The Surprise – FFFPP – 2019 #1

Title:  The Surprise
Word count: 190 words

MorgueFile Fidler Jan New Year’s

Evan didn’t feel like going out. It was Friday night and his friends expected him, but today was his birthday and birthdays were a huge disappointment. Following the holidays meant he had endured years of presents marked “Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday too.” He was older, and wiser but it still hurt.

As he arrived at the bar, a thunderous boom echoed in the cold night air followed by an ear-piercing whistle that guided his eyes skyward. The missile exploded in a red blossom.

“Surprise, Happy Birthday, Evan,” his friends shouted as they swarmed around him.

“What?” Evan twirled catching glimpses of familiar faces as another rocket hurtled into the air with a boom.

“Do you like it?” Shelly asked.

Evan nodded as the rocket exploded.

“Remember, they cancelled the New Year’s display because of bad weather?” Shelly shouted to be heard over the crowd. “Well, we convince the council to set them off tonight,” she explained, “For your birthday.”

Evan smiled as another chorus of “Happy Birthday, Evan” erupted from his friends.

The boom of another rocket turned heads skyward, and Evan smiled. This was his best birthday ever.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Investigation — FFfPP

Title: The Investigation
Word count: 190 words

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Rick replaced the camera on the bed and scanned the one-room studio apartment. It was spartan. A single folding chair sat angled next to the window. A card table stood not in front of the chair, but behind it. The table held a stained ashtray devoid of ash and butts. A roll of black trash bags lay by the door, otherwise, the room was empty. No pictures hung on the walls, no clothes in the closet, no toiletries in the tiny white bathroom.

With two steps Rick crossed the room and sat in the chair.

“What do you see, boss?”

“Guess,” Rick replied.

“The victim’s apartment?”

“Her bedroom, the bathroom and… Hand me the camera with the telephoto,” Rick said. He extended his hand and waited. Feeling the camera’s weight, he moved it to augment his view, and spun the lens ring, refining his focus.

Rick laid the camera on the card table and stood. Despite excess paint clogging the jamb, it opened easily. He grabbed the camera, held to his eye, and scanned victim’s building.


“She’s not his only victim,” he said. “She is just the first reported.”


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Twins — FFfPP

Title: Twins
Word count: 200 words

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Henrietta Hen was a good layer, with a good temperament and laid double-yolk eggs. We placed thirty eggs in the incubator, selected from the best hens on the farm. We marked each one with the hen’s name and collection date.  Candling the eggs, we checked for life. One of Henrietta’s eggs excited me and raised concerns.

This special egg held two embryos.  Our hatch rate in the incubator ran between eighty and ninety percent so we expected a loss. But I determined the twins would survive. I tweaked the temperature, obsessed over the optimal humidity level and checked conditions every hour on the hour, day and night. I counted days and held my breath.

Chirping sounds emanated from the egg on day nineteen. Straining, I identified two distinct voices, they had almost made it. The next day cracks appeared in the shell. I could barely contain my excitement as the shell broke away piece by piece. Tiny feet stretched and kicked through the membrane revealing the two tiny creatures.

My wife hung over my shoulder, watching them.

“Are you gonna name them?”

I looked at her and smiled like any proud papa.

“My dear, let me introduce Sugarfoot and Tenderfoot.”


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion — FFfPP

Title: The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion
Word count: 195 words


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Calder sprinted through the house, picked up his bag, grabbed his keys and headed for the door. Running late was his normal morning routine.  He stepped onto the deck, locked the door and slung his bag over his shoulder before he saw them.

Puzzled, he looked around, searching for clues. They weren’t his, and he didn’t remember them when he came home last night. No, the deck had been empty. He remembered dropping his keys trying to get in and he certainly would have seen them. Why would someone leave a pair of shoes on his deck?

Calder looked around, searching for their owner. At the corner of the house, a green shirt waved from the lilac bush. Intrigued Calder walked over and pulled it loose. The shirt’s back bore a Grateful Dead logo proclaiming “The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion.”

Footprints in the dirt beneath the bush lead towards the pond. Calder followed and found a pair of jeans in the grass next to the path. A ribbon of gold glistened and glowed across the pond’s surface.

Calder absentmindedly dropped his bag, his keys slipped from his fingers and he waded into the water.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Ode to Georgia — FFfPP

Title:  Ode to Georgia
Word count:  185 words


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If Georgia could use a sun-bleached cow’s skull, Kacy figured she could. When she asked her mother, her mother got weird.

“You want what? You need your head examined. No one in their right mind wants a dried-up cow skull. It’s against the law.” Her mother continued ranting.

Kacy stopped listening, planning to stop at the butcher shop after school.

“You’re one of those artsy kids, aren’t you?” the butcher asked concentrating on his work.

“I’m an artist too, you know. Most people don’t think so. The way I figure it, this animal,” he paused, jabbing the knifepoint at the hunk of meat he was cutting. “This animal gave its life so we can eat. It’s my job to use every bit. Make sure nothing gets wasted.”

“Come back next week. I’ll have your cow skull. Okay?”

Kacy nodded.

A week later, the butcher presented her with her very own cow skull.

“You’ll do a good job. That’s one lucky cow,” he said handing Kacy the carefully wrapped and tied package.

He smiled as Kacy left the shop, holding the skull tightly against her chest.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

In Time of Need — FFfPP

Title:  In Time of Need
Word count: 175 words


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It was a recurring dream, a nightmare really. She walked through fog barely able to see, her next steps uncertain and precarious. Searching.  Pursuing and pursued. The dark specter, a constant force, pushing her forward, denying her rest, threatening to overtake her. And then she screamed.

This time she did not wake. The dream was real. Her heart pounded, echoed in her ears, drowned rational thought. Her stomach tightened, choked her throat, cut off her air supply. She gasped and lurched forward, not ready to die. Salvation lay hidden in the fog.

Running now, adrenaline coursing through her body pushing her past her limits, and beyond the edge. Her next step did not hit the ground, she tumbled, falling, reaching, grasping nothing. A hand caught her, suspended in time, she searched the hooded face and saw only darkness.

“I can grant more than Salvation.”

The words filled her head, and she closed her eyes.

“Where is Salvation in your time of need?”

Despair consumed her.

“You only need to say the word.”

She nodded.



Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Honey — FFfPP Week 38

Title:  Honey
Word count: 190 words


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Honey showed up on the farm one warm spring morning. She was thin, her fur matted and dotted with cockleburs. Honey was shy but friendly enough. After a good meal, she allowed me to comb her and gently remove the burs. I called her Honey because of the color of her coat, but the name accurately described her personality. Honey proved to be a good hunter, she would disappear and return with prize captures of pigeons, mice, and other varmints. I exchanged her quarry for a meal, a bath, and quiet companionship.

All summer I watched after her, knowing she was more than capable of taking care of herself but happy when Honey came to visit me. Summer faded to fall, and I received news Rob suffered injuries in the war. Each day I waited, and Honey waited with me. The days crept, and my worry grew. How badly was he hurt, and did he have someone caring for him? The day came, and Rob arrived. His wounds were deep, but they would mend. I heard Honey moved on to Johnson’s farm where Rachel waited for news of her husband.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Chevy — FFfPP Week 37

Title:  Chevy
Word count:  180 words


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This summer we lost the red Chevy pickup in a sea of weeds. Bob asked if I remembered seeing it. I pointed to a patch of six-foot-high water hemp and redroot pigweed. Dotted here and there was Queen Anne’s Lace, milkweed, and thistle. As the weeds swayed in the breeze, you could glimpse the top of the cab.

“Hm, someone needs to see about that,” Bob said before he turned and headed to the barn. A couple hours later, Bob had dispatched the weeds, and the Chevy stood proudly on the rough-cut field.

“The Chevy looks lonely out in the field all by its lonesome,” I said to Bob as we sipped our morning coffee in the kitchen.

“I suppose someone should do something about that,” Bob said before draining his coffee cup. He set the cup in the sink, gave me a peck on the cheek and headed to work.

Later, I paused my work and saw the Chevy had new friends.  Piled on the truck’s bed, in the cab, and the ground were hundreds of pumpkins. I laughed.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

World’s End — FFfPP Week 36

Title:  World’s End
Word count:  200 words

section of high rise apartment building

Michael (Black) Ritter pexels-photo-41506

I spin through revolving doors leaving sirens, bus exhaust and the thundering din of a thousand people behind me. Hank waves from the security desk where he chats with another guard. I enter the metal cube, the doors close and I fly skyward. Up and up, forty-five stories in the air. My ears pop as I ascend, and a melodic ring tells me I have arrived. I am home.

The apartment is sparse; I require only the essentials. It is a welcome relief from the sensory overload that pummels my nerves whenever I am elsewhere. Floor to ceiling windows enclose the apartment and offer views of the city skyline, the sea, and sky. Clouds roll, black and foreboding advancing on my sliver of heaven, my haven at the World’s End.

I lay on the hardwood floor as the storm engulfs me. The building shifts and sways, glass windows bulge and wind howls through spaces and gaps I cannot see. Rain pelts the windows while far below tiny people sprout umbrellas and traffic slows. I envy the storms rage, an emotion from which I am banned. My apartment cradles me, rocks me, eases tension from my soul. At last, I sleep.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Gift — FFfPP Week 35

Title:  The Gift
Word count:  200 words

MorgueFile May 2018 file1831341080767

Daddy said Mother’s Day was coming, and we needed a nice gift for Mommy.

“I know. Breakfast in bed,” I said. Daddy agreed. We decided pancakes, syrup, juice, coffee and a flower would make a pretty breakfast tray.

The big day arrived. Daddy woke us early and warned us to be quiet. We sneaked downstairs to create Mommy’s breakfast tray. She was surprised! When she ate, we raced downstairs to eat our pancakes.

The kitchen was messy, and I loaded the dishwasher and started it like Mommy does. I wanted to help, but I didn’t realize there was a difference. Soap is soap, isn’t it? The dishwasher spewed bubbles everywhere. They crept from the sides and leaked out the bottom. They cascaded over the top joining the ones on the floor.  The bubbles advanced filling the kitchen floor. I didn’t know what to do.

“Mommy,” I cried.

She raced into the room wading through bubbles to stop the dishwasher. I thought she would be mad, but Mommy laughed. She grabbed my hands, and we danced. As we danced, they swirled around us and bubbles floated into the air. Mommy said she loved bubbles. They were the best Mother’s Day gift.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer