Jul 302015

Hello, flash folk. Ready to write? Here are this week’s stimuli:

A catchphrase is a phrase or sentence, especially one associated with a famous person. Some catchphrases become the trademark of the person or character with whom they originated. According to Time magazine, the top ten movie catch phrases (Do you know them all? Answers at the bottom) are:

  1. “I’ll be back.”
  2. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
  3. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”
  4. “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.'”
  5. “Houston, we have a problem.”
  6. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
  7. “May the force be with you.”
  8. “Show me the money.”
  9. “If you build it, he will come.”
  10. “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger (who shall henceforth be referred to as Arnie), utterer of “I’ll be back”, was born in Thal, Austria, sixty-eight years ago today. Arnie began weight training when he was fifteen years old, won the Mr. Universe title aged twenty and the Mr. Olympia title aged twenty-three. Arnie broke into acting with the 1982 movie, Conan the Barbarian. He has since appeared in many Hollywood action blockbusters including The Terminator, Commando, Predator, and Total Recall. In 2003 Arnie became the 38th Governor of California, a position he held for two terms. In 1977 Arnie admitted to using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids for muscle maintenance when ‘cutting-up’ for competition.

Let’s wish Arnie a very happy birthday with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan via CC.

Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is KM Zafari, winner of MB1.04, MB1.06 and MB1.40. Read her winning stories and what she has to say about flash fiction here.


A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with CATCH and ending with PHRASE 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 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, including hyphens and apostrophes, is allowed) will be eligible to win.

1. The Terminator; 2. Gone With the Wind; 3. James Bond; 4. Forrest Gump; 5. Apollo 13; 6. Casablanca; 7. Star Wars; 8. Jerry Maguire; 9. Field of Dreams; 10. The Godfather.

  73 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.41 – CATCH [micro] PHRASE”

  1. Caring

    “Catch a cold out here,” He said.

    She nodded and attempted to conceal the needle in the crevice between her forearm and thigh. He sat down. She cursed under her breath.

    The leaves blanketed the ground and displayed all her favorite earthly tones. She would lose hours every day staring at each one of them, glassy-eyed and high.

    “You don’t have to worry about me. I’m fine,” she said.

    “I know,” he said.

    After that, they sat in silence. She watched the wind twirl and tumble the leaves as she twirled and tumbled words in her mind, trying to synthesize an excuse to leave or a magic phrase.

    108 words

  2. Butterfingers

    (w/c 109)

    I didn’t hear her and when I turned round the object she’d tossed in my direction lay in two large chunks at my feet.
    ‘Sorry,’ I said.
    She sighed and shrugged. ‘If it was valuable, I wouldn’t have thrown it. Coffee?’
    I nodded. ‘Thank you.’
    As I followed her into the kitchen she removed a dustpan and brush from a nearby cupboard and as she returned to the living room she pointed vaguely at the kitchen. ‘Kettle’s over there. I’ll be with you once I’ve tidied up the mess.’
    Again I apologised.
    ‘Don’t upset yourself. That vase needed killing anyway.’
    Mother always had an unusual turn of phrase.

  3. @firdausp
    Hell’s heaven
    (106 words)
    “Catch a glimpse of heaven!” he’d said, thrusting the syringe into my naive hands. At fifteen the sight of the needle had made me drop it. He had laughed, pushed my sleeve up and stuck it into my arm. I’d screamed then, as I scream now—for more.
    I scream to get that glimpse, but no amount of pricking can get me there. Just a cold, lonely road to hell, snakes forth. My tattoo covered arms camouflage my juvenile delinquencies. I stick one into the dragon’s eye, “Show me heav…” The syringe falls, with me, upon the autumn leaves, even before I can complete the phrase.

    • Kinda scary, I got a snagged a little on “snakes forth” – but I did like the similar image of snake and dragon. Then that made me wonder if a more direct connection (snakes & serpent, maybe?) might have been a stronger connection.

      • Thankyou for reading. Yeah I guess snake and serpent may have been a better pairing but somehow I felt that a dragon tattoo was more common.

    • The dragon reference also reminds me of ‘chasing the dragon’ so for me the phrase does double duty. Grim picture of getting hooked so young.

