57 minus 42: chair and tablespoon

Posted: 6 July 2021 in 57 minus, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , ,

And so we’re back to the regular ‘fiction from the vaults’ posts on Tuesdays for the rest of the run.

Today you get a couple of fast fictions from the long ago, from the very long ago again this week; one each from the 2007 and 2008 fast fiction funs. Two very different stories, as always. One of them was written for my then 11 year old lad, and for his wonder and laughter and imagination. The otehr was written shortly after I’d been researching something that had puzzled me for years.

A decade and a half ago, I threw out a challenge. and then repeated it thereafter whenever I felt like it. The challenge was the same in each case:

Give me a title of up to four words in length, together with a single word you want me to include in the tale, and I will write a story of exactly 200 words.

That’s it. The stories that resulted always included the word, they always fitted the title, but usually in ways the challenger hadn’t anticipated. And they were always exactly 200 words in length.

Enjoy them…

Title: The Unusual Place
Word: chair
Challenger: Phil Barnett
Length: 200 words exactly

A marked drop of temperature accompanied him as he moved inside the cave, away from where his family were picnicking in the crisp air of the Norwegian countryside.

He’d noticed the place for the first time the previous evening, walking back with his parents and sister from dinner, a patch of blackness on the side of the hills, darker even than the dusk shadowed surroundings.

He gasped as he saw the object, a simple cane, lying on the floor. Nearby, he could see a sharp edged silhouette that resolved itself as he moved, light sliding past him to illuminate the chair.

Of course! he thought, Odin’s chair, and Thor’s cane!

With a rush, he grabbed for the stick, and slammed it to the ground.

The shock of power knocked him back into the chair and instantly he was aware of everything!

He was All-Powerful – how could he not have known his true identity previously?

He was… hearing his mother calling for him. And suddenly Asgard, home of the gods, was just a cave again. And Thor’s hammer was just a gnarled stick.

He left the cave and went out to join the mortals.

But he took the stick with him.

© Lee Barnett, 2007

Title: Confusion: That Night, 12/6/1986
Word: tablespoon
Challenger: [Livejournal: spangle_kitten]
Length: 200 words exactly

Two hours.

Sat at the table for two hours, shaking silently for the past ten minutes, playing with the tablespoon, holding back tears, staring at the empty chair.

Three years.

Three years ago next Monday when they first met. Waiting by the side of the road for the mechanic. Her third cigarette butt had just hit the ground when instead of the orange and white truck, his electric blue Toyota had pulled up; just a passer-by, concerned about her.

Four weeks.

Thirty days later, she’d moved in to his apartment, enthralled by his loveliness, in love with everything about him. They shared stories about their lives before they met: he revelling in her tales of growing up in Kent, she drowning in his reminiscences of Texan sunsets.

Five minutes.

All it took for their dream to end. The letter informing him that his father was dying. He left, she stayed; contact too painful. The potential meeting, planned for months later to see if love lasted: 12/6/1986.

Six months.

She thought June; he thought December. Of course they did.

A movement caught her eye as he returned to the table and she wiped her eye at what they could have lost…

© Lee Barnett, 2008


See you tomorrow, with… something else.



Fifty-seven days. Fifty-seven posts. One fifty-seventh birthday.

I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s