Unlocked

love locks

Photo credit: Alpha Coders

“It’s got to be around here somewhere, Jamie. Maybe on the other side.”

“No, I’m positive that we put it on this side, Dex.”

“You’d be positive that the sky is green and grass is blue, but that wouldn’t make you right.”

“How would you know, you loser? You haven’t done right by me since the day we got married.”

“A problem I’d be all too happy to fix…oh, here it is.”

“See? I told you it was on this side.”

“Shut up and hand me the bolt cutters.”

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Life One Letter at a Time

a is for airplane

© James Pyles

Timmy’s airplane was an hour late arriving in Omaha which just added to Glenn’s sense of missing his boy. Fortunately, the stewardess made sure he got off first. When he saw him, little Timmy let go of her hand and ran to his Dad.

“Dad! Dad!” He flew into Glenn’s arms.

“You sure have grown, Timmy.” They hugged and he lifted the child off the floor. “How old are you now, 22, 23?”

“Don’t be silly, Daddy. I’m only nine.”

The man put his son back down and shook hands with the attractive, brunette stewardess who had been in charge of his son during the long flight from Los Angeles.

“Thank you so much for taking care of him on the plane, Miss…” he looked at her name tag, “…Stewart.”

“It was my pleasure, Mr. Evans. He’s a really sweet boy.”

“Ah, Janice.” Timmy rolled his eyes at being called “sweet.”

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What Are You Doing Tonight?

moonlighting

From the television series “Moonlighting.”

Laura and Simon were an unusual pair of private detectives. They were divorced last year after ten years of marriage but neither could bear to sell the detective agency they co-owned, nor was one willing to concede sole ownership to the other. So they continued to see each other day after day, night after night at “Marcus and Marcus Detectives.” Laura even used her former last name professionally though in her personal life, she’d reverted back to Rodriguez.

Unlike television or cinematic private detectives, their cases were far less glamorous or dangerous. Mostly one spouse hiring them to see if the other spouse was having an affair.

“Usual drill, Simon. I pose as a hooker to see if ‘Mr. Sleezebag’ will give me a tumble. You stand by with the camera and I’ll record the dialogue.”

They were sitting in their car outside an office building near downtown. She was in the driver’s seat, which she preferred, and he was sitting next to her checking the camera.

“Got it, but for the record, his name is Chester Albright.”

“Or ‘all dumb’ for cheating on his poor wife.”

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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 InLinkz.com.

Another Chance

goth

Image: mookychick.co.uk

Jeff and Mary Edge were getting a divorce and they didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Mary’s parents suggested that they try marital counseling, but Mary was tired of Jeff’s drinking and Jeff was tired of Mary not getting a job to help with the family finances.

They’d had it with each other and they weren’t going to talk to Mary’s parents, a counselor, or anyone else about it.

Jeff and Mary didn’t even talk about it with their seven-year-old daughter Morgan.

Jeff was at the wheel and Mary was sitting, sulking in the passenger seat after meeting with the divorce lawyer. He was going to take Mary back to her parent’s house where she was staying for now, and pick up Morgan for their weekend visit.

Jeff was sober and would be throughout the visit. When he dropped Morgan back with her mother Sunday night, he planned to go back to his seedy one bedroom apartment and get roaring drunk. The hangover he’d have when he went to work on Monday morning would be worth it.

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The Nurturing Tree

broken tree

© Shivangi Singh

Savannah hated to see the old tree taken down, but the thunderstorm three nights ago had broken its trunk, and it was a danger to her home and family.

She’d lived in the same house across from the park since she was a little girl. She had fond memories of climbing in that tree. She remembered the summer when her Dad built her and her brothers a tree fort.

She was just starting to encourage her own three little ones to explore the adventure of the tree when the storm took it away.

The tree was also a symbol of everything else Savannah had lost. Her husband Jeremy walked out of the house and family. He said he couldn’t handle the responsibility anymore.

