Whale Of A Time

Photo prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

Finally.

They sent the younger children on their way. They cleaned up after breakfast. Hung the wash. Made the bed. Picked up after the husband, the father in law, the older sons (who in almost all cases were sprawled, asleep, with an empty plate of this or that by their side, as boys of certain ages seem to be).

The market waited. And the dinner to start. But for the next hour, there was just them. Their gossip. Their shared stories of the minutia of struggles and laughter.

It was their sanity’s lifeline, midday at Juanita’s “Whale Of A Time.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Gravity

Photo prompt © Jan Wayne Fields

 

“The box said up to 20 people,” Martin insisted.

I gazed at the purple awning below and my eyes rested momentarily on my cousin’s bare feet. He inherited Uncle Georgie’s hairy toes, I noticed. His impulsive stubbornness, too, it seems.

“That’s not what they meant,” I shook my head.

Martin glared at me as if my IQ wouldn’t make it past the bottom inch of a ruler.  “Twenty people is twenty people, Ralph. Math is math,” he announced and launched himself from the garage’s roof onto the tent.

CRASH!

And gravity is gravity … I sighed. I had 911 on speed dial.

 

 

 

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A Look Out

Photo prompt © Randy Mazie

 

“What is this place?” My eyes were glued to the small window. Next to me Bertie shuddered and it shook the rickety bench we stood on.

“The place we’re in, or the place out there?” he croaked. We were both of us hoarse from crying, but had moved beyond fear halfway into resignation.

At least it was daytime.

“It looks deserted,” I didn’t really answer.

It’s been hours since all movement above us ceased. Hours since we woke, terrified and hungry, in this basement. The men had left us crackers. At least they didn’t mean for us to die. Yet.

 

 

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In A Moment

Photo Prompt © Ted Strutz

 

She sat with her nose glued to the window, ignoring the roar of the engines and the bawdy chatter in her headphones.

It was cloudy when they’d taken off, with only little visibility. Now miles of forests stretched in all directions, the greenery as dense and impenetrable as her father’s face the last time she’d seen him, brooding and taciturn even by his own standards.

A glint of water sparkled in the distance and the pilot banked to the right to circle toward the lake. Suddenly she could not breathe.

It’s been a long ten years.

 

 

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Day Trip

Photo prompt: Sandra Cook

 

The day dawned gray and there was threat of rain, but she wasn’t going to be deterred by a bit of dirty weather.

She dressed him in his powder blue slicker and packed a bag with this and that. She weighed the idea of leaving the cumbersome stroller, but at three, though the boy liked walking, he lacked endurance for it.

“We going to see Papa?” he asked as the train rolled into the station.

She hesitated. She was loath to lie to him.

“Not the one you know,” she answered finally. “Though he may become it. We shall see.”

 

 

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Do Not Engage

Photo Prompt © Roger Bultot

 

“It’s covering its eyes.”

“Say what?” Sergeant Frank was always gruff but Leon knew a warning when he heard it. He could (almost) visualize his superior in his boxer-shorts, remote in one hand and beer in the other. One did not get between the Sergeant and his beer.

“The new statue, Sir. In Rockefeller. It’s covering its eyes.”

“Leon, are you drunk?!”

“No, Sir. The hotdog man saw it, too. And a bystander.”

“Statues don’t move, Leon. That’s why they’re called statues.”

“This one did, Sir.”

Silence.

“Sir?”

Sigh. “I’m sending Marco. Meanwhile, Leon … sit tight and … do not engage …”

 

 

 

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Relativity

Photo Prompt: Dale Rogerson

 

“Your grandfather must be turning in his grave.”

She’d made bitterness her trademark, so finding meaning usually entailed having to decode gradients of dismay.

He figured this one was a 67 out of 100. Enough disgust to call attention to how the “good old days” were better than modern progress, while not completely dismissing the comforts of advanced technology.

“Clean power is good for the lungs,” he cajoled, half-hoping for an argument. It was his Grandma’s genes he carried, after all.

“Pah,” she wrinkled her nose. “Nothing wrong with a bit of soot to get people appreciating real power.”

 

 

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Lost Glory

Photo prompt: © J Hardy Carroll

 

“Did they tell you what you’d find there?”

Vince shook his head. His eyes sought the window and rose along the flagpole to its top. The silence lingered.

“No,” the Veteran said quietly. “We’d heard rumors, of course, but nothing could’ve prepared us for the conditions there.”

He took a deep breath. His hand tightened around his cup and his eyes remained glued to the flag outside. “People crammed into cold, bare rooms. Without necessaries. Not even a place to sleep. Frightened, sick children. Belligerent guards. I’m ashamed, Son. The flag I fought under now flies over American concentration camps.”

 

 

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Future Gig

Photo Prompt © Ted Strutz

 

“One day my name will be up there,” Tommy declared.

Amy rolled her eyes, but he didn’t let her dismiss-your-sibling reflex offend him. She came with him, didn’t she?

“You’ll see,” he reiterated calmly.

He’s been practicing in front of the mirror ever since he’d seen the mime in the park two summers ago. And he’s been getting good. So much so he’d sometimes crack himself up mid-sequence. He was ready!

The talent show was in three hours. He’d used all his holiday and birthday money for the entrance fees. He had $10 left to his name.

“Hey, Sis, want pizza?”

 

 

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Incoming

Photo Prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

He wondered if the trains will still run after it happens.

If the luggage, piled in little mountains of possessions, will wait patiently for familiar fingers that won’t come, or will surrender, indifferent, to any rummaging hand.

If there’d be any.

When its all said and done.

He felt the urge to check his watch but curbed it. The digits never changed sufficiently when you were waiting.

Instead, he let his eyes glide over the other passengers, then up the columns where the dual landing strips awaited the incoming spaceships, already brightly lit.

Had to mean it was almost time.

 

 

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