Yesterday was one of my favorite events, Fiction 440. I’ve mentioned it before on my old blog, but, let me refresh your memory.
Fiction 440 is a local event that takes place every few months. Participants are given 3 words and they have until the next event to write a 440-word piece of fiction that includes those words. Those that wish to then read their story at the event. There are no excerpts, no poetry and no judging. It’s always a great experience and it’s inspired works and stories that I never would have written otherwise. It’s so amazing to see the wide variety of stories that people come up with using the same words.
In true panster fashion, I typically wait until the last minute to write my story, letting the words marinate between events and cranking out 440 words (or more, usually) the day before the story is due. It’s great fun. I’ve even used the event to streamline one of the scenes from my WIP and loved the way it turned out (I did break the no excerpts rule that day).I mean, when else would I have had the opportunity to write about
Trout, Shiv, Ankle-Bracelet
But, if you can, I highly recommend using this event, or one like it, to spark your creative fire. I mean, when else would I have had the opportunity to write about shivs and kindergartners. Yup, you heard me. The words for this event were Trout, Shiv and Ankle-Bracelet (I added the kindergartner). Good stuff, right?
So, behold. My latest Fiction 440 creation, (Also, check the Fiction 440 category for my past stories).
“When Kindergartners Go Bad.”
“She what?” Lou practically shouted at the receptionist who called to tell him he had a student waiting to be seen.
“She was talking about shivs on the playground. Her teacher panicked and marched her down claiming that she was violent and we should consider expulsion.”
“She’s how old?”
Lord. He’d put off retirement to deal with five-year-olds talking about shivs? “Ok, send her in.”
The little girl pushed open the door. The blonde pigtails perched on top of her head bounced as she jumped into the seat.
“Maggie? Do you know why you’re here?”
She shook her head, her ponytails dancing. ‘Oh yea,’ he thought, ‘This is a hardened criminal.’
“Were you on the playground talking about a shiv?”
Her eyes lit up and she nodded, “Yes, Mr. Tompkins!”
He glanced at the notes he’d taken, “You were going to…help your uncle with his shiv?”
“Uh huh! He needs help real bad and I want to help him.”
“And your uncle…he’s…”
“In prison,” she stated.
He slouched back into his chair. He gave up trout fishing on Lake Michigan for this? “He’s in prison and you want to help him with his shiv? How do you know he needs help?””He said so when he was talking to my mom on the speakerphone. I’m not allowed to talk to him because he’s no good but he calls sometimes and she says we don’t turn our back on family. And that means I should help him if he needs help.”
“He said so when he was talking to my mom on the speakerphone. I’m not allowed to talk to him because he’s no good but he calls sometimes and she says we don’t turn our back on family. And that means I should help him if he needs help.”
“This is how kids end up with ankle-bracelets..” he muttered and too late realized it was out loud.
“I have one of those!” she exclaimed.
“Yup!” She lifted a leg up onto the desk. “See!” She pointed to a silver chain encircling her ankle.
“So, how were you going to help your uncle?”
“I was going to check the lost and found!”
“The lost and found?”
“Yup, if kids leave them they must not need them but my uncle does so I figure I can take one and give it my mom and she can send it to him.”
“But, what were you looking for?”
“A coat!? Why on Earth were you looking for a coat!”
“Well, if he’s got a shiv, he must be cold. That’s like a shiver, right?”
He gaped at her for a moment while she blinked at him. Then he nodded.
“Yes, Maggie. You’re absolutely right. That’s exactly what that is.”When she was gone, he picked up the phone and rang the receptionist. “Linda, find a sub for me for tomorrow. I’m going fishing.”
When she was gone, he picked up the phone and rang the receptionist. “Linda, find a sub for me for tomorrow. I’m going fishing.”
Do you have any Flash Fiction stories you’ve written for a challenge or event? Care to share? No judging here either, I promise.