Just for Fun: BURNED

House fire. CC photo by Kpahor.

House fire. CC photo by Kpahor.


by Rebekah Postupak

for Finish That Thought

“I bought the medusa because Fred said he’d rather be dead than caught with a phoenix.”

“Well, sure. You can’t blame him. Alex—remember him? the cute guy who lives over on King Street?—anyway, he bought a phoenix for his fiftieth birthday, and not two weeks later the house burned down.”

“Della, Alex is a Fire Lord.”

“Well, sure, I mean, yeah, there’s that. But still. Phoenix. House burns down. Hello, Captain Obvious.”

“He was running Fire Festival tryouts in his basement.”

“You don’t give up, do you? I’m just saying Fred’s smart, avoiding the phoenix. That’s all. Sheesh.”

 “Della! Alex had kids juggling fireballs on the roof!”

“You’re starting to get on my nerves, Melissa. And you’re totally missing the point. Phoenixes are just a bad idea, is what I’m saying. There’s that other time, the thing in Omaha—”

“Do you mean the Core leak? Della, do you never check Snopes before quoting this stuff?”

“I didn’t have to! My cousin Luis saw the whole thing. The Core opened right up under the house with the illegal phoenix farm. You trying to tell me that’s a coincidence, huh?”

“Forty years ago that neighborhood was a drill zone. The earth’s crust was already weak; of course the Core was going seep through. And what do you mean, Luis saw the whole thing? Isn’t he stationed on Mars these days?”

“Well, yeah, but—“

“Hasn’t he been off planet the past five years?”

“Okay, technically yes, but still, he follows the news. And during the whole Core leak thing, he was totally glued to his TV. Or whatever they call the transcription thinggie they follow news with. It was practically like being there.”

“So you’re telling me that your cousin who lives on Mars and hasn’t been to Earth in over five years witnessed firsthand that an illegal phoenix farm in Omaha caused the Core leak.”

“FINE. If you don’t believe Luis, how about your own experience? You gonna deny that one too?”

“Are you nuts!? What are you even talking about?”

 “We’ve been friends all our lives, and you think I don’t know your little secret?”

“You know them all. Like the time I kissed my professor at that party—”

“Yawn. That’s not the kind I’m talking about. I mean the good secret. The one you haven’t told anybody, ever. The one you lied about on your college application and citizenship test.”

“What, my weight? That’s every woman’s secret.”

“Your weight wouldn’t make you buy a medusa for your latest boyfriend.”

“Depends on the number of cookies I’d been eating.”

“But a medusa? One look and Fred’s a goner.”

“Not if his heart is pure.”

“Seriously? You’re banking your current boyfriend’s life on that?”

“Sure. Why not?”

“I’ll tell you why. Because you’re terrified your water sprite boyfriend’s gonna find out you’re a ph—”

“Don’t say it.”

“You’re a ph—”

“Don’t say it.”

“Ha ha, you’re a ph—aw, man! What’d you burn me for?”


500 words exactly. Written for the weekly flash fiction contest Finish That Thoughtwhich posts Mondays at 10pm ET and runs through midnight Tuesday. The story incorporates a (legal) variant of the required opening sentence as well as the judge’s challenge to use only dialogue and include a mythical/magical creature. This story totally did not win, bwahahaha.


10 thoughts on “Just for Fun: BURNED

    • THANK YOU for noticing the title!!! hahahahha! I was cracking myself up with that one, which, as my mother says, is really all that matters with a joke. Still, one hopes….. 🙂

    • Thank you, dear AK! and it wouldn’t bother me in the least if all the other contests burst into gigantic flash explosions of magnificentness–in fact, I’d be thrilled. In my view, when any flash contest does well, we all win. LONG LIVE FLASH FICTION!!!! ❤

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