Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 8

WELCOME! Delighted to see you back for another rompish round of writerly fun. Do I ever love today’s prompt, too, which is beautifully timeless (I guarantee you whatever the equivalent of texting drivers was in 2000 BC, there was a camel or donkey wreck to match).       

Wrapping up the first month of 2014 for us is judge Nillu Nasser Stelter. What fun it’s been getting to see her on the other side of the bench, evaluating stories and pushing us hard. Don’t forget you can peek in on her personal preferences at her judge page. A reminder she loves stories of magic and fantasy; I’ll be tossing out gold stars quite liberally to any of you able to manage that for this prompt!

Final reminder! We’re more than a couple of months into Year Two now, so I trust everyone remembers the required extra challenge called the Dragon’s Bidding. The element (inscribed in the dragon’s own bejeweled pendant) changes every week and must be a thematic component in your story. Note that you do not need to include the exact word in your story unless instructed to do so (e.g. “include the word ‘díoltas‘”).  

Same ol’, same ol’: Results post Sunday evenings. Flash Points, a feature in which a particularly outstanding FF story is highlighted, posts on occasional Mondays. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner will post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own stuff sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays “just for fun.” Hungry? I’m serving up bowls of popcorn by the dozen today. Come put your feet up and help yourself!  

Your turn!

Word limit150 word story (10-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Sunday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity. 

***Today’s Dragon’s Bidding (required element to incorporate somewhere in your story; does not need to be the exact word unless that is specified):


***Today’s Prompt:

Car wreck, ca 1920. Public domain photo.

Car wreck, ca 1920. Public domain photo.

140 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 8

  1. Just a regular day

    “All right, boys. gather round. Now look this way. Hey, you, boy with the stupid haircut, look at the guy in the car. Good, good, keep it like that for a second… Done.”
    “Hey, Sol, there’s a phone call waitin’ for you.”
    “Who’s it from?”
    “He said he’s your boss.”
    “That wise guy. Just now, when there’s this wreck.”

    “Yeah, Jeff.”
    “It’s boss to you, clown. Why the hell are you taking pictures of an accident?”
    “It’s not every day your wheel falls off because of a rock in the middle of the road, you know. It’ll sell.”
    “What if it doesn’t? What do you intend to do in that case?”
    “I’ll do whatever you want me to. For a whole week.”
    “Confident, huh? Fine. Make sure you get a statement from the driver.”
    “I think he’s been taken away. There’s just a passenger left.”
    “Him, then. Now get goin’.”

    150 words


  2. King for the day – 160 words


    The men shifted from foot to foot. They all wanted to fix the car but none of them had any idea how to. That didn’t stop them trying; well you never know when inspiration will strike.

    “Anyone got a spare wheel?” suggested Albert.

    Bob snorted, “Yeah mate, got one in my back pocket just wait a sec while I get it for you.”

    “Well what do you suggest?” Albert retorted in too girly a tone, the others feeling awkward shuffled ever so slightly away from him.

    “Anyone call Green Flag?” said Fred.

    “Oh yeah why don’t we just use the car phone. Like that’s ever going to happen. Idiot.” Bob was getting antsy now, he was bored. He knocked on the car window. “Ed your time’s up, it’s my turn.”

    Reluctantly Ed got out and Bob jumped in. As he sat in the car for his allotted time Bob, for the only time in his life, felt like a King.




  3. Auld Lang Syne
    (160 words)
    Mismatched crockery lay on lace; assorted chairs surrounded the table. She took her place in the middle of it all, and listened again to Bill’s tale of the Chrysler’s wheels coming clean off. Old stories were spun like fine threads and sewn into the afternoon’s tapestry. These moments were precious. They all passed too quickly.

    The tiered cake stand, a carousel of pink and yellow delights, reminded her of the Summer Fairs and drives with Bill.
    ‘I’ll play Mother, shall I!’
    Offering them milk and sugar, she nodded and smiled at her company. Bill liked his tea stewed; she poured his last.

    ‘Bill Junior’s calling,’ a voice from the present shot through the day room.

    Ina folded her tapestry of yellows and pinks, of loved ones and friends and tucked it away once more into the tabernacle of her mind.

    The nurse handed her the phone saying, ‘Just leave the cups and chairs, Ina. I’ll put those away for you.’


  4. The Tourist
    (160 words)

    The sound of chattering primates and various metal implements impaled into my body greet my awakening. I recall little, tires screeching, horn blaring, and then darkness.

    From my horizontal viewpoint I can make out an assortment of shoes and boots frantically pacing. The odd oil smeared face peers under the remains of the car, muttering inanities about a dead god.

    Thankfully my left hand can just about reach my ear lobe. Reluctantly I depress, hearing in my ear the click of connection to my travel agent. Hold music overwhelms the noise around me. Worsening my mood.

    Oil drips onto my face, I distract myself by imagining the patronizing voice that will cut in. Soft honey tones that will so politely remind me that I signed a contract agreeing to keep a low profile.

    My travel insurance premiums after this are going to hurt more than my tibia currently does.



    ‘Time Travel Emergencies, Lorraine speaking, how can I help?’



  5. The God Complex

    ‘Hello? Zandra?’

    George’s voice wavered with anticipation. This call had taken him sixty years.

    “Yes, this is she. Who is it you seek?’

