Flash! Friday # 27

Flash Friday # 27 is now closed. Thank you for playing! The decision rests with our lovely judge, Patricia. Results will be posted late in the day Saturday, Nashville time.

Howdy, young (and other) whippersnappers, and welcome to #FlashFridayFic Round 27! Last week our photo star was a lost boy; today we’ve got a lost man. Well, perhaps he’s not lost. Perhaps he knows exactly where he’s going in that tub (though is it seaworthy? have the Coast Guard been notified?? has he stopped anywhere to ask for directions???). We here in the Lair look forward with great interest to the various and sundry adventures/mishaps you plan for our, um, “sailor.” (Here are your marine guidelines).

This week’s manic journey is adjudicated by similarly manic-but-lovely SVW member Patricia McCommas. (Be sure to check out her judge page to discover what she looks for in a winning entry.)


Word limit: 100-word story (5-word leeway on either side) based on the photo prompt.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (between 95-105 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one.

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday’s on Daytona Beach time)

Winners: will post tomorrow (Saturday)

Prize: A simply smashing e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a cartographically personalized page here at FF, a magnificent yet nail-biting 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME splashed across the seas (so to speak). NOTE: Winning and non-winning stories alike remain eligible for selection for Monday’s Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/dragon map reading tips.  And now for your prompt:

Photo courtesy of Domenico Mattei, Pixabay

Photo courtesy of Domenico Mattei, Pixabay


107 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 27

  1. @StephenWilds
    Is This A Creek? – 101 words

    Carlo was freaking out.
    He had escaped, but where was he going? This wasn’t his ideal method of egress and if it hadn’t been for that stroke of luck in finding the life vest, he surely would have thought God or some other deity was out to get him at this point.
    A barrel and paddle was no way to make an escape, and no means of making it to land. Hunger was beginning to set in and thirst was sure to follow. The words, “up the creek without”, kept running through his mind, but at least he had the paddle.

    • LoL. Love the hook line at the end. You gave us a lot in a few words. You started with the first victory of escaping while introducing us to some dire hurdles to come, hunger and thirst. Did he make it? Hmmmmmm. One can only wonder. Great job Stephen!

  2. @dmcahill
    Title: Last regrets
    Word count (exclusive of title): 105

    This ending lacks dignity, that bothers me. Most barrels in our clan got a noble finale, a fitting send-off. Dad, who had held Jack Daniels for years, was shoved off a burning boat to save lives. Mum was once a wine barrel who became garden furniture and eventually she faded with time. And here I am headed straight for a waterfall with some adventure seeker who hasn’t seen fate coming. I’m not going out gracefully or helping people, yet I will be the family barrel who makes the nightly news for failing to carry this fool when he shouldn’t have made me into a raft.

  3. Voyage to the Dark

    Adjusting his grip on the paddle, Jason felt sweat trickling between his fingers. His lungs boiled. The old legends were true, after all; in the Cavern of Fire, the heat truly sucked the life from your bones.

    He glanced behind, but nothing moved on the shore. Not yet. He turned back to his task, praying the creature would stay sleeping, just long enough. As he struggled to control his tub of a raft, he recalled the king’s decree:

    ‘Should you cross the Lake of Sorrows before the Worm stirs, I’ll let you live.’

    Jason understood the deception, finally, just a little too late.

    103 words, excluding title

      • He sounds like a capricious sort of monarch. I’d say Jason’s infraction was probably quite minor, unfortunately for him. 🙂

        Thanks for your comment.

    • Suspense and mystery. I can sense the foreboding here. Not sure what the “Worm stirs” means. You did a fabbie job setting the scene with your opening. I would like to read more of this.

      • Thanks! ‘The Worm’ is supposed to be a beast – perhaps a dragon, though not necessarily! – which is asleep, but soon to waken – i.e. ‘stir’. I’m sorry the language I used wasn’t clear. Really appreciate your comment, and I’m glad you liked the scene-setting. I found this piece tough to write! 🙂

      • Thanks for the clarification. I think you did a very good job with this. This is worth expanding on, in my opinion.

