Desperate measures

PHOTO PROMPT โ€“ ยฉ Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

“Of course you’ll want the rose quartz too, amazing for emotional fortitude in difficult times.”

Simon sat, swinging his feet, kicking a stand with stinking candles as his mother struggled to lift the small plastic bag filled with rocks.

“Simon! Stop it! I’m sorry sir, of course I’ll take it. What’s this one?”

“You have a good eye ma’am. This is a citrine or yellow quartz…”

Simon rolled his eyesย and resumed kicking. He hated this place and its empty promises.

He hated the stink of ‘chemical-free’ candles.

He hated the stink of his sick mother’s desperation.

Howdy – time for another 100 word piece for this week’s Friday Fictioneers (thinking about it, I never do these on a Friday. Hmmm..). Anyway, thanks again Rochelle. Click here to read the rest of the stories.

Let me know what you think.



Published by: wildbilbo

My name is Kristian Thoroughgood, alternately known as KT to my friends, or @WildBilbo on twitter. As of August 2015, I am forty years old. Australian. My blog is intended to be both a place for me to polish my creative writing muscles (not a double entendre) and for others to read and comment on my musings. Expect short stories, articles, essays and other brain dumps. My opinions are my own, and whilst I take care to be at least moderately informed about any topic I speak or write about, these opinions are subject to rapid change in the face of passionate arguments and greater evidence. Please note - on my blog, Evidence beats Passion.

Categories Flash Fiction, Short, WritingTags, , , , , , , , 42 Comments

42 thoughts on “Desperate measures”

    1. Thanks Claire, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say in this story – I’m a big opponent of pseudoscience, and ‘alternative medicines’ frustrate me greatly. Desperation makes people easy targets, and the unscrupulous will always take advantage.
      Thanks for reading

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – needless to say I drew on my own experiences of frustration of following my mum around shopping (although she’s never been into crystals or other stuff like that). Actually, I think I’m still like that now (thankfully my wife prefers to shop alone!).


      Liked by 1 person

  1. Very economical. Two thoughts: Could you do away with “plastic”? At first it seemed superfluous, but now that I think about it, “plastic” fits with Simon’s perception of the store, eh?

    Also: “He hated this place and its empty promises.” Is there perhaps a way to suggest that without stating it?

    Not trying to be critical! Just trying to look at it from another angle. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please be critical! I love suggestions (although I rarely change things once they are posted, simply because I may never stop editing!). I think you are right on both fronts – the plastic is superfluous & should be removed, and that ‘place and empty promises’ is a bit overt – it hits the reader over the head with the theme-bludgeon. But your suggestion that plastic represents the place is a good one…

      Perhaps that line should be along the lines “He hated this place, with its fake plastic dream-catchers cashing in on fake, plastic, dreams.”

      I like this line, although it needs some workshopping.
      Cheers mate


    1. Hi Kimberly – excellent point, and one that’s tough to get across in 100 words! I would hate to be seen as ‘anti-hope’! For example, prayer (to whatever god you believe in) gives some people hope but (normally) doesn’t cash in on it.

      I am however anti-quackery, and anti-pseudoscience. If your solution or product relies on faith, belief, or magic then don’t dress it in scientific clothes. And if your business model is based on targeting the sick, the desperate, the vulnerable, then I have little tolerance for your product.

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I could see Simon and his mom clearly just from the way you used your 100 words. Although it’s not a funny story, I did laugh at the first part, remembering a time when I was waiting to buy a piece of jewelry for one of our daughters and the woman in the story was explaining to another woman how a particular stone was a good buy because it “empowered women.”


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear KT,

    As has already been said, I hope the mother realizes what she’s doing to her son before it’s too late. Having gone through a lot of emotional turmoil, treatment and eating disorders when my kids were young, I regret the scars it left on them. (I’ve apologized to each of them and received forgiveness, but that’s another story).

    At any rate, your story’s powerful.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kid words Rochelle
      Ah, the things we do to our children – I’m petrified that everything I do is the wrong thing, and that they are picking up my every bad mood, my every bad habit… I know that I’m becoming more like my dad every day (not a terrible thing by any means!), so I hope my influences are mostly for the good.
      I can only hope that whatever I end up doing, they forgive me too.



  4. This is great, I feel for poor Simon and pity his mum. I dislike pseudo-science, too, but am usually open for anything while asking myself: who profits from it. And all these fads, and miracle cures: crooks to deal with (cruel, wonderful, frightening) life.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rocks and crystals have the power to do wondrous things, or so I’m told. I like to go to a crystal/rock store in town here, actually, because they have way cool stuff. I can see how this would seem desperate if taken really seriously. I just like to pick them up! Nice writing and strong story, KT.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my — my keyboard’s having conniptions and I accidentally posted the previous mess. Please feel free to delete it. I do like your point of view, and the story’s very powerful – the tragedy of desperation and the measures we sometimes take to give ourselves a little hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, we did take similar paths with the prompt this week. Maybe the search and desperation is much more common than I originally thought!

    Great story! I like the child’s POV, it really emphasizes the uselessness of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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