When I began my construction business I wanted to use my great grandfather’s hammer and pliers. He built nearly an entire town with his tools. Many of the tools did not survive him and his five decade career, but these did. I have no illusion they could last my career, if it lasts as long as his, but I could start with them.
I wish his knowledge was something that could seep from those tools into my hand, enter into my blood stream and find my brain. I know I will learn many things that became second nature to him as he completed each job along his path. Many of my tools are technologically superior to his, meant to make the job easier, but all the physics are still the same.
Angles, leveling, solid foundations and more won’t ever be replaced by a fancy tool. Only careful measurement and the willingness to question every move are the best ways to ensure good projects.
I think my favorite sound is the old worn steel of great grandfather Will’s hammer driving the nails home. Yes, That is a sound for the ages.
Benjy wanted to find Katrina’s ring. The girl was all he could think of day or night. She was the mesmerizing kind of beauty that rewrote the narrative of a man’s life. Yes, he knew Alvin felt the same. Once they were the best of friends. But that was during elementary school and even middle school. But in high school the rivalry began. It had been true through sports, academics, and forensic meets. But none of that could hold a candle to this struggle. Katrina was a saint in her demeanor and could not be unkind to either boy. She only could devise this plan to decide. She hid her ring somewhere in the Seaside Park and she promised whoever retrieved it would have her heart.
Benjy tensed when Alvin’s familiar form popped up on a lower section of the trail. The choice to begin up high now seemed more risky than when he was alone here. If Alvin found the ring there he would never forgive himself.
“YAHOO!” he heard Alvin say just as he fished a golden ring out of the sand near his feet.
Both ran in a full sprint back to the small covered shelter where Katrina waited patiently.
There was a pained expression on her face when they approached.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t just do one and disappoint one of you,” She said.
The brightness of the television screen was the only source of light in the otherwise dark basement. There was no reason to go outside. The volcanic dust was forecast to thicken as the twin volcanoes that rose inexplicably out of the Mississippi River basin following the 8.9 magnitude quake on the New Madrid Fault line belched the air full of hot lava and acrid smoke.
The commercial began innocently enough, showing kittens and bunnies frolicking in a grassy park. But then a dark shadow enveloped their playground in the shape of a mountaintop before darkness quickly engulfed the screen. Then splashes of hot lava landed here and there scorching the park grasses.
“Has all this Armageddon talk got you feeling blue?” the commercial announcer began. “Do you feel like your world might as well have ended when the New Madrid struck? Well we want you to know your government cares. There is no need to deal with all struggle to come in the new world. Just choose blue. Blue is right for you!
Martin stabbed the Off button on his remote as he stood. “Damn big pharma thinks they have a potion for everything!”
Everyone knows about the San Andreas fault and how it could potentially reshape the west coast of the United States. But there is another in the Mississippi River basin called the New Madrid that could accomplish the same damage to the East Coast. I live on the Eastern side of Tennessee and have experienced some of the earthquakes originating in the New Madrid seismic zones.
The disappointment was thick in his eyes, much like a new lens to a pair of glasses meant to correct his vision. But there was nothing wrong with what he saw. Wait, I guess I see that wrong looking at it from my side of the barbed wire strands. To him I was leaving him alone. I was returning to my home where barbed wire was an implement of choice in containing livestock, not culling humans who didn’t fit a specific profile. True I had not made the choice to string it here, but did I do enough to contest it?
“What is a doctor supposed to do about such social injustice. I was here to treat the ailments in a physical manifestation. But there were more ailments in play, some of which no medicine in the world could cure. A government policy or policies I guess that drew this stark demarcation between acceptable and unacceptable. I knew Manny, or Manuel as his mother liked to call him. He was a good kid, with no evil intent anywhere in his skin. But as I turned away with my bags in hand to board my plane I could feel his dark eyes asking “Why not me?”
Mom helped him with the slogan, dad shared his knowledge of business to craft the plan. But the execution was all Benny. Everyone in their small mid-western town knew Benny. He seemed to be everywhere that spring and summer. He mowed yards, raked away left over leaves, picked up trash, collected aluminum cans, walked dogs, fed pigs or whatever he discovered people would trade their money for.
