#5MinuteFiction Week 36

And we call it 5MinuteFiction because you write a nice little piece of fiction in five minutes. Crazy people that we are. Are you new? Get in there and start scrapping!

The Rules

* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose in any style or genre

* You must directly reference today’s prompt: familiarity

(Note: The prompt is the word. The picture is for decoration/inspiration or may be completely random.)

* Post your entry as a comment to this post.

I’ll close the contest at 1:45. That gives you 5 minutes to write and ten to accommodate the vagaries of relative time, technology, and the fickle internets. If you are confused or just want to whine, feel free to email me.

At the close of the contest, this week’s guest judge, Jeff Bennington, @TweetTheBook will nominate five finalists. I’ll put the nominees in the poll on the side of the page, and at 9:00 EST tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.

For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, or follow me on twitter.

What’s the prize? Well, nothing, obviously. But we’ll all agree to tweet and/or blog about the winner of today’s contest so their fame and fortune will be assured.

A Few Notes:

* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box. It’s also smart to do a quick highlight and copy before you hit “post” just in case the internets decide to eat your entry. If your entry doesn’t appear right away, email me sometimes comments go into the suspected spam folder and I have to dig them out.

* I reserve the right to remove hate speech or similar but I’m not too picky about the other stuff.

* This is all for fun and self-promotion. So be sure to put your twitter handle at the end of your post and a link to your blog if you have one.

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21 Responses to #5MinuteFiction Week 36

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    His familiarity with nominalization was an unknown. He made a decision to commence a conduction of an investigation for a solution.


  2. They say that familiarity breeds contempt. And they couldn’t have been more right. I had been living in this little condo with Dave for three years when I came to realize that I hated him with every fiber of my being. I don’t mean that I just was annoyed by him, or anything trite like that. No, no. I was sitting in my room, listening to him clip his toenails and comment on the size of the dirt clog he found in the clipper, when I devised a plan to kill him. A perfect plan. One that would paint me as the victim as well. One that would have the cops on a goose chase for a killer that didn’t exist, while I could finally scour his room down with draino and move someone decent in there. It was beautiful. And subtle. And something I could start the very next day.

    Familiarity. It not only bred contempt in this case, but it also aided me in my plans. During these past three years, Dave held to a pretty strict schedule. And I had grown to know every last second of that schedule, right down to the times he brushed his teeth after lunch on the quad. I was going to do it. I was going to kill this little git that had made every last night for the past three years a living nightmare. But I would need some help. My best friend, Larry, had a van that would be perfect for this plan.

    I called him up. I told him that it was time. It was time to finally get rid of my asshole roommate once and for all. He told me he was in. So, I laid out the plan, the whole thing, laid it all bare for him to scrutinize and tell me where the holes were. Larry was good at things like that. He always went over my electronics homework for just this very reason. After spelling it all out, I sat back and waited for his reply.

    “Dude,” he said. “Seriously? Why not just tell him he has to find a new place to live. You own that condo you live in, after all.”

    Kick him out? Clearly Larry didn’t understand the depth of my pain. Clearly, Larry needed to go as well. Time for a new plan.


  3. “So you have some familiarity with the subject?”

    “Yes,” I answered. Oh, yes. I was… familiar with the subject. Rather more than they’d be happy about if they knew.

    “Will you be observing, then, doctor?”

    “Yes. I’d like to scrub in, if it’s all right with you.”

    “Fine. Always nice to have another capable pair of hands. This will be a long one.”

    “I would think so.”

    “Is the subject anesthetized already?”

    “No, we won’t anesthetize unless it becomes necessary. The subject’s response is vital to our research.”

    “Very good.”

    Good she wasn’t knocked out yet. It would make this easier.

    She was strapped down, though. So in the operating room I had to work alone, incapacitating–nice word for murdering–the other doctors and nurses. But Samantha didn’t hesitate once I got one hand loose. She did the rest of the restraints and was out the door ahead of me, reaching back for the gun I’d brought for her.

    “Is it clear?” she asked.

    “Of course not. There will probably be dozens of their goons between us and outside.

    She grinned. “Good.”

  4. Jay says:

    Peterson, situated high on the rooftop, spied his target through the scope: a hypercephalic Tinnard, ensconced prominently in the middle of a lounge a few blocks away. The Tinnard’s arrogant bombast from its recent entrance was an effuse blanket, spreading onto the faces of the patrons. This would be too easy. Peterson felt a pang a guilt for agreeing to the sizable hit payment.

