Buy Or Sell – Submit Your Fourth Short Story For 2018 Today

Woohoo! 750 words done and dusted. Well done, writers. I hope you enjoyed writing story four for 2018.

We are presenting our next online class at the end of the month. The topic is “Show, don’t tell.” You can register here: Online. We’ve also added another session for The Ultimate Short Story Checklist, for those who missed it last month. More details available here

 Submission process:

I will accept and approve posts for Buy or sell (Word count: 750 words) from 18 April 2018, 8:00 (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00), until 19 April 2018, 8:00 (Johannesburg time | GMT +2:00) on  Please ask Google to figure out what time that will be in your part of the world. 

Please use the correct format:

In the post title bar:              Story Title by Author Name.

Just above the story:             Prompt: XXXXXX | Word count: XXXXXX | Genre: XXXXXX

Warning: Please add a warning if your story is not appropriate for sensitive or younger readers.

Can I still join?

You can join the 12 Short Story Challenge in any month. So, if you start in June, that will be month one for you and then May 2019 will be month 12.

Here is the procedure:

  1. Read today’s post.
  2. Post your story on 12 Short Stories.
  3. Read and comment on at least four other stories. Please spread the love. Look for stories that haven’t been read, instead of everyone reading and commenting on the same stories. If you want tips on how to comment, read this post: The Complete Guide To Evaluating Your Short Story.
  4. This is an exercise in discipline. The comments are a bonus. There is no prize because I want you to focus on writing for yourself and to try and take more risks.
  5. Be kind when you comment. Start with a positive comment, suggest an improvement, and end with something positive. We are here to learn.
  6. Our next prompt is at the end of this post.

A few more points:

  1. I will try to read as many posts as possible, but I do have a day job that I would like to keep.
  2. NO hate speech. None. If you see something nasty that I should be made aware of, please send me a message.
  3. Be careful of profanity.
  4. I need to approve every post. Please be patient with me. I am teaching during the day and I will approve them as quickly as I can. They will all go up.

Here is my short story:

Title: Captain America by Mia Botha

Prompt: Buy or sell | Word count: 750 | Genre: Action

Warning: Violence, profanity and an ugly shirt (again).

Drew trots around the vendors and dodges the potholes and motorcycles like a local, his stupid palm tree shirt flaps like a cape. The women giggle and wave as he passes them with a grin. Joy rolls her eyes.

The market heaves with heat and humanity. Steam and smoke cling together. The spicy odour of the sizzling street food barely masks the ripe stink of open sewage and overpopulation.

Drew catches up to her. “You still haven’t told me where we are going.”

“You’ve got your plans. I’ve got mine.” She shrugs.

“This is where I should remind you that there is no ‘I’ in team.”

“You’re here, aren’t you?” She says over her shoulder.

They leave the main road and after two turns, she pauses, ducks behind a tarp and holds it up for Drew to follow.

She keeps her eyes on him as he takes in the scene in front of him. About eight men are fanned about the alley, each armed and pointing automatic rifles at them. She grins at his expression.

He raises his hands and peers over the rim of his Top Gun sunglasses. “They’re not expecting us, I assume.”

“They are. That’s why you’re still alive.” She turns back to the men. “Hola, get your fucking gun out of my face and tell Carlos I’m here.”   

“What, no fun with Captain America?” The nearest guy replies. 

“Get Carlos, you idiot.” She says again.  

“In my experience it’s best not to call the guy with the AK47 an idiot.” Drew lowers his hands.

They follow the guy inside, squinting in the dark. A small kerosene lamp creates a weak yellow puddle. A box TV roars as a snowy goal is scored. 

“Ah, Joy! Mi amor.” Carlos says with a smile and holds out his hands.  

“I’m not your amor, Carlos.” She says and dodges his embrace. “Do you have an answer for me?”

“I have some provisos.” His eyes narrow as he looks at Drew and then back at Joy.  

“What would those be?”

“I want José’s yacht.”

“What?” All pretence of patience of gone.

“I want his yacht and his house. When this is over I want to live there.” Carlos shakes a soft pack and brings a bent cigarette to his lips. The cigarette bounces as he speaks. “I also want to shoot your papi.”

The flare of the match creates heinous shadows on his face.  

“You get everything except the shot.”

Carlos takes a deep drag. “How much is left?”

“Everything.” She glances at Drew. No reaction. 

“And nothing’s been distributed or sold to anyone?”

“The whole shipment is still intact.”

“That is excellent. Then I’ll help.”

“I’ll be in touch.”

They leave the house and duck back under the tarp, blinking in the bright light.


“Did you just invite a competing cartel to our drug bust?” Drew asks.

She just looks at him.

“What was he talking about? What do you have?” He stops her.

“It’s between him and me.”

“You actually have it, don’t you? A shipment of cocaine that belongs to Josè.”

Joy shrugs.

“What the fuck, woman? Why don’t you just paint a target on your back?”

“I’ve had a target on my back for months.”

“How did you do it?” He grabs her arm and she yanks it back. “You said it was lost in the explosion.”

“I never said that. You assumed it.”

“How did you get it out of the warehouse? We were watching it all the time.”

She’s quiet for a moment. “It never reached the warehouse.”

“And now you’re giving his drugs to another drug dealer?”

She waves her hand, dismissing him.

“You are insane. You’re just like him, a violent, drug-dealing psychopath.”

Drew pushes his hands through his hair and storms off.

She follows his path to their hotel, trying not to think about why his opinion of her matters.


The receptionist waves. “Miss, this came for you.”

She sighs, all she wants is a strong drink and a fast ceiling fan, nothing else, but she freezes when she sees the familiar box. His initials embossed on top. She takes it to her room.

Drew doesn’t look up. He’s aggressively changing channels on the TV. She fumbles with the lid.

“What is it?” Drew snaps when she sinks to the ground.

She holds up the small silver cross, blood from the crucifix drips on the carpet.

“Padre.” She whispers.

“Let’s go.” Drew holds out his hand. “We’ll be there in three hours.”

Here is the fifth prompt for the 2018 challenge:


If you want to learn how to write a short story, join us for Short Cuts in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

 by Mia Botha

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