Tag Archives: Friday Fiction

FF – Cleanliness Above All

Sandra Crook provided this week’s photograph. I’ve wondered some way from it, and not in the direction I originally started, with my story below. Your comments are welcome.

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Cleanliness Above All

Initially, Simeon hoped Elenora might be an ally. “I don’t approve of slavery,” she said. “I have an honest, local girl myself.”

But it transpired “local” meant English and as for “honest”, the maid was apt to pilfer coins to buy ribbon, and would be dismissed once a replacement could be imported.

“I like to know her hands are clean.” Elenora flicked a suspicious glance at the pristine plate set before her. “And she speaks the language.”

Later, his wife admired Elenora’s white dress.

“Presumably the cotton was picked by the only English plantation worker on the island,” Simeon thought.

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Friday Fiction – Appearances Can Be Deceiving

This week’s FF picture comes from the adventures of Sandra Crook. You can read other responses to it, or join in with one of your own, at Rochelle’s FF HQ. No doubt there will be plenty of Gladiators and Christians to delight the palate this week.

My story is below, with a brief rider at the end. Feel free to leave your thoughts and feelings, and your suggestions for improvement.

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Appearances Can Be Deceiving

“We should go to Greece sometime,” said John, looking up from his magazine. “It looks all ancient and cool.”

“Huh?” I was trying to concentrate on Jordan’s latest makeover. It looked very similar to her last one: big boobs, plastic face. Neither one something I’d had much luck copying.

“They’ve got a picture of the apocalypse here.”

I almost looked over. “What’re they naming the fourth one – Conquest or Pestilence?”

“What?”

“Biblical interpretation or Modern?”

He was completely stumped. “The building?”

“Oh, you mean Acropolis,” I looked then. “Jesus, John. That’s the Coliseum.”

“Oh.”

“In Italy. Remember our honeymoon, dear?”

 

NOTE:

I’m aware that this isn’t actually the Coliseum either. For the purposes of the story though, it was a picture of the Coliseum that John was looking at.

And no, this isn’t in any way autobiographical.

If you’re interested in the Conquest / Pestilence reference, Wikipedia touches on it here.

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Friday Fiction – True Love

Something very different for me this week. First, a true story (in parts); second, brazenly exceeding the word limit. This story, all except the bit about the photo itself, is based on the romance of my maternal Grandparents. The story of how they met, fell in love and married is worthy of its own novel. Even at 150 words, this version merely scrapes the surface, so I hope you will forgive me its length.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure, so the saying goes. I don’t think my grandparents ever felt the need to repent – their love, friendship and companionship was evident to all who knew them and an inspiration to those of us who come after.

When he died, after more than 60 years of marriage, my Grandad was in the arms of his beautiful bride; she still misses him every day. And she still, when telling how they married, says “Married in a rush”, with a playful wink.

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True Love

“Married in a rush,” she’d say, with a playful wink. They were, but not for the reason it implied – their first child wasn’t born for another seven years. Their hurry had all to do with avoiding separate postings. “There was a war on,” she would add.

There’s only one photograph. They keep it beside their bed.  She in a simple, grey dress; he a grey suit. The dress was blue in real life: a favourite, but worn many times before and since.

But what did it matter? They were in love, they had been happily married for fifty-nine and three-quarter years. A white dress is no guarantee of happiness. Still, when he saw it, he couldn’t resist. He pulled £100 from their pension savings – the very amount her father had insisted he prove he had before giving them permission to wed – and opened the door of the second-hand shop.

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Friday Fiction – Memories

Tough one this week: the photograph is Rochelle‘s own and a fascinating collection. I wrote this story as scantily as I could and it was still 158 words. Some fierce editing was needed to bring it down to 100; I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear what you think.

I’m on and off with computer time this week, so please forgive any delay in reading your comments and/or stories.

iaam

Memories

Alma’d felt so grown up, consigning her etch-a-sketch to history in the ninth box. Each Christmas since, she’d chosen something special, like the photograph she found in the trash after Anthony’s ship sank. When she met Ralph at a concert she put the ticket in, even though it was only June.

But as the years passed, she began to worry: there were only 36 boxes.

