Saturday, April 30, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 39!

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 sometimes our amusement)).

"But the nights belong to me."

Friday, April 29, 2016

Year 1, Week 38: Results!

Excellent entries all around! Many apologies for the lateness of the awards post. Si's week basically looked like this:

*weeps into cell culture except not literally because biohazard*

Thank you all for your patience and superb entries! We continue to be super happy that you lovely internet people submit to our crazy little contest week after week. YOU'RE AWESOME!

Without further ado, BEHOLD THE WINNERS!

Honorable Mention
Sara Codair's The Final

Mars: This piece pretty much sums up all group projects (I hate them so much), and I was right there, sharing Gretchen's irritation with her teammates. The world building was interesting, but felt a little shaky, and the thing that shook my suspension of disbelief the most was that she turned her teammates into chihuahuas (because Chihuahua is a breed of dog with origins specific to a country on Earth; if this is an Earth AU, that's fine, but it doesn't seem to be thoroughly established as such). I do, however, like the idea of mathematical-based magic; I can only assume it operates on the theory that everything in the universe can be quantified? (It's cool either way.)

Si: *screams internally as she reads the story and relives memories of college* Man, DO I sympathize with Gretchen! You've captured the maddening chaos of group work with other human beings perfectly here, down to the idiotic, pointless little tussles that ruin a perfectly good project. Why yes, I have FEELINGS about group work >.>. The description of Gretchen's rage is excellent. I enjoyed the line "Equations danced across her eyelids; she solved them effortlessly. " the most, great image! I think the story would flow a bit more smoothly without "but Ricardo and Jack broke up last night and Felecia was still trying to seduce Pi.", as I think their situations are shown very clearly in the following paragraph. Amusing and satisfying ending. Well done!

First Runner-Up

Sue Denim's Along the Briny Beach

Mars: The image that first comes to mind upon reading these thirteen (+ four (title)) words is a whole bunch of bodies lying on the sand, eyes open, lips blue, skin bloating, and clothing cracked with salt and sand. It's a very poignant and evocative handful of words here, though I would have liked a little more context on how these people died. That said, I do like the shortness of the piece, and if it were too much longer, the punch would be lost. I like the little alteration in the punctuation of the prompt--this entire piece goes to show that a little can go a long way.

Si: This single-line story works very well for me. I can feel regret, decisions made wrongly, a path chosen that leads to doom. Too often these sorts of single-line stories can feel overdone or unemotional, since we know almost nothing about the situation, but I feel here we have a great poignant hint at a much larger story. It appeals to me because of the twin emotions of regret--they could have turned back--and tragedy--by not turning back, they have lost everything. Intriguing, great job pulling that off!

Y1W38 Winner!

Phil Coltrane 

with 6EQU

"What should we tell Earth?" Dr. Markova asked.
Michelson shrugged. 
This has to be my favorite set of lines in this piece; it captures how futile and hopeless the journey of A Shot In the Dark is. (It took me a while to realize why they set a collision course. I'm not sure why they didn't try to slingshot back home, though.) Initially, I was very confused by the three-part structure here; the breaks made me think each part was at a different time and place. The piece would have felt more cohesive to me in a linear pattern; it would have given it a more cohesive feel. Either way, the despondent tone rings clearly throughout the piece.

Si: I LOVED this piece! What an intriguing idea--a desperate, burn-the-ships research crew following a forlorn, faint hope to save Earth's humanity in the form of the Signal, only to find at the last minute that the Signal doesn't mean hope, but instead is a harbinger of the doom they are trying to prevent. The way the worldbuilding info is slipped in worked for me--we get a taste of the situation to pull us in, then an interesting backstory that makes it more interesting, and finally ending with the twist and conclusion. You hold back just enough cards in each section of the story to keep the readers reading, and it's not easy to do that so well done! I wonder how Earth is holding up and what might happen once Earth realizes there's no signal coming back--no successful rescue. Excellent job!


It was too late to turn back -- for all of them. Three weary explorers stared out the porthole as the spacecraft *A Shot in the Dark* hurtled toward Comet 266P/Christensen.

"Collision course set," announced Michelson as the main rocket engine died. "That's the last of our fuel."

Dr. Grigori stared out at the stars.

