Grandpa Told Me So

This is a story for Sunday Photo Fiction, https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/sunday-photo-fiction-august-13th-2017/ .  It was prompted by the photo below:

To see other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link:

Grandpa Told Me So

Grandad fancied himself as a sage. When I joined the force he said, “Bend rules, but don’t get caught”. He wouldn’t have disapproved when I failed to declare an interest before setting off to interview a convicted burglar.

It started ok. Sixteen more crimes admitted. When I asked about the victims’ belongings, though, Evans laughed, “Gotta protect my fence.”

“You remember a Tardis money box?”

“Blue thing? Rubbish inside – a big old coin.”

“A 1920 penny?”

“Dunno.”

“And two medals?”

“Dumped them.”

When Grandad had left me his medals and the coin from his year of birth, his note said, “Look after these. There’s sod-all else”.

I got Evans to sign the paperwork.

On my way out a voice took me by surprise.

“Detective Turnbull?”

It was years since Vince was sent down for cutting up a paedophile.

“You still in?” I asked.

“Nothing out there for me. If parole comes up, I’ll lose my temper with one of the young halfwits. Like that Evans kid – I heard he got caught on prints?”

“His girlfriend grassed him … he got too interested in her little girl.”

I smiled at Grandad’s best advice, “There’s many ways to skin a cat.”

200 words

 

This is my first story for a while, as I’ve been busy catching up with DIY jobs.  I had to write something for this prompt, though – shortly before I saw the photo, I’d visited a salvage yard and spotted a Tardis money box in the bric-a-brac room.  It had to be a sign, didn’t it?  I’m beginning to worry about my obsession with revenge though.

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Somewhere Under The Rainbow

This is a story for What The Pegman Saw, https://whatpegmansaw.com/2017/07/29/cape-town-south-africa/.  This week Pegman took us to Cape Town, South Africa.  My story was prompted by the image below.  Thank you to Karen Lee Rawson for hosting.

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IMAG3304

Somewhere Under The Rainbow

Two sergeants wait for the results of their promotion applications.

“Ngwenya passed then.”

“New Zealanders always do.”

“He’s from Khayelitsha.”

“Yah – an All-Black.”

“This is the new South Africa. Go with it.”

“Easy for you. You’ve had 400 years of being top dogs.”

“And now we’re right at the bottom.”

“You want to swap houses?”

“That land has been in my family for six generations.”

“Paid for by the sweat of six generations of mine.”

“Look, before Mandela got out, coloureds were number two in the pecking order behind whites. Now affirmative action puts you up there with blacks.”

“Only on paper. We used to be too brown. Now we’re too white.”

“The rainbow nation’s still young. You’ll get your chance.”

“Have you seen the flag? Six colours and none of them’s brown.”

“Good luck anyway. My ancestral passport came though. Pass or fail, I’m joining my kids in Europe.”

150 words

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I hope no one takes offence at this story.  In South Africa the term “coloured” is used to describe someone of mixed race.  Although the scenario is fictional, all of the dialogue is based on conversations during which I was present while living in South Africa.  The words were not spoken by me.

 

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Monet For Nothing

This story is a submission for Friday Fictioneers, https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/07/26/28-july-2017/phone-booth-jhc/ .  It was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by J Hardy Carroll.

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PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Monet For Nothing

En route to interview the gallery’s new curator, the journalist couldn’t help admiring the stunning installation. 

“Whose work is this?” she asked the janitor.

“KC.”

“KC? Who –”

“You not from round here?”

“A local star then?  This piece … genius … it speaks to the conflict between historic modes for achieving interpersonal dialogue and the irresistibility of semi-rooted but evolving means of sharing information.”

“Balls.”

“Yes, the artist’s determination to avoid emasculation by technology is subtle yet undeniable.  Is it for sale?”

“Five hundred.  Cash. You know … struggling artist.”

“Super.”

Nobody used the pay phone these days anyway.

100 words

In case anyone wonders, KC used to be the acronym for Kingston Communications, a company that has a monopoly on landline provision in Kingston upon Hull (UK) and the surrounding area. It’s been rebadged as kcom.

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Three Little Words

This is a story for Sunday Photo Fiction, https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/sunday-photo-fiction-july-23rd-2017.  It was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by our host, Al Forbes.

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© A Mixed Bag 2009

Three Little Words

Greg had reached the pinnacle of his profession. Now he was retiring, it seemed apt that he should treat his family and friends to dinner at the top of the London Eye. It was costing more than he would have dared to charge at his own Michelin-starred restaurants, but it was Mum’s 90th birthday, so hang the expense.

“You’ve come a long way from cooking breakfasts at your parents’ B&B,” his best friend told him, as the dessert plates were cleared.

“Not really. Their place was on the Central Line.”

