Running For the Border

I wrote this for the June 20th Flash Fiction Challenge

“Moooom,” I wailed from the backseat, “It hurts.” She looked over her shoulder before pushing her cigarette out the wind wing and turning down the radio.

“You just have to hold it, Billy,” she said; turning her attention back to the road that stretched out in front of us. “I can’t simply call a time out.”

We were going fast when she hit the spike strips and the tires all burst. My bladder let go when the wheels began tossing sparks like lightning bugs past the windows.

We skidded sideways to a stop and the troopers boxed us in.

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about having to wait. Who is waiting and what for? Think about how the wait impacts the character or the story. Go where the prompt leads!

Author’s note: Waiting can be quite boring, in and of itself, so I thought I’d throw in a car chase to help hold my reader’s interest.


OLWG#106- Honky-Tonk Saloon

 Written for OLWG#106

Marshall was walking south on U.S. Route 54, the train tracks to his left when the snow began to fall. He would have been hitching if there had been any traffic. It was dark, no streetlights, and cold. He was surrounded by desert and heavy clouds blacked out the stars. The quiet was like a beast sitting on his chest and roaring. Oppressive, Omnipotent, Weighty…
He kept walking; one foot in front of the other and at some point he became aware of something else that he shared with this high desert landscape. He couldn’t have told you whether he heard it first or saw it first. A faint glow – behind the next hill? Maybe over the horizon? – he couldn’t tell. The sound of a crowd? Or the throaty rumble of mufflers from a hundred race cars? Music? Hallucinations?
Marshall continued to put one foot in front of the other. He was shivering with the cold, but as he moved he realized that he had begun to sing along with the music. It was a mixture of country and old rock ‘n roll. It was then that he crested the hill and looked down. He saw a tilt-up concrete building the size of a sports arena that was surrounded by a poorly lit gravel lot. Pick-ups filled the parking area. and a garish lighted sign shone brightly where the driveway met the highway.
“The StarLite” it read in large letters done in a mid-century modern typeface, stylized stars, planets, and satellites seemed to orbit the name. There was a changeable letter message board below where the message read,
Marshall picked up his pace. What the hell, he thought, any port in a storm, it was cold and he craved warmth. By the time he reached the driveway he was running; down the drive and across the gravel lot. The double front door was metal. It was a fire door, painted red that opened with a crash bar. There were no windows on the front of the building, but inside, sat a large man on a stool. A black felt cowboy hat rested on the floor next to him. The man had a shaved head and wore a blue shirt with a white patch over the pocket. The patch read “Hector”.
His sleeves were rolled up and cinched around tree-trunk biceps. Jeans and black boots finished the outfit.
Without a word, Hector pointed to a hand-lettered sign over his shoulder “$5.00 Cover” Marshall pulled a twenty from his pocket and, teeth chattering, handed it to the big man. Hector produced a roll of bills and carefully manipulating his island sized paws, gave back three fives to Marshall. He then held aside a beaded curtain and motioned Marshall inside.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. keep walking till the music gets loud
  2. it’s always money
  3. he only came in to get out of the snow

Emergency Blow

I wrote this for the June 6th Flash Fiction Challenge

USS Pickrel – Emergency Surface: Photo Courtesy of


Asleep in the bow, I forgot the plan to test the emergency blow system. I woke to the sound of the diving alarm and that shuddering of the hull that accompanies flank speed, and cavitating. We changed trim. The bow rose from a zero bubble to a 40 degree up bubble. We were rising fast when suddenly, BOOM. I heard the 4500 pound air dumping into the main ballast tanks; first the forward tanks then aft.

When the boat broached, the bow raised high above the swells and splashed down. She came to rest on the surface, waters roiling.


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that makes a big splash. It can be fluid, or you can play with the idiom (to make a big splash is to do or say something that becomes unforgettable). Go where the prompt leads!

OLWG#105- I Don’t Know What You’re Talking About

 Written for OLWG#105

Junior Notaro grabbed his sister, Marica, by the chin and turned her head so that he could see her face.

“What’d you tell Ma, Mari; what’d you tell Ma?”

“I didn’t tell her nothin’,” she wiped tears from her cheek, smeared her mascara and looked at Junior defiantly through cry reddened eyes.

“I didn’t tell her nothin’.”


Junior slammed his hand down hard on the table and Marica jumped.

“I’m startin’ to lose my patience, Mari. I need to know what you told her.”

“Fuck, Junior. You’re scarin’ me… All right, all right,” she shook her head and looked down at the table, “I told her… I told her that you and Ann went into the city, and you were going to stay the weekend.”

“Why would she believe that?”

“I told her that you were going to see some shows.”

“Do you know where I was, Mari?”