  4. INTEL (110 words)

    Catch a crook, save someone’s stuff. Catch a drug dealer, save many people’s lives. As a cop I chase the dealers. They know how to work around me. They also know how to work with me.

    I let the small fish work the marijuana trade. They keep the college kids stoned and even sell to a few people I know socially. But the grass slingers provide another service. They are my eyes and ears on the street. They help me keep out the hard drugs. It’s a dangerous line I walk, but I believe the end justifies the means, if I could borrow Machiavelli’s favorite phrase.

    • Dealing with the devil here, the road to hell and all that. This is a line I would not want to walk. I know of kids in my area whose parents grow weed and sell the stuff, then they in turn get hooked and progress higher up the chain. An industry that spawns misery everywhere.

  5. @firdausp
    Picture this…
    (108 words)
    “Catch me if you can!” I laughed and ran holding her doll over my head. She came after me screaming my name as I rounded the oak tree. My mother was slouched under it. She hadn’t been the same ever since Dad had been ‘put away’—her words.
    I stumbled over her leg as I rounded the trunk. She fell sideways and remained still. My sister squealed as she snatched her doll and dashed.
    I looked at my mom, her eyes were open, but she wasn’t seeing me I could tell.
    “Mom, what’s…” I saw the syringe half hidden under the leaves even before I finished my phrase.

  6. Thump-Thump
    (100 words)

    “Catch fire and burn is the only way to live,” she said, leaning back and exhaling a lungful of thick, cloying smoke. She was loose, free, fearless.

    A needle stuck straight in and drawing vitality from the veins of the world.

    I was none of those things, and I think that’s why I loved her. Even though I would never say the words out loud, especially not to her. I know exactly what she’d do, she’d lean back, her hair perfectly tussled, she’d groan and say “I love you is just something people say, nothing more than a meaningless phrase.”

  7. Frankly My Dear
    100 words

    “Catch diabetes?”

    “Not likely.”

    “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give shots to just anyone.”

    “Have you seen that movie?”

    “About shots?”

    “About–what’s his name? Rhett Butler. And he says, ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’ But in the book, he never said that.”

    “Books are always better than movies.”

    “It depends on your perspective. I’d say different, not better.”

    The needle slid under my skin and then he dropped it into the brown leafs beneath our feet. I sighed with relief as the insulin took hold so we could continue our hike.

    “All done.”

    “My favorite phrase.”

  8. Connections
    105 words

    ‘Catch up, Jimmy!’
    ‘Can’t!’ A fiery stitch flared up in his side.
    It was never easy being the baby brother, especially Drake’s. He made sure Jimmy felt every inch he was shorter, every month he was younger than him.
    ‘Why did I have to get stuck with you!’
    ‘I’m fine. You better keep going. They said you’d be ”dead meat.”’ The real concern in Jimmy’s voice- a hot needle of conscience-made Drake stop. It was never easy being the older brother, especially  hopeless, useless Jimmy’s.
    Drake doubled back kicking up the dead leaves so they replayed their autumn descent.
    ‘Don’t take it so seriously, Jimmy. It’s just a phrase.’


    • I continually tell my kids they love each other really when they’re bickering away; I know when the chips are down they’d be there for each other – just like your story.

  9. @fs_iver
    WC: 110

    High School Rejects

    “Catch it?” I finish his question. “It’s not like that.”

    New kid’s eyes loosen. He comes closer.

    I thought about telling him it was Ecstasy. I’d be cool. The girl with hook-ups. Well, at least to New Kid. Did
    you need a syringe for Ecstasy? I let it go.

    His lips look like naked woolly worms.

    “So, it’s an auto-emu disease?”

    I picture my cells morphing into hairy emu’s. Ha. I like this guy.


    “How’d you get it?”

    “Too many Butter Fingers. That’s what Mom says.”

    “Hey!” Principal Peters sees us by the bleachers. “No hanky panky!”

    My eye roll tells New Kid it’s okay.

    “That’s kinda his catchphrase.”

  10. When Childhood Ends

    110 words


    “Catch. It’s a wand!”

    The mothers watch their children gambol in the autumnal carpet.

    “You dropped it. Let’s play Cinderella, you be the Ugly Sister.”

