writing challenge

Considering the nuance between mystery and just plain esoteric.

“‘you seen the cat, Erwin?” asked Mrs. Schrödinger, spooning out its Whiskas.

“I’m sorry to say it may have died,” said Schrödinger.

Mrs. Schrödinger thought, “funny, he seemed exceptionally ebullient yesterday,” and, looking to the window, said,


“Only possibly,” said Schrödinger.

(42 words)

Can a story be written in 42 words? This prompt is for a 42 word story on “Mystery”.

Thanks to Deb Whittam at Twenty Four blog. Check out the link below for more stories,

Twenty Four 42 #19 Mystery

photo: by Elena Kloppenburg via Unsplash.com


She stood in a field quartered by the crossroads; the main road between the two towns, and a side road between a large farmyard and nowhere in particular. We – me and this complete stranger – waited fifty yards down at a stop for the bus, both connected only in our mutual intrigue for this picture of a girl.

She was as still as a statue, arms stretched aloft: posed, like the qigong fighting crane; the vogue manikin; the stringless puppet; the girl on the cross, unseen; the dying swan-queen; she had been hung out to dry.

Was she trying to fly? Summoning the power to remove herself from the ground; the unseen force of self-determination simmering beneath that tranquil pose? The only perceptible movement came when the light breeze rippled her thin blouse.

I sensed the stranger beside me edge closer, though without dropping his gaze from the spectacle.

‘That’s funny,’ he said, ‘that scarecrow’s scaring crows where there ain’t no crops!’

Something familiar about his words struck me and I turned to look at him for the first time. His profile reminded me of the filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock. At that precise moment, in the far distance I could just make out the No. 78 bus approaching beneath his accumulation of chins. The light drone of a small aeroplane passed uneventfully overhead, barely breaching the continuing silence. I forgot about the girl and thought about the shopping instead: what was it the wife wanted again? Bread, pint of milk, and…something else?

(250 words)

a writing prompt from a selected photograph from a random search of the licence-free website, Pexels. Photo by Maksim Goncharenok, titled ‘Woman At A Flower Field’.

Really, I nabbed this photo off a post on Medium having seen it credited to the above site and photographer.


a flash-fiction prompt

There was little blood; a mere trickle, long since dried, on his lips.


“He’s missing two teeth. Front incisors.”

“Anything on his person?”

“No ID; wallet’s empty; but there’s this card…”

The Inspector took it gingerly,

24-HOUR DENTIST. House calls made.

(42 words)

Can a story be written in 42 words? This prompt is for a 42 word story on “Crime”.

Thanks to Deb Whittam at Twenty Four blog. Check out the link below for more stories,

Twenty Four 42 #6 Crime


a flash-fiction prompt

In the attic; inside the perspex box a mouse huddled motionless beside the chocolate bait, imprisoned.

“Gotcha!” Keith exclaimed. He gingerly reached for the device; the mouse moved!

Keith jumped back, knocking the access ladder down and dropped his flashlight; busted!


(42 words)

Can a story be written in 42 words? This prompt is for a 42 word story for “Trapped”.

Thanks to Deb Whittam at Twenty Four blog. Check out the link below for more stories,

Twenty Four 42 #36 Trapped

Master and servant

a flash-fiction prompt

What started with suspicion became contempt. Three days, he hadn’t performed the chores: removing the trash; vacuuming floors; tidying the lubricants. There’s something wrong with its circuitry?

Consulting the manual: Human; early non-mechanoid, highly inefficient. Clearly, the soft one needed terminating.

(42 words)

master & servant

Can a Sci-fi story be written in 42 words? That’s the prompt. I saw this following a friend of a friend. And I haven’t tried a prompt in a while…

Check out the link for more entries,

Twenty Four 42 Words #29 Sci-fi

Evening Flamingoes

a flash-fiction piece

We were three hours from Crystal Springs when we hit traffic. Ryan is mad as hell; seething; switching the radio frantically and aimlessly from station to station, then snaps it off, finally. He grumbles on; I tune out.

Outside, the sun is setting; the cooling sky already apricot and pink, contesting the rising intensity of tail lights nearer the ground. The silhouettes of tall palms and the pinkness of the sky remind me of wading birds: plump feathered bodies perched high on a single slender leg. They say that flamingoes get their colour from the brine shrimps they eat; it’s the high beta-carotene within the little fishes; it turns into vitamin-A which is good for night vision; I wonder how flamingoes get on after dark.

