30 May 2014

Published May 28, 2014 by rochellewisoff



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  • Should someone have severe or hostile differences of opinion with another person it’s my hope that the involved parties would settle their disputes in private.



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Copyright -Jennifer Pendergast


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Genre: Literary Fiction

Word Count: 100


            “We’re graduated,” said Diane cradling her diploma. “Let’s go celebrate.”

            “Not tonight, Miss Valedictorian,” I said. “I’m bushed.”

            “Aw, Mike, don’t be such a stick-in-the-mud.”



            A sucker for her sweet pout, I gave in. Four other kids piled into my jalopy. I hung my tassel on the rearview mirror and stepped on the gas. With youthful abandon we laughed at nothing and everything. We owned the future.

            “It wasn’t your fault, son,” said the police after the inquest. “The guy who t-boned you was three sheets to the wind.”

            “I’ll tell Diane next time I visit her grave.”    

166 comments on “30 May 2014

  • Dear Rochelle,

    An apt story for the time of year and one that strikes close to home for any who have lost a loved one in this fashion. Very well done, from title to conclusion.



  • Dear Rochelle

    Last night the news here was full of stats on the deaths of teenage drivers; youngsters who had died within months of passing their driving tests, there were far too many.

    Your story highlights these tragic deaths and the aftermath so poignantly, well done.

    Take care


    • Dear Dee,

      The same stats every year since I can remember. This one is based on a true story that happened over forty years ago. I only hope the young man who drove that night has been able to move on.

      Thank you.



  • Tragically the tale feels all.too real. Up to the detail that the driver survives. There is no answer. Shocking last line. The timing of delivery was just right. We all know someone much too young taken away…

    • Dear Hamish,

      This tale feels all too real because it’s based on a true story. The driver did survive. He was thrown from the car while two of his friends were killed and another would never be the same.

      Thank you for your kind words.



  • very tragic and too real… it might be difficult to carry on and not to blame oneself… but i hope he gets to move on.
    expertly handled and well-told and as always.

    • Dear K.Z.

      I often think about the young man and wonder how he is and what he’s doing. It’s based on a story that’s all too real and lives in my memory. My thoughts turn to those kids every year about this time.

      Thank you for your encouraging comments.



  • Rochelle, Excellent story as always. My daughter and a friend were hit by a drunken driver. Thank goodness they had their seat belts on and were not injured. It could happen to anyone. Frightening indeed. I also hope the young man in your story has moved on with his life. —Susan

    • Dear Susan,

      I’m so glad your daughter and her friend were okay. So many stories don’t have such a happy ending. Yet no one seems to learn from these incidents until it’s too late.

      Thank you.



  • I hate to see graduation seasons come when things like this happen. I can think of maybe three things over the years that happened in town like this at this time.

    I like the conciseness of this narrative. Taught and to the point. Crisp, clean, no caffeine, mahhhh-velous! ;)

  • Checked my humor curbside with this one. I’m going to visit my niece who just graduated high school with a full scholarship to her college of choice. She truly owns her future, and it would be devastating if…I won’t speak it. Your reminder that too many young lives have been cut short is timed perfectly.

  • Rochelle,
    this is some wonderful storytelling. I think he will be haunted by What if? for the rest of his life. What if he hadn’t gone afterwards. It’s hard to have perspective when you’re young, until it’s too late like this. Of course, in your story, it wasn’t like they were even drinking: just terrible, terrible luck.

    • Dear David,

      Your words mean a lot. It’s sad that these kids were innocent victims. I hope that the actual survivors in the story, “Mike” in particular, were able to move on with their lives.

      Thank you.



    • I also meant to ask if it was okay that I used one of my own pics alongside my response for this prompt. The photo reminded me of one I took the other week of one of the buildings on campus at Bath Spa.

      • Dear Carol,

        It seems that my story, which is based on a true one, has touched a few nerves this week. Every year about this time I think of those kids who weren’t wild or drinking and wonder where life might have taken them.

        In answer to your question, it’s perfectly okay to include your own photos. All I ask is that to maintain the connection to Friday Fictioneers is that you also include the original prompt. Thank you for asking.



  • That was such a sad one Rochelle; it seems to happen so often but the snuffing out of young life, particularly at such an auspicious time when the whole universe is unfolding for them… it beggars description. But you managed it. Nicely done.

  • It’s a good story of how special occasions don’t count for squat when it’s someone’s turn to die. I once knew a guy who died on Christmas Eve & my mother’s funeral was on my father’s eightieth birthday.

