Friday, January 17, 2014

New Friday Feature

I see this blog as a writing exercise; somewhere to display some creativity and to let my writing loose on the world and see what happens.

Tuesday I tried something new, for me anyway, and cut loose with some Flash Fiction. I had some fun with it, and it didn't turn out to bad. So I decided to start Flash Fiction Fridays.

After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

The first installment is here:

Luxury was a word they didn't know how to use. Necessity they used seldom, but Luxury not at all.

What was necessary, anyway? Food on the plate was one. Sweet food, tasty food- Luxury. Anything He could shoot on the patch they still had, and anything She could grow behind the house or barter a few eggs from the chicken house for.

A roof that didn't leak; that was a Luxury too, but one they had, as long as He could still split a shake and climb onto the roof to patch it. Although she worried when he did. An old friend over toward Redbud had fallen off his roof; broke a hip. Them folks had had to survive on the kindness of friends for nigh on a year. But He wouldn't fall. He wasn't a dam fool like that old buzzard in Redbud.

Heat was a Luxury when they didn't have wood. She would run the stove to cook a hot meal and when the embers burned out they would climb under the stack of quilts she and her mother had made years ago and keep warm until breakfast.

A photograph; that was a Luxury. They couldn't even afford a wedding photo those many years ago. 40 was it? 45 now? It had been a while. But when time becomes meaningless, time isn't kept. Her uncle from down Nashville way had brought along his Brownie Camera to the Wedding, and took their picture outside the church. A luxury, and a precious memory, She had the picture tucked up in the family Bible. She forgot exactly where. Genesis? Numbers? Or was it New Testament? She would have to drag The Book down and see.

They hadn't read the Bible much lately. Too much work to do, and no hands to help. The Good Lord had not seen to Bless them with children. Well, adult children anyway. 4 young She had borne, and 4 were buried on the hill.

She was the more thoughtful of the pair. Maybe because She could work her hands without her mind needing to keep up. She was worried about what they would leave behind, and to who. The farm was down to a few acres. She wasn't sure how many, but it seemed every year a few more would need to go to pay the tax man.

All the young'uns died young, with no children of their own. They had a passel of nieces and nephews, but none wanted to be tied to a dirt poor farm so far from town. The barn was about down- She kept trying to get Him to start burning some of it when wood got scarce, but he always said a farm has to have a barn; if you ain't got a barn, you ain't a farmer. He wouldn't burn his barn.

Then one day that nice young man showed up with his camera. Taking pictures the young man said. Part of something the government was doing.

He became suspicious; He hadn't ever trusted the government, and wasn't about to start now. No thanks young man. Now go away.

But She convinced him, like she always had, to listen a little more. Neither He nor She had ever heard of the Smithsonian Institution, but that nice young man explained it. They were taking pictures so people in the future would know how folks lived around here. So, She asked; you take our picture and it will be around forever?

I can't guarantee forever, the young man smiled, but yes, for a very long time.

He still hated the idea. Dam government had taken him off the farm and sent him to some Hellhole called Cuba. Dam government had taken his son and killed him in France; Dam government had taken his farm, 2 and 3 acres at a time. And now the Dam government wanted to take his picture.

But she convinced him. We'll sit on the steps She said. Go put on your Sunday overalls, although it had been many a Sunday since those clothes had seen the inside of a church, they were still his Sunday overalls. She ran a brush through his hair, until He had all the fuss he  could stand, and waved her away. Then She sat down beside him, in front of the home they had shared for innumerable years, and that nice young man took their picture.

Part of the program was that the folks who sat got copies of the pictures; that was the photographers job. The government paid for the prints and the postage. That nice young man never could explain why he did it, but of the thousands and thousands of pictures he had taken and mailed, only one did he spend his own meager funds on to frame first.

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