“Spare me the false modesty. You’ve trained everywhere and opened restaurants in Paris, New York and Cape Town. You didn’t rest till you got 3 stars at the London place.”

“Guilty.”

“I thought you would have cooked for us tonight.”

“I’ve hung up the hat. Anyway, I baked something.”

At Greg’s signal the head waiter unveiled a magnificent cake, cut a generous slice and put it before Greg’s mother. She took a piece on her fork, placed it in her mouth and chewed slowly.

“What do you think, Mum?” Greg asked.

“I’ve tasted better.”

The capsule began its slow descent. It would reach the ground fifteen minutes after Greg’s self-esteem.

200 words

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What Hurts The Most

This story is a submission for Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers, https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/.  It was prompted by the photograph below, provided by me.  I’m late to the party this week, as I’ve been away and have abstained from all things Internet-related.  I wasn’t going to write any Flash Fiction this week, but when I logged on and saw one of my photos at FFFAW, I thought it would be bad form not to post something.   Thank you for using the picture!

To see other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link. 

What Hurts The Most

Jim wondered why they were doing this walk again. He’d suggested somewhere flatter, but Dick had been touchy since his birthday. Jim had remarked that 70 was the new 60, but this hadn’t gone down well.

When they’d last climbed these steps, a breathless Dick had asked Jim if he’d been training. Jim knew Dick worked out. He almost lied to protect his older friend’s feelings, but answered truthfully, “No”.

This time Dick said, “Let’s see who can get up and down most times.”

“We’ve another six miles after this.”

“Scared you can’t keep up with an old man?”

“Dick …”

Dick charged up the steps, turned, ran down again and stared at Jim.

Jim trotted up and down the steps.

They repeated the process until Dick stopped at the summit and bent over, gasping for breath.

Jim jogged up and turned to admire the view below, barely panting.

“It’s true, then,” Dick coughed, “Sex is the best exercise.”

“”What?”

“I came home early last week. I know what you do while I’m at the gym.”

Jim felt a hand on his back, followed quickly by the unforgiving edge of a stone step against his forehead.

196 words

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Lonely No More

This is a submission for Friday Fictioneers, https://rochellewisoff.com/tag/friday-fictioneers/, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  The story was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by Janet Webb.

To read other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link:

Lonely No More

Althea looked at the objects in the window and sighed, before opening the pills and cheap wine.

In her younger days her tasteful display had attracted numerous suitors, all of them a cut above the losers who were drawn by the red lights or OMO packets that other women left on show while their husbands were away. Now no one disturbed her evenings.

She didn’t miss the money. The sex had been fun, though … sometimes.

Althea needed comfort. Life without that wasn’t worth living. She gulped down some wine then reached for the phone and downloaded the dating app.

100 words

 

In case anyone’s curious about the reference to OMO, this is a laundry product that’s been around for decades.  It used to be said that some servicemen’s wives who were lonely while their husbands were away, would leave an OMO packet in a front window to give the message “Old Man Out”, indicating that they were ready to receive company.  Some versions say OMO stood for “On My Own” or “Old Man Overseas”.  I know that some service personnel and their spouses furiously challenge this scurrilous tale.  I’m not claiming that it has any basis in fact, but my gran  (a Navy wife) believed it and strongly disapproved of any woman who used OMO.

Posted in Flash Fiction | 23 Comments

Thank you for being a friend

This is a submission  for Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by Al Forbes, https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/sunday-photo-fiction-june-25th-2017/  .  It was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by Eric Wicklund.

To view other people’s stories and add your own, please click on the link: 

Thank you for being a friend

Reading aloud from To Kill a Mockingbird, the teacher reached the part where Jem finds toys hidden by Boo Radley.

Paul whispered to Tommy, “That’s like when we were little.  Remember – we kept finding cars and stuff in the hollow tree?”

“I don’t remember,” Tommy answered.

“You do. You wouldn’t touch ‘em, but I took a toy soldier home.”

“Shut up. Miss Law’s reading.”

“When Mum saw the soldier she went mad. She marched me back to school, made me tell the headteacher everything. Toys dried up after that.”

“It was you who told?”

“She made me.”

“You screwed up my life.”

“It was only toys.”

“My toys,” Tommy shouted.

The boys didn’t notice as silence descended around them.

“What are you talking about?”

“The toys. My dad put them there.”

“Why?”

“Why do you think?”

“I dunno. I can’t remember him. He left.”

“He went to prison.  Eventually.”

“For taking your toys?”

“Think about it … why would a grown man want children to find toys in a tree?”

“He was a paedophile?”

“Bingo.”

“So, I did you a favour?”

“Oh yeah … with no other kids to mess with, he used me. I thought you were my friend.”