    • Dear Larry,

      My dad passed away two days after my 31st birthday. I’ve jokingly said it was considerate of him to wait and not spoil my day. Nonetheless there are those dates that remain indelibly etched into our hearts and minds.

      Thank you.



  • Rochelle,
    How dare you use one of my photos when I’ve got so much planned for this week! Now I’m stuck reading all the stories! ;)
    I could really feel this story – frighteningly common – and I liked the fact you made it clear to the reader that none of this is Mike’s fault, although I fear he may not see it that way. Great stuff, Chief!

    • Dear Jen,

      Would you like me to let you know next time your photo goes up? ;) It’s a great picture, just had to use it.

      It is a frighteningly common story and one that’s based totally on my own memory of one such event. I hope the young man in question was able to move on.

      Thank you.



      • No no, that part of the comment was entirely in jest, Rochelle. You’ve got enough to do and this was a lovely surprise! I’m slowly but surely getting through them – how do you manage it every week?

  • That is very powerful Rochelle. Because I’m British, some of the words and phrases I don’t fully understand, but still got the gist of the story and you most certainly made every word count. Very good :)

    • Dear Victoria,

      I’ve also encountered a few disconnects where British expressions have been used. ;) But I love the cultural exchange. I’ll be happy to clarify anything you don’t fully understand.

      Thank you for your kind comments.



  • Rochelle, the whole story was perfectly drafted, but the last line is the real star of the work. You couldn’t have written anything that would have packed a more powerful punch than that one line.

  • Hi Rochelle
    Such a sad tale and so scary that this kind of thing happens so often. Bad drivers rarely hurt themselves and rarely think of the consequences until it’s too late.
    On a separate note, I wonder if it would be possible to mention next time about checking spam folders? It’s not something I did as a routine until Susan (patriciaruthsusan) started having problems, and now it turns out that my comments have been hiding in Doug’s spam folders for the past few weeks, so I’m wondering how many more are hiding in other spam folders and how many more Fictioneers are affected? A short reminder to check spam folders every now and then would be very useful (and everyone listens to you because, apparently, you are the Queen!)

    • Dear EL,

      So let it be said, so let it be done. I went ahead and included the spam folder message above. And I’ll continue to include it. I know I’ve said it before. I’ve found quite a few comments being arbitrarily sent to Spam or Trash. Weird. I do check routinely for that reason.

      As for my Queenliness…hmm…Sometimes I wonder if there are so many notes, that they get tuned out like static on the radio.

      Why is it that the guilty party, ie the drunk driver, comes away from these tragedies unscathed? I know it’s not always the case, but it is too often.

      Thank you for your comments.



  • aloha Rochelle. this time of year an all too real reminder. i think almost every community knows this story in one form or another. and it’s always appropriate to write it again. aloha.

    • Dear Rick,

      Does your “aloha” mean that you live in Hawaii? I ask because one of my very best friends lives there.

      Re: my story, yes, all too common and based on a personal memory.

      Thank you for coming by.



      • yes. i currently live in the islands of Hawaii—Oahu. altho i did not grow up here, i’ve lived here for quite a few years now.

        yes. i have memories along those lines as well. aloha. rick

  • Such a heartbreaking story, and unfortunately one we’ve heard too often. I don’t think there’s anything that hurts me more that hearing about those who lose their lives too soon. Clever title, tying in the graduation procession. This was touching and tragic. Well done.

  • As I attend one graduation after another, this is something that chills me. Last week a young classmate was killed in car accident… we all think that if we’ve gotten to graduation, we’ve evaded the worst. A day after the young woman was killed, a colleague of my husband lost his 37 year old son in a car crash. We can’t evade the worst, only hope it doesn’t visit us. Chilling story this week, Rochelle.

    • Dear Dawn,

      Although it wasn’t my intent, this story seems to have stricken quite a few raw nerves. This is based on a personal memory. They were kids who worked for my father, had actually just gotten off work. A drunk driver t-boned their car at the intersection by the DQ. I’d gone home thirty minutes before the accident. My dad was devastated. The girl I call Diane was like another daughter to him. I remember the boy I call Mike as a sensitive, gentle young man.

      Life leaves no one unscathed.

      Thanks for coming by.



  • What unfailingly enhances my feeling of desolation in such cases, is the victim’s cluelessness. I always think of when they wake up and choose which socks and shoes to wear, not knowing that they will be the last pair they’ll ever wear. It’s this thought, always.

