Boondock Ramblings

Flash Fiction: Strike It Rich

I am still working on this one, but still thought I’d share it for fun.

It was rejected for a flash Fiction magazine but I was given some pointers to improve it. I may share it again when I touch it up.

Strike it Rich

“Holton Fields, you can’t be serious.” Her voice grated on his nerves like a baby rabbit stuck in a garden fence. “Put that contraption down and get back in this camper.”

But he wasn’t going to put that contraption, as Lulabelle called it, down. No siree, he was not. That contraption was the key to his fortune, and he aimed to use it tomorrow up there in those hills right in front of him.

“Why do you think I brought you all the way out here to Wyoming, woman? Just to sight-see? No. I’m here to make us some money. Just like Charlie Steen.”

Lulabelle propped a hand on her hip and tipped her head. “What crazy stories you been listening to?” Wearing a pair of thigh high denim jeans and a sleeveless red and white checkered shirt tied above her belly button, she looked like a movie start to him. If he hadn’t been so annoyed with her, Holton would have been turned on.

Now her arms were tight across her chest. “And who is this Steen fellow anyhow?”

“That guy I read about in the paper. I told you. He’s rich now. Made all that money when he found the uranium over there in Utah.”

Lulabelle rolled her eyes. “Uranium sounds like a disease.”

Holton slapped his hand to his forehead. “It’s a metal, Lulabelle. An expensive metal that Steen made a bunch of money from and now I’m going to do the same thing.” He shook his head and twisted the knobs on the machine he’d bought from George Kissinger before he left.

“It’s a waste of time, Fields,” George had told him. “It’s all wishful thinking. A pipe dream. There ain’t no way to strike it rich looking for that stuff. Steen got lucky. That’s all.”

Holton ignored him though. He was going to find uranium. He’d been studying how to do it. Read all the books he could find at the library. Read all the articles in the paper about that Steen fellow. He’d even talked to a professor at the local college.

All he’d needed was that Geiger machine and George had sold him that. He’d cashed in his life savings, bought the camper and took off for Wyoming. The land there was ripe for picking. That’s what it’d said in the newspaper.

“How you going to use that thing anyhow?” Lulabelle was looking over his shoulder now.

“I’m going to go up in those mountains and do some digging, and this machine will tell me when I strike it rich.”

His wife pursed her lips together and played with a dark curl draped across her shoulder. She looked past him at the mountains. “Those mountains don’t look safe to me. I don’t think you should go. You might fall down a hole and break your neck, and then what will I do? I’ll be all alone. All alone in this camper with no way to get home to my mama.”

Why did women always go to the worst-case scenarios? Break his neck. Good grief. What Lulabelle needed was for him to paint her a positive picture.

“Now come on Lulabelle, baby.” He hoisted the machine against his shoulder and turned to face her. “Don’t think that way. I’m out here for you. I promised you the moon when we got married, didn’t I? Told you I’d find a way to give you everything you wanted. Don’t you want to be living high on the hog like those Rockefellers? Don’t you want a fancy house on the river? A fancy car to drive and a mink coat to wear? I’m going to go up there tomorrow so I can give you all that and more.”

Both hands dropped to her hips and her eyebrows dipped down. “I’m allergic to mink, Holton. It makes me break out in hives. All over my body. You know that. Or you would if you ever paid attention to anything other than all these hairbrained ideas of yours.”

Hairbrained ideas. That’s gratitude for you. Didn’t that door-to-door book salesman thing do okay? Before he’d left the books out in the rain and had to pay the company back all the money he’d made?

Fine.

So that idea didn’t work, but what about buying those hens and selling eggs? That worked for a few months.

Until that he’d left the door open, and the coyotes ate them all.

“Yeah, well, you might be right.” He set the machine in the back of his pickup. “I made some bad decisions over the years. This ain’t one of them, though. I’m going to find uranium and buy you a genuine diamond. It’s what you deserve, Lulabelle. It’s what you deserve after all these years of putting up with me and my crazy ideas.”

Lulabelle sighed and shook her head. “Holton Alexander. When you gonna realize that I don’t want anything in this world except you?”

He squinted at her, studied her face. She’d never said anything like that before. Did she really only want him?

Even now, 40-years after that conversation in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, he couldn’t believe it, but it was true. She really had only wanted him.

He’d never found the uranium, even though he’d tried for two weeks straight. He’d never bought her that mink coat. Good thing, since he never forgot again that she was allergic to mink. Who ever heard of anyone being allergic to mink? He shrugged and laughed.

He’d never built her a fancy house or drove her around in one of those pink Rolls-Royce cars either.

None of that mattered to either of them now.

Love had made them richer than any of those men who went looking for their fortunes in the hills.