“No, not for sure, but you might have been involved in that shooting on the bridge. Did you kill those guys on the bridge, Junior?”

He averted his gaze to the window, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh come on, Junior; I watch the news. I read the papers. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out what you do for a living.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. it’s clogged
  2. soaked
  3. rocket surgery

Angel on the Bridge

I wrote this for the May 30th Flash Fiction Challenge

I met Lavinia in early July
at The Angel on the Bridge
in Henley,
where I came to see the regatta.

I was smitten

I sought to impress
To ply her with food
Strawberries, cream, and a sprig of mint

She turned up her nose

I strove to impress
by quoting the Bard,
Demetrius in Titus Andronicus,
“She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved”

She laughed as I obviously knew not the story

I hoped to impress with my wealth
Alas, I had no wealth, but
She sat with me on the riverbank
She took my hand
She smiled

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes strawberries and mint. The combination evokes color contrast, scents, and taste. Where will the combination take you? Go where the prompt leads!

OLWG#104- Roller Coaster

 Written for OLWG#104

Maddie was a nice girl. She studied hard in school and volunteered as a ‘Candy Striper’ at Mercy. She was a cheerleader, who planned to go to State when she finished High School. She was going steady with Brad. She liked putting on a Richard Nixon mask and robbing ice cream trucks with a butcher knife; then making her escape on foot. She would take only the coins

Brad always said that being with Maddie was like riding a roller coaster. Up and down or side to side – always shaking things up – always entertaining and never boring. He loved her dearly. Maddie didn’t love anyone, she loved things. She loved things like, the adrenaline that coursed through her body during a robbery. She loved the weight of all the money she carried as she listed to one side and made her escape. She loved getting away with it.

She would go to Brad’s, when his parents weren’t home, with her pockets full of coins and spill all the money onto his mother’s brown and orange shag carpet. They would lie together on the money, on the carpet and watch after-school TV until Brad’s mom would come home and invite her for dinner, but she would never stay. Instead, she would head home for dinner with her Dad and her little sister. She’d drop all her coins into the Sparklett’s bottle that she kept in her closet. She was saving up for something; she just didn’t know what yet.

Time passed and the bottle was eventually filled. A problem arose that Maddie hadn’t anticipated. She called Brad

“The bottle’s full. We should celebrate, but I need your help to carry it. It’s too heavy for me.”

The spent the night eating Cheetos and drinking root beer as they counted and rolled the coins. When they were done she had well over seven hundred dollars.

“What’re ya going to do with this money, Maddie?”

“I’m thinking about buying Donny Lawson’s Harley Sportster.”

“Donny won’t sell you his bike. He loves that bike.”

“Donny’s dead.”

“No way, what happened to Donny?”

“Vietnam happened; Donny’s mom got a telegram from the Army last Monday. He’s not coming home.”

“How do you know that?”

Mrs Lawson called her pastor when she got the wire. My dad’s her pastor. I can probably pick up the bike for three or four hundred dollars. She won’t want it around. It’d be too painful and besides, she doesn’t ride. I’ll use the rest of the money to buy books for school. I’m going to take a few classes this Summer.”

Brad looked down and studied his toes, saying nothing.

“What?” Maddie asked him.

“Nothing,” he said.

“No, What?” she repeated.

“Well,” he started, “what about me?”

“What about you?”

“I was hoping you’d share some with me.”

“Tell you what,” she said, “I’ll give you twenty-five bucks and you can buy me a meat cleaver from the Sears Catalog. I think I might look scarier if I was carrying a cleaver instead of a butcher knife when I work. The one I like is only about sixteen dollars and you can keep the difference,” she smiled at him. He continued to pout. “And, I’ll take you out to dinner somewhere nice; maybe the cafeteria at the mall.”

Brad perked up immediately.

Maddie reached over and grabbed his chin, then she planted a kiss right on his lips before pushing him back so she could look at him, “You can get your own damn meat cleaver, though.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. can we trust them?
  2. Maddie was a nice girl
  3. just another one

Titanic, The Maiden Voyage

I wrote this for the May 23rd Flash Fiction Challenge

Birdie stood at the top deck railing smiling and waving; holding her hat in the breeze. Edward stood stoically nearby, as he imagined a new husband should do.

While the crew cast off lines and got underway Birdie turned to Edward, “I’m terrified. What if the weather takes a turn and the ship flounders?”

“Rest assured, darling,” he replied, “We’re aboard the pride of the White Star Line, she’s unsinkable.” They retired to their stateroom, where Birdie remained, panicked, for the duration of the voyage.”

Eight days later the newlyweds disembarked in New York and began their life together.

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story without ice. It can be a world without ice or a summer camp that runs out of cubes for lemonade. What does the lack mean to the story? Go where the prompt leads!