Warmup Wednesday!

Directions: Write a scene or an entire story of 100 words on the nose (no more, no fewer), inspired by this photograph. No judging. All fun. (Normal Flash! Friday guidelines regarding content apply.)
Don’t forget to add your Twitter handle & link to your blog, if you please.

And a few words on how your week’s going would be nice.

 This week’s challenge: In honor of today’s late post, let’s mess with time! Place your story in the past or the future: any time but now.


Downtown trash can, ca 1936. CC2.0 photo by Seattle Municipal Archives.

Downtown trash can, ca 1936. CC2.0 photo by Seattle Municipal Archives.


37 thoughts on “Warmup Wednesday!

  1. Maybe Painting (100 words)

    Andrew checked his mailbox for the third time that day, just in case the postman was late. It was as empty as a coffin in a show room. Apparently publishers didn’t even want to waste a stamp.

    “Who am I kidding. I’m no writer. I can barely write a shopping list.”

    As Andrew walked to his mouse wheel office job he felt his dream was dying. How many times had he sent in his work, feeding mailboxes with his heart felt words?

    He crumpled his manuscript and found a trash receptacle. It felt like feeding the final mailbox.
    Nice week here on Cape Cod. Spring cleaning and garden work. People are venturing outside after our record breaking harsh winter. It’s like the Munchkins emerging to greet Dorothy. Ok, enough coffee.

  2. N J Crosskey

    The Litter Bugz (100 words)

    We scramble down the alleyway. Kit drags me into a doorway, his greasy palm across my mouth. I scrunch my eyes shut; I can hear the screech of wheels as they hurtle past. We’ve lost them, for now.

    They’d seemed like such an innovation. Mankind was too busy to clean up after itself, we needed them. Machines to devour the rotting, festering remnants of our excesses. To turn waste into life-giving nutrients to re-invigorate charred soil.

    It’s not their fault. They do no more than their allotted task. We just never realised that WE were the rubbish on the streets.

  3. Dumpster Diving
    (100 words)

    December 10, 1936 – a hundred years to the day a trashcan swallowed crumpled pieces of paper that held my future. Figures tossed out by my grandfather, who’d whispered it to me on his deathbed.

    I’d come back in time, taking a gamble on changing the past. If I won, things would be different. I’d be rich, instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    So I searched the trashcans. Maybe this one held the quote on the cheap stock that skyrocketed after the Great Depression ended. They led to the fortune he would make, if only I could find them.

    I’m having a productive week. So far I’ve submitted a flash fiction piece and filed a news journal article on my interview with an award winning author. And I’m almost finished doing my taxes – which may be why I wrote about wishing I had a rich uncle..

  4. Destiny Day

    It’s Destiny Day. Ms. Darkley distributes trophies marking the occasion.

    “You’re special,” she says, “and meant for greatness!”

    We already know this, but our hearts warm hearing it again. Now that we’ve turned fifteen, it’s on us to destroy our oppressive government and free society.

    Ms. Darkley pushes the applause button.

    “You’re the One chosen to save the world!” she shouts to each of us in turn.

    I look outside where my brother is stabbing at trash. He’s fourteen and angrily counting the days until his turn.

    But today is mine; I’m Chosen. Me!

    I guess that’s why I’m crying?

    100 words

    Couldn’t help poking a little fun at YA today. Because, you know, all fifteen-year-old girls are destined to save the world, right?? If only we’d figured that our earlier; I know quite a few teens chomping at the bit for their turn to have at it. 🙂 Otherwise: a rather gloomy Wednesday here and a bit of a tough week for me. So grateful for this writing community!

  5. Life Changing Letter

    A life changing letter rests in the inside pocket of Alan’s coat, next to his heart, folded up in a rough brown envelope. Some would call it a suicide note; others true love’s declaration.
    Alan pauses, his letter half in the letterbox’s dark rectangle of no return. The stories of Michael and Peter and John and Edward rush from his memory, each introduced with the bang of the judge’s hard gavel. His doubt asks ‘is Arnold worth jail?’
    A single tear marks his cheek as Alan scrunches the letter into the nearest bin. He walks off, his hat pulled down.


