I’m not sure about this week’s story. I wrote a 200 word version and have edited and reworked it so many times, I can’t tell if it loses the point. I’d love to hear your feedback, good and bad. And apologies in advance for using the C word when it’s barely even October!
The Christmas After
That first Christmas after Mom left, Shannon knew things wouldn’t be the same. Last year, she’d got a big doll’s house with only a small tear in the wallpaper. Her one-legged Ken carried Barbie across the threshold and Dad had made little furniture out of cardboard boxes.
There was no big gift this year, but Dad appeared at the door holding a folded square of paper. “Christmas a little lean this year, Bubblegum” he said.
In Dad’s shaky handwriting, the note said “IOU: One afternoon window shopping”.
“Thanks!” she said, trying to mean it. “I only got you a hug.”
With apologies for being a little late this week, here’s my story for the Friday Fictioneers. I was reminded the other day of an old favourite from a few years ago, so if you read this one and want more from me, click here.
For now, here’s the photo from Roger Bultot, that inspired today’s entry. Your feedback is always welcome.
Painting Over The Cracks
The view was dreary, so Mom picked dandelions to fill the apartment with colour and painted our rooms with cans the store threw out for being mixed wrong. Mine was “Resplendent Ruby”, but it came out green. When it snowed she showed us the beauty in each flake, and bustled us out on ‘adventures’ to scavenge the Clearance shelves for dinner.
For years, we bought it – credulous before our benevolent dictator’s relentless positivity. But even a kindergartener knows food isn’t good just because it’s in date. And that you don’t call Daddy “gentle” just because the bruises don’t show.
I’m one of those people whose mindset and mood are often influenced by the books and TV I’m embroiled in at the time. For example, The Good Wife is making me highly suspicious, Breaking Bad made Bjorn Rudberg’s photograph – this week’s prompt – look like a drug lair and either the news from Gaza or having recently finished The Book Thief is responsible for the war-torn setting I envisaged for the story below. Those who know I’m now reading a book about transsexuals shouldn’t read too much into the last line, however!
Your comments on my story are welcome. Thanks to Rochelle as always for hosting, and to Bjorn for what is almost certainly not a surveillance snapshot.
Oskar could hear Ma cursing the pot on the stove for holding too much water, too little of anything else. She hated it for starving her family, for giving them hard choices. Who’d chew the meat tonight? Not Oskar, that was certain. Ma? For the sake of the baby growing inside her? Or Father in order to be better able to earn something to put in the pot tomorrow?
He was late again. Earning money, or spending it on beer to ease the admission he’d come home empty-handed.
Oskar kicked a stone and hoped he’d never grow into a man.
Notes on double entendres can be found here and here, if you are interested.