Search Results for: by paula johnson

The Cloud by Paula Johnson

When Alex saw his mother’s face in a cloud formation three days after her funeral, he assumed his eyes were playing tricks. “No way,” he whispered. But then the breeze transformed her lips into the half-smile that always meant she had a wonderful secret she just could not keep to herself.

What is it? he wondered. He followed her celestial gaze to a cloud that looked exactly like a leaping dog. It was Dexter, his childhood companion.

Message received, Mom. Alex took a long hard look at his life. Time to grow up, make changes, secure his future. Because…heaven.

© Copyright 2018 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website.

A Bad Spell by Paula Johnson

When Emily saw the posters for the spelling bee, she resolved to work hard and win first prize. A shiny trophy might get her invited to sleepovers and birthday parties! She kept her crazy dream to herself and spent weeks preparing for the big day.

When she entered the auditorium, her stomach knotted sharply, killing all her nervous butterflies. What have I done? she thought as her eyes welled with tears. She ran to the playground and opened her pencil case.

“I’m so very sorry, Ignatius,” Emily whispered. “I misunderstood.”

“No apology necessary,” buzzed the portly bumblebee. “Let us absquatulate! A-B-S-Q-U-A-T-U-L-A-T-E”

© Copyright 2018 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website.

Candle Power by Paula Johnson

Lauren was now 13—finally a TEENAGER.  She was even having a NIGHTTIME birthday party.  With BOYS.  After primping all day, she completed her look with Maybelline Baby Lips lip gloss in Tickled Pink. She was STUNNING. (Prettier than Amanda, but not as awesome as Megan.) Her outfit was PERFECTION: Fuchsia hoodie, skinny jeans, and ballet flats.

The evening would be EPIC. First, a game of  “Never Have I Ever.” Then pizza and cupcakes. Then PRESENTS. Then everyone would leave with a glow-in-the-dark necklace.

Lauren was ready to PARTY!

As so she would when the clock struck 7pm. In three hours.

© Copyright 2017 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. She is wishes you would submit your micro fiction or flash fiction.

Pencils Down by Paula Johnson

trainQuestion #1: Train A leaves the station heading east at 70 mph. Train B leaves a station 225 miles away, heading west at 60 mph. How far from each station do they meet?

Jesse James robbed trains in the Wild West. What if Amtrak got robbed? I’d sneak up on the bad guys and throw ‘em out the windows! Passengers would cheer! The conductor would give me his hat! The engineer would blast the horn in my honor! That’s funny. The train horn sounds like a school bell—

“Pencils down!” said the teacher. “Pass your tests forward! See you Monday.”

© Copyright 2016 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. She is wishes you would submit your micro fiction or flash fiction.

Manic Pixie Dream Boy by Paula Johnson

Oliver appeared when Audrey needed a jump-start. She looked out her window and saw him performing tai chi. But she was on the twenty-third floor, and the building next door was mostly steel beams.

Catching her eye, he pointed to his watch, mimed eating, then dropped to his knees, begging. They met in her lobby. Was this a lunch date? A kidnapping? Both?

Audrey was soon able to decode Oliver’s sporadic text invitations (Sneakers. Passport. Tabasco!) but never understood the man. “If that boy were a toy, he’d be an Etch-a-Sketchy,” Audrey told her friends before checking her cell phone—again.

© Copyright 2016 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. She is spending July “at” Camp NaNoWriMo writing a collection of 100-word stories.

Killer Bees by Paula Johnson

Trevor planned to kill himself on his sixteenth birthday. Mom always said that his condition restricted him to raw, organic produce, so…no cake. His heart murmur precluded driving, Homeschooling was for his own protection. College was off the table.

His suicide would be dramatic, his weapon ordinary. He strolled to Arlington Garden and found bushes buzzing with bees. He plunged in, flailing and swatting his way into certain anaphylaxis.

Trevor reclined on a concrete bench and waited for the end. And waited. Two hours later, he arrived home with a dozen bee stings, a dozen donuts and a new plan.

© Copyright 2016 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
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Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. She also designs book covers, websites and other print and digital communications.

Today’s Special by Paula Johnson

“They got Marty!,” Deb shouted as she scurried into headquarters. “I knew something was wrong. Who leaves sugar-coated bacon on a spotless counter?”

“Boric acid?” whispered Jeff. Deb was silent, antennae drooping in confirmation. She scanned her surroundings. Deb knew how to leap to safety, to this side of the portal. But not even the elders knew how all the single earrings, keys, sunglasses, and cell phones got here.

She spied a new sock among the thousands that had disappeared from dryers and drawers. Cashmere. Good. She deserved something warm and soft in this cold, hard world.

© Copyright 2016 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.
• • • • •
Paula Johnson is the founder and editrix of The Rose City Sisters website. She also designs book covers, websites and other print and digital communications.

The Bus by Paula Johnson

After months of glances and weeks of conversation, he worked up the nerve to suggest dinner, but was drowned out by the blaring bus horn. They laughed. He tried again. She accepted. Several regular passengers applauded.

She blinked back tears when he did not appear at the restaurant or answer his phone. While she died a little inside, he died outside under the front wheels of a crosstown bus.

“He ran right in front of me,” the bus driver said.

“Why was he in such a hurry?” an old man asked.

“Who were the flowers for?” asked his wife.

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In addition to publishing 1,000-word flash fiction stories, the Rose City Sisters now accepts your micro fiction. Keep your story to 100 words or less (not including the title). Submit by email.

#78 Magpie Girl by Paula Johnson

Her birth certificate read Margaret, her friends called her Maggie, but her mother always called her Magpie Girl.

