Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Play Ball

3L0A6459 rendezvous aug 2019 FF writing prompt copyright KS Brooks
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.

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.

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12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Play Ball”

  1. Plague Ball

    Here and there, and trust me, it was mostly there, golf courses were coming back. Golf’s that kind of sport, isn’t it? Just you and your ball. Your balls.

    Always thought golf was a bit hoity-toity. Played by the well heeled for the most part. Oh, I know that it is played in packs. Business types chewing the fat, doing deals, writing off the game on their taxes. And doing a ton of walking. Or riding in those fancy schmancy carts.

    Sport, my petunia.

    Anyways, me and my guys, The Flounder Bay Baseball and Beer Recreational Society, were getting antsy during the lockdown. We’d missed the start of the season and it wasn’t looking like we’d be playing any time soon.

    Then they unlocked the gold courses.

    That frosted our britches.

    We knew we had to take action. Bunny (Leatherface) Lafferty came up with the brainstorm during our Easter Sunday tele-gathering. “We gotta show the government that we can do it,” he said, sucking away on his home brew. “Show ‘em what?” we all yelled back. “Fellas, we gotta show the game can be played and still physically keep our distance.”

    Bunny quickly pointed out the obvious…baseball is all about keeping your distance. Oh, there are those moments when someone’s stealing second, and bodies collide. The trick would be to get outta the way of the sliding fool.

    We had a few other wrinkles to flatten out.

    In no time, though, the ump would be shouting, “Plaque Ball!”

  2. At eight years of age, there was only one thing Arthur ever wanted. A little League try out. That dream now seemed hopelessly out of reach. March had come and gone. They were well into April. The season would have been underway and he might be playing infield for the Shamrocks. But now, he was plagued by uncertainty. Would there even be a season this year? Would he ever get to play? This disease had made his life miserable. His entire family was despair.

    Mom and dad fretted daily for their kids. Their friends couldn’t come over and play. “Strict quarantine” it was called in some states. Few knew anything substantive about the disease but everyone feared it. It gnawed at the social fabric and wreaked havoc on the economy. The uncertainty grew steadily into a prevailing anxiety. A loathing of the messengers, politicians and medicine men soon followed. People hoarded canned goods and over-the-counter remedies, just for peace of mind.

    Meanwhile, Arthur, and tens of thousands of kids like him had to patiently await their fate. He was a lucky boy in that his father could afford the best in worldly comforts. While Doctor Salk and his team diligently perfected a practical inoculation against the terror, Arthur would miss the entire 1954 baseball season. He only managed to listen to Yankee games on the radio in his room, from the rigid confines of his personal iron lung.

  3. Billy Horvat must have had a reason for saving all the baseballs he pitched in that no hitter? Even Phil McKay never saved any of the balls he used in a perfect game! How did he get ahold of them all? I never saw any of his teammates pocket them. And did the ump set aside all the balls no longer in play?
    I know now that he never pitched again after that game, and that he passed away less than a year later. From stress, I believe, brought on by excessive concern about our uncontrolled climate and natural disasters, but I still wonder how this collection of cowhide came to be.
    Ah, well, I guess we all have different priorities…………

  4. Title: Sunday Hitters

    Great! A bucket of almost new baseballs, we can see those. The contrast to our group of guys is striking. None of us could be considered new. Some of the new guys are in their sixties…easy to spot – since their legs still work.

    The bulk of us are in our seventies, and then there’s George, who recently turned ninety. His knees don’t work at all. However, he still gets up to bat when it’s his turn.

    We take turns in the order we joined the group. Without any talking about who’s next, the next batter lugs the bucket of hit baseballs back to home plate. Each of us hits the bucket of baseballs, and the ones we swung at and missed, are thrown again. It seems lately that most of us just throw up our hands and say, “Enough!”

    We talk about the guys who used to show up, but most of those, unfortunately, have already rounded home plate and gone to play in a different league.

    A few of the remaining guys played in the minors, and still display excellent fielding skills. However, there’s always concern when anyone falls down.

    With all of the grunting and groaning, anybody watching us would wonder why we do what we do? We do this because we still can. When a buddy says he can’t do this anymore, we all know what team he will be playing for soon.

    I’m not going to be next, I’m still a ‘Sunday Hitter.’

  5. Ruth dabbed beads of sweat from her forehead. Was this ever going to end, she wondered? It’s been months trying to figure out the right combination for this hopefully money making venture.

