Button Stories (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

She’s dreaming, but she can hear them rattling inside the powder box. Grandma’s button box. She feels them between her fingers, sees them with her dream-eyes. Bone ones, feather-light carved wood ones, painted china ones, cloth-covered ones. Stamped brass and pearly shell.

They used them as coins for betting, learning arithmetic playing “21.” They played a bastardization of marbles and tiddlywinks with them. But she loved it most when Grandma told their stories.

“This one came off your Great-Aunt Alice’s wedding suit. She married a rake, let me tell you, we all thought he’d never be more than a fancyman…”

Hans wedding
Photo: Hans

Every week at the Ranch, Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes buttons. You can use the word plural or singular in different expressions, or focus on how buttons relate to a story. Go where the prompt leads.”


Author: Deborah Lee

I like trees, dreaming, magic, books, paper, floating, dreaming, rhinos, rocks, stargazing, wine, dragonflies, trains, and silence to hear the world breathe.

6 thoughts on “Button Stories (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)”

  1. You had me at every description of each button! These are among some I recall finding in the desert. Not cloth-covered or wooden, though. I once found a large abalone button. Do all Nevada kids grow up learning to play 21, lol? Great flash, Debra. I enjoyed the character of the aunt mentioned, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My grandparents used to take us out to ghost towns, and buttons were treasures. So was broken china pieces–grandpa would cut out parts of the pattern to make into earrings and necklaces. Man, I miss those days so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love to relive those adventures! I’m sure we must have crossed trails at some time. Did you ever get up to Tuscarora? My dad went to grade school there before it became a ghost town. His dad worked a nearby ranch. I love broken glass and china, too.


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