The Blot: 99 Word Flash Fiction

The stain spread like octopus tentacles. Grace felt sick. One mistake. That’s all it took to destroy everything. Too late to take back the action. It was done. She’d blotted her copybook and now, she had to live with it. Tears came unbidden. Not her fault. Alcohol was the culprit. The six gin and tonics had made her lose control but she’d chosen to drink. She’d wanted Dutch courage. She needed more than that now. She’d have to hand it in. Perhaps they’d overlook the ink as the content was good. Better than saying the dog ate her homework.

In response to Charli’s prompt where she asks:

January 11, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about wet ink. It can be artistic, writerly or something completely off-the-wall. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by January 9, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published January 10). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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16 Responses to The Blot: 99 Word Flash Fiction

  1. Sorry, I need some help in understanding this one. Who is she? A school student? College student? Or is she working somewhere?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anurag your confusion is probably because this story started as one thing and became another. It is a saying her “She’s blotted her copybook” which stems from when ink was used in schools and we had to copy over and over either a cursive or copperplate script when we were learning to write. It had to be perfect and woe betide any one who spilt ink or had to blot up a bit off extra from having pressed too hard on the nib. These days the expression refers to people who don’t do anything wrong and then they make a mistake. The community will say “She’s blotted her copybook” meaning she is no longer pure or good. This was the meaning I was aiming for with a twist to a school girl spilling ink on her homework. The dog eating your essay is a common excuse for not handing it in on time. Hope that helps. I appreciate you asking because it is helpful to me to know when I assume knowledge that may be pertinent only to a country or generation and it gives me a better awareness.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Very relatable, Irene. I think we have all resorted to alcoholic Dutch courage at some point in our lives.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Charli Mills says:

    I have learned much about Australia and ink this week. Use of ink in this way was not common. I tried to find a historical source because I don’t even recall grandparent talking about using ink and copybooks. From what I could find, American students have long used graphite pencils. We missed out on so much! Great use of a metaphor for how this character finds herself in life — ink ican be miserably unforgiving once spilled.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Wet Ink « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  5. Norah says:

    Some location. Same generation. Perfect understanding. Well done, Irene. I understand her angst – both before and after – very well.


  6. The story is very good though it was a bit of a mystery until I read your explanation about what it meant to blot your copybook. Then it made complete sense and I felt even more sympathy for poor Grace – whose name didn’t hold up to her weak skills, poor thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I assumed copybooks would have been everywhere but the UK didn’t have them or not by the time Roger went to school (and he is 11 years older than me). Perhaps Australia was the only country to insist on perfect script when writing. Now I’d get an F minus. I can’t even understand my own writing.


  7. Pingback: Learning to Write: Times Past | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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