What is 5MinuteFiction, you say? It’s an adrenaline-fueled, instant-gratification sort of writing contest. Sound fun? Great! Get in there and get dirty!
* You get five minutes to write a piece of prose or poetry in any style or genre
* You must directly address today’s prompt: Your main character encounters your world’s version of the goose that laid the golden egg.(Note: The prompt is above. The picture is for decoration/inspiration.)
* Post your entry as a comment to this post.
I’ll close the contest at 12:45. 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, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, @BryanThomasS will nominate five finalists.
I’ll put the nominees in a poll, and at 9:00 EDT tomorrow I’ll close the poll and declare the winner.
For updates, you can subscribe to my RSS Feed, “like” my Facebook Page, or follow me on twitter. Or follow us on twitter with the #5MinuteFiction hashtag.
What’s the prize? Well, usually nothing. But this week our guest judge Bryan Thomas Schmidt, @BryanThomasS will be giving an e-copy of his new book, The Worker Prince, to the winner!
A Few Notes:
* In the interest of time and formatting, it’s best to type straight into the comment box or notepad. 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.
Heh I wrote to this pic once. Loved it. Was a lot of fun to write about a sign with a question mark. Good luck today to everyone! I look forward to reading your stories!
He’d sought them for years, the men behind the new snack. That salty sweet crispy wafer of sodium and sugar that was destroying the world even as people fell further and further in love. He knew he wasn’t making any friends, he knew only that they had to be stopped.
They were secretive, moved around from place to place, city to city, even across national borders when it was necessary to escape detection. He wasn’t the only one tracking them down, just the only with murder in his heart. No. Not murder. Justifiable homicide. Saving the lives of those whose hearts were stopping, who couldn’t handle the sweet, the children who would been doomed to a live of obesity. High blood pressure. Diabetes.
There were six of them. There were millions to save.
When he finally saw them, he could hardly believe it. So long. They had become mythic. To see they were just men. To see them in their humble state. He had to remember their creation, unavoidable. The treat no man could stop eating.
He pulled out his rifle. It was now or never. He wouldn’t get this second chance. Not now that he’d found the cooks that glazed the golden Lays.
@DL_Thurston. With apologies.
DL Thurston recently posted..Naming Names
I sat very still, afraid that if I moved I might scare it off. Jonathan appeared at the door and I made frantic shushing motions
His eyebrow arched but he said nothing.
I took a tiny step toward the tantalizing thing sitting just there in the middle of the floor.
“Your Highness,” Jonathan whispered.
I jerked my hand in a furious gesture for quiet.
“Your Highness.” He stepped forward.
I rushed closer to the thing, hoping to grab it if Jonathan set it off but it did nothing.
He came up beside me and toggled a button on the desk. The object on the floor winked out in an instant.
“What did you just–” comprehension dawned and I stared at him, my mouth hanging open. “That was a holo?”
“Yes,” he said. “An experimental model that His Excellence has just been given by a friend of yours at the IIC. Incredible potential, don’t you think?”
“Who developed that and I didn’t know about it!”
“A fellow named Sasha, I think?”
I groaned. “Oh, perfect.”
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Josie slammed the door and yelled, “Don’t plan on me for life!” Muttering to herself something about relationship crap and why should she even deal with other people anymore, she stomped down the steps and hopped on her skateboard. She slithered around the corners of her dank neighborhood not bothering to look at passersby. Her head instantly felt lighter. This was relationship number 3, if you don’t count all those one-night stands. She was done, that was clear as today’s weather.
As she approached Cesar Chavez park, she thought about all the protestors in the past, the farmworkers who fought so hard for clean grapes and other luxuries. She was staring at the fountain across the street when she hit the biggest bump she’d never seen (she was usually pretty on top of those).
Her board rolled out into the street just as the cross traffic started up. CRACK!
“CRAP! What a fucking day.” Slouching, she hoofed it over to the fountain and sat on the wide rim. Now water today. She tried to hide from the bum approaching her but it wasn’t working. She did not want to see anymore people up close.
He said, “Oil your hands and all will be forgotten.” He walked away.
“Oh my goodness. What Ever.” She reached up to remove the leaf from her hair only to find it was a fifty dollar bill. It wasn’t the only one.
Meredith recently posted..Double-edged Sword
Markwan made his way up the trailing stairway. A cold breeze threatened to pitch him over the side. He made the mistake of looking down.
