Last Course

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

“So nice of them to give us ice-cream!” Sheri grinned. It was her favorite brand, too. On a plane! How fun!

“Even people on death row get a last meal.”

She elbowed him. Her friends said Robert was a party-popper. A fuddy-duddy, spoil sport, malcontent. Sometimes she wondered if they were right. Her husband did have a way of deflating. She felt bad for him. Life must be so gray, to experience life his way.

“Well, I’m going to enjoy mine,” she announced, infusing extra-cheer into her voice. “If it’s my last course, I’ll be halfway up to heaven already.”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

(Note: Thank you, Rochelle for using my potentially boring 16 hour direct flight photo from JFK to Hong-Kong from the summer before last … While this is not an ad, the ice-cream sure was a comfort … 🙂 )

 

 

Last One In

Photo Prompt: C.E. Ayr

 

“They’ll kick us out!”

Darlene shook her head. “They won’t know.”

“Dad will kill us if we get caught.”

Darlene sighed. Shirley was such a wimp. Never took any risks. Never had any fun. “We won’t.”

Shirley peered out of the RV at the shimmering pool. Darlene never met a rule she didn’t want to break, and somehow both of them would end up punished. “It says ‘Guests Only.'”

“We’re guests.”

Without a permit. Shame rose like hot bile. They were always the ones without, the ones left out.

“C’mon then,” she blinked away tears. “Last one in cleans up!”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

The Stir

alev-takil-au475mEaJiw-unsplash

Photo: Alev Takil on Unsplash

 

It wasn’t my intention to create such a stir.

Or was it?

There were many reasons to season the exchange with something less bland than the weather of stocks and performance of bonds and predicted fluctuations of the markets.

So I told them I’m leaving.

“But dinner isn’t over!” Mom’s carefully drawn eyebrows rose into a crease that would likely be frozen by Botox by next week.

“You’ve not been excused,” Dad contributed parenting.

“I’m thirty-two,” I breathed. “I’m moving out.”

“On your own?” Mom’s voice turned acid.

I glanced down. Met liquid eyes. Inspiration dawned. “Nope, I’m taking Leon.”

 

 

 

 

For Linda Hill’s JusJoJan prompt: Intention

And … dipping my pen for the first time into the Writers United prompt of “season”

 

 

 

Maybe So

Photo prompt: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

“I wish I could show you the Menorah, Papa!”

“I wish so, too, Leah!”

“Shall I describe it?”

“Oh please do!” he covered the mouthpiece and pressed his ear to receiver. It’ll be months before he’d save enough to hear her sweet voice again.

“We have white candles and the Shamash is melting fastest,” the child stared at her father’s photo, sent from far away. “I’ll use my new crayons and mail you a drawing! Maybe one day people will have special phones that will let them see each other!”

The fantasies of children. He smiled. “Maybe so, maybe so.”

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

The Great Loss

 

“Did Great-Grandpa really fight in the Great War?”

“He did.”

“What made it great, Mama?”

She sighed. This place’s heaviness only settled thicker during the holidays. She’d come every year on Christmas as a child. Too infrequently since. The ocean’s breeze whipped hair into the boy’s eyes and she tucked a lock behind his ear. He so reminded her of herself.

“Grandma Rose said it was because the Heavens everywhere lit with the great number of souls and broken hearts. The Great Loss, she called it.”

“A lot of Christmas angels, Mama?”

“Perhaps so.”

“I think Great-Grandpa is one, though.”

 

 

Note: Dedicated to all who are missing loved ones during the holidays, to all who are no longer with us for they’d given their lives (or parts of their souls) for others, in search of peace, in hope of no more war or hate or greed. May we do better, as a species. Let there be true peace on Earth.

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

(Thank you Sandra Cook for the evocative photo prompt!)

 

 

Reconsidered Romance

Photo prompt: © Dale Rogerson

 

It was better in the movie.

She’d slipped on the snow and had a wet imprint of her behind on her dress and a freezing spot in her lower back. His shoes got drenched when he’d stepped in a slush puddle, and generated awful squeaky sounds in every step. The benches needed deicing or they risked breaking their necks if they as much as tried to climb them, let alone jump around.

“I am sixteen, going on seventeen, and I’m going back inside,” she declared, teeth chattering.

“I am seventeen going on eighteen, and I’ll beat you to the house…”

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

You’ll See

Photo prompt: © Mikhael Sublett

 

“You’ll see,” he lifted the mallet to strike again.

She cringed as plaster and glass and bits of home clattered to the ground. Every resonating thud another shattering, another ruin, another wound that would not heal.

She bit her lips and knew she’ll never be the same.

For not stopping him. For not standing up to him. For not listening to all who’d warned her that he was a loose cannon who’d bring only sorrow. For insisting she loved him.

She saw now.

And stood silent as his mallet dented will. Her life in shards, devoid even of tears.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

Note: Dedicated to all who live with violence and do not know a way out into help. Know that there is always hope, that you deserve a chance to heal, and that you need not carry shame.

 

Sardines

Photo prompt © Fatima Fakier Deria

 

“We’ll never all fit,” Sultana groaned.

“Lots of room!” the driver boomed encouragement even as he tightened screws underneath the van.

“C’mon!” Mariam elbowed past her cousin and climbed onto the vehicle, parcels and a flapping hen in hand. “Next one isn’t till dawn.”

Sultana looked around as if better conveyance would miraculously manifest. None did. She sighed, grabbed her packages and hoisted the bleating kid under an arm. She squeezed aboard, the last one on, with barely room enough to sit down.

The door slammed. The goat peed, soaking her lap.

It’ll be a long ride to Jaddati’s farm.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

 

 

Roundabout Waiting

Photo prompt: © C.E. Ayr

 

“He’s still there.” Morty whispered, his nose to the window.

“What’s he waiting for?” Bella pushed Morty over to make room, pressed her head to his.

“I dunnow.”

“You’re not even allowed to stop for pick-up on roundabouts,” Bella noted.

Morty sighed. Since she’d found a driver’s-ed pamphlet, his twin had turned an insufferable source of traffic trivia. Never mind it’d be a million years before she could drive.

“Should we go ask?” Bella fidgeted.

Morty shook his head. “Dad said wait here.”

“But it’s been eight hours!”

It had. And almost as long since the old man showed up.

 

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

 

Warehoused

Photo: © J Hardy Carroll

 

The cells were small. Sturdy enough to keep them separated. Aerated enough to keep them alive. Near enough to let them marinate in each other’s misery.

What the jailers did not foresee, however, was how they were just close enough to offer comfort. Fingers laced through fencing let them hold hands. Almost.

Oh, they moved to corners when anyone came. Pretended to hate each other. Endured each other’s fake bullying that so amused their captors.

But in the silent moments they sat close, back-pressed-through-chain-to-back. Their ‘caretakers’ warehoused them like animals, but the children’s defiance held: they remembered they were siblings.

 

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers