Moving to the Beehive


Michael (Black) Ritter pexels-photo-41506

“I’m Erika. Welcome to the beehive.” Erika Kiribati was the unofficial greeter for the San Jose State dorms. “I’ll get that box.”

“Thanks. I’m Josh. There are more people living here than the town I grew up in.” Josh McKenny had his hands full with his duffel.

“You get used to it.” The 19-year-old Samoan picked up the box and elbowed the elevator’s ‘up’ button. “Family help you move?”

“Dad’s looking for a place to park.”

“Where you from?”

“Wallace, Idaho. About 80 miles east of Spokane.”

The elevator doors opened. “Which floor?”

“Fifth.” Erika pushed “5” as Josh hustled in behind her.

“I’m in 605. Come on up when you’re settled.”

520’s door was ajar and Erika pushed it open with her foot to find a young African-American.

“You Josh’s roomie?”

“Name’s Gabe Johnson.”

“Josh McKenny. You met Erika yet?” The two men shook hands.

“Nope. How’s it going?”

Erika and Gabe shook and then she turned. “Nice meeting you Gabe. See you soon, Idaho.”

The boy from Wallace and the Oakland native sized each other up, and it wasn’t the first time Josh questioned the wisdom of going to school out-of-state and away from everything he ever knew.

I wrote this for Week #36 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

True story. I once knew a guy who was born and raised in a small town in Idaho. His parents were divorced and his Dad moved to California and was an instructor at San Jose State University. He got a terrific tuition break so decided to go there but once he saw the size of the dorm, he turned around and went home. The dorm really did have more people than the entire town he’d grown up in. Culture shock is still real.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit

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