57 plus 14: earlobe and skillet

Posted: 31 August 2021 in 57 plus, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , ,

It’s Tuesday, so of course you get a couple of more ‘fiction from the vaults’ posts, two more from 2010 this time.

The 2010 run was the last time I did a lonnnnnng run of fast fiction tales; 150 written in 150 days. One story written every day, none in reserve, one posted every day, even if that meant writing one or two very late at night so I could just scrape in before midnight.

As always, they varied between the horrendously dark – what one friend described as the ‘your mind scares me at times’ stories, some very weird tales and some, rarely I’ll admit, nicer ones.

Here are two that definitely, I think, belong to the ‘weird’ category. The first a bit silly, with a fun final line, and a bit… odd. The second a tad more serious, but still definitely weird; two stories where I hope you don’t see the ending coming.

But I like these two. I hope you will.

A decade and a half ago, I threw out a challenge. and then repeated it thereafter whenever I felt like it. The challenge was the same in each case:

Give me a title of up to four words in length, together with a single word you want me to include in the tale, and I will write a story of exactly 200 words.

That’s it. The stories that resulted always included the word, they always fitted the title, but usually in ways the challenger hadn’t anticipated. And they were always exactly 200 words in length.

I hope you enjoy them…

Title: Died Of Fright
Word: earlobe
Challenger: [Livejournal: LunaTinx]
Length: 200 words exactly

The earwig had obviously died in excruciating circumstances; the look of panic on its features gave testament to that.

I’d gotten the call via the grapevine; a stoolie heard the news, climbed the vines The Human put up years back, and found me by the rock I’d crawled to last night, sleeping off the stagnant water from the previous day.

And now we had a murder. OK, put like that, it’s damn stupid. There are millions of murders every day, but this one looked like to be other than from hunger. Besides, whoever killed the earwig was an ignorant speciest; they’d scrawled “earlobe nibbler” on a nearby leaf.

I got there as fast as I could; it only took me three and a half days. My partner was already there.

Every time I see him, I wince; Fifty times my size, the personality is enough to put most creatures off, but he holds a unique position in our society: hunted by the Humans and a hunter among ourselves.

There are eight hundred billion creatures in the naked gardens.

Somewhere in the grass, or the earth, or the farms, someone has a story.

My name’s Friday. I ride with a badger.

© Lee Barnett, 2010

Title: Just A Flesh Wound
Word: skillet
Challenger: Al Kennedy
Length: 200 words exactly

When he arrived home from work that evening to find them outside his place, waiting for him, he’d been so surprised, he’d almost cursed.


But seventeen years: a third of his life, or nearly, anyway. It had taken them that long to track him down.

He’d had close calls before, of course; a skillet merchant had once recognised him, though he didn’t know how; he was clean-shaven and had darkened his hair.

He’d sworn the trader to secrecy, but, well, things happen. And it could have been anyone, via threat or alcohol, that had a loose tongue; he didn’t know, and didn’t care. However it had happened, it had happened.

As he approached his dwelling, any faint thought that the newcomers weren’t there for him vanished as he then spotted two other men obviously trying to be inconspicuous, so obviously failing miserably.

He resisted the temptation to look down at his hands, resisted the temptation to do a lot of things, but sighed, closed his eyes and concentrated on his decision; when he opened them, it was to see the guards calmly leaving.

He’d once been denied three times. After that, He’d learned how to do it convincingly Himself.

© Lee Barnett, 2010


See you tomorrow, with… something else.



Fifty-seven more days. Fifty-seven more posts. One fifty-seventh birthday just had.

Just dropping this in here, as I was asked by message the other day: the best places to contact me outside the blog are via email at budgie@hypotheticals.co.uk and @budgie on Twitter.

I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting up from my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here. (And you can see the posts in the run counting down to the birthday here.)

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