Topic Tag Tuesday

Topic Tag is simple: I pick someone to give me a prompt, and I write them a story (ideally in less than an hour). They then "tag" the next person in the chain, and the following Tuesday, we repeat the process.

Here are the 52 stories (so far!) from the various editions of Topic Tag Tuesday (with a decade-long gap for funsies):

2020-06-09 / For Paulo

What You See

You see the strangest things when you look in the mirror...

2020-06-02 / For Ashley

Water Pressure

A new backyard toy breaks all the rules, and changes lives forever.

2020-05-26 / For Alex

A Simulated Kind of Love

Damon and Lea's evening goes to unexpected places...

2020-05-19 / For Joël

Marley's Ghost

Scrooge's torment isn't over. Not by a long shot.

2020-05-12 / For Denise

Archangel 425

A literal ticking bomb prompts a shocking revelation that will change two spies forever.

2020-05-05 / For Luis

A True Emergency

When a mysterious package arrives at their door, Alejandro and Eme must make a terrible choice.

2020-04-28 / For Joël

Layers of Suck

Storylines collide and fight for dominance in this slice-of-unreality tale.

2020-04-21 / For Ania

Secret Sauce

Travel restrictions lead to all kinds of chaos for a famous singer and her assistant.

2020-04-14 / For Connor

That’s Your Fault

An improbable discovery leads to an even bigger calamity.

2020-04-07 / For Romeo

Survival of the Pivots

Sometimes you just have to stop and listen to your vacuum cleaner.

2020-03-31 / For Joël

The Feature

A routine outing on the moon's surface leads to a truly unexpected event.

2020-03-24 / For Brandon

Potato Farm

How hard can it be to grow a field of potatoes, really?

2020-03-17 / For Jillian

Harvey’s Twist

Harvey's hard-knock life slides into dystopia in the world of coronavirus.

2020-03-10 / For Liz

The Space Between Sneezes

An experiment to capture the power of sneezing goes horribly wrong.

2020-03-03 / For Holli


A tragic accident leads to unexpected consequences.

2020-02-25 / For Carleigh

Top of the Heap

An orchestral debacle in the key of doom.

2010-07-13 / For Eli


Ollie reloaded the page for probably the fiftieth time, but the answer was always the same: “server not available”, black on white, denying him his morning moment of zen.

2010-07-08 / For Lot

Tiny Movements, Big Movements

Sunlight shone from below, reflected off the water beneath the old stone bridge. They sat there on the edge, catching whatever breeze they could, oblivious to sounds and stares of Beijing around them. She was a half-width too close to him, and desperately wished he was too.

2010-07-07 / For Eva

Brian's New Day

Brian woke each morning stapled to the ceiling above the coffee machine, which may seem like an inconvenience, but it made it much easier for him to wash his hair before breakfast. After eating two slices of toast and a half-dozen grapefruits, he tucked his jacket under his arm and set out for work.

2010-07-06 / For Turid

Ignoble Death

Danika came back to a destroyed apartment. At first she thought they’d been robbed, but then she saw Lenny sitting in a pile of laundry at the end of the hall. He was separating socks, underwear, shirts, into two separate piles.

2010-07-05 / For pinkbagels

The Tease

Garville was fantastically despondent, to the point where he wouldn’t suck sap if you drowned him in it. He lay on the leaf, belly to the sky, sighing wistfully as loud as he could. Finally, after seven such sighs, Bloot climbed down next to him and smacked him across the back.

2010-06-04 / For brttrx

The Dead Zone

The stout woman in the plaid jacket was not taking no for an answer, and it seemed as if her grandchildren were about to burst into tears. Gunther put on his most apologetic face and tried to be delicate, but there was just no escaping reality:

2010-05-29 / For Wis


Mary sat at the bedside, book in hand, listening to the sounds of machines counting down a life. She hadn’t read a word of the book, but it helped her feel like she wasn’t waiting for something else to happen. But she <em>was</em> waiting for something else to happen, and she hated herself for it.

2010-05-28 / For Emilio


The worst mistake would be to laugh it off. How many people, walking tipsy down the street at night, would keep a straight face? Not many. But even fewer would survive the faux-pas. For while the robot unicorns were built without many things, a sense of furious pride was not one of them.

2010-05-27 / For Sheila


Josh was in the middle of his second pint when Meg stormed into the pub, long jacket pulled tight, standing between him and his friends.

2010-05-26 / For Kyle

Dark-Stained Nightmare

The water went blistering hot before it shut off, and the shock of it made Kent smack his head on the shower head, leaving a long gash in his scalp.

2010-05-25 / For Burt

Screw Up

Tuesday night was sex night, and every second Tuesday was Jeremy’s night to find a prop. If he were in the habit of telling the truth, he’d have admitted he hated the prop idea, and hated the scheduling even more… but Jeremy didn’t usually say what was on his mind.

2010-05-24 / For Paul


It was the summer of the year dear Queen Vic made her way down to Matlock Bath that the four downtrodden friends found the tiara. Now, being from Bath as they were, they weren’t totally oblivious to the finer things in life, but all the same, it took them a solid day to realize the tiara was indeed what it seemed.

2010-05-23 / For Nancy

The Last Piece

Raw canvas lay across the floor, shredded and mangled with muddy footprints. The sink had been left on, drain clogged, and the floor was a long, imperfect mirror, showing the wreckage left of the studio. Amber sunk down in a crouch, cocktail dress dipping in the water, and ran her hands through her hair, trying not to cry.

