now, his last wish now as he lay shivering in fear was that the grenade he was holding would go off before he felt the oncoming bayonets.

Snake oil and dust

Arizona Slim took the penknife from his boot and pressed the blade into the bottle’s label, scratching away the legend which declared ’Doc Monroe’s Miracle Cure-All Elixir!’

Turning the bottle over in his rough hands, he continued to scratch off each of the bogus claims the travelling showman had promised:
Guaranteed to mend a broken heart! (Scratch)
Wins women with magic aphrodisiac properties!             (Scratch)
Cures your thirst for liquor! (Scratch)
Calms a fiery temper! (Scratch)
Cleans away blood stains! (Scratch).

Finally, Slim reached the bottom of the label and the elixir’s final promises.

Improves respiratory problems!
Ideal for rope burns!

He smirked and clicked the blade back into the hilt, throwing the bottle into the dust.

“Well, I hope at least the last two work out for you, Doc”.

With that, Slim turned his back on the gallows, leaving behind the swinging figure and the creak of rope on wood.

The blender
“What happened to your watch?”
“It got caught in the blender. It’s not mine anyway.”
“Whose is it?”
“My wife’s.”
“I don’t think I can fix it.”
“No, I guess you can’t. I just hoped.”
“I can do you a deal on a similar watch.”
“No point.
“Why not?”
“She’d know the difference. Besides, she can’t wear a watch now. It was on her arm when it got caught.”
“Oh. Well … she has … er … HAD two arms, right?”
“Perhaps she’d like to wear a watch on the other one.”
“S’no good.”
“Why not?”
“That one got caught in the blender too.”
“She’s a bit accident prone then.”
“You could say that.”
“Okay, I gotta ask. How the hell did she get both hands into a blender?”
“Hey, she’s not an idiot. She didn’t do them both at the same time.”

Some things change

Trevor shook the hand firmly of his friend he hadn’t seen in years.

“How the hell are ya mate?”

“Bloody Trevor Rivers, fancy bumping in to you. When did the tumble weed blow you into town?”

“Just yesterday mate, came in to catch up with the Old Man.”

“So, how is he? I must pop in and see him. I haven’t been to his place in years. I bet it’s still the same and nothing’s changed?”

“Well, you’re in for a shock then.”


“Yeah…” Says Trevor with a wry smile.

“He’s moved the microwave.”

The conjurer
The audience were enraptured. They squealed and clapped in delight at every display, every new trick.

He pulled endless coloured silks tied together from his trouser pocket. A loose piece of string stood straight in the air. A white dove emerged from under his jacket and flew into the sky. The kiddies squealed in delight.

Sally was immensely proud. She had invited her little Tristan’s school friends and rich society mums for his seventh birthday party. This was certainly a great way to announce your entry as the new family into the neighbourhood.

She had found the magician’s flyer on the supermarket noticeboard. She rang his mobile and here he was.

He collected all of the mum’s watches and jewellery and wrapped them in a cloth. He waved his magic wand over them. A large bang and flash of light drew gasps from the crowd.

And then he disappeared.


The words were there the whole time, bubbling away behind his teeth as he held them clenched, a furious tide of vitriol that could barely be contained by that calcium-clad dam. The rest of them, they just stared in his direction, held in the suspended animation of those on tenterhooks, expressions frozen in the rictus of fear.
What was this message he was about to pronounce, and how would it change their outlook on the very nature of their own existence? He stood, knuckles white against the wood grain of his armrests, and with a final desperate heave of his ribcage, the dam broke.
Running, the local kids couldn’t help but feel that Old Man McCoy had more to say.
Wisely, they decided to leave that for another time.

Ends and means

“But it’s what you wanted.”
Just like that, without irony, without malice, without joy.
“It’s yours now.”

He gestured to the red-brown sky, heavy with smoke and sunset. On the horizon, another bomb went off – anonymous at that great distance.

“But I didn’t… I wasn’t…” My eyes were continually drawn to the horizon, and that sky. “This isn’t what I meant!”

He shrugged. “Too late now. It’s yours.” He nodded towards the key hidden nestled inside my clenched fist.

“Maybe you can work out how to lock it again. Anyway…”
He started to shimmer, like a badly-tuned old TV set.

“Please…” I reached for his wrist, his lapel, something to keep him here with me. But my fingers just closed on air, and rich, red smoke. He was gone.

On the horizon, another distant explosion – and the sun sank, exhausted, beneath the skyline.

Always choose treat
Jason walked up the footpath with his usual swagger, his mates lagging a few steps behind. He leaped up the stairs in one bound.

“I’ll show you how it’s done,” he boasted as he smacked loudly on door.

“Go away,” came a muffled voice behind the door.
Jason kept banging until he heard footsteps pounding towards the door.

It swung open revealing a skinny, tired looking old man.

“Trick or Treat?” asked Jason.

The man stood- staring at Jason for a good twenty seconds.

Then said:
“Tight arse,” Jason mumbled and in one fast motion thrust out his hand which palmed an egg and slammed it into the man’s forehead.

“There,” shouted Jason and turned to run.

The man shot Jason in the back five times before he made it down the stairs.

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