Apr 092015

Happy Thursday. Ready to write? A couple of exciting announcements first:

After this round we’ll be voting for our favourite stories from MB1.14 to MB1.26. If you haven’t been a winner yet, this is your last roll of the dice for this quarter. Good luck!


FlashDogs HQ has given me one golden ticket to give away in this week’s contest. This ticket will give the winner the opportunity to contribute to the 2nd FlashDogs anthology and have their writing in print. The prize is open to anyone who does not already have a golden ticket. If this applies to you, and you want your entry to be considered for the prize, please add the phrase ‘golden ticket’ with your word count and Twitter info. I’ll be selecting the winner of the golden ticket independently of the regular contest.
Questions? Ask away.

Playboy is a men’s lifestyle magazine that features journalism, fiction, and glamour photos. Many well-known writers have been published in Playboy, including Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Chuck Palahniuk, P. G. Wodehouse, Haruki Murakami, and Margaret Atwood. At it’s peak Playboy had a circulation of over seven million. Today it has a loyal following of around one million readers.

Today is the 89th birthday of Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner. Hefner’s playboy lifestyle is well documented, but his philanthropic activities are perhaps less well known. In 1978 Hefner helped organize fundraising efforts that led to the restoration of the Hollywood sign, and in 2010 he donated $900,000 to a land-purchase scheme to stop development around the sign. In 1984 he had a subspecies of Marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) named after him in recognition of his financial contribution to its conservation.

A happy birthday to Mr Hefner with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: A. Strakey via CC.

Photo Credit: A. Strakey via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Jacki Donnellan, winner of MB1.24. Read her winning story and what she has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with PLAY and ending with BOY and incorporating the photo prompt.


Anyone, but especially you!


Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘who is the the author’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.


Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).




Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation is allowed) will be eligible to win.

  260 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.26 – PLAY [micro] BOY”

  1. The Lost

    “Play the song again, Dad,” she says, lost under the vibrant city lights and the euphoria of the heroine. I hum “Little Ghost” by the White Stripes again. It used to be his favorite song, now it’s hers. She rests in my armpit like he used to do when he was little. I look at her eyes. There is no life there. Just the dark circles of prostitution, overdose, and imminent death.

    “I’m cold, Dad,” she says. She shivers. I drive the knife into her chest and weep. I couldn’t endure seeing him suffer like this. My poor boy. My poor confused boy.

    103 words

  2. Purpose,

    “Play, they tell us. Going outside is good for you. Eat your vegetables. God loves you. Don’t touch yourself there. Society perpetuates these lies.”

    “You ask why I did it?”

    “Nope, we don’t care,” The priest says. “We’d prefer you stop talking.”

    Energy jumps through my arms as the sadist guard jiggles the switch.

    “I teach appreciation. Suffering provides perspective of how sweet life is.”

    I look to the press corps, but none ask for clarification. I wasted all this effort coming up with something profound.

    I turn to the guard. “I did for them, but these idiots will never understand. Screw it, light me up boy.”

    107 Words of Golden Ticketness

    • I really like the dialogue in this one. Your first line is fantastic. “Society perpetuates these lies.”

    • Interesting take on the bookends, Michael. Is the subtle connection with the photo prompt paedophile murder? If so, I understand the guard juggling the switch… Very atmospheric piece.

      [ The first two paragraphs sound like they are spoken by the same voice – the MC. If so, to make it clear, the convention is that direct speech extending over more than one paragraph has the closing quotation mark left off the end of each paragraph until the final paragraph. Just sayin’ 🙂 ]

      [Also, in the last line, should it be “I did IT for them…”?]

      • D’oh! “…jiggling the switch”.

      • By no means was there even a thought of paedophilia in there. I’m pretty mortified that the connotation could be reached. The only way any of those bastards make it in my stories is via a slow trip through a meat grinder.

    • What a justification – ‘Suffering provides perspective of how sweet life is’.

    • Really interesting take. He’s an arrogant character. You’ve created an extraordinary scene in a very short space. Well done.

  3. Appointment

    Play safe now, you’re whispering. Repeating it to yourself like a mantra. Shrink into the cover of the wall. The beasts are out in the jungle-city and you’ve felt their hot breath on your neck. Nearby a cat screams in the dark. Sensing him coming? Your shoulders shudder and stiffen. A sharp whistle and hiss, a tug on your sleeve and you’re running with him, close as lovers, pumped.

