Flash Fiction

English Assignment

Did Hemingway start it? Who cares? It’s my favorite English asHemingwaysignment. Saves time. Easy grading. I pretend it’s legitimate.

Begin with the lazy student, calls himself a philosopher.
For sale. Baby mittens. Never worn.
F for borderline plagiarism.

See what the shy kid wants to say.
Patty. Never fit. New choice. Patrick!
Explains a lot.

How about the biker gang chick, mad at the world.
Special delivery. Surprise! Happy Father’s Day.
Mental note: Don’t flirt with her. (Hey, six words!)

What about that scary new kid, front row?
Dear Dishonest Teacher: Karma’s a bitch.
Remember to sign his drop slip.

Contest: 100-word flash fiction where the entry must include five words: mitten, phil, patty, gang, dish. Contest date: June 19, 2015

My story above was a finalist and received the following accolades from the judge, the honorable Janet Reid, Literary Agent at FinePrint Literary:
Note: I love that the reader has to bring something to the story to fully understand this. I love it when a writer has confidence the reader will get stuff without having to be told in so many words.
 And I love how this plays with form as well.

13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction

  1. Great story! That was from before I started following Janet’s blog, so I hadn’t seen it before. I love it – a 100-word story about 6-word stories! And about grading, which is so much on my mind right about now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I’m in a family of teachers, so I understand where you’re coming from with end of the school year grades. Thanks for stopping by Celia. April knocked me out, and I’m finally getting back up and into the world again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on your accolades! I thought this was fantastic. I love the short, abrupt sentences and I thought it was cleverly written. You have such a talent for packing so much content into so few words!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember this one John! I also remember loving it, and your first lines, the student responses (six words) and the supposed “teacher’s” reply SHOWED me the personality of this teacher so clearly. This was one of my favorite FF’s of all time. This one, and E.M.’s about the Nazi’s.

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    1. Omigosh, Donna, you’re way too kind. E.M.’s was in a different league than mine, that was one of the most memorable pieces I’ve read. I still remember how chilling it was. It’d be so interesting to see different people’s Best Of lists, yes? Alas, who has that kind of time?!

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  4. Love it. Not at all surprised this was a finalist. I do have one question: one of the requisite five words was “dish,” but I don’t see it in the story. The closest I found is “Dish[onest]” but I know you wouldn’t sneak that by, not in a story about an (and titled) “English Assignment.” I’m terribly afraid early-onset dementia has set in and “dish” is staring me in the face yet I can’t see it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First things first, nice hat! Second, good news — no worries about early-onset dementia. You correctly found all five, including dish inside dishonest.

      To be sure, I once thought just like you’re thinking — no fair to hide a word inside another word. But I’m a convert. In fact, I’m all the way to being an advocate. If you think about it, we’re the business of creativity, so if you can twist a word and stay within the rules, it should be accepted and even encouraged. Some people in these contests will stretch a prompt word across two or three words or multiple paragraphs. Pretty creative, no?

      So I hear ya, but I like that someone pushed the envelope and got rewarded for it. We need more of that in the world! And thank you for swinging by with the nice fashion statement!


  5. This was such a great story and before I found my way to the Reef. No wonder Janet is so crazy about your work. How are those edits coming? I need new reading material for next summer.


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