Timmy’s Best Friend

Life on the farm was tough for Timmy.  He was assigned daily chores from a very young age. During the school year he learned to juggle school work with daily chores. Farm life left him no time for extracurricular activities at school much less for friendships.  School was just a break from work. His nightly homework, which many classmates complained about, was less work than his duties before school.  Farm life, he determined, was not for him.

Timmy’s dogged desire to escape weighed heavily on his mind. He wanted to move far away to the big city.  In his ten-year old mind, he was on this earth to be an actor, not a farmer.

“Mom, I’m headed out to feed the hogs.”  Out the door he went with his only friend, his dog Ranger close behind. The two walked to the hog pen and dumped two buckets of this mornings delicacy into the trough. Then they headed to the nearby barn.  Timmy sat on a hay bale. Ranger hopped up beside him.  He reached out and stroked the dog’s head. His tail wagged with delight. “Ranger, one day I will leave this farm.” he explained.  “You’ll stay here.  I will miss you dearly. However, I must leave!  I don’t want to be a farmer. I want to be an actor. I know Dad will hate me.  Mom will constantly worry.  But I know you will love me.”  

Timmy stood up.  He looked out the open doors onto the endless stretch fields. “I want to be an actor,” he said to Ranger. “I’m going to be a Hollywood star. I’m gonna be in westerns with John Wayne.  Everyone will know and like me. It won’t be like school where they make fun of me.”  He walked to Ranger and gave him a hug. “Ya’ know, you are my only friend. My best friend. That will never change, I promise. I love you Ranger.”

This fiction was written for Trifecta: Week sixty-seven.

This week’s one-word prompt comes from Deana who linked up in our Meet Your Fellow Trifectans tab (if you haven’t done so yet, hop to it) and suggested this gem:

JUGGLE (transitive verb)
1a : to practice deceit or trickery on : beguile
b : to manipulate or rearrange especially in order to achieve a desired end
2a : to toss in the manner of a juggler
b : to hold or balance precariously
3: to handle or deal with usually several things (as obligations) at one time so as to satisfy often competing requirements <juggle the responsibilities of family life and full-time job — Jane S. Gould>

Please remember:

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

Good luck!

Bigfoot’s Grave

Andre and Freddie.  Future fifth grade neighbors in a small southern town.  Their houses sit side-by-side on a dead-end street ending at the west side the Bayou Teche. The boys are frequently found gallivanting around their neighborhood and in the nearby woods along the bayou. To them the neighborhood is their playground.  They spend their summer swimming, riding bikes, building forts and fishing.  It’s not unusual to find them chasing fireflies in the early evening or catching crawfish in the ditch bordering the nearby elementary school.  Or mowing the neighbor’s grass to earn spending money. The adults in the neighborhood call them inseparable. They were best friends.

Today, after a ride to the Phil-a-Sac for an Icee and bubble gum, the boys peddled their sting-rays to the end of their street. They layed their bikes off the side of the gravel road and walked to the banks of the bayou.  They sat down on the edge of the wooden dock with their feet dangling in the murky water.

“Hey Andre, take your gum and put in the bottom of your icee like this,” Freddie instructed, pushing his gum down to the bottom of the cup with his straw.

“But it makes the gum hard Freddie.”

“So what. That’s why it’s so cool!”

“That’s dumb man,” Andre replies before sipping on his straw.

The sound of slurping was interrupted by a passing boat pulling a skier.  A quick wave from the boys turned to giggles as the boat left behind a wake that splashed against the dock.  The spraying water cooled them from the muggy afternoon, if only momentarily.  The passing boat causes a blue heron to take flight in front of them, adding color to the green woods across the bayou.

“Hey man Freddie, check this out” Andre says as he stands and pulls three large keys from his back pocket.

“What are those?” Freddie asked.

“Keys to my kingdom,” Andre responded.

“For real? Those are cool looking.  Like something from Scooby Doo!  So, what is this kingdom of yours Andre?  I don’t get it.”

“Well, it’s like this.  You know how in old times, when there were castles and stuff Freddie.”

“Sure I do.”

“I want my own kingdom.  So in my mind I made up this castle for me to escape to with the biggest door and lock there is.  And this key here is the only thing that can unlock it.  I have a moat around it with sharks!