    A swell of tears washed his brown eyes and cascaded down the crevices of his face like streams of hope.

    ‘My biological father. I need to know who he was before I go, to see his face. All I have is a photograph and I’m not sure which one he is. I hoped you could tell me, reunite us.’

    ‘The feeling is strong, I can help you. Come this afternoon.’

    Zandra knew all she had to do is pick the the kindest looking. It wasn’t truth he sought, it was closure. She congratulated herself on her benevolence.

    For years she’d struggled with her ‘gift’. Her mother insisted she had it, ‘All the true Clayton women do, you stupid girl.’ And so she ‘found’ it. And it gave her power, so she kept it.

    159 words


  6. “Mr. Reckless” by Mary Cain (Word Count: 158)

    The new engine emitted steam from under the hood, enticing the crowd to come closer. Some stared at the man inside, while others looked at the gathering photographers, setting up cameras hoping to get a story.

    A groan escaped Liam as he opened his eyes. He tried to shift his legs but stopped when pain coursed through him. His face felt heavy and sore while a small cut started to bleed.

    Then, he just started to laugh quietly, the outsiders viewers confused.

    He took a smoke from his pocket and lit it. Evelyn was right, he thought.

    “Liam,” she said over the phone that morning, “God only knows that you’ll just end up crashing that contraption. You’re always reckless with new inventions.”

    “I’m not that reckless, baby.”

    Peering into the crowd, his gaze was fixed on the woman dressed in a plainly with a tight bun. She only smirked.

    “I told you were reckless,” her mind told him.


  7. Overdue Justice

    ‘Jen? Pete. Look, uh –‘

    ‘Pete? It’s four a.m.! Couldn’t this have waited?’

    ‘Nah. Listen. Jen, I found our boy.’

    ‘You what?’

    ‘Chrissakes, Jen! Arlon! I swear it’s him.’

    ‘I’m – I can’t be hearing this. Arlon? The chronofugitive? The murderer?’

    ‘Nothin’ wrong with this telephone line. Arlon Nash, big as life.’

    ‘But – when? He’s been in the vortex so long –‘

    ‘Got careless, I guess. All I know is, I’m lookin’ at an image, 1920, 21, and it’s him. Laughin’, standin’ near a car wreck. Jen, he’s smirkin’ like he knows somethin’ we don’t.’

    ‘Pete. Listen, I’m coming over.’

    ‘God. If we found him, after all these years?’

    ‘Don’t get your hopes up. And don’t Slip without me, okay?’

    ‘Sure thing.’

    Pete hung up and stepped straight into the Slip, leaving the photograph on his screen.

    Jen arrived within minutes. The first thing she saw was Pete’s broken face behind the wheel of the car. Arlon was long, long gone.

    160 words


  8. Spengler’s Holiday Hire Car

    Despite the primitive roads Spengler was loving the car’s smooth ride. There were hardly any other cars on the road, which meant the main issue was avoiding pedestrians. His car was certainly a spanking head turner bringing crowds whenever it slowed. The guys who’d sorted it had done a top job.

            An hour later, outside the Western Mutual, the vehicle began to judder unsettling Spengler. The man he’d picked up to take to the station seemed unphased, but he’d probably never been in a car before.

            The red LED pulsed on the dashboard, a little out of keeping with the 1920s vehicle.

            ‘Hi Spengler here,’ he said into his cuff. ‘What’s up?’

            ‘Transformation field is failing,’ his other cuff reported. ‘Sorry, we’re going to have to take you out of there.’

            A loud Phutt! and the driver’s seat was empty.

            The front wheel disappeared and minutes later the rest of the car would be a memory too.

            Spengler would return.

    (150 words)


  9. The Call
    By: Allison K. Garcia
    160 words

    “What should we do, Charlie?”
    “Never seen nothing like this before.” Charlie touched a finger to the car’s axel and a piece of rusted metal fell onto the ground. “It ain’t lookin’ good, kid.”
    “Susie’s gonna kill me. “ Bobby ran his hand through his dark blonde hair. “I put all my savings into this piece of junk.”
    “Boy, that salesman sure saw you coming.”
    “How was I ‘sposed to know? I ain’t bought no car before.”
    “Why’d you get one anyway? You got two legs.”
    “Me and Susie, we was gonna head up to Hollywood. I phoned my uncle; he works at one of them silent film studios. My Susie, she’s got star quality, don’t cha think?”
    “Well, I certainly like her better when she ain’t talking.”
    Bobby clenched his fist.
    “Hey, ain’t that the guy that sold you this thing?”
    “Yeah, and that’s my Susie hanging out of his car.”
    “Sorry, Bobby. It ain’t personal, it’s show biz.”


  10. Wheel’s a fortune


    “Hello, operator? Yeah, gimmie Odenton 571. Hey, that you Bob? Listen, I need you to get here right away, right now see? The High Street, yeah. We had an accident; damned wheel collapsed. What? No I’ve got no idea how it happened, the design should’ve worked. Listen Bob, we’ve gotta keep this out of the damned papers. Jim’d pounce on this if he knew, and sell his design as an alternative…”


    “Alright boys, gather round the automobile! Dat’s right, now I wantcha ta smile for all dem ladies dat’s gonna see you in the papers t’morra! Watch da birdy! Oh well, least one of you smiled. Watcha lookin’ at dere bub, you seen a lady checkin’ you out already? Good for you…front page? I dunno, I jes take the pitchers see. Hey, dat Jim Callaghan over dere? Who’s dat he’s talkin’ to?”


