Friday Fiction – Through The Glass, Darkly

It’s an addiction, this FF thing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m still battling with time and inspiration, but I can’t bring myself to miss a week or two and let things improve, so here I am. The prompt is from Janet Webb, whose commitment (or possibly addiction!) one of the central columns on which the Fictioneers fortress is built. I strongly suggest you stop reading now and head to either her page or Rochelle’s. You’ll find more thought-out prose (or poetry) there, I’m sure. My offering is below.


Through The Glass, Darkly

“The Johnsons have put their trash out early again,” Brenda grumbled to herself as she wiped down her bathroom sink. She was sick of stepping around the piles of newspaper and cardboard the neighbours had started building every Monday night, long before the Friday collection.

Pulling on her coat a half hour later, she resolved to say something. It was early, but Maggie and Ian Johnson had some explaining to do.

The pile rustled as Brenda approached and she braced herself for a raccoon to emerge. Instead, a head appeared, wearing a dirty smile. “Morning, Brenda,” grunted the hobo.



Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

31 responses to “Friday Fiction – Through The Glass, Darkly

  1. Hmm. Did her OCD tendencies drive Ian out?

  2. Jen, I think your title is perfect for the story, which intrigues and leaves us thinking. Did she kick him out? He couldn’t have been out there for more than a week or the garbage men would have taken him. Does he come back each week now? Is Maggie there somewhere, too? Not at all what I expected, but I like it, although I doubt Brenda does (nor Ian.)

    Addiction? What addiction? I managed to break the habit for almost two months this summer (although it took two trips and much else to do it.) 🙂 But thanks for your comments above. As I admire your writing, they mean even more.


    • You’re right about breaking the habit, Janet. Perhaps it’s just me! And thank you for your thoughts on this story. I have various ideas about backstory, so I love to see your ponderings. And yes, I’m pretty sure neither Brenda nor Ian are thrilled.

  3. Weird neighbors! I think I’d keep my distance.

  4. I’m with Dawn. A little too strange for my taste (the neighbors, not the story!) Great take on the prompt.

    • Like the title suggests, I’m pretty sure we’re only seeing a tiny piece of the puzzle here. But them, isn’t that always the way with neighbours? Can you say for certain you’re not living close to any weirdos?

  5. It will be good if we could pick our neighbors, always one worse than the other.

  6. I think her neighbors are in dire need of a marriage counselor.. Or just maybe it was more comfortable to sleep on the street…

  7. poor chap. the wife must have locked him out of the house.

  8. Very well told tale; nice twist at the end.

  9. Wind the cat, kiss the clock and put out the husband with the trash. Terrific, Jen!

    • I read this comment in my email when it first came in and again tonight, Kent; both times it made me laugh out loud. Thank you! Only thing is, we have indoor cats, so nobody’s allowed to put them out with anything!

  10. Dear Jen,

    I’ve heard of the husband being in the dog house but never the rubbish pile. The Johnsons could have been my former neighbors I think, although I don’t think he was ever put out with the trash. Original hoarders.

    Anyway, I love the way you used the prompt and took us somewhere else.

    Addiction? Not I. I can quit anytime. 😉 You were here before I came aboard and I’m so glad you stuck around.



    • I’m glad you stuck around too, Rochelle. You’re doing a great job at the top.

      I hope your neighbour had a better relationship than the Johnsons. Maybe it helps if you can’t find each other in the mess!

  11. Dear Jennifer,

    I am Ian.

    Great story.

    See my theme if you need to be not inspired.


    (Have to go shoot up)


  12. I love the idea of a hobo with a dirty smile. Ian is the perfect name! Bravo!

  13. pattisj

    Well, you’ve left me puzzled. Did she assume they were neighbors when they were living on the street all the while? Ponder ponder. I liked your take.

  14. Jen, I’m thinking perhaps Ian is a hoarder and Maggie couldn’t take it any more and threw his stuff out. Ian doesn’t dare move it back, but he doesn’t want the trash collector or anyone else to take it so he stays there to guard it. 😀 Or, maybe I’m wrong. Humorous and well written. 🙂 —Susan

  15. This is pretty funny, at least that’s how I took it. Poor guy has to live like a hobo in his own yard. Maggie must be quite the challenge to live with.

  16. Sarah Ann

    Such great characterisation. Brenda is a force to be reckoned with, as well as an interfering busy body.

  17. Dear Jen, Great story and there is a lot of hostility between Ian and Brenda. So, I guess all the junk Ian likes will remain outside or at the dump – that is – if someone will pick it up. You really do a great job with your pen! Very clever Jen!
    Nan 🙂

  18. Pingback: Voice Week 2014 – 3: Charlotte | elmowrites

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