I found a new Flash Fiction Challenge! It is over at Musings of Alyssa Leonard. This one is a 26-hour challenge on Tuesdays called Finish That Thought.

Today’s thought is “I’ll tell you what you need, and that’s a [rocket scientist].”

“I’ll tell you what you need, and that’s a good spanking,” Gloria said to her granddaughter. She had told Chelsea to practice her writing, and here she was again, staring out the window. She hadn’t even picked up the pencil.

Chelsea startled, cowered. “I’m sorry, Grandma. I forgot.”

“Forgot? How could you forget? I just told you two minutes ago!”

“I don’t know,” Chelsea answered, her voice barely audible.

“Finish your lesson,” Gloria said and stormed off into the kitchen.

As she washed dishes in the warm, soapy water, Gloria pondered how to keep Chelsea on task. Gloria had been home-schooling Chelsea for only two weeks, and she was losing patience quickly. She found she could not leave the girl alone, even for a minute, to complete a task. If she did, Chelsea would be staring out the window, playing with her pencil, or doodling on the paper. Gloria thought Chelsea needed some good discipline, but her mother had strictly forbidden corporal punishment.

The only subject where Chelsea seemed able to focus was art. When Chelsea was drawing or painting, she was totally absorbed in her art. Just like when she was staring into space, she was hard to distract.

Gloria turned to look at Chelsea. There was one word on her paper, and the girl was looking out the window again. Gloria looked at the pile of dishes, and said, “I’ll tell you what. If you finish that page before I finish these dishes, we’ll paint.”

“Can I paint now, Grandma?”

“No, but after you finish this page.”

Five minutes later, her assignment finished, Chelsea helped Gloria dry dishes. Soon, she would pull out Chelsea’s smock and the paints. Gloria could kicking herself for bribing the girl, but she was already getting desperate.

Update: My story was chosen as the special challenge champion! Here’s what judge Geoff LePard writes:

Special Challenge Champion:


Sarah Unsicker

I enjoyed the ‘war zone’ here, between grandma and granddaughter. Grandma is denied the weapons she needs so resorts to those she isn’t used to and while is pleased they work regrets having to use them. The relationship is neatly drawn and there’s a lovely touch in how Grandma is distracted from the washing up in just the same way Chelsea is from her allotted task.


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