Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.
Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.
Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.
Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.
On Wednesday, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday. On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature.
Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!
Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2016.
14 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Peachy”
Former Master Sergeant Luke Cassidy brushed the dust from the picture frame with the fingers of his right hand. “Those were great guys, son. See the fellow on the left? That’s Stan Levy, a wise-cracking Jewish kid from Brooklyn. Always made us laugh, especially when he spoke with a Yiddish accent.
“Next to him is your dad, a Roman Catholic, of course. He and I always attended Mass together.
“To his left is Walt Sutton, a devout Baptist from Atlanta.
“That’s me on the other end, an old Irish Catholic from Boston.
“Rank didn’t matter. Neither did religion. We were like brothers, never out of each other’s sight.”
He slumped in his chair, the picture frame falling to his lap. “Stanley was killed two days after this picture was taken; we were ambushed just to the south, in Carentan. Walt died in the Battle of the Bulge. Your dad held him in his arms as he passed. Walt’s last words were: ‘What I wouldn’t give for one last taste of a Georgia peach.’
“It was December, 1944. At Bastogne. We were attached, then, to the 101st Airborne Division. The worst fighting I ever saw.” Cassidy shook his head as if even now he still could not believe it. “And to think Walt almost made it through the war.
“Your father never was the same after that. It was like the light went out of his eyes . . . .”
His voice trailed off and his focus drained.
The peach was juicy on my tongue and oh so sticky on my fingers. The pear crisp, tangy and crunchy when we bit into it. The sound bringing me back to the time when we were young and the perfume filled my nose. It lingers still in my memories.
I remember the nectar clinging to my lips, running down my cheeks, I can still wipe the remnants of memories on my jeans, that stayed in my mind for weeks and prompted that first hesitant kiss. The vibration still tingles. It seemed like lightning buzzed through my body.
I offer this bowl with its bounty of love. Will we ever share the magic again? Will you ever look at me again, caress my cheeks and lick the juice from my lips or has the time passed and I have just cleaned up too many messes?
What happened to us, to the time we shared… when did we lose that trust the happiness that dared to whisper secrets and see our truth, who knew that at that moment in time we would share unconditional love and everything was perfect.
Sixty Dollars or Sixty Days
I met Charlie Dickens in a small café in Queens. I had a window booth with high December noon light gently shining in. The place was jam-packed and there I was hogging a booth solo. I looked up to see Bobbie, the waitress, shaking her head at a fellow, skin as grey as cement, a two-day growth on his mug, and a suit that looked like it had shrunk in the wash. I liked eating alone but some simpering generosity gene kicked in and I hailed him over.
“Thanks,” he said.
“No sweat,” I replied, and proceeded to ignore him.
He was having none of it.
“I just got into the Big Apple,” he offered.
“Been hitching for five days.”
I couldn’t resist asking, “From where?”
His sorry puss lit up like red neon. “Georgia. Prison farm.”
“Man, you ever been locked up?” he asked, with the scowl of a man who just had to ooze.
“No. Not so far, anyways.” Then I dove in head first. “Locked up for what?”
“Theft under. Country road. Hot September day. Couldn’t buy a ride. Thirsty. Gut rumbling. Then, out of nowhere, a little fruit stand. I was stony-broke, but those Georgia peaches were calling me like some country Lorelei. I grabbed two and made a dash for it…right into the arms of a fruit-loving Georgia State trooper.”
“Sixty dollars or sixty days.”
He had me. “Order what you want buddy. It’s on me.”
My son announced that three peaches were growing on the new peach tree he had planted three years before. “One for you, one for Gabriel and one for me.”
As they grew we became more and more excited. I could taste mine on my tongue. My taste buds were in accord.
The day came when grandson Gabriel ate his peach and Mark ate his. They looked for mine. It was gone. The squirrel had gotten to it first.
He snatches the peach from the bowl she always fills with bounties from their harvests. He lumbers out through the screen door, a loud clap as it slams behind him. As he sits down on the steps, the old wood creaks and groans under his weight.
About to take a bite, he instead marvels at the intricate colors and contours of the fruit. The intricate color gradations and imperfections of the flesh. Mounds and pits, bumps and ridges. Is this the first time he ever truly looked at a peach? He doesn’t know. He only knows the subtle scent is starting to penetrate his senses as he unthinkingly inhales the sweet aroma.
His eyes close as he thinks back on the innumerable volume of peaches he’s consumed in his life…some sweet and juicy, some tart and crisp. Ever since he was a boy, he’s loved peaches, ever since his very first taste of peach pie. He can still remember the smells, the tastes, the textures, inundating all his boyhood senses.
He opens his eyes, one last look at the delicacy in his hand. He takes a bite. Unpalatable acrid flavors overwhelm his senses. Rotten in its core. Of course. The slam of the back door as her lover flees pervades his ears.
My husband Henry and I got into the car with Jake, who suggested a day trip out to Long Island. His girlfriend Millie was driving.