    The Tinnard’s drink was served, and the miniature jointed appendages lining the sides of its grossly oversized head jittered with delight. Peterson saw the telltale condensed frost on the sides of the cup and the bluish glow on the rim, and its familiarity made him turn away from the scope. The last time he saw that drink was when he was with Kathryn, nearly a year ago, when she had found out about his work. In the midst of rage she tossed it right at his face. The scars left by the supercooled liquid hurt when it rained.

    Judging by the rapturous attention of his barmates, the Tinnard kept to its species’ idiosyncrasy and launched into a joke. Peterson waited for the exact quarter-second when it would pause its speech and raise the cup to its opened pincers. Peterson shifted away from the meat of the Tinnard’s head, exhaled slowly, and pulled the trigger in between heartbeats — then quickly re-scoped his handiwork. The cup had shattered completely and sprayed the now half-handed Tinnard and the lifeforms close by with the blue liquid. They howled silently and scattered in confusion and pain.

    Peterson ducked undercover and managed a smile with his slightly deformed mouth. The pay would have been nice, but the thought of someone else quite literally knowing his pain was much better.


  5. Bronwynk says:

    The familiarity of the situation was eary. The scene was different but everything else was the same. A bloodless corpse, no blood any where, a frying pan with a word etched on the bottom, and a knife with a deer antler handle. But instead of being left in a trashy ally, this one was left on the steps of a fancy night club.

    After surveying the scene, I shook my head and turned to my partner.

    “Do you think it is a copy cat or the same person?” I asked.

    “I don’t know.” Nick said, kneeling next to the frying pan. “The word on the pan is the same. And we never released that to the press. So my guess is that it is the same person.” I took a deep breath.

    “Just what we need. A serial killer with a vampire MO.”

    “Hey, Vicki?” I turned to look at the CSI standing by the corpse. I walked over to him.

    “What did you find?” The CSI pointed to the crumpled paper in the corpse’s hand. I bent down and gently removed it from the hand.

    “What does it say, Vicki?” Nick asked as he joined me. I opened the paper. In a broad handwriting the note held a warning.

    This is not the end.

  6. Familiarity

    Her neck.

    Her voice.

    Her left heel.

    The way she walks.

    The way she smells.

    The way she looked deep into my eyes. And laughed.

    All this stays with me. But only the small unframed photo, buried at the bottom of my jewelry box, remains.


  7. Jules Carey says:

    The room had a strange familiarity about it. Ben swore he’d been here many times before. Images ran through his head.

    A body on the floor.

    Dead silence.

    And the blood. So very much blood!

    Hoping his eyes didn’t reveal his panic, he turned to the officer who brought them here. “I’m sorry sir, but I just don’t recognize any of it,” he lied. The psychologist nodded to the detective. It must have been enough to convince them.


  8. Paul Freeman says:

    She was sitting in a chair in front of me as I stood over her. She was wearing the red dress I like, the one with the slit up the side that exposed the tops of her stockings and the soft creamy hint of flesh when she sat. Her head was buried in her hands, long black curls fell over her fingers.

    “Please,” she was saying, shaking her head. “Please don’t do this.”

    I’d been savage and cutting to her in my remarks. Despite not being able to see her face I knew her eye makeup was smudged where she had rubbed at it. But she hadn’t cried. I wanted her to cry, I needed her to cry. In a perverse way seeing her tears reaffirmed her feelings for me, it showed she cared what I said, that my hurtful barbs were not just water off a ducks back.

    The more she held out, the longer she fought back her sobs, the angrier I got, the more vicious I became. Jesus, I couldn’t even remember what we were fighting about, let alone who had started it. It was always like this, what the hell was wrong with me? Why did I need such an outward display of emotion? I knew I loved her, I really did. Even at that moment, when my anger was building inside me like a pressure cooker ready to explode. I was torn between wanting to strike her and to hold her in my arms. The familiarity of this scene played out again and again a hundred times, always with the same conclusion, just made the rage inside me burn.

    She looked up, meeting my stare. I drew my arm back, ready to cuff her in the side of the head. She flinched, I could see fear in her eyes, but no tears. I held my hand back. It started to shake, I could feel my whole body start to tremble then. I didn’t want to hit her, I never wanted to hurt her. But why did she have to fight me so, with her stubborn bloody resistance?

    I didn’t want to fight, I imagined holding her in my arms, slowly undoing the zip at the back of the red dress, standing back and watching as it slid down her body, over her hips, drinking in the sight of her standing before me in her stockings and underwear, watching her unclip her bra and letting it fall to the floor.

    “Let’s not fight,” I said, pulling her to her feet. I pulled her into me, held her head against my chest. I could feel tears in my eyes. I was crying.

    What’s wrong with me?

  9. R.C. Murphy says:

    “They look familiar,” Susan whispered. “Where have I seen him before?”

