Tag Archives: short story

Robert’s Desk

claire-sheldon

Ok, so it was probably my fault.  But still, who’da thought that witch woulda been capable of this.  I make one stupid joke too many – something about her mole – and next thing you know my soul is trapped in this stupid stuffed penguin.  And the penguin is on Robert’s desk.  Robert!  Not even Robert wants to be near Robert’s desk.  Don’t even know where my body is.  Can’t move, can’t eat or drink, can’t fart…stuck trying to figure out how to communicate with Robert.  Robert!  Oh, I don’t know what’s up with the paper clips, either.  Freakin’ Robert.


This post is for Friday Fictioneers, only I missed the deadline so it’s just me writing a story for me.  I blame Robert, myself.

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Portrait of the Artist (Friday Fictioneers)

still-life-with-doug

Everything in that damned workshop had a story behind it. The shells he spent hours combing the beach for, leaving me partner-less for volleyball, the clock with the jumbled numbers he picked up at some scuzzy flea market normally reserved for buying back whatever you’d had stolen recently. The clock was fitting, he was never on time. Used to joke I spent my life waiting for him, then one time he just never came. Speeding driver snatched my beloved, infuriating artist away forever. And now I had to do…something with his workshop. But not today, today I remember the stories.

 

This story is for the Friday Fictioneers challenge (picture based story, 100 words: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/17-october-2014/

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Fred Built a Fort, pt. 1

Overview2

One day Fred built a fort.  Or started building one, to be precise.  He couldn’t say why he started exactly, it was almost as though he found himself building one, as much to his surprise as anyone else’s.  He and his wife kept a stack of mostly warped 2×4’s next to the garage; not that either of them were particularly handy or enamored with DIY, but there always seemed to be some use for them with the little projects and maintenance issues that came up.

 

So Frank dragged a few boards out to the willow tree in the backyard and started sawing and hammering until he found he had steps up the trunk to a crux where the trunk divided into 2 large branches.  Here he measured, hemmed and hawed, then somehow managed to fix a square frame with sides between 4-5 feet long to the tree securely enough for him to stand on the boards.  Then he climbed down and surveyed his work for a minute before heading back to the garage.  He rummaged around til he came across a sheet of plywood leftover from a patch job in the attic the previous summer.  He half carried, half drug it out to the willow; measured, sawed and hammered, and before he knew it the frame was a platform.

 

He was sitting there, feet dangling over the side when his wife came out the back door.  Shielding her eyes from the sun with her hand she looked quizzically up at him, “Frank?  What’re ya doin’ hun?”  “Oh, just taking a little break.”  “Ok.  Break from what?”  He gestured to the wood and tools below.  She looked down at them, then back at him, “I see.  What’re ya buildin’ there?”  Frank hesitated, shifting about and feeling the sturdiness of his platform, “Kinda…I mean it seems like…it’s a kind of fort.”  Her nose wrinkled, “Uh-huh.  Well I guess Peter and Mary might like that, if they don’t fall and break their necks.  Try not to make a mess back here, ok hun?”  She turned back to the house, took 1/2 a step, then pivoted back, “Say, would you like something to drink?”  “Sure, that’d be real nice.  Do we have any more lemonade?”  “I’ve got the mix, so I’ll stir us up a pitcher and bring you a glass with ice.”  “That’d hit the spot, thanks.”  She disappeared into the house and he started to measure for walls and a roof.

 

*****

 

Once the tree fort was finished and decked out with a tin roof and glass windows Frank set his sights on the garden area not a stone’s throw from the willow tree.  It was summer now and he was bursting with energy.  He did his best to ignore the wrinkles of concern above his wife’s nose when he brought home a carload of supplies from the lumber store, choosing instead to focus on his anticipation of the task at hand.  He started by digging out a foundation and filling it with concrete and rebar.  It was hot, heavy work and his wife had long since stopped bringing him cold drinks – probably her silent way of showing her displeasure with his project.

 

In truth he barely noticed.  By this time it seemed all his free time was dedicated to the fort.  On weekends he worked on it, evenings he designed, re-designed and fretted over it; even at work he found himself doodling additions and surfing the net for materials.  For someone with no construction experience his progress was remarkable.  Yet the further he progressed, the better the project went, the less happy he became.  He harrumphed and scowled and muttered his way around in a kind of daze.  The labor also took its toll, stooping his shoulders and giving twinges and aches in his joints.