    “Worked like you said Mr Callaghan, fell right apart.”

    “Good, now scram.”


    156 words


  11. He was the only one with a hint of smile.
    Surrounded by faces of a grimmer or at least a more perplexed nature, he stood out. As I zoomed in on his person I saw that a small nub of a cigarette rested between his fingers. He was relaxed. Content. His eyes were looking to the side, a change given how defiantly he usually stared into the future. He liked to have his work documented, suspended in time. For his own latent enjoyment? Or for those of us whom he knew would eventually find his hand in ever growing moments of destruction seeping through the decades?
    I leaned away from my laptop and pulled out my phone.
    “Lena, I’ve found the earliest proof yet: 1920, car accident.”
    “Do you really think this will help you find out who he is?”
    “I’m more worried about what he is.”

    (147) @CaseyCaseRose


  12. Untitled by TJ Marshall
    Word Count 145

    The crowd of gnomes and dwarfs grew, their short arms waved and pointed from my broken cart to the blacksmith’s shattered fence. One had even brought out a plate of steaming sweet bread and passed out pieces to those gathered.

    I shrank lower in the wooden seat as heat rose in my cheeks.

    “Why hadn’t I just waited until I stopped?” I glanced at the silver mirror sitting on the wagon’s floor board. Dark brown hair swooshed across the glassy surface.

    A high pitched bray rose in front of me. By the Gods! In my embarrassment, I’d forgotten about Clyde.

    I jumped to the ground amid the throng of spectators. They were as thick as pond moss in the spring.

    As I forced my way toward the scared mule, I heard Sheldon’s voice. “Jonah, Is everything alright? Are you still coming over for midday meal?”


  13. A wheel of a time

    Caleb watched the man in the suit as he crossed the street, oblivious. He refocused as the car pulled up next to him, right on time. He’d trained his whole life for this moment. He ducked down and locked the tire iron in place with a clunk. The first three bolts went smoothly, but the last one stuck. His adrenaline surged, the window narrowing. He wrenched with all his might and the bolt loosened with a squeak. The engine puttered and the car jumped forwards, the wheel still in place. He had failed.

    He held his breath as the car picked up speed, wishing for a miracle. His prayers were answered, with an almighty protest the wheel fell off and the car lurched to the left, narrowly missing the man in the suit. Caleb exhaled and ducked away, retrieving the phone from his pocket. He uttered the words he’d waited a lifetime to say, “Mission complete, Mr. Roosevelt is safe.”

    160 words


  14. Morgan uses me like I’m soulless. A trip downtown? Bring the car. A jaunt to the candy shop? Bring the car. A rendezvous with Miss Lucy? Bring the car. What happened to his legs?

    I woke up one day with a cough and thought, “Now I can rest” – how wrong I was. He made a phone call to the Negro that cleans me up and got rid of the cough. It was the first time I loved an ailment but he took that pleasure from me, now he wonders why I act up when he tries to clean me; guess nobody told him betrayal is evil.

    I dreamt one day and found myself in the company of strange cousins, alien folks dressed in extravagant hues. I made friends with Jag-the-muscle and told him my predicament.

    “Loose a wheel in the middle of a boulevard and watch what happens” he said.

    I don’t know what a boulevard means, but it worked.
    (160 words)



  15. I heard the screech, then a bang! I ran out to the street. Fizzing and smoking, the roadster was on its side. I fell to my belly and peered into the vehicle. I ran back in and dialed Doc; he raced down the street. Men rocked the roadster and turned it upright. Two people were inside heaped over. Clearly an old man and his daughter. Dark blood ran by his closed eyes. People peered in the windows. Doc pushed me out of the way and dragged the man out. He kneeled over the patient; the woman from the passenger seat crawled over. She placed her shaking hand on his forehead and lay down by the body. The crowd pushed and shoved into a circle around the scene, and I was squeezed out.

    Later that week, Doc Montgomery stopped in and said the old man didn’t make it. I asked about his daughter, the passenger

    Doc said, “there was no passenger.”
    160 words


  16. The Death of Real Brooks
    (158 words)

    “Oh, the huge manatee!” Brooks screamed as his car plummeted into the ravine.

    Crash. Darkness.

    Brooks awoke, horrified by his twisted limbs. He wheezed, trying to tell Sally Car to administer morphine, but couldn’t speak.

    A moment later her dashboard lit up red and chimed ten times, followed by ringing. His own voice answered: “Office Brooks.”

    “It’s Sally Car. I’m hurt.”

    “Tsk, tsk. Racing again, Sally?”

    “No! Wet pavement. But listen, is Real Brooks there?”

    “On vacation. You haven’t seen him?”

    She whispered, “I’ve been stolen. There’s a banged-up driver in me. Earlier he said ‘huge manatee’ instead of ‘humanity.’ Real Brooks wouldn’t make that mistake. I’m going to electrocute him.”

    “Don’t. I once opened an email for Real Brooks about butchered translations. He laughed. It’s him.” Office Brooks hung up.

    Sally Car’s catlike dashboard eyes fixed on the bleeding man. “If you cannot answer these questions, I must punish you. First: What was your high school mascot?”


  17. The Picture of Guilt
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke)
    160 words

    I never shoulda done it.

