Category Archives: Free Write


(Photo credit: Hannah Gosselin ©2012 Phippsburg, Maine)

Two of my aunts used to run a country store down at the lake. It was more than that really; you could get everything from an ice cream cone to a new wig made on site. The ice cream was more popular.

My Uncle Bill and Uncle Fred would man the porch. They were pranksters by trade and both had retired from their hobby of teaching. They spent most of their summers, even before they retired, in rocking chairs on either side of the stairs leading to the front door. No one could enter the store without going by at least one of them.

They were harmless and fun and part of the reason people stopped in. Both of them always carried a notebook and a pen. One of their favorite pastimes was to write short little poems about everyone that came by, especially tourist and anyone new. They were usually funny, or cutesy, and short. Occasionally someone would justify something serious, but never hurtful. Mostly they were along the lines of:
Red in her hair
and on her toes,
but neither as cute
as ice cream on her nose.
They would tear them out of their notebooks and give them to the person they were written about. Occasionally, someone would keep one and cherish it, but mostly they ended up in the trashcans inside or blowing across the parking lot.

I worked there summers growing up; me and Big Tony. We were the only employees. Big Tony was about forty, deserving of his nickname, and a bit slower than most folks. In thinking that is. He was a hard worker. We would take care of the trash, sweep the floors, restock shelves; whatever my aunts needed. I liked working with Tony, he smiled a lot and never had a harsh word for anyone or anything.

Years later, after my aunts and uncles had passed on along with the store, I would stop in and check on Tony as often as I could. He lived in an assisted living place and seemed to enjoy it. We would take walks and occasionally go back down to the lake and fish.

One day he decided to show me his room. It was neat and clean, just like he had always been; bed, chair, table, TV. The usual set up. But covering the walls were hundreds of pieces of notebook paper that I remembered so well. Each one had a small, hand written poem about someone that had passed through that store: discarded, left behind.

“Tony, how did you get these?”
“I used to pick them up. Out of the trash, off of the parking lot.”
“Besides you, they are the only friends I have.”

My visits to Tony become more frequent. When the time came, I collected all of his ‘friends’ into a scrapbook and made a copy. The copy I kept, the other was on Tony’s chest when they closed the lid.

Written for the Flashy Fiction photo prompt.



Filed under Creative writing, Flash Fiction, Free Write, Short Story

Blood in the Snow

We rode the fence at least once a week in the summer. When the heavy snows came it was more like every other week. Breaks were not uncommon; usually it was a stray deer or other wild animal not quite clearing the top strand of barbed wire. Occasionally a post would fall from either the rot of age or the weight of snow.

This was different. The ground on both sides of the fence was tore up more than usual. A lot of mud mixed with the snow. Both of the top rows of wire were sagging, more like they had been fallen on than catching something jumping over.

There was more blood than usual too. A few spots trailing off we were used to. This looked more like someone had a paintbrush dipped in red and flicked it overhand out towards the field. A splattered trail leaving holes burned into the snow.

What we found in the barbs was wrong too. The usual tufts of fur we would find were not there. Instead we found strips of clothing hanging from the fence, dancing on the bitter February wind like the tattered robes of a ghost.

We were a long way from anywhere. The falling snow was beginning to hide the footprints and cover the blood.

Witten for the Flashy Fiction photo prompt.

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The One

The prompt at Flashy Fiction was to write a piece based on the first line of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “I am always drawn back to the places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods.” 

“So who would it be?”

I crushed out my cigarette and took another sip from my beer before glancing sideways at him. “Really, have we sunk so far as to be reduced to these juvenile pursuits?”

“What do you want? We are sitting in a bar on Sunday afternoon, football is over, baseball has not started yet, it is raining and cold outside and neither of us have a girl to go home to. What else are we going to talk about?” He waived his empty at the bartender and held up two fingers. Guess we are staying for a while.

“Yeah, pathetic aren’t we? All right, what the hell. If I could go back and find one girl that got away….? It would have to be Holly from Houston.” I exchanged my empty for a full and lit another cigarette.

“Seriously, sounds like a porn star.”

“No, not this girl. She had way too much class for that. Sophisticated, you know. Read a lot, quoted old movies all the time. She lived three doors down from us in high school for about two years; we talked some waiting for the bus, but never much more than that. She was hot, but I always thought she was a little odd.”

“Odd? How?”

“Well, she always dressed too nice for one thing. Never saw her in cut offs or an old t-shirt. Always a dress, nice shoes, that kind of thing. I finally figured it out right before they moved. I went over to their house with my folks one Saturday night. She was in the basement watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s; sitting on the edge of the couch and hardly breathing. I stood in the door and watched for about thirty minutes. I figured out pretty quick that she was into the movie. I am not talking about ‘she liked the movie’, I mean she knew it by heart. It also hit me how much she looked and acted and talked like the girl in the movie; she wanted to be THAT Holly. Now I think of her every time I see Audrey Hepburn. A sophisticated girl like that would have been good for me.”

“Audrey who?”

“Oh for the love of….. We have seriously got to spend some time in a library or something. Check please!”

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Two Kinds of People

After Daddy went to work for the ‘lectric company we started having dinner a little bit later during the week. Momma always insisted we eat together, so we did not start until he got home. Sometimes that meant reheating everything but she never complained. At least not while I was around.

One night I heard them after I went to bed. Momma did not sound happy.

“I don’t understand why you are the one that always ends up staying late. Aren’t there other men that can do the work?”

“Sure there are,” Daddy answered. “But it is usually overtime and we could use the money.”

“I know that, it just seems to be happening a lot lately. I miss you being around during the day; coming in for lunch.”

