Single Line Story Challenge // flash-fiction + chaos + a broken printer

Good morning, minions! Featured on today’s smorgasbord of randomness is an assorted selection of PRETTY WORDS!!!

Hannah Gaudette extended an invitation to participate in the single-line story challenge, which is, in essence, a glorified flash fiction dump. Flash fiction is fun. Thus, here I am. The idea is to choose 5 out of 13 genres (refer to her post for the list/rules because I’m too lazy to include them here) and write a one-sentence story for each genre.

Unfortunately, I can’t be bothered to follow the social construct known as “rules.” So I decided to make my own rules and declare this a 100-word flash-fiction challenge instead. Single lines are overrated.

(In other words, Sarah failed. She’s trying to save face and failing at that too.)

Behold, some extremely short multiple-line stories!

The apocalypse begins at a timely moment.

There he is, staring at the sputtering printer, his paper locked in its choking jaws — “Did you break the printer again?” someone yells from a nearby cubicle — there he is, faced with another defeat by the gods of office supplies, when something explodes.

(Unfortunately, not the printer.)

In the ensuing chaos (someone’s screaming, someone’s laughing, someone is on their knees pleading with God), Mary Keats from down the hall yanks him under a desk with her. “Protect your head!” she yells a little too close to his ear. He’s not sure if she’s referring to another potential explosion, or the encounter they had yesterday when she batted her eyelashes at him like a hand-held fan, but either way, he’s not taking chances. He scrambles out from under the desk.

“Don’t go!” she screams after him. “Aliens are attacking!”

(Aliens would be a better fate than Mary Keats.)

Smoke pours into the office through the break-room door. (A natural place to target first, if aliens are into peanut-butter crackers.) He knows nothing about space-invasions other than the handful of low-budget films watched on repeat when he was a kid, so honestly, this is a little out of his depth. Are there end-of-the-world manuals somewhere that explain how to handle these kinds of things? (He promises himself he’ll write one if he isn’t eaten first.)

He’s mentally crafting the opening statement of his pamphlet when an immaterial shape detaches from the smoke.

“False alarm, guys!” shouts Jerry from accounting. “I accidentally microwaved a fork.”

The office stills.

“A fork?” Mary Keats scrambles out from under the desk, accusation warbling in her voice. “There are no aliens?”

Someone starts to chuckle. Someone else emerges from behind the filing cabinets to take a few shaky steps through the smoke. Jerry from accounting shrugs in apology, his hair sticking out from his head in singed clumps.

“Someone blew up the microwave?” is yelled across the office.

“I guess,” someone else responds. “Who broke the printer?”

The end-of-the-world manual will have to wait as the mundane beckons them back.

*dusts off hands*

Was this inspired by my burning hatred for printing machines and their petty vendettas? Quite possibly.

If you would like to one-up me by doing this challenge correctly, by all means, go for it. Shoot your shot.

In the meantime, farewell for now, my friends! See you next week!


12 thoughts on “Single Line Story Challenge // flash-fiction + chaos + a broken printer

  1. You didn’t write five stories; you wrote one multi-genre short story, you rebel. ;P (This was very enjoyable, thank you for sharing! :D)


  2. This main character is the best! I would not be opposed to more stories with this MC, if you’re ever considering writing more *cough cough* 🙂 The graphics looked lovely too, and I greatly appreciate that the romance was not romance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! That was epically hilarious!! (is epically a word? Well, now it is! XD).
    Your vendetta against printers reminded me of this commercial I just saw, where I lady had a conniption fit over the printer’s temperamental ink cartridges Lol. (That’d totally be me.)

    Loved this tag, Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

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