Writing Prompt: A Count, Payable

Prompt: You’re at work, like any normal day, and happen to look out the window as you head to the break room for a second cup of coffee. What you see makes you stop in your tracks: What is it?


Coffee splattered across the tile floor, missing Jake’s cup as he gaped at the window.

“What the f—,” he yelled, throwing his mug and the coffee pot across the break room.

“Whoa, Jake, calm down, buddy,” a voice behind him said. “What happened?”

“That idiot, Ed, just smacked his car door into mine. I’ll kill him! I’ll kill that stupid, son of a —!”

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Flash Fiction: A Widow’s Mite (Revised)

Meryl’s fingers creaked as she anointed each with holy warmth, struggling to dress each gnarled crevice. The smell of incense and candle smoke was strongest in the back pew where she huddled together, a clump of dirt and tatters. She smiled at her hands. Sure, it was colder than pews further towards the altar, but the scent was the most heavenly vessel in the church. Besides, she got enough looks sitting in the back. The front would be a firing squad of stares and mumbles.

“Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,” the priest’s intonations rose with the organ, “Have mercy on us. Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world. Grant us Your peace.”

Meryl tilted her head upward to watch. It was no different from any other mass she had sat through. The ushers conducted rows to the front for communion, releasing the spiritually hungry to join the bread line. Soon, it would be her turn. As the row in front of her gathered into the line, a family of four walked past her. A boy of 10 pulled his face below a dress shirt and tie, smushing the bridge of his nose under the white collar; a girl, Meryl reckoned his sister, pinched tight her nose, grimacing at Meryl as she pinched tighter.

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Flash Fiction: Train-track Stories

The railway strained towards the horizon, sprawled below my feet.

I’ve always liked train tracks. Each rail narrates tales of the trains that pass over them, of their passengers. Where were they going? Why were they going? I would ask them every day and listen as they rattled out stories of sons leaving to wed, daughters leaving to college, friends leaving to war.

        But not anymore.

Train-track stories are about journeys. Middles, centers of narratives, unending with conclusions unseen. They are never ends.

That was what I thought until two years ago.

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Flash Fiction: A Widow’s Mite

Meryl’s fingers creaked as she anointed each with holy warmth, struggling to dress each gnarled crevice. The smell of incense and candle smoke was strongest in the back pew where she huddled together, a clump of dirt and tatters. She smiled at her hands. Sure, it was colder than pews further towards the altar, but the scent was the most heavenly vessel in the church. Besides, she got enough looks sitting in the back. The front would be a firing squad of stares and mumbles.

“Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,” the priest’s singing rose with the organ, “Have mercy on us. Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world. Grant us Your peace.”

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Flash Fiction: Three Rings

I twisted in the chair. How will she react? Crumpling the silk tablecloth in my hand, I stared at the entrance. Am I waiting for her or blueprinting how to escape? Too late for that.

A black waterfall of hair crashed over her pallid-rock shoulders as she sashayed through the cherry-wood double doors. Her eyes locked on to me before I could consider slinking to the bathroom and attempting a stealthy retreat.

“Charlie!” she called, waving her arm; a small box was trapped in the hand of the other. She bounded across the restaurant to me.

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Flash Fiction: Jeremy & Luis

Jeremy plodded along the narrow track of sidewalk, his eyes guiding each step. A “D”? he thought. What’s going to happen to my scholarships? What will I tell mom and dad?

“Change?” a voice scratched.

“Huh?”

“Change?”

Jeremy’s eyes looked up to study a homeless man with a beard like a Brillo pad after being used to scrub off dried blood.

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Flash fiction: Beneath The Seat

Tom plodded to his crimson truck in strides like an elderly runner wearing weighted shoes. Where the light came to rest on the truck, its faded paint looked almost pink. A trail of rust spots where the paint had torn away led him around to the driver side door. He tucked his gun case under his camouflaged arm and scratched for keys in his pocket. Coming up empty, he leaned the gun case against the truck and lifted his mottled cap, the greens and browns of living and dead leaves; he swept his fissured fingers through his hair, threads of oak with patches of hoarfrost. Replacing his hat, Tom plunged his hand into the other pocket. Pinching the key, he slid it into the lock, turning it slowly as though afraid it would break.

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