The Adapter

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

We thought our plan was foolproof.

After connecting to the province’s electrical grid, we would absorb enough energy into our capacitor to power our crippled spacecraft, and return home.

To convert the electricity into an energy we could use, we created three connectors, each adapting separate electromagnetic frequencies into the capacitor.

We tested the adapter, and ran our plan through thousands of scenarios on our computer, which calculated a 99% chance of success.

But the province’s grid failed under the stress of our power draw. We had to abandon the mission, leaving the adapter behind to remind us of our folly.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest, where the challenge is to write a complete story of 100 words or less based on a photo prompt.

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The Last Night

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

My manager did well, booking me here. Unlike most joints where I’ve done my routine, the marquee here looks professional — bold letters against a white background free of holes and dead lights. Many stand-ups would consider performing at a place like this a sign of their arrival.

But for me, this is the end. After too many years pursuing what had been a dream, I’ve woken up into a nightmare of disappointment. Working at my cousin’s insurance agency may not be fulfilling, but it will pay the bills.

One last performance, then on to a world without punch lines.

A Picture Can Tell a Thousand Stories (at least 10, anyway)

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Not being inspired by my latest entry for Friday Fictioneers, I decided to share some more worthy stories from the same prompt. These were chosen pretty much at random:

 

  • neeltheauthor provides a tale of a man with a good reason to conceal his identity
  • In Fellow Passengers, Anita shows a chance encounter that may be more than a coincidence
  • A different random encounter leads to an uncomfortable scene in Rowena’s Not Tonight, Josephine
  • Rachel Bjerke’s narrator is on a mission in Upward Mobility
  • Flight To Freedom from James McEwan shows the desperation of a traveler who has good reason to be anxious for her flight to depart
  • M. Phyllis Moore provides a mythological twist in Traveling
  • I’m not quite sure I understand The Hireling, but I enjoyed this story from Sugar on the Bee
  • gahlearner describes a tense scene in Gesundheit!
  • venkyninja1976 gets lyrical in Soaring Memories, Starry Hopes 
  • And to complete this list, a sonnet from Ladyleemanila

Pre-Boarding Decision

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Twenty minutes from boarding, and there’s no adjacent pair of unoccupied seats at Gate 24. Turbulent landing from the last flight has pushed my introversion over into misanthropy. Can’t bear sitting next to a stranger.

Already went to the bathroom, stomach’s too upset for food, and the newsstand holds no interest. There’s fewer people in Gate 26; I can probably find a seat there, and pay close attention to the announcements.

“Excuse me?” The woman looks like she came from my grandmother’s bridge game. She waves to the seat next to hers.

I shrug, and sit, realizing how introverts make poor martyrs.

 

Heat in the Kitchen

PHOTO PROMPT © Valerie J. Barrett

“Will you two knock it off?” protested Spoon. “Let me lie in peace.”

“Hey, I’m just doing my job,” deadpanned Iron. “Our neighbor’s the one dribbling like a nervous basketball player.”

“Then get off the stove, Flat-Face!” whistled Kettle.

“Settle down — ”

“You’re a tea pot, not a lawn sprinkler.”

“Go play Monopoly!”

The heat on the stove top was turned down, and Kettle cooled to a low simmer, as the water on Iron’s handle evaporated.

“Peace, at last,” sighed Spoon.

“Just hope spigot-breath gets turned towards the wall before I have to warm up again.”

“Go press a shirt!”

Sometimes I just wanna have a little fun with Friday Fictioneers.

One Photo, Many Stories

As a frequent participant in Friday Fictioneers, I thought it was time for me to show the variety of stories that come out of these contests. Below are ten randomly-selected entries for this week’s contest, for which I had submitted Artistic Vision:

  • In Birthday Party, Iain Kelly adds an unwelcome visitor to the scene
  • Neel Anil Panicker provides a similar dark twist in The Lure
  • A Dangerous Game by Colline Kook-Chun uses the children’s game as a parable of innocence
  • The party ends abruptly in Granonine’s Game Over!
  • Many stories had the donkey coming to life, but Reena Saxena’s I believe in you provides a literary twist to the device
  • It’s hard to make a political statement in 100 words or less, but Speedway Randy gives it a shot in Figures
  • Rowena provides a surprise ending in “Ma-Ma!”
  • Childhood, by Dale, recalls a day when children could play with less direct supervision
  • Alicia Jamtaas used an approach very similar to my own in Taking Advantage
  • Cheaters may never win, but Marlicia Fernandez shows they can have fun in Consolation Prize

Those were just some of the entries for this week. Rochelle’s next photo this coming Friday should inspire similar creative efforts.

Artistic Vision

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Even at age six, Wylie’s talent was evident.

She began cartooning in preschool, and for her fourth birthday illustrated all 22 invitations. After completing her first comic book the following year, the 43-page space opera Beyond the Stars, Wylie discovered she was more interested in coloring than drawing.

Shen then began painting, but grew dissatisfied. Her lines were clean, the images vibrant — the colors, though, weren’t right. In frustration, one day she painted with eyes closed, and when finished, she opened her eyes, and smiled.

Wylie then began coloring blindfolded, with both crayons and paints. And an artist found her vision.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest. You’re limited to 100 words, but keeping your eyes open is entirely up to you.

Flags

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Flags,” Jamie said, pointing above the undulating water of the pool.

“Pennants, actually,” Clement replied. “On backstrokes, swimmers use them to know their location.”

“Huh. So there’s four different swimming events, right?” Clement nodded. “And those flags are only used for one of them — the slowest one.”

“I assume your observation is more than just an arrangement of words.”

“Doesn’t it strike you as odd, to let people know where they are when they’re moving backwards, and there’s a better way to get where you’re going?”

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest. It’s always fun to participate, even when you struggle for inspiration.

The Dare

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

One day eighteen winters ago, Jackie Shen dared me to crawl under a barbed wire fence, walk into an abandoned building, and return with evidence of the structure’s former life as a military laboratory.

When I refused, Jackie laughed at my trepidation. “Wait here,” he said, getting down on his belly. Clearing the fence, he stood and ran, disappearing into the derelict structure.

After waiting two hours, I ran home and told my parents. They called Jackie’s parents. Three days later, his body was found in a ditch ten miles away. No arrests were ever made.

I’ve never forgiven myself.

I usually don’t get this dark for Friday Fictioneersbut the photo prompt for this week called for a different approach to my 100 word story.

A Place to Belong

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Daniel shook snow off his pant leg as he crossed the street, not noticing until he had reached the sidewalk that Miriam was still standing outside their car, her face filled with anxiety.

“You OK?” Daniel squinted in the late afternoon sunlight.

“I… didn’t think it would be this hard.” She brushed away a lock of hair blown across her face. “Weddings, bar mitzvahs — ”

“B’nai mitzvah, dear.”

“Right. But a Shabbat service? Not since I was eight. I don’t feel like I belong here.”

Daniel held out his hand. “If you choose to be by my side, you belong anywhere I’ll go.”

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest which challenges you to write a complete story of up to 100 words based on a photo prompt. You know you want to participate, so what’s holding you up?