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…”
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.”
“Glad you’re better today, Michelle–or were you just hungover, wink, wink, nudge , nudge.” “I swapped,” Michelle replies tartly. “Came in on the Fourth, got a lot done with no one else here. Stayed home yesterday, slept in after everyone in a hundred-mile radius finally stopped setting off mortars at 3 a.m.” “So you worked on the Fourth of July.” “Independence Day is too exhausting for a school night.”
Every week Girlie on the Edge hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction linkup and blog hop. This week’s cue was “exhaust.” Fun sixes from other writers are at the link. Join us! It’s fun!
Jane laughs. She pulls a bottle from her backpack with a flourish. “It’s not much, but we can celebrate.”
“I’m honored to help you celebrate, dear girl,” the old man says. “I wish I had proper glasses, to appropriately savor the bouquet of this lovely drop.” His eyes dance.
“Bouquet,” Jane snorts, uncapping the wine. “Two-Buck Chuck doesn’t have a bouquet. More like a…twang.”
“A stench!” Jane squeals, giddy.
Henry drinks, wipes the the bottle, passes it. “I could not be happier for you,” he says quietly.
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 a bouquet. You can explore the meaning of the word or gather a bunch of flowers. Go where the prompt leads.”
Jane’s eyes open to the phone alarm. She pokes her nose out of the sleeping bag: Cold.
Just today off? Just one day? To lie around, to not strain her eyes at job listings, to not duck the judging eyes of the homed and employed. One day to pretend her life is good enough to relax into.
One day of not trying leads to one missed opportunity leads to another damned lifetime of this life she’s lived too long already.
Growling, she flings back the top of the sleeping bag and jerks her legs out of the warmth.
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 warrior women. It can be myth or everyday mothers and wives. Go where the prompt leads.”
“But I don’t want to sell my house,” Michelle says.
“Property values are up,” Caroline presses. “Now’s your chance to make a killing.”
“Just move for no reason? I like my house.”
“Roll it into a bigger house, with land.” Duh, says Caroline’s tone.
“Uh-huh,” says Michelle, “with an even bigger mortgage, double the payment.”
“Not if you buy farther out, get ahead of the next gentrification rush.”
“Yeah, so then my commute is two hours one way instead of one. No thanks.”
“But property values–”
Michelle holds her hand up: stop. “There’s a big difference between value and worth.”
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 property values. Perhaps its a home, business or pencil museum. What makes them go up or down? Go where the prompt leads.”
Fresh to the city from her small hometown, she’d tilt her head back and get vertigo from the skyscrapers. First time she’d felt fear of heights looking up.
And the cranes. At first, she’d wondered when the buildings would be finished and she could get a pretty skyline photo without those unsightly cranes. Never, she eventually realized. The building never stops. She’d never thought of that, that cities are never finished. Bigger, better, faster, more.
She’s grown to appreciate having a skyline, but she surely does miss a horizon.
Although cranes strung with Christmas lights are kind of pretty.
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 defining ‘the charisma of cranes.’ For centuries, cranes have inspired art and philosophy. You can write a crane story or create something new out of the phrase. Go where the prompt leads.”