A to Z Challenge: The Dreaded Q


The plan was simple: his team could still win, but by fewer than six-and-a-half points, theQ betting line at the sports book in Vegas.

So when they were up 23-20 and about to march into the end zone from the 2-yard line, Frank knew it was time to call an audible. He’d take a beating from Coach in the locker room, but that was a Sunday sermon compared to Jimmy Three Sticks exposing Frank’s secret.

Instead of handing off to Rock Rollins for an easy score, Frank threw an interception. Never imagined the safety could run it back 98 yards for a touchdown that turned victory into a devastating 27-23 defeat.

It might be time to come out and test the true tolerance of his adoring fans. ###


Thanks to Me (that sounds like a pat on the back, but I’m actually thanking Me from the comments yesterday) for suggesting Quarterback. Wouldn’t of never thunk it up on me own. Q was also brought to you by Quaker, he likes it, hey Mikey. And by Q-Tips, 100% cotton swabs. And by Quizno’s, Jared Fogle never ate here.

Limp on back tomorrow on your peg leg because ‘morrow is arrrrgggghhh, write like a pirate day. Arrgghh.





17 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: The Dreaded Q

  1. I wrote like a pirate on Monday. Am I in trouble?

    I feel for your QB. I have seen this scenario happen, and I think more than once. We are almost through the alphabet. So tomorrow will it be a Rain Maker or Roller Derby Queen? Can’t wait to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hm. Well, had I been brave enough to take on this A-Z challenge, I might have used this “Q” opportunity to write QUIT. As in, this is killing me, I can’t do it anymore, I QUIT! 🙂

    Anywho, loved the story. Um, what happened?

    Know nothing about football

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. You know all too well how it is in flash. Such a fine line between giving something away and letting the reader fill in a gap or two. I wrestled putting in a line, taking out a line, adding a word, deleting the same word. One helpful word that didn’t appear: blackmail.

      So our protagonist, who happens to be an NFL quarterback, has both a secret he doesn’t want out and also the ability to control much of what happens in a game. The mob, repped here by Jimmy Three Sticks (a name unfathomable in a 100-word flash), knows Frank’s secret and blackmails him so they can make money off his game in Vegas. Similar to real-life point-shaving scandals in the past, he doesn’t even have to lose, he just needs to cover the spread. In this story, he covers the spread, but loses the game, and probably his integrity at the same time. Now, he wonders if he’d be better off with his secret out than cowing to the mob and losing self-respect. But it’s a tough call. I suppose he could have any secret for the mob to blackmail him, but the last line alludes to him as gay since it might be time for him to “come out” and see if fans still accept him.

      America can’t answer this question, of course. Because while there are concussions that ruin lives in the NFL, there are no gay players … until they retire. Just ask Michael Sam, defensive player of the year in college, who suddenly forgot how to play when he tried to make an NFL team.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow. Seriously, what a great plot, therefore, I smell novel with this one. So true to life – as you say. Such twists on the words and what they mean. Thank you for explaining it. LOVE it.

        You might be able (Geez, pause a moment. I almost wrote “you might could,” WIP is creeping in, even when I talk to hubby. I done cooked dinner. LOL) to use Jimmy Three Sticks in a FF. Youre economy of words it top notch.

        I’m dreading the next FF. All of you (yes you) are getting too dang good at it!


  3. Oh my gosh. This was so good. My mind is still slow. Obviously, it’s time for less Benadryl or more coffee I had to figure out what was going on. Then it was, “Ah, poor guy.” And, of course, it didn’t help that I grew up on and around the rez so I kept waiting for a punchline involving an Indian. I dated a boy named Little Soldier.

    I’m with Donna. I’m babysitting again today, so I’ll be behind again. I have no idea what I’m doing for Q. My original alphabet Q word was “quiet”, but I’ve been trying to weave in some history with the letter.

    I’m still waiting with bated breath for John’s novel. *taps toes*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re gonna wear those tap shoes out at the pace I’m moving. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m making pretty good progress, I just had a long way to go. And that’s after I thought it was completely finished — twice! Ugh. Onward. Thanks for the visit, and even more for the kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry, John, but I needed the explanation too. Not into American “Football” at all. Not your fault. As Donna said, it sounds a great plot for a novel. I just didn’t bring enough with me to the flash story. Like turning up with baked potato fixings to an ice cream social. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a funny thing. Not to stereotype, but I’m finding most of my sporting friends don’t read and most of my writing friends aren’t into sports. Maybe I’ll have to pick, which would have been difficult in years past, but I’d give up sports in a heartbeat today to further my writing career. (Not sure the word “career” is correctly used there, but you know what I mean.)


  5. Yes, the word ‘career’ is ABSOLUTELY correctly used in your last comment!
    Count me among those who needed the explanation. But then again, footy down here in Oz is rather different to what you have there 🙂
    A lovely story.
    And I’m with Donna – I’m dreading the next FF too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m ALWAYS dreading the next FF contest. Competition at the Reef is getting crazy good.

      It’s funny that you refer to Australia as Oz. Makes me think of the Wizard of Oz, and maybe y’all have a yellow brick road there. Yes, football very different games here and there. A quarterback in American football probably has as much control over the outcome of a game – and hence, the ability to fix it for gambling purposes – as a goalie in your football, or what we’d call soccer.

      There have been point-shaving scandals in American sports, even at the college level. Most recent that comes to mind is Boston College. Most famous is probably the 1919 Chicago White Sox (or, as they became known, the Black Sox) when they allegedly threw the World Series. Several members of that team, including the sweet-swinging Joe Jackson, were banned from baseball. More recently, Pete Rose was banned from baseball for committing the ultimate sin, betting on the game. He bet on the Cincinnati Reds, the team he managed. Anyway, thanks for stopping in, sorry I go on too long sometimes in these responses. I’m surely pressing the 100-word limit!


  6. No prob 😉 I liked your story and I liked the back story that came later on in the comments too, so…are you gonna write a bigger story out of this?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question. One of the fun things about this April adventure is that I’ll have plenty of story ideas when May 1 shows up. However, at the moment, I’m working on revising and then resubmitting a manuscript to an agent.

      My original 2016 plan was to write one short story per month. I’ve submitted the January story to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. February and March are complete, but need editing. April hasn’t happened thanks in large part to involvement in this challenge. Regardless, short stories got moved to the back burner with the R&R from an agent, so that’s priority #1 right now. After I get that resubmitted, I gotta figure out the next step. But thanks, I really appreciate your thought — and your suggestion, which saved me on Q!


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