She and Ralph spent that Christmas at the sea. Alma paced the beach and picked out two large shells. She returned to find Ralph smiling at the hotel door, his arms stretched around a present.

* * * * *

Some notes. Only read these if you’ve got lots of time and nothing better to do.

Pre-edit, I really liked the opening paragraph, but it was too long and had to go. I felt it was a better explanation of the set up, and of Alma’s character: Alma started the collection when she was nine, looking back over her childhood and allocating one box for each year. She felt so grown up, putting her etch-a-sketch in the ninth box and thus consigning it to history.

A few comments have mentioned the other items. I can’t explain them all, but here’s a few I know…

#2 Alma was very ill as a toddler. The medicine bottle represents this and her gradual return to health.

#11 & 13 Alma learned to skate at 11, by thirteen she excelled at ice hockey.

#14 Alma’s older brother, Anthony was in the navy. When she was 14, his ship was hit by a torpedo and sank. Her mother, heartbroken, threw out all her old photographs of Anthony, including this one of him with Alma. Alma found it in the bin and rescued it for her treasure trove.

#24 When she was 24, Alma went to a summer concert and met Ralph. She was so certain about him, she immediately shelved the ticket instead of waiting until Christmas.

#31 Alma felt this year that she’d achieved pretty much everything. She was married, had a house, a car and a dog. She was packing away her monopoly set pending the arrival of her firstborn when she realized how well the pieces matched her life.

#32 Alma and Ralph’s first child arrived.

#36 With one box to go, Alma went for a walk on a beach and sent a prayer into the waves that the conclusion of the boxes wasn’t a sign. Luckily, she’d picked a diamond in Ralph, who knew the most valuable present he could buy his wife was a new set of shelves (or boxes) and 36 more years of memories.

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Not Friday Fiction

I predict a lack of time to post a FF story this week, so if that’s what you’re looking for, move along, or check out other FF stories at Rochelle’s HQ.

But if you’ve stumbled upon this page looking for a story from me specifically, I’d invite you to consider my other flash fiction exercise, Inspiration Mondays. For all that we sometimes grumble as Fictioneers that there isn’t enough feedback, my FF posts get many more views and comments than my  InMon stories, and I’d love to share some of them with you.

If you’ve got time, have a look at any of the stories here. As ever, I’d love to know what you think.

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Friday Fiction – The Crossroads of Evans and Chicago

Having opened the vein, I can’t stop the bleeding – my latest story for FF is another romance. I hope you enjoy it, but let me know either way. If you want to read more stories from the same picture, head over the Rochelle’s page and particular thanks to Renee Heath for this week’s prompt. I hope I’ve read the street names correctly; if not, this is an even more obscure reference to the prompt!

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The Crossroads of Evans and Chicago (Genre: Romance)

“What’s to decide?”

“The ballet, Ma,” Mary whispered.

“Rhodri Evans’ Da’s the richest man in the valley. You’d never have to worry again.”

“Does he love you?” Her father knocked his pipe on the table.

“I think so,” said Mary. “Yes.”

“Then take the ballet.”

Ma’s face flushed red. “Are you mad? Do you want our daughter to be miserable for the rest of her life?”

“But it’s two years, Da. In Chicago.”

“If he loves you, he’ll wait. If he doesn’t, he’s not worth marrying. And no, I don’t want her to be miserable. I want her to soar.”

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Friday Fiction – Louisa

This week’s FF prompt has the slightly unusual description, of being from “Indira by way of Scott Vanatter“. I’ve no idea what that means, but thanks to both of them – and to the driver of our bus, Rochelle – for setting me going on this particular story. I hope you’ll see where the first line came from … I thought it was kind of cute when I spotted it.

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Louisa

My grandmother, never prone to tact, once described Louisa as having “a face like the back of a bus.” But I loved her.

I was seven when I first saw her, intoxicated by the promise of long weeks idle. Louisa became the herald of summer; her annual visits anticipated just as eagerly. September, at thirteen, I found some words to say and she, fifteen and all grown up, responded with a smile, then went away.

The back of a bus, only seen as it leaves you standing, unsure, at the side of the road. Perhaps Granny was right after all.

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