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Trompe L’Oeil

August 20, 2015

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers!  We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

This week’s photo was taken by fellow writer C.E. Ayr. Thank you, C.E.!

demolition-4

Trompe L’Oeil

by Jan Brown

I’d been lost for days in a dense forest. I finally emerged into sunlight, illuminating a snowy white shoreline.  Whales frolicked in the crystal waters. It was idyllic! I was filled with a sense of joy and peace.

Then someone called my name….

I awoke in a hospital bed, a nurse checking my vital signs.

“Did someone find me on the beach?”

“Beach? No. You’ve been in a coma for days, ever since your car accident.”

Confused and upset, I slid out of bed and limped to the window.

There, in the mural across the street, was my lost paradise.

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To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link below:

Countdown

August 13, 2015

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers!  We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

This week’s photo by Madison Woods reminded me of a story that was in the news earlier this week. Two reporters were taken into custody during the Ferguson protests a year ago, shortly after police shot and killed Michael Brown. They were eating and working at a McDonald’s a couple blocks down the street from the main protest group. 

They were released without charges–until this week, when charges were finally pressed a few days before the one-year statute of limitation deadline. Needless to say, the reporters and their news organizations were outraged. They believe the charges are over-reaching and indicative of a desire to limit press coverage. This is particularly concerning, given the new protests that have been engaged over the last week.

What follows is fiction. I hope it conveys the spirit and the feeling of the journalists’ experience, but it is not intended to be a factual account. Real names of the parties involved are not used in the story.

Photo Copyright: Madison Woods

Photo Copyright: Madison Woods

Countdown

by Jan Brown

“Five.”

Rex quickly unplugged his chargers, his phone and his two laptops. He swallowed the last bite of his McChicken.

“Four.”

Jared started stuffing his computer equipment in a duffel bag.

“Three.”

The SWAT officers looked at each other, nodded, and turned their watchful eyes back to the two journalists, who were recording the officers on video.

“Two.”

Rex and Jared understood the intimidation tactics that police officers used to control crowds. But they had never seen these tactics used to harass reporters.

“One.”

Five seconds just wasn’t enough time to pack up and clear out.

“You’re under arrest.”

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For more information about the actual events that inspired this story:

Article in politico.com August 2014

To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link below:

Help Wanted!

August 13, 2015
Photo Credit: Kristan-Fotolia.com

Photo Credit: Kristan-Fotolia.com

Urgent Help Wanted: Guardian Angel.
Experience warding off
illness, danger,
natural & financial disaster.
Good singing voice.
Apply in person.

The Warning

July 15, 2015

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

This week’s photo by Sandra Crook highlights some of the charming architecture of Dijon, France. It evokes the feeling of another time and place. That is where my story starts…and ends.

Photo Copyright: Sandra Crook

Photo Copyright: Sandra Crook

The Warning

by Jan Brown

Renee woke with a traveler’s headache, temples and eardrums throbbing. Pierre had been the only engineer who could transport her through the timeline without any side effects. But Pierre was gone–kidnapped, tortured and killed by alien invaders.

She stood in the courtyard, admiring the architecture and hoping to see her younger self, to warn her. The war would reduce this city, and indeed much of the planet, to rubble.

Renee spotted her, bouquet of roses in hand. She was walking with Pierre, snuggled into the crook of his arm. She wished they could stay in that moment forever.

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To read more Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link below:

Visitor

July 10, 2015

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

This week’s photo by Stephen Baum evokes the city walkways and tunnels where homeless people occasionally take refuge. You might see an aging veteran pull up his collar against the wind, or a weatherworn grandmother with a plastic garbage bag to keep out the rain. Or you might notice a man talking to no one in particular (and unaided by a Bluetooth headset). I’ve often wondered who’s on the other end of that conversation. If the voices are in his head, are they any less real?

Photo Copyright: Stephen Baum

Photo Copyright: Stephen Baum

Visitor

by Jan Brown

My daily walk through the park led through some sketchy places. In one of several tunnels, I was routinely greeted by a lively old homeless man. He never begged, just offered a friendly “Good morning!” He always carried a satchel, brimming with tablets of scribbled calculations. In our conversations, I learned that he’d been a scientist–but he never said where.

Yesterday as I walked away, I heard him whispering: “Yes, tomorrow….Yes, I’ll have the data.”

This morning he said, “I’ve been waiting for you. I wanted to say goodbye.”

In a flash of brilliant light, he was gone.

