Farm-Fresh Fragrances

It’s that time of week again–time for Friday Fictioneers on a Wednesday morning! This week our photo prompt is courtesy of Ted Strutz (who’s a pretty cool guy that you should get to know), and by the week’s end it will inspire scores of original 100-word stories. My story this week weighs in at exactly 100 words.

2016 03 25 Ted T

Copyright Ted Strutz

Farm-Fresh Fragrances

“You tellin’ me your shit don’t stink?”

Dana knew better than to roll her eyes.

“Only person ‘round here who can get away with that is your mother. That’s why I married her. Now, go back and do it right.”

Dana went back to weeding the garden, grumbling. Then she caught sight of an old commode behind the tool shed.

Early in the morning on Mother’s Day, Dana wrangled the commode into position in the front yard. Petunias cascaded from the tank and bowl. “Stinky shit makes darn good fertilizer.”

Seeing her gift, Mom laughed. “Well, the flowers are beautiful.”

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Inverness

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week’s photo comes to us courtesy of C. Hase.

Copyright C. Hase

Copyright C. Hase

Inverness

“ . . . The Loch Ness Monster! We’ll see it in Scotland.”

I tuned into the conversation and paused, hands above my laptop’s keyboard.

“It’s a monster that eats little girls. They lock ‘em up by the lake so the monster won’t go into town for food. They call the place ‘Loch Ness’ because they lock up little Nessies—and sometimes Sues too.”

Tears welled in Suanna’s eyes.

“Joshua, stop frightening your sister,” I chided.

Comforting my daughter, I felt a swell of pride in my son’s imagination but hoped bringing the family along on my research trip wouldn’t inspire him too much.

The Family That Stays Together

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week’s photo comes to us courtesy of Doug McIlroy.

Copyright Douglas McIlroy

Copyright Douglas McIlroy

The Family That Stays Together

Family is complicated. Another almost-perfect vacation, and I’m about to come unglued. How often must we drive 20 miles off the beaten track to see some roadside attraction? I groan as my husband pulls the minivan up to a Victorian home.

“But I’m not touching you!” comes the complaint from the backseat.

“Kids, you have the rest of your lives to not touch one another. These feuding brothers haven’t spoken in 40 years.”

The yard tells the rest of the story. One side filled with ridiculous-looking folk art. The other side bare but for carefully manicured grass. It looks complicated.

Fleeing the Curse

This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for December 5. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create. The photo prompt this week comes from Janet Webb. My piece this week weighs in at exactly 100 words.

Copyright Janet Webb

Copyright Janet Webb

Fleeing the Curse

Stella could feel the ghosts of her ancestors in the sting of the north wind. Their tragic, icy hands grasped for hers. In recent memory, luck had not fallen to the McCully house. She felt regret upon leaving the family homestead for the city but believed it her only viable option.

On the train, Stella imagined she could hear the chains of the family curse breaking. She ignored the rattle in her chest, convinced herself that the warm air of her new employer’s home would soothe her aching lungs.

The following week, a crimson-soaked handkerchief fell from Stella’s lifeless hand.

Taking Tips

This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for August 22. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create.

This week, my spouse informed me that my story hit too close to home. My father, who worked part-time as a pizza delivery man until two weeks ago, recently was found wandering around in the driveway of the wrong residence as he attempted to deliver an order. To learn more about the real-life adventure and my family’s quest to keep him alive and in good health, click here.

2014 08 22

Copyright Roger Bultot

Taking Tips

“William Culligan! That is not what the doctor meant when he told you to eat more fresh produce.”

Bill stood on the sidewalk next to his mangled Nissan and listened to his wife squawk at him through the cell phone.

“That produce truck came out of nowhere.” The elderly man blinked back the tears. Jeanne and his daughters had threatened to take his keys only last week. Now he hadn’t seen a produce truck coming when he pulled into traffic.

“Bill.” Jeanne’s voice was gentler now. “You need to call Pizza Hut. They’ll send another driver to complete the delivery.”

The Whistling Woman

“Whistling women and cackling hens, both come to no good end.”—Folk wisdom  repeated to Catholic school girls and originated by someone who never knew Emma

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Ollie leans back in the glider. He relaxes in the shade of the overgrown arbor, just outside the kitchen of the dilapidated farmhouse, and fondly remembers his late wife.

Emma, a Catholic native American, didn’t know Ollie ever heard her whistling in the kitchen as she baked bread or toiled over dishes. She always stopped abruptly when she heard him knocking the mud off his boots by the lean-to door. Her melodies became his guilty pleasure. After long days in the fields or tending livestock, he often stood for five or ten minutes, watching her work, listening to her cheerful whistle.

When the children came along, Emma became more guarded about whistling. Instead, she hummed lullabies to soothe them to sleep. Still, late in the afternoon when the boys were tending to their chores and their baby girl napped in her cradle, Ollie sometimes heard her whistle a refrain.

Ollie knew the folk wisdom that kept Emma from sharing her music. He thought it a shame but knew better than to let her know he listened. Emma was a strong woman. More than once he had seen her wring the necks of six chickens before breakfast and serve them for dinner at noon when the harvest crew piled into the dining room, ravenous from the morning’s labor.

Life on the farm was hard but good for Emma and Ollie. The children grew and married. One son bought a neighboring lot, built a house and stayed to help Ollie work the farm. The other three moved into nearby towns where they found work, but everyone came home to help with summer harvest and to visit on holidays. Grandkids were born, grew up, married and had children of their own. Emma and Ollie kept working their farm. With everyone out of the house, Emma began to whistle more freely when she thought she was home alone.

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One year, dementia came to steal Emma’s music. Ollie no longer felt comfortable leaving her alone when he went to work in the fields. She became confused when she went to gather eggs from the hen house and got lost on her way to the pasture. Finally, the kids convinced Ollie to put her in a home where, in nine months, she faded completely away.

Ollie spits a mouthful of chaw into the rusty Folgers can by his feet. “I figger that was no good end,” he mumbles to himself. “Sure had a good run up to it though.” He gathers himself out of the glider and heads out to the field. He only works a small patch of the farm these days, leases the rest out. The grandkids want him to sell the old place, move to some retirement village. He has other plans. A good end will mean he goes out making hay.

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