#FlashFridayFic – “Dis ain’t no fairytale” #flashfiction #fridayflash

The latest Friday Fiction #39 asked for a 300 word story, based upon the following very, very surreal image:

Image Source: Unicornio, by Salvador Nunez, shared as part of the Peru Arte Valor effort

Here is my story, but do check out the original location to read other entries:

“Dis ain’t no fairytale”
by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy)
[300 words]

Tom Rimmer’s the name. Fey Investigation is the game. Well, that’s what it says on the plaque next to the novelty snail door knocker. I pride myself on an open office policy, but the wallpaper was a problem; not going to take an emperor’s recommendation for interior decorator again, I can tell you.

Anyway, I hadn’t had a case in days – months in human time – when outside, I heard a ring tone playing “Titanium” except the last ‘m’ had been removed, which meant only one thing: another royal client job. I hated those; it was how I got into this business.

Snail knocked. Door spoke, “it is Her Royal Highness, Queen Ti…”

“Tell me something I DIDN’T know,” I said grumpily.

“She’s not packing a wand…”

That did surprise me. I motioned Door to admit her. “How’s it hanging Queen T?” I asked provocatively, “Business? Or Pleasure?”

She glided into the room with that look she has. “Maybe both, Thomas. It depends on if you’ve got the rhyme…”

“You mean ‘time’, Titty. How come you never got colloquial English?” I could tell the ‘Titty’ gag had hit home, but it didn’t do too well provoking the Others too much. “Anyway, I’ve got plenty of time, thanks to you. I’m yours.”

“We’ll, it gladdens me to know the Rhymer knows his place. I’ve a little case for you.”

“I’m all ears,” I said, “Oh no, that was Bottom. Sorry about that.” I couldn’t help myself. With or without Human dignity, Titania was a tough cookie.

“You want, maybe, that hat to be permanent?” she asked diplomatically, “Or do you want the work?”

“Oh, I’ll take the job. What is it? Another missing pixie?”

She shook her head. “No Tom, this time it’s simpler,” she lied unconvincing. I could tell.

“Ok, spill…”

#ThursThreads – “Destiny R Us” #flashfiction

#ThursThreads is an odd flash fiction compo, because a line chosen from the previous winner is chosen as the prompt for the next competition. This week, the phrase “How much is this one worth?” is it.

Here is my entry, if you don’t want to see the original piece:

“Destiny R Us”
by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy)
[250 words]

“It IS a common mistake, Sir. One put about by our… shall we say, our main competitor.”

“So, I don’t have to sell my soul to get my dream?”

“Ha ha ha, extremely witty. If I may say, Sir. Not all of it. No.”

“What’s the percentage on these?”

“The… er… ‘Rock and Roll Lifestyle’ and the… ‘Jet-Setting Adventurer’ packages are both a reasonable 15% APR. very popular”


“Ascension from Purgatory Reallocation. Sir must allow for a delay in shipping to the ‘final’ destination, but we can assure you that arrival will occur within a reasonable period

How much is this one worth?”

“The ‘Leader of the Free World’ Deluxe Box. Sir has an excellent eye. That IS one of our special 0% Rapture packages! Same Day Delivery. However, there are a few small additional contractual obligations. Still one of our favourites for our ‘special’ clients.”

“What are the ‘additional’ obligations?”

“Sir IS wise to check… The contract is reasonably clear. Must invade an innocent country on a pretext. Must be a hypocrite, and lie about it on at least one occasion. Must allow innocents to die from inaction. Oh and the NRA, one of our oldest and dearest clients, must be left untouched. We get SO many referrals through them. I’m sure you understand.”

“If these are achieved within a 3 year period, Sir will be allowed to extend the package at no extra charge. I can see Sir IS interested. Can I take your name?”

#55wordchallenge – “Not Oz Anymore” #flashfiction UPDATE Overachiever Award Winner)

Awarded the Overachiever Award.


