Short Story Of the Day (flash fiction), The Convenient Straw Hole by Bill Chance

It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing. And there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was just… dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember…I need to remember. Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it…and my heart is going to cave in.

—- Alan Ball, from American Beauty

Campsite, Lake Ray Roberts, Texas

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#24). What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.


The Convenient Straw Hole

The dreams were just there a split second ago. But they fly away too fast to even get a glimpse, let alone remember. I wake slowly, painfully. Getting old is not for the weak of heart. For a minute I struggle to remember where I am. I open my eyes and look around.

The early morning sun wanders down through the pin oaks – still green but looking like they are thinking about turning. The canvas windows are unzipped and the cool breeze filters through – the children are making too much noise and it makes it hard for me to go back to sleep. “Let’s wake Frank up!” one calls out.

“No, let him sleep – he had a long day yesterday,” I say.

I hear a sound outside, gurgling and bubbling… what is it? It is water running? No, it’s too crispy sounding for that.

“Is that bacon frying?” I ask.

“Yes,” My wife says.

“Do we have any bread? Lettuce? Is that tomato still hanging around? Do you know what I’m thinking?”

“Yeah, it’s a big tomato. Do you want some orange juice?”

“That sounds good.”

She unzips the door and hands me a little cold waxed cardboard box of Tropicana Pure Premium, Made from Fresh Oranges – Not From Concentrate.

On the top it says “Convenient Straw Hole!” With an exclamation point. The straw is stuck to the side of the box and cunningly designed – it’s actually two-piece, with an inner, ordinary translucent plastic straw and an outer sheath that telescopes so you can reach the bottom of the box. You pull the two parts until they lock together full length. I imagine a gaggle of industrial packaging engineers sitting in a conference room projecting a PowerPoint of the straw configuration in front of some executive that has to approve the design.

The Convenient Straw Hole! is hard to find, it’s only a little curved dent in the cardboard, but the end of the two-piece straw is cut at a violent angle and cuts through the box with ease.

What will they think of next in this best of all possible worlds?

Coffee in the… Well, Sorta Wilderness

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

Campsite, Lake Ray Roberts, Texas

Nick and I had a desire to go on a simple camping trip for one night. We packed up and went to a campsite on Lake Ray Roberts, not very far north of the city. It wasn’t much of a wilderness adventure – but sometimes it’s a good thing to get out and sleep on the ground. I rode my bike around the paved trails in the state park – the route was surprisingly hilly. It also was pretty cold at night. I’m getting old.

But the best thing is making coffee in the morning. My trusty Aeropress and a burner makes a nice cup of Joe.

My Aeropress at a campsite, Lake Ray Roberts, Texas

Oh, and I have discovered that there is a new Aeropress available – a travel version that collapses down into its own self-contained coffee cup.

I think I need to get me one of those bad boys.