One of the things I fear as a writer … besides failure, rejection, living in Has-been Ville, etc., is for people to see my writing before it’s fully edited since there’s a chance they’ll only raise an eyebrow with a slight cringe and say, “Oh, that’s … nice,” while making internal gag-me signs.

This fear of mine sucks.

So does the safe comfort zone I’ve built for myself over the years.

It’s time for me to jump out of that rut by trying something new, a feature where I share rough short stories written either as an exercise or something like Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenges. This might not sound like a big deal, but for me, sharing raw work is like standing naked on a pedestal, handing out Sharpies and letting folks circle my flaws.

Still, challenging fears is part of my career reinvention plans and other writers are having fun with this, so whatever. Here goes, me jumping with a story written as part of a hundred words or less exercise.

Let me know if you’d like a Sharpie.



The vet raised her needle toward the barn window, flicking the syringe as a starling landed on the stall door.

Miserable birds, she thought. Nest-stealing home wreckers.

She gazed down at the weary old horse, his ribs sharp and breath labored. What a comfort he’d been for his owner, never flinching as the woman clung to him, crying over her husband’s affair, praying he would dump the tramp.

He did.

And now it’s time for the tramp’s revenge.

The starling cawed as the vet lowered the needle. She smiled at the bird.

“Our secret, just between us home wreckers.”

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