    You push together into an impossible opening. His eyes, too close for focus, are dead as a ragdoll’s. You scrape your neck on rough brick, sweat beading, heart thumping in your temples and then, quick as that, he’s gone. Delivery boy.

    110 words
    “Golden ticket”

    • Great first paragraph. the words have a nice fluidity, not sure get the delivery boy thing at the end, however?

    • Wow. Gritty. I like how you can almost taste the world of the story. (Not that you’d want to!)

    • I pictured him trying to deliver something before being mauled by a dangerous animal, a peril of the job for any delivery person so the ending suited my line of thought.

    • I would have replied to your entry before but I wasn’t really able to grasp exactly what was going on, especially with the MC being referred to as ‘you’ throughout and, as Craig mentions, the enigmatic ending – care to eblighten us?
      But I did find the whole piece very atmospheric and gripping. You paint a very grim picture of the mean streets of Abergavenny. Who knew?

      • Ah, it is for the reader to make their own interpretation Geoff, though I fear I may not have given enough clues. Abergavenny, I am pleased to say, is not (usually!) like this. I’m glad you found it gripping anyway!

    • So enigmatic! And very atmospheric, as has been said.

      I have a few questions… And this is by no means a critique. I like ambiguity – it’s so fun to see what different people think, especially when things can be interpreted In different ways. I always get a kick when someone tells me what they think of something I wrote, and I’m scratching my head, like, “What? How in the world did you come up with that?” lol

      Here are my questions:

      1. The cat senses him coming – him being the delivery boy? Or something else?

      2. Are we running with the delivery boy?Reading it, I felt like we were running from him, but the inclusion of the other person confused me a little.

      3. Are we hiding with or from the delivery boy?

      4. His eyes are dead… Were they always this way? Or is that because something just happened?

      5. Does “gone” mean he died? Or is it “gone” as in the threat has disappeared? Or did he vanish before our eyes?

      6. It’s called Appointment. What (or who) is he delivering?

      My first instinct, and this is probably way off, is that the “appointment” is with Death, and the delivery boy (one of the “beasts” of the city) was coming to collect us. We hide, out of sight. My partner does not make it. The delivery boy passes, not seeing me. I have lived another night.


      Something to do with a drug deal.


      A meeting/tryst with a supernatural/forbidden lover. (Though I haven’t worked out the delivery part for that one.)

      So many possibilities… What fun! Will you share your intentions? I would love to hear them!

  4. Word Count – 110 excluding Title
    ‘Golden Ticket’


    “Play time” he whispers in his ominous tone. I hate his games, they make me cry. I used to love being his special girl, sweets, dresses all type of treats.

    Mom said he was a miracle worker helping me come out of my shell after Dad left us. Showering me with attention I think Mom got jealous at times. No need for jealousy now mom as she gets the treats so we can have alone time, me and Mr. Miracle.

    Bunny was my security blanket but I rescued him today. Lost him on purpose my secret he won’t tell. I’m hiding but he finds me, wishing I was a boy.

  5. Reunion

    106 words

    “Play it again.”

    The screen returned to life. A stark image, a deserted city street, a shadow moving just off-camera; a body staggering, become a crumpled heap, a mere rag doll.

    “Sir, you don’t have to …”

    “Zoom in,” I ordered, ignoring her pitying look.

    The lifeless form grew larger, larger, swallowing up the screen, swallowing up what little hope I had left.
    When he had stormed out of our house all those years ago, he had sworn I would never see his face again.

    But he was wrong.

    Closer, heart-sickeningly closer, heart-breakingly closer, the face became clearer until at last I was reunited with my boy.

  6. Siblings

    (word count: 108)

    ‘Play fair.’
    That’s what our mother would say to my brother and me when she’d visit us once a month at her sister’s.
    Our aunt would smile politely and hold her tongue. She would always hold her tongue. It was the main reason we loved her.
    Mother would then offer us each a chocolate bar but we wouldn’t accept until we’d received our aunt’s nod of approval.
    ‘Why does she need to offer us anything at all?’ My brother would ask half-heartedly. But we both knew why.
    However, that morning her visit had a purpose.
    She’d come with news.
    She was pregnant.
    And it would be a boy.

