Why I Play

The sonorous roar of the packed crowd reverberated through the soft koa wood of my guitar, harmonizing, amplifying, and prolonging the death of the final G still bravely holding its ground in the trenches of the third.

The reinforcement of voices wasn’t in time to save the note—who died glorious and pure—and I found myself caught on the banks of an emotional stream whose dam had suddenly, and violently, broke.

The warm spotlight left me with a final, radiant embrace as the house lights came up and I saw no more than a handful of close friends crammed into the shitty dive bar, cheering louder than Madison Square Garden at capacity.


Written for Week 55 of Three Line Tales. It’s been a while, but it’s nice to be back! please leave a like and a comment if you’re so inclined!

Photo by Edwin Andrade

For a similar flash fiction piece I wrote last year, check out Christmas Eve Concert

On the Road

A sliver of dawn flooded through a crack in the curtains, filling the semi’s cabin with warm light. The sharpened beam pierced the humid air and stabbed at Jullian’s eyelids. He groaned and opened one eye as if to tell the sun to, “piss off.” Jullian sat up holding his splitting head as if afraid the contents might fall out. He rubbed his eyes, looked at the ajar curtain, and cursed.

He had blown past the eleven-hour-per-day driving limit on a 47 hour, non-stop, hell-bent flight down the east coast: fueled by raw diesel, fresh tobacco, and highly refined amphetamines. It hadn’t been easy, safe, or legal, but Jullian had made it early enough to be the first truck on the dock this morning; Mr. Zerilli’s crew could load their cargo before anyone else showed up.

Don Zerilli never failed to generously compensate for delivering ahead of schedule. With this on his mind, and a mountainous bump of coke in his nose, Jullian turned the key and felt himself roar back to life with his rig. Read more

Christmas Eve Concert

Angelic lights waltzed atop the cello’s spruce dance floor. Lyla looked at her father’s prized possession as the spirits mingled in silence. “Music is His language,” He would often say, “God is listening when I play.”

Soon, the sound of praying parishioners would echo through the chamber, waking the old oak chapel. Then, with the timber warmed by the word of God, Lyla would feel the soft rosewood neck beneath her fingers, run her bow across the rosin-covered strings, and play a duet with the resonant rafters.

She imagined her father sitting next to God, listening. Read more

Bickering Rooftops

“Just look at her over there—thinking she’s better than the rest of us.”

“Come on, Sally. How do you know what she’s thinking?”

“Oh really, Jim? You’re gonna take her side? Typical…”

“I—”

“—Don’t think I haven’t noticed you talking about her newfound flamboyance.”

“No! I… Well it’s hard not to notice how fantastically she sticks out.”

“‘Fantasically’! I remember you used to talk about how fantastically I stuck out…”

“Oh, come on babe…”

“Don’t ‘come on babe’ me! Admit it! My shingles don’t do it for you anymore, do they!?”

“Well they are a bit tattered…”


With all the stress and emotions of the US election today, I decided to go with a lighthearted joke of a story this week. I hope you enjoyed it!

Check out Friday Fictioneers for more stories and prompts!

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

Word count: 98

Hold Fast

At university, “#24/7Blaze” had been a joke among his friends, but for Max it quickly became a way of life.

Through failing grades, revoked scholarships, layoffs, and ruined relationships, he had clung to The Way as a sailor clings, steadfast, to the mast of a sinking ship insisting everything is all right.

Now alone with his drug induced anxiety, enveloped by the smoke-laden dark of an apartment in which he had never wanted to live, Max exhaled another compulsive cloud of addiction and wept. Read more

Nostalgic Reverie

The Trading Post was as an oasis in the arid American South. Its dilapidated decor was designed to lure customers in search of nostalgia. Enthusiasts of highway lore and lost travelers alike would stop by and drink in Jack’s cool smile.

Jack perennially sat behind the register, chewing tobacco and waiting for someone to sell his “authentic souvenirs” to. In fact, he was the only authentic curio of the Trading Post.  His mass-produced wares were the corporate vision of America’s collective memory. He sold fictions of a nonexistent era.

Jack knew this. His customers knew this. And yet, they came. Read more

A Well Stocked Pantry

Row upon row of food-stuffs fill the shelves. I gaze in envy of the restraint it must take. I think of my own house and the pitifully empty fridge buzzing away, cooling the air in that corner of the kitchen. It baffles me how this food is just sitting there—how it carelessly it wastes away without the imminent threat of being consumed by a ravenous beast, caught in the grasp of gluttony.

Such promise is on those shelves.

I am painfully conscious that no one else is taking note of the absolutely ordinary pantry. But I cannot avert my gaze. What seems normal to everyone else is my biggest flaw. I can only casually offer excuses for the lack of food in my kitchen for so long before people start to realize the truth. I know it won’t be long before she understands that whatever is in my fridge one day will be mixed with vile soup stock made from stomach bile and tears in the toilet as soon as I am alone.


This week’s FFFAW forced some serious tones out of me and hit a topic I very rarely discuss. Thank you.

Empty Vows

I gaze across the yard from the back porch, at the warm, empty altar adorn with white lilies, and picture us standing there amidst loving embrace of friends and nature, finally taking the long-procrastinated plunge this afternoon.

“But I don’t wanna stand up there!” Our son had yelled as I set him in the car last night, utterly devastated that he couldn’t watch the ceremony from my old, empty two-by-four swing hanging on the oak.

As the first of many workers begins to fold the white, empty chairs, tears streak down my cheeks and I think about the two loves of my life driving away, realizing the last thing I ever told my boy was, “No.” Read more

Nara Celebrities

Throughout the year, human tourists travel in droves from across the globe to see us and our temple.

Every day is an endless gauntlet of ugly two-legs shoving food in our faces, stupidly smiling next to us and staring into those flashing blocks they obsessively carry, and generally disturbing our spiritual and peaceful grounds with shrieking sounds from their constantly flapping lips.

If it weren’t for Mashika (魔鹿), the enchanted, stealing the spot light with her shining coat, we would never get a moment to rest our hooves! Read more

Roller Rink Ring Pop Proposal

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Original Photo Prompt by Jade M. Wong

“This isn’t gonna happen.” I thought. I watched as the metal claw rose, mockingly swinging about and flaunting how depressingly empty it was. I’d wasted half the night, my feet killing from the roller skates, trying to win more than a conniption from the Candy Crane Grab. “She just had to say ‘Ring Pop.'” I despaired. Read more