Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Foul

flash fiction prompt copyright KS Brooks Seattle Mariners March 2017
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2018.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Foul”

  1. “Top of the ninth, two out, Mariners down by one, bases loaded, Cummings at bat—hitting .304 for the season—and here’s the pitch—”
    “Foul ball.”
    “Ouch! Why did he swing at that?! It was high and inside. We could even see that from up here in the announcers’ booth, Rick.”
    “He clutched, Dave! There are rumors going ’round that management’s been taking a hard look at this guy for the last week or so, ever since he bungled that double play in the game against the Tampa Bay Rays last weekend, completely blowing the team’s momentum and handing the Rays that series.”
    “I know. Cummings has had quite the uneven season all right—”
    “Wait a second. Cummings has stepped out of the box and is knocking some dirt out of his cleats . . . now were ready to go again.”
    “Anyway, Cummings has had quite the uneven season. Remember that slump in late July when he went hitless in seven straight games?”
    “That was bad, really bad. I thought they were going to send him down to the Tacoma Rainiers at that point.”
    “Here we go. There’s a lot riding on this pitch, including Cummings’ future with the Mariners.”
    “Reynolds is looking at the runner on first, now he’s turned to the catcher, into the windup, here’s the pitch, and . . . another foul ball!”


    Fair and Foul

    The stadium silence was broken by the sound of a bat.


    The crowd roared.

    Connors started running. The distance wasn’t far. All faces turned to him. There was cheering and yelling, but it was all muffled like a dream.

    The first man waited for him, but his eyes looked elsewhere, towards a distant object.

    Connors was agile. His foot graced the base and then he darted left, his arms and legs pumping and moving towards the next goal.

    The cheering crowd was on its feet, all heads turned towards him and the distant field.

    On and on he ran . . .

    He touched the second base and turned sharply to the left. His breath was laboured, his legs tired.

    But on he ran towards his next goal.

    As he touched the third base, he let out a shout, and turned for home, the exertion bending his body.

    And as he began the final stretch, he saw two masked men standing in his way. Would he be safe?

    He ran in slow motion, his eyes intent on reaching their goal. His muscles straining, his lungs bursting, his brow glistening with beads of sweat, the intensity showing on his face.

    And as he approached home a small white object slowly flew past him.


    As he lay in a crumpled heap, exhausted, at the empire’s feet, he felt like Santiago after returning to port. And he thought of the following words: “So fair and foul a day I have not seen.”

  3. The Most Spectacular!

    “May I share with you the most spectacular thing that I ever had the privilege to do, Neil?”

    “Sure Grandfather.”

    “It was 43 years ago, the first Indiana Highschool State Championship Baseball tournament in 1912. South Bend was playing our archrival, Indianapolis. In the bottom of the 12th inning with two outs, we had the score held at eight to eight since the bottom of the ninth. For the first time, Coach Wright put me in the game – as a pinch hitter.

    “The first two pitches to me were strikes. I smashed the next one. I was coming up on second fast when I saw it bounce off the fence. I knew that I could make it home for the championship.

    “But then the third base coach yelled, ‘Hold up!’

    “The next batter had two strikes. He hit a foul to outside the third base line. The third baseman dove for it. It bounced off his glove back into the infield. I heard the ball sock into the catcher’s mitt a second after I had grabbed home, his foot, and the first state championship!”

    “Sure spectacular. Grandfather!”

    “I always longed to do something even more spectacular in my lifetime but never managed that. Will you do it for me, my Mr. Armstrong?”

    “I will take one small step for you, man, some day and make it a spectacular one.”

    And Neil Armstrong did in 1969. He was the first person to walk on the moon!

  4. Todd Minella had a count of three balls and two strikes. The Yankees were tied, 4 to 4 with the Red Sox, with a man on third, in the bottom of the ninth inning.

    Todd hit a foul into the stands. Suddenly, the fan who caught the ball appeared before Todd, and announced that he had hit a Universal Foul. He would have 10 minutes to spend anywhere, at any time in history.

    “Who are you?” asked Todd.

    “Not important.”

    “What about the game?”

    “You’ll pick up where you left off.”

    “Send me to my Grandpa Andrew Minella, playing on the street as a young boy.”

    And he was transported to Greenwich Village, looking at his barefoot, skinny grandfather with his brothers, batting a ball around the dusty street with a stick.

    “You’re in the Big Leagues!” said Andy excitedly, seeing Todd’s uniform.

    “I’m in your family!” said Todd.

    Todd explained the situation as best as possible to the amazed children, providing family names for corroboration.

    “Can I hug you, Andy?” asked Todd.

    “Whaddya mean?” asked his young grandfather.

    “You know, put my arms on you!”

    “I guess so, if it don’t mean I’m a sissy,” said Andy.

