Instant Rice: 15 Reeaaalllyyy Short Stories from My Flash Fiction Blog

At the beginning of the year, I started writing flash fiction. Each day, write a single 100 word story with a 1 word title. I started doing this simply to force myself to think creatively (or at least make the attempt) and write something new everyday. So far I’m up to about 50 stories, so I figured it would be a good time to share some of my favorites here on my home base.
The stories below are my top selections from what I’ve written so far. Some of the stories are short conversations. Some of them are characters performing mundane tasks in everyday life. Others are more like philosophical aphorisms. If you want to read all of my stories, or follow them as I write them, feel free to check out the blog: Instant Rice. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the sample…

Resignation

He feels his index finger growing moist against the hard plastic. His eyes are glued to the small, unassuming arrow hovering over the small blue box marked, “Send.”

Just a little pressure is all that it would take. If he does this, there’s no turning back. His life will change. Nothing will ever be the same again.

But what if he doesn’t do it?

Then, there’s no forging ahead. His life will remain the same. Nothing will ever change.

Abruptly, he forces his finger downward–and the message is sent.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Responsible

Suddenly, she turns the conversation toward me.

At first, it was my ancestors, my legacy, my demographic.

I was fine talking about them. I was getting used to talking about us. But now it has gone too far. Now, she is condemning me.

A combustible union of shame and rage erupts inside me. Defensiveness grows in me like a fire.

I want to say I’m innocent. It’s not my fault. I’m not responsible.

But, choking down the lump inside my throat, I let the truth prevail.

“How can I fix it?”

Intruder

I waken to the sound of cracking wood.

“Carl, what was that?”

Dani’s fingernails are digging into my skin. She’s staring at me, her eyes wide in shock.

“Oh, God. Someone’s in the house,” she whimpers, her lips quivering.

“Stay here,” I say.

Throw back the sheets. Unlock the safe. Grab the gun.

I meet him coming up the stairs. I level my gun. He raises his arms in surrender.

“You need to leave,” he says. “They’re coming for you.”

I lower my weapon.

“I’m not here to hurt you,” he says. “I’m here to save you.”

Coverage

“Security Plus, this is Kevin. How can I help?”

“Does my policy cover bears?”

“I’m sorry, sir. Can you repeat that?”

“Bears. You know, RRAAARRR! I think it was a black bear…”

Bears, sir?”

“Yes. Me, my wife, and kids hid in an upstairs closet while it destroyed our kitchen and living room.”

“Hold on, sir. Let me get someone who can help you…”

Music.

“Security Plus, this is Charlotte. How can I help?”

“Does my policy cover bears?”

“Did you say ‘bears,’ sir?”

“Yes, bears.”

“Hold on, sir. Let me get someone who can help you…”

Ask

“You’re not in trouble.”

It’s funny, because it sure felt like I was in trouble.

“I just want to know why you didn’t tell Tracy to cancel those orders. I mean, we’re sitting on a lot of inventory now…”

I felt myself growing defensive, partly ashamed and partly engaged.

“I didn’t know if I was supposed to–”

“You didn’t ‘know if,’ or you didn’t ‘think  that?'”

I just stared at him, confused.

He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.

“It’s not your fault if you don’t know; it is your fault if you don’t ask.”

Reparations

After many years, the farmer realized he’d borrowed more than he should have.

Approaching the banker, he said, “I’m done borrowing, but let’s just start from scratch. From now on, we’re equal.”

The banker really had no say, because he was a banker. So he took the deal.

Generations later, the farmer’s descendants had invested their gains in education, technology, businesses, and so on. Meanwhile, the banker’s descendants had worked at a constant deficit.

Some descendants of the banker started to complain.

But the farmer’s descendants balked, “What are they complaining about? We’ve all been equal for years!”

Queue

Long day.

Finally home.

Hot shower.

Cozy pajamas.

Lean Cuisine.

Open browser.

Find Netflix.

Queue empty.

Queue empty?

Browse Netflix.

Browse Netflix.

Browse Netflix.

Nothing left.

Stare blankly.

Time passes.

Shrug shoulders.

Brush teeth.

