A-Z: Mr. Peabody

Everyone knew that Mr. Peabody was living in the old car. It was obvious; all of the signs were there: the mess and the odor.

They tried to evict him for months, but he was an elusive old guy. He stayed in there,  eventually dying in that very car.

They found his little dead mouse body up against the blower motor fan blades.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

Written for a five-line fiction writing prompt, this tale is really a true story.  I named the little deer mouse Mr. Peabody, in part due to the musky smell that lingered in my car. We knew he was there by the little signs of decorating he was doing. I found bird seed in my trunk, though there had been no bird seed put there by us. My Kleenex box was suddenly a fluffy bed for someone very small. The foam under my seat was chewed into a small pile.

We did try to evict Mr. Peabody. I had the dashboard removed to clean out the vents. The car was detailed, twice. I also put repellents put into place. Mothballs, dryer sheets, and citrus-scented objects were put in the places that he frequented, to no avail…until nature took its course. When my air conditioner needed to be maintained and recharged, we found Mr. Peabody, just as my story says. He was then quietly laid to rest.

P

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian
H= The Horologist
I= Impasse
J= Joseph
K= Knowing
L= The Loan
M= Mirror
N= Number
O= Ozark

 

A-Z: The Loan

twenty

 

Jeff had a good thing but didn’t appreciate it. Bob saw a good thing and did.

Bob said, “Let me borrow twenty bucks to take her out on a date.”

Jeff replied, “She won’t go, but if she does keep the twenty bucks.”

He never had to repay the loan.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

This was the first piece of flash fiction that I ever wrote. Poetry has always been a labour of love. It is my agony and ecstasy. Fiction is something I just read…until blogging introduced me to prompts.

I know firsthand how prompts can get your creative energy going. Prompts are great tools. They can be used as exercises when in between pieces, or just as a break from your usual routine. I have several stories that were started but left unfinished. They will eventually become a story or poem.

The Loan was written for a weekly writing challenge. We were to write five lines inspired by a given word prompt. The word prompt behind this story was: awkward. This story came easily because it is true. I am the “she” in the story. The rest is history. In fact, it was the beginning of some great things!

L

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian
H= The Horologist
I= Impasse
J= Joseph
K= Knowing

 

A-Z: Knowing

He knew the time was close and asked me to stay with him. I sat and held his hand, as he talked through the dark night.

He told me stories from a life well lived, filled with much experience. At dawn, as he finally closed his eyes, he whispered, “I see it all now. I understand.”

Looking upon his now still and peaceful face, I knew that he did.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

When I worked and volunteered at the Catholic Retirement Home, I did this many times. Sometimes, I was asked to sit with the residents. Sometimes, they could not ask. Then, I did it because I felt they needed someone. It was always an honour and a privilege.

K

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian
H= The Horologist
I= Impasse
J= Joseph

A-Z: Joseph

Joseph came to America as a young man and followed the family trade as a cabinetmaker.  He had worked hard all of his life and was proud of his life’s work.

Retired for many years, Joseph now finished a special piece. This was the first piece he ever kept for himself.

Putting away his tools, Joseph was pleased with the results of his craftsmanship. The pine coffer was finished just in time; he was ready for his final journey.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

This was written as an exercise in flash fiction. Joseph is another one of my character-people who needed his story told. I was happy to share him.

J

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian
H= The Horologist
I= Impasse

 

A-Z: The Horologist

pocketwatch

Ivan had been a clockmaker for decades. He could still do it well, in spite of his advancing years. Of course, it was more than that. He fixed clocks of all kinds, too. Ivan even cared for the clock in the town square.

All around his tiny storefront the town had grown. You could hardly call it a town anymore; it was now more of a city. Business wasn’t the same, either. There wasn’t the same call for what Ivan did, as there once was. Yet he continued on, feeling a purpose.

Ivan took great pride in his shop, as well as his craft. He surrounded himself with clocks of all kinds. He had fancy clocks, simple clocks, grandfather clocks, and cuckoo clocks among many others. He had new clocks, but he preferred the old clocks feeling a connection of age with them. He understood them, as if they were his family.

Every morning before dawn, Ivan would rise in his little apartment at the back of his shop. He would wind his pocket watch, and then go about winding each clock in the shop carefully. As he went he would inspect each one. It was important to keep them wound and in good working order. He didn’t do it for sales really, but rather feeling he was doing each one justice. He did his job so they could do theirs.

