Tag Archives: flash fiction

Friday Fiction 2.1 — Your Mother Will See You Now

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When Luther went home for the long holiday weekend, amongst his toiletries, he packed a suit, a blazer, two pairs of “shiny shoes” as Claire called them, a set of running shoes, his iPod, some ties: one for the plane, one for day, one for dinner, one for Mass, and his journal.

He was not at all concerned about flying, but his nerves were a wreck; he was looking forward to runs in the park with his labrador, “Charlie” and for long walks with his dad by the lake. He was even looking forward to seeing his sister’s husband, Griff, the hotshot lawyer who always managed to make big husky Luther feel like a chump. A chump was a god compared to how Luther felt around his mother.

[go here for the first part of this story: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/friday-fiction-friends-2-0-familiarity-breeds-fonder-over-greener-ponds/ ]

Although she had never directly expressed her dismay or disappointment with Luther’s job, or his lack of a steady girlfriend, or his seemingly directionless life to Luther, it’s what she said to all his relatives, friends, the mailman and the pharmacist that gave her away.

“How’s the card company, Luther?” Mr. Everwood would say from his perch above the pharmacy floor when he’d go by to pick up a refill for his father. “We don’t carry those cards in this shop. People don’t seem to like ’em…” he would add on, his voice fading into a mutter about an obscene greeting card scandal years before that had nothing to do with Hansen’s Greetings, the country’s second-largest greeting card company.

For the first couple inquiries, Luther would try to talk up the company, but after his first year ended, he’d decided that Mr. Everwood wasn’t really interested in a conversation; he’d always wander off mid-sentence looking for his reading glasses which were usually hanging from a black polyester cord around his neck.

When he boarded the jet to take him to Nantucket, Luther put his bags in the overhead compartment. His carry-on fit perfectly beneath his window seat on the small aircraft. Luther was a big guy, 6’3″ 195, athletic, and broad-shouldered. He had inherited the Irish farmer in his father’s side of the family. His sister, Maureen, was much slighter than he, but what she lacked in physicality, she made up for in personality. He stood up in the aisle for as long as possible, stretching his aching legs as he’d waited for his section mate to show up. Once that unknown fellow traveler arrived, Luther would be locked into his seat for five hours. He looked at his phone. The flight was already 7 minutes behind schedule, he sighed, loosened his tie and decided to take off his jacket.

Luther came from ‘good breeding’ and he learned early on to dress appropriately for a flight; it was a sign of respect to the captain and the staff of aircraft. His grandfather was a commercial pilot after flying for the Navy during the Vietnam War. His grandfather told everyone to dress for a funeral when flying because, “you never know if you’ll be buried at sea” when flying over the water, but he also said it was important to dress well because often those pilots were retired military officers who risked their lives for our country, so “dress up or get off my plane!” was his oft-heard refrain he’d offer to anyone who flew with him.

He turned around and prepared to put his jacket up in the overhead compartment when his section mate arrived. They’d just about bumped right into each other. It was a young woman, about 20, who asked if she was in the right place on the plane. She was tall, just about Claire’s height, Luther noticed, and dressed smartly for the flight.

“Uh… row 22 seat B, yup, that’s you. Right here. Can I get your bag for you? I’m happy to –”

“No, thanks, I’ve got it. I’m on the volleyball team at school, so I’m used to doing shoulder presses and all that. You putting your jacket up there or are you getting it down? Need me to –”

“Sure, great. Once you put your bag up there, if you could take my jacket, here, it’s all folded and ready, and plop that on top of my bag, that would be awesome,” he said as he stretched and twisted his back before submitting himself to the cramped seat which waited below him.

The blonde student-athlete took his jacket and gently placed it on top of his bag.

“It’s gonna shift around in there, just so you know, I put it right on top as you suggested, but if it comes out all rumpled…” she said, pursing the right corner of her mouth and raising her right eyebrow, “don’t blame me; blame the pilot.”

“Then it’ll be rumpled. The humidity on Nantucket should straighten it out in no time once we get back on land. My name’s Luther, thank you for your help,” he said, extending his hand as he prepared to sit down.

