First Place in #ThursThreads (Probably The Grossest Piece I've written This Year)

This piece is a little, um, gross. I entered it in the #ThursThreads flash fiction contest hosted by Siobhan Muir. If you're prone to squeamishness, do yourself a favor and ... read it. You only live once. :) The prompt was: Experiencing new cultures can be weird.


thrus-threads-winnerAccording to the Brochure

The winsome, long-haired native girl shoving shaved, locally grown, organic palm fronds into my anus was an expert. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say I was enjoying the experience as much as the brochure implied I might, but, as a craftsman myself, I recognize skill and appreciate a deft touch.

And the overstuffed vinyl massage table I laid face down on turned out quite comfortable. Although I admit, I was initially intimidated by the set of leather, aftermarket ankle stirrups attached at its foot. Necessary for safety, according to the brochure.

Fresh cut, bendy green palm fronds

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If You Write 450+ Words for a Weekly Flash Fiction Contest and No One Is In the Comment Section to Read it ...

Last night I entered a piece in Alissa Leonard's #FinishThatThought weekly flash fiction contest.oops-def-matt-lashley

I never feel 100%, alpha-male confident in the pieces I submit to contests--this submission was no different.

I liked it okay, but I know I'll reread it today and smack my forehead while thinking of all the mistakes I made in it.

Then I'll reread it tomorrow and see the illogical flow I'd somehow managed to weave in and asked readers to follow and smack my forehead wondering how I could have been so dumb. And then, forgetting my own strength and that a propensity for genetically weak neck muscles run in my family tree, I'll smack my forehead again and my head will pop back, tilt up and expose the giant slot in my throat where I hide all my PEZ candy.

pez-candy-ad-matt-lashleyAnyway, I submitted the piece an entire day late. An. Entire. Day. And didn't

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Two Flash! Friday Entries for Dec 12, 2014 -- And One Did Alright -- Yeehaw!

Competing in Flash! Friday is more than a job (actually it's not a job at all) it's an adventure!

There's a great group of folks that create short fiction every Friday. I believe somewhere between 65 and 100 (the number varies depending on the weather) people write stories every week. Reading their stories is a quick way to get a fiction fix. This week marked the first week of the new year of competition.


141 words

Results: 1st runner up

Internet Dating Makes Me Nervous

Quarter 'til eight.

The naked woman reflected in the entryway mirror holding the hammer and a glass of fine, grocery store box wine has a pale, squishy belly that looks like a thick slice of Wonder Bread dipped in milk. I pretend she's not me. She smiles. Her teeth are nice. Probably uses whitestrips.

Ten 'til eight.

A stoned marching band bass drummer has

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The Hush of The Waves


Results: Did not place

158 words

The Hush of the Waves

I walked the shoreline for an hour, though I knew it would do no good. The tide was going out. Wet sand squished between my toes, softening the callouses. The salty breeze invigorated me and I inhaled it like an addict taking one last drag on the pipe before rehab. Crashing shore breakers plugged my ears with white noise and, for a while, the world around me disappeared, or maybe I disappeared from the world.

At the lifeguard’s tower, I turned and walked back the way I’d came. Back towards the ugly truth, hers and mine. Mostly hers.

I passed the landlocked fish again, still alive, still struggling. The opening and shutting of its gills, much slower now, seemed in sync with my own heartbeats. If fish could scream for help, I imagined this one would.


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All the kewl kids are doin' it! Flash Fiction Submission - June 13, 2014

Write 140-160 words  based on a pic and a prompt. It's easy. It's fun. It's flash fiction!

Several months ago, I discovered a site that puts on a weekly flash fiction contest. I competed that first time and again this week.

If you're like me (or like I was), you may not know flash fiction from Fred Flinstone. Here's a definition. It's darn fun. The contest starts every Friday and lasts for 24 hours. To make it (even) more fun and to reasonably cap my inevitable obsession over every word, I limit my time to a total of thirty minutes: 15 minutes writing and 15 obsessing. This type of pressure really wrings the juice outta the ol' creative sponge.

This week I read most of the entries and commented on a few. There were some great stories and lines. You can read them here: Flash! Friday

The image and my entry, inspired by

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Enamored With Hardboiled Detective Noir Flash Fiction

phillipmarloweIf I had to pick a genre to write, it'd be hardboiled detective fiction. I'm not exactly sure when I fell in love with this style of writing, but I know it had something to do with Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, James CrumleyPhillip Kerr and evenings spent in front of a 19 inch television (with a broken dial that clicked through 12 channels) watching The Rockford Files and Magnum P.I.

And if I had to pin down why I love this genre more than any other, I'd say it's because of the similes. The similes, the heroes and the humor.

Here's my attempt at something hardboiled-ish submitted to a Siobhan Muir's flash fiction contest (slightly edited).


Lifting my head to look around wasn't the grand success I imagined it would be. The room spun and I felt like I'd just gone twelve rounds on the Tilt-O-Whirl at the county fair. But I

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Flash!Friday Submissions For May 1, 2015

flash-friday-prompt-matt-lashleyLast week's "Catch 22" prompt made me think. Hard. Which made me cry. Thanks Flash!Friday.

Two submissions:


Existentialism Isn’t For Everyone

The woman bound in the backseat of Albert's Nova looked peaceful, cherub-like. A fat snoring cherub snoring deep and throaty snores that reminded Albert of the night spent camping by the swamp with his sadistic uncles during bullfrog mating season.

“It means you exist to exist, dumbass,” said an uncle as he used a pair of pliers to pinch of a wiggling frog's left rear leg.
“I don't think so,” replied Albert.
“And that right there is the plum beauty of it, ignorant wretch.”
“He means you can think what you want and it don't matter because existence is accidental. As a result, nothing we do or think matters. That defines truth. You tally whackin', peter pipin', bushel peckin' idjit.”
“How can nothing define anything?”
“Nothing don't. You do. You are one

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Struck Down But Not Destroyed


Results: Runner up


962 words

Struck Down But Not Destroyed

The preacher watched as the bright red stream from his left nostril snaked the grooves between the beveled aqua blue tiles and puddled at the hair clogged drain. He struggled to stay conscious. Lying there, sucking wind and bleeding in the shower room at the 52nd Street Y, he questioned his instincts, his path, and, God forgive him, his faith. Even still, he prayed. Prayed the two young men would leave, prayed someone would help, prayed this cup would be removed.

“Stomp him again Bart!”

Bart obliged his cheerleader and, for a fifth or sixth time, slammed his size twelve work boot into the fallen preacher’s unguarded midsection. For good measure, he put all his weight on it, compressing it, and performed a crude, grinding Chubby Checker twist. The preacher lay on his back helpless, pinned.


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A Friday Flash Fiction Submission (And A Rhyme In This Inscription)

flash friday oct 24 2014 promptWriting good fiction takes a lot of hard work. Writing great fiction takes a minor miracle. I don't write good fiction or miracles, but I enjoy participating in a micro fiction contest named Flash! Friday from time to time. Like last time, I allocated a time box of thirty minutes. 

This time the words came fast and I was done in ten minutes. A feat owing, in large part, to the interesting prompt and to the local public library.

Yesterday the local library held a book sale. At this book sale, on a folding formica table, I found a worn paperback copy of The Unabridged Mark Twain for which I exchanged a jovial librarian's assistant a slightly less than shiny quarter.

mr goodbar king sizeAt three pounds, the book is by far one of the two pound for pound best purchases I've made. (The other was a king size Mr. Goodbar which I purchased on

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Matt Writes Anything

"I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about."  - Oscar Wilde