Sunday, September 30, 2012


Today's post is a piece of Flash Fiction that I wrote for the Dude Write September Flash Fiction Contest.

Of the three visual prompts this month, this is the one I decided to use:

I hope you enjoy it.  Weighing in at 356 words, I present to you, "Shot."

*   *   *

There he sat at his table in the pathetic apartment that had become his living quarters.  In front of him sat a shot glass, three-quarters full.

Nothing else.

A door opened and slammed shut, snapping him out of his daze.

He didn't turn to look.


Behind him.  A woman's voice.

"That's what I hate about you the most," she continued, as if she owned this place too.  "You put a shot in front of you and stare at it, making a whole big production out it.  It's pathetic, really."

His wife.  Ex-wife in progress.  Still, he didn't turn to face her.  He hadn't thought about what it would look like if someone walked in on him.

"You know that you're going to start drinking again.  So just do it."

She came behind him and plopped a stack of papers on the table next to the shot. 

Court papers.  Bills.  Things he had to pay for:

His house.  Now hers.

Lawyer fees.

The tiny coffin.

On top of the papers, she placed a bottle of gin, which she had retrieved from the pantry.  A cruel paperweight.

"So that you can finish what you started," she said.

And then she left his pathetic apartment as cruelly as she had entered, making sure that she slammed the door.

Despite what she said, he stared at the shot glass for a few more minutes before he picked it up.

   "What does it taste like?" he had asked the guy.

   "No harsher than a shot of vodka." he had told him.

He poured the clear liquid down his throat and gagged.  The guy had lied to him.  It tasted much harsher than a shot of vodka.  But perhaps after five months he forgot how unkind alcohol could taste.

   "Will it hurt?"

   "Quite the opposite.  You'll feel euphoria and then you'll lose consciousness."

He felt a familiar tingling rush sweep over his body, his face, his brain.  Then numbing. 

The sweet numbness.

   "And then what happens?"

   "And then that's it."

With shaking hands, he unsteadily placed the shot glass back on the table, where it fell over.

After a moment, so did he.

-Youngman Brown

If you liked this, check out some of my other Flash Fiction

And if you want to read some other awesome Dude Write authors, or even enter this competition and become a part of our community, come on over and hang out.

Dude Write


  1. Whoa! Outstanding! I can't believe you managed to pack in so much with so few words. I'm very impressed.


  2. Wow. I felt my heart beating by the end. I am in awe (and, if I'm honest, a little jealous) of what you can do with 356 words.

    1. You shouldn't be jealous. You have done it before!

  3. What a sad story! I could feel it and I was a little anxious and nervous for him. Ohhhhh, "tiny coffin"!

  4. I was not expecting that ending, but then again, after all he went through, I guess I should have. As the others have said, a lot is going on in that meager 356 words, and it's a very strong story! Well done!

  5. Wow, what an ending! Really didn't expect that, very well done :)

  6. Killer piece, man, pun intended, but seriously, really great.

  7. Been there, wouldn't give the c you next tuesday the satisfaction. Then things get a whole lot better.

    Very well done, if you didn't win who did?

    1. If not me, then one of the other great pieces.

  8. Oohoohoo, I liked this story a lot. How you managed a story of this caliber out of so little words is astonishing. Great job and an awesome twist!

    1. Thanks, Chiz. And thanks for the shout-out!

  9. It's amazing how quickly I hated her, and felt so deeply for him! Nice work.

  10. Amazing how you made me feel such compassion for a man I never met in so few words. Thank you.

  11. I've never smiled at a suicide, that is until I read this exemplary work. Great job, Youngman.

  12. Wow! Insanely powerful for less words than there are days in a year. Great job! Poor guy. Who the hell was the "he" who gave him this stuff? Pretty horrid.

  13. ::whistles:: Small story, big punch~!

  14. You had me at "tiny coffin." Great job! Loved the use of sparse dialogue.

  15. Did I mention how talented you are at this?? I totally didn't expect that ending. 365 words and I feel like I just read a sad, yet juicy novel. Best of luck in the contest!!

  16. Very powerful. I really felt that guys pain. Nicely done Mike.

  17. Your 365 word story has reminded me that I really, really need to work on my writing more. Beautiful piece.

  18. That was amazing. Having been through the loss of a home, a marriage and a child, I feel like you channeled the emotion beautifully.


When you comment, I vibrate.