  4. Barrel of Love
    By Allison Garcia

    Anne opened her window and rolled her eyes. “Kyle, what the hell are you doing?”
    “I love you so much, Babe. I’m sorry.”
    She frowned.
    “I wanted to show you how much I love you.” He wiped the sweat from his perfect brow. “I thought it’d be romantic.”
    “Yeah, but what’s up with the barrel?”
    He laughed. “I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.”
    “So you got an oar and a life vest but couldn’t find a boat?”
    His green eyes reflected the clear sea. “There’s room for one more.”
    She sighed and a smile crept across her lips. Why the hell not?
    (105 words)

  5. Something New in the Sea

    “WHAT is THAT!”
    “I don’t know. Let’s get a closer look.”
    Whatever it was, it didn’t seem to be able to swim in a straight line, and it certainly wasn’t moving very fast. Maybe it was injured. Whatever it was.
    “It can’t swim very well, can it?”
    “No, but it’s trying to do something, to get somewhere.”
    “Do you think it’s good to eat?”
    “How should I know? Why don’t you go bump into it and see what happens?”
    “I don’t want to touch it. You touch it.”
    “How about we just circle it for a while and see what it does?”

    102 words

  6. He was so very tired.
    Tired of being pulled in different directions; family, doctors, friends – swirling currents surrounding him.
    Tired of navigating his way through treatment; of being thrown a life-jacket, only to have it snatched away again.
    Tired having decisions made for him; no longer steering his own course.
    Tired of struggling just to keep going; so much energy simply to tread water.
    ‘Don’t give up the fight’, he could hear them pleading.
    But he’d had enough.
    This way, he knew his destination, and he was finally ready to face it.
    He wasn’t giving up: Quite the opposite.
    He was taking control.

    104 words

  7. To: Victoria
    From: Jade
    Subject: Re: Cousins Abroad!

    Thanks for the catch up. What a successful bunch you are! Congratulate Celia on her Double First Degree. William’s Law firm sounds top notch. Hope he builds that second home before the baby is born. And he’s doing it all on his weekends? Fabulous!

    And you read Mike’s blog! Yes, he left university, but his writing career is flourishing. He’s bought himself a boat, actually. A small craft: Sea’s the Day.( Always the joker!) Can’t wait to see it. He is penning a travelogue about sailing solo.
    All good here!
    Jade x

    102 words

  8. What Happens In Vegas…

    As I started to wake up, I remembered the guys had thrown a bachelor party for me last night. I tried to remember what I could, but it wasn’t much. Something about a pile of naked women, and oceans of beer.

    My head hurt. Lots.

    Realizing I had to pee, I opened my eyes, and noticed I was in my BVDs and a life jacket. Looking around, I saw a boat paddle. Then I realized I was in a wooden barrel. Floating on Lake Powell. Somewhere.

    I swear to God, when I get to shore, I’m gonna kill the guys.

    100 Words (Excluding the title)

    • Well done Mark! In the beginning I thought you were using the images in the pic as metaphors only to discover he was actually floating on real water. ahahahahaha.

  9. Get in the barrel, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Yeah, the only thing fun will be the laundry after this because my shorts will need a good scrubbing. They said we’d go tubing, splash around a little, then sit back and drink margaritas and watch the sexy women in skimpy bikinis walk by. Not so much. At least I have a paddle to get through this fiasco. Wait…what the hell is that? A waterfall? Holy shit! I’m going over a waterfall in a fuckin’ barrel? If I survive this, I’m gonna kill them. Or I’ll haunt the shit outta them.

    102 words

    • This is funny in a not so funny kind of way. I can feel his anxiety. Looks like this poor slob is doomed to haunting soon. Nicely done! Just a small suggestion for your readers, when using strong language, place a warning in the heading.

      • It has nothing to do with offending me. In every writing group I belong to, it is asked that this be done. That way it gives readers a chance to choose whether they want to read it or not. I’ve known several reader/writers who appreciate a warning.

  10. Paparazzi
    It was going on all night: the flashes of TV cameras frequently punctuating the dark night sky, the tireless chatter of the journalists on air, the shuffling of gawkers.
    In the early light of dawn, a life vest was spotted in the waters. A shirtless man, presumably from the sinking ship, floated in a barrel frantically trying to peddle. The crowd cheered. The cameras aimed, flashbulbs went off. The newsmen bleated. The TV audiences were elated. The man felt safe. The horrors of the night were behind him finally.
    It didn’t occur to anyone to help him. No one knows if the man survived.

    104 words excluding title

  11. One Man’s Humor

    Floating in a barrel just above the rapids, Mike wondered how he had let Peter talk him into this.

    Thinking about it, he realized he should have known that when the director said ‘It’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel’ that Peter was not being metaphorical. It just wasn’t in style. No, risking a friend’s life for a bad joke, that was totally his style.

    “This is going to be epic,” Peter called from the shore. “And… rolling.”

    Mike switched his oar for a rifle and smiled into the camera. “Now this is what I call shooting the rapids!”

    “Cut and print… moving on.”