“Chris, and you’re welcome. My pleasure,” she answered with a big bright smile. “You going home or vacation up there? I’m heading home for summer break; classes just ended yesterday and I’ve got two weeks before volleyball training starts over again,” she asked, not looking at him, but acquainting herself with her seat, the safety belt, the magazines and her arranging her iPod.

Luther padded his shirt pocket for his iPod, then his hip pockets, still nothing. “I am … doing neither. …. My parents live up there; it’s where I grew up, but I don’t consider it home. Anyway, I’m rambling. I’m heading to Nantucket for a long weekend with my family and I’m looking forward to seeing our dog,” he said. “Aha, there it is, in my carry-on,” his voice muffled into his chest because he was all compressed like a shrimp.

“Your dog?” Chris asked.

“No, my iPod. My dog… Ha ha… that’s funny.”

“Well, you’d be surprised about what people bring on planes, Luther,” she said.

He agreed. “If you need anything that I can help you with, please let me know; I’m just gonna plug in here and zone out.”

Chris nodded, she was a few steps ahead of him with her pillow scrunched under her head alongside the headrest.

He fell asleep quickly. Images of leather chairs and Persian rugs flooded his dreams. A small room, the sunlight which made it past the leafy birch out front dappled the wood floor, high mahogany walls, lots of books, a maple roll-top desk and a matching swivel chair on casters with a black leather seat awaited him. He sat on the chair; his hands resting like paws on the armrests, his feet didn’t touch the floor, they swung loosely from the cushion which was cool to the backs of his bare legs in seersucker short-pants. He could see his blue and white saddle shoes swish back and forth. Waiting here meant trouble. Waiting here meant he had some explaining to do. Waiting here meant he got thirsty real fast. A door swung open and a fierce-looking woman in a grey suit spoke to Luther, “Your mother will see you now, Luther.”

“Yes mother,” said Luther to the woman.

Luther jostled in his seat. The song he’d fallen asleep to hadn’t even ended. The plane was still on the ground. His cell phone was ringing, it was his mother calling.

(c) Molly Field 2013

 

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here is the next installment: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/friday-fiction-2-1-perfect-is-the-enemy-of-good/

well, that’s it for me – about 1200 words. i’ve been sick all week with strep throat and it’s late (thursday night – i have an appointment friday); i’d write more, but we have the whole month of May to write about mothers … all fiction of course. 😉

Here is the prompt:

  • May is the month to celebrating motherhood. Start this week’s post with the following:”Your mother….”

please read the other Friday Fiction Friends who are participating today:

http://worldsworstmoms.com/fiction-friday-part-15-under-frangelicas-wing/

http://debiehive.blogspot.com/2013/05/fiction-friday-challenge-unraveling.html

http://clearlykristal.com/?p=3445

http://susannenelson.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/fiction-friday-17-mothers/

http://www.bulamamani.com/belated-friday-fiction-9/

http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/2013/05/friday-fiction-returns-may-prompt-1.html

Friday Fiction Friends 2.0 — Familiarity Breeds Fonder Over Greener Ponds

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“I can’t remember the phrase. Is it familiarity breeds fondness … or is it absence makes the heart contemptuous? My phrasefinder software isn’t linking with our database,” Claire shouted from her stale, noise-insulated, gray, industrial one-size-suits-all cubicle at the Hansen’s Greetings; the country’s second-largest greeting card company, following a hardy, distant and almost impossible-to-beat lead by Mallhark Cards.

kelly debie made this. :) www.debiehive.blogspot.com

kelly debie made this. 🙂 http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com

“It’s pizza is a girl’s best friend, after her vibrator,” grunted Luther, head of Get-well and Sympathy, his neck craning around the side wall of her cube. “Holy cow, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Those all your shout outs?” he asked, his nose and chin doing that weird “hey” nod only the cool seniors did in high school, the silent indicator of awareness of something or someone else’s presence. One of the speakers from his hot pink Dr. Dre headphones was screaming tinny Metallica through their tiny tweeters at his chiseled jaw’s perpetual 5o’clock shadow.

“What? You can’t talk? What’s wrong with your neck? Are you trying to say something? What’s with that twitch and eyebrow thing you’re doing? Why is it always you who answers my legitimate questions with a completely irrelevant comment? How are your headbanger’s balls today?” she said.

