Friday, January 8, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 23

Si, all the time.



What do these memes have to do with the rest of the post? NOTHING. EXCEPT SI REALLY LIKES BOOKS.
Well you better be ready cause this competition is coming right at you ... right now.




And let's get writing!

(the faster you write your story the faster you can go acquire and read Three Parts Dead, which Si is currently deeply in love with)

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.


"I can't answer that--you'll beat me up." 

Random Pictures / Inspiration


  1. Almost a Clean Finish

    “I can’t answer that—you’ll beat me up.”

    Squeak Butterlink stood in his doorway, shivering like a wet puppy, wearing nothing but ripped, baggy ginch. What self-respecting schmoe answers a rat-a-tat-tat on his front door in his tattered undies?

    “Squeak, you’re disgusting. I wouldn’t lay a pinkie on you in your state. Even if you cleaned yourself up…so I’ll ask you again, where’s Velda?”

    Even as I was grilling him, I couldn’t believe that Velda went home with this scrawny rink rat.

    Velda the Crusher Bouchard and I had a good little hustle going. Lay it on the Line Enterprises had been promoting specialty battle of the sexes wrestling for the past six months. Velda was my main draw. She and I had a purely professional relationship. Even when I tried to adjust that, she put the kibosh on my overture. Her going home with Squeak was kinda upsetting.

    “Honest, Mr. Wolfstein, I don’t know where she is. We, ya know, we got this fantastic connection when she was whomping me in the ring and I took a shot. You musta seen it, she had me pinned, was twisting my right leg into a pretzel, so I made my pitch, asked her out for a gin and tonic at Willy’s Bar.”

    “Who drinks G and T these days?” I had to ask Squeak. “Certainly not Velda.”

    “That’s what she says. Says, a Martini or nothing at all. So we got a drink after the tussle, made googly eyes and came here.”

    “Then she left without a word?”

    “Nah, she said something about cleaning up her act.”

    “Thanks, Squeak,” I muttered and left.

    As I stepped out into the morning light of Delancy Street, I knew I’d missed the signs.

    It was almost a clean finish to a lovely little business.

    300 of my best rassling moves

    1. Nice bit of pulp fiction (plus I've learned a new word, never heard of ginch before, does that mean I've lived a sheltered life or is it because I'm a Brit?) :)

    2. It's one of many derivatives to describe the unmentionable. Not a gentle word,it flows harshly off the tongue. Also, it's a cinch that, in a pinch, the modest use of ginch will not make the reader flinch more than a literate inch. This went on way too long. Apologies.

  2. Safe and Sound

    300 words


    “I can’t answer that – you’ll beat me up.”


    The world turned upside down and I found myself flat on my back. I swore softly. I had promised my brother I’d keep our sister safe.

    Nine,” growled my dad.

    I was in a no-win situation; damned if I did, damned if I didn’t.


    The sound of sirens came closer. Don’t let yourself get caught, Davey had said before vanishing. I’ll be back before you know it and then everything will be alright. And I had believed him.


    It had been weeks since we’d seen him. Mum used to count the days but now she too had gone. A fist grabbed my throat.

    Six. You followed me, didn’t you?”

    My eyes told him yes even as I denied it.


    I tried not to think of what I had seen. The sirens faded out again.

    Four. It’s my job to keep the family safe.”

    Once I would have agreed with him in those happier times before the world went mad and him with it.

    Three. We need to stay together.”

    But not that way I thought, remembering how I had shadowed him to an underground bunker, finally solving the mystery of where Davey and Mum had gone. Anarchy had bred insanity - as if poverty and starvation wasn’t enough.

    Two. I am only making sure that my family does not suffer.”

    Those staring eyes haunted me day and night. I had moved Suzy then, taken her to a basement, locked her in safe and sound, told her I would be back soon.

    One. And you should be with your family.”

    He had caught me but he would not get Suzy. She was safe in the basement. Nobody would ever find her.

    And I cried as my world turned black.

    1. Haunting. And I love the line "Anarchy had bred insanity - as if poverty and starvation wasn’t enough."

  3. Gaming the Odds
    144 words

    “Answer that, I cannot, for beat me up, you will.”

