Short Story Sunday 273: Plan

Short Story Sunday: Plan | Creative Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

“So, where do we go from here?” Matt asked. He leaned against the kitchen counter staring at his girlfriend stirring a pot of boiling water. “Also, what are you doing?”

“I don’t know,” Anna replied shaking her head. She was staring deeply into the pot and put the wooden spoon down. Then she opened a package of penne pasta and dumped it all in.

“You don’t know what you’re doing with cooking? Or where we go from here?” Matt wondered aloud.

“Both.” Anna shrugged. She watched the pasta foam and simmer down as she stirred it again.

“Would you like me to cook?” Matt asked with a hint of caution in his tone. He wasn’t sure what was bothering Anna but she was normally a great cook and she certainly seemed to be a bit off tonight.

“Nah, I got it.” Anna said. She put the spoon back down and turned around to face him. “So, you want to talk about it?”

“I think we should. We kind of have to. I’m not really sure what the right thing to do is.” Matt stated. He looked over his shoulder through the archway into the living room, but nothing was there. “Is Phil in the bathroom?”

“I think he’s taking a shower.” Anna replied. “I feel like this is something we need to talk to Phil about as well. It can’t just be us.”

“I know, but we should come up with some sort of plan. I mean, what if we talk to him and he sucks us back in?” Matt countered. “Your brother said he was only going to be here for a week and it’s been three months. He needs to move on. He needs to be an adult. Get a job and get his own place.”

Anna sighed. “I know, I know… I just hate seeing my younger brother go through this, you know?”

“I get that. I love Phil like my own brother, trust me. I’d do anything for him, but it’s getting to the point where I feel like we’re enabling him more so than helping you.” Matt explained.

“I agree,” Anna said nodding her head.

“So, I believe we should come up with some sort of plan – maybe two – and then either give him the options or just tell him like it is.” Matt said firmly.

“Alright. What do you propose?”

“I have no idea.”

“So, then…?”

“I was hoping you’d have some ideas.”

“Ideas for what?” Phil entered the kitchen. He immediately went over to the fridge and took out a carton of milk. Instead of getting a glass, he opened the carton and chugged it.

Anna put a hand on Matt’s shoulder when he noticed him getting tense. He looked as though he was about to blow. She knew it bothered Matt to no end when people drank out of the carton, especially in someone else’s home.

“Phil,” Matt said waving an okay to Anna. She turned her attention back to the stove not wanting to have anything to do with this conversation.

“What?” Phil replied. He took another swig of milk and then put it back into the fridge.

“Anna and I were just discussing your… situation. You know, the job and apartment hunting? How’s that going?” Matt began. He wanted to give Phil a deadline, an ultimatum, or something. Since he didn’t get a chance to talk it over with Anna first though, he needed to improvise.

“How’s it going?” Phil repeated. He glanced at the ceiling and hummed to himself. “It’s not, I guess. I didn’t realize I had to.”

Anna turned around and glared at her brother. “What do you mean you didn’t realize you had to?”

Matt put a hand on her shoulder. Usually it was him who lost his temper. He didn’t want Anna to start yelling at his brother. He wasn’t in the mood to have a rift in his own home between his wife and brother in law. Anna swatted his hand away though.

“Well, I’m here so I don’t need a place to live. You guys own the house so I don’t have any bills to pay. So, why do I need to get a job?” Phil asked.

Anna’s jaw dropped and Matt stepped in front of her.

“Phil, I think you’re missing the point… this house belongs to us, yes, and we’ve been kind to let you stay here, but we agreed it would be temporary. You said you were going to look for a job and then look for an apartment after. We can’t keep paying for your stuff. You need to take care of yourself.” Matt explained as calmly as he could. He wanted to blow his top at Phil but it was clear he needed to keep Anna’s temper in check as well.

“Oh, well you didn’t tell me that part.” Phil said with a shrug.

“Phillip! You’re an adult! You should have already known that especially since you told us you’d only be living with us for a week.” Anna snapped. “I love having you here. Really, I do. But you need to take care of yourself, like Matt said, and honestly, Matt and I need some space.”

Phil looked between his sister and Matt. He grinned and winked at Matt. “Oh, okay. I get what you mean.”

