John Kohtala would wake every day before sunrise, do his chores on the farm near Chassell at the south end of Portage Lake. He’d then walk twenty-one miles (uphill, both ways) to attend Calumet Middle School on Fifth Street in what is now the Ace Hardware Store. It was there, he became fast friends with the Barsotti children; Peter, Arthur, and Gemma and became interested in theatre.
One day, after school, the kids were hanging out at the Barsotti’s Candy store when Gemma suggested that they put on a play.
“Hey,” piped in John, “My dad has a barn…”
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using your choice of microhistory from Keweenaw National Historic Park. Be historical, funny, or flagrantly fictional. Choose a character, time, place, or event. Be as creative as you want in telling the story (for those doing serials, how can you meld this into your own storyline?). Go where the prompt leads!
Note: I co-opted two of the microhistories for my flash. I had fun with this one. No disrespect intended.
Stavo picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder
the cans rattled together, they shifted in the sack
Tonight he carried mostly blues, greens, yellows, and greys
He took the path through the park, from his van to the bridge
His canvas was already chosen so he promptly set to work
Shaking each can before use
Ducking down as cars passed
He painted a portrait of Caledonia
The young girl with colourful corkscrew hair and full, lush lips
He never sold his work
Just put it out- to be loved or hated
By whoever happened across it
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves paint. It can be fresh, peeling or in need of a coat. What is being painted and why? Go where the prompt leads!
Asleep in the bow, I forgot the plan to test the emergency blow system. I woke to the sound of the diving alarm and that shuddering of the hull that accompanies flank speed, and cavitating. We changed trim. The bow rose from a zero bubble to a 40 degree up bubble. We were rising fast when suddenly, BOOM. I heard the 4500 pound air dumping into the main ballast tanks; first the forward tanks then aft.
When the boat broached, the bow raised high above the swells and splashed down. She came to rest on the surface, waters roiling.
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that makes a big splash. It can be fluid, or you can play with the idiom (to make a big splash is to do or say something that becomes unforgettable). Go where the prompt leads!
I met Lavinia in early July
at The Angel on the Bridge
where I came to see the regatta.
I was smitten
I sought to impress
To ply her with food
Strawberries, cream, and a sprig of mint
She turned up her nose
I strove to impress
by quoting the Bard,
Demetrius in Titus Andronicus,
“She is Lavinia, therefore must be loved”
She laughed as I obviously knew not the story
I hoped to impress with my wealth
Alas, I had no wealth, but
She sat with me on the riverbank
She took my hand
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes strawberries and mint. The combination evokes color contrast, scents, and taste. Where will the combination take you? Go where the prompt leads!
Birdie stood at the top deck railing smiling and waving; holding her hat in the breeze. Edward stood stoically nearby, as he imagined a new husband should do.
While the crew cast off lines and got underway Birdie turned to Edward, “I’m terrified. What if the weather takes a turn and the ship flounders?”
“Rest assured, darling,” he replied, “We’re aboard the pride of the White Star Line, she’s unsinkable.” They retired to their stateroom, where Birdie remained, panicked, for the duration of the voyage.”
Eight days later the newlyweds disembarked in New York and began their life together.
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story without ice. It can be a world without ice or a summer camp that runs out of cubes for lemonade. What does the lack mean to the story? Go where the prompt leads!
I shiver by the back window, listening to some nameless chanteuse croon and confess from the confines of the FM dial.
Warming my hands on a cup of tea, I watch the last two leafs in the tree.
They dance in the moonlight. Embracing, spinning, reaching – enjoying one another.
Caressing like lovers until one falls away; surrendering to the pressure of the wind and the weight of the clinging raindrops.
The fallen leaf touches down. I pore over archaic words and phrases, planning a poem.
The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes in search of trees. It can be one particular tree, a grove, woods, or forest. What makes the tree worth seeking? Go where the prompt leads!
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