At first his parents thought he was just bored sitting at home all the time. For an only child sometimes existence even as a child was difficult. They watched him become more confident that summer. He also compiled a nifty little bank roll. They discussed in private what should be done with his collection. Parents do that sort of thing you know.
Late one night Benny made his way to their bed room to tell them his plan.
“I want to give like you do to Pastor Dave,” Benny said, drawing smiles from mom and dad.
“I think that is wonderful honey,” mom said.
“What about the rest?” dad asked.
“You know those cool Avengers high tops?” Benny asked.
“I want to buy those,” Benny said.
Before his parents could object he continued to speak.
“Because my new friend Willie has no shoes.”
“He doesn’t?” mom asked.
“No. His house burned down so he has to wear his older brother’s shoes. I think he would like the Avenger shoes.”
Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is one of the quartet of weekly photo prompts I try to frequent each week. I noticed a post over on Joe’s Musings, my mother blog called My List of Regular Blog Challenges is getting a lot of interest and it was created long before I found this, so does not list it. I need to get that remedied.
But anyway Roger Shipp @ A Writer’s Community hosts this event on a weekly basis. He is very generous in allowing 200 words to spin a tale inspired by the picture provided. Give it a whirl!
Marty jammed his radio onto his belt so he could use both hands to loosen his belt a notch. He loved the Japanese quick service kiosk in the airport food court.
He noticed a young woman acting a little strangely and could feel his “spidey sense” kick in. That is what his sons called it when he knew they were up to something and thwarted their plans before they could execute.
The girl seemed especially nervous as she waited in line to get through security. Marty positioned himself so he could watch what she did.
As soon as she cleared security she began to move very fast toward the gate area. Marty followed, watching her tug at a backpack that looked heavier than it should be. When the girl saw him she began to quicken her pace.
He lost sight of her and feared the worst. He had his walkie to his mouth when he rounded the corner to see the girl down on one knee pr0posing to her fellow who was about to board a flight to Africa. Her backpack was open with a small karaoke machine blaring a popular love song. It was a good thing Marty was a romantic.
It’s Nemo! It’s Nemo!” Charlie said as he circled the small pond so he could watch the multi-colored fish move between the limits of his small world.
“Do you think that might be Dory?” Charlie’s mother asked. She encouraged this bit of harmless imagination in the hopes it might occupy Charlie’s busy mind for a little while. She was nearly exhausted from a day of wrangling her three year old through clothing stores whilst trying to augment his wardrobe as well as her own. The three year old boy was not patient in any regard, wanting to run off at the first chance.
“No mommy, Dory was funny. This fish is boring,” Charlie assessed.
“Why do you think she is boring?” his mother asked.
“All she does is swim around Nemo. This fish does not do that, it is not Nemo’s friend.”
Audie was surprised at how much thought her son put into this analysis. He obviously took in more than she gave him credit for doing.
“She will not help Nemo find his dad, so we have to,” Charlie said.
Herm could feel the eyes of a stranger on him. He was reviewing a photograph he had just captured on his tablet when he heard an unfamiliar voice over his left shoulder.
“How do you do that?” the stranger asked.
Herm looked incredulously at the man who held a camera of his own. The question was vague, so he pressed for clarity.
“I mean the perspective. It looks as if there is a stone giant readying to smash the steel tower. I can never make that happen in my photographs. I tried once when I went to Cleveland to watch the Indians. I had Mike Trout of the Angles in the palm of my hand I thought when I took the photo but in the end it came out looking cheesy.
“It took me a while to master it,” Herm said. “You really just have to eyeball it until you get the correct positioning. It is all about angles, quite a bit of geometry you know.”
“Well this just got a lot more embarrassing,” the man replied.
“How so?” Herm asked.
“I work at the university downtown,” the man said.
“Oh really, what do you teach?”
This is my second shot at Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. It is something I found by searching the Daily Prompt’s listing of blogging events. It is hosted by a guy named Roger (found this out from another Practitioner) and you can find it at this blog: A Writer’s Community.
I really enjoy these flash fiction challenges with a photo prompt because they give you just enough to start a story. The saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words. Well in most of these type of challenges you have only a fraction of that, so the words you choose must carry meaning.