    Is has been a hot week in Glasgow so far – which is a surprise to many! This doesn’t help the back to week feeling after returning from Easter. Anyway I’m off to play in the sun.

    • What a wrenching portrayal of Alan’s decision!!! –hurrah for the sun! soak up that glorious Vitamin D for the rest of us suffocating under clouds.

      • Hi Rebekah.

        Sorry I’m only just replying. I missed your reply somehow. Thank you for your nice comment on my story. I wasn’t sure if his dilemma was too subtle to be noticed.

        Yeah the sun was great!

  6. What’s Old is New Again
    (100 words)

    It was an old fashioned idea, but it had more merit in the 22nd century than it did in its own time. After a couple centuries of industrial indulgence and societal neglect the world had grown darker, dirtier and duller. Nature had become sickly and cities were cesspools of pollution and litter.

    The world was about done when one man started a revolution. One man knew that the simple act of picking up litter could start man down a path of redemption.

    Getting everyone to dress in outdated styles and drive old cars again was only meant as a joke.

    • hahaha! talk about nostalgia…. Well, if it meant Cary Grant would be my trash collector, I’d vote yes in a heartbeat.

  7. Duty Calls (100 words)

    Each morning Walter would see the police officer directing traffic. The man was a hero to him.

    Walter wrote a three page letter to the cop, musing on the all adventures they could have together. Was this what his therapist called “magical thinking?” Perhaps, but it made Walter feel euphoric. He never was good at making friends. He never understood boundaries.

    Walter approached the intersection, letter in hand, when his medication kicked in. This is crazy, Walter thought. I’m a happily married man.

    Walter wadded up his letter and tossed it in the trash. The cop winked at him.

    • I LOVE LOVE LOVE the climax of this story–what a fantastically portrayed moment, “…when his medication kicked in. This is crazy, Walter thought.” Soooo good.

  8. A mission to save her (100 words)

    I can see him out the corner of my eye. Or is it the other way around? My time here is limited; I must be vigilant. I mustn’t be discovered.

    Is he waiting for her? Has he caught wind of her plan? Did I travel far enough back to right her wrong? I must convince her there is another way. I must find her.

    She’s here. Somewhere in Seattle, she’s here and she’s about to do something that will destroy her life and mine.

    A sharp alarm pierces through the sound of the city. I’m too late. She’s done it.
    Hi all! I’ve been a lurker for quite some time now and I finally built up the courage to participate. Love the other posts today. Weather here in Toronto is rainy and cold, perfect day to curl up and do some writing 🙂

    • Hey Allie! Great story 🙂 well done for building up the courage! I just started joining in with some of these great flash comps/exercises a couple of weeks ago myself, everyone is so friendly, you won’t regret it 🙂

    • Fantastic, attention-grabbing opening line!!! You’ve done an amazing job incorporating tension and drama, each sentence pushing the next forward. Great story. And welcome!! Come back lots! We LOVE writers here; they’re so tasty.

      • Thank you so much for your feedback! I can’t wait for Friday 🙂

        I really admire the amazing community you’ve built here. Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside!

      • Caution: it’s highly addictive!!!! I started this contest in 2012 because I couldn’t get enough flash fiction, haha! So who knows… before too long you might launch your own!

    • Welcome to the fun! From a fellow Canadian I can assure you that nothing keeps you warm through those cold winter months than the gentle glow of dragon fire. Just don’t feed the dragons 🙂

      P.S. Great story. I’m really curious to know what the alarm was for!

      • Thank you! I’m thinking of expanding it to a longer short story. I had such a hard time whittling it down to 100 words!

  9. Emily Clayton

    Say Cheese! (100 Words)

    “I’m not touching that filth.” He pulled his chocolate brown pea coat tighter, as if the thick wool would protect him from harm.

