1 November 2013

Published October 30, 2013 by rochellewisoff


As always, writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with the prompt and 100 word constraints. 

Henry David Thoreau said it best.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”


Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going a few words over the count.)


Make every word count.


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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            “Ichiro is honorable,” said Okasan. “He’ll be a faithful husband.”

            “He’s too fat and reeks of fish.”

            “Instead you’d rather shame your family and become a prostitute?”

            “Geisha. They are artists.”

            “So your father says.”

            Since dawn Yuki had tried to reason with her mother, but, no matter what she said, Okasan’s face remained an obdurate fortress, damaged by years of sorrow and betrayal.  

            “It’s after 11:00. I’ll be late.”

            “Please, my only child, don’t leave your home.”

            Yuki turned her gaze to the calming garden pond.

            “Nagasaki’s no longer my—”

            Savage-radiance seared brilliant koi colors into her eyes.




NagasakibombAugust 9, 1945

141 comments on “1 November 2013

  • Phew! Rochelle !!!
    That was a killer literally , ..very clever, and you really caught the Japanese atmosphere and cultural nuances ( I have a Japanophile husband, and haven’t been able to avoid learning something about the culture! You are obviously much more up with the play than me…)
    A perfect little bombshell of a story – a tragic moment of history caught in time. Very subtle, including the play on the atomic flight and name… it was so grotesque wasn’t it !!


    • Dear Valerie,

      Although I find it fascinating, and could be a Japanophile myself, I really don’t know much about Japanese culture. I’m fortunate in having a friend/muse who’s also a most generous instructor with his appreciative student.
      On a favorite TV show a shallow character said, “War is hell.”
      Another replied with, “War is worse than hell. In hell there are no innocent bystanders.”
      Even in my most gruesome writings, I can’t begin to imagine the horrors some have lived through.
      That you caught the nuances and commented makes my heart sing. Thank you.




  • Wow!This is the first time I am here though I have heard about FF from a number of other like minded writers.Had some spare time and am so happy to have decided to drop by today-if not for anything but to have had the opportunity to read such a beautiful story in just 100 words!Loved how it started with a simple dialogue which increased in intensity and then the calming Koi pond and one is expecting a Zen kind of end when POW!!Fat man indeed- N-Bombastic!! I salute you Rochelle!


  • Dear Rochelle,

    That is the effect of your story on the reader can be likened to the word coined by survivors of that day to describe the experience of the moment of detonation. Pika Don.

    From your subtly layered title to searing conclusion, Fat Man is a textbook example of ‘Flash’ fiction. This one will be hard to beat.




  • No story from me this week as other than today, I’ll be either traveling or in Philly the entire week with no time to read other stories. I don’t like to ask people to read mine if I can’t read theirs. However, I love this prompt and thought I’d stop by to say good morning to everyone, and that I’ll miss all of you this week as well as read your story while I’m here. I’m so glad I did! This one may be one of your best.



  • That’s a great story of just how all the everyday problems and difficulties disappeared in one horrendous second. I visited Nagasaki about 10 years ago and it was quite sobering to see the bomb site and imagine what it would have been like. Absolutely perfect title too.


    • Dear David,

      Even as I write about it, I can’t begin to imagine. At least in the case of my characters, there was no time for suffering. Not at all a proud moment of American history IMHO.

      I’m pleased you liked my story and caught the nuance of the title.




  • Dear Rochelle,

    Your story left a lump in my throat and my heart broken. The positive thing about it though was the young woman made the decision to leave her family home. To live her life on her terms, no matter how short that life was.

    I have no idea the story I’ll come up with. May this blonde brain of mine brew something up soon.

    Love, Renee


  • WoW…………JUST WOW…..unbelievable Rochelle. As well as ALL the other ingredients this story has that ‘brilliant haiku moment’, but there’s a play on THAT obviously as well. If this can be bettered I’ll eat my hat collection.


  • Clever history as always, Rochelle. Fat Man was the name of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. I love the way your stories teach. I wonder how many mothers of Geishas had this conversation. I can clearly see Okasan’s face as an “obdurate fortress.” Great description!


    • Dear E. A.

      Glad you caught the reason for the title. From what I’ve read about Japan at the time, a Geisha was often the widely accepted “other woman”.
      Thank you for commenting with such kind words.




  • This is a splendid tale. As a girl I went on a field trip at the UN were they display a wall which holds the shadow of an evaporated person. It left an impression with me. Your story has done the same. How quickly life can change. Thank you for the reminder. This is one of my all time favorite FF.


    • As Hawkeye said on one MASH episode, “War is worse than hell. In hell there are no innocent bystanders.” This is one of histories greatest and most unnecessary tragedies. Thanks for commenting, JK.




  • I have been referred to as Fat Man a few times, and some have threatened to fly me over major sporting events with Goodyear written on my sides.
    Once again you zeroed in on the target with pin-point precision and blew us away with outstanding writing. Now, if I can just get this fish smell washed off . . . .


    • Dear Roy,

      You really need to stop taking things so personally. Although the image of you floating above the crowd with Goodyear on your sides is an intriguing, if not amusing one. .
      Thanks for your comments and compliments.




  • Oh my! This is stunning, Rochelