Friday, November 25, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 18!

Welcome back to another round of Cracked Flash! Many thanks to those who participated last time around.


Judge This Week: 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!). One entry per person.

Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT! 

Results announced: Next Thursday afternoon.

Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories, they're for inspiration (and sometimes our amusement)).


"I don't require you to flatter me."


  1. Alva Holland
    300 words

    I Did It My Way

    ‘I don’t require you to flatter me, but I do require you to humour me.’ Give me that at least in my hour of death.’

    Hannah and Freddie played in the corner, oblivious to the bedside battle occurring just feet away between their harassed mother and their ungrateful bed-ridden grandfather.

    ‘Humour you? No chance. You’ll get what you gave, Dad. Now, tell me, exactly what did you give? How many times do you think I’ve thought of this moment, when you should at least feel some remorse?

    ‘Don’t be ridiculous, child. You wouldn’t be where you are today if it weren’t for my behaviour. If I had indulged you, you’d have become like all the rest – spoiled and selfish. As it is, you are the brightest, smartest, kindest human being I know. You have fought your way through a system designed to thwart you. You’ve reached the pinnacle of your chosen career while raising two reasonably decent children, about whom I reserve judgement because I see you spoiling them. Don’t do it. Don’t give them everything. Hold back, make them fight, make them appreciate the value of personal achievement. Set goals for them – impossible ones so they know the feeling of failure. For it is this that will make them strive to succeed. Not success itself, this will only make them complacent. Failure is the key to their success. I made you fail so you would fight me. It worked. Look at you now. I can die peacefully.'

    Maggie looked incredulously at her frail father in the bed. Having spent a lifetime battling him on every level, he chose his deathbed moments to tell her he’s ‘proud’ of her?

    ‘For Jesus’ sake, Dad. No. That’s not how parenting works.’

    The old man drew his last breath.

    ‘It worked for me.’

  2. Nicola Tapson
    @ InquisiHedgehog
    Word count: 299
    "I don't require you to flatter me,” spat Jane.
    “I wasn’t trying to flatter you” said Jack, “but I do honestly think you are the best darn cop this precinct has ever seen”.
    “Well, I don’t feel that way. Why can’t we catch “Santa Claus” killer. His gifts are starting to get creepy.”
    “Why do you say that?” inquired Jack as he put his hand on Jane’s shoulder.
    “Well, these earrings look remarkably like the earrings I showed Frank last Friday. He took me past this quaint little jeweler and asked me which ones I liked. And these were the ones.” As Jane said it she felt a shiver run down her spine. “Could the Santa Claus killer be Frank?”
    Jane dashed for the bathroom. She convulsed as last night’s supper ended up in the toilet. Jack peeked into the bathroom, “Are you ok?” Jane spun around. “NO!” come let us bag and tag this scene.”

    “Honey, I am home.” shouted Jane as she entered her house. Sylvester sidled up to her and purred as he rubbed his body against her legs. “Hey Sly, is Daddy not back yet?” Jane put her keys down on the sideboard and walked towards the kitchen. Today had been long and a hot cup of coffee with a chocolate chip cookie would make everything better. As she turned around the corner Frank jumped out from behind the door in a clown’s mask. Jane screamed and karate chopped him. Frank crumpled. Curled in a ball, he whispered “Hi honey, bad day at the office?” Jane swept down and held Frank in her arms. “I am so sorry” she cooed as she gently rubbed his head. “But, you bloody well deserved that if what I know is true.” She thought to herself.

  3. Word Count: 300

    The Punch

    “I don’t require you to flatter me.” She hissed. “Just who the hell do you think you are?”

    Every fibre of muscle in her body twitched, in anticipation of what was to come. Her fists were balled up tightly, ready for action. She stood lightly on the balls of her feet ready to launch herself at the target. She was ready. Her fists flew into a frenzy, front hand then back hand, over and over she pummeled. She would not relent. Her target was soft and malleable and the indents showed the damage caused by her assault. Knee kick, side kick, and upper cut. Front kick to the face.

    “You’re a pompous ass!” she yelled as she continued the battle. He had tried to flatter her by telling her how good she looked and she caught him on the phone ten minutes later talking to his friend about his latest “conquest.” Anger had seethed inside of her like a flaming tide of fire. Revenge would not be sweet, but salty, like her sweat and his tears.

    “Take that! And that!” she cried as she continued the outpouring of her rage. She used every tactic in the book, every technique was executed in precision style and she would gain the upper hand. Right hook, front kick, punch again.

