Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

Flash Fiction


Below are two pieces of Sarah’s flash fiction. To read more of her quirky stories, scroll down her blog’s sidebar until you come to the search widget, where you need to type in the words Friday Fictioneers.

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Mr and Mrs Pink’s Experiment

To assess the observational skills of present-day Homo sapiens, Mrs Pink and I go shopping on a Saturday morning, leaving our clothes behind.

As we wheel our trolley into the supermarket, a teenage girl talking on a mobile phone says, “Hey Trace, guess what’? Two sticks ’f rhubarb just went by.” What she means by rhubarb, we’ve no idea, but at least someone has noticed us.

A toddler, having a tantrum by the sweet counter, breaks free of its mother’s hand and rushes towards us, shrieking, “Yum, yum, yum, big sweeties, tasty,” and bites Mrs Pink on the thigh. Fortunately for her, the gummy creature’s few milk teeth aren’t strong enough to break her skin. “Come here, Daniel,” says Mum. “Leave the rhubarb alone.”

A tall young man approaches us, wearing a frown and a smile. He has a badge pinned to his jacket with ‘David, Store Manager’ written on it. He says, “So sorry, we weren’t expecting you today. Most remiss of part of Head Office not letting us know. Exactly which rhubarb product are you promoting?”

Feeling confused and a little curious, I tell him we’d very much like to see where he keeps the rhubarb.

“Of course,’ he says. “Which would you like to look at first? Fresh, chilled, or frozen?”

“Fresh will be fine.”

On our way to the rhubarb, a customer glares at us and then complains to a woman next to him, “Damn commercial gimmicks. Whatever will they think up next?”

David stops and points at something macabre dumped in a green crate. “Here it is. Our very own locally grown rhubarb.”

Mrs Pink takes one look at the pile of prostrated sticks piled high with their tops removed, and emits a wail of despair. “But you’ve chopped off their heads and killed them.”

The Manager laughs, obviously thinking Mrs Pink is acting. “Uh, well, a decent boil in the pot with sugar and a little water should revive them.”

Mrs Pink and I lean against each other for support, regretting leaving our spaceship in the woods instead of the supermarket car park for a quick getaway. We urgently need to warn our kind about how Earth people treat our young, to save Vege sapiens from extinction.

(c) 2011 Sarah Potter All Rights Reserved

Patient Number 666

Yes, I used to work in psychiatry. No, the potted history of Bartholomew is entirely fictional. Even so, I’m going to add a disclaimer: in a world with a population of almost 7 billion, there’s a slight chance of a coincidence.     

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cook cutting carrots

Who says children are born innocent? Bartholomew – named after a saint and born years before Bart Simpson – had nothing in common with either celebrity.

Son of the First World War hero, Major Stanley Templeton and twenties’ flapper, Beatrice Morgan, Bartholomew embarked on his torturer’s career at an early age. Aged two, he drained the fish bowl of water and chewed its occupant to death. And aged five, he plucked legs off spiders, singing…

  Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout
down poured the acid and burned poor Incy out
out came the sun and dried him to a husk
Incy Wincy Spider, scrummy toasted rusk

To celebrate his first decade, he decided to prove that cat tasted of chicken. Exit Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.

Six years later, he borrowed his baby niece for an afternoon’s biting practice and discovered a taste for humans. He had not meant to kill her.

He celebrated his twenty-first birthday on D-Day by cooking a head with carrots and potatoes in a boiler house oven. A month earlier, the pilot had parachuted into the grounds of Shadyreach Institution for the Criminally Insane and demolished Bartholomew’s vegetable patch.

Thirty years later, when all Bartholomew’s teeth had fallen out, a nurse took him to France on a day-trip. A rabid dog had the audacity to bite him. He said, ‘Ouch, that hurt,’ and burst into tears.

As he lay dying, with NIL BY MOUTH pinned to his bed, he thought the ward sister the most sadistic person he’d ever met.

(c) 2011 Sarah Potter All Rights Reserved

Funny cartoon of cat and dog annoying the surgeonsCrying Man clip art

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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction

  1. I love these quirky tales. I believe Perry was taken by aliens!! Much enjoyed!!

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  2. and patient 666 and Tania’s face cream omg!! yes totally gruesome and macabre- and wonderful!!

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    • Hee, hee, I get my days when something darkly comic comes to me, but a piece of flash fiction in that mode is quite enough. If I wrote a whole novel in that mode, I might end up going crazy myself!

      I might put my characters through it emotionally and, sometimes physically, but my novels must contain hope, unlike those two short pieces.

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  3. Quirky is a great descriptor, hilarious works for me too!

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  4. Sarah, these are muscular little pieces; fwiw, my 2 cents’ is that they would make great grist for longer pieces. I think “Patient Number 666” and “An Assault on Vanity” are probably my favorites and might be easiest to translate to longer-form works, though I liked them all. As to my planet of origin, all I can say is that the present-I wasn’t there when the past-I originated (thank goodness), so I don’t know the answer to that. I presume it is Earth. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Leigh, for visiting my quirky tales page and having a read. Yes, those two bits of flash fiction could easily translate into longer-form works, although they might end up extremely gruesome! My novel that I’m sending out to literary agents at the moment, started out as a piece of flash fiction of 400 words. It’s now 90,000 words, although I ended up dumping those trigger 400 words. I think that flash fiction is a superb writing discipline, just as is the writing of short form poetry such as haiku and tanka.

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  5. Oh my, that’s fun! Thank you for sharing!

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