BFM 2021: Second voting round

Image with folded sheets of paper and glasses on top of it, to go with the second voting round of the Blogable Fiction Marathon 2021.
Image from Unsplash

It is always difficult to take the words someone else has written, and use them in your own story. This is one of the best writing exercises out there, whether you find the sentence in a book, and craft your own story, or as in this second assignment – to take the sentence of another writer to craft a piece of flash fiction.

The key to this kind of assignment, is to make sure whatever sentence you choose, fits your own writing style, so the sentence doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. We would say all writers succeeded in that – not the sore thumb, but crafting their stories from a sentence in such a way that it formed one whole.

The Assignment

You might have guessed it already, but here’s the assignment for round 2:

Write a flash fiction story, using one of the pickup lines from round 1, with the following conditions:
* the pickup line you choose may not be your own *
* you have to use the sentence in your story exactly as it appeared in round 1 *
* you are allowed to use the line in dialogue, which means, you can add the quotation marks *
* remember, a story has a beginning, middle and an end *
* 350-400 words, with a 2-4 word title *

The writers had to inform us which line they used, and were also allowed to choose sentences that didn’t go to the public voting round in round 1.

Readers, what should you do now?

Read all the entries, and vote for the stories you like the best. Try to keep the assignment in mind when you make your choices. You have to choose three stories, no less, no more.

The survey is at the bottom of the page after the last story. Don’t’ forget to click the ‘Finish Survey’ button when you’ve made your choices!

Also, we would love if you can leave the writers some feedback in the comments section below.

Please note:

  • Writers are not allowed to tell anyone which entry they have written!
  • You can only vote once. Votes will be monitored and double votes will be removed.
  • The voting round closes on Tuesday 1 June 2021 at 23.45 GMT (see the countdown in the sidebar).
  • Results of the voting round will be published on this site on 5 June 2021 and then the author of each story will be revealed.

The entries

As you can read in the rules, the stories were first sent to the jury, and from their votes the top 70% go through to the public vote. We also add a wildcard, chosen by the Blogable Babes, from the stories that didn’t make the 70% cut. For this round, it meant 16 stories made the jury cut, and 1 wildcard was added to it.

Below you can read all the entries. Those that have not made it through to this, the public vote, have been given a RED title. So reader, please remember you cannot vote for those with a red title in the survey below. But you can vote for 3 of the 17 stories that made it through.

If you are one of the writers whose story did not get picked in the top 70% by the jury please do not be despondent. Your did receive marks from the jury and they will go through with you to round 3 – all writers are allowed through to the next round.

1. Meat Market

(Story used from round 1: Number 23 Destiny)

“A wise person once told me that everything is predetermined by destiny, so my question is, should we simply fall in love now, or should I take you to dinner first?”

“Oh, definitely dinner.”

“That was a faster response than I expec—”

“No turning back, I have steak on my mind now.” I dropped a second porterhouse on the scale. “But I make no guarantees about the love thing. Anything else besides this?” I wiped my fingers on a rag and punched a few buttons for the bar-coded sticker.


“The twice-baked potatoes are top-notch. I like the sour cream and chive best, but we have other flavor profiles to choose from.”


He sidestepped to the next case while I wrapped up his meat in a tight little package, taking my time with the twine. I slid the steaks across the countertop and tapped the thick paper.

“I’m real good with knots.”

He gulped like a cartoon character, and said he needed to pick the perfect wine before deciding on sides.

I thought about those steaks searing in a frying pan, the scent of potatoes warming in the oven, a medium-bodied wine sliding over my tongue, to keep from laughing. He darted off into the booze aisle. My stomach demanded I hurry up and get this little game over with.

Gary Johnson placed an order every week, then putzed around in front of the meat and prepared food cases for what seemed like hours, for just one more thing, like he’s goddamn Columbo. Always keeping me past closing time. Any woman who’s been around the block more than once would know what’s up, but he keeps losing his nerve. Annoying…though shyness had its charms. But this time I was going to make sure the deal was sealed, and before 6pm.

He returned with a Syrah from Spain. 2016. The man knew his stuff, at least when it came to pairing wine.

“Sour cream and chive it is,” he said, thumping the bottle down. “And enough grilled asparagus for two. And one of those balsamic cherry pies.”

Shyness was cute. But confidence and good taste…irresistible.

2. Empathy for the Leek

(Story used from round 1: Number 13 Bloody Mary)

In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken the job, my heart really wasn’t in it anymore, I’d lost my focus, my ambition. I’d told them I was retired, but once an assassin, always an assassin – the Careers Officers’ at school don’t tell you that do they.

22 years of single-mindedly killing with just that one mistake to blot my copy book, but in my defence, one nun does look very much like another, especially in the dark, it really could have happened to anyone… and then I had the epiphany – I started growing vegetables.

My shrink had been convinced that the two events were connected, he wouldn’t accept I had no conscience at all, well, at least not up until the moment the knife entered his heart anyway, but by then it was a little on the late side.

Anyway, I digress – but it’s really hard to be a cold-blooded killer when you’re more concerned about the frost getting to your leeks.

The lady I was contracted to kill might have an allotment for all I knew, and this seemed more important than the fact she was the evil mastermind behind a secret organisation attempting to take over the world by doing something clever with gold, or a satellite or something. I’m not a detail kind of guy – but either way, my government expected me to do my job.

I’d followed her for a week and she’d neither killed anyone nor tended to her veggies, but I had finally come to the conclusion that this really was one job too far. Maybe I could somehow make it an accident rather than stick the knife in myself. Next time she goes to the supermarket I could take a can from the bottom of the pile of beans, making the cans topple on top of her, would that work?

…It didn’t and it took me 30 minutes to sheepishly pick up all those tins as I watched her walk out the door, completely unscathed.

This gave me time to think, I decide to make contact, follow her to a bar or something, and if she grows veggies I’ll let her live, if not I’ll do my job.

Hi, will the fact that I accidentally tried to kill you today, keep you from having a drink with me now?

I don’t suppose you grow vegetables do you?

3. Tactical Pursuit

(Story used from round 1: Number 13 Bloody Mary)

Cheryl unholstered her Glock and stripped off her uniform before she even reached the bedroom. A cold beer and a scalding shower were in order after the day she’d had. I’m too old for this shit, she grumbled to no one, after she opened the fridge and realized she was all out of…everything.

Resigned, she retreated to the bathroom and turned on the shower as hot as it would go. Steam quickly rose as Cheryl paused before the mirror. Elongating her neck, she looked for any residual evidence of the hives that had peppered her face earlier but found none.

Stupid Robinson. Who the hell puts cinnamon in coffee?

Even during her own cringeworthy rookie years, Cheryl had known better than to mess with a cop’s coffee. Black as night and blazing! But the fresh-faced Robinson had wanted to impress, inadvertently triggering her cinnamon allergy, and causing a mild but immediate reaction that would have her fellow veterans on the squad chiding her for weeks.

Stupid Robinson, walking around with those shoulders that stretch the fabric of his police issue button down to its limit.

Cheryl squinted through the foggy haze, contemplating her own generous silhouette of middle age.

Stupid Robinson, with that toothy grin, following me around with apologies. Distracting me with those lips.

She shook her head as her right hand creeped between her thighs.

Stupid Robinson, who towers a whole foot and a half over me.

But if he was on his knees he could…

Cheryl’s reverie was interrupted by the ping of her cell phone. Her sprint to the bed where she’d left it met her with a rush of cold air, making her acutely aware of both her bum knee and her bouncing nipples. 

Unknown contact.

“Hi, will the fact that I accidentally tried to kill you today, keep you from having a drink with me now?”

Cheryl chortled.

Before she could answer, another message pinged.

“It’s Rob. I feel ridiculous but please give me a chance to make it up to you. You pick the spot?”

And then a blushing grin emoji.

Cheryl frowned as all the permutations of how she should respond raced through her mind. This is a bad idea. I’m twice your age for fuck’s sake

But a zealous frisson coursed down her spine. 

“I’ll meet you at Casey’s on 10th in an hour.” 

“And don’t be late, Stupid Robinson.”

4. Work Spouse

(Story used from round 1: Number 24 Seeing You)

“When I look at you it makes me feel like I am under a ceiling fan with flashing lights and it leaves me speechless, trembling like a seizure patient.”

“Not sure it’s something you should joke about, not after today.” She murmured, staring into the depths of her wine glass, the image of him on the floor, mid-seizure, played out in her head again.

“Come on Lucy, we deal with seizures all the time, why was this any different?” Tom asked, sitting beside her, grinning weakly. He looked tired.

Something about the nonchalant way he spoke about it angered her beyond words. He was right, they were paramedics, this wasn’t new, but this had been the first time she had witnessed one of his episodes.

Mercifully, they’d been in the breakroom when it happened, but the image: Tom lying on the floor, eyes rolled back, trembling, frothing at the mouth, all haunted Lucy every time she closed her eyes. The moment he’d hit the floor, so had her stomach; for a second she felt as though Tom had stolen the air from her lungs, clutching it in his tightly clenched fists.

She could still feel him shaking under her hands as she’d protected his head. It made her nauseous thinking that she could have actually lost him.

“Hey, work wife.”

Lucy jolted as she felt Tom’s hand on hers. She lost herself in the warmth of his deep brown eyes, her heart somersaulting at the concern in his expression, imagining affection behind it.