"What should we tell Earth?" Dr. Markova asked.

Michelson shrugged. A world now plagued by climate shifts, mass extinction, and natural disasters too numerous to list needed hope, not more bad news.


It had started decades prior. A mysterious radio signal from the stars. "Wow!" writ large in the margin by a grad student. Astronomers worldwide tuned to 1420 MHz, but heard only silence. For decades they wondered: was the Signal merely radio noise, or the first evidence humankind is not alone?

The mystery deepened: the Signal returned, and Comet 266P/Christensen was pinpointed as its source, but against expectations, the Signal showed hints of advanced intelligence. So billions of dollars in venture capital funded *A Shot in the Dark* -- a one-way mission of discovery. Investors dreamed of alien technologies to save the world and pad their bank accounts. If successful, the crew would be hailed (whenever future investments could fund a rescue mission) as heroes by a world desperate for hope.


But just before arrival, Dr. Grigori made a horrifying discovery. "The Signal is not from the Comet; the comet's halo merely reflects and amplifies it."

"From where?" Michelson asked.

"Are you familiar with the Gaia Hypothesis?" asked Markova. "That Earth is essentially a single, unified organism?"

"Decades of pollution," muttered Grigori. "Neglect. Abuse."

Markova looked grim as the Signal played over the speakers. "This Signal," she explained, "is the death rattle of Planet Earth."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 38

You enter a dark room. It smells musty--old, and ill-used. The door shuts quietly behind you, and you hear the faint snick of the lock turning. You're shut in.

There are several options here. You can TURN AROUND and try to break through the door. You can STAY where you are and scream, hoping somebody nice hears you. Or you can WALK FORWARD, and step into the unknown. Which do you choose?


Brave choice, friend. You take a step, and suddenly a single light bulb flicks on, dimly illuminating the room. The room is bare, dusty, and grey. The only thing in the room is a single, forlorn chair parked dead center, just under that hanging, flickering bulb. On the chair is a dusty postcard. It draws your eye. Will you CONTINUE, or will your TURN BACK?


You walk over to the chair, and stare down at the postcard. Under the thin film of dust, you can read a hastily-written note, in a crabbed, spiky hand. It describes a challenge. A challenge of the kind not seen before--a mad, crazy, slightly insane challenge. A Cracked challenge. Will you face it?

> ...

(That's for you to decide.)

Judges This Week: Si and 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 sometimes our amusement)).

"It was too late to turn back--for all of them." 
Random Pictures/Memes of Inspiration

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Year 1, Week 37: Results!

Thanks to everyone that participated in this week's competition! We had an excellent set of stories to choose from, and are pleased to announce the winners!

I wanted a gif, so there is a gif. So there.

Honorable Mention

Shae Moloney's Not Without Risk

Mars: Both Peter and Dr. Mattson feel developed in this piece; the doctor's nervous drumming, Peter's claustrophobia(? as well as his internal remarks), and their dialogue between each other all lent to building images of these characters in my mind. I was disappointed by the ending, since it didn't really feel like an ending--well, that is to say, it felt like the end line to a story, but I don't feel like I got all the information that I should have. Why's Dr. Mattson terrified of what Peter came out as? Is he a monster, or is he way older, or is he way younger, or what? I do like how her earlier statement of, "I'd be more concerned about what would happen if it does [work]," makes one think about how this kind of technology would affect the world as we know it. Nice piece!

Rin: This story had good description, in both the setting and in Peter’s physical reactions to what was happening. Made it all believable, easy to envision and experience from the main char’s pov. The pace was smooth and the dialogue felt natural. Peter’s apprehension gave it a nice tension and his doubts in the project was a good conflict. My favorite bit was the wrap up. The wrap up was a perfect cliff-hanger, making me want to know what had happened to him and wish that there were more. Nicely done!

First Runner Up

Carin Marais The Garden Where the Gnomes Are Alive

Mars: I was pleasantly surprised by the ending of this piece (mostly because I missed the line, "but they still needed a bogey monster hunter" the first time I read it through); I was expecting the witch to turn out evil or something, instead of actually being the nightmare police. (And the gnomes amuse me.) I was really curious as to how the toys attract nightmares, and would have liked a small explanation on that (it's a really interesting idea, though). The story was very cute, and brought a smile to my face!

