Say The Word! (Short Fiction)

Author’s Note: WORST SHORT FICTION PIECE EVER. I’m posting this just to fill some time between my last blog and my next one. It sucks. Sue me.


Ines was greeted at the bus terminal by her grandson, whom she hadn’t seen in years, but had talked to on the phone or via e-mail all this time. She could hardly contain her excitement on the bus ride, although her demeanor hardly betrayed such excitement. Ines was going to a taping of her favorite game show, Say the Word! Of course she would make the long bus ride from Albuquerque to LA. She wouldn’t miss this for anything.

Her grandson worked on the set of the game show, so he finagled a ticket. No easy feat; there was at least an 18-month wait list for tickets for a taping of an episode. He even pulled a couple of strings, and arranged for Ines to be a contestant! A surprise, of course. She’d get to meet the dashing host of Say the Word!, Chet Summerville, even.

The next afternoon, Ines nervously took her seat in the audience. She waved at her grandson, who was marching around the set wearing an earpiece and clutching a clipboard, talking to the oh-so-dashing Chet Summerville. Someone gave the audience instructions on how to react, i.e., when to clap, when not to clap. If your name was called, this person said, step up to the stage in an orderly fashion and let Chet Summerville direct you onstage.

The object of Say the Word! was simple: a panel usually made up of three C-list celebrities, gave the contestant clues as to what the secret word was they had to correctly guess. The audience and viewers at home knew what the word was, but the contestant had only five chances to correctly guess what the secret word was. Guess the word, and you moved on to the next word. And so on. Ines loved this game. She never missed a single show.

The show began taping, and Chet Summerville introduced the panelists, cracked wise with them, and then called up the first contestant. “Is there an Ines Martinson in the audience?” he asked.

At first, Ines thought there was another Ines Martinson in the audience, but when she saw her grandson motioning at her to come forward to the stage, she just about ran as fast as she could just to meet Chet Summerville. She was beaming. She hadn’t been this happy, so happy, in so long.

“Now, Ines, I’m going to show the audience what the secret word is. You can ask the panelists for clues, but you only have five guesses. Guess correctly, and you win and move on. Are you ready to play?”

Ines was ready. Chet Summerville flashed the secret word to the audience. The secret word was…moosecock.

Ines calmly approached the first contestant, an aging soap opera star.

“Is it something you can eat?” Ines asked her.

The aging soap opera star tried to contain her giggle. “I suppose it is,” she replied.

“Is it moosecock?” Ines asked.



10 thoughts on “Say The Word! (Short Fiction)

  1. I stopped seeing the erroneous punctuation and word selection after the second paragraph and got sucked into the story. The writing (from third para. on) seemed effortless, a lot less contrived. Ending with the one punch had a nice effect but I wonder if adding even a hint at the fallout would make it less “so what?”.
    It’s a fine story, borderline great and clever. Get rid of all your comma splices, compound sentences, and referentially opaque clauses in the initial bit and maybe switch up the ending to something like:
    Ines blushed, “is it moosecock?”.

  2. The worst short fiction piece ever? I don’t think so, Gus—I’ve read multitudes of stuff you’ve written that was much worse. Multitudes.

    Seriously, I thought this was rather funny…and very well written for a quickie. I loved the concept of a game show. Reminds me of the “naggers” eppy on South Park. Can’t wait for your anthology. How much is it going to cost? It’ll be worth every penny…if it’s only a penny.

    Good job!

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