Flash Fiction Fridays


Today marks the debut of Flash Fiction Fridays, which showcases writers of all genres contributing their interpretations of monthly themes in 500 words or less. To start us off, here is a great piece from Karen Cantwell.

Bashful Blueberry
by Karen Cantwell

Bashful Blueberry had tried the patience of more than one teacher in her time.

“Sue Miller!” they would call out.

Standing slowly, she would correct them. “My name is Bashful Blueberry. I live in a rainbow near a river of diamonds.”

“It says right here,” they would point their picky fingers at a piece of paper, “that your name is Sue Miller.”

Rolling her emerald eyes, Bashful would mumble a reply. “Don’t believe what you read.”

That’s when Bashful found herself in the principal’s office. Many a time she would be forced to write My name is Sue Miller a hundred times or more. Then the principal would ask, “Now what is your name?”

“Bashful Blueberry. I live in a rainbow near a river of diamonds.”

So she would go to another school. Or another home. Because foster parents, she found, were generally as lackluster as the teachers.

One afternoon, her marshmallow of a social worker sat her down. “There’s a woman here interested in giving you a home. She’s a nice woman. Try to . . . act . . . normal. You know – real.”

“What’s real?”

The social worker threw her pencil in the air. “That’s the problem!”

Bashful quietly considered that maybe she wasn’t the one with the problem.

As the young girl’s feet dangled from the chair, a very tall lady stepped into the room. Her hair was shades of autumn, her face as soft as a fairy goddess. The woman, it seemed to Bashful, was singing even though she hadn’t spoken a word.

“Hello,” said the goddess lady. “What’s your name?”

The social worker cringed.

Bashful hesitated. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She tried again. “Bash. . .” she coughed it back. She drooped. “Sue,” she sighed. “My name is Sue Miller.” A tear dripped to her lower lash.

“That’s not what I heard.” The lady smiled a crooked smile. “As I understand it, your name is Bashful Blueberry, and you live in a rainbow near a river of diamonds.” She gave Bashful her hand. “My name is Patchwork Persimmon. You can call me Patch. I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet you.”

When Patch brought Bashful home, they got to work straight away painting that house. They painted some blue here, some red there. Yellow over yonder, green on this shutter, violet on that one. Neighbors gawked.

When that was done, they started digging. It took some days but eventually they had a pond that emptied into a long and winding creek which they filled with pieces of cut glass that sparkled in midday sun.

One day Bashful made a proclamation. “I’m ready for a new name.”

“Do tell,” said Patch.

“You can start calling me Magnificent Melody. But don’t call me Mag. My name is Magnificent.”

“So it is.”

And the two of them sipped lemonade on the porch of their rainbow house while listening to the waters dance in their river of diamonds.

Karen Cantwell has been writing plays and short stories for many years, some of which were published in various college literary magazines. More recently, her short story, “The Recollections of Rosabelle Raines,” was published in the mystery anthology Chesapeake Crimes: They Had it Comin’. Her first novel, Take the Monkeys and Run, is a comedy-mystery, featuring soccer-mom/female sleuth Barbara Marr and is available at Amazon.com in paperback and for Kindle. Barbara Marr will make her next appearance soon in The Chronicles of Marr-nia, Short Stories Starring Barbara Marr (Oct. 2010), as well as a second mystery novel, Citizen Insane (Feb. 2011). To learn more about Karen, visit her website atwww.karencantwell.com.


Thank you so much for being the first Flash Fiction Fridays contributor. You started us off very well.
Karen Cantwell said…
Thank you for having me, Karen! I can't wait to come back every Friday and read more. I LOVE Flash Fiction. :-)
Lee said…
I loved the story, Karen. Bashful reminded me somewhat of my oldest daughter, who for a whole year insisted she be called Rainbow Brite and to this day lives in a beautiful rainbow fantasy world.
Karen Cantwell said…
Thanks, Lee! I'm so glad you liked it. I have a special place in my heart for Bashful. She just wrote herself one day. And your daughter sounds like a lovely person. :-)

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