Most of the flash fiction pieces below were in response to prompts that are song titles, with a maximum of 100 words. If you have a song title you'd like to see turned into flash fiction, just submit it via the contact page and I'll be in touch. By special arrangement, your own flash fiction can be sent to you on a postcard.
‘He won’t say anything. Dumb as a mule.’
‘Mules are stubborn,’ said Owen, ‘not dumb. They bray. Eeaw! You know?’
‘Mule yourself.’ Jodie brought her face close to Gordon’s. ‘Why don’t you speak? Say something!’
Silence. The pair of them squared off, eyes fierce.
She was walking away in disgust when Gordon screamed, ‘Bitch!’
‘What? Would you care to repeat that?’
But Gordon was silent again and she carried on into the kitchen, fuming.
‘Ho, ho! So you can speak.’ Owen got up from his chair. ‘Who’s a clever boy, then?’ he said, poking a finger at the cage.
Prompt: Say Something by Christina Aguilera
The Work Out
‘No willpower,’ said Sharon. ‘Show him a box of chocs and he’ll scoff the lot.’
‘Same with Richard,’ said Milly. ‘Never could resist. Phew! This is hard work!’
‘Yeah, well, at our age…’ She stood up, stretching. ‘Got a fag?’
Milly gave her the packet. ‘It’s not his fault though. He’s really sorry.’
‘Oh, Adrian too. I still love him to bits.’
Milly laughed, pointing to the girl. ‘These bits?’
‘Right! Still, won’t be at it again, will she?’ Sharon picked up the saw and set to work. ‘OK, here comes the head. Got the bin bag?’
Prompt: Young and Menace by Fall Out Boy.
Gulliver in Drobspocklin
Upon entering Drobspocklin, I made the acquaintance of a certain Lubnitt, with whom I conversed agreeably, before suggesting we pursue our talk in an attractive tavern nearby.
‘I’m sorry, Sir,’ he said, ‘but I’m a Slate. That tavern is for Tiles.’ Seeing my bafflement, he continued, ‘You’ve noticed, no doubt, that the roofs on some of our dwellings are of slate, whereas others, larger and prettier, have tiles. I’m afraid we Slates are second-class citizens, denied employment, harassed by guards, even occasionally shot.’ He sighed. ‘But your country is enlightened. I’m sure to you such blatant roofism must appear preposterous.’
Prompt: Skin by Rag'n'Bone Man
The Morning After
'Here it is.'
'There. In front of you.'
'That?' Linda stared at the shoddy scrap of plastic, barely bigger than her futon, that Jimmy was expecting her to admire. 'You're joking.'
'What?' He looked offended. 'Why?'
'Well, it's not what you described last night.' She'd had a bit too much, sure, but she clearly remembered, between the last drink and the sex (lousy, but hey, for a first time together...), the vision of luxury he'd conjured.
'No, then I was joking. You didn't get it?' He held out a hand. 'Cheer up, babe. Welcome aboard the California Dreaming.'
Prompt: California Dreaming by The Mamas and The Papas
‘He’s still in love with you. He wants you to know that. Whatever happens, you can count on him.’
Felicity smiled. ‘Thank you so much. You can’t imagine what it means to me.’
‘Oh, don’t thank me, my dear. I’m simply saying what he told me.’
‘All the same, without you, it wouldn’t be possible.’
‘Indeed. That’s what I’m here for.’
Felicity dipped into her handbag. ‘Here.’
The smile was a little pained. ‘I’m afraid it’s gone up. It’s been a year since he passed. More difficult to contact, you understand.’
Felicity hesitated a moment. Then she nodded. ‘Of course.’
Prompt: Still In Love With You by Electro Velvet.
Happy whatever, she thought, driving back. That’s what they’d said. A surprise. We’ll be happy whatever.
A red light. The brakes squealed. Concentrate.
But she was back there, the transducer sliding over the gel, cold and sticky. Her head craning to see the screen. The doctor blocking it. Then abruptly switching it off, turning towards her. ‘Your husband couldn’t come?’
‘He was busy.’
