Marco considered slipping behind the wheel in his garage and letting the motor do the deed. No, that would hurt resale. He couldn’t leave his Sofia burdened. A tractor groaned under the strain of its load as Marco reached the front gate. For a moment he wanted to take a dive, let it grind his bones. He fought the urge. The driver probably didn’t have insurance. That plan was no good. Suddenly, he had an idea. The bank building had ten stories. After all, it was the bank’s fault.

“The earth is flat!” Marco shouted and stepped over the edge.


This is my first gruesome flash for Friday Fictioneers. Thanks, Sandra, for the prompt. When someone mentions suicide, it can be frightening. Stay calm and take it seriously. There is help at Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Thanks for reading.


46 thoughts on “Strapped For Cash

  1. Imaginative story! My eyes deceived me when I initially read, “it was the bank’s vault,” which I suppose could have worked too. 🙂

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Oh, you are right! That so could have worked. Why didn’t I think of that?

  2. pattisj says:

    It’s hard to imagine having no hope at all. Yes, we need to pay attention, especially at this time when so many are suffering in one way or another.

  3. This was great, though I’d have loved to see a longer version.

  4. Poor Sofia…. alone. I guess there was no stopping him.

  5. storydivamg says:

    I’m afraid the insurance company will easily deem this a suicide and not pay out to our anti-hero’s beneficiaries, but at least property values won’t be affected.

    Interesting take on the prompt.


  6. Amy Reese says:

    What an edgy story, Honie. We always need to listen to that possibility of suicide, because it can be an impulse. I agree. Great story.

  7. Gruesome indeed Honie, desperate times call out for desperate measures. Well done.

  8. camgal says:

    Oh wow…man on a ledge. Well done with this 🙂

  9. Hala J. says:

    This reminds me of some of my own thoughts from very dark days a few years ago. (Especially the going over the most convenient scenarios to do the deed). I never went close to putting my thoughts into action, thank God. I’m glad those days are behind me. Great story! I never would have come up with that from the photo.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      You are an educated woman. So, you already know we all have dark days. The ordinary, average, run-of-the-mill, dreary days when we want to stay in bed and let hollow, muffled minutes tick incessantly while the world passes by in time lapsed sorrow. And then we move on. Thank you for your comments, Hala J. Always.

  10. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    I went into this expecting comedy for some reason. Interesting choice of character name, and then with the ending — I can only assume you’re referencing Marco Polo?

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      It was an odd combination of things going on in my life just now that made it seem an obvious choice for the name and the theme for that matter, but yes, Marco Polo came to mind. Thanks for commenting, Helena.

      1. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

        That sounds very distressing. I hope you are coping well, Honie.

        1. Honie Briggs says:

          Be not distressed, Darling. 🙂 (I love how you always say that.) All I meant is that circumstances, even ones which seem dire, are temporary. This is an important fact to remember and share with those we care about. No problem is solved by suicide.

          The other thing is that I had a conversation with my dad recently about the upheaval we are currently experiencing with selling our home and moving…AGAIN. My dad said, “It’s just another adventure. You like adventure. Think of it this way, you have great experiences because you haven’t stayed in one place too afraid to learn the world isn’t flat.” I love my dad. He always knows just what to say.

          1. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

            HA! Sounds like you and I have the exact OPPOSITE of families. I sought adventure to escape, running away from my horrid family — standing too long in one spot is what scares me.

            1. Honie Briggs says:

              We may be more alike than you think. It’s just that my dad and I have a really good relationship. If you read much of my writing about my life, you’ll discover my own clamoring for an escape hatch as quickly as I could get away, and I’ve been moving ever since.

              1. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

                I shall have to do that. Expect to see me around for cocktails. Don’t skimp on the vodka, I only drink the good stuff, darling.

              2. Honie Briggs says:

                That’s Tito’s Handmade Vodka around here. Drop in anytime!

  11. A sad story. He must have been pretty desperate to do that. Poor fellow.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Poor fellow, indeed.