“I’m ok, I’m fine. No way you’re getting rid of me that easy Lucy-lu.” Tom grinned, the left side turning up more than the right to give him a cheeky smirk that made her knees weak every time.

“Good, because worrying me is going to cost you once you’re better. Come on, I’ll drive you home, and I’m sleeping on your sofa. No arguments. Oh, and you’re buying me a pizza for giving me a heart attack.” She added, linking arms with Tom, her skin tingling at his closeness.

“Done deal.”

Lucy supported Tom as they walked out to her car, amused as he fell asleep before they’d even reached his house. Parking in his drive, she got his housemates to help her carry him to bed, snuggling up on the sofa in his room, vowing he would buy her pizza for lunch the next day.

5. Hotel Room Whore

(Story used from round 1: Number 1 Naughty Nun)

I walked across the hotel bar to his table. I bent over provocatively, my cheap dress clinging to my curves and barely concealing my cleavage

“You look like just the sort of man the sisters who taught us in our How to keep our vows of celibacy classes at the convent warned us about; I really hope looks aren’t deceiving”, I said huskily

He stared back at me and raised one eyebrow wolfishly. “What an appalling chat up line. It makes you sound like a cheap whore”

I held his gaze. “Well, I am certainly not cheap”

He very deliberately looked me up and down, and smiled appreciatively

Picking up his glass he downed the last mouthful of Scotch, the ice cubes clinking as he placed the glass firmly back on the table

“Come with me” he commanded. I followed him to his hotel room

Inside the room he reached for his wallet. He selected a sheath of twenty-pound notes

“£300 and I can do whatever I choose with you”. It was more a statement than a question

I took a deep breath and nodded, tucking the cash into my purse

A sense of foreboding filled the air. I could feel my body responding, my heart rate quickening

His broad hands reached for the neckline of my dress and with one strong tug, he ripped the flimsy material from my body

I stood, feeling exposed, in my skimpy bra and knickers

“Get them off” he growled ominously

I complied obediently

My naked body became his to use for his pleasure. My holes and my flesh were his toys to play with. It was wild and intense, and, oh so, erotic

Finally, I collapsed, breathless on top of him. My body still trembled with the final waves of such intense orgasms

“Oh wow” I managed to utter

He wrapped his arms protectively around me. “That was amazing. You are amazing”. He paused and laughed rakishly, “Do you think we can get your mother over to look after the kids again next Saturday night, so we can role play some more?”

“I wish!” I giggled. “Just one thing though, did you really find my chat up line appalling?”

He smiled and kissed the top of my head

“No. I thought it rather clever and arousing. But I could not possibly tell my hotel room whore that!”

6. A Cheesy Encounter

(Story used from round 1: Number 6 Brie Yourself)

Izzie was exhausted. After flying into town this morning and immediately heading to the client’s office, it was all meetings. The delivered sandwiches for lunch had been adequate, but more than that would be too generous. She checked into the hotel at 6, took her bags upstairs, and off to the restaurant.

It was full with a two-hour wait.

Her stomach objected too loudly to that, making the hostess laugh. “The full menu is available at the bar if you’d rather not wait.”

Izzie gave her a grateful smile. “Thank you!”

It was a typical hotel bar. Club chairs were full of people who looked like conventioneers. They were laughing loudly, apparently having been enjoying happy hour. Most of the bar seating was full, but there was one seat at the far end of the bar. She sat down and the bartender appeared quickly to take her order.

“Glass of white wine, glass of water and the food menu, please.” Reaching under the counter, he handed her the menu. While she was trying to choose between steak and pasta, she heard a voice.

“Allow me to explain my fondness for cheese: it’s delicious, it’s welcome at every occasion, and if you’re lucky, the beautiful woman at the end of the bar appreciates its use as a conversation starter.”

Looking up, she realized that the man next to her was looking at her. She wasn’t looking for conversation, but that line was just so crazy. She’d play along.

“That woman?” she asked, pointing to the other end of the bar. “She appears to be too busy for a conversation,” Izzie smirked. The couple was kissing rather passionately.

“Touche’. I was referring to you. More beautiful and look more likely to appreciate the subtleties of different cheeses.”

As the bartender returned, she decided it was worth a chance and ordered the charcuterie platter. Also, the steak because she was starving.

“Will you share it with me since I’m not THAT hungry.”

“It would be an honor,” he said. “I’m Mac.”

She almost choked on her wine. “Like, mac and cheese?”

“Exactly,” he laughed.

“I’m Izzie. You might be the cheesiest person I’ve ever met, but, you know, cheese makes everything better. You seem ‘grate’,” she laughed.

The bartender brought the charcuterie platter and Izzie reached for a slice of brie and cracker. This town was looking up.

7. Dumb Bitch

(Story used from round 1: Number 19 Good Things)

“Things are going to be so different from now on. I’m going to take you home, baby, and treat you like you’ve never been treated before. I think you’ve dealt with a lot of bullshit in your life when you only deserve good things, so I hope you’ll let me be one of them.”


Murgatroyd shifted his fat ass in his chair with the word ‘Director’ unnecessarily emblazoned across the back; his haemorrhoids were playing merry hell with him.

“How many times do I have to tell you! I want you look into those deep brown eyes of his and say those words so that people will feel your love.”

He stretched the double-e of ‘feel’ to its limit.

“So that they know, in their heart and bowels…”

Madeleine pulled a face.

“So that they know you’re going to goddamn take him home and goddamn love him for ever!”

Murgatroyd was turning purple with exasperation.

“What is your goddamn problem with that, Madeleine?”

“I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling it.”

You don’t need to feel it. You only need to act it. Then other people will feel it. That’s how this goddamn business works, goddamn it!”

“It’s just that…”

“What? What is it, Madeleine?”

Murgatroyd emphasised every syllable of ‘Madeleine’, making it sound like a sarcastic taunt rather than her actual name, which it was.

“It’s just that… Well, he’s a dog.”

“Of course he’s a goddamn dog! It’s a commercial for a goddamn canine rescue centre! Who the hell did you expect me to cast in the lead role? Ryan fucking Gosling?”

Throughout all this, Tandy had sat patiently waiting, those deep brown eyes switching between Madeleine and Murgatroyd, like she was following a tennis match.

“Jeez, these people. How am I supposed to work with such morons? For one thing, ‘he’ is a she – who are you calling ‘dog’, Fatso? And who wrote this crap? ‘Bullshit’? I’ve been in this game long enough to know that ‘bullshit’ is not a word with family appeal.”

And, having thought about the words ‘crap’ and ‘bullshit’, as Pavlov might have predicted, Tandy chose to bring an end to this scene in the way she felt was most appropriate.

8. Brotherly Love

(Story used from round 1: Number 6 Brie Yourself)

“I’m done,” he said.

“C’mon ‘Dolph. I’m your wingman. It’s my job to get you laid tonight.”

Adolf Schimdt looked at me, through his enormous fishbowl glasses, then shook his head. “You’ve taken on too great a task, Brother. I appreciate the attempt at cheering me up after Alessandra dumped me. But I’m not cut out for this.” He gazed around in fascination—guys posturing, gals tossing their hair.

“It’s not all bad. Look, that woman has a book.”

“You already drove off her friends,” he said morosely. “It’s probably titled I’ll Run You Over If You Hit on Me Again.”

I slumped in my chair and drained my Mason jar. It was true. I was a terrible second in the pursuit of the horizontal mamba. “So. Let me buy another round and we’ll just hang. I won’t point out babes who are wearing practically nothing….” Both our heads twisted to watch ass cheeks float by. “You don’t get to obsess over Alessandra’s heavenly boob job. Maybe we just talk Star Trek?”

He grinned. “Now you’re talking like a chick magnet! That’ll bring ‘em, huh.” Adolf rolled his shoulders and stretched. “All right. In honor of Captain James T. Kirk, I’ll try one of those Romulan Hazy Double IPAs.”

I collected his glass and stood. It was amazing what intent did to one’s posture—not having to think of a line to get some dame to look my brother’s way made my own back straighter. We had a table next to the bar and I soon had beers in hand.

One round turned into three. ‘Dolph grew loud. We argued about the sex life of the Borg and then Adolph latched onto the kidney pie he’d tried in London last year.

“And the cheeses they had! Allow me to explain my fondness for cheese: it’s delicious, it’s welcome at every occasion, and if you’re lucky, the beautiful woman at the end of the bar appreciates its use as a conversation starter.” He waggled a finger and I obediently turned.

She was hot but evidently had good hearing and did not share his admiration of cheese, instead calling for her tab. That made me think about checking the time and THAT made me cuss.

“Dude. We need to get back to the monastery before Brother James closes the gate!”

9. Not My Type?

(Story used from round 1: Number 10 Friday Night)

A glance at my wrist told me that I’d been enchanted for 12 minutes. Sat in the shadowy corner of the upmarket bar, nursing my bottle of beer, I’d had the perfect vantage point. She was a vision! Any woman here would be far from my ‘type’, but then this was not my normal bar. I’d stumbled across the upmarket establishment quite by accident, and after ordering my drink had taken to the crushed velvet wingback chair in a dark corner feeling conspicuous. I’d polished off my nuts when I noticed her. Something about the way she drained the Martini before starting to poke around in the glass with her cocktail stick.

Could she feel my eyes on her? Maybe. Her head began to turn in my direction so I hurriedly looked away, settling back into the safety of the shadows, and anonymity. Running my fingers over the arm of the chair, soft fabric reminiscent of sultry folds. My eyes darted back to the exquisite delight at the bar and wondered… No, don’t go there… don’t be that man.

