Gumshoe

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of C.E. Ayr via the Friday Fictioneers event hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Join in and/or find others’ contributions here.

Gumshoe

Derelicts dotted the sidewalk, silently flapping their gums. Dust cloaked the lot of them, but some were outfitted with fashionable flair; wool vests, knitted scarves, and random shoes all about. The only sense of symmetry came from the odd globs that spotted each garment.

I never understood any of this until I fell to the sidewalk. One of my shoes gummed in place, plastered to the curb, and my coat subsequently stuck to the cement. I managed to hold my face barely above dirt-caked disks when I realized that the derelicts wore whatever the concrete claimed.

I surrendered its bounty.

Advertisements

Revising the Old Lie

JHC5

Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of J. Hardy Carroll via the Friday Fictioneers event hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Join in and/or find others’ contributions here.

Revising the Old Lie

An ancient man bowed his head, but his words rose like ghosts, “‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.’”

A nearby pilgrim couldn’t bear it. “How many times are you gonna repeat that old lie?”

“But it’s true.” His eyes became grave as his knurled hands glossed the gabbro. “I missed my chance.”

“Life isn’t issued out by your country. It springs from struggle and from death.” The ancient man lifted his head and looked at the scar the monument made into the earth, then the bare trees beside it. “Want the truth? Revise it. Dulce et decorum est mori.”


**Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is Latin for “It is sweet and glorious/right to die for one’s country/fatherland.” It was originally used by the Roman poet Horace in his Odes, but became known as “the old lie” after Wilfred Owen’s World War I poem “Dulce et Decorum est” about the tragedies he witnessed (particularly the use of chlorine gas). Pro patria, which is omitted in the “revision,” means “for one’s country/fatherland.”

If anyone is willing to submit constructive criticism, I’m most interested in how the conclusion reads. I fear that a reader’s experience may be wildly different than what I experienced writing this, though that surely can have its benefits. (Also, if anyone knows Latin, could you inform me of any grammatical error(s) at the end? I tried to verify its accuracy, but my knowledge is limited.) Of course, any constructive criticism is welcome and appreciated.

Digging

PHOTO PROMPT - © Connie Gayer (Mrs. Russell)

Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of Connie Gayer via the Friday Fictioneers event hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Join in and/or get your drabble fix here.

Digging

Between my finger and my thumb, the squat pen rests. “Snug as a gun.”

“What?!” The cosmetically composed woman a table away eyes my scarred surface, the irrepressible stains that forever remain. She doesn’t look at the stack of poetry or the notebook before me. Only me. The untenable me.

“Sorry, just about to do some digging.” I thump my pen on Heaney’s Death of a Naturalist that was buried on the shelf behind me. Her eyes are too narrowly drawn to notice.

As she shakes in her seat, I rise from mine. I’ll have to find better turf today.


*The first paragraph is the excerpted beginning of Seamus Heaney’s poem, “Digging,” from the collection referenced within the story. One of my professors once mentioned that I write similarly to Heaney and that I should study him. (Aside from teaching my poetry courses, he also instructed the Irish Literature class, which might explain why he used such a reference.) My conversations with that professor (often after class) were probably the most influential moments of my undergraduate experience, and I remain grateful even now. (PLEA TO TEACHERS: Support your students beyond the necessary material!)

Anyway, I graciously await your criticisms.

Life Cycles

PHOTO PROMPT - © Dale Rogerson

Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of Dale Rogerson via the Friday Fictioneers event hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Join in and/or get your drabble fix here.

Life Cycles

Pupae hang from the glassy surface of stagnating water, vacuumed to the sun’s reflection by their respiratory trumpets. Larvae leisurely propel themselves by the feeding current of their mouth brushes to partake of pleuston.

I trust I’d be justified — even celebrated — to destroy them before they break their dependency on this puddle’s microlayer.

As I raise my boot above the water, it blackens with my shadow and the not-yet-mosquitoes plunge under grass blades. My foot lingers a moment as they remain hidden and drowning.

I lower my foot and crouch beside the puddle again and watch as they cautiously resurface.

She’s Got a Ticket to Ride

copyright-Ron-Pruitt

Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of Ron Pruitt via Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, the host of the Friday Fictioneers event, who’s celebrating the beginning of her fourth year at the helm. Others’ stories are available here. Feel free to join in (guidelines may be found at our host’s site).

She’s Got a Ticket to Ride

She’d always been prudent and frugal. If she ever decided to act, it was only after economical deliberation.

The day she bought the ticket was by no means a matter of impulse. Each motion of the transaction was carefully calculated.

However, she couldn’t effectively account for the variable that he was.

He arrived at the bus station as she was the last to step aboard, bags already packed. He proclaimed his love and her need to stay in clichéd and impulsive fashion.

She contemplated the prospect of his words as hydraulics hissed the doors shut and she took her seat.

The Pallbearer

PHOTO PROMPT -© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, host of the Friday Fictioneers event. Others’ stories are available here. Feel free to join in (guidelines may be found at our host’s site).

The Pallbearer

The railing was slick, as if it wanted to resist my grasp. He was never fond of me, but there was a dire need for anyone willing to lend a hand. I was given the “honor” out of necessity. Nothing more.

The sermon was insipid. I could hardly hear the impersonal words over the rain and didn’t want to, anyway. I was too focused on the beads slapping his poplar coffin then veining their way to the softened earth, wondering how much more weathering we could bear when I reached out one last time. The surface was slick. Nothing more.


Moment of Self-Advertisement

I have a new piece of flash fiction, “A Murder of One,” out at freeze frame fiction! Feel free to check it out while it’s available for free. Or even after; they sell each quarter’s volume as ebooks as a means of paying their contributors. (And don’t be put off by the title, it’s probably not what you think.)

Newly Non-Custodial

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Photo prompt courtesy and copyright property of Ted Strutz via Rochelle Wisoff-FieldsFriday Fictioneers event (which has an open door policy for participation). Others’ contributions may be found here.

Newly Non-Custodial

“Dad, why do they call these ‘elephant ears’?” She bit in without worry, her concern dispelled once we’d reached the stand’s sweet scent.

“You’ve heard that elephants never forget, right?” I looked down to her powder-coated cheeks as she nodded, chewing through the dough. “We’re supposed to eat these so that we never forget this day.” I started working on mine. “So that we never forget each other.”

“I won’t forget you, Dad.” She giggled at the thought and picked at her piece.

“Just to be safe, make sure you eat it all, okay?”

“But it’s so big!”

“Pretty please?”