The Young Professional

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Daniel did not understand art, and the painted cow statues that stared him down from across the street were certainly no exception. He did not know why the beefy creatures were painted with flowers and leaves and other flora. He had always assumed they were some kind of vegetarian protest. As a protest to their protest, the young professional ate an 100% beef chili dog once a week while staring down the cows from the bench outside of his office in New York City. It had seemingly little effect on the cows.

As he chowed down on his delectable chili dog on one muggy New York day, a young woman sat on the opposite side of the bench. Daniel saw that she had an undeniably artsy aura about her, but was also undeniably beautiful, and in that moment the young professional quickly decided that he would learn to understand art.


“The Young Professional” is my submission the 59th FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 150 words. Special thanks to SWritings for the challenge photo.

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Canyon

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The drive back from the canyon was a quiet one. We were almost entirely defeated at this point; it had been nearly nine months since the sixteen-year-old girl had gone missing and all we had so far was a plastic disposable camera. We drove about 30 minutes before we found a film development place. I parked the car and told Johnson I’d be back in a few minutes. He flashed me a thumbs-up and continued playing some game on his phone.

There was almost no one in the photo center, just me and the attendant. I plopped my detective badge down on the counter and handed the guy the camera.
“Police business,” I said.
“Whatever man, it’ll be 45 minutes” he muttered.
I left and grabbed a much needed lunch with Johnson. We walked back into the photo center to find the kid looking very shocked.
“That’s some morbid stuff dude,” he said as he handed me the envelope.
I tore open the envelope and flicked through the photos.

Trees. Birds. Deer. A Cave. A teenager’s corpse.


“Canyon” is my submission the 58th FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 175 words.

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Photo Fragments

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On the oak end table, next to the big, plush, leather couch in this living room, there was a photo frame. Inside the frame was a picture of a man, in beige camouflage with a huge black dog. This man was my dad, but I would have never known. He was stationed in Afghanistan before I was four years old, and he never came back. I was never told why; there was no one to tell me. This man was just a fragment. Fragments of a dad I never knew. Fragments of a mom who never cared about me. Fragments of a stepfather who beat me incessantly. Fragments of a sister who had leukemia and died at twelve. Fragments of a brother addicted to heroin and apathy. Everything was a fragment, smashed to pieces, and it all got taped together to make me.

I was broken.


 

“Photo Fragments” is my submission the 57th FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 143 words.

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Dead

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Jake forgot to pack our phone chargers, and now our phones were dead. That wouldn’t have been too bad if our phones weren’t our only access to Google Maps, which was our only means of getting directions from Florida to our family in California. Now we were lost, driving through the monotonous flatness of Kansas.
Our phones had been dead for about 45 minutes when I saw what looked to be a shopping mall.
“I’m pulling over at this place,” I say to Jake, motioning towards the building. He grumbles something incoherent.
I pull into the parking lot of the vast concrete building, which by the entrance sign claims to be called “The Plaza”. The parking lot is absolutely desolate; we’re the only car there.
“Let’s see if they sell chargers in here,” I say to my brother as I unbuckle my seat belt.
“Why is there a shopping mall in the middle of Kansas?” he says in response.
“I don’t know, shopping malls are everywhere. Why does it matter?”
“Yeah, but this is the middle of nowhere. Don’t you think it’s a little…I don’t know…weird?”
“I really don’t care at this point. I’m sweaty, I’m starving, and I’m thirsty. Let’s just get a charger and go.”
The scorching July sun of the Midwest beats down on me as I walk up to the front entrance  of the mall and tug on the handle. Locked. I try peering in through the glass, but it’s tinted pitch black.
“Maybe there’s another entrance,” I say, somewhat doubtful.
We drive around the perimeter of the building and find two more entrances, both locked with the glass blacked out. I drive back to the main entrance and stop the car.
“Well isn’t this great. A shopping mall in the middle of nowhere, with all its doors locked, and no one else in the parking lot. Just splendid,” my brother says, his words dripping with sarcasm and accusation.
“Well, we wouldn’t be in this situation if you hadn’t forgotten the phone chargers. So really, who’s to blame here?”
“You know what Brendan? You’re—”
But before he could finish, both car doors fly open, and someone pulls us out.
The world went black.


 

“Dead” is my submission the Week #11 FFftPP Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 353 words.

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The Wilkes-Barre Inn

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The Wilkes-Barre Inn in Portsmouth, New Hampshire was nothing extraordinary. It was one of many Wilkes-Barre chain hotels across the entire east coast, which were all owned by a much larger corporation that owned tens of thousands of hotels across the entire globe. These facts of the capitalistic hunger and the wide-reaching influence of mega corporations did not interest nor matter to Maria Alvarez, who just so happened to be a 42 year-old maid who dedicated five years of her life working for low pay in this particular New Hampshire hotel.

It was approximately 5:30 pm on the 23rd night of July. Maria had reached the fourth floor of the hotel, and was cleaning the remaining vacant rooms. She cleaned six rooms before reaching Room 419, which would be the last room of the night.

She started with the kitchenette. There was little cleaning to do there as very few guests ever actually used them. She would then vacuum the small living area, wipe down the toilet, sink, and shower, and finally change sheets and pillow cases on the bed. A monotonous and arduous job to be certain.

It was not until Maria had changed pillow cases and the top sheets that she noticed a small lump under the fitted sheet of the bed. She removed the fitted sheet to find a very unusual looking package. It had several black blocks connected together and was covered with wires and other miscellaneous gadgetry. Maria assumed it could only be one thing.

A bomb.


 

Image and prompt courtesy of The Blog Propellant. This one was a bit of a departure from my usual romantic/happy/sometimes sad stories, but I do hope you enjoyed it.

