Liberally sprinkle your entries with well placed clichés or make them the twist to your tale.
Make it the twist on the punch line to your story. Or make it a witty observation: e.g. Rachel's Holiday by Marion Keyes (1997) He kept touching his hair, which, as well as being dyed to within an inch of its life, was blow dried flicked and rigid with spray.
You may choose whichever idiom you like, such as 'The cat that got the cream'; 'As cool as a cucumber'; 'As good as gold', 'Kick the bucket'. Max 400 words for Flash Fiction.
I decided to go with "sprinkling" my entry with cliches instead of making mine the punch line.
Here it is:
“This ain’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
The Lieutenant tossed the sheets at my feet. I just looked at him, fury and embarrassment turning my face red and hot.
“Why’re you staring at me, girl? Get out. You’re useless,” he said.
I bit down the snarl in my throat and snatched up the papers, clenching my hand and crumpling the smooth cream-colored sheets. The heading CLASSIFIED seemed to taunt me, a bold and black statement that embodied the stupid move I’d made.
“Anyone ever told you not to look a gift horse in the mouth?” the man called, as my boots tapped on the floor of his office, carrying me away as fast as they could go without running. I didn’t reply as the steel doors to his office slammed shut behind me.
“Well?” my buddy Roger asked, catching up as I charged away.
“I was an idiot. The Lieutenant threw it in my face, and he’s right,” I said.
I’d been wrong attempting to scare up evidence that the Captain of the ship—the only man the Empress trusted—was a traitor, a defector to the invaders at our borders.
He’d been the one to take me on as crew aboard the starship, and I had him to thank for my position in the ranks. That’s what the Lieutenant had meant by “gift horse”.
Did that mean the Captain was innocent? I hadn’t thought so. But the evidence—I couldn’t believe I’d been so naïve to judge a man like the Captain—was a desperate stringing together of events that would have been random. Unless you were someone like me, of course, searching for a conspiracy.
I tossed away the paper.
Roger shrugged. “Seemed pretty solid evidence to me.”
“I was wrong.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do. Look, Roger, right now I don’t give a damn. I’ll be lucky if the Captain—”
“What was that about me?”
Roger and I froze.
The Captain himself stood in the hallway, smiling strangely. He held up the paper I’d discarded and my stomach plummeted through the floor.
“My my, Georgie,” he said, flipping through the sheets, “this is critical.”
He met my gaze, his expression hard. I imagined it must be the look he gave his enemies in battle.
“But let’s not beat around the bush, shall we? You are correct. I am a traitor to the Empire.”
What do you think?
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-----The Golden Eagle