english 251 – flash fiction story starter

Hello Class!

Here is the blog post I promised in yesterday’s class.  Your mission:  Write a piece of flash fiction that features the protagonist and antagonist you began creating in yesterday’s class.  Remember that the story takes place in a mall.  You want to try to use the conflict/crisis/resolution structure we have been talking about in class.  The flash fiction piece should be between 250 – 500 words.  Add your flash fiction story as a comment to this post.

Finally, your flash fiction story should begin with the following sentences:

Most days were the same.  But not today.  Today was different.  Today was special.

Good luck, writers! I’m looking forward to reading Stories from the Mall…

10 thoughts on “english 251 – flash fiction story starter

  1. gordonhays February 15, 2013 / 5:41 pm

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special. Cassandra sat at her desk, sucking on a butterscotch candy like her Grandpa used to give her as a little girl. She stared bitterly at the photo pinned to her corkboard. The photograph was of her as a young girl, dressed in her ballerina outfit. Life had sopped her up like she was the gravy and it was a big ol’ biscuit. It sopped and sopped ’til there wasn’t anything left but a greasy smear that used to be her joy, her youth, and her dreams. Cassandra was life leftovers, gimping through the rest of her existence. She was smothered in old hopes like elderly lady powder. Every night she drank herself to sleep, shaken awake every morning with the cruelest realization that she had a shoe store to run. A foot amputee selling shoes. Boy, life sure knew hot to stick it to a gal. You can’t buy a single shoe, can you? You can only buy the pair…Cassandra threw a sharp glance at the door when she heard the timid knock. “What is it?” she snapped. Rebecca stood partially in the doorway, sensing Cassandra’s mood. “Good morning Cassandra, I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday…and give you these.” Rebecca held out a simple yet fashionable vase, blooming with petite roses. “Why would you do that?” Cassandra asked, looking at the vase as if it held vipers instead of flowers. The two had never been friendly, due to Cassandra’s constant micromanaging. Moving carefully, Rebecca set the flowers on Cassandra’s desk and turned to go, pausing to say, “Everyone deserves a little joy on their birthday.” She smiled with compassion, knowing Cassandra thought she was ridiculous for trying. She sighed, kicking herself for imagining things could be different between them. But, just before she closed the door to Cassandra’s office she heard a soft reply, “Thank You.”

    • Lorena Swift February 17, 2013 / 1:47 pm

      I like your take on the evil Cassandra! I painted her pretty dark! I also like the build up on the character. It was cool you gave her a good ending!

  2. ariellynn February 16, 2013 / 6:46 pm

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special. Today was the day that Grace was finally going to tell the creepy guy that worked at the movie theater that she wasn’t interested, and he needed to leave her alone. No one knew the guy’s name, not even his co-workers. Everyone simply referred to him as Phantom. He had been obsessed with her ever since he started working at the mall, and she refused to stand by and let him creep her out any longer. He had recognized her from when they were kids, although she hadn’t recognized him. There was a lot about her past that she had tried to forget. She made her way through the mall, grease and beef on her clothes from the job she held at the taco stand in the food court. She finally reached the theater, almost disappointed when she saw Phantom walking in about to start his shift. The cape he wore added to his nickname, and Grace had made a point not to mock him for it, even though everyone else did. Maybe her kindness had fueled his obsession. He wasn’t carrying his signature keytar, and she remembered him telling her that his boss had yelled at him for carrying it around at work. It didn’t take him long to notice Grace, and he smiled easily when he saw her. “Hey Grace.”
    “Hey,” she replied, mentally preparing herself for the conversation.
    “I saw the new masterpiece outside, very abstract.” Phantom always made a point of complimenting her on her street art, which would mean more if Grace didn’t know he was trying to get her to date him.
    “Listen, we need to talk. I need you to stop stalking me. You need to stop coming by the food court asking about when I work, you need to stop following me around when you’re not working, and you need to stop leaving random books for me at work. I don’t read, I watch movies. We would never work out, you need to find someone else. Maybe lose the keytar.”
    Phantom froze, blinking for a moment. Grace could see the gears turning in his mind, and she hoped he was processing everything that she had said. Finally he spoke. “Yeah, Grace. Whatever you say.”
    Grace breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you. I have to go to work, but I’ll see you around.”
    She walked away, feeling a lot better about herself. Little did she know that her speech had been the last action needed to make Phantom finally snap.