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To read more Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the link below:

After Hours

June 25, 2015

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world  who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo by Kent Bonham made me think of the way that certain streets and neighborhoods light up after dark, especially in the wee hours of the morning. I hope you enjoy the story, as well as the “historical” musical treat that follows.

Photo Copyright: Kent Bonham

Photo Copyright: Kent Bonham

After Hours

by Jan Brown

There were only three after-hours places in our neighborhood: a hookah lounge, a disreputable dive bar, and Alice’s Restaurant. Like the one in Arlo Guthrie’s song, the restaurant was run by a fun-loving, aging hippie.

Robert, my longtime boyfriend, was a handyman who bartered his work for Alice’s food and booze.

Last night, I dropped into Alice’s at 3:00 a.m. and found myself to be the only customer. There were no cooks, no sounds of the sizzling grill—just lovers’ moans from the back office. And Robert’s voice, “Oh, God!”

Now there are only two after-hours places in the neighborhood.

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Here is the promised musical “extra.” For aging hippies and other readers of a certain age, you may enjoy the following as an amusing trip down memory lane. For readers of a younger generation, consider this an educational video!!!  :-)

To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories, or post your own, click the link below:

Carrying the Light

June 21, 2015

I’m late with my Friday Fictioneers contribution this week. The photo prompt, as some of you may know, is published Wednesday morning. I contemplated the ornate light fixture in the photo and copied it onto my hard drive, as usual.

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The photo reminded me of some lovely chandeliers I’ve seen in churches, but I had no idea what to write.

That night, I procrastinated and scrolled through my twitter feed instead of writing. I came across breaking stories from various news media and was horrified to learn of the vicious hate crime in Charleston, a mass shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The cold-hearted shooting of a church prayer group…how do we reconcile the irony, the inhumanity?

The historic status of the church and its founder, Denmark Vesey, was mentioned in the first two articles I read. This church has suffered unthinkable losses in the past. The church was founded in 1816 by black congregants who left their predominantly white churches over issues of discrimination. It was burned down in 1822 when its pastor was convicted of planning a slave revolt. When the laws of that era prohibited all-black churches, the members had to meet in secret. The church survived all of this and was rebuilt at the end of the civil war, only to be destroyed by an earthquake in 1886. In the twentieth century, the church was the site of seminal civil rights speeches and demonstrations, including a mass arrest of more than 900 protesters in 1969.

Now they have suffered more unthinkable losses. As I read the articles and watched the news videos, two questions gnawed at me: 1) Why are we the only advanced nation to have mass shootings on a seemingly regular, if not frequent, basis; and 2) Why, in a country that has the most ethnically diverse population of any country on Earth, do we still have racial hatred? The answer to the first question is fairly obvious.  The answer to the second is so complex as to be incomprehensible, but I’m sure we’ll hear many sociologists, psychologists, journalists, pundits and random internet trolls try to break it down for us in the coming days/weeks/months.  I welcome that discussion with open ears.

Meanwhile, the only answer I have is love.

I try to wrap my head around the so-incredible level of love and forgiveness displayed by the families of the victims at the shooter’s bond hearing. No one said it better than Alana Simmons, the granddaughter of one of the victims. She spoke directly to the shooter, saying, “Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, everyone’s plea for your soul is proof that they lived in love. Hate won’t win.” (Source: NBCNews.com)

Mother Emanuel will be open for Sunday services today. The light they carry into the world is witness to God’s love and to our human potential to love, rather than hurt, each other.  I hope my little poem reflects that light.

Photo by Stephen Hyatt http://photos.thechurchesoftheworld.com/Charleston-SC-Churches/Mother-Emanuel-AME/

Photo by Stephen Hyatt
Source: photos/thechurchesoftheworld.com

Carrying the Light

by Jan Brown

Why do churches have such lovely chandeliers? Perhaps…

To remind us there is something irresistibly beautiful, something higher and more permanent than our imperfect selves.

To remind us of the beauty that can shine from just one beacon, even in a world otherwise devoid of light.

To focus the still-bright light of  our lost loved ones, so that we will not flounder in the dark.

To infuse love, the kind of love that shines on every living being, the kind of love that will never falter, never flicker out, never discriminate and never be darkened, no matter how deep the night.

shooting victims

Source: NBCNews.com

Mother Emanuel’s light shines now, this very moment. I pray that everyone will let it in.

Amen.

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Friday Fictioneers is a lovely community of writers from around the world. My blog this week was a departure from the usual form. Normally we post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. To read more stories of every conceivable genre, or to post your own, click here.

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