Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 17!

Aha! You thought we were going to be late again, didn't you?

SURPRISE! We're not! 


Rules: Read Me!

Judges This Week: Si and Mars

Word count: 300 max

How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). Only one entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT!

Results announced: Next Wednesday!

Remember: The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition.


"I can do it, but I'll need a jackhammer and all the peppermint you got."


  1. The Canary

    "I can do it, but I'll need a jack hammer and all the peppermint schnapps you got."

    Rosie Rathbone’s torso is sprawled on my bar, her pleasing rump perched on a wobbly bar stool. She is draped in a tight, patterned dress, wispy and rose-red, that’s creeping dangerously north of her beautifully bony knees. She looks like a million dollars that someone embezzled thirty years ago and buried in a cellar. Her pale blonde hair, with a recent swatch of grey, has frizzed up like she still has her shiny, purple-painted middle fingernail stuck in a socket.

    She has been on the detox wagon all week.

    “You got mighty particular thirst quenching requirements, Rosie.” I say, trying to stay on her good side. I want Rosie’s comeback to work for her. And for me.

    My joint, the Southside Jazz Cellar, was the place for great blues back in the eighties. Rosie headlined in those early days. Then, her demons started to do her in. She stayed around the neighbourhood, didn’t totally burn up, but never soared again.

    “I need a hairy little dog, Benny. Otherwise, I got no bark,” she groans and I understand. I’ve been on the other side of sober and it’s warm and dreamy.

    “Nobody’s saying you can’t, Rosie. One. Soon as Marie gets back with the mix.”

    We wait.

    The band warms up.

    Marie gets back.

    I whip up the Jack Hammer.

    Rosie sips.

    Not guzzles.


    Something’s working.

    “I’m ready, Benny. Let’s roll.”

    She straightens up and makes for the stage. I turn down the lights but one. She stands in the glow.

    I can feel the years drift back to that first night. Big Mama Thornton’s classic, with a touch of Janis…

    “Sittin’ down by my window, Honey, lookin’ out at the rain…”


    300 Big Mama Moments

  2. Preparing the Ground

    298 words


    “I can do it, but I’ll need a jackhammer and all the peppermint you got.”

    Sally had told me the girl was a witch. But I hadn’t thought she meant it literally … until I saw the ad. Know your enemy, went the old saying. And so here she was. She handed me her card.

    ‘Iris Flatly, Wiccan Priestess. Healer, Psychic and Spreader of Wisdom. Available 24/7. Thursday Spell Special … Buy One Get One Free.’

    “You were right to call me,” she said. “Real bad vibes here. You won’t grow anything in this garden until the ground is cleansed.”

    I was ordered to stand back as she scattered the peppermint in a circle around us. Then she started up the jackhammer. This didn’t seem very witchy to me.

    “Who did you say you were apprenticed to?” I shouted. My mum had led her own coven until an unfortunate incident with Farmer White’s bull. It had put me off following in her footsteps.

    She turned off the drill, paused for slightly too long. “Old Betty Crocker,” she said finally.

    “Isn’t that a cake mix?”

    She shrugged. “Unfortunate coincidence.”

    “And the jackhammer is to …?”

    “Create positive vibration, Jah know.” She grinned and tossed her dreadlocks. I’d never come across a Rastafarian witch before. But witch or no witch, she wasn’t getting her hands on my husband.

    “You do know why you’re here, don’t you?” I said.

    “To prepare the ground,” she replied.

    Well, she had that right.

    By now a huge hole had opened up at our feet. Old plans had revealed a disused well in this part of the garden. A good push was all that was needed …

    Her hand was on my back before I could even finish the thought. Damn. She really was psychic.

