100 word fiction – A shade of rust

Image from Texas VW classic (click to view site)

I needed a new exercise to sink my brain into, something a minor distraction, but not something I want to make a major one. I’ve seen plenty of variations on blogs of short fiction, flash fiction, word prompt fiction, “x” amount of words fiction. On the way to Laughlin, during a time when my wife was driving, I was interested in “this sort of thing” (a Father Ted reference), but what rules to impose? I decided on these three rules:

  • It must be 100 words or less.
  • The prompt will be mentioned after the story.
  • It must be written in under 30 mins and then it goes up onto a post as is, with no additional editing allowed, no pondering on it for a day or more.
I like the idea of seeing what comes out in a particular moment, seeing where your head is at, so to speak. If you’ve attempted shorts stories, or any kind of stories, you will know some times, it is just better than others. Some days your head is more in the right space. But 100 words is not a lot, so the stories will be brief, or “snapshots”. Still quick and easy for the blog reader who reads many blogs, no? So here is the first one, written in the back of the car:

A shade of rust

It was an old beetle car, almost stripped of paint, now a brown rust colour. It put me in mind of those days on the coast. Hot but tempered with a sea breeze. The salty air. The delight of sand getting into everything. Even our underwear. Yes even our underwear.

Those were the days. I miss the sky a rainbow of blue, a cloud a welcome friend.

Too much time. When did I get old? Stripped of youthful endeavour. I drive an SUV, ironically without the sport. I should watch the road. My car is bug splattered.

The prompt was an original paint stripped beetle we passed on the freeway.

Lexicon word of the day: inauspicious.

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12 comments on “100 word fiction – A shade of rust

  1. Smaktakula says:

    A great exercise. Time makes fools of us all…or at the very least, old people.

  2. La La says:

    Challenging–I have tried something like this a few times before and it always ends up being nostalgic, but I’m not sure why.

    • Elliot says:

      I think because there are so little words to use, that there isn’t much top provide a context or different setting. Well maybe. I think I shall bedding it more regularly, and posting some of them, with the specific point of directing it in some way, e.g. no nostalgia. For this the exercise is more of the point (for me anyway).

  3. crubin says:

    This took me back to my own rusty Beetle Bug-owning days. Only I didn’t have the pleasure of an ocean. Nice piece.

    • Elliot says:

      Thanks – I think it will be an exercise I shall be continuing with, just to see what I can get out of it, much like the Haiku and other attempts at poetry. Granted this is not my first attempts at stories, but it is in this short amount of words.

  4. L.S. Engler says:

    Guess who desperately wants to go out and find herself an old beat-up Bug now….

    Very cool exercise. I should really challenge myself to do a 100 word, 30 second blurb every so often. The results can often be surprisingly lovely!

    • Elliot says:

      If you have chance to go do that, then do it. These chances do not come along often.

      Yes the exercise is a good but short distraction, so should detract little from other projects.

  5. jmmcdowell says:

    Somehow I missed out on the whole bug thing, even when they were at their height. 🙂

    Sounds like an interesting challenge that you’ve set for yourself, though. Looking forward to seeing more of them. 🙂

    • Elliot says:

      Me too, although I did have a hire car in 2007 which was one of the then new beetles which I travelled down the pacific coast highway from San Francisco to south of LA in. I don’t think they are as cool as the original ones, they are basically a VW Golf (which I do like) in a different shell.

      Good thing about this challenge is it does not take up much time, so it isn’t too much of a distraction but allows a small time to think of something else.

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