Anna glowered at him. “No, that’s not what I meant at all and you know it.”

Phil held his hands up in surrender. “No worries, Anna. I’ll get out of your hair soon. I just have a quick question…”

“What is it?” Matt asked.

The boiling pot of pasta hissed as the water poured out of the top. Anna turned around and turned the burner off before looking back at her brother.

“How do I go about getting a job? I’ve never really had one before.” Phil stated.

“You’ve gone on plenty of interviews, Phil. You’ve just never stuck around a job long enough to know what it’s all about.” Anna sighed.

“All the jobs I’ve had were boring. I didn’t want to stay there.”

“My job is boring too, but it’s a paycheck that pays for his house and food and clothes and everything else Anna and I need.” Matt explained.

Phil rubbed the back of his neck. “Oh. So, I guess that’s why Ashley broke up with me and took the apartment, huh?”

Anna nodded. “She couldn’t count on you.”

Matt took his laptop off the kitchen table and handed it to Phil. “Use this and search for a job. I want to sit down with you tonight with at least five job options and we’ll work together to submit your resume.”

Phil took the laptop and nodded. He left the room without another word.

“I’m sorry.” Anna muttered.

“Why are you sorry?” Matt asked.

“I didn’t realize he was dumb and actually thought we were going to let him freeload from us for the rest of his life.” Anna explained.

Matt put his hands in his pockets and raised his shoulders. “Well, all we can do now is help steer him in the right direction. He’ll be fine and so will we.” He kissed Anna on the cheek.

Anna smiled at him. She strained the pasta over the sink and dumped it back into the pot. “Can you get the milk, please?”

“You mean the one that has your brother’s germs all over it?” Matt grunted. He opened the fridge and picked up the carton. He let out a sigh.

“What’s wrong?” Anna asked.

Matt tossed the milk into the trash. “It’s empty.” He grabbed his car keys. “I’ll be back… do we need anything else other than milk?”

“Pop-Tarts?” Anna said sheepishly.

Matt shook his head. “No, I hid those from him.”

“Yeah… he found them.”

Matt sighed. “I’ll be back…”

Words: 1,304

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Time To Write: Random Words 16 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a Sentence Starter. You can read what some writers wrote here:

Now onto this week’s prompt…

Time To Write: Random Words 16 | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | RachelPoli.com

Write a story using all three words here: Shadow, Bin, Merit.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

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Short Story Sunday 272: Part

Short Story Sunday: Part | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Violet sat down at the kitchen table and opened her laptop. She typed in, “part one” in a Word document and then stared at the blinking cursor. She glanced at the digital clock in the bottom right corner of her computer screen before looking back at the project she was just about to work on. Ben was supposed to arrive at her house any minute now. He was actually supposed to be there about a half hour ago. She hoped he remembered they were supposed to work on the project together today.

They had to write a three-act play for their English class. Their teacher wanted the plays to be in various voices but she also wanted the kids to work together and co-author a piece together so that they could incorporate their own ideas and own voices and yet try to compromise and make it seem like the play was written by one person.

None of it made any sense to Violet and she knew well enough that Ben didn’t care too much for the project – or the class in general – so she knew this was going to be pulling teeth.

They were only allowed to work in groups of two because their teacher wanted them to write the first act of the play together – their shared voices – and then one needed to write the second act of the play. Once that was done, the other partner needed to write the third act, the ending, of the play. They had three weeks to do this which meant they had a week to do each part. Violet knew Ben was going to do his last minute, so she had decided to work on the first act of the play together right after school (the project was just assigned today) and then she would write the second act as quickly as possible. That would give Ben about two weeks or so to get the third act written. It would be out of Violet’s hands and she wouldn’t have to wait for him to do his part in case she needed to write the ending.

Violet didn’t even want to work with Ben in the first place. Their English teacher was nice this time around and actually let them pick their partners for the project. Unfortunately for Violet, she only had two other friends in her English class and they had decided to work together leaving Violet to fend for herself and pick a different partner. Ben was in the same boat. He had four good friends in the class but they had paired off with one another. Ben sat behind Violet in class and their teacher noticed neither of them were sitting with a partner, she assumed the two of them had partnered up.

“Violet?”

