Coffee Break

Janet Reid had a flash fiction contest this past weekend and despite my “head down, working towards THE END,” mantra on my latest WIP, I took a little coffee break and participated.  You know, I really love these contests – I think I might be addicted.

The usual rules applied.  She gives participants five words, and you write a “story,” using them, but the real challenge?  The entire story can only be 100 words.  Some people write sentences that long.  The prize?  Usually a book she’s received via ARC’s (advance reader copy) or from publishers for whatever reason.

The words for this weekend’s contest were:

  1. child
  2. parker
  3. finder
  4. berry
  5. rose

By nine p.m. Saturday night when the contest shut down, eighty-eight entries filled the comments queue.  Ms. Reid likes to pick out the stories that strike her a certain way, in addition to naming a winner/s.  I have yet to win one of these darn contests.  *argh!*  But, I have made the honorable mentions several times – and placed as a finalist once.  They’re a lot of fun – to me – and they don’t take up too much time.

From the words above, here’s my entry, and I’ve bolded the five words we had to use.

Roseberry Parker, child prodigy, waited in the Secure Room, hundreds of feet below Capitol Hill.

Her guard said, “Does it work?”

Roseberry rolled her eyes, “Duuu-uh.”

Her fingers hit several keys rapidly. FINDER, the program she developed, began extrapolating terabytes of data.

The guard said, “Does it take long?”


Roseberry said, “It’s done.”

“Impossible! They’ve been at this for years! “

“Well, someone better call the President.”

“You kidding? Call the Malaysian Authorities. If your program can find this, it can find anything.

The result on the screen was undeniable. Dates, times, and most importantly, a name.

Lois Lerner.

Alas, I didn’t win, but received this mention from JR along with another writer.  (she uses the word deliciously a lot because JR also runs QueryShark)

Deliciously subtle

Hilary Cusack 11:44pm

Donnaeverhart 8:10am

Here is what she said about the winning entries, “In the end I couldn’t pick just one. Both #9 and #10 were great stories, well-told, and using form in a way that embellished the story. VERY hard to do that in the word constraints.”

Indeed…and, I think there’s a lot to be learned from that.  Here are their entries:

9) Celeste 6:20pm

Flash mob
@Our_Child_Missing. Rose never came home from school today. Last seen wearing strawberry print dress, carries a satchel. Finder’s reward for our beautiful little girl. Whatever it takes. Plse help and retweet. 17:05

Strawberries are red
Violets are blue
I have her with me
Now I want cash from you

@Our_Child_Missing. Man arrested on suspicion of abduction. Our baby still missing. Pray for us. 20:16

@Our_Child_Missing. Rose found safe in the mall, thanks to thousands of retwts & phone calls. Sick creep who tweeted fake abduction just released by cops. His name is Parker. His address is…

(10) Ashland 8:33pm

Roses are red
A berry is blue
When Parker raped me
He said ‘fuck you’

Years later he enters the club. I was a child when it happened, so he doesn’t recognize me. When I tell our bouncer Shaun to let him know he’s won a free ten in the champagne room, his eyes light with excitement.

Three minutes into ‘Cherry Pie’ I whip out the switchblade.
Two slashes crisscross his throat.
One long moan escapes.
Zero professional finders will ever locate his body.

Roses are red
The sky is now blue
When it was over
I said ‘fuck you’

Another diversion – but, that was fun!  Now, back to work!

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