Fascinating Stories From Science – I

I wrote this for the July 11th Flash Fiction Challenge



Scientists from the Kingdom of Australia are reporting that the marsupial species known as Thylarctos plummetus, commonly called ‘dropbears,’ and previously believed extinct, are thriving in the forested regions of eastern and southern Australia. The Australian Museum describes these creatures as “predatory marsupials related to koalas.”

Little is known about dropbears, to date, as they have only recently been rediscovered. Preliminary research indicates that they seldom prey on Australians. This may be caused by the marsupial’s uncanny ability to recognize Australian accents, or they may be repelled by the scent and taste of Vegemite, common in the Australian diet.


Note: My gratitude goes to the Australian Museum, in Sydney for their inspiration and assistance in researching this article.

The prompt: “My kingdom for a koala!” In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a koala in a kingdom. You can create a character out of Norah’s koala and give it a Vermont adventure. Or you can make up a story however you want! Can you pull off a BOTS (based on a true story)? Go where the prompt leads!

 

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John Kohtala and the Barsotti Kids

I wrote this for the July 4th Flash Fiction Challenge



John Kohtala would wake every day before sunrise, do his chores on the farm near Chassell at the south end of Portage Lake. He’d then walk twenty-one miles (uphill, both ways) to attend Calumet Middle School on Fifth Street in what is now the Ace Hardware Store. It was there, he became fast friends with the Barsotti children; Peter, Arthur, and Gemma and became interested in theatre.

One day, after school, the kids were hanging out at the Barsotti’s Candy store when Gemma suggested that they put on a play.

“Hey,” piped in John, “My dad has a barn…”


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using your choice of microhistory from Keweenaw National Historic Park. Be historical, funny, or flagrantly fictional. Choose a character, time, place, or event. Be as creative as you want in telling the story (for those doing serials, how can you meld this into your own storyline?). Go where the prompt leads!

Note: I co-opted two of the microhistories for my flash. I had fun with this one. No disrespect intended.

The Girl on the Bridge

I wrote this for the June 27th Flash Fiction Challenge



Stavo picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder
the cans rattled together, they shifted in the sack
Tonight he carried mostly blues, greens, yellows, and greys
He took the path through the park, from his van to the bridge

His canvas was already chosen so he promptly set to work
Shaking each can before use
Ducking down as cars passed
He painted a portrait of Caledonia

The young girl with colourful corkscrew hair and full, lush lips

He never sold his work
Just put it out- to be loved or hated
By whoever happened across it


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves paint. It can be fresh, peeling or in need of a coat. What is being painted and why? Go where the prompt leads!

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.

Emergency Blow

I wrote this for the June 6th Flash Fiction Challenge



USS Pickrel – Emergency Surface: Photo Courtesy of Navsource.org

 

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!

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!

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!