writercize #190 - Firecracker

Well, that blog break took much more time than I expected! I don't believe I will post frequently throughout the summer, but hope to return to the #WeekendWritercize and three to four posts a week come school time late August, as well as finish out the missing letters from the #AtoZChallenge over the next few weeks.

So, what to write about? Today I had a little fun over at #5MinuteFiction to get the flash fiction writing bug going again, and was lucky enough to be selected as a finalist. It's a no cash operation, hosted by the lovely Nicole Wolverton, but it's always an honor to be recognized for 15 minutes of logorrhoea. If you read this shortly after posted, head on over and read through the entries for the prompt of "betrayal" and vote for your favorite.

I've been spending a lot of time writing true stories about city budgets and school districts and honorable citizens lately, so it was fun to shake off reality and have a little fun. I thought I would share it with you, while twisting in a little holiday cheer. 

Americans (and those living here) know that tomorrow is the 4th of July, or Independence Day, a day for barbecues and parades and strawberry/blueberry/cool whip salads and fireworks ... and maybe a little history lesson thrown into the mix. Let's go with the holiday theme and speed up the brain cells with some flash fiction.

writercize: In fifteen minutes or less, write a story, poem or character study inspired by the word "firecracker."

Click "read more" for writercize sample response.

Please share your sample as a comment, or link to your page! I always love to see the variety and talent that comes to light when readers try out the writercize.

And - if you are in the States, I wish you a happy and safe holiday tomorrow!

 writercize sample response:

As long as Joey could remember, his uncles had dubbed him "the firecracker." 

Family legend went that when Joey was 14 months old, all his aunts and uncles and cousins were so enamored by the fireworks in the sky that none of them watched as he toddled over to a box of sparklers, poured them all out and lit them one by one on the flame of the barbecue.

After lighting each one, he apparently tossed them in the air and shouted out "firecracker - BOOM!"  

"Firecracker - BOOM" were supposedly his first two words.

Joey wasn't so sure that a 14 month old pint could have the where-with-all to put the sparklers in the barbecue, and he had always suspected that there was an older cousin behind it all who wouldn't fess up when the adults took notice and started running and squealing like pigs to save this little boy in diapers from burning off his fingers, but even 30 years later no one had come forward.

Ever since that night, Joey became "the firecracker." His mom said before that he was called Lil' Joe, but he couldn't remember that.

Being the firecracker had served Joey well over the years. He got away with a lot more risky behavior - car racing and dabbling in sex, drugs and rock and roll - than his cousins, because of it. 

Where his cousins were scolded for similar transgressions, when Joey did it, his parents and aunts and uncles all shrugged their shoulders and said, "What can we do? Firecracker set off sparklers as a baby. He lived through that, he'll live through this. It's just in his nature."

When he lost his temper or broke his toe kicking a tree in anger or turned beet red out of frustration, they said, "Nothing will calm that boy down. He's got flames in his belly, that firecracker."

For a time, Joey thought about joining the circus to be the guy that gets shot out of a rocket. He thought about dying his hair shades of red and orange and yellow and doing stand-up comedy in Vegas. He thought about joining the army and guiding warheads. He thought about opening a pyrotechnics show and setting fireworks off at weddings and bar mitzvahs. 

But deep in his heart, Joey knew that fire was not really for him. One night as a baby had thrown his life down a trajectory that he didn't feel comfortable in.

So at age 31, Joey announced to his family that "the firecracker" was to be officially retired. Joey needed water and ice to douse out his flame and calm him. No, Joey had to walk away from life as a firecracker, and the only thing he could think of to purify himself of the fire of his existence was move to Antarctica.

Joey was ready to get up close and personal with ice, snow, penguins and a few hardy scientists. That should be the break he needed to figure out what to do now that he was turning his back on the only identity his family had ever given him. Ice, snow and penguins.

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