March 3, 2018 marked the final day for entry into our first ever flash fiction contest. The rules were simple: write a 99-word pulp vignette. We had several submissions, but Twitter polls are limited to four entries.
This means we had to rule a few out. To do this, at least 2 of us had to approve the selection. The ones with only one vote, no matter how fervent, had to be dispatched to the “we still love you and try again later if you still love us” pile. In this completely unscientific and subjective way, we came up with these four stories from these amazing authors. You’ll see they cover a very diverse range of pulp genres!
Keep an eye out for the Twitter poll!
In no particular order, here are the finalists:
TJ Acena, “Dick Stallion: Boner Detective”
Dick unlocked his office. He was thinking about having sex and had a boner.
In the shadows he could see George leaning against his desk. Pistol pointed at him. He also had a boner. Probably from betraying him. Or maybe from thinking about Dick’s boner.
“You bastard,” Dick said. “We had our fun. But now you have to die.”
Dick appreciated that there were two boners in the room. But it was one too many this time. With lightning reflexes he pulled his own gun. Two shots rang out.
George collapsed. “My boner…” he whispered as he died.
Morgan (from The Frankenpod): “Trashy Wasteland”
She had been on the run over the barren salt flats for days without encountering a soul since the metropolis when suddenly there was a man riding towards her on horseback. He was a conspicuously handsome local sentinel, who had the smirk and confidence of a man who mistakenly thinks he is the predator when he is merely prey.
“Drop your weapons” He barked pointing his rifle.
She dropped her pistol and smiled wryly as he tied her wrists together. How adorable he thought he was bringing her in, she thought as she carefully watched each knot he made.
Maxwell (from Relic): “A Lady With A Little Extra”
The mothership loomed over the ruins, as the last man on Earth ducked into the shelter of the cafe.
In the dim light, the man rubbed his eyes, unable to believe what was sitting there in the booth. It couldn’t be!
But there she was, her face turned towards the juke, and her red hair coyly concealing her features.
The man reached out. “Lady,” he shouted over the din outside. “We gotta get out of here!”
The woman giggled. “What’s the hurry?” she said, turning around and batting all four of her eyes at him.
Tom Steer, “Somebody Pays”
When she first walked into The Powderhouse, I hoped it was my lucky day. It was my graveyard shift, the bar was empty. After I’d made her drink I realised she had no money. She placed a revolver on the counter instead. I stared at it.
“It doesn’t cover my drink?” she said.
She cocked her hip, watching me swallow air.
“Try this,” she said. “Do me a favour with the gun. Shoot the right man, I’ll pay you what money can’t buy.”
She arched one eyebrow. This much I should have known: one way or another, somebody pays.