Flash Fiction Challenge: @YouAreCarrying

Last challenge: “Bad Parents


Sorry — little holiday interruption last week.

This week, a bit of a quirky one.

You ever play those old-school Infocomm text adventures?

(Zork: “You are eaten by a grue.”)

I was a huge fan.

Now, there’s a Twitter account / bot that, if you tweet the word “inventory” to this particular Twitter bot — @YouAreCarrying — it will tweet back at you a randomized list of inventory items, taken, I believe, from old Infocomm games.


So, I want you to do that.

(Or, if you don’t have a Twitter account, go pluck a tweet from the YouAreCarrying page.)

Take all the items listed in the response tweet (your “inventory”) and use them all — in some way, oblique, abstract or overt — in a flash fiction. We’ll up the word count to 2000 words for this one. Due by next Friday (7/18), noon EST. Post at your online space; drop a link below so folks can follow it back. And that’s it. Go forth. Get your inventory. Write a story.

112 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: @YouAreCarrying”

  1. I got:
    a gold coin, a platinum bar, a key, a tool chest, Emergency Oxygen Gear, a shim, a ZORK owner’s manual

    Going to have to sleep on that one. ZORK owner’s manual is very specific!

  2. OK, I’ve got:
    A pair of sticks, a business card, a brass bell, a pumpkin, a massive chain, your gown, an earthworm, a key, a bearskin rug.

  3. Oh boy, how fun this is going to be!

    So my inventory is: a screwdriver, a maid’s note, an ID card, a mysterious envelope, a pinch of spices, a jeweled brooch, and a flag of Quendor.

    Lots of the things to play with! I’ll be back in a while with the results. 🙂

  4. Oh, now this is awesome. I have a feeling I am going to be pulling an awful lot of prompts from this. I practically learned how to read playing Zork…

  5. This is a very cool FF project. The response I received is even better:

    YouAreCarrying: @Decaying_Orbits a red boot, a flexible black circle, a chest, a camera bag, a white hemisphere, a telegram, a green aluminum Yale key.

    A guy could have a good time in Vegas with all that stuff.

  6. YouAreCarrying: @mari_no_yumei a broken brass lantern, a red match, a lantern, a hermit, a diamond cluster, a screwdriver, a book of riddles

    Well, I always wanted my own hermit to carry. Looking forward to writing this story.

  7. Here we go: a fragment, a thin piece of paper, a bag, a bottle of cough medicine, a fiery orb, a green silk ribbon, a dark potion

    Should be fun!

  8. OK got a cane, a clear potion, a cloud of orange smoke, a blood-stained paper towel, a battleaxe, floor wax, a wet overcoat.
    This looks like a job for Quicksilver, Elf of the Urinals…

  9. My first time doing one of Chuck’s flash fiction challenges. I got: a pair of muddy boots, a broken brick, a detonator, a garter, a letter, a large emerald, a knapsack, a four-gloop vial, a note.

    Now just to figure out what the hell a “four-gloop vial” is…

    • I really liked this. I had to go back and read the first part, and now I want a third! Great job 🙂

      • Thanks! I didn’t intend to do a part two on that story, but it just fit so well. I’m seriously considering writing an entire novella based on those short stories.

  10. I don’t have a twitter so I picked one at random with my eyes shut. Hit the jackpot! I am carrying: A cane, a wicker hamper, a muddy handgun, a notice, wild oats, a bottle of cheap scotch, a veil, a dead skink http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skink (click link for skink) and a spade.

    I’m thinking grave-digging witch, with a limp and a fondness for budget booze. Posting story later 🙂

  11. I have: a bar of food, an elephant prod, a blue cable, a shipping carton, a rump roast, a longsword, giant nail clippers, a steak knife.

    This should be…interesting…

  12. Ok I got a flexible black circle, a recipe cartridge, a clove of garlic, a matchbook, a wristwatch, a chair, a hermit.

    Should be interesting…

  13. I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with Zork, but I think going post-apocalyptic was a good way to use the Owner’s Manual.

    I’m just glad all of the items in my inventory were generic.

    • Hi Vicente, Fun story. IMO could use a polish. There are three colons relatively close together, one of them making one sentence a run-on. “You mad her go mad.” I assume this is “You her go mad,” thought
      “You made her mad,” is simpler. I would have liked an explanation of what the clear potion was since it was used to threaten the troll.

      • In fact, I was frequently interrupted when writing it and should definitely have given it a second pass at least. The original intention for the sentence you mention was probably “You made her go mad”. Quite possibly your option is better.

        And actually, in my mind when both men (unnamed on purpose) sit together, the clear potion would have been revelaed to be gin… but I forgot about it completely! Whatever it was that could affect a troll would have been left unexplained anyway, however. 🙂

        Thanks for your comments, they’re much appreciated.

    • Hi Karen, Geez, we’ve all been there haven’t we, facing the one “that got away” and finding well, what your character found. I like the beginning very much. I would have preferred the ending a little subtler. Instead of her saying those things, thinking them, and then giving the Best Man an enigmatic smile sliding away from him. Solid story.

    • Great Alice retelling! I love all the cultural references you use–and loved the suspense at the end. There were a couple spots that were a bit more telling than showing, but overall, a wonderful story!

      P.S. I agree about my ending–could have been stronger. I also got word-count confused, thinking 1,000 instead of 2,000. This will teach me to follow directions more closely. 🙂

    • Anson– Second person is always hard to carry off. Brave move. I think you did okay with it, though personally I thought it was a little jarring. My preference though. Couple small typos “dinner” for “diner”, “You’re employer?” for “Your employer?” “He’s seven Mr. Glade.” for “He’s seven, Mr. Glade.” “Noon” for “noon”. I know it’s a piece of flash but the ending felt to me a little unfinished. Someone paying off such a large debt? There’s gotta to be more to that, and more to the story. 😉

      • Thanks Beth. I usually go through a few edits but I just finished at the wire. I do appreciate the keen eye. And second person was jarring for me. I kept wanting to drift into first. I may apply the edits and credit your assist. 🙂

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