Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: For Rent

1998 cozumel shop flash fiction prompt
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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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: For Rent”

  1. Tourist Trap

    “Can I interest you in anything, sir?”

    I remembered distinctly; those were the first words she said to me, when we first met.
    However, those weren’t the last words she said when I left to return home.

    Standing here today, looking at the place that altered my future plans, I couldn’t wait to see her long waist-length hair, tan body and coffee-colored eyes. I wanted to surprise her with my return so soon.

    The soles of my feet were burning, and my t-shirt was clinging to my back. My nose caught the incense being burned nearby. I squinted because of the bright sun…I had shed my sunglasses, so she could see my eyes brighten when they saw her again.

    I used the time to think about last month’s vacation. My friends called me the boring strait-laced office guy, with the constant buttoned-down collar and tie. It was hard for them to get me to go for a beer after work, let alone go on a Mexican vacation.

    Juanita and I only had the nights, as she worked days here at what she called the ‘Trap.’ She showed me the sights and to my delight, even more. In only two days, I felt like her ‘white-horse hero’ on a mission. We whispered our plans for the future, and my need to make the preparations back in the states.

    Here I was, waiting for that magic moment.

    She spotted me and rushed out. “Can I interest you in anything, sir?”

  2. Rental Tourism

    “Hello, Senor. The Ministry of Tourism suggested I visit you. Your…your enterprise is for rent?”

    “Yes, it is for rent. My little stall. Right here in this bustling shopping district. A busy place. Very busy, once. And the people, people like you, from far away, rich people, poorer people with rich dreams, people like you who buy memories, they flock here. That is what I sell in my little stall. Memories. Ah, I see a look of wonder on your face. How could I leave this delightful business for even a moment?”

    “That had crossed my mind.”

    “Let me explain. It will not take long. Me, our local business association…well, we are not so formal, my neighbours, my friends, we met. We talked of many things in the world. This COVID-19 disease that for the longest time meant that fine world travellers such as yourself stayed home, had to stay home…we discussed that. We were seeing our futures crumble. One of us, Francisco, he owns that little bar right down there, he heard a strange term…Agra? Tourists?”


    “Bueno! That! So interesting. And we talked about that. We are not farmers here in San Miguel. We grow what we have time to…but we are shopkeepers. So, we talked and talked, and this idea sprouted…could we rent our small shops to rich tourists, people like you seeking something new, something…adventurous? A germ of an idea in this time of COVID-19.”


    “So, you might…?”

    “Let me sleep on it.”

  3. “Is easy,” he said. “You just twist the grip. Nothing to it.” He gave me a grin that was more metal than tooth and patted the saddle, revving the tiny engine.

    The moped looked well used, its exhaust popping and belching black smoke. An environmentalist would have backed away, cursing, wanting to throw it into a skip, but I had no such concerns. I was alone, I was here, and I needed transport. There wasn’t a Hertz here, so this would have to do.

    “What about the tyres? They’re almost bald. Suppose I go too fast on a corner?”

    The trader shook his head, stifling a laugh. There was no way this machine would top fifteen miles an hour. It might seem quicker if I was going downhill, but I would need to climb one before that would be a problem.

    “Trust me,” he said, spitting on his palm and offering me his hand to shake. “It’s the safest mode of transport on the island. And the biggest bargain deal you’ll find. But I can offer a service guarantee if you’re worried – you know, just like they do on the mainland.”

    So that’s why I took up Honest John’s offer. Although the guarantee wasn’t what I’d expected. Who’d have thought his brother could carry a toolkit and still run alongside?

  4. Ah, Meheeko. Land of beautiful women and the jumping bean. In order to attract men, do women stress their most enticing parts by imitating the undulating movements of the bean? Let’s find out.

    It was one of those rainy Wednesday nights in Tijuana. She was lounging in the doorway of a small cantina on Revolution Avenue. Her hips swayed to the seductive rhythm of the Samba blaring from inside. She acknowledged my admiring glances by extending a paper bag
    in my direction.

    “You like my beans, Senor?” she purred, shaking the sack.