“Grandpa?” A little voice pulled him from his thoughts. “Tell me again about driving to Wyoming in a camper and seeing those coyotes and Buffalo and how grandma fell in love with you again.”

Flash Fiction Fun in 60 words. No more. No Less.

I’ve joined a new “social media” site, which is more social than other “social media” sites. It is not as active, but it is friendlier. My dad calls Facebook a social discord site, rather than a social site. I agree with that. So I have joined MeWe, which seems a lot calmer in many ways. (Full disclosure, I have a FB account again for a few writing groups but I am not interacting on a personal basis there and log off after I look at my writer’s or reader’s groups.)

On MeWe, I joined a couple of writers and readers groups and in one of them the administrator (Kelly) is challenging us to write 60 words of fiction from a word prompt.

I thought I would share a few of the flash fiction pieces I have been sharing there here on the blog today, including the words used as the prompts.

Buggy

“This what you’re taking me to the church in?”

Emily felt like she’d been transported a hundred years into the past. Or into the Amish community down the road.

Her dad grinned, gestured at it. “I thought it’d be unique.”

“It is. I don’t know any other modern bride who was driven to her wedding in a horse and buggy.”

Market

The smells and sounds of the market overwhelmed her. She lost sight of her mother long ago and now she was alone among the bustling crowd, panicking.

That’s when she saw him. Again. The man with the piercing blue eyes and the scar above his right eye.

She should have been afraid but instead, a strange peace settled over her.                      

Washline

The paint-chipped back porch was old and falling apart. As an adult she had weird nightmares about it where someone was always falling off it. As a child, though, it wasn’t a scary place. It was where the cats slept in the winter and where her mom hung clothes from the washline, which hung between the porch and chicken coup.

Mules

He climbed in the odd looking vehicle and looked at her skeptically.

“And what is this vehicle called?”

She grinned at his rural naivety. “It’s called a mule.”

He cocked an eyebrow and smirked. “Seriously?”

“Seriously, Liam Finnely. We ride a new kind of mules on dairy farms these days.”

He shook his head. “I Learn something new every day.”

Tractor

He’d been plowing the ground an hour when he saw her standing along the edge of the field, a hand on her hip. She was grinning and the wind had caught her reddish-brown curls, sending them out behind her like a veil.
“Hey,” he said when he reached the end of the row. “You think my tractor is sexy?”

English

“This what you’re taking me to the church in?”

Emily felt like she’d been transported a hundred years into the past. Or into the Amish community down the road.

Her dad grinned, gestured at it. “I thought it’d be unique.”

“It is. I don’t know any other modern bride who was driven to her wedding in a horse and #buggy.”

Market

The smells and sounds of the #market overwhelmed her. She lost sight of her mother long ago and now she was alone among the bustling crowd, panicking.

That’s when she saw him. Again. The man with the piercing blue eyes and the scar above his right eye.

She should have been afraid but instead, a strange peace settled over her.                      

Washline

The paint-chipped back porch was old and falling apart. As an adult she had weird nightmares about it where someone was always falling off it. As a child, though, it wasn’t a scary place. It was where the cats slept in the winter and where her mom hung clothes from the #washline, which hung between the porch and chicken coup.

Mules

He climbed in the odd looking vehicle and looked at her skeptically.

“And what is this vehicle called?”

She grinned at his rural naivety. “It’s called a mule.”

He cocked an eyebrow and smirked. “Seriously?”

“Seriously, Liam Finnely. We ride a new kind of #mules on dairy farms these days.”

He shook his head. “I Learn something new every day.”

Tractors

He’d been plowing the ground an hour when he saw her standing along the edge of the field, a hand on her hip. She was grinning and the wind had caught her reddish-brown curls, sending them out behind her like a veil.
“Hey,” he said when he reached the end of the row. “You think my #tractor is sexy?”

English

“You know why I’m here. I’m here to meet your good looking cousin. So, where is he?”

Cecilia jerked her head toward the back door. “In the house making tea.”

“Making tea?” Emily raised an eyebrow. “Like iced tea?”

Cecilia rolled her eyes. “No, like tea and crumpets. He’s #English, remember?”

Emily’s mouth formed an ‘o’ shape. “Oh. That English.”

The Sacrifice

I challenged myself this weekend by deciding I’d use a photo as the basis for a 300-word flash fiction piece idea. I challenged myself to make it 300 words, no more, no less. This was the photo:

And this is what came from my freeflow writing session:

The Sacrifice

Standing at the top of the stairs leading to the Catholic school next to the church the man froze, a cold chill shivering through him. He couldn’t do this. He didn’t want to do this. Continuing this farce was killing him. He pulled at the stiff, white collar around his neck. It was suffocating him, not physically, but in every other way.

“I want to be a priest.”

Had he really said that to his mother all those years ago?

Had her look of delight been the only reason he’d kept pushing forward, attended seminary, and was only a few hours away from being confirmed as a priest? He knew it wasn’t, but it was a big reason. He’d made a promise, to her, to himself, to God. But now, standing here, ready to walk into the reception hall where dinner was being held before the ceremony, he felt sick to his stomach.

He wanted to honor God, but did honoring God mean sacrificing all that God had created for man to enjoy?

Did honoring God mean sacrificing her?

He closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath, and let it out again.

He had made a commitment. A commitment to be married to Christ, to His will, and His direction for his life, not to his own human desires. As much as his heart and mind screamed at him to turn around, to not take one more step down those stairs, he knew he had to ignore them both.

To sacrifice was to be closer to God.

To sacrifice meant understanding Christ’s sacrifice more.

Isn’t this what God wanted? For him to understand Christ more so he could show Christ’s love better?

He took a step, heard her voice behind him, and stopped.

They would leave together.

Hand in hand.

Alone, yet together on this journey. She was leaving behind all she’d ever known.

Her mother, sweet and tender.

Her father, hard and stubborn, yet she knew he loved her.

The man with her, Augustus, a Roman by birth, married her in secret in the home of Tehal, who’d been healed of her affliction by the touch of a garment.

Could she trust her future to this man with kind eyes and a caring heart?

She felt that she could, knowing they were both called to the open road.


February 27, 2020, prompt from The Carrot Ranch Literary Community: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the open road. Where will the trip lead? Who is going, and why? Follow the open road wherever it may lead!

Respond by March 3, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

 

Alex’s Sugar Report

“Warner. Mail.”

The sergeant tossed the letter at him on his way by. Alex snatched it from where it had fallen on his bunk. He smelled the perfume before he even saw the return address.

A smile tugged at his mouth. He closed his eyes, pictured her smile, her green eyes, remembered her lips warm and soft under his.

“What’s that, Alex? A sugar report?”

Alex let out a long sigh. “Indeed.”

“What’s it say?”

Alex read the words. The smile faded.

“Bad news?” Matthew asked.

Alex laughed. “No. The best news ever. I’m going to be a dad.”

 

Part of the Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s flash fiction challenge. Learn more HERE

February 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a sugar report. Use its original meaning of a letter from a sweetheart to a soldier, or invent a new use for it. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 18, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Nothing felt the same since the fire. They’d lost everything. Barking in the distance caught his attention. He looked out across the field of daisies, searching. There. On the other side of the brook. Could it be him? Another bark and his speed picked up. It was him.

Patrick felt tears sting his eyes as he lowered himself to greet the black and white creature rushing toward him, tongue lolling to one side, tail wagging crazily.

“Rufus! You’re alive!”

The tongue was wet, warm, the paws placed solidly on Patrick’s chest. Patrick laughed. They hadn’t lost everything after all.


Part of The Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge for this week:

February 6, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme “a dog in the daisies.” It can be any dog, real or imagined. Push into the setting and as always, go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 11, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Flash Fiction: Protest

Fern watched her father gathering his winter clothes together.

“Dad, you’re not going to that protest are you?”

“It’s not a protest, it’s a rally,” he said with a sigh, pulling his woolen har down on his head over his ears.

“But it’s 21 degrees out and you’re — ”

“I know, I’m 78 but age shouldn’t stop me from standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.”

Fern sighed, shaking her head. “Okay, Dad, but I better not get a call from the police that you and Nancy have chained yourselves to the courthouse steps again.”


This is part of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Prompt

January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 21, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

From the Carrot Ranch Writing Prompt for January 9: “A Carried Wife”. To see the first part of this continuing flash fiction, see Writing Prompt: When the Wealth Didn’t Matter. 


They had to carry her out when they found him lying there on the floor by the hutch covered in blood.

How could he have done it? Why would he have done it? He had all a man could want, all she could give him. Hadn’t the money been enough all these years?

They called it a miracle that she’d walked in when she had; startling him and causing him to drop the gun and shoot himself in the foot instead of the head liked he had intended. She’d collapsed when the gun went off, falling against the hutch.


January 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a carried wife. Why is she being carried? Who is carrying? Pick a genre if you’d like and craft a memorable character. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 14, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

He kept the gun in the hutch behind the Tiffany Sybil Claret Wine glasses that had belonged to his grandmother.

There were 20 of those ridiculous glasses, worth $100 each. Wealth, wealth and more wealth.

It was all around him but none of it mattered.

His fingertips grazed the cool metal of the gun, a Remington RM380, traced the shape of it, and slipped down to the handle where his fingers firmly grasped it.

He tipped his head back and laughed loudly.

So rich yet so poor.

They had their money to keep them warm.

They wouldn’t miss him.



Part of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge.

January 2, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something found in a hutch. It can be any kind of hutch — a box for critters or a chest for dishes. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 7, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.