I’m never sure whether to call my verses haiku or senryu.
What do you think?
shakes his head at the plan
tumbling cigar ash
caustic ash drifts far
For the past few days I’ve been choosing stories for my next book of mini fiction tales. Yesterday I applied for the ISBN. As soon as I get that lined up I’ll announce the title.
Some of the stories that appear in the fiction section here will be included in the book, such as the one about the Multi-tasking Motorist. And here’s one of my Friday Fictioneers posts that I’ve reworked and plan to include in the upcoming mix.
From the third storey of the Customs Office Marv Sallens stared down at the busy harbour scene below, watching ships of every size streaming in and out of the busy port. “I wonder how many ships down there are running drugs,” he muttered.
Andy turned to his senior manager standing by the window. “What makes you…. Oh, hey. I’m really sorry, Marv.”
Marv gave a quick nod and turned to go, an icy anger replacing his usual grin. Stepping through the exit door he suddenly stopped and slammed his fist into the door frame.
Chance, the junior clerk looked up, shocked. Marv flexed his hand and walked out without another word. Chance turned to Andy. “What was that all about?”
“Last week they found Marv’s grandson and his fiancee dead in his apartment,” Andy explained. “They’d taken that new street drug…the one cops have been warning the public about.”
Chance swore softly. “I’ve heard about that one. Powerful…but I’ve heard it’s pretty risky. So that’s why Marv’s so torn up.”
“His grandson got his PhD this spring and just landed a great job. Apparently they were celebrating.”
Chance shook his head, seeing again Marv’s hand hitting the frame. He thought of his own parents, imagined how they’d react to something like that. A few minutes later he headed for the toilet…and flushed four white tablets.
Comments and critique welcome. 🙂
Today’s Word of the Day prompt is CANDOR
Here I am rattling on this keyboard in hopes of conveying some thoughts on this topic. HONESTY; TRUTH. Deep subjects!
According to Merriam-Webster candor is the free expression of one’s true feelings.
Adjectives: honest, open-hearted, truthful, direct, forthright, frank, plain-spoken, straightforward, blunt.
How candid can you be in your relationships? How much open sharing do you think is okay between spouses, friends, family? How honest are you with your competitors and antagonists? And when do you just keep quiet and hope for the best, letting others make their own choices and learn their own lessons?
How much candor can you handle from others? If you have a fault, do you want to know about it? Are friends allowed special privileges in this department? Do you expect more gentleness or less frankness from your spouse than close friends?
I can look back on a few times when a friend has been very forthright with me about one of my faults. I sure didn’t appreciate it at the moment, but later on I thanked them for what they said. I’d fallen into a rut and their words put me back on track again.
And I remember a time when I wrote a candid reply to a friend. Her letter informed me that she’d discovered her husband was cheating on her. She was deeply wounded, insulted, and furious. She referred to the “other woman” as “That…that SLUT!”
Do you blame her? I didn’t. Yet I sensed that the fountain of fury I saw splashed across her letter, if she kept bathing in it, would finally drown her. As they say, “Acid corrodes the container it’s in.”
I wrote back to sympathize a bit, yet told her as kindly as I could that she had to let go of that anger or it would destroy her. And as for “that SLUT!” where was she coming from? Though this affair was wrong, maybe the other woman was a hurting, confused person, dealing with self-esteem issues too. I reminded my friend of her own teen years when she had such negative feelings about herself and what this led her into.
(My friend’s mom died young and her dad was abusive to them. One day he decided she needed to work on her math, so he sat her down at the table and sat down across from her with a textbook in one hand and a ping pong paddle in the other. Every time she gave him the wrong answer, he smacked her face with the paddle. As a teen her need for love and approval drove her into a relationship with a married man, which led to an abortion.)
It was a hard letter to write. Honesty stings. She might well hate me when she read it. But my conscience wouldn’t let me just pat her on the back, say “Poor you,” and leave her to drown in that acid.
