It had finally stopped raining when Jack Bishop reached the little used pier. He wanted to sit down, but he couldn’t. He had to get to the end, to where Billy and he used to fish when his son was little.
Jack stopped and looked down. His right hand was pressing against the bleeding wound at his gut as hard as he dared, shot thanks to a mugging gone wrong. He was a goner, but he had to reach the end of the pier.
Lance Corporeal William Bishop was killed when his vehicle ran over an IED near Baghdad on August 13, 2011. The magician said that if Jack could reach the end of the pier before dying, he’d trade his life for Billy’s.
“Made it. I love you, son.” Jack sat on one of the benches, his life coming to an end. “I’m here for you, Billy. You’ve got the rest of your life to live. Make it a good life.”
Billy sat on the bench and helped his five-year-old son Todd bait the hook on his fishing line. “God, I wish your Grandpa were here to see this. I miss him so much.”
I wrote this in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction – March 26th 2017 challenge. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 200 words based on the image above. I made it at 195 words.
This story isn’t exactly original. It’s loosely based on a 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone called In Praise of Pip. Actor Jack Klugman plays a small time bookie named Max Phillips who’s in deep with the mob. The only light in his life is his son Pip, who is serving as a soldier in Vietnam. Fate gives Max a second chance, but it involves trading his life for Pip’s, who otherwise would be killed in combat.
The ending scene with actor Robert Diamond playing the adult Pip, alive and well, having survived serving in ‘Nam, talking about how much he misses his Dad still breaks me up.
To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.