Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Sugar

fresh-baked donuts dripping with sugar
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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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Sugar”

  1. Now… I Be Human

    Gerry bought a sugar doughnut at the local shop and then stood at the bus stop. He noticed another man standing nearby, and said, “Nice day.”

    The man stated flatly, “Negative. There’s a 78.67930475 percent chance of rain later.”

    Gerry looked up at the sky. He then glanced at the man and, while munching on his doughnut, asked politely, “Are you going to work?”

    “Work?” replied the man in a monotone voice. “I like to refer to it as heading to my designated location to engage in thought processing.”

    “What do you do?”

    “Thought processing.”

    “I see.” Gerry looked at the ground, somewhat confused. He then glanced at the man and noticed he had shiny skin, like it was plastic… like… it was an android. Hesitating, he asked the man, “I hope you don’t think I’m crazy, but… are you human?”

    “Human? Yes. My name is Clarence. And I know philosophy. For example, imagine three oval-shaped rocks suddenly appearing together in a square room.” He paused for effect. Then he looked glassy-eyed at Gerry, and in a low voice, whispered, “Think about it…”

    Gerry gulped. “Are… are you really human?”

    “Oh, yes. I am real human. I laugh: Ha. Ha. I sympathize with fellow humans: Poor thing, I hope you feel better. See? I am human.”

    “I’m not convinced.”

    “No?” Clarence thought for a moment: Perhaps I need to smile more. He looked at Gerry with large, empty eyes, and grinned from ear-to-ear. There, he thought. Now… I be human.

  2. Life After Crime-Joe Saturday’s Story

    I’d put in my twenty. Never did rise up the ranks. Okay by me. My body wasn’t made for a desk. Or politics. Hate politics. Hate crims. Spent my career arresting them. Some did time. Some got sprung. Whatever happened to them, no skin off my beak.
    The squad liked their little joke. Christened me Joe Saturday. Always a day late and a dollar short was the joke. And that dollar went to the donut shop.
    More than a dollar if I’m being honest.
    Cops with sweet tooths.
    It’s a burden.
    Truth be told, I got tired of the razzing.
    Never was all that late to a call.
    Couple of times. Sure. We all get tied up in nonsense.
    In the can.
    Having a snooze.
    Let me tell ya, I took a lot of ribbing but in the end, I lasted twenty.
    Only one suspension as I recall.
    Never fired my gun.
    Not intentionally anyway.
    There I was.
    A retiree.
    Forty friggin’ forty years old.
    With a pension.
    And an insatiable sweet tooth.
    What’s a guy to do?
    A guy who is a retired cop.
    With a sweet tooth.
    And a hunger.
    I’m not talking vampires here.
    I’m talking DO-NUTS.
    Yeah, that was my passion.
    Not law and order.
    Unless the order was for a bazillion donuts.
    So I went for it.
    JOE SATURDAY’S DO-NUT SHOPPE- Every Day of The Week.
    Catchy, eh!
    Never been happier.
    And my teeth…grinning all the bay to the bank.

  3. Sugar

    “Sir, I’ll take 3 of those delectable glazed donuts.”

    “Sure thing lil lady. That’ll be 3 bucks.” The unkept man responds.

    “Oh my, even my sugar habit is getting to be expensive.” Patsy thinks out loudly.

    “Well there lil lady, if you factor in my costs and time, these here donuts should cost 3 times as much!”

    “Sir, I would appreciate it if would you stop calling me lil lady! How do you know for sure that is my gender, or what I would like to be called?”

    “Look here ma’am or mister, I don’t care about that, I’m trying to run a business here. If I need to worry about what I ADDRESS each of my customers, then I’m going to pull my hair out!”

    “Sir, that wouldn’t take you long, since you have maybe a dozen scraggly, greasy and disgusting hairs on your head! Now give me my donuts, PLEASE!”

    “Lil rude whatever thing you are, that’s not gonna happen! Now get outta here!”

  4. “It wasn’t the romance that ensnared me,” Caitlyn said, snuggling her head into my side. “It was the smaller things. Things you never think about. Anyone can make a big impression. Flashy expensive jewellery, meals at the swankiest restaurants. It’s the things you do when you’re not trying: those are the ones that really count.” She took my hand and interlaced her fingers, raising it to her lips. “Like a stack of sugared ring doughnuts for a late breakfast. The fundamentals we all love.”

