Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: And Toto Too

man riding bicycle in parade with small dog in front basket photo by KS Brooks
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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5 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: And Toto Too”

  1. Raggamuffin McGuinness and his ever-travelling circus,
    Wander the fifty states from the east ‘cross to the west.
    With jugglers, contortionists and death-defying ladies,
    Spackled and bedazzled with gold sequins on their chests.

    There’s Flame, the pyrophiliac, drinking gasoline martinis,
    His eyebrows and his moustache both singed away to ash,
    And seven-foot High Tower, with his head above the chimneys,
    Shadowing Bare-Knuckle Bill, the fighter, his wallet full of cash.

    To the rear of our prize-pugilist, there is Medusa and her sisters,
    All hooded and disguised, with their hair bound up in plaits,
    And Phil, the famous Flute-Player, freshly arrived from Hamlyn,
    Having quelled the trouble they had with an inundation of rats.

    But what of all the animals? There are no circuses without tigers.
    Or elephants with howdahs. Growling lions with sharp teeth.
    A whip-cracking ringmaster. A knife-thrower who wields danger.
    And Gypsy Rose, clairvoyant, who reveals all that hides beneath.

    Raise a cheer for the Ragamuffin man, proudly here for one day only.
    Make sure he sees you waving; you don’t want to make him cross.
    His favour is the finest, all candy floss and popped corn,
    But his ire is cold and dreadful, tinged with panic, fear and loss.

    It’s best to keep smiling; see him here upon his cycle,
    Hair blowing in the wind as he bows and blows a kiss.
    He’s brought his mascot Toto, who bears a slight resemblance,
    To another we all know here: the famous Mister Pish.


    And Toto Too
    Kay lovingly caressed a photo with the words “And Toto Too.”

    “This photo meant so much to so many! My husband was in a parade to raise awareness for the local animal shelter. Toto, a Cairn Terrier from the shelter won my husband’s heart that day becoming his forever companion. My husband like Bob Barker, always reminded people to spay and neuter. This restaurant hosted many fundraisers for the animal shelter. People were generous, both with their money and hearts. Many a dog found a loving home.

    She chortled, “Look at my husband- so young and handsome with that crazy long ponytail. Like a teenager, he performed stunts on that bike. He had a heart the size of the universe. He never met a dog he could not love. Toto worshipped him. Toto was far from vanilla; she was special, adventurous, individual. Both were so unique. Toto despite her petite size was a demon in protecting my husband. She fought against rattlers, drunks and the elements. This scruffy terrier, the colour of cinnamon had jet eyes that could read your soul. Toto means ‘all-encompassing.’ She had all-encompassing love for my husband. Her name is also a backronym for ‘TOtable Tornado Observatory’. Of course this was a reference to Dorothy’s Cairn Terrier in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ I am telling you that dog had a sixth sense. She smelled or sensed a tornado so hid my husband in an underground cave. Brave as a lioness and as smart as a whip!”

  3. In a town this small, the annual Homecoming parade is a Big Event. Even when I was in grade school and didn’t understand about high school football, I was aware of the palpable excitement in the air as it approached. Back then it was all the candy, but by junior hi I could appreciate the floats, one for each class in the high school and others for local businesses and organizations.

    Then our freshman year came, and time to design our very first float. That year’s theme was Over the Rainbow, so of course we were going to do The Wizard of Oz.

    Maybe it would’ve been easier if we’d had class sponsors with some oomph, but Ms Hanson and Mr Deng were a washout in that role. Nice teachers, good at their subjects, but not much on organizing a complex project like a float. Which meant turning loose sixty-two teenagers with ideas bigger than our ability to execute them.

    Friday morning, my dad came to hitch our big Steiger to the hay wagon and just shook his head at the rickety mess of chicken wire covered by fingerprint-stained pompons. He was too nice to tell us it looked ghastly, but I knew him too well not to read his expression. At least I was marching with the band, so I didn’t see it fall apart halfway through, or Tracy Redman’s witch costume pull off and leave her riding down the main drag in her regular clothes.

  4. Middle of the Roadie

    The way the world is, what with cyclones, hurricanes and tornadoes, which, I have to say, is the worst of the three though they all wreak damage on the body and the spirit, with all of them, and Mother Nature in general being on a cranky rampage and not a little ticked off at us, and by us, I don’t mean me, Donnie from Kansas, and my little Jack Russell derivative pooch, Toto Destruction, but you know, all them exploiters and land grabbers, the haves, the bloated haves…they’ve done this, not that they’d ever admit it unless they were the sheets to the wind, or four, and feeling like spilling their gluttony baggage, but it doesn’t matter who did it…it’s done, and we are on the brink.

    As for me, I’ve spent most of my adult life on the road, not with the big boys, the big girls, women, I mean, but with mid-level rockers, garage bandidos, cat and dog lovers, just plain talented folk who have committed to a crazy style of living that takes you away from the creature comforts of home, not that many of us knew what that was, and gives you so many surprises you’d think every day was your birthday.

    There’s always the next morning. No matter what Snooterville the band played in, I’d get up and take a turn on the bike, keep the joints moving, the body joints, I mean, and just peddle myself into a normal day.

  5. He sang, “Well, it’s Alright,” as he stirred a pot hanging over a fire. The sun rose, twinkling through the trees on his encampment underneath a bridge. The smoke filled the space as he lifted his pot from a tripod hook. Humming with every step he made across his campsite, he stopped in front of a white dog resting on a blanket. He kneeled and gently spooned beans into a bowl beside the dog.
    “Eat up, Toto,” the man said. “It’s a big day.”
    The pup began to lap up the beans as the man stood up, taking a bite from his pot.
    “The city is putting on a Parade for us Veterans,” he said, facing the sunbeams in the canopy overhead. The serene campsite was replaced with a muddy landscape as he looked down. The sounds of helicopters coming from behind him forced him to look back. “No,” he said. It was now night, and the only lights twinkling were that of gunfire from faceless men in green camo telling him to keep going. Their feet struggled in the mud as they ran by him. Knocking him to the ground. Face in the mud, he looks over to his right to see the eyes of a young man with mud and blood covering his forehead. The man closed his eyes and screamed, “No! No!” as he fought the mud.
    “No!..no. ” The dog licks the man’s face as he wakes up in his campsite. “Oh, Toto, it was horrible.”

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