    Before I could answer, she was by my side, pulling me into the dark alley behind the cantina. Suddenly, she became anxious

    “These are magic beans,” she began. “They have been in my family for hundreds of years.” She reached into the bag and held a bean in the palm of her hand. It began to undulate. “Please, Senor,” she pleaded. “It will change your life. You can have it for just one peso.”

    I flipped the coin and scooped the bean from her hand. She disappeared.

    Back home, I gift-wrapped the bean and handed it to my demure fiance. Two days later, she, scantily clad, and the bean, tangoed onto the patio. She leaned over and blew tempting suggestions into my ear.

    Wow! That was the best peso I ever spent!

    Now, you know! In order to attract men, women do stress their most enticing parts by imitating the undulating movements of the bean.

  5. It was a great vacation: fun, laughter, a release from all their worries; but she was still worried. Something was troubling her, something she couldn’t ignore any longer. She had to tell him.

    Shelia and Frank have been married five years and that’s how long they’ve struggled to make ends meet. They started their own business and these last five years of hard work have finally paid off. Now they’re celebrating with a real vacation.

    Still she worries: about how he’ll feel, what he’ll say, should she tell him after the vacation? No! Now’s the time. He’s in a good mood. Yes, now. . . . but how?

    They were browsing through a souvenir shop, every tourist town has one and they visit every one because, “You never know what you’ll find,” Frank always says. Truth is he loves souvenir shops.

    She was sifting through a t-shirt rack and came across the solution to her problem. Smiling she read the front, thinking, “This’ll do.”

    As the cashier rings up the shirt Frank approaches, “Did you find anything?”

    “Just a t-shirt.”

    “Let’s see it.”

    Nervous, she opens the shirt showing him the front. There is one word in bright colorful letters circled by stars – Bambino.

    Confused, Frank asks, “What does bambino mean?”

    Not surprised by his ignorance, she puts away the shirt and exits the store saying, “It’s Italian. I’ll tell you what it means over lunch.”

    They disappear into the busy streets searching for a nice place to have lunch.

  6. Rents due.

    I received a letter in the post. Can you visit, I’ve always liked you, Donna. I’m enclosing signed visitation papers and the prison location.

    A friend from school was serving at Her Majesty’s pleasure. What was I to make of this?

    My wariness left me undecided at the start of the visit, but once through security, I settled.

    Steven, thanks for coming.

    No problem, I said. Last time we met was in Spain, wasn’t it, me on a boy’s weekend; you on holiday.

    Yes, but now, I’ve been here six months of a fifteen stretch and I’m innocent.

    Convicts always say that, I grinned. How’s it been renting the cell?

    Not funny, but I know that crazy bitch Katie Johnson from school put this together.


    I realised both of you were at the airport when I allegedly carried drugs home. Now, I’m in a cell thinking, why?

    That’s a leap, even for a convicted felon.

    Do you know where she lives, I need help?

    I can’t help you.

    Why not?

    The crazy bitch is my girlfriend, and she feels you’re a danger to our relationship.

    That’s mad.

    You’re into drugs and now paying the price, the perfect setup.

    I don’t think it’ll last, replied Donna.

    Why not?

    She’s in custody as part of a drug sting, and you’ve admitted to involvement with her. Now you’re going to be renting similar cells in different prisons. We’ve recorded this conversation to form part of our evidence against you both.

  7. “Is this what love looks like?”

    Ron and Julie, running down the hot summery pavement as they held hands, stopped and burst out laughing. They each had said exactly the same thing at the exact same moment.

    Breathless from the chase, they held each other. “Yes! You and me. Me and You.”

    The sirens interrupted them and they dodged down an alley, past the old women sitting on their stoops, their grandchildren racing around playing. Ron and Julie couldn’t pause now because Julie’s father, irate at the love she felt for Ron, had called out the police who, at his orders, launched an all-out search to find Julie and lose Ron.

    They knew they’d never escape on foot, so Ron pulled out his few remaining bills and thrust them into the hands of the gnomic proprietor of the bodega nearby and the two of them jumped on the moped he had just rented. It was rickety and old and left a trail of smoke behind, but Ron gunned the engine for the last road out of town.