    “Hey, stop that. Okay, you can be the Fairy Godmother.”

    More leaves flying. The mothers continue to smile as their children scatter russets and golds, twirl fairytale dreams.

    A glint of silver winks up at one girl.

    “Hey, I’m Sleeping Beauty!” she squeals with fake bravado as the sharp wand pricks her finger and she sees the blood drip.

    She waves the wand at her mother. “Abracadabra.”

    And the woman screams as the spell claims her child; her heart crying words her mouth cannot phrase.

  11. Mind over Matter
    (107 words)

    Catch the sun on your face, Johnny. Twenty minute’s worth. Twice a week.  Outside inside. Six hundred steps. Clear your mind. Don’t think. Enough time to think in the cell. Too much.

    Solitary. Too dangerous to mix with the murderers and the rapists. No visitors.

    Twelve properties on the outside. Three ex-wives to enjoy them. Five fast cars. Four kids. Millions.

    Kilos. Grams.Thousands high. Or dead.

    A life in numbers. 35 years.
    Shake that off, Johnny. That’s for the cell. Not the sun.

    35 years. Let the words blur in the heat.  Let them drift. Empty them. Not a sentence just a meaningless phrase.



    Brian S Creek
    110 words

    “Catch a werewolf?” says Mike. “Catch a cold, more like.”

    Chris ignores his friend’s grumbling. As the pair trudge through the dark woods, Chris’ torch beam catches something beneath the wet leaves littering the forest floor.

    He bends down to pick it up. It’s a used hypodermic needle.

    “Damn,” said Chris. “He’s already taken the formula.”

    Before Mike can say anything, a horde of strange, winged creatures no taller than children, emerge from the darkness, to encircle them.

    “Don’t panic,” says Chris. He bows. “Y’nor euipe fwennwah,”

    The lead creature bows in return and signals for them to follow.

    “What was that?” whispers Mike.

    Chris smiles. “An old pixie phrase.”

  13. @PattyannMc
    WC: 110


    “Catch her!” Joey shouted, Captain of his team.

    Two rows of children stood opposite, colorfully lining sidewalks and the tarred street, clinging to the outdoors. Boys on one side, tall houses behind, girls on the other; a green parking garage behind with flower patches cluttered with the last of autumn’s leaves. Gutters still draining the rain into steamy storm sewers filled with used hypos and rubbish.

    “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Maria come over . . .”

    Maria tore from the line, dodging left, right and forward trying to break through the boys.

    Joey caught her, kissed her!

    “I love you,” he whispered.

    At eight years, her heart danced breathlessly, hearing his phrase.

    • Red Rover! That brought back memories, had forgotten all about that game 😃

      • We used to play in the streets of Philadelphia every chance we got, trying to extend summer fun well into the fall. I felt such melancholy while writing it.

  14. @stellakateT
    104 words


    “Catch 22 is logic it’s a paradoxical situation”

    Oh yeah she thought. I’m stuck in this wood with a total geek telling me weird theories. She wondered if he had any food on him. She hadn’t eaten for two days. She’d dreamt of food, double cheeseburgers, thin fries and big scoopfuls of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream. The syringe glinted; she remembered what the internet advert had said. Lose weight without trying. It had been so easy, pounds shed like leaves falling off trees. She tried to remember what the man had said as he left. A mirage in the desert is only a phrase

  15. Bald-No-More
    108 Words

    “Catch the beaker!”

    “Catch this!” Eduardo snarled. He tore off Doctor Stevens’ protective face mask and sneezed directly into his face.

    “Whatever I have, you’ve got. I trusted your injection!”

    Eduardo’s illness had proven that the serum was incomplete. The doctor had no idea what the flu-like symptoms would become.

    “You wanted me to cure your baldness. You signed a waiver. You can’t –”

    Doctor Stevens never finished his sentence. They symptoms manifested quickly in the doctor and before long he was reduced to a pile of hair.

    The sickness killed hundreds. They called it “Hyde Syndrome.”

    As a survivor, Eduardo was the one to coin that phrase.

  16. Word Count: 110
    Title: (Re)purposeful

    “Catch and release laws for leaves are too rigid.” Alma recoiled her repurposed lasso, loosening an autumnal cascade of colors.