Rin: This was a fun story! I loved the idea of an elderly woman playing the role of the hero and a monster hunter at that. The boys were fun little characters and they all felt distinct from one another. The dialogue was good too. I liked how people were afraid of her because of her appearance and that what she did went unknown and therefore unappreciated, which I felt added to her character that she’d still do it despite being feared and unacknowledged. The end was cute and a nice touch, but I felt that it stretched just a bit too long. Over all, great story! Well done!


Sam Malkowski

with Problem Solving

Mars: Ohh, I just got the title (lightbulb: *flickers on*). She's solving the problem of not having her mother's attention by getting into trouble, ahh (yeeaah, I'm slow sometimes, but that makes this story all the better now, haha). This tale certainly evoked pity within me as I read it; it's terrible that she would actually have to cry out for attention by committing reckless acts. I do wonder what her father's role in all of this is. Are they close at all? The story only focuses on the daughter and mother, but is the father a support at all? 

I thought the dialogue could use more emphasis (not necessarily actual rich text (I know some commentators know how to do that, but I forget after about 30 seconds of being told how)). For example, "Not when I am this pissed," sounded stilted (it's amazing how much a contraction can change the sound of someone's voice) (and/or, if there was italicization/caps on a certain word:  "Not when I'm this pissed.")

I do like the details dropped into the piece that indicate the family's lifestyle (I get the feeling that they're at least on the upper-end of the middle class, if not an upper class (I mean, I don't have a maid)). (Also, can you get suspended for dyeing your hair in the girl's locker room? (I've never heard of someone trying to do this, mind you, so there's that--it just sounds like the kind of thing only a private school might get uppity about, but I don't know, lol!)) Good job with this piece!

Rin: I loved this story. I loved the way that the mother’s words were contrasted to dust catching in curtains and the mental imagery that it brought up. It was all easy to envision and the dialogue was done well. I liked the little hints dropped in here and there, like the house description and the maid, to tell us they’re well to do. The dialogue was good and the characters all felt distinct and whole, though realistically broken people. It all makes me wonder why their relationship is so strained and the way that the daughter does outrageous things trying to get her mother’s attention was so true to life. I loved how every little thing built upon the last until it formed a clear picture of their situation. My favorite line was ‘I was starting to miss her’. It was so small, but so important for the story, a tiny bit tucked in that spoke volumes and that last line was an excellent, heartbreaking wrap up. Fantastic story! Congrats!

Problem Solving 
"Seriously? You expect me to go in there?" 
Maybe my mother thought her voice would not carry into my hospital room. Maybe she thought her words would cling to the billowy cotton door between us like dust did on the curtains at home. Each syllable could cling to its own newborn-blue fiber, thickening until the room darkened with grime. Then the maid could shake them out onto the balcony and we would pretend they never existed at all. That our house was always pristine, spotless. Happy. 
"You're not going to see your daughter?" That's typical. My father is always some shade of bewildered when mother and I fight. Sometimes confused, sometimes annoyed. Never in the room long. 
"Not when I am this pissed. What would I say to her?" 
Mother and I say very little to each other on a regular basis. We have our daily school and weather updates but I would not call that talking. The last time we discussed anything real was when I got suspended for dyeing my hair in the girls' locker room. I was starting to miss her. 
"Something comforting." 
Mother made it around the curtain and stood at the front of the bed. Her gaze was as cold as a compress and just as satisfying. It soothed the bruises seatbelted across my chest, eased the swelling around my broken bones. Her eyes found mine and for a while she stared at me. When she spoke, it was too loud for a hospital. 
"You stole our car. What were you thinking?" Mother went on and on, reminding me that I don't know how to drive. I grinned and she yelled at me for mocking her. I didn't tell her it was genuine.  
This is as close to her as I can get.

 See you all next Saturday! :D

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 37


Read Thy Commandments

Judges This Week: Mars and Rin

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 sometimes our amusement)).


"Seriously? You expect me to go in there?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Year 1, Week 36: Results!

A worthy meme for this blog indeed.
Awesome entries all around you guys! I love how some weeks we have wildly different stories with the same prompt, and other weeks a clear theme among stories emerges. Also y'all managed to resist the lure of pyromaniac Cthulhu. That's some serious self-control.

