Tag Archives: Flash fiction

2256. Over the teacups

Pricilla was an expert at tasseography, and she made a pretty penny at the trade. Of course, she did it for fun although some people took it seriously. To read tea leaves in cups brightened everyone’s day. Occasionally a group of friends would come along together and after drinking their tea would insist on a communal reading. It was good for a laugh!

Sometimes however Priscilla took things more seriously. Reading teacups could be more of an opportunity to listen and help people who were at a loss. They had come to the tasseographer because they were reaching out for help. Pricilla was an expert at divining those who were distraught and bringing out the best in people. Telling fortunes by reading tea leaves was simply a vehicle. In fact, once in a very long while, a friendship would form “over the teacups”.

Once a woman had come along to have her tea leaves read (although it should be noted that Pricilla also read coffee dregs if that was the client’s preference). Pricilla could tell she was distressed. It turned out that the woman had murdered her husband. It had been all over the papers and the police had been at a loss as to who had done the dastardly deed. And here was Mavis A. Clenovavitch of 29 Hartford Lane (sorry, I shouldn’t have used her name) telling Pricilla what the police had spent weeks trying to find out.

Now things had reached a pretty pass for Pricilla. Should she, or should she not, tell the police? I mean, was she under any obligation to report such things or should she regard confidentiality as sacred?

In the end Pricilla decided not to tell a soul. That is why to this day Mavis A. Clenovavitch of 29 Hartford Lane walks scot free, and both she and Pricilla enjoy the substantial fortune Mavis’ late husband left in his will.

2254. Time of birth

Heather was 84 when she discovered she had possibly been adopted. Her adopted parents were long dead, as indeed would have been her biological parents.

Her day had started as quite ordinary. She still had all her marbles and was active for her age. It was late morning when she went to check the mailbox. Her life was about to be turned upside down. Kitty, a dear friend and neighbour, had rather nonchalantly asked a few weeks back at what time was Heather born. Heather said she didn’t have a clue but it might be on the birth certificate. So she wrote away for a copy and on this day the birth certificate arrived.

There was no time of birth, but the couple named as her parents were not the parents she had known. In fact there were other little titbits of misinformation. The date was wrong by several days. In fact, the date was possibly correct. Heather had spent a life time wrongfully thinking her birthday was on the 12th whereas in fact it had been two days earlier on the 10th.

The place of birth was news to her as well. She had always presumed she was born in Thrushport, but the certificate clearly stated Sunnytown. And splashed across the information in another hand-writing was the word – ADOPTED.

But the biggest news of all was her name. She had always been called Heather; plain Heather and nothing else. The birth certificate clearly stated her name was Philomena Heather. Philomena! Clear as a bell – Philomena Heather Brighton.

“But Heather,” exclaimed Kitty the dear friend and neighbour. “Brighton is your married name!”

“This,” declared Heather, “almost certainly calls for a celebratory wine.”

2252. Study the Atlas

The teacher, Mrs Freud, didn’t think much of the new boy in her class. His name was Freddie. He was tall, skinny, and would spend most of his free time looking at an atlas. He didn’t go outside to play as did all the other boys in the class.

Mrs Freud encouraged Freddie to go outside and get some exercise but he didn’t. He just looked at the atlas. And then Mrs Freud insisted, so he left the atlas open on the Uzbekistan page and went grudgingly outside.

Years later Freddie was older and had one question left to answer in a television quiz show in order to win twenty million dollars.

“What is the capital of Turkmenistan?”

“Tashkent,” said Freddie.

“No,” said the compere, “the answer is Ashgabat.”

“That is the capital of Uzbekistan, not Turkmenistan,” said Freddie.

Freddie was the one with the wires crossed. If he hadn’t been sent outside to play by Mrs Freud he would have won the twenty million. However, he’s not going to make a fuss about it because he’s married to Mrs Freud’s daughter and his six kids adore their grandmother.

2250. Flight emergency

When Benjamin awoke from his nap he heard the flight attendant announce: Does any passenger know how to fly a plane? The captain and vice-captain have both passed out. Please make sure your seat belts are fastened, you seat is upright, and your tray-table is folded away.

It was to be a long flight, and the plane clearly was on auto-pilot. It didn’t look like anyone had volunteered. Everyone went white and remained seated. You’d think some people would have screamed, but instead there was an eerie silence.

Benjamin had his pilot’s licence but it had lapsed years ago. He had flown only light aircraft. In fact he couldn’t recall even having been in the cockpit of a commercial passenger plane. All those lights and knobs! However, a little knowledge was possibly better than nothing. He stood and made his way to the front of the plane.

First things first, he said to the flight attendant. We have to radio some air control people and say we’re on autopilot and the pilot is possibly dead. They might be able to tell us what to do; what buttons to push, what switches to switch. Perhaps they might even be able to perform a landing by remote control.

Benjamin grabbed the microphone and announced: Does anyone know how to operate the radio so we can contact the ground and get instructions?

Arnold in Seat 22A was a radio ham. He had been a keen radio buff when he was at high school years ago. He stood and made his way to the front of the plane.

That was when 90 year old Mabel Partridge stood. “You can’t go to the bathroom now, ma’am,” said the flight attendant. “I’m sorry but you must remain seated.”

