You know what it’s like when you get an idea stuck in your head? And no matter how wrong it is, it just won’t go away? Obviously, if the idea is “rob a bank”, you’d do well not to exorcise it by exercising it, but I’m hoping the same isn’t true of story ideas, because that’s what happened to me with this week’s FF prompt. For those with the time / patience, I’ll explain more after the story, but for now I can only beg your understanding.
Thanks to Sandra Crook for providing the photo, and Rochelle Wisoff Fields for running the show. You can see lots of (less tenuous) other stories inspired by this photo by clicking on the little blue guy on Rochelle’s page.
“You go places, you see things. Sometimes they ain’t good things. I saw a man kill his dog once.”
Alice only half listened. Whiskey Tales, her father called them: half true, half whiskey. The man called Ryder waved his arms as he described the dog murder. Dog-o-cide? she thought. Caninicide? She’d wanted to go to High School, where you learned that kind of thing. But instead she poured the whiskey half of the tales. Tails, she smiled.
Ryder flailed towards the empties gathered at one end of the bar. Her father noticed and pulled the tray to safety. “Easy, Ryder!”
* * *
Drafting Notes (or What’s that got to do with the picture?!)
It all started with an error. I looked at the picture and thought about the Easy Rider poster (blame my Saturday morning writing group, where one of the stories referred to it this week!). That led me down the path of the bad pun which forms the “punchline” in this story. It was only after I’d written it that I checked the poster and discovered that the niggling doubt at the back of my mind was right – the Easy Rider motorbikes were 2 wheelers. Anyway, the damage was done.
The second prompt for this story was my reaction to Sandra’s photo. She’s given us other pictures in the past and the first line of this story is a tribute to Sandra – she goes places, and she sees things. She’s also kind enough to take photos and let us use them as prompts.
Once I realised my mistake about the bikes, I was tempted to bin this story. However, I’ve developed a soft spot for Alice, so I can’t. She’s trapped in the world of her father’s bad jokes – they’re even rubbing off on her. She’s frustrated but not, I think, totally unhappy. I hope that both she and I can keep learning the lesson that happiness isn’t having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.