Everyday Fiction 2014 – Recap

Wondering where to start or looking for a story you liked? Hopefully this helps. Everyday Fiction is an annual writing project that involves writing 30 stories inspired by 30 stranger's photographs in 30 days. This year's photos are old black-and-white photographs found at Kenton Antiques in Portland and Vintage Hardware in Astoria. Understudy November 1 "Mama and Jean were staring at the photograph like she’d been posing with the Monsignor, not a man with no fashion sense." http://williamreagan.com/understudy/ Mortar November Read more [...]

Tea

Tea
It didn’t take much doing to convince the men that they should keep their own council at the family gatherings. The hard part was convincing them that it was their idea. It’s family lore – at least among the women of the family – how Aunt Meg set the plan in motion many years before. A few days prior to one of the big family barbecues, she casually mentioned to her husband Don that her sister Ida was very excited about a new canning recipe that she wanted to share at the party; a few Read more [...]

Opportunity

Stanley Culpepper had two brilliant ideas. First, he invented the idea of charging for cheese. That was the idea that got him hired as Operations Manager at Bergman’s. You probably think that a cheeseburger always cost a dime or a quarter more than a hamburger, but it didn’t. Once upon a time, cheese used to be a condiment, like ketchup or a pickle, and you could add it to your hamburger. Cost was only a penny a slice, so Bergman’s just lost a penny on those burgers. That was the cost of Read more [...]

Sprint

On the line next to “Cause of Death” on Gene Bennett’s autopsy report, the coroner had written, “Take your pick. (See notations.)” Those notations included psoriasis of the liver, heart disease, several seemingly cancerous tumors on the lungs, excessive weight, and a medical history of hypertension. The family had a different way of saying the same thing: Gene died of too much living. He never paced himself for a marathon, and everyone knew all those sprints would catch up to him Read more [...]

Graduation

1957 Because it wasn’t feasible for Harry Stone to fly home to Oklahoma for holidays during his freshman year at MIT, his roommate Don Martin invited him to spend Thanksgiving at his parents’ house in Beverly. When the two arrived Thursday morning, Harry thanked Don’s parents for the invitation, shook hands with the aunts and uncles, and generally impressed everyone except Don's sister Colette. Upon meeting her, Harry just stood there speechless, grinning like a smitten idiot. Harry's Read more [...]

Gravity

I'm pretty sure my dad thought Betty was a witch. At least by the way he talked about her. He didn't think a normal woman would drive a truck, or like fishing, or have a house and not a husband. I told him he didn’t even know her, only saw her in the yard or driving by, but he said he knew plenty. What struck me funny was if that was the criteria for a normal woman, I wasn’t planning on being one either. I wanted to be just like Betty. She drives a truck because she's a landscaper, so Read more [...]

Gunsmoke

The first thing I thought of when I heard the news that Leonard Nolan had killed a woman in California was that picture of us with the holsters taken when we were kids. That was the day I realized he was a skinny little volcano and the only question was when he’d erupt. The news report said the murder happened in his apartment in Davis, California, where he'd lived since August. He had told everyone he was going to school there, said he planned to major in Archaeology and travel the Read more [...]

Snap

When future archaeologists sift through the rubble of my family's existence, their likely hypothesis upon finding our photo album will be that we maintained an evergreen tree in our home at all times and we were in a constant state of celebration. I don’t know why the camera only came out of the drawer at Christmas time. For some reason, we never thought of taking pictures during the rest of the year – visits from distant aunts and uncle went undocumented, high school accomplishments Read more [...]

Racked

I never liked living in the past. It’s like being in a room where you can’t touch anything – everything’s always the same, what bothered you before just keeps bothering you, and you can’t do spit about it. Sometimes the past feels like one of them whirlpools I saw in a sea monster book when I was a kid, sucking the sailors deeper and deeper until all they’re doing is waiting to die. Except this time, I'm the sailor. Of course, I learned the hard way I’m also none too keen on Read more [...]

Wager

Alternating bursts of elation and fury surged into the kitchen, but the chorus of five voices in the den made it difficult for Ruth to pick out any of the particulars. Jack and his friends were angry with a man apparently named Goddam Sam Huff, but the object of their most recent eruptions seemed to be a man named Weeb. “Is Weeb a person’s name,” Alice asked, “or is that football talk for something else?” “I can’t imagine it matters,” Ruth said as she stood staring into Read more [...]