    I dotted a finger on my free hand onto the empty plate still on my chest. I scooped up some of the sugar that had fallen free. I offered it to Caitlyn, and she kissed it clean, tickling it with the tip of her tongue. Then she closed her eyes and purred in her throat like a cat.

    “I know,” I said. “It’s like the likes are more important. You put a heap of them together, and it’s understated. You put in the work – not like it’s an effort – and you grow together. You become more than two individuals. You blend; you merge. You combine into a whole new set of realities. Everything changes, little by little until you see everything differently. It’s no big sweat, but it’s huge, nonetheless. It’s like two to the power of a bajillion or more.”

    So, we ordered another bag of ring doughnuts, eschewing the fillet steak. We decided to settle on the staples, skipping all the frills.

  5. Blue lights dance on the endless panels of glass. The riverside shades enhanced by the envelope of darkness. Sirens rarely sound in the absence of traffic.

    I unscrew the top of my pomegranate thermos, dipping my spoon into the ice cream hidden inside.

    “Only you would put ice cream in there!” My crew mate ridicules with a grin, “I thought the thermos would be a step away from your sweet filled diet.”

    Never. Night shifts call for only one thing, sugar. A desperate attempt to force my eyes open and a comforting blanket after masking your internal screaming on a job.

    I plop a final gummy bear into my mouth as I clamber out of the truck.

    “Please show us off the road for crew welfare.” I mutter into the radio as the truck stutters to a stop in the petrol station car park. What a job that was.

    A couple of idle police cars acknowledge us as we slink into the only nocturnal shop for miles, reflecting its raided food and dessert counters. Glazed doughnuts are threaded onto a sugar encrusted rod. No two rings are identical and not a single one is round.

    We retreat back to the ambulance, our sticky rewards retrieved.

    I bite into the slightly tough confectionery, eyes falling shut as the glaze melts on my tongue. For a splinter of time, the city’s chaos dissipates.

    The centre console buzzes with its resurrection. A new location and problem glaring at us.

    Relax chaos, we’re coming.

  6. Sugar

    Our survivor group stood silent, staring at the deck. Beyond, the back door of a house. While I debated if the person inside was friend or foe, armed fighter or pacifist, a sugary aroma of doughnuts intensified.

    Watchfulness, fear, and longing for sugar changed our facial expressions rapidly. No one moved. At this moment the occupant or occupants of the house could assault us. In the aftermath of the apocalypse, we distrusted other survivor groups, as others distrusted us. Secret hand signals for both caution and quiet passed among us.

    The coyotes, realising our tension and reluctance to move, remained quiet. Other than a few whimpers from Midnight, the alpha of the sibling pack, there was silence. Her head swiftly moved when a curtain twitched. Was a rifle behind that very curtain? Was it aimed at one of us? How many people were in the house?

    The back door swung open. A bustling woman backed out with racks of doughnuts. Banging them onto the table, calling, “Welcome to KSB’s Bakery. Number 27, your order is here!”

    My eyes flitted from her, to the group, to the door and window, confused.

    “Charlie, bring your friends.” Laughing, she took keys from her apron. “Your Grandma baked your favourites.” She happily waved me through the now unlocked gate.

    We ate heartily while our host chattered. KSB had been alone for months; she not only hungered for company, but had become a little unhinged.

  7. The intercom rarely was used nowadays, but it came to life, screaming, “Rich, please come to my office right away!”

    Rich dropped what he was doing and rushed out of the shop to the director’s office. “Yes, Mr. Roach, what’s up?”

    “Sit down, I want to go over this requisition you cut for the new donut racks. I’m trying to understand your numbers.”

    Rich sitting in the old chair which was missing one of its front casters, “Right, you asked me to cut a requisition for the bakeries’ new target of 800 dozen.”

    “I know what I asked for! The maximum current output is 300 dozen, which means we have enough racking to accommodate that many. Your numbers are:
    Side panels – 200
    Back panel – 100
    Rods – 1,000
    Wheels – 400
    Miscellaneous assembly parts.”

    Mr. Roach continued, “It would take us years of donut sales to cover the cost of this material. Do you have anything to say about this ridiculous requisition?”