    Word Count: 105

  12. Tom’s muscles burned with every sweeping motion of the oar as it pushed through the strong waters, the current pulling him back but he couldn’t let that happen. Trying to ignore the searing pain, Tom pressed on; harder as the sweat dripped into his eyes, blurring his vision but he couldn’t wipe it away, couldn’t take his eyes off the goal that was now in reach. A quick glance over his right shoulder spurred him on; the French on his tail just as he crossed the finish line; the gold was his, in the barrel race, in the first Alternative Olympics.

    101 words

  13. Stroke!

    “An easy job,” my buddy said. “Good pay, hot babes, a cruise ship. What could be better?”

    If he were still around I’d make him eat. Every. Damned. Word.

    You see, when the engine goes kerflooey, when the power goes out, and the lifeboats get deployed, bus boy is about the lowest of the low on the priority list. Hell, if this were the Titanic, bus boy would be below steerage in the lifeboat pecking order.

    Joke’s on the cruise company, though, when I get to shore first. I didn’t win the Big Sioux River Wine Barrel Race six years in a row for nothing.

    105 words (sans title)
    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)

  14. “Well, you’re an idiot.”
    The devil on my shoulder was a foul-mouthed, self-indulgent party animal, but at least he never insulted me.
    “I would expect that kind of crap from the angel, but not you.”
    “Look at the situation you’re in. You’ve gotten to the point that neither of us can help you; why wouldn’t we be pissed off?”
    “It could be worse…”
    “You’re in an f’n barrel heading toward a waterfall! Maybe the fact that even I was worried about this party might have given you pause for thought?
    “OK, where’s the angel then?
    “You killed him… He died of shame.”

    @JSHyena/ 102 words

  15. The End

    They had been warned the Magic-Termination was coming, yet few had prepared for the end of the island’s way of life. First, Octo’s self-washing dishes became inert, which was a terrible inconvenience. Then, just as predicted, the crystals went dark, offering no prophecies or soap operas. The silence of the enchanted piano was depressing. The garden went to ruin in minutes. Octo’s texting stone showed the standard “error” rune and promptly turned black.

    When the instant-clean laundry tub died, it was the last straw. Octo tossed it into the bay and started rowing. Surely, he could find a perpetual motion motor on the next island.

    105 words

  16. ‘We cannot risk another boat!’ Sergeant Greaves looks me flat in the eye as he speaks.

    I paddle the impromptu tub as best I can, but it takes a while to approach the scraggy outcrop of rock, where she’s hiding. I navigate the wreckage of the Cryptoid Capture Division’s launch, and try to avoid looking at the drowned corpses of my former colleagues.

    All the while, the Siren glares at me. Her lips are moving. Singing words of power to corrupt my mind.

    She’s frustrated and confused when I reach the rock.
    You’re under arrest – I hand-sign, and put her in cuffs.

    @Brev_ 103 words

  17. @SmileyRoseKat – WC 102

    Red Sky in the Morning

    The sun exploded above the horizon, its brilliance sending jolts of pain through my head. The sky, previously an ominous red, flashed to white.

    My head began to throb.

    “Let’s take a wine cruise,” she said. “It’ll be fun.”

    The deck of the big ship rolled, my stomach with it. Such was my misery that I didn’t notice the dark clouds forming overhead until they opened up, drenching me instantly. The boat lurched, I lurched with it, over the rail, plummeting to the sea, the barrel which had held last night’s libations following me down.

    “Nothing to do but row,” I said.

  18. Shady Bet

    “Wait, what the fuck?”

    “Bet you that you won’t go down the river in that thing.”

    “A fucking wooden bath-tub? From the 1800’s?”


    “Damn straight I won’t.”

    “What, you fuckin’ yellow?”

    “Who the fuck are you callin’ yellow?”

    “Come on, just get in the fuckin’ tub, you’ll be fine. It’s not like it’s life or death or anything.”

    “Yeah, say’s you, who’s standing on the shore, counting his money.”

    “No, it’s not like that man. Look, tell you what, I’ll do it. You can fuckin’ bet on me; I’ll go, how’s that?”

    “Nah. Shit. Alright, I’ll do it…”

    100 words

  19. Leviathan

    Max spent weeks preparing his escape.
    He speared extra fish whenever he could, to dry over the biggest fire he dared light, and learned the cycles of the opening on the far shore. He threw off all but his shorts, lightening the load, then pulled the vest back on; it wouldn’t help if he went overboard again, but he thought of it as his lucky charm, despite where he’d wound up.
    Finally, one sunless morning, Max set off, praying as he paddled. The digestive juices nibbled at the barrel but he could smell the rank air beyond the pyloric sphincter ahead.
    It smelled like freedom.

    105 words


  20. His Next Birthday

    Zach was a good liar. He’d convinced Charlie that someone had stolen the money, that he’d stolen it back, only to have it pilfered again by a third unidentified thief. Zach figured correctly that Charlie hadn’t seen that movie with the convoluted plot.

    Charlie then offered Zach a chance to see his next birthday. If Zach survived the five-mile trip in the leaky whiskey barrel, through three sets of class five rapids, and the thirty-foot drop, Charlie would let him live.

    Zach buckled into his vest stuffed with hundreds of large denomination notes, bid adieu to Charlie, and pushed off into a precarious future.

    104 words

    • Me thinks ol Charlie knew. Good luck Zach….you’re going to need it…..muahahahahaha. This was fun.

  21. The Barrel Song !

    You were riding the waves in your barrel, sweetie
    When I noticed you;
    Was going downstream in the current, sweetie
    Toward the Raggedty-Rapids too.
    You looked so hunky
    As you were floating along;
    You looked so gorgeous
    As you were singing that so-o-ong.
    So I jumped in the water, I tried to catch up,
    But you paddled faster ( I can’t think why),
    Trying oh so hard to get away from me
    Pirouetting the way that you do.
    You looked so pretty
    As you were singing that so-o-ong:
    Around, round, kegs going round, round, round
    Down, up, bobbing, down, up, down…

    101 words. 😉

  22. Over the Falls
    Pushing hard against the current, Sam eyed the edge of the waterfall. He knew where he wanted to hit the edge, but the current was stronger than he expected and he was having trouble keeping on target.

    Still he’d planned for that contingency and he could see his second and third targets just a little off center. If he could angle just a bit to the right, he’d be able to hit the second target and he should flow right over the falls with no problems.

    He was going to do this. He was going to be the first person over Bridal Falls.
    word count: 103

  23. We stuffed our ears with the rind of limes and lashed ourselves to the rig. The lime skins muffled out the sea but not much else, so we took to our song with a full swell of diaphragms before they could utter a note of theirs.

    We each have a part; bass, baritone, tenor, but when we hit Miguel’s bit he answered with silence.

    I cracked open an eye. He’s out there, rowing like a madman, ears stained green, strapped in the futility of a lifejacket.

    I shut my eyes again. I shut them tight and I sang on.

    100 words

  24. “Why do you guys even bother showing up?” scoffed Carlos. “Every year it’s the same.”
    His bright smile betrayed him to his quickly diminishing line of opponents, though. No one was quicker with a laugh or a pat on the back for a job well done than he and they all knew it.

    Sammy beamed at his big brother from the pier where the rest of his large family laughed and shouted encouragement. He knew, when he won, Carlos would lift him from his wheelchair and carry him on his shoulders around the square as he had last year, and all the years before.

    104 words

  25. The Bachelor Party
    104 words

    “Are you going to tie me up to a lamppost naked?”
    “Nope. Better than that.”
    “Paintball then, you are all going to shoot me in the family jewels.”
    “Keep guessing.”
    “Some kind of stripper related thing?”
    “You should be so lucky. It’s something funny. It will be a barrel of laughs.”
    “Ok well as long as it’s funny. I was worried you’d take advantage of my aquaphobia!”
    “Sorry I should have clarified, when I said it would be funny I meant for us.”
    “I don’t like the sound of that. What’s that behind your back?”
    “Nothing to worry about, just pop on this blindfold…”

  26. The Challenge

    “Why are you doing this again?”

    “I’ve told you, Jim. If I fail, my father would disown me for sure.”

    “Hasn’t he pretty much already?”

    “You’re supposed to support me, Jim!”

    “Okay, okay. But you’re willing to risk everything to impress a has-been old man?”

    “Jim, he’s my father.”

    “You sure you’ve thought this through?”


    “I thought you were supposed to get a boat?”


    “And you got a barrel?”

    “I’ve got to do this, Jim.”

    “What if it gets too rough?”

    “I’ll pray.”

    “What if you capsize?”

    “I’ll swim.”

    “What if you drown?”

    “I’ll die a man.”


    “Yea, Jim?”

    “Good luck.”

    104 words

  27. Semper Paratus
    104 Words

    Our motto is Semper Paratus. Always ready.
    On our last day of shore leave, we boozed through the brewery and whooped through the winery. Gabriel, the newest Coastie recruit, carried our gear.
    “I bet they don’t make Army recruits carry oars through the French Riviera,” he grumbled.
    It wasn’t until we were playing I Love Lucy in the wine barrels that we realized we missed our transport back to the ship.
    No one knows how Gabriel made it back in time. When we returned three days later, he had a new promotion and a new tattoo (Semper Paratus) on his left arm.

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