“Sharks Andre, for real?” Freddie interrupted. “There can’t be sharks in a moat.”

“In my kingdom they can.”

Freddie stares at Andre with a puzzled look.  “So where is your kingdom?”

“Bigfoot’s Grave!  Follow me!”

Andre begins running along the bayou with Freddie close behind.  They quickly reach the edge of the woods, both hunched over and out of breath.

“What about our bikes man?” Freddie ask.

“Oh, they’ll be fine. Aint no one ever stole them before. Now follow me Freddie.”  

The boys follow the trail into the dense woods.  They evade countless briar patches and spider webs till the reach a big wooden door leaning against a huge fallen oak.

“Here we are Freddie.”  

“How did this door get here man?”

“I found it up against the bank of the bayou down there about a week ago. It looked cool so I pulled it on land and put it here to dry.  It looks old.  It had these keys in the keyhole.  So I made this my castle.  Isn’t it neat?”

Freddie is looking at the door perplexed.  “You dragged me all the way here to show me a door?”

“Noooo.  Follow me.”

The boys step to the side of the door and squat down next to one another.  

“We have to crawl underneath the oak dude.”

“After you Andre.  I aint going first.”

“Chicken!” Andre says laughing.  

The boys disappear behind the door and under the oak tree. The space makes a perfect little hidden room for the boys to sit.  

“Why did you take me here Andre?”

“I have a secret to tell man.  Promise me you won’t tell a soul.”

“I won’t man, I promise.”

“Pinky promise?”

“Yes pinky promise.  And I swear on my grandma’s grave too'” Freddie replies.

The two extend their pinkies to each other and move their hands in a handshake type motion.

“I saw my step-father beating my mom the last week.”

Freddie’s face turned red.  He can’t muster the right words to respond.  He stares blankly as Andre continues.  “I heard arguing from their room, then mama came running down the hall.  I peaked out my door just as she turned to him and he hit her man.  She fell against the wall the onto the floor. He jumped on top of her and continued to hit and yell at her.”

Freddie finally manages to stutter a somewhat coherent sentence, “did she, you, was she, did you tell the cops?

“Naw man, I’m too scared.  I just closed my door and cried is all.”

“Andre, I just.  I can’t say a word cause I can’t understand why he would do that.”

“After they went back to their room, I came to Bigfoot’s Grave to be alone.  That’s when I found the door with these keys and built this castle.  I don’t want to be in that house anymore man.”

The boys spend hours in the castle talking about anything and everything.  The dark subject was not revisited. Instead it was back to talking about kid stuff.  Bikes, fishing, football and even kissing!  

The boys enjoyed the rest of that summer together.  They visited the castle often spending hours talking and dreaming.  Later in the summer, Freddie began noticing bruises on Andre from time to time.  He never asked questions, just came to the only conclusion a young boy could.  Two weeks before school began Freddie’s mom brought him into the living room and sat him down. “Freddie I need to tell you something.  It is not going to be something good.”  

“What is it mama?  Did someone die?”

“No son, but Andre and his mama left their house.  They moved to Houston this morning and asked me to tell you. They won’t be coming back.  I’m sorry son.”  She reached over and hugged her son tightly.  She could feel the tears on her shoulders yet heard no crying. “I don’t know why on earth she would leave so suddenly.”  

“He is my best friend mama.  What do I do?”  

“Andre asked me to give you these.”  She pulled the keys to Andre’s castle and handed them to her son.  “He said you would know what they are for.”

Freddie grabbed the keys and ran out the front door without a word.  He sprinted down the street and along the bayou. Into Bigfoot’s grave he ran until he reached the castle.  He sat alone and cried all afternoon.  His heart hurt more than anything he had felt before.  

The castle door eventually disappeared from its location in Bigfoot’s grave.  In time, Freddie’s pain did as well.  With time he healed as all people do when losing a friend. Freddie thought of those days with his best friend often. He missed him. His childhood. The castle.  He never saw nor heard from Andrea again.  He’s now just a memory.  He understands that he not only lost his childhood friend that summer, but his innocence too.  Freddie became ancillary victim of the horror that is domestic violence.  He also kept his promise to Andre by keeping the secret between them. He never told a soul.    

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This fiction was written for Picture it & Write.

