Another awesome Photo-Prompt Flash Fiction challenge from Chasing Revery.

Rules are simple: The photo below and all five words must be featured in the piece that is to be no longer than 500 words.

cityscape prompt










I try to do something different as far as intent with each photo-prompt piece; make every one a kind of exercise.  With this one I wanted to try to come up with a story that I could use the words repetitively without it seeming out of place.  If this wasn’t a word prompt, you wouldn’t notice, was my intention, and I had to use all the words in the final sentence of the piece in the order they were given.  It was this last confine that really dictated the story and content.  I had a lot of fun doing it. First draft was about 590 words.  Enjoy!


The world was his animal, his dog.  This cityscape—a moonlit mockery of a once magnificent metropolis—was but a flea, sucking its parasitical nature.

Why did she, the moon, demure in the denim-blue night sky, preside over such shit?

She loves a catastrophe as much as any.  No river of tears pouring from her craters when the Reaper, God’s own “it’s time to thin the herd” creeper comes a’ swinging his scythe.

It’s what parasites got coming.  A flea, that’s what the city was, or was it him who was a flea, a little creeper on the dog’s back, the sky scrapers thick, mammalian hairs?

A Catastrophe was in order.  Yes!  A flood, a river of God roaring down, all its divine destructive power flushing the fleas away.

Wouldn’t flush the Denim Dude though.  That’s what they called him; the Denim Dude.

He’d make bums cause commotion in the knock-off store, then he’d  pop up from hiding like some creeper from the crypt, swipe as many jeans as he could get in his cart , and then he’d run like the b’jeezuz.

He’d sling his merchandise in the alleys.  Denim Dude was a title as inevitable as that asteroid catastrophe that ended the Dinobots a thousand years ago about.

So what was Denim D going to do about the overdue disaster?  It was a fair question, and so deserved Denim Dude’s due diligence before deciding.


Something wicked and wonderful was working…


He’d be the River, but not a river of water, but of puke and bile.  It was brilliant!  A way-better catastrophe than when that asshole was playing with matches in Chicago in 1900-n-something.  Way better!

Denim giggled diabolically at his own evil genius, and rubbed his small hands together like a flea cleaning his tarsi.

Yes it was genius; Denim D would indeed be the River, the Catastroflea —hee, hee!—as, while it was still dark, he, like a nocturnal ninja, a crazed creeper, sneaks down into the subway.

In the lowest tunnel he’d eat all the black soot as he could.  It would make him more sick than those doctors had ever seen , and he’d run around and sneeze on everybody, and get the whole city sick.

Look out for fleas that sneeze.  Denim Dude giggled again.

Lights blinded him.  He heard the crackle of a radio.

From behind, he was forced to the ground.  Rough hands pinned his arms.  The cold cuffs clamped closed, “schlak-tack, schlak-tack.”

A deep voice, probably a darkie, said, “Jack Nerf Twaggler, you are under arrest for possession of stolen property…”

All Denim heard was the “squeak, squeak” of his cart being taken away and arrested too.

The eager-to-punish hands yanked him up and forced him to the squad car.

Denim D thrust his head skyward and screamed, “I am Denim D, the creeper flea, bringer of the river of catastrophe, and ain’t  none of y’all got shit on me! ”

Word Count: 500


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  1. Though I had a bit of trouble with the POV, I really enjoyed this more and more as it came to the end. I’m crazy about Catastroflea and the last sentence with all the words used together in a statement that is surprising, yet fits perfectly with the character. Excellent exercise. 🙂

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  March 11, 2013

      Thanks, Carrie. The story is a bit “odd” but my challenge was to come up with something I could utilize the prompt words frequently and then use them all in the last sentence in order they were given. Took a little work.
      See you later this week. I hope you have an entry.


      • 🙂 Well, the overall effect on this piece was a good one. I don’t have a submission for this week yet. I may pants it tomorrow and see what I come up with (my usual technique).

      • Christopher Shawbell

         /  March 11, 2013

        According to my own self-inflicted challenge, I’m s’posta continue Huge Stone. I feel kinda numb…been writing several other pieces of mine at the same time, and my brain’s kinds scrambled, so I know the feeling.

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