“Well, I miss that too, but we both know that farming was not paying the bills anymore. It should pay off in the long run. The bosses notice. When it comes time for raises and promotions I am hoping to be at the top of the list.”

Momma did not sound convinced. “That is how it should work, but you are too humble to toot your own horn. You know what they say: there are two types of people in this world, those that do the work and those that take the credit. And the first group is less populated.* Just make sure you are getting the credit for the work.”

She was fond of that phrase; ‘two kinds of people.’ She used it a lot to teach lessons. I remember asking her one Sunday afternoon why we were giving our food away. I was confused because she was always telling me to clean my plate and not be wasteful and we did not have food to just throw away.

She stopped what she was doing and looked at me for a minute before answering. “Well, Bobby, there are two kinds of people in this world; those who put themselves first and those who put others first.** We always want to be part of the second group. The Miller’s are going through a tough patch and we can spare some of what we have. We will not go hungry”

Momma always made sure you knew which group she thought you should be in. So far, she has always been right.

*Indira Ghandi (in some variation)
**Bill Purdin

Written for Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.


Filed under Creative writing, Flash Fiction, Free Write, Short Story

Conformity for the Birds

In response to the Flashy Fiction Thursday photo prompt. Check out the other great work posted there and get involved.












It was Sunday afternoon at the mall. My daughter and I were walking the halls giving my wife some time to shop. As with most children, she was full of questions. When she grew bored with my explanations of products in windows, and my evasions on the subject of scantily clad mannequins, she started noticing people.

“Daddy, why do they dress that way? And do that to their bodies?

“Who are you….? Oh, them.” Managing to stop her finger from pointing right at the group of goth wannabe bad asses. They were the usual harmless teenage crowd with colored hair, piercings and a tattoo or two thrown in here and there.

“Well, they are trying to express their individuality”

“What is indi…indavid… what does that mean?”

“Hmm. They are trying to show that they are unique; different from the crowd; maybe a little rebellious.”

“But,” she said, sounding a little confused. “They all look alike.”

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The Cemetery

Written for the Flashy Fiction prompt of the below photo. Check out the history of this cemetery (Isla Mujeures); pretty interesting.







Pedro sent most of his days at the Cemetery. Not all day, mind you. He would take time for meals, an afternoon siesta, a beer with friends, mass on Saturday. But most days you could find him there caring for the tombs and building his own.

To him it was a happy place. The white washed and brightly colored tombs shining in the Mexican sun kept it from being a gloomy place of death. He enjoyed his routine as he took care of the graves of his family.

The first thing each day he would leave a kiss for his wife on her headstone and then sit on her tomb and share a coffee while discussing the events of their little community. She always was a gossip and would be upset with him if he left out any detail. He would then tend to all of his family members; he had managed to keep them all fairly close together over the years.

There was his oldest son that had died in a fishing accident forty years ago. Pedro had always been very grateful they were able to recover his body. His daughter was next to his wife, on the opposite side of his own site. She had fallen victim to the fever in ’72; that had been hard for his wife. He often thought she would have succumbed then and joined her daughter if it had not been for the grandchildren.

They were beside their mother. Pedro spent a great deal of time with them, always making sure the bright blue paint was fresh. He would also bring them figurines every week or so that he had carved from driftwood. The closest he ever came to tears was when he would look upon their pictures in the alcove and the angel statues on their headstones.

He was always happy to talk to the tourists that wandered through their grand cemetery. He would explain their customs and answer the questions about the colors and the items in the alcoves. Every once in a while one would ask him why he spent so much time there. His aways answered with a smile.

“Where else should I be? All of my family is here.”

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John Smith

Kellie at Magic in the Backyard gave us a Free Write Friday prompt of the following You wake to find yourself in a strange house and you cannot remember your own name. You roll over and see a letter by the bed.

What a headache. Oh no, it has happened again. I open my eyes and look slowly around. I am in a hotel room, cheap by the looks of it, and I have no idea how I got here. Nor do I know who I am, or have any recollection of my life. But, I do know this has happened before. It all feels very familiar.

Ok, get out of bed; start trying to figure this out. An envelope on the nightstand; yes, that would be right. Open it and see? What else am I going to do?

Good Morning,
Your name for the time being is John Smith. This hotel is your home until your mission is completed. It is paid for through Saturday, February 18; today is the 11th.

As per the terms of your contract, call the number on the card in your wallet once the mission is complete. At that time the memories of your life will be restored.

In the top drawer of the nightstand are the details of your mission and
your target. There is a complete dossier of the individual, a map of the local area and his usual movements. There is also a wallet, ID, passport and enough money to get you through the week.

In the second drawer are your weapons, tools and requested items. Clothes are in the closet and dresser. Dispose of all of these items (except the clothes you are wearing, passport and money) upon completion of mission.

Good Luck

Yes, the contract. That seems right. Better get started. Morning business, shower, shave, get dressed; dark jeans, black shoes, black turtleneck, grey sports jacket. Now then, time to check the top drawer.

The mission is the elimination of the President and CEO of Frenetic Industries; the largest manufacturer of military weaponry outside of the US. Quietly, of course, would be preferred. As if I would want to draw attention to myself.

I had been to Krakow before, but it had been a number of years. I had better get reacquainted, see what has changed. I don’t like surprises. Amazing how selective they can be; some memories completely gone, others still intact.

Second drawer of the nightstand. .22 in an ankle holster, left leg; 9mm Browning, waist band in the back under the jacket; .44 in a shoulder harness, reverse draw under the left arm; garrote in left outer jacket packet. No need for the knives today, just looking around. Passport in the inside jacket packet, money folded neatly in front right pants pocket; Juicy Fruit in the left.

Time to go exploring. Tomorrow I will hunt.


Filed under Creative writing, Flash Fiction, Free Write, Short Story