At the Ocean’s Edge

Copyright-Renee Homan Heath

This week’s image comes to us from Renee Homan Heath:

WELCOME TO FRIDAY FICTIONEERS WHERE EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

We are a growing community of blogging writers who come together each week from all parts of the globe to share individual flash fictions from a single photo prompt (above). The prompt goes up early Wednesday morning  CST to give each writer time to compose a story by Friday. Some use the photo as a mere inspiration while others use it as an illustration. Use your imagination and think outside the box.

I stared at this picture for what seemed like hours.  While I could have wrote of beauty or love, my mind kept going towards a graduation speech as a metaphor for life.  The word limit kinda hurt what wanted to come out.  So here is what escaped the cutting room floor.  I call it :  At the Ocean’s Edge

 

Mike closes his eyes as his toes touch the ocean.  He hears the speech he gave at graduation twenty years ago:

 “Fellow classmates, we have walked the path of knowledge and arrived at the ocean’s edge.  Today is our new beginning.  With our feet in the water, we must now cross the ocean.  The method we each choose to cross this vastness will be different.  Understand the challenge is not just crossing the ocean but enjoying the journey.  Embrace this challenge.”  

A curve in the road, too much alcohol and an innocent life taken landed him to prison.  He now stares beyond prison walls at the ocean.  His journey finally begins.  

 

  

Mind of Shoo and The Shawshank Redemption

Ok, I am definitely not Rita Hayworth.  However, I have an affinity for the movie The Shawshank Redemption. It is my escape, my happy pill when I find myself wondering what is going on in the Mind of Shoo. I can’t explain why I enjoy the movie so much.  Nor can I explain why watching it really helps me out of the dark days life brings my way. Perhaps its the friendship between Andy and Red that makes me smile. Maybe it is how brilliant Andy was in fooling everyone during the years he carved his way out of prison. Maybe because the movie mirrors my life in the many ways:

The prison holds my mind. The large stone walls seemingly rising to the heavens. So many thoughts awaiting parole. Housed so long within the aging walls, often silent, always haunting me in the darkness of my cell.

I feel like Andy Dufresne. I am charged with a crime, which in my case is alcoholism. However I am innocent. I was not the alcoholic. But I am the one sentenced to life. Just for being part of dysfunctional upbringing. It is this upbringing that keeps me imprisoned. I, like Andy, have my moments of joy or feeling free. Like on the roof of the plate factory or listening to opera. I have my hobbies. They are numerous and varied.  I have my friends, everchanging over time.

Boggs and the sisters are the characteristics that Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents suffer. As we go through our everyday life, they are there watching my every move.  Waiting for the right moment to pounce. To take me against my will. Sometimes I fight them and win. Often I just give in. I am still waiting for Office Handley to rid me of these ugly character faults for good. To beat them to submission never to bother me again.

Speaking of Office Handley, I had him in the form of my father. His baton was alcohol. Using it to inflict damage both mentally or physically. Easily flying off the handle at the slightest issue. Often, he had no soul.

And I have time.  Time to slowly tunnel away through rock in an effort to be free.  To be free of the chaos that haunts me.  Time to manipulate the world around me so I am achieve a successful breakout of my own demons that have been holding me all these years.  Like Andy, I silently plan while I’m playfully outgoing and friendly.  Concerning.  Seeking knowledge.  Waiting for my day to crawl through the sewage of life and land safely on a beautiful beach.  Free from my past.  Forever. 

Finally, like Andy I have hope.  As he writes Red in the movie, “Hope is a good thing.  Maybe the best of things.  And no good things ever dies.”  I’m waiting for my Red.  Whoever that may be.  I’m patient, like Andy Dufresne.  And hopeful

Till we meet again.  Enjoy the movie.

Mind of Shoo

Beautiful Music

Copyright-Roger Cohen

WELCOME TO FRIDAY FICTIONEERS WHERE EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

We are a growing community of blogging writers who come together each week from all parts of the globe to share individual flash fictions from a single photo prompt (above). The prompt goes up early Wednesday morning  CST to give each writer time to compose a story by Friday. Some use the photo as a mere inspiration while others use it as an illustration. Use your imagination and think outside the box.

