Microcosms 179

Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 179!

Before we get into the prompt, we have some changes for you this year! Here’s a brief rundown (details can be found on our FAQs page):

  • Weekly and monthly contests! Weekly runs Sunday – Saturday. Monthly runs for the full month.
  • Weekly will have a community pick winner. Monthly will have both community pick and judge’s pick winner(s).
  • You can enter the same story from your weekly contest to the monthly one, if you like, or write something new. We also have a default spinner you can use now if you don’t like the prompt(s) offered. Enter as many times as you like!
  • Judging is “on your honor”, unless judges request blind entries.
  • We’re now using the Pacific Time


  1. You have ONE WEEK (Sunday – Saturday, midnight – midnight) Los Angeles Time (PST/PDT) to submit your masterpiece.
  2. All submissions must be no more than 300 words in length (excluding the title and other header info)
  3. NO FAN-FICTION, please, and NO USE of COPYRIGHT CHARACTERS for this contest.
  4. Include: word count, the THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry
  5. If you are new to Microcosms, please check out the full submissions guidelines on our FAQs page.

Please use the following format when submitting your entries (feel free to copy/paste and edit or save a copy of the Google Doc linked below):

My Amazing Story Title
XXX words
Element / Element / Element
My Preferred Name
Optional: website or social media link 1 (please include full URL)
Optional: website or social media link 2 (please include full URL)
Optional: Yes, I am open to derivative works, including audio productions. Please contact me via one of the above channels for more information. /// OR /// No, I am not open to derivative works at this time, thank you.


My amazing story content goes here.

You can use HTML to add a link. Example:
<a href="https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic">https://twitter.com/MicrocosmsFic</a>

Please kindly use this format, then copy/paste your response as a comment. (It’s totally fine to be creative with the “words” part, like “253 ripe bananas”, as we’ve seen some people do in the past.) Not using this format with NOT disqualify you. But it will help us out if you do use it.

We have prepared a free and easy-to-use, pre-formatted document in Google Docs to help simplify things. Just save your own copy and then replace the content with your own. (Sometimes, adding links will get your comment flagged by the spam filter. If you think that happened, please contact us for assistance.)

Inspiration is totally random, have fun!

Also, it’s time to announce the Community Pick(s) for Microcosms 177. We have a four-way tie.

Huge congrats to:

  • Jaime Bree
  • Steve Lodge
  • A.J. Walker
  • Vicente L Ruiz

Don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. MC 178 Community Pick(s) will be announced at the end of the week.

Happy writing!


(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be a guest host, please contact us.)

Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, location/setting, and genre/style.

We spun, and our three elements are:

con artist / pageant / Comedy

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button below, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – character, location and genre. You can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you. (Don’t like any of these? Try our default spinner.)

  • translator
  • dog trainer
  • abductee
  • beauty queen
  • garbage man
  • tech support
  • con artist
  • scuba diver
  • hotel
  • pet store
  • ghost town
  • pageant
  • warehouse
  • call center
  • prison
  • boat
  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Sci-Fi
  • Action
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Poem
  • Comedy

We are always and forever in need of assistance. If you have any spare time to help, we will happily accept. Even something as little as 5-10 minutes a week would be amazing. (You have no idea.) To find out how you can help, please visit our volunteers page.

Microcosms 180
Microcosms 178

3 thoughts on “Microcosms 179

    295 words
    Con artist/pageant/comedy
    Steve Lodge
    Twitter: @steveweave71
    Instagram: steveweave_cheese

    The annual Hawkmeadow Traditional Fayre Pageant was in full swing in the grounds of Hawk Hall. There was a fight in the beer tent, kids were running around everywhere and Lord Hawk had passed out on the tomb of one of his ancestors.

    No casualties yet in the Darts On Horseback event. Dark clouds above threatened the Outdoor Naked Mandolin recital, with relocation to the village hall an option.

    The Renaissance Stew was proving popular as always. Not so for Tess Tickle’s Homemade Pickles. Amy, the baker’s wife described it as smelling like the groinal area of a well-known local rugby player, after a tough match in the scrum. How she knew this information remains unclear.