    How was I to know the po-lice would send a guy with a camera? Or that the captain would later look at that photo and wonder about Samuel’s sly grin?

    It was our brother sittin’ dead in that car. That’s why I’d run to the hotel with a telephone.

    “No way that colored boy’d be smilin’ unless he had something to do with it,” the officer who’d arrested him had insisted.

    I didn’t know what to think. I’d only done what mama’d taught me – get help when help is needed. My brother had needed help. I’d had to make the call.

    Now Samuel’s in prison and mama says she ain’t never gonna forgive me.

    I lost two brothers that day.

    I see it now, looking at that picture from years ago. I see me peeking out from behind, worry all over my face.

    Deep down I’d known.

    Mama always said nothing happens by accident.


  18. Busted Flat In Harlem
    by Tom Britz

    I’m drivin’ my big Six Chev, got my glad rags on and a pocket full of cabbage. I had called my gal, now my babe’s at my side. She ain’t just any Jane, she’s the bee’s knees! I’m carrying a torch for this Sheba.

    That Volstead Act has made it a lot harder to make whoopie. We’re cruisin’ to this speak easy, my cousin told me about, got the password memorized, I’m on the trolley!

    My eyes on the road, I reach over and run my hand down Dotty’s leg. She has some fine gams! But she slaps my hand and pushes it away. I take my peepers off the road for two, three seconds, tops! But that was long enough to run over a damn brick someone had left in the road. Busted my wheel. Horsefeathers!

    People start crowdin’ around like I’m The Babe or somethin’! Even got a damn camera.



  19. Philip made it sound so perfect. A new life filled with riches beyond our dreams. All details were worked out. People in the right places were paid-off to look the other way.

    So, last Friday, before dawn, Philip called me and told me that it was a go-ahead.

    I was scared for both of us.

    I drove the car to the US Treasury and waited for the transport of the seven locked boxes from the Treasury to the Pentagon. Philip was to hold back one of the boxes and place it in my trunk. I was then to drive to Virginia and wait for him.

    Everything went without a hitch, except that a wheel fell off the car just blocks from the Treasury.

    Looking back, we should have used the Ford instead of the GM.


  20. The Laws of Nature

    They are all looking at me, the humans, though I know they cannot see me for I am fey and such is the way of nature. They stand next to their broken contraption, these humans do. Do they not see that horses are far superior for traveling than this? At least horses cannot break and refuse to move. At least horses cannot spew acrid black smoke that stains the air and taints the land.
    “You say they are looking at you?” the voice asks, coming from my hand, where a crystal pendant resides. It is our communication device.
    “Yes, but that is against the Law of Nature. It cannot be so.”
    “…The Laws of Nature are weakening. Like their crashed steel contraption, we will not be around much longer.”
    “But it is so.”
    How could they survive when we did not? We who held more respect for the land than they. Sometimes, Nature could be so cruel.

    158 words


  21. Glitch

    Tegan completed his impromptu self-inspection satisfied he hadn’t broken anything on landing. It would seem Tech Branch still hadn’t worked out the glitch with transporting to precise coordinates. His first indication of such was when the vintage automobile materialized five meters above rather than at street level.

    The resounding crash had wrought permanent and irreconcilable damage to his transportation. Were that not enough of an impediment to the successful resolution of his mission, the noise had attracted a growing crowd of very curious onlookers. Any chance of maintaining a covert presence and minimizing contact with the locals was unquestionably gone.

    He was startled by the clanging bells he knew indicated the imminent arrival of this era’s law enforcement officers. There was no good way for this to end.

    Paradox be damned, he thought. Reaching into his vest he activated his trans-dimensonal telephone. He needed extraction now! Let the clean-up crew figure out how to get rid of the damned automobile.

    160 words @klingorengi


  22. Struck by Lightning

    Joe played with the unopened envelope. “You could be the next big winner!” Joe knew he had a better chance of being struck by lightning but it didn’t hurt to hope. Or did it?

    “Cereal for dinner and breakfast!”

    “I know pumpkin. It’s only for a little while.” Joe gathered his daughters breakfast bowl.

    “It’s OK” she returned with a toothless smile.

    The phone rang.


    “It’s time” said the voice.

    “On my way.” He turned “Pumpkin we need to go.”

    At the hospital, Joe approached his great grandfather.

    “I’m too late?”

    “He wanted you to have this.”

    An envelope. Joe pulled out an old newspaper clipping headlined “Bank Robber Wrecks Car; Evades Police.” In a picture captioned “Crowd gathers around get-away car,” Joe spied his great grandfather’s head poking out behind a pant leg. Joe smiled. His grandfather told many stories but never this one. Joe tipped the envelope. Out dropped the other content, a small safe deposit key.

    160 Words


  23. And a Gracious Good Afternoon to You

    “Washington Times Operator. How may I direct your call?”

    “Newsroom, and hurry. I’ve got a scoop! A big car wreck!”

    “To whom do you wish to speak in the newsroom?”

    “Uh, Joe, the day desk editor.”

    “One moment, please, and I will connect you.”

    “Yeah, yeah, thanks.”

    “Washington Times Day Desk. How may I direct your call?”

    “Let me talk to Joe.”

    “Which Joe? We have Joe Mason and Joe Dixon and—”

    “Joe, the day desk editor!”

