Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2011

Fan art &Stories 07 Sep 2011 09:40 pm

Fanfic Flash Fic WINNERS

“I can’t believe there wasn’t one entry about me.”

Thanks for entering our Fanfic Flash Fic micro-contest! The little stories were very fun to read.

Here are our favorite entries, organized by theme. Each 55-word story takes place in an existing pop-culture, historical, or literary universe.

Comic Strips

TIGER – Nicole Kalstein
     When he opened the envelope, the slip of paper screamed, “TIGER.” His heart sank as fear and suspicion bubbled up slowly, a toxic swamp in his stomach. Sure, the prediction didn’t indicate any specific tiger, much less his tiger friend, but Calvin was suddenly aware that he would never have a peaceful night’s sleep again.

     2000+ comics, and they haven’t gotten him yet.
     He’d thought the prediction was ridiculous. But then they started appearing. Always in the fourth stage of his conversations, always in pink sweaters. He stomped the first one fearfully, instinctively. Now it’s routine.
     He’s conquered death.
     Later, the Louisa May Alcott novel hits him at 3,000 m/s.

     It didn’t matter what the slip said, it was too unreal. Too ridiculous. Jenny just couldn’t believe it. Even when it appeared on the TV, bright and green, it looked like something out of Saturday morning cartoons, even destroying houses, killing people. Now, as the creature’s foot loomed ominously over her, it felt vaguely familiar.

DEPRESSION – Nathan Kitler
     Life had always been rough for Charles, but this last week took the cake. First his kite got him struck by lightning; then his dog died. Holding the slip of paper in his hand, he walked past adults with voices like muted trombones. Charles read the single word to himself: “depression.” Good grief, he thought.


SUFFOCATION – David Hilder
The paper’s “Suffocation” would not make him shriek nor weep nor swoon.
The Captain of the Pinafore, he showed no fear — it was a boon
To know that at his time of death he’d simply be deprived of breath.
Not looking, he slipped off the deck, and, oh, my stars, he drowned too soon.

REVENGE – Laura Breitenbeck
     The captain’s bone leg thumps the deck in sea-time. Thump. Grips his white paper, chews the word and paces. He’ll get what he’s after? Aye, and drag us all down, like as not. Thump. Thump. Death glimmers in the sea’s dark. White weight in the great black belly of the earth, named and marked: Revenge.

     When his name was called, Sydney Carton stumbled forward and submitted his finger to the Machine’s prick. He hoped the presence of alcohol wouldn’t interfere with his prediction, reeking of whiskey as he did. The Machine buzzed and deposited a slip into his hand.
     For Love, he read aloud. Mr. Carton brightened, and sobered immediately.

Sitcoms and Cartoons

CAR – John Chernega
     “This prediction says DUE .”
     Carl froze. “How’d he die?”
     “Shootout, Mr. Winslow. Our machine said DUEL,” said Neil.
     “We’ve never had any other inconsistencies,” Harriette confirmed.
     “So it’s only incorrect with four-letter deaths ending in L?” Neil goggled.
     “Sounds like tampering,” said Harriette. “Hey, didn’t Steve use it before his accident, Carl?”
     Carl was gone.

CANNON – Tucker Cummings
     Maude never told Ned about the night she got her prediction. She knew he wouldn’t approve. Death prediction might have been a science, but it was still too much like witchcraft. And the Bible’s position on such things was very clear.
     Besides, she didn’t expect to be near a cannon anytime soon. Not in Springfield.

INVITATIONS – Jonathan Dillion
     Susan pondered George’s assertions — hours trying to convince her. Naturally, the word surfaced. The secret luxury of knowing, due to wealth, never ceased being a curse. A confusion. Getting fired had helped. So had a newfound lifestyle and eventual desertion.
     George. Barely three friends. Detestable. Safe. She would say “yes.” No more worries about Invitations.

     “Well Dad, what’s it say?”
     “I think you need to take over walking Astro from now on, Elroy.”
     “But Dad — ”
     Shock setting in, George waved his children out of the room, and Jane moved closer.
     Silently, he handed her the freshly printed slip of paper.
     It was only three words long. THAT CRAZY THING.


     “We’ve got the machine’s predictions in!” Perry White said to the Daily Planet staff, holding the results aloft.
     They clamoured around him curiously as he slowly flipped through them, until one suddenly piqued his interest. Realisation flashed across his face.
     “Clark,” he said, “could you take your glasses off for a second…”

BATMAN – Tracy Canfield
     “I always knew that only you could kill me,” said the Joker. “Just regretted I wouldn’t be around to enjoy Gotham City’s reaction. But when I show them this…”
     He slapped the prediction down. BATMAN, it said.
     “The Machine doesn’t use purple crayon,” said Batman.
     The Joker sighed. “You really are the world’s greatest detective.”

CHILL – Peter Bloem
     “It’s just a silly trick, Bruce. I regret ever taking the test.”
     “But what could it mean… CHILL?”
     “If we knew that, it wouldn’t work. What it tells you is that your father’s an idiot. Your mother’s the smart one.”
     Martha Wayne bites her lips, and puts on her pearls. “We’re going to be late.”

