Friday Fictioneers – la belle France

Photo Prompt Sandra Crook

Photo prompt @ Sandra Crook

So incongruous.

To finally make it to France and yet, not how I imagined it.

Romance, history, tragedy. Architecture. Hot blooded and glorious men.

So far, the airport. Escape via industry. Hop onto the freeway.

Wrong way traffic.

Drivers screaming obscenities.

Magnificently dressed women, dragging poodles.

Choking dogs, barking profanities.

Traffic. Rainclouds.

Refugees. Anger.

Masks.

I cannot find the fabled belle France – culture, fashion, beauty, history.

At least here is a moment to smile. Could be in any village of the world.

Traffic jam une cause de véhicule agricole.

C’est la vie. [94 words]

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for continuing to set this 100 word or less challenge. It is certainly a commitment appreciated by many. Other 100 word stories can be read here.

Fandango’s Story Starter #10 – Kindness

Kindness. The killing kind.

Times were tough since we lost Tom. If he could have chosen, he would still be here.

He would have waited until we were financially secure. Until the kids had left home.

Instead, he succumbed to the flattery and praise of another. His ego was stroked. With the disclaimer, ‘but it is all for us’ he was led astray. He disappeared, lost to us.

In the name of kindness, a long sickly sweet trail of it.

“Tom,” the malingerer said. “I have the perfect plan. I will set you up. You will live like a king and bask in the gratitude of your family.”

And Tom, the ever faithful, ever gullible said, “Yes, I will follow.”

He didn’t ask where will you take me. He adhered to the adage act first, think later. And, never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Of course he did. He was the epitome of the anti-procrastinator. Never put off … you know the deal.

But he was blind, or blinded, caught up in the mirage of an easier life. A blessed life.

As though his life wasn’t already blessed.

Co-founder of a non-profit to help disenfranchised children, at risk teenagers, drug-addled young men, ex-cons. A vision to eradicate the terrible scourge of poverty-related criminal activity. A vision that brought in heavy hitting donors, with a little cream off the top for the visionary.

“It hurts no one,” said Tom, late at night into his wife’s ear. “We wield a sword of righteousness and rightly reap some reward for our efforts. We won’t be greedy, just enough to free ourselves and set the kids up for life.”

“Tom,” I would say. “Please, we have enough. We have you. “

“Oh, piffle,” he would answer, rolling away from me. “You have no imagination, Maree. Charity begins at home. I will make us safe, while helping those kids.”

But the beast in the machine of corporate charity was addictive. The cream too rich, the fawning sycophancy too compelling.

Then questions, consequences. The fall from great heights, headline news blazoning notoriety. And my Tom left holding the can. Deer in the headlight, Tom. How they have fallen, Tom.

And the only way out, at the end of a long tail of white.

Alone in a room, Tom.

Wrapped in a white jacket. Entombed in padded room.

My hair stood on end. A shiver raced down my spine. A lump came to my throat … when I first saw him trapped in that place. I couldn’t face him. Just watched from behind the two-way glass.

We had enough, I thought. Before walking away. [439 words]

Thanks to Fandango’s Story Starter for the prompt.

Simply 6 Minutes – Goodbye

cat-jumper-too-small-650x819

This is fucked up!

Seriously, I can’t breathe and all because you are excited about having your own version of Angry Cat to show off on socials.

You used to love me.

You used to pamper me with the best titbits, quality cat treats.

I had the best seat in the house, curled in front of the fire. First dibs at your lap.

But no, now I’m a conduit to online fame. Fake friendships, fake love.

We used to celebrate a true love.

Yeah, sure I’d offer you my butt sometimes. But I’m a cat, we affect disdain.

But you knew, you knew. It was all a front.

How much is fame worth to you, woman. How much is your soul worth?

Will it be your children next? Will they have a worth measured in likes and retweets too?

You want an angry cat? You’ve got one, friend.

As soon as you’ve freed me from this corset, I’m out of here.

I’ve heard there is a world out there where people love their cats for themselves, not for what you can get out of them.

I have a heart too, wicked woman. I have a heart.

And it is broken.

The last photo you’ll have of me will look like those Lucky Cats, but I won’t be beckoning you in.

I’ll be waving you – bye bye!

And you will miss me. [231 words, 6 minutes]

***

https://christinebialczak.com/2020/07/14/simply-6-minutes-writing-challenge

  • Set up a timer or sit near a clock so you can keep track of the six minutes you will be writing.
  • You can either use one of the prompts (photo or written) or you can free-write.
  • Get ready and write for 6 minutes, that is it! Can you write a complete story? Can you think of a new Sonnet? Can you write 400 words? 400? 500? There are no restrictions on what kind of writing you do, but you should try to be actively writing for six minutes.
  • After you are done writing, include your word count and then post back to this page #Simply6Minutes or include your link in the comments section. Pingbacks are enabled.

