Three on a Match

Friday Fictioneers, Friday, January 31

117 words

Johnny and I smoke cigarettes in the trenches. Joe doesn’t smoke but shares his rations. That way he won’t be the unlucky third. I heard Nazi boys aren’t allowed cigs. They think it’s bad for their health.


Knowing Dad kicked the habit after the war makes me feel less guilty about lighting up. This jungle blurs definitions of “friend” and “foe.” As chances of making it home alive narrow, I’ve become increasingly comfortable in the company of nicotine.


I light up, take a drag, insist on finishing before leaving base. Jamie teases me for picking up the habit in Iraq. I figure there’ll be time to quit later. It’s a family thing. The roadside bomb dictates otherwise.

25 thoughts on “Three on a Match

  1. Dear Marie,

    Welcome to Friday Fictioneers. After all this time we’re writing together again…sort of. 😉

    For many of us, half the fun is going around to different stories, reading and commenting. You don’t have to read all of them like this obsessive woman does.

    It took me a couple of reads to realize this is two different wars. Still a good read. The last line of the second paragraph is my favorite.




  2. storydivamg says:

    Thanks for the warm welcome, my friend. I do feel as though we are writing together again. It makes me happy.

    Actually, it is 3 wars–WWII, Vietnam and Iraq. I wondered if I should add *** or something else between paragraphs to make the distinction clearer.

    I look forward to reading others as well. I’ve read a few but haven’t commented just yet. Other activities have held my focus so far today and I’ve gotten a bit bogged down in comments from another short fiction challenge to which I am brand new.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  3. Three wars but only two survivors. Sad. Welcome to FF, BTW. 🙂


  4. A sad story but well written.

  5. Sandra says:

    I don’t know whether you’ve amended it, but I definitely understood it to be three wars. Original structure – very effective.

  6. Nan Falkner says:

    I liked this story – especially the last line. Thanks, Nan

  7. claireful says:

    A great take on the picture, and yes, very clearly now three different wars. The very last line is a killer (perhaps literally), and if it is literally, I like it even more that the paragraph is written in the first person.

  8. I like how the smoking carries through the generations as a war thing.. Imagine the rations being part of what kept the soldiers going…

  9. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    Very nice job — the parallels you’ve managed with just 100 words is impressive!

  10. I enjoyed this sad but realistic story. That war ended a lot of future plans as do all wars.

  11. I thought that was a very clever way of linking the three generations. And it’s true that people at war are always smoking. Who wouldn’t?

  12. Welcome to FF. I like how you did this; incorporating family, war, and bad habits.

  13. Wow, you fit an entire family legacy in here, all centered around war and smoking. This is quite a piece. Tragic ending, but that’s the reality of war, unfortunately.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, David. I’ll admit, the word limit presented a challenge; however, I often find that the harder it is to fit a piece into the word count, the stronger it ends up being after the wrestling is complete.

Comments, compliments and constructive criticism are always welcome.

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