Mysterious Photograph

Each issue features a Mysterious Photograph. Readers are invited to submit a 250-word (or less) flash fiction story based on the photo. The person who invents the best mystery story receives a prize of $25, and the story is published in a future issue.

The Story That Won the September/October contest:


© Travel mania /


by Bruce Harris

At 6:58 p.m. the call came in to police in New Jersey’s largest city, Newark. Detective Sheppard listened, hung up, and turned toward Detectives Wright and Blumenthal.

“Nine o’clock tonight an overseas container pulls from Newark loaded with enough white stuff to blanket the entire East Coast for three winters.”

Detective Blumenthal asked, “Is this the same source that gave you the cache-of-guns-crossing-state-lines lead last year?”

Sheppard responded by raising a middle finger. Detective Wright chimed in. “Wait, I remember that. Sheppard’s stoolie was right on the money. There were caseloads of transported guns. Only one problem: They were made by Mattel.”

Wright and Blumenthal laughed. The faintest trace of a grin creased Sheppard’s face. “You’re sure about this, Shep?” asked Blumenthal. “I don’t feel like going on a wild goose chase.”

“One way to find out,” answered Sheppard.

Within the hour, the three, along with a cadre of squad cars, arrived at Newark’s port and searched every container that had been unloaded off ships. They found some questionable items, but no trace of illegal drugs. Sheppard looked at Wright and Blumenthal and shrugged.

At exactly nine p.m., a tractor pulling a container packed with approximately 29,300 kilos of pure heroin, street value exceeding over one billion dollars, rolled out of Newark.


For information and to enter The Mysterious Photograph contest,
see our current issue on sale now!