    “Here we go,” said Ron as Julie, sitting behind, held him tightly around the waist.

    Up they hill they went, outpacing their pursuers, and then down the hill towards the cliff above the sky blue sea.

    “Our love forever,” they said as one while Ron pushed the moped harder and Julie held on tighter. They laughed as they sailed off into the wild blue yonder.



  8. “King of the Road” played from atop the roof of the beachside shop. The crackly sound of the simple horn speaker sure fit the atmosphere of this place.

    The trip had seemed like a good idea at the time. Come down to Cozumel in the off-season, and everything would be cheaper, with no lines.

    Except the beer was flowing a little too freely, and none of us were used to heavy drinking. As we left the bar and headed down the boardwalk, we started making wolf whistles and catcalls at the passing girls, some of whom existed only in our imaginations. Not the greatest idea, but when you’ve just turned twenty-one and are sloshing with booze, a lot of stupid things seem funny.

    Like coming up to this little stand with a For Rent sign in front of it. We start joking about just what might be for rent around this place. Next thing, out comes the shopkeeper, screaming at us in Spanish way too fast to make heads or tails of. Something about puta and hermana. Finally the guy remembers his English, and that’s how we find out he thinks we’re calling his sister a whore, and he wants one of us to save her reputation.

    Except this wronged senorita is no lovely waif. More like an old maid our mothers’ age. Talk about a pickle.

  9. Merchandise for Sale

    Pablo stopped by the roadside stand, inquiring, “Excuse me, Sir, you have jobs?”

    “What makes you think so?”

    “Sorry, Sir,” Pablo looked down, “I cannot read. I thought you want an honest worker.”

    “I am looking to hire out this whole enterprise, for a sum.” said the business owner, “I am Fabian Humberto, and I will rent you this enterprise for 50 American dollars, weekly.”

    “Mr. Humberto, I have empty pockets! I am looking for honest labor.”

    “It is fine, you can owe me the money, plus room and board.”

    “How will I repay you?” asked Pablo.

    “So easy!” said the businessman, “You mark up the merchandise, and the profits are your wages.”

    Pablo shook his head. “I have heard such schemes. You become my owner, and I become your property.”

    Suddenly another man emerged from the back, zipping up his pants. A thin, sickly looking, scantily clad girl stood in the dusky interior.

    “Like her!” exclaimed Pablo, “You will own me like that little girl. She must owe you her entire life by now.”

    Pablo stepped up to the girl in the doorway. Mr. Humberto thought perhaps he wanted her sexual favors.

    “I am coming back,” he whispered, “and I am bringing la Policía Americano. Do not worry. You will be safe. He is the common criminal here. You are too young to have any choice.”

    “You charge too much money!” shouted Pablo, at Humberto, “I will go somewhere else!”


    Kelly couldn’t believe the predicament she had gotten herself in. She and her friend Todd, after two intoxicating weeks at the beach in Cancun, had impulsively gone into a partnership with the beach shack owner. They had been trying to relive their wild vacation four years ago with their friends, who canceled at the last minute.

    They had tried to make the best of the situation. Todd, an expert diver, taught Kelly things she couldn’t learn in her certification stateside.

    Unexpectedly, the beach shack owner had to have emergency surgery. Next, Todd flew home for a wedding. But he was in a serious car accident. So, Kelly was stuck by herself.

    One pristine day, as she sat in her beach chair, Kelly looked up to see what she thought was a mirage.

    ” Kelly, I found you,” Paul smiled his endearing smile.

    “Wow, how did you get here and find me?”

    “I went to visit Todd, and he was worried about you. He twisted my arm to fly down.”


    “No, not true. He didn’t have to twist my arm.”

    “That’s the only reason you’re here?” She thought back to their three year romance in high school; until the party girls got hold of him.

    “No,” he smiled. “I hope you don’t believe all that carp on social media, I wasn’t partying, my way through college, I worked three jobs.”

    “Hard worker. I need a hard worker,” she smiled, “grab a cold drink and let’s talk about dinner.”

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