    Sweat was cascading down her face, her skin slick and shiny to the touch and she knew she had to stop before she hurt someone. Like herself. There was nothing like punching the boxing bag and going over the argument in her head again. She hit the showers and stood there for a long time allowing the water to run over her in a calming gesture. She turned off the taps and smiled. A plan began to form. It involved cyanide and Kool-Aid.

  4. Bunmi Oke


    "I don't require you to flatter me."
    "Like seriously? What exactly do you want?"
    "Honesty. Plain honesty!"
    "How much more honest can I be?"
    "You tell me."
    "Can anything on earth ever satisfy you women, uh? Now, you whine about not being given enough attention, and then you complain it's not enough, only to later lament about being all up in your space, choking you with attention, as if—"
    "That I'm dying for a thing does not mean you should give me so much that I die from it."
    "Maybe not. I think it's a belief system that's faulty."
    "Humor me."
    "I mean, how do I make you feel something the possibility of which you have decided against in your heart?"
    "You can convince me, can't you? Isn't that what being romantic is all about: the persistent chase with the required tenderness and thick skinned spirit, till the eventual winning over?"
    "Is that what romance is to you, some game?"
    "Role play, more like."
    "Not at all. Now be nice, would you?"
    "See, it's all make-believe. And who has playing to the gallery helped, by the way?"
    "Well, it's my gallery; entertain me, Mister."
    "But seriously, Honey, that I don't require you to flatter me doesn't mean I'd reject it if you attempt to. I just need you to make me believe you are real about it. Too much too ask?"
    "I could do that—"
    "Oh, thank you for—“
    "Only on the condition that you trust that I mean what I say, and that I wouldn't say what I don't feel."
    "Fair enough."
    "Right then."
    "So, we good now?"
    "Okay. By the way, your hair is cute."
    "What? This straggly disgrace on my head? C'mon don't even try to flatt—"
    "Really, again?"

  5. La Grande Noir

    “I don’t require you to flatter me. If you must say something, try to give it some bloody meaning.” As soon as I rebuked her, I could feel not so much a chill as a distancing. That was the way it always was with Merle Grimaldi.

    Grimaldi’s widow spoke in soft, seductive trivialities. Deadly trivialities.

    “But you do what do so well, Robert.” She expected me to melt into her succulent speech, as if I was so shallow that I needed her sickly-sweet words to bolster me up.

    I shouldn’t have come but she had offered me double my fee to meet her in Calais.

    “The Channel is nasty this time of year,” I had sought an escape route.

    “Use the Chunnel, my sweet,” she’d replied. I knew that she would remember that I avoid tunnels and mineshafts and all manner of rabbit holes because she added, “Oh, that’s right, you have a…phobie? Phobie, nes’t pas?”

    She was smiling like Stanwyck could when she found herself dealing with weak men…which was often.

    “Phobia,” I translated. “Pretty similar in both languages.”

    “Some men I know would be less forthcoming about the little things that frighten them. But, Robert, you seem to manage your fears quite responsibly. Bravely.”

    We were meeting at a swell little café she liked on Rue Jean Pierre Avron, Le Grand Bleu.

    “No one will notice us. They only come here for the food.”

    And the food was good. Better than good. Another Brexit loss for England, I feared.

    And, even though I didn’t want to have any further business dealings with La Grande Noir, a name a few of us in a certain line of elimination used for the deadly mistress of murder, Merle Grimaldi, I like to eat and I like, even more, to kill.

    299 contracts to go

  6. “I don’t require you to flatter me.”

    “But Mrs. Baker, the grace with which you handled the little incident this morning was nothing short of miraculous.”

    The flannel-shirted woman removed her hard-hat as she walked around her desk and sat down facing the suit. She waited until the door to her office snicked closed. “Mr. Morrison,” she began in a soft, measured tone. “I’d hardly call what happened here today a ‘little incident.’”

    The man made burbling noises, like an outboard motor trying to start.

    Clarissa Baker raised her hand and continued gathering force. “It was a peaceful protest that you turned into a full-blown riot. Lives could easily have been lost. How dare you call that a ‘little incident’!”

    “I merely meant . . .”

    “Trust me, Sir,” she said, her anger apparent, “I know what you meant. Some lives are more important than others.” She took a breath and lowered her voice again. “I have a gift for public speaking, but it is what I said rather than the way that I said it that did the trick. You see, the people here mean more to me than the people who want to shave half an hour off their daily commutes. Did you pay any attention to what I told that angry mob, Mr. Morrison?”

