two flash fiction pieces about yellow tents

Intent on yellow tents

yellow tent flash fiction prompt Carrot Ranch

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a yellow tent. Where is it and who does it belong to? Think of how the color adds to the story. Go where the prompt leads.

I am not a camper. I had no experience of camping as a child and only two as an adult. The first, I finally succumbed to pressure from friends who assured me I’d love it. How could I not? They did. I didn’t.

The second I only vaguely recall though I am assured it did really happen. I think I’ve obliterated it from my memory. Sadly for my children, they also missed out on the camping experience though they did attend school camps (not in tents) and occasionally go camping now that they make their own choices.

My best experience of camping was at school with my year ones. One of the families was keen on camping and the father was a wonderful volunteer in the classroom. His shift work as a firefighter meant that he was often available to help us out. When we were reading books about camping, we had a ‘camping day’. This wonderful dad came in and set up a tent in the playground, made a little campfire, and cooked us all a camp lunch. We spent the day in the playground getting the full camping experience. It was great fun, especially for the children who didn’t get those experiences with their families, and a good way to build background knowledge and vocabulary. I enjoyed it because I got to go home to my nice comfy bed to sleep in. 😊

Of course, children love to play camping too, building tents over furniture in bedrooms and living rooms and with whatever they can find in the back yard. It is a wonderful activity for imagination.  The construction itself can take a bit of working out and involves spatial thinking, collaboration, persistence, resilience and the ability to try new methods. I believe setting up a real tent may require some of those skills as well.

For my response to Charli’s prompt, I couldn’t resist writing about children and their imaginative play, but I also thought I’d try my hand at a romantic piece, which is almost as rare for me as camping, so I have done two. I’d love to know which you prefer.

With Intent I

They dragged the upended chairs into position, stacked boxes in the middle and positioned the quoits hob on top.

“Now a cover,” said one.

“I know,” said the other. They raced inside.

“What are you doing?” asked Mum.

“Nothin’,” said one.

“Just playin’,” said the other.

“Don’t make a mess,” said Mum.

“We won’t.”

The yellow sheet refused to hide as they returned outdoors. Mum smiled.

After some realignment of chairs and adjustments to boxes and sheet, they stood back to admire their work.

“Lunchtime,” said Mum.

“Can we eat in the tent?”

“Only if I can join you.”

 

With Intent II

“I have to work.” She feigned disappointment.

“That’s okay. Come after work.”

“But I’m working late. It’ll be dark.”

“It’s well-lit all the way.”

“But I don’t know the way.”

“That’s okay.” He punched the address into her navigation device. “Just follow the directions.”

“How will I find you when I get there?”

“I’ll be watching for you.”

Conjuring no more excuses, she wasn’t yet ready to explain her attraction to him didn’t include camping.

Later, when entering the campgrounds, deserted but for one yellow tent lit by solar fairy lights spelling the words, “Marry me,” her fears melted.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

54 thoughts on “Intent on yellow tents

  1. Pingback: Yellow Tents « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  2. Sarah Brentyn

    That first one is so ‘Norah’. Made me smile. I’ve missed your writing. 🙂 The second… Aw. So sweet! You should try your hand at those more often. Fun to step outside the box. Sometimes we surprise ourselves. 🥂❤️

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Sarah. Yes, I guess the first is very ‘me’, and the second definitely not so much. I usually write about dysfunction, but who knows, maybe there is some brewing. 🙂

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  3. Hugh's Views and News

    You melted my heart with that 2nd piece, Norah. What a wonderful piece of writing. Now, if only I could do happy endings.
    I’m with you on camping. For some reason, sleeping in the great outdoors has never appealed to me. Too many sounds I’m not familiar with, plus the thought of having to get up in the middle of the night to go and spend a penny isn’t my idea of camping fun. I like to know everything is there, just in case. And who knows what creepy-crawlies are sharing your tent with you?

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and voting, Dayne. I’m pleased you enjoyed the story of the children and their fort.
      A quoits hob – that’s an interesting question. Quoits is a game in which little rings are thrown over a stick or a spike or a spindle. I wasn’t sure what it was called so I Googled it as I wanted to use the correct term. The answer seemed to be ‘hob’ which I’d not heard used in that way either. Sorry to confuse you.

