Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 20!

Rin is to blame for Si's choices in every picture on this post.

Hear ye, hear ye, Cracked Flash Fiction returns for another round of sane, normal stories! 

Behold the prompt of madness and the puzzling pictures of inspiration below.

You have until midnight, Saturday! AKA TODAY. Sharpen up those pencils, dust off those keyboards, re-light the smoke signal fires. IT'S ON.


Judges This Week: Mars and Si

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, likely around 10 pm - 11:59 pm!

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


"Sometimes, people really are just useless." 
Inspiration (not required, but we might just laugh forever if you crowbar them in)


  1. Bunmi Oke
    240 words


    Sometimes, people really are just useless. And unworthy of the sacrifices one makes for them, especially when you do not have to.

    It fell out of his pocket but he couldn’t afford losing it; a voiceless memento of her that’s kept him sane for countless months on that crazy war zone. He made towards it—a movement doubling as a cover so his wounded fellow soldiers could escape in the other direction. A grenade flew in. He knew he had barely four seconds to exit the room, but his precious property was only three feet away. He decided to divide the time. Yeah, foolhardy is a fitting caption, but she’s worth the risk. Diving, he retrieved the picture in a twinkling. Not fast enough though as the blast would claim his left leg.

    Pulling over by the curb, he kisses the photo an umpteenth time. He’s less impressed by his medal-laden uniform than he aches for the warmth of her hands he could feel minutes away.

    Reaching for his crutches on the passenger seat, a figure catches his eyes a stone’s throw away. It’s her on the front porch. He is stunned—yes, by her. That would be a good thing insofar as she isn't, right now, trading passionate kisses with someone else. His very own commanding officer.

    Rage surges like a hurricane. Someone must pay for this. And immediately.

    He aims his .44.

    Red fluid stains the dashboard.

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    1. Griff, on His Way Home

      “Sometimes, people really are just useless, don’t you find, Dougie? Most of them are rabbity little rodents with absolutely no value.”

      I generally enjoy my lift home after work with Griff. We don’t see each other much during the day. He’s out on the floor hustling sales and I’m in the shop working on engines.

      Until recently he was a jolly joker. Some car salesmen have a darker side but I thought Griff was one of those perpetually happy guys, telling cheesy, slightly risqué jokes, rolling with life’s punches.

      “Gee Griff, I mean, nobody’s perfect but I like people, you know. What would humanity be without them?”

      Normally, I look straight ahead when Griff is driving us home. This time though, I kind of sneak a glance towards him, to see what he’s looking like. You can tell when a guy's starting to act snaky, working up a big mad on. Griff’s skin looks a wee bit scaly and he’s sweating buckets on his upper lip and forehead, like he’s got the plague.

      “Don’t be stupid, Dougie. I’m not saying we don’t need people. I’m saying a swack of them are taking up space. Air! My space! My air!”

      “Like who?” I ask, not really wanting to encourage him, but worried, you know, about where he’s taking this conversation.

      “Like this road hog,” he shouts and speeds up, bumps the fender of the car in front.

      The driver loses control, swerves, rams a jam-packed bus stop.

      “No!” I yell, “What the hell, Griff? Stop!”

      There are a dozen or more broken, bleeding, screaming people scattered all around the mangled bus stop.

      Griff keeps driving.

      I yell like crazy but he won’t halt.

      “Can’t stop for nothing, Dougie.

      It’s Meatless Monday.

      Marge is cooking my favourite.


      Wanna come for dinner?”

      still 300 raging road-warts

      edited version, scrap the other please. Thanks

  3. Making a List

    298 words


    Sometimes, people really are just useless. So, as the old saying goes, if you want something done properly, best do it yourself.

    And to make sure it doesn’t go wrong, you have to write a list.

    And then you have to highlight the important parts in just the right colour.

    But first you have to go and buy the highlighters and they have to be the right brand otherwise they’ll dry out, just like your mother, your dearest mummy, that shrivelled husk of maternal love.

    So you catch the bus, endure the incessant carping and griping that is going on around you, echoing your mother - although she sits silently at home - and arrive at the shop ten minutes before it is about to close.

    And the solitary cashier in the empty store puffs out his pompous chest and sneers an apology that they do not have what you seek even though you can see the pens quite clearly on the shelf behind him. And in his eyes you see your mother mocking you as yet again you prove yourself a failure.

    And you follow the assistant obediently to the door, feeling the resentment rise in a never-ending tide of pressure that keeps building and building and the need for release overrides all other feelings so even before he can evict you into the night you have spun him round and wrapped your hands around his throat, squeezing and squeezing until the calm returns and his eyes are as blank as your mother’s.

    Then you pick up the pens from the shelf, leave the money on the counter and close the door behind you; after all, you may be many things but you are not a thief. And you return home, ready now to make your list.

  4. Words: 300

    The Barman Always Listens

    “Sometimes, people really are just useless.” James, bent over a double scotch, was snacking on blocks of cheese and cocktail onions skewered on toothpicks - hardly the thing you usually saw at these parties. Waiters were going around with other snacks in the room filled with people dressed for a cocktail party. There was a hum of voices, soft background music, and every now and then a crystal laugh. Other laughter would soon follow as it came from Mrs Van Houdt, an heiress to a few billion after the passing of her husband three weeks prior. There were rumours after his death, especially when she started having her cocktail parties again only two days after the funeral. Those wanting to stay in her good graces, however, said nothing.

