Friday Fictioneers : Most of it bad

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll


 

It took an hour to find a public phone. Everyone owned mobiles these days, no need for the distinctive red kiosks stinking of cigarettes and urine, the telephone directory with its well-thumbed pages.

Last time he’d rung was from an old call box like that. He’d been drinking, Dutch courage. A mistake.

Now his hand shook as he pushed the coins in the slot, waited for the ring tone. It had been so long, he’d done so much – most of it bad.

The call connected.

‘Hello?’ Her voice, still soft, smoky at the edges.

Sighing, he replaced the receiver.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

Red telephone boxes were iconic and people were upset when they vanished from UK streets, but they were often misused, smelly, generally unpleasant places from which to make a call …

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64 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : Most of it bad

  1. ‘smoky at the edges’ – lovely, I might borrow that one. Great tale. Funnily enough, now that they’ve disappeared, some of the remaining red boxes are better cared for and are becoming tourist attractions.

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    1. well, as almost always when it comes to love, it´s only funny for outsider. If you feel close to such problems, you feel hopeless. But the story has a lot of charme and is written in a very smart way!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for that Ellen – glad you liked the ‘smoky’ edge. Just one of those things your mind pushes out and you suddenly think ‘oh, yeah.’ 🙂 Thanks so much for reading

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  2. Dear Lynn,

    The yearning is tangible. As always, your descriptions are brilliant. And it shows how much I know about the UK. I didn’t realize the red boxes had disappeared, nor had I any idea what distasteful places they could be. American phone booths weren’t much better. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Rochelle. I guess it’s a sign of the times that there are few phone boxes left, red or modern booths. We all use our mobiles these days. And yes, I remember them being very smelly … Thank you 🙂

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    1. Hello Bill! Finally back online and lovely to hear from you. We’re having a fascinating mixture of gloopy humidity and torrential rain at the moment – interesting if not entirely comfortable 🙂 All moved, settling in nicely and just sussing out bits of work that need doing – roof, shower, locks … Best to you and yours too, Bill. Enjoying the season?

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  3. The familiar longing is described with your usual expertise, so that the abrupt change of mind is no surprise. Most of us have been here, done this, ripped apart the t-shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How lovely to catch up with you C – how have you been? I’ve been absent for a few weeks – house move, internet issues – so nice to be back with FF. I think my MC likes to catch up with his old lady friend, make sure she’s okay, while knowing actually hooking up again is a no go. Some people are best apart. Thanks for taking the time to read and for your kind comment 🙂

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    1. Hi Walt, nice to hear from you. Thank you, you’re more than kind – too kind, sir. I’ve been away from here for a few weeks – how’s your summer going?

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      1. Going good, thank you! Just got back from Galveston, which is just south of Houston, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico. Not the best beach in the world but definitely the closest! How is your move going? Settling in?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gulf of Mexico sounds pretty glorious – hope it proved to be so. Yes, settling in here – husband is worrying some hinges on the front door as we speak (done nothing but potter with a hammer since we moved in. Though the weather has turned predictably autumnal the moment the schools finished for holidays. A traditional English summer … Take care

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  4. You brought alive a lot of lost love memories that are best left interred. The brilliance of your descriptions and the concision with which you chose and use your words to convey profound thoughts are unparalleled and ,makes for such delightful reading. What else can i say, Lynn but that I doff my hat to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love it when the title is an integral part of the story. Not enough people take the title into account when they don’t understand a story or feel it’s ambiguous. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! For flash I quite often steal an appropriate line from the body of the work to use as a title. Has to sum up the theme in some way though and you’re right, I think in this case, the title can tell you why this couple aren’t together anymore. Perhaps not a love story so much as a cautionary tale. Thanks for reading Sandra

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  6. Oh I loved this one. Love your play of words and the way you draw the reader right till the end, keeping that suspense intact. Thank you for a gratifying read Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, how Charlie Brown of him! Gets up the courage and, then loses it. We’ve all been there before.

    Nice work on the prompt, Lynn. I have never been to England where the public call boxes are/were. On TV or in the movies they look really cool, but when you described them it was like — YUCK! But, our booths had their “character qualities” as well, so I suppose “all that glitters” …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, sadly the poor old phone boxes were abused – too many drunks stumbling home needing a place to wee! But they were iconic. Little temples to communication. Thanks for reading Kent 🙂

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    1. And mini libraries, which is quite lovely! Read your post Liz, but couldn’t leave a comment. Very much a child’s psychology, blaming the technology that got him into trouble rather than his own actions – great tale!

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  8. Well done. I feel sorry for her, wish he’d at least had the courage to say “yeah I’m still alive.
    For some reason I can type but never see what I’ve typed on you site so please forgive all the uncorrected typos. 😞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No typos here, Christine! You’re obviously adept at typing blind :). I know what you mean about him having the courage to speak, but perhaps she’s long over him and he’s the one that can’t quite let go? Thanks for reading

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  9. There’s one phone booth left in Prairie Grove, a small town not far from me. It’s so rare, they even did a piece on it in the newspaper recently.

    Great story, apparantly, he just wanted to hear the sound of her voice for reassurance.

    Liked by 1 person

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