Happy Ending Sad

(A little story while you wait for results. ♥ )

Sand shark. CC2.0 photo by Mark Probst.

Sand shark. CC2.0 photo by Mark Probst.

Happy Ending Sad
by Rebekah Postupak

The End

(Or so they thought)

Adrift and lost, they clung to wreckage — alive

While sharks circled, begging the ship’s remains: a duet of human snacks, no less, on the menu

The pair’s desperate cry for aid

–was then devoured by–

The roar of a thousand ancient dreams exiting the past

And in that immortal instant everything changed

They realized daylight could never again be

Overwhelmed by darkness

For together they had looked into the deep and witnessed hope

Their hearts burst in purple wonder

Talking of cabbages and kings,

Once upon a time


This is a palindromic story: reading top to bottom, or bottom to top, yields opposite outcomes for our shipwrecked protagonists. The story was inspired by one of lit agent Janet Reid’s many flash contests, with the constraints of <100 words and incorporating five list words (lesson, remains, snack, bag, exit). The story went unnoticed and unremarked this round: but hearty hurrahs for our own Michael Seese whose tragic story of death (Michael, you are waaaaay too good at knocking people off) took the cake. Three cheers for Michael! 

Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work

Cleaning Supplies. CC2.0 photo by Chiot's Run.

Cleaning Supplies. CC2.0 photo by Chiot’s Run.

Act Now, Don’t Wait, Guaranteed to Work
written by Rebekah Postupak

♥ for Beth ♥

You know how they say that stain remover stuff advertised on TV can get anything out?

It’s a lie.

Take the birthday you gave me a yellow shirt (you didn’t know yet to avoid giving me pastels) and then, foolish girl, handed me a popsicle.

“Bonus party favor,” you said, grinning, as a cherry-colored, duck-shaped stain suddenly appeared on my chest.

This meant trouble: kids already loved tormenting me for my ubiquitous stains. I tried explaining my precarious situation to you, but you just made quacking noises until you were laughing so hard your quacks devolved into hiccupping snorts.

I scrubbed and scrubbed (it really was a great shirt) but, though the shirt doesn’t fit anymore, the duck still waddles, like it imprinted on someone hiding just past the seam.

Then there was the time I was housesitting for Mrs. Schauer.

“Merlot!” you said when you showed up, wine in one hand and a shopping bag with Camembert and chick flicks in the other. Not once did you tease me for being scared in that big house by myself. You were less merciful, however, when an hour later I kicked my glass over on the white sheepskin rug and subsequently cleaned it so thoroughly, the spot glowed.

“I didn’t know Mrs. Schauer’s sheep were grey!” you said.

“Club soda next time, okay?” I grumbled. You stuck your tongue out and poured me another glass.

Things only grew worse. Your emergency caramel macchiato I tipped over on my master’s thesis. Your byline-splashed newsprint smeared on my fingers (and then nose) before my first job interview. The ketchup-and-fries you snuck in transformed into a mini Picasso on my wedding dress. Even the delicate bottle of Giorgio celebrating my Halima’s birth became a perfumed ochre garden on my sofa.

And now, you insolent wench, despite knowing better, you’ve really done it: crossed the Great River and smeared a violent mark across my heart.

I’ve scrubbed with bleach, peroxide, vinegar, and baking soda til my hands are raw and bleeding.

Cruel, heartless girl, leaving me all these stains, but nothing to get them out with.


Written as a tribute to darling Flash! Friday draggin Beth Peterson (December 29, 1960 – September 2, 2015) via last weekend‘s Flash Frenzy weekly flash fiction contest. Host Rebecca Allred gives a whopping 360 words and a photo for inspiration: it’s live now (runs Saturday mornings through Sunday evenings); give it a try!


Zentralbild Biscan 14.5.1958 Gutsbesitzer-Schloss wurde Krankenhaus. Das Schloss des ehemaligen Rittergutsbesitzer Schaffer in Bahrendorf, Kreis Wanzleben, wurde nach 1945 in ein Krankenhaus umgewandelt. Nach und nach wurde ausgebaut, in der letzten Zeit durch Errichtung einer Entbindungsstation und einer Schwerkrankenstation. Heute ist es als Kreiskrankenhaus und Landambulatorium eine der schönsten und besten Einrichtungen des Gesundheitsdienste im Bezirk Magdeburg. UBz: Der ehemalige Wintergarten des Schlosses ist in einen Operationssaal umgewandelt worden, in dem alljährlich hunderte Operationen vorgenommen werden.

Zentralbild Biscan 14.5.1958 Gutsbesitzer-Schloss wurde Krankenhaus. CC3.0 Germany photo by Biscan.

by Rebekah Postupak

Carry that sentence on in—yes, lay it on the syntax table. CAREFUL! You’re dropping modifiers everywhere! That’s better.

All right. You’ve all seen a red pen before? Good. Let’s start by carving the baseline, shall we? Sloooowly. OK, we’re in. Don’t be embarrassed, ma’am; many experience nausea at the primary parse. Can anyone locate the subject right off? Regrettably, sir, that’s the object. Anyone else? Yes, there! Excellent!

Now observe my pen—sometimes one must dig around—ahhh, here it is, a nice, fat predicate. What, someone’s fainted? My apologies, sir; adverbs will splatter. Mind the puddle, then.

Young lady! I beseech you! Prepositions are not for chewing on!


Written for the weekly flash contest Microbookends, with its 90-110 word count window and incorporating this week’s photo (a messy spectator event) and the required opening/closing words of carry/on. Give MB a try! It runs Thursdays, the exact 24h preceding Flash! Friday.