Oil Can Man #FridayFictioneers

Everyone has a hobby, for my uncle Earl that was collecting old oil cans. He claimed he had over a thousand and he wasn’t far wrong because we did find something like that when we emptied his house.

My family were for throwing them all in the skip but there was something that made me set them aside to auction off. That turned out to be a wise choice as they raised more money that anyone could have ever thought, thus leaving me a grand inheritance and  a well learnt lesson that to the right person it’s not rubbish.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/11/28/30-november-2018/ with thanks).

Bust #FFfAW

The trucker drove through another semi-abandoned town, just like the last few he had passed. Looking out of his rain splattered window at building sites and abandoned yellow machinery. The economy had fallen and work had stopped everywhere.

A sign went by, an advert for new houses; Move in by Christmas! The trucker looked at the dirt field behind. No chance, unless you put up a tent, he thought. Shaking his head, he drove on, heading away from failed towns and the out fall of other peoples’ decisions. He felt lucky to still have a job.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/11/12/fffaw-challenge-191st/ with thanks).

Investment #FlashFictionChallenge

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It was unreal to think the manor house I was standing before was now our’s. Sadly, the place was a memory of it’s former self. Lucky, the walls and roof were all sound but there were broken windows and doors to replace then the rooms to strip and redecorate. There was no running water, working electricity or gas and it was uninhabitable.

We were going to change all that, make it into a fine home then perhaps a hotel and open gardens. It was a life’s investment but once done up the property value would soar into the millions.

(Inspired by; https://carrotranch.com/2018/05/17/may-17-flash-fiction-challenge/ with thanks).

Spare Change

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Normally, I wouldn’t have stopped but today I was feeling too happy, so when I spotted the homeless man sitting against the car park wall, my hand was already going to my pocket.

‘Got any change?’ he asked in crackling, horse voice.

‘Maybe. Sure,’ I added.

I removed my hand and opened my palm. The coins were digging against my fingers, so I moved them and looked closely what I had. Counting out a one pound in the sliver coins, I give them to his out stretched hand. His hand was filthy, his fingernails black with dirt and his skin dark with too sun and not enough washing.

‘Thank you,’ he replied.

I nodded and made to move off as he dropped the coins to the ground in front of him.

‘How old do you think you are?’ he asked suddenly.

I paused. His voice was calm and curious, not mocking or angry.

‘Well…I know how old I am….twenty-nine,’ I answered.

‘No, no, no! A woman should never tell a man her age!’ the homeless man gasped.

‘I don’t mind….’

He shook his head, ‘let me tell you how old you look….twenty-four!’

‘Well, thanks. I’m use to people telling me I’m younger,’ I explained and smiled.

‘Do you remember the sixties?’ he asked.

‘Erm…no….Sorry, but I…’

I started to shuffle away, regretting I’d stopped in the first place.

‘Let me tell you want happened!’ he shouted.

‘I have to be somewhere,’ I spoke.

‘My wife got pregnant,’ he cut in, ignoring me, ‘only I was shooting blanks, so I knew it couldn’t be mine.’

‘Oh…’

‘Shooting blanks, I was!’ he shouted and burst into laughter.

I felt the urge to get away growing. Something wasn’t right about this man and I was feeling uncomfy. My good karma was fading and I reminded myself this was why I didn’t give money to the homeless.

‘I knew it wasn’t mine,’ he ranted, ‘so, I looked and looked and found she was having an affair with her best friend’s husband! The baby was his. So, I left.’

He waved his hands around then leered at me. For the first time I fully took him in. He had black hair, streaked mostly grey that was long and shaggy. He had a short beard that was also grey and his face was wrinkled like a dried fruit, making him twenty years older then he seemed. His dark blue eyes looked worn and heavy, he’d seen too much bad stuff. He was wearing an ancient track suit that might have once been blue but was now holey and dark with age and dirt.

‘Okay. I’m sorry about that, but I really have to go now,’ I said gently.

He moved as if to reach my hand and I stepped back but he was merely shifting around.

‘You know what they named him?’ the homeless man asked.

I shook my head.

‘Hal. Do you know what it means? First seed,’ he snapped.

I pressed my lips together and eyed the exit door, it was only a few steps away and I could make that in a few seconds, especially, if I ran.

‘Hal! They did it to spite me! Are you religious? You don’t look it. But it’s in the Bible that.’

‘I am actually,’ I uttered.

The homeless man didn’t seem to care any more. From under his jacket, he pulled out a white rosary and danged it between his fingers.

I nodded to him.

He began to play with the beads, muttering to himself. Perhaps it was a prayer.

‘Well, bye,’ I said and walked away, what else could I have done?

Money Tree

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Standing under the first apple tree in the row of twenty at the end of my field, I thought about what my granddad had told me when we had been planting these trees thirty years ago.

‘Money grows on trees, you know. And these trees are very special. They are going to make you lots of money, Abbey.’

He hadn’t been wrong. The trees produced a large amount of sweet apples which were good for eating and cider making. The extra money had always been useful and the harvest had never failed.

Staring up through the branches at slices of sky, I wondered what was going to happen now.

‘I wish you did grow money,’ I said.

The wind gently shook the trees, rustling the green leaves and I breathed in the heavy fragrant scent of spring.

 I shut my eyes and though it was childish, pretended that the trees were answering me.

‘Perhaps, we can’t grow real money. But haven’t we provided you with more?’ the trees whispered to me.

‘And I’m grateful, but now…I’m at a loss. I don’t want to give you up but what else can I do?’ I asked.

The trees seemed to sigh.

Money isn’t a thing that bothers trees; they didn’t value it. Life however is something they need.

‘You could be cut down….’ I mutter and picture this bright meadow gone and replaced by houses.

‘Whatever will be will be,’ the trees tell me, ‘if you have the power to change it then try. Life’s cycle will continue no matter what.’

‘Then, I’ll try and change it…Everything in my power I’ll do and I’ll save you trees!’ I yell.

Birds startle into the sky flapping loudly and the wind shakes the trees as if they are cheering me on. The field becomes quiet again and I know what I must do.

Monies

Copper Cent Coins

Jasper loved money. There was something comforting and reassuring about the feel of coins in his hands. He liked the weight and the coldness which quickly became warm. The sounds the coins made as they clinked together or on to things was music to his ears.

He marvelled at all the different designs there were on the backs of coins from all over the world. He enjoyed watching the British Queen’s face changing through the years, the USA Presidents switching around and special editions for events like the Olympics.

Coins was not were it ended though, Jasper also enjoyed paper notes. He liked the rustle sounds of them, the feel between his fingers and the oily printing smell of them. He hung on to notes that were crisp from the machines, not parting with them till he had no choice.

Jasper’s collection was huge and though it took over his house, he wouldn’t give it up for the world. He had perfectly fitted cabinets and drawers made to protect and store the money. The most valuable coins and notes lived in numerous safes hidden in the walls, floors and ceilings.

Even his job in involved money handling! Jasper would hurry to the bank five times a week and carry out his role as a finical accountant manger. He loved watching money roll in and out of accounts and the stock market changing. Sometimes he would go into the vault and look at what was on display down there.

However, he loved home time when he could return to his collections and study his coins in greater detail.

 

Job

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If Sophie was being truly honest with herself, the new job was never something she’d really thought about doing. Now, sitting at the reception desk, she cast her mind back and mapped how she had ended up here.

University had promised so much. The new friends, the new skills, the experience of adulthood and when she had left, she had thought herself walking up to employers and waving her degree in their faces. They’d hire her on the spot!

That though hadn’t happened and in the months after graduating, Sophie recalled how she had felt so lost. Sighing, she let her thoughts linger on those two years when she felt like an outcast. Her friends had all moved away and gotten jobs, cars, some had even married and had babies. She, however had been alone and stuck at home.

Volunteering had been a calling she had often answered. Sophie remembered how she had turned to that again. Finding places and people that needed her help. It had been a delighted feeling but her degree had begun to get dusty. Somehow, she had been offered a job out of the blue from one of those places. Even though it was only in the morning for half the week, it had been welcome money.

Then everything had gone down hill. Her boyfriend broke up with her, the support money she had been receiving was cut and her mum got ill. Sophie felt tears growing, she swept them away and stared hard at the computer screen. Last year, had been bad and she wished she could just erase it from history. She pictured taking a calendar and a black marker pen and just going through and blanking all the months out.

Perhaps, though it wouldn’t really matter. The past was the past and she couldn’t get rid of it. But she could just turn away from it and move on. Sophie smiled at that thought and looked around herself. Today it was quiet in the centre and the heater was blowing hot air on her face. She looked down at the contract of employment she had just sighed and even though she had re-read it a few times, she flipped through the pages again.

On the second page, it clearly outlined her dates and times of employment.

A full time job,  she thought, though I totally didn’t think I was ever going to end up here! I made it somehow and now it’s time to embrace that and start living to the full again. 

Winter View

PHOTO PTOMPT © Lucy Fridkin

From the penthouse apartment, Isabella watched the snow falling. The city below was already covered in white and yet more flakes were coming down. From this window, she could see the large expanse of the river and the other part of the city across it.

Clutching the fleece blanket tighter around her naked body, Isabella felt a wave of relief that she wasn’t stood on a street corner right now. She was warm, safe and well feed for the first time in years. The grimy single apartment she had shared with seven other women a fading memory.

