The final contest I entered this past weekend was the Angry Hourglass Flash Frenzy. I didn’t grab a spot on the podium this week as the two chosen winners were so beautifully crafted and executed. But I had more fun writing this story than I’ve had in a long time. The story had to be based on the photo prompt below with a max word count of 360.


An unsolicited call tipped me off to this battered ranch house with a couple of disheveled kids playing in the sickly grass. A headless and nude Barbie was clawing at the lawn, heading for asphalt and the freedom of a Goodyear tire. Outdated cars sat comatose in the driveway, their rusted tailpipes decaying like a smoker’s lungs.

I rapped tentatively, unsure of who or what could be waiting inside. A woman with cinnamon skin and hazardous eyes invited me in, asked if I wanted a cup of coffee. Before I could decline, a Louisville Slugger greeted my jaw. Darkness.

I awoke to my hands being tied to a cement pole.

“Hola, bounty hunter. Welcome to my basement.”

Heron Lopez. Similar to his namesake, he flapped his tattooed arms one day in Tucson and took flight, missing his court date for human trafficking.

“Guess you ain’t in Mexico like I was told by a former mamacita of yours. How ’bout you untie me and we’ll hash this out over a Corona with lime. A pinch of salt. Cool?”

“Silly pendejo. You’re slippery, man, I’ll give you that. No beer though, amigo, I have other plans for you.”

“Does it involve carne asada or chimichangas? Seriously, I’m famished.”

“Gringos and their jokes. Is that the fear talking? If not, it should be.”

He was right. I was petrified of this chiseled psychopath. I’ve heard the rumors about el perro rabioso, the rabid dog. This dude will gut you with as much emotion as a man brushing his teeth.

“It’s real simple. If you kill me, my associates will kill you. And that chica with the coffee too.”

He laughed a bit too loudly.

“You’re as dumb as my little niño and he’s still in diapers. You think this is my only hideout? I’ll be in the wind before you turn blue, my friend. You knocked on the wrong door today, this is no bueno for you.”

He loomed over me, his breath rancid with bloodlust, his mud-colored eyes jiggling in their sockets, a machete vibrating in his hand.

“So, I assume that’s a no on the chimichangas? That’s just cold, man.”


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