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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Flash Jab Challenge 10

(Photo credit: (c) Megan Abbott 2012)

A big thanks to Megan Abbott for the use of her photograph. Also, a big thanks to AJ Hayes and Graham Smith, frequent contributors, for their spins to this months Flash Jab. Both stories are posted below.


Graham Smith

It started out as a daft conversation in the pub. Could a fish tank be used as a boat and if you sat in it would it float free of the beach before the tide washed into it?

As it was December and the water was bloody freezing, I decided to get someone else to be my guinea pig. I chose the cow from accounts that continually halved my expenses claims as my test pilot so to speak. I’d thought about balance and stability for the improvised boat and had all my calculations worked out. All I needed now was a way to persuade the bitch from accounts to get in.

I waited until the Christmas party, when she was drunk and trying unsuccessfully to hook up with any single man present. Steeling myself to the task I made small talk until we ended up playing tonsil hockey. A few colleagues saw us together and I knew they’d rip the piss outta me but that was all part of my plan.

She agreed to meet up with me a few days later. I took her for a walk along the shore. When she spied the four foot fish tank I’d deposited on the deserted sands the night before, she walked over to it commenting about flaming fly tippers.

Bending down I lifted a fist sized stone which I slammed into her temple. Her eyes rolled back in perfect synchronisation with her buckling knees.

I could see her chest rising and falling as she lay at my feet so I knew I’d only knocked her unconscious rather than killing her.

Leaving her be, I went over to the fish tank, which I then dragged to with six feet of the incoming tide. Using my jumper as a towel I dried the inside of the tank and then went to drag the bitch nearer. When I had her laid beside the tank I stripped off first her coat, then her boots and the thick tights she was wearing.

I then fed her limp body into the tank and lifted each leg in turn to apply a full tube of Superglue beneath each knee. I repeated the process with her arms. Now if she came to before the tide came in she wouldn’t be able to escape.

What would happen to her? Would she float away or drown?

From my vantage point ten yards back, I watched as the tide came in. First small waves eddied up against the tank. Then there was an inch of water around the base.

Five long minutes passed before the water around the glass coffin rose to a depth of six inches. The waves were lapping against the side of the tank but had another foot to go before they breached the top and flooded down onto her.

The incoming tide had pushed me back some twenty yards but I could still see the tank start to lift at the end her feet stuck out from. There was a definite lifting of that end, and as the depth increased I could see the waves pivoting the tank on the still grounded end where her upper body and head were. The water was only three inches from the top when the whole tank started to drift.

Just as I was cursing my luck, a slightly larger wave came in and as it neared, I could see it rising and forming into a breaker. I watched open mouthed as it collided with the tank, cascaded over the lip causing the tank to sink back onto the sands.

Subsequent waves washed into the tank and just over an hour after I’d adhered the bitch into place, the waves hid her watery tomb.

Shame she never came around. I would have enjoyed watching the terror in her eyes as she drowned. Still I would have my fun with filling in the next expense form. Four tubes of Superglue from Homebase – £6.60 Fish tank from EBay - £87 Getting that bitch out of my life – priceless!

(c) 2012 Graham Smith

And now, from Mr. Hayes:

Rapture of the Deep

AJ Hayes

After he set the record for the deepest dive they called him The Kraken. He never told them at the bottom of that plunge he met a girl with high turned breasts and eyes of gray-green splendor. She held him close and breathed for him while he made love to her. When he rose to the light of the world above she waved sad farewell and sank from view.

Now, old and too short of breath to swim, each day by the sea he fills a tub with water and listens for her song and weeps.

(c) AJ Hayes 2012


  1. Graham,
    The story definitely clips you on the chin:) It's hard hitting, as I'm sure it's meant to be. Great use of description:)


  2. Loved the use of the term, Kraken...I haven't seen that in a long time:) I enjoyed the visual of the mermaid breathing life into him...I have a piece out there under my pen name,L Reveaux, titled Siren's Call, which used the same technique.
    I found the tub at the close of the story, quite intriguing:)


  3. Thanks Loretta. It's an hour to share a stage with master wordsmith AJ Hayes.

    AJ, I love where your imagination has taken you from the picture. Like Loretta says Kraken is a much underused term. Great story all round.

  4. Graham - HA! Priceless indeed. Well done!

    AJ - A lot of story in very few words. Nice work, buddy!

  5. Thanks Loretta. The siren call of the sea fascinates us all I think.
    Graham, I'll make sure when David and I sit down to a pint someday you'll be at the same table and the bull will fly! :)
    Thanks David. The short stuff is hard to keep right (as you know) I'm glad it worked out.

  6. AJ few writers can say so much with such economy. You are able to evoke a world in a few lines, I loved this one.

    Graham,the precise physical nature of the language here is extremely strong. Great story.

  7. Graham, I love the idea of expensing a murder.

    Bittersweet and beautiful, AJ. It hit me straight in the heart.

  8. She held him close and breathed for him while he made love to her.

    Ahhhh, felt that one, dear Mr honing Hayes. The splendor of the eyes, the longing from the tub all splashed so well o'er my tender psyche. As the illustrious Sir Godwin illuminated ~ mastery of mood becomes you.

    ~ ~ ~

    And then there's the diabolical mind of our Mr Smith, emanating his tale out of - natch - a pub scene dare. What intricacies his evil plot gets sticky with. Remind me never to linger too close at a professional gathering. Nice play of 'balance and stability' against 'halving expenses'. Thy clever ever sneaks in.

    ~ Absolutely*Kate, lingering to admire Ms Abbot's wonder of a photo to wonder upon. Real sweet challenge Jack. Wish I woulda come ashore for this one

  9. Almost forgot:

    'Rapture of the Deep' was the most touching double or triple entendree title. Way to go Clyde.

  10. "Her eyes rolled back in perfect synchronisation with her buckling knees."

    Brilliant line that... gave me a wonderful mental image!

    Graham, this is cold and dark... and a bit of wicked humour. Taught that bitch well, you did... she'll not be shorting anyone's expenses again!

    The icing on this 'word cake'? Expensing out the murder... bloody brilliant!

  11. AJ - This left me a bit breathless! A poignant 'stab-to-the-heart' love story with its subtle entendres layered in a few short sentences.

    Excellent wordsmithing!

    Which bit of coast did you say the girl with the high-turned breasts was at?


  12. Two excellent and very different stories. Graham's is funny and light and ridiculous. AJ brings us back to earth with a beautifully melancholy piece.

  13. Richard. Thanks for the props. Coming from you it makes me feel great.
    Lady NOLA: Thanks for the kind words. Rampart and Toulouse is still frimly top five in my "must read" list.
    Absolutely OKatie: Aw shucks, Pal. You're makin' me feel like diggin' my toe in the dirt and blushin'. Glad you got the entenrdes double or triple. Tanks.
    Lady Veronica: Thank you. That gal was off the coast of Italy or Greece in my mind . . . but I'll settle for the deep blue Pacific also. :)
    Hey, Chris. Thanks, man. You know how highly I count your opinion.

  14. Thanks Dave. We'll definitely have to get together with AJ for that pint, although I suspect a gallon may be a more accurate assessment.

    Kristin, Richard, Veronica, Chris and Absolutely Kate All I can say is - The kind words that you leave for me are what spurs me on as a writer. Knowing I have you guys reading, appraising and liking my work gives me the confidence to write my twisted little "dark, cold, light and funny" tales. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. Without it I wouldn't dare show my work.

  15. Great stuff, enjoyed those.

    AJ, you do so much with so few words. Wonderful writing, as always.