The Marinara Gauntlet - The Inkwell Flash Fiction Contest

in The Ink Well3 years ago


"Doreen, if your eyes bulge anymore they are going to pop right out of your skull!"

"Shut it, Mavis! I ain't never seen the likes in all my days is all."

"Well, it ain't polite to stare, you know that."

This day was ratcheting up from bad to worse, Rebecca thought and those two old biddies weren't helping matters any.

"It's okay, everybody just stand back and give him some room, I got it," she replied.

Ten seconds earlier, the diner was a scene of domestic normality. Gerald and the Bombastic Bunch were perched atop the red vinyl bar seats, sipping coffee and reliving their glory days. To think, only a breath ago she had been annoyed by hearing Buddy Corvallis bellow, "In 72' I dropped that buck the size of your Datsun, Gerry, and you're still smarting you missed him, ain't ya!"

Just as Rebecca had served a piping hot dish of spaghetti and meatballs to the stranger in a red flannel shirt, an odd choice for breakfast she had thought at the time, it had burst through the door.

As the glass door slammed open, Rebecca caught the spruce green eyes of the man in the red flannel shirt. They widened in surprise and a hint of anticipation tinged his irises, although those eyes were quickly forgotten as she whirled around to see what had caused the ruckus.

A massive buck stood in the doorway of the diner. That alone would have been weird enough, but this buck was, well, different. Instead of the soft doe brown that all deer tend to be, this one was shades of blue. His shaggy coat was the color of the Irish sky and sea, a fact Rebecca knew from a trip to that lovely country to visit her great aunt three years prior.

The massive horned beast stamped its feet off of the black and white vinyl linoleum floor and gave a triumphant snort. The man in the red flannel shirt shifted behind her, and before Rebecca could move, the blue beast charged towards her.

Hollers and cries broke out like a horror movie soundtrack around her as the big buck charged right by her, the blonde strands of her ponytail whipping as she whirled with him in a dance of terror and adrenaline. The buck slid to a stop right in front of the man in the red flannel shirt and for the slightest break in time, they beheld each other.

Suddenly, the buck dipped its shaggy cerulean head, hooked the man's plate of steaming spaghetti with its horns, and flipped the entire thing at him before bounding away.

We watched the spaghetti slide down the wall.

"Are you okay?" Rebecca breathed to the man in red, handing him the towel she kept tucked in her pink and black apron.

"Hades no he ain't okay, Bec! That spirit buck just marked him! He's a dead man walking!"

"Shut it, Vern," Rebecca replied as she grabbed napkins from the chrome dispenser on the worn, spaghetti-covered table in front of her.

A lone chuckle bubbled into the silence. The man in the red flannel shirt began laughing as he plucked spaghetti from his coarse brown hair. The deep and rhythmic cadence of his laughter filtered through the diner like a pied piper's tune and soon everyone was guffawing like they had collectively breathed in nitrous oxide.

"Well, I do believe that was a challenge, don't you?" the red flannel man drawled in his delicious baritone, "At least the sauce matches my shirt." he quipped.

He then stood up, tossed a twenty dollar bill on the table, and stalked out the still open diner door.

And as most of the time, the image in this post was taken on the author's spaghetti free and somewhat saucy iPhone.


Love stories that push the boundaries, the story is fast paced and the language colorful.

Ooh, mutual feelings alert! All fences should be tested, especially so in creative ways. Thanks for stopping by.:)

What a day! I doubt if he would have dropped by if he knew what was to happen at the dinner. But then again, he handled the whole thing gracefully.

It really was a crazy moment for sure! Sometimes the siren song of spaghetti gets the best of us all, and part of me thinks the man dropped by the diner on purpose, just to see what the buck would do....Weirder things have happened, right? LOL! Thanks for stopping by.:)

I waited to read your story because I was wilting earlier in the evening. Did a few bedtime stretches and then picked up my iPad. Well, thank you. Thank the blue buck. Thank the man in the flannel shirt with the spaghetti embellishment.

