Fiction: Man and His Shed

It’s not often that I write fiction at the moment. However, Geoff Le Pard from TanGental put me onto a blogging challenge:  Alissa Leonard’s Finish That Thought at . It’s a flash challenge to write a story of up to 500 words using the first sentence.

This round the first sentence had to be: “I’ll tell you what you need, and that’s a rocket scientist.

and this is the special challenge Set your story in a war zone.

Here is my contribution,

xx Rowena

Man and His Shed

“I’ll tell you what you need, and that’s a rocket scientist.”

Margaret had had more than enough of George’s endless tinkering on his almighty invention ever since he’d retired.

After all, for at least the last ten years, whenever Margaret had mentioned doing anything at all, George’s stock standard response was: “when I retire”. This list had grown from caravanning around Australia to replacing the threadbare carpet, pruning the hedge and even to mowing their lawn, which had now metamorphosed into a veritable jungle. Indeed, the yard had become such an embarrassment that Margaret now parked around the corner and had acquired a PO Box. She was officially “of no fixed abode” and thinking about making it permanent.

Sick of nagging and his feigned stubborn deafness, something of a cold war had broken out at No. 15. While there was no masking tape dissecting the house, they kept very much to themselves. Their only common ground was the dog.

Yet, Margaret knew too well that at her age, a man in the hand was something to hold onto. After all, although well-preserved, she was hardly a dolly bird anymore. Moreover, all the men “of a certain age” (with the exception of George, of course) were dying like flies creating a “man drought”. Mary didn’t help things either when she complained: “all they want is a nurse or a purse”, as she bid 3 no-trumps.

Still, Margaret could be fiercely independent in her own way, reminding herself that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.

All she needed was a good book…and the dog!

Besides, if she ever got stuck, there was always Audrey’s bloke…a young uni student who did a bit of mowing and repairs around the house. The talk was that he “had talents in other areas” and that his lifesaving skills extended way beyond the beach.

Quite out of character, Margaret had requested his card. It was carefully tucked away in her purse but she hadn’t quite plucked up the courage to call. She’d make herself a cup of tea and as she walked towards the phone, the cup rattled in its saucer, betraying her inner torment. She felt like an anxious school girl again. Only back in the day, she’d never called a boy. Oh no! Man was the hunter! It was her job to sit by the phone and wait but she’d never had to wait long.

She still doesn’t know why she picked George. Good, reliable George who was an up and coming accountant but Margaret couldn’t see any future in a Beatnik.

For no particular reason other than the extreme heat, Margaret waded through the grass and flung open the doors of the shed. She couldn’t make head or tail of what George was working on but it was out of her world.

“I’ll tell you what you need and that’s a rocket scientist.”

It was clear they no longer needed each other.

But then there was the dog…

9 thoughts on “Fiction: Man and His Shed

  1. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Monika. I was quite suprised I pulled it off and so quickly as you only have 24 hours to get it done. It was quite intriguing looking at al the influences which came to together in that and that I chose to write about my parents’ generation, rather than my own. My Dad retired a few months back but has been flat out ndoing jobs ever since. My parents have had a handyman who was pretty good looking back in the day and he was quite popular with the ladies but didn’t provide additional services. At least, not that I know about.
    I think it’s interesting to consider what holds relationships together just as much as what tears them apart. For a simple writing exercise, it became quite interesting xx Ro

  2. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Derrick. For many, the home front turns out to be the most challenging. I find so many people end up with their opposite, which must provide some some of spark of intrigue initially but can be quite frustrating over time. The sociable extrovert who marries the more detailed introvert. These matchjes aren’t always made in heaven!
    Thanks very much for reading it by the way and for the encouragement. It has been awhile since I’ve written a short story and I’ve never tackled flashfiction before. xx Rowena

  3. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much. I was quite surprised at how it all came together and so quickly. It encourages me to visit some of the fiction I was working on a few years ago and push it forward. I’m sure all the effort I’ve put into writing the blog has improved my writing and it would be a relief to get them “finished”. xx Rowena

  4. Eli Pacheco

    I love how you handled the challenge! This is excellent exercise for any writer, to approach a challenge, especially outside of the norm, and deliver the words. Your writing here feels natural and intuitive.

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