In Lisa’s own words “the 55 Word Challenge is a contest to write a story in 55 words or less.” Each week writers pick one of three images as inspiration.


This week using all three may qualify for an over achiever award:



Image Source

Here’s my entry if you would rather not see the original version:

“Not Oz Anymore”
by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy) [55 words]

Oz had changed since Dorothy had last left. The scarecrow’s benevolent dictatorship had been overthrown by the One Eyed Man is King, but the Cyclops had eventually lost the people’s support when dust storms from the edges of Oz had eaten into the safer lands.

Dorothy rolled up her sleeves. “Toto, we’ve lots to do!”

#FiveSentenceFiction – Thunder “Shakubuku” #flashfiction

Lillie McFerrin Writes

Lillie McFerrin hosts a Five Sentence Fiction competition on her blog. This week’s theme is Thunder.

Here is my entry, which is metaphorically inspired by the stormy picture this week:



by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy)

Herman “Lightning Rod” Humphries was, by all accounts, the record holder for surviving the most lighting strikes. It had certainly had an effect on him, neighbours and friends would sympathetically share, when sure he was not in earshot.

“It’s just part of the job,” he would explain shyly, “Being a park warden and all.”

When asked if he minded the risk Herman responded, “Life is a risk, but it doesn’t stop you living before you die, like lightning comes before thunder.

“Better than dying before you live!” he would say, if people stuck around long enough,”Cos them that gets hit don’t hear the thunder.”

The End of Moore’s Law, or why I stopped worrying and learned to love the Lag

In the CNET article “End of Moore’s Law: It’s not just about physics” the economic end of the doubling of computer power every year or two is predicted, because the R&D investment in nanometer (nm) scale production will not give a return on investment (ROI) sufficient to make it “good business”.

So, are we doomed, technologically speaking, because the power of our tablets won’t zoom ahead as fast as we’re used to? Or will the plateau be a good thing? After all, new cars are still being made, with only gradual improvements in performance. Old computers will wear out, needing replacement. Of course, a very different environment than we’re used to, but not Earth shattering.

The stable platform of hardware development would allow time for mature programming techniques to evolve to make better use of known technology, rather than always playing catch up, or being allowed the luxury of poor coding because the power of the CPU forgives inefficiencies.

This isn’t that different from the early days of the microprocessor,  where gifted and talented coders made a lot out of a little. The return of the programming wizards will be presaged by increased understanding of how to use parallel architectures more effectively than we do now. So, I am not daunted by a slowing down of progress.

However, the article neglects to consider new technologies that aren’t just about cramming transistors onto silicon. Optical transistors, quantum computers, and even biologically grown processors – no silicon chip has come close to the capabilities of a human brain! – all promise the potential of lifting Moore’s Law by several orders of magnitude. But, and it’s a big but, it’s not the size, it’s what you do with it.

#FinishThatThought – “Finn’s First Day” #flashfiction (UPDATE Honourable Mention)

Got an Honourable Mention for this!

Alissa Leonard has created the “Finish That Thought” Flash Fiction compo, which usually provides an opening line and some ‘special challenge’ words to include, and must be less than 500 words. This week’s compo opening line was “It was [his] first day at [his] new [school], and [he] was determined to make this time different.” and the special challenge words were: skylight,
papercut and gown.

I didn’t have much time this week, but wanted to put something in, even if it was short. This is my story, but please check out the original submission and read other entries.

“Finn’s First Day”
by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy) [114 words]

It was Finn’s first day at his new school, and he was determined to make this time different. Ok, so he was from a large family, but most here were. It was all about procreation in this neighbourhood, and the males spread their seed quite widely.

Finn’s mother had been explicit: In school do NOT stick out; go with the flow; follow the majority. It would be safer that way!” she had said that morning. He had promised her he wouldn’t be baited. That he wouldn’t get out of his depth.

However, on this occasion, he decided to break the rules, to swim his own course. And that was when the shark ate him.

