Monday, January 14, 2013

Flask Fiction

Chuck Wendig posted another flash fiction challenge: The Wheel Part Two. Hey, that looks like fun!

I rolled the dice, and this is what I got:
Subgenre: Bad Girls in Prison
Conflict: Enemy at the Gates
Must Feature: Carnival Folk

That's when I realized we should be calling this Flask Fiction. A little bit of Catoctin Creek whiskey on the rocks, and boy, this became WAY easier to write....


Guard Roberto was late for the nightly lockup. Polly tapped her long nails against the bars of her cell. It wasn't like him to be behind schedule when it came to harassing the inmates on his rounds. She took the opportunity to file her manicure into place using a rough patch of iron on her cell door. Felon or not, she had to take pride in something, even if it was just her nails.

Her faucet dripped away the seconds. Other ladies shifted in their cells. Restless tension filled the air. Years ago on a similar night, Polly ran away to join the circus, eager to dispel boredom once and for all. 

Turns out not even the circus would take her. They require a certain level of skill in juggling required at the circus...unless you're willing to shovel animal dung. And Polly wasn't settling for that. Instead she settled for carnival misfits - the Fun House midget posse, the one-eyed Tilt-a-whirl operator, the corncob hag. They taught her the sham and the grift, and Polly was the pretty bait for them all.

Being first on the cellblock had its advantages. She stared down the guard door waiting until she heard that satisfying chunk from the locks. The door groaned as it opened.

“Pollllllllyyyyyy,” sang Roberto. “If that’s even your real name.” He jeered at her.

She obliged him with a knowing laugh. Polly was her stage name…her clown name...her carny name. 

Oh, Roberto, and your sweaty upper mustache! Polly was starting to take a liking to predictable Roberto. The way he rubbed his belly after his nightly bowl of chili. His odd sayings like, "Pardon, but I have goat in my teeth." His silver toothpick holder with a Dia de Los Muertos skull engraved on the side. What did it say about her that she was turned on by this sadistic asshole?

“What do you want, el guard-O?”

“El carcelero, dumbass,” he said.

“Carcelero…yeah, right, bet you’re really working for el cartel-O,” Polly countered and gave him a smooch of air.

Roberto grunted. “At least I didn’t get kicked out of the circus. El carnaval.” Scanning his page for her inmate number, he checked it off the list with disgruntled force.

“Let’s not fight.” Polly half-whispered it, and he looked up at her, one eyebrow raised. She pouted with her lips, and he came closer. She could see his desire in the way he hitched his pants. The whole place had cameras, but he still gave a furtive glance down the length of the cell block. She did her hair in pig-tails just for this part. He was gripping the bars of her cell. White knuckles the last limit of his restraint.

“You twisted little clown girl,” he whispered. Just as his fingers brushed her chin and reached out to tug one of her braids, the end of a sharpened comb went into his neck. His clipboard clattered to the ground.

“Don’t underestimate the homicidal clown girl,” she said.

        El Fin

© Jan2013 BRW


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Lee for the suggestion about changing the murder weapon! I think it works way better now. :)

  2. Pretty Polly's truly wicked, why'd she do it?

    1. Haha good question! I was going for she's half-crazy, but also half-paranoid about this man who shows up every night at her cell door. Originally I was going to use the "Enemy at the Gates" part of the prompt by having her carny friends come break her out of prison, so the gaurd's death was just a diversion for them at the gates. But it was just a long rambling story, and I started digging the idea that to a prison the guard at their cell door could be an "enemy at the gates" situation. So I cut the story down massively.

  3. Clowns....why did it have to be clowns?

    I liked it. It flows very easily, no jumps or hitches, which is tough to do in a short piece like this.

    1. Thanks Bill! It had to be clowns because Pennywise is one of the evilest villains I've ever had the pleasure to read, and even though clowns aren't necessarily at carnivals, I couldn't resist. :)

  4. Liked this - good mix of grit and pulp. I mean that in the best way possible - Bad Girls in Prison is meant to be pulpy genre and the "her carny name" line sealed the deal.