After one final swig I approached the bar, our eyes meeting as I did. Her face was all soft lines and sparkle, none of the gloss that had intimidated me from afar, more beautiful than I’d imagined.

“Do you realise, you’ve been tantalising the olive in that empty Martini glass for roughly fifteen minutes straight now, permit me to rectify that?” It was an out of body experience. I listened in horror as the words flooded from my lips. Oh god, hurry up, I willed the bartender, wishing I could unsay everything and just disappear! But as I waited, frozen to the spot, a smile crept across her face.

“I see you’re as out of your depth here as I am,” her voice silky, smooth, comforting. A warm laugh escaped her mouth as she continued “My date never showed, but this was his choice. I’d prefer a pub, with a pool table, but here I am! Dressed by a friend who also suggested the drink, so I’d ‘fit in’. But Olives are a hard limit and… What?”

She saw the thoughts cross my face.

Hard limit? Language like that would mean she’s… Impossible…

Before I could ask, she stood up. “Beer?” Less of a question, more a command, as she brushed past me and made her way toward the exit.

10. The olive affair; saltimbocca

(Story used from round 1: Number 10 Friday Night)

The first evening in years she could go out, was a night out alone. Isabelle had asked her friends, but everyone had a family now. Those two years of keeping distance from everyone had made all her friends stay very close to their partner with engagements and babies as a result.

So, alone she went to a nice restaurant she’d heard off. One could get a drink and have a dance there. Perhaps here she could find her own husband to be and she did. In an armchair a handsome man in a tailor made suite was drinking martini with an olive as James Bond would do. “My new husband”, she said to herself.

A barstool gave a good view of him and gave her the opportunity to show some skin, which she did as much as possible without being too obvious. She sipped the drink she got from the bartender and viewed the room now and again. The man noticed her soon. He smiled and started playing with the olive in his glass.

Now the game was on. She needed to keep her nerves. Fifteen minutes later she had shown him enough, tantalised him enough. She walked over to him as sexy as she could.

“Do you realise, you’ve been tantalising the olive in that empty Martini glass for roughly fifteen minutes straight now, permit me to rectify that?” He looked up at her. He smiled an enchanting smile and she just sat down in the chair opposite to him. “Who is the man tantalising the olive?” “My name is Lecter, and I wasn’t tantalising the olive.” She hadn’t expected this answer. “You weren’t?” “No, I was tantalising you,” he said, “don’t you recognise me, Isabelle?” She looked puzzled and shocked for he knew her name, but then an image formed in her mind. The man had been dressed differently. “Yes, you ordered fava beans and a nice bottle of Chianti at the shop where I work.” “And, I told you to go out some more, for instance to a restaurant like this. So, I wasn’t playing with the olive.” She smiled mesmerised. He stood up, helped her up and gently laid his hand on the lower side of her back as if he wanted to dance. He whispered in ear: “I was wondering then as I am now whether to eat you out or have you for dinner.”

I hope it is in order like this.

11. Soul Tied

(Story used from round 1: Number 26 Times Two)

I’m at the pub.

I can’t see you, but I can feel you. Your eyes, your will, your presence as you’re sat at the edge of the bar, amongst the patrons, as tightly bound by social convention as the best kinbaku.

I love to watch you work a crowd. I love to feel your easy smile and quick wit as you make the rounds. You’re effervescent and radiant and oh so very restful.

At least, to me.

But…tonight is darker. Tonight my chaos is winning. Tonight I’m wound tight and vulnerable and I feel everything.

They’re approaching, again. I hear footfalls and guess mass and practically taste cologne. They strut and prattle, one by one, with a depth weighty as gossamer. They are so not you.

I smile politely. I nod. I know to be good.

I want to shower.

No. I want to hear my voice say ‘yes sir’ as you send me to shower. I want to lean forward and feel water cascading over my skin and know you are watching in rapt attention to every rivulet, every drop, every glimmer. I want you to want to watch me breathe.

A question pulls me from the reverie, I realize I’m looking at them, yet I still feel the ghost of your fingertips along my spine guiding me down over your lap.

They’re waiting. I’m used to being in control. This is easy.

“Excuse me?”

He flares a bit.

“I said, ‘What is it you think you got that makes you too good to drink with us?”

I blink at him.


For the briefest of moments he gapes… calls me a bitch… stalks off.

I feel gravity shift as the weight of your presence approaches.

“Excuse me, miss?” Everyone watches, waits to see you crash and burn. “Hmm, that Macallan 12 you’re sipping on is pretty good, but my roommate Carmen and I are willing to bet you’d enjoy an entirely more elusive treat – plus a generous pour of their rare Double Cask 18 that we keep back at our apartment.”

My shoulders relax into your voice. Your eyes graze me … a ghost of a smile at your lips. Yes love, I know it’s not that cold in here.

I love the look in your eyes when you watch me turn them down. When you remember it is you, only you. When loyalty burns away demons.

12. Dragon’s Blood

(Story used from round 1: Number 17 – Soaring High)

The music playing in the background was upbeat and loud. Lisa sat at a table near the bathroom and ordered herself a glass of water to start, with a shot of tequila.

A guy in his mid 20s, with a birthmark below his right eye walked past her, singing along to the song in a deep, husky voice.

“Suga Boom Boom * I’m chasing dragon, this dragons got my hand…” Stopping dead in his tracks on her left side, he spun, looked at her, and said, “Hey baby, you must be part dragon, because whenever I see you I feel like I’m flying and you set my heart on fire.”

Lisa smiled, blushed, and looked down at her hands. She had no idea how to respond to him and the quiet was becoming awkward. Finally, she looked up and said, “My name’s Lisa, but dragon lady works too.”  She cringed at the thought, Damien called her that once, just before she—. Shaking her head at the thought, as if it would go away.

“Hello Lisa, mind if i sit down?”

“No, whatcha’ drinking?”

“That’s my line.” He smiled and nodded to a waitress, who returned with a couple tequila shots and lime wedges. He introduced himself, “I’m Timothy. Will my new dragon lady friend have a shot with me?”

“Yes.” She looked at the waitress;  “Can I also have a Dragon’s Blood Cocktail please?”

The waitress said she would check with the bartender. Meanwhile, Timothy laughed a deep belly laugh, waiting for the waitress to return. “Did you just make that up?”

“No, it’s a real drink. It’s appropriate tonight.” Giving him a quick wink she continued, “If I don’t have to teach the bartender how to make it, that is.”

The waitress arrived back with 2 more shots of tequila and one Dragon’s Blood. Lisa took a sip of her cocktail, she smiled. “The bartender looked it up, and made it exactly by the recipe. It needs lime.”

He raised his eyebrows and then gave her a wink before he added, “I’d like a taste when you’re ready.”

She squeezed in lime juice, took a test sip, and passed it to Timothy. When he tasted it, he smiled and waved to the waitress to ask for another of Lisa’s drinks.

At the end of their night, Lisa had Timothy’s number and a plan for next time.

*Suga Boom Boom, Down3r, written and sung by D.L. Downer, released October 26, 2014 by MajorEpic music

13. The Old Switch-A-Roo

(Story used from round 1: Number 13 Bloody Mary)

“Hi, will the fact that I accidentally tried to kill you today, keep you from having a drink with me now?”
Lil Switch laughed and patted the barstool beside him. Mary nodded at his bodyguards, who grudgingly parted to let her through. She’d worked hard to get this seat.
“You look familiar,” he said. “I mean, from somewhere other than trying to mow me down in the crosswalk today.”
“Do I?” Mary twirled a strand of her auburn wig around her finger. She bet she did look familiar. With her spray tan and her sister’s clothes, she looked a lot like Jodi.
Still, she was relieved to see the appreciation in his eyes. At twenty-six, she was about ten years older than his ‘type,’ even though he was almost thirty.
He moved to put his arm around her, stirring up a cloud of pungent cologne. No, not cologne.

Axe body spray.
Mary almost rolled her eyes. She hadn’t smelled Phoenix since middle school and couldn’t believe a grown man still wore it, especially one as wealthy as the rapper sitting beside her. There was no accounting for taste, she supposed.
She bought him a drink, an apology for their earlier ‘incident’, and watched him study her legs as she shifted and made her short skirt ride even higher. His bodyguards had their backs to them, watching the crowd. They’d already dismissed her presence. Just another groupie, another score.

The bartender delivered their drinks. She swiveled to get hers, brushing her leg against his. He took the bait, trailing his fingers along the inside of her thigh, not noticing the roofie she dropped into his whiskey. Mary kept him distracted long enough for it to dissolve, then raised her glass.

“Here’s to making things right.”

She sipped her drink, as Lil Switch gulped his down, then loudly announced, “I have to pee.”
Leaning to whisper in his ear, she said, “Her name was Jodi, you Lil Bitch.”
Lil Switch’s eyes bulged and he clutched his throat. Mary slipped into the crowd just before someone shouted. She wasn’t sure who, but it sure as hell wasn’t Lil Switch. Unlike the roofie he’d slipped her sister, this one was fast and fatal. Mary hadn’t been able to protect Jodi, but she could protect other teenage girls.
There were some advantages to having an older sister in medical school.

14. One hundred not out

(Story used from round 1: Number 11 Mom’s Advice)

I sat on the train browsing the internet for nothing in particular when the guy opposite moved and his knee bumped mine.