#TicckleTuesday #5 – Time Zones

Today’s theme
for #TicckleTuesday #5 will be ‘Time Zones’ (any interpretation allowed), because I got to thinking about when Tuesday actually starts and ends. New Zealand is 12 hours ahead and Samoa is 12 hours behind. So, technically, Tuesday is just under 48 hours long, depending on where you start and finish. It’s a “timey wimey” thing; see General Chat section later.

Image Source

Remember, your stories can be up to 60 seconds long. Go to the FaceBook Group (will need membership approved) or http://ticckle.com/ and reply to the video entitled #TicckleTuesday #5 part 1 and part 2 has further instructions.

You can either record 30s for extra credit (about 50-60 words on average) or 60s (which would be two Ticckle videos, so please label them part 1 and part 2 when you respond, and reply to part 1 with part 2 so they are linked. A minute is probably 120 words from my experience.

Alternatively, record a FaceBook video or an audio file (AudioBoo or SoundCloud are both good, as they allow you to share directly with the FB group). If the sound of your own voice horrifies you, please do push your comfort zone if you can, but I’d rather have a text entry that I will record for yoy than no entry at all.

And we have all week but extra extra credit for submitting today, Tuesday, but in honour of the theme it IS an extra long Tuesday this week 🙂

General Chat
Ok, ticckle.com is nowhere near big enough to expect uploads from all four (?) corners (???) of the Globe. To be honest it probably never will be, and is more likely to evolve into a vox populi site for lazy TV news networks, if they can spot a good thing when they see one. Furthermore, #TicckleTuesday is at best a humble handful of submissions on ticckle.com and the FaceBook Group, but hey, we can dream… which leads me on to how to grow #TicckleTuesday. Not much. Just a bit; I don’t think I’d want it to be huge. We are still very small, so following @TicckleTuesday and RTing announcements and Ticckles will help grow the community. Thanks.

The best flash fiction compos get a few dozen submissions – Trifecta being consistently high. It certainly gives this blog the most feedback for my stories – but what marks out the better competitions is some kind of feedback beyond just announcing a declared ‘winner’, which is a bit ‘X-Factor’ really. The questions are:
1) Who should give the feedback: Me? Guest judges? Everyone?
2) What kind of feedback should be given? General good/bad? Grammar and Style (spelling is moot given this is an audio/video challenge)? Presentation?
3) Does there need to be any kind of prize/badge?

#satsuntails – understated caramel “A Glass Half Empty” #flashfiction (UPDATE Winner!)

This story got Overall Winner.


I’m quite keen on the #satsuntails flash fiction compo, which uses a phrase and an image as prompt.

This week’s stories need to be 150 words and embrace the idea of “understated caramel” and the following image:


Researching the phrase came up with pretentious descriptions of beer and flavoured vodka (who knew?), which lead me to the idea.
Here’s my entry, but please check it out in its original location (to read other entries) too:

“A Glass Half Empty”
by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy)
[150 words]

“Look I get it. I thought ‘whine tasting!’ was a typo. We’d get sloshed. Meet some adults. Have conversations. Get out of the house for the first time in eight months!”

Jake squeezed his wife’s hand “Ok, Jill. The babysitter’ paid for. We’ll give it a try.” He led her nervously into the restaurant.

A buffet at the far side remained untouched, as numerous couples, dressed to the nines, stood attentively listening to the ‘whine tasting’ coach sermonising. “Like fine liquor, there’s an ‘understated caramel’ here. A soupçon of emotional blackmail.” he judged a recording of a nest of hungry chicks. Several onlookers nodded agreeably. Others tilted heads to catch the nuances. “Now we move on to a baby’s cry. A hint of saddle…?”

“Oh my god, this is such bullshit!” Jill blurted out. “Fifty Pounds each! For this?”

The whine tasters turned, stared, and applauded. The coach sighed happily.