If you enjoyed this story, don’t forget to like, comment your thoughts, and subscribe for more of my short stories. You could even share this blog with your pals if you wanted to spread the joy of reading! Thank you and have an awesome day!

 

Saltwater

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I don’t know how long I’d been walking that path. Every further step I took, my legs cried to be put to rest on the sandy ground below. I ignored them: I had to do this. I had to do it today.

I came upon the spot I was looking for eventually, right in front of Frank’s Hot Dog Shack on a smooth and sandy portion of the Maine coast. The sun was just barely hanging onto the horizon. Maybe it was glad to see I made it.

I went to the edge of the water, and let my eyes close and the refreshingly brisk water wash over my feet. I kept my eyes shut as I lifted my little brother’s favorite Matchbox car up to my lips and placed a gentle kiss on the hood, then tossed it into the ocean. My salty tears dripped from my cheek, joining their kin in the salty ocean.

The same ocean that took him from me ten years ago.


“Saltwater” is my submission the 53rd FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 168 words.

If you enjoyed this story, don’t forget to like, comment your thoughts, and subscribe for more of my short stories. You could even share this blog with your pals if you wanted to spread the joy of reading! Thank you and have an awesome day!

 

The Veteran’s Seat

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Every time I sat at this bench waiting for the bus, I silently hoped that I would sit next to a person with a Forrest Gump-like story to brighten up my entire day. Unfortunately, this was real life, and in real life, things like that never seem to happen. I’d usually end up next to an uptight businessman, or woman with her bratty, snot-nosed kids.

However, one day I met someone truly interesting at this little bus stop. It was dawn on a mid-August day. I hadn’t been sitting for more than ten seconds when the raggedy-looking man sitting beside me turned and said, “You know how I got these two glass eyes?”

“Umm, staring at the sun too long?”

He gave a small chuckle and said, “No son, war. War gave me two glass eyes and a whole lotta hate for fighting. I seen some things, but now I can’t see at all. Ain’t that something.”

And with that, he got onto his bus.


 

“The Veteran’s Seat” is my submission the 52nd FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 164 words.

If you enjoyed this story, don’t forget to like and subscribe for more of my short stories. You could even share this blog with your pals if you wanted to spread the joy of reading! Thank you and have an awesome day!

 

“The Hill”

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The hill used to be nameless. It’s name came one scorching day smack in the middle of summer.

Eddy and I were running barefoot through the forest that grew on the gentle hill, playing games we made up on the spot. We ran down to our favorite hiding spot, a rusty old Chevrolet. We kept our stash of comic books in the trunk, and at the end of the day, me and Eddy would head down there and read and drink Cherry Cokes. That fateful July day however, was not a usual day.

As we approached the Chevy, we could smell something unusually foul. We were kids though, and curiosity pulled us towards the car like it had it’s own gravitational field.

Then we saw him.

Sitting in the driver seat in a pool of shining crimson blood was a man, with a single bullet hole in the middle of his forehead.

We’ve called it Dead Man’s Hill ever since.


 

“The Hill” is my submission the 51st FFfAW Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 160 words.

If you enjoyed this story, don’t forget to like and subscribe for more of my short stories. You could even share this blog with your pals if you wanted to spread the joy! Thank you and have an awesome day!

“The Last Job”

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“The last time, everything fit into three duffle bags,” Kevin argued.

“I don’t care how many bags it took last time Kevin, I told you to bring at least four for this job,” Don whispered angrily, “and keep it down, someone’s gonna hear us if you keep complaining.”

This job certainly demanded more than three bags. The waterfront apartment belonged to some fairly popular musician, and was chock full of expensive items. Laptops, tablets, jewelry, designer clothes, and plenty more were available for the taking. The two thieves rushed to cram as many of the goods as they could into the three black duffle bags.

As they resorted to stuffing what they could in their pants pockets and jackets, they heard the muffled sound of a person outside the apartment door.

“They’re early!” Kevin said nervously, “there’s no way out other than…”

Both thieves looked to the balcony, which was three stories up from the beach below.

“We gotta do it, we have no choice,” Don said, his words bursting with doubt and anxiety. “On three: one, two, three—”


“The Last Job” is my submission for Week #5 of the FFftPP Challenge (Check it out here). It is composed of 177 words.

If you enjoyed this story, don’t forget to like and subscribe for more of my short stories. You could even share this blog with your pals if you wanted to spread the joy! Thank you and have an awesome day!

 

 

“The Pond”

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“The Pond” is my submission for Week #4 of FFftPP. It is exactly 200 words (really pushing the limits here). Check out the challenge here!


 

“Eliza, can you pleease stop running and tell me where we’re going?” Alex gasped.

“Hmm, how about no and no? It’s a surprise and we have to get there before the sun sets,” she grinned cheekily.

“Agggh,” moaned Alex.

He didn’t really know why he decided to ditch the party and follow her. Maybe it was the fact he wanted a excuse to leave, or maybe because he had a bit of a huge crush on Eliza and was absolutely ecstatic that she wanted to be alone with him.

The gravel path ended, funneling into a barely existent dirt path with giant pine trees on both sides.

“Almost there, just down here.”

“Eliza, I am about four seconds from…whoa.”

A large pond, a pool colored orange and peach from the sun peeking out from behind the pines, sat at the end of the path.

“Beautiful, right? Lot better than the party at least,” Eliza said, sitting near the edge of the water.

“Definitely,” Alex said, sitting next to her, “but not quite as beautiful as…”

He looked over to Eliza to see her smiling shyly, shortly followed by him holding her head and kissing her in the fleeting sunlight.