Visual Dare – And Then There Were Pumps

Yesterday I accidentally wrote a Visual Dare story for the wrong prompt–for a prompt, in fact, that wasn’t a prompt at all but rather a photograph @Angela_Goff was using to illustrate her awesome Five Sentence Fiction submission, which you can read right here. Quelle boob am I. Angela was kind enough to not insist that I rip that story from the interwebs and let it speak its name no more, because that’s just the kind of person she is.

To salvage my dignity, I’ve decided to write something for the actual Visual Dare prompt:


And Then There Were Pumps

He twisted the tap, and two hundred speckled goldfish poured out, splashing and sparkling in the gush of water. When his sink overflowed with its fishy bounty and his tiled floor became slick with their flopping, finny bodies, he opened his back door and fled into the street.

The garden gate melted to dust beneath his fingers.

In the plaza the pigeons fled skyward from his running feet, then rained back down upon him in a shower of boots, sneakers, and spiked Gucci heels.

He cursed himself for forgetting to insert the stopper in the genie’s bottle again.

(98 words)

Non-Visual Dare – Fish Out of Water

Kind of an embarrassing story. I wanted to participate in Angela Goff’s Visual Dare challenge, so I popped by her site, saw the picture (below) of a lost-looking mermaid perched on a table, and thought, yeah, that’s speaking to me. I wrote this story, and then realized a couple of hours later that Angela’s post was actually her own entry into Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction challenge. Oops. Imagine my shame. I thought about deleting this entirely decided full disclosure was the best option.

If you’re reading this, don’t miss the story that started it, Angela Goff’s s Fish Out Of Water.

Fish out of Water

Like a Fish

It’s always the same when they meet Tony’s friends at The Wall. Tony sits with her for five minutes, and then he’s off to shoot pool with Joe and Victor. Deborah won’t see him again before he staggers back two hours later, furious to find her once again on the perimeter of the other girlfriends’ conversation.

“Can’t you try harder?” he says, back in her apartment, face red, forehead pinched “They think you’re a snob, you know.”

I’m not a snob,” she says, calculating the odds of convincing Joe she’s developed an allergy to beer fumes. “I’ll try harder.” 

(100 words)

Five Sentence Fiction – Awkward

Written for Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction challenge. The prompt this week was the word “Awkward.”


Joanie makes it all the way to eleventh grade without developing the interest in boys that her mother has been paranoid about since Joanie first got her period, but halfway through the second semester a new guy with huge brown eyes and a deep, rumbly laugh that makes her heart thump like a misfiring piston shows up in her homeroom, and people say he’s from a town called Hope and that he likes hunting, but she doesn’t care about that, all she knows is that he’s not afraid to admit he likes poetry in front of the entire class, and he’s the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen in her entire life up to this moment, including the aurora borealis which she’d watched dazzle the sky over Whitehorse when she visited her dad and his new wife, Mitzi, or as Joanie’s mother refers to her, “Backwoods Barbie.”

She knows as sure as she knows that she’s never going to memorize the periodic table that he’s the one, the one and only, the guy that all those women singers pine over and wail about, but while all her friends have been practicing their flirty skills for the past five years, Joanie has been occupied with mastering allegory and alliteration, enjambement and iambic pentameter, cinquain and terza rima, and when she asks for advice her best friend Bridget who’s had seven boyfriends since grade 9 alone says “dude, just tell him you’re into him,” which is something she can’t imagine being able to do ever, ever, ever, not even if someone threatens to set fire to her entire hardcover collection of Shakespeare plays.

Since the direct approach is too horrifying to contemplate, Joanie tries using body language to drop the hint that she’s interested, offering him an encouraging smile when he answers a question in history class where he sits just one desk away, close enough to touch, if only she dared, but her mouth is so dry that her lips stick to her teeth and she ends up leering at him like a ravening zombie, which almost makes her throw up on her Louis Riel rebellion notes, not that she’s been able to write anything very coherent anyway.

Even though she knows it’s stupid and reckless and never going to work, Joanie decides to talk to him after English class, but when she opens her mouth to say “I really liked what you said about Earle Birney in class today,” what comes out is “I, uh, I, um, just, uh, nice shirt,” and her cheeks start burning like someone just slapped a couple of hot pancakes on them, and she can’t even look him in the eye, she’s staring at a spot in the centre of his Welcome to My Dystopia t-shirt, and instead of recognizing their mutual obsession with poetry, he’s going to think that she’s the kind of girl who obsesses over shirts or textiles or guys’ chests, which are all things she couldn’t possibly care less about.

Except possibly his chest.

Friday Night Write – Have You Ever Seen the Rain

Written for the Friday Night Write challenge over at Sweet Banana Ink. The challenge: 1 song, 60 hours, 500 words, and the song this time around was the classic Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Credence Clearwater Revival.

Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Credence Clearwater Revival.

Have You Ever Seen the Rain

The door to the Zippy Mart flew open with a crash that Marco heard over the stereo he had blaring in the Mustang, even though Jake had told him to leave it off, to keep his wits about him.

“I’m wittier with music,” Marco had said, but Jake didn’t have much of a sense of humour. He did have a fearsome temper, though, so Marco had turned it off and waited till Jake was inside before cranking it up again.

He watched open mouthed as Jake careened out of the store, turned to look over his shoulder and crashed headlong into the old Dodge Rambler parked out front.

“Holy shit,” Marco whispered as Jake slammed a fist down on the hood of the Rambler hard enough to make the entire car bounce and came racing across the parking lot. He was yelling something at Marco and waving his arms like a crazy man, and for a moment Marco thought about starting the engine and driving off without him, because no way he wanted to be stuck in a confined space with Jake when he was in full-throttle tantrum mode. The thought of what Jake would do to him when he eventually caught up made him reconsider.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Jake shrieked as he flung open the passenger door and leapt in. “Go! Go! Drive, you moron!”

Marco started the Mustang, slid her into reverse and paused, looking sideways at Jake,  “Um. Dude? Seatbelt?”

“Fucking drive! And turn that stupid shit off!” Jake reached over, ripped the iPod out of the dock and flung it at Marco. “You never listen, do you? You never fucking listen.”

There was no reasoning with Jake when he was in one of his moods, so Marco ignored the seatbelt thing and

“So, hey. What happened in there? You get the cash?”

“Does it look like I got the damned cash? The asshole hit me with a baseball bat! A baseball bat! He jabbed me in the forehead with it,” Jake pulled back a handful of greasy hair and pointed at a purpling bruise, “and then he whacked me in the arm so hard I dropped the gun. God, why do I listen to you? This was supposed to be like taking candy from a baby. This was supposed to fix everything!”

Marco didn’t point out that there wouldn’t be anything to fix if Jake hadn’t gambled away the money Leo had fronted them for the blow. “You got the gun back, though, right? Leo’s going to kill me if I lose the gun. He’s going to kill both of us if we don’t come up with the money.”

“If you want the gun so badly, be my guest. Go back and get your head bashed in by that freaking lunatic in there. God, could this day get any worse?”

Marco glanced at the flashing blue lights in his rearview mirror.

Apparently it could.

(492 words)