  3. Lorena Swift February 17, 2013 / 12:37 pm

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special. Cassandra sat at her desk, spinning the revolver. She thought back to the day she opened the shoe store and hired Rebecca. She had been so perky and wanting to please. Now, she came to work, hardly acknowledging her. Cassandra felt dejected, and hated the sight of Rebecca. As smoke drifted up her fingers, she pounded down the booze. The revolver felt cool and heavy in her hands as she loaded rounds. The storeroom turned office made a great place to hide a crime. Cassandra wheeled her chair over to the trap door in the floor. Back in the “gangster” days, they used trap doors as a secret getaway from the cops. Cassandra pulled the rope and leaned over her wheelchair to remove the door. Peering down, she could make out the decades-old dark red stains on the walls. “Someone had thought of this before,” Cassandra said aloud. “Today is the day,” she blurted out and wheeled herself back to the desk, waiting.
    Cassandra heard the doorbell chime as Rebecca reported for her shift. She looked chic, wearing a short summer dress with matching Zappos sandals. Cassandra watched her on the monitor as she set up the sales display. She flaunted her righteousness and beauty for the last time. Cassandra weighed her options to make a getaway if needed. She pondered the thought of going to prison. She entertained what it would be like to run away, change her name, and start again. Years of debt and the IRS plagued her shoe store. How could she be so callous as to buy her name brand shoes somewhere else? Cassandra could feel the anger rising within. No one wanted to buy shoes from a one-legged cripple. She tossed back another shot of Jack Daniels and called Rebecca to the backroom.
    She steadied her hand, holding the gun under the table just like in the gangster movies. Rebecca bounced through the doorway with a smile on her face. She seemed upbeat and happy. Cassandra started with letting her know she was in trouble with the IRS. Rebecca stood back in amazement, feeling uneasy. Cassandra droned on about her financial issues and Rebecca looked at the half-empty bottle on the desk. Cassandra was slurring her words and feeling the effects of the booze. Rebecca looked compassionately at her boss who appeared unhappy. She caught a glimmer of the gun in Cassandra hands. Rebecca, fearful for her safety and startled by the gun, pushed her back into her chair. Cassandra’s chair rolled back from the impact and veered off, falling through the trap door. Cassandra screamed and then went quiet. Rebecca walked over, peering down as Cassandra lay there with blood streaming out of her forehead. She smiled, look sympathetically at her boss, and shut the door. She walked into the store from thinking, “Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special.”

  4. sandramuns February 17, 2013 / 10:41 pm

    Blackmail

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special. She had always hated her father. Danea’s sweaty hand balled in a fist, which she hid in her jean pocket. She was no James Bond, her lungs were still screaming for oxygen after the bike ride to the mall, but her father had not seen her. He had stopped by home, as usual, during his lunch break. Danea and her siblings were homeschooled and lunch time was an important time in this other-wise busy family. In her fourteen years of memories (give or take a few years for those pre-memory infant years) she had never known him to leave early. He was a strict disciplinarian; not abusive by no means but she still resented the fact that she was a teenager and he still relished his belt.
    So here she was smelly, sweaty and praying that she didn’t run into any hot guys while trailing her father. While she was no stranger to the mall, her father certainly was. He believed in hand-tailored clothing and he could certainly afford it.
    What she saw next made her head spin and her stomach wretch. She was still gasping for air from the eight mile bike ride so thankfully nothing came up. It wasn’t the fact that her father, Jake, was at the mall or that he sat down at a food court booth that upset her. It was the fact that he bent down to kiss a man full on the lips that sent her spinning. She had a few gay friends (who she never dared to introduce to her parents) so she was no stranger to homosexuality even though it was FORBIDDEN in her house. If she had been raised Catholic, it would have classified as a mortal sin.
    So her hand clenched due to the hypocrisy. Years of having to learn sex ed. from magazines stolen from her friends’ parents and now this! She was fourteen and still not allowed to date. “That bastard!” she thought. Secretly she couldn’t blame him. Her mother, Denise, was a control freak who closely resembled Richard Simmons.
    The real rub wasn’t even the hypocrisy. It was the fact that her dad’s boyfriend looked like he had just stepped out of the latest G.Q. magazine. Drool!
    She may have snuck out of the house in a hurry but she was never without her cell phone. It was the one luxury her parents allowed her with the stipulation that it was for emergencies only. Luck and cell phone manufactures were on her side. Much to her parents’ horror and her delight, it was impossible to purchase a phone without a camera. Although the word “sex” was forbidden in the house (even when referring to one’s gender) her parents had watched too much day-time television and were convinced that she would lead an international sex ring with her cell-phone camera.
    She had no plans on leading an international sex ring but blackmail . . . Oh, yes! Blackmail!