    Rich’s face felt hot, but he went to the white board and showed his calculations. “The bakeries would need to make 500 more dozen, or 6,000 donuts, to reach the target number. Each cabinet holds 60 donuts on ten rods. We need 100 additional cabinets times the components, which are the numbers I put in the requisition.”

    Rich could see Mr. Roach’s face turn a bright red. “I see the problem, you can leave…thanks Rich.”

    Mr. Roach changed the requisition numbers. He forgot to tell Rich those were weekly numbers.

  8. As it pulls at my jeans and bits my cheeks, the cold is making my legs and face ache. I suck in my dripping nose. Icicles play at the zipper of my puffer jacket. Pulling my beanie down with my mitten covered hands, I make sure my ears are tucked in tight. Amazingly though, the only warm things are my toes. Unless the numbing cold has frozen them to oblivion. Despite the icy weather I press on in the dark.

    Quiet covers the world. Street lights spotlight the snow as it trickles on stage, becoming the star of the show. Under my boots the ground crunches like broken glass. A dusting of sugary snow blankets the streets and sidewalks. Wincing, I try to keep the shards of snow out of my eyes. Ahead I see light spilling onto the sidewalk from the cafe. Even before I see it, smells of their in-house baking and cooking saturates the air around me.

    Normally at this point, my stomach would be growling from the smells reminding me of the delectable tastes. But most important, their melting, pillowy donuts; these are what put this place on the map.

    But not today.

    Instead of growing hungry, a knot sits in my stomach and throat as my body tingles with nerves. With every inch closer, my body seems immune to the cold and soon sweat oozes out from my jacket.

    In my mind, he’s sitting in a booth alone with a steaming cup of black coffee.

  9. Fresh donuts glistened with sugar in the bakery’s display racks. Looking at them brought a sudden pang of hunger to Chandler Armitage, new-minted Navy ensign, newly arrived at Pensacola for flight training.

    And memory of the first time he’d discovered he was not like other children. A party for the summer reading program at the public library, and he’d been so excited about how many books he’d read. Until it was time for refreshments and he went to join the line, only to be intercepted and held back by one of the librarians.

    “You go last.”

    He hadn’t understood the rest, only that it upset his mother. She had words with that woman and led him out the door door without his donut. They’d gone to a nearby deli, but the donuts there had a sour taste of disappointment.

    It had taken a while to understand even the simplest explanations. By the time he grasped the significance of being a clone of Alan Shepard, his mother had moved from local offices to state-level.

    In the end, nothing could protect Governor Armitage when the Flannigan Administration decided to eliminate an annoying source of opposition to their anti-clone policies. Three days after the elections were shut down because of “terrorist incidents,” she’d disappeared while traveling between the governor’s mansion and the statehouse to address the legislature.

    Chandler had good reason to believe he’d been spared downfall because NASA didn’t want to lose their investment in him.

  10. Nate sat on the floor of his apartment and continued ranting about that night’s disastrous date to the little dog who was gamely trying to devour a chew toy in shape of an alligator.

    “… an’ she slapped me! I couldn’t believe it! And d’ya know why? ‘Cause I said “Hiya, sugar!” I didn’t mean anything by it… term of endearment, y’ know”? It wasn’t a hard slap… but still. Yeah… “Hiya sugar!” Nate shook his head and took another swig of Old Nail Keg.

    “She went on this tirade about (and here Nate made “air quotes”) ‘equating her with a poisonous toxin foisted not the populace by “Big Sugar”, causing rampant obesity, a bunch of illnesses, and practically all the dental problems in the world!’… and then she walked out. So, no… I wouldn’t say it went well.”

    Josh looked at the little mutt… a gift from his sister who claimed he needed a companion before he became “a few bricks short of a patio”. It was just over a month old… so new he hadn’t even named her yet. She had squirmed her way into Nate’s heart and had become Nate’s confessor… if not therapist.

    “Sugar”, he muttered as the little dog gamely tried to pick up a tennis ball.

    “ ‘Sugar’… hmmm, that’d be a great name for you… what d’ya think?”

    The tiny dog puppied over to Nate, gazed up at him with huge trusting eyes, and plunged her needle sharp teeth into his foot.

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