Friday Story Prompt

This morning I received a pithy one-line email message from my mother:
“If at first you do not succeed try doing it the way your wife told you.”

Although it’s several words longer than Hemingway’s famous one-line story -“For Sale: baby shoes, never worn” I think she has managed to write a telling tale in only a few words.

Q: What story can you weave out of my mother’s one-liner?
Answers in the comments. Limit your word count to 700.
No prizes, just the pleasure of your own creative output. Looking forward to reading responses.
If you use Twitter, why not add a link to your story in the comments here or your own blog using the hashtag #flashfiction or #microfiction.
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2 thoughts on “Friday Story Prompt

  1. Tabitha says:

    Well, I’m sure I’m disqualified as this is over 900 words, but here’s one from me:

    Yet again the car spluttered to a jumpy halt, this time followed by a bang.

    “Oh that sounds worse than ever”, she said, lazily rolling her eyes away from him to settle her gaze off into the distance outside the passenger window. She half expected to see signs of another human, perhaps someone who could help. Her imagination moved rapidly on from a dusty old mechanic chewing tobacco and wiping his black greased hands on a brown rag, to a more uplifting one of being whisked off in an open topped sports car by a handsome young stranger with a dimpled smile meant just for her. Well, if you’re going to dream, she mused.

    The scene outside the car held no such people though. Just hard, dry ground all around, a few scrappy bushes. And them, a woman and a man in a car on a flat road that had no end.

    She turned to look at him, her annoyance evident. He glanced at her, returning her expression, and reached down under the driving wheel to open the bonnet.

    “There’s no point in looking at the engine again dear, it’s not like you know what you’re even looking at”. Out of sight behind the propped up bonnet cover, he said nothing.

    “Oh for gawds sake”, she grumbled to herself, and opened her car door to get out and go round to meet him. He wasn’t there. Too surprised to speak she spun around to see if he had snuck up behind her, went back to the car to look inside, lifted her pencil skirt hem up to her hips, knickers exposed, to get on all fours to look under the car. Scrambling upright again she still saw nothing of him. “Matt?”


    “Matt by name, mat by nature”. He stared upwards from his supine position on the couch. A partially formed thought appeared regarding the lack of ceiling which, if he had his usual wits about him, he would have expected to see. Instead there was a kind of night sky of navy mingled with purple and no defined edges. In fact, they appeared to be enveloped in dark sky but with enough light to see. The couch he lay on was warm and supremely comfortable, so much so that he felt as if he was more floating than lying on anything solid.

    “Hmm”, was the considered reply.

    Matt turned his head to look as the psychotherapist stroked his long thin chin thoughtfully with his long thin fingers with their strangely bulbous ends. Matt started to wonder about the strange appearance of his listener, but again, the thought would not fully form. He turned back to rest his head and look up at the unfamiliar scene.

    “I love her, but I worry that I’m not good enough for her, and she’ll end up leaving me”. His hands start adding emphasis to his words as he continues, *I try to make her happy and do what she wants but I just seem to get everything wrong all the time. Like this car. I thought it’d be better to buy a second hand car instead of hiring one, so that we’d have more cash for our holiday, but… I didn’t know it was going to be a pile of crap, did I?” Slightly breathless, he pauses to think while recuperating the air he needs to continue. “I bust a gut trying, but it’s just a waste of time.”

    The psychotherapist stopped stroking his chin and raised the first of three long, knobbly fingers skywards, as if he had just had a lightbulb moment. His enormous slanted eyes shone out from his perfectly smooth oval head.

    “First, you are very stupid if you think that you must destroy your intestines in order to make your woman respect and admire you”. Briefly he laughed with delight at his own humour. “You are very stupid also because your woman is telling you what she wants from you but you do not hear her! You lie when you say you try to do what she wants. The truth is that you ignore her in favour of doing everything in the way YOU think it should be done!”

    Matt, who by now was resting on his elbow in order to look at his companion more fully, let his mouth hang open in surprise. The psychotherapist leaned forward, his black eyes intense. “You have a saying: “If at first you don’t succeed try doing it the way your wife told you”. He paused to smile slightly. “If you abide by this as a rule, you will go much further in life”. His large face loomed close to Matt’s as he asked “Are you willing?”


    “Matt? My God, where have you been?”

    Woken by her touch Matt finds himself in the driver’s seat of the stopped car. He looks at her, seated in the passenger seat, to see the concern in her beautiful face.

    “Soph. Sophie” he murmurs, reaching out to touch her arms, grab onto her and bring her close to him and into an embrace. They hug each other with force for several moments until she pulls out from him to look at his face. “Where the hell have you been?”

    “I don’t know but Sophie, I’ve been stupid, please forgive me. I should have been listening to you.”

    She peers into his moist eyes for a long moment, opens her arms for him to enter into, and says softly ”It’s okay. Everything is going to be all okay.”

    The Police car she telephoned for gradually approached them.


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