Community Chest

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that shows a hard place and a connection. It could be a prisoner who discovers friendship; a cedar that grows from a crack in a cliff; an abandoned dog rescued by a homeless teen. Maybe it is a reconciliation or connecting with students during a turbulent time. Is the hard place part of something larger in the scope of a character’s development? Or is it a plot twist?

Charli Mills is seeking connections; this is also the topic of this month’s #1000speak. This will be my 400th post. I’ve made a few connections in the year and a few since I started. The connections are sometimes tentative, sometimes surreal – like the blogger who sought a picture of my toes – sometimes hilarious, often gut wrenching and thought provoking. There are philosophers and rambunctious opiners, humourists and gloomerists, walkers and, I suspect, stalkers, dog lovers and horse fetishists, adventurers and conspirators. They all add to the oddest two dimensional tapestry that is a part of my life just now. I’ve met some in the flesh and more meetings are planned. So far they’ve been charming and well laundered.

They’ve helped me with this blog, with my book, with marketing tips; they’ve educated me about all sorts and changed my mind about other things. I’ve made some laugh and pissed off a few, and had the same done to me in return. So many have aided me as a writer, pushing and pulling me, Doolittle style, to the point where I can confidentially say… not a lot. By which I mean they’ve taught me to be crisper, more precise, less verbose.

My main community is, inevitably, those around me, those family and friends who’ve been in this for the long haul. But I’m pretty sure that a number of those who are somewhat disparagingly called the blogging community (which is of course unique to each blogger, like a infinity of Venn diagrams) will be around for a while and, in Robert de Niro’s classic expression in Meet the Parents: ‘In the Circle of Trust’.

And to the flash. And Mary. Where to this week? A happy place?

Aunt Gloria 

Rupert called, ‘She’s taken a turn for the worse. Her cancer is back.’

Mary dreaded visiting. Letting herself in, Gloria’s call was as usual cheery. But her face was grey. She saw Mary looking. ‘Cheekbones like Garbo. About time.’

Mary wept and felt guilty that it was Gloria comforting her. ‘Who will I talk to?’

‘Paul’s a rock. Rupert too…’

Mary shook her off.

‘God’s still here.’

‘I don’t believe in him anymore.’

Gloria put a hand on Mary’s stomach. ‘I’m here, every time you need me. Just talk, dear and we’ll be listening.’

‘I’ll try. Both of you.’

If you want to catch up on Mary, click here.


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in creative writing, flash fiction, miscellany, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Community Chest

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Thank you for this story, Geoff. It mirrors much of what I’m feeling and to see stories shared is what creates the greatest connection — that the true essence of communication, art and creativity is all shared in the digital “Circle of Trust.” And I’m happy to see that there’s an entire category of horse fetishists! Congrats on 400 posts, too. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • TanGental says:

      Did that resonate, Charli? I may have had you just a little in mind…. So glad about the connection. Making the connection to the Carrot ranch from my initial links with Anne was easily the most delightful, powerful and joyous moment of my blogging so far. Like being shown this big heavy door and given a key and told to go in. No idea what to expect and feeling a touch nervous, but once inside there was this sea of happy welcoming faces, ready to throw another T bone in the barbie and hand me a drink… I’ve not looked back. You undoubtedly helped give me wings…


  2. Stop torturing Mary! Have we met Gloria before? I don’t remember her. (Although I was one of the ones who did remember Mary was pregnant so points for me there.) Congrats on your unbelievable number of posts! No wonder I can’t keep up. Though I do try… Love the intro of the connections you’ve made on here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      No one in their right mind keep up with this amount of nonsense. Thank you for dipping in when you do. It is very much appreciated. And yes, points for the pregnancy; Gloria is Mary’s aunt who comforted her after Mary after she saw her twin in a vision/dream. I realised I’ve just misled Norah! I can’t remember what I’ve written. How sad is that!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, I remember that scene but didn’t remember that is was her aunt. I should just re-read all of them together. I thought I was keeping up well with Mary’s story but you have so nicely compiled them. Ack! What did you do to Norah now? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Annecdotist says:

    Wow, your 400th post! What happened to the Textilist reining you in? But it’s great you’re able to embrace both your online and off-line communities, so beautifully described in your introduction.
    That Flash is well spooky! Is Gloria saying she’s going to be reincarnated as Mary’s baby? That’s an awful lot to lay on a kid, and perhaps we’re getting to see the significance of your naming your poor beleaguered character Mary. Her continuing saga is a great testament to your effusive creativity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Ah well, it does leave open some possibilities, especially as Mary has already had visions of her twin sister… And thank you for the lovely comment. Linda despairs, but she has told me that, for our holiday in the Hebrides at the end of June, if I blog once I’m toast. Not sure how I’ll cope….


  4. Norah says:

    Like Anne, I was wondering if Gloria was suggesting she was coming back as Mary’s baby. I thought that may have had to happen pre-conception, but I guess the argument continues: when does life begin?
    Like Sarah, I don’t remember Gloria. Perhaps I need to re-read the entire story. I’m pleased you’ve put it all together for us. (You have, haven’t you?)
    As a few have mentioned on Charli’s post, it seems those who know their time has come find the strength to minister to those left to grieve. You have demonstrated that same capacity in Gloria. (Gloria and Mary – rather Biblical here. Makes me think we have met Gloria before. Hmm. Will have to check that out. I hope you’re not going to set us a test! :))
    Congrats on 400 posts. That’s a massive amount of writing. And I’m sure that’s not the half of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. willowdot21 says:

    Well done 400th post

    We’re not a bad bunch are we!
    🙂 ….. I am worried about Mary!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Hard Places « Carrot Ranch Communications

  7. Ali Isaac says:

    Very touching story, even without knowing any of the history. Very hard to write a whole tale in 99 words! I dont think I could do it. I’m quite tempted to challenge myself now.

    Congratulations on your 400th post! Yes, this blogging thing is quite surreal, but in all honesty, such a lovely community. But how does it compare with the real physical ommunity around us? Something must be lacking there for us to turn to this intangjble one, and fall under its spell so completely! I’ll tell you what I think, for what its worth; the majority are so hung up on the stuff in life thats really not important, and cant see beyond their own noses. I dont identify with people like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Hear hear; do away with stuff! I’m a stuffophobe! I told my kids ages ago that I’d do my best to fund experiences for them but if that wanted things they’d better find their own money. They’ve rather taken me at my word. At her last count my daughter has visited 45 countries and she’s just turned 22! And do try these prompts; they really do make your writing crisper. I try three or four a week so if you want some suggestions let me know… They’re between 99 and 200 words usually.


If you would like to reply please do so here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.