    “Really, there is no need to shout, sir.”

    “Look, I gotta a big scoop here. A Congressman, who was driving, ran away, leaving his chippie behind to—”

    “Sir! Language! The Washington Times is a decent newspaper, and such subjects are not appropriate for its pages.”

    “Wait, aren’t you the same operator from before?”

    “The Times is a wonderful paper, but there have been cuts in staff. Take your tawdry story to the Herald. They like that sort of thing. Goodbye.”

    “No, wait! Don’t—”

    @Unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    160 words (sans title)


  24. You Can’t Phone Home Again


    “Hi, Dad, it’s Nathan.”

    “Nate, you all right?”

    “Yes, Dad, I—”

    “Old Man Styles drove all the way here and says I got a telephone call, and I says, I ain’t got no such thing, and he says, it’s Nate, calling from Washington Dee Cee, and I told your mother, and she might near fainted ‘cause she figured you been kilt, but I says to her, Mabel, how can he be kilt, if’n he’s calling on that contraption, and, she says it could be your ghost, but I figure it’s got to be important or else you wouldn’ta spent money for a call, so I says to your mama, Mabel, maybe he got himself a real job insteada writin’ silly stories—”

    “Never mind, Dad. Say hello to Mom.”

    My first big car crash story with byline, front page, above the fold, and no one to enjoy it with me. Well, the switchboard operator—she winked at me this morning.

    @Unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    160 words (sans title)


  25. The American Dream

    A gnarled finger pointed shakily at the faded photograph labeled “Car wreck, ca 1920 “An that there young man standing over on the left is my Grandpa Henry. That was the day he had his epiphany; them new fangled automobiles were extremely prone to breaking down, if a fella could invent a sturdier model he’d stand to make lots of money. So he got a job at a garage. He worked and studied real hard for years. He developed a fine new car and put it ino production. He called it The Dream, it was a big hit. He made thousands of dollars.”

    Just then his visitor’s cell phone rang. The boy talked for a few minutes. “What happened to all the money, Grandpa?” He asked, looking around the shabby apartment.

    “Why the Depression hit and them there big car companies took advantage of it to ruin him. They couldn’t let a nigger show thewm up!” The old man said bitterly.

    159 words @EmilyKarn1


  26. Title: Didn’t hear that coming…(159 words)
    You know what’s more annoying than seeing the future? Hearing the future.
    Grandpa saw visions, but he went blind. I assume me having to hear them is the power tediously adapting. Somehow, my friends found out, so when something happens, they want to involve me.
    I took a nap – it’s what you do when you don’t have cable – but it was disturbed by another future sound byte; my friend Dominic freaking out and asking if I heard anything. Two minutes later, my phone rang.
    “No Dominic, I haven’t heard anything.”
    Dominic paused for a second like this was the first time I’d done that.
    “Are you sure?”
    “Yes,” I groaned.
    “But I’m watching it on the news. It’s in front of your building!”
    As I shambled to the window, I was indeed surprised. The wrecked car in the middle of the street was from the 30’s, but I hadn’t heard a crash.
    That’s when I knew I was involved.


  27. Log: When selecting vehicle for transporting in time travel, make sure air pressure in tires will stand transport process.
    I’m in a bit of a fix here. Surrounded by a crowd of young natives, gawking at my brand new motorcar with three simultaneously flattened tires.
    Research prepared me for a flat tire or two—very poor quality of rubber in these times. Roads worse. But three flat tires have made my vehicle the object of attention.

    Someone has run to summon help. It seems there is an automobile repair shop a few miles away, newly equipped with that modern marvel, a telephone.
    “Imagine, we can just call them on a wire!” one of the boys told another.
    Imagine that.


  28. The first car seen on Park Street passed without incident, early in the morning on June 12. The second car, driven by Maude Emberson, the preacher’s wife, on the other hand, was the talk of Dunham’s Corner for a month of Sundays. She did hit ol’ Tom Coston’s gravestone, but that was the least-gossiped about part of the day, even though it had been made up the city special by men from the old country. It wasn’t until later, when Bill Warren, the constable, blacksmith, and butcher, arrived, that they realized what was special about Maude’s accident. Bill had seen a whole bunch of cars when he and his missus honeymooned in New York City, but those cars all had four wheels. The three-wheeled car wasn’t why Bill picked up the phone to call the FBI, though, nor why reporters descended on Dunham’s Corner like ants on a roast chicken at a picnic. Apparently, most cars those days didn’t fly.

    160 words


  29. The Maiden Flight of Max’s DeLorean-Ford Anglia-Sort Of-Maybe-Magical Mystery Machine

    The maiden flight of Max’s DeLorean-Ford Anglia-quasi-flying car encompassed countries, oceans and continents. Galaxies, light years; eons even. Its flight of fancy knew no bounds, inclusive of the far, far away. Somewhere way below, the miniscule dots which would otherwise be recognisable as people were barely discernible. They were of little consequence, as Max’s Maybe Magical Mystery Machine gained momentum. Possibility encompassed, execution fully realised.

    The maiden flight of Max’s DeLorean-Ford Anglia-Sort Of-Maybe-Magical Mystery Machine came to Earth with a bump. Emergency crash landing executed, courtesy of the call to reality heralded by the shrill tones in the distance. An unwelcome intrusion. Sighing, Max exited his vehicle. Perhaps tomorrow’s journey would herald further discovery pre-interruption. So resolved, he reminded himself to locate the puncture repair kit as he disembarked; anticipatory. Determined to earn his wings. Tomorrow and after that. Onwards into the future.