  7. Trinket Box
    (105 words)

    ‘Play!’ prods the electronic voice in her head.
    She picks up her pace, an hour in and her tits and legs ache. She’s nauseous. Contorting and twirling make the air crawl up her exposed skin. The sensation triggers her synapses. She wonders if the men below still give their daughters music boxes that play You Are My Sunshine while the stiff pop-up ballerina spins.

    ‘Plaything number 1. You are thinking!’

    Before she detaches again, becoming a distorted rag doll in a glass box, writhing  for the ‘nice men’, she allows one last lucid thought to fire across her brain:

    ‘Please make this one a boy.’


  8. Word Count 103
    ‘Golden Ticket’


    Play time at the zoo
    Is feeding time too

    The elephant a doughnut did dunk
    then swallowed it whole with his trunk

    The chimps had a biccie
    to go with their tea

    The donkey went hee haw
    and ate some rhubarb raw

    The tiger had some wine
    which he shared with the lion

    Along came a parrot
    who ran off with a carrot

    Then there was the emu
    who went for the stew

    The snake sneaked some cake
    that the hippo did bake

    Feeding time was great
    everybody licked their plate

    Such a special joy
    when seen by every girl and boy

  9. Born a Boy
    109 words
    golden ticket

    “Play ball, Hughie,” Dad said.

    The metal bat crashed against the innocent heads of the dolls. Porcelain shards littered the room like a murder scene: one eye, half a smile, and a broken nose.

    Hughie, in her princess bed, grasped her bunny lovey as she pulled the covers up to her chin.
    The acrid smell of alcohol stung her nostrils as Dad stumbled toward her.

    He yanked the bunny out of her arms and threw the window open. Hughie and Dad watched as the bunny fluttered like a feather then landed on a rock below.

    He spat the words. “I’ll never call you Lily. You were born a boy.”


    Brian S Creek
    110 words

    “Play it again, Stan,” says Mike.

    The toy bunny rewinds the cassette player concealed in its belly and presses play.

    Several seconds of heavy breathing followed by a static baked voice.

    “I hunt the hunters.” Then a maniacal laugh.

    “Who is that, Stan?” says Chris.

    The rabbit pulls out a notepad and starts to write. Mike reads over his shoulder.





    Before the name can be revealed a gunshot rings out from across the street.

    Stan’s chest explodes and he collapses on the sidewalk. His stuffing fills the air like snowflakes.

    Chris scans the buildings but the sniper is gone.

    Mike looks down at Stan. “Oh boy.”

  11. Mama’s Words

    103 words

    Play with fire and you’ll like as not get burnt. Play with fire and you’ll like as not get burnt. Mama’s voice rides round my head. Round-a-round-a-round like the Music Express at the fall Squash Fair.
    Seems kind of a silly thing for her to say. But I reckon adults go around saying dumb things to help them forget they ain’t as clever as they hoped.
    Mama’s been burned plenty. Always suffering on account of being dumped by another bum she thought loved her.
    Well, I ain’t burnt, and I ain’t gonna get burnt on account of no boy.


    • “…adults go around saying dumb things to help them forget they ain’t as clever as they hoped.” Drat! My secret is out!

      Relatively upbeat story, Clive. Well done!

      [ I see you’re hedging your bets by using both “burnt” and “burned”; my dictionary says either can be used as both past participle and past tense – every comment from me worth its weight in golden tickets! 😀 ]

    • Love the voice in this! Here’s to hoping she gets off that Merry-Go-Round.

      p.s. It probably wasn’t intentional but the flavor reminded me of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZfj2Ir3GgQ.

      Great song.

    • World weary so young – sad.

    • I also enjoyed ‘the voice’ when reading this one and the pace.

  12. Unbearable Lightness

    ‘Play Misty for me.’
    Her husky rasp had once been considered sexy.
    ‘Relax… Jerry? I’m no stalker. Lordy! Your face… Priceless!’

    Lola uses that early-morning line on all the late-night DJs she picks up. When she’d worked as a hostess, it was punters who chased her, plying her with booze, drugs, lavish presents. But that lifestyle takes its toll; one day, inevitably, you’re discarded, like a cuddly toy that’s lost its charm.

