Who's in charge flash fiction

Who’s in charge? #Flashfiction

Carrot Ranch - in charge flash fiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story in which a character takes charge. Who is this character, and what situation calls for their action? It can be playful or serious, fantastical, or realistic. Go where the prompt leads!

While not really about a character taking charge, as Charli suggested, my thoughts went to the stampede that occurred in supermarkets across the globe earlier this month, and I wondered who had initiated it and how they had achieved such a dramatic result. It seemed to me that it was more suited to an April Fools’ Day joke (that’s tomorrow, folks) than a serious event organised by the March Hare. Not that I would approve of such a joke.

I remember being warned in the early seventies (way back last century) about the use of subliminal messaging in cinema advertising. I never liked the idea that someone could be trying to control my thoughts and actions with subliminal messages. Now, of course, we have social media. There’s nothing subliminal about that and the effect is more immediate and more widespread.

The toilet paper stampede occurred because of a fictional shortage which then became a reality because people were buying in bulk and hoarding it, meaning there was none for anyone else. People seemed to be doing it because everyone else was doing it, regardless of the reassurances we were being given that there was, and never would be, a toilet paper shortage.

This, in turn, reminded me of the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. It has been one of my favourite stories since childhood. I could never understand why people would join in admiring the emperor’s clothes when they must have been able to see that he wasn’t wearing any. However, the very clever trickster weavers pulled the perfect April Fools’ Day joke by telling everyone that only the clever could see the clothes. Who would dare to admit their lack of cleverness? I was always pleased that it was the children who were brave and honest and spoke up to denounce the scoundrels.

So, with April Fools’ Day on 1 April and Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday on 2 April, it seems the perfect time to think about who might be in charge. This is my story. I hope you like it.


As if a starting gun had been fired, the children scattered, looking in grass, under rocks, in branches of trees.

“What’re you doing?” asked the playground supervisor.

“There’s eggs, Miss. Easter eggs — millions of ‘em. Enough for everyone.”

“How many’ve you found?”

“None yet. Gotta keep lookin’.”

After a while, the searching slowed. “How many’ve you got?”

They showed empty pockets and empty hands.

The supervisor said, “Who said there were eggs?”

They shrugged.

When the punishment was handed down, the instigators explained, “It was just an experiment to see how many’d be sucked in. We meant no harm.”

You’ll be as pleased to know as I am, that Google has cancelled April Fools’ Day jokes for 2020 and that the coronavirus is deemed unsuitable for April Fools’ pranks. I thought that would go without saying.

I want you to know that this is not a joke: I may join in these challenges only intermittently for the next few months due to work commitments. I may also not get to visit your blogs as often as I would like but know that I will get there as often as I can. Stay well and happy and keep your distance from that awful virus.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

35 thoughts on “Who’s in charge? #Flashfiction

  1. Hugh W. Roberts

    This reminds me so much of all the other crazy things that have come to light since the COVID-19 outbreak, Norah. I remember asking my sister-in-law why she was panic buying, and she said ‘because everyone else was.’ I compared her to a Lemming, those little creatures that follow the leader and end up falling off cliffs. Do you remember the children’s game ‘Follow the leader?”
    I’ve had text messages and emails from friends claiming that rinsing your mouth with mouthwash kills the virus, as well as another that said sunbathing kills it. I also had another text message claiming that eating ice-cream caused the virus to multiply. I know they mean well, but delete, delete, delete. Can you imagine what would happen if we all followed the advice and played ‘Follow the leader?’

    Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      I didn’t think of the lemmings or of follow the leader, Hugh, but they are both very apt. The only leader I want everyone to follow at the moment is the one that tells everyone to stay home, difficult as it might be. Stay well, and stay home!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Charli Mills

    Excellent post, Norah. I think we all can say the stampede on TP was enough of a bad joke to bypass April Fool’s Day this year. I like how you used these themes to create a nuanced flash fiction.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Charli. I did try to work in a few different meanings for ‘charge’ or ‘in charge’. I’m not sure that I’m altogether happy with it, but I guess that’s the situation at the moment.


  3. thecontentedcrafter

    I didn’t realise Google had the power to cancel a global tradition – but there we are! (I’ve never been a fan, so I really don’t mind) I hope the business that is is taking you away is your website taking off Norah – now is the time, if ever there was one. I have my fingers crossed that people will see the sense in accessing your amazing teaching resources! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      I’m not sure that they cancelled it worldwide or just in their business. But that’s pretty much worldwide isn’t it? 🤣
      No, the work is not readilearn, though I’ll still continue with that. It’s some freelance work for a publisher which will hopefully bring me a little income. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    I agree with Anne, above, love how your mind went with this one. Unfortunately, because of the mixed messages and false ideas out there some people are still causing harm in their ignorance and lack of diligence. That shrug of the egg hunters… haven’t we seen that before, but to them they were right on course.
    Buddy, I’ll miss you as you hunker down with your work demands, but sure appreciate the heads up. Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, D. There still seems to be some confusion in the messages and all still don’t take the situation seriously. This is one time I wish everyone would just follow suit and stay at home.
      Thanks for your wishes. You stay well too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    I love how you take us from the empty supermarket shelves through The Emperor’s New Clothes to your flash – very clever and entertaining.
    There’s been a lot of mixed and missed messaging about this crisis – the virus is making fools of us all.
    I hope your work is helping, we all need to go easy on ourselves in this stressful times.
    See you at the other end!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Anne, I’m pleased you found the post entertaining. My mind does wander along strange paths at times. Maybe that’s why my flash ended up with that mixture of messages. I try to only listen to the advice of those who appear to be in the know. There is too much fake news and too many myths not worth the toilet paper they’re written on.
      Yes, I’ll see you at the other end and we’ll all have a big celebration. Can’t wait. Lots of material for writers so inclined. I’m not one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Kate.
      You’re right, teasing about chocolate is just not fair. It’s not a nice way to run an experiment. It wasn’t my usual uplifting piece, but that’s where my dismal thoughts went.

      Liked by 1 person


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