Sunday Sampler, Vanishing Flash

Some years ago, there was an experiment in the UK. With a grant from The Arts Council of England, there was a market called “The Phone Book” which provided flash fiction for “WAP and WEB”. It was sales to this market’s micro-mini division (150 characters, including title, spaces and punctuation) that got me started on writing my HOT FLASHES. After the two years of the grant ran out, the site went down. It came back up for a while with the archived stories, but it’s gone again.

So, for your flashination, here are the stories I had there:


When he checked out THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE, she realized he wasn’t actually reading these books.

She looked up at him and smiled.

Second Story

I fell off the ladder and broke my leg, and pled guilty to burglary. Nine months later, my son was born.


Muriel’s clothesline had bitten deeply into the trees, in place so long they had died.

“Rather like Muriel.” He chuckled and raked the new rosebed.

This last one began as a writing prompt at a Green River Writers retreat. The leader opened a magazine at random for the prompt, and opened to an ad of a picture of a brown leather purse. This, although I polished and edited it, is more-or-less what I wrote. I sold it to “The Phone Book” for another story division, of 150 words or fewer.

Brown Leather Purse

She sounds dull, but you could be wrong.

She may have been to Florence. She might have strolled the narrow streets of that golden city, browsing leather-goods shops until she found the right tooling, the right gilding. She might have watched a craftsman emboss patterns on brown leather, each one the same, each one unique. She may have met his eye. Perhaps they shared a smile.

Maybe she placed her order and wandered onto the Ponte Vecchio, pressing through crowds to buy chains and hoops of gold, then returned to find the craftsman had added an extra fillip of filigree, “For your smile, Signora.”

Maybe she sat in her hotel’s courtyard until the moon was high, listening to olive trees rustle in a pine-scented breeze, drinking red wine and tracing the gold impressions, glinting by starlight, on the front of her brown leather purse.

WRITING PROMPT: Open a book or magazine at random and pick a phrase and do a freewrite. That means just write whatever comes into your mind, starting with that prompt, and letting it ramble wherever it rambles, for five minutes. Set a timer so you won’t have to be checking the clock.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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