Inspired by the youtube series I have been recently watching like a productive person (*cough*), let us continue with the awards!

Honorable Mention

Sam Malkowski with When Freaks Grow Up

Si: I really like the way you weave lines from the main character's past in with his actions in the present! They're short enough to keep us interested, but give interesting tidbits that clearly shaped the main character into who he is today. Interesting how the main character's need for parental approval plays into his theatrics in the present. I would like to see more tension in the story—the initial tension of the danger of bomb-defusing fades by the end due to the main character's total confidence and apparent lack of obstacles. I really liked the line “The impact of the explosion, the thunder it made, the power ignited from my own hands- these were addictions.” Well done!

Rin: I really enjoyed the main character in this piece. The overall light tone to the piece was a nice contrast with the more serious subject of bomb control. The description was well done, I could easily put myself in his shoes and see what the character is doing and experiencing. I like how the back story was woven in with the rest of the story in little bits and the show vs tell was in good balance. It was fun to see a trait normally seen in a negative light turned into something positive. I also liked how in his past it was what made his mother look down on him and be disappointed in him, but now it’s what people admire in him. Very nice!

First Runner Up

Steph Ellis with Unforgiven

Si: This is a very creepy, rather frightening story. Excellent job with the atmosphere! I really like how you don't reveal Elise's injury until the very end. We initially get the sense that Christo is a pyromaniac, but later we get his real motive—a rather darker one. The last two lines are my favorite: “He would never stop until he had forced himself to suffer what she had suffered, what he had inflicted. And she would never try and prevent him.” In these two lines, we learn so much about the characters' relationship, motives, and the strange mindset of the order they're in. One confusion I had was with regard to the start of this line: “Her wax-carved face...”--I admit it took me a bit out of the story, because I started trying to imagine whether she was wearing a mask, or wax was spread on her face to hide her injury? I would like a bit more description there (or perhaps earlier in the story) to clarify. The dialogue is short, to the point, and feels real. Great story!

Rin: Man, this one gave me shivers! The slower pace of the piece added to the dark, cold tone of it well. The characters were clearly distinct, the contrast between them shown starkly in her cold, passive mercilessness, her brother’s single-minded desperation for penance, and Francis’ concern. My favorite line was ‘His eyes, obsidian mirrors reflecting the dancing flames, refused to meet hers, focusing only on the fire, always the fire.’ The bit about his eyes was awesome mental imagery, but the rest of it gives a glimpse into his mental state. Oh and that last line, chill-inducing, but a good wrap up! Great job!


Sara Codair
with The Phoenix

Si: This is a really excellently written story. I can hear the voice of the mother very clearly in the tale though she doesn't appear in story. I love the idea of the phoenix child—very original take on the prompt! Even though the story is mostly the mother “telling” what happened, it doesn't feel flat or info-dumpy—here's a great exception to the esteemed Writing Rule. It's fascinating, we want to know more about the situation and Dane. I love the contrast between the lines “The papers said all that was left of Dane was a charred skeleton. They don’t know about the infant that wakes me every night crying for milk or to get his diaper changed. ”. The last two lines are excellent closure—the literal rebirth of Dane and the metaphorical rebirth of his parents' lives. I like the way you juxtapose the fantastic--Dane's spontaneous combustion and literal rebirth--and the prosaic—the bureaucratic hoops his parents must jump through to give Dane his new life, the necessity to move where no one knows them. Intriguing story, great job!

Rin: Wow! With such a creative use of the prompt, I can’t help but love this piece! I liked the twist in that instead of a phoenix-like person being calm and serene as is usually portrayed for a phoenix, that the boy had a temper. And that it probably ran in the family, given they knew that he was going to set himself on fire. I love the blend of real world bits that grounded the fantasy bits firmly in believability and gave it a unique tone to it. The description really put me right there in the scene. It makes me wish that there was more of the story to read. Excellent job!

