This week’s prompts are at the bottom. The flash fiction, below, was written for practice. Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.
The triple towers of KSCO Radio, 1080 on your AM dial, rise from the waters of Corcoran Lagoon.
As a boy, my friends and I used to do a lot of things for entertainment. Some of it was normal stuff. We surfed, we experimented with skateboards, we hiked, climbed trees, fished, rode bicycles, tried to figure out girls and, all the other things that most boys do. We got dragged to church by our parents and we went to school on most school days.
I didn’t go very far with surfing, for whatever reason, it didn’t interest me. I also abandoned skateboarding. Polyurethane wheels hadn’t been invented yet. We bought “Roller Derby” #10 skateboards with steel wheels. Man, you hit a pebble with one of those wheels and it stopped, right now. When the wheel stopped, the board stopped; and the rider’s momentum would carry him forward resulting in a tumble. Injuries such as scraped knees and elbows, or worse, broken bones could result when that happened.
Speaking of steel wheels… trains have steel wheels. Most of the trains that came through in those days carried produce, cattle, poultry, and grain. Grain cars were open on the top and we would wait on the overpass for the trains to come beneath. When the timing was right we’d leap from the bridge into the grain cars. You had to stay on the top of the grain or you would sink in. If you went under and couldn’t get back to the top you would drown for sure. So you would lie on the surface with your arms and legs splayed out wide to keep you up. Then you had to “swim” to the side of the car and climb out. We’d usually travel two or three miles before we could get out of the car and jump free when the train slowed for the big curve by the tannery.
Hiking, biking, and climbing trees were great activities. They made us stronger without our even realizing it was happening. Tommy Parr got stuck up in a Redwood tree once in Nisene Marks and the Rangers had to get him down. Redwood trees can get pretty tall and it can be a long way up to the lowest branches. He had been free climbing up the trunk, like scaling a cliff, and froze before he got to the bottom branches. He couldn’t go up and he couldn’t come down. Looking back on it now, he’s lucky to have survived.
Girls were just confusing.
By now you must be wondering why I began this story with a mention of KSCO’s radio towers.
After Tommy’s run-in with the Redwood; the rest of us razzed him pretty unmercifully for a week or two and he had moped around feeling emasculated about the whole situation. Then he got the idea of scaling the radio towers. Truthfully, Tommy was a pretty good climber, he got higher up that Redwood trunk than I would have been able to. The towers were geometric; Tommy figured that they would be much easier to climb than that tree had been.
He dared us to do it.
There were three towers, there were six of us. That worked out to two boys per tower and the game was afoot. We invented a race. Each participant had to scale the tower and leave something at the top. It could be a ball cap, a tee shirt or anything else that you wanted to leave up there. Whatever it was, it had to be visible from the ground when we got back down. We decided that the next day, after school, we would meet in the car park at the radio station.
There were five us there the next afternoon. Leo didn’t show. I was ready to climb, Tommy was ready to climb, Stan and Jim were ready too. Raymond came with his little sister. She had a sucker in her mouth and red candy stuck all over her face and hands; it was even in her hair. Raymond’s mom had surprised him with babysitting duty that afternoon. He begged off the climb but said that he and Natalie would referee the event. We agreed and modified the rules to begin, and end, the race just beside the cattails at the edge of the lagoon.
We all four lined up at the water’s edge and Raymond called out, “On your mark, get set, GO,” and when he said go, we splashed in. Almost immediately two men ran out of the radio station and yelled at us. We got called back in and received a thorough talking to. Our only course of action then, of course, was to wait until dark and have another go.
This week’s prompts are:
- lots of money
- while I was sleeping
Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.
Have fun and have a happy Christmas