From earliest childhood, Margaret rescued odd items from secondhand stores, estate sales and even trash bins. As an adult, she had many, many collections of one item each. She was no packrat; her treasures were meticulously clean and artfully displayed. Some might call it clutter, but it was curated clutter, to be sure. Her trove included the following: Continue Reading

#55 Daisy’s Masterpiece by Paula Johnson

Daisy was obsessed with Christmas. She loved everything about the holiday—the fragrant tree, shiny ornaments, twinkling lights, candy canes, the works. Just last week, her mother heard the seven-year-old belting out “Jingle Bell Rock” to an audience of dolls.

It was cute. It would have been adorable, but it was August in Pasadena. And the Blums were Jewish.

“Maybe she’ll grow out of it,” Jessica Blum said to her husband as they sipped their morning coffee.

“I blame myself,” said David. When Daisy was a baby, he hung a extra-strength pine air freshener near her changing table in an unsuccessful attempt to mask the eye-watering reek of dirty diapers.

“It could’ve been worse. If you had picked the Piña Colada fragrance, we’d have the only second-grader in A.A.,” she said. Both David and Jessica were only children. Neither had babysat as teenagers, so raising a child was an often-baffling undertaking.

Daisy shuffled into the kitchen barefoot and yawning. Her Dora the Explorer nightgown was creased from sleep and her wavy brown hair looked like it had been styled with a weed-whacker. She pulled a stool up to the kitchen counter and poured some cereal into her favorite bowl—a chipped piece of Christmas Spode purchased at a yard sale for a quarter.

Jessica poured the milk on her daughter’s cereal, admiring (and not for the first time) the way her engagement ring sparkled in the morning sun. It was not the ring she expected when David proposed nine years ago. They were both paying off student loans and dealing with necessary expenses like dependable cars and business attire.

She assumed that when the time came, they’d find a small, affordable ring at J.C. Penney and joke that a snack at Cinnabon was just as good as breakfast at Tiffany’s.

But David’s grandmother had other plans. She wanted her only grandson to have her engagement ring. “It was my mother’s. Let’s keep it in the family,” she’d said. That’s how Jessica wound up wearing a platinum filigree Edwardian solitaire that was very likely worth more than her car.

“What’s on your agenda today?” David asked his wife. He had to spend his Saturday at his company’s annual strategy meeting.

“Just quality time with the other men in my life,” she said with a grin. Her list included Bill (shoe repair), Mr. Tran (dry cleaner), Wyatt (bagels) and the nameless guy at Jiffy Lube with the Celtic tattoo and bedroom eyes.

“Momma, don’t forget the art store!,” yelped Daisy through a mouthful of Lucky Charms. The little girl’s reward for a day of errands was some new markers or colored pencils from Blick. Daisy worked cheap.

It was after four o’clock when the pair returned home with their boxes, bags, and library books. Jessica settled Daisy at the dining room table with her pink tackle box of art supplies, and went into the kitchen to put away the groceries.

She was thinking about dinner when suddenly the air left her lungs and the room started spinning. Her diamond. Her husband’s grandmother’s—no, great-grandmother’s—diamond was gone. The gaping hole in the ring was horrific, like a missing eyeball or a gunshot wound.

She thought about all the places she had been and tried to remember when she had last seen the diamond sparkle. Jessica must have made some sort of noise, because Daisy looked up from her work.

“What’s the matter, momma?”

“Nothing, baby. Just wishing Daddy was home.”

“Can we have Tater Tots?”

“Sure, sweetheart. Lots of tots.” Daisy grinned at her mother’s rhyme and returned to her drawing.

Knowing it was futile, Jessica walked through the house, looking into corners, shaking out towels, pawing through the laundry basket. Losing the diamond was bad enough, but the idea that it might be in a trash can at McDonald’s or kicked into a gutter was even worse.

When David walked in just before six o’clock, Jessica led him into their bedroom, explained what happened, and let herself cry for a few minutes.

“It was just an old rock,” said David when she stopped sobbing and blew her nose. “A big, pretty rock, but a rock all the same.”

“I know, but I feel like I let your grandmother down.”

“The only way you could have let her down was by not wearing it. We’ll get a new stone for your ring.”

“Yeah, if we start saving now, we might able to afford a diamond by the time Daisy is ready to get married,” said Jessica.

“That’s only if she skips college. Education is so overrated, anyway,” said David with a small smile.

The heat hadn’t let up, so Jessica ordered a pizza, David microwaved a side of Tator Tots, and the family sat down to eat. Daisy’s picture was posted on the refrigerator to keep it safe from tomato sauce and cheese grease.

After a little TV and some ice cream, Daisy was ready for bed. Forty minutes into a bad movie, David and Jessica decided to call it a day.

They made their usual small talk as they got ready for bed, but Jessica was just going through the motions. After she brushed her teeth, she checked every inch of the bathroom in case the diamond had fallen and bounced on the tile floor. She sighed, put her ring in her jewelry box, and flopped down next to David. He was already asleep.

After an hour of fidgeting, Jessica got out of bed and headed to the kitchen for a cold drink—and maybe some cold pizza. The light from the refrigerator illuminated Daisy’s latest masterpiece which was secured to the freezer door with two Hello Kitty magnets.

It was another Christmas tree, of course. This one had branches in three shades of green with silver glitter tinsel and crayon-colored lights. At the very top of the tree, partially covered in glue, was a nearly flawless 2 carat European-cut diamond.
© Copyright 2010 Paula Johnson. All rights reserved.


Paula Johnson is a copywriter and graphic designer who also writes and performs stand-up comedy and maintains The Rose City Sisters Flash Fiction Anthology. This is her fourth flash fiction story. Others are “Good with Names,” an account of life with a very modest superpower; “Better Late Than Never,” a soap opera love story; and “Lotion” a tale that could only happen in New Orleans.  Paula looks forward to reading your submission to this blog. Yes, you.