The pen wasn’t worth anything, but Maddie pocketed it anyway.
Jerry saw her do it and didn’t do anything. Maybe if it was one of the Cross ones, but this was a Bic.
As store manager, Jerry figured he had the right to look the other way, and this kid looked like she could use a little ‘looking the other way’.
He followed her, slyly he thought, thru the office supply section and watched her pocket a notebook.
She turned and looked at him, eyes of sadness, not fear, and it looked like she was about to cry.
“Hey, it’s all right. You aren’t in trouble, I’m the boss and I won’t tell myself what you are doing.” Hoping for a laugh.
She looked from right to left. “Hey don’t run. Let’s go get some ice cream and talk about this.” Kids like ice cream, Jerry does, and his store has good ice cream.
Maddie agreed, and with a cone in one hand and her bic pen in the other she poured out her heart to him. The school has no money to give out pencils and paper and she has an English assignment due, her mother has no money, she is only nine and has no job, neither does her mother.
Jerry listened to her, asked the name of her teacher, and took her back to the office supply section, stopping to get a cart first.
🖋 ✒️ 🖋 ✒️ 🖋 ✒️ 🖋 ✒️ 🖋 ✒️ 🖋 ✒️
Your line for this week is: The pen wasn’t worth anything, but Maddie pocketed it anyway. That was the prompt for First Line Fridays at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Dylan Hughes is in charge, head on over and check out the stories, maybe add one of your own.
This was interesting to write, because when I saw the line I had to use, I immediately thought of something I saw on the news the other night and the story formed instantly. That’s my kind of flash fiction. I usually write 100 words, but this one went elsewhere, and I didn’t need Ethel & Cheryl’s help this time.
I got this message from my sister Mariya after she read this story. I thought I would share it… Good story! It is so true, even in my time of public school teaching 20 years ago. I cried reading it. I cannot tell you how many supplies I purchased, including books to keep, for kids whose parents just couldn’t because they were so broke, or because the parents had other problems and the children were neglected. Many teachers do this, even on their low-paying salaries compared to the amount of responsibility and workload involved in the job.
“Hey, Ethel, I’m stopping by Starbucks on my way over. Want coffee?”
“I only drink tea, Cheryl.”
“Oh really, since when? You had a latte at lunch yesterday.”
“Since last night. I read coffee is bad for you. It’s a stimulate, you know.”
“Everyone knows that. In moderation it’s fine, you just don’t know how to moderate. And, you are hyper enough without any added stimulation, Ethel.”
“Well, thank you for that, Cheryl.”
“Well, I’m stopping, they have a new Cinnamon Cloud Macchiato on the menu I want to try.”
“Cinnamon? Macchiatos have caramel. Okay, pick me one up, please.”
☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️
100 Words of Flash Fiction for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie for Tale Weaver
The Virtue of Silence
“Hi Cheryl, guess what?”
“I’m taking the vow of silence!”
“You’re becoming a nun?”
“No, silly, I’m not going to talk for a day.”
“Wow, that’s one big vow of silence, Ethel. I’m afraid to ask, what prompted this?”
“You remember my interest in meditation?”
“Right, Betty got you onto that. It still bugs me that you won’t tell me your mantra.”
“The Maharishi says ‘to speak your mantra aloud is like pulling a plant from its roots’.”
“A vow of silence is another form of meditation.”
“Well Ethel, it will be a sweet twenty-four hours.
Another 100 Words with the girls. This time for Sunday Writing “It’s all in the title.” by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. They asked for a poem or story using one of the 10 titles they offered. I chose ‘The Virtue of Silence”
Jason rose from the bench, his teaching finished for the day. Bemused, he watches as she packs her sheet music in her bag and retrieves her cellphone; she is his least favorite pupil. Cara’s not a bad player, she works hard, and she’s better than most of his other students. It is the stench of patchouli oil that puts her in that category, so he holds his breath as much as he can while he watches her play the piano, giving advice from time to time. “See you next week, Mr. J.” “Next week, Cara, don’t forget to practice.”
The following week something is different. Same flowery sundress, same patchouli oil, same banging the keys, then it hits him. The hourglass has sand in it. “Cara, you have sand!” “I know, Mr. J, do you like it? I’m so glad you noticed.” How could he not, the tiny hourglass on the webbing between her thumb and index finger now contained sand, canary yellow sand to be precise. “Do you love it?” “I do, your hourglass has a purpose now.” “Time marches on, Mr. J.” As she packs her bag, Jason hands her a small gift box. “A little something from us to reward you for the time you have spent practicing and learning the piano. Open it when you get home.”
At her next lesson a delicate floral scent follows Cara to the bench. “Thank you so much, Mr. J, I love my gift. I thought it was time for a change too,” a knowing smile on her face, as she begins to play.
⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️ ⌛️
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie posed a challenge for their “5 by 5” Sunday Writing Prompt. Write a story or poem using one of five words in each of the following categories… a piece of furniture, a scent, a color, a shape, and an item carried in the pocket, wallet, or purse.
Nikki stood looking at the tree stump for a very long time. Finally she turned and walked back to where we were standing, shaking her head.
Nikki sees things other people don’t see. When I asked her what she had seen she said, “I don’t know, but she was pretty.” I’ve learned to leave it at that and not ask questions.
We went and looked at the tree stump, but didn’t see anything. Didn’t hear anything either.
It was getting dark so we found Nikki and left.
Photo Prompt Artwork by Ingrid Endel ~ Thank you to Nekneeraj for the invitation to write.