Jane ambles through festival avenues, enchanted. The diversity is staggering. Bright colors, strains of different styles of music, smiling faces beckoning her to their booths: Come see this blanket, this bracelet, this vase. Flags are everywhere, almost none she recognizes.
What draws her most are the smells, the different foods. There are foreign foods she’s familiar with, of course — Thai, Korean, Italian, Mexican. But so much to taste from countries previously unconsidered: Romania, Guyana, Cuba, Lebanon, the Basque provinces. Her mouth waters, her stomach rumbles.
As a parade of nations, the Olympic Games have nothing on downtown’s International Festival.
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 about a parade of nations. It can be literal, or it can be a phrase that you use to describe a situation. Explore what it could be. Go where the prompt leads.”
I hesitated to pick this up, as it’s the novelization of a TV show and I’m not much for TV. I’ve enjoyed other Erin Kelly books though, so I gave it a shot.
Kelly’s other books are twisty-turny psych thrillers with good payoffs at the end, although I found all of them a tad slow to build, lacking the urgency I like. Broadchurch is the exception, perhaps because it is based on a TV show. Peeking through the narrative are glimpses of the lighting and camera angle tricks and little cliffhangers that are the trademarks of serial television dramas, but tempered enough that I don’t feel I’m being played. There is no shortage of suspects in this tale of the senseless killing of an eleven-year-old boy. The atmosphere of a fairly insular small town, where everybody seems to have at least a passing relationship with everyone else, and if they don’t know your business they’ll be happy to make it up out of whole cloth, shines through and adds to the tension and intrigue.
Jane ambles through the grocery store, pushing a cart and luxuriating in the experience of grocery shopping. Like people who have a food budget, cupboards to store recipe ingredients, a kitchen for melding them into a home-cooked meal, refrigerator for leftovers.
She hesitates in the pasta aisle, torn between the thought of a steak or her mother’s standby, macaroni with tomatoes and cheese melted through. She used to think of pasta as poor-people food – before she became a poor-people. But it will always be comfort food, Jane thinks, tossing three times as much as she needs into her basket.
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 pasta. It can be spagetti, macaroni and cheese, or any variety. It can be a meal or a work of art. Go where the prompt leads.”
“Jane, I wanted to ask you,” Audrey says. “I overheard in the break room the other day that you’re between apartments, staying someplace crowded and noisy.”
Jane nods, not elaborating that “between apartments” translates, for her, to “living in a tent in a homeless camp.”
“My husband and I will be out of the country for a couple of months, and I think you and I can help each other out,” Audrey continues. “We can get you off your friend’s sofa and pay you a little, supplement your part-time work here and give you a quiet place to study, if you can house-sit and take care of our yard and the animals.”
Jane’s heart is suddenly triphammering; she knows Audrey lives on Lake Washington, but visions of a working refrigerator and cable television and real beds and deck with water view all pale in the holy glow of the thing she misses most of all: a bathtub.
Every week, Girlie on the Edge hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction blog hop and linkup. This week’s cue: SUPPLEMENT. Fun sixes from other writers are at the link. Come join us!
But I thought you moved there for the epic job, your career pinnacle,” Barb said. “How’d you end up homeless?”
“No trick at all,” Jane assures her, switching her phone to her other ear. “The fancy skyscraper, the water view, the little bistros for lunch…those were disguising the Job From Hell. But I’m still epic.”
“I thought your new boss is a royal bitch too.”
“Sure. And the place is a dump, and the pay is a joke, and people won’t even say hi. But…after two years unemployed, anything with a paycheck is epic in my book.”
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 about an epic workplace. It can be real or imagined. Go where the prompt leads.”