Flash Fiction Friday: The Breaking

Especially on Fridays, we like to play at Tweetspeak with flash fiction. While we’re hard pressed to find a mutually-agreed upon definition of the genre, it’s safe to say flash fiction is a short short story–a beginning, middle, end, with actual development of characters, but done with a minimalist’s dream for word economy. With nothing more to go on than our February “purple” theme, here’s what flashed for Darrelyn Saloom. Maybe you’d like to try?


Wendell threw the butt of his broken rifle into the river and struck out for home by following the shore. His ruse-of-a-hunting trip had left him emptier than his mother’s passing.

He’d miss her, his disapproving mother. Though his mind did not wander now to thoughts of her lifeless face but to Emilie, his ball and chain.

Emilie’s tilted-back head and half-opened mouth when he’d push inside her set fire to his boots through layers of stink and mud and memories he feared might buckle his knees.

Purple moonlight glowed in ripples across the Mississippi. Lavender raised the sun. Then February surrendered to March, in muddy tracks of what had to be done.

Photo by Luis Argerich, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Darrelyn Saloom, co-author of My Call to the Ring: A Memoir of a Girl Who Yearns to Box.


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In February we’re exploring the theme Purple, Plum and Indigo.

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  1. says

    Good morning, Beth. Perhaps Bo and Wendell are brothers! It’s interesting how characters and their names pop into our heads.

    Hope you enjoy your dark, thundery day along the Gulf coast. Keep the doors locked. :-)

    • says

      Thanks, Dave. I scared myself when I wrote this one. Spooked again when I responded to Beth’s comment (above). I was joking around and wrote “Heard that, Wendell and Bo” but forgot the question mark. So it came out as W & B answering Beth. Yikes!

  2. says

    I think it would be great fun for someone to pick this up where it left off.

    What has to be done?

    I’ll bet it is different in the mind of each of us.

    Dave Malone, why am I thinking you should be the first taker? :)

  3. says

    A man’s got to act on his purple passions. Not over-talk or expose his hand too soon. Leave himself options. Slow down so as not to give away what can’t be righted.

    Wendell’s old man, running ‘shine in the swamps of Okefenokee during Prohibition, gave him a lesson he never forgot, that he’d need to put to use now. He needed to find that Bible first, though.


    Loved this, Darrelyn.

  4. Jack says

    Talk about poignant and succinct. I’m tempted to elaborate, but the disparity between your writing and mine would really stand out…

  5. says

    Why is it these bad boys are so intriguing?

    “Well, now, ain’t love grand. When Bo Perlis chuckled, a nasty sound came out of his mouth, gritty like old coffee grounds. He leaned against the pilings of a fishing dock, boots anchored in sugar white sand. Perlis lit one cigarette from the butt of another, occasionally lifting a small pair of Leica bird-watching binoculars in Grace’s direction for a closer look. He had caught her and ‘his Honor’s’ conversation thanks to a small deer hunter’s bionic ear.

    “Perlis picked his teeth with a mother-of-pearl toothpick he got off a high-roller he knifed in a Las Vegas storm drain under the Luxor Casino. Bo liked souvenirs, and this was one of his favorites.”

    Looks to me like Bo and Wendell are inbred cousins at the very least.

  6. Jenny Fickey says

    I caught a glimpse of the purple moon reflected in Wendell’s crazed eyes, and I am terrified for Emilie.

    I’m impressed by the lasting image you created with just a few words.

  7. Sally G. says

    Wendell has got to go. The ball and chain just heard, for the umpteenth time, the Dixie Chicks song “Earl”…she gathers up his shotgun and waits by the door. Ha!! Loved the story and really fine job of writing your first piece of flash fiction. Need to continue this story.

  8. says

    Love this. I’m in the middle of running/judging a flash fiction contest and the short form is a definite challenge and art form.

    I really admire those who can do it well in such a small space. Great work!

  9. says

    Thank you for the kind words, Wendy. You nailed what I enjoy about writing flash fiction: the challenge of encapsulating a story in “such a small space.”

    I look forward to following your flash fiction contest and reading your publication.


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