Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: The Crew

crew cleaning up inside a building
Image 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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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: The Crew”

  1. For Editors’ Choice Only

    “Que desastre,” Maria uttered under her breath, as she dug her shovel into a pile of asbestos that had been pulled down from the wall of the pre-war structure.
    “I’ll say,” replied the foreman, Roberto. “A disaster and a half!”
    Both were from Guatemala, as was Enrique, the third member of the crew. They had made their way to Del Rio, Texas, a year earlier by hiking north through Mexico and making their way east until they were able to cross the Rio Grande River during the night to find sanctuary in the United States.
    The work, though dangerous, paid well above what they could make in their home country—assuming they even could have survived there, given the gangs, drugs, and political instability that were the hallmarks of a failed political system. Importantly, it gave them the opportunity to send money home to their parents, who were too old and infirm to make the journey themselves.
    The threat of capture by ICE was always on their minds, which is why they left for work under cover of darkness and stayed until well after the sun had set. But once they reached what now had become their home—a beaten-down residence near the railroad tracks on the southside of town, a home that they shared with two families and their four children, the crew had food and a place to sleep, believing, at the least, they could survive as free people until the next morning.

  2. There’s No pool…

    “You sure? I mean, we can do it but…maybe outside would be better.”

    Grayson, the client, shook his head, said, “She wants it indoors. I got no say in the matter.”

    I’m looking at this guy and wondering if there’s a screw loose somewhere. There sure the hell will be once we start digging up his foundation, ripping the gyprock off the walls, doing all of the mess and prep to give him, or her, the Lady of the House, the Fruitcake of the House, what her wacky heart desires.

    An indoor pool.

    More like an indoor puddle by the time we’ve finished.

    “Look,” I finally say, “It’s your dime. You can buy whatever you can afford. But this, this is gonna be messy. I mean, dust, crap, and corruption messy. And noisy. Living near an airport noisy. You’re not gonna be happy with all that noise. It’ll shoot right up through the floorboards. Might even drive you crazy…but once we start, there’s no going back. You can’t undo crap and corruption. AND who the hell knows what we’ll find once we start digging? You ever seen Poltergeist?”

    Yeah, I played the Poltergeist card.

    But then he said, “Is that a movie?”

    I said, “Yeah!”

    “Never saw it,” he said.

    “Maybe you better.”

    Back and forth we went. In the end, I loaned him my DVD copy of the film.

    He and the Missus watched it.

    Didn’t change their mind.

    So, the job’s a go.

    Poor devils.

  3. Secret Stuff

    “I’m telling you there’s secret stuff buried in the basement of this house,” said Mary.

    “How do you know?” John asked.

    “I had a dream about it.”

    “How long have you been confined since you came down with the flu?”

    “About three weeks. Why?”

    “Maybe a little fresh air—”

    “I’m telling you there’s secret stuff…”

    “Okay. Okay. What do you want to do about it?”

    “Dig it up, of course. Who knows what we’ll find. Call Frank. I think the three of us should be enough.”

    The frenzied digging in the basement began precisely at noon. By eight that night all the wall panels had been removed and the concrete flooring had been ripped up, leaving a large, gaping hole in the floor.

    John wiped his forehead. “What a job.”

    “You can say that again,” Frank added. He was standing in a four foot hole.

    “Deeper,” Mary cried. “We must be getting close to the secret stuff.”

    John looked at his broken tools. “I’m going to need a better pick-axe.”

    Digging resumed at ten-thirty and it continued all night.

    At the ten foot mark, John looked up from the bottom of the hole, sweat covering his face. “Holy cow. How much further do we have to go?”

    Mary didn’t answer; she was deep in thought. And Frank had passed out in a corner of the basement.

    “Well?” John asked again.

    “Stop digging,” Mary replied sheepishly. “I think the secret stuff is buried in the garage.”

  4. The Crew

    Joel, Tim and I had just finished stripping the interior walls. The dusty remnants of the drywall took forever to sweep up and discard. We had this renovation to complete in a timely manner as we did give our word that we could in 3 months.

    “Are we decided on the tile yet, or do we need to get the top dog’s input?” Tim wearily asked.

    Joel shook his head. “Dang it Tim, you know we gotta run it through Edger, he’s the finance guy!”

    I chimed in, “listen you guys, I’ve already picked out the tile and that’s that. Edger usually agrees with my design ideas, and you know we get a great bang for his buck!

    Little did they know, this crew of 3 who has diligently worked harder than any other crew Edger has employed, were the recipients of this home. It helped that Edger was financially set and the uncle of Jolene, Joel and Tim!

  5. Danny drew in a long breath. The Johnsons were home again. Billy and Peter had been busy all morning, knocking plaster from the walls. It would take a couple more days for the dust to settle; time enough to replace the woodwork before the painters were due.

    Mr Johnson came in alone. He looked distressed, his eyes flitting about the walls, following the dangling cables they’d revealed. He flicked the switch for the lights, turning it off and on again, his eyebrows rising higher each time.

    “I know it’s a bit of a mess, but it’ll be fine when we’re finished. It’s like cooking an omelette; it’s impossible without breaking a couple of eggs.” Danny shifted uneasily, fragments of plaster popping under his feet.