She looked up from her computer hearing Ben’s piercing voice come from the other room. She hoped this wasn’t going to take them long. “I’m in the kitchen.” She realized Ben had never been over her house before but she hoped he’d be able to find his way around. The house wasn’t that big.

Ben entered the kitchen. He didn’t have anything with him. He sat down at the kitchen table and smirked at her. “Hi.”

“Hi.”

“So, what are we doing?” he asked.

“Did you bring anything?” she replied.

“Nope,”

Violet sighed.

“Well, you said you were going to use your laptop and do the typing. All I need to do is help you come up with ideas. So, here I am.” Ben responded with a snort. “You’re lucky I came at all.”

“I wouldn’t have minded doing this whole project myself.” Violet snapped.

Ben sighed. “I know you think I’m annoying, but I also know that grades are important to you. I’ll be nice and do my best to help out. Just don’t yell at me before we’ve even started.”

“You’re 40 minutes late.” Violet said narrowing her eyes.

Ben nodded. “Yes. Yes, I am. I apologize.”

Violet sighed. “Alright, let’s write the first act of the play together. I figured I could do act two and you could do the ending? I can do mine fast and then you can have a lot of time to come up with an ending.”

Ben scoffed. “You don’t think I can hit the deadline?”

Violet hesitated. No, she didn’t think he could, but she didn’t want to tell him that. She didn’t care too much for Ben, but she didn’t want to be rude to him. “I personally think the ending is hardest to come up with. Especially since you won’t know my thoughts for the second act. I just thought it might be easier for you to have a little extra time. Sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it.”

“Nah, it’s fine.” Ben said shifting his weight in his seat. “You’re probably right anyway. I’m late with my homework a lot because I want to do a good job. I just get stuck. Then I put it off and it’s late. Then it doesn’t matter if I do a good job or not. It’s late, so the teacher takes points off or gives me a zero anyway.”

“Really?” Violet asked. “I always thought you just didn’t care and that you hated school.”

He chuckled. “Well, I do hate school. But I still want to get into a good college and stuff. I don’t know how well I’ll do in college, but…”

“But you’ll try.” Violet finished with a smile.

“Yeah,” Ben shrugged.

“Do you have any ideas for what our play could be about?” Violet asked slightly changing the subject.

Ben shook his head. “I haven’t the foggiest… is there a special topic we’re supposed to write about?”

“No, it can be about anything we want.” Violet said.

“Then I got nothing.”

“Well, I have the perfect idea.” She grinned and began to write.

“What is it?” Ben stood up and looked over her shoulder. Violet continued to type away and Ben grunted.

“You’re seriously writing a play about high school students… that’s so cliché.”

“I don’t care, it’s going to be great.” Violet chuckled. “And we’re going to give you a happy ending.”

Words: 1,029

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 48

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Sentence Starter: "What the plan?" | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the dialogue: “What’s the plan?”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

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Patron Short Story: Sunset [July 2019]

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July & August 2019 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests]

Here is the updated list for July & August 2019 writing submissions. I try to find submissions and contests with little or no fee. As always, if you know any places that run contests and accept general submissions that are not on my list, please let me know and I’ll check it out to add it.

July & August 2019 Writing Submissions | Writing Contests | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | Poetry | RachelPoli.com

July & August 2019 Writing Submissions

July 2019

Genre: Poetry
Website: Narrative Magazine
Deadline: July 14, 2019
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: First Place – $1,500

Genre: Poetry
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: July 15, 2019
Entry Fee: $10 for six poems or $15 for 10 poems
Prize: First – $1,000

Genre: Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, Essay, Short Story, and more.
Website: Narrative Magazine
Deadline: July 31, 2019
Entry Fee: $27
Prize: First – $2,500

Genre: Any
Theme: First chapters of unpublished work only
Website: CRAFT
Deadline: July 31, 2019
Entry Fee: $20
Prize: First – $2,000

Genre: Poetry
Website: Press 53
Deadline: July 31, 2019
Entry Fee: $30
Prize: $1,000

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: I can’t stop laughing
Website: Chicken Soup
Deadline: July 31, 2019
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

August 2019

Genre: Short Story (new writers only)
Website: The Masters Review
Deadline: August 31, 2019
Entry Fee: $20
Prize: First – $3,000

