Choices

boys life

Boys’ Life magazine | November 1963

Tommy’s Dad always had to work on Saturdays, so Grandpa took him to his special Cub Scouting event. Last week, Grandpa and Tommy went to another Scouting Dad’s place to use power tools to make the Scout’s pinewood racing car. Today was the big day, race day!

Tommy Sheridan had no idea that Grandpa used to smoke. He quit decades ago, but it wasn’t soon enough. Grandpa went to the doctor when he couldn’t stop coughing. The X-rays and follow-up tests didn’t look good, and Grandpa was glad to be able to spend as much time with Tommy as possible…

…because time was running out.

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Family Monument

wheel

© Jennifer Pendergast

After five-year-old Barry and his Grandpa were done playing in the park, the little boy stood marveling at the giant, rusty wheel, while Grandpa went to get the picnic basket.

Bubbe had made their favorite split pea soup and they sat eating and reading comic books in the wheel’s comforting shadow.

Grandpa said it used to be a monument, but people forgot what to. For Grandpa, it was a symbol of family, something big and enduring that has no beginning or end.

Grandpa’s latest tests showed he was still cancer free. He and Barry were here to celebrate.

I wrote this in response to the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo at the top of the page to write a piece of flash fiction no longer than 100 words. My story today is 98 words long.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

I know I write a whole bunch of endearing little stories about Grandpas and grandkids. I might have written this one differently if the photo didn’t contain a small child.

This story is very, very loosely based on a “road trip” I took with my son David some years back. He served in the Marine Corps and suffered a number of injuries he believes he should have been receiving disability payments for. The local VA did an evaluation, but David wanted a second opinion, so they sent us to the VA in Walla Walla, Washington.

We made a day of it. My wife really did make homemade split pea soup for us. We told stories during the drive, David played videos on his phone, and I was reading the graphic novel “V for Vendetta” on the trip.

We finally arrived back home in Boise exhausted, but we had a great time. To this day, it’s one of my favorite adventures with my son.

The scene in the photo looks vaguely like the grounds of the VA in Walla Walla, which is a converted fort.

Sorry if I’m writing too many schmaltzy tales, but if at all possible, I prefer happy endings.

Is That You Talking?

urns

© Dawn M. Miller

I bought the one that said “Corona Extra” on it because it looked cool. Now that I’ve got the place to myself, I decided I wanted to be able to make a small fire on the back patio for those cold evenings when I needed to be comforted.

“Ouch! That’s hot!”

It’s the first time I try lighting a fire in the urn.

“What did you say to me?”

“I said the fire’s hot.”

“But that’s what you’re for, to burn a fire in. Look, it’s a cool evening and I’d rather enjoy a warm fire while sitting on the patio.”

“Too bad”. The thing actually closes its mouth and smothers the flames. I toy with the idea of calling over my next door neighbor to witness this strangeness but decide against it.

“Oh don’t be surprised I can talk. You’re so lonely, you’ll believe anything can keep you company.”

“You mean…?”

“Call your son and his wife. I’ll bet they’ll be glad to bring the grandkids over.”

“But I thought…”

“Just because you’re divorced, doesn’t mean your kids don’t love you anymore. Go on. Make the call.”

I pick up my cell and the urn goes silent forever.

I wrote this for Sunday Photo Fiction – March 5th 2017 hosted by Al Forbes. The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction no longer than 200 words based on the photo prompt above. My story is 199 words.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

A Kindred Spirit on the Farm

calf

© majesticgoldenrose

The little boy approached the calf timidly. Grandpa thought little Teddy would enjoy visiting the farm. He’d lived in Seattle all his life and this was his first trip to Idaho. He’d be here all summer long before having to return to his Dad.

“It’s okay, boy.” Grandpa crouched down beside the child. He won’t hurt you. Go ahead and pet his nose.”

Teddy walked forward. He looked back at his Grandpa, who smiled and nodded reassuringly. Then the boy slowly reached out to the calf, which obediently let the child rub the fur above his nose. Teddy smiled for the first time in months, and then giggled.

Now maybe the healing could begin. The calf knew what it was to lose a mother, too.

Written in response to the FFfAW Challenge-Week of February 28, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words, with a word count of 150 being ideal. My story came in at exactly 125 words.

To read other stories based on the same prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Final Resting Place

daisy may

© Mike Vore

“I know you’ve seen better days, old girl.”

78-year-old Frank Parker patted the rusting hood of the ’49 Chevy.

Replacing the faded American flag hanging from the passenger-side door with a fresh one, he remembered.

“I was just your age when my Pa first bought the Daisy May. Saved up for over a year to buy her.”

“Why do you keep her, Gramps? She’s all broken down.”

“Reminds me of better days, Timmy, when everything made sense. As long as I live, she’ll always have a home here on the back forty.”

He looked down at his great-grandson. “You sure you want to do this, boy?”

