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Photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash

Dear Andy,

After careful consideration, the editors of Sweet Buddy Bunn’s Chili Roundup and Flash Fiction Review have selected the following short story and chili pairings as the winners of our spring Five Alarm Fiction Rodeo contest:

First Prize: “Hunting at Night” by “Hollerin’” Hank Hennessy of Langley, Washington and his “Cluck of the Irish” white chicken chili

Second Prize: “Abstract Heckhole” by Kenny Wishbone of Mooresville, North Carolina and his hybrid black bean Cincinnati chili “Shazazmo!”

Third Prize: “Stuckey’s Napkin Manifesto” by Betty Van Specht of Huntington, West Virginia and her goat-based Texas-style chili “Chunky Chupacabra”

All prizes will be awarded upon publication.
All chili has been eaten and the bowls cleaned and returned to the submitters.

Thank you for entering our flash fiction contest and chili cook-off. …


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Photo by Chris Hardy on Unsplash

“Is fishes?” She arched an eyebrow and cocked her head to the opposite side. The other restless passengers bristled past us to the baggage carousel like water flowing around a rock.

“I’m sorry, is what fishes?” I said, hoisting an attaché strap over my shoulder and contorting my neck to look behind her.

“For when you go bathroom. Is fishes?”

I saw my bag emerge from the yawning mouth of the conveyor chute and motioned toward it. “I’m afraid I don’t understand.” I twisted away to make my escape, but her raised hand stopped me.

“I ask how you say…


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https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=305037&picture=copperhead-snake

Finding a snake in your yard isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, but copperheads are venomous and should be approached with caution. Follow this handy guide for proper identification and handling.

Does the snake’s body have brown and orange coloration with a dark hourglass pattern?

Yeah, I think so.

Drop to your knees and slide toward the snake with your hands out, palms up, as if making an offering.

You sure?

Don’t worry, it’s safe as long as you breathe slowly and don’t blink.

Uh, okay.

Gently caress the snake and whisper, “We are not at odds; I have only come…


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Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

The Immortal

An Instagram influencer buys a sourdough starter from an eBay seller in Jerusalem who claims the wild yeast comes from the dinner table at the Last Supper. The starter grows rapidly and threatens to overtake the influencer’s entire apartment. She gives dozens of pieces to friends and family but still, it keeps growing. She sells the starter online under the name “The Bread of Life.” The sourdough’s popularity increases exponentially until it becomes the only food source available on earth. Those who eat it gain immortality but grow to hate the taste so much they would rather be dead.

The School of Forking Paths

An…


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Photo by Jan Střecha on Unsplash

‘Sup, guys! Rob here. Yeah, I go by Rob now even though my home improvement show is called The Vanilla Ice Project. Ten seasons and still going strong on the DIY Network, boy-ee! Yo, but it is a real network!

All right, stop. Can you believe I dropped “Ice Ice Baby” 30 years ago? A lot has changed in this crazy world since then, but there’s been one constant the Ice Man wants to educate y’all on just in case you didn’t know it:

If there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.

Word up. Here in 2020, we got…


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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Sumter

“President Donald Trump Tuesday escalated his threats over this summer’s Republican National Convention, saying he needs a decision from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper ‘within a week’ as to whether the convention can go forward as planned.”

Charlotte Observer, 5/26/20

Dear Republican National Committee,

Governor Roy Cooper is cautious and level headed — like a southern Dr. Fauci — and that’s part of why we North Carolinians like him so much. In response to a Trump tweet he recently said, “It’s OK for political conventions to be political but pandemic response cannot be.” Does that sound like a guy who’s…


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Photo by sheri silver on Unsplash

Day 3: Salad of chicory, bulgur wheat and eggplant
“The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.”

Day 9: Tofu loaf with raisin and olive compote
“Ultimate horror often paralyses memory in a merciful way.”

Day 14: Soy milk soda bread
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

Day 19: Cheerio encrusted Brussels sprouts
“Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness.”

Day 22: Loaf of scrapple with Sweet Ray’s Hawaiian Style BBQ sauce drizzle “Wise…


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Photo by History in HD on Unsplash
  1. I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
  2. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s been going on from before I even got elected.
  3. This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
  4. It’s a disgrace that it happened and if you look at what’s gone on, and if you look at now, all of this information that’s being released, and from what I understand that’s only the beginning.
  5. I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can…


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Frozen — Disney (Fair Use)

You wake in terror to the sound of a loud crash. Your toddler, looking for ice cream, has slammed the refrigerator door so hard a wine bottle has broken. As you vacuum up the broken glass the toddler tells you they “cleaned your shirt to make it pretty again”; that’s when you notice the child took your favorite shirt from the dirty clothes pile to sop up the wine and then crammed it in the guest bathroom toilet, flushing until it overflowed.

Do you:

  1. Wince, pop your meds, and hum the chorus to “Let It Go,” or
  2. Fashion the shirt…


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Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

I was strapping on my mask outside a grocery store
When along came a manager who met me at the door
“If you want toilet paper, you’re shit out of luck”
And so I hopped back in my car and shouted “fuck!”
He said surely another place will have some to sell
And I said, “Listen, I’ve been all over this new vision of hell!”

I’ve been everywhere, man
I’ve been everywhere, man
Searching without a prayer, man
Can’t you spare a square, man?
Harder than finding childcare, man
I’ve been everywhere

I’ve been to Trader Joe’s, Costco, Home Depot…

Andy Spain

Video editor & motion graphics designer. Humor writing at McSweeney’s, Slackjaw, Weekly Humorist, Points in Case, Robot Butt, and Little Old Lady.

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