How We Write – Flashes to Ashes

Our prompts were: probable homicide, not for publication, works for me and moving right along.

We had way too much fun with this set of prompts! When Orion and Kyros saw ‘probable homicide’ we both remembered the plethora of cop shows that were on TV in the late 70s and early 80s and decided to pull random characters from those old shows to populate this story. And since we both watched the 1990s DC Comics’ TV shows, we threw in a few comic book characters for good measure as well.

Lt. Kojak from Kojak

Sgt. Wojciehowicz from Barney Miller

Officer Poncherello from CHiPs

Barry Allen from The Flash

Clark Kent from Lois and Clark, The New Adventures of Superman

Lois Lane from Lois and Clark, The New Adventures of Superman

And as for our villain, we’ll leave it up to you as to who that is. Leave your guesses in the comments below.


The unmarked police car with a lone bubble light flashing on its roof careened into the Dunkin Donuts parking lot, screeching to a halt just shy of the yellow crime scene tape. A stocky bald man in a dark suit stepped out of the car, pausing just long enough to unwrap a bright red lollipop and stick it in his mouth.

“What’s going on here?” he demanded, addressing the detective holding the tape up for him.

“It’s really bizarre, Lt. Kojak,” Sgt. Wojciehowicz said, grimacing. “All that’s left of this Barry Allen character is a pile of ashes and one arm with the middle finger extended.” The big man chuckled. “It looks like he at least got in the last word.”

Kojak waved his lollipop at the man. “So you’re ruling this a probable homicide?”

Wojciehowicz nodded his head. “This is the strangest crime scene I’ve ever been at. I mean, it looks like the vic spontaneously combusted.”

A woman’s voice called out, “Really, Detective? Spontaneous combustion? Can I quote you on that?”

Kojak turned sharply to confront a dark-haired, petite reporter standing just behind the yellow tape. “Ms. Lane, that is not for publication!”

Meanwhile, Wojo had hunkered down and was poking around the ashes. “I think I found something interesting. This looks like….”

There was a brilliant flash of light and heat. Kojak blinked away the spots before his eyes. When he could see again, all that remained of the other detective was a second pile of ashes.

Wrenching the lollipop from his mouth, he exclaimed, “What the hell just happened?”

A tall, Latino policeman raced up, his eyes wide and his face ashen. “Sir!”

Still in a state of shock, Kojak blurted out, “Whatcha got, Ponch?”

Officer Poncherello pointed toward the far side of the taped off crime scene. “I just saw that guy over there….”

Kojak was turning to follow the direction Ponch indicated when there was a second burst of heat and light. Officer Poncherello was now a third pile of ashes littering the ground.

Gulping, Kojak slowly swiveled back to where Ponch had pointed. A short man in a trenchcoat stared directly at him, pointing a small device in his direction.

Kojak locked eyes with the reporter.

“Okay…,” he said, voice quaking, “obviously this is just a strange coincidence.” He shook his head. “Nothing to see here, Lois.”

The reporter, also visibly shaken, nodded. “Works for me.”

From the corner of his eye, Kojak saw the short man nod, place the device in the pocket of his trenchcoat, then turn and walk away.

With a shudder, Kojak headed for his car, muttering, “Moving right along.” He opened the car door and stood behind its protective shield. Raising his voice, he addressed the other officers milling around the crime scene.

“Ok, everyone, get this site cleaned up and call it a day.”

Pulling out of the parking lot, he bit down, grinding the remains of the lollipop between his teeth. “I wouldn’t have lost two good cops if Clark Kent had shown up instead of Lois Lane.” Tossing the stick out the window, he growled, “Damned superheroes. And they say cops are never where you need them.”

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