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This is part of my ongoing project of flash fiction typed onto vintage photographs using an antique typewriter. If you’d like to see more keep looking here or visit my Etsy.
As Ethyl turned the VW bug down the dirt road, Bertha shuddered a little.
“What is it, Berth? Something the matter?”
“I’m used to cities is all. This road trip has been adventure enough without you taking this shortcut through the woods. This road is dirt, for the love of Pete!”
Ethyl smiled at her city friend. They’d instantly connected at the school where both were studying to be receptionists. Ethyl had left the family farm in search of bigger and better things, and Bertha was just killing time until her fiancé, Jasper, got back from the war.
“I grew up on roads like this. Relax, hun.”
The VW blew up a cloud of dust as Ethyl drove it a bit manically around a turn, the wheels scrambling through some pebbles and shooting them into the woods.
“Well could you slow down a bit, at least? At least consider the paint! This car is new!”
Jasper bought the car a few months before he found himself shipped out and trusted his future wife with his most prized possession.
“It’s Jasper’s most prized possession!”
“Where do you come in on that list?” Ethyl asked with a smile and a bit of attitude.
“Just under the car, darling. You should know that. Men and their toys…”
Ethyl relented and let go of the gas a little, taking the turns a bit easier.
“Thank you, dear,” Bertha said as she reached into the back seat. “Care for some coffee?”
“Actually, I’m famished! How’s about I find a place to pull over?”
“Here in the middle of nowhere?”
“Here’s as good as anywhere else!”
They drove the little powder-blue bug another mile or so until she came up to a bend in the road just before an old bridge. A picturesque clearing filled with wildflowers lined the grassy spot where Ethyl stopped the car.
“Oh look Bertha! What a place for a picnic. What do you say?”
Bertha smiled and grabbed the wicker picnic basket from the backseat. “Good thing I packed these sandwiches! God knows how long we’ll be lost out here!”
“I’m telling you,” Ethyl said with another smile, “The man at the station said this here was a shortcut. Said it would cut a good hour of driving. You want to be at your cousin’s by evening, don’t you? Or shall we camp out for the night –“
“Lord no! I’m not sleeping in a tent. We’re making it tonight if it kills us.” Ethyl let a knowing smile grow on her face. She knew just how to manipulate her city friend. The woman was clearly afraid of nature.
Bertha got out of the car, removed her cardigan and fixed her flower-print dress. After checking both shoulder straps, making sure they were just right, she threw her cardigan onto the car and pulled a blanket out of the back seat.
Ethyl loved watching this girl, an enigma to someone who grew up on a farm, as she carefully placed the blanket on the grass. “You know, there’s a perfectly good log over there.”
“You must be joking. This is an expensive dress! It’s Chanel!”
“Chanel! As in Coco?”
Ethyl raised an eyebrow. “Okay…”
“Oh you country bumpkin…what do you know!” Bertha smiled, and Ethyl laughed quite loudly, letting it echo through the trees. She was relieved to see her friend loosen up a bit.
“Well, this fabulous ensemble I’m wearing is official Wanamaker’s. The top was on sale!”
Bertha giggled as she sat down on the blanket with the basket. Meanwhile, Ethyl took out her satchel and started rooting through it for a pen and paper.
“Oh no, is the master author at it again?” Bertha teased.
Ethyl stuck out her tongue and sat on the log. Her scribbling on the pad of lined paper reverberated through the woods, disrupted only by the occasional sound of wrapper rustling as Bertha set up their lunch.
Once she had the sandwiches out and spoons in the small container of potato salad, she waited patiently for her friend to finish. She put her hands behind her head and leaned back against the car, looking up at the perfectly blue sky. Ethyl finally finished and joined her on the blanket.
“Say what you want about the city, and I will, as you know, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the sky such a beautiful blue,” Bertha said. Ethyl dug into the potato salad and nodded. As she tried to speak a small piece of potato fell to the blanket.
“That was what I was writing about.”
“Mhmm,” she said as another piece fell to the blanket. She picked it up, inspected it and popped it into her mouth.
“Such class. It’s a wonder you were raised on a farm! I would think you came from the most fabulous finishing school in Paris!” Bertha raised an eyebrow at her friend, waiting for a response.
“Just wait until I go pee in those woods right there, then we’ll see who is refined,” she said, watching Bertha shudder a little.
“You will not!”
“I will so!”
“Don’t do it, Ethyl. There must be a ladies room around here somewhere!”
Ethyl smiled again at her friend.
“So what was your poem about?”
“Actually, it was about returning to a perfectly blue sky after spending a few months in the smoggy city.”