Ongoing

Genre: Stories, essays, plays, poetry, art
Website: Literal Latte
Entry Fee: $3

Genre: Various
Website: Narrative Magazine
Entry Fee: Yes

Genre: Flash fiction and short fiction
Website: CRAFT Journal
Entry Fee: N/A

Genre: Fiction or narrative nonfiction
Website: The Masters Review
Entry Fee: N/A (for New Voices – new, unpublished writers only)

Genre: Short fiction, flash fiction, memoir, or poetry
Website: Split Lip Magazine
Entry Fee: Sometimes free

Genre: Flash Fiction (53 words only)
Website: Press 53
Entry Fee: N/A
Deadline: 21st of every month (new prompt given on the first of every month)

Genre: Short story, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, novel excerpts, poetry
Website: Rejected Manuscripts
Entry Fee: N/A
*Rejected manuscripts only

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each submission. Information may change.

Interested in giving your creativity a boost? Check out my collection of Writing Prompts here on the blog.

Do you know any other deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these? Let me know in the comments below. Good luck! If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Short Story Sunday 271: Expect

Short Story Sunday: Expect | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

“What do you expect from me?” Tanya asked. She placed her books on the surface of her desk but didn’t sit down in her seat. Tanya had agreed with her parents she’d go to a community college and get her two-year degree. After that, it would be her choice to continue school or not. That was good enough for her parents as long as she had a degree to show for it. The thing was, she already had a good job. Tanya had been working there for two years, since she was sixteen. She didn’t have a degree and she was doing just fine there.

“I expect you to be on time,” Her professor replied. She stood in the front do the class with her hands on her hips. She sighed in disgust and pointed to Tanya’s seat. “I’d like to speak to you after class. You can sit for now and join us.”

Tanya shrugged and took her seat. She knew exactly what Professor White was going to say to her after class. Tanya would say the same thing to her and then the next time she had class, it was going to happen all over again.

Tanya didn’t want to mess up her work schedule because of school, so she had to decided to take online classes. This particular class, however, wasn’t offered online. So, she took the night class. However, by the time she got out of work there was a lot of traffic and the school was 45 minutes away from her job. So, she was usually about ten minutes late to class.

The first time she was late, she apologized to her professor and said she couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t happen again. She always rushed out of work and tried her best to be on time, but she couldn’t clear the traffic out of her way. Her professor shouldn’t have even cared anyway. She was still getting paid, Tanya was still forking over thousands of dollars to the school. She had an A in the class, so she didn’t understand what the big deal was.

Tanya’s desk was the first one by the door and she always discretely entered and sat down quietly and did her best to catch up with whatever the rest of the class was doing. Professor White always made a scene and complained about how Tanya was disrupting the class thus taking away some learning moments from her classmates when it was, in fact, Professor White who always had to make a big stink out of Tanya quietly entering the room.

The rest of the class went on smoothly. Tanya kept her mouth shut and only answered questions when her professor called on her. Professor White was always impressed with her answers and never treated her differently throughout the class. It was as though nothing as ever happened at the beginning of class. Tanya knew, though, come the end, as soon as her classmates had all left, Professor White would put on her stern face.

Tanya beat her to the punch this time though.

“Listen,” she began to explain as soon as the last kid exited the room, “The class is an hour and a half long. I don’t think being late by ten minutes is such an issue. I’m close to the door so that when I enter, I’m not walking in front or around my classmates and I’m always quiet when I come in. I never ask where we are or what we’re doing I just listen and catch up on my own. I personally don’t think I disrupt the class, but you always have to say something which breaks the class up.”

Tanya drew in a breath. She had meant to keep that last part to herself. Now she was really in for it.

Professor White folded her arms over her chest and nodded. “Go on, I have a feeling you’re not finished yet.”

“Well,” Tanya swallowed, “I have work before class started and it’s 45 minutes away. This class starts at seven and there’s a lot of traffic. I’m not trying to come up with excuses, but it’s true. I can’t control the traffic and I’ve tried to leave work a little early, but it’s not possible sometimes. I’m sure you know that feeling. Unless it’s for something really important, you can’t leave class early, right?”

Professor White nodded her head again. “You’re not wrong. But you don’t think this class is something truly important for you?”