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  4. Charli Mills

    I enjoyed each flash for different reasons, and yet I thought they both captured a certain joy of discovery. I think the woman in II was brave for going outside her comfort zone. I liked that the mother joins her young campers in I. Also, how fun that one of your students’ parent could come in and give everyone a camping day!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Charli. An each-way bet. I appreciate that. I was going to have the mother admonishing the children at first, but decided I’d rather her join in, as I’d rather do too.
      That dad was an absolute treasure. He did so much for us. They are a wonderful family. I taught both children. Both are parents themselves now. It’s a funny thought. 🙂

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  5. dgkaye

    Enjoying a good chuckle at our similar distaste for camping LOL. I too got sucked into my one and only camping experience with friends. But I’ll never forget that once. 🙂 Loved the tent story. I used to love building those when I was a kid with my siblings. We used to call them forts. And great job on the 2nd one! Good suspense. and twist with a romantic end. 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the stories and that they gave you a smile, Debby. I think we used to call the ‘tents’ forts too – or cubbies. It was great fun.

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      1. dgkaye

        Oh, I love that word ‘cubbies’, that’s the nickname my husband calls me LOL. When I was a kid, we used to get a space to keep our things in at school such as hats, gloves, snacks. etc., they were called cubby holes, LOL 🙂

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        1. Norah Post author

          I like the word ‘cubbies’ too. Now it has an extra meaning. We used to call them cubby houses, but those spaces for keeping belongings, we call them pigeon holes. 🙂

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  6. TanGental

    the first because it brings back my subversive mother and how she’d allow our two to totally reconstruct all the cushions in the house to make dens. She’d sit to one side, make helpful suggestions and then, when one or other of us appeared say ‘now daddy/mummy will help you put it away’. Great. Both bad cop and we get to drag furnishings hither and yon too! Mind you, I did learn a lesson about how to be a grandparent… my two know what’s coming if they ever have kids…

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      1. TanGental

        Dad always wanted one of those green sun strips that were popular for cars in the 70s after he saw one with the legend ‘get your own back on the kids – live to be 100’. Sadly he never made it…

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        1. Norah Post author

          I’m sorry your dad didn’t make it, Geoff. Although more are now making it to 100, it’s still not the norm. Perhaps the number should be lowered. I think many don’t wait that long to get their own back. Many live long but don’t get their own back – they’re too special.

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  7. Annecdotist

    Great post, Norah! Although I’d hate to receive such a marriage proposal, I really enjoyed your romantic flash. I also enjoyed reading about your camping days in the school yard – a great learning experience without the trauma of leaving home. I used to enjoy camping but now a comfortable bed and ensuite bathroom, as well as not being exposed to other people’s noise, is worth a lot more to me than being able to touch the grass from my sleeping bag.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Anne. Looks like I’ll have to try more romantic flash stories. It’ll take a bit of imagination. 🙂
      We do get a bit spoilt with our comfy beds and ensuites don’t we.

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  8. thecontentedcrafter

    Re the second story, I think she better tell him she doesn’t like camping before accepting his proposal – it might be a deal breaker. The first of course is spot on – my kids used to take the bedcovers from their beds and hang them over anything they could find outside and chairs inside and camp happily for hours. I don’t know if I’ve told you before I had to go camping every year with my classes, from a one night classroom camp with their whole families to a week long cycling camp through the Wairarapa. I hated those annual camps 😀 Yet strangely, we always managed to have a good time.

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    1. Norah Post author

      I’m thinking maybe he’ll convince her that camping, done the right way, is not so bad. Otherwise, yep, she’s got some thinking to do before she accepts. 🙂
      I don’t think you have told me about going camping before. I did a couple of overnights in the classroom with my year ones and twos. The Dad I mentioned always came and helped. It was wonderful. We needed someone to take the boys to the toilet in the middle of the night. A week-long cycling camp. Now that’s a big demand of a teacher. I wouldn’t/couldn’t have done that. I was never a bike rider. I’m pleased you had a good time anyway. I bet there was no overtime pay! 🙂

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        1. Norah Post author

          Hehehe. I knew you wouldn’t get overtime. I was just making a point. I don’t think many people realise how much work teachers do in their own time. Considering we’re only paid for five hours work each day in Australia, we do a lot of overtime. If you’re away on camp for a week, that’s a lot of extra hours. Quite often it’s an expectation and people don’t even think to thank you for it.

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  9. davidprosser

    The second story while very romantic will not appeal to young children as much as the imagination stretched first story that introduces a tent and then adds the excitement of eating out in it with a visiting Mom. A hard choice but I think I’ll go with the second story as for once it puts men in a good light,
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment and vote, David. I’m sorry that good men, such as yourself, are suffering from the press that less worthy men are getting. You are not all painted with the same brush.

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