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Monday, May 5, 2014

Past Due

When all else fails and you can't come up with a topic for a blog post, take a picture and use it as a writing prompt.

She squinted at the square sign down on the flats, visible in spite of the fog.  It appeared a few days ago, and again she reminded herself to march down and yank it out.  That was next on the list.  For now she had to figure out the electric bill. Three months overdue.  A hundred and twenty-nine dollars owed by Wednesday, or lights out. Sixty dollars left in the bank.  Good thing Will was down at the docks scouting out work, or he’d see the fear in her eyes. With the fog, it was a fine day for him to network with the boat captains. They all knew him as an able kid.  Someone might pick him up as an extra hand during a short run, or pay him by the piece to paint buoys or mend traps.  If he could come up with a few dollars a week, they’d make it work.

It was spring.  Plenty of kerosene in the shed.  She'd fire up the old hurricane lamps.  The stove was gas, thank God.  Still, she’d cook as much as possible using driftwood on an outdoor fire.  As for laundry, well, cold water washes in the set-tub.  She preferred the smell of clean clothes hung on the line anyway.  They’d be okay.  After all, the house was perched on the flats.  A bounty of shellfish there for the digging.  Sautéed mussels.  Clams in everything.  Chowders, cakes, Casino, stuffed clams, razor clam stew.  She’d mix things up.  Make a game of it with Will.  See who could dig the biggest mollusk, or find prettiest shell. She could flavor things up with onion, maybe a potato or two.

Sick of the topic, she slammed the electric bill down on the table and headed down the path toward the  sign.  Election season.  What a pain. Folks in town planting their trash-talking slogans.  On the marsh for God’s sake.  Who would bother to put one there?

Rounding the curve to where the reeds opened up, she paused, close enough now to see the message.  “Red Tide Warning.  Shellfish harvested from this bed may be toxic.  No shell-fishing allowed.”


mshatch said...

oh dear, that's not good. Now what are they going to do?

Great voice, btw.

Old Kitty said...

NO!!! You can't end it like this!!

Oh dear!!! But what a fab story! Thank you!!! But but but! You seriously cannot end it like this! LOL!!!!

Take care

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Great flash fiction! Very engaging with a twist at the end.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's so sad! What will they do?

Robin said...

Well, that was a kick in the gut.

You could take this and run with it as a story. It is excellent Liza.

Carol Kilgore said...

I do love that photo! We have red tide here, too. In the hot, late summer, usually.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think I've had days like that though not so close to losing power. Sad and desperate.

debi o'neille said...

Yikes! Please tell me this isn't their end.
Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

Tara Tyler R said...

oh the irony.
great piece!

and thanks for the comments on my cover reveal!