“That’s…kind of lovely, Eth. It really is beautiful here, I must admit. I can hear the birds and a breeze, rather than cars and yelling. And what is that sound? The one that is fairly constant?”
“Ah. Crickets. They’re kind of loud.”
“Funny, I didn’t even notice them until you pointed it out.”
“Well, it really is quite lovely.”
They continued to eat when a bug landed on Bertha. She screamed and dropped her sandwich onto her plate as she rushed to get it off her arm, flailing like an insane person. Ethyl just remained calm and continued eating. Bertha finally got rid of the bug and stood.
“I’m eating the rest in the car.”
So after These Moments had such a lovely giveaway with one of my original pieces, I had such a blast creating one for the winner that I’ve decided to have my own contest! Read about Esra’s winning image here.
What do you have to do? It’s so easy! All you have to do is comment on this post. Tell me why you should be the winner, or just say hi!
Here’s the image the last winner, Esra, got:
She told me she liked the beach, the city and listed a lot of her other passions, so I created one just for her! Want to get in on the fun? Comment below. And please, check out my upcoming book, Capturing a Moment, which collects many similar images. Not this one though, this one is JUST for Esra!
Capturing a Moment collects around fifty of Dennis Finocchiaro’s original pieces. Dennis is the author of The Z Word, a collection of flash fiction set during a zombie apocalypse. His collection of flash fiction that takes place in coffee shops, Confessions of a Coffee Shop Junkie, which came in third in The Fifteenth Dame Lisbet Throckmorton 2010 fiction writing contest, is also available on Amazon.
Capturing a Moment is available via his Etsy site. It comes signed, with a one-of-a-kind post-it flash fiction piece signed and a post card depicting two of the images. For a little bit more you can purchase the VIP version, which also comes with the original print of your choice.
William and Mary exited the church with her parents after saying goodbye to Father Peters.
“Mary,” William said. “How about a walk in the park?”
“That would be lovely,” she said, showing him a rather large smile.
“Have a nice day,” he said to her parents as the held each other and smiled. Her father winked at William, and her mother’s eyes became a bit glassy as she waved, too choked up to say anything else.
They turned the corner toward the park and Mary looked up at her boyfriend. “Can you believe it’s been a year since we met? A whole year.” She put her arm through his and pulled him closer as they passed the five and dime, which was closed.
“Too bad everything is closed, we could have picked up something and had a picnic,” she said to him. He looked at her and smiled.
They continued to the park entrance, which was eerily empty today. Mary stopped. “That’s odd.”
“What is, dear?”
“Where is everyone? Mister Simpson is always feeding the ducks at the pond at this time of day. And this is a park, usually there are children playing! No jumprope, no kites, nothing. Nobody is here.”
He smiled. “It is rather peculiar, isn’t it?” He turned and looked at the Johnsons’ home, noticing the curtains move just the tiniest bit. He knew it was a small town and word traveled fast; it wasn’t the least bit surprising that Mrs. Johnson would take a peek as they passed.
“My, the trees look beautiful, don’t they? Look at all the red and orange. I love Fall,” she said to him as they promenaded through the park. He nodded.
Deep in thought, William hadn’t noticed that his pace quickened and he’d left Mary a few steps behind. He realized it and stopped, waiting for her to catch up. “Did you forget me?” She asked him.
“No, no I guess I was in another world,” he responded.
“Are you nervous about something? You seem to have a small case of the jitters.”
He smiled and took her hand as they walked past the trees, some of which were already bare. He pulled Mary from the path onto the grass toward a hill and the sound of crunching leaves under their feet echoed through the empty park.
“William M. Masters, what’s gotten into you?”
He smiled and led her through a small grove of bright orange and red trees that still had their leaves and there was a red and white checkered blanket with a picnic basket waiting.
“Oh, look at this! Someone has left a perfectly good lunch here,” he said with a sly smile. She squeezed his hand as he brought her over and helped her onto the blanket.
“Why thank you!”
“You’re welcome, darling. Why don’t you go through the basket and see what we’ve got for lunch?”
She got up and walked over to the basket, opened the lid and on top of some chicken, potato salad and fruit she found a small, black box. She picked it up and when she turned to William he was down on one knee.
“Mary, will you marry me and make me the luckiest man in all of Greensville?”
She smiled with a glow and said yes.
Hiking in Heels, along with many other works, are available on my Etsy. And don’t forget to check out Capturing a Moment, a book by Wrags Ink that collects around fifty of my images into a nice little coffee table book. It comes with all kinds of free goodies and also can be purchased with original pieces!