Mabel wasn’t taking no for an answer. She hobbled to the front of the plane and said “Step aside”. She had been a commercial airline pilot in her younger days. She took over. It was a flawless landing.

In the ocean.

2233. The Candy House

The horrible witch pushed Hansel and Gretel into the refrigerator and the light went out when the door was shut. They had a terrible time trying to stay cool.

The witch was busy heating up the cooking range to roast Hansel and Gretel when the woodsman turned up and pushed the witch into the oven. He then went on his way.

Oven doors can be pushed open from the inside, so that is what the witch did and she stepped out back into the kitchen. Fridge doors are not like oven doors; they need the outside handle pulled to open the door. Hansel and Gretel pushed their shoulders to the door – WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! – and the refrigerator fell over on top of the witch and killed her.

Now the door of the fridge was face down on top of the witch’s corpse and there was no hope of escape. That was when the woodsman returned because he’d forgotten his axe. He saw the fridge on top of the dead witch and said “Good riddance to bad rubbish”. He pushed the fridge upright and in doing so accidentally opened the door.

Hansel and Gretel stepped out and the woodsman said “What the heck are you doing in there?” Everyone was very happy because the woodsman was Hansel and Gretel’s father.

He said to his kids, “Just leave your dead stepmother on the floor. Let’s go outside and eat some candy off a drain pipe.”

2226. Revenge is sweet

The Canasta Club was a thriving retired persons’ venture in the town. Every Thursday evening about sixty people would gather to play canasta and socialize.

As with every such group there is always a head gossiper. Cushla was such. Not a snippet of intrigue escaped her attention. This week it was about Damarius. Damarius was over in the corner with his group playing canasta, and Cushla was on the other side of the room with her group.

“Did you know,” said Cushla, “that Damarius’ old truck was parked outside the only pub in town for several hours? I believe that can be interpreted only one way; he has a problem with drink. He clearly needs to seek help. There’s a club somewhere in town for alcoholics that meets regularly. With his truck parked outside the pub for so long it definitely points to his alcoholic tendencies.”

This juicy piece of gossip was quietly spread from card table to card table. “Damarius is an alcoholic. His truck was parked outside the pub for hours, and everyone in town knows that truck.”

Word reached Damarius’ table. He didn’t say a word but went on quietly playing canasta.

Later, he parked his truck on Cushla’s driveway, took the keys, and left the truck there all night.

2224. Write great in twenty minutes

Something caught Clifford’s eye on the computer screen while he was doodling away the hours on search engines. It was simply a link that said:

Click here to learn how to become a great writer.

Clifford clicked.

Do you wish to write a novel, a play, a poem, a flash fiction, a short story…

Clifford clicked the flash fiction link.

Do you work on a tablet, a phone, a computer…

Clifford clicked the computer link.

Are you interested in cooking, romance, western, science fiction, fantasy…

Clifford clicked the romance link. Gradually, with one click after another and a good twenty minutes of clicking, the Writing Website was satisfied that there was enough information to proceed.

Congratulations! You are ideal to undertake our online writing course! Do you intend to pay by credit card, bank transfer, or Paypal?

2073. Knit knit

Theodora loved to knit. Most evenings, after the evening meal and the dishes were done, she would sit in an armchair with the television turned on, and knit. She knitted to relax. She knitted mainly for other people; pullovers, and scarves, and hats, and mittens, and socks. She was a good knitter. You couldn’t tell the difference between her knitted item and a bought one. And she liked to knit stylish things that looked to be the latest in fashion.

“Who knitted this?” asked the Managing Director of Homeknits Ltd (the largest home-knitting company in the world, although most was done by machine). He had stopped a passer-by in the street who was wearing a beautiful pullover which had been a gift from Theodora.

Before you could say “Bob’s your uncle” Theodora was hired to hand knit items for Homeknits Ltd (the largest home-knitting company in the world, although most was done by machine). She worked for eight hours a day. It had one advantage: she could work from home.

After two years Theodora quit her job. She never knitted a thing again in her life. Nothing can destroy a hobby more than a job.

2044. Things are rarely what they seem

Devin didn’t think much of Travis; in fact he hated him. Devin knew he had been the topic of a school board meeting, and Travis (who was the school principal) was the one who had brought the topic up: Devin was teaching stuff in science that Travis didn’t like. Devin’s classroom had to be purged of Devin.

It was near the end of the school year. It was decided that Devin’s contract would not be renewed. Travis would inform Devin after the end of year teachers’ “party”. But somehow Devin had found out in advance.

Devin got a syringe, filled a little bottle with poison, and creeping into Travis vegetable garden at night, managed to inject all the tomatoes with the concoction. Whipty-do! All that Devin need do now was to sit around and wait for Travis and his family to kick the bucket.

Nothing happened. No one died. No one even got sick. The end of year teachers’ party was held. Devin was informed by Travis that his services were no longer required in the next academic year. Devin wasn’t sure if his seething hatred was because of the dismissal or because of the ineffective poison. He was livid. Next time he wouldn’t get it wrong. Travis was a goner.

A day later, Devin got a gun. He loaded it. He got in his car and headed for Travis’ house. He drove fast. He drove impetuously. He drove dangerously. He had an accident and was killed.

The funeral, held in the school’s gymnasium, was huge. Travis spoke of the tragic loss to the school of a good and talented teacher of science; in fact, they were naming the new science block after him.