Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Niblet: To One and All

Some bah-humbug it as a shakedown. Others revel in the sight of an orange, or a game, or a tube of mascara peeking out of a stocking. Some laugh as tornados race through living rooms. Others fiddle with tokens and pray for peace and healing and a healthy and happy new year for everyone.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Niblet: Brothers in Life

The counterman skulked behind the bar, splashed coffee into cups, said he was really a musician looking to escape, trying to conjure a way to do so without telling his girlfriend. I said I knew how he felt, put my money on the counter, unwound myself off the stool, and said I'd see him tomorrow.


You know the drill. Write a story of 50-55 words incorporating the bold words above and post it in the comments section of this post.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


This story first appeared at Flashes in the Dark.

I started my secrets collection when I was eight years old. It began when I caught my dad kissing our neighbor, Mrs. Short. They didn’t see me, and I never told Mom. I don’t know why. I guess it was because Mom and Dad were always kissing each other--and me. Still, somehow I knew it wasn’t right for Dad and Mrs. Short to be kissing.

Sometime after that--I don’t remember how long--Mom kicked Dad out of the house yelling something about him knocking up Marylou Short. I didn’t know what that meant, but I could tell by how Mom was yelling that it wasn’t a good thing. I remember swallowing a lot as I watched him walk to the car carrying two big suitcases that Mom packed for him.

Mom took me to school the next day and spoke to my teacher. She offered me a sad smile and put her arm around me. I liked my teacher, but I wondered if she had any secrets.

From then on, I paid attention to what people did and said. In junior high, I started keeping a journal of what I heard and saw. Things like who did drugs, and which girls lost their virginity, and who cheated on tests. By the time I left high school I had nine notebooks full of secrets.

It wasn’t until after Mom’s cancer diagnosis that I started contacting the people in my books. We needed the money to pay for Mom’s treatments. Sara Jacobs was the first. She cried when I told her I knew about her abortion and asked if her husband did. She was silent for awhile, and then begged me to not tell anyone. At least I think that’s what she said. Her sobs made it sound like she was speaking some foreign language.

Most of the people I contacted I found on Facebook. A fake email address and a prepaid cellphone helped keep me invisible, and every packet of money was sent to a different P.O. box. 

The only time I got scared was when Billy Freedman threatened to call the cops. I spent a week looking out the window expecting to see a police car pull into the driveway, drying my palms on my jeans, even while I continued to call people. The cops never came, so I guess what I had on Billy was something he didn’t want people to know, after all. Still, he never sent the money. Maybe when I have enough and move away like I plan to, I’ll call the local paper with an anonymous tip.

Mom died yesterday. The doctors gave her eight months to live. She only lasted five. I could stop calling people, but I need more money so I can find Dad. I’m sure he won’t recognize me after eighteen years, and that’s okay. I don’t want to be friends. I want him to pay me the back alimony he never gave Mom. Maybe then I can finally get the degree in psychology I’ve always wanted.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Same Old Same Old

From a prompt to write a 53-word story involving an animal.

He appeared on my porch one foggy morning, his fur full of burrs, his meow no bigger than a mouse.

He was new to the neighborhood. I called him Pussy.

I cleaned him as best I could and fed him peanut butter. We slept together that night. The next day Pussy ran away.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Say What?

A story based on the five bold words

It was a comical plan. The note said: Meet me at the statue of the gnome in the park, and I’ll tell you who the embezzler is. Wear a tweed jacket and argyle socks. I threw the note away, treating it like so much pablum. Was this jerk really going to rat on me?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Niblets--bite-sized stories of 50-55 words

There are Dribbles and Drabbles of exactly 50 and 100 words, respectively. I’m starting a new form I call Niblets. These are stories of at least 50 words and no more than 55.

The skinny: Use the five words listed below to write a Niblet and add it as a comment to this post. Any genre is acceptable. Please keep stories no more than R-rated.

Here’s today’s list of randomly selected words.


** Thanks to Richard Osgood of the Flash Factory and his Sunday 5-50/55 whose idea I stole borrowed upon for this effort.