18 July 2014

Published July 16, 2014 by rochellewisoff




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Below is the PHOTO PROMPT. Can you tell me what this photo says to you in a hundred. (Complete story: beginning, middle and end)  I dare you to step outside your comfort zone.  I double dare you!


PHOTO PROMPT - Copyright - Adam Ickes

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Adam Ickes

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Genre: Realistic Fiction

Word count: 100


            “Elise? We need to talk about your labs.”

            It’s been over an hour since I sat down in the waiting room.

            ‘What if’s’ torment me.  I comb my hair with my fingertips, loop a curl around my pinkie and imagine myself bald.

            Stop that!

            Just because my doctor has concerns she wants to discuss doesn’t mean it’s…

            Oh God, what will Steve do without me? Will he remarry? What about the kids?

            My eyes sting.

            Pole-vaulter to conclusions? Sue me. I’m an Aries.

            The nurse enters to summon the next patient and stares at me. I hold my breath.


110 comments on “18 July 2014

  • I was enjoying the read but also thinking, “what’s this got to do with…” and then you stuck that great line in: “sue me..”

    Very good!


  • Rochelle, you do such a great job of thinking laterally about a picture, taking it from an unexpected angle. I like, as Elephant said, how you can write a story with deep emotion and humor in it. It works because it’s so realistic. I guess you left it like I left mine last week, letting the reader decide the results. I’m going with a happy ending 🙂


    • Dear David,

      Somewhere around my 16th FF story I looked at the photo and thought, “What will most people write about?” and went the other direction. I guess it’s like figure drawing at the Art Institute. I got bored with nude models and went for bits of background or even just drew the model’s caricature.

      I’m pleased my story rang true. Elise is hoping for a happy ending, too. 😉

      Thank you.




      • I understand the feeling. I used to do that with the tone: if it looked like a serious picture, I’d do a comic one and vice versa. I still try to do that, although I mix things up however I can.


  • I couldn’t see the link until I’d read it a couple of times – and then it hit me. A great take on the prompt, a mixture of a potentially terrible situation which most of us approach at some time or another, and the light-hearted. And that’s exactly the way it goes… the mind leaping on ahead with the ‘what if’s’. Well done Rochelle, and I liked the way you left it hanging.


    • Dear Sandra,

      The idea of ending it one way or the other felt like it would weaken the impact of her inner turmoil. I’m pleased that you caught the connection and don’t feel at all guilty that it took you a couple reads to get there. 😉

      Thank you.




  • Took me awhile to see the link with the photo as well, but eventually it clicked. I like to think she got good news, but I doubt she did. “We need to talk about your labs” doesn’t seem like something that screams “hey, I’ve got some good news for you!”


  • Oh, this is just dripping with suspense and chilling tension! I can only imagine how easy it is to experience those racing thoughts in such a significant situation. Hopefully, no matter what the results, she can keep her good humor and self-realization. Very amusing and moving story, Rochelle!


  • Dear Rochelle,

    No matter how many times you’ve done it before, you speed down the approach, plant hard and pole vault over the bar and into Rochelle’s landing pit. These dry runs are never good practice for the real thing and most of the time you’re dead wrong anyway. I look forward to the day when you no longer pole vault, but instead act as a guide to those flailing through the air toward pits of their own.

    Your story is excellent. Remember it.

    It is happening now.

    Happy landings.





    • Dear Doug,

      The trouble with landing in Rochelle’s pit is that I rarely land gracefully. Little by little, with the help of a good friend, I’m cutting that pole down. Soon it will just be a back scratcher and I can put it to better use.

      Thank you for the generous reminders. TDSVM

      Internalizing success that’s happening now.




  • Rochelle, Well-written story yet again. I’m going to be an optimist and say the news may be important but not frightening. The nurse’s attitude seemed to be surprise that Elise took the message so seriously. Well done. 🙂 —Susan


  • Funny and yet touching at the same time, there is no guide book for a time like this. I also agree with your comments about going the other way with a story. Something I try to do too.


  • Humour is often the only thing that allows us to cope with situations that would otherwise consume us. It tides us over until hope and healing have time to creep in. – Nicely captured. I fear Elise’s lab results are not good, but I hope her sense of humour will get her through.


    • Dear Siobhán,

      Humor has gotten me through more than one situation. As for Elise’s lab results, we can only hope for the best rather than wallow in fear of the worst.

      Thank you.




  • I love how we tend to over think in tense situations, so much it becomes hilarious. Good one Rochelle 🙂 unique direction as usual lol


  • Your anxiety was palpable. The fear, the worry, the second guessing, the bargaining with yourself — all part of the process.
    I do hope all is well, darling.


    • Dear Kalpana,

      For what it’s worth I’m a Virgo. I looked up Aries in hopes that it would have the proper characteristics for a pole-vaulter. 😉 Google is my friend.

      Thank you.




  • Oh so sad. That must be difficult to sit in a doctor’s office waiting for bad news like that. I imagine most people think about the things Elise does. I like the connection you made, Ram’s Head/Ares. Most cool. Another touching story, Rochelle.


  • How wonderfully elliptical and allusive! Also, the implications of her “what ifs” range from very sad to very strange (I mean, it could be a horrible disease spelling death, or the emergence of horns where she would go bald. Also, in Shakespeare’s time, a husband wearing horns was a reference to being cuckolded, but now it seems reversed. The possibilities are endless …)
    I love them all, and I love your story.


  • Completely different , touching take Rochelle. The suspense but I hope for the best. I can relate, once i was in same situation, thinking of family i cried myself. Beautifully written. Love the style.