“Sorry,” he said.

“No, it’s quite alright,” I replied.

Closing my laptop, we engaged in trivial chat for a while until I asked him if he was going home.

“I wish,” he replied, “I’m going to the city to carry out an audit and I’m not looking forward to it. And you, what do you do for a living?”

“I’m doing a thesis on male behaviour in certain situations,” I said. “Boring really,” I quickly added.

“Do you know any hotels in the city?” he inquired.

“You could stay at my place if you like,” I said.

“My mom warned me not to invite strangers into my house, but she also said that I should take risks, so why don’t you buy me a drink and get to know me a little better so I don’t feel guilty when I risk taking you home tonight,” I continued.

He raised his eyebrows and smiled.

We reached our destination and found a quiet bar.

After several drinks, the chat turned to more intermate things so, I suggested we walked the short distance to my apartment.

We entered and I offered him a drink but he took my hand and pulled me to him.

We were both soon down to our underwear.  I led into the bedroom and finished stripping. Laying on the bed and watched as he removed his boxers.

‘Hmm, larger than average,’ I thought.

Joining me on the bed, I pulled him on top of me.

“Please,” I whispered. He entered me. I gasped and said “Yes.”

We slowly built up to our simultaneous climax which was intense. We made love several more times until sleep overwhelmed us.

The next morning, he showered and I put his boxers in the washing machine, telling him I would forward them to him.

We went to the door. I kissed him then when he was out of sight I shouted as loud as I could “YES!”

100 different men in 100 days, I had done it. I went to the bedroom and put a gold star on my wall chart then put his used underwear with the other 99 pairs in the drawer, trophies.

As I filled in my diary, I realised that I didn’t know any of their names.

15. White Sheets

(Story used from round 1: Number 25 Awakened)

Sheets the colour of fresh snow billow around her like ghosts of nights past. She swats them away as they tangle around her torso, touch between her thighs, caress her chin. Then pulls them close, buries her nose in the pale linen. They smell of soap. No longer saturated with comfort and sweat, they are wet and cold. Cold like the bed when she awoke at day’s break to find nothing beside her but open space.

She hums a melancholy tune as she hangs each one, row upon row, line upon line, until they resemble the wall he erects between them. The one she conquers at every rendezvous, only to find it’s grown taller since the time past. The one she wants to tear down, create a love nest with instead.

A stray corner drapes her head like a veil she’s never worn. She leaves it to linger, relishes the simple thought. Plucks a dandelion, gone to seed. Makes a wish, watches it drift away. The way he does after each stay.

Sun blazes down upon her; she wipes moisture from her brow, traces the route his fingers take when he comes around. Across her temple, down her cheek, to her jaw where he grips her roughly, kisses her mouth. She settles her fingers there. Kisses him back, blows it into the wind, hoping he’ll catch it, put it in his pocket, carry it with him.

A herculean gust drags ivory linen from its perch. It flutters down the hill, impertinent of its geometric state. Feet shift wildly as she pursues the memories as if they are him. She grasps a frayed corner, the snowy fabric whips toward the sky, wraps around her. She reels it in, pulls it down, comes to face him, eye to eye.

“What are you doing here?” She wonders aloud, shocked to hear the words come out.

He takes her hand to say, “For a long time, I buried my heart’s light beneath layers of pain and anger, but somehow you’ve managed to find a way past my defenses with the simple charm of your brilliant smile and the innocent twinkle of your cerulean eyes.”

With a leap, she settles in the confines of his arms, holds him to her tight. Kisses his lips, her smile bright. He’s here now, and she doesn’t have the heart to tell him. Her eyes are green.

16. How We Met

(Story used from round 1: Number 23 Destiny)

Seven years ago, I moved here for a job that shuttered six months later. I stubbornly managed to stay afloat, working odd jobs that never paid quite enough. I stuck it out in an apartment with too many roommates and not enough toilets because I was too proud to move back home.

A year after that, you moved to the city with a guy who would leave you heartbroken and holding the lease of a two-year apartment. Then, in no particular order, you had an understandable breakdown, dyed your hair, bought a cat, and picked yourself up from the wreckage of your relationship.

That’s how two kids from the midwest both came to call this city home.

After three years of working myself to death, I swore to myself I would launch a podcast, do everything I could to keep Trump out of office, get into the dating scene, and land a full-time job. Two out of four isn’t half-bad, considering at least one of those was mainly outside my control. At least my new job would allow me to get a better apartment and afford to pay for dates.

The following year, while at the Women’s March, you complimented someone’s sign. After that, the two of you became fast friends and learned you lived in the same city. Weeks later, she posted about looking for a new roommate a month before your lease was up. She became the best roommate you ever had and was critical in helping you avoid getting back with your ex again.

That’s how two lonely hearts came to be looking for love.

Two years later, your roommate moved out to live with her new fiance. While you helped her move, the fiance would mention that his bar had an opening. This offhanded comment perfectly timed up with a growing desire to quit your day job and try something new.

That’s how you came to work next door to my work.

That’s how we met. A journey longer than our introduction to the other. A million tiny choices and major life decisions behind the chemistry between us. Utterly ignorant of how just lucky we are that our lives intersected at this point.

A wise person once told me that everything is predetermined by destiny, so my question is, should we simply fall in love now, or should I take you to dinner first?

17. Destiny Unfulfilled

(Story used from round 1: Number 23 Destiny)

“A wise person once told me that everything is predetermined by destiny, so my question is, should we simply fall in love now, or should I take you to dinner first?”

Anaiya looked away from Aiden’s blue eyes and said gently, “Can I just sign for my package? I have a meeting in 15 minutes.”

Aiden offered his handheld and a plastic-nibbed pen with a flourish. “Milady.”

Anaiya scribbled something resembling her signature and traded the handheld and pen for a package. It was reports for the meeting and she was so relieved to have them. With a dismissive wave to Aiden, she joined her friend Betalla and headed for the elevators.

“Aiden has it bad for you.” Betalla said.

“He was probably checking out your legs, too,” Anaiya replied with a smile.

As they reached the elevator and Betalla stabbed the up button with a lacquered red fingernail, a shout arose in the foyer. Startled, they looked back to see Aiden running for them.

“Shooters, Anaiya, shooters!”

“What?” She said stupidly, knowing that she hadn’t heard him right.

The elevator dinged behind them and they both jumped, laughing nervously.

“Inside,” hissed Aiden.

Shots rang out, echoing loudly in the foyer as three men strolled nonchalantly into the space, massive guns held before them.

Aiden shoved the women into the elevator and lurched in as if he’d been pushed, too.
“Up,” he said, his voice strained. “The top.”

Betalla obeyed and dialed her cell.
“Why the top? We’ll be trapped!”

“We can’t flee,” Aiden said, his voice heavy, “and we can’t fight. That leaves hiding.”
“Hello, 911,” Said Bettala into her cell. “We have an active shooter at the Kellerman Building. At least three shooters in the foyer.” She paused. “Three of us hopped an elevator; one is hit.”
Anaiya frowned. Hit? She glanced at Aiden and saw a dark spot staining his shirt’s chest pocket. He’d been shot?

He started to slide down the wall of the elevator and before she reached him, he hit the floor. His breathing was labored and when he spoke, droplets of blood stained his lips. “Sorry for the bad pick up line.”
Bettala was on her second call. “I don’t care who you are, raise the alarm. Get people OUT.”

“You’ll be okay,” Anaiya said through tears. “We have that dinner, after all. Right, Aiden?”

“Please, no…”

18. The Honeytrap

(Story used from round 1: Number 10 Friday Night)

It wasn’t what I expected when I walked into the Honeytrap Club two weeks ago on a Friday night. I’m not sure why I decided to go there. Yeah, well, I split up with my boyfriend and after a fourteen month lockdown; I desired some action. I strode to the bar and placed myself on a stool. The two seats next to mine were as vacant as my aspirations.

After knocking back a fair amount of Peronis, I spotted a guy sitting halfway down the row of drinking prospects. Fuck, he looked cool. His green eyes matched the olive he butchered with a cocktail stick in the glass in front of him. Admiring his slender hands, the dogged look in his eyes and kissable lips, my fantasies went haywire. I observed him for a while, swallowed, said a little prayer followed by a curse, and threw all inhibitions overboard.

I advanced towards him and said, “Do you realise, you’ve been tantalising the olive in that empty Martini glass for roughly fifteen minutes straight now, permit me to rectify that?”

He smirked. “It’s a metaphorical pastime.”

“Of what?”

“Just tantalizing my voodoo doll.”

What followed next is as absurd as me turning straight. We drank, chatted, flirted, and one thing led to another.

When I unlocked my front door, there wasn’t time to switch on the lights. We stripped our clothes off, dashed to the bedroom and spent a night to remember. Corny, huh? Well, it was a night to commemorate. So far, so good.

But, when I got up to make breakfast for the hunk, his jeans draping the stairs showed rusty speckles, red smudges adorned the cuffs of his pale-blue shirt he’d tossed on the sideboard in my hallway and his off-white sneakers bared blood splatters. However, the momentous shock came when I pressed the remote and twigged the Breaking News ticker, scrolling on the muted television.

Business tycoon Oliver Maggio is dead. They discovered the mastermind of the OLIVE-R imperium in a bizarre scene. Pierced with a wooden stake and his mouth stuffed with olives. The spouse of the man who made a fortune selling olives is the sole beneficiary of the assets valued at approximately $2.7 million.