‘Issy?’ a soft man’s voice called from behind her.

She turned her head and took in her savoir, who was standing naked next to the sofa in the large open plan living room.

‘It’s snowing, Gideon,’ she spoke, the English words still sounding foreign in her mouth.

‘Come back to bed, then,’ Gideon said.

Isabella looked out of the window again. Down there somewhere, the women she had called sisters were working. They were selling the only thing they could to pay off their debts for being smuggled into this country. Whilst she was up here, her body now belonging only to one man who had paid her debt and brought her.

‘What is it?’ Gideon asked.

He came to join her and drew her into a hug. Isabella nested into his embrace. Enjoying the familiarity of his cooling skin against her own.

‘I wish I could help my sisters,’ she mumbled into his shoulder.

Gideon stroked Isabella’s blonde hair and cast his dark grey eyes out at the river and city.

‘I wish I could too,’ he said, ‘but you’re the one I chose,’ he added as he put his hands onto her cheeks and raised her head.

Their eyes met, her enchanting bright blue gaze holding his. Isabella put her hands on top of his and gently rubbed the backs of his hands with a finger.

‘I know…Still I want to help,’ she spoke.

Gideon sigh. He dropped his hands from her face then gathered her hands into his,’come back to bed.’

He moved, tugging her gently away.

Isabella with a last look towards the window, let him led her up the glass staircase and into the master bedroom. She didn’t pay any attention as Gideon slipped the blanket from her and settled them both into bed. Her thoughts were far away, back on that street corner again, trying to keep warm whilst catching the eyes of her next customer.

 

(From Friday Fictioneers: https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/9-december-2016/ with thanks.

PHOTO PTOMPT © Lucy Fridkin)

Wishing Well

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He threw the coin into the wishing well and didn’t think any more of it, until a week later when a beautiful blonde moved in next door.

 

Just Be

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Looking down at the tarot card in her hand, Moon thought it was too much of a sign. The Queen of Swords was sat upside down in a Gothic style throne and frowning as if she was very disappointed in Moon. The Queen’s long sword pointed upwards in a threatening manner as if it was questioning Moon too.

Setting the card aside on the purple velvet covered circle table, Moon shut her eyes and tried to block everything out. Still though, she could hear the arcade staff setting up for the day, their voices mixing with eager cries of children waiting outside and the sea waves splashing against the wall. She breathed in deeply, focusing on relaxing and opening herself to what the universe was saying.

Letting out a deep sigh, Moon opened her eyes again and looked down. The Queen of Swords was still there. That frown looking deeper then before and the eyes more piercing. Of course, she knew what the card meant. There wasn’t one in the whole deck she did not know. It was just that…She was having an hard time taking in the message.

The sound of the arcade’s doors opening drew her attention. She stood from the small high back chair and took a few steps to the side. Trying to make her skirt and bangles not jangle so much, Moon peeped out from the heavy purple curtains that surrounded her little box and watched people entering. There was only a handful; a few local kids with no where else to go during the summer holidays, grandparents with their grandchild, a tried mother with her trio and two very elderly women.

Moon let the curtain fall back. She was not due to open yet, even though she was desperate for the money but she knew none of those people would come to her. Stepping back and sitting down again, she looked at the Queen of Swords then picked the card up.

‘I shall try to be more myself,’ she whispered, ‘though being less like any female in my family is hard. It’s difficult to find your own path when someone’s already cut it out for you. Looking at all the different angles might help though.’

Moon placed the card back with the others, shuffled the deck and placed them into the small wooden box again. Placing that in her bag and picking it up, she left the tent. The curtains that had been muffling the sounds and smells of the outside world settled behind her and Moon walked away.

Going out of the arcades bright red painted doors, she turned and walked alongside the sea wall. Breathing in the fresh, salty air, she took a few minutes to think deeply about things. The Queen of Swords was firmly fixed in her mind’s eye and Moon could almost hear the Queen’s voice telling her to listen to her inner self.

‘What do I want?’ Moon said aloud without meaning too.

A nearby seagull squawked at her and Moon turned to give the creature a dirty look. The bird took flight, flapping large white and grey wings across the sea’s choppy surface. Moon rested her arms on the wall and looked out. The morning sky seemed full of promises and it was beckoning anyone willing enough to travel towards the horizon a chance to take one of those promises.

How difficult can it be to reach out and take what I want?  Moon thought.

She looked back at the arcade and beyond it the wooden pier. She could just make a few people all ready walking down towards the funfair and the theater at the end. Turning back, Moon watched the waves knocking against the wall. The water seemed to be asking her to let it in and in her mind, Moon let it in.