“But Ms. Tuttle,” said Phillip. “I don’t know what to write about.”

“Write about anything,”  Ms. Tuttle said calmly. “Inspiration isn’t that hard to come by, is it?”

Geoffrey raised his hand. “Can’t you just give us some ideas? A place to start?”

From her desk, Ms. Tuttle made a note on the pad of paper on her lap and looked out at her classroom. “Come now, everyone, there’s no need to complain. I’m a writer myself, as you know. I write a blog with new posts every week. Do you think I need someone to constantly give me ideas?  Why, if some of you can’t come up with a brilliant idea for your story, right here and now, maybe you don’t deserve an A on this assignment.”

The students glanced nervously at each other.

“I’ll tell you what.” Ms. Tuttle tore off a small corner of paper and began writing on it.  “I’m going to jot down a brilliant story idea, and then I’m going to crumble it and toss it into the middle of this classroom. The first one to grab it will get to use the idea–and subsequently, get an A.”

The crumbled ball sailed through the air. The students hesitated only a moment, then went wild.

“This isn’t fair!” Phillip cried, as he punched and reached all at once. “Why is Ms. Tuttle making us so miserable?”

“She’s a good teacher,” said Geoffrey. “If she’s doing this, she must have a reason.”

And as they fought, Ms. Tuttle sat and continued making notes on her pad of paper. She had learned, through years of teaching, that as long as she stayed behind her desk, they never suspected she was jotting down everything they said or did.

Inspiration was hard to come by, after all.

March 19th through the 23rd–the third week of the third month of 2012–is flash fiction week on the Nose. All stories to have three characters and top out at 300 words.

Writer and educator Sara Goas is a graduate of Lycoming College, and she specializes in creating content for the web. Her site has more examples of her work.


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