A Masterpiece


I lied. “Yes, I have repaired, resurfaced, and painted probably dozens of wrought iron fences like these.”

The estate’s property manager tilted his head down so he could see me clearly over his reading glasses. Then he glanced down at the written proposal I had given to him.

I needed the work. I’d been doing odd jobs ever since I got discharged from the army sixteen month earlier and some of them included repairing and painting fences. Wood fences. So it was just a little white lie.

“Check my references,” I said. All the names on the list were my army buddies who were willing to vouch for me even though I’d never done any handyman work for any of them.

“Fine,” he said. “If your references check out, you can start the day after tomorrow.”

It took me almost two weeks to complete the work, and the property manager told me that I had far exceeded his expectations. Then he told me the owner called my work “a masterpiece.”

(170 words)

Written for this week’s FFfAW challenge from Priceless Joy.

FFfAW — Scientific Sparement


Samantha hadn’t slept well for the past four or five nights and was experiencing yet another mid-afternoon slump. She reached for the pot of coffee from that morning and poured what remained into her cup.

Samantha opened the microwave door to heat up the coffee, but before she could put her cup inside, she dropped it on the floor, and let out a scream. She reached inside the oven and pulled out a white, porcelain mug that was partially encrusted in a dark red substance.

She picked up the pieces of her broken cup and mopped up the spilled coffee. Then Samantha called out to her six-year-old daughter, who was in the family room. “Alicia, get in here this instant.”

Samantha held up the mug and asked, “What is this?”

“That’s my sparement,” Alicia said.

“Your what?”

“My science sparement,” Alicia answered. “I wanted to see what would happen if I put my crayons in the microwave. See? It worked!”

(163 words)

Written for this week’s FFfAW (Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers) challenge. Photo credit: artycaptures.wordpress.com

Built for Two


David’s eyes teared up when he saw the father and son riding past him on the tandem bicycle. It wasn’t that long ago that he and his own father were enjoying taking such rides together.

But then his father expectantly suffered a massive heart attack that took his life. David was devastated by the loss. His father and mother used to ride a tandem bike before David was old enough. Once David was big enough, his father would help him onto the back of the bike and the two of them would spend hours exploring the bicycle trails in various city parks.

Having the bike in their garage, though, was just too much for his mother to bear, so she sold it without telling David.

Seeing the father and son that day reminded David that the tandem bike, now gone forever, was his father’s prized possession.

David’s tears streamed down his cheeks.

(152 words)

Written for Priceless Joy’s August 8th FFfAW challenge.

The Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge is to write a flash fiction story of up to 150 words (± 25), based on the weekly photo prompt. Photo credit: Dorothy.

Search and Rescue


“Over here!” yelled Tony. “They’re over here.”

Relief spread over Sarah like a warm blanket. “Thank God you found them.”

“No,” Tony shouted back. “It’s just their kayaks. Not Tim and Maureen.”

“Shit.” Sarah knew that was not good news. Her brother and his wife had left for their kayak adventure on Friday and were expected back on Monday night. It was now Tuesday and no one had heard from them.

Jim walked over to where the Tony had found the kayaks. “It looks like all of their stuff is here,” he observed.

“Footprints!” Sarah called out to the two men. The three gathered to see the footprints in the sand leading from water’s edge about 20 yards into the dense woods.

They followed the footprints to the edge of the trees. “This is a small island,” Tony said. “I’m sure we’ll find them.”

A week later the lead story on the local TV news channel was about the mysterious disappearance of five mainland residents.

(165 words)

This post was written for this week’s FFfAW challenge. Image from T. J. Paris.

FFfAW — Another One Bites The Dust

“Throw these on, grab two mooring lines, and wade over to those rocks,” Max instructed his new apprentice.

Jimmy pulled on the brown, waist-high waders, reached for the ropes, and jumped over the side of the boat into the shallow water. He then slowly started working his way toward the rocky shore.

Standing upright in the boat and pointing to a large rock, Max shouted, “Moor the lines to that large boulder. But be careful,” he warned. “The rocks can be quite slippery.”

Jimmy yelled back, “Aye aye, Captain,” and gave Max a thumbs-up.

Jimmy worked his way to the rocky terrain and headed toward the big boulder that Max had pointed out. He got busy tying the mooring lines around the rock, knotting the ropes just as Max had taught him.

After he checked to make sure the lines were secure, Jimmy stood up on the large rock and thrust both hands into the air in a gesture of success. That’s when he slipped off the wet rock and cracked his head wide open.

This 175-word post was written for this week’s photo challenge at Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

One Step at a Time


George stood at the bottom of the stone steps leading to the top of the grassy hill. He looked up toward the top and started counting the steps, reaching twenty before he had to stop, as the steps above the twentieth were difficult to individually discern from his vantage point.

He sighed, remembering when, in his youth, he would have been able to vault up these steps and reach the top without even breathing hard. But that was then. These days George knew that he would be winded before he reached the twentieth step, realizing that even then he would barely be half-way to the top.

“You can do it, George,” he said aloud to himself, as no one else was within ear shot. “One step at a time, George. No rush. No records to set. No pressure.”

Taking deep breath, George lifted his right leg, pushed down with his left, and almost willed himself forward to scale the first step. He continued this process in a slow, deliberate, and determined way, one step after the other, counting each step until he reached the twentieth, where he pause and looked back down the hill.

George paused on that twentieth step, breathing deeply and trying to calm his rapidly beating heart. As he looked up toward the crest of the hill, he sensed that the incline had become even steeper than the portion he had just completed. “One step at a time, George. No rush. No records to set. No pressure,” he repeated as he started the next part of the ascent.

He stopped counting each step as he conquered it, concentrating instead on managing his heartbeat and controlling his breathing. He didn’t know how long it took to get there, but he finally managed to make it to the very top step.

As he stepped onto that final stone at the top of the hill, George saw a little figure running toward him. “See Grandpa, I told you could do it,” shouted the little figure, who ran up to George and hugged the old man’s legs.

“Anything for you, Tommy,” George said, patting the head of the boy who had vaulted up the steps without even breathing hard just moments before.

This post was written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (FFfAW) challenge. Thanks to Michael Morpethroad for turning me on to this weekly challenge.

Image: JS Brand