#FlashFridayFic – “A Unique Property” #flashfiction

The latest Friday Fiction #38 asked for a 250 word story, based upon the following image:


Here is my second story, because the first was deemed ineligible, but please see this and other stories at the original location:

“A Unique Property”
by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy)
[250 words]

The third clue had Edward and Blanche Beamish stumped. They had found it tied with ancient red ribbon to the roof timbers of the hotel veranda; the location which the second clue had revealed quite quickly. As honeymoons went, stepping back sixty years, in the hope of retracing a journey someone else had planned but never started, was as romantic as it was tragic.

The first clue had been inside a wedding gift from Blanche’s great aunt, whose name was also Blanche. First class tickets to Egypt had been provided to help them “To find the beginning of their adventure”, or so the label read.

The elder Blanche apologised and admitted the trail might end quickly, as it had been set by her father many years before. “The chances of the rest of the clues still existing are slight, but my father was a resourceful man. I have faith you will find what he had intended me and my fiancé to seek.” was the only hint of what the gift contained the old woman would provide.

They repaid the spinster with thoughtful thanksgivings, and imaginings of at least a ‘Grand Tour’ of the Empire. Edward, a writer, promised to document their travels. Blanche agreed to send drawings and paintings when she could.

Later, the couple had time to discuss their benefactor’s sad history. “She never did marry.” the bride explained. “No one really knows why.”

“Or will not mention.” her new husband added. “Let us hope we succeed for her.”

#FlashFridayFic – “A Rose by Amy other name” #fridayflash #flashfiction

The latest Friday Fiction #38 asked for a 250 word story, based upon the following image:

I promised myself I’d never do ‘fanfic’, but the picture forced me. At gun point! May the Goddess forgive me…

Here is my story, because it was removed from the original location, due to concerns over copyright; understandable for a US based site, but although “fair use” almost definitely applies, the host had never had fanfic submitted before and wanted to be cautious.

“A Rose by Amy other name”
by Dr. Mike Reddy (@doctormikereddy)
[250 words]

“Admit it, Doctor.” Amy tried not to be alarmed by the loss of blood. “You only came here because it was the one place a Fez would actually be cool.”

“No, I didn’t. Well, yes I did. But the rose was lovely… wasn’t it?”

“Until it bit me. Why won’t it stop bleeding?”

“Ah, yes… about that… Trust me, you’re in no danger.” The Doctor smiled reassuringly.

Amy frowned. “When you ask me to trust you, it’s usually because you’re lying.”

“Can you think of a better time for me to ask you to trust me?” He grinned boyishly. “How was I supposed to know it was a Sapient Rose?”

“A Sapient Rose? You mean it can think?”

“There’s Sapient Pear, of course. Makes lovely furniture. Very loyal. Follows you round like a dog…”

“Doctor…! Bleeding…!”

“Yes. Blood. Well, unless we return the flower to its mother plant… somewhere here apparently… you’ll turn into a… into a rose bush.”

“A rose bush?”

“Yes. It’s a ‘planty wanty’ sort of thing. Knew a Rose once. Lovely girl. My clone married her in an alternative… long story. No time for that now.” The Doctor looked flustered. “Just keep squeezing that finger. We don’t want the thorn getting any further in.”

“Or it’s ‘Briar Amy’, right.”

“That’s the spirit. Although ‘Rosa Amelia’ has a certain…” Amy frowned again. “Yes, right. Saving Amy. On it.” The Doctor returned to studying the chart. “We’ll need a camel. Camels are cool.”

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”


Doctor Who is a trademark of the BBC, Sapient Pearwood is copyright 1983 Terry Pratchett, story and original characters are copyright 2013 Mike Reddy, all rights reserved.

Author notes
This is my first, and only, fanfic story, written as an exercise in writing authentic dialogue for existing characters, so feedback would be appreciated. A 250 word flash fiction story written for #flashfridayfic to a picture prompt. it uses ‘in median res’, focusing on the 11th Doctor and Amy prior to Rory joining them, and involves Amy wearing period costume, as this is implied in the picture prompt. It should be considered a scene at best, but hopefully evocative of the early Matt Smith period.