Savannah has been divorced for four months, and in those months, she became stronger than Jeremy would.

She and her babies had lost the man they thought was their tree.

The broken tree wasn’t gone, just transformed.

Savannah’s life had been transformed, too. She would always be her children’s strong, nurturing tree.

I wrote this as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story, in the range of 125-175 words with 150 being ideal. The story is based on the weekly photo prompt. For more information go to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The word count is exactly 175.

The Monster That Got Benny

divorce

Image: Huffington Post Canada

“Can you sleep in my room tonight, Grandpa?”

Little Benny was visiting his Grandparents for the weekend and sleeping in the same spare bedroom at their house he’d slept in since he was in diapers.

“Why do you want me to sleep with you, Benny?” Grandma had already said good night to the seven-year-old, but Benny liked Grandpa to say good night last because he told such good bedtime stories.

“Because a monster might come in the middle of the night and get me.”

“No monster has ever gotten into our house before. Why would you be afraid of that now?”

“I just am. Please Grandpa?”

Grandpa knew Benny far too well not to realize what he was really afraid of.

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The “Mrs. Doubtfire” Philosophy to Divorce and Parenting

“Dear Mrs. Doubtfire, two months ago, my mom and dad decided to separate. Now they live in different houses. My brother Andrew says that we aren’t to be a family anymore. Is this true? Did I lose my family? Is there anything I can do to get my parents back together? Sincerely, Katie McCormick.”

Oh, my dear Katie. You know, some parents, when they’re angry, they get along much better when they don’t live together. They don’t fight all the time, and they can become better people, and much better mummies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don’t, dear. And if they don’t, don’t blame yourself. Just because they don’t love each other anymore, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you, poppet, you’re going to be all right… bye-bye.

-Mrs. Doubtfire/Daniel Hillard (played by Robin Williams)
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

divorce

Image: The Huffington Post

I watched this movie many times with my family when my kids were growing up. As adults, my kids were surprised at how much of the “adult humor” went completely over their heads when they were little.

I like the movie. It’s very entertaining. Robin Williams was an incredible talent, which is what makes the film so watchable, even decades later. Also, the rest of the cast, particularly Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan, are first-rate. There’s really not much to dislike about “Mrs. Doubtfire.”

Admittedly, I was always a tad bothered by the sentiment I quoted above. It’s the final bit of dialog from the movie and, depending on how to read it or hear it. Williams could be saying that any possible family constellation is just as good as another.

That seems to devalue the traditional one Mom, one Dad, intact marriage family, and especially among religious people, that can chafe a bit.

I read something by celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach where he said he felt divorce to be a bigger problem to families than same-sex marriage.

In Judaism, it is believed that the Torah, the set of laws given to the Israelites by God through Moses, is composed of 613 individual commandments. It has also been said that Judaism isn’t an “all or nothing” religion, in spite of how Christianity sees it.

In homosexual relationships, I think about two of the 613 commandments are involved. How many are involved when parents divorce and what is the impact on the children?

Rabbi Boteach is the product of a divorced family and he believes that divorce is always bad, though sometimes necessary:

Once a friend who was in a very unhappy marriage called me up and told me she was making a party to celebrate her divorce. I told her that I could not attend as I would never celebrate divorce. She got angry at me and told me that she expected me to be happy for her. I proceeded to tell her that there are three areas of life: the good, the bad, and the necessary. Divorce is never good, it is usually bad, but it is sometimes necessary. It’s like war. You sometimes have to fight a war but it’s not something you celebrate. I was happy that she was no longer in pain. The marriage had to end. But something sacred had still been lost.

-Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
“How Divorce Scars Children”
The Huffington Post

I chose to participate in a discussion on the Malcolm the Cynic blogspot called “One of the Older Ghosts”, which takes to task the central message of the aforementioned film “Mrs. Doubtfire”.

The conversation became heated very quickly.

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