    Eve looked at me for a moment, and I could see her parsing out my statement. Understanding warred with delight as I couched my fear in ‘Yoda Speak.’

    It was a 50/50 gamble. She had demanded I speak the truth, and failure would have resulted in death.

    Outright fear would have resulted in death, so couching the sentiment at least doubled my odds of survival.

    But… if I’m doubling no chance with a chance… then… Math never was my strong suit.

    I watched as Eve’s fingers flexed along the hilt of her sword.

    This was so… not good.

    She paused, weighing her words than nodded. “I accept his answer.”

    “Good, roll your initiative…”

    The game would run another night at least and that gave me another week to figure out her next move.

    1. Great way of dealing with a tough starting line - wish I'd thought of it.

    295 words, @pmcolt

    “I can’t answer that-- you’ll beat me up.” Rohn squinted into the darkness, struggling to move his uncooperative head.

    A harsh voice from his left repeated. “What is the encryption key?”

    “Beat you up?” A new, friendlier voice. Feminine. “Whatever for?”

    “That’s what you people do.” Rohn remembered his older colleagues’ horror stories: investigative journalists harassed, roughed up, even disappeared by covert spy agencies. “Human Intelligence Extraction.” He scoffed at the euphemism. “Drugs. Interrogations. Blackmail. Torture.”

    “What is the encryption key?” The harsh voice now came from somewhere in front.

    His mind was surrounded by fog. Where was he? How did he get here?

    “Mr. Rohn,” the woman said, “you have been in contact with certain subversives... possibly seen classified information that, if leaked, could embarrass the current administration.”

    “What is the encryption key?” The disembodied voice continued to circle him.

    “We are not the bumbling JFK-era CIA, Mr. Rohn,” the friendlier voice reassured him. “The NSA has refined human intelligence extraction to a science. We need no drugs, no torture. Only time.”

    Lightning flashed in front of Rohn’s face: unbearably bright strobes that revealed no detail of his surroundings or his captors. His brain swam. He shook his head, trying to snap out of his daze.

    “If I give you the encryption key,” asked Rohn, “you won’t hurt me?”

    “Mr. Rohn,” the woman answered. “How could we hurt someone who is already dead?”

    And Rohn’s awareness faded away forever.

    - - -

    “We have successfully extracted the encryption key, sir. EKG has flatlined. Subject terminated.”

    In the basement HumInt Extraction Lab, a dour-faced NSA agent copied an unintelligible string of letters from the computer monitor as the female lab technician removed the electrodes from Rohn’s disembodied brain, floating in a vat of electrolytic goo.

  5. “A House Divided”
    by Michael Seese
    295 words

    “It's a simple question, really. Just tell me where you hid the body.”

    "I can't answer that. You'll beat me up."

    Another stalemate. At times like these I could never tell if he truly was psychotic, or merely toying with me.

    “And it's plural.”


    “Bodies. You should have used the plural,” he said, grinning deliciously.

    Toying it is.

    We'd been playing this game -- he and I -- for so long that we'd become like an old married couple, carrying out conversations for which we already knew the endings. Though I suppose a better analogy would be two aged chess masters, who had squared off so many times over the years that they merely flipped through their mental Rolodexes and referenced the appropriate match.

    December 12, 2011. Pawn to Bishop 4. How pedestrian.

    Perhaps this time I could elicit an error in his game.

    “Let’s talk about you. Have you done anything interesting of late?” I asked.

    “No. Other than trolling the brothels down in the East End.”

    “You enjoy frequenting establishments such as those.”

    “You would know as well as I.”

    I grew weary of the conversation, and punched the mirror, superstition be damned. Shards of glass rained to the floor in advance of several drops of my blood. I bandaged my knuckles with the pair of woman's panties that just happened to be in my pocket.

    I sighed.

    Now I guess we'll never know where the bodies are.

    The clock on the mantel chimed. It was time to go to work.

    As I slithered into my vestments, I prayed that one day he would come to the confessional. It would end so much pain. So much suffering.

    But he never did. And so, I remained relegated to levying “Hail Marys” on the true sinners.

    1. Cleverly done, particularly using the breaking of the mirror to show he was talking to his other self. (Reminded me of Jekyll and Hyde, currently studying this with yr10s at school.)