When I turned around, he stood behind me. “What’s for breakfast?”

“Is it too early for crostini with tapenade?”

19. Beyond His Imagination

(Story used from round 1: Number 5 Let’s Go)

She slowly scanned the faces seated at the long, C-shaped bar from her vantage point at one end. Possibly three men that could be interesting.

‘Plaid Shirt’ looked in his early 40s, maybe a businessman, but was talking too pompously to be saying anything of substance. ‘Black Denim’ was young, maybe early twenties. He looked shy too. Then there was ‘Leather Jacket’, and true to stereotype he had ‘bad boy’ tattooed all over him. He even threw in a wink when their eyes met, and she chuckled.

Perched on her barstool, she was just draining the bottom of her old fashioned when a voice from over her shoulder surprised her. 

“So shall we go to your place or mine—the furthest stretch of your imagination or the furthest stretch of mine?”

She leaned back to take a look, and realized it was ‘Black Denim’ that had finally mustered up the courage to come over. Laughing in response to the pick-up line, she gestured at the empty seat next to her.

“That must’ve taken some balls to come up with. How bold are you?”

He was somewhat taken aback at her question and started to sputter as he tried to sit when she added “Why don’t we go find out?”

She stood up abruptly and walked towards the restrooms in the back, and meekly he followed as she brazenly entered the men’s room. Into an empty stall she went, pulling him in before slamming the door behind her.

Pinned against the wall he had no escape as she kissed him hard, his head thudding against the wooden partition. Her demanding hand dove down and grabbed his hardening crotch, before unzipping his jeans and sliding inside.

“Shhh!” he whispered frantically, as they heard the bathroom door swing open and someone shuffle into the cubicle next to them.

“Aww, a little shy?” she taunted, continuing to stroke his shaft. The delicious naughtiness seemed to spur him, and he groaned as her silky touch sped up imperceptibly. His member throbbed as she ground against him, impatient to plunge into her.

“That’s my boyfriend,” she announced, cocking her head towards the next stall, “We’d both like to find out if your imagination matches ours, so what shall it be, your place or ours?”

20. L is for…

(Story used from round 1: Number 15 Naughty Girl)

The street lights flickered as the weather took a turn for the worse. The low hum from the neon light outside the nondescript building added to the tension as he knocked on the steel door. The eye panel slid across and a gruff voice barked out ‘Can I help you?’

‘Ermmm, yes.. I’m here to see….’ Shuffling in his pocket to find his cellphone, ‘Sorry I’m here to see L.’

‘Ahhh come in Mr. Nicks, she’s been expecting you!’

Walking down the dimly lit corridor, reaching the end, a door swung open. Behind it, a room illuminated violet, inside just a chaise longue and a coffee table, littered with various beverages and paraphernalia.

‘Take a seat, she will be with you shortly,’ echoed the command.

Loosening his tie and shifting awkwardly, part nervous, part excited, he opened a bottle of water from the table. No sooner had the liquid lubricated his dry lips, she was there. Tall, elegant, her hair tumbling over her shoulders down her perfectly contoured back. She was dressed, if you could call it that, as promised. Sheer lace bra and panties tied at the side, suspenders, hold ups and heels. He wasn’t sure if the heating had been cranked up or it was just the effect L was having on him.

As she circled behind him, he suddenly felt vulnerable. In a flash her warm breath was in his left ear. ‘We both know why we are here, let’s not waste any more time?’ She took the bottle from his hand and placed it on the table, stretching her body across him and brushing suggestively over his lap.

‘I hear Good Girls go to heaven and Naughty Girls get a firm spanking; I am not sure I have been a naughty enough girl today, do you think you could help me?’ The change in atmosphere, and her directness sent him spiralling. Grabbing a paddle with one hand, his free hand reached for her wrists, she resisted, and a puzzled look covered his face. Her eyes locked on his, she bit her lip and shook her head, before untying the panties and slipping them off, revealing her perfectly rounded arse. ‘I prefer paddle to skin,’ she quipped before assuming the position. As the first crack echoed around the room, his breathing hitched as her body tensed ready for more. ‘Perfect’ she whispered.

21. Flirting with Goddesses

(Story used from round 1: Number 6 Brie Yourself)

Fidgeting with my straw, I steal another glance at Aurora, whose name I know only because the bartender yelled it when she walked in, like a scene out of Cheers.

Stunning, her name suits her well. Like her Sun Goddess namesake, her smile lights up the dim, dank bar.

I have to talk to her, to say something. I never come to bars, and the fact that this luminous creature shows up on the one night I’m here- it’s fate!

I search my mind for what to say. I’m terrible at this.

So, when our eyes connect and a small smile plays across her lips, I blurt out the first thing I can think of:

“Allow me to explain my fondness for cheese: it’s delicious, it’s welcome at every occasion, and if you’re lucky, the beautiful woman at the end of the bar appreciates its use as a conversation starter.”

A look of confusion replaces her smile.

“Excuse me?”

I panic. What did I say? Something about cheese and a woman at the end of the bar? No wonder she looks so confused.

Before I can sort it all out and explain, she turns back to the bartender.

Damnit! I screwed up my only chance. I bang my knuckles against my forehead a few times and then knock back my drink. Ready to haul my poor, awkward ass out of here, I take out a few bills and lay them on the bar. As I pull on my coat, the hairs on the nape of my neck prickle. I look to my right and a cute girl with a pixie cut is smiling at me.

“I love cheese and think it makes a wonderful conversation starter.”

I look behind me. Is she really talking to me?

“I’m Thalia.” She moves to the seat next to mine.

Giggles rise and I cover my mouth, trying to suppress them.

“Is my name funny?”

“Well, Thalia was the Patron of-”

“Comedy, yes, I know.” She tilts her head, smiling. “And you are?”

“Ca- Cassandra.”

She narrows her eyes.

“You know, I always wondered if Cassandra was a lesbian and that’s why she couldn’t love Apollo.”

I stare at her, wide-eyed, mouth opening and closing like a fish. I’ve wondered the same thing my whole life.

When I don’t respond, she continues.

“Do you want to split a cheese plate?”

22. Spanking on Prescription

(Story used from round 1: Number 15 Naughty Girl)

Jess checked her fob watch, lifting it from her pert young breast, watching the second hand sweep forwards. There was just a minute of her shift on Alexandra Ward left.

From the corner of her eye, she spotted Mr Cruikshank. There was something she found intriguing and alluring about the presence of this intelligent and commanding middle aged professional. Jess had an idea that he might be just the person to take her in hand. Eyeing him across the ward, she felt herself moistening in her white, cotton, workaday panties.

Something in Jess snapped. She found herself walking straight towards him. Brushing close by, she stopped to whisper in his ear, “I hear Good Girls go to heaven and Naughty Girls get a firm spanking; I am not sure I have been a naughty enough girl today, do you think you could help me?”

Mr Cruikshank gasped. He found his hand brushing against Jess’s uniformed bottom. “You could get me into trouble young lady! I expect to see you in my office in five minutes!” He barked.

Jess skipped to his office, anticipating and hoping for a particular sort of a dressing down. Her hand rapped against the door.

“Come!” Came the reply.

Behind a desk, Mr Cruikshank sat, wringing his large hands.

“Over my desk, skirt up and knickers down, now young lady,” Mr Cruikshank demanded, eyeing her as she teetered in her blue, checked dress uniform and black stockings.

Spreading her feet, her pretty bottom was thrust up, making a delightful target.

His hands began their assault on her form, pounding her white cheeks with his palms till poor Jess was a mess of red, throbbing ecstasy. Her panties, arranged above her knees would have offered little protection from his firm spanking but to have been made to lower them had given Jess such a thrill.

Jess found herself feeling that she wanted to be fucked; she wanted him to use her for his pleasure. “Sir, will you fuck me?” She whimpered as the last of 48 firm spanks landed across her throbbing cheeks.

“Good girls go to heaven!” he said.

Mr Cruikshank unfastened his belt, lowered his trousers to his ankles, revealing his erect penis. Without any reservation, he pushed himself into her wet plump cunt, sliding his long shaft into her pretty, ginger mound.

“Oh Sir, is this heaven?” she cried.

23. Hot Pursuit

(Story used from round 1: Number 17 – Soaring High)

“Hey baby, you must be part dragon, because whenever I see you I feel like I’m flying, and you set my heart on fire.”

My heart sinks, because all I wanted was a quiet drink and perhaps a chapter or two of my book at the end of a hard day. I wanted to be anonymous, unnoticed. I did not want to be called ‘baby’ by a boy who looks like he’s barely out of high school.

But… he does have a rather large bulge in his beige khakis, and that gets my attention.

He’s standing there with a vacant grin, waiting to see how I react to his carefully crafted line.

I’ll need to be equally careful. I don’t want to give anything away, not yet, but I do want to encourage him. “Maybe you should buy me a shot, so I can fly as high as you.”

He seems surprised at his own success. “Erm… yeah! Sure. What would you like?”

“I enjoy a Blow Job. How about you?”

He gulps, in a way that suggests he might never have had a chance to find out. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Perhaps he’s surprised at what he’s snared, and nervous about how to handle her. “Yeah, blowjobs are great.”

“This bar’s too crowded for intimate… drinks. We should go somewhere more secluded. There’s a quiet alley out back. No one would disturb us there, and I could investigate this.”