    The barman polished a glass with only a cursory glance at the man in front of him who had moved on to a platter of cheese and crackers. The scotch stood untouched and he wondered if it had been ordered more for effect than anything else. He had truly fallen for the bait.
    “Why do you say that?” the barman asked.
    “Well, take me for instance,” James said, still chewing. “I had the perfect job lined up - or so I thought at least. And I did it without question. Why? Because I was in love.” He skewered a slice of brie. “And I thought she loved me.”
    “Was it illegal?”
    “It was a gift to humanity if you ask me.”
    “Does it have anything to do with Mr Van Houdt?”
    The man’s expression told the barman everything he needed to know. The barman showed James his police badge. “James Brogges, you are under arrest for the murder of Fredrick van Houdt.”
    A crystal laugh sounded above the hum of voices in the room.

  5. A Reluctant Invasion by JD Richardson

    Words: 261

    The planet was amazing– abundant water supplies, diverse species, weather systems manageable. Habitable planets are rare in the known universe. Ones like this, a miracle. Some of the vistas were heartbreaking, so beautiful that you needed both hearts and brains to appreciate it. This may be where the dominant species, a sentient group called human, or people, as they refer to themselves, fall short.
    We tried to speak to them before we arrived, using the universal language of the spheres, the simplest form of communication with its rudimentary cadences, regular clicks and rhythms. Call themselves ‘intelligent’ life! They couldn’t understand us, didn’t know we’d been attempting to respond to their crude communications for years.
    It was bad enough that they’d been warring here and there across the planet forever, but when our ambassadors informed us they were about to destroy their own world, our patience ran out.
    We felt obliged to take control, save them from themselves, and the planet from them. Even then, they grumbled, fought, continued to act like the primitive primates they had descended from. We were forced to modify them.
    They became our servitors. Their brains were easy to rewire. Years of vegetating in front of electronic devices, able only to relate to each other via ‘social media’, had atrophied their intelligence. Of course, they had so many disadvantages. Too few brains, too few hearts, primitive language skills, no grasp of quantum organic string mechanics, and only two arms mean the tasks we can give them are limited. In fact, sometimes, people are just useless to us.

  6. Liana Challender
    293 words

    Oh . . . Christmas Tree

    I sat on my end of the couch staring out the frosted window at the trees in the backyard lit up by the streetlight. I chewed at the end of my finger nail not listening to the words coming out of my husband's mouth. I looked at the half-lit Christmas tree and then back out the window. The reflection of those stupid Christmas lights glared at me. Deep down, I fumed.

    "I refuse to help you with that damn tree. You and your freakin' OCD." Jase, my husband, had a point, but this was not the moment to let him know he was right.

    "If you want me to finish this tree tonight you're gonna have to help me. Just help me. Please!" I looked at him with a tear falling down my cheek. My cheeks puffed and I frowned knowing he wouldn't help. It'd been a long day and we never should have started so late. "I don't feel good. I'm hot and the lights are blurry."

    "Don't do that. I'm not helping and you go nuts if I don't do something right."

    I put my hand on my right hip. "How can you mess up lights? Just lights. I'll remember that when we go to bed later. I swear, sometimes people are just useless." I turned to leave the room.

    "Would you bring me a water when you come back?"


    "The game's on. I don't want to get up. C'mon," he begged.

    I smiled. "Sure. You can have mine." I headed toward my water bottle sitting on the counter in the bathroom. I grabbed it, emptied, and filled with toilet water.

    I sat on the couch again and handed him the bottle. The half-lit tree looked beautiful at that moment.

  7. The Tea Party
    Word Count: 296

    "Sometimes, people really are just useless. Cheese?"

    "I'm sorry, what?" Clara stared at the strange man in front of her. A moment ago she was having tea with her boyfriend and listening to him talk about work. But this man was definitely not her boyfriend.

    She closed her eyes for a moment.

    "Would you like some cheese? It pairs well with your tea." Reluctantly, she opened her eyes to see a big grin stretch across the stranger's face farther than a grin should. A large hat dipped over his crazed eyes as they darted from her to the other guests at the table.

    "Who are you? The Hatter?"

    "Of course not, dear. The Hatter is a copyrighted name. You can call me Mr. Chapeau."

    "I'll take some cheese," Clara turned to see a rabbit sitting upright in a white gown.

    "Where is Jason?"


    "Jason, my boyfriend. Tall, dark hair, dorky tortoise shell glasses."

    "Doesn't ring a bell. It's my birthday you know," the man with the hat said.

    "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" Clara jumped at the exclamation that rang out from a tiny mouse in a tea pot.

    Did I fall down a rabbit hole? Where was Jason? He was just here.

    "HEY!" She shouted over the loud singing that had commenced around her. "Please! Where is Jason!"

    They all stopped and stared. She realized, now, that she was standing with a cheese knife held over her head. A small pinch in her shoulder made her go limp, falling into the arms of a strong woman.

    "Take her to the holding cell." A nurse said as she took a pencil from Clara's fingers and walked out behind them. "Poor girl just can't get over his death. Best keep her out of the common room for a while."

  8. You say "cheese," and I smile. Cracked flackbacks from the madhouse. I enjoyed this. Thanks.