Friday Fiction – Displacement

I’m one of those people whose mindset and mood are often influenced by the books and TV I’m embroiled in at the time. For example, The Good Wife is making me highly suspicious, Breaking Bad made Bjorn Rudberg’s photograph – this week’s prompt – look like a drug lair and either the news from Gaza or having recently finished The Book Thief is responsible for the war-torn setting I envisaged for the story below. Those who know I’m now reading a book about transsexuals shouldn’t read too much into the last line, however!

Your comments on my story are welcome. Thanks to Rochelle as always for hosting, and to Bjorn for what is almost certainly not a surveillance snapshot.

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Displacement

Oskar could hear Ma cursing the pot on the stove for holding too much water, too little of anything else. She hated it for starving her family, for giving them hard choices. Who’d chew the meat tonight? Not Oskar, that was certain. Ma? For the sake of the baby growing inside her? Or Father in order to be better able to earn something to put in the pot tomorrow?

He was late again. Earning money, or spending it on beer to ease the admission he’d come home empty-handed.

Oskar kicked a stone and hoped he’d never grow into a man.

 

***

Notes on double entendres can be found here and here, if you are interested.

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30 Comments

Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

30 responses to “Friday Fiction – Displacement

  1. Dear Jennifer,

    The Book Thief is one of my favorite books ever. Nor did the movie disappoint. And neither did your story.
    The idea of only one family member chewing the meat was intense without being overstated. And mother hating the pot for providing too much water spoke volumes. Subtly layered story, beautifully rendered.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    • Seems like a lot of people love The Book Thief. I still haven’t written my review, but I must, if only to see how all you fans respond. I haven’t seen the movie.
      I’m glad the meat idea came off, it’s one of those details from historical stories that has stayed with me, so I’m leased to use it here. And sadly, I’m not sure this story is entirely historical or entirely fictional.

    • Rochelle, I have read The Book Thief at least fifteen times. I LOVE IT!

  2. The hard choices of poverty so well stated here.. the choice of who to starve and who to sacrifice… so painful to read. Ironically enough I wrote about transsexuals.. but I never read that into my story. I need to add the book thief to my list of books.. I’m currently reading “caprain correlli’s mandolin”… 🙂

  3. This is the most tragic tale his week – told with gritty realism and striking fear into bones.

  4. Having read The Book Thief, I can hear its tone in your story. I do a similar thing with books and TV. My work became quite gruesome when I was following Hannibal!

  5. That last line works wonders, Jennifer.

    It is interesting how many things other than just the photo prompt influence our responses, isn’t it?

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

  6. Sometimes people need to make difficult decisions.

  7. Claudia

    Very good. Poverty and hardship build us or tear us down…you have left us wondering about Oskar…which way will he go???

  8. Very telling story makes me feel sad for young Oskar reduced to displacing his frustrations on a stone. Everybody needs someone or something to blame.

  9. Descriptive, full of character, a whole story in itself. Bravo, Jen! Home run.

    • Not only is that a lovely comment (thank you!) but I’ve now got the home run tune (does it have name? That diddle-y-di di-dee?) in my head – a second reason to grin!

      • i’ll have to google that. I have never heard of it. Then again, I might have. I read notes better than di-dee-dees and diddleys. 😉

        • Oh you know! The organ music, 6 notes, sometimes repeated at a higher key. They play it all the time at the baseball and always when there’s a home run (in my limited experience anyway).
          Like at 11secs on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcVJVUfXWgU

          • Ah, yes. “CHAAAAARGE!”
            It’s been a long time since I went to a baseball game, I had forgotten. Those are al lthe old American basics like “Here we go, Royals, here we go (clap clap)!” The Mexican Hat Dance is there as well as derivatives of other pieces. The last is “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” Classic! Thanks for showing me this! Go Kansas City Royals!!!

  10. Jen! This says so much in 100 words. I love Ma cursing the pot and blaming it for the lack of food.

  11. this reminds me of the book, the glass castle, too.

  12. A fantastically rendered piece of writing. Showed so much through Oskar’s point of view.

  13. Dear Jennifer,

    Your story was born from the genetic memory of mankind, I’m thinking, though I cannot imagine how that name stuck. Your story does stick. In my mind, in our hearts, in the collective memory of us all, and yet still we persist in the folly called war. What a great tale you’ve told in those few tens of words. Thank you.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  14. Well told story … love your metaphors and you’ve described the hard times of poverty grown anger so very well in such a restricted space. Ciao, Georgia.

  15. Jen, Sadly, this type of poverty persists. Often parents sacrific for their children, and babies are malnourished at birth. There are other problems, because the mothers have had no prenatal care. This was a good story and well written. —Susan

  16. So full of pain. So sad Oskar not wanting to be a man because he sees what life might become. I’m hoping dad’s earning, but have a sneaking suspicion the beer won out and can hear the row brewing.

  17. How awful to make such choices. Great take on the prompt. Well done, Lucy

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