    “The furniture,” Johnson said. “Where… Who… What did you do with it all?” He spun on his heel with his mouth half open, his hands clasped over his chest.

    His face had gone white. Not a good sign for a man of his age. Danny wondered if he was taking medication for his heart. He’d hate to have a client die before he got paid. He’d already paid the painters in advance.

    “It’s all in the next room. We saw you’d cleared it. We didn’t damage anything: I told the guys to be careful. You’ve some nice furniture …” He reached for his pocket, pulling out the order his office had given him.

    “This isn’t the lounge,” he said drily, his heart falling into his boots.

  6. The Crew
    Woolgathering and fantasising about the dew pearling on the grass and how I was master over the Elflands, I was forced out of my reverie by harsh coughs. The barking was all around, as though I was surrounded by a ring of noisy seals. Suddenly, I stopped and Midnight looked up at me questioning. Why hadn’t I noticed the palpable sickness of most of the apocalypse survivors? With the approach of winter and our heading north, we had to find adequate shelter now. Right now.
    Up on the hill and secluded from every other house was the perfect property. Huge and grandiose looking. Inside someone had started final renovations but were abruptly and rudely stopped by the apocalypse. The three muscular ones amongst us after putting our sick friends to bed, rolled up our sleeves and commenced mixing concrete. Once upon a time, it would have been sarcastic to talk about my muscles, but now after months of walking, I was more brawny. A feeling of warm accomplishment spread from my work boots to my facial mask as we finished the work. After concreting, tidying up, carrying away debris we had finished the renovations.
    For days we had fetched, carried and made preparations for wintering down and looking after our sick friends. Luckily, the garden was full of a bountiful untouched harvest, so we ate healthily.
    Never would I forget working hand-to-hand and how we had bonded over the labour and shared anecdotes.

  7. It wasn’t so much about being stopped for speeding, or the fact that I forgot to register the car for another year, it was the courtroom process.

    It was a small town, like many across the country, but it was the unique way they handle criminals. When I was stopped, the handsome trooper asked for my license and registration. He noted I wasn’t wearing my glasses as required, and the registration had expired. He told me he could call a wrecker and have my car towed and impounded until the fine was paid, or I could go through the court process and take my chances there.

    I guess I made an impression as he gave me his phone number in case, I wanted to have a drink or two, but asked (?) me to follow him to the local jail. I was glad I wasn’t wearing those godawful specs.

    The next morning, five of us rascals went to court and the judge ordered us all to do community service to pay off our fines. We were not given any other option, and I didn’t want to spend another night in a jail cell.

    They say fate works in strange ways, but we’re a crew now. Four days working on this rebuild is hard. However, Clint, the trooper, and I have been enjoying our evenings at a little saloon close to town supplied lodging.

    After those days, sandwiched with nights with Clint, I think I have enough to write my novel.

  8. We call them the Wrecking Crew. Whenever there’s another arrest, after the investigators have removed all the evidence, these guys show up with their sledgehammers and wheelbarrows.

    First they tear out all the fixtures, the built-in shelves and cabinets and stuff like that. Then they start knocking out the walls, making it like the apartment and everything that happened there never was. In effect the new occupants get a completely different apartment.

    One time two sets of neighbors got arrested, one after the other. When the Wrecking Crew, showed up, they even took out the doors to the two apartments and walked them up, then put new doors in different places. We wondered if the new apartments were now different sizes than the old ones.

    Of course we’d never know. Nobody would ever let a stranger into their apartment, and no one would ever visit a stranger’s apartment. Too much danger of being implicated when someone else gets arrested.

    But the speculations about the Wrecking Crew’s activities makes a pleasant diversion. Certainly it’s preferable to wondering whether, or when, the knock will come on our own doors.


    The annual company Halloween party was the topic of discussion as the hydraulics maintenance crew for Inbound Airlines gathered at Murphy’s Pub. The crew had won the “crew” category of the costume contest for the last three years running and they were planning for this year’s entry. Chet, Avery, Tom, and George had decided… they were going to dress as historical aviators. Avery chose to be a WWI biplane aeronaut, Tom a Vietnam helicopter jockey, Chet a NASA astronaut, and George a Wright Brothers era pilot. Missing was Ken Nishitani, whom the guys called “Kwai Chang” after some TV show, even though Ken was Japanese. He was on a hunting trip somewhere up in the northwest and would be returning just a day or two before the big event.

    “We gotta let Kwai Chang know,” said Chet. “Y’know he’s not gonna have much time to put something together.”

    “Oh, he’s pretty resourceful… he’ll manage,” replied Avery. “I’ll call his mom and let her know. She’ll let him know as soon as he returns.”

    At this, the lads exchanged questioning glances.

    “Y’know she doesn’t speak much English”, said Tom.

    “No worries,” replied Chet.

    So at the big event the crew gathered at the bar resplendent in their pilot costumes and stared slack jawed at Ken Nishitani. He stood at the entrance, resplendent with a bandana on his head, a large golden earring in his era. The toy parrot stitched to his shoulder and a cutlass hanging from his colorful sash.

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