“Want some pizza? Clearly you haven’t seen your other best friend…” he said, nodding again at her purse before he laughed and rolled his chair back over the vinyl mat toward his bank of blindness-inducing computer screens and pulled the mini Metallica back over his ears.

“You’re such a d-bag,” she growled.

Claire and Luther had worked side-by-side for about 15 months.

‘Worked’ is loosely used. They had tolerated one another. They had befriended one another. They had confided in one another and now, they couldn’t stand one another ever since Claire told Julie that Luther’s best friend Craig from Graduations and Condolences had a thing for Sam in accounting, but Sam was flirting big time with Convenience Store Division’s Lesley for that opening in Elections and Olympics, and even though Pat from Gift Cards got the promotion that Claire was supposed to have; it would be her last opportunity to get out of Revenge and Congratulations before graduate school began. Luther just let it all happen; he didn’t bother intervening at all with Lesley. Pat was unfit for the job and everyone knew it.

It was Pat’s body and not brain that won the job. “I mean, who gives snarky biennial content to a gift card designer??” Claire would rant. Luther’s excuse was “nonpartisanships; there can be no taking of both greener sides in the company pond,” he said in his defense, mixing so many clichés and single handedly destroying defenseless metaphors that Claire wondered how he could have ever landed any job anywhere ever having to do with writing.

From that point on, she determined she would never, ever, ever, not in a bazillion years, ever, talk to him again about anything, ever, having to do with anything. Ever. She was going all Taylor Swift on his ass. She had the string of men to prove it. She turned around to her desk, moved her current card to the bottom of the pile and pulled the next one at the top.

“I heard about that leak on YouTube,” was the theme. Nope. Back to the bottom. She wasn’t ready.

“So you won the lottery!” was the next one. She considered that one as she took the next one off the top.

“So sorry about your car getting keyed” was the theme. Her right eyebrow tipped up as her posture improved.

The fact of the matter is that Claire was ideal for Revenge and Congratulations. She had the perfect mix of enthusiasm and scorn cultivated through years of making absurdly poor choices: she bought MicroSoft Zunes while she bashed the iPods; she fervently used Yahoo! instead of Google; she embraced the Bank of America fee increase, citing the return of the use of cash instead of credit or debit as “awesome.” Luther liked to tease her that if she was old enough she would’ve chosen Crystal Pepsi or Lawn Darts as the next big thing. Luther saw brilliance and cash in Claire’s predicament: her obvious knack for the clever marriage of antithetical forces. Claire saw stupidity in Luther, which probably meant he was wildly genius, and everyone reminded her of that, especially Luther.

(c) Molly Field 2013

next week: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/friday-fiction-2-1-greetings-with-flowers/

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That’s it for me today. I’m wiped out. My son has been sick for a while and I started this about an hour ago. I want to take it further, but right now, I’m out of gas!

Here is today’s prompt, which I decided to refer to as opposite… Use the cliche, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” in your story (when you are not with a loved one, you tend to miss them more). You decide how to use it and if your character agrees with it or not. As an added optional challenge, use the literary device, “antithesis” (used when the writer employs two sentences of contrasting meanings in close proximity to one another. Whether they are words or phrases of the same sentence, an antithesis is used to create a stark contrast using two divergent elements that come together to create one uniform whole. An antithesis plays on the complementary property of opposites to create one vivid picture. The purpose of using an antithesis in literature is to create a balance between opposite qualities and lend a greater insight into the subject.

Example: When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon it might have been one small step for a man but it was one giant leap for mankind.

Please check out today’s other Friday Fiction Friends!

http://katbiggie.com/friday-fiction-friends-7/

http://worldsworstmoms.com/fiction-friday-part-14-eric-meets-simon/

http://clearlykristal.com/?p=3332

http://susannenelson.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/friday-ficton-16-absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder/

Friday Fiction Friends — 2.0: When the Toughs Get Going

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kelly debie made this. :) www.debiehive.blogspot.com

kelly debie made this. http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com

“Let’s do this. I’m so tired of waiting for Bailey to give us the sign. He’s so freakin’ slow,” said Cassie as she loaded her six-shot and looked over the side of the car for anyone coming out of the building near the target point.