Friday Fictioneers – Illusion

#fridayfictioneers #rochellewisoff-fields #flashfiction

Photo by Penny Gadd

Bonnet up to cool the hissing engine. I abandoned the car.

Melting bitumen grabbed sandals. I cried at their destruction and tip toed into the bush.

A glance at my phone confirmed; dead zone.

A line of trees promised respite, perhaps water. A stream, shade and a place to rest.

To await a passing Samaritan.

Blessedly, I found a cool oasis. Passive and shallow water. Glorious willows, abundant shade with water so clear I could catch dinner.

A rudimentary fire pit. Recently used. Cooling embers. Blood.

A rustle behind me. I grabbed the long bone. [95 words]

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for continuing to set this 100 word or less challenge. It is certainly a commitment appreciated by many. Other 100 word stories can be read here.

 

Simply 6 Minutes – Wilbur

#simply6minutes

“In your food, Wilbur. Your face is always in your food.”

Hey, give me a break, I think. I’m a dawg.

She talks about me all the time. On the phone. To the big man, Billy.

“That dog,” she says. “He costs me a fortune. I spend more money on his food, than for the rest of this family.”

I eat too much, I’m a pig. I don’t eat enough, I’m ill. I push food around in my bowl. Apparently, I’m fussy.

“It’s like having another kid in the house,” she says. “I’m always worrying.”

Well, don’t worry, I think to myself. You need to enjoy life more, you know. Like dawgs do.

It’s that time of year when all the talk in the house is about Halloween.

“It’s coming soon,” say the kids. “MUM, will you make me a costume?”

They’re as excited as puppies and mum is as tired as an old bitch whose tits are stretched to the max.

You want to comment on my eating habits, I think. Well, I’ve the best idea for a costume. Ironical, I think you’d call it.

I’m gonna join in. I’m part of the family, and this family does Halloween.

So, I spend many days nutting out the best way to nudge bread off the breakfast table without being yelled at. I need to wait for the perfect distraction.

In a comedy of errors that could only be written, it happened. Baby threw up all over Mum. Small boy banged the spoon in his bowl, sending breakfast everywhere. Big girl laughed and laughed until small boy threw his spoon at her. Too busy to notice.

I stood on my hind legs and with my wet, black nose, pushed. And a lovely, thick piece of bread fell at my feet.

Carefully (but quickly) I grabbed it with my teeth and hustled to my basket.

It was tricky. I’ve a clumsy mouth. But gently I nibbled in the right places, until I was satisfied. Then voila, I was ready for Halloween fun.

The household had calmed, baby was sleeping, small boy was building in the corner, big girl was watching cartoons. Mum stood nearby, making her second coffee of the morning. She glanced my way.

“Wilbur,” she said, she was smiling. “Your face is always in your food!” [6 minutes, 386 words]

https://christinebialczak.com/2020/07/14/simply-6-minutes-writing-challenge

  • Set up a timer or sit near a clock so you can keep track of the six minutes you will be writing.
  • You can either use one of the prompts (photo or written) or you can free-write.
  • Get ready and write for 6 minutes, that is it! Can you write a complete story? Can you think of a new Sonnet? Can you write 400 words? 400? 500? There are no restrictions on what kind of writing you do, but you should try to be actively writing for six minutes.
  • After you are done writing, include your word count and then post back to this page #Simply6Minutes or include your link in the comments section. Pingbacks are enabled.

Simply 6 Minutes – Give it to me, Doc

Simply 6 Minutes 11Aug21

I finally decided to give up the smokes.

Doc’s been telling me, Buddy, do it for the family.

“What family,” I said. “The missus ran off with that gorilla, Brian. My girlfriend wants to move to Cleveland. I told her, she’s on her own.

“The kids are monkeys. I can’t get any sense out of them. “

Do it for yourself, he said.

“Well, mate. I’ll try.

“I’ve never felt so tired. My back hurts, the hair’s thinned out (used to be so luxurious) and I’ve greyed up so much. I used to be a rad orange! I’m just all washed out.

“Look at the wrinkles, man!”

I can put you onto a support group, give you a script for patches, the doc said.

“Well, heck,” I told him. “I can only try. Don’t know if my heart’s in it. Don’t know what I’ll replace my friend cigarillo with. But, I’ll give it my best shot, doc.”