  5. misslauradora February 18, 2013 / 3:31 pm

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special. Rebecca was tired of working at Payless. Tired of clocking in and out, day after day, doing the same old thing week after week. She had better things to do; her life was bigger than this mall! Today she will tell her boss that she plans to quit her job at the shoe store and start focusing on her graduation plans. She combs her brown bob and looks at herself in the mirror. This can’t be that hard. She leaves her apartment and heads to the mall, a feeling of anxiety gathers in her chest as she gets closer. Images of Marges face, wrinkled up and red, sweating with anger, her slimy hands curled up into fists of frustration. No, this will be okay; today she will take a stand. She. Will. Quit. As she pulls into the parking lot and steps into the mall, she smooth’s out her dress shirt, Marge hates wrinkles. Opening the door to the shoe store, her heart begins to pound while her eyes franticly search the area for her boss. Bingo. She’s over in the kids section organizing the ballet flats. Trying to calm her nerves and appear in control of her emotions, she approaches Marge. “Marge…. Can I have a word with you”? She stutters, cursing herself under her breath for her fear. Marge turns towards her with an angry snort. “Actually yes, I have something to tell you Rebecca.” Rebecca cleared her throat, ready to deliver the speech she had perfected on the drive to the store. “Actually Marge, this is”” Rebecca. Your fired.” States Marge blankly, not even batting an eyelash. “What?!” Rebecca splutters, “Why am I fired??!” “Your lack of enthusiasm has brought down the entire Payless store team. Enough is enough, get out.” Marge said firmly. Rebecca swallowed, took a deep breath and turned around to head out of the store. When she reached the door a smile crept across her face… “Well, that was easy”.

  6. andresortiz2013 February 18, 2013 / 10:35 pm

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special. Today was when John had learned who Maxine really was and how his life was in grave peril in learning about the mall owner’s secret operations. All John had to do as mall security was to stop some suspicious looking individuals that looked like they were dealing drugs. But no, John followed the individuals to find that they worked for the owner of the mall and that she was the mastermind behind all the major crimes happening around the neighborhood, from drugs to murder. As John quietly called for the police for assistance, this was too much for his pay grade, a criminal spotted John and John began to run for his life, dropping his phone. Maxine shrieked to lock all the doors and to kill the mall cop on sight. Bullets whizzed by and all John could do was scream and run, but then a cold feeling began to grow within John’s body. John ducked and hid for his safety. As John was trying to catch his breath, John felt blood pouring from his side. He was shot and bleeding profusely and the pain was starting to become unbearable, but that was not the worst, Maxine and her lackeys found John and pointed their guns to his face…this happened all too fast, there wasn’t enough time for John’s life to flash before his eyes. And then, a loud noise followed by bright lights filled the mall’s loading area. Gun shots rang throughout the mall and then a silence followed by pitch darkness. John’s eyes opened and the light felt overwhelming. A police officer sat in a chair staring at John as John stirred. The officer asked if John was okay and after a few seconds, John responded that he was okay. The police officer then explained the story of what happened at the mall; John’s phone was still on and the emergency dispatcher heard the gunshots on the phone, traced the cellphone and sent all available units to the mall. The police smashed through the doors of the mall and began to take aim at Maxine and her lackeys. John had passed out from the blood loss and the officers, after taking down the criminals, rushed John to the hospital where he finds himself at the current time. The police officer congratulates John for helping stop the vicious crimes that were occurring at the mall. John then began to drift to sleep, still tired from the fight, but as he placed his head on his pillow, John wondered if now would be a good time to retire from security work.