I am over on words, but I couldn’t cut back much more.  In fact,  this is just a clip from a story I am writing which came to mind when I saw the contrast in the two cellos side by side.  Actually, the photo was perfect.  The two cellos are protected by the wooden box.  From all things on the outside.  Here is what came to mind when I saw the image above.  I call it “Beautiful Music”

After riding our bikes on the church grounds, I sat on the steps with best friend Monty.  Two ten-year old kids in a rural southern town enjoying a summer day together.

A bike approached.  The man on the bike said “We don’t like coloreds on our side town.  Go home.”

Racism.  I learned of it at the expense of my best friend, who was black.  All I could say was “Sorry man.”

Monty smiled and said “You take cello lessons right?”

“Yes I do.”

“We are like two cellos except our exterior is different shades,” he replied.  “We have the same number of strings.  We’re shaped the same.  When played we sound the same.  Just beautiful music.”

The Whole Town Came

This story is fiction.  It was written for the Trifecta: Week Fifty-Eight writing challenge.

This week we want you to write on the third definition of:
survive

1: to remain alive after the death of
<he is survived by his wife>
2: to continue to exist or live after
<survived the earthquake>
3: to
continue to function or prosper despite : withstand <they survived many
hardships>

I sit in my car on a Friday night.  Through the tears and darkness I see 12:28 on my dashboard clock.  I am outside my high school football stadium where hours before I played my last game of high school.  I dropped the game winning pass with less than two minutes.   Everything afterwards is a blur.  All I remember is a constant stream of teammates and coaches approaching me saying its ok.  Not your fault.  It’s a team game.  All the clichés.

“They can all go to hell!  I lost the game. It was my fault!”

Suddenly I notice car lights driving up behind.  It’s the police chief, my dads best friend.  He exits his car and taps lightly on my window.

“Come out and talk to me,” he says.

“No, leave me alone Mr. Landry. I want to be alone.”

“I came cause your dad would have wanted me to” he replies.

“My dad died this morning.”

“I know its tough on you. Everything has been.  Tonight too.  I know you hurt.  You have the right to hurt”

I hear another car door close.  I look over and see my mom walking towards my car, tears in her eyes.

“Are you ok” she says to me.

“I’m not mama. I lost the game.”

“Its ok, I love you.  Very much.  I know you feel bad.  It’s ok to feel that way.  Everyone loves you.  This whole town.”

I hear another car door.  I look in my rear view mirror and I see a line of cars pulling into the stadium parking lot.

Now my coach is here.  My best friend.  My postman.  The owner of the grocery store where I work.  The priest of my church.  My english teacher.  My favorite aunt.  Plus many I barely know.

A little girl I don’t know, dressed in pajamas,  steps in front of my car with a sign saying: We support #88.  Everyone starts clapping.

Through the pain I understand it’s just a game. I will survive.

Comments and critique are welcome!

Across the Hall

I am from a small town in south Louisiana.  Everyone knows everyone.  Even though David was 4 years older than me, I knew him my whole life.  Along with being from the same town, we both attended an all boys catholic school in the neighboring town.  When he was in senior I was in the eight grade.  We never really had any in debt conversations but we did talk on occasion and we’d always say hi to one another. 

It was homecoming day 1977.  A Friday afternoon, last period.  I look across the hall and I see David.  He is looking towards the center of the class and I don’t recall him ever looking my way.  I don’t know why I just noticed him there today.  It’s the first week of November so we have been in school for a couple of months.  Maybe he was assigned a different desk, who knows.  I just remember seeing him there.  So clear.  Like a snapshot in my mind.  Still so vivid all these years later. 

That Friday evening David was murdered.  He was with his girlfriend after the homecoming dance when two me approached their car and kidnapped them.  They drove to a rural location and raped the girl then shot them both.  Now that doesn’t happen in a small town in the late 70’s.  To someone I know.  It was shocking to say the least.  All the kids that attended this school from my town were forced to go to the funeral.  It was frightening to be so young and see such a young person dead.  The same person I had seen only a few days before, hours before his death.  To make things worst we were all interviewed by law enforcement at school the following week.  It was a dreadful experience.

If you ever saw the movie Dead Man Walking with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn you know the story of the man who was convicted of these murders.  I know the young man murdered.  The story is about the friendship between the murderer and a nun from New Orleans who he wrote while on death row.   It is a good movie with great performances by both.  I find the book is much better. 