200 words

 

 

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One-way ticket

This is a submission for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, https://rochellewisoff.com/tag/friday-fictioneers/. It was prompted by the photo below, kindly provided by Ted Strutz.

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One-way ticket

When Josh came to, he was on a ferry, among strangers, crossing an unfamiliar river.

He thought about Carter’s words at the party, “Forget smoking, use the needle. It’s time to cross the Rubicon.” Maybe Josh was still high.

The ferryman turned and studied Josh, with a grimace on his gaunt face.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “It’s warm over there, real warm.”

“When does the ferry return?” Josh asked.

“Strictly one-way,” the ferryman answered.

“But … ‘crossing the Rubicon’ … that’s just a metaphor, right?”

“You picked the wrong river, friend. No more kicks when you cross the River Styx.”

100 words

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I would like to thank J Hardy Carroll for giving me a supplementary prompt (kind of).  I’d given up hope of finding an idea for a story of my own when I read his, On Bainbridge Island.  It described the kind of road trip from Hell that many of us will have been on too many times.  That gave me the idea of writing about a boat trip to Hell.

Plus I must apologise to:

– Charon for referring to him as “the ferryman” instead of using his name, for fear of giving the game away too early.  I know Charon’s mythical, but I live in a superstitious neck of the woods and you can’t be too careful.

– Bobby Troup for the appalling play on the lyrics of Route 66.

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Restorative Justice

This is a submission for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/fffaw-challenge-week-of-june-20-2017/, prompted by the photo below, which was kindly provided by Footy and Foodie.

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Restorative Justice

Lazy Creek Motel

Space in the bathroom was tight for the cop, the medical examiner and the corpse. Still, only two were using air.

M.E.: ‘You identified him yet?’

Cop: ‘Grifter, fleeced old folks for bad repair work.’

M.E.: ‘How’d you find him?’

Cop: ‘Barkeeper reported a drunk flashing the cash, drove off in a pickup with out-of-town plates. Couple hours later I spotted it in the motel lot. Clerk let me in and there this guy was, dead in the shower with a busted head.’

The overcrowding got worse when the detective joined them.

Detective: ‘Weird sonofabitch used to record his marks and how much he made. You find a notebook?’

Cop: ‘Nope.’

Detective: ‘Cash?’

Cop: ‘No. You think this was a robbery?’

M.E.: ‘Forget about motives. Guy slipped and banged his head. Accident – no question.’

Detective: ‘Guess you don’t need me then.’

Senior Citizen’s Bungalow, next day

Cop: ‘You found $1000 dollars on your doormat?’

Martha: ‘Yep. Same happened to Paulette and Jeffrey.’

Cop: ‘Praise be. You spend it wisely this time Grandma.’

175 words

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Dos mundos diferentes

This is a submission for this week’s What Pegman Saw, which takes us to Guatemala City. The story is based on the screenshot below.  To see other people’s stories or submit your own, please click the link:

Hospital (2)

Dos mundos diferentes

Mayra played happily. She was going home, as soon as Mamá finished talking to the doctor and the tall man who smelled like flowers.

The hospital’s newest sponsor listened with pride while the doctor interpreted the words that the child’s mother spoke, slowly, between deep sobs. He passed her his handkerchief.

“She says she cannot thank you enough for letting her daughter experience things she could never afford to give her – a clean bed, plentiful food and beautiful toys,” the doctor explained.

“And the treatment of course?” the sponsor asked.

“Of course.”

“It warms my heart to see this woman crying with happiness,” said the sponsor.

The doctor smiled enigmatically.

“She is happy?” the sponsor asked.

Now the doctor shrugged his shoulders.

“What‘s that supposed to mean?”

“She says she’s filled with joy that her daughter will live, but broken-hearted that she must take her back to her old life.”

150 words

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I started out hoping I could write a frivolous story this time. Pegman’s original photo (below) set me thinking on the lines of a spaced-out tourist wandering into what he thought was a circus entrance (i.e. the hotel that looks like a giant face with a mouth full of crooked teeth, together with the elephant on the adjacent shop front). That didn’t work out, so I embarked on a virtual walk through Guatemala City, and found myself inside a hospital operated by the Fundación Ayudame a Vivir (Foundation Help Me To Live), which provides free treatment for children with cancer. I couldn’t bring myself to wander elsewhere, hence this story.

Clearly there was no place for frivolity, but I’m disappointed that I ended up producing a depressing story about something that is really positive. Admittedly my glass is often half empty.

I should say that this story isn’t about the real Foundation; the characters and the conversation are strictly fictional. The foundation’s website can be found at https://www.ayuvi.org.gt . There are foundations of the same name operating in other parts of Central America and at least one US state, but I was unable to clarify whether they are linked to each other.

Hotel

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