I didn’t hear from her for a long time, but finally we did resume correspondence. She told me all her other friends were full of sympathy. When she read my letter she raged, “How can she? She’s supposed to be my friend!” But then she wrote, “In the end your letter helped me more than all the sympathy I got.”
Having seen people flounder for years in bitterness, I do believe that sometimes, to help a friend in need, you simply must be openhearted and call a spade a spade.
What do you think?
Another Friday Fictioneers prompt in my In-box this morning, so here’s my story in response. I’m so glad our leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields puts in so much time and effort to moderate these weekly challenges. If you’d like to enter an item in this week’s FF story collection, check out her blog for more details. Thanks to J Hardy Carroll for the prompt image. I’ll admit, photos like this give my muse a real workout!
I wanted to punish Adam that morning. Kid brothers don’t need to tag along when you’re with your best friend!
At the old factory Mick and I easily went over the fence. “Wait up, guys,” Adam yelled.
I nudged Mick. “Tough. He needs to learn.”
We poked around some old machinery, then headed back. Saw Adam’s shoe hooked in the chain; him sprawled on the concrete.
The trident of remorse-fear-panic jabbed me as I ran, screaming his name. I tugged at his arm.
“Careful, Jordan,” Mick warned. “”If he’s got broken bones…”
Adam lived, thank God! And I learned.
The husband and wife were finally agreed on one thing: there was no point going on this way. Too much roiling water had flowed under the bridge. There’d been a number of bitter quarrels between them this last while. Neither of them were happy with the other anymore so the best thing was to get a divorce and try to find happiness with someone new.
Thus they found themselves in court one day, together with their lawyer, making application for divorce, and the question naturally came up as to who should be granted custody of their small son. The would-be ex-spouses were hurling accusations and retorts back and forth so much that his Honour was having a hard time reaching a decision.
Finally he turned to the forlorn-looking little boy and gently asked, “Which one of your parents do you wish to live with, little man?”
The courtroom fell silent, awaiting the boy’s answer. He looked from one parent to the other and burst into tears. “I want to live with both of them!” he wailed.
The husband and wife looked at each other, their eyes asking the question, “What are we doing to our son?” Were their own desires and quarrels really so much more important than his happiness? What would become of him, constantly torn between the two of them? The mother grabbed for some tissues and buried her face in them. The husband bowed his head and wiped away some tears with his thumb.
The husband turned and quietly consulted with his lawyer, then the two of them had a quiet discussion with his wife and her lawyer. After some nodding and a few trembling smiles, each parent took one of the boy’s hands. They approached the Bench and informed the judge they were going to reconcile their differences and be a family again.
The judge smiled down at the three of them and declared the matter dismissed. Still, he couldn’t help wishing their little boy might have been spared this wrenching sorrow.
This story I’ve retold in my own words appeared in an old Friendship Book of Francis Gay. I believe it was a true account, so I’ll call this creative non-fiction.
Time for another Friday Fictioneers tale. This group is hosted by the kindly and ever-smiling Rochelle Wisoff-Fields over at Addicted to Purple. As usual she’s presented us with a picture that should unleash our creative energy — and then it’s cut, cut, cut. A most valuable exercise for learning concision. If you wish to participate, check her blog for details. Everyone is welcome to submit a story.
A special thanks goes to Roger Bultot for supplying us with this photo. Since it’s his photo, lent to the group specifically for this week’s prompt, it must not be “borrowed” by anyone for any other purpose without asking permission.
My mind bounced around on this prompt and finally came up with the following 100-word tale:
There she is, conceited, backstabbing brat. Hanging out with my former friends. Probably flirting with that server like she does with all the guys in the office. She makes my blood boil!
I feel a hand on my shoulder. “Too much lemon in the drink today,” Mike from accounts-receivable asks.
I nod toward the giggling trio. “If you only knew!”
“I do know… some at least. Yeah, she’s annoying, but let it go. It’s disfiguring your face.”
I hear her laugh and grit my teeth. “She’s so fake!”
Mike shrugs. “It’s your face,” he says as he turns away.