The Phoenix
We all knew he was going to set himself on fire, and we were right. Henry and I just never imagined how our son, Dane, would go up in flames.
It happened over summer vacation. The sun was scorching and the black top was so hot you could cook stir fry on it. Dane was angry. The wheels on his favorite skate board had melted. His face was beat red, aching with sunburn. So when Billy Jones tried to steal his Nintendo DS, he just lost and burst into flames.
The medical examiner said it was spontaneous combustion, but he wasn’t there when it happened. He didn’t see his son out on the street raising a fist to punch a kid twice his size, just go up in flames when the sun hit his fist. He didn’t see how quick the body blackened. He didn’t see the naked baby screaming in the ashes - a baby that looked exactly how the burning boy had looked twelve years earlier.
The papers said all that was left of Dane was a charred skeleton. They don’t know about the infant that wakes me every night crying for milk or to get his diaper changed. No one knows save Henry, and no one else can know. Not even my mother. 
We’re already packing. Henry has an apartment picked out across the country, and a buddy at work who can hack the system and get baby Dane a fake birth certificate and social security number. I don’t know what Henry told his friend, just that it wasn’t the truth.
Like a phoenix, Dane was reborn from his ashes, starting life anew. So we, too, would start over, in a new town where no one knew our names.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 36

I wish I had something witty to say, but since at the time of the writing of this it's 1:30 am for me, my system has no more caffeine reserves to draw upon. Therefore, on with the show!

Judges This Week: Si and Rin

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 sometimes our amusement)).


“We all know he’s going to set himself on fire one day.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Year 1, Week 35: Results!

Welcome back to our weekly judging session!

Si was under time constraint and so the task fell to Mars
to find something to put here. She's not as
imaginative as Si, sadly.
But pyramids
are cool,
We're delighted to bring you results from last week's competition! :)

Honorable Mention

Sarai Manning with 100% A Bad Plan

Si: I like how the reader has no idea what the “bad plan” is right up until the end. I thought that Brad was getting betrayed/blamed by his friend! My favorite line from this story was the very last (of course!): “Colin bragged afterwards that bad plans are 80% hope, 10% confidence, and 10% pity. It’s a pity I didn’t punch him first.” Funny and well written! The dialogue flows smoothly and feels natural. We really get a sense for Colin's and Brad's personalities in this short piece. Great job creating tension and giving the main character a choice—does he follow Colin or no? Great descriptions in this piece too! I particularly liked the description of Brad getting punched, and the image of the “blood-thirsty” shrubbery. I also thought it amusing that the guardsmen know that they are lying. One thing I would add is make the reason for ignoring the lie to be a bit stronger. Are they apathetic, resigned, impressed? Great writing!

Mars: The second paragraph stands out to me particularly for the use of language (it was both descriptive (to both location and how Brad feels about his situation! Two birds with one stone) and amusing), though the piece was fairly technically sound all around. I would have liked to know what the dare was; it's not crucial to the plot arc of the piece (and there are word restrictions, of course), but it feels like the reader is missing a little piece of background that could go a long way--what did they do that is causing the guardsmen to look for them? 

Humor is definitely a big part of this piece that I felt was pulled off well; the last two lines are hilarious, and I keep looking back at, "Adventure awaits, Brad!" and giggling (because I can only imagine Brad being like, "Ugh, nooo, I hate you so much right now," in his head as he reluctantly crawls after Colin). Good job!

First Runner Up

Benjamin Langley with The Plan

Si:  Excellent twist on the Romeo and Juliet story! I love how you show us what a scene between Juliet and the priest would have looked like—one we never get to see. I am amused that the friar acknowledges it's a horrible plan, and that the alternative—death!--is totally okay as a possibility. I was very amused by the line ““Yes” said the friar, looking sheepishly at the floor. “Probably.”” The addition of modern dialogue was funny in places: “the instructions are weirdly specific”--but I felt that the last line didn't quite fit with the rest of the story's tone. I really liked how you don't reveal that the girl is Juliet until the very last line. The dialogue really makes this piece. It's funny, fast, and has a lot of back-and-forth interaction which gives us a sketch of the characters' personalities and situation in an amusing way. A humorous take on a scene from a classic tale! Well done!

Mars: "What's the worst that can happen?" When will fictional characters learn to never utter that phrase? It worked to the advantage of the piece that Romeo & Juliet has been done so many times before, since everyone knows what the worst is, and that it does happen! Oh, irony, our good friend. 

