A Fast 400

MOW BOOK LAUNCH 003 (3)This post by Kathy Waller

I admit it: I forgot. I wrote it on my calendar: “2/1/2016: Post on Writing Wranglers and Warriors.” Yesterday I remembered. Then I forgot. So I’m late. [Sigh.]

Anyway, just under the wire–Here are four stories I wrote and published on my personal blog as part of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers. Each was written from a photo prompt. Each is exactly 100 words in length. (Or was when I last counted.) I hope you like.


Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT © Georgia Koch
Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT © Georgia Koch


When Derek fell for LucyMae, he immediately introduced her to his wife.

“Look, Mandy.” His tone was reverent; his eyes betokened lust. “Isn’t she gorgeous?”

“Good gosh.” Mandy touched the hull. “Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink. Where does the albatross sit?”

“Hydrate her, the boards’ll plump up.”

“They’re rotten. . . . What’s that thingy?”

“It’s a . . . I’ll fix her.”

He switched on pleading puppy eyes.

Sigh. “Okay.” Mandy took his arm. “Let’s go look at that treadle sewing machine I want.”

“You can’t sew.”

“No. But it was love at first sight.”

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Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright - Madison Woods
Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT © Madison Woods

Screams pierced the air. The woman dropped her trowel and raced across the yard. “What happened?”

Pushing through a ring of children, she lifted the crying child, examined the swelling lip.

A Greek chorus erupted.




Lisabeth, I told you not to drink from the hydrant.” Then, turning, “Lisabeth’s four. You’re ten–“

I was rescuing Kitty from–Mom, I can’t watch her every second.”

Get the baking soda.”

TLC applied, the woman returned to gardening.

Screams pierced the air. She ran.

Lisabeth teased Kitty and–“

Lisabeth, I told you–“


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Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright Douglas M. MacIlroy
Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy


I heard them talking.

Daddy said, She wants a pogo stick.

Mama said, She has enough presents.

Santa brought a pogo stick.

Daddy smiled. Sturdy.

We went outside.

Mama frowned. Don’t fall.

She’s fine. Daddy lifted me on.

I bounced. The pogo stick didn’t.

Daddy frowned. Spring’s tight. You’re not heavy enough.

Daddy tried. He bounced down the sidewalk.

Mr. Smith came over. Can I try?

Daddy jumped off. Sure.

Mr. Smith bounced down the driveway. This is fun.

Let me try again, Daddy.

Daddy bounced up the driveway.

Mama brought me my doll.

She’s right. I have enough presents.

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Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT © Erin Leary
Friday Fictioneers PHOTO PROMPT © Erin Leary

John ambled into the kitchen. “What’s cooking?”

“Mushroom gravy.” Mary kept stirring.

John frowned. “Toadstools. Fungi. Dorothy Sayers killed someone with mushrooms–Amanita.

“These are morels.” She added salt. “Everybody eats mushrooms.”

“I don’t.”

“Suit yourself.”

He sat down. “Where’d you buy them?”

“I picked them.”


“Aunt Helen helped. She knows ‘shrooms.” Mary held out a spoonful. “Taste.”

“Well . . . ” John tasted. “Mmmm. Seconds?”

“Yoo-hoo.” Aunt Helen bustled in. “Like my new glasses? With those old ones–I couldn’t see doodly squat.”

Mary looked at the gravy, then at John. “Maybe you should spit that out.”

Embed from Getty Images
MOW cover - amazon pixKathy Waller blogs at Telling the Truth–Mainly and at Austin Mystery Writers. Two of her stories, “A Nice Set of Wheels” and “Hell on Wheels,” appear in Austin Mystery Writers’ crime fiction anthology MURDER ON WHEELS (Wildside, 2015).
Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, Friday Fictioneers, and the photographers whose art prompted these stories. As to how the dinosaur-looking creature prompted a story about a pogo stick–it’s complicated.




22 thoughts on “A Fast 400

  1. I used to be in a writing group, and we did all kinds of little things like that. We helped each other out, and we all used the same prompts sometimes and wrote little ditties. I liked each one of them. I also took a workshop one time where the whole class used the same photos and none of them came up the same. Cher’ley


    1. Thanks, Travis. I’ve been thinking about expanding one of them but haven’t figured out exactly how. Possibly because I figure those things out after I start writing, and I haven’t started writing.


  2. Wonderful short-shorts, Kathy! I especially liked the mushroom one — made me think of my mom, dad, and grandma: something similar happened to them. Luckily, mom knew her ‘shrooms pretty well and caught Granny’s mistake fairly fast!


    1. How absolutely horrible, and how fortunate that your mom averted disaster. I never gathered the chili petines that grew wild around the town where I grew up. Everyone else did, but I knew they were nightshades and was sure whatever I picked would be of the poisonous variety. I prefer experts to stand between me and nature. Thanks much for your comment.


  3. Yippee! Loved reading your short stories. And you did it with photo prompts… my way to do a short story. Makes me want to write another one for my FB author’s page, except I really need to focus on my Civil War outline. It’s turning into a rough draft of a first draft; I’m in the middle of Chapter 19.


    1. A rough draft of a first draft. It must be wonderful to watch an outline turn into so much more. A writer I heard on a panel at the Writers’ League of Texas said that because she’s a pantser, her first is a discovery draft. I’ve had to adopt that language, learning as I go. Best wishes for smooth writing. Thanks for your comment.


  4. Sorry I was slow in commenting on this. In the flurry of getting my post up, I just forgot. I love these! Especially the last one. It’s amazing how you can create suspense and humor in just 100 words. And I love your subtle sense of humor.


  5. Kathy- They are fabulous! I had mushroom rice as part of my main course tonight. Maybe I should spit it out since my hubby (who cooked) just visited the optician yesterday! 😉


  6. Of course as a photographer I focused in on the photos. However I loved the stories as well and the way you used some of the images to string the stories together. Thanks for sharing.


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