#FFFC: Children

This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #36. It’s based on the photo prompt below provided by Fandango hisdamnself.


“That’s why I farted in your cereal,” said Barry Bearington.

“You farted in my cereal?” asked Salty Dog.

“I did,” said Barry.

“Is that what gives it that tang?” asked Salty.

“Indeed,” said Barry.

“You boys are so gross,” said Winifred.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“I found these…”

“Toys. You found toys, and you’re playing with them. You’re putting on a play with toys you found.”

“Where there are toys, there are children. We may find some around here.”

“When was the last time you saw a child? When was the last time you saw someone who saw a child?”

“There was that couple in Minneapolis. They were looking for their kids.”

“They weren’t all there, physically or mentally. They didn’t even run when the mute charged them.”

“That doesn’t mean there aren’t any kids around here. There are toys.”

“Those toys have been there for a while. No one’s coming back for them. What if we did find a kid? What would you do? Would you be able to do it?”

“I could. I would.”


“What about the gophmute last week?”

“There is a huge difference between a mutant gopher and a human child.”

“Could you do it?”

“I have.”

“Now, you’re the one who’s bullshittin’.”

“No bullshit. It was a few months or a year after. It didn’t take long to lose all track of time. It was before I hooked up with your group. At first, I was just excited to see another living person. I think she was, too. We traveled together for a while, but, with two of us, the food ran out quick.”

“You knew her?”

“For a little while. I did it fast while she was sleeping. It turned out the killing was the easy part.”


Well, that took a dark turn. Once upon a time, this blog was started to showcase my family-friendly sci-fi stories, The L Squad & Norman Normalson & The Normals. Now, a few fiction groups later, it’s all dystopian futures, murders, rape, pedophilia, cannibalism, and the darkest depths of humanity. Nobbinmaug is for the children. Flash fiction challenges are not.


#FFFC: Fired Again

This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #35. It’s based on the photo prompt below provided by mirceaianc at Pixabay.com.

The picture sparked memories of the first time I saw someone painted doing what amounted to android face. That is why AI will eventually take over the world and kill us all. I was at Pier 39 in San Francisco with my family. We were from the Bay Area. I don’t know why we did touristy stuff when we went back. Anyway, this story is about that guy, but not really. It’s a look at prejudice from a comedic slant. I’m not sure that’s still legal. I’m actually pretty sure it’s not, so… shhhh…

Fired Again

Fired again. Sexual improprieties, they said.

Murphy had no rights, no recourse. There was no disciplinary action taken against humans who used pejoratives like “Andy” or “Droid” or called him “R2” or “Data.” Robby was the worst. If he had a nickel for every time someone asked him to say, “Danger, Will Robinson,” he would be one of those androids who worked on a street corner. How degrading!

It appeared that more humans had seen Terminator than Short Circuit, Bicentennial Man, or Wall-E. Humans didn’t understand sentient androids, and it was human nature to fear what they did not understand. Androids were simultaneously too human and not human enough.

Some attempted movements like Android Lives Matter, but they never caught on. It’s challenging to start a campaign when its mission statement is an oxymoron.

Was it his fault the Creator had a juvenile sense of humor? The Creator was a genius when it came to robotics. He developed the sentient android “brain.” He invented the emotion simulator. What he had in genius, he lacked in maturity.

Murphy had to charge as did all androids. He couldn’t comprehend why humans were offended by his charging any more than he was offended by their eating or sleeping. Murphy could run more smoothly and perform at a higher degree of efficiency when he was fully charged. They all knew and understood that, but if anyone saw him initiate charging, their reactions ranged from laughter to screams. Some commented on the size of his charger.

Murphy tried to be discreet, but he couldn’t always attach his charger without being seen. He had to open the pouch just below his waist to access his charger, take it out, and plug it in.

Betty saw. She screamed, “Oh my Jesus!” and fainted. Murphy was fired, again.


