Flash Fiction Friday – April 7, 2017

Flash Fiction Friday

This week’s Flash Fiction Friday is a mish-mash using the two prompt words left in last week’s post (whānau and traffic), and the three concepts from P.T. Wyant’s most recent Wednesday’s Words post (a man in odd clothinga tattered book, and a whistle).

For more flash fiction, and bonus scenes from many of my published stories, check out the tabs in the menu at the top of the page.

Casey reached back for Hemi’s hand as they crossed the small stream between the car park and the sands of Hot Water Beach on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula. “I thought we’d never get here.”

“I hate dealing with heavy traffic,” Hemi replied.

“Aw, it wouldn’t have been bad except for that accident.” Casey turned his head to flash a grin at his boyfriend. “Anyway, we still got here at a good time.”

Hemi glanced at his watch and nodded. “It’s an hour ’til low tide.”

“Perfect timing, in fact.” Casey lifted their shovel in salute. “Best ‘hot tubs’ ever.”

A cluster of people of varying ages—an extended family group, perhaps—straggled along behind them with their own shovels and buckets. Casey had to restrain himself from making an obvious double-take at the older man’s outfit. Not so much the incompatible pattern matchup between his swim trunks and open shirt, which was funny enough, but the socks he wore with his sandals. Socks. With sandals. On a beach. Not only that, they appeared to be hand knitted or crocheted socks. He carried a well-worn book in one hand, and a women’s large floppy hat in the other.

The group settled nearby at the tide line. Casey shrugged, dropped his towel, and began digging their own personal, natural, hot springs spa. The water that would bubble up from the coastal springs was rich in beneficial minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Simply put, it was an amazing experience, and he looked forward to a tranquil hour or so with Hemi.

He dug out a big enough pool for the two of them in no time at all. Hemi used the bucket they’d brought to fetch some ocean water to adjust the temperature in their little spa. They were all smiles as they slathered on sunscreen, then sat and leaned back on their elbows to wallow in the soothing heated water. Casey leaned across to drop a quick kiss to the corner of Hemi’s mouth, then closed his eyes and lifted his face toward the sun.

They both jumped when a shrill blast of a whistle shattered the calm. Casey brought a hand to his heart and turned toward the source of the noise. The whistle still hung from the old man’s lips. The child standing near the water’s edge turned and ran back to the group at the man’s hand gesture.

Casey turned with wide eyes at the sound of Hemi’s chuckle. “Really?” Casey mouthed the word, but remained silent. Not that he was surprised Hemi would be more amused than annoyed. Nor could he really blame the old man, even for that piercing blast, considering the reputation of the riptides at this beach.

Hemi smiled serenely and lifted a shoulder. “Reminds me of my whānau.”

Ah. His large, extended family. Well, they’d produced a warm-hearted and congenial young man in Hemi, so Casey was inclined to disregard the interruption to his meditation. It wasn’t as if it was a private beach, after all.

They rested their heads on the sand piled around the edge of their little bath, and Hemi’s hand slipped into his. With the distraction of Hemi’s thumb skimming back and forth along Casey’s wrist, he barely even noticed when the old man started reading aloud from the tattered book he’d brought.

Wikipedia: Whānau (Māori pronunciation: [ˈfaːnaʉ]) is a Māori-language word for extended family, now increasingly entering New Zealand English, particularly in official publications.

Maoridictionary.co.nz2. (noun) extended family, family group, a familiar term of address to a number of people – the primary economic unit of traditional Māori society. In the modern context the term is sometimes used to include friends who may not have any kinship ties to other members.

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/escape/10-great-new-zealand-beaches-358798/

http://www.mercurybay.co.nz/activities/hotwaterbeach.php

Leave a prompt word in the comments, below, and I’ll use it in next week’s Flash Fiction Friday post. One word per commenter, please, up to 15 total.

Wednesday Words – Jan. 18, 2017 – Adventures with Harrison and Mason

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P.T. Wyant posts a weekly prompt for writers, and followers of the blog are encouraged to write a bit of flash fiction (approx. 500 words) using those words/ideas. Last Wednesday’s post gave the prompts: a snowman, a park bench, and an empty bottle.

I went with a drabble—a precisely 100 word scene—featuring my recurring characters, Harrison and Mason along with their son Jaxon. I also found a fun image to fit the words:

funny-snowman-park-bench

This is my drabble using that prompt:

“He looks so sad,” Jaxon said. The snowman on the park bench sat with its head in its hands.

“I wonder why he’s so unhappy?” Mason asked.

“Maybe he’s lonely,” Harrison replied.

Mason squeezed Harrison’s hand then quirked an eyebrow at their son. “Jaxon?”

“I think he’s thirsty.” The boy placed his empty juice bottle between the snowman’s legs.

“Hmm,” Mason said. “Maybe we should recycle that for him.”

“Oops.” Jaxon handed it to Harrison, then squatted to pick up a piece of black cloth and draped it over the snowman’s leg. “Maybe he was sad ’cause he dropped this.”

Wednesday Words #01 (PT’s #68) – ’Til Death Do Us Part

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I recently started following PT Wyant’s blog, Novel Notes, and stumbled across PT’s post today titled Wednesday Words #68 (4/13/2016). Number 68, so obviously this is something PT’s been doing for a while now. Anyway, the idea is that a few prompt words will be posted just after midnight, eastern time, and followers of the blog are encouraged to write a bit of flash fiction (approx. 500 words) using those words/ideas. This week’s prompt is: an old desk, a dancer, a ship.

I decided I would use this prompt to write a short scene in the head of “Garrett,” one of the side character’s in my recent release, ’Til Death Do Us Part.

This is my short-short (coming in at 436 words) using that prompt:

It was late afternoon, and after an early dinner Garrett plopped down on the sand of the eastern beach. He watched as Henry, Devon, and Buddy—now probably approaching two years of age—splashed each other playfully at the ocean’s edge.

Garrett enjoyed the privilege of watching Buddy grow. The sweet little boy reminded him of his own children. It had been over a year since he’d seen them, and he regretted not spending this kind of quality time with them as they’d grown.

Here on the island, Garrett regularly helped Henry keep an eye on, and entertain, Buddy. There were so many ways a curious toddler could injure himself on an island like this, it was imperative that one of them watch the young boy at all times. They’d learned that the hard way shortly after the child had started walking.

He thought back to when his own boys, Grant and Evan, had been pre-schoolers. They’d come skipping into his office at home where he’d be sitting at the grand old desk he’d inherited from his grandfather and implore him to come play catch with them. “Later,” he’d say. “We’ll do it this afternoon.”

How many times had “this afternoon” never happened? Oh, the afternoon had come and gone, but it had done so without Garrett going out to play ball with his sons.

And how many of his daughter’s dance recitals had he missed, traveling for work? Too many. She’d grown to be a fantastic dancer. He’d managed a few of the recitals—enough to realize that—but he’d missed far too many.

If he was given another chance with his family, things would be different. Instead of living the words of Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle, he’d be the most hands-on father a family could wish for. Family, not his career, would become his number one priority. Even if it meant fewer “things,” because he finally understood. It had taken losing all material possessions for him to realize it, but he now appreciated how unimportant they’d been in the overall scheme of his life.

He stood and began a circuit of the island, scanning the horizon for a ship that never seemed to come. No ships, no sailboats, no fishing vessels, no airplanes, no fucking hot-air balloons. Nothing. This trip around the island was no different from any of the others before it.

Back on the eastern beach he joined the others at the ocean’s edge. Buddy ran to him, splashed water at his chest, and squealed “Got you, got you!”

Garrett laughed and gently splashed back. “I got you, too, Buddy.”