Row Row Row Your Boat

‘Dad, I’m getting a divorce.’

I expected questions. I expected protests. I did not expect to be taken boating.

We rowed in silence for a while. You couldn’t rush dad. Eventually he started humming…

Row Row Row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily
Life is but a dream.

‘Do you know, like many a rhymes, this one is a metaphor for life too.

Life is a journey and you have to work hard at it. Whether its work or marriage, you have to work on it. You have to row your boat. The stream is sometimes straight, and sometimes crooked. The currents will sometimes flow against you. But you need to be patient, gentle, and continue rowing down the stream. Have faith, trust in God, immerse yourself in prayer, and like a bad dream, the hard times too shall pass.’

We stared at each other for the longest of times. Eventually I rolled up my sleeves and showed him the bruises on my arm.

Row Row Row your boat
Gently down the stream.
If you see a crocodile
Don’t forget to scream.

In response to Priceless Joy’s 193rd Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo prompt by Yarnspinnerr

The Pampered Daughter

She was the pampered daughter.

Designer clothes, Barbie dolls, expensive trinkets, she got whatever she wanted; even college, even though it was on the other side of the river. She was never expected to work, but they agreed that an educated mother could give her children a better upbringing.

Of course, she was warned to stay away from the riff-raffs from the fishing hamlet. “We employ the lower caste, we don’t fraternize with them,” grandfather had explained.

But used to having her own way, she thought that she could convince them that she wanted Rajesh.

“So, what if he lives across the river? The only thing that divides us is a bridge,” she argued.

They brought her Rajesh; but he was missing a heartbeat.

Some bridges cannot be crossed.

The pampered daughter can have whatever she wants. So long as those are things that don’t impact the ‘family honour’.
After all, a girl can’t ask for too much!


In response to Priceless Joy’s 187th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo by Michelle De Angelis.

The Majestic

The lion had seen better days. He should have been the king of the jungle; instead here he was in a place no larger than a farm, famished, ribs showing, his fur dull and waning. In his face was the lingering signs of regality, but the eyes showed a deep sense of loneliness.

Ria looked at the logo stamped on her lunch box. The majestic winged lion. What irony!

This was merely a glorified prison for animals. A testament to man’s vicious need to establish dominion over other sentient beings. We call them wild, yet we are the predators. All the claims about breeding programs, just a guise to help the modern mind cope with a nineteenth century idea.

The zoo was a lively place. Everyone was enjoying except the animals.


In response to the 186th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo provided by Wildverbs.

Because…

Lord have mercy.
This was going to be one of those conversations.

You have to drink the milk, Simon.

I think the word you’re looking for is should drink the milk.

OK wise guy. You should drink the milk.

Needn’t.

Should. Milk is a whole food. It’s good for you.

Hmm, says here that A whole food, is a natural food that has not been processed or has been refined as little as possible. This milk is pasteurized. Not a whole food.

I meant that it’s a complete food. And don’t start reading out that definition.

Well, if its so complete then why did they have to enrich it with Probiotic and Vitamin D, E and K2, drones his machine-imitation voice.

I’m trapped in a maelstrom of irritation, frustration, pride. I see the twinkle in his eye. He thinks that he’s won the argument.
I play the trump card.

Then will you please drink it cause it would make mommy really really happy?

The twinkle dims a little.


In response to the 185th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo contributed by Yinglan.

The Smoldering

You’re not good for me.

Baby, that’s not true. We are so good together.

He says that I need to stay away from you.

The fuck does he know? Can he do for you what I do for you?

You know its not like that with him.

Like what?

Like what it was with you. What it is with you. God knows I still love you. Always will. But I got to let go.

Give me a kiss baby.

No.

Come on baby. You know you want to. One last. Just this once.

Slowly but surely his hands drifted to her hips and pulled her flush against his warm chest. She inhaled sharply. He began nuzzling her neck with delicate kisses. Her breathing quickened as her body went limp. She urged herself to push away, but couldn’t. The next thing she knew, he had slammed his lips to hers, and as he kissed her, the world fell away, the warnings of her sponsor obliterated by the smoldering of their bodies.

Lost in passion, she never even felt him slip the Ecstasy into her pocket.