  7. staysharpe February 19, 2013 / 11:33 am

    Head-Voices Make the Best Lovers

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special.
    Danae wasn’t sure what woke her this morning. That nagging feeling that gently pulled her from her sleep and down the oak stairs. The pull continued and ended with the ‘click’ of the screen door that led to the drive way. Dad was up, but the lawyer hadn’t started ‘the jag’. The man’s pride was well concealed, but couldn’t help trickle through as he smoothly, seductively referred to his pride and joy– “the jaaagggg”. God, it bugged Danae.
    She walked through the living room toward the ‘click’– the walls a vomit of puce, so-1980’s wallpaper: the orange plaid chairs the legacy of the notoriously bad taste of her mother.
    Just as Danae could see through the criss-cross of the screen door, her hand froze on the handle: Dad was half-naked, kneeling in the driveway, head tilted to the heavens in what looked like an image of some poor martyr forsaken by his God. For christ’s sake.
    And it was the events of that morning that had lead Danae to follow her father later that day. To the mall.
    “Interesting choice, Jerry,” in thought to herself as she tailed the jaaaaag into the parking lot. Not-too-conspicuously-close in “the ‘vett.” As in Corvette. She hated that car, too. But Jack loved it. He picked it out for himself, really.
    “Selfish bastard.”
    “Don’t be a bitch,” Jack spat back.
    He’d been acting up lately, fading in and out of Danae’s mind.
    Multiple Personality Disorder always made things a little more interesting. Constant company, on the upside.

  8. jenniferewer February 24, 2013 / 4:20 pm

    Flash Fiction Story in Third Person:

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special. Today was the day Cassie was going to stand up to her best friend, Inga. Inga was a tall, slender, beautiful redhead with a “fuck it” attitude. Inga thought she was the baddest of asses: strong, assertive, and confrontational. Although she was, for the most part, a good friend, Inga had a way of making Cassie feel bad about herself. Inga would say things that, on the surface, seemed harmless, but upon analysis her comments were insults. The back-handed compliment was one of Inga’s talents. Inga was competitive, too, always wanting to be the prettiest and the best. For Cassie, a shorter, plus-sized brunette, competition had never mattered. She was fine being second, third, or even twentieth place at anything. But Inga had to be in first place, and she had been taking her competitiveness and “harmless” comments too far, and Cassie was at a boiling point. Today, on their weekly lunch and shopping at the mall date, Cassie was going to assert herself to Queen Inga.

    Cassie and Inga met at their favorite sushi restaurant and they greeted each other with a warm hug. They took seats at the counter and started chatting as they watched the conveyor belt carry colored plates of sushi.

    “So how are you?” Cassie asked.

    “I’m good,” Inga replied. “I had a lot of clients this week, so that was good. Now I can pig out on sushi!”

    Inga was a massage therapist—deep tissue. She was always boasting about her upper-body strength. She would even, on occasion, challenge Cassie to arm-wrestling matches. Cassie declined, feeling that friends don’t need to wrestle friends.

    “I’m glad you had a good week,” Cassie told her.

    They picked plates from the conveyor belt and started eating, and Cassie kept vigilant, expecting to receive an insult of some kind from Inga. But when lunch was finished and they got up to leave the restaurant, nothing ill had happened. But there was always the mall.

    Cassie and Inga’s favorite stores were JC Penney, Sephora, Macy’s, and Bath and Body Works. But it was in the clothing sections of stores that Inga turned from loving friend to insult-hurling brat, so that’s where Cassie steered them. In JC Penney they headed to the juniors’ section, a section containing clothing that Inga, even in her late twenties, could wear with ease. Cassie, a few years older than Inga and a size 16, had trouble finding clothes in extra large, so it was difficult for her to shop there. But there they were, and Cassie was happy to find several shirts and pants to try on. Inga, too, found an armful of things to try, and they went to the dressing rooms, choosing rooms side-by-side so they could open the doors and show each other what they were wearing.

    Inga had her first outfit on before Cassie did, as was normal, and told her, “Hurry up! I want you to see what I have.” Cassie finished trying on her first outfit and then exited the dressing room. “What do you think?” Inga asked her. She had on a summer dress and it looked lovely on her.

    “You look great!” Cassie said, meaning it.

    “It doesn’t quite fit up top,” Inga said, tugging at the dress’s bodice. “My boobs are just too big. It would fit you in the chest though. Want to try it on?”

    This is what Cassie had been waiting for: an insult. Because Inga’s breasts were allegedly too large to fit the dress she chose, the natural assumption would be that Cassie could fit it because she was less busty. This was a typical comment from Inga: on every shopping trip she would mention her larger breasts and allude to Cassie’s smaller ones. But now Cassie was ready to give her response, a response that would—she hoped—assert herself to the Queen and prevent future insults.

