My entry in this week’s Flash! Friday contest. The photo below was the prompt and “include an unpaid bill” had to be interpreted within the story. 160 word max as usual. My story received a special mention on the winners page for “mood.”


The quiet man and the other Brian were tethered by an invisible rope of longing. One missed his son, who headed east with his new family after the divorce. The other was stranded in the broiling desert, galaxies from home.

Crash and discovery. Replication.

The man taught him how to throw a looping curveball. He gave him a Yankees cap and let him use his son’s discarded glove. They passed the empty nights together in the parched yard, the smack of a hardened sphere of cowhide against worn leather telling stories of lost things.

The other Brian knew his family would come for him, they always did. But he knew the real Brian was just a ghost in the desert, a fading pixel. An unpaid debt to a delinquent father.

He continued to mimic a boy while he waited. They watched superhero movies and inhaled chili dogs. Went fishing.

He wanted the quiet man to find peace before he departed.


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