    She pours two fingers of bourbon, swallows it in one, then lights a smoke: Breakfast of Champions.
    ‘Will I see you again?’
    ‘Joking, sugar!’
    She rolls over, wearily adding, ‘I’m not looking for a toy boy.’

    Word Count: 110

    [ What the hell! I’ll bite… Golden Ticket, please. ]

    • I think those guys are called “boy toys.” Just sayin’.

      • As far as I’ve been able to tell, “toy boy” is more British English, “boy toy” American English.

        Not that I’m speaking from personal experience!

    • There’s a delicious melancholy here underneath the surface of the text. Well done!

    • Such a jaded tone to this woman. Sad. (Toy boy def. British way of saying it.)

    • Thanks, everyone, for the feedback on the Americanism ‘boy toy’. One of the few gaps in my encyclopaedic knowkledge plugged!
      The first draft had the MC definitely based in US, and a bunny in a Playboy Club but I thought that might leave me open to legal action! So I made her more generic (but bourbon and Breakfast of Champion don’t strictly tally with this). However, I remember hearing that quite a few British females ended up as Bunny Girls.

    • First time I’ve heard toy boy. It’s funny that two words describing the same thing can get mixed up crossing the pond. It’s like a game of telephone.

      Loved the line “she pours two fingers of bourbon. ..” it has a pleasent rhythm to it.

  13. “Play with me”.

    “I don’t want to.”


    Bunny had been out since that afternoon and it was only now that the reflux began to subside. The regurgitated stuffing coated her pretty flowered dress and now sat sticky, clumpy and stinking of Babycham.

    Not that he could identify the original alcopop smell, he just saw the after effects. It was enough to turn a 6 year old off drinking for life.

    Police sirens echoed off the city walls and headlights sparked her eyes and forced her to squint, tightly.

    “You know, you’re no gentleman.”

    He frowned.

    “No, I’m just a slightly repulsed boy.”

    103 words
    #Golden Ticket

  14. Four Letter Word

    “Play”. The word curdles in his mouth and he grimaces as he spits it out at me.
    Why would I want to play? Play is for babies, play is for idiots, play is for people who don’t live in the real world.
    He is king of the Realm of The Real World. He is rows of buttoned buttons and straight edged stacks of paper. He is lines of faultless numbers and sharp edged advice.
    I am meant to be the heir to the throne and I am found wanting. Because I still want to play.
    I believe my father was born a man, never once was he a boy.

    109 words

  15. Mr. McHuggleston

    “Play with me Alfie!”
    “Nuh uh, you like girl toys, like dolls and that stupid bunny!”
    Bert’s bottom lip started to tremble.
    “Mr. McHuggleston isn’t stupid! He’s got magic powers!”
    Mimicking what Bert had just said, Alfie came over and snatched the soft toy from his brother.
    His mocking laughter turned to an inarticulate shout of fear as the decrepit rabbit levitated from his hands, surrounded by an aura of unearthly colours.
    “What… what’s going on?! Stop it Bert, I’ll tell mum!”
    “I SAY UNTO YE JUST THE ONCE, SINCE HE BE KIN,” a voice thundered in Alfie’s mind “DINNAE MESS WI’ THE BOY!”

    104 words
    golden ticket

  16. Joint Custody (109 words) golden ticket

    “Play the tape back Joe.” Three police detectives leaned over a cluttered desk, heads cocked, trying to pull information from the 911 call.

    Seth Collins had been abducted that morning. The emergency call came in at 8:03 AM and lasted only 23 seconds. The 8 year old boy made the call from under his bed before he was discovered and pulled out by his ankles. That’s when the call ended. The last sounds on the tape were a male and a female yelling.

    “He’s mine!”….”No, he’s mine!”

    Seth grabbed his stuffed bunny. He needed it. It was like a brother to the brave boy.

    • Sad situation.

    • I had to read this again as having first assumed it was child abduction, by the end and about to scroll away it called me back – Seth Collins is the bunny toy? the male and female screaming in the call are kids, siblings? Now I’m giggling and relieved it’s maybe not as serious as how it could be interpreted alhtough that it also implied. Fantastic twist and very clever to have such potential double meaning in the story 🙂

  17. @NJ Crosskey
    110 words
    “Golden Ticket”

    Hoppy’s Lament.