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  4. Peppermint
    Stephen Shirres @The_Red_Fleece
    Word Count = 286

    "I can do it, but I'll need a jackhammer and all the peppermint you got.”
    “Peppermint?” Lucy threw up her hands. “You wanting protection from bad breath or something?”
    “Well it is the most likely thing we are going to find in that old place.” Murray pointed up at the old stained house. “Come on, before it gets dark.” He vaults over the fence and starts up the path. The stones are being reclaimed by dirt and weeds. The lawn is swarming in from both sides. Ice has split the half dozen steps to the front door. Murray stops, unable to take his eyes off the gargantuan wooden slabs that acted as doors. Who needs doors that big? He feels like a child in an adult's world.
    “Not getting scared now are you?” Lucy joins him at the top of the steps. Her hand out to push the doors open yet her flesh never touches the wood. The doors crackles open by itself.
    “The wind?” Murray steps behind her.
    “Couldn't be anything else. Come on.” Lucy grabs his hand and pulls him inside.
    Dusk has come early to the inside of the house. Shadows rule over every surface. They flow the path of open doors to an empty room with a long object at its centre.
    “What is that?” Lucy walks up to it.
    “No idea.” Murray brushes the smooth side. “Wood I think.” He taps the tops. An echo reverberates out from the box. Lucy does the same and feels the cold brass of hinges.
    The lid slowly opens. Crackling laughter rushes out. A pair of white skinned hands pull Lucy and Murray inside. The lids closes as slowly as it opened.

  5. How to Win the Princess
    295 words
    Dave @ParkInkSpot
    “Seek out the sovereigns and monarchs of every land. The princes of the entire world, their eldest sons, shall meet here in one year’s time. He who is brave, strong, and smart enough to perform my task shall receive half of my kingdom and treasure for his reward.”

    The king’s plan was set in motion. In one year King Olaf addressed the assembled flower of nobility gathered before him. A dozen princes of the noblest lines came to learn the details of the contest.

    “Few people know of my family’s tragic curse. Three hundred years ago, in my ancestor King Anlaf’s day, he offended a vain fairy named Radella by endorsing Princess Iris as the most beautiful lady in the land.”

    “This is the curse as Radella invoked it: ‘Princess Iris shall be imprisoned in the dungeons of this castle and sealed in by walls of stone ten feet thick. There she will sleep, forever, until awaked with a kiss from a prince of noble blood.’”

    King Olaf led the assembled princes down in the castle to the dungeons, where a thick wall sealed off the corridor.

    “If any has thoughts of how to breach this wall and rescue Princess Iris, let him speak now and win fortune and kingdom.

    One by one, the princes tried various schemes, drew diagrams, and asked questions. One by one, the princes grew discouraged. Finally only Prince Joseph remained.

    “Would you answer a couple of questions, your majesty?”

    “Of course, ask away.

    “How long did you say Princess Iris has been sleeping?”

    “For three hundred years.”

    “Only a kiss can awaken her?”

    “It is so.”

    “In that case, I’ll give it a swing. I can do it, but I’ll need a jackhammer and all the breath mints you’ve got.”

  6. The Men with the Peppermint Tea
    Joy Tsakanikas @FlashFi750

    "I can do it, but I'll need a jackhammer and all the peppermint you got."

    That's the last thing I heard him say before it happened. Just before this, we were about to blast those stupid sewer monsters straight to hell. Those stupid sewers monsters I'm referring to are an alien race much like a living ooze. Funny enough they smell awful and dry up like a fruit roll up when you put the herb or even the candy near them. We were standing there above this manhole about to face the mother load of life-sucking ooze with some our best pyrotechnics when we realized that it wouldn't solve the problem. Henry was determined to use all the peppermint we could to extinguish this terrifying and disgusting enemy, but then it happened.

    The manhole burst open and the ugly peptobismal colored ooze was there bubbling as if smelling us. We all ran back away from the monster which seemed to have no end.

    “Got any better ideas?” I yelled to Henry. Our team was running ahead of us.

    “Everyone stop and dump your peppermint in a line! We'll see if this stops them then I have one more idea! As soon as your done, into the fire truck! I've readied the tank with peppermint tea!”

