Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose, poetry, and music.

Friday Fictioneers — Old Thingamybob

Lauren Moscato

You lived in terror of rats gnawing  through to your bones with their tombstone teeth as you slept.

One day, a man clattered down the street on stilts and cast some pennies into your hat. You said to him, “Seeing as you’re a giant, do us a favour, mate. Paint us a door and two windows high up on that wall over there.”

“I agree it’s unsightly.”  (he meant you, not the wall)

That night, your rheumy eyes deceived you. Above, you saw your doorway leading to salvation away from the meths bottle and rats, if only you had stilts.

#

Friday Fictioneers: 100-word stories
Photo Prompt: image © Lauren Moscato

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41 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers — Old Thingamybob

  1. Stilts came to my mind where I saw ths photo prompt. Nice story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *Shudder*… great take on the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dale. Can’t say I’m too keen on rats, having had one fly through the air at me once, with its teeth bared. Fortunately, I had a hoe to hand and deflected its flight path!

      Like

      • Blech! We used to live beside a field and a rat got into the house. My parents were away and my grandmother almost had a cardiac arrest when, upon opening a drawer that thing flew out, over her shoulder and past her! Dad put poison in the basement (my room was in the basement) and the bloody thing died in my closet. Grossest thing EVER.

        Liked by 2 people

      • They are exceedingly gross. I remember seeing a bloated one in a toilet once, where it had drowned and doubled its size. Yuck D:

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That opening line is truly gruesome – well done, indeed

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great response to the prompt Sarah! I had a pair of stilts too when I was young – some wooden ones that a friend of my dad made for me. Don’t know what happened to them but I loved them at the time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Andrea 🙂 My stilts were wooden, although not homemade. I remember my mother paying a bit each week towards them (and a pair or roller skates) in a local shop, so I could have them as a birthday/Christmas present. I was so excited by these gifts, having waited months for them, although I almost killed myself on my roller skates, but that’s another story. The stilts were my favourite and only caused a few bruises!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gruesome opening line. Rats give me the shivers… The writing is beautiful, though. Great piece of flash!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That would explain a lot, actually. Great story. Incidentally, I’m from earth, 3rd planet from the sun. Live long and prosper. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Clever response to the prompt, Sarah. I can’t help pitying that poor old man. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really liked the slightly surreal nature of this, and it’s always good to see someone taking the second person singular for the narrative. It works very well, in fact I think it enhances the piece greatly. There was an almost Leonard Cohen feel to the words. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooo, a compliment indeed, about the Leonard Cohen feel to it. Thank you, Sandra 🙂
      I love writing in the second person. In my novel that’s presently undergoing the submission rounds, for one particular character who’s rather lateral in her thoughts, I always write from the second POV.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Leonard Cohen – I do so agree. The way the bleakness is just boldly stated.
    A very believable character. I wonder about his past.
    (The ‘Privet’ story is priceless. I used to have a diary with just one eight-year-old’s entry for the entire year – Libby made my farm horid. We were destined to be writers!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • …and another lovely person who has likened this to Leonard Cohen. Thank you, so much, MJL.
      (I loved being eight. It was probably the best year of my life and. because I was in such a happy and positive mood, I won an art prize and a poetry prize, as well as the annual music medal at school for my piano playing! Haven’t achieved so much in one year ever since).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I adore your imagination Sarah, this is a brilliant flash fiction. You have caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end, such is the way you took me in to this horror story, on more than one level (pun unintended!). That out of reach door to salvation…and the meths and the rats and the hopelessness. Fantastic story, love it 🙂 xxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great imagery. The rats make it even more creepier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I had the rats in the story as it recently struck me — seeing as there is an apparent increase lately of people sleeping rough in the UK — that a homeless person must be very vulnerable to attack by rats at night, especially if that person is lying there in a drunken stupor.

      Like

  12. A very imaginative take on the prompt. Poor man – I hope maybe some night soon he’ll figure out a way to get up there away from the street.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The trouble is that once homeless people are on the bottle, it’s usually a fast spiral into oblivion for them. In our town we have an inter-church initiative over the winter months to provide homeless people with food and shelter every night, but because it’s staffed by volunteers, rather than by qualified specialists, there’s a rule that nobody with addiction or florid psychiatric issues can be catered for.

      Like

  13. Your words created an instant image of those – Eeekkky – rats.
    I think you did a fabulous job of creating a story that sheds some light
    on the way people addicted feel and live. Quite a good story.
    Isadora

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dear Sarah,

    I love the disconnected, alternative reality feel to your piece. It is a wonder that the majority of humanity seems, at their heart, to think in the same fashion. The outcasts often think differently and the dissonance makes it hard to walk a mile in their shoes. A very well imagined and rendered piece.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Doug,
      I agree totally with what you say about that dissonance. It’s nigh on impossible to put oneself totally in the shoes of outcasts and differentiate between whether they’re outcasts because they’ve always thought differently, or they think differently because they’ve become outcasts.
      Thank you for your thought-provoking comment, which will doubtless lead to further reflection on my part.
      All best wishes
      Sarah

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Liked your story and how you told it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dear Sarah,

    You’ve painted quite a picture here. I, too, love the voice. I agree with the comments comparing it to a Leonard Cohen piece. More than that I cannot add as I’m scurrying around like one of your rats to catch up between last week’s stories and this week’s.

    Thank you for being such an integral part of Friday Fictioneers. Wonderful writing is one of the things that has kept me at this. 😉

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle,
      It is quite enough for me that my words should bring to mind those of Leonard Cohen!
      I guess the more popular your Friday Fictioneers becomes, the more you need to scurry around. I do find myself suffering from feelings of guilt every week, as it’s impossible for me fit in reading everyone’s stories, which is rather a shame.
      You are an absolute star running the show, and many thanks you for all that you do 🙂
      All best wishes
      Sarah

      Like

  17. Wonderful, Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Naomi 🙂 I’m really enjoying the weekly challenge of writing a 100 word story.

      Like

      • The 100 word story taps into the same strength you demonstrate with Haiku, and that is your talent for eloquently conveying so much so succinctly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Naomi, for your kind words.
        My fear is that people will expect the same in my novels, which sort of worries me whenever I consider self-publishing. It’s really hard to sustain that succinctness over 60+K words. My last novel is possibly the nearest on that front, but it’s rather controversial and I would prefer to have a publisher or literary agent advising me about what is permissible or not!

        Like

      • Don’t worry about that, Sarah. It’s a different beast, apples and oranges. I am one hundred percent sure that it is brilliant.

        Like

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