    Play dead, that’s our calling. Oh, it’s easy to scoff from behind your cellophane, but you’ll learn. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

    It’s not all tea parties and tiaras. See this? Stitches. She bit my tail off, summer of ’09.

    But that’s not the hardest part.

    It’s when she pulls you close, at night, and hot tears drench your matted fur. Every ounce of your stuffing wants to reach out, tell her that someone loves her, YOU love her. But you must be steadfast, even as your heart is bleeding.

    Oh, come now. Chin up lad. It could be worse. You could have been bought for a boy.

  18. Cash In Your Chips
    109 Words
    *Golden Ticket

    Play the hands you’re dealt, they say. But the one’s saying it are usually holding an ace. Most people get a couple low cards, aim for a full house, go all in, and lose everything.

    Sometimes the smart thing to do is fold, wait for another round. Bastard driving the coupe likely had too many. Ran the red, swerved away from the truck and jumped the curb hit a lady pushing a pram, both dead.

    The driver’s daddy is on the scene. Talking down to the officers, naturally, like he does it for a living, and he probably does. Picks up a royal flush on the flop, oh boy.

    • Another sad story. I like your use of gambling terminology to show the ‘dicing with death’ nature of your story.

    • Another one that grabs me for potential multiplicity of meaning – though I’m still not sure how to interpret this story and it’s leaving me intrigued…

  19. Fluffsy
    110 Words

    Play was no longer fun for Fluffsy. His girl had removed both his eyes in the first five minutes, and that was over a year ago.

    Enough was enough.

    Kitten-Mittens, oldest and wisest of the toys, warned him against escape. “You’ll never make it,” she said.

    “I have to believe I can,” he said.

    He didn’t make it far. There were too many people and he couldn’t stay alive with human eyes on him.

    The stone was cold and his heart ached.

    Small hands grasped Fluffsy’s remaining ear. A child’s voice cooed “Bunny!”

    And because he had taken a chance, Fluffsy became the beloved plaything of a charming little boy.

  20. Hippity Hop High (100 words) golden ticket

    “Play that Snoop Dogg, yo! And don’t bogart that joint.”

    Spread across a linoleum table was a pound of sticky pot and a triple beam scale. Four hoodie clad thugs picked seeds and stems out of the pile and weighed out ounces of the green buds.

    Outside a young professional slid an envelope containing $400 through the mail slot, skipped down the steps and walked casually to the corner. He turned and kept his eye on the window directly above the stoop of the derelict row house.

    He saw the window lift and a small toy fall to the street. It felt like Christmas when he was a boy.

    • Great take on the prompt, Steve. You seem to know an awful lot about the industry…

      [ You missed the ‘e’ off the end of ‘envelope’ – where’s Dan Quayle when you need him? 😀 ]

    • Grim story accentuated by the contrast with the dropped toy and childhood memory.

  21. Art and Life (110 words) golden ticket

    “Play night tonight Emma! It’s show time! We’ll pick up Chinese food on the way to school.”

    It was opening night of the Shepard Junior High School performance of Oliver Twist. Wardrobes were easy. Students were asked to wear ripped and dirty clothes to look the part of street urchins and raggamuffins.

    At a stoplight on the way to the school Emma noticed a homeless family huddled in a corner of a building, tucked out of the wind. She rolled down the window and held up the brown paper bag, motioning for them to come over. Emma said hi, smiled, and gave her dinner to the dusty boy.

  22. Playing for Keeps
    110 Words

    “Play for keeps,” she said. Always for keeps; never for fun. She’s been repeating that phrase since we were kids. Consequently, she had taken all of my marbles and baseball cards. In junior high she managed to take all of my candy and spare change. By high school, she had taken my heart.

    Her need to feel alive was insatiable. As we graduated college she became plagued with ennui. Last night she spun the chamber. One in six chance. No need to stack the odds in her favor. She played for keeps.
    I am now an empty shell, feeling abandoned and alone like the discarded stuffed toy of a boy.

  23. A Late-Season Run

    “Play ball,” yells the umpire.

