A to Z Challenge: Z – The Finale


Natalie loved her job as much as she hated her boss, but Charles was 20 years from Zretirement, so she took matters into her own hands.

When her experimental Platurtlepus used its tail to whack a groundhog into submission, Natalie knew she was on to something.

A few early tests failed: Rhinoseal was just horny and mated with dolphins, sea otters and hippos; Flaminbeego stung a vulture and flew off; Crockaroo bounced from its creek into oblivion.

But her Gorillaphant – while it took some coaxing – adapted well to Natalie’s training. She abandoned him, hungry, in Charles’ office on a Friday night so ol’ Charley was the first piece of meat her Gorillaphant encountered Monday morning.

Last week, Natalie’s new warden for the next 40 years to life refused her request to keep a rat in her cell, saying “that lady is an animal.”


And that, my friends, concludes our romp through the alphabet with six-sentence stories of occupational hazards for the A to Z Challenge. These stories were inspired by Ernest Hemingway, who created the first six-word story: For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Thank you for hanging with me during the month. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and would never have made it without your encouragement. I’m serious. Without you, I probably don’t make it past D. Okay, I would have done E for Editor cuz that was fun.

I’ll do some sort of recap next week and post it on the blog. I get to celebrate the finish line all day Saturday at a bachelor party that begins at noon and allegedly ends at midnight. Might as well call Uber now because I won’t be driving.


11 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: Z – The Finale

  1. I can’t even describe how much I loved this. It’s equal parts Dr. Seuss and murder. I just love it. These have been great, John. Now, about that copy of your manuscript? When the time comes, can I get an ARC? I know the time is coming. Enjoy your bachelor’s party. You earned some fun. We made it to the end of the alphabet.


  2. A big sigh, and after your blowout bachelor party, some zzzzzzzzzz’s? (ha! okay, we’re done with the alphabet.)

    Great ending story! Like Elise said, a bit of Seuss with your creative critters, and a murder to boot! I loved them, one and all!


  3. This was the perfect story to end with – funny and deadly and filled with wordplay. It’s been great to follow along through the career alphabet with you this month! Enjoy the party, and wish the groom-to-be the best from all of us.


  4. Ha! And yet another creative way to bump people off. Great work, again, John. 🙂 Can you imagine the sting from a Flaminbeego? I think the military would want to breed those things.

    Congratulations on making it through. Your creativity and storytelling really shone this past month. All the best with the WiP!! 🙂


  5. I thought she’d get away with it 😛 Have fun at the party and congratulations for making it past the finish line. It was a very entertaining month!


  6. Congratulations on your challenge. I’ve read some but not as many as I’d like to have. This one is great. I love the first line . I sense you’ve loosened up your creative bones with this last entry.


  7. John, this was great. I have enjoyed all of your stories so much. You always manage to squeeze every drop of drama into your stories. I am truly your devoted fan.

    Now, get back to editing.


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