Frozen Memories


MorgueFile May 2018 1400068700w0086

Noah Banks stopped in front of the four-star restaurant his Grandparents used to take the family to when he and his sister were kids. Mom told him when he was six that this wasn’t the sort of place you ordered a PB&J or hot dog with extra relish at, but what did he know?

The young man chuckled at his own childishness. Grandpa never minded, and since the old man owned the place, neither did the management.

But that was twenty years ago and everything had changed. The place was still set up, pristine, orderly, waiting for patrons who would never come. He looked up and down an almost deserted Wilshire Boulevard. Everyone was in the shelters waiting for the next Glazzuarq orbital bombardment. Amazingly, this part of L.A. had been spared so far.

Half a block away, his shuttle to the spaceport was just pulling up. The U.S. Marine hustled, carrying his heavy duffel. He had to get to Vandenberg in time to launch aboard the battle cruiser “Intrepid” and fight those alien goonies in space. But before going, he just had to say good-bye to the rest of his family, now all interned at Forest Lawn cemetery.

I wrote this for Week #32 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

Since you can see the reflection of trees in the window, the POV is from the outside looking in. I thought about memories, and how a young woman I used to date many decades ago, told me when she was a child, she did order PB&Js at expensive restaurants her parents took her to.

The rest just unfolded in a dystopian sort of way.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit

A Black Matter for the King

vietnam war

Found at the Vietnam War page at

His smile was like some kind of magic, but that’s not why she chose to talk with him.

Natalie Sanders Pena sat next to the shy young Marine near Gate B14 at Denver International Airport. He was heading back to Pendleton after his leave, and was due to be deployed to Vietnam within the next two weeks. The airport PA system was issuing a seemingly endless stream of advisories, but someone nearby had a transistor radio playing the Beatles’s “Penny Lane.” She hadn’t heard that song in a long time, but for her newfound friend, it was practically brand new.

“You miss your wife and little girl already, don’t you?” She looked down at the photo of the young woman and four-year-old girl he was holding near his lap.

“Yeah, I guess I do.” His Kentucky accent was tremendously apparent, and it was one of the few things she remembered clearly about him from her childhood.

“That’s perfectly normal. I’m sure they miss you, too.”

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