  12. Good story and well-written, though sad. All the more so because there are so many suicides these days. Sofia can sell the property to get money, but I don’t think she’ll get Marco’s insurance if there is any. I’ve always heard that insurance companies won’t pay if it’s a suicide.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Thanks. Seems an unbelievable choice when we hear about someone who seems to “have it all” taking their own life. Most recently Phillip Seymour Hoffman. But it goes to show we are all vulnerable no matter how much fortune and fame we enjoy. As far as the insurance goes, it depends.

  13. Dear Honie,

    A lot to think about. At least Marco worked to have all his bases covered, but suicide is never painless for anyone, is it? Well written as always.



    1. Honie Briggs says:

      It isn’t, Rochelle, and the most painful part is the unanswered questions. Thank you for the kind words.

  14. We didn’t disclose the ashes of a former resident, ashes we found in the attic under the floorboards and left in the house. Our realtor called, wondering whether we knew or had forgotten them. I think the new owners took them to a funeral home. My dad was bummed–he’d wanted me to bring them to Arizona. 🙂


    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Ooooo, mysterious ashes. There would be a story there. It’s funny, the prompt for my first book was a newspaper article about a body that was found buried in a garden after the sale of a house. It was a discussion among friends for days and I could not put it down. Then my life got turned upside down and it evolved into another kind of story. Very interesting, dead people and the stories they inspire.

  15. I enjoyed the dark humor and smart move to include the disclaimer.

  16. It was nice of him to think of others as he planned his own death 😉

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      I think we might be surprised to learn how many people believe that is what they are doing. Thinking of others. I seems like such a selfish act, but there is always more to the story, isn’t there? Thanks for commenting.

  17. acflory says:

    Not gruesome, sadly realistic.:( Parts of Australia are again drought stricken, and there have been suicides.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Well, dark then. You know, I usually go more for sarcasm or absurdity or pointing out the obvious. But this topic, like you said, this one is an every day sort of occurrence anymore, sadly realistic and devastating to those dear souls left in the aftermath.

      1. acflory says:

        In some ways that’s the very thing that makes this story so powerful – we can all empathize without much stretching of the imagination. It could happen, to any of us.

  18. Nooo! Marco, don’t do it! I thought he’d figure it out, Honie; and, I’m not generally a seeker of happy endings. The fact that he was so considerate, just makes it all the more sad. Well done; you’ve stirred me up!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      That is something I think most people wonder when someone commits suicide, what was going through their mind? What could they possibly have been thinking? No note, no clue it might happen – the most horrible thing a person can experience. I know.

      1. I am so sorry that you know this… It is horrific! I have been telling my kids for years, that is the worst thing one can do… you leave everyone behind, asking questions forever, and struggling to regain equilibrium. I had a friend who killed herself. We were not very close, but I saw her often enough that I was truly shaken. A smart piece of writing, Honie!

        1. Honie Briggs says:

          Your comment is so very much appreciated. It is good that you talk to your kids.

          1. I can only HOPE, that if they are ever in that much pain, they’ll remember my words. As a former therapist, however, and someone who’s just come out of a 2 year depression, I know that we aren’t always thinking of others when we reach such a desperate place. One of the things I think you really tapped into here, is the idea that this man was… he was worried about others, not himself. That is such a lonely place to be.

  19. Sandra says:

    Messy hey? Looks like the bank will have some clearing up to do. Nice one.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      The bank, and poor Sofia too. Thanks Sandra. Your photo is terrific.

  20. Oustanding! From the character’s name to the brevity with impact. Great read.

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      That’s what I was going for, brevity with impact. So glad you appreciated it.

  21. Nicely done. Funny you should mention death hurting the resale value…Tara has an opportunity to buy the truck her uncle died in, slumped over the wheel of natural causes a month ago. I thought it would be pretty cool to own something like that!

    1. Honie Briggs says:

      Mr. Petruska, you do have a creepy side, don’t you? Shopping for houses has made me ask about those kinds of things. It is actually required on the seller’s disclosure to share information about deaths or abnormal occurrences in a home.

      1. I know! I think the same applies if you think your house is haunted, though that could just be wishful thinking.

        I blame my creepy side on too much Stephen King growing up.

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