Friday, January 27, 2017

Cracked Flash: Year 2, Week 24

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 Wednesday 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 amusement).)


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


  1. Word count: 300

    Wednesday Mourning

    “I can’t answer that! You’ll beat me up!” I was about two seconds away from pulling Marcy Dawson’s hair. I had taken every risk passing the note to her asking if her brother, Jeremy, “liked me.” Our teacher, Mrs. Sweetly, was a crotchety old windbag who made biology boring as hell. Even now, her beady little raisin eyes were searching, looking for a miscreant, or in this case, me.

    I wasn’t really going to pull Marcy’s hair. She was my best friend, funny as anything and a daredevil to boot. Somehow, even the teachers loved her. She was “mischievous” as my mother would put it. All I know is, she could keep a straight face better than me and I was always the one who got into trouble.

    I turned my thoughts to something more interesting than the frog’s life cycle. Jeremy. With his blond hair and piercing blue eyes, my heart pounded whenever he was near. It wasn’t that he was popular at all. The kids made fun of him because, as good-looking as I thought he was, he was also very short. It didn’t matter to me, I was considered a midget by most. It upset me that Marcy would make fun of us and our height too. I called her out about that last week and she honestly hadn’t realized. She promised she would stop and she had.

    I could almost sense him before I saw him. The door burst open and there stood Jeremy. I started to wave but faltered. I heard popping sounds and I saw the gun. Jeremy’s eyes were drawn together and tears were streaming down his face as he kept shooting. Bodies were falling around me and then I fell too. I looked up and saw red mist. Then I saw nothing.


  2. Buggy’s Moment

    “I can’t answer that. You’ll beat me up!”

    Buggy Boogerman cowers on the well worn black and white linoleum floor of his ratty little third floor kitchen. Yellow splotches streak the cheap inlay. Buggy’s alarmed mug is taking on a sickly, rancid buttery pallor.

    He looks like he is about to wet his armpits.

    “Why would I beat you up, Buggy? I might catch something. You’re a walking infection.”

    “Aw, Jake…Mr. Ross, why do you go and say such mean things? I’ve answered most of your questions.”

    “Not the big question, Buggy. On that, you’ve been a clam. I don’t like clams, Buggy. I like my meals open face.”

    He’s lasting longer than I would ever give him credit. Schlemiels like Buggy Boogerman aren’t supposed to stand up to a grilling. They are rarely endowed with a backbone. Instead, they slither along in the alleys of the jungle, rummaging in the leavings, trembling in the shadows. Mind you, they have their uses.

    “One more time, Buggy. Where is Grace Langdon? I know you know.”

    It’s an old story. I don’t know all of it. Just the bare bones. Grace is a lawyer. What’s with young woman and the law? So, Carlyle, Master Fixer, gets a hard on for her, brings her into his business. A little corruption, a bit of bribery, some strong arm. And then he takes her to bed. Not delicately, so I assume. Carlyle is not delicate. Or appealing.

    Now, Grace is out for payback.

    But Buggy isn’t giving her up. I don’t get it.

    “I can’t, Jake. I just can’t.”

    “What’s she to you, Buggy?”

    “Ah Jake. I’m nothing to her. It’s just…she smiled at me, Jake. One smile, one time.”

    “You’re a damn fool, Buggy,” I curse. “A bloody fool.”

    Then I fondle my blackjack.

    300 questions and never the right answer

  3. Redemption (224 words)
    By Sara Codair

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

    She glared at him.

    His face flushed.

    “You won’t like it.” He crossed his arms.

    She glared at him.

    “Just trust me, alright?

    She glared at him. “Tell me who you voted for or I am going to walk out of this apartment and never come back.”

    They stared into each other's eyes. She didn’t blink. His palms began to sweat. His lip trembled. She didn’t blink. He glanced down at his feet. “I voted for...for him.”

    She punched him in the face and walked out of the room muttering. “Effing Nazi’s.”

    “Please don’t tell anyone,” he pleaded as he wiped the blood off of his nose. “It was a dumb idea. I’ll go to the protest with you and donate to the ACLU. If I could go back in time, I’d do it differently. I didn’t know he’d be like this.”

    She paused in the hallway, turned around and stared daggers at him. “We warned you.”

    “I wish I listened. Please, forgive me.”

    “I’ll think about it.” She turned her back on him and walked out the apartment, locking the door behind her.

