Friday, June 9, 2017

Flash Fiction Contest #31

In celebration of the warmer months, this flash fiction prompt is about what many of us do with friends and family: cookout! Nothing like the kids running wild in a backyard, while something yummy sizzles on the grill.

Deadline is by noon on Sunday 6/11, EST. Winner will be announced later that evening. Rules can be found here.

Have fun!


  1. The sun burned hotter than the burgers on the grill. Two look-alike women – one older and one younger – wearing huge floppy hats and brightly flowered sundresses laughingly shooed flies away from bowls of potato salad and coleslaw as juicy meat sizzled and popped, its mouth-watering aroma temporarily overpowering the sour tang of chlorine and the slightly sweeter scent of sweat mixed with sunscreen. Kids screamed and splashed in the above-ground pool, oblivious to the rough-and-tumble game of two-hand touch on the other side of the backyard, just one touchdown away from finally turning competitive.

    I stood at the grill with a spatula in one hand and a glass of ice-cold lemonade in the other, fat drops of condensation rolling down the sides of the glass and drip, drip, dripping onto my hand. A bit of grease plopped onto the coals causing a burst of flame that nearly devoured a hot dog and sent a heatwave rolling toward my face. But the flames died down just as quickly as they came, leaving their porcine victim charred to perfection and me pressing my glass of lemonade against one heat-flushed cheek with a quiet sigh of relief.

    Not sure which was cooking faster – me or the meat – I stared longingly at the kids splashing in the pool, at my pretty young wife as she stood in the cool shade slicing big, juicy pickles into small perfectly round slices, and finally at the football game, which seemed to have degenerated into a full-contact sport. Maybe one day I'll get to join in the fun, but not today, because I am the grill master, and this is our family cookout.

  2. She stood by the window, watching as neighbors crossed the street, with swim towels, drinks and big bowls of what she figured, dejectedly, were macaroni salads. Everyone was headed to the pool on the other side of her fence, to the neighborhood cookout.

    She wandered back to the kitchen, pressing a hand to her nervous stomach. Her own bowl of macaroni salad sat on the countertop, covered in plastic wrap. She stood in front of it, staring down and found herself wishing, oddly, that she were a piece of macaroni. The macaroni was already nestled with its friends - other macaronis, chunks of celery, pieces of tuna. It already belonged to the salad. It didn't have to come to a salad already made and make awkward introductions.

    Her husband walked in and watched her for a moment as she continued to stare at the salad. "It's time," he prodded. "Let's go."

    "I wish I was a macaroni," she said sadly. He shook his head, smiling and pulled her into a hug. 

    "You would be one cute little noodle!" he said, and when she didn't respond, added, "It will be fine, just stay with me. We'll do this together."

    She nodded against his chest, then cradled her bowl of friendly macaronis, took a deep breath and started out the door to meet her new neighbors.


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