Microcosms 180

Greetings, flash fictioneering friends, and welcome to Microcosms 180!

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 on this post. (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.)

Decided to go random again. I think the specific prompts are pretty fun, so I tried to come up with some interesting ones. Apologies for the late post. Dealing with some unfortunate (and unfortunately chronic) health issues.

Also, it’s time to announce the Community Pick(s) for Microcosms 178.

Huge congrats to:

Don’t forget to vote for your favorites from last week and this week, too. MC 179 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:

Art Thief / Circus / Fantasy

Well, this should be interesting!

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.)

  • Doll Maker
  • Influencer
  • Collector
  • Illusionist
  • Fashion Designer
  • Trapeze Artist
  • Masked Dancer
  • Art Thief
  • Factory
  • Shooting Video
  • Showroom
  • Stage
  • Catwalk
  • Circus
  • Masquerade
  • Museum
  • 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 181
Microcosms 179

4 thoughts on “Microcosms 180

    299 WORDS
    Twitter: @steveweave71
    Instagram: steveweave_cheese

    I looked at my latest haul with a degree of happiness and precision fermentation. It couldn’t have gone smoother. The months of learning highwire skills from trapeze artist, Seldon Thrush at the Circus Boulamanger had paid off.

    Nestled among trees in the Rue du Serpent, I sensed the two Grimwald trees offered best elevation for me to swing into the open top window of the Musee Vary Aarti, home of the three pieces I had my heart set on. Seldon smiled with satisfaction, shouted adieu and returned to the Circus for the evening show. He and his wife, Petunia, were serving up something special for the patrons that night and it had nothing to do with Renaissance Stew.

    From the trapeze I literally flew in through the open window, landing rather awkwardly. My muscle code was set to RED HIGH. I hobbled to the silent elevator and ascended like a superhero.

    I flinched while admiring the three pieces. Such mouth-watering paintings from the famous, ill-tempered Belzonian goalkeeper Joszef Szentmihalyi.
    – The Terrace Behind The Goal.
    – Zoega 12 Dynamo Tredlegge 0.
    – Bring Me Cheese, Woman, I Am Lost In Your Eyes.

    Scenes from his native Zoega and painted while he played football for his local team. In 1947, Zoega were the best team in Belzonia and he was able to paint while his team were busy scoring goals in the opponents net. These paintings were purchased by the Musee in 1953 from Szentmihalyi’s gypsy half-brother, Janosz, who was patching with an unpleasant starillion nervous ache at the time.

    With these in my possession, I could negotiate with the Belzonian aurthorities for the return of my chateau and puppet theatre in the capital, Ringstad. These were confiscated from me during the twenty year civil war from 1920 to 1934.

  2. Garfunkel

    WC : 300

    Art thief / Circus / Fantasy

    Sal Page


    His real name was Arthur but he liked to be called Art. Like Art Garfunkel. It was a lot cooler. Bridge Over Troubled Water. Feeling Groovy. The Sound of Silence. His hair was like Art Garfunkel’s but there the similarity ended.

    His second name was pronounced ‘Tay If’ but spelt thief. He’d no idea where it’d come from. All he knew was he’d been found in a brown cardboard suitcase under a box of broken umbrellas in the lost property closet at Piccadilly Circus tube station.

    America. Cecelia. Homeward Bound. The records had been in the suitcase with him. He had slept on them. They were a bit warped.

    Art imagined his mother as soft and pale with lots of curly curly hair. His day dreams were filled with the image of her searching for him. Running into the tube station calling his name, her shoes, for some reason wooden clogs, clattering & sliding on the escalator steps.

    He had a recurring fantasy of folding himself back into the brown suitcase so as to be ready for her return. Curled in the dark, staring out through the lock, his bones fusing together and his skin crying out to be stretched.

    Scarborough Fair. The Boxer. El Condor Pasa. Baby Driver. The songs ear-wormed their ways around his head. And he knew she sang them too.

    So many imaginings, day dreams & fantasies.

    It had been forty-seven years.

    He decided to change his name to Garfunkel. Garf Unkel. As Mr Unkel, as Garf, he could stop all these crazy fantasies about his Mother. Mum. Mummy. Mama.

    He could get himself a proper job, a tidy haircut & a savings account. A bucket list. A bucket. A plan. He could settle down and grow and expand.

    And become truly ready for her return.

  3. Ageless Beauties
    300 words
    Art Thief / Circus / Fantasy
    A.J. Walker
    Twitter / Spoutible: @zevonesque
    Website: https://awalker.org


    Reginald Royale was an ebullient man of indeterminate age, with one of those faces that never aged and a coy smile that would make people feel protective about him. He’d looked about twenty to me for the last thirty years. We’d always meet up when his circus was in town. He could truly get away with murder with that smile. Last week I found out the truth about him – he was no baby faced assassin: he was getting away with grand art thefts in the towns the circus visited.

    I looked again at the Monet on my bathroom wall. I dare say hanging it in the wet room was not the most sensible call. But I’ve not been tarred with the sensible brush. He’d gifted it to me when we were in the Grand Gin Palace last Tuesday.

    He told me such a story over a night of countless spirits; it was over a week ago and I still haven’t recovered. It was such a blur I became sure the things he told me I’d dreamt. I mean how could the man be three hundred years old? He didn’t say what he was, other than different. Said he’d been with the circus ninety years; occasionally dipping out to ‘recharge his batteries’ on an idyllic tropical island, his house stuffed with stolen treasures. Said he loved ageless beauty, but he had so much that he’d decided for every new item he’d have to throw out one. Hence my gift.

    In the mirror I saw my pallid features looking old and tired. The Monet and me in the mirror. Beauty and the beast. I wondered if I’d grow to love or hate it. To be surrounded by ageless beauty may not be a good thing when compared with your ever deteriorating self.

  4. Hippodrome
    294 words
    Art Thief / Circus / Fantasy
    A.V. Arsic
    Twitter @lilbreezes


    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    Mallory veered off the path without her usual pad or pencil, yet she took notes. It was her annual wildlife safari trip with her family. A coterie to which they felt they belonged. Recovery time, she called it. A revelry all her own away from the misfortune of trophies of ivory and fur her husband stole.

    She took a whiff of the glandular scent blowing off towering Brachystegia trees, while jungle ropes hung like a trapeze for the treetop dwellers, juggling the jewels of their gonja and passion fruit. A far cry from her home of constricting cages and bars of the banal – jumping through hoops to please the others. She felt the heat and sweat roll down her back and tickle her spine.

    Then the scent changed. The air smelled of danger and demise. The sound a high-pitched heterophony that was the opposite of a hallelujah harmonizing orchestra.
    Just a merrymaking masquerade of the mind. No bacchanal of better outcomes this was not a joyful jubilee, but a grind show put on by her mind every year when a Ferris wheel took her on the same inescapable ride. Chained and subjected to the same saturnalian rounds made by a string of doctors with their strict regime wearing their Santayana masks.

    The ropes tightened around her wrists. The disinfectant smells returned. She was obedient, sitting on a drum of human withering with no conviviality to be found. Feeding the greedy beasts of the pharmaceutical companies in reclusive exclusivity.
    The doctors said it was a shame. Imagine, having to repeat your worst life experience until you die. To relive your most traumatic event over and over on a carousel of perpetual nightmares without end.

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