    Nikki held up a hand and ticked off points as she replied, “Under the bleachers Sophomore year. The stairwell during summer school the same year. Out by the dumpsters at the movie theater in the Winter of-”

    Susan’s hand clamped over her friend’s mouth. She glanced back over at the man to make sure he hadn’t heard. Nikki was loud. Annoying. And possessed the memory of an elephant. Given one small detail of an even, she is able to dig up everything that happened. Usually she used the power to embarrass her friends.

    “Why the hell is he here now?” They were huddled in a corner of the store they’d opened together.

    Across the room, the object of their curiosity poked through a rack of knitted scarves. “Maybe his neck got cold. Stop being a spazz.”

    “But Jerry-”

    “Dumped you for the cheerleader who didn’t know what a pair of panties were. He’s a pig, Susie.” Nikki smoothed her friend’s hair and offered a reassuring smile.

    “I hope he caught a venereal disease,” Susan grumbled as she stepped up behind the register. “Or worse, knocked her up.”


    “God works in wonderful ways, darling.” The women smiled at each other and fought not to laugh when Jerry brought three pink scarves up to the register.


  10. “Yup,” Thomas says aloud to no one, “It’s all the same. Nothing ever changes in this boring old town.”

    Thomas walks down the main thoroughfare of the small town in Kansas he has resided in since his youth. He passes by the family grocery store that never has the products you want. He passes by barber shop where old men congregate to complain about local politics.

    “I wish there was something better. I would give anything for a little excitement,” Thomas mutters to himself.

    He passes by the doughnut shop that is an undercover front for a secret federal government agency that kidnaps children off the streets. “Frank” is standing outside with an extremely noticeable ear piece and dark sun glasses.

    “Hey, ‘Frank,’” Thomas says.

    Frank nods but says nothing.

    “What a boring town,” Thomas says as he passes by the mom-and-pop store that brings your wildest dreams true for a moderate fee.


  11. Tauisha Nicole @shells2003 says:

    I love my son. He’s the most adorable creature in my world.

    And what I love most about him is that, even at the age of nine, he still loves his teddy bear. He takes him everywhere I’ve drawn the line at bath time, but even that was a struggle. Even now, he’s sitting on the couch with a bag packed to visit his dad for the weekend, but teddy is cradled close to him.

    I smile, thinking of the familiarity between them. Granted, the bear is inanimate, but even he looks like he’s been designed to snuggle close to my son. When his father, Rick bought the bear for him, Jason couldn’t have been more proud. He looked at his father as the strongest man ever to have won the bear for him at a fair. Rick has always been everything to Jason.

    If only Jason knew the real reason why mommy and daddy aren’t together anymore.

    “Jason, did you get everything?” I walked into the living room to ask him.

    He demands to pack his own bags. Apparently, nine year old men don’t need their moms to pack for them.

    “Yes, mom.”

    “Your toothbrush?”


    “Enough socks.”

    “Yes, mom.”



    I smiled and sighed, sneaking in a hug. “Just looking out for you, baby.”

    He smiled and looked out the window.

    I turned and went back into my bedroom to grab my glasses, wondering why the world looked a little blurry. Once inside, I heard my cell phone ring. Without looking at the caller I.D, I answered the phone. “Hello.”

    “Hey, Jess. It’s Rick.”

    “Oh, hey. Jason is waiting for you. He seems excited. He can’t stop talking about the surprise you have planned for him. Are you on your way?”

    “Actually, that’s why I’m calling.”

    My heart shattered. This is why Rick is calling. This is why he always calls.

    “You’re not going to do this to Jason again! Why are you always disappointing him? He’s been looking forward to this all week!”

    Rick huffed. “Don’t need this from you, Jess. Really don’t.”

    “And he doesn’t need this from you!”

    There was no response. When I looked at the phone, it was flashing the length of the call.

    Rick hang up on me.

    I slumped down to the bed, wondering how I was going to break the news to Jason this time. How was I going to tell him his father let him down…again. Why did I always have to be the bad guy? Why did Rick always abandon his son? Why…


    I jumped, hand flying to my chest. “Jason.”

    He walked closer. “You’re crying?”

    Touching my cheeks, the wetness there…I didn’t even know I was crying.

    Stopping a few feet away from me, Jason tilted his head to the side. “He isn’t coming, is he?”

    What could I say to this precious boy?

    “I’m sorry, sweetie,” I sighed. “But, maybe next time-”

    “It’s ok, mom. Really. I’m going to my room.”

    He left before I could say another word. When I walked to the door to watch him walk slowly to his room, my heart shattered once again.

    He dropped teddy. Walked away from him. Teddy’s black beads for eyes staring at me in sorrow. And Jason left him.

    For the first time ever, Jason left him.

  12. Bethany says:

    “What an unfortunate child you are.” Was a person supposed to have that many teeth? Rows upon rows gleamed down at her from where the man had leaned over the counter. She offered him money; he gobbled it up without hesitation, then started to grin again. The green of a dollar bill stained his teeth like a piece of spinach.

    A plastic bag appeared, held in one of his wrinkled hands. She could not remember what was in it (what had she just bought?), but she held out her hands for it, grasping it to her chest like a favored doll.

    “Look both ways on your way home,” the cashier said. She made her way out of the store, ducking around the adults that pushed and shoved to make their own purchases. Oh yes. That was what she had bought.

    She opened the bag, peeling back the plastic to reveal the orb inside.

    She had bought her ticket home.

  13. Wow, that one got to me this week. Fitting it into only 5 minutes, that is, without leaving it open-ended and lame. But it was fun! You like it?

    Well finalists will be posted by 3:00, so come back ’round to celebrate (or grouse) and vote.

  14. Tony Noland says:

    The infinitesimally tiny shavings of steel glinted in the moonlight, tumbling through the air like my own private sackful of stars, dumped by the side of the road and blown across a darkened plain. My father would slap me for notching the slide of a gun, maybe hit me with the file, call me a shithead fool for screwing up blued steel by giving it a rust magnet.

    You reduce the value of the piece, he’d say.

    Value of the piece… fuck you, old man. It was valuable, now it’s not. Still shoots the same. I know how this stuff works, where the true value of something is held. That’s what truth is all about, not the bullshit people layer on top of it all.

    And who cares, anyway? It’s not my gun, and Andrei will sure as hell never need it again. Not with his face on one side of the room, his brains on the other and he rest of him on the chair in between. The piece isn’t a showoff toy anymore, not the half-assed dick extender Andrei used it for.

    The gun is worthless, except for what it can do.

    Like me.

    Andrei… how’d them copkiller rounds feel, huh? Big shots for a big shot? Bet you only felt the first one, huh?


    I could shove the file down into his neck hole, leave it as a message or something. Seems excessive, but on the other hand, I’m not going to need the file again, either.

    There won’t be a chance to cut any more notches after the next time. I know how this works.

    — by @TonyNoland —

  15. Well, I meant to post it here but accidentally posted it on the wrong post ~headdesk~
    I’m reposting it here, late, but it was on time on the other post. Can I claim pre-blizzard brain freeze?

    Leah, can you erase it from the other post (the one following this one)? Thanks.

    “Aggghhhh!” Jalen shouted as she threw the bowl to the floor. “I am never going to be able to do this. I try and I try and it is always wrong.” She was fighting valiantly to hold back her tears, her eyes reddened, lips pressed tightly together.

    I picked up the bowl and swept up the debris, allowing her time to calm.

    “You do know it’s not supposed to be easy, right? If everyone could do it and do it well, where would that leave us? Just some of the many,” I talked as I cleaned everything up.

    “But why is this so hard for me? I’ve been stuck on this same problem for over a week now. What am I doing wrong?”

    “A week is nothing. It took me over two to even start to get it right.”

    Jalen harrumphed and rolled her eyes but didn’t say anything.

    “You are simply trying to hard. You have to feel it, and not just with your hands as you measure out the ingredients, or your mouth as you say the words. You have to take all of it into you, build familiarity with all the pieces, so that with eyes closed, you know which herb is which by it’s essence, then know the proper quantity to add. The words will flow not from your mouth but from your center, your soul. Only then, when you have mastered yourself, will you be able to master your work.”

    Jalen took a deep breath, “I’m ready to try again. Do we have anymore rose oil?”

  16. Fixed it for you, Robin.

  17. Wow! You guys are pretty darn creative under the gun. This is going to be exciting. Good luck everyone.

  18. Jules Carey says:

    I haven’t been around for a while so the new blog design threw me for a loop. Was afraid I’d commented under the wrong post too! It’s good to be back.

  19. Jay says:

    Harder than I thought…I didn’t say all that I wanted, but I guess that’s part of it.

  20. Jay says:

    Hey, by the way, Leah…DID NOT intend to give my protag the same name as yours.

  21. So I’m writing down the names of the authors I really like, and by the time I get to end of the list ALL your names are there! I love the variety. I love the unique style in each voice. I love the pacing – so developed in such a short time. What makes voting on something like this so hard is, depending on my mood, I can get into all of your stories & poems. Congratulations to each of you… I hope none of you consider yourselves an aspiring author – you’re there.

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