You zip us right through to the prompt. However did you think of this? It's a romp. And I hope that man leaves his rifle home when he looks for the buck. He'll have to think of a riposte worthy of the spaghetti challenge.

I'm so glad to see you got the spirit to write. When it hits, it hits. And you take that impulse home. Wonderful job.

Oh my dear friend, I am so sorry I am so slow to reply to your most excellent and wonderful reply! My dad had a stroke and my life has been turned a bit upside down, and I have to say that even though I always appreciate your input and kind words, that I even more so appreciate them right now. Thank you so much!

Dreadful news. I am so sorry. I know you through your writing, and you are a warm, loving person. Of course this turned your life upside down. I hope he is doing well. I hope your family is supporting him and you. Nothing---Nothing---is as important as family.

My heart is with you my kind friend. Terrible times, no matter how they sort themselves out. This will call upon all the strength you have. Let me know how he is, and how you are.

He's hanging in there, I am getting ready to go pick up my mom from the hospital for the evening, but I just had to say, I so, so appreciate you, thank you😊


This story really made me smiled, @generikat. What a great bunch of characters you've brought to us, and a truly bizarre and intriguing scenario, as well. The man certainly takes the challenge in stride! Thanks for joining the contest.

Ooh, I love words like bizarre and intriguing lol! The man and the buck have a long history, at least in my wacky mind, and I had a blast painting a little scene from that overarching narrative!

Also, sorry for disappearing again, my dad had a stroke so I have been in the thick of family emergency land....I'll be in and out for awhile now, but will do my best to keep up with ya'll, I really appreciate my Hive peeps:)

That buck have no manners wasting food like that. But seriously though, the story is quite surreal especially with how the buck and the stranger were acting.

Yes! He should totally be ashamed for wasting a perfectly lovely plate of spaghetti! lol!

I like the way you describe the events that take place. It makes it a lot easier to picture it. Interesting read.

Thank you so much! I love painting scenes, I want anyone who reads something I write to engage all their senses, especially the odd and not often used minutia of their minds:) Thanks for stopping by!

Oh wow ... what a day! We feel the strange excitement of the scene -- wow! Well done!

Ahh, strange excitement is one of the my favorite things. I enjoy the surreal sundae sprinkles of life, and I really, really appreciate your kind words, thank you!

Thanks for posting this entertaining story on @theinkwell, @generikat, fellow writers will be happy to find your comments on their own stories.

Thank you! I’ve been working and commenting my way down the entry list, there’s some quality imagination inducing fodder derived from this week’s prompt.:)

Hi, @generikat!

A description of a surreal scene that grabs the reader from the start despite the incredible story being told.
Your intense writing brings a smile to the reader's face and makes them look at the vivid colours.

Awe, @gracielaacevedo, your kind words made me smile! Thank you!

Well written and funny story. I don't know the location, but it has a Pacific Northwest vibe that I enjoy.

Suddenly, the buck dipped its shaggy cerulean head, hooked the man's plate of steaming spaghetti with its horns, and flipped the entire thing at him before bounding away.

This is subtle but I like how the tone of your narration matches the story setting. An enjoyable read!

As a PNW native, I dig that you picked up on that element! I sorta envisioned a mish mash of diners and townspeople I have come across in many of the towns across this part of the planet lol.

I’m stoked you enjoyed it, I love flash fiction, it’s so fun to just sit down and wandercraft!

Absolutely. I like to think that watching Twin Peaks was a catalyst for me moving to BC many years ago :)

It was a pleasure reading

Ouch.Terrible experience. I can't remain cool if I was on his shoes. I mean, its food all over me! Very interesting read.

It would be tough not to blow your top if a rampaging buck flopped a plate of spaghetti on your head, that’s for sure. Every time I cook though I end up with food all over me, so then again I might not get too mad lol! Glad you enjoyed, thanks for stopping by:)

 3 years ago  Reveal Comment

Awe, thank you @urbani1!

The man in the red flannel shirt is a bit of a confident battle axe for sure, I kinda want to write more of the tale, just to see what happens lol!

Hope you had a very lovely weekend!