    Anyway, I deliberately came last in the adult sack race and took the sack back to my car. I wrapped it round my stomach, kept it in place with strong string and then waddled obesely to the cordoned off entrance area to Hawk Hall. Corrigan, the butler, met me and herded me inside. We filled the sack with jewellery and ornaments from a side room much favoured apparently by Lady Hawk herself. She entertained her friends there to evenings of orgiastic merriment, naked ukulele recitals and renaissance stew laced with Titanix Beer and broccoli. Such decadence.

    All went well until I was spotted leaving the Hall with a full sack over my shoulder by Lady Hawk and Roland Butter, the gamekeeper.

    “What’s in the sack, big man?” she asked.

    “I was told to collect these by His Lordship, milady.” I smiled, cool as a cooler. “I believe he said some are for prizes later and some for the Charity for Confused Waitresses in the village.”

    She stroked the gamekeeper’s beard and moved on. I headed back to my car.

  2. Life’s Rich Pageant
    300 words
    Conman / Pageant / Comedy
    A.J. Walker
    Website: https://awalker.org
    Twitter (and Spoutible): @Zevonesque

    The pageant was a riot of noise and colour as drummers, dancers, the services, sports teams, choirs and every type of person in the town (with the exception of the emos) paraded. Meanwhile Jeremy Bateson (that’s what his wallet contents said) was crying: it was a good technique to attract appropriate targets.

    Chloe had been watching the parade for an hour with a friends she called Gin and Tonic. Sometimes depending on her mood that concoction could make her morose or happily tipsy. She’d never know before she started which way it would go. Today when she saw the crying man at the edge of park the ‘gin’ had appeared to drive her to “emotionally maternal”. That’s how it appeared: she’d been drinking water.

    She crossed the road dodging past the last of the barely dressed drummer’s from Olde Anna’s Whore House. She noticed that the woman she almost tripped into was enthusiastically banging her drums with two colourful dildos. And she certainly seemed to have a good rhythm going. Chloe almost forgot the crying man.

    She got a wriggle on and stepped onto the verge as a spinning bottle, launched by someone from O’Reilly’s, missed her. The staggering troupe had evidently hit the sauce gallantly early.

    Jeremy, who’d spotted her heading over, spent half an hour with her giving her a plausible and most sad story about how shit his life was. She consoled him as expected. She was going to be such an easy mark for his con.

    Chloe couldn’t believe how easy it was to rob the sad man. Must have been all his sobbing. He never noticed his pocket being picked. Her favourite motto was “don’t leave a crying man with money in his pocket.”

    Her colleagues too were doing brisk business. Life’s rich pageant indeed.

  3. Lights Out
    299 words
    Stephanie Ellis


    The security lights on the perimeter fence flickered. In a beat, Andy’s radio crackled. “Get the dogs out. You too.”

    He was their contingency plan when the electricity failed. Best of all, his dogs were permitted to bite as hard as any 4,000 volt fence. He had no problem with that. Andy was only too delighted to obey for a change—these were his kind of orders.

    “Come on, lads,” he called to the animals, opening the gate to their pound. “Walkies.”

    A slight movement at the corner of his eye caught his attention. He pretended not to notice, didn’t want them going back to safety, spoiling his fun. A faint light glimmered in the Governor’s office. He could see the man’s outline at the window.

    “You want a show, Guv? I’ll give you a show.”

    The dogs streamed towards the escapee who had stopped at their noise. He didn’t run. Simply stood and waited, as did the dogs when they reached him.

    Why hadn’t they attacked? Andy ran over, but as he closed in he sensed a change in them, a feral quality. Nor could he see the man’s face which was turned towards the Guvnor. Andy followed his gaze, spotting as he did, hundreds of other shadows watching from the windows. He felt a prickle of fear.

    “Guvnor wants a show,” said the shadow. “Let’s give it him. Go on, boys. Dinner time.”

    Andy turned and ran but the dogs soon caught him, pulling him to the ground and tearing into him. His screams brought no help. “Why?” he cried, with the last of his breath.
    “Because some things are best hidden in the dark,” said the shadow standing over him. “No questions are asked then, are they?”

    They were his own words—and they condemned him.

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