Another week, another picture. This time from Ted Strutz. I’m over 200 stories now, that’s more than 20,000 words in 100-word chunks and enough for a novella! Your feedback on this one is welcome. No offense is intended to either of the locales mentioned; everywhere has its good and bad parts, and its good and bad people.
The Best Soil
Her brothers, who’d never been further than Romford, described India as ‘the toilet of the world’, but Stacy liked the idea of endless curry, and helping people who had even less than her. Being thousands of miles outside their shadows wouldn’t hurt either.
The curry was a disappointment, tasting nothing like the real stuff back home, and some areas did smell terrible. But three weeks in, she found herself not minding. The love of the children she taught made it all worthwhile, and Stacy, against all her brothers’ warnings, found India a fertile place to plant some roots and grow.
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.
Another week into my own personal challenge to move away from Illustration and follow more closely Inspiration for my FF stories. Rochelle leads the way; I’ve got a long way to go to catch her. This week’s photo is from Douglas MacIlroy. I recommend both their stories to you without having read either; and many of the others besides. If you read mine, I’d love to receive your comments, thoughts and critique. Thanks!
What’s in a name?
I could hear them playing – Matty’s laughter carried and I was proud of him for finally letting his little brother borrow his new plastic lightsaber.
“Use the force, Luke,” he intoned like a monastic chant. I daydreamed over our naming discussions – the jokes that we should have two more: John and Mark, or have them re-release “When Will I Be Famous?” when they were older.
It wasn’t until I stood up that I saw the young padawan blindfolded and cowering as tennis balls pelted through the air at him from Stuart’s stupid serving machine, the coveted lightsaber prone beside him.
Rochelle’s provided us with a bit of a mystery prompt this week, courtesy of Kent Bonham. You may recognise the boys in my response from another unsavoury prompt some time ago. Eat up, now!
“It’s club rules.” Owen tucked his thumbs into his waistcoat as he’d seen father do.
“But it’s gross.” Liam stared at the lollipop and then at the expectant faces surrounding him.
He’d been begging to join his brother’s treehouse club for weeks, but now the initiation ceremony didn’t seem worth the prize. Feathers and the legs of beetles were held to the stick by an icky white substance he couldn’t even guess at.
“Do it,” Owen snarled.
“Leave him alone, he’s just a baby,” said Tommy.
Liam stuck his tongue out and closed his eyes. Nobody called him a baby.
Maybe it’s the grammarian in me, but one thing jumped out of this week’s FF prompt, copyright to and courtesy of Randy Mazie. And it gave me a chance to reprise three of my recurring characters. If you like them, check out their previous exploits here, here and here. However, this story is designed to stand entirely alone. I welcome your honest feedback.
“Next one: Trespassing.”
Matty chewed his lip. “T…R…E…S…S?”
“No!” Luke shouted through the wall. “One S, then two!”
“Shut up, Shrimp!”
“Boys,” I warned.
“I’m helping,” Luke said from the doorway.
“You’re not. I can do it.” Matty is sharp as a tack, but he’s not as academic as his little brother. It drives him nuts.
“Luke, back to bed.”
“Think of trees, passing,” Luke whispered. “Then take out the extra e.”
Matty glared at the door as I pushed it closed. “T…R…E,” A longer pause for the e, “S…P…A…SS…ING!”
The muffled sound of proud applause came through the door.
Apparently, the boys haven’t quite finished their argument…
“Anyway, it’s not an elegra… whatever you said,” Matty continued. “If you put the words together, you get el…gi…ti…zeli … elgitizeli!”
I was inclined to agree, but Luke is clever. And a perfectionist. If he’d picked a name for the creature he’d drawn, he’d have his reasons.
“No it wouldn’t, stupid.”
“Don’t call your brother stupid,” I said automatically, feeling stupid too.
“Those are all the head ends of the words,” Luke continued. “It’s got the middle of a tiger, so it needs the middle of the word. El…ra…ge…br…on.” He spelled it out slowly.
“Explain it to me like you’re talking to a four year old,” the guy in Philadelphia says. If he’d met my youngest, he’d have said “Explain it to me like you’re a six year old”.
Short on time this week, so I’ll just say thanks to Rochelle and EL Appleby for hosting and providing the picture respectively. As regular readers will know, feedback is always welcome, and as long-term followers may notice, these boys have been around before.
ADDENDUM: If you have time, there’s a bit more of this story here
A World Of…
“It’s an elragebron.”
“It’s a world of ridiculous is what it is.”
I can hear the boys arguing again. Luke’s been drawing so it’s probably about that. Matty likes to tease him when he gets home from school, and I’m worried he’s being bullied, and taking it out on his brother. My husband says it’s just what boys do.
Matty’s new phrase makes me laugh: ‘A world of’ whatever. I mustn’t, though. I must be the serious parent and discipline him for being mean. Then I catch sight of the picture. And it is … it’s a world of ridiculous.
Language note: I didn’t see the tail at first, so it was going to be an elragra. Of course, inspiration not illustration and all that, but I think the new name works too. For those who can’t work it out:
ELephant giRAffe tiGEr zeBRa liON
It’s Friday again and I’m sitting in my NEW HOUSE watching the cats trying to get used to all the strange sights and smells. They are coping admirably and already trying to get the closets open!
Today’s photo on Madison’s site comes from Sandra Crook, a great writer and regular fictioneer. Do check out her story, and the others linked from Madison’s page. Mine is below, not terribly original I’m afraid – the Muse says she needs sleep and stability to function at her best. And I can’t tell you the end of the story, because I ran out of words! Still, I’d appreciate your thoughts and comments on it.
Stop back next week for my entries into Voice Week – one a day Monday-Friday!
Gate to Nowhere
“It’s just some old Chinese sculpture. The gate to nowhere.” Al tried to make the quiver in his voice sound like sarcasm.
“So do it. Like you said, it’s just a sculpture, right?”
“Right.” Except the air seemed to shimmer between the gateposts. And even the squirrels seemed to avoid going through.
“I knew it. You’re scared.” Billy stepped forward. “Scaredy scaredy scaredy!”
“What’s it matter anyway?”
“Matters if you’re scared. Matters if I tell Mabel Pritchard you’re too pussy to walk through a gate.”
Al pushed ahead of his brother, closed his eyes and took a step.
“Open it!” said Ewan.
I pulled the lid off my brother’s lunchbox and stared down at the three pieces of meat inside. They looked like barbequed chicken, but in strange curved shapes. “You stole their dinner.”
“Only a tiny bit of their dinner, but… look, it’s proof.”
“Of what? Ewan, you could have stolen these from nextdoor. You didn’t go to a magical world.”
“I did,” he picked up one of the pieces of meat. It was strangely claw-like. Tough and red.
Then I started laughing, because he was brandishing it and saying proudly, “This. Is from a dragon’s tail.”