    “There aren’t any,” Myron moaned, his voice shivering through the flutter of foliage and garbage he kicked up. “It’s your own stupid rule. Nobody else follows it.”

    “Sure they do!” Alma tossed the ragged, ovoidal loop with an auspicious smile. It snagged another branch; turned leaves tumbled into her untroubled hair. “Why else would they leave them behind?”

    “The same reason we’re here.” Myron clutched his purpled knees against his hollowed chest. “They’re unwanted — useless.”

    Alma latched another limb. Blanketing Myron in the fall, the descent deafened out his phrase.

  17. @PattyannMc
    WC: 110

    Broken Skin

    “Catch ʼel for it, you will,” Rodney sneered.

    “Won’t.” Sandy skewered the skin with the stick like a needle. “Nobody will know it was me, – you talk funny.”

    “Whatcha mean? I ain’t tawlking funny like, it’s just ʼow I tawlk! What the ʼel’s wrong with it? I’m from London, daft twat!”

    Her eyebrows crinkled. “Forget it.”

    “It’s gonna be ʼard for Edna to play with broken skin!”

    “Don’t care, don’t like her. Hope she gets in trouble!”

    Ms. Jeffers came into the room, smiling, other students filed in. “Ready? Let’s play!”

    Edna’s drum didn’t beat.

    “It was ʼer!” Rodney shouted.

    Ms. Jeffers glared. “Sandy? Come! Kids? Practice your musical phrase . . .”

  18. Dope
    A.J. Walker
    (110 words) @zevonesque

    “Catch this my friend!”

    The orange loops through the air and hits Arnold’s knee.

    “Look at those cartoon muscles, inflated like overfilled sausages. Catch: Such a simple thing, but you can’t. You’re slower than my 98 year old grandmother. What exactly are you supposed to be?”

    Arnold stares silently at the orange.

    “I can see you’re full of poison, burgeoning thick and black through your veins like an algal bloom choking up a river. Look at you. What have you done to yourself, you prick? You look like the Hulk, but you wanna be Superman, right? Well, I’m Superman and there can be only one, I think that’s the phrase.”

  19. Catch-me-if-you-can slithers across her smile. She Ts her arms against the sea wind. The video cuts out.

    You freeze the world around that T. A ghost of the goading toddler, shrieking at your lumbering dinosaur pursuit.

    True love.

    You know what happened after the cut. They sent you to the morgue because you’re the stoic one. And you’d be able to find her in that broken thing on a stainless tray.

    There’s no stoicism when it’s your daughter.

    A hatred frays the shreds of your heart for the hand controlling the camera. Her misunderstood boyfriend. Her supplier.

    Daddy, it’s true love.

    And the reason for mistrusting her use of that phrase.

  20. The Evening News
    (110 words)

    “Catch the news, dear?” Charlotte said to the paper that hid Sebastian’s face. Probably a job-related techno babble document.

    “Uh-huh,” he responded with his usual inattentiveness.

    “Drug use has been legalized, “she lied, testing his degree of disinterest in anything she said.

    “That’s nice, darling,” Sebastian said without looking up.

    “Dear, I’m going to shoot myself up with a heroin overdose now.”

    “Don’t let me stop you.”

    The pain of his indifference sliced her heart, killing all hope it was a passing phase. What was that saying, “Time heals all wounds?”

    It should be, “Time wounds all heels.” Plunging the syringe into Sebastian, Charlotte considered that the more appropriate phrase.

  21. Hope
    110 words

    “Catch?” She shakes her head; laughs. “There’s no catch.”

    She sounds as fiery and golden as autumn.

    “Then it seems,” I sigh sadly, “too good to be true…”

    I sound as rusted and dry as autumn.

    “Well,” she says earnestly, “maybe it is!”

    We stare at each other through the glass. I am her. She is me. And yet…

    “So what is the difference between us?” I ask.

    She smiles like there’s no sign of winter.

    “I have hope,” she says.

    Her words slide, life-green, through my veins.

    I have hope.

    I draw breath.

    And I begin crossing the void between us, clinging tight to each word of her phrase.

