Flash Fiction: The Trouble with Bubbles

BubblesI should be editing. I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet has doubts that I’m ever going to finish my next novel. Heck, even I’m starting to wonder that. So, to bring back the joy of writing, I thought I’d warm up with a little writing exercise. Found a prompt and took 10 minutes to write this quick little piece. It’s mostly unedited – I mean I did give it a read to make sure I wouldn’t embarrass myself further. And I’m sure my writing group is shaking their heads at the fact that it’s un-workshopped.

But, dear readers and friends, this is my gift to you. For your patience, for your encouragement and to prove to you (and me) that I can still put a couple of words together.


Bubbles. Bubbles everywhere.

It would have been a comical life-imitating-art from that iconic 70s family sitcom if it hadn’t been her mother-in-law’s newly renovated utility room with the state-of-the-art, can-do-everything-but-fold washing machine. OK, so she didn’t see the “high-efficiency” sign until she closed the lid. Or, the fact that the soap went into a tiny dispenser until after she had soaked her kids’ fish-smelly, grass-stained clothes with detergent.

Laura glanced around the room, the bubbles multiplied like Tribbles and were twice as troublesome. They slid across the Italian tile – who puts Italian tile in a utility room anyway? The bubbles were eager to let their presence be known, to escape into the world. To take over Manhattan. Starting with Austin, Texas, of course.

“I have to show you my pride and joy of this house,” her mother-in-law’s voice floated through the walls. “I could just live in the utility room.”


Laura scooped up a handful of bubbles and tossed them in the sink, but the washing machine burped out more.

Crap. Crap!

The click of heels assaulted the air like a firing squad readying for her death. With a final belch, the machine cut off and the last of the bubbles slid down its closed mouth. The sight reminder her so much of Jabba the Hutt. Down to the mocking laughter. Laura watched way too much Star Wars with the boys.

“We have the best tile, top of the line washer and dryer, and my favorite feature is the hidden cleaning closet behind the door.”

Like a gift from the Patron Saint of Daughter-in-Laws, Laura flung open the closet and stared breathlessly at the vacuum cleaner as the angels sang.

It was new. It was beautiful. It was going to save her butt and soak up every last one of these bastard bubbles.

With the swiftness of a ninja, Laura plugged in the cleaner, unsheathed the hose and started sucking.

“Die, die, die,” Laura hissed as the mechanical savior slurped and gurgled.

She took a step back to reach more bubbles and promptly felt something hot and wet slide down her leg. Leave it to her mother-in-law to get one of the fancy bagless cleaners. Bubbles spewed from the vent of the vacuum and her nose tickled with the smell of electrical burning.

Crap. Crap. Crap!

“Oh, I wonder who’s down here,” she heard her mother-in-law’s surprised voice on the other side of the door.

Like a victim in a horror movie, Laura watched as the knob began turning in slow motion. The roar of the vacuum hid her curses and prayers. The smell of fresh linen – or was it sunny day? they smelled the same – detergent fought against the sulphury smell of … wait, is that fire?

Just as the door pushed open, a pop cracked through the air and the room went dark.

Laura finally exhaled. Thank God her mother-in-law wouldn’t see all the bubbles.


About Kimberly Packard

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. Kimberly received a degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and has worked in public relations and communications for nearly 20 years. When she isn’t writing, she can be found rollerblading, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in North Texas with her husband Colby, Oliver the cat and a 75-pound lap dog named Charlie. Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors.
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2 Responses to Flash Fiction: The Trouble with Bubbles

  1. C.A. Szarek says:

    Hahahaha I love this. Seriously. I think you have another book in you with this!

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