Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Unexplainable Explained Flash Fiction

Yep, it's time for another Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge, and this one was hard to choose.  He asked that we go here, take a look at the pictures, and then choose one to write a short fiction about.  I chose #15, because the story of it just jumped right out at me.  I hope you enjoy it!  And don't forget to go over and check out some of the other excellent entries, cause they're all going to be totally unique.

“I figured out a way to make the money.”

She stopped stirring her coffee and stared at her friend.  “I told you I wouldn’t be a part of anything illegal.”

He grinned devilishly, his blue eyes bright.  “It’s not illegal.”

“Good, because if we’re going to open our own shop I refuse to use dirty money.”

Trent shook his head and leaned in closer, blocking out the rest of the patrons in the coffee shop.  “It won’t be dirty, I swear.  You never trust me, Rachel.”

“I did once…and only once.  Then I had to wake Jake up to come bail us out.”

“He’s a very understanding fianc√©.”

“With a good sense of humor, lucky for me since he thought the naked car dancing stunt was hilarious.”

Trent waved his hand dismissively.  “I was the one who was naked.”

Rachel snorted.  “I was the one holding the camera filming it.  Nothing else that’s illegal, got it?”

He sighed and leaned back.  “If I promised on a stack of every religious text available, would you believe me?”

She raised an eyebrow.  “Maybe.”

A couple walked by, absorbed in each other, laughing like giddy larks, bumping into their table as they maneuvered toward the door.  The man gave a negligent apology over his shoulder; Trent turned his head away from Rachel with a smile and faced the couple.  She didn’t see what he did, but there was a sudden moment of shocked silence as the two stared, seemingly dumbfounded, at Trent.  Then the pair burst into raucous laughter.

“I think we’ll head over to the museum,” the man said, cuddling his date closer as they hurried out.

Rachel slanted her eyes in suspicion.  “And just what exactly was that about?”

Mischief covered her friend’s face as he shrugged.  “Oh, nothing.  Just the brilliant way I’m making the rest of the money.”

“I shouldn’t ask.  I’m not sure if I want to know.”

He sipped his coffee leisurely, watching her over the brim of his cup.  He had that look again, the one that screamed trouble.  She let out a long breath of defeat.

“I have to know.  What did you do, Trent?”

He tilted his head, catching the rays of the spring sun that danced through the picture window, and opened his mouth.  But instead of rolling out words, he rolled out his tongue.  She blinked, stared, leaned up, blinked, squinted.

There, on his tongue, was a picture of the Mona Lisa.  There was no denying the image that was splayed across the tender flesh.  Her first thought should have been how horrible a tattoo on that particular area had hurt him; instead she thought of the museum and their much touted Vincent van Gough exhibit.

“You…what did you…how did you…”  She clicked her mouth closed and shook her head.

Trent pulled his tongue back in and chuckled.  “Don’t worry, it’s not permanent.  I have a whole sheet of these, all of them with a van Gough work on it.  I put it on in the morning, and by the time I go to bed it’s faded off.”


“The museum is paying me.  I sold my body for advertisement.  Brilliant, right?”  He looked like a cat who’d had some particularly tasty cream.

She couldn’t deny he was right.  It actually was a brilliant idea.  Plus it wasn’t illegal.  Rachel’s laughter started soft and gentle, then slowly rose into a near hysterical sound.  Holding her stomach, she ignored the rest of the patrons staring at her, then laughed even harder when Trent stuck out his tongue and wagged it around.  A moment later the rest of the coffee shop was filled with merriment, the sound skipping out the door and into the street.

“So…what do you think?” Trent asked over the cacophony of laughter.

“I think,” she gasped, “that the museum is getting a bargain.  Just promise me you won’t rent out your X-rated parts.”

He didn’t reply; he slowly tilted his lips into a wicked smile and sat back to sip his drink.


  1. For whatever reason when I picture these, using pictures, I always think dialogue should be first more so than setting. Of course there are answers of the hows and whys. Do they have to expose their tongues a certain number of times a day? Do one of their teeth have sensors latched around it counting the impressions/hits/exposures? It read like a scene out of a good crime flick, and in this case I pictured a British one. Didn't know where it was going right up until the end. Very well written. Hit all the right moments when it should have (for me) and kept me going until the end.

  2. To be honest, I did have the whole payment issue planned in my head, but the short little snippet didn't seem to want it. Really, it relies on him going to the museum first thing in the morning to show them he's put a tattoo on his tongue, then he gets the day's payment. I'm glad I got you right up until the end. The picture just seemed so ridiculous, it felt like it needed just as silly a story to fit it. I'm really happy you enjoyed it!

  3. Enjoyed the story very much! Would like to know the rest though!

  4. I really liked this photo, I was hoping someone would choose it. Like the relationship between the two main characters :)

  5. Enjoyed the dynamic between Trent and Rachel, it felt like an episode of 'Coupling'. Really funny stuff.

  6. I'm so glad you all enjoyed it. This was the first viable explanation that popped into my head when I looked at it. I'm also glad I'm not the only one who watches Coupling; well, the reruns. ;)

  7. I like Trent- strong character presentation.

  8. I like Trent, too. We've all got a Trent side, don't we?