Finally, Ivan would check the time on his pocket watch once more. He was always careful to open on time; it was important. Sweeping his sidewalk, he would wave to the other shopkeepers. Seeing his familiar, dependable and friendly face, they waved back.

Ivan had clients who had come to him for many years. These days, however, most people usually came in to have their watches repaired or batteries changed. That was fine with him. On a good day, someone brought him a clock to fix. Sometimes they came in just to see his clocks. He liked to tell them about the clocks and their history.

One morning the sign did not turn to “Open”.  People immediately knew this was not like Ivan. His routine was well known, running like proverbial clockwork. He was a fixture as much as the town clock was.

The police were called to assist with a well-check call.  They found Ivan seated at his workbench. A smile on his face, he looked very peaceful they said.  In his hands was his old pocket watch; both now still.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

As with many of my stories, this one came to me wanting to be told. Ivan, with his timely tale, is one of my own favourites. I hope you enjoy his story, too.

H

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure
G= The Guardian

 

A-Z: The Guardian

briefcasechair

Mr. C. went over his agenda for the day as he grabbed his briefcase. Locking the car, he smiled at the sign that marked the parking space as his own. He wasn’t getting any younger and was grateful that he didn’t have so far to walk now.

Exchanging the usual pleasantries with associates, Mr. C. grabbed a cup of tea on the way to his office. It was going to be a long day. Once in his office, he set the cup on his desk and verified his schedule. There were no cancellations. It seemed there was never enough time in the day.

Mr. C. had spent years learning to help others. His chosen field of expertise had come naturally to him, and he devoted himself to it. He had a wall full of certificates and achievements.  Pursuing years of education, he never married. He was happiest helping others.

People sought him and his help. Mr. C. was easy to talk to and trustworthy. They knew they could tell him their secrets, things they could tell no one else. He never judged or belittled anyone. Secrets are a heavy burden, carrying enough shame. He was a safe haven; that is what they needed.

All day, Mr. C. listened. He guided with gentle advice. He helped find answers and resolution. He offered understanding. This is why they came to him, so this is what he offered.

At the end of the very long day, Mr. C. felt he had fulfilled his purpose. It was time well spent. He packed up his briefcase, knowing he would be too tired to open it once home. With one last glance at the next full schedule, he turned off the light and locked the door.

The drive home was not a long one. Tired, he stopped to pick up fast food to take home. He never cooked anymore. This was just easier, for so many reasons.

Juggling the food, briefcase, and keys as he walked up to the front door, Mr. C. thought of his old cat. He hadn’t seen Tiger for quite some time. He missed his old friend and wondered whatever happened to him.

With a heavy sigh, Mr. C. carefully moved into the house and down the narrowed hall. Inching past stacks of papers and assorted full boxes and bins, he headed for his place in the corner. Once he wiggled into his chair, he set the fast food out onto his lap. Tossing the wrappers aside, he told himself he would worry about them another time.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

I have known a “Mr. C.”, personally. He was a genius with a very big heart. He found love as a young man but lost it through no fault of his own. After that, he was always too busy to develop a relationship and a real home. Romantic love eluded him, or perhaps he just avoided it. He gave love in other ways.

G

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist
F= Final Departure

A-Z: Final Departure

EPSON scanner image

Riding the rails for almost seven decades, Frank had seen far more than he could ever recall. He loved the freedom of going where and when the rails took him. But, times had changed and so had old Frank.

With a worn out sigh, he struggled to board the rusted out freight car. Deep in his aching bones, Frank knew this was his final departure.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

Riding the rails has been a colourful part of American history, especially during The Great Depression. Frank is a composite of some “Bindlestiffs” that I came to know through family lore, while I was growing up. My characters are all very near and dear to my heart, including Frank.

F

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage
D= The Drought
E= Exist

A-Z: The Drought

undeveloped - Copy

No one could remember when the last rain came. It doesn’t matter anymore.

First, the crops withered. The corn never developed. Then, the stalks shriveled and dried up, standing right there in the field.

Once the crops were gone, there was no feed, either. No one would buy the cattle. After they died, the horses did, too. The dogs all ran off, probably to find water, since the creeks all dried up.

That’s when the well went dry. Ma and Pa both passed away then. I think they just lost their will. I don’t know why I am still here.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

I wrote this 100-word story as an exercise. I drew on my personal experience of stories told to me by elders who farmed. I come from a strong lineage of farming. Consequently, I have tremendous respect for those who farm. They live their job. It affects their very existence. And, it does ours, too. This story is for them.

D

“My Writeful Heart”:
A= Acknowledgments
B= Believe
C= Camouflage