All his training and he still looked down. 2,000 foot drop down into the pyrnoze mountains. Never a good idea to look down.
Carefully, he carried the royal pillow in his outstretched arms. Behind him trailed the rest of the priests of Kwann. Only he, son of a fisherman and a whore, had made it to this high office.
Finally they approached the 50 foot high tower doors. Guards in ceremonial dress and lochabers as tall as themselves opened the wooden inlaid doors.
The entourage entered with great care, avoiding the trap spikes set in alternate locations in the ancient tile floor.
“We come to you in the high season, Kwan Kwam.” He said as he knelt before the throne and cage.
Inside squawked the magical Enru, bird of poison plumage and wild call.
Inside the cage a series of mechanical levers made grinding noises. The machine was tripped by Markwan’s knees as he knelt.
Down the gilded royal trough rolled the enormous egg, tumbling wildly while all held their breath.
With a “humph” the egg landed in the pillow. It was beyond glorious. It was multicolored and laden with precious metals veins. This would be the mark of a great harvest. This would mean great prestige for his fledgling priesthood reign.
Proudly, he turned for the long journey down the stairway.
Halfway down, in pride, Markwan stopped to glory in his moment, in his station, in his stately bearing. At that moment, a gust of wind came by and blew the royal egg of harvest off his pillow and down the side of the gargantuan stairway.
Markwan, horrified, paused for a moment while the priestly entourage gasped.
Shrugging, Markwan took a deep breath and then ran and jumped off into the wild air, face full of shame and screaming.
In the tower, the bird calmly starting its year long process of laying the next egg.
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It worked! Johnathan Frimp looked around the lab to see if anyone had noticed. Around him all of the other researchers were bent over their experiments intently focused on their own endeavors.
It worked! This was his ticket to freedom!
Now, he thought, if only I can make it to the office and announce what I have done.
You see, the research department was very competitive. Getting a patent these days was a real nightmare and without the backing of a corporate giant, it was nearly impossible. But even worse were the Corporation’s own personnel. If they could head you off and learn what you had done before you could officially declare it, they would claim that the idea came from within the Corporation, waste you in court, and leave you for nothing.
This was the big show.
Johnathan stared down at the lab bench for a moment to collect his thoughts. Finally, he came up with a plan. He would say he had to go to the bathroom.
Johnathan straightened his back and looked around, making a very noticeable groan. When he was sure that people, especially the guards and the lawyers, were watching him he put his hand on his stomach and made a grimace. And sure enough, one of the guards approached him followed by no less than four lawyers.
“So what’s the deal here Frimp,” the bury guard asked. “Tryin’ to ride the clock or something?” His hand drifted towards the collapsed baton on his belt.
“No, no,” Johnathan answered. “I think it was something I ate.” As he spoke, the lawyers were busy making notes on their datapads. Johnathan could almost swear he heard them murmuring as they wrote. I thought of that. That was my idea. I did that before you did.
“I just need a few minutes to go to the john if that’s okay,” he offered.
A few minutes. I thought of that. Time. I thought of that. John. John as a bathroom. Objective personalization of inanimate objects. I thought of that.
The security guard eyed Johnathan for a moment. His gaze drifted across the workbench in front of the researcher, suspicion thick as he weighed what had been said.
“Alright,” the guard said.
As Johnathan stood up, the guard’s baton was suddenly in his hand and he thumped it right in the center of the scientist’s chest.
“But no funny business,” he said. Funny business. I thought of that. “Ya’ hear?”
“Sure,” Johnathan said. “Sure thing.” He stepped around the guard and slowly made his way to the door. And possible freedom.
Freddom. I thought of that.
“You’ve been researching the family how long?”
“Since I turned eighteen. That’s when my mother decided,” Cara’s voice caught, and she paused. She curled over her fist and coughed wetly.
It was a deeply disturbing sound, a rattle and wheeze that told Sync that there was not much room for air in those lungs.
“Take it easy. Do you need some water? A paper bag? Anything?” Sync glanced around at the junk that surrounded them and despaired at ever finding anything of use among the clutter.
“Just a cigarette, and they took those away from me years ago.” She smile, blood smeared across her front two teeth, “What were we talking about? Oh yes, the book.”
