Friday Fictioneers: an honorable position

I haven’t written for Friday Fictioneers in some time.  I have just been flat out with everything.  That said, today’s image was one that instantly told me a story, and when that happens I have no choice but to share it. Special thanks to Rochelle at Addicted to Purple for her continued service in procuring these images and to Jennifer Pendergast at Elmo Writes for the image! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PHOTO PROMPT – © Jennifer Pendergast

Laurel hated her work.  “It is a good job”, her mother told her, “an honorable position in the service of the people.”

Standing alone in the middle of the sick air and breathing through her respirator she mused about the stories her grandmother had told her when she was a child. Tales of blue skies, intense sunlight, and beyond the desert’s great span, she’d claimed, were vistas that shimmered in the heat. She often wondered if Grandma made these stories up.

Today wasn’t so bad; she could see past the road. Turning from the view she cranked up the air scrubbers.

~*~

NOTE: Some of you kindly made some suggestions for improving my story this week.    I took them and ran with them!

THANK YOU!

~*~

For some really great takes on the prompt please click on the little blue frog to be magically transported!

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41 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: an honorable position

  1. shoreacres says:

    What a creative take on an interesting photo. Really, it’s very well done. I rarely have a specific suggestion, but I do have one you might think about. In the very beginning, you have her mother say, “It was a good job…” and I assumed someone had been fired or lost a job. If you only change the was to is, but keep the “her mother told her,” you keep the action in the past, but also make clear that it’s still her job.

    One of the reasons I mention this is that it’s the sort of thing I never, ever would have noticed a couple of years ago. It’s a teeny, tiny little signal that I’m beginning to pay attention to narrative, which I think is a good thing!

    We have those days around here, although they’re rarely smog. It’s more likely to be smoke, when the crop fields or wildlife refuges are being burned. It’s no more pleasant, though!

    • Lynda says:

      Linda, that’s why I have the blade icon on my blog! Thank you, because I never would have noticed it. My thought as I wrote the sentence was to make it understood that Mom was no longer in the picture.

      When I was a little girl in SoCal I remember the days when running and playing outside would give me such a pain in my lungs that I couldn’t breathe. It was in the 60s I think. Later on, early 70s if I recall, it was so bad that you could see the haze between our house and the neighbors just across the street. In all reality it has improved greatly in SoCal. That said, there is the problem in China, and I see a big change in our air quality here in N. Alabama. We have had a vast influx of people moving into the area of Huntsville and our air standards are more lax. They have made a few changes but until they start enforcing them our air quality will continue to decline. 😦

      They burn the wildlife refuges? (!!!)

      • shoreacres says:

        They do — all of the prairies, refuges, and so on around here are burned on a schedule. It may not be every year — they do rotate. But it’s an important land management tool that replicates the prairie fires of the past. It’s a very important way to help preserve the native plants and encourage their growth. I have a friend who helps with the burns at the Konza Prairie in Kansas every year.

          • Lynda says:

            True. I noticed how fast the rats can move through the deep stuff when I mowed on the Mtn. Farmlet this week! I think we need to see about rat bait traps. It is getting bad up there without any cats to keep them in check. :((((

  2. elmowrites says:

    Yuck, I don’t think I like the picture of the future you paint, although that’s not to suggest you don’t paint it well. I like the matter-of-fact tone, the way you show us her world through comparison to Grandma’s rather than direct description.
    If I had one suggestion “She hated her job” confused me a little, because the last female noun was Mum, but I think you mean the protagonist hated her job. A name would solve this, or you could put that line before the quote from Mum. Just a thought.

    • Lynda says:

      Jennifer, I have been struggling with that very problem, and I thank you for your suggestions. 😀
      On the subject of future air quality, I think we are still in good shape, though I know other places are not, and have not, been doing well for some time. We all breathe the same air as it circulates via the jet stream. I can only hope the other places on our little blue marble get it before it is too late.

  3. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Lynda,

    Welcome back to the fold.

    Your story is a cautionary tale that reads like something Ray Bradbury might have written. It is so good that I hesitate to mention what I am about to. It is not meant as critique because I feel your story is too good to critique. I mention it only so that you will have it to think about and imagine what might happen to the feel and sound and rhythm of your piece should you consider it and experiment. You use the word ‘see’ three times toward the end and though it is central to the theme of the piece, you could, perhaps, try to say what you want to by using other words to say the same thing but in the process remove one of the ‘see’s’ so to lessen your reliance on that single word and the sound of it being repeated. Something like this, maybe…

    ‘Tales of blue skies and air you could see through to vistas hundreds of miles across the desert. She often wondered if Grandma made these stories up. Today wasn’t so bad; she could see past the road.’

    That is just an example of how you can fine tune the sound of a piece to subliminally maximize the effect of it on the reader’s mind. I fully understand that you might have used the three ‘see’s’ on purpose and if so, please accept my apology for running on…

    It is nice of you to let me clutter up your comment section. Your story is powerful and evocative and a warning that I feel will join the ranks of other unheeded and futile warnings down through the ages. But it is still beautiful writing. Well done.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • Lynda says:

      Dear Doug,
      Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Staying within the 100 word limit is what is required of these little challenges, but I have been a stickler for hitting 100 exactly. I know; it’s silly. That said, I took your suggestion to heart and redid the line, plus a couple of suggestions from others to improve my work, and accidentally landed on that magic number anyway. I loved your line, but hesitated to insert it verbatim. So I tweaked it a bit to make it mine. I’m sure that was your intention. And hey! You can clutter up my comment section anytime. I appreciate your taking the time to help me out.
      Thank you!

      Aloha,
      Lynda

  4. LB says:

    Hello Lynda, it’s so good to be visiting your blog (or any blog) for the first time in 2 weeks, especially because you’ve posted your fiction. I do love the way your write, and this story is a good one.
    Hope all is well with you!

    • Lynda says:

      Laurie, I’m OK.
      I have, on the suggestion of a few fellow writers, just made some corrections. Please give it a second read and tell me what you think. 🙂
      I’ll email you later if that’s OK.

    • Lynda says:

      It is disturbing, and in some places the damage is already happening!

      (Margaret, I’m sorry for being such a Toady and taking over a week to respond to you; I do appreciate your comment.)

    • Lynda says:

      Quite a lot, at least in some places, Björn. And yes, it is a dreary picture, but at least they are trying to fix it!

      (And aren’t I a Toady for taking over a week to respond to your comment? I’m sorry.)

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