Flash Fiction: No, The Title Doesn't Count


The Tooth Ferret. - JOEL MIELKE
  • Joel Mielke
  • The Tooth Ferret.
Dust off those plot twists … the North Coast Journal Flash Fiction Contest is back! Send your original story of 99 words or fewer to our judges for a chance at publication and a prize.

Email your entries to [email protected] between now and 9 a.m. on Oct. 24. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number on your entry (contact info won’t be printed). Send all the stories you want, but save the poems for another competition, please.

Size up past winners here. And if you’re wondering just how long 99 words is, it’s exactly this long.

For inspirational purposes, find a few past winners copied below:

The 2015 overall winner:

By Lauri Rose, Bridgeville
A marsh is a hideaway kind of place, the kind of place you might take someone else's girlfriend for a secret kiss. Samuel didn't come for that. Samuel came to add another bird to his life list. But, sometimes a morning on the marsh can shift like mud beneath your feet and a man with binoculars might see more than he wants to see. A marsh is a hideaway kind of place, the kind of place you can toss a gun away and it will never be found.
Our fondness for the marsh aside, this one was up to something from the first sentence, then, like that shifting mud, things took a turn. Instead of a trick ending we're left with a little danger. All that with 11 words to spare. This was one of JoAnn Bauer's picks, too. She remarked, "This seemed to me like the beginning paragraph of a great detective story and I would definitely want to read it. It really stimulated my curiosity and imagination about what would happen next."

The 2014 overall winner:

By Peter Mehren, Toronto, Canada
"Let's get one thing straight," she said, as we sat chatting over coffees. "If we ever kiss, which I doubt will happen, but if we ever do, noses to the right."
I looked from her eyes to her nose and back again. "Meaning?"
"Meaning I don't want clumsy, amateurish bumping of noses and foreheads and chins. We're not beginners. If I ever decide you can kiss me, which — "
"I know: you doubt."
"Yes. It won't be a sneak attack, so don't think about doing that. No, just like deciding on which side of the road to drive: noses right."

Another 2014 favorite:

The Tooth Ferret
By Steve Brackenbury, Fortuna
They told him if he put his tooth under the pillow he would find money waiting for him in the morning.
"Dumb ferret," he muttered as he got under the covers; for you see, he had heard it all wrong. "Ferrets ain't got no pockets to keep things in and they're mean and dirty. I hate ferrets."
Midnight came. His eyes were shut but he was wide-awake. The bedroom door slowly opened. He tightened his grip on the handle of the sharp knife he had taken from the kitchen drawer. He was ready for that stupid old ferret.

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