Just for fun:

#FFFC: Ruins

This was written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #34. It’s based on the photo prompt below provided by Michael Gaida at Pixabay.com. I started this one the other day. I like it when I started, but when I sat down to finish it today, I hated it. I don’t have time for a complete rewrite, I’m way behind on everything this week, so I opted for some self-deprecating, meta humor.


I awoke with a headache and no idea of how I got here or where here was. The last thing I remember was… Ow! It hurt to think. I had nothing. My mind was a blank.

I did a self-assessment. Fingers? Check. Toes? Check. Everything was where it was supposed to be. Other than my head, everything seemed fine.

I looked around. I was in an edifice that resembled a greenhouse. The overgrowth of plant-life helped in that assessment as did the sunlight streaming in through the glass roof.

I found a door and crept out. I was horrified by what I saw.

It was a city. It was a city. Now, it was ruins, the shattered shell of a former metropolis.

“Good, you’re up. How are you feeling?”

“I… uh… my head.” It was not my most profound moment. “Who are you?”

“Great. There’s no time for introductions or explanations. Our shuttle crashed. You were unconscious. We stashed you here while we completed the mission. I came back to get you and bring you to meet the others at the rendezvous point.”

“Shuttle? Others? Mission?”

“Ahh! You are part of an exploration mission. We’re checking this planet for life. So far, we’ve found none. What we have found is signs of disaster. We have yet to discern if it was war, disease, some environmental catastrophe, hypersensitivity, something else, or some combination.”

“What planet are we on?”

“MX495, but the inhabitants called it Earth.”

That’s when my brain exploded. The autopsy revealed that the twist ending was so clichéd it literally blew my mind.

Flash Fiction: Patient Zero

This was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly 99 words. This week’s prompt is to write about someone who is unremembered. How does one write a story about one who is unremembered? I can’t remember. “There was once this man… maybe. He was shortish tall with light black, curly, bald hair… I don’t remember what he looked like or what he did, but he may or may not have been.” This is the only way I could think to do this.

Patient Zero

“I’m ready. Who am I killing?”

“Your great-grandfather.”


“He was patient zero.”

“My great-grandfather is responsible for Extraterrestrial Xenotropic Disease? How can you know that?”

“It was his breakthrough that made intergalactic space travel possible. He was on that first mission that brought back E.X.D., causing the Great Plague.”

“If I kill him before his breakthrough, I can stop the plague and the deformities that followed.”

“And the collapse of civilization. You can make humanity Earth’s dominant species again.”

“Will I cease to exist?”

“We may all cease to exist. The world of 1989 could look completely different.”


In case you’re wondering, she failed. That’s why humans look like (see mirror), and anyone who has pets knows that humans are not the dominant species.

I’m not a fan of anti-science science fiction, but there are dangers out there. Maybe we’ll find them someday. I am a big fan of sanitizer and keeping your damn germs to yourself. Maybe wash your hands after playing in Uranus.

Friday Fictioneers: Skylight, Sky Light

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo.

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

This one’s silly. I have a lot going on this week. My mind’s all over the place like J.F.K. Too soon? I’m reading a book about the assassination of J.F.K., Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi. It’s interesting and extremely detailed. Anyway, this is the first thing that hit me, so I just whipped it out like Louie C.K. Too soon?

Skylight, Sky Light

“We enter here, through the skylight,” said Reggie.

“Why’s it called a ‘skylight?’ It doesn’t light the sky,” said Alan.

“It uses the sky’s light to illuminate the building,” said Chip.

“It leads to the kitchen. We’ll have to be careful of the hanging pots,” said Reggie, ignoring the tangent.

“The Bat-signal would be a skylight,” Alan said. “It lights the sky. Or lightning.”

“The safe is in the study,” Reggie continued, with added emphasis.

Later, in their cell. “Maybe we should have spent more time concentrating on the plan and less time on the meaning of ‘skylight,'” said Reggie.


Friday Fictioneers: Bad Grandmother

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by said photo prompt.