“No. We have to wait. There’s a reason you and I are here and a reason why Bailey and Jacks are doing what they’re doing. And watch your mouth; you talk like a sailor for Pete’s sake. Do you talk like that around the baby?? Besides, has it ever gone wrong before? No. Have we ever been busted when we follow their orders? No. Just… just wait,” said Sam.

Cassie sighed. “Sometimes the risk outweighs the reward, Sam. It’s hot, I’m antsy, I didn’t get much sleep last night; the baby was screaming until dawn. I think his teeth are coming in and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I think I passed out around four in the morning. It was insane. I heard the newspaper hit the porch.”

The midday sun hid behind thick August clouds but the humidity was oppressive. Just sitting outside, anywhere even in the shade under the big maple tree and behind the souped-up Monte Carlo SS was enough to make anyone heat up and perspire, more so for anyone with scheming on their mind.

“You know, if you look in the reflection of these hubcaps, you can see what’s going on out there without having to risk being discovered,” Cassie said. “We don’t need them to tell us when…” Cassie was the wild hair; she had no patience, no insight and no respect for authority, law-abiding or not.

“I was born on the wrong side of the tracks,” she liked to say in a gravelly voice when she’d take a swig from a sweaty long neck and peer over her shoulder waiting for someone to appear out of nowhere; paranoid that her prestige and rank she’d worked so hard to attain within the organization was at risk. “Mom always said she never knew when I’d blow…”

She checked her gun again; counting the rounds in the cylinder. It was a nervous habit and it made Sam more twitchy every time she did it.

“Keep the safety on, will ya? It’s loaded, I can see the slugs from here. Just sit still, will ya? He said he’d be here and he’ll be here. Just wait for the call and then we’ll know it’s time,” said Sam.

Cassie and Sam, Sam and Cassie; it had been the two of them for years, ever since they met in third grade back at St. Bart’s in Hyde Park on the South Side Chicago neighborhood. Kids, even those in the upper grades, cleared out of their way when they saw them coming. “Make a hole!” Cassie would shout, pointing at the pretty girls all in a row in their shiny Mary Janes, blue plaid jumpers and Peter Pan collared shirts. It was like good cop, bad cop or good twerp, bad twerp. Sam was the cool-headed and calculated one and Cassie was the time bomb.

(wikipedia commons)

(wikipedia commons)

They met when Cassie’s family had to move from their flat in Pullman. Her father got a new job, with a big salary and a weird title. No one knew what he actually did for a living; he was reported to be in “waste management” but no one ever saw him drive a trash truck. It was all very suspicious; Cassie liked it that way. She used the mysterious story to her advantage and told everyone her father was a truck driver for the mob; a cigarette importer from Canada. She told people he’d whacked a couple guys who gave him some static.

Truth be told, he was an accountant for the City of Chicago. He worked in the Department of Public Works and managed the contracts for the various sanitation vendors. It was all very much on the up and up; Cassie is the one who decided it was nefarious and dubious work. It gave her an edge in all things from trading a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich for a mallomar at lunch to getting the seat closest to the door in Sister Marie’s somnolent and pedantic weekly lectures on feminine modesty. Her wavy, blazing red hair cut in a bob, and vivid green eyes, contrasting points on the color wheel, were physical metaphors of her inner fury. Her mother called her “the raging pimento.” She was athletic, graceful even, and would relive the glory days of her 11-second / 100-yard dash in saddle shoes: a City record on the sun-faded macadam at St. Bart’s.

Sam was the more aquiline of the pair; she had long blonde hair and dazzling blue eyes contrasted by a masculine gait and deep voice. She sang alto in the church choir. Her parents befriended the Mickeljohns at the Christmas bazaar when they moved into the neighborhood. Sam’s mom was the chairlady of St. Bart’s Welcome and Glad Tidings Committee and she brought her daughter to meet Cassie, the new girl in the school, with an apple pie and a commemorative school Christmas ornament for her parents that year.

Sam and Cassie hit it off immediately that afternoon back in the day and the pair was thick as thieves, eluding capture caper after caper. They started out small-time: Cassie taught Sam how to steal glue and glitter from the art room and stuff it in her jumper, Sam’s association with the neighborhood and good reputation kept her above suspicion.