    “You’ll never be a sissy,” said Todd.

    He held his young grandfather close, then looked into the boy’s eyes. “You’re gonna grow up and be somebody, Champ.”

    And Todd was back in the present. The crowd cheered and he faced the pitcher. He was ready to hit a home run.

  5. Detective Straight stood over the dead pitcher, “Alright, ump, what did you see?”

    The home plate umpire replied, “I thought a fastball, hit the pitcher’s head, he collapsed, but he wasn’t hit by the baseball. I got to him first, turning him over I saw the bullet hole in his bloody chest. I figure he was shot when the ball was hit.”

    Detective Straight crouched down saw the pitcher’s bruised temple where the ball struck him. He carefully examined what looked like scorch marks around the bloody bullet hole. Thoughtfully, he asked, “Ump, did anyone else come near the pitcher beside you?”

    The umpire replied, “I kept everyone back.”

    Detective Straight excused himself and stepped off the mound to consult with his colleagues. Returning, he asked, “Why did you kill him?”

    Shocked, the umpire started to answer when two officers grabbed both his arms. They cuffed his hands behind his back. As he struggled to get free, baseball’s flew out of his ball bag along with a small gun onto the pitcher’s mound. “How? How did you know?” He screamed at Detective Straight.

    Detective Straight explained, “I’ll give you an instant replay. Strike one, the bruise on his forehead from the ball. Strike two, burn marks from a gun around the bullet hole. Strike three, you were the only one near the body; therefore, you are the one who killed him.”

    The umpire stopped struggling and collapsed into the arms of the law.

  6. “Sit tight,”

    That’s all Bill’s little league baseball coach ever said to him. When the boys clamored around Mr. Dempsey for a chance to play, he’d tell the second string players to “sit tight” as he named the regulars to go out and lose another game.

    Bill, an eight-year-old second stringer, was brewing up a ton of anger waiting for the right time to light the fuse. That time came in the last game of their losing season when Mr. Dempsey let Bill bat for the first and last time in the top of the ninth. There were two out and one more out would set everyone free to go home. Mr. Dempsey was already picking up the gear.

    After two wild swings, Bill hit his groove. One more strike and it would all be over. Only Bill fouled off the next pitch. And the next. And the next.

    The opposing pitcher grew tired and frustrated. His pitches slowed and floated right down the center of the plate. Bill hammered them foul.

    It was a mid-afternoon game on a sun-scorched baseball field with no parents watching their sons play. The only adult was their sorry excuse for a coach who wanted to go home and quench his thirst while watching a real ball game on TV.

    Bill kept hitting foul balls with an eight-year-old’s avenging satisfaction.

    “Sit tight,” whispered Bill as he knocked another ball foul.

  7. “This game is called Baseball,” the old man began. “The object is to hit the ball with the bat as hard and as far as you can.” He showed his grandson a still photo of a ball player, the ball frozen in mid air.

    The boy had never seen a baseball game, with real players, on a real field, and probably never would. Electronic games were everything. Even now, as the old man tried to tell the boy about real live baseball, his grandson was engrossed in playing Smushy-Crunchers on his tablet with some unknown child in some unknown place.

    Grampa fondly remembered sitting in the bleachers behind home plate with hundreds of other excited fans, dressed in his team’s colors, ready to roar with the crowd. Of course none of that was possible now. The fields had disappeared, one by one. Now the only places with room for a baseball field were too remote. The interest just wasn’t there.

    But he remembered being out in the fresh air. Drinking a cold frothy beer. Having a friendly argument with an opposing fan. Then he also remembered the hot sun blazing relentlessly down. The cold frothy beer spilling into his lap. One not-so-friendly discussion that turned into a nose-breaking fist fight. Maybe there was something to be said for Smushy-Crunchers.

    But he would never forget that spectacular tenth inning home run by Joe Katorski. Or the year that his team won the pennant….

  8. Allison watched the TV as Rod Markson, number 12, swung at the ball, and tipped; causing it to go into foul territory.

    “He needs a home run – this game,” Allison said to her friend Pam.


    “He’s going in for contract negotiations.”

    “Rod’s a popular player… I’m sure they’re going to keep him.”

    “If only I knew if I should keep him,” Allison sighed.

    “What’s wrong?” Pam asked.

    “Everything! All this TV stuff every night in the summer, or sitting in the hot stadium; people remarking about my hair, my outfits. I hate it!”

    I think it’s glamorous – all those charity events you go to; the dresses; the hairstylists…”

    “I think I’m too much of a homebody,” Allison said; looking at a TV commercial, of a family having dinner.

    “Are you afraid that he is too much of a playboy?”

    “Maybe…I haven’t had any reason to think so, but he never mentions the future.”