In response to Priceless Joy’s 183rd Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo provided by Michelle DeAngelis

As I gaze

I make my own tiny window within the window. Sitting on the ledge I peek out at the empty street. The rain has washed everything clean, like God suddenly decided to take out the clutter. One by one the objects will be filled in again. Bright yellow buses will arrive to spill out colourful children. Cars of all sizes will zip by.

They think I’m foolish to sit here every chance I get. While they go off to do important things, chase the tangible, I wait here observing the mundane, contemplating the details of existence. The way I see it, they are missing out on the greatest art in progress.

They say what I do doesn’t matter. They are wrong. I am the quiet stream along whose bank flowers grow. I am the coolness they sip to quench their parched throat.

And when I hear the buzzer ring, I rise in positive purpose. The apple pie is done and the winter vegetables need to be roasted.


In response to Priceless Joy‘s 182nd Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo prompt contributed by wildverbs.

For Morning Must Break …

The world is silent, as if it ended in the night.

Tinted sunlight flows in through the gaps between the trees, washing away the tainted gray, awakening the greens and browns.

She sits upon the cold metal bench, soaking up the morning dew, waiting, knowing, dreading…

Morning spears through the abyss, like diamonds dancing a macabre dance upon the shadowed stones. Her fingers push heavenwards, trying to stop the sun, but the heartless devil continues to rise like any other day.

She watches helplessly as the excruciatingly words emerge.

Susan Ann Marie
Beloved angel
Budded on earth
To bloom in heaven
2008 – 2018


In response to Priceless Joy‘s 181st Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, prompted by a photo by Jodi McKinney

Price Cost

Lunch is finally over.
I rush to clear the table. A furtive glance at the clock shows me that it is past 3pm. I have to take my daughter to the doctor but madam is refusing to give me an advance. Not even 200 rupees.

‘Watch where you’re going.’ Madam’s hiss snaps me out of my reverie. ‘Those plates cost more than your salary.’

Meanwhile Sir is busy showing off the new dog that he has bought. People go abroad and buy clothes and electronics, but he has brought a porcelain doll. And they don’t even have children. Rich people and their futile expenditures!

‘…cost my over 60,000 in Indian rupees’, he says, and I almost drop the gravy bowl.

I stare at the silly dog after they move away, imagining madam’s voice smirk in my head; ‘Your ten months salary.’

I give it a little nudge and watch 60,000 rupees crash to the floor.

Written in response to the 180th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge hosted by Priceless Joy, in response to a photo provided by Yinglan.

Tic-Tac-To: All in a game’s work

I love Home Depot. You get everything. Bleach works really well to clean up blood stains, but then blood has a nasty way of settling in the cracks. I’ve watched enough episodes of CSI to know that.

Better to rip out the floor boards and burn them. Need a saw and a good pry bar. Some compost from the gardening section. I guess I should plaster and paint the basement door too. Not like I’m going to be using it. At least not anytime soon. O and I need more oil for the furnace.

I love Home Depot.

Tit-tat-to, my last go
Three jolly butcher boys all in a row
Stick one up, stick one down,
stick one in the old man’s burying ground.


In response to Priceless Joy‘s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers 175th Challenge based on a photo prompt by Yarnspinnerr.

*CSI = Crime Scene Investigation is an American forensic science crime drama

*The poem quoted is an old poem from 1882 that was apparently used by the winners of the original game that was played using a chalk and slate and was the forerunner of the modern game of Tic-Tac-to

The Fountain

When life catches you unawares, it’s not always a good surprise.

The change was slow. It started with a calm tranquility descending upon us, like the entire universe had finally found balance. Then un-containable joy. Through the mist of the fountain’s waters everything looked so vibrant and beautiful. Its exquisiteness took my breath away.

I sat there, taking it all in, feeling light and free, as if I had sprouted wings and could now fly.

The tingling that started from my heart soon encompassed my entire body and I reached out for my love. Did he feel it too?

But where was Seth? Who was this young child beside me? And why was he looking at me so strangely?

The old seer had called it the fountain of youth. The answer to all our problems. Never had we imagined that it would affect us physically.


In response to the 169th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge based on a photo prompt provided by wildverbs.