    Very poignant and evocative.

    Greetings from Greece!
    Maria (MM Jaye)

  • I feel there was some little thing missing between “We owned the future” and “It wasn’t your fault, son.” Some device, some words, some space…..something to move time though joy to sorrow. The other side of “we laughed at nothing and everything.” Anyway, thank you for putting your story out there.

    • Dear Buddy,

      These are good thoughts to ponder. The hundred word limit is a challenge, ie what do say, what not to say.

      Thank you for coming by. Will you be joining us?



  • Dear Marie,
    Once again you gave us enough information in 100 words to make the characters personal to the reader in this sad, tragic, and oft repeated true story. I remember being 12 ft. tall and bullet proof. As a youth, you believe you’re invincible.
    – Walt

    • Dear Walt,

      Well put. Although I remember going through a time after this particular accident where I was terrified to ride in a car. I was 15 when this happened. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 22.

      Thanks for coming by.



  • What a sad ending…unfortuantely too true for so many, if not a graduation, a vacation or maybe just having gone out to shop or have an ice-cream. The impermanence of life is always a shock and a surprise…leaving those who stay behind the emptiness of their loss.

  • tough situation when the driver survives. you pulled together a very realistic story with the fine detailing. her pout that makes him change his mind and then it goes all wrong. i can see where him agonizing over this. . .

    • Dear Sun,

      I can’t imagine what he felt. It is based on a personal memory. I don’t know whatever happened to “Mike.” He seemed to be one of those gentle, sensitive souls that could be tortured by the fact that he was driving.

      Thank you.



    • Dear Weltchy,

      It happened in the American Midwest. Just a few feet from where I worked at a local Dairy Queen. Thankfully I missed witnessing it by about thirty minutes.

      Thank you.



  • The moment they piled into the car to celebrate I thought “oh no”. I was expecting the collision to be their fault, though.
    Great last line, I heard real bitterness there. I hope he can get over it in time so that it doesn’t eat him up his whole life.

  • Hi Rochelle, Such a sad, sad story but written very well. I’ve been hit by a drunk driver, my son has been hit by one, Mike’s cousin Wally, nephews Jeremy, and David were killed by drunk drivers. It doesn’t make the loss any more sad – more like Mad! Great story though. Nan :)

    • Dear Nan,

      Exactly. Mad. Angry. Appalled. I’ve another friend who was taken out by a drunk driver in more recent years. Why is it that nine times out of ten, the drunk walks away with a few scratches?
      I’m sorry that this story is such a personal one for you.

      Thank you..



    • Dear Sarah Ann,

      It’s one of those events that seems to have touched us all in one way or another. No way to soften that kind of a blow.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.



    • Dear Subroto,

      Thank you for the link. A sobering reminder if not a wonderful piece of writing. You should think about submitting it somewhere. Seriously. And it brought another memory to my mind as well as the true story my story’s based on.

      I had a friend I met when we were both in a support group. We kept in touch via the internet. Then she stopped writing. I chalked it up to her going back into treatment for she and her therapist had been discussing the prospect. After six months passed I began to wonder so I googled her name. In an eye-blink I was confronted with two newspaper articles and an obituary. She had been killed in a car accident. The drunk driver who hit her walked away with a few scratches.

      Thank you.



  • I work at a university… you see all those young people going around… learning to live… and sometimes to die. C’est la vie.

      • They face a huge bunch of experiences, sometimes pretty tough ones. When I said ‘that’s life’ I meant the whole of life… Do they learn all they could? Depends on the person.

  • Hi. I didn’t notice that you had to ask permission to use your photos, but I put ‘Copyright Jennifer Pendergast’ as a caption to the prompt photo I put into my story. Is that OK with you?

    Also, I wanted to heartily thank you for coming up with Friday Fictioneers. I am getting tons of readers, and 4 or 5 more followers! It’s a great idea, and it’s helping me and other writers read and write together. Thank you, thank you, thanks you!

    • Dear C.E.

      Thank you for commenting on my story.

      Welcome to Friday Fictioneers. Posting here is fine but the preferred is the link list which I see you’ve also done. No need to do both although there are some who do.



      • Thank you Rochelle. I saw the link after I commented, lol. Neat little service that linkup. Thank you for the warm welcome.

        Aleikhem shalom.

  • A great story Rochelle. The second of its type this week from this prompt I believe. Or it could have been from mine last week. The days all seem to roll together at the moment LOL.

    I like the way you ended it, with the “justice doesn’t work in this case”

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