This week’s prompt comes from G.L. MacMillan. I found it a challenging one to get an idea for and now that I’ve had one (and wrote it without an internet connection), I can’t find the information online to support the story or my explanation. So I’ll add an extroduction after the story for those interested. Your feedback is always welcome.
A Fair Price
Wilf sipped his whiskey, feeling it claw down his throat and cauterise the scars. The grandkids were downstairs – sat round the table like they were reading his Will and talking about selling: numbers that meant nothing to Wilf. Numbers with more zeros than sense.
It was his, of course. He’d bought it fair and square, when whiskey was liquid gold and islands kept you neither warm at night nor sane underground looking for the hard stuff. It was his, this island, and they’d have to bury him under it before he’d let them sell it out from under him.
I remember hearing, on a tour of the Thousand Islands, the story of islands being bought and sold for the price of a bottle of whisky. Even if they are exaggerated, such stories always intrigue me, because they are such clear evidence of how value is not intrinsic. Land is worth a lot more now than it used to be, but whisky is also worth a lot less. In Cambridge (UK), where I studied, there was a story of a wealthy benefactress leaving all her silver to her favourite college and her land to another. Again, brief research isn’t enough to confirm the details, but if memory serves, it was Lady Margaret Beaufort and the colleges Christ’s and John’s respectively. At the time, she considered silver by far the more generous gift, but it’s the land that is now the priceless asset.
My story above is a reflection of another musing on this subject, namely how the changes must appear to someone who has witnessed them. A few of my elderly neighbours bought their homes for a few thousand dollars. Of course, a few thousand dollars was a lot of money then, but not as much as the $500,000+ they’d get if they sold it is now. How must it feel to witness that sort of inflation, and how much more to witness the paradigm shift Wilf has seen?
Home alone with two boys this week, and so far we’re all fed, no-one dead, so I’m counting it a success! There’s still time for it to go horribly wrong though…
On a more reliable front, this week’s FF picture comes from Dee Lovering via Rochelle. I hope you enjoy my offering, your feedback is encouraged.
The Crazy All-Weather Ice Cream Man
Georg knew people laughed; it wasn’t as though they were subtle about it. Youths would shove each other over, pull down scarves or shout through fur-lined collars.
“Chocolate cone with raspberry sauce and sprinkles please,” or “Extra ice in my lemonade, buddy.”
He wasted a lot of stock when they scampered off through the snow, laughing.
But Georg came anyway. On good days, she walked past, he might even hear her voice, chattering to her friends about the crazy all-weather ice cream man; on the best days, she bought something and he could search her face for his own reflection.
Last week’s story seemed to stir a lot of emotions and sympathy. I hope the Fictioneers are as kind and generous in person as they are too my little stories – thank you all! This week, I’ve gone a different way and I anticipate a lot less sympathy for my narrator. He’s a product of his upbringing, but that doesn’t make him right.
I welcome your comments and critique: good or bad.
This week’s photograph comes from Sandra Crook.
A big family fits together over the years, tessellating like triangles and hexagons, so newcomers always have a tough time fitting in. You can’t just add a square without putting some corners out of joint. Shelley was in love: she thought we’d all love Johnny too. But Mum and Dad struggled to lose their princess to anyone, and the last thing we needed was another brother, even one –in-law.
Then Bradley introduced his own deviation to the mix and Johnny seemed homogenous beside Elliot. None of us had ever worn tight pink t-shirts and hot pants, not even the girls.
This week’s FF prompt is one of those examples where both the literal and the figurative interpretation seem a bit obvious and in danger of being clichéd. I’m sure some of our party will do each of them justice; I’ve tried to branch out a little bit although the muse didn’t get far today – she’s a bit under the cosh.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Baum.
People hurried past, eyes averted. One girl nearly tripped over her, but noticed enough to catch her step and no more.
She enjoyed being invisible; everywhere else they stared and pointed. The razor blade pressed against her palm and she wondered if they’d notice when she did it. Would they step over the blood? Around it? Would someone stop and ‘rescue’ her?
Two feet stopped in front and she thought for a moment she’d been recognised. Then she looked up. The boy held a plastic leash; her eyes followed it to a ragged-looking dog, its leg cocked over her shoe.
Turns out that whilst having a newborn is enough to stop me FFing, the internet going down is. I was in the dark ages for 48 hours, but now I’m back, folks! A literal interpretation this morning. My excuse is I’m too hungover (exhaustion not alcohol, I should add) from the Canada Day picnic & fireworks to be clever 😉
I welcome your honest feedback.
Jack watched the corners of Fiona’s mouth twitch. Fifteen years ago, she’d have smiled, made some understated quip, like ‘that’d be tough to explain’. They’d have laughed together for a few miles and enjoyed the journey all the more for the strange sight of three cars deliberately half-buried in a field.
But they weren’t kids anymore and Fiona wasn’t that Fiona.
“What a mess!” she scowled. “You’d think the council would have them take it down.”
“What, and deprive you of the chance to bitch about it?” Jack snapped, wondering not why he’d married her, but why he hadn’t left.