Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reginald Marsh-Inspired Flash Fiction

Three weeks ago, Patricia Abbott blogged the following challenge: "Write a story in any genre of under 1,000 words based on one of Marsh's paintings."

For each story, Patti is pledging $5 to Union Settlement Association. The stories are set to post today. Links will be on Patti's blog, and I'll gather them below. My story is inspired by Marsh's "Two Girls on Boardwalk" (1934):


by Gerald So

My mother died when I was twelve. It had been a little more than four years since, but it was hard, painful, to remember our time together.

Dad and I lived in a small apartment in the Bronx. Mom had lived there, too, though Dad always told her, "You're too good for this place. Someday, I promise, we'll move."

Mom came from money. She and Dad met when he saved her from a mugger. "No reason for her to give me a second look," Dad said. But she had, apparently giving up her life for his.

Moving day never came, and when she died--just fainted in her chair--Dad's ambition died. He spent every free moment in her chair, with their wedding picture and a bottle of rye, not noticing if I were there.

I felt sorry for him, but more than anything, I swore the same wouldn't happen to me.

Luckily, Mom's money put me in snooty all-girls schools. I hated it, but I say it was lucky because I learned not to sound like I was from the Bronx, and the girls all talked about getting away to Coney Island.

So I knew where I'd go, and I knew how I'd get there. It was just a matter of working up the courage, which by sixteen, looking nineteen, I had in spades.

The farther I walked, the farther the train rolled, the freer I felt. That first time, I didn't remember walking from the terminal down to the shore.

I shimmied out of my clothes, showing off Mom's newest bathing suit.

"Excuse me. Miss?" someone said.

"Miss?" he said again.

I turned to see he was an artist.

"Do you mind?" he asked and gestured with his pencil.

"Not at all," I said.

"And may I ask your name?"

"Kate," I said quite naturally, though the name just came to me.


More Stories in the Challenge

Chad Eagleton, "The Letter"
Peter Rozovsky, "Smithers Should Have Listened"
Caftan Woman
John Norris, "Laff in the Dark"
Marylinn Kelly, "Lifeguards"
Gill Hoffs, "The Creature in the Coal"
Dana King, "Tugboat"
Rob Kitchin, "The El up 9th Avenue"
Sandra Seamans, "A Whistle and a Prayer"
Thomas Pluck, "High Yaller"
Rosemarie Keenan, "Window Dressing"
Katherine Tomlinson, "A Friend in Need"
Daniel Moses Luft, "Usherette"
Patricia Abbott, "The Ohrbach Girl"
Ron Scheer, "Geraldine"
Yvette Banek, "White Dress, Red Buttons"
Todd Mason, "Off Season" and "Slow Thursday Night"
William Morgan, "Sleeping"
Kieran Shea, "Reversed"
Loren Eaton, "Old Man Smith"
Seana, "The Normandie"


sandra seamans said...

Nicely done, Gerald! You left me wanting to find out more about this girl.

Rosemarie said...

I really liked this - it works beautifully with the painting!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Gerald. As always a well done and thoughtful story. Thanks for contributing.

Chad said...

Good stuff. I'm always stunned by short pieces that have a weight and hint at a much larger direction.