SDMB Flash Fiction Sweatshop

Attention Dopers! The Resurrected Flash Fiction Sweatshop has begun!

Here are the rules.

  1. Email to get your three content words. These words must be used somewhere in your work; verbs can be used in any tense.
  2. Write your flash fiction! The work must be no longer than 500 words and it must be prose.
  3. Reply to the email containing your three content words within 2 hours. In that reply, include your work in the body of the email. Do not send attachments.
  4. All submissions must be received by 2:00 Central Time on Sunday, April 22. I will start posting them around that time.

Please refrain from commenting on this thread until all submissions are up. That way, all submissions stay at the top of the thread. I will post when they are all up and the thread is open for voting and comments. I will post the voting deadline at that point, too. Vote for your favorite and feel free to leave constructive comments on the work. No trolling, please.

All of the works will be posted under my name to keep the voting anonymous. One work is mine, though. Once voting closes, I will provide the authors of the works.

Good luck and have fun!

Also, make sure to include your SDMB User name on the email! I can’t credit you if I don’t have your name!

You caught me in a good mood, so I’ll sticky this for you to make up for the temporary lack of bumps.

The words for this workshop were


And here are the entries!

“Remember Deeply”

After fainting, Doctor Felix fell on his scalpel and just by chance he had cut his neck artery.

Several minutes back, a medical android had been under anesthesia and was operated by the doctor to test a new idea that he had. But when the TAM unit awoke she found a gory scene with Doctor on the floor.

She had already sent an alarm at the sight of the accident, but the testing facility was far from the hospital and late at night. So. she operated and transfused her blood to the doctor. It was part of her programming, but it was also what she wanted to do.

With a hum her biological layer with her brainlets and other biological systems shut down and a massive recording of data that was not likely to be used again was recorded. After a few seconds, her electro/mechanical layer took over. The doctor woke up just then and he knew what to expect already after that hum, but her change of behavior did affect the doctor deeply.

The next day, TAM the medical android, the doctor in bed but out of danger, and Ms. Inclan the head of the research laboratory discussed the tenuous situation.

Miss Inclan was getting angry about what Dr. Felix was asking for.

“You know that restoring the brainlets and the biological interface is impossible now? Ms. Inclan said, “After her biological death that took place saving your life?”

The Doctor said that: “Yes, I know that I would be dead already if it wasn’t for the great efforts of an expert system like her. And that she can be replaced, but I do miss how she reacted before. Now, you think that they don’t have feelings, but I insist that they do. But that is not important know, I think I have the solution to your problem of not being able to reuse the androids after so many of your previous experts failed to do so.”

Next to the doctor what looked at first like a big aquarium turned to be a 3d display and began show the models, the doctor did explain to Ms Inclan the new solution. Ms. Inclan instantly recognized that it was possible thanks to the changes the doctor had applied to the medical unit before the accident, and it was the solution for the waste that it was to not being able to reuse the androids that had “died” before in the line of duty.

Ms Inclan then realized where this was going. “I guess that for the rest of the instructions and processes you want us to ignore your not previously reported condition and to restore your TAM unit, uh?”

“And with the enhancements from your recreational division…” The doctor added.

Ms Inclan, flustered, replied: “I don’t want to know! But I will tell the less prudish head of that division to give you what you want.”

Johnny Omaha knelt in a thin pool of #7 motor oil. His years of careful attention to every sound of the massive machine, every rattle and hum, had come to naught.

Johnny was at a complete explain the sudden deceleration.

It wasn’t just his career on the line, after all. It was 3 generations of Omaha whose proud efforts were now laid waste.

The lead their ship, The Might Husker, maintained over the rest of the NCAA Spacefleet was tenuous at best.

Replacing the Runzadrive might do the trick. Only time would tell.

“About Astro”
I tell my youngest, “Carry your phone like that, it will drop and smash and I don’t feel like buying you another.”
“Yeah you don’t need to explain,” he says. “I hear you.”

He saunters away, and I see the phone edging up out of his back pocket, thanks to how tight his jeans are, and his round butt. I wonder, how everything else on him is so skinny, who knew a teenage boy could have such a luscious butt?

Then I hear his phone hum. My hands are in warm dishwater and I close my eyes and listen. He swipes to text back but he doesn’t use a password.

I know because I picked up his phone once after it fell out of his laundry. Swiped right and his whole life was laid in front of me.

The first line I read then was from Bethany. I knew she was his girlfriend because he put these cutesy hearts around her name. And she called him Astro which is his childhood nickname, a play on his love of all things related to NASA. His given name is Trevor.

*Obviously this wasn’t planned.

These things never are.

It wasn’t exactly on my bucket list. Was it on yours?

Maybe Mount Everest, maybe the ISS.

What do you think we should do?

Wait. When did this happen?*

Trevor wasn’t stupid, I remember thinking. He wanted to be sure. As much as my heart sank from the certain knowledge that Bethany was pregnant, Trevor used whatever tenuous logic he possessed to protect himself.

You remember Dev’s party? The jello shots and we ended up in the bedroom. Then I missed my period.

