Friday Flash Fiction


Picture courtesy of me!   

The contrast of the linear aspect of the fence with the circular shapes caught my eye on one of my walks with Miss Penelope Dog. As usual, I grabbed my trusty phone and snapped a couple of pictures. I liked how this one turned out well enough to send in to Rochelle, Queen of the Prompts. I was pleased to see it show up today and know that it means I will be doing a lot of reading this week!

Back when my dad was alive, he talked about his higher education with reverence. He’d always say that he had a BS, MS, and PhD – Bull Shit, More Shit, and Piled Higher and Deeper. As a kid, I found that hugely funny and laughed every time he pulled that joke out. Somehow, that’s what came to mind as I thought about this prompt.

Word count: 99

In the Dark

My daddy always said it takes rich fertilizer to make a mushroom grow. That and a dark, dank environment.

If that’s the case, I should have a truckload about now. I’ve been sitting in this dark cubicle, sweating out my lifeblood, underneath piles of bullshit (although how that differs from cowshit, I’ve never been clear).

Maybe I should’ve worked in a mushroom factory. Maybe then I’d be happy to see more shit arrive, whether bull or cow. It’s piled higher and deeper than I ever imagined I’d see. Damn near need my waders to make it to the restroom.

© Erin Leary

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65 thoughts on “Friday Flash Fiction

  1. haha, loved your Dad’s interpretation of higher education and I like where you’ve taken the story this week. I can totally see the character and feel her pain. Thanks for the photo!

    • It’s funny – you’d think for my own photo, I would have a story to go with it. Nope. I saw it and thought – what do I have to say about this? Maybe next time I send one in, I’ll try to think ahead. Maybe, but doubtful! 🙂

  2. Erin, your story is sadly too often true these days, cubicle or not, although a cubicle seems an apt spot for the sort of stuff that makes mushrooms thrive and people die. Really enjoyed the story about your dad, too.


    • Thanks – my dad could always make me laugh. He had a long list of jokes that he would tell. I usually start a joke and then forget the punch line. Delivery is everything!

  3. I love that your Dad told the same joke over and over; mine did the same. A great story this week – you’ve managed to bring the character to life – I can see him (somehow I see him not her) unhappy in his cubicle.
    And thank you for the picture!

  4. Dear Erin,

    Thanks for the great prompt. There’s sure to be a pony under it somewhere. Your main character might recognize me because I work in the next cubicle over. Good job on this one.



    • I think I do remember seeing you there… and I use that pony line all the time at work. As in “Come on, guys. Let’s get shoveling. We’ll find the pony in here somewhere. ” I got me some great motivational skills.

    • I hadn’t listened to that in ages – thanks for the memories! My favorite – something I think I said as a kid myself – “You can’t fool me. “Shoot” is really “shit” with two “O’s” I loved all the substitute swear words – shoot, darn, dang, dadblast it. They made me chuckle – because I *knew* what they really meant.

  5. I love every word of this, introduction included. Your MC should realize, though, that fungi/mushrooms make interesting things out of bull/cow/any shit. And what is left, is best compost. 😉

    • Thanks for the reminder – I used to live in a town where there were mushroom farms. The smell was terrible – but they sold their by-product to gardeners who loved it.

  6. Love your photo and story! Course when I first saw the photo, I wonder what story could I make from mushrooms. Never thought about the shit. I have a square mind! 🙂


    • Heh heh…yes, piled higher and deeper. My youngest intends to get his PhD and is going into it with his eyes open and expectations appropriately set – being a professor somewhere. I’ve never loved a single subject well enough to go that deep. I know a little about a lot, that’s my claim to fame.

  7. First, thanks for a great photo! It’s brought out many great stories. I agree with draliman – there are probably a bazillion people who feel like the subject of your story.

  8. This is perfect, Erin!! Love this story. There’s so much truth to it. Higher education seems to mean less and less these days, at least in terms of good job prospects. I’ll admit I had trouble coming up with a story this week, but what else is new? That happens every week. This was a great photo. Thanks for offering it.

    • My dad was an accidental PhD. He ended up going that route because he came in second for a job where the other candidate had his doctorate. So, being competitive, dad decided he’d better get his. I think he went back kicking and screaming, but he got it and never missed another opportunity. Go dad!

  9. Dear Erin,
    I finally found time to do some reading this week, and I am tickled with the story from our photographer this week. Yep–there tends to be fertilizer aplenty in corporate America. I’m about to take on a four-week stint at a temp tech support gig (an opportunity to earn the money for my new website while baling out a former employer who’s in “it” up to the eyeballs), and I imagine I will spend that time fully amused at the Bull (or Cow) that I encounter. Somehow it doesn’t stink so much when the cleanup falls to someone else.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  10. I’ve always wondered why shit wasn’t gender neutral. There’s a small tree that grows here my dad always called a hen-shit bush. When you cut one down, it has the odor of fresh chicken droppings. Why it wasn’t called a rooster-shit bush was beyond me.

  11. You struck a deep chord. There’s some comfort in knowing I am not alone in my mushroom heap. I’ve only just managed to push my head above the ‘rich’ surface and post a tale this week, but have enjoyed your prompt to the full. Hope you get time to read. 🙂

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