The reason I told this story is I wonder if it was really that particular day I am remembering.  I have always believed it was that day.  However, does our mind play tricks on us when we think back?  I have always wondered about this memory, this moment in time.  Maybe I saw him a week before and that is when my mind took that picture of him.  Maybe I did indeed see him that day.  I suppose it’s just God’s way of making me remember him.  I see him, so clearly in that desk.  So full of life.  That is my memory of him.

Till we meet again.  Good day.

Mind of Shoo   

My Scars Have Healed

We find our spot among the crowd on the side the road.  Today is a dream come true.  A dream started on a bicycle a few years before.  Riding a bicycle was another escape for me.  It was a way I released my anger.  I am at peace on my bike, albeit somewhat brief.  Free I suppose.  And today I am here.  On the side the road on L’Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps.  Today I am a spectator of the Tour de France.

“What are you thinking about?” Gina asked.

“Its hard to believe,” I say to her.  “I have dreamed of being here since the I watched this event on television.  I have biked many miles dreaming I was riding these very roads.  Only to be disappointed when I realize my finish line was my home. ”

“Brad don’t just dream, make things happen!”

“We are Gina.”

“We huh,”she says with a smile.

“Yes, we.  Well, you talked me into this trip.  But it has been we ever since.”

“This is the first time you have said we Brad.”

“Is it?” I asked.

“Yes it is.  It warmed my heart.  Thank you.”

I feel free at this moment.

“He threw me through into a door.”  I said matter of factly.

“What?”

“I was fourteen, he hit my mom.  I went to protect her.  He pushed me backwards.  My body hit the door but my arm went through the window.  I pulled my arm back through and it was covered with blood.”

With tears in her eyes she reached out and grabbed my hand, then ran her fingers along my scars in wonder.

“That’s how I got the scars.  You are the first person other than my parents to know the truth Gina.”

“But the cuts?” she said.

“Those are my scars, self inflicted to ease my pain.  You know them, you said it yourself.”

“Yes I did. I’m so sorry Brad.”

Don’t be.  Today they have fully healed.

This was written for the Trifecta Week Fifty-seven using the third definetion of the word:

Wonder

a : rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience

b : a feeling of doubt or uncertainty

This writing is fiction.  Its another story from the  journey of  Gina and Brad which started here: Find A Soul.

Words on a paper.

I have always wanted to be a writer in some shape or form.  There are so many words in my mind just dying to reach the tip of a pen onto paper.  I have NO professional training whatsoever.  I only started writing recently after being laid off my job.  It was a shocking event in my life.  After a few days,  those words just started to flow out my mind as if a dam had just broken.  I don’t have any classification for these words as they appear on a paper except just that, words on a paper.  It is a phrase I heard Rick Rubin, producer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and many others), use when he described how their song “Under the Bridge” was born.  He was thumbing through Anthony Kiedis’ notebook when he came across the lyrics, which Rubin described as not yet a song but just words on a paper. 

I am about to put some of these words out for public consumption.  Am I nervous? You bet!  I am uncomfortable with it? Very uncomfortable to be honest.  However,  I feel it’s a good time and venue to begin.  A little background on these particular words on a paper, which are about to become words on your computer screen.  They came to me when I saw a beautiful picture of a tree standing alone on a mountainside.  I once heard Tommy Shaw of Styx fame talk about his song “Crystal Ball”.  He described how it came to him (at age 17 no less) in a “whoosh” and he had to frantically write it down on paper.  That is how I can describe how these words came to me as I saw this image (not the one pictured above). 

So here are my “words on a paper”.

There he sits high on a hill
All alone and majestic.
He’s bare and yet so beautiful
So picturesque against the clear spring sky
bu with green below. 

There he sits high on a hill
All alone and majestic.
His roots are deep
as he reaches for the sky.
Waiting for his leaf buds to grown.
A cycle that come yearly
that began with a seed so long ago.

There he sits high on a hill
All alone and majestic.
Sit there with me, holding my hand.
So that the seed of our friendship can be planted.
Let our roots grow deep
So our friend is as beautiful as the tree.

Till we meet again.  Good day.

Mind of Shoo