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.
9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Wipeout”
The Line People lived during the happy time. It was a time when lines were always straight.
The Line People never broke the rule of lines: a line must never intersect or touch another line. And there must never be curves. That was the law.
Admittedly, some lines leaned at a 30 degree angle. There were even lines that stood at 90 degrees. Many even ran parallel to each other. But they were always straight.
The Line People walked everywhere, and they always walked in straight lines.
In the winter, skiing was always done on straight, angled planes. If someone fell, they were disqualified, since it was obvious skiing and angled planes were not for them.
Their towns were constructed according to the rule of lines: buildings and roads were always straight.
Even their art was straight:
A single painting: I.
Two paintings: I I.
Someone with creativity: —.
Someone with more creativity:————.
All time, distance, history, work, and play were laid out in a linear fashion.
Then one day, a great thinker, sitting beside a crooked tree, looked up, saw a round sun, and said, “What the heck?”
A Private Moment
I’m no Batman.
I presume you guessed that.
My bones are more fragile than that imaginary superhero.
I hate taking tumbles. Even more than that, I hate it when people are watching. Wobbling all over hell’s half acre. Well, I guess in winter, it isn’t so much hell as hail.
But here I am. On the Bunny Slope or whatever the hell they call it.
“You never skied?” Jonesy asked week before last.
“No,” I said over a slim scotch and a jigger of water, “Never have.”
“Ought to try it. Get that old body moving. Smell the fresh air. You smelled any lately?”
He knew I hadn’t. City air. That’s all that’s gone into my lungs in the past few years.
So, here we are. Here I am. A Snow Angel. Rent asunder. More like a Snow Angle. And hundreds of skiers, babies, elders, gawkers everyone, snapping pictures of me like I’m their favourite entertainment, a sideshow for their warped amusement, akimbo, a splattered mess of a newbie skier. No way you can learn this stupid sport in private. Every flipping mistake is caught on someone’s memory card. The whole world is Candid Camera these days.
Jonesy’s no help. He’s filming the whole damn thing. Be posting it on YouTube if I know him.
“Come on, get up. Give ‘er another go,” he yells.
Me, I want to crawl into a hole.
A snow cone.
“One more try,” I finally agree.
Nothing but Double Black Diamond trails for me. I showed them what I could do on the slopes back home, but I was on a new ski team today and had to display my best form.
It wasn’t so much about the prestige of skiing on this team, but I really had my eyes on the blonde.
I completed a run down the mountain just to get the feel for the packed powder. The trail was perfect. After riding the chairlift back to the top, I joined the team at the start of the race course.
I spotted the blonde and gave her a nod, she smiled and blew me a kiss.
That’s when I lost control and headed backwards and wiped out. Everyone started laughing.
“I just needed to practice how to fall and get back up.”
I think I’ll just stick to redheads.
I love to watch old folk falling over, especially on ski slopes where the ground is frozen hard. Sometimes you can hear their brittle bones snap and see them rolling about, shrieking themselves hoarse with the pain.
But that’s an indication of the kind of guy I am. And the job I do.
I’m an orthopedic surgeon.
I have a practice in Vermont, close to Magic Mountain. I do good business, especially when there’s snow on the peaks. It’s a given that there’ll be idiots, some drunk, some overexcited, randomly overdoing it on the black runs and wiping themselves out.
My Ambucopter is always fuelled up and ready to fly.
Some people say I’m a parasite. And exploitative and crass. My answer is that I supply a service. I’m a welcome resource. Everybody who calls me out initially thinks I’m an angel, arriving with a blizzard of prop wash blown back up from the ground.
You can’t get more dramatic than that, I reckon. It’s a pity my clientele aren’t at their most receptive when I arrive. I’m like Spielberg, Avatar, and Star Wars wrapped up in one.
How much do I charge?
I consider that vulgar. Can you put a price on the relief of pain? I administer the best drugs, prescribing them at the highest concentrations. One swift jab and my clients are away, soaring higher than the peaks they’ve just fallen from.
And as for the cost? They’ll have accountants for that. I’m sure it’s tax-deductible.
Micheal Caron, tall and lanky, shirt half-tucked, laces untied and a smile accented by a single crooked tooth, turned around in his seat in Social Studies class, leaned his freckled face close to mine and asked, “Would you like to go out with me?”
His question hadn’t dropped from the spitball covered ceiling of our eighth grade classroom. Its path had been paved with hallway glances and a smile across the aisle during Sunday Mass. What surprised me most was the flush in my checks. No one had made me blush since Colleen in seventh grade. How I had loved Colleen! And hoped I would find a girl just like her one day, who wouldn’t mind that I was Catholic.
Michael was a mystery. The only thing I knew about him besides the fact that he sat in front of me in Social Studies and attended Saint Catherine’s was that he could play “Wipeout” on his drums. This was common knowledge in the halls of John F. Kennedy Junior High.
