Well played

Sunday Photo Fiction time (I’ve been away too long) and another opportunity to turn a picture that’s worth a thousand words into a picture of 200 words or fewer — hopefully.

Where to go with that oh-so-harmless-looking well?

“Back to the well,” Jax said, a wry smile on his face.

It was a running joke. A well with no water, sandwiched in an alley and flanked by a flower bed that never needed watering. No one knew why. The soil was permanently wet and the flowers forever nourished.

“I’m welling up,” I replied.

The running joke had become a game. How many bad puns could you come up with before drawing a blank.

“Well said,” Jax answered.

“Well played,” I replied.

“Well enough?”

“I’ll allow it, though I don’t feel well about it.”

“Well done.” Actual awe in Jax’s voice.

“Well, I am the best.”

“Well, why not feel that way,” he said. “You’ve done well for yourself so far.”

“Ouch, a double helping of wellness,” I mocked.

“That doesn’t count,” he jumped in.

“Well, if you’d have waited I would’ve had another retort,” I smirked. “But you were well ahead of me getting out a response.”

He looked at me, then back at the well. It just sat there, not even echoing our bad jokes because there was no depth to it. Jax had no response.

“Well,” I stood up. “I guess I win.”

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A special time

Another weekly venture with Sunday Photo Fiction, a Flash Fiction challenge to conjure up a story of about 200 words centered around the photograph captured by Al.

This week’s edition drives us all batty when we see someone parked over multiple space. How friggin’ hard is it to pull into one spot?!? You’re not a semi! You’re NOT A…Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Better. Now I can focus on this week’s tale.

“Dad!” Junior cried. “You can’t park there.”

Dad looked back as he continued to walk away from the truck toward the indoor swap meet.

“Why not?”

“Because, you’ve parked over two spots, and one of them is for special people.”

“What makes them so special?” he said. “They want to be treated like everyone else, but they want the best parking spots. Well, I’m going to treat them like I do everyone else. No privileges from old Hank Carlson.”

It came out as a sneer.

Junior, who despised being Hank’s offspring, stopped.

“No privileges, right dad?”

“Right son,” a wide-grinning Hank replied.

Junior went back to the truck and took out the pick axe that always sat in the flatbed.

“Then none from me either. This is what I’d do to any car I found parked like this.”

He started on the driver’s side window. The axe sliced through the glass as easily as a knife through a down-cushion. Next was the windshield, the headlights and the passenger’s window. Then the tires.

Then Junior opened his mobile. “Yeah, police?” he said. “Some jackass has parked in a handicap space.”

He hung up, put the axe back and walked away. At 18, it was time he found his own place.

 

Sale of the century

An “Odd” contraption is this week’s centerpiece for Sunday Photo Fiction, a weekly journey that has writers delving into their imaginations to create flash fiction in 200 words or fewer. So let’s see what we come up with.

“I can’t believe it,” Farmer Joe hooped after watching the stranger drive off. “Sam Hell, I thought there was no way in tarnation that contraption would sell!”

His wife watched the pickup truck disappear around the bend.

“Joe,” she said, “now that it’s gone, will you tell me what that was?”

Farmer Joe started laughing with a merriment his wife hadn’t heard in years.

“What’s so funny, honey?” she asked.

“You don’t know what that was?” he asked back.

“No, I don’t.”

“Well, you ain’t the only one,” he smiled. “I’ve never known what it was. It’s been here since we moved in forty-two years ago. I’ve fiddled with it multiple times over the years. Never was able to get it to do nothing. Never moved for me no matter what dials and switches I pushed and pulled. So it’s just been settin’ there.”

“Did he know what it was?” she asked.

“Nope,” Joe answered. “Said he liked the way it looked. Thought it might look nice in a ‘gallery’ I think he called it.”

“Well I’ll be,” his wife smiled, thinking of the man in his fancy clothes. “City folk, they just don’t make no sense.”

A much-needed walk

Sunday Photo Fiction goes in a different direction this week and it’s a big challenge — like wandering through the desert itself…

I set the rake down. Perfect, I thought as a giant sigh of peacefulness left my lungs.

