The Carried Wife (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

Becca reads the “Lifestyles” article about wife-carrying contests in Minnesota, then clicks out with a snort. That’s exactly the kind of thing Richard would have liked, manly and competitive and funny.

She’s walking past the plate glass window when the vastness outside it, the view itself, seems to knock her sideways. Not now, agoraphobia, she thinks, I have to go to work, but it’s too late. The room dips and spins and she drops to her knees.

The laughing wife in the article photo flashes. Yes, she could use a wife-carrier right about now. But Richard’s not coming back.

 

wife carrying
Courtesy of Charli Mills

I’ve been letting flash fiction languish, but I’m back! 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 carried wife.”

The Safebreaker’s Daughter (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

“…so then, they couldn’t figure how to break into the safe, so they got some dynamite and blew it up!”

Laughter.

“All that money, blown to shreds. My dad’s friend the cop said when they got there it was still fluttering around like snow. All that cash, just confetti.”

“Order now, kids,” the teacher snapped.

Jane had turned her head, feigning a deep interest in the bare trees outside the homeroom window. Thirty years later, her face still burned like fire at the memory.

Her father had gone to prison, and she hadn’t seen him since. The safecracker’s legacy.

safecracker

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 the safebreaker’s daughter. Who is she, what did she do, and where? Go where the prompt leads you!”

 

 

 

War Paint (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

Caroline peers over Jane’s shoulder at Jane’s reflection in the mirror, her breath hot. “Why doll yourself up?” she says. “You’re not going to find a boyfriend here.”

Janes snaps the compact shut. “I’m not here for a boyfriend. I’m here because it’s my job.”

The restroom door slams shut as Caroline huffs out. One step closer to fired, Jane thinks.

It’s not a job, it’s a war zone. War zones require war paint. Magical protection:  It’s not blush, it’s a shield. Transformation: Look like who you want them to think you are.

Maybe she should buy some woad.

ivanovgood
Photo: ivanovgood/Pixabay

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 involves paint. It can be fresh, peeling or in need of a coat. What is being painted and why? Go where the prompt leads!”

Strawberries and Mint (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

Becca sips from her garnished glass. “What is this?” she asks, surprised.

“Strawberry and mint,” Michelle tells her.

Becca sips again. “Not bad, for fancy food.”

“Fancy?”

Becca gulps. “New-fangled. Yuppie. Millennial.”

“New-fangled? My grandmother made this, like her grandmother did. It’s old-fashioned as the hills.”

Becca frowns, sips again, raises her glass to Michelle in appreciation. “I was raised by a mother who thought broccoli and eggplant were ‘weird food.’ Her only seasonings were salt and pepper. I learn something new with every meal invitation I get.”

“What shall it be next time?” Michelle laughs. “Saffron? Or lavender?”

manfredrichter
Photo: manfredrichter/Pixabay

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 strawberries and mint. The combination evokes color contrast, scents, and taste. Where will the combination take you? Go where the prompt leads!”

Aging Out (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

“You need to hustle. You can only stay in this program for two more weeks,” the placement advisor says.

Jane’s stomach plummets; her veins ice over. Fear. Cut loose. Again.

“Why?”

Shrug. “It’s the rule. If you’re still here after three months, we make way for others who are actively looking.”

Jane bristles. “I am active. I’m here at least twice a week. I’m applying, interviewing. I want a job. I need a job.” Tears press.

Eyes drop. Silence.

“Just wait,” Jane says, “until you’re fifty, with all the skills and triple the experience, and nobody wants you anymore.”

geralt exhaustion
Photo: geralt/Pixabay

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 growing older. It can be humorous, dark or poignant. It can be true or total fiction. It can be fine wine or an old fossil. Go where the prompt leads!”

Gender Bender (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

Jane holds up a flash card with a dress on it.

“La vestido,” Chelsea says promptly.

El vestido,” Jane corrects. “It’s a masculine noun.”

Chelsea blows out an exasperated breath. “Women wear dresses! How is a dress masculine?”

Jane shrugs. “I didn’t invent the language. Try learning the article along with the word, and don’t look for male or female quality about the object itself. A pen may look phallic, but la pluma is feminine.”

“Well, it’s stupid.”

Jane picks another flash card. “The test is tomorrow. Be glad you’re learning Spanish and not Polish. Polish has five genders.”

WikimediaImages
WikimediaImages/Pixabay

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 gender. It can be fixed or fluid. Explore the topic on your own terms and open your mind to possibilities and understanding. Go where the prompt leads!” Fun flashes are at the link. Join us; it’s fun!

Fire (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

Again. AGAIN. She can’t do anything right. It’s the 50-50-90 rule: If she has a 50-50 chance of choosing the right thing, there’s a 90% chance she’ll choose wrong.

Anxiety rushes through her veins, ice water for blood. She sidles up to Greg’s desk, opens her mouth, knowing she’s hanging her desperation out for all to see.

On second thought, the whole floor heard the shouting anyway.

Fight or flight.

Barely keeping her voice steady, she asks, “Does Lesley ever fire anyone?”

Greg’s glance is sympathetic. “Sometimes,” he says. “But usually they get fed up and walk out first.”

geralt
Photo: geralt/Pixabay

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 fire. It can be a flame that burns or a light that inspires. Follow the flames and go where the prompt leads!”

Eminence (Jane Doe Flash Fiction)

The house is a lovely lakeside pile on a low eminence above its neighbors, cocooned among trees. Jane lugs her few belongings up the slope easily, eagerly. Hangs her few clothes, arranges her few toiletries.

Hers, hers, for six whole weeks, in exchange for being present and tending to the animals while Audrey is in Europe.

The kitchen gleams, the den lulls, the shady deck beckons. But, she decides, luxuriating, paradise is a bathtub. And it hits her, making her sit up so abruptly she sloshes wine and bubbles. Is housesitting something she could do as an actual career?

NGSOFT
Photo: NGSOFT/Pixabay

I haven’t been writing much and it feels good to be back in the saddle. 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 uses the word eminence. It’s a rich word full of different meanings. Explore how it sounds or how you might play with it. Go where the prompt leads!”

Sign in the Wilderness (Flash Fiction Mashup)

“What’s wrong?” Henry asks.

Jane feels herself, ridiculously, wobbling a bit, and forces equilibrium back. “Nothing, really, just about the strongest déjà vu I’ve ever had.”

“I read somewhere,” Henry says comfortably, “some guru somebody, that déjà vu is a spiritual sign that you’re doing everything you’re supposed to, right where you’re supposed to be.”

“So, me being unable to find a job or have a roof over my head is a milestone? If the powers that be are going to send a big ‘YOU ARE HERE’ sign, it’d be nice if they’d also tell me where HERE is!”

 

grass-1209945_1280
Pixabay

I did it again! Every week, Charli Mills hosts the Rough Writers and Friends flash fiction challenge, and Denise at Girlie on the Edge hosts the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction blog hop. I combined both formats (99 words and six sentences respectively) and both cues (“sign” and “milestone” respectively) into one flash. Because I’m fancy. Fun flashes from other writers are at the links. Join us; it’s fun!

It’s All in the Packaging (Jane Doe Flash Fiction Mashup)

Jane hesitates at the entrance to the marina, fighting impostor syndrome. But the Lake Union Dreamboats antique yacht show is free and open to anyone, and it’s something to do.

Sleek vessels line the piers, shining even under cloud cover, and her breath catches as she steps aboard the Sea Mist and takes in the tiny space. Efficiency kitchen only big enough for one, built-in bed and furniture, handmade throws, gleaming teak, fresh flowers. Do people really keep flowers in vases with water at sea?

It’s not much bigger than her own tent, but what a difference accoutrements make.

terimakasih0
Photo: terimakasih0

If you’re a regular reader, you know I regularly participate in two flash fiction challenges: the Rough Writers and Friends 99-word challenge and the Six Sentence Stories flash fiction linkup and blog hop. This week, I pulled off using the cues for each (“sea mist” and “vessel” respectively) in one story that is both 99 words and six sentences long. Go, me!