    (143 words)



  30. The Lost Face

    The camera caught me unawares; there was no time to duck. I was almost in tears. It was a miracle that no one caught on. I shudder to think what would have happened if my parents had recognized my picture in the newspaper. But they were intrigued by the sculpture of the car with missing wheels and the passenger with gaping mouth.

    Only Billie knew my secret. When he called me that morning, I had to talk to him in whispers. Mom would have been furious. Donning dark shirt and trousers, my blonde hair hidden under the skull fitting cap, no one could have guessed it was me. I felt exhilarated. First time in my life, I felt like myself. Billie and I spent a spirited rambunctious day at the carnival.

    It was a mistake to stop to see the sculpture, but we wanted to take a closer look. Oh, well! No harm, no foul!

    155 words


  31. Two Wheels Bad
    156 words

    They rounded a corner too quickly, the money-bags slid to one side of the car, and the wheels came suddenly off their getaway plan.

    Clyde got out and ran, but Bonnie was trapped by her seat-belt, which she always wore because that was the law.

    A crowd gathered, as is customary at such an occurrence, the chance to poke fun at a lady driver. They informed her that driving was easier if you sat behind the steering-wheel, and Bonnie had no choice but to smile sweetly at them, having left her machine-gun in the trunk.

    They all turned as the town policeman approached. Bonnie agreed with him that yes, driving was probably easier if you sat behind the steering-wheel, and he winked at her and went to call a tow-truck.

    She had gotten away with it.

    She wasn’t to know that the false number plate had slipped, and that he was in fact ringing for back-up.


  32. Without Sin.

    The call came after midnight, but I’d been waiting; I knew Billy didn’t have long. I was out and in the car before the doctor could say goodbye.

    I arrived long before Billy’s family, signed autographs and laid healing hands on insomniac smokers at the hospital doors, then headed to Billy’s room for his confession.

    It was just like any other, until I showed him the photo of the crash. Long dead friends stared gravely back at us, our own cherub faces amongst them. He stared at the cracked windscreen and I knew what was coming.

    “We did that.”

    I took his hand, told him that we were boys, it was an accident, and that as the country’s number one televangelist, I personally absolved him.

    Then I held the pillow over his face, just to be sure, while I gave my blessing.

    And that was it; I’d outlived the secret.

    No-one would ever know that I threw the first stone.

    Karl A Russell
    160 words



    “Ross? You there?”

    “Yeah, I’m in your dad’s office. Nobody noticed me.”

    “What do you see?”

    “Just the big wood desk, old pictures on the wall, some papers. Nothing unusual… wait a minute.”

    “What? Ross, hurry… they’re arresting dad, he’s going on about ‘Death made him kill the Congressman’ – he can’t survive prison, he’s too old…”

    “Hold on… Grace?”


    “The accident all those years ago…the photo that ran in the paper at the time – who was in the passenger seat?”

    “Nobody was.”

    “Think hard, Grace. A lot of time has passed. He never mentioned a passenger?”

    “No, Ross – dad’s not in the picture, the car was empty. What is this about?”

    “Grace are you sure?”

    “Positive. Why?”

    Ross leans down close to the yellowed clipping on the desk.

    “Found you, Death, you bastard,” he says. “You were there, weren’t you.”

    “Grace, tell the police we’ve got new evidence.”

    149 words without title


  34. Disenchanted

    Madame Marrygold tapped the photo with her wand.

    “So. Can you identify what Angelica did wrong? Yes, Philowisha?”

    “Took the photo in plain sight, Madame?”

    Marrygold hesitated. “Well, yes,” she said, “but that’s not quite what I meant.” She turned to Angelica. “Although you evidently aroused curiosity, appearing openly in your uniform like that.”

    Angelica’s blushes matched her cherry-pink gown.

    Marrygold pointed at the car. “This,” she explained, “is an example of a highly inappropriate and inevitably unsuccessful attempt to apply the Cinderella Formula. A motorised vehicle cannot safely disenchant at midnight, and will not revert to vegetable matter. Furthermore, a loose wheel left lying in the gutter is never an acceptable substitute for a lost shoe.”

    She turned to her students. “What is our aim in every Intervention?”

    “Happily ever after!” chorused the Advanced Class for Fairy Godmothers.

    “Quite. And how did this Intervention end, for this particular goddaughter, Angelica?”

    “Somebody called an ambulance, Madame,” mumbled Angelica, meekly.

    159 words


  35. Coveting A Classic
    155 words

    One minute I’m cruising along in my just-purchased-at-auction 1960 Mark 2 Jag (same as the one Chief Inspector Morse drives in Netflix reruns). Next minute, I’m hanging out beside a broken-down Chevy dinosaur in the teens—the nineteen-hundred teens.

    I don’t get it. What happened to 2014; to the sale of my first big corporate insurance policy; to the car of my dreams?

    I pull out my cell and call my wife. Dead air, and reality hits. My corporate client is the owner of Wayward Wizards, maker of magician’s props. I remember the glow in his eyes as he watched me pull away in my classy, classic wheels. I remember the wand in his hand as he waved farewell.