    “It’s just a newspaper.”

    The sides of his mouth curled in disgust. “Filth, I tell you. Do you know who I am?” He looked at me and sniffed. “Garbage is servant work.”

    By now my camera was weighing me down. All I wanted was a photo for the Seattle Times. “It’s never touched the ground, I promise. The photo might even bring you more business. Will you do it?”

    A steely glint appeared in his eye. “Yes.”

    • HAHAHA! talk about “behind the scenes”! what an enlightening and fun explanation of what’s REALLY going on in the pic. And props to the very clever journalist.

  10. Felonious Jones (100 words)

    Al had to take a peripheral roll. He had two priors, shopping lifting and petty larceny, and was on probation. Now it was a family affair. It’s how they survived the years following the stock market crash of ‘29.

    Al was to drop a flaming wad of newspaper in the trash to create a diversion. Caleb, 14, was the wheel man. Mother and Alice, 3, were in the American United Bank. Mother would pass the teller the note, load up the carriage and scram.

    Caleb drove the speed limit out of town. Alice spat up on stacks of twenties.

  11. I Will Survive

    “This is a blight of sinfulness.” Mother wept as a man discarded a crumpled wasted life.

    Her companion, gnarled and withered but a wise old soul, groaned with the stimulation of a breeze, “Progress.”

    “They kill and waste, justified only by the avarice of their existence. Then this blight of gray comes. How is this beautiful?” Rumbling vibrations from a passing truck loosed some of Mother’s brightly colored attire, which dance-fell onto the invading concrete.

    “One day this that is Seattle will care,” replied her friend as contorted old roots buckled new concrete.

    “It shall.” I that am nature survive.


    Beautiful day, lots of rain past week but today sunshine and full of spring flowers and growth – fed the prompt.

  12. Madman (100 words)

    ‘Harry, it’s me, Joe, you still in there?’
    ‘Yeah, I’m still in here!’
    ‘You’ve got to come out. For Christ’s sake it’s 1948, the War’s been over three years!’
    ‘So you keep saying. Is that what the Government told you to tell me? Maybe you’re in on it! How do I know you’re not in on it?’
    ‘Harry, I’m not in on “IT.”’
    ‘Joe, just keep bringing me food; Please!’
    ‘No, I can’t keep doing this Harry, I’m not coming back. Here’s today’s newspaper, proves its 1948. Proves you’re mad. I’m not mad. Voices from garbage bins, not I sir!’

    Paul John Welsh


    Blog – paulwelsh27.wordpress.com

    Alive and living In Scotland

  13. A rubbish disguise…

    The biggest challenge with hiding on a new planet was figuring out what form to take. Sometimes he hit the jackpot, he’d be a leader, an alpha, a celebrity. Those were the good times. They never lasted long enough. Eventually the bounty hunters would catch up with him again.

    This time Berty guessed wrong. His cursory scan of the planet suggested that machines were the dominant species. He’d assumed what he thought was a desirable form, but apparently it was a garbage can. He just knew this would be the time the bounty hunters took their sweet time finding him…

    It was an odd Easter this year, our little one is walking now so we gave her an impromptu easter egg hunt, but apparently she is still too young for chocolate. That concept was almost as shocking to me as discovering that somehow that also means by association I am now too old for Easter chocolate. While the easter bunny may have forsaken me, thankfully my good friend the Visa bunny came to the rescue and I managed to track down some Cadbury’s all the way from England 🙂

  14. “It’s been six months,” I thought to myself. “Six months since she’s written, it’s over.”

    Ever since Jane had come back from the War, she had been different. She jumped at the smallest noise, couldn’t sleep without nightmares. Even her eyes changed- still the cerulean I remembered, but no longer warm. When she looked at me, she stared past me, not seeing

    She left just a few weeks after getting back, to “find herself.” Well, that was six months ago, and still no word. I took the crumbled love letters she had sent during her absence, and threw them away.

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