There was something wrong. His face. His manner. The silence. Everything.
The wrong surprise.
She stifled a sob and turned on the radio full blast. But it couldn’t cover the furious, rushing sh-boom of that tiny heart.
Prompt: Sh-boom by the Crew Cuts
The Same River
'Nothing new under the sun,' said Hank. 'Yet you can't go down to the same river twice.'
Maggie wiggled her fingers, letting the varnish dry. 'Huh?'
'Doesn't make sense. It's contradictory.'
'Hey, what about that drain?'
'If there's nothing new, how can the river be different?'
Maggie took a moment to answer. 'You don't make sense. But that's nothing new, for sure.'
'Mmm.' Hank cracked open another beer. 'You going out, love?'
'Full of bullshit. That thing yesterday. Once more, you can't be-'
'Yeah, you told me.' He leant back. 'Shame we don't live by a river. Must be nice.'
Prompt: Yesterday Once More by The Carpenters
A Tall Short Story
‘You are the best warrior in Bimbongia,’ said the king. ‘But could you beat a knight of Cydonia?’
‘I have heard they are mighty, Majesty.’
‘Humungous, Garalopmop. But to earn my respect, you must slay a giant.’
After a long, perilous journey, Garalopmop arrived in Cydonia, where to his surprise, the first knight to challenge him was a dwarf.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Garalopmop. ‘But upon my honour, I must slay a giant.’
‘Sire,’ said the dwarf. ‘Cydonia is a strange, magical land, where our height varies according to the seasons. At this time of year, the knights are short.’
Prompt: Knights of Cydonia by Muse
'Wow, she’s beautiful!'
Forty minutes and five shandies later, they had the pick-up line. 'Is it witty enough?' worried Lee.
'How do you snog?'
'What? That’s not witty, it’s gross.'
'No, how do you? I’ve never done it.'
'God knows.' Lee sighed. 'Here, toss.'
'Heads.' Andy breathed deeply, adjusted his jacket, smoothed his hair. 'Right.' He walked over. I stepped on a rattlesnake yesterday. Could he really say that? Really?
He smiled, heart pounding. 'Hello.'
The girl arched an eyebrow. 'You know what? Piss off.'
'Here’s a tip,' Andy said, getting back. 'Never try the rattlesnake line, OK?'
Prompt: Hello by Lionel Richie
Terence looked at the girl. She was pretty, in a strange sort of way, her hair untidy across her face, but looking as if it couldn’t have been any different. Nothing could have been different. The swing was still now, an emptiness in the sunlight. Far off, the murmur of voices.
Eventually, time would resume, but for now, the whole world was still, the girl’s prettiness just right. He ought to move but he felt drowsy. He ought to move her. Slide her gently into the soft canal. He lay down beside her. Breathing her hair. Feeling good.
Prompt: Feeling Good by Nina Simone
According to Instructions
‘I’ll be back soon.’ She almost added, ‘I love you,’ but didn’t. Too early for that, and she wasn’t young and foolish any more.
They kissed again. Reaching the security gate, Jenny looked back. Bob was still there, waving, and she thought, why not, after all? A new life, undreamt of after widowhood, with a generous, wealthy American. Kind too, even down to those beautiful gifts for her grandchildren. She waved back.
He blew a kiss and, reaching for his telephone, walked away across the shiny floor of Bangkok airport. Mule perfect, he texted. Batch sent as instructed.
Prompt: Send in the Clowns by Judy Collins
I don’t like Mr. Wheeler. I can see what he’s thinking and it scares me. I don’t like this job either. ‘Are you sure it’s legal?’ I asked.
‘It’s only water, love.’ He grabbed the syringe. ‘Look.’
I don’t like him saying 'love' and staring at my boobs. Not that there’s anything there.
‘Wouldn’t be able to sell ’em if they looked like you. Too skinny, love.’
He waved the syringe at me. I folded my arms and backed away.
He plunged the syringe into the chicken and watched it swell. His eyes gleamed. ‘There. Nice and plump now, love.’
Prompt: Skinny Love by Jewel