Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Flashy Fiction & Shortish Shorts

National Flash Fiction Day is 22 June and there have been competitions running. Whether you enter or not it is a good fun format to use. We like to keep it to under 300 words and get right to the point or nub of the story. We used two themes as starting points. Firstly a situation where we saved someone or something from harm or difficulty. Alternatively we could use a sticky situation where things were going wrong but then worked out unexpectedly well. But before our writer group contributions, we have two entries to the National Flash Fiction Comp from one of our Artsenta artists.


Grandpa Ron's grey and ginger moustache is parted and combed to hand over his lower lip.

When he drinks soup he can sieve out the corn.

I think his month is a baleen whale.

She was always away on tour in the Pacific. When he was a boy he didn't see her.

Mum tells me it's rude to stare. "Go outside and play."

The fat cat Lucy and I sit beside Grandpa's garden pond and watch the goldfish swimming lazily under the lily pads.

I wish I could go out in the gigantic wild ocean.

Great Grandma is out there somewhere. I'll swim and swim until I find her.

- Sally Robilliard


Tuesday 4.53pm.

In the rear vision mirror of my forklift, the manager is beckoning me over to the loading bay. A red plastic attache case held high like a flag.

"You can't fire me on a Tuesday. It's the day I visit my Mum," I yell.

Mr L'Orange's lips barely part as he reads the open file. Each word enunciated.

"Mr Ronimo, The Company has terminated our contractual relationship with you. You have failed at every parameter to meet the Vision Statement."

"Vision isn't everything. Mum can't see and we still play dominoes. The best part's when they fall down."

Mr L'Orange continues, snot dripping from his left nostril.

"You have not participated in Corporate Sharing and Caring online team activities."

"Sir, I'm too busy knitting peggy squares for a blanket for Mum. I'm up to green squares now."

The snot is wiped on the right arm of his non-absorbent high-vis jacket.

"The Company requires diversification to meet changing markets."

"Mum and I grow broad beans. Broad beans in white sauce are always a hit."

"The Company requires movers and shakers at the frontier."

Out in the delivery yeard pie wrappers are caught in a gust. 

"Mum's a rock'n'roller twisting at the Grey Lynn dance hall."

"Finally, your movement of product recordings are suboptimal."

"Mr L'Orange, I'm an expert on movements. Mum phones me if her bowels haven't opened."

The clock above the locker room clicks over.

"Mr L'Orange I feel sorry for you. I need to catch the 5.19 bus to get to Mum's rest home. I feel sorry for you because you're not the apple of your Mum's eye."

- Sally Robilliard


The protesters were strident; placards, feet, voice, all pressing forward, urgent, angry and solid.  This day, this time, was smouldering.

As his balloon slipped his grasp the toddler Lee lurched forward chasing the dangling string, intent, oblivious, desperate.  Midway across George Street his clutching finger wrapped around and held light his lone possession.

Sophia’s grandmother had always told her “Keep an eye on the little ones”.  As she paused from her shopping to watch the protest move down from the Octagon towards her, Sophia wondered where she should be.  Was she safe?  Should she go?  Would she join them?

A dancing balloon snatched her eye as the marchers’ forward banner lurched across her path, the writhing head of a coiling snake observing a small mouse.

- Kate Jenkins


The cat looked longingly at the tree.

“Can I climb it?”

“No no please don’t try.” The little boy cried.

He noticed the cat halfway up the tree and then at the top looking down at him.

“Ha ha” said the cat to the little boy.

“I’m here. I can see into the next yard, at that little yapping dog. I could spend the day up here, but it’s getting near my dinner time.”

“Are you going to be able to climb down yourself?” asked the little boy.

“Aah I hadn’t thought of getting down from this tree and I suddenly remember I’m not too fond of heights. Heeelp! Can you call the boys in the little red truck, who have a long ladder?”

The little boy said “No, I will climb up to rescue you. I am tough and can climb well.”

The two of them are both stuck up the tree now.

“I better phone the fire brigade. Lucky I had my new phone with me. Usually I don’t take it climbing.”

“I can see the red truck, but it’s only going slow with no lights and sirens going” said the cat peering through the branches. “That’s hardly cricket.”

The ladder comes up and they climb down, with the cat tucked in the little boy’s sweater.

“Right what’s for tea” says the cat “and then I think I’ll go chasing that yapping dog next door.”

- Gail Palmer

Today we feature one of our regular writers who has diligently written up the poems she has developed at the Artsenta Writer's Group ove...