I reach out and cup his intriguing bulge. I don’t squeeze, so there’s really no excuse for his eyes to practically pop out of his head.

“Yeah! Let’s go, baby!”

When he’s got me in the alley, he pushes me up against the wall and launches himself at my lips. It’s a clumsy kiss, but I open my mouth to it, and he opens his, and I breath white-hot flames directly into his lungs.

As he lies, lifeless, smoke pouring from the ragged hole in his face, I open his flies to check that bulge.

He has a normal human penis, albeit significantly larger than average.

Oh shit. I’ve killed a civilian, not a drake hunter, and I killed him in a way that will raise suspicion among the locals. That means moving on again. It’s a shame; I liked this dimension, but I won’t take the risk of being discovered.

13 thoughts on “BFM 2021: Second voting round

  1. Round 2 Feedback from Cousin Pons
    Three stories stood out for me in round two. They were all highly original and made good use of the pick-up line they chose. I gave them 10 points each

    1.Meat Market: The chat up line is turned on its head and becomes playful repartee between the two well drawn characters in a realistic location. Got a bit lost with who was saying what at times. Loved learning a new word – ‘putzed’.

    15.White Sheets A wonderfully poetic and spiritual description of the mundane task of hanging out sheet. The brilliant opening sentence hooked me. The story flowed and billowed like scenes from a Japanese woodblock print

    16.How We Met. A stunning structure to this story, describing the twists and turns that brought two people together. In just a few words we follow a highly interesting journey that feels so real. This is storytelling of the superior kind.

    I then gave these six stories eight points
    2. Empathy for a leek. A humorous tale of a vegetable-loving assassin.
    3 Tactical Pursuit. Good use of the pick-up line in this police story.
    8 Brotherly Love. Zany humour with an unexpected punchline.
    13 The Old Switch-A-Roo. A complicated revenge story, neatly delivered.
    14.One Hundred Not Out. An unusual story and told with vim and vigour.A drawer with one hundred pairs of used underpants is quite an image.Intimate not intermate.
    23 Hot Pursuit. A whole new meaning to ‘a blow job’.

    11.Soul Tied. This had style but I struggled to follow it fully. 7 Points

    And to the remaining stories thirteen stories I gave six points. I believe numbers should be spelled out so I have mentioned this in the stories where it occurs.
    4. Work Spouse. This seemed overly complicated, but the dialogue between the couple was believable.
    5 Hotel Room Whore A role play story with a nice twist but it didn’t engage me.
    6. A Cheesy Encounter. I don’t think the cheese line fitted in well here but I liked the characters and there was a zing to the conversation. Six not 6.
    7 Dumb Bitch A good twist and a sprightly description of a film set but the pick-up line felt laboured.
    9. Not My Type. I liked “don’t go there. Don’t be that man” but he was that man and she was out of her normal habitat. But for flash fiction the story lacked a bit of zip. Twelve not 12.
    10 The Olive Affair. An interesting story and the final reveal of Hannibal Lector is good but the last paragraph needs spacing out as the dialogue has become jumbled and it’s hard to follow who’s saying what. Suit not suite.
    12 Dragon’s Blood. I enjoyed the dialogue and the hint of something in the past but this was an episode in a story and I would have liked more.
    17. Destiny Unfulfilled. A very dramatic scene with good dialogue.Two main characters instead of three might have heightened the drama in a short piece like this.
    18. The Honeytrap The olive theme was well played throughout the story..I would have preferred a more obvious ending rather than the joke though perhaps that was covering up her shock.
    19 Beyond his Imagination.I never really understood this chat up line.and for me it didn’t seem to flow with the story. The sex in the cubicle was good as was the twist.
    20. L is For..A good opening paragraph caught my interest but I felt the rest of the story needed something more to suggest the nervousness of the man, to give him more depth.
    21.Flirting with Goddesses.Well done for using the cheese line and making a virtue of its ungainliness.
    22 Spanking on Prescription.A jolly, pert, amusing story .For me the Carry On style of the first half jarred with the more direct language of the second half. Forty-eight not 48.

  2. 1. I like the confidence of the narrator, and the dinner anticipation description, but the story didn’t have an ending. It’s well written, though, so it’s on my short list.
    2. There’s a grocer’s apostrophe in the first line, so I nearly stopped reading. I’m glad I didn’t, because I enjoyed the nun joke. The rest of the story left me cold: the reluctant assassin had potential, but I wasn’t sure why he was growing vegetables, or how he thought the ‘bean can’ accident would work, or how that would have been ‘accidentally tried to kill’ rather than ‘tried to kill with an accident’. I just ended up confused.
    3. A few people used Bloody Mary, which seemed to me like a challenging line to incorporate. This story will probably have the best justification of ‘accidentally tried to kill’, but it lost me at ‘bouncing nipples’, and Cheryl somehow being aware of them at the same time as she’s aware of her bum knee. I feel like the knee pain would take preference, and the nipples are gratuitous.
    4. I really liked this one: both characters, and their relationship, felt genuine, and it told a complete ‘slice of life’ story. Short-listed.
    5. I liked the twist, which meant I went back and reassessed the set-up (I like it better knowing the twist, and knowing the author wasn’t trashing someone else’s first round entry), but the line, “It was wild and intense, and, oh so, erotic” was a little too much telling, not showing.
    6. Brie Yourself was a difficult line to work with, and cheese puns was probably the best way to go, but this ended up not being much more than a slice of cheesy dialogue.
    7. Points for having characters named Murgatroyd and Madeleine, which tickled me, but on reading the story I didn’t like either of them. The ending was clever, but felt a little contrived.
    8. Brie Yourself was incorporated cleverly (i.e. not as a pick up line), but this didn’t feel like a complete story: I felt I never really knew who the characters were, and that there was some context I was missing.
    9. In drawing up a short list, I excluded any story, however well written otherwise, which seemed to mock another writer by mocking the pick up line the author chose.
    10. The formatting of the dialogue in this story was a bit off —separate lines for each line of dialogue would be better—and Lecter/fava beans was obviously derivative, but if I’d been on the jury I would have let this one through in preference to a couple of others I’ve read up to this point. The pick up line is incorporated well, and there’s the beginnings of an intriguing story here.
    11. This is well written, but it’s only a glimpse into a larger scene that is narrowly focused in its appeal; it requires too much foreknowledge for a reader to understand the characters and the situation.
    12. This might have worked better for me if I knew the music being referenced, but even then it’s just a brief interaction between two characters: it doesn’t have the shape of a story.
    13. This is a complete story, with motivated characters, so it would make my short list on that basis alone. It has some odd formatting issues (e.g. a blank line between ‘cologne’ and ‘Axe’), but they didn’t massively detract from my enjoyment of a tightly crafted revenge tale.
    14. There’s the makings of a good story here, but it would have benefited from more show and less tell (e.g. ‘which was intense’ could have been a single adjective) and it needed more variety in the dialogue format: there’s a whole block in the form— “Saying words,” pronoun verbed. —In a duologue the later dialogue tags could have been left out completely.
    15. This is beautifully written. The first paragraph drew me in with description, and the pick up line was artfully incorporated… but it didn’t feel like a complete story. I’ve short listed it, but it probably won’t get a vote from me.
    16. I liked how the pick up line wasn’t dialogue as such, and one character was well developed… but because it’s written in the second person, that character is the reader, and the development of that character doesn’t leave much room for a story. This might have worked as the start of something longer.
    17. In drawing up a short list, I excluded any story, however well written otherwise, which seemed to mock another writer by mocking the pick up line the author chose.
    18. I’m not sure I understood who either character was, and what their relationship, if any, was to Oliver. Without that knowledge, the story lacks punch.
    19. This is a nice seduction scene that could have used some tighter writing. For example, there are far too many verbs squeezed into, “He was somewhat taken aback at her question and started to sputter as he tried to sit when she added,”
    20. A nice scene, but not a story. I didn’t know who the characters were (and why one of them couldn’t remember the name L), or what the context was. With a larger word count, and room to expand, it might form part of an interesting story.
    21. I admire the bravery of anyone who chose Brie Yourself, because it’s difficult to work it organically into a interesting microfiction. This story nearly succeeds, but turning the line into someone’s nervous babbling feels like a cop out, and slightly insulting to the writer whose line you chose. Also, ‘splitting a cheese plate’ reads like an unfortunate euphemism, which doesn’t make for a good ending.
    22. A fun little sex scene, but it is as workaday as Jess’ panties.
    23. Easily the best story in this round, as it is the only one to contain the phrase ‘normal human penis’ which I feel is an important element of any quality narrative. If Tolstoy had made use of it I think more people would have finished War and Peace.
    In the end I had four stories on my short list, plus my own, which I was never not going to vote for. I cut #1, for not having an ending, and #15, reluctantly, for vague and arbitrary reasons. I voted for #4, #13 and #23

  3. Such great, creative stories here and so much variety! The stories that made my long list were 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 15, 17, 19. I really liked the banter in 1, the twists in 7, 13, and 19, and 4, 6, and 17 made me feel a certain kind of way. I ended up voting for 5 and 15 because those hit me the hardest. Nice job everyone!

  4. Shortlisted: 1 (Meat Market); 3 (Tactical Pursuit); 8 (Brotherly Love); 15 (White Sheets); 17 (Destiny Unfulfilled)

    Voted for: 8 (Brotherly Love); 15 (White Sheets); 17 (Destiny Unfulfilled)

    I suppose it was inevitable that the assignment would steer a lot of writers towards a bar-room scenario (which I wearied of) but I didn’t expect quite so much cheese! The cheesy pick-up line wasn’t one of my favourites so I was surprised to find it a popular choice to build a story around. However, one story (8, Brotherly Love) successfully overcame that obstacle to win my vote.