    Later that week; over dinner with Rod, Allison was quiet.

    “My agent called, I have to meet with him tomorrow,” Rod announced.

    “To talk about your future?” Allison look down, “What about us?”

    “Well…” Rod started, and got down on one knee, “…I was going to wait, and pop the question after negotiations. Allison…” he took her hand, “…I have never loved anyone else, will you marry me?”

    “Are you sure, #12? No foul balls?”

    “No foul balls for us. I have to play by the rules – your daddy owns the team,” he smiled.

    Allison beamed.

  9. “Swing!” blasted the overhead. “Foul ball…here comes another pitch…another foul!”

    Sitting behind home plate, I could not believe my luck watching my favorite baseball player go through his routine before each swing. He never fails to get a piece of the pitch. But today, he had a string of fouls.

    “C’mon, Guy!” I screamed. With the last swing, he managed a triple and the crowd roared in excitement since the game was tied at the bottom of the ninth.

    Baseball may be America’s past time but my fandom is limited usually to the last innings. It is a stretch sitting through an entire game. However, witnessing the action from behind home plate takes on a different spin. Like sitting in the front pew of a religious service, one’s attention is drawn forward and the rotation of players is a ritual not to be missed.

    Seeing up close the most charismatic team member is an added bonus. I may be biased but part of my baseball education was inspired by him. Like a great teacher who encourages pupils to go the extra mile towards independent study, Guy LeBon ensured I was well-prepared to deserve my coveted seat.

    The game was now in the hands of the next batter, the designated hitter. Could he manage to take Guy home and end it?

    The crowd was reverently silent, as if transfixed in prayer.

    “Crack!!” went the broken bat as the baseball flew long, missing the foul line by a hair.

    That was enough.

  10. Bob and Ray were seated in Ray’s luxe Box along the third base line.

    Bob: “Thanks for inviting me Ray, but you know I like baseball on TV. You see more of the action and less of your drunken neighbors.”

    Ray: “Yeah but it’s the atmosphere, Bob. Being out with your neighbors on a beautiful day, enjoying a few beers and. . . . . .”

    “And watching those fat fools chase after an almost worthless ball like a pack of hyenas when one goes foul. You get to see horrible acts of mindless pursuit, spilling food, pushing and shoving. It’s no wonder they call it “foul” territory.”

    “Now Bob, you’re too cynical. I’ll go get us a few beers. By the way, it is said that Abner Doubleday may have had Macbeth in mind when he called the playing areas “Foul” and “Fair” as in “Foul is fair and fair is foul”. The designations add order and eliminate the ambiguities that can torment ambitious and competitive men. Relax! And sit there, I’ll be right back.”

    At the concession stand, Ray heard a great roar and scuffle from their section below. When he returned he asked Bob, “What’d I miss?”

    “This!” And Bob held up an MLB baseball.

    “And that’s not all”, a woman in the next row offered. “He jumped over three rows and grabbed it with one hand, spilling my beer and several nacho orders. A real idiot.”

    Ray could only add, “Most foul indeed”.

  11. The wind was blowing out, the stands were filled, the temperature just perfect for a baseball game. Home run after home run was being hit and the crowds were wild.

    Stanley Hodson was ready to move up to the majors. His batting average was touching .400. He was called the Triple Threat: he could field, he could hit, he could fill the stands. Several teams had their eyes on him and on this day, several scouts were in the stands to see him in action and to sign him to a contract.

    Stanley was trying to not show off for the scouts so he was saving his power by only making base hits, enough to score some runs. By the bottom of the seventh, the teams were tied and it was now his chance, with bases loaded, to let one rip. This would be a grand slam. He could feel it.

    By now the wind had shifted ever so slightly where former home runs and even some base hits were turning into foul balls. The fans were frustrated and so were the players. But Stanley was smart—he knew how to adjust his swing for all sorts of wind conditions.

    Except today, when it mattered most. His ego began to take over. His grand-slam swing turned into a foul ball. Repeated swing after repeated swing. By the ninth pitch, with a full count, he did manage to hit a double which scored three runs, enough to eventually win the game.

  12. We were newly married and we both wanted to see the first Dodger game of the year. It was 1956. I had played as a pitcher with the neighborhood boys while growing up, so I related to all the plays in the game.

    The noisy guys in the seats at the stadium in front of us began opening cans of beer. Suddenly one of the beers shot back and sprayed fully on my hair. I didn’t drink but my husband did occasionally. He got a kick out of the freak accident. The guy who did it had no idea the liquid had gone into my hair. We didn’t bother telling him, because I didn’t want him trying to dry my hair off.

    My husband Jeff drove home just in case a policeman stopped us. It might be difficult we decided for me to explain why I smelled like the inside of a beer container. I definitely smelled foul.

Comments are closed.