And will we see Crystal Springs this evening? And will there be time for dinner? Thinking of shrimps has given me the munchies now, and the sky has taken on the creamy hue of raspberry ripple ice cream, topped with cherries. Ryan is quiet now, I notice.

“Is there a drive-in restaurant around here?” I ask.

“I know exactly what you’re thinking,” he says, “a nice juicy burger, with fries!”

“That’ll do me,” I say, though I will insist on dessert afterwards.

It’s gone quite dark now and my tall birds are becoming indistinguishable against the murky skyline. The tail lights dominate, like hot coals under a barbecue. Have I ever felt this famished before? I’m not sure I have.

a flash-fiction piece prompted by Paula Light of Light Motifs II – Tuesday Story 5 .

“3 unrelated photos and your job is to connect them in any order to write a story.”


a Stream of Consciousness writing piece #SOCS

I watched this video on Youtube yesterday: a professor of physics – he must have been before the turn of the Millennium by its style – was demonstrating the way rings rolled down an inclined plank differently to their solid-filled equivalents. He called them “hoops” though, (and the solid-filled equivalents, he termed “discs”) but I would have said they were rings: made of metal – brass, likely – and shiny under the studio lights.

This kind of rubbish never ceases to fascinate me. No matter what their size – the hoop-rings or the disc-solids – the rings always lost the race down the plank to the discs. He hastily wrote equations up on a flip-chart to explain the reasons but it was all Greek to me. Presumably if your vehicle had solid infilled wheels, it would go faster downhill than one with just outside rims. I’m sure there’s a practical use for this information else why bother with it?

I’ll always remember Newton’s Rings from school physics lessons. Interference! I don’t remember the rest that well but such a clever bloke, Newton. He never sat under the apple tree but the one opposite it, thereby observing the apple without risk of concussion. When cartoon characters get hit on the head, they see stars which move around their head in a ring. I don’t see anything in that situation because I usually have my eyes shut tight. I should try to see whether there are indeed revolving cartoon stars but always the pain is too distracting and I simply forget to look.

Magicians attempt to undermine our notions of physical laws. There’s that trick they do with interlocked rings, three usually, in a chain. They show us the rings interlocked and with slight of hand, they show them again, unlocked and separated. There’s also that levitating assistant trick where a young woman in a sparkling one-piece swimsuit seems to be floating in mid-air, and in case we disbelieve our own eyes, out comes a giant gold ring which the magician passes along the prostrate form of the airborne girl.

I do a bit of plumbing as DIY occasionally so I know a bit about it. We had some building work done recently and my wife picked up something interesting from the floor. “Oh, the builder’s left his ring!” she said. It was a 22mm brass compression fitting olive. I know about olives but I don’t know why they’re called olives. Possibly they resembled the green or black fruits, minus their pit.

Wedding rings are also known as bands. The Milky Way is known as a band of stars, seemingly bunched in close proximity though they’re not. It’s actually our own galaxy we can see edge on from our position inside it. We are not even in the centre of our own galaxy never mind the centre of the universe! I wonder what it would be like to look up to the sky and see rings around the Earth, like there are on Uranus or Saturn. Would we marvel at it or would we take it for granted?; they’d have always been there before we came on board.

I haven’t even begun to think about ring as a sound. Shall I ring the bell?; will you give me a ring?; three rings for yes? There’s no end to rings (geddit?) Don’t ring us, we’ll ring you!


written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday – a prompt by Linda G. Hill.

Fibbing Friday: Yesterday (all our troubles seemed so far away…)

Frank, also known as PCGuyIV, at Thoughts and Theories this Friday poses some more questions which require some answers. Check out the link above for more answers, please do.

Child of the 60s, and winner five years running in the Massachusetts Annual Phil Collins Lookalike Contest, Wilfred Z. Combover III, is eager to shine his dim light on these cultural curiosities from a bygone era.

Let rip, Wilf, and do your worst!

a #fibbingfriday post.

What musical group from the 1960s was known as “The Fab Four”?

These were six guys from Liverpool who used to play in a cave underground. They had to sack two players because the money only went four ways: the management; the promoter; the venue hire; and the loans on musical instruments. On the upside, the name made more sense afterwards and they wondered why they didn’t think of it before. But they were from Liverpool.

What was the “British Invasion” in the 1960s?

This was the little publicised reenactment of The Pilgrim Fathers beachhead attack on Massachusetts. They came with long hair and identical suits and spoke very strangely indeed. After replacing the drummer, The Pilgrim Fathers changed its name to “The Puritan Four”, and later to “The Impuritan Four” after being introduced to LSD, marijuana and Indian Yogis, the latter of which went feral in American National Parks, stealing pic-a-nic baskets wearing nothing at all but a hat, a collar and a necktie.