Timmy hugged the old man. “I’m sure Gramps. I promise to bring a new flag every month. I’ll watch over her for you.”

Old Frank had the same cancer that took his Pa so many years ago. He was going to Heaven to be with Pa, Ma, and his wife Sarah. The life he lived was his inheritance to his children and their children’s children.

I wrote this in response to the FFfAW Challenge-Week of February 7, 2017. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in around between 100 and 175 words, with 150 being optimal, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thanks as always to the challenge host Priceless Joy.

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

I know that America has never been a perfect nation nor is it now. And while I’m about a decade-and-a-half shy of being 78, my childhood was full of joys my grandchildren will never experience. If I can give them at least some small sense of history and a world without smartphones, X-boxes, or the Internet, when children played outside all day with their friends, and yes, we rode our bikes without wearing helmets and didn’t die, then perhaps that past won’t die with me (no, I don’t have cancer. I feel fine).

The Last Lunch at Nanking’s

chinese restaurant

© Singledust

Joel had been bringing his son Chris to the Nanking’s on Balboa since he was seven. They had father-son talks over dumpling soup or dry-fried chicken. Tommy Woo, the owner, was like an uncle to the boy. Joel and Chris eventually became a fixture at Nanking’s.

Chris was 30 now and engaged. This was their last lunch together.

Nanking doesn’t open until noon, but Joel asked Tommy for a favor. They lunched at ten just the two men with Tommy and his staff.

Chris opened his fortune cookie and read it. “Your life will change dramatically. Never thought these things were true until now.”

Joel smiled weakly and looked out the window.

“They’re here son. You ready?”

“Yes, Dad. Thanks for this one last time together.”

They stood. Tommy was near the kitchen door, tears streaming down his face.

“I love you, son.” They embraced, both crying now.

“I’ll turn myself in. You’re right. I caught Mallory cheating on me, but I shouldn’t have killed her. Now I’m going to prison.”

I wrote this in response to the Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. Based on the photo prompt above, ideally, you’re supposed to write a flash fiction story of between 100 and 150 words, however the word count can go up to 175. That’s good, because my wee tale comes in at 170 words.

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

There’s a very slight similarity to reality here. My son David and I periodically meet at a local Thai restaurant on Fridays about once every three months or so to spend time together. Beyond that, the story is pure fiction.

Finding Love Again

hotel

© A Mixed Bag 2014

The so-called Country Hotel was located in the center of town. Dreary, gray, depressing place, but it’s where Janice said to meet. He’d been in worse.

Dean checked in and took his luggage to his room on the fifth floor. Janice made the reservation, so she’d know where to find him.

He didn’t unpack, just took off his overcoat, laid it across the bed, and nervously looked at his wristwatch. Almost time. Would they remember him after five years?

He heard the knock. Children’s muffled voices.

He hesitated for a second, then opened it.

“Grandpa!” Eleven-year-old Aaron and nine-year-old Esther screamed simultaneously, launching into the room, embracing their grandfather.

“I appreciate this, Janice. I know you don’t have to do this.”

“Dad, they love their Grandpa and want to spend time with him.”

Thank God Janice was so forgiving and the kids were so loving.

Dean kneeled down and excitedly announced. “Guess what? Tomorrow, we’ll go on an airplane to where Grandpa lives in Florida. We’re going to have a terrific time over Spring break.”

Dean’s mistake cost him five years in prison away from his family. Now he was going to make up for lost time.

I wrote this in response to this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction. The challenge is to use the photo prompt (see above) to write a complete story of no more than 200 words. My wee missive comes in at exactly 200.

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

Taking Care of the Family

counterclock

Image: Odditymall.com

It worked. I changed everything for the better. Now my son Charles marries a hardworking, loving wife and mother instead of a depressed lay about. Now my son Chris makes his career decision five years earlier and gets a tenured position before the recession hits. Now my wife has that business she’s always wanted and the franchise money will make her rich. The Time Changer worked, but with one catch. Instead of me being a successful scientist, I’m a divorced drug addict, dying of lung cancer in the local hospital’s charity ward, a total human failure. It was worth it.

I’ve been writing so much flash fiction over the past few days, that when this idea popped up, I thought I’d take advantage. No prompt, no challenge. Just the way my head works.

You Can Never Go Home, Especially If You’re A Vampire

neighborhood

Image: University of Dayton

From the Unlife and Curse of Sean Becker

Can a vampire still love? I know that’s probably a hard question to answer. I feel the same way for my wife Janet as always. I feel the same love for my children as I did before I died. Perhaps that’s what’s driven me back home…to see them again.

I know it’s crazy. If I’m seen by my family or anyone I used to know, they’ll recognize me and I have no explanation for how I can be here, well, no sane explanation.

Can you imagine me saying, “It’s okay. It’s me, Sean Becker. Yes, I died, but you see, I was killed by a vampire, so guess what I woke up as three days after you buried me?”

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