  • Oh to be an Aries. Tropic of Cancer is where I dropped into the world. I wish the Zodiac authorities would change my sign to something less ominous and more to the point like crabio or moodytarius. We too pole vault to conclusions.


  • Dear Polly Dent,
    You really cleaned and polished this one (as I predicted). I sent me wandering around in Elise’s, head leap-frogging from one conclusion to another. And I’m a Scorpio, whose motto is, “What, me worry?”
    Connie is an Aries. I guess after almost 40 years some of it is bound to rub off on me.
    Thanks for the reality check,
    Rusty Ram


    • Dear Rusty Ram,

      You’ll have to ask Connie if I pegged the Aries. I’m a Virgo, the artistic, sensitive type and if you don’t agree with me I’ll belt you in those polished teeth of yours.

      Thank you for coming by.


      Polly Dent


      • Be careful, Polly. I have a partial in the front and I’m told by the grandkids, who are honest, that I look ugly without it. You might even color out a couple of teeth on the front of my book if you’re curious.

        Connie is an Aries and will confess to being a Worry Wart. And you know me, the Alfred E. Newman of the family. I’d say you hit the nail squarely on the head.


        • Dear Russell and Polly Dent (love that name Russell). I’m a Libra, as is Ann (Twin A) and we were born 6 1/2 weeks early, does that count? I’m butting in – sorry, but it was fun and I had a good time laughing at your teeth. Nan 🙂


  • I too love that oblique reference to the picture – very clever, and how you left it open at the end. I think it will be good news. (And please know that the timing of my comment might be prompted by our conversation, but not the sentiments – Claire.)


    • Dear Claire,

      I’m seriously glad we had the conversation, whether it prompted a comment or not. As you can see Elise and I are both pole-vaulters. 😉
      I’m pleased you liked the story and took the time to come by and say so.




  • I don’t usually take to the cliffhanger ending, neither reading nor writing them, but yours is so craftily written! The plus to your not providing the ending is that the reader has a chance to provide their own conclusion. 🙂


    • Dear Lynda,

      Now that’s a compliment to aspire to. Seriously. If an author can change your mind about something then she’s succeeded. 😉 Normally I’m not crazy about open endings, but this story seemed to beg for it.

      Thank you very much




  • I’ve self-diagnosed for years. Bad habit of over thinking and worrying. One good side effect…I’ve learned to enjoy reading informative books…not that I completely understand everything. At least I get the general drift, which helps me ask questions when I see the doctor…and understand what it is she’s trying to convey. Great writing…as always, Rochelle.


  • Dear Rochelle,

    This is exquisite … I like the way you get into the photo and come out with such original stories. This was an interesting look into the anxious mind … have we not all at least once been running through the gauntlet of anxiety … lovely. Georgia.


    • Dear Alice,

      Hair twirling is one of my unconscious habits, too. And amen on the doctor’s office. The moral is to take a really good book or as most these days have good games on your cell phone.

      Thank you.




  • I’d be feeling just the same in that situation I think. I love the way you find different ways of seeing the picture every week – I’m always very literal rather than lateral in my thinking!


  • Wonderful writing, Rochelle. The line, “Pole-vaulter to conclusions,” is fabulous! I love it. Nicely obtuse, the Aries reference… bravo!

    As for the link that several people refer to, I seem to be missing it all together! I seen no link. :-/


    • Dear Dawn,

      I think people are referring to my stories link with the photo, ie Aries and the ram’s head. Aside from that, I’ve posted no link. So you aren’t missing a thing.

      Hope you’re resting from your travels and thank you for the glowing comments. 😀




  • Hi Rochelle,

    I’ve missed the past couple of Fridays, but it’s so great to be back again. This story of yours is heartbreaking, suspenseful and just wonderful to read. Very clever way to work the ram in there, too.

    Wonderful work, as always.

    Take care,


  • i like the way you linked the zodiac sign to match the photo . . . my dad being a headstrong Aries would find solutions to any obstacles. i’m guessing your character will too. smiles.


  • Rochelle, I have two sisters who are Aries, oh, and you should see them when they get together! They truly butt heads. They are both so strong-willed. So, this made me laugh a little, even though it ‘s not comical. Forgive me. I like the “Pole-vaulter to conclusions?” sentence. Very effective. Great original story!


  • “Sue me. I’m an Aries.” Love this. And I am. An Aries with a broken shoulder at the moment, but my fingers still work! This is exactly what goes through one’s head in this type of situation, so you wrote true. And comedy is always a mask for tragedy. 🙂


  • I love how you used the ram. And the phrase ‘Pole-vaulter to conclusions’ is wonderful at evoking all those racing thoughts. I think she needs to breathe a little slower and see what the doctor actually has to say, but I’m travelling with her now and will it to be good news.


  • HI Rochelle
    Not an Aries, but I have to admit I am also prone to this. Not just with negative things but with the positives too – a little bit of recognition and I’m waiting for the TV networks to call and interview me 😀
    (Maybe one day…)
    Great story – one of my favourites of yours)


  • Interesting and powerful post Rochelle – although I have to admit, this is a bit of a trickster prompt.

    According to Adam – he titles the image – “goat” – when indeed, the distinction between Goat and Ram is sometimes hard to determine and classify.

    And so, I have wrestled with this prompt – even after 2 different writings – but I’m still intrigued by so many different perspectives and stories that have been offered for this version of FF.

    And so, one again, Rochelle, a very succinctly, well devised and written post – truly enjoyable.




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