“That’s it! There’s the money truck, pulling up and right on time, just like Jacks promised,” said Sam. “His casing out this joint for weeks certainly helped us get this gig nailed down. He’s been one tough cookie for most of this planning, but I have to say he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to hitting this truck hard. Do you have your gear? Are you ready? There’s the sign, Jacks just gave the sign. Cass, it’s time. Cassie, c’mon!”

Cassie was gone.

Screaming came from the truck, a cache of rounds went flying through the air. Panic, mayhem and pandemonium ensued and Cassie stormed the unsuspecting and completely unprepared driver and his assistant. She had packed her semi-automatic and had gone rogue. Her weapons ejected shells all over the scene. She was relentless: ammo spraying everywhere, until she stabilized herself and fired directly into the cockpit at the driver.

“Abort Mission! Abort! Abort!” Bailey was screaming from behind the getaway vehicle, a modified crotch rocket with extra-fat tires. “Cassie’s gone rogue, she’s ruined the mission! Save yourselves! Abort!”

It was no use; Cassie had been waiting for this opportunity to take control and she executed her plan, whatever it was, flawlessly. The driver of the truck gave it all up, begging for reprieve. Out of the back of the truck, his assistant was handing out everything he could, as fast as he could get it out. Sam noticed the opportunity and capitalized on it, yelling into her walkie-talkie, “Re-engage! Re-engage! Cassie has prevailed! I repeat: Cassie! Has! Prevailed!”

Sam fired her weapon into the air in an irresponsible celebratory blast. Soon the street was littered with more shells. Coins and a flurry of bills cascaded like the Vatican snow-globe on Father Reilly’s desk. The driver and his assistant were begging for mercy and explaining they didn’t have any more to give; Cassie and Sam had taken it all.

“Please! Stop! We have nothing left! Spare me! My children and wife are all I have! You can have what you can find… There are no more Nutty Buddies! No more! All I have are Tropical Rocket Pops and Lemon Push-Ups! Please! You have to believe me! Put down the Nerf guns! My truck is a mess in here. You win! You win … This time!” and the truck peeled away.

“Hey! I need a Lemon Push-Up for my baby brother!” yelled Cassie, just before the Good Humor man lost his good humor. “I have a dollar for it…” she begged and he stopped.

“This is for the baby. NOT for YOU,” he said loudly, looking over her shoulder and nodding his chin toward her big brother.

“For baby Charlie, got it. Give it to me, Cass,” said her brother.

“You bet. Here Bailes… Catch!” and she whipped it at him, laughing and pointing at the day-glo yellow goopy mark it left on his shirt before she turned tail and sped off into the hazy afternoon.

“Just three more weeks ’til middle school starts Cass, then there’s no more running and hiding y’know!” Bailey shouted after her.

The citrine ice soaked through his shirt chilling his belly button; he was fuming. That was not a stain mom could get out.

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Well, that was fun. It was a little hard for me too, actually. Thanks for toughing it out with me. (yuk yuk.) After last month’s story, I had to go for something lighter plus my son asked me if I would write something he could enjoy, so I did. i think he enjoyed it.

Here is this week’s prompt: Going for It. Your character (new or old) has been stuck in a rut of inaction or stinkin’ thinkin’, encumbered by doubt or memories s/he has been unable to shake. In a moment of whim and unbridled mirth, who knows: faith? s/he decides to throw caution to the wind and just go for it, do what s/he has been avoiding out of fear, or just sheer bad timing or dumb luck. The stars have aligned: this is the moment. S/he goes for it… you decide if the venture is successful or not. 1,500 words max. 50% Dialogue optional, but suggested.

Please check out the other fantastic Friday Fiction Friends and see what they’ve been up to:

http://www.clearlykristal.com/
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.bulamamani.com/
http://www.susannenelson.wordpress.com/
http://www.itsadomelife.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/
http://the-suds-box.blogspot.ca/
http://www.quirkychrissy.com/
http://www.katbiggie.com/
http://theincompetenthausfrau.wordpress.com/
http://temorgan.blogspot.com/