Bus Stops, Bus Goes

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Alice waits at the bus stop, remembering. Thoughts of how quickly everything changed often filled her mind when not otherwise occupied. Once she had a wonderful job, a caring husband. A home and family. Without notice, it all disappeared.

Alice, that’s not true, they said. There were signs.

Why spoil happiness? she would reply.

At least she had the ragged blue sweater, bought at Goodwill, to keep her warm.

The B-2 bus pulls away from King’s station, moving toward Ocean Avenue. Ed knows the route by heart. Ten years a driver and God willing, he would drive for 10 more. The job keeps food on his table but not much more. Most fares were OK and he could handle the occasional trouble-makers. Just kids with too much time on their hands.

At Ocean, the bus slows to a stop and the doors open. A lady in a blue sweater steps in. She tells the driver she doesn’t have enough change. Her eyes look sad.

Go sit down. Bring it next time,” says Ed.

“Bless you,” says Alice.

Some things never change. God willing.

Shutting the doors, Ed pulls the bus into traffic and heads for his next stop.

 

198 words

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Red Rider

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Photo Credit: J. Hardy Carroll

Marcus Darksmyth, the Wolverine of Wall Street, eyes the tele-monitors hanging on the walls of his massive office. A brilliant man with a tenancy for evil, Darksmyth craved chaos. Today, using his influence with the corrupt police department, he placed off-limit signs on a perfectly good stretch of a busy sidewalk. Darksmyth chuckles as he watches countless commuters approach the barricade, override their instincts to continue and instead race across the busy street.

“This town needs are more men with balls,” Darksmyth would often say to his boardroom minions.

How he hated the lemmings of the world.

Darksmyth soon notices a young female strangely dressed in tight black leather pants, knee-high boots, and a bright red hooded cape approach the sign. If nothing else, she was pleasing to the eye. Unexpectedly, she looks straight into the camera transmitting the images to Darksmyths office. With a smile and a wink, the woman tosses the sign into a pile of rubble and marches down the sidewalk, followed by a throng of others.

The bristles on the back of Darksmyth’s neck stand up as excitement fills his being. Life suddenly became more interesting now that he was aware of the Red Rider.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short 200-word story inspired by a photograph. This week’s photo is provided by J. Hardy Carroll

 

Flowers on the Corner

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Pretty flowers for a pretty girl.

Every day, the old Chinese woman squatted on the same busy street corner, calling to all who walked by. Vases filled with tiger lilies surrounded her. Seattle overflowed with street people selling what they could, begging for the rest. Most people walked by without notice, as if she were part of the street lantern her back propped against. The old woman sold flowers to survive, but she waited on the corner for the young daughter she gave up for adoption 25 years before. She would know her Tiger Lily when she saw her.

 

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 Dale Rogerson

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.