    It’s a chilly opening day for the Hughson Marsh Rabbits. The boy, glove in hand, cap on head, huddles against his father. It will get warm soon enough. Nights will swelter. And after a day’s work, what’s there to do but watch grown men toss a ball around the horn? If they’re lucky, Heff might have another good season in him—keep his Rabbits playing into the fall. God, he used to be so young. I hope he never hangs ‘em up.

    “Having fun?” he asks his son, shelling a peanut for him.

    He nods and picks them out, one at a time.


    (109 words)

  24. Emily Clayton

    ‘Golden Ticket’

    For the Love of Rigby (109 words)

    Play time ends in tears. Every day.

    I watch the jubilation streak across her pale face, and just as quickly I watch the anguish. She wants to get out of that wheelchair; she wants to run with her friends like she did only six months ago. Now, she’s resigned to living without freedom.

    She twists the sad lilac bunny around in her hands. Rigby. What a strange name.

    “Mama?” she asks, the waver in her voice apparent.

    “Yes, love?”

    “Will I ever be normal?”

    Tears just roll down my cheeks.

    She tries to smile, but fails. “If I leave, you’ll take care of Rigby, right? He’s a good boy.”

  25. Forgetfulness
    (110 words)
    golden ticket

    “Play and come home”, she had been told.

    Make sure to come home.

    And she was almost home. Her hand hovered over the beloved doorbell: she always pressed it three times just to hear it ring.

    Today, however, her hand halted as realisation hit her like a truck. Darn. She forgot her toy rabbit. Scared for its fate, she immediately turned to retrieve it.

    Perhaps due to agitation, or perhaps it was the simple carelessness of youth, but she stepped out onto the street-

    A few streets away, a toy rabbit lay, dirty and soaked in the January rain. Three days later, it was thrown away by an unsuspecting boy.

  26. Foy S. Iver
    WC: 107

    Restore Us to Memory

    Play me a song of forgotten fires.

    Of dreams that burned like boastful sun through glass.

    Of hope resurrecting–remember, Brother–those creatures created without breath, how they found life in the garden, button eyes bright.

    Pen me an epic brimming with half-remembered sonnets sung to maidens wielding claymores. Knights ready to defend when trolls picked and shoved.

    Take us back to times before we met with jilted desire, lived on never-dark streets, worshipped Stability.

    We were king and queen there once. Warring at times but united against all else.

    Shall we try for our offspring’s sake? Can we teach them how to be girl and boy?

  27. Together
    (90 words)


    “Oh boy!”

    • Oh boy indeed, breakneck honeymoon – not literally though! I was playing along with the word association as I read down.

      • Thanks, Steph. You’ve made my night. So pleased to get your two comments. I’ll be commenting tomorrow. Can’t wait to read yours.

        • I like to comment, simply to let people know I’ve read their story. I think we’re all the same, looking to see if anyone’s read our work, feeling left out if someone else seems to have a billion comments and you have none; I don’t think I’ve read or will read a bad story yet on this site so commenting is no trouble anyway. Writers are sensitive souls (I know I am!).

    • I too enjoyed playing along with the word association but stumbled with the footnote until it conjured the lucky rabbit’s foot! 🙂

  28. @stellakateT
    99 words


    “Play poker?” enquired Sweaty Sam
    “Sure” said the demure little Bunny.

    She joined the table, trying not to show too much thigh and eye balled the seven others sitting around the mahogany. They were all high rollers with their skyscraper piles of chips hiding the opulent fat that wealthy men acquired with ease.

    She’d learnt to keep her face blank, occasionally licking her lips to fool the ones that thought they could read body language. The occasional tiny smile crept across her fragile features when Big Marty won mega bucks. She was his ace card, he was her boy.

  29. Mister Bunnykins Goes for a Spin
    A.J. Walker

    Play time was over; it was bath-time for baby George when David came home. Except it wasn’t today.

    “Love,” said Samantha. “Won’t have his bath until Mister Bunnykins is back.”

    Gary quickly said his prayer to his hapless god of peace and quiet.

    “Lost again?” Gary said to his wife. “I’ll have a quick scoot around.”

    Samantha smiled awkwardly. “Don’t waste your time, I know where he is.”


    “I accidentally put him through the wash.”

    “So, he’s clean for once.”

    “Unrecognisably so. Remember that red towel from Poundland?”