The old woman leveraged herself up out of her threadbare seat and shimmied over to a bookcase. One of the few things in the room not blocked by old telephones or stacks of dirty laundry. No, the bookcase was pristine, and oiled to a slick, wet sheen. Every book on it dusted to immaculate perfection and faced evenly one inch back from the shelf edge. Sync wondered if Cara employed a ruler, or was just that much of an ex-librarian that she just knew the right distance. Sync leaned in, reading the years on the spines. The oldest proclaimed 1855.
“This is our family history?” Synch said quietly, wondering how she would ever get through it all.
Next to her, the old woman coughed again.
Holy cow. I mean HOLY cow. Literally. Well, not literally since I wasn’t Hindu but still. This was awesome. I would be set for life. Hell, I’d be set for my next life too … and possibly the life after that.
I never would have thought I would have found the answer here of all places. Not quite exactly where one would expect it to be. Would you expect the THE book to just be laying there?
This wasn’t just any book, mind you. And no, it wasn’t the Bible or the Qur’an or the Vedas or even the Idiots Guide to Life.
No, this was much more important and world altering.
I had found a first edition, signed copy of, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Not important you say? HERESY.
Douglas Adams is a God in my universe and I found his holy writ.
Now don’t make me choke you with my towel if you disagree.
MLGammella recently posted..Flash Fiction – #MenageMonday
Darci stretched her arms over her head when she awoke that morning. She rolled her hands over her freshly braided hair and sighed. Why on earth did Jamal think it okay to braid her hair, anyway? She never asked him for it.
Sighing, she showered, brushed her teeth and headed for the closet only rapped in a towel. Mentally, she was imagining the black pencil skirt and red silk blouse she wanted to wear to work that morning. Physically, though…her closet was empty.
There was a gorgeous pale orange pantsuit complete with ivory shirt, pumps and accessories. And a note. Frowning, she picked it up. Her frown only increased after reading the message:
The washer in the building is down, so I took all our clothes over to our other house to clean them. This outfit will have to do for the day. See you later, honey.
And he had the nerve to write a smiley face after the word husband.
She sighed. If only he’d sign those annulment papers, he wouldn’t have to do anything for her. Please, he still doesn’t have to. And what on earth does he mean, their other home? He needs to go back there and stay there, far away from her!
Muttering to herself, yet enjoying the new threads, she went into the kitchen just to grab a danish and run. Instead her donuts were gone…which made no sense! She just bought them yesterday! Just bought them! Instead, she see’s a plate with cut up fruit, two slices of toast, and an omelette. Oh. And a note:
You need to take better care of yourself. Enjoy a breakfast of champs!
Your loving husband
“What on earth!” she yelled.
And ate breakfast.
Jamal was taking things way too far. Grumbling on her way to the landlord’s office, she wanted to drop off her check for rent and head on to work. When he came to the door, he smiled. “Hey, Darci! You never told me you were getting married! Congratulations!”
She put on a smile she really didn’t feel. “Thanks, Mr. Gordon. Hey, I just wanted to drop off your rent.”
He frowned. “Rent? Your husband paid you up for the next six months. Didn’t he tell you?”
Still in shock, she went into her car and started it. Well, there’s one thing she could still do for herself. She had to go to the gas station and…
Sighing she rested her head on the steering wheel. Not anymore. She didn’t need a note from her husband to know why the needle pointed to F instead of E.
There’s nothing wrong with a nice goose to lay a great egg for you, but she wasn’t feeling the goose. She wasn’t feeling him at all.
It had not been a goose, nor a swan, nor even a duck or chicken. Still, we searched for the origin of the mysterious eggs that were borne down the river to our village. Each one, bobbing along the currents, shells glittering in the sunlight or glowing in the moonless dark of winter nights, brought prosperity to whoever found it.
The midwife was given herbs upon cracking hers open. The herbs proved to soothe the most savage birth, and no woman has died since while in her labors. The carpenter found a tiny hammer within one that he could use to set the heaviest nails in the strongest wood with the gentlest taps. Others found coins or gems, keys to long-lost secret boxes, and once, a seed that grew into a tree whose fruit no one had ever seen before. Always in bloom, always in fruit, it saved the village through the worst of the drought the past two years.
The eggs had come slowly at first, then more and more until there would be at least one a day. That’s when the village elders decided that all the eggs must be brought to them for keeping. To spread forth the eggs’ benefits across the village, rather than to the lucky few who could spend their days waiting on the river banks. The eggs the elders opened proved rotten. The condemnation of the river’s bounty meant the elders’ blood must fill the river instead, and so they did.
Some died trying to swim up into the rapids to catch the eggs first. Some fought over sightings. My own father died trying to find just one for our family, not because of violence but because he neglected everything else. He simply sat upon the river’s edge, waiting, until thirst or hunger did him in.
When we found him there among the reeds, I knew what must be done. I gathered all our supplies of food and tools, my father’s hoe for defense. I would climb the mountain that fed the river, and find out why we were cursed with too many blessings.
I found the tiny drakeling, like a dragon of the stories made into a child’s toy, though its fangs were sharp and its fire hot. She laid her eggs in a cave near the mouth of the river. Like a hen without a rooster, her eggs bore her kind’s magic but no life. No yolk to become a chick. Unthinking, she pushed out of her cave into the water the useless, older eggs to make room for the new.
The ones made of gold sank, but the other floated free to destroy us.
I lifted the hoe. I knew now where the golden eggs came from. I did what I must do. I struck.
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David sat at the table, reading over his bank statements over and over again.
“So this is what it feels like to be secure in my finances…” he murmured out loud.
“Nice, isn’t it.” He jumped, scattering papers all over his kitchen. The blonde demon who had made all this possible was sitting across from him. Again. He sighed and brushed his red hair out of his face, bending to pick up the papers. “Thought I’d drop in, see how fame and fortune was treating you. Well, starting to anyways. It’ll only get better from here.”
“It’s nice to have my work recognized,” David conceded with a sigh, putting the statements back on the table. “Can I offer you a drink or something?”
“That’d be nice. I am your golden goose, after all…” She lounged in the chair with that seductive look she always had. David often thought she was the embodiment of lust itself, though she’d denied it when he’d asked. He poured them both scotches and sat down across from her again, sipping it slowly.
“So, golden goose. What next?” His eyebrows reached his hairline as she downed the whole thing in one go.
“I think a good scandal would get your name on people’s lips quite nicely.” David yelped as she moved to his chair, straddling his lap and capturing his lips in a searing kiss, just as he saw the flash of a camera outside the window. “There you go. Tabloid gold. Now… care to continue?” Ember smiled sweetly, laughing as David finally set the hard bitten control he always had aside and kissed her, hard, lifting her and putting her on the table.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Gepetto winced at the pleading in the voice and hunched even more closely over the cogs and gears on the desk in front of him. His glasses had slid down to the end of his nose as he squinted in the lamplight. There was a faint hiss as he turned the gas up to offer more illumination. It glinted dully off the pieces of broken machinery all around him. It wasn’t the internal workings that disturbed him so much as the exterior – the arms, the legs, the eyes. Especially the eyes. Automatons weren’t supposed to look at you like that.
He lifted his eyes to stare at the automaton that glowed like burnished brass in the light. But she was made of something far more valuable than bass. Gold, the most precious thing to him. Or almost most precious. Gepetto had wanted, no needed a family more. But in his pride; his hubris, she had paid the price.
“Enough.” The voice was heartbreaking. He could hear her loneliness and the hurt. They’d hurt her. They’d coveted and claimed and stolen and broken… and like any father, Gepetto grieved.
“Let me go.”
But also like most fathers, he wasn’t capable of letting go.
Leah Petersen recently posted..#5MinuteInterview w/ R.B. Wood, of The Prodigal’s Foole
Time’s up! See y’all at 2:00 with the finalists!
Leah Petersen recently posted..RELEASE DAY!!!!! The Prodigal’s Foole by RB Wood
bury = burly
My favorite typo is: “But she was made of something far more valuable than bass.” I love that LOL. But I don’t say it to mock. We all make typos. It’s just sometimes they come out quite entertaining.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt recently posted..10 Resources For Educating Yourself About Book Contracts
Sometimes the typos are the best part! 🙂
Kudos to ML Gammella for the Holy Cow reference. Not many people know that. I have used that joke a lot in real life.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt recently posted..10 Resources For Educating Yourself About Book Contracts
There’s some great stuff here. The divergence from the prompt surprised me, actually, as far as no one really trying to write the picture, which could have been amusing. Nonetheless, some valiant efforts given the time frame and it’s a tough choice. the five I chose are the five I found most to my taste and which stuck with me as I read the others and had me coming back again and again to reread. But congrats to everyone for the great work this week!
Bryan Thomas Schmidt recently posted..10 Resources For Educating Yourself About Book Contracts