 

By late summer Fred started working on a second story to the garden portion of the fort, with plans to connect it to the tree fort with a walkway supported by angled struts.  His wife went from silent disapproval to vocal opposition, using the always peculiar what-will-the-neighbors-think line of reasoning.  Frank toed the ground, studied his hands and grunted his way through a dozen one-sided conversations on the subject, none of which slowed his progress or dampened his drive.  He felt he was close to getting a grasp on the big picture now, and could almost see the totality of the finished fort, with ramparted walls replacing the rickety pine fence bordering their property and passageways, towers and secret rooms.

 

He considered taking a leave of absence from work, where these days he was distracted at best, but settled for devoting his 2 week summer holiday to fort construction in lieu of he and his wife’s annual trip to the lake with her family.  She was either near tears or shouting – he had difficulty telling which – when she announced she would go without him and wasn’t sure when she would come back.  He looked concerned and tried to follow the conversation while internally he was calculating the improved construction efficiency of having less distraction, not to mention the gain of work hours by being able to eat and work and foregoing lengthy, confusing conversations.

 

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The Train Ride Together

17-07-july-21st-2013

They boarded the train together, hand in hand.  As the train jolted forward and lurched around corners they kept holding hands.  At first a tight, giddy grip; both excited for their journey together.

However at times in distraction or annoyance her hand went limp, threatening to slip from his grasp.  He learned how to hold on without squeezing too much.  Other times she was the one who had to wrangle his hand from slipping.

In rough spots and dark tunnels their hands clung to each other, in pleasant sunshine they nestled softly together, and in bitter cold they entwined closely for warmth.

With little warning they arrived at her station, she had to exit.  He’d figured his would come first (statistically probable).  Her apprehension at de-boarding was matched only by his terror of riding on alone.  His hand raised hers to his lips, then she was gone.  He sat alone, hand feeling so empty, waiting for his station.

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This is in response to Alastair’s Photo Fiction challenge, which is also where the photo came from.

Photograph Copyright Notice

© Alastair Forbes and Alastair’s Blog, 2010-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alastair Forbes and Alastair’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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Once Upon a Time…

maui-from-mauna-kea

…there was a beautiful princess who was to be married to an evil imperialist to seal the annexation of the island kingdom, part of the imperialists’ manifest destiny.

But the princess could not do it, for she loved a village surfer boy.  Sadly, on the eve of their planned escape he was captured and killed by the imperialists.

So the princess, dragging her broken heart behind her, went to her favorite spot.  Looking over the clouds as tears rolled down her cheeks and prayers dripped from her lips, she spread her arms and soared to freedom.

Annexation proceeded as planned.

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This flash fiction story is in response to the Friday Fictioneers weekly photo challenge.

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Flight Attendant

flight-attendant-thumb7290983

He admired the way the fabric of her skirt stretched tight against her shapely backside, with only a hint of a panty line disturbing her curves.  He admired, too, a hundred other details about her that charmed him to desperation.  The line of her jaw, her perfectly sculpted hair, the glint of light striking her lip gloss, and once when she didn’t notice him watching a real ray of sunshine – a genuine smile, a friend smile, not one of those lifeless customer smiles.  He suddenly was struck by an overwhelming desire to have and to hold her and by the equally overwhelming realization that he never would.  His heart fairly broke at the loss of the ephemeral flame of pretend passion.  Still he could not help but strain and crane his neck to savor every moment of visual delight when she bustled past, and he insisted on hearing every last drink and meal option to prolong their brief interactions by as many moments as possible.  Nor could he help the goofy grin that flashed across his face when their eyes met.  He felt foolish.  He felt lonely.  And, unreasonably, he felt rejected.  But that wasn’t new, that was the shadow that doggedly pursued and harassed him always.

 

For her part, she thought, “He seems friendly, kind of cute too.”

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Gunshots (Friday Fictioneers)

the-phone

There were like these gunshots outta nowhere.  I’m like “whoa, somebody’s shootin’, what’s going on Jimmy?”  Cause I was rollin’ with my man Jimmy.

But then I saw Jimmy was down, and I was all “Jimmy’s down, Jimmy’s down.”  Cause Jimmy was like down and shit.  There was blood and I was freaking out, “Jimmy caught one.”  Yeah, he got shot, what’d I say?

So I gotta call 5-oh and shit, but I ain’t got no phone, so I checked for a PF1.  But then the handset was all shot or busted or whatever.  Good thing you guys came anyways.

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Other Friday Fictioneers posts of mine can be found as below:

Shadows

Michael Nicoletta

Other posts for the same picture can be found here.

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