The house is quiet with only Trevor living here with me. He sticks around which is kind of sweet, since my husband and I split, and his older brothers went to live with their dad. Trevor said at the time he wanted to be like Switzerland, and not get involved in any disputes. I know his nobility is a cover for just how defenceless he felt. I feared a girl like Bethany might roll right over him because of it.

I waited until I could read his phone again. A few days later, Trevor went to cut the grass and left his phone on the kitchen table, muttering something about the unkindness of mower blades.

*You know it’s not a big deal. I read about it. It’s just a zygote.

Do it soon then?

Probably better that way.

I love you, Astro.*

I take my hands out of the dishwater and dry them. Those astonishing lines replay in my memory. Not a big deal. I underestimated him. This careless boy who dropped his unprotected phone everywhere made a bloodless decision and I missed the signs, didn’t see the change.

Trevor comes back into the kitchen and picks up a towel to dry dishes.

“I love you, Astro.”


“Why do you wear those?” the girl asked as she climbed onto Mom’s bed.

“What? These?” Mom tugged at her Spanx.

“Yeah. They don’t look very comfy.”

“You’re right, sweetie, they’re not. But they help Mom hide her belly.” She explained to her daughter.

The daughter lifted her white polo shirt and pinched her belly. “Maybe I need some. I have a belly, too.”

Mom paused a moment while pulling down her Spanx, leaving them bunched up around her hips. She looked at her kindergartener. “Sweetie, you’re beautiful just the way you are.”

“So are you, Mom. I like your squishy belly.” The girl poked her mom’s exposed belly. “It’s snuggly.”

Mom tried to walk the tenuous line between self-love and self-preservation. “Yeah, it is snuggly. But Mom doesn’t always want to feel snuggly.”

She finished removing her Spanx and put on an oversized T-shirt. Her daughter’s eyes looked up at the ceiling, then her mom, then her own belly, then back at the ceiling.

“I like being snuggly,” the girl declared. “I like it when you’re snuggly and when Dad’s snuggly and Grammy’s snuggly.”

“I like being snuggly for you and Daddy, but I don’t like feeling snuggly all the time. Sometimes I want to feel pretty.” As soon as pretty left her mouth, she knew it was the wrong word.

“But you are pretty, Mom!”

“I’m so glad you think that, honey. Thank you.” She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know how to tell her daughter she thought she was fat without her daughter thinking the same thing about her own little body.

“You’re welcome.”

“Now, go change out of your school clothes, and we’ll snuggle for a bit.” She hoped some redirection would save her from this conversation.

The girl jumped down from the bed and bear-hugged Mom. “You’re the prettiest lady I know, Mom,” she whispered. She walked out of the room humming to herself.


Thank you to the four writers who submitted. I waited a little longer to post the submissions in hopes of getting another one or two, so I apologize if anyone was looking for a good read this afternoon.

At this point, you can read, vote, and comment on the works. Please be constructive and respectful; these writers worked hard on their pieces, so no trolling. After voting closes (in two days), I will announce the names of the authors and who won!

Thanks again to everyone who submitted, and thanks to those who vote and comment!

Come on people, let’s vote! Let’s discuss! What do you like about these pieces? What strikes you about them? (Writers, you can also vote if you want! Vote for your own, vote for someone else… it’s up to you!)

I like the extreme brevity of the untitled work (the Johnny Omaha work). It manages to get all three content words in cohesively while still being very, very short. Great example of flash fiction!

Voting is about to close… come on, let’s get some votes up in here!

Thanks to everyone who contributed and voted.

And now to reveal the authors…
"Remember Deeply" was written by GIGObuster
The** Untitled work** was written by** Cartooniverse**

With two votes each, it was a tie between** “About Astro”** and** “Snuggly”** for the win!

"About Astro" was written by Athabasca
and “Snuggly” was yours truly,** Serenata67**

Thanks for doing this, Serenata. Flash fiction is a difficult form.

I enjoyed all the stories. Yours was heartfelt and warm, and it got my vote!


So a postmortem on the Resurrection of the Flash Fiction Sweatshop…

We had some low turn out for both writing and reacting (voting/commenting). Any suggestions on how we might change that? Should we do it during the week instead of over the weekend? Leave the voting window open longer? Some other ideas?
More importantly, is this something we want to try again in a few weeks?

Wait! I totally missed the voting because I usually gloss over all the stickies! Keep the voting open longer next time, please! They were all great, but I’d have to give it to Astro! Great job everyone! Maybe I’ll join in the next round…maybe…

I would love to participate again, and maybe during the week, with a longer deadline because, lol, writers and deadlines…thanks!


You can unsticky this now. Thanks!

I completely missed this happening. :mad:

FTR, I liked Snuggly best. I enjoyed Astro, but thought the resolution was muddy.

I hope there another FF thread tho; I’d definitely participate if I saw it.

Not sure how I missed this. But should it happen again, I’d like to participate. I had a lot of fun with those flash fiction contests, and even won two.

Though I’d like to see a return to the rules we used previously:

– Sixty (60) hours from receipt of the email to submission.
– Two thousand (2000) words max. This allows for just enough character development.
– A random photo to inspire something somehow.

These seemed to produce a decent amount of good, if not great, entries; and a lot of discussion. Just an idea for any future flash fiction contests.

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