Jack was a darling baby. We knew it was just muscle spasms, but he smiled at us minutes after leaving the womb. We were prepared for sleepless nights and endless tantrums but he remained calm and cheerful, even when he was sick or frustrated. We would fight to read him his bedside story and as he progressed from nursery rhymes to children’s fiction we would often stay with him until he dropped off to sleep.
Jack met Jill a few years before leaving school. We watched, amused, as his body transformed itself while his voice broke. They spent long hours in his room, supposedly studying, and we exchanged knowing glances as we heard them laughing and giggling.
Jill had long blond hair, sparkling blue eyes and dimples every time she smiled.
They made the perfect pair.
She was almost unrecognisable when we saw her in the morgue after the accident, and the hit and run driver was never apprehended.
Now Jack punishes his body with tattoos and spends hours scowling in front of the mirror. We are often woken in the middle of the night by his screams.
Do you think it’s a glamorous job being a photographer?
You see that flawless panoramic photograph and you say to yourself that it’s just a case of being in the right place at the right moment.
I won’t deny it.
But did you think how I got to that place?
I spent days searching for exactly the right location, often traversing dangerous terrain, just to pick the best spot for the shoot. I had to take into account the panoramic backdrop, the vegetation, the proximity and the features to capture.
As for the time, I waited for the right season and probably spent days waiting for the exactly the right weather conditions and got up at three in the morning to be there just as the sun rose.
Some photos require less effort.
My brief is to render the object more imposing than the skyscraper.
The camera, therefore, has to look up to the statue, so here I am lying on the wet grass amongst plastic wrappers and bird droppings while people eye me as if I’m completely crazy.
I hope you like the result.
This week I’m celebrating my return to Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practioner, a challenge that disappeared sometime last year. The other day I discovered that it had been resurrected since last September! So I’m back. Better late than never, right!
It was easy to get lost in Grandpa Pops craggy visage. With so many features to explore it was hard not to stare aimlessly as if there was nothing better to do.
His only concession to fashion was his hat which sat perfectly and permanently balanced on top of his head.
I’d had to write a letter to meet him. A real letter with an envelope and a stamp.
When I’d enquired about telephone, email, or Facebook his agent had just laughed.
I surfaced from my reverie and remembered why I was here.
“I was hoping you might teach me, Mr Pops.”
“Oh you did, did you … ,” his voice was surprisingly melodic.
He pulled a pocket watch from his jacket and suspended it from his left hand and it started to sway slowly from side to side, occasionally catching a thin sliver of sunlight that filtered through the closed blinds.
“Now … Just listen … to the sound of my voice.”
Somehow there was nothing else I wanted to do more, and I just let myself go.
Peter sat down with relief and laid his gnarled cane flat on the cold stone floor of the ancient bridge that forded the river.
“It was really dark last night, but I’m pretty sure this is the place.”
Alan pulled his brightly coloured scarf tighter to block out the early morning chill.
“Are you sure? It doesn’t feel right.”
“You’re too young to remember but this is how it used to be.”
They placed a pile of hastily printed sheets and a stack of cheap plastic pens on the rickety table and waited in silence.
After a while, a young couple entered the bridge, hand in hand, lost in conversation.
Alan sprung to greet them.
“Passports and Visas.”
They looked surprised. The man advanced towards Alan.
“I’ve crossed here for forty years : all my family is on the other side.”
“Well you should have thought of that before voting leave in the referendum, shouldn’t you.”
The man returned Alan’s gaze and coughed nervously.
“I didn’t vote.”
Roger Shipp is our host for the weekly Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge and provided the photo prompt and the words in italics. I don’t think I need to explain my story this week. I’m not happy with the result of the UK Referendum but I did vote.
My spine rubbed uncomfortably against the chair back.
My breath felt trapped.
The angular shape of the fork bit into my palm as I stabbed away at the steak.
Your gaze was unflinching. Those jet black, unblinking eyes bore holes. You were motionless but I knew you were ready to spring like a ruthless bird of prey. I’d seen you in action before.
I chewed my lower lip and coughed. Did you know that the gun in my other hand was empty? Did you count the bullets?
You slowly lifted your eyebrows and broke the uneasy silence.
“You never do anything halfway do you … ?”
I threw the fork onto the plate noisily and seized the gun in both hands ; waving it with as much menace as I could muster.
“You gave me no choice. Give it to me. Now.”
“Slowly. Very slowly.”
You reached into your vest and took out a small blue envelope.
As you reached over I sprung and whacked you over the head.
You collapsed sideways, sliding noiselessly to the floor.
That was easier than I feared.
What a wonderful bird for this weeks Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Thanks to our host Roger Shipp for finding it in Pixabay. I’ve since become a contributor over there but they have very exacting criteria for accepting pics so I’ve had quite a few rejected (smiles).