We cruised along the South Shore to Amagansett. Millie’s dog Bridget snuggled between Henry and me.
The beach was so close, I could smell the surf. To my surprise, we pulled into a driveway. We all got out, and Bridget ran straight for the door and barked.
To my utter shock, my brother Jonathan came out. He died 13 years ago! How could this be?
“Jonathan!” I cried, “You’re alive!”
“Of course,” he answered, as we hugged generously, “Have you lost your mind, girl?”
Henry was teary-eyed and embraced Jonathan also; everyone else behaved as though nothing was unusual.
“But your heart! It stopped! We buried you!”
“What?!” said Jonathan, “You saved my life! You know my wife Vicky, right? And our baby, Vanessa?”
A pretty woman appeared, holding a baby with a mess of brown curls, flashing a toothless, rosy smile.
“Does Mom know?” I asked.
“Here she is now,” said Jonathan.
Mom walked in without help, painlessly, and called out to us, “You made it!”
Little Vanessa resembled Mom.
“Now try one of these peaches,” said Vicky, “They’re so good!”
And it was good: delicious, sweet and perfect. I was still tasting that peach, as I heard the street noises from outside. As I awoke, there were tears in my eyes. I longed to go back and live in that dream.
I hate this hot dirty city with nothing to do. We have been here for weeks waiting for the ship to be loaded so we can go on our adventure to the Columbia River in the Oregon Territory. We are going to build a fur trade post for John Jacob Astor the richest man in America.
Father is gone all day helping gather the supplies so my friends Alex and Gabe, who are going to be clerks with me in the company, take me with them to find things to do. We got tired of taking the ferry over to Nre York City which is even more crowded, dirtier and noisier than this town of Brooklyn.
Here we are at the tip of an island so we can go out into the countryside. We found a place to swim in the ocean and that is great but today we found the best treat ever.
We saw a fruit stand and on the counter was a bowl of pink and yellow fruit.
“Try a peach,” said the woman behind the counter.
It felt warm and fuzzy in my hand. I wiped it off and took a bit.
Oh, my! It was the best thing I ever tasted. The warm juice exploded in my mouth like sunshine, the juice run down my chin.
I finished it quickly and grabbed another.
We bought a bag to share with the others but we can go back.
Now waiting won’t be as bad.
The orchard runs along the slope of the high ridge as far as I can see. Pink petals drift on the wind. Sunlight is filtered through slow-moving clouds, rays touching the branches of the trees in streaks of light. There’ll be rain by noon, for sure.
Peach trees, unlike pear and apple trees, like it hazy, hot, and humid so they love summer, and they take a lot of care and patience to grow well. But when it comes time to harvest, it has to be done quickly, for the fruit to taste right. Even shipping in cold storage takes away the fragrance and texture of peaches. So I only sell to local towns. That limits what I can earn, but sometimes the cost is greater if you aren’t doing things the way you love.
I said that to my niece Jeanie more than once. “Do what you love, child. Don’t listen to what anyone else tells you, even me, unless it matches what your heart is telling you.” She didn’t pay me any mind, being young and wanting to find out everything for herself. That’s how it is for all of us. We don’t listen all that much to wise words until we have to, and by then, we know, anyway. We stop on a ridge and watch petals floating on the currents of the wind and stay awhile in silence. The inner voice speaks to us, then, and offers revelations when we need them.
God bless, my dear Jeanie, wherever you are.
On entering Miss Praylor’s office, Gaylord Pritcher noticed the new bowl of fruit on the corner of her desk. With her out and no one else there watching the bowl, he quickly slid up to the bowl and scooped up a pear or two slipping them unnoticed into his backpack.
He dropped his pack and plopped himself down on her chair. It wasn’t that he didn’t like her, he just found her annoyingly high-minded. Especially, with her object lessons, like really, why does she even try with him.
The office was filled with the aroma of peaches. Gaylord had to have one, so slyly smiling he reached over and grabbed the bowl. He was going to take just one peach, but then he thought, “Why not infuriate Praylor; she has it coming.”
He chuckled at his cleverness and quickly dumped the rest of the fruit into his backpack, and slide the bowl back on to the corner of her desk. Getting bored, he soon dozed off waiting for her. His grumbling stomach woke him, so half awake he bit into a peach, “Ow! Plastic! He was going to throw it at the wall, but flipped it back into the bowl and then dumped the rest of them back into it, too, and left.
On returning, Miss Praylor took the bowl of plastic fruit and switched it out for the bowl of real fruit in her filing cabinet. She spotted teeth marks in a plastic peach, “Got him!” She giggled.
Bernard reached for one of those delectable peaches, but Melody slapped his fingers. “Don’t touch!”
“Why not?” Rubbing his hand, he examined the huge table laden with fruits, vegetables, breads, and cheeses. A lavish and very real spread for the rich guests at this rich author’s book signing to which Bernard and Melody had invited themselves to meet some new vict—er, to do some business development.