    She reached over and tapped her husband’s shoulder. “I think we’ve finally got it, Babe,” she gushed. “Get a load of this batch and tell me what you really think.”

    He pushed himself out of his recliner and shuffled across the kitchen floor. The wonderful scent of cinnamon filled the room. Rubbing his belly, he reached out and fingered the closest one. Picking it up, he turned it, flipped it into the air and caught it in his other hand.

    “It’s perfect, Ruth. Nice heft. A perfect ball,” and bit into it. “How’d you get the black stitched lines all around ’em? Oh, yum! Think we’ve finally got a winner here!”

    “Stitches weren’t a problem. It was keeping a perfect round shape,” she moaned. “But I did it!” She whipped off her apron. “We’ve got two more trays in the oven and two more on the kitchen table. Let’s get down to the stadium. I rented a small table up front.”

    They loaded the boxes into their van and sped off to the ball game.

    “But, honey,” Babe called. What are we gonna call ‘em?”

    “You think something up,” Ruth shouted, “and print it on each box top.”

    The entire stock sold out before the end of the first inning and started their creative career selling

    Babe/Ruth’s Balls.<

  6. Larson approached the dugout and grabbed some Big League Chew.

    Today is going to be a good day. The first game of the year. The sun is shining. The birds are singing their triumphant songs of fundum in the rafters.

    “Get your beer here!” “Crackerjacks here!” “Hotdogs!” “Pretzels here!” all warbled by the park vendors. Larson thought about the merrydom that would soon permeate throughout the stadium. The standing ovations from the crowds. The shouts of glee when “CHARGE!” was found among the loyal fans.

    Larson smiled and breathed the rich air eminating through the field. Mariah came out on the field and sang the National Anthem. Trump threw out the first pitch…wildly. Then the words Larson’s been waiting for with breathless anticipation…

    “Play Ball!”


    “And this is all you do?” The reporter looked sceptical.

    The capped man – his name badge said he was called ‘Norman’ – nodded. “It’s an important part of the process,” he said, adding a wink. “Many folks say quality control adds nothing to our sales figures, but I’d be the first to disagree.”

    He refilled the pitching machine’s hopper and sent the balls through the machine. Most of them shot off into the bin that was waiting for them, while a few looped off at odd angles, scattering to spread out across the floor of the court. A younger man was waiting out of range until the machine finished; he’d obviously been caught out before, judging by the bruises he’d collected.

    Norman chuckled at him, dabbing at his cap. “You’re good to go now, bud. It’s all clear.”

    The photographer took a few more photographs to add to the hundreds he’d taken, fussing about his light and the key shots to produce his narrative. The reporter had packed away his tablet and was about to finish off when he had one last idea for a question.

    “All this,” he said, gesturing at the ball machine and the court beyond. “It’s so very organised. How many balls do you reckon you do every day?”
    The man grinned then rubbed his chin, making his bristles rasp. “It’s hard to say. It varies. But if you need a number, I’d say about a thousand. You can use that for a ballpark figure.”

  8. I’ve loved baseball ever since that day I failed to make our park league team. It was a bummer, but later than afternoon I found myself sitting on our porch in the sun greasing my mitt as I usually did on Saturday.

    It felt so good in the warming sun, loosening up the mitt, rubbing my hands over the bumpy seams of the ball, waiting for our minor league team’s opening day game.

    The neighborhood kids thought I looked a little morose, so they left me alone on the porch, all except Gale next door. She was something of a Tom boy, about my age, with long strawberry blond hair tied up in a ponytail that fell to the middle of her back.

    She opened the gate between our yards and walked purposely across our just-mowed lawn, under the clothesline, and stood in front of the garage. She had on a red short-sleeved blouse and worn jeans with the cuffs rolled above her ankles. She was holding a baseball mitt.

    “Play ball?” she asked, her freckled face lit up by the afternoon sun, a pretty smile, and a chance to play catch.

    “Sure,” I said, smiling in surprise.

    I tossed the ball to her, she caught it, and threw it back to me. I gloved the ball and returned the throw.

    So began something special that has stayed with us all these years, born that day out of a game of catch and our love of baseball.

  9. One evening my friends and I were playing baseball in the empty lot when Dad and Bob came home after doing a bit of drinking.

    “Isn’t it a bit dark for baseball?” Bob asks.

    “The street light let’s us play,” I respond.

    “Be thankful,” Dad interjects, “they’re not doing what we used to do at their age.”

    They chuckle. Me and the boys don’t get it.

    “Besides . . .” Dad grabs a bat, “who doesn’t like smacking a ball around.”

    Bob grabs the baseball. “Yeah feels great, but only if you get a piece of it”

    “Are you challenging me?”

    “Damn right.”

    Dad smiles, “You’re on.”

    They take the field. Dad raises the bat. Bob winds up, pitches, and . . .

    CRACK! A solid hit.


    We all turn to see . . .

    A large picture window smashed to pieces.

    “AHHH!” Bob shouts. “You broke my window!”

    “You threw the ball!” Dad shouts.

    “You hit it!”

    “I’m gonna hit you!”

    “I’d like to see you try!”

    Dad and Bob duke it out until they pass out.

    The next day, sore and hung over, they end up fixing the window together as if nothing happened.

    Adults are weird.

  10. A Reason to Smile
    She wishes. If she would have wings she would have flown high, higher and higher. Out of touch by anyone.
    She despised being always beaten to one or the other. Some lift her high with a forceful slap at the bottom, so that they can save themselves from a defeat, an embarrassment and whatever. Some smashes on her forcing full arm on the top so that she drops on the ground hard and fast and none can lift her before she thuds on the ground.
    Her sister died splitting into halves, because of a smash. Her cousin’s skin was torn to every point on surface. Then the cousin was abandoned. Nobody saw her since then. Only hearsay went on that she was dumped in some dumpster.
    Once, tears gathered all around her body like tiny droplets of sweat. Before she could shed one or two drops, she was thoroughly dabbed with a towel. Towel soaked all her tears. Then she was powdered. For the sake of convenience of the users.
    She despises this being. A little etch around the seam is new. As she tries to roll along the seam she feels something light feathery is growing.
    On next slam on her bottom she goes up and up and never comes back.
    From behind the clouds she smiles at the clueless cruel users. She is not abandoned by cruelty. She has abandoned cruelty.

  11. The fronds on the tree-ferns looked just enough like palms to feel homey, until you looked too close. Sam tried not to be homesick – no one liked self-pity – but he missed Los Angeles. He missed Earth.

    Look on the bright side, everyone told him. We’re on a world with a shirtsleeve environment, and you’ve even found a friend.

    Sam knew better than to argue back. Not just from fear of punishment, but because some friends had gotten shipped off to a world with a poisonous atmosphere, where everybody had to live under a dome. While he and Min-Jun did hang out, Sam didn’t speak Korean and Min-Jun had no English, which left them speaking the language of Earth’s conquerors.

    Right now they were working, sorting through yet another of the huge shipping containers that had been set down along the outer perimeter of the settlement. They were crammed with a random assortment of things, the result of the Kitties’ evacuation of the entire Los Angeles Basin in the aftermath of the Watts Rebellion. This one seemed to have gotten the contents of a school somewhere.

    Sam moved another cardboard box of textbooks to reveal a bucket filled with familiar white spheres. Min-Jun crowded in beside him. “Are those rice balls?”

    Sam fought down the urge to laugh. Min-Jun came from a land plagued with famine.

    “No, they’re baseballs. Grab a couple, and after work I’ll teach you how to play catch.”

  12. Jennifer spent more time at home with her son, Jason, since the pandemic started. His father, a doctor, was rarely home. Jason missed Mr. Pearl, a family friend who had formerly stayed with him after school.

    Jason, ten years old, had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This heartbreaking genetic condition causes progressive disability in boys, who don’t usually survive adulthood.

    One afternoon, Jennifer cleaned Jason’s bedroom closet. In the bottom, she found a pail full of baseballs.

    Baseballs? Jason had physical therapy, but couldn’t play sports. The baseballs were autographed! She recognized the names: Miguel Cabrera, Buster Posey, Mike Trout… over a dozen. She brought it out.

    “Jason, where did you get these?”

    He sheepishly replied, “Mr. Pearl wrote letters.”

    “But why keep it secret?”

    Tears welled up in Jason’s eyes. “Mommy, I didn’t want you to know how much I love baseball. You might have thought I wanted to play, which would make you sad. I asked him not to tell!”

    Jennifer was choked up. “Son, I’m sad you’re sick. Daddy and I will always do everything we can, to give you your best life. We don’t want secrets to get in the way.”

    Jason shook his head, solemnly. “I’m sorry!”

    Now Jennifer cried, holding Jason. “You never need to be sorry, my dear boy. First we’re going to thank Mr. Pearl, and then we’re going to see if there’s a way for you to meet a few of those famous baseball players someday, okay?”

    “That would be the greatest!”

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