So, I said yes and we got pizza a couple of times and held hands once, then faded into different high schools. I hadn’t thought of Michael in years when I heard about the accident that almost took his leg.
I visited him in the hospital while Marisol waited in the car.
“Metal rod in my leg,” he said, forcing a grin. “That’s it for drums.”
“You can learn a new instrument.”
“Yes, but that was my first love.”
Wipe Out- Were we wiped out?
We lay writhen in the damp grass while booms exploded. Gunpowder accelerated headaches and burnt noses. Sickly colours poisoned the sky. Filthy dishwater swooshed around from one side of my stomach to another like demented storm waves. The Twins crawled towards us on panicked bellies hoping there was safety in numbers. Perhaps wishing to protect us with their rifles which were now no more powerful than toy pop-guns. Who was bombing? Enemies or friends? Luckily the campfire had burnt out so we were not visible. Hopefully.
At that moment in time, the word “Mother” was foremost in my mind. Oh, for comfort and safety in a warm embrace.
What had I done? By staying at the Bakery, I had placed us all in a dangerous state of ease and stability. The picture in my mind was of me snow-skiing a glorious mountain. Skiing without a care in the pristine beauty of nature. I was one with the lovely environment and in perfect balance with the universe. Nothing could harm me because I was so self-assured in my comfort. Then… skis dramatically dived; I went another way skidding and sliding in a jumbled tumble of limbs. A tipsy turbulent experience. Boots over head and head over skis into crisp smashed snow. My facial muscles slid from euphoric peacefulness to turmoil.
A total wipe out! Would we as a group be wiped out?
It was the race Sue had waited her entire career for. She was at the top of her game and she knew this was it. Besides, she had already told herself it was time to get serious about starting a family. She wasn’t getting any younger.
She gloried in the speed as she started down the hill. Was there anything as spectacular as racing down a hill of snow? If there was, she had certainly never experienced it.
Sue had never figured out what possessed her parents to put skis on her little 3-year-old feet so long ago. But she would have to remember to thank them when this race was over.
The last curve was in sight. Once she got through those gates it was straight down to the finish line. But just as Sue hit the curve, her right ski went wonky. Not much, but it was just enough. She overcompensated, and the next thing she knew, she was on her back.
Sue lay there for a long moment, shocked at what had just happened. She couldn’t remember the last time she had gone down in a big race. For a moment she wanted to cry. But when the shock wore off, she just laughed. This was not the end to her career she had envisioned. Now she just had to find a way back to her feet and down to the finish line. Maybe one of her teammates would earn the medal instead of her.
All I can say is at least it was just a practice run.
Mom always said I was born running late and owing money, and that day was proof of it. From running out the door with the proverbial piece of toast in my mouth to catch the bus, to getting held after the bell so my English composition teacher could lecture me about being an underachiever (yeah, my essay looked dashed-together because it was, for the simple reason that I wrote the whole thing the night before it was due), I was racing against the clock.
So I get to the slope late, and I’m throwing my gear on as fast as I could with Coach and the team captain glowering at me. We’re supposed to check our gear before we actually hit the snow, but there just wasn’t time.
And then I go to make my first run of the day, and I no more than get out of the gate when I realize that my left ski boot is loose. I’m trying to compensate, but it’s just not enough. Next thing I know, I’m going ass over teakettle onto the snow.
Looking back, I realize just how lucky I was that I didn’t do myself a life-changing injury. I still had to be transported to Emergency, and because I missed practice, I had to miss a meet. But it sure taught me that no, haste is not speed.
I’ve never been called spontaneous or adventuresome or a risk taker. In fact, my favorite title for the past four years has been “Uncle John.” Danny pronounces it “Unky Chon.” I love it. And I love my nephew more than singing along to Encanto, folding a jumping frog origami, and guessing the five-letter Wordle on my second try.
Truthfully, I’ve been comfortable with my attributes and pastimes most of my adult life – that is, until my nephew turned four. Danny can swim, speak Italian, play tennis, skateboard, and brew an espresso in his mother’s cappuccino maker. I know it sounds excessive, but my nephew is not only athletic but bright … exceptionally bright!
So, anyway, here’s the scoop. Danny had been begging me to take him skiing for weeks. I searched for my inner macho side and agreed to take him to a local hill. Not a mountain – let me stress that. Just a hill. And guess what? My nephew glided down the slope like an Olympic Gold Medalist at least a dozen times. Me? Well, I discovered my lower spinal vertebrae on my first try. Ouch!
After our adventure, we returned to my place for grilled cheese and a game of cards. As the smell of burnt bread mingled with the odor of ammonia, I made a mental note to teach Danny Solitaire during his next visit. I changed my exceptionally bright nephew’s soiled diaper, adjusted my back brace and thought about our next escapade: Hopscotch!