2010-05-22 / For Anna

Summer Train

It was a game they played, down by the shoreline in southern Louisiana. Sentence trains, stretching off through lazy, humid afternoons. Thick, ancient oak trees blocking the sun, her red-and-white dress spread out around her, next to him, as she watched the clouds pass.

2010-05-21 / For Sora

Wrong Place

The gunshot made the baby kick, and while everyone else pushed themselves closer to the floor, Daisy could only sit against the counter, cradling her belly and trying not to cry.

2010-05-12 / For Cranmer


When his legs cramped, all he could do was shift them to the side, hope to feel the blood rush through, a brief warm sensation, his feet coming back to life. Half an hour later he’d repeat the process in the other direction, bound inside his tiny invisible box, out of sight from the world, alive for thirty minutes more.

2010-05-11 / For Gabriel

hiroshima iv

Dustin was trying to write with his right hand while his left picked up his grande dark cherry non-fat soy latte from the table. It was a tricky feat. His pen slipped the line, and when he moved to recover, he spilled the cup over the table. He snatched the notebook away in time, but the coffee dripped onto his knee, burning and making him yelp.

2010-05-10 / For janoda

The Collector

Dougley was the picture of madness. He’d dumped out his drawers, flipped up the mattress, and was running his fingers along the tops of door frames, muttering to himself the whole way.

2010-04-07 / For Damon

A Matter of Perspective

The break room was a zoo by the time Edmund got there. Two senior watchmen bounced around on a lunch table, throwing stale bread and meat this way and that, screaming into the crowd like a pair of harpies with especially foul mouths.

2010-01-26 / For irk

A Hell of a Morning

Daylight savings meant the hell-hounds wanted walking an hour early. Halfway down the street, it started raining sulphur.

2010-01-05 / For janoda

The Power Circle

Ross took a cigar from the box, but did not light it. He held it loose between his fingers, rolling it side to side, like a man with an idea, while the others waited.

2009-11-21 / For tenaciousN

Desertbus #1

The man with the socks on his hands was a terrible assassin. It went beyond the lack of fine motor skills, too. As he sat on the bus with his hands wrapped in burgundy, the man looked embarrassed, and good assassins never look anything but deadly.

2009-11-11 / For alexiskn, Ebonwumon, @kdnewton, @janoda

Bunny Tacos

Nicki peeked her head around the corner, nose crinkled up at the smell and the smoke. It reeked of onion and peppers, but Bill seemed oblivious.

2009-11-03 / For janoda, tenaciousN, kdnewton, quillsandzebras


For the fifth day in a row, Lisa woke Barney up at three in the morning by sighing loudly and rolling over in the covers until they came right off him.

2009-10-31 / For alexiskn, mjgolli, janoda

Fall Line-Up

Yulga is finishing her third cup of coffee in an hour, but by the jitter in her hands, it must be the fiftieth today. Her prospectus is curled and worn as she fiddles nervously, sunken eyes darting left and right, brittle skin almost creaking with the action. Even her leather bodice seems emptier than it should be.

2009-10-22 / For kdnewton, LynThorneAlder, piers_hollott, tenaciousN, quillsandzebras and Tally_LRR

What You Paid For

<em>This week's topic tag is a mix of so many strange ideas, I was seriously worried I wouldn't fit them all in. Luckily, I am insane.</em>

2009-10-15 / For [anonymous]

Minimum Purchase

The waitress brought pie, but Marcy brought trouble.

2009-10-13 / For mjgolli, tenaciousN, kdnewton

The Everliving Crap

The tape on the hockey stick needed to be changed, but Joey didn’t seem to care. He and Scott kept up their prowling — which, to the outside observer, looked a lot like prancing daintily — through the darkened city streets, on the lookout for danger.

2009-09-29 / For quillsandzsebras, theamericanbook, sharontherose, mfeige, mjgolli, tenaciousN


Joe’s feet swung four inches off the ground as he sat on the park bench, watching the people scurry by. The oak tree above him was blocking most of the rain, but then a large drop landed on his paper bag, shocking him out of his daze. He brushed it away with his yellow rubber glove.

2009-09-22 / For quillsandzebras Tim_LRR, kdnewton

Bumpy Wash

“You and I need to have a talk,” said Pam, rubbing the sleep from her eyes and pulling her night gown closed. Wendy closed the lid to the washer and the banging started again, echoing through the small apartment.

2009-09-18 / For Piers

The Fine Print

Johannes Gutenberg sipped his tea with the utmost grace, but his hand never left the pistol. Marty was in no mood to drink. He was going to be late for the board meeting.

2009-09-15 / For quillsandzebras

Yellow Towel

Norman’s PDA was broken, but he still had four hours left in his day. He rotated the batteries, just in case, but there was no change. The thing was dead.

2009-09-08 / For mjgolli

Broken Beyond Repair

Harvey’s job was a tad ridiculous these days. Here he was, sitting on the woman’s floor in his little slipper-covered work boots, chatting on his Bluetooth headset while the woman yammered away on her own cell phone… all for the sake of a landline that he suspected nobody would ever use.

2009-09-01 / For mjgolli


It was Death at the door, wearing his usual pinstripe suit.

2009-08-12 / For kdnewton

Sentient Glowing Balls

The sky had been alight with shooting stars, and to Darlene, spread out on her lawn at two in the morning, it was like her own private miracle. And then she threw up.

2009-08-04 / For heliosengine

The Cottage

The knife tap, tap, tapped against the glass window, making a horrible noise as it slid down like a snake. The yellow-haired one turned slowly in the darkness, face lit by moonlight, but saw nothing. She’d missed the knife, the mask that had been there, the red in the eyes. Not Sandy. She’d been watching that window like a hawk.

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