    He laid back on the floor, not caring that blood was running from his nose to his cheek. She had said maybe. It was more hope than others had at redemption.

  4. Name: Dave Novak @dumbstupidfake
    Word Count: 300
    Title: Beat Him Up

    “I can’t answer that,” Frankie grunts. “You’ll have to beat me up.”

    A sinister smirk creeps its way across Tony Two Shoe’s face. The smell of stale tobacco and prosecco chokes the air. Frankie struggles against the ropes binding him down in what he guesses has to be the world’s most uncomfortable chair.

    “Frankie my boy,” Tony says. “I’m offended. This is 2017. The mob don’t people up no more. We changed with the times.”

    Tony turns around. “Come on over,” he says.

    The room is dark. A single bulb hangs from the ceiling, provides the only meager source of light in the room.

    A shadow creeps from the corner.

    Another bead of sweat drips down Frankie’s forehead.

    His heart races.

    He struggles to breathe.

    “Frankie. I’d like to introduce you to Grandma.”


    The bulb illuminates the face of a shriveled old Sicilian woman.
    “So this is Frankie?” she says. “It’s been so long. I nearly forgot who you are.”

    “Forgot who I am? Lady, I don’t even know who you are.”

    “Would it kill you to call once in a while? You know, Mrs. Kirkpatrick down the street says that her grandkids call once a week.”


    “And heaven forbid you ever visit. Are you at least helping your mother?”

    “My mother? I mean, I haven’t seen her for – ”

    “That woman gave birth to you, you know.”

    “I know.”

    “She works so hard, she asks for so little. A saint, that woman. And do I smell smoke in here?”

    “Yeah, but – ”

    “God rest his soul, if your grandfather knew you were smoking. Oh, he’d be spinning in his grave.”

    “Please stop.”

    “Don’t worry. I’ll die soon enough, and you won’t have to worry about me bothering you no more.”

    “Alright!” Frankie squeals. “Stop it! I’ll talk!”

  5. Double or Nothing
    T. O. Davis
    288 Words

    "I can't answer that! You'll beat me up!"
    “Let him go, Lechuga,” Clover said, and pulled a cigarette from his ear. It had been resting there, as though God wanted it to be there. He lit up, sat down across from Bunny, and examined his watch as the smoke rolled out of his mouth, obscuring his face, the scars, and his good eye.
    Lechuga tossed a folder on the metal table. It slid across to Bunny’s hand; the handcuffs prevented him from examining the contents, but Bunny didn’t need to examine what was inside.
    “You think this will make me talk?”
    “This isn’t a game,” Lechuga said. He grabbed the folder, and walked into the cone of shadows created by the low wattage overhead bulb.
    “Bunny, Bunny, Bunny,” Clover said and put his cigarette out. “What are you trying to prove?”
    “Then sing before Lechuga bites his tongue off. Let’s call it an information exchange; a transaction of sorts. No one is going to get hurt that you know of, and you get to walk from all of this mess. What’dya say, Bunny, will you be a pal?”
    “You know I can’t.”
    “Now that’s the Bunny I know,” Clover said. “You’re a long way from Randolph County and those dusty fields where you’d burn copper wire your old man would bring home from job sites.”
    “So are you.”
    “It fits me, though,” Clover said and shrugged.
    Bunny looked past Clover at his blurred reflection in the one-way mirror. All he saw was a small man chained to a table. He thought about the others, about the impact of his words, and about the people he would never see again; no matter what, there was no going back.

  6. Title: The Basement is Worse
    By: Sam Lauren
    Twitter: @the_Word_of_Sam
    Word Count: 287

    “I can’t answer that.”

    “You’ll beat me up,” Lily said, her voice brave while her body cowered under mine, “But you won’t tell me why.”

    “I told you not to go in there.” I’d caught her with her hand wrapped around the unlocked brass door knob, the stolen key still wedged in its hole.

    “But you won’t tell me why.”

    It felt good to hit her. I hated myself for it, or at least I told myself I did. It’s not like this was the first time. We played at violence, alone and aroused under sheets of feral pleasure. This was real though. This was anger, betrayal. I warned her not to touch that door.

    I struggled for a lie but nothing was good enough. It was frustrating. It was terrifying. What if she had gone down there?