    Some selective feedback below:

    1. Meat Market – Shortlisted. The dialogue is well-written and the food references really give flavour to this story. However, I’m a bit confused about the character of Gary – his opening invitation seems at odds with the shyness he acquires.

    2. Empathy for the Leek – The story does create a plausible character and plot around the line used. It was a bit let down by lot of run-on sentences, several separate sentences running into each other. I don’t get the title; is it reference to something?

    3. Tactical Pursuit – Shortlisted. Good use to the borrowed line to build a story around. But who sprints from the shower to read a text message? Some erroneous word choices (creeped/crept?) suggest that another edit might have tightened it up.

    4. Work Spouse – I liked the characters and the idea of the story but I found many of the sentences quite confusing and the ending a bit flat.

    5. Hotel Room Whore – I enjoyed the twist; it used the borrowed line well. Your writing is let down by underuse of punctuation and overuse of adverbs (huskily, wolfishly, appreciatively, ominously, obediently, protectively, rakishly); sometimes you can let the action speak for itself (e.g. ‘I complied’ already conveys obedience).

    6. A Cheesy Encounter – This is certainly true to the cheesiness of the original line! Sorry, too cheesy for me.

    7. Dumb Bitch – My own story. I’m still happy with it!

    8. Brotherly Love – Shortlisted and voted for. I’m not keen on cheese line (though it seems to be popular choice) but this story works it in most successfully.

    9. Not My Type – I got rather lost at the end (‘Hard limit? Language like that would mean she’s… Impossible…’ – I didn’t understand the significance of this). I think you should have avoided using ‘upmarket’ twice in the same paragraph. And the phrase ‘polished off my nuts’ led me somewhere you didn’t intend!

    11. Soul Tied – I’m sorry but I have no idea what is going on here!

    15. White Sheets – Shortlisted and voted for. Some lovely poetic imagery here (though sometimes a bit overly poetic, perhaps?)

    16. How We Met – I rather liked the formal structure of this. However, the use of the borrowed line at the end feels a bit gratuitous and out of place.

    17. Destiny Unfulfilled – This is good; a lot of story packed into the word limit and the borrowed line is worked in deftly.

    19. Beyond His Imagination – Inevitably this assignment has led to a lot of bar-room scenes so it needs to have something extra to stand out from the pack and I’m afraid this story didn’t have that for me. You’ve used the line that was my favourite from Round 1 but it feels a bit arbitrary; you could’ve slotted almost any pick-up line in there without the story being affected.

    22. Spanking on Prescription – This might be a very conventional (perhaps even cliché) porn scenario but I found it quite well-crafted and I think you were unfortunate not to get past the jury vote.

  5. 1. I loved the sassy confidence of the saleswoman in this scene, and the humour was on point – particularly the mention of Columbo. I can see this date having a happy ending.
    2. The humour in this flash fic was great, although our assassin was more Mr Bean than Mr Bond by the time he meets his target.
    3. I’m really ‘shipping’ these two, despite the tight wordcount there was a real story cooking and I’m a big fan of older women still being portrayed as sexy.
    4. Ahh – this was sweet, she wants to be more than his work wife.
    5. Yay! Loved the intensity of this romantic encounter and how it ramped up to a spicy wild night. The writing was great and I got a real sense of the characters.
    6. This cheesy line needed cheesy dialogue and this “meet cute” certainly delivered it convincingly.
    7. It’s a wrap! Loved everything about this one.
    9. Showed great skill at descriptive writing.
    11. I feel there was too much implied here, unable to grasp it all I was left confused.
    13. Masterful story telling, not a word wasted. I felt very invested in this vignette.
    14. Although I was impressed by their dialogue on the train, the second half of the story felt a little rushed.
    15. This felt rather laden with symbolism, although I found it intriguing.
    17. Please tell me that’s not the end of Aiden? I was rooting for him from minute one! The pace fitted with such an action-packed short story.
    18. Some wonderful details in this, particularly liked the line about vacant aspirations.
    19. I commend both the storyline and the pace.
    20. Some nice descriptive nuggets here, not sure if it fits the brief for a ‘full’ story.
    21. Wow! she got some kind of result with that corny line; use of mythical characters’ names was an interesting vehicle.
    22. I was very entertained by this scene with it’s fun dialogue, beware of trying to cram too much into wordcount.
    23. This plot was intriguing & held a lot of promise.

  6. Using a pick up line from another writer was so difficult. making it work well in a piece of flash fiction made it that much harder. Kudos to all for completing the task.
    I did a ton of research on flash fiction before I began writing so I chose stories that stuck to the flash rules, such as having a beginning, middle and end. Having the ending in the middle and the last line not being a joke or a twist (the ending is already given away), but giving extra fact or driving the point home. Few met this criteria, but I think that’s due to not knowing the rules rather than not trying.
    I won’t say who I voted for but will share my notes on all the stories eligible for a vote
    1. Meat market
    I liked how they used the pick up right away and played with it a bit. That closing line was perfect.

    2. Empathy for the Leek
    This story was fun to read, but having two different dialogue quotations at the end, without a tag (she said, he declared etc) made deciphering who was speaking confusing.

    3.Tactical Pursuit
    I thought this was a cute story, mind the attempted manslaughter 😉

    4.Work Spouse
    The original pick up line hit me close to home, but I really appreciated how it was used here and in a real-life way. The writing was well done, but nothing about the story grabbed me and held on. It was a tough line to use though, so good effort!

    5. Hotel Room Whore
    While I very much enjoyed the storyline, the lack of punctuation drove me bonkers. Good writing, but again, nothing clung to me.

    6. A cheesy Encounter
    I thought this was so witty and clever. Naming the gentlemen Mac (like Mac and cheese) was fantastic. However, I didn’t feel it told a whole story, just a part of it.

    7. Dumb Bitch
    At first, I thought the title somewhat… rude. But then I read the story and thought adding the dogs POV was very clever. While it didn’t do anything for me, the end line certainly sent the point home.

    8. Brotherly Love
    Loved the twist (but it wasn’t what I was searching for), and the way the title gave it away. I had a difficult time believing the situation or that a “brother” would be using words like “dude” though.

    9. Not my Type?
    A “type” is never clarified. This story may be difficult to
    understand for those that aren’t your type ie: riggers or bunnies….

    11. Soul tired
    I read this one twice and decided it didn’t feel like an entire story. Something is missing, although I couldn’t place my finger on it.

    13. The Old Switch-a-roo
    This had such a dark Twist. Enjoyed the correcting injustice theme but again it didn’t stick to the rules of flash.

    15. White Sheets
    Reading through the first 14 prior made this one difficult to read simply because the style is so different.

    16. How We Met
    I loved that this was a two sided story, yet told from one POV. Also loved the way everything fell into place.

    17.Destiny Unfulfilled
    This one is sad, but well written. A good play on the original pick up line.

    19. Beyond His Imagination
    The story has only began and then it’s ended, unfortunately for us…

    21. Flirting with Goddesses
    I smiled at the end, but that was about it. The writing was good, but the story didn’t do anything for me.

    23.Hot Pursuit
    This story wasn’t for me, but that’s okay. Art is subjective 😉

    Good work to all of you and good luck in the next round.

  7. I was going to leave feedback for this round, but life is just too hectic for that at the moment, so all I want to do is thank all the writers for sending in their stories. I enjoyed reading them, and think you all did well by using the sentence of someone else to craft your own stories. On to the next round, all of you 🙂
    ~ Marie xox

  8. Some wonderful entries in this round I thought. Would have liked to have voted for more than allowed, but these deserve special praise.

    23. Hot Pursuit
    This has everything I enjoy in a short story, lovely concise writing, an unusual premise , witty, nice dialogue and even better, after reading I was aware that I’d just read a well-crafted glimpse in to a much bigger story.

    5. Hotel Room Whore
    Like most of us I suspect, we will always be interested to see if anyone has taken our original story as a basis for this assignment, and this one took my story to a wonderful conclusion, nice little twist, great fun.

    3. Tactical Pursuit
    I took the same initial chat up line as a basis for my story because, a) it was a great chat up line, and b) I liked the premise of how it’s even possible to accidently try to kill someone. I think this story is a great take on that idea.

    19. Beyond His Imagination
    A deliciously naughty ‘calling his bluff’ story, I loved her confidence and the set-up involving her boyfriend. One of those stories when, with more words available, you’d like to read what happened next.

    8. Brotherly Love
    Who doesn’t enjoy a good ‘geeky monks in a bar’ story 🙂 and this one did make me smile.

    7. Dumb Bitch
    I’m a big fan when something completely original and different pops up amongst these stories, and this was great fun.

  9. First off: well done to all the writers!
    I can only imagine how difficult it must be to take a line from someone else and incorporate it into your own style and story. There were many stories I loved and some that didn’t work quite as well. But that’s why it’s a competition 🙂
    Good luck to everyone!