“No, sorry,” Tanya shook her head. “I didn’t even want to go to school but my parents wanted me to get a degree. The truth is, I already have a really good job and I love what I do. But I respect my parents and their wishes and compromised with them to come here. Even though I don’t care about it, I still do my best. I have an A in this class. I do all my homework and do well on the tests. So being ten minutes late feels like it shouldn’t be a big deal.”

Tanya breathed in and held it. She had psyched herself up all class to explain all this to her professor. This time she was brutally honest. However, she wasn’t sure how this was going to work in her favor though.

Finally, Professor White closed her eyes and lifted her shoulders. “I only want my students to work to the best of their ability. I feel like you could do a lot more with the extra ten minutes, but you bring up good points. You are doing really well in the class and, if I’m allowed to say so, you’re actually ahead of everyone else.”

Tanya smiled. That might not have been the right move to make, but hey, she was proud of herself.

“College is meant to prepare you for the real world and for work. It sounds to me as though you already have that figured out. I just hope you realize there’s room to change your mind and if you do, there’s nothing wrong with that.” Professor White explained.

Tanya nodded. “Yes, I know that. I’ve got a good thing going on right now though so I’m gonna take it and hold onto it for as long as I can.”

Professor White smiled but she didn’t say anything else.

“So… are we good?” Tanya asked.

“Yes, I think we are. I’m glad we got this sorted out.”

“Thank you.” Tanya picked up her books and left the room. This was the nicest conversation she had with her professor and she was glad Professor White seemed understanding this time around. However, they had this conversation so often that she wasn’t sure if her professor would forget all about this come their next class in two days.

Tanya was just going to have to wait and see what happens.

Words: 1,198

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Short Story Sunday 270: Recording

Short Story Sunday: Recording | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

“Are you ready to get started?” Finn asked. He craned his neck to look around the camera and tripod that blocked most of his view. Charlotte stood on the other side with a tissue in hand waiting for yet another sneeze to come out.

“Hold on,” Charlotte answered. She blew her nose.

Finn sighed and adjusted the camera once more. “You wanted to get this whole video shot today, right?”

“I didn’t expect to wake up with a cold.” Charlotte countered. She rolled her eyes at him and breathed heavily through her mouth. Now her nose was all blocked up and the sneeze still wouldn’t come out.

“Why don’t we post-pone the shoot, then? We’ll see how you feel tomorrow or we can wait until next week to get it done.” Finn suggested. He turned the camera off so not to waste any more of the battery. They had done a couple of shots throughout the day but it’s been slow and Finn worried his second battery would die while the other was still charging. Then they really wouldn’t be able to get any shoots done.

“No,” Charlotte said sternly. She tossed her tissue into the trash and fixed her hair. “No, I can do this. We’ve already stopped this shoot once before. I don’t want to put it off any longer.”

“There was a blizzard last week. That couldn’t be helped. Now you’re sick. Do you realize how difficult it’s going to be to auto-tune your clogged voice from your sinuses?” Finn sighed. He walked around the other side of the camera and sat down on the couch. “Your viewers will understand why the video is late.”

Charlotte too let out a heavy sigh and sat down on the couch beside him. “I appreciate you Finn, really. I do. I know you mean well and you want what’s best for me, our viewers, and the channel.”

“Your viewers.”

“Our viewers.” She corrected. “Just because you’re not on camera doesn’t mean you’re not part of this project. This channel wouldn’t have happened without you. You’re my camera man and editor. I don’t know what’d I do without you.”

Finn chuckled. “You did just fine on your own. You started the channel yourself and did everything yourself. You only wanted to upgrade the quality and make things a little easier on yourself, which was why you hired me in the first place. I’m just a helper, that’s all. But I do care about the channel and you.”

Charlotte shook her head. “Finn, stop. I used to do it all myself but I still only have half the knowledge you do when it comes to editing. You cloned me in the last video. That’s crazy how you did that.”

“It’s just a couple of buttons and good timing, that’s all.” Finn shrugged. He turned the other way beginning to feel a little embarrassed.

He had always wanted to be a video editor or a film maker. It was his dream but it was tough for him to get a job in the field without moving out of state. His mother was sick and couldn’t work so he had decided to stay and work a dull job in order to take care of his family.