    Suddenly, I get it. I’ve been buzzed back to the second decade of the twentieth century so my just-purchased-at-auction 1960 Mark 2 Jag can take up residence in a wizard’s garage. A hundred years from now.


  36. Connoisseur

    Trey didn’t bother looking at the caller ID before flipping open the phone. “Yeah?” There was only one reason to call this number. “Another one?”

    He flipped open a worn, leather album, seeking his latest favorite as the woman prattled on. There. Black-and-white, with a smattering of people, surrounding a debilitated car from the twenties. A stolen moment in time.

    “At least ten.” Only one of them was looking at the tilted car. “I haven’t counted.” He didn’t need to.

    “How old?” Variety mattered. “I don’t know…Have to get the balance just right.”

    Time was, he wouldn’t have cared. He’d gotten pickier with age, and experience. “Enough. Fleeting fancies don’t interest me.” Captured moments mattered.

    “All right.”

    Trey hung up and stroked the image gently with one finger. A new child appeared in the crowd, a permanent addition to his collection. Fifteen.

    (143 words; @AriaGlazki)


  37. Late August in DC
    (152 Words)

    As sweat dripped off Grace, she stepped back. Since the men were staring at her in dismay, Grace surreptitiously snapped their picture. It was hard to believe, going only 10 miles per hour, she had demolished the wheel. The man cautioned her to swerve when he saw the flat stone, but Grace thought he was being melodramatic. She had taken speed bumps at 25 miles per hour without any problem. Of course, she hadn’t counted on the fact that she was driving a 1920’s Chevrolet Model 490.

    Earlier Grace convinced him to let her drive; after all the 19th amendment had just been signed. If she was trusted to vote, she should be trusted to drive.

    As Grace disappeared, she would have loved to take another picture of their startled faces.
    Unfortunately Grace could not make the phone call that initiated her time travel and take their picture on the same phone.


  38. With Not A Word To tell Our Tale
    159 words

    A picture was worth a thousand words.

    Elvis firmly supported the saying because a picture could tell so much with just a single accusatory stare, forever immortalised by a camera. Their old picture had more than one of those.

    It all started with that phone call.

    Mr. Carter wanted them to move the crashed car off the road but Elvis had told him that it was too busy for them to get it done safely.

    Mr. Carter hadn’t listened and when he raised the pay they’d conceded because they needed the cash.

    Elvis snorted; staring at the battered picture in his hand….they didn’t need the cash now though.

    A crackle snapped Elvis from his thoughts and he glanced over in time to see his little brother come stumbling from the tree line.

    Elvis’ gaze slid from the smile his brother was wearing because as much as he loved Matthew the charred remains of his face still made Elvis queasy.


  39. A Day In The Papers

    Ethel clapped her hands together. “You’re just glowing.”

    June’s fingers rushed to her hairband. “I think the feather is my favorite part.” She twirled making the bottom of her white dress dance along her legs.

    “It really brings out the lace on your dress.” Ethel sighed. “I can’t believe your day is here.”

    “Oh, don’t be cross. Your day will come.”

    Ethel rolled her eyes. “My day will not be featured in the paper.”

    “Well, I suppose marrying the mayor’s son does have its downfall.” June’s smile forced a grin on Ethel’s own cheeks.

    “Yes, well I suppose being the best friend to the mayor’s new daughter-in-law will have its rewards.” June stuck out her tongue as Ethel picked up the ringing telephone.

    “Hello,” Ethel covered the mouthpiece. “The paper wants a statement from the almost Mrs. Devonport…” Ethel dropped the phone and ran to June.

    “Juney, look at me.” Her best friend’s eyes hollowed. “There’s been an accident.”

    159 words


  40. Crazy Hailee Eddinger Vs. Yesterday
    (154 to 158 words, depending on hyphenation. @pmcolt)

    Agent Eddinger’s phone rang.


    “Hi, Daddy.”

    “Don’t ‘Hi, Daddy’ me, young lady. Where is my company car?”

    “Um… Nineteen Twenty-Three. Washington, D.C. Listen, I had a little accident…”

    “Oh, God. Did you run over Warren G. Harding?”

    “Who? I’m fine, Daddy. Thanks for asking.”

    “Hailee, that vehicle is a brand new Chevy Chronomancer Chameleon. If you’ve wrecked it…”

    “Relax! The way you’re acting, you’d think I killed Hitler again.”

    “Ok. Why are you in nineteen twenty-three with my car?”

    “My girlfriends wanted to party for spring break. We were going to stargaze in Hollywood, but I got lost…”

    “Please tell me you didn’t kill Alan Hale. Or Billie Burke.”

    “Who? No one’s dead this time, Daddy! It’s just a minor little fender-bender. But now the car won’t shift into forward-in-time gear. Can you call for a tow truck?”

    Sigh. “Hailee Wells Eddinger, you’re going to get me fired from the Chronology Protection Agency.”


  41. *Promise Kept*
    Word Count: 160

    Josephine puttered through the door of her daughter’s house, widow’s black draped on frail shoulders tired of sorrow and empty platitudes. Her grand-kids played in blissful silence. She knew their grandfather sat in their minds as a stranger’s face, rarely seen and not to be mourned by innocence.

    The phone rang and rang. She let it go in her desire to evade the well-meaning well-wishers that plagued her.

    “Ma! Could you get that, please?” her daughter, Kelly, shouted.

    She sighed and picked up the old-fashioned corded phone. “Hello?”

    “Joey? It’s me. There was an accident, but I’m all right. I’ll see you soon, love.”

    She gasped and dropped the phone. Kelly ran in at the clatter to see what happened. “Ma?”

    Josephine looked at her with tears in eyes. “He always told me he’d let me know he was okay if anything happened.”

    She buried her face in her daughter’s shoulder. “Whatever his faults, he kept his promises. Remember that.”


  42. Culture Crash

    “You’ve reached Vacation Time Customer Services. All our Operators are currently on calls. If it’s an emergency, please press one and leave your Name, Time Zone, and nature of your emergency and we’ll get someone on the line as quickly as possible.”


    “This is Jacob Marley with Paul Jackson. March 1923. We got into a car accident in Maryland involving an old lady’s cat. Car’s pretty totaled. Paul’s got a concussion.”


    “Marley here. Look, there’s a crowd gathering and they don’t look happy. The lady’s been yelling about us being ‘uppity’.”


    “Someone just yanked Paul out of the car. I’m wedged in the back seat where they can’t reach me. A few started muttering about a necktie party. I don’t even know what that is! Help!”



    Click. “Hello? This is Mary with Vacation Time. How can I help you? Hello?”


  43. Unscheduled Stop

    The first time the telephone rang Mother screamed.

    Emery emerged from the dining room, ‘Everything alright, Ma’am?’

    ‘Yes, Emery. Thank you.’ She removed the hand that had sprung to her chest and righted herself. ‘God-awful noise, just caught me by surprise.’

    Emery nodded, raising the receiver to his ear as Mother disappeared into the breakfast room.
    ‘The Mortimer residence.’ he announced. His ghostly complexion paled further as he added, ‘Yes, yes,’ and then ‘I’ll tell her’. He hung up and he saw me, my eyes peering out from under the stairs.

    ‘Miss Josephine,’ he cleared his throat, ‘Go upstairs to Dorothy, breakfast will be served later than usual.’

    He followed after Mother and closed the door. While his words were lost in low tones, Mother’s grew louder.


    Dismissive laughter.

    ‘Robert’s in his study-‘


    ‘He went where?’


    ‘I don’t need to check the car!’

    Floor boards creaked.

    I scarpered upstairs.

    The second time the telephone rang, Mother screamed.

    160 Words.


  44. “Gatsby in the Cafeteria” (a tale in texts)
    By Kristen Falso-Capaldi
    158 words

    JordanbabyB U do the reading?

    NickyCarraway Yeah. One woman ran the other woman over, then didn’t even call the guy who covered for her.

    JordanbabyB Whatever. Gossip! Found out that Daisy loved Gatsby!

    NickyCarraway Shut up! Beautiful Little Fool & Mr. Popularity?

    JordanbabyB In middle school. Nobody remembers him because he changed a few letters in his name, and people are stupid.

    NickyCarraway I don’t judge, but Gatsby is beautiful. Also I despise him.

    JordanbabyB He throws great keggers.

    NickyCarraway Does Tom know?

    JordanbabyB The brute is busy bullying Wilson and making out with Wilson’s GF.

    NickyCarraway Myrtle? Gross.

    JordanbabyB Gatsby wants u to invite him and Daisy to sit at your lunch table.

    NickyCarraway Why?

    JordanbabyB He’s still crazy in love with her. Also I think he loves Tom a little.

    NickyCarraway They’re a rotten crowd. He’s worth

    NickyCarraway sorry dropped my phone.

    JordanbabyB Gotta go read that stupid book. So you’ll do it?

    NickyCarraway yeah

    JordanbabyB k.


  45. Scott L Vannatter
    Disconnection – 160 words

    Carolyn spent the morning burying Billy’s body. She accomplished the act through a combination of love, guilt, and the feelings one might have after a car crash. She finished the task and created a headstone from a large rock she found. It was shaped somewhat like a star and she considered Billy a bright shining star in her life.

    Kneeling beside the grave brought her many different thoughts. In that mental eye she could see her great aunt phoning her grandmother to tell her she had been in an accident.

    “The car is in much worse shape than I am,” the squeaky voice would whine out.
    Her grandmother would soothe her and make her feel all important before ending the call to go back and continue fixing supper for grandfather and her daughter, Carolyn’s mother.

    Caroline was not certain why she had that memory, but it brought her some joy. That was something she could use right now.


  46. Family Ties

    The screech of metal on the road outside makes me flinch. A baby wails as I open the door. A car lost its wheel – pothole probably.

    The phone rings. Finally! I’m sure her mage is competent, but…

    I run back in and pick up the handset. “Hello? John Davis speaking.”

    “A call from Jane-“

    “Yes, yes, put her through. Thank you.”


    “Niece or Nephew?”

    “John! You have to help!” Jane’s voice is strained. My grip tightens. “It’s a boy, but he’s gone! The attending Mage felt a temporal shift – too fast to react.” her voice cracks.

    My brain works overtime. “’Too fast to detect means too fast to direct.’ He’ll follow the bloodline – that means here. Was there a substitution?”

    “A tire.”

    “The wreck!” I drop the handset and dash outside, scanning for the thief.

    There! I level a shock at the man’s head and catch the boy with a hover charm.

    Nobody steals my nephew.

    158 words


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