Single Shot

Photo Credit: Madison Woods

Photo Credit: Madison Woods

You and me laying on our bellies. The winter grass is dry beneath a lilac sky, but there’s no place left to run. Stark trees and the promise of the wrong stars are all we have at the edge of the world.

Flash blubs spin.


Pop whiiinnnneeee

Mom shook the photo and showed it to us–an image of me and you, missing milk teeth.

Some fifteen years later, Polaroid cautioned people against shaking the photos; they may become damaged.

I think that’s what happened here—we were shaken too hard.

The lights flash only red and blue now.

54 thoughts on “Single Shot

  1. Dear Rinn,

    I thought Single Shot had amazing depth for only 100 words. The mixture of present predicament and compelling backstory, hyperlinks and all, was pretty much perfect. My favorite line was, ‘Stark trees and the promise of the wrong stars are all we have at the edge of the world.’ I will be reading this again and again to let it soak in and reveal more of itself to me. Thank you.



    • Thank you, Doug.

      I’m not sure what compelled me to write this story. I was looking at a bunch of old photos my sister has from when we were kids. I think that may have played a part in it.

    • Thank you, Gary. The great mystery of “where it all went wrong” between milk teeth and lock up is something many people try to figure out.

      I’ll be making my way to your site very shortly.

    • In this case, it does nothing to clarify what changed these siblings. It just serves to reveal that the narrator is aware that something has distorted in the years since milk teeth to the point of laying on their bellies waiting to be arrested.

      I’ll read your drabble momentarily.

    • Thanks, Irene. I’ll be headed your way ASAP. I’m having hand trouble today, so I’ll read through the drabbles of everyone who posted here before I start to go through Madison’s list.

    • Thanks, Jan. I have an appt with Ortho mid-April. In the meantime, I’m going to be not-so-much on FB and more focusing on down-time for the arms/wrists and straight out writing/editing.

      cross your fingers that I don’t need surgery again!

  2. Really good, QS, and with only one hand! A story beautifully done; the idea of shaking is complex and perfect in regard to things gone wrong in a child’s life. All of the allusions, the polaroid flash, the red and blue lights, tremendous, a perfect little story.

    • Oh, Carlos! You should have been around last summer after I’d had surgery on that arm! My typing was abysmal, yet I insisted on continuing to write with the only hand I had left.

      • Do you know the Robert Johnson song Love In Vain? The Rolling Stones covered it long ago. It has nice symbolic lights too, in the third verse:

        When the train, it left the station
        with two lights on behind
        When the train, it left the station
        with two lights on behind
        Well, the blue light was my blues
        and the red light was my mind
        All my love’s in vain

  3. Rinn you might not have intended it to be complex or layered, but I think you sure brought out a great subconscious thread. Excellent story that made me think🙂

    • I went to art school just as digital photography was starting to become “the new thing.” I had to take an intro to photography course and while I had a classic manual, we had a final project and I used a Polaroid camera for it. There is something particularly intimate about a Polaroid that is lost with the digital, in my opinion.

  4. I love the correlation of the pop of the flash bulb and the lights that “only flash red and blue now.’ Nice! It begs the question of what could have happened in between.

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