    Everyone did exactly as he said and started climbing into the fire truck. We held our position and took aim. The ooze started drying up at the line. We started shooting it the tea and immediately the ooze began to turn white and dry up. It sounded as if it were screaming. It kept coming and we kept spraying. A glorious ending to what had been a nightmare for our city. The alien goo was history and so were we. The men with peppermint tea.

  7. Just Another Christmas

    “I can do it, but I’ll need a jackhammer and all the peppermint you got,” he giggled
    “Don’t be an ass. Mint sauce goes with lamb, anyway.” Maria poked the half frozen turkey again. The clock in the hall struck twelve just to rub it in that the turkey would not be ready on time. She threw caution to the wind. “It’s your mother’s recipe, after all. I said let’s do a braai, the southern hemisphere’s no place for the whole traditional turkey spread. But nooooo, we had to do your mother’s recipe.”
    “And how’s the food coming along?”
    “The turkey’s still half frozen, mom.”
    Maria felt like she could shove him into the oven. But it was a day of peace, after all. Her mother in-law poked at the bird.
    “I don’t know why we all didn’t just have a nice braai,” the mom said. “You know women these days aren’t really taught the ins and outs of housekeeping, son.”
    Maria stared at the turkey and took a deep breath. If she had heat vision the turkey would have been done in seconds. She opened the oven and shoved the couple kilograms of meat back inside as tears burned the backs of her eyes. Then she grinned.
    “Won’t you put on the kettle for us, honey,” she asked before poking her head around the corner into the living room.
    “Grandma, why don’t you tell us a story and I’ll make us some nice tea?” she asked her husband’s grandmother.
    “Oooh, I’ll tell you about that one time when my daughter over there had just gotten married and decided that she would cook us all Christmas lunch! What a disaster that was, let me tell you!”
    Maria’s smile was innocence itself when she caught her husband’s eye.

    *braai = barbecue
    Words: 298

  8. @firdausp
    (194 words)
    'Sometimes it just takes a Hammer and some peppermint'

    "I can do this,"he surveyed the wall, "I just need a jackhammer and it'll be done in no time."

    She handed him a tiny hammer.

    He looked puzzled,"You want me to make a hole through that wall with that tiny thing?"

    "Haven't you seen 'Shawshank redemption'? That guy made a hole through that thick prison wall with a smaller one."

    "Shawshank redemption, huh? Do you know it took him twenty years to do that?"


    " want me to come here for the next twenty years to make that hole in your kitchen wall?"

    "Well if you agree I have all the peppermint you want."

    "Huh?" He gave her a bewildered look.

    "See...obviously we'll have to get married as I wouldn't allow a stranger to hang around my house for the next twenty years and secondly after you say yes you'll need that peppermint. I'm a little fussy about kissing."

    "You mean...are you...proposing—"

    "A knucklehead like you would never come up with that idea so, I had to be the smart one,"
    she crossed her arms.

    " that case may I have a mint please,"he grinned.

  9. Scrutible
    190 words

    “Look, I can do what you want, but I’m going to need a jackhammer, an RC car, a bottle of diet coke, and all the peppermint you’ve got.”

    I’m not sure if I was surprised to find him taking notes, or the fact that I could see him figuring out my plan just from my requirements. (when you’re used to being inscrutable, someone scruting you can be rather disconcerting.”

    “Okay, jackhammer… road work?” he asked.

    I gave him a single nod. “That will reroute the armored car where we want ti.”

    “The mint and diet coke… I’m assuming Menthos… are you going for propulsion or distraction?”


    “And the RC?”

    “Delivery system…”

    He thought about that for a moment longer.

    “You do realize that were I a cop…”

    “Were you a cop, I would be arrested and TechFault would get away with murder.

    “Unless I was a dirty and/or vengeful cop.”

    “Vengeful would be better, as we are simply stealing what TechFault took in the first place.

    He studied me for a good long while and sighed. “What brand of Jackhammer?”

    I smiled. We were on the same page.