A telephone rings on Chicago’s Northside…
“Hi, Cheryl, you used to teach swimming, I’ve a question.”
“I’m all ears, Ethel. Why do you ask?”
“You know how Betty got me started being a fiction writer, my blog? Whadda call the animal strokes?”
“Oh yes, your blog. I haven’t seen much writing there lately, thought you gave that up.”
“Writer’s block. Betty sent me the latest photo prompt by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, there’s a picture of this woman swimming also. Story!”
“Not that one.”
“No, isn’t there a frog one?”
“The breast stroke is also called the frog kick, Ethel.”
“Great! Perfect title too.”
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Betty tells me that Ethel is busy writing her first Friday Fictioneers story, but she’s having trouble sticking to the 100 word limit. If you want to write a story, everything you need to know is in the photo below, I think that may have been the one Ethel saw. The official prompt photo is at the top of this page, please use that one for your story.
“Hi, Cheryl. Guess what, I’ve changed my lucky number.”
“No more 36? Ethel, why do you call so early?”
“I waited till nine.”
“On Sunday that’s early. What’s the new number?”
“Oh, Michael Jordan.”
‘No, silly, you know I don’t like basketball.”
“The Lord is my Shepherd? And, don’t tell me you aren’t religious anymore.”
“I’m still Catholic and that’s my favorite verse, but not it.”
“Well, I’m done guessing, so tell me or get off the phone.”
“You know my interest in Cytogenetics, 23 is the number of chromosomes in a human sex cell.”
“I’m making coffee now.”
♂︎ ♀︎ ♂︎ ♀︎ ♂︎ ♀︎ ♂︎ ♀︎ ♂︎ ♀︎ ♂︎ ♀︎ ♂︎ ♀︎
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.
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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.
“I told you he was a snake oil salesman, Ethel. Didn’t I?”
“You said something like that.”
“I said something exactly like that.”
“Well, I didn’t know what charlatan meant, you can’t blame me.”
“Someone selling free HBO for life in front of the Jewel? Course it didn’t work when you got home!”
“He seemed so honest, Cheryl.”
“All quacks are.”
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Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT? Write a story or poem with just 61 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
“Silence is golden, Ethel, you should try it.”
“So, I talk too much, Cheryl?”
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Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMP? Write a story or poem with just 15 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
Congratulations are in order, Sammi. This is your one hundredth prompt. I’ve done eight and enjoyed every one of them.
“What’s got you in such a tizzy, Ethel?”
“It’s that Sammi Cox!”
“What’s the word?”
“That’s what I said.”
“Get your dictionary, look it up.”
“I did, I don’t like that word, now I have a writer block.”
“How many words?”
“You can do 52.”
“It’s a bugbear, Cheryl.”
Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMP? Write a story or poem with just 52 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
“Equinox, sheequinox! I don’t believe in that hoo doo. I’m going to do it anyway.”
“No you idiot, that’s the the first of Spring thing. That’s a good one. I’m talking about Mercury being in retrograde, you don’t want to make any important decisions.”
“I love Spring, and I can’t wait. I also can’t wait to get a new car, and I’ve got my eyes on a sweet Saturn.”
“That’s not a new car.”
“It’ll be new for me, so Saturn trumps Mercury!”
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I must thank my sister, Mariya, for her wise counsel concerning all things astrological.
Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT? Write a story or poem with just 83 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
“See sells seashells by the seashore.”
“She shells seashells by the seashore.”
“She sells sezeshells by the seashore.”
“She sells seashells by the sezeshore.”
“This is hard, why can’t I get this?”
“Stop whining and try again, take your time.”
“Okay. She sells seashells by the seashore.”
“Yes!!! I knew you could do it.”
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My thanks to Wilkie Bard I could not have done this piece without him.
Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT? Write a story or poem with just 59 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
Roger screwed up, he distinctly meant to be indistinct, it didn’t work, they all saw right through him.
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Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT? Write a story or poem with just 18 words and send it to Sammi Cox.
“Ethel!”, screams Cheryl.
“You didn’t stop!”
“At the corner, no stop.”
“Yes I did, I always stop at stop signs.”
“No, you were rolling, that doesn’t count as a stop. And the sign says stop.”
“Oh for God’s sake, Cheryl, don’t be so picky. That was enough of a stop. You never yell at Betty when she drives.”
“That’s because Betty always stops at signs. You made a California stop.”
“What are you talking about, we’re in Chicago?”
“That’s what they call a rolling stop. You rolled.”
Ethel sighs as she rolls thru the next stop.
February 7: Flash Fiction Challenge The prompt was ‘Signs’… 99 Words, no more, no less.