Flash Fiction Challenge: Sign – My Fictionalized Encounter With “The Thing”!

Flash Fiction Challenge: Sign.

Remember this shot? Doesn’t matter, I will explain soon enough. You see, I am taking part in a fun “flash fiction” project thanks to the terrific website “The Carrot Ranch Literary Community”. You can see them here:


Their latest challenge is to write 99 words, with your prompt being the word :sign.” The rest is up to you.

My blogging friend Ritu Bhathal shared this on her blog, and she wrote a terrific 99 words which you can see here, at her great blog “Where I Smile Anyway”:


I figured I would give it a try, and will explain why afterward.

Here you go: 99 words.

Story Title: The Thing.

He noticed the sign for the first time just a few miles from “The Thing.” The billboard was gaudy; it showed a diminutive character with a large top hat and a shocked expression and asked “can you handle the shocking surprise of “The Thing?” He was hooked. When he saw the roadside attraction, he pulled over and fished in his pocket for the $1 entrance fee. As he entered the musty building, his final destination was the last thing on his mind. Perhaps the money would be there, perhaps not. It was only $1-million, so it almost didn’t matter.

Let me know what you think. For those who follow this blog, you know what inspired me – this sign:

Yes, when I drove from Los Angeles to Atlanta with my son last summer, we saw this sign along Interstate 10 in Arizona for hours on end – almost taunting us to dare to drive by without stopping:

Naturally, we had to stop! Click here to see the “shocking surprise” of “The Thing”:


Of course, we had to buy a souvenir mug and T-shirt as well:

Let me know what you think of “The Thing!”

Categories: Art, Books / Media, Exotic Travel, Memoirs, Pop Culture, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Great to have you join in at Carrot Ranch! The Thing is intriguing, and plays into our curiosity, doesn’t it?

  2. How nice to see you joining in with the 99 word flash fiction challenge, John. Great piece.

  3. That’s a fun game! I will have to visit Ritu’s blog and check it out. I remember your posts regarding taking your son back east and this particular stop. Nice job with the 99 words. You start up an intriguing premise. Does it make you want to continue? Do you write creatively?

    • Thanks for the comment Cindy. I have written fiction – a creative outlet for me only to this point – but have more nonfiction that I’m not sure what to do with – some I have posted on my blog – some interesting adventures that people seem to enjoy hearing about…

  4. Sometimes you just have to stop!!!

  5. Coincidences are always so cool… somehow mistic and so unbelievable!!! I love it!

  6. Nice introduction, John. That could be the start of a much longer story. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.


  1. Signs « Carrot Ranch Literary Community
  2. 99-Word Flash Fiction: Eminent Domain (Or, Why I’m Moving Out Of My House) – johnrieber

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