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 January/February 2020 contest:


© / Ron Ellis


by S. D. Burke

“Memes, Gramma,” Rae said. “They’re pronounced memes. Meee-mms.”

“Me, me, me,” Gramma replied, “like everything you millennials do.”

“I’m a police detective, Grams. I may be young, but I help people.”

“If my grandson’s a detective, he can find out what these letters spell.”

“They don’t spell anything, Gramma. It’s a famous meme. Trick your older relatives into unscrambling nonsense words. The letters spell nothing, or something silly. Sometimes they’ll Photoshop your own grandkids in front. Then you post the old people’s frustrations online. Called Newington Rolling.”

“Sounds mean.”

“Pretending to be funny. Like most of the Internet,” Rae said.

“Who started this nonsense?” Rae’s grandmother wondered.

Who indeed? wondered Rae. He looked deeper into the photo, saw the hashtag and address. A Newington Story? Cue the detective’s best friend: Google.

Newington Story. An art project. But no images, no dates. Only dead links leading out. Click on any: “Page not found.”

He searched again. “Newington Rolled—origins” found thousands of prank videos. Then he tried “Newington hoax.”

One week later on a dusty road, a dusty car pulled to a weary stop directly in front of a small side wall, the paint peeling. No kids. No letters.

“The Internet says these are GPS coordinates,” Rae said from behind the wheel.

“Looks like it could use a paint job,” said Gramma from the passenger seat, comparing the reality to the meme on her tablet. “Mystery solved.” Gramma sighed. “But first let’s take a selfie for my Insta.”

May/June Mysterious Photograph Flash Fiction Contest
– open to any and all submissions!


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