    1. The story is charming, but it takes a long time to get to the conclusion. As a former retail worker I was more annoyed with this customer than aroused. The sentence from round 1 was well implemented.
    2. I like the original take on the story. It’s not often you hear from professional assassins. But to me the story was too convoluted. Why kill the shrink too, or tell us about it? And who’s the one growing vegetables? And toppling a stack of cans on a person is very unlikely to take their life, something I would guess a professional killer to know.
    3. I enjoyed this story. I loved the cinnamon setup cause I believed that would make someone who’s allergic, very miserable. I could picture Robinson very well and I could well imagine wanting to have coffee with him.
    4. I loved this story. I disliked the sentence from Round 1, cause I didn’t see how you could make a story about ‘seizures’ attractive, but you totally did it. My only critique is that the final sentence seemed a bit rushed.
    5. I loved this story! I guess I’m too naive, but I really didn’t figure she was his wife until the final paragraph. Very well done, it made me laugh out loud. Every sentence in this story works for me.
    6. The sentence from round 1 was well integrated in this story. I would have left out the first one-third of the story, since it adds little to the narrative. And, though clever, I would have toned down the cheese puns a little. It was a bit too cheesy for me.
    7. I loved the setup, it’s very well-written, without the ‘haemorrhoids’, but I could have done without the dog thoughts. The fact that she was acting with a dog was punchline enough. It detracted from the story.
    8. It’s a cute scene, but little more than that. It’s watching two men talk. There is little development and definitely no punchline.
    9. I like this story, it flows well. I loved this sentence: ‘I listened in horror as the words flooded from my lips. Oh god, hurry up, I willed the bartender, wishing I could unsay everything and just disappear!’
    10. It’s a nice story. It could have done with a few more line breaks and the romance in the final paragraph could have been closer up.
    11. I was intrigued by this story, though a bit confused too. I loved the speaker’s devotion to her partner and the burn made me smile. I loved the set-up, but it could have been a bit clearer.
    12. This story is well-written and I loved the build-up, but then it just…fizzled out. I was disappointed nothing really happened.
    13. This story is very strong. I loved the set-up with a famous rapper who is hitting on his groupies and the ruse was well-done. I was a bit confused whether I roofie could kill, but it was explained in the text. The only thing I was uncertain about was the last line. Somehow it felt a little out of place.
    14. This story I didn’t believe. You can’t just lure a boy from the train to your house like that, not even with suspension of disbelief. I like the idea of seducing 100 different men in 100 days, but it could have been described better. And you would know you didn’t ask their names before you reached day 100.
    15. I’m not one for poetic prose, but this one was very well done. Every sentence flowed well and it worked really well with the sentence from Round 1. Beautiful story.
    16. This story is a nice description, but it is little of a story. There’s no conflict, nothing resolved, it’s just a long list of things that happened.
    17. I was a little confused with this story, but I loved how it transitioned from a romantic story to a sad murder tale. The story could have been tighter, probably by giving Bettala a smaller role. It was overall definitely emotional, so well done.
    18. I liked the original idea of the story, but it was a bit too messy for me. Is the hunk the killer? Is he the spouse of the man murdered? What’s going on here? I also thought there were too many styles mixed into one piece.
    19. I liked the setup of this story, a strong woman walking up to a man and firmly seducing him. I thought the last sentence a bit confusing. Why would her boyfriend find it enough to be in the next stall? How would he know she was in the next one? But other than that, good erotic story.
    20. I was disappointed with this story. It’s so well set up, but then it doesn’t add up to the expectations in the final paragraph. Overall I thought the action was too distant and I didn’t quite understand the relation between the two characters. Why all this secrecy for a spanking? Is she a prostitute or a secret lover?
    21. Great story. I loved the goddess names and they were well incorporated with the narrative. I love this sentence: ‘I panic. What did I say? Something about cheese and a woman at the end of the bar? No wonder she looks so confused.’ I could really feel her pain, well done.
    22. It’s a good story with nice scenery, but a bit too distant for the subject matter. I didn’t really believe why she would get the spanking, and fucking, except for needing to because of the line from Round 1. And I definitely didn’t believe that would make her feel like heaven.
    23. I love this story! The ending was definitely a surprise twist. It was so well done that I believed every bit of it. I’m sorry for the poor guy, but I’d love to read more about this dragon. I guess it’ll have more tricks up his sleeve!

  10. 2 – Loved the humour in this! 

    4 – Some great imagery in this. 

    5 – A bit heavy on the cliches. And on a point of fact. Sex workers NEVER meet clients in hotel bars.

    7 – I totally loved the quirky humour of this!

    9 – A bit heavy on the description. Less, is often more.

    11 – I loved the way this is written. Spare and taut. And showing that less is more.

    13 – Interesting story and cleverly told but the writing was a little flat. 

    14 – And there was me thinking this would be about cricket! Interesting story but the rather pedestrian narrative didn’t grab me. 

    15 – This has just such good ideas and some great imagery but, at times, it veers off into excessive description.  

    16 – No action, no dialogue and just, well, flat 

    17 – This was OK but the drama of the scene was not really conveyed by the rather colourless language.  

    19 – I was thinking mmmmmm not sure and then the ending was really hot with a twist at the end. And I am a sucker for naughtiness in the loos! 

    21 – A Sapphc story with soft cheese and beautifully told!

    22 – Yes! Doctors and naughty nurses are a bit of a cliché but this is so well done. 

    23 – This didn’t entirely convince me but it was fun! 

  11. I am really sorry that the business of life has “tied me up” a little recently and not in the way I like to be bound! Which means I have not managed to write feedback – but I HAVE read all the stories more than once – and so if you would like a comment from me regarding your story please DM @more_matters on twitter or email me

    I will say I think you all did a brilliant job and the scores going thru to the public voting round were very tight
    May x

  12. 1. Meat Market – (Good character development and dialogue, plus it was a cute story – I could see it was headed somewhere, so while there wasn’t a traditional story arc, there was forward movement and possibility that kept me interested. Also, good opening and closing lines – it felt complete. A few errors in tense-shifting, so I took a point.)
    2. Empathy for the Leek – (This left me with more questions, and it felt a bit awkward. The vegetable business just felt “off,” and I didn’t get a good enough sense of either character. There were also several run-on sentences.)
    3. Tactical Pursuit – (Well done! Excellent description and word choice. I got a real sense of the character, and I love how you managed to use this pick-up line – which was not one I particularly loved in the first round…so bravo for giving it the life it deserved and making it work for me in context! I like how, through repetition of the phrase, stupid Robinson, we realize, bit by bit, that she has a thing for him. A perfect end.)
    4. Work Spouse – (Nice job incorporating the pick-up line. I got a sense of both characters and felt the emotion between them via the realistic dialogue. It didn’t wow me with anything that stood out as particularly noteworthy or memorable, hence the lost point, but it was still a great scene.)
    5. Hotel Room Whore – (Not a bad story. Some good dialogue and word choice. I was thrown off by all the missing end punctuation. I didn’t find the end to be much of a surprise, but I like the idea of a role-play like this none-the-less, and the pick-up line was used well.)
    6. A Cheesy Encounter – (I like the element of humor and appreciate that you made this pick-up line make sense to me, since it didn’t the first round. It felt like a real conversation, and I got a decent picture in my head of these two having a conversation at the bar.)
    7. Dumb Bitch – (Okay…I laughed out loud with this one. The dialogue was fabulous. And the character development was well-done; I really got a sense of that director – what a name! – through your concise narration. You really saved that pick-up line for me! And the title?! Love it! A perfect finale.)
    8. Brotherly Love – (Hmmm…two Brothers from the monastery? While that did throw me for a loop, I didn’t find it very believable. I’ll give you points for making that pick-up line work in context though! Not an easy one to do.)
    9. Not My Type? – (Nice job. Characters are developed well, and I like the little details thrown in here and there that paint a good picture of what is happening in the scene. The ending pulls it together nicely and gives it both a sense of completion and possibility.)
    10. The olive affair; saltimbocca – (This one was a bit awkward for me, trying to pull in the Hannibal reference, and the last line just seemed a bit off.)
    11. Soul Tied – (I like the writing here; I’m definitely drawn in by what is omitted. My questions motivated me to keep reading. But, I still had the questions at the end, and I’m not sure they were answered.)
    12. Dragon’s Blood – (This one was just okay. It didn’t leave me with any particular feeling, and while it was decently written, there was nothing particularly memorable about it – though I did have to look up the cocktail. The end felt a little anti-climactic. I was waiting for something to happen…but it never did.)
    13. The Old Switch-A-Roo – (Yowsa! I wasn’t expecting that.)
    14. One hundred not out – (It had potential until the sex scene, which was more a recounting than a scene. It needed more description.)
    15. White Sheets – (While the writing is good, so little happens in this story. It’s hard to hold onto. I liked the first line and the last.)
    16. How We Met – (I like how this one is really one long pick-up line ending with the borrowed words. It’s a little wistful, and very much a monologue, but I liked it for its personality and all the little details along the way.)
    17. Destiny Unfulfilled – (Either this feels like the beginning of something much bigger or a very sad, premature end before a story could even start.)
    18. The Honeytrap – (I was a bit confused by the last bit of dialogue. I get that the guy killed Oliver, but is there some significance in this? And who says the last line?)
    19. Beyond His Imagination – (I like the pull-together there at the end…and the reference back to the original pick up line.)
    20. L is for… – (Good description. More of a scene than a story.)
    21. Flirting with Goddesses – (Cute and witty.)
    22. Spanking on Prescription – (Good description. More of a scene than a story.)
    23. Hot Pursuit – (Hmmm…an interesting twist.)

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