Lie down.

Fall asleep.

Damage

“Alright, Doc. What’s the damage?”

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this…”

Crap. How much?”

“No, actually, what I was saying is that…Lenny has cancer.”

I pay the bill.

We get in the truck.

Kate’s gonna be crushed.

I look at Lenny.

That big, dumb face. Those deep, dark eyes. That wide-mouthed pant.

Something inside me strains.

I turn the ignition.

Kate’s gonna be crushed.

Eggs

“Did God create man?” Mr. J asks us with an eyebrow raised, “Or did man create God?”

We all know the answer.

We learned it in history. We learned it in science. Even Mr. J knows, so now we’re learning it in church.

Everyone knows.

Everyone, apparently, except Randy.

“God made us!” He exclaims, indignantly. “We didn’t make God!”

We all giggle.

What an idiot.

“Hey, easy Rand,” pleads Mr. J, “there’s no right answer. It’s like ‘which came first–the chicken or the egg?'”

Randy lowers his eyes, pouting.

“If you’re the egg, the chicken came first.”

Wager

“So, why do you believe in God?”

“It just makes sense.”

“How so?”

“Simple. If I believe and it turns out He isn’t real, then it doesn’t really matter. But if I don’t believe and it turns out He is real, then I’m in big trouble.”

“So, will Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists be in ‘big trouble?'”

“‘Fraid so. Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through him.”

“Then, it’s not so simple, is it? Pascal’s wager is more like playing the lottery than flipping a coin.”

Who’s Pascal?”

Bunnies

The woman slides my rubbers reluctantly across the scanner.

Beep-boop.

She shoves the dark box quickly into a bag, looking downward with those judgmental eyes and shaking her head in disapproval.

I’m pissed.

“Seven billion,” I say–with an edge to my voice.

She looks up, narrowing her eyes.

Excuse me?

“Seven billion people in the world.”

Okkaaayyy?

“Well, you act like there’s something shameful about what I’m buying. There are seven billion of us. We’re freaking bunnies. What about you? Do you have kids?”

She flinches.

“That’ll be $11.47, please.”

Crutch

“God will get you through this.”

“I don’t know, pastor. I don’t think I believe in God anymore. After what happened…”

“I understand.”

“I mean, I don’t just want a crutch to lean on. I want something real.”

“I know…but sometimes a crutch is the only thing that can keep you from falling.”

“How do you do it, pastor? How do you believe in the very thing that seems to have abandoned you?”

“Well, I guess it all comes down to a simple question: are you looking for someone to blame…or are you looking for someone to help?”

Apple

Eating an apple.

Eating an apple and thinking.

What should I get her for our anniversary?

How do I build that report?

How many vacation days left?

Why did I embarrass myself like that?

What time does the game start?

Where do I see myself in ten years?

What is the meaning of life?

Look down.

Apple’s gone.

Core and all.

Must’ve eaten it.

Dreamcatcher

“What is it?”

“It’s a dreamcatcher, buddy.”

“What’s it do?”

“It catches bad dreams, so they can’t get to you.”

“Just bad dreams?”

“Yeah.”

“What’s it do with the good dreams?”

“Well, it lets them through.”

“Hmm…Daddy?”

“Yeah, buddy?”

“What do you wanna be when you grow up?”

“Oh, I don’t know…a senior buyer, I guess.”

“Sounds boring.”

“Well, it pays the bills. What about you, buddy? What do you wanna be when you grow up?”

“A dreamcatcher.”

Sorry

“Give it back! Mooommmm!!!

She’s trying to cook dinner; she doesn’t have time for this.

“Mom, Bryan took the iPad. I was in the middle of a game. Tell him give it back!”

She sighs, and sets the ladle on a plate.

“Bry, say you’re sorry and give it back.”

“But I wanna play, too!”

“Say you’re sorry!”

“Sorry,” he mutters, turning to his sister.

Before handing back the iPad, he clicks on “End Game.”

Are you sure? Yes.

He said he was sorry…but he wasn’t sorry.

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About Douglas E Rice

Douglas E Rice is just a guy who likes to learn stuff.
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