Crowds jostle, fish tossers call, children beg for ice cream, candy, a Starbucks. Pike Place Market bustles and hums, smelling of flowers, fish, peaches, damp. Gulls scream and music threads through it all. Jane wanders the stalls, assimilated.
Two dollars gets her an iced bottle of tea and a basket of blackberries. With no way to store them, she’ll have to eat them all. Back out on the cobblestones she finds a seat on the curb, in the sun, near the busker with the violin, finds another dollar for his case.
In the words of the Bangles – Sunday, Fun Day.
Each week at the Carrot Ranch Literary Community, lead buckaroo Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge. This week’s prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), include music and berries. (This week’s challenge might have been too easy!) Flashes from other writers are at the link. Come join us! It’s fun!
“And I know that’s only a couple of jobs for you to check out this week, but something’s better than nothing, right?” the Job Source woman says brightly.
“Here, let me get all of my worldly possessions out of the way,” Jane says, seeing the people waiting their turn.
“Oh, ha-ha, well I’m sure there’s a certain freedom in starting over from scratch,” the social worker titters.
Jane shoves her spiral notebook firmly into her pack and pins the woman with her two-dollar stare. “I get that the whole homeless thing is uncomfortable for you, but there are some things you should never even try to platitude away,” she says quietly, and hoists her pack up. “There’s very little freedom in my choice to sleep in the hostel I was lucky enough to get for tonight, as opposed to on some sidewalk somewhere.”
It powers in with a rush and a roar, surrounding the building in seconds. Becca staggers to her feet, careens from room to room, arms wrapped around her head. The entire apartment throbs. War. It can only be war. China? North Korea? Plenty of choices these days.
Finally the thwapping fades.
Panic says it’s war; logic says just another damned tourist helicopter. Her single crystal wineglass, the one she hid from Richard’s sister to ruin the bar set, is the casualty this time. Vibrated itself right off the counter. Becca swigs from the bottle until her heart finally slows.
The young woman beams nervously, slides her jacket down her arms to hang it over the back of the chair. Caroline’s smile vanishes, her face turning into a study of downward angles. “I’m afraid the interview won’t be necessary after all,” she says, and stalks out of the room.
Becca turns her sympathetic gaze to the fresh-faced hopeful. “Sorry, but it’s your tattoo, Caroline hates tattoos, won’t have them at the office at all, won’t hire anyone with a tattoo, period.”
“Well, who wants to work for a picklepuss like that anyway,” the girl snaps back.
Each week, Ivy at Uncharted hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction linkup and blog hop. This week’s vignette from The Life and Times of Jane Doe is in response to the cue “pickle.” Fun sixes from other writers are at the link. Come join us! It’s fun!
Jane lowers herself to the grass. No shade today; she wants illumination. From her backpack she pulls an amethyst cluster and a Tarot deck. Two of her least practical possessions, from a homeless viewpoint, but important to her.
The amethyst drinks in sunlight and casts crystalline violet needles over her face, her hands, the cards. Jane centers herself, focusing, then picks up the deck.
So many things to wonder about! “What do I need to know about my financial prospects?” she decides on, then draws a card.
A shadow falls over her. “Tarot! Cool! How much for a reading?”
Each 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 using the word crystalline. Fun flashes from other writers are at the link. Join us! It’s fun!