    Before Cassie could reply, Inga said, “You would look really pretty in this color,” referring to the dress’s bright coral. “You have the skin tone for it. And the outfit you have on looks nice.” Inga smiled. “Ok, I’m going back in. I’ll give you the dress after I take it off.”

    Cassie said, “Ok,” and went back into her own dressing room. She took off her outfit and waited for Inga to toss the dress over the partition. Cassie had nothing to say. Inga always did that, always ended her insults with a compliment. Cassie, forever in defeat, had nothing to say. There was nothing she could say. Today wasn’t going to be different after all.

  9. jenniferewer February 24, 2013 / 4:23 pm

    Flash Fiction Story in First Person:

    Most days were the same. But not today. Today was different. Today was special. Today was the day I was going to stand up to my best friend, Inga. Inga was a tall, slender, beautiful redhead with a “fuck it” attitude. Inga thought she was the baddest of asses: strong, assertive, and confrontational. Although she was, for the most part, a good friend, Inga had a way of making me feel bad about myself. Inga would say things that, on the surface, seemed harmless, but upon analysis her comments were insults. The back-handed compliment was one of Inga’s talents. Inga was competitive, too, always wanting to be the prettiest and the best. For me, a shorter, plus-sized brunette, competition had never mattered. I was fine being second, third, or even twentieth place at anything. But Inga had to be in first place, and she had been taking her competitiveness and “harmless” comments too far, and I was at a boiling point. Today, on our weekly lunch and shopping at the mall date, I was going to assert myself to Queen Inga.

    Inga and I met at our favorite sushi restaurant and we greeted each other with a warm hug. We took seats at the counter and started chatting as we watched the conveyor belt carry colored plates of sushi.

    “So how are you?” I asked her.

    “I’m good,” Inga replied. “I had a lot of clients this week, so that was good. Now I can pig out on sushi!”

    Inga was a massage therapist—deep tissue. She was always boasting about her upper-body strength. She would even, on occasion, challenge me to arm-wrestling matches. I declined, feeling that friends don’t need to wrestle friends.

    “I’m glad you had a good week,” I told her.

    We picked plates from the conveyor belt and started eating, and I kept vigilant, expecting to receive an insult of some kind from Inga. But when lunch was finished and we got up to leave the restaurant, nothing ill had happened. But there was always the mall.

    Inga’s and my favorite stores were JC Penney, Sephora, Macy’s, and Bath and Body Works. But it was in the clothing sections of stores that Inga turned from loving friend to insult-hurling brat, so that’s where I steered us. In JC Penney we headed to the juniors’ section, a section containing clothing that Inga, even in her late twenties, could wear with ease. I, a few years older than Inga and a size 16, had trouble finding clothes in extra large, so it was difficult for me to shop there. But there we were, and I was happy to find several shirts and pants to try on. Inga, too, found an armful of things to try, and we went to the dressing rooms, choosing rooms side-by-side so we could open the doors and show each other what we were wearing.

    Inga had her first outfit on before I did, as was normal, and told me, “Hurry up! I want you to see what I have.” I finished trying on my first outfit and then exited the dressing room. “What do you think?” Inga asked me. She had on a summer dress and it looked lovely on her.

    “You look great!” I said, meaning it.

    “It doesn’t quite fit up top,” Inga said, tugging at the dress’s bodice. “My boobs are just too big. It would fit you in the chest though. Want to try it on?”

    This is what I had been waiting for: an insult. Because Inga’s breasts were allegedly too large to fit the dress she chose, the natural assumption would be that I could fit it because I was less busty. This was a typical comment from Inga: on every shopping trip she would mention her larger breasts and allude to my smaller ones. But now I was ready to give my response, a response that would—I hoped—assert myself to the Queen and prevent future insults.

    Before I could reply, Inga said, “You would look really pretty in this color,” referring to the dress’s bright coral. “You have the skin tone for it. And the outfit you have on looks nice.” Inga smiled. “Ok, I’m going back in. I’ll give you the dress after I take it off.”

    I said, “Ok,” and went back into my own dressing room. I took off my outfit and waited for Inga to toss the dress over the partition. I had nothing to say. Inga always did that, always ended her insults with a compliment. I, forever in defeat, had nothing to say. There was nothing I could say. Today wasn’t going to be different after all.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s