Science Fiction

CLEVER GIRL – Jim Warrenfeltz
     Robert Muldoon got his results young, and feared them.
     He avoided anything associated with his results. Bars, colleges, and especially college bars. He was a confirmed bachelor.
     When the experts arrived on Isla Nublar, it happened that “Dr. Sattler” was a woman. A smart woman. This worried him.
     Unfortunately, that’s not what “CLEVER GIRL” meant.

CANCER – Kevin Anderson
     Dr. Silberman somehow managed to remain genial and smiling. “So you see, Miss Connor, there’s nothing to worry about. No horrible nuclear holocaust, no bullet from one of those big bad deranged killer cyborgs. You’ll have a perfectly normal death from cancer. Would you please not stab me in the knee again?”

     “reH lugh Hegh jan,” jatlh matHa’. “<<Hargh quv>> jatlhchugh navlIj, Hargh quvmo’ bIHegh. navvetlh vIHevchugh, jIHem. toQDuj tlhoy’Daq Dochvetlh’e’ vIHuS.”
     mon la’. “‘ach chaq jaghlI’vaD quv Harghvam, SoHvaD quvHa’.”
     “bISov DaneHbe’a’?”
     “ghobe’!” jach la’. “DIch SaHbe’ SuvwI’. batlh ‘oH Doch’e’ neHbogh. jISuvnIS, jIHeghnIS, ‘ach SanwIj vISovnISbe’.”
     jIH chu’Ha’ la’. nav laDqa’. <<choljaH>>, jatlh. ro’Daj SoQqu’moH.

     Even when Parker won the pool with IMPALED BY HUNGRY TONGUE, Brett declined to share his results.
     “Aw, he’s just jealous,” Brett grinned. “Nobody’s got a card sexier than IMPALED BY HUNGRY TONGUE.”
     Have your moment, Parker mused, his thoughts straying to his own pre-flight test. What could it mean?
     It sounded so sexy.


CRUCIFIXION – Michael Williams
     The contraption was from somewhere east, beyond the provinces: clanking brass pipes, rattling wood frame and a slim slip of flattened reed with tiny text inked in three languages. Everyone stared at it, then at Josh, then at one another.
     “Maybe if I’m just really…nice to everyone? Maybe then it won’t happen?”
     Judas snorted.

     The scientist shuddered in fear. “We’ve tested it countless times, mein Fuhrer. I do not understand the problem.”
     “Das ist doch Scheiße!” the Fuhrer shouted. “Rubbish! Impossible! The most ridiculous thing I have ever read!”
     He shoved the slip of paper into the scientist’s trembling hand. In bold letters, it read “assassinated by time traveler.”


UNTITLED ZELDA STORY – Nathaniel Forsythe
     Lounging atop Hyrule castle, Ganon consulted again the strange scrap of parchment, then looked over his evil to-do list.
     “Triforce — acquired.”
     “Princess Zelda — kidnapped.”
     “Master Sword — hidden in unsolvable forest maze.”
     “Sausages — banned forever.”
     “Golf courses — burned.”
     He paused, in piggish thought. “Should I clear my browser history?”
     Ganon vowed to watch what he clicked.

ORANGES – Andy Jordan
     Vito Corleone ran his eyes down the list and frowned.
     “And you really expect me to believe this?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at the man sitting before his desk.
     “Don Corleone, it’s what the machine said. I can’t explain it.”
     “Oranges?” Corleone said. “Half my men are going to die because of oranges?”

Podcast Episodes 02 Sep 2011 06:21 pm

Podcast 21: VEGETABLES, by Chris Cox

“VEGETABLES,” by Chris Cox.
Read by Todd Croak-Falen. (16 min)

“The bloke’s a fuckin’ whack job.”

Billy, the Director of Marketing, tells me this while he’s picking his nose with a paperclip. “He wasn’t right to start with; he’s the last bastard who should’ve got that blood test. He’s been treading water all his life, but he’s sinkin’ now.”

He straightens the paperclip, then slides it between his thumb and finger to squeegee the snot off. Unimpeded by my Ugh face, he wipes his fingers on the fabric of my cubicle wall. In the background a phone has been ringing for five minutes without kicking into voicemail, and in the next cube, somebody’s screaming at a subordinate employee on another line. I want to kill them all and dance to the sounds of their suffering through the junkyard of smashed computers and office plants and overturned desks.

Download the MP3 Subscribe on iTunes
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Chris Cox loves dark humor, funky slap bass, jazz fusion and single malt Scotch. Tastes include The Wasp Factory, Harold & Maude, Waking Ned Devine, and addictions include Magnus Mills, Kurt Vonnegut, Danny Boyle, the Borg, the Wraith and Q. He’s a writer and geek, usually working on novels, and quiet, polite global domination. He lives in Providence with his wife, and an abundance of books, films, music, mountain bikes, tennis rackets and strange ideas. Outside this stuff, Chris is an Aerospace Quality Analyst and an Information Science student. His non-fiction work can be read at, and he can be reached at: chriscox at

Todd Croak-Falen is an author and screenwriter. He is a graduate of Chapman University, where he won the Cinetech Most Promising Filmmaker Award, and shared a Best Picture Cecil Award with David Malki for the film Accusation. He the author of several screenplays and one novel, Catch Up To Myself. Most recently, he produced and co-wrote (with David Malki) the film Expendable.

In the book, “VEGETABLES” is illustrated by Kevin McShane. This podcast episode was edited by Matt Schwartz.

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