I look around myself now, at the verdant jungle I live in. Full of life. And think, oh to be young again. [6 minutes, 179 words]

https://christinebialczak.com/

  • Set up a timer or sit near a clock so you can keep track of the six minutes you will be writing.
  • You can either use one of the prompts (photo or written) or you can free-write.
  • Get ready and write for 6 minutes, that is it! Can you write a complete story? Can you think of a new Sonnet? Can you write 400 words? 400? 500? There are no restrictions on what kind of writing you do, but you should try to be actively writing for six minutes.
  • After you are done writing, include your word count and then post back to this page #Simply6Minutes or include your link in the comments section. Pingbacks are enabled.

Friday Fictioneers – Storm before the Calm

Photo prompt by Dale Rogerson

We hold on tight, bodies taut with fright
The world around us shakes
Buildings scream, while wrecking wind walls rupture
Trees spear windows, glass detonates
The world shakes
The storm, it blasts and pounds, and rages, destroys
Homes are lost, cars crushed, detritus piles high
People crawl and hunker in basements, calling for mothers
The world erupts
Heavenly banks burst, demons let loose, hysterical fear abounds
Never-ending terror, noise.
We cover eyes and ears.
Who will stand at the end? Who will survive?
The world calms. Quiet returns.
We lift our eyes. And wait. (94 words)

Thank you Rochelle Wisoff Fields for continuing to set this 100 word or less challenge. It is certainly a commitment appreciated by many. Other 100 word stories can be read here.

Take Seven – 8th January

Take Seven 8 January 2021 by Pensitivity101

Words: Add All Basic Being Bit Determined Hidden Knew Lean Lurking Measured More Show Sneer Started There Tin Tired Treat Wobble Work

My effort below

I’m tired of feeling rejected.

The lurking depression, basically hidden but measured by how easily I feel hurt.

It all adds up. No matter how determined I am to show strength, I wobble.

I’m not alone. Many of us feel this desperation; if people only knew.

They say, it is not about you. We don’t treat you any differently.

You look at me, at my cushy world and sneer.

You don’t understand how much energy it takes to overcome the negative self-talk.

At work all you can see is how unreasonable I’m being because I’m tough. My expectations are high, of us all. Not just you.

Bit by bit I need to prove there is more to me than the lean offering I share.

I wear the tin badge of self-appointed sheriff, started so long ago; first line of defence.

Take Seven

Friday Fictioneers – Oblivious (2)

AND since I forgot about word count, because I was so excited to be in the Top 10 contributors … here it is again, under 100 words 😁

Friday Fictioneers Steeplechase Robert Bultot

Photo Prompt @ Roger Bultot

My grandkids miss so much, faces pressed to devices.

In my favourite recce spot, I wait for mine.

Then, look down.

What’s the time, weather, shipping schedule?

Can you fish here? Where can I eat? Kids on their way?

Look down.

I hear, “Hi Grandad.”

Look up.

“Hello son.”

“Great weather,” he says.

Look up.

“Oh! Yes, it is.”

“Great fishing,” says the grandson.

” I was wondering …” I reply.

“I’d love a burger. Nathans do great food, ” he says.

Look up.

“Right. I was wondering ….”

Cop onto yourself, old man.

Look up! You’re missing out.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a story in response to a photo prompt – in 100 words or less. You can find other stories here.

Friday Fictioneers – Oblivious

Photo Prompt @ Roger Bultot

My grandchildren spend a lot of time on their devices.

I often think they miss so much of life, with their faces pressed to a screen.

I’m waiting for them now, sitting here in one of my favourite places.

I’ve always loved watching ships come and go, imagining where they’ve been; where they’re off to.

I wonder what time it is … look down.

I wonder what the weather … look down.

What ship is due … look down.

What fish can you catch … look down.

I’d love a burger … look down.

Are the kids on their way … look down. I can’t see a text message.

“Hi Grandad,” I hear. Look up.

“Oh, hello son.”

“Great weather,” he says. Look up.

“Oh, yes, it is.”

“Great fishing. I caught a blue whaler here once,” says the grandson.

“That’s nice. I was wondering about fish,” I reply.

“I’d love a burger Grandad. They do a smashing one here at Nathans,” he says, helping me to stand. Look up.

“Oh, right. I was wondering about dinner.”

Cop onto yourself, old man. Who is really disconnected here? Look up, or you’re missing out.

Friday fictioneers is a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a story in response to a photo prompt – in 100 words or less. You can find other stories here.