Sunday Photo Fiction: Secret Agent Man

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Photo Prompt by Al Forbes

After months of secret negotiations, we reached an agreement. The information I held was so top-secret that the only logical place for exchange was in plain sight. Concerned for my own safety, I insisted on a place public and what’s more public than the London Eye. I arrived early, suspicious of a set-up. I may just be a reporter but I’ve read enough crime fiction to know that ‘come alone’ is just a suggestion. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, I entered the glass pod as it slowly inched its way above the London skyline. My contact stood next to the window railing. The pink flamingo tie gave him away. I moved next to him and we exchanged pleasantries, as tourists do. Then came the fun part. I reached inside my jacket for the envelop. Proof that could destroy democracy. My hands shook and the coolness on my brow came from sweat.

Crime novels don’t lie. I felt the sharp stab at my left side, producing a slight dampness near my ribcage. To my right, pink flamingo tie whispered, “You’re coming with us.”

I looked through the glass at London below, knowing it would be for the last time.

 

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short, 200-word story inspired by a photograph. Many thanks go to Al Forbes for supplying this week’s photo.

200-words

 

Regrets

Photo Credit: Ken Bonham

This story takes place in the 1940’s and should not be judged through 2017 eyes. Back then women had few rights when it came to their children, marriage, and divorce.

Rose left her children before they formed memories of her.  At 16, her step-dad arranged a marriage, a means of ridding himself of her. By 18, she was the mother of two healthy boys: a perfect baby-making machine.  The marriage soured like the alcohol on his breath and at 21, Rose walked out the door, leaving her babies behind.  Because this is what the women in her family did. They moved on. But before leaving for good, Rose sat in her car, across from the school yard, watching her boys play; hoping she did the right thing.

 

This story was inspired by a photo prompt posted on Friday Fictioneer’s, a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less. Photo Prompt provided by Ken Bonham.

Three Sisters

This little tale came to me as I once again worried too much about things going wrong.

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Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Once again, Chuck found himself in the cross-hairs of Fate.

It never failed. Whenever Lady Luck graced him with unexpected fortune, Fate snatched it from his hands.

Like the time Chuck won $10,000 in the lottery. As soon as he received the money, the transmission in his old Chevy conked out.

His friend Marvin laughed. “You should be thanking your lucky stars for that check. That old clunker had no life left. Be glad you had cash to buy something newer.”

Chuck fumed inside. Marvin was lucky. He had money.

Last week, when a new job opening was posted, a golden opportunity that offered more money and less hours, Chuck thought his luck had turned. The interview went great with a tentative offer made.

But Fate stepped to ruin everything. The offer was rescinded, something about a bad reference.

“Marvin, when you talked to that guy about me, you didn’t say anything…. bad… did you?”

“Man, I would never talk down about you. But remember that project last fall? I hold him it wasn’t your fault it went over-budget, that there were extenuating circumstances. You don’t think that hurt you any, do you?”

Sighing, Chuck realized he would never catch a break.

Later that day, as Chuck walked to his car, he noticed the flashing lights of an ambulance. Lying on the ground, with paramedics performing CPR, was Marvin. The words ‘heart attack’ hummed through the crowd.

“Poor Marvin,” said Chuck, not realizing he was speaking out loud. “I hope he will be OK.”

A man next to him turned and smiled. “I wouldn’t count on it, my friend. Karma is a bitch.”

Sunday Photo Fiction: Home Sweet Home

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Photo courtesy of Mike Vore

Quitting time at the Tasty Burger came none too soon for Harry. It had been a long day and he was ready for home.

“Heading out Frank… need anything?”

The manager of the small burger joint marveled at his star employee. Top student and star pitcher, on top of a full-time job. How did he do it all?

“Hold on a sec and I’ll drive you home”

Harry replied with his often-repeated response.

“Got a ride, but thanks.” With that, Harry quickly walked out the door.

Harry was good liar. He came by it honestly; his dad had been a good liar too. Like when he said he was going to work every morning, but instead went to the local bar. And how the old run-down house would someday be worth something.

“People hear what they want to hear,” his dad told him during a moment of sobriety.

“Never let anyone know you are on the down and out” was another of his quotable quotes.

Words were all Harry’s dad left him after running off a year ago, looking for a clean start without the constraints of a wife and son.

Words, and that shabby house Harry called home.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short, 200-word story inspired by a photograph. Many thanks go to Mike Vore for supplying this week’s photo.

Friday Fictioneers: In Fear

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Photo prompt by Janet Webb

Sandra stood at the front window, watching. Outside, the neighbor boy tossed a ball in the air and across the street, old Mrs. Hudson watered the roses that lined the front of her house.
Maybe I will go out today, she thought.
In an instant, Sandra’s heart began to pound as a wave of heat reddened her face. She felt dizzy and dreaded throwing up. Tears swelled in Sandra’s eyes. Once again, disappointment overshadowed her earlier good mood.
In time, the fear subsidies. But Sandra would not be leaving the house today.
Maybe tomorrow.

 

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This story was inspired by a photo prompt posted on Friday Fictioneer’s July 14, 2017 , a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less. Photo Prompt provided by Janet Webb.

 

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: Family Business

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Photo Prompt courtesy of Al Forbes

 

Diana stood on the second-floor landing, smiling down on the patrons of the White Horse Inn.

A good crowd for a Saturday, she thought. All because of me.

Granted, the White Horse served a decent meal, and the brew far superior to that of the other watering holes in the neighborhood. But Diana knew they came to see her.

The pub had been a family business for over a 100-years. At 16, she took her place at the bar, serving beer and bitters. Many a young man frequented the inn, in hope of attracting her favor. But Diana only had eyes for Charles Stroud, a gutsy military man stationed nearby. She fell in love, he into lust and soon they married.

Charles turned out to be ladies’ man. His unfaithfulness broke her heart. A rope broke her neck.

Show time.

Diana placed the noose around her neck, like she did 75 years before. The clamor of voices quelled as all eyes turned toward the stairs. Most would be disappointed, she knew. Not everyone can see a ghost.

Tomorrow Diana would once again go to the old church next door and confess her sin. Father Michael would be waiting.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short, 200-word story inspired by a photograph. Many thanks go to Al Forbes for supplying this week’s photo.

Friday Fictioneers: 2024

Photo Prompt by Claire Sheldon

The words litter the walls of my cubicle:

Happiness is Productivity

Every morning, I dive into bliss, glad to be fruitful. Robotics have replaced meaningful jobs and attending University is unattainable, except for the uber-wealthy. Fearing the words ‘welfare state,’ the Government creates jobs for workers like me, so we too stay productive.

I am a ‘Stapler.’

Daily, I receive stacks of paper, filled with meaningless words. I separate, stack, and staple. Eight hours a day. At the end of my shift, I gather my packets and pass them to Pete in the next cubicle.

Pete is the ‘Un-stapler.’

 

This story was inspired not only by the great George Orwell’s 1984, but also by a photo prompt posted on Friday Fictioneer’s a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less. Photo Prompt provided by Clare Sheldon