  22. Downward Spiral
    (100 words)

    catch hope in a bottle
    capture time in a glass
    watch golden leaves of autumn
    cover death in the grass
    pray mercy can find you
    end entreaties with please
    let go of hope
    and beg for release
    time has betrayed
    won’t bend to your will
    alone in the darkness
    afraid in the still
    sad memories circle
    where joy once danced
    despair grasps blindly
    for one last chance
    Hope escapes the bottle
    time shatters the glass
    kneeling in the leaves
    then face-down in the grass
    Life held together
    by mind numbing craze
    slips away with the utterance
    of this final phrase

  23. When Words Are Not Enough
    @geofflepard 95 words
    Catch in her voice: ‘Try anything’. Hope on a tightrope. A syringe expertly filled, then emptied. Moments become years; hope and despair see-saw. Eyes open, the memory snapshots joy for the future. Glib platitudes flow on the tide of relief, as one ending is postponed.
    Fifteen years on, the same syringe, kept as a memento is now a tool for amateur destruction. Its husk lies forlorn, the hope it once carried now emptied into a vein. Again she holds his lifeless hand and seeks solace in my platitudes; but, today, I’m without any comforting phrase.

  24. 110 words

    Little Brother

    “Catch! You idiot.”, I snarled from fifteen feet up. “Hold the ladder.” Through weepy, pale eyes Catch looked up at me then mumbled, “Okay little brother.”

    Crushing my big brother’s ego felt good. He didn’t know, but I hated him. Always had. And after this job, I planned to kill him.

    Taking my hand off the ladder, I fingered the cyanide filled syringe tucked inside my jacket pocket. I imagined plunging the needle into his neck. I imagined death fogging his eyes like steam on a bathroom mirror. It excited me. I’d go from little brother to living brother just like that. One word replaced in a two word phrase.

  25. A Winter’s Tale

    ” ‘Catch me? You couldn’t catch a cold!’ Remember you used to tease me with that when we played tag as kids?”

    My breath condensed into clouds in the railyard where I’d found him . I cradled Benjy in my lap as he stared into the distance, eyes like glass beads.

    The syringe fell from his arm.

    I thought my older brother was too wasted to hear my words, until I heard him whisper, “Momma always said life was like a box of chocolates: when you reach the bottom, you don’t have many choices.”

    “Yeah, man.” I choked, a tear rolling down my cheek. “She always was good for a memorable phrase.”

    Word Count:110

  26. The Chase

    Catch me this time?

    I plan to.

    Weren’t even close yesterday.

    Getting closer.

    My IV drip’s faster than you.

    Your IV drip hasn’t had its knees replaced three times.

    My IV drip doesn’t run its mouth, either.

    But can it call the night nurse when you fall out of bed?

    That only happened once.

    Can it swap chocolate for tapioca when no one’s looking?

    I never asked you to do that.

    Does it …whisper your name when you’ve forgotten?

    I’m leaving now.

    Listen to me, lady. I’m going to catch you today. And again tomorrow. And every day, forever.

    If that’s a proposal, old man, I expect the proper phrase.

    –110 words

  27. Just Once
    Word Count: 93

    “Catch my drift?” Doug asked, winking slightly.
    I stared at the needle on my lap through the dim lights of the dingy room.
    “It’s amazing.” He said almost to the syringe, as if he were trying to coax it into my arm.
    I was worried.
    I was afraid.

    I was excited.

    “Just once?” I asked.
    “Just once.”
    I hesitated.
    The needle kissed my veins.

    “Extra, Extra! College students’ death by overdose sparks a crackdown on drugs at schools nationwide!” Called the paperboy the next morning.

    All because of a cliché phrase.

  28. Chasing the dragon
    106 words

    “Catch the serpent by his tail,” the words hadn’t meant anything to him when he’d started, but as he looked at the beaded string around his arm, he began to realize he was prisoner to the serpent’s bite.

    He watched it as it coiled and twisted, trying to choke the life out of him. Even as the primal part of him was telling him to fight, another part of him was struck by the creature’s beauty.

    He smiled as it showed its true colors, and he watched in mind numbing euphoria. He understood too late that ‘chasing the dragon’s tail was more than just a phrase.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.