Paul paused in the doorway. Buzzing fluorescent lights harmonized with the hum in his head, too many years around lawn mowers and leaf blowers. His chest tightened as he realized his life was being reduced to a 12 x 12 unit. For the better part of sixty years odd jobs made ends meet, but with the new human labor ban his only option was to accept the Relocation Package and “get while the gettin’s good,” so he was told.
“What’s a man to do? Drones Only is law. Keep to yourself and there’ll be no trouble.”
So he was told.
You can check out more Friday Fictioneers here. Thanks to Amy and Rochelle for this week’s prompt.
This week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, courtesy of Roger Bultot, reminded me of a wonderful old song called “Walk Him Up The Stairs” from the Broadway musical, Purlie. “Walk Him Up The Stairs” was a favorite of the band director at a high school I once attended.
(Go Yellow Jackets)
My short happy life as a member of the woodwind section gave me the chance to play, and fall in love with, many timeless classics. This particular song, though, struck a chord that resonates with me even today. If you check out the performance preserved for posterity here on YouTube, you may understand why.
It’s been a long time since the days of band camp. It has been a long time, too, since I participated in Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle for leaving a light on for me.
The Man That Time Forgot
“Grandma, have you ever known anyone so in love with the sound of their own voice as that Mr. Donaldson? I mean, seriously, I thought he’d never stop talking and let you get in the car!”
“He’s lonely, Dear. He doesn’t have any friends. Never has, come to think of it.”
“No wonder. All he ever does is brag about what he owns, where he’s been, how important he used to be when he owned that real estate business.”
“He’s like that American man who made everybody so miserable.”
“What man, Grandma? What was his name?”
“Oh, Dear, who remembers?”
Footnote: There’s something interesting about footnotes, they become meaningless when no one pays attention to them.
Pale light drips down the curtain and stirs the stale air slouching against the baseboards. A draft from the hallway drags the odor of old paint across the floor. Dust rises above threadbare cushions where empty hours pass. A window must be open somewhere. Faded injury meets fresh insult. Hope, long hidden behind closed doors, sags under the weight of another day that has only just begun.
His sideways smile was telling. She’d seen his kind before, looking for locals too far in the hole with the bank. “Storms come up quick ‘round here,” she warned him. “Hail can cut to the bone.”
“Thanks for the advice, but don’t you worry your pretty little head about me. Which way to the Blackburn farm?”
“That fancy car of yours is no match for the roads ‘round here. Better let Roy take you in the truck.”
She tossed the keys to Roy.
Hours later, Roy returned. “Here’s a twenty for your trouble, Roy.”
“It was no trouble, Miss Blackburn.”
Writers from ’round the world share stories each week that are inspired by a photo prompt submitted by Friday Fictioneer contributors and offered by the immensely talented Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.
I’ve learned a great deal while participating in Friday Fictioneers. Your comments have always been appreciated. It is unfair that I do not have time to read more of your stories; it seems I get ’round to fewer and fewer each week. My plate is full of research and writing as I push to complete my degree. It has been great fun getting to know you. I will miss being a part of the group, but I have to say goodbye for now. I wish each of you the best, and as always, thanks for reading.
The dude in the header was camped out on my last remaining tomato plant, and as I was removing basil to make room for garlic, I spotted him snoozing in the sun. I ran inside and grabbed my camera. Luckily he was still there when I returned.
Today it is raining. Tomorrow it will be raining. Sunday too. So, planting garlic will have to wait. Until then, there’s homework. Among the many things I have learned so far this semester, it is safe to say that I am not going to become a forensic scientist. I will probably never even play one on TV, but I have learned a thing or twenty about human evolution (or lack thereof). More on that in a future post. Until then, here are 100 words of total fiction.
“A highly developed mechanical species once dominated this entire planet,” said the interstellar tour guide.
Skeptical, I asked, “How do you know?”
“We know this because remains found in shallow pools at the Swamp of Enlightenment show forms with variable height adjustment. This, of course, was a response to rising water levels during the Exxonozoic Era. A wider wheel base evolved as larger quantities of fossil fuels were consumed.”
I raised my hand. “Why didn’t the species adapt?”
“It is unknown. However, the widely accepted hypothesis is that an uncontrollable demand for power ushered in the Age of Arctic Fires.”