“It’s a work of art, Bernie. Don’t destroy it!”
He frowned at the edible art, a collection of four blushing peaches and a couple of golden pears in a brown bowl. “Art?”
“Yeah, like that paining, ‘Still Life with Mirror’ by Frank Schlief.”
“Who’s he? Some painter of random peaches?”
Melody threw up her hands. “No! He did a still life of a table with lemons, grapes, bananas, cakes, bread rolls, a glass of water, a funny-looking salt shaker, a knife, a guitar neck—”
“Melody,” Bernard interrupted.
She didn’t listen. “–and a mirror in the background reflecting the back of a naked woman sitting on a bed. You get a nice view of the side of one of her, well, you know, and her bottom.”
Bernard sighed. “That conglomeration reminds you of this?”
“Peaches remind me—”
“Stop!” He knew. He didn’t need to hear it.
Melody gave him one of her dark looks. “—that there’s a peach on the table, too.”
With a sigh, Bernard grabbed a pear and, in spite of Melody’s yelp, bit into it.
It was as if a bomb went off when the two parents snapped. The old man stood silently on the wide front porch and watched, along with the three children, as his daughter and son-in-law drove off separately, screeching their tires to make their escape from each other.
The thirteen-year-old boy held his four-year-old sister, who was crying quietly into his shoulder. Their nine-year-old sister stood next to the old man, her hands on her hips and anger leaking out of her hard eyes.
He shuffled over to a bowl of fresh peaches and brought it over to the scarred table. Picking up his paring knife, he sat down at the table.
“Let’s have a taste of these peaches,” he said.
None of the children responded as they stared out into the front yard with blank eyes.
The old man took a peach, nice and firm, not hard, still warm from the tree. He sliced around it, juice dripping, split the peach in half and pulled out the pit. Then he sliced each half into thin strips.
“Here,” he said to his grandson, “Give this to the baby.” The boy handed her the slice. His sister hesitated for only a moment before popping it into her mouth. Juice squirted onto her brother’s face. The girl laughed as did her brother. All three of the kids turned to the old man who offered each a slice.
“Time for some sweet,” he said.
Henri softly patted the healing scars of his appendicitis operation, stretched, and got out of bed to enjoy the scrambled eggs and bacon his mother prepared for him. While sipping the last of his sweet black coffee, he kept re-arranging the bowl of fruit in front of him. Finally satisfied, he set up the easel and paint set engraved with his initials, HM, that his mother bought to ease his recuperation.
“This shouldn’t be too difficult,” he thought. “My very first painting”.
He poked through the tubes of paint imagining which colors would be best for the peaches and pears. The scent of turpentine nestled into his nostrils. He picked up a brush, swirled on some paint and began a new life, his “entry to paradise,” as he called it.
“Henri,” his father cried. “Mon Dieu. You’ve spent all those years in Paris studying law, and now you want to become a painter?” He shook his head and turned away.
“Papa, please don’t worry. I’ve found something that fills my soul
with comfort. Let me do this.” Reaching out, he embraced his disappointed father.
The years flew by. Two marriages, lifelong friendships with the most famous artists of the day, and mastering many forms of artistic expression, his passion for art brought him fortune and fame.
And now, remembering that smell of bacon and eggs, sweet black coffee, gently rearranging a bowl of fruit, and the first brush stroke, his 84-year-old heart transported him to heavenly peace.
The Promise of Peaches
( Sorry I’m late)
Lizzy loved working with her grandmother, ‘putting up’ peaches from her vast orchard.
“If Grandpa was alive, he would be out here bothering us,” her grandmother chuckled,”you know what Grandpa would be saying…,”she started, and Lizzy finished:
“Girls, my tongue liked to whip me to death, making me get at those peaches,” Lizzie laughed.
“Have you talked to your mother?”
No, Grandmom, not since that phone call. Lizzy thought back to the call.
“Hi Mom,” Lizzy had called her mom.
“What did the doctor say?”Lizzie’s mother spat out.
“It’s not my appendix… We’re having baby number five, Mom.”
“So,… You still can’t control yourself! You two don’t even have ‘a pot to, you know what in’,”her mother ranted, “what about health insurance, and a pension… Your dreams of teaching art history?”
“Mom… we’re artists, we still have time!”
“There is never enough time!” her mother shouted, and hung up.
Lizzie sent her mother a couple cards, but she never responded.
As Lizzie got closer and closer to her due date, she wanted to tell her mother -the date. But she didn’t have time.
Lizzie’s mother, died a week before her own birthday, of a heart attack, alone at home.
After the funeral, Lizzie’s grandmother handed her an envelope; a copy of the will.
“What is this?” Lizzie asked.
“Your mother, left the peach orchard to you. She said you would keep it in the family,”she smiled.
Lizzie’s baby arrived promptly on its due date. Lizzie’s mother’s birthday!
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