PHOTO PROMPT © Linda Kreger

This is in no way a true story. I love both of my grandmothers. They were nothing like this, though, they both clung to outdated, potentially offensive terms like “colored” and “Oriental.” The story is inspired by the archaic terms they used.

This was the hardest one for me to cut to size. It was originally 218 words, most of which were pejorative. That’s a joke. I didn’t want to cut right to the point, but I had to literally cut right to it and around it.

Bad Grandmother

At my wedding reception, I overheard my grandmother talking about Mexicans who “come to this country and won’t learn our language.” Someone tried to explain that California used to be part of Mexico.

Later, she was expressing concern that my Indian friend, Aarav, was going to “do some terrorism for Allah.”

She inquired directly about my “Oriental” wife. “Couldn’t you do better than a mail-order bride?”

I conspired with my cousins to have her relocated to the chapel for the remainder of the evening. It took four of them to move her as she applied the breaks on her wheelchair.

Friday Fictioneers: Bigfoot & Elvis (Oh, R’lyeh?)

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by said photo prompt.


The title’s dumb and kind of misleading. I love it. It gives me an image of a Sasquatch and Elvis walking in the woods, holding hands, and singing. “You ain’t nothin’ but a Sasquatch…” Then they make love. All right, shit just got weird.

Bigfoot & Elvis (Oh, R’lyeh?)

“Here we are, Lake Shakanawa.”

“This is gonna be quick. Don’t go anywhere.”

“You don’t think you’ll find anything?”

“There is no leviathan living in this lake.”

“People claim to have seen it.”

“People claim to have seen U.F.O.s, The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, & Elvis.”

Dr. Phillip J. Lawrence exited the seaplane and commenced interviewing the “witnesses.”

“It’s like the squid in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.”

“It looks like the Kraken.”

“It’s Cthulhu.”

“Oh, R’lyeh?” Dr. Lawrence replied sarcastically.

As Dr. Lawrence was contemplating how to have the whole island committed, a tentacle wrapped around the plane’s tail.

Friday Fictioneers: Blind Tears

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by said photo prompt.

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

It makes me feel better about myself to write about guys who are more hopeless with women than me. Of course, that only goes so far since they’re fictional characters in fictional stories.

Blind Tears

“What is it?” asked Lizzie

“It’s a statue,” said Larry.

“I see that it’s a statue. What’s its importance?”

“I made it. It represents humanity’s blindness to the suffering of the world.”

“Why’s it a Conehead?”

“What? It’s not a Conehead.”

A few meters away, a similar scene unfolded.

“I sculpted it for you. It’s humanity crying for our fate.”

“Why does its head look like a butt?”

Meanwhile, Lizzie got out her phone.

“According to Wikipedia, this is called Consumerism, by Aaron Aykroyd. It represents our blind need to consume mass quantities.”

“Uh… Well… Um… You can’t trust Wikipedia.”

Friday Fictioneers: Worst Date

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields who provides us with a photo prompt. Each week’s challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by said photo prompt.

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

I’m sure most people are going to focus on the flag and for some sort of patriotic story. I’m not. I don’t eat fast food. I’m not big on fried food, either. I had to do research to see what KFC has. This extends my absurd story streak to three. Someday I’ll write something serious again. I’m working on a book that’s pretty serious, so my absurdities have to come out here.

I’m going to a big family thing this evening through the weekend. If I’m slow to respond to comments or don’t read other people’s entries, it’s nothing personal. My apologies.

Worst Date

“So, KFC?”

“Yeah, they have a two-piece combo for only $2.99.”

“That’s a good deal.”

“They also have a Cheetos sandwich that’s lit.”

“Cool. Cool. Um… You know I’m a vegetarian, right?”

“Right. They have mashed potatoes and like green beans and mac and cheese. It’s pretty lit.”

“Sounds delicious.”

“I hope this bitch doesn’t spit in our food. I used to hang out with her sister, till she caught me with her friend. We weren’t doin’ nothing, but she got pissed.”

“That’s rough.”

“It was prolly her time of the month. What do you want to do after this?”

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