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.

 

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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.”

Henderson the Rain King: A sort of book review

Book reviews aren’t exactly something that will appear regularly on my blog. I’d just rather stick with more original ideas than reviewing someone else’s work (though movie reviews might be an avenue I venture down regularly in the future).

But “Henderson the Rain King” has seeped into my brain and I can’t get rid of it now that I’ve finished it.

I’m not even sure where to begin. The novel never sucked me in. Yet I continued to plug away at it.

I think the main protagonist, Henderson, was a blowhard. From the get-go he was always talking about how great he was or how much he could love or could feel pain or regret or anything. And yet the first chance he got he would do the opposite or offend someone without an ounce of regret.

Then he was off to Africa to supposedly find himself. Though the first three-quarters of the novel, including his early journeys through the middle of Africa, were more about doing things to prop himself up as vastly important than they were about finding himself.

Irksome. That’s the best way I could describe Henderson. Like a grown-up Holden Caufield, but without the charm or innocence of youth.

And then came the lion cub and the death of Dahfu and the child on the plane. And suddenly Henderson came to the realization that everything wasn’t all about him. There was so much more. Maybe that was when the grun-tu-molani fully hit Henderson, yet in a subversive way so that he didn’t realize what it was. He was so focused on achieving that level of knowledge, or that act of being; but it was something that had to happen naturally. The queen of the Arnewi couldn’t teach him. And no matter how many discussions he had with Chief Dahfu, Henderson wasn’t going to learn it via discourse.

But when Henderson stepped off that plane in Greenland, holding the child wrapped in a blanket, and started running in circles around the plane, he had finally become a Being person. No longer was he a Becoming person. He’d finally reached a point of peace. He was happy with where he was. He was Being.

And suddenly, in just those last few pages, I fell in love with the novel. It was as though I could forgive Henderson for his lifetime of mistakes and self-righteousness. Whatever happened to Henderson in the waning years of his life after the novel, it became easy to imagine him living life to the fullest in a way he’d never before made you think possible.

Searching for the write words

Whenever I hit a snag — known as the accursed ‘Writer’s Block’ — I’m instantly cast back to “Throw Momma from the Train.”

An odd reference? Maybe. But Billy Crystal’s character of Larry constantly searching for the right word to end the sentence, “The night was…” is the perfect example of writer’s block. Throughout the film Larry is searching for that missing word, and that’s just in hopes of starting a new novel. Never mind the rest of the book’s plot. Just the idea of how important that lead sentence is, is a great example of how one word can get you on a roll.

So often the flashing cursor is unbelievably intimidating. Like it’s waiting for you, beckoning. Maybe even taunting.

“I’m not stuck,” you tell the cursor. “I’m just waiting for the right words.

“And they’ll be here any second.”

Stop waiting for the words and just start typing. The first thing that comes to your mind could lead you down an entertaining path. I’ve written on a similar topic to this in the past, especially on just getting going.

How about a gentle push. Here’s your start:

“The first time the alarm didn’t go off…”

Take it from there. Don’t let that cursor hold you up.

 

Sorry about the moon!

Sunday, time for Sunday Photo Fiction, a chance to turn a photo into Flash Fiction of somewhere between 100-200 words. This is my first shot at it. Follow the link and give it a try, too.

Image

I was just washing my window, the living-room one that overlooks the Pacific, when I rubbed the bottom of the moon away.

I wasn’t using anything other than plain-old Windex, when, poof, I smeared a piece of the Earth’s satellite from the sky.

One minute it was a full moon, the next it was, well, you see it. It’s not all there any more.

The sad thing is, I have no idea how to undo it. I would’ve tried spraying and wiping again, but I was worried I’d make more vanish. And the moon is so little as it is, I can’t bear the idea of making more disappear.

Please forgive me. I’m truly sorry and would never have cleaned my window at that time of night if I’d known this was going to happen. I promise, I won’t ever do it again.

But let me know if it’s too hot one day, and I can try cleaning the window when the sun is out.