“Jones!”

The cry came from my boss’s office. My heart skipped a beat.

I looked  at the miniature oasis on my desk and at the pebbles leading from one end to the other. I imagined jumping from rock to rock, nearing the end of a treacherous journey across the Gobi.

“JONES!”

The muscles in my shoulders tightened. My breathing shortened.

My hand itched to pick up the rake. I needed to move the pebbles. I had to adjust the plants. I had to sift the sand.

I resisted. It wasn’t time to dive back into that other world. Soon. After I endured whatever idiotic idea my boss had come up with this time.

I wondered what it would be like to stand up and take my meditation outside and never return.

“JONES, NOW! GET IN HERE!”

I think I’ll rebuild my desert under that big oak I saw in the park on my way to work this morning.

“Keep on yelling, Bossman,” I mumbled, collecting my personal items from my desk. “It won’t do you any good.”

The long road forward

An interesting photo here. Much to ponder. Plenty to take in. A beautiful morning. Now, to write about it in this week’s edition of Sunday Photo Fiction.

Sunday Photo Fiction

I stopped at the edge of town. The road veered eastward, giving me no other choice. I set my bag down and turned to look one last time at the village that raised me.

But my time had come. I was ready to become a man. Venture into life. Explore the unknown. Find out what was around that eastward bend.

No one was pushing me out of town. My folks weren’t telling me I had to move out. There was no rush for me to leave. Yet I had to.

I’d vowed not to return until the time was right. I needed to move on. Make some money. Make Mom proud. Show Dad I could do what I set my mind to. Take my lumps and get back again.

I stretched my arms wide. Twisted at the waist. Drew in the deepest of breaths to smell the fresh, spring morn.

I picked up my bag, turned around and walked home.

Tomorrow. That would be best.

A nice chat

Just past midnight after a long Saturday. That means it’s Sunday Photo Fiction day! I haven’t been doing this for too long, but this is easily my favorite photo I’ve seen on here. There’s little better way to describe it than art. Nice work, Al!

Image

I fought the urge to brush away the cherry blossoms. From far away, they’d reminded me of dust bunnies scattered on my mother’s grave. But up close … well, they looked like cream-colored tears.

I read the inscription on the tombstone for what seemed like the millionth time:

Lauren P. Withers

Mother, Wife, Friend

1925-1986

“I miss you, Mom. Thirteen years apart. It’s been so hard. But worse than that, I’ll never see you again.”

I swirled a few of the petals across the grave, careful not to move them off the stone. I wasn’t going to do that. The tears were too beautiful to be cleaned up.

“I just wish I could talk to you one last time. Just to say, hi. Maybe have a chat.”

A soft breeze rustled the branches. And I found myself awash in a new wave of cherry blossom petals cascading around me.

I smiled.

“Nice talking to you.”

Another pile, another death

I really like this week’s edition of Sunday Photo Fiction. As soon as I saw it, a sense of macabre came over me, almost to the point of dreading what I would have to write. I knew I might not want to face the path I would be traveling down, but some roads have to be trekked …

Rocks

I wandered to the water’s edge and noticed them sitting there. They hadn’t been there 12 hours ago.

A fresh pile of rocks. A fresh body.

Our numbers on the island were dwindling. Faster, it seemed, than when we’d arrived. After the first couple deaths, we realized that burying a body under heavy rocks was a better way to keep the wild animals from digging it up. But the constant reminders of death were adding to the group’s already unsettled feeling that there was a psychopath among us.

No one had told me about the latest body. I wasn’t sure if I should take comfort from that or be even more concerned. Naturally, I didn’t know how this one had died. Had it been mutilated like the last couple? Or had it expired from natural causes — well, as natural as you get when you’re stranded on an island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

I thought about removing the few rocks where the corpse’s head would be to see who it was and how it had expired. I decided against it. Maybe with this one it was better if I didn’t know the cause.

I’d be back here soon enough.