    “Your underwear was in the same wash. Historically I think pink used to be the colour for a boy.”

    (110 words)

  30. Blameless
    (110 words)
    Golden Ticket

    “Play Date Ends Posthumously”, read the headline. Some editor’s sense of humor belying his humanity; selling tragedy had become the modus operandi for his profession. The photo portrayed teary eyed neighbors gathered for a candlelight vigil, weeping as they placed flowers and toys on the charred steps of the daycare. Ashes from the glowing embers hovered like snowflakes.

    The article blamed poorly maintained smoke detectors, and negligent supervision. It went on to demand poor parenting be brought to light and held accountable in a courtroom. No one wanted to believe that such a tremendous catastrophe could be caused by something as small as a match and an innocent little boy.

  31. Squatting (110 words)

    Play me a tune, baby, to awaken this death squatting in my body. It’s leaving littered notes, sticking to my innards. I ignore them, illegible scribbling of a madman.

    Maybe I’m the madman. When you left, I felt like a child that’d lost his favorite toy down the sewer. It was floating away on a river of shit.

    My eyes watch the windows, the skies, any opening to see a hint of your shadow’s return. Waiting only serves to water the death; misery is like its cherry blossoms.

    You aren’t gonna play that tune, though, are you? Your throat went dry. Probably my doing.

    A toy disillusioned with the boy.

    • Grim.

    • ‘Waiting only serves to water the death; misery is like its cherry blossoms.’ What an image! I also love the death ‘squatting’ in his body. Wonderfully dark imagery.

  32. A series of tests

    @geofflepard 109 words

    Golden ticket

    ‘Play it again, Sam?’
    Mrs Battersby said, ‘Matty’s asking his imaginary friend if he can trust you.’ She registered Johnson’s frown. ‘Like Woody Allen?’
    Johnson spoke softly. ‘And what’s the answer?’
    Matty held the manky rabbit to his ear. ‘Affirmative captain.’
    Mrs Battersby nodded. ‘He’ll go with you.’
    Johnson led Matty out into the corridor, muttering. Matty hung back. ‘Come on boy.’ He glared. ‘What are you exactly?’
    ‘More human than human.’
    ‘That’s it.’ Johnson grabbed the toy and hurled it from the window.
    Matty screamed; heads appeared. ‘What’s up, Doc?’
    Matty held a finger to his lips.
    ‘What’s going on, Matty?’ they asked.
    ‘He’s mad about the boy.’

  33. @6bloc9
    Saturday Night Feeble

    Play led me here and won’t help me now, lost. My feet feel like flippers, the will to move is gone.

    Everything was fine until I hit fresh air. I was dolled in my finest lilac, smelling like a peach. I should have accepted the breakfast invitation, left early. Election fever! I shouldn’t have danced the night away. I should have remembered my coat and bag, called a cab.

    Now I’m stumped, lilac finery greyed by orange haze. Dressed up like a dog’s dinner. Alone. Helpless. I hope the flashes are traffic and not passing paparazzi. Blinded. Giddy. A politician cannot be seen in a state like this! Flopped! Boy!

    (110 words)

  34. Wonder
    100 words
    (golden ticket)

    _Play with me._

    Charles looks to his left. A ratty cloth rabbit stares up at him from the broken stone step.

    “I can’t. I’m late.” Though for the life of him, he can’t remember what for.

    _Play with me._

    The city swirls around him, neon and Gucci and honking taxis and take-away curry. His fingers trace over the soiled terrycloth. He can’t, he can’t leave it.

    Can he?

    _Play with me._

    He picks up the rabbit, its heart throbbing against his. It’s scared too. He kisses its head. The rabbit laughs and runs away, hand in hand with the boy.

  35. — Radio Times, BBC One London, 10 April 1975 —

    Play For Today, 21.25

    Earth Calling Lewis by Des Brewster

    Withdrawn and innocent Lewis will only communicate with his parents using Bucky, a cuddly toy. One morning they wake to find their son’s room empty – surely Lewis wouldn’t run away?

    With Patrick Troughton as Graeme, Elizabeth Spriggs as Hazel, Peter Firth as Lewis and Colin Welland as the voice of Bucky.

    The Sky At Night, 23.00

    Join Patrick Moore on a guided tour of the constellation Lepus and learn how to spot Alpha Leporis, the white supergiant.

    Weatherman / Regional News, 23.30

    Closedown, 23.40

    Richard Briers reads William Wordworth’s “There Was A Boy”

    109 words

    • Like it. Makes me want to listen to the programmes – I would’ve been 10 (almost 11!) then.

  36. Give Us A Clue

    ‘Play… and a film.’
    ‘Three words.’
    ‘First word… THE.’
    ‘Third word… GEORGE?! No… MAN?’
    ‘Smaller… Smaller than a man? MIDGET!
    ‘Not midget. Erm… DWARF?’
    ‘PERSON OF RESTRICTED GROWTH! Sorry… One word, isn’t it?’
    ‘Starting again? Third word… Sounds like… COTTONTAIL.’
    ‘He pointed at Mikey’s rabbit over there.’
    ‘That manky old toy?’
    ‘He’s saying you know… TOY? Yes!’
    ‘So, sounds like TOY, smaller than MAN…’
    ‘Yeah! THE something BOY.’
    ‘It’s BOY, not BOYS.’
    ‘I know! THE WATER BOY. Adam Sandler film.’
    ‘It’s THE… WATERBOY. Two words.’
    ‘Another clue… Second word… Running in slow-motion?’
    ‘Now he’s waving his hands in the air!’
    ‘Got it! THE WIN-SLOW BOY!’

    Word Count: 110

    Golden Ticket

  37. One Year, Five Months, Thirteen Days, and Seven Hours

    107 words
    Golden Ticket

    “Play with me,” she’d said.

    “Not now. I’m busy.”

    “Fine!” she’d shouted, before stomping off.

    It had taken him a while to notice that the house was too quiet.


    He searched every room, slowly at first, then running in panic.


    His heart stopped when he saw the front door was ajar.


    He found her beloved, stuffed bunny lying in the street.

    And nothing more.

    Their parents said that it wasn’t his fault. But their eyes betrayed them.

    She would have been six today.

    He cradled the bunny in his arms and placed the gun between his teeth, forgetting that, at fifteen, he was still just a boy.

  38. (Thought I’d try the same opening line with a very different story. Lol)

    The Night He Became a Man

    110 words
    Golden Ticket

    “Play with me,” Bunny said, once they were alone. Outside the bedroom door, the party raged on.

    Hugh stared at her for a moment, unsure if he’d heard her correctly.

    “Come on. We’ll have such fun together.” She stumbled towards the bed, laughing.

    God, she was beautiful.

    Her body was warm, welcoming; her eager lips tasted like liquor. “I could use some help,” she said, fumbling with her bra.

    How many nights had she not remembered? Or been left like a discarded toy?

    “What’s wrong?” she asked. “Don’t you want me?”

    “You have no idea,” he said. “But I think I should take you home.”

    Today, he was no longer a boy.

  39. 110 words
    “Golden Ticket”

    “Play with me!”
    “Ugh. Fine. How do we play?” I studied the worn, dirty pink plush rabbit staring back at me through one button eye.
    “He tells us what to do. It’s your turn.”
    I looked at my sister, confused.
    “He tells us what to do? How?”
    She tapped the side of her head.
    “In here.”
    The floorboards creaked as if in response to the soft pitter-patter of rain outside.
    I don’t know why I did it. I couldn’t stop myself. Her neck was so soft and white and easy to snap with my rough hands. I looked up, horrified.
    She went limp.
    The rabbit seemed to smile.
    “Good boy.”

  40. The Game of Life
    (100 words)

    Play at being born. Play at dying. But how to fill in the space in between?

    Race through childhood. Pretend to know what you’re doing as a young adult. Get a grip on yourself when job, family and responsibilities overtake your mid-life crisis.

    Embrace the inevitable as you lie at deaths door, reflecting on wins and losses, triumphs and failures, wasted days and nights that could have made a difference. How many bunnies did you chase down the rabbit hole?

    Get reincarnated and start the game all over again. Play at being born. Play at dying. Wow. Crap. Oh, boy!

    (I know it’s too late to enter the contest, but just discovered the site and loved the challenge.)

  41. I’m always in awe of the fantastic variety and quality of writing in response to this challenge – haven’t commented on many but in admiration of them all 🙂

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.