Friday Fictioneers – Caught On The Job

ff110117The down arrow gently pulsed. I could have walked, but 29 floors was a long way and there was no rush. While waiting, I briefly reflected on a job well done, a particularly troublesome loose-end tied up once and for all.

A door clicked shut behind me. I turned to see a figure emerging from the gloom.

Shit.

It was 4:15 in the morning. Why was she there? I was told nobody would be there.

I smiled and stood to one side as the lift door slowly opened. I wouldn’t get paid double, but when my liberty was at stake, not even money mattered.

friday-fictioneers

These words form this my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.  

Friday Fictioneers – Debt Crisis

ff050117Most days, the twisting lane down to Hennigan’s farm lay silent. Only the rumble of Frank’s rusty tractor occasionally besmirched the rural hush. In summers though, desperately needed visitors would weave their way down the lane to buy the farm’s prize asset, Hennigan cider. There hadn’t been nearly enough visitors this summer, or last, and the farm was in trouble.

From her kitchen, Mary Hennigan peered out between autumn raindrops towards the barn. Frank’s Labrador had been barking, and now he’d started to howl. Buttoning up her raincoat, Mary set out for the barn, cursing both Frank and his stupid dog on the way.

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The words above form my first Friday Fictioneers story of 2017.  

Happy New Year to all my fellow FF’rs.

Friday Fictioneers – Movie Memories

ff281216Every Saturday morning my brother and I would cycle down to the movie theatre on the corner of Mullen St. No matter the weather, no matter what was playing, we’d be there. For two hours each week we would leave behind our small hometown and travel to places we’d only ever read about, perhaps even to the distant reaches of outer space. The stars on that flickering screen were our heroes. One by one those heroes are leaving us. Yet the moments of joy and wonder they provided at that theatre on the corner of Mullen St will remain forever.

friday-fictioneers

My final Friday Fictioneers story of 2016 takes the form of a small tribute to those childhood icons who have passed in recent days, weeks and months. May they all rest in peace. 

Friday Fictioneers – For Old Time’s Sake

ff211216Kelly’s feet ached. The soles on her shoes needed repairing; Frankie Jr’s front teeth needed straightening.

‘Five minutes, Kelly.’

The manager’s words were sympathetically delivered, but she knew she couldn’t take advantage. Not if she wanted to keep this job.

There was one last card to write – it was always the hardest. Christmas was just about the only time Kelly and her mother acknowledged each other’s existence these days. Some years she wondered why they bothered at all. But then she would remember the times before it went bad, and then she’d cry, and then she’d write the card.

‘Break over, Kelly. Table five’s waiting.’

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These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Merry Christmas to all my friends on FF, especially Rochelle, who continues to be the most gracious of hosts for our weekly scribbles.

Friday Fictioneers – Onward to Victory

ff151216We hadn’t advanced in weeks. My fingers and toes were turning black with frostbite. From somewhere deep within the freezing mists came the unnerving echo of enemy gunfire. This cursed weather didn’t seem to affect them as much as it did us.

Despite everything, my letters home had remained defiant – they had to be. We knew that all of our personal correspondence was reviewed by increasingly paranoid eyes. If I told the truth, If I said I thought the Fuhrer was wrong, I’d never see my wife and son again.

I steadied my rifle, despite trembling hands, as fresh snows began to fall.

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These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Festive Follies

ff071216I’d been up here once before, back when our father had worked on the building’s maintenance crew. On that sticky summer’s day my brothers and I believed we could see the whole world, even if it was really only west New Jersey. Thirty years later I look down and watch the rush-hour traffic backing up on Riverview Drive.  A sudden, biting wind ruffles my hair, nips at my tears. I look up briefly to catch a cascade of coloured lights twinkling in the windows of apartments across the street. Within my coat pocket an unanswered phone continues to ring.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Family Eviction

ff301116Colin lives in a tent at the bottom of his mother’s garden – down there between the gnarly old fir and the stream. It may not seem like much of a home, but to Colin it’s his sanctuary. His place away from the darkness and the doubts. He couldn’t live anywhere else,  not now.

Colin is 59 and his mother passed last month. Colin’s older sister inherited the family home and wants him gone. Colin and his siblings drifted apart after what happened with their father. His mother though continued to love him as only a mother could. Colin is lost and scared without her.

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These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – The Best Laid Plans

ff231116I lingered as Ellie Henderson walked past the store window.

‘You’ve no chance there,’ my boss, said.

Ellie was a real beauty. I’d  admired her from a distance as she met and married Frank Henderson.  Frank had sure been the lucky one, but his luck ran out when his body turned up face down in Whitewillow Creek – a fishing accident the coroner concluded.  Ellie had been in mourning for months now. Surely she would be ready to move on soon.

‘The door to that one’s heart is locked and bolted – she’ll never love again,’ my boss, continued.

What a proper sinful waste that would be. I almost regretted killing Frank now.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – The Need for Appreciation

ff171116The small jazz club off 3rd and Lafayette was Duane’s second home. The unmistakable sound of the big man slapping his beloved doghouse bass filled the air. The chatter amongst the packed crowd was unanimous:

‘The best’

‘Sends tingles down the spine every time’

I needed a smoke. A woman by the door caught my eye.

“There’s nobody better” she said.

I didn’t know her. I didn’t know any of these people, and I doubt Duane did either. Just maybes if they’d shown him this love before now he wouldn’t have gone and done what he done. Maybe then tonight could have been a gig, and not a wake.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Daddy’s Girl

ff091116Sophie stood out from even the most glamorous of crowds. Her glistening blond hair, the immaculate make-up, the perfect poise – the unmatched grace and style. Everything she wore was made to measure. Nothing but the best for Sophie, only the most famous of labels would do. At times she could attract attention, receive lingering looks from passers-by. Yet, it never made her feel uncomfortable. Instead it made her feel wanted. It made her feel real.

Back in their small home town, Sophie’s father may still mourn for his lost son, yet there isn’t a prouder father alive. Sophie had become the perfect daughter.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Staying Put

ff021116Every time I stopped at the Trading post our conversation would be the same.

‘Why don’t you sell up, Vern?’ I’d ask. ‘Take the money McCullum’s are offering.’

Everyone knew McCullum’s Dairy was desperate to get Vern’s acre of land.

He’d always just smile and reply, ‘Where would you get your gas then, Jimmy? Besides, too many memories.’

Vern died last fall. As it turns out there were other reasons he never left. One reason in the cellar, another in the cavity wall. At least one more in the yard.

McCullum’s Dairy never bought the land. Doubt anyone ever will.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – The Way Out

ff261016‘You absolutely sure you know the way from here?’

I nodded towards our guide. ‘I just saw someone, on the other side,’ I said. ‘In the distance.’

‘I never says getting out would be easy. But if outs what you want, this is it. Take it or leave it.’

I turned to see my wife and son sheltering against the biting, autumn wind. We had nothing, but here, at least, we had each other. Over the bullet-riddled bridge lay dangers, but with luck, perhaps a chance to give our son opportunities we never had.

Heavy, cold raindrops began to fall.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Nom De Plume

ff191016They found Uncle Joe in his shed at the bottom of the garden. Nobody had seen him in almost a week.

His body was slumped over what Uncle Nolan said was once their Grandpa’s writing desk. The floor around Joe’s feet was littered with screwed up paper, the desk drawers crammed with bits and pieces from his life.

On the desk sat a blue typewriter. In a neat pile alongside, were bundles of letters thanking a woman called ‘Mrs Betty Bartholomew’ for her ‘submissions’. I didn’t really understand, but Uncle Nolan just smiled as he wiped away a trickle of fresh tears.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

Friday Fictioneers – Home Alone

ff270313A distant dog howled as a single yellow searchlight passed slowly across the room where we huddled in silence. Outside, the wind continued to shriek. Heavy raindrops crashed against the cottage’s misted window panes. Inside, only one sound, the gentle hiss of a gas lamp above the dusty stone mantle.

“When will father be back?” my sister whispered.

Our Mother’s face was drawn and worn. The empty look in her tear-stained eyes revealed the truth, even if her words remained defiant.

“Soon, child, soon – now sleep.”

A stooping shadow scurried past the window. An impatient knock sounded at the door.

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These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

This is a much more open-ended piece that I would normally write. However, it’s the scene which came into my mind, so it’s what I wrote. Hopefully you can find your own ending.

Friday Fictioneers – A Dignified Ending

ff051016There were no tears to be seen, the only emotion, regret. The young man kneeling on the polished bamboo floor was one born into a life of honour in glory, a life of expectation in defeat. The ritual blade was removed from its golden sheath.

Outside birds sang in the trees. Weeping willows trailed frost covered branches into still, ornamental ponds. A lone servant stood by the door – his head bowed in respectful silence.

A trail of bright crimson trickled across polished bamboo.

From the far side of the courtyard the new emperor’s morning tears echoed through the misty gardens.

friday-fictioneers

These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.