Something that made me pause at the end of the piece is when the friar uses the word 'chill'. It's a very modern word ("no problem" is a fairly modern phrase, too, I believe), and made me wonder what time setting this is in, since, up until that point, I had been thinking that this was set a couple hundred years back (I think that's because I associate 'friar' with books/movies set in old ages (the most notable example in my mind being Friar Tuck)). 

Nevertheless, the voice of the friar and Juliet come through the dialogue well; I could hear Juliet's skepticism and the friar's insistence; it's a great example of characterization. 

Y1W35 Winner!

Sara Codair

with Her First Rodeo

Si:  I really liked this story! First of all, the description is great—we really get the atmosphere of the seedy, rather unpleasant bar. I like the interaction between the characters a lot—Joe's assurance, and Molly's more reluctant aquiescence. I loved how Joe's plan played out—the men's instant unfriendly reaction, the redirection to Molly, and the real plan of drawing the alien out of hiding. Very smooth inclusion of a scifi element in an otherwise-Our World-like story. It didn't feel jarring and adds an element of strangeness to the story—I want to know more about this world and the alien-hunting main characters. Molly's faint as a signal was very amusing—and I agree with that last line! By playing to their expectations, Joe and Molly con the crowd and achieve their goal, even if their plan includes every gun in the bar being pointed in their direction. I would like a little more background on why the name Joe asks for causes such an instant reaction. Great tension in keeping the plan from the reader, but including just enough forshadowing—Molly's comment about the guns—to give us the background we need to really “see” the critical scene. Excellent job!

Mars: I was duped. When Molly fainted, I thought she'd fainted for real! It was clever to keep the reader in the dark that it was all an act--it certainly made me question Joe's motives (I supposed that should have been my hint!). Turns out it wasn't such a bad plan after all!

There wasn't as much wordbuilding as there could have been; we only get a glimpse into the fact that this is actually a sci-fi story and not just a fiction one! Are they even on Earth? How many aliens are there on Earth? How many people know about them (is it common knowledge)? It's not integral to the plot, but the piece seems unsure of what genre it wants to be. 

The pacing between dialogue and description is tasteful; there were very little minced or wasted words in this piece. Everything used advances plot and characterization. Well done!

Her First Rodeo 
“It’s a bad plan, but if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s making bad plans work!” said Joe. 
The Cantina was dark place that reeked of stale beer. Horrid country was barely audible over the drunken shouts of ranchers--exactly the kind of place their quarry would hide.  
“We’re gonna get killed,” muttered Molly. She was rookie, fresh out of the academy. “Every man in here is carrying a gun.” 
Molly wasn’t wrong about the guns, but Joe was unconcerned. They were a crucial part of his plan. He walked straight to the the counter and order a shot of whisky before shouting, “I’m looking for Greggor Tams. First one to give me intel gets fifty bucks.” 
The men froze. Conversation ceased. The automated singer crooned about losing his wife, truck, and hamster while the click of safeties switching off improved the melody.  
“We ain’t snitches,” said a man whose face resembled a raisen.  
Joe grinned. No face matched his quarry’s, so he examined each gun and hand carefully, focusing on a gleaming silver pistol, held by a blue-tinted hand. Alien magic could create some good illusions, but the flaws always showed closest to objects from their home-worlds, especially laser-pistols.  
He knew Molly had spotted it when she fainted.  
“I ain’t askin nobody to snitch,” shouted Joe. “Just wanted to see how my apprentice held under pressure.” 
“She didn’t hold at all,” laughed raisin face, putting his gun away.  
“Next round’s on me.” Joe slipped three bills to the bartender, picked Molly up and carried her to his truck, careful to bump his quarry on the way out and plant a tracking device. 
Molly sat up as the pulled onto the road. “I can’t believe that worked. The fainting act is the oldest trick in the book.”

Congratulations, all!
See you back next Saturday! :D

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Cracked Flash: Year 1, Week 35

It's officially April, guys! And do you know what that means? It means that Camp Nano is here!

Image result for camp nanowrimo badge

 Anyone else taking on this most awesome of challenges?

Judges This Week: Mars and Si

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 sometimes our amusement)).

“It’s a bad plan, but curse it, if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s making bad plans work!”