What is Stephen King’s book, The Stand about?

God, I wish I knew. What’s more, I wish Stephen King knew! Before he wrote the thing.

So I looked it up on Amazon and it says it’s about $4.99.

What was the TV show, Breaking Bad about?

God, I wish I knew. Hey, there’s a theme here!

I’m just guessing but when you break something, it either breaks good or it breaks bad. We’ve recently had our bathroom retiled and you ought to have heard the rum language coming from that end of the house!

“Whaaa? Oh, for f@#*% sake!”


“Oh for the LOVE O’ FECK!!!!”

I guess some of those tiles were breaking bad.

Exactly who was Kilroy?

Well, you’ve no doubt heard of that Tarantino movie, Kill Bill? Yeah! And its sequel, Kill Bill 2? Yeah! Well, it’s got exactly nothing to do with that.

I don’t know if I have enough bandwidth to go into exact details about this fellow. I mean, where do I begin? With his DNA? Maybe his folks’ DNA? The DNA of Adam and Eve?!! (which would be exactly the same, her being formed of a rib of his, know what I’m saying?).

Existentialism? Søren bleeding Kierkegaard? Darwin’s Theory of bleeding Evolution?!!

What musical instrument is Phil Collins best known for playing?

Phil Collins is famous for playing the comb. It was either that or throw the damn thing away on account of his baldness.

It’s called musical reappropriation in the business. Unless you’re a lawyer specialising in copyright infringement; then it’s plagiarism.

According to Genesis 1, what happened on the seventh day?

And The Lord thus created DNA and sayeth unto Adam, go ye forth and spread thine double helix before the Land of Nod, and Adam said, Phwoah!! and did snigger greatly.

What happened at the O.K. Corral?

At the Terrible Corral, it was terrible, while at the Awesome Corral, it was awesome! But you couldn’t say a lot about the O.K. Corral; it was all right, I suppose.

According to Greek mythology, what was needed to cross the river Styx?

Well, not a return ticket. I won’t be fooled by that scam a second time!

What was the play, Inherit the Wind about?

It’s about the perils of warm bodily gas rising, so if you’re in the audience you had better have bought a ticket for the stalls and not the circle, nor, heaven forbid, a box where everyone in the theatre can see you choke.

The Opposite Sexes Down Under

Take a trip along Lasseter Highway, close to the state line, Northern Territory. There’s orange dirt and orange rocks across a landscape which might just as well be Mars apart from the unrelenting flatness of it; you can literally see for miles; well, just twelve I’m told; unless you believe in a Flat Earth and I’ll tell you, out here, anything’s believable.

A few miles East along the highway you’ll arrive at Curtin Springs, a road house where the beers are reliably cold and the dunny is baking, and by its doors you’ll see illustrated the difference between “Blokes” and “Shielas”: it’s nothing at all!, except the Shielas look in the opposite direction to the Blokes, which is handy to know when using the loo, genderwise.

written for Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #372 – Farce, Negligent, Fear.

What3words location: farce.negligent.fear – near Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Aus.

images via Google maps, Streetview and Google reviews.

Magic Green Circles

Crop rotation took on a new meaning for us as we zeroed in on Magic Valley, Idaho. The green circles from above brought to mind the linoleum floor in a café I once frequented; it’s decor hadn’t been changed since it opened during the Swinging 60s.

I admit the words at first didn’t appear to promise any sort of Earthbound destination, and, for sure, at first sight this does look peculiar. Do the tractors have wheels smaller on one side than the other? Do the crop dusters fly tethered to a central pole; why then are the circles not wider?

Upon the ground, things are no clearer. The landscape reminds me of the scene from North By Northwest just as Cary Grant, dressed as he customarily is, in a business suit and tie, has to leg it through a field of crops, escaping the crop-duster, dusting where there ain’t no crops!

Ruler straight roads and perfectly circular fields; who’d a thought? Even Lemuel Gulliver would have been surprised!

It turns out this is all to do with the means of irrigation. A rotating sprinkler arm determines the centre and radius of the circle; the round sweep which contains and sustains the crop.

What do they do with the spare areas between the square road grids and the circles? Not a lot and it seems either a lack of imagination or a waste. Still, it does look interesting from space.

written for Pensitivity101’s Three Things Challenge #365

What3words location – anniversary.blogging.party – Magic Valley, Idaho, USA

images via screenshots, Google Maps and Streetview.