    “That’s neither here nor there.”

    “Is that right? Then there will be more violence. Your company will lose equipment for certain, and possibly lives. Those protesters live here, and you plan to destroy their homes.”

    “It’s not up to me.”

    “I think it is.” She pulled an amended contract and a loaded Glock from the desk and cocked the gun, leveling it at the businessman’s forehead.

    He tried to stare her down, but in the end, they understood one another.

    The Understanding, by Kim Davis
    297 words

  7. A Rush of Blood
    300 words
    Benjamin Langley

    “I don’t require you to flatter me,” said Miss Scarlett, slowly, seductively slipping out of her dress.

    Andy felt the blood rushing through his body to engorge his member.

    “Engorge his member!”

    Andy pulled his laptop screen down and turned round in one fluid movement to see his older brother, Rick, doubled over, one hand over his mouth, the other across his belly which jiggled haphazardly with silent fits of laughter.

    Andy really could feel the blood rushing through his body, not to his member– God! Why had he written that? – but to his face. Instinctively, he turned his head to look at the mirror and felt a wave of nausea – no, disgust – consume him when he caught sight of himself. His glasses had slipped down his face and were sitting on the end of his nose, his hair clung messily to his sweaty forehead, and his skin had gone a deep shade of red. He heard the words that Rick would say the second he stopped laughing, one of those stupid lines he recycled again and again: “You’ve gone all red, silly tomato head.” He was sixteen years old. Why did he still act like a primary school bully?

    He pictured Rick sharing the secret, holding a hand over his mouth as he spread it, like a disease, to his equally immature friends. Together, they’d mock him; they’d make his school days an unending nightmare. Then Miss Scarlett would find out – she’d stop his coming to her for extra tuition after school…

    Blood continued to rush to his head, clouding his thoughts until it pervaded his vision.

    He could stop this.

    Rick was still pretending that he was dying of laughter.

    Andy grabbed the laptop and brought it down hard on Rick’s head, hoping to make it literal.

  8. Aqua Blue
    By T. O. Davis
    292 Words

    “I don’t require you to flatter me,” Emily said, and jabbed the “END” button on the phone. It was her personal claims settler, Doug. Typical, she had thought the phone vibrating in her purse like a cicada. She had adjusted her brown hair, apologized to her team, and stepped out of the conference room; she was the youngest member on the team, the only woman, but what irked her more than anything was the lack of information. Why even call?

    It seemed more and more areas of her life were drawing a blank. She had lost touch with most of her friends, and even those on social media felt diminished. She often dreamed she was on an island with Asher, her husband, and the water slowly rose till even he was swallowed by the frothy, aqua surf, and then she was surrounded by nothing but the expanse of blue.

    When she told him about it, Asher had dismissed the dream. “You just need a baby,” he had said, and then unpaused the TV so he could finish the last ten minutes of an old “Star Trek the Next Generation” episode.

    “I already do,” she had said, but he didn’t hear her.

    She stepped back into the conference room; burnt coffee and old sweat stung her nose.

    “Everything good?”

    “Subrogation nonsense,” Emily said, and crossed the blue carpet. She sat down, grabbed her laptop, and scrolled through the presentation; the monitor’s blue light reflected the bloodshot of her eyes onto each slide as though with each downward click of the arrow, and each slide that passed her meticulous inspection, one more detail was clarified for her life as well. She was confident she could click for an eternity if only it was so.

  9. The One That Got Away
    By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    201 words

    ‘I don’t require you to flatter me.’ I watched the newest member to my team through narrowed eyes. ‘I do, however, expect you to obey me.’

    I saw him gulp, though he tried to hide it.

    The room was still, as if waiting for something to happen. Candles flickered in the breeze coming in from a window someone had carelessly left open.

    I filled the shot glasses with the vile liquid and everyone took theirs. Even the new recruit.

    ‘Drink and live long. Drink and survive. Drink and hunt the scourge on this earth.’

    Everyone shot back the tincture meant to keep them strong and healthy. I fingered my necklace of garlic cloves as I watched them gear up for another night of hunting vampires.

    Maybe tonight a wrong will be fixed, I thought as the last of my team left. I felt the cool wind on my neck; cursing the idiot who’d left the window open, I turned to close it.

    ‘Hello, Amelia.’

    My heartbeat slowed down. The red eyes were different as was the cruel expression on his face. But I’ll always know him: the one that got away.

    I reached for my stake as he reached for me…