2013 Imagine, Write, Inspire Flash Fiction Competition. ‘Caught’ by Deirdre Reidy

Good morning all.  So we are getting close to the end of our Flash Fiction Competition.  Only a few more days to get your entries in.

Have you been reading all the stories and have been enjoying them all but you too have been itching to put pen to paper, hand to keyboard and start your own?

Well in that case, GO FOR IT! And if you are a little unsure as to how to start, he’s some tips for you.

1. Flash Fiction can be any length up to 1000 words.  I’ve been working with the Imagine, Write, Inspire Writers group on a 99 word flash fiction challenge and I have to tell you, some of those would have been worthy entries here in this competition.

2. Are you stuck for a topic to write about? Then close your eyes and let your mind wander. What did you think about? No matter how obscure the thought you can make that a flash fiction piece.  Keep the complex story lines for your novel, keep the idea manageable for a short piece.  Perhaps you are going to write about a short conversation that two people have.  5 minutes of a persons day.  The options are endless.

3.  While flash fiction often leaves the reader wanting more, they also should have some semblance of a start, middle and end.  To let the reader know the back story of a flash fiction piece, you need to get that done in the opening paragraph.  You are not telling the complete story, but just enough to make the reader satisfied with what they have read.

4. Use your words wisely. Don’t waste them. Let the reader fill in some of the blanks.  We’re clever like that.

5.  Keep us guessing until the end and if you can throw in  a twist to the tale, then wonderful!

And lastly, give it a go! What have you got to lose and I promise you, it will be fun!

To check out what all the other aspiring writers have written about, click here.


 For now, sit back and enjoy this mornings offering from Deirdre Reidy.  Deirdre has chosen her topic really well and didn’t need any of my tips I offered above, because she has done a great job.  You will enjoy this my friends.

Chat later,

Carmel x



By Deirdre Reidy

I think it’s the fertility prediction kit  that has them really puzzled.  Even while they were exclaiming loudly in protest over the spoils, I could see the glint in Susan’s eyes as she processed the information that all the colours would probably suit her.  She shunned the “Seductive Harlot” red shades, I did notice that, it’s a shame really, she can be so washed out at times; a pop of colour might do her the world of good.  If I’m not mistaken though, I think I saw her slip a Touché Eclat into her pocket.  That apple didn’t fall far from my tree.

I thought that discovery might mean they’d pay a bit of attention to me, well to be honest I fully expected to be the main focus for a while.  I suppose part of me was looking forward to that, I’m sort of invisible to them lately.  Always here, but rarely noticed.  My little hobby has certainly caught their attention and I thought they’d at least speak to me about it, see what I might have to say.  I am surprised by the fact that they’re all talking amongst themselves in hushed tones and glancing over at me, rather than asking direct questions.  I expected rage, anger, disappointment and this is making me feel more like a toddler caught with their hand in the cookie jar than a grown woman caught with enough cosmetics to open her own online store.

I had it down to a fine art too, I’ve even been caught a couple of times but thanks to my planning and foresight, I was able to pull off the confused, menopausal woman act and nobody took it any further.  I would make sure to mess my hair up a bit, make myself look all flustered and harried.  The last time an insolent looking excuse for a security guard stopped me, having noticed the home waxing kit I had secreted up my sleeve.  Clearly secreted isn’t the right word, it was way too bulky for my sleeve; I don’t know what I was thinking.  Anyway, as I sat in the manager’s office in floods of tears, begging them to please believe that it was a genuine mistake, that I was just all over the place as I was waiting on test results that afternoon, had simply just forgotten to pay, the beeping of the reminder on my phone (which brazenly displaying the notice of my scheduled doctor’s appointment in ten minutes time) pulled the wool well and truly over their eyes.    I swear it seems that once you pass fifty everyone seems to think you’re just incapable of dishonesty, it’s quite offensive really.   I even had to pay for that stupid home waxing kit too, I should have learned from that to only take items I might actually use.

I did try and stop, I know it’s wrong and I was horrified about what would happen if anyone found out.  As if I didn’t already have enough to keep me awake with the night sweats.   I even tried some of the herbal remedies but was limited to what was out on the shop floor, and it just didn’t do anything for me.  My sister found it great though I know that, so each to their own.  I bet she’ll be upset when she figures out how I got it for her.  I’d stop for ages, weeks at a time but then I’d get bogged down in the boring mundane routine of my daily life, and I’d be somewhere like Boots (more than likely on an errand for someone else, just highlighting how I’m barely more than a messenger for them all) and the colourful packaging in the make-up aisle would catch my eye.  All of a sudden I’d be out the door, with an eye-shadow or blusher in my handbag.  And then due to the lack of a receipt I’d have to go looking for another pharmacy somewhere else to get what I really did go in for.    But the high was worth it.  I’d feel alive, like a real person again.  Not just some taken for granted faded into the background version of me.

In the end it was shower gel that did it.  I’d grown too brave, was getting too big for my boots (pardon the pun).  I was alright with the eye-liners, hair clips and protein bars.  I just really did need some shower gel.  There was a really long queue and I needed the toilet and wasn’t in the mood to leave it back on the shelf and have to come back again after trekking to the ladies.  So I had it inside my coat before I really even realised myself what I was doing.  It was certainly after the little woman on the perfume counter noticed at any rate.  If I had intended on taking something today I’d never have gone there, I narrowly escaped exposure there before and I’m not so doddery that I’d chance my luck like that.  But like I said, I needed shower gel.  So now I’m at home, having made a full and honest disclosure to my scandalised family.  Tony was most unimpressed at being discommoded having to come collect me.  Surely I could have managed to not get caught during Cheltenham week, I’ll hear about that later no doubt.  Susan had to find someone else to collect the kids from school and I believe there’s a skype call planned with Austin in Sydney at a convenient time.  I’m sure there’s no good time to hear that your mother has been shop lifting antacids and antiseptic cream but at least they were good enough to not wake him up in the middle of his night with the news.  At least they’ll all notice me again; maybe I should smear on some of that “Seductive Harlot” lipstick for some extra impact.

Deirdre, 33, lives in Dublin with her husband Dave and their 3 year old daughter Aoife. She studied Communitcations (Film and Broadcasting) in DIT and now works in the Department of Justice and Equality.  She loves reading, the cinema and baking. She has always enjoyed writing and is grateful to this flash fiction competition for giving her the motivation to actually write something, rather than just always boring everyone talking about how one day she will write something!


  1. Very witty! What’s next?

  2. Pingback: And the Winner of the 2013 Imagine, Write Inspire Flash Fiction Competition is …. | carmelharrington

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.