Melvin’s Basement

© A Mixed Bag 2012

It had been two years since their divorce was final and Melvin finally had his basement set up. It was the toy room he dreamed of as a child. Space, the final frontier, and all of the aircraft, rocket ships, and space stations he thought would be reality in 2017.

“I was promised my moon base.” Melvin murmured. “Where is my moon base? Where is my rotating ring space station? Why haven’t we colonized Mars yet?”

When he was twelve years old, Star Trek first came on the air and Melvin dreamed. Then he got older, went to college, got a job, got married, and had kids. Jeannie had been the practical one in the marriage. She detested clutter, so out went his models, his comic books, his scifi novel collection.

Married life became an exercise in control and being controlled. That ended two years ago to the day. He had spent a fortune to rebuild his paperback and comic book collection.

“I’m free.”

Melvin sat down near the basement door and admired his toy room. Now if only he had someone to share it with. Melvin was free of his family and now he was free to be alone.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Writing Challenge for August 20th, 2017. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

I think anyone who’s been married for any length of time knows that there’s quite a bit of compromise that goes into a marriage. Sure, you need to live out your dreams but you also need to make room in your life for what your spouse needs. Apparently, that didn’t happen between Melvin and Jeannie, but then again, we haven’t heard her side of the story. Sadly whatever happened has left Melvin a very lonely man.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to


23 thoughts on “Melvin’s Basement

  1. What a sad story, that he married someone who cared so little about his preferences and interests, and then he put up with it. I agree with you, that some compromise is a healthy part of marriage, but sometimes you don’t realize how many compromises you’ve been making until it’s too late.

    It seems perfectly reasonable to me that he’d want to rebuild his own idea of a fun toy room for himself. Hooray! Now hopefully he’ll give up that tired stereotype that women and sci-fi don’t mix, and go find himself a nice geeky gal to share it with!


    • There’s a flip side to the story, Joy. If his passions are more important to him than his family, then maybe there’s a reason he’s so lonely. Even in a divorce, usually the children and grandchildren maintain relations with Mom and Dad.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe I misread: I thought he gave up all of his toys and interests when his wife told him to. That made me think that he put her and his family first (and she put herself first too), until they left him. I just reread it and I hadn’t caught the “free of my family” line — I read it as “free of my controlling wife”. That’s the only part that hints at that other side to me. I don’t see anything that hints at him not maintaining a relationship with his kids and grandchildren. Maybe that’s the unspoken context…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This would indeed be a hard call to make. He gets his toys, but has no one to share his life with. Not good. Something of a compromise should have been worked out right at the beginning. My husband is a reader (and not a neat freak) so I’ve always had to share our (sometimes quite small) space with books lying around, bookcases, magazines. I comfort myself with the fact that in Heaven I can have my mansion neat as I’d like. 😉 But to leave him so I can have my own empty space seems rather drastic.


  3. loved it! I once had a complete First Edition collection of Star Trek novels. That is until I married, and my inlaws got into the attic after my accident and gave EVERYTHING I owned to Goodwill. Including, and most hurtfully, an original handprinted Gutenberg bible. I was pissed, and still am at the thought .


    • Oh yikes. That’s horrible. I was never into the Star Trek novels. There were too many of them and they were off canon.

      Especially sorry to hear about the Gutenberg. Terrible loss of a valuable collectible.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That Gutenberg was given to me on my HighSchool Graduation by the University Pres in my home town. “This is your retirement nestegg” He said. I did some research into the value, had it appraised. Wow, I was blown away by the gift. It was deeply treasured. Sad, they didn’t even realize what they did, and they’ve never apologized for it, or for giving away all my things.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes people marry the wrong people. Or they marry the right people to create their children with, but then can’t stay together and then they go back to who they were before.

    I think this is a perfect statement of that. Good story.


  5. Sad since Melvin believed these things would inprove hisxlife and make it better a part from Genie. Frankly, compromise is needed. Him collecting comic book and models is no different than her shoppimgbor buting makeup or wherever else she liked to spend her money. All he needed was a space for his collectibles and that wasn’t a lot to ask. Besides the longer he keptthings andif they were in mint condition, the more they’d be worth hen he was older.


  6. As a teenager I had a comic book collection as well, when I married all that went into the trash. My second marriage has been better (I have rebuilt my collection – and then some) but sadly it must be kept in storage.
    I still make more compromises than I should. I fear the day when I’ll make one too many.


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