Friday, September 4, 2009

A Summer Job - Flash Fiction #Fridayflash

Lifeguarding fit neatly between spring and fall semesters at the university. Captain of the swim team, Arnie was a natural. It was a typical day at the beach. He was watching children build sandcastles while enjoying conversation with cute bikini-clad babes.

Arnie looked up when he heard people shouting. In the water he saw a man’s arms disappear as a wave came crashing down over him. He disappeared. Arnie swam toward him. With his arm around the man's chest he pulled him ashore. A circle of horrified people surrounded them. CPR was unsuccessful. It was too late. In those few minutes the word responsibility had taken on new meaning. One man was dead and another's life had changed forever.

Twenty years later, Arnie was sitting in his study grading essays. He was writing comments and critiques on each page when his son walked in.

"Dad, I'm thinking about what I should do this summer to earn some money. Any suggestions?" Joseph asked.

Arnie's reply was simple. "Mow lawns, son. Mow lawns."


PJ said...

Susan - it's too bad there was a problem with the comments over the weekend - we like to give *big* welcomes to new #fridayflash writers! So glad that you could join us and I look forward to reading more of your work! I like this piece - I was a lifeguard one summer in college. I was very fortunate and never had to save anybody - I just had to control unruly kids (nearly as difficult!). Welcome aboard!

Susan Cross said...

Thanks for stopping by, PJ. My little brain is working on something for next week. This is good exercise.

Jai Joshi said...

Great piece, Susan. Glad the comment function is back.


J. M. Strother said...

I stopped by about three times but couldn't comment. Glad you got it up now.

This is a good piece of flash. That last line is terrific.

Chris Chartrand said...

I'm glad you were able to enable comments. I enjoyed reading your piece. Some sage advice from the father to be sure. Can't wait to see what you have for us next week.

Susan Cross said...

Thanks Chris. I'm working on this week's story. I'm taking time off from the book this week. I'll be back at it next week. In the meanwhile, I'm trying to get some stories ready.

Anonymous said...

Well, the advantage to being late to this party is I missed all the commenting problems. It's about time there's a reward for being tardy.

You got a grin out of me. But don't you know if Arnie had mowed lawns as a youngster, he would've cut down his grandmother's prized something-er-others and it would've traumatized the guy and he'd be telling his own son twenty years later, "Lifeguard, boy, lifeguard." But I guess that's kind of a subtle moral to your tale.

I think you've a nice writing style, but this is almost a too-abbreviated (too "flash") piece to tell. I look forward to seeing a more developed flash scene from you.

And welcome to #FridayFlash. As you can already tell, we've got a great group of folks who stumble around and read and comment. Kind of like a virtual reading party. I love that.

Jeff Posey

Susan Cross said...

Thanks for reading. This is a very abbreviated piece because it was originally written for a contest with a limit of 100 words. I've only added a few but did not expand beyond that. It seems like each of my short stories has a different style. I guess I'm still trying to find one that fits.

Stephen said...

First, welcome to #FridayFlash. It's nice to see a new name as well as a fresh voice.

I think you've captured a realistic picture--how some events haunt us long after they happened. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for the next time.