Curious Performance

PHOTO PROMPT (c) Amanda Forestwood

Thirty minutes until her performance. Time enough, perhaps, to discover why she’d been hired.

“A birthday?” she asked the bartender. She’d already ruled out a wedding because there was nothing resembling an altar on the lawn.

“Don’t know,” the bartender said. “All that matters is they’re paying 10% over my standard rate.” She was also being well compensated, but still…

Other staff being similarly unhelpful, she returned to the chair where she’d left her violin. An elderly woman approached, and asked if she wanted to know why she was here.


“I’m dying today. As are all my guests.”

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.




“That man isn’t playing with a full deck,” he said.

His partner disagreed. “He’s got 52 cards, all of them jokers. His actions are unpredictable but calculated; you never know what he’ll do but he’s always working to his advantage.”

“Jokers also come in pairs,” their boss added. “He always has a backup in case his original plan doesn’t work. And with 26 different pairs, he’s got many different plans to choose from.”

“He’s wild,” the partner said. “And powerful.”

“So… what do we do?”

“Wait for him to play his card. And when we respond, look for the second.”

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Today’s Specials

PHOTO PROMPT (C) Rowena Curtin

Adjacent to the closest parking lot, the pub’s rear door served as the primary entrance. A narrow flight of four stairs with wrought iron guardrails led down to a heavy wood door that was difficult to open in cold weather.

The obligatory St. Patrick’s Day special was a discount on all Irish ales, beers, and liquors, plus an even steeper discount on the signature entree: corned beef wrapped in a rye flatbread, lightly fried and served with garlic-seasoned cabbage and thousand-island dressing tinged with paprika and crafted on site.

Even without the discounts, business would be good this day.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge. Enjoy the holiday!


PHOTO PROMPT (C) Jennifer Pendergast

The banquet room was as expensive as his ego.

Polished silverware, crystal drinking glasses, and delicate bowls had been set in military formation on the white table linens. A frosted bonsai sat at the center of the round table, and the overhead lights were covered with shades in the shape of large white roses. A padded chair stood behind each place setting like a sentry. The surrounding walls, covered by intricately carved wood panels and gilded portrait frames, completed the room’s opulence.

The bowls were for soup, as their meal would, of course, start with a soup course.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Evening Shift

PHOTO PROMPT (c) Miles Rost

Sally (her parents said that would be her American name) was a Laundry Attendant at the hotel. At the beginning of her shift at 8 PM she loaded the bedsheets and other linens from guest rooms into the industrial-size washers. After transferring the loads to the even larger dryers the tablecloths and napkins from the dining room were available for the washers. When the dryers finished Sally transferred the linens to the pressing and folding machines. By 4 AM, she had stacked all linens in storage for use by custodial staff.

Regular coffee consumption at work was essential for Sally.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Section 553

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

His father was unusually spontaneous and insistent when he told him about the tickets. “I have choir practice Saturday afternoon,” he protested. “Sing on Sunday,” his father retorted.

On the drive to the stadium he tried discussing the game, but his father was dismissively curt, again unusual.

They ascended to section 553 in silence. From their seats the players stretching on the field looked like brightly-colored decorations on a large sheet cake.

After they bought their beers minutes before the game started, he asked, “what’s wrong?”

His father snorted. “Your mother wants a divorce. This time, I’m not fighting her.”

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest.



Because apartment 2F, my first “home” for three years after college, was a corner unit with windows on the north and west walls, my rent was $25 more than my neighbors. Even better than the additional light was the cross-breeze in summer, making the lack of air conditioning less unbearable.

It was where I learned the lessons schools somehow found unteachable. Budgeting, scheduling, accountability. The place I discovered my capacity for compromising on ambitions.

I didn’t have the responsibilities I have now, or the resources to satisfy them. A simpler life that only seems better when I regret my compromises.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Fading Signal

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Did she really love him?

She enjoyed his company but realized that enjoyment had become perfunctory, like watching a streaming series that had become predictable after its exciting debut.

She felt safe when with him. Safety meant comfort, and she feared the crushing boredom that often came with comfort.

When honest with herself, she knew demonstrating her love for him was more important than experiencing that love. It was like a spray-painted heart on a park bench, a signal to passers-by. A signal that would inevitably fade.

If she loved him, she’d have to sit with him on that bench.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.


PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Like the abandoned building itself, the adjacent land had surrendered to disuse, transformed after four decades into a disorderly copse. Thin aspens and birches crowded against each other like commuters on a railroad platform jostling for an open door. No tree in the untamed collection allowed sufficient space for any other to grow to its full potential. Overhead leaves provided a dense canopy in summer, yet in lifeless winter the grove extended pale fingers into the grey sky. Rejuvenation would come in the longer days of spring; until then, the lot idled in a restless slumber.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge.

Better Use


He replied curtly, hoping but not expecting to pause their argument, then tossed his phone face-up onto the dashboard.

The western horizon was colored in wine as he exited the rest area. The ruddy brilliance promised good weather that evening, into the following day. Perhaps that would take an edge off their confrontation.

Oncoming headbeams filled the cabin with light, and he saw in his windshield the phone’s reflection. He’d received another text, no doubt from her, but he was driving now and would arrive in ten, fifteen. Enjoying the fading sunset seemed a better use of his time.

For this week’s Friday Fictioneers, I chose to ignore that the cars in the photo prompt appear to be driving on the left side of the road.