    Lily writhed beneath me. Her hair was tousled from being wrestled to the ground, her lip was bleeding where I’d cracked it. She wanted to get up.

    “It’s none of your business.” Lily was supposed to trust me. We promised to have faith in each other, no matter what happened, until the earth reclaimed our rotting bodies.

    “Of course it is, it’s my house.” Her eyes softened. She looked at me with pity, as if it were me lying battered on the hallway floor. “And I know it’s troubling you.”

    Fight or flight. Protect or confess.

    Lily could not be allowed to see what was in that basement, it was bad enough that I had. It could never be undone.

    “No,” I said, but it wasn’t enough. My fists formed words when my mind failed to. It was a relief to say something she could not ignore.

  7. Nothing’s Fair
    By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
    142 words

    ‘I can’t answer that! You’ll beat me up!’

    Sam glared at Timmy. He shivered under her gaze.

    ‘You’d better answer. Now.’

    Timmy swallowed.

    ‘Everyone always has more fun than me…’

    Sam had a good idea where this was heading: Timmy always whined how life was unfair.

    ‘So I hacked their computers and uploaded a curse,’ he said the last very fast, cowering away from Sam.

    She sighed.

    ‘It sounds like they keep repeating the same song, something about “nobody cares”, “life’s a nightmare” and other mopey things.’

    ‘Yeah,’ Timmy grinned, ‘they won’t be cheerful for a while.’

    Sam smirked. ‘Neither will you.’

    She cast a spell and Timmy immediately bawled his eyes out.

    ‘You’ll feel better once your victims do. Happy thoughts, Timmy, happy thoughts.’

    The whirring of computers mixed with sniffling before Sam closed the server room door with a click.

  8. @firdausp
    (253 words)

    Kids play

    "I can't answer that!" she chuckled, a taunting grin spread across her face, "You'll probably beat me."

    "What tells you I won't anyway?" I twisted her arm behind her back just a little bit more, until she winced, her grin now a grimace.

    "You're hurting me!" she almost shrieked.
    "So?" I whispered as menacingly as I could.

    Being a mean person was so against my grain, but the situation called for some extreme action.

    "I'll tell you over my dead body," she whispered back, her breath coming out in gasps.

    "Have it your way," I sighed and twisted her arm as hard as I could.

    I thought her bones might snap any second. She was screaming in agony and for a second I felt pity but then I thought of little Meg dying a slow death somewhere.

    "Okay! Okay!" She screamed.

    I loosened my grip. I turned her around to face me.

    "Where is she?" I looked into her scared eyes.

    "She's in the old wooden trunk in the attic," she said coldly, "and probably dead by now."

    I let her go and she raced indoors calling out to mom about me being a cruel older sister.

    I took the stairs to the attic two at a time, my heart racing. Could she be alive after ten hours being locked up in the trunk.
    The lid was heavy as I struggled to lift it.
    "Meg," I called out to her.

    There was a feeble meow and two green eyes looked up at me.

  9. "I can't answer that. You'll beat me up!" He said, with a smile that couldn't reach his eyes.

    Megan was a middle aged cliche. She had gained extra weight, through an increased diet of red wine and a distinct lack of use of her gym membership. She had a scattering of grey hairs that shone when sunlight hit them and lines had begun to crease her eyes. Megan also had a staple capsule wardrobe of leggings and faded baggy sweatshirts that hung loosely around her frame with most sporting some type of stain that no amount of vanish could get rid of.

    But to Nathan, she was beautiful. The lines around her eyes only served to frame them when they sparkled, always accompanied by her mischievous grin. She could always make you smile whatever the occasion or event and put you at ease with her genuine warmth. There was never anything that she wouldn't help you with and nothing seemed to be too much trouble. When Nathan looked at her he didn't see the ugly tired outfits but the curvaceous body that hid behind them, no longer wanted or appreciated by her husband.

    Jeremy no longer looked at her like that. Nathan could see the emptiness in his eyes when he saw his wife. He practically looked through her. He was only interested in younger models now, with short pencil skirts and high heeled shoes, he too had become another middle aged cliche, aching for a younger model on his arm.

    So when he'd asked Nathan if he fancied his wife there was no way he could utter the truth. In all likelihood it wouldn't get him beaten up but it wouldn't serve there friendship well. All friends had secrets, that either party couldn't share, and this was his.

    @lvp82 299 words