Charlotte was a video channel he watched often. He loved watching other people work, edit, and create movie magic and he would try to imitate them to hone and improve his own editing skills. Finn went onto social media one day and noticed a post from Charlotte. She was looking for a video editor.

He applied, he interviewed in person with her, and she gave him the job. It started off with him editing just two videos a week for her while she did everything else. But as her channel grew, she needed more and more help. Finn offered to help for more money instead of her hiring another person. Charlotte loved his work and enjoyed the type of editing he did on her videos as well as him putting his own personality into it, that she agreed to let him do more.

Now Finn was her cameraman for every video she shot and also edited every single video they did together. All Charlotte had to do was take care of the analytics, write her own scripts, act, and promote the channel. They were a good team and things were going well.

“Sometimes,” Finn said, “you can be a workaholic. I know the channel is important to you and it’s your love. It’s your work, your life. I also know we’re trying to get a backlog of videos to start posting on the channel daily, but maybe that’s a goal that we need a later deadline for. There’s two more months until the new year, why don’t we surprise your viewers with a daily video starting on the new year?”

Charlotte nodded her head as he spoke to her. She glanced up at the ceiling deep in thought from his last statement. Then she grinned. “That actually sounds like a great idea. That’ll give us more time to get everything together.”

“And we can take a break for the rest of the week while you feel better and get over this cold.” Finn added.

“The rest of the week?” Charlotte pouted.

“Today’s Thursday and we take the weekends off. I think you can manage the rest of today and tomorrow to just chill and relax. Maybe you can brainstorm some new video ideas and get started on a couple new scripts.” Finn suggested. “You know, while you’re resting on the couch.”

Charlotte grinned. “Okay, that sounds like a good idea. I don’t think I’m going to convince you otherwise…” she sneezed. Charlotte pumped her fists in the air. “I finally sneezed!”

“Bless you,” Finn chuckled.

Words: 967

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Short Story Sunday 269: Dome

Short Story Sunday: Dome | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

“How do you think they can stand being in there all the time?” Tom asked.

Angela shrugged. “That’s all they know. They don’t know what it’s like to not be inside their dome.”

Tom frowned. He poked the glass and Angela swatted his hands away.

“You’re going to scare the fish if you do that. It hurts their ears.” She said.

“They have ears?” Tom said in wonderment. He turned his attention back to the goldfish with wide eyes.

“Everyone has ears.” Angela replied. “Now, did we come here for a fish or not?”

Tom put his index finger to his chin. He paced in front of the various tanks that were before him. When he made it to the saltwater fish, his mother called him back.

“We don’t have a saltwater tank, we set it up for freshwater. You have to get anyone of these.” She said.

Tom, without responding, walked away from staring at a starfish and moseyed back over to the freshwater tanks. There were guppies, tetras, platies, goldfish, and so much more. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to get.

“Are you stuck?” Angela asked. “Can I make some suggestions?”

Tom nodded and looked up at his mother.

“Our tank already has tetras and platies in it. Should we get a couple more so they fit in? We have red platies and orange platies. But look, here are some yellow platies.” Angela said pointing to one of the Platy tanks.

Tom grinned. “Yes! How many red guys do we have and how many orange guys do we have?”

“I think we have three of each.”

“Then get three yellow guys.”

“Sounds good,” Angela said. She called over a worker at the pet store and they came over. As the worker scooped out three yellow platies, Tom looked at the rest of the fish.

“We only have two neon tetras and two black neon tetras. You know, tetras are schooling fish. Should we get a couple more of those?” Angela suggested.

“Yes!” Tom said giddily.

Angela smiled at the worker. “Two neon tetras and two black neon tetras, please.”

“And this goldfish!” Tom exclaimed.

“What?” Angela asked.

“There’s a goldfish in this tank that I want.”

Angela peered into the fantail goldfish tank. There were only five fish in there and they all looked the same except for one. “Which one did you want?” she asked cautiously.

“The one with only one eye.” Tom stated with a proud smile.

“Are you sure?” Angela asked.

“Yep,”

“Okay, then.” Angela turned to the worker. “Can we also get the goldfish with one eye?”

“That fish probably won’t live very long.” The worker warned.

“That’s okay.” Tom said pressing his face against the goldfish tank. “We’ll give him a good home so he can be happy before he goes!”

The worker chuckled. “It’s only a fish.”

Tom frowned at her. “And you’re only a human, but people care about you.”

Angela pressed her lips together. She tried not to laugh as the worker scooped the one-eyed goldfish out of its tank. She didn’t want to in front of the worker, as her face had turned a nice shade of red, but Angela would remember to give her son a fist-bump when they got in the car.

Words: 546

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Short Story Sunday 268: Tell Me

Short Story Sunday: Tell Me | Flash Fiction | Short Story | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

“Tell you a story?” Vinny repeated. He tilted his face to the ceiling and hummed to himself.

“Come on, Grandpa, please?” Lily begged. She sat up in her bed folding her hands together jutting her bottom lip out into a pout.

“Once upon a time,” Vinny began, “there was a little girl named Lily who refused to go to sleep.”

“No, a real story!” Lily protested through her giggles.

“That is a real story. You’re Lily, you’re a little girl, and you won’t go to sleep for me. What’s your mother and father going to think when they come home to see their six-year-old still awake at such an hour?” Vinny replied.

“You know what I mean, Grandpa.”

“Alright, alright, lie down.” Vinny said giving Lily a gentle push. She fell back onto her pillow laughing.

Vinny cleared his throat. “Once upon a time there was a young girl name Lily.”

“Grandpa…”

“Hush, I’m telling a story.” Vinny said then hummed to himself again. “She lived in a large castle where she could roam around and do anything she ever wanted. She could play with her toys all day long–”

“And never have to go to school?!” Lily said excitedly jumping up in her bed again.

“Sure, she never had to go to school,” Vinny agreed pushing her back down. “One day, however, she became bored.”

Lily gasped.

“Lily didn’t have anyone to play with because she never attended school. She had no friends.” Vinny said stumbling through his words. He hoped his granddaughter couldn’t tell that he was making this up by the seat of his pants – especially since he used her idea against her.

“I have friends.” Lily protested.

“Not in this story, you don’t.” Vinny countered. “So, Lily was bored one day, you see. She didn’t want to play with any of her toys and she had already eaten too much ice cream. There was nothing good on TV and she didn’t have anyone around to keep her company.”

“What about Mom and Dad?” Lily asked.

“They’re at work.”

“What about you?”

“I’m at work.”

“You don’t work.”

“This is fiction, Lily, keep up.” Vinny sighed. “Anyway, where was I?”

“Grandpa?” Lily asked.

“What?”

“Am I going to have no friends when I grow up because I’m not going to school?” she wondered aloud.

Vinny took a minute to think about how to answer that one. Lily had come down with a case of pneumonia and was out of her first-grade class for a month. While she still had a bit of a cough, she was well enough to go back to school. She had gotten so comfortable staying home and playing with him and her parents in the beginning that she never wanted to go back to school ever again. Lily didn’t understand why she couldn’t stay home all the time and play with her parents and grandparents.

“Maybe,” Vinny replied. He knew it was a harsh answer for such a young kid, but he didn’t know what else to say to her. At least he didn’t bluntly agree with her.

Lily sighed. “So, I should go back to school?”

“Do you want to make friends? Do you want to be able to play with your friends and invite them over and such?” Vinny asked.”

“Yeah,”

“Then you should go back to school.” Vinny stated matter-of-factly. “I think going back to school sounds like a wonderful idea.”

“Okay, okay,” Lily said. She snuggled up with her stuffed animal rolling over onto her side. She closed her eyes and breathed gently. “I’ll go back to school.”

“Great.” Vinny smiled rubbing her back.

“I can’t wait to see my friends tomorrow.” Lily muttered. She was smiling though her eyes were still closed and it was obvious to Vinny that she was drifting off to sleep.

“Tomorrow?” he repeated.

“Yeah, I can’t wait to go to school tomorrow and see all my friends.”

Vinny stood up and slowly backed out of her bedroom. He opened the door and stepped out into the hall as Lily’s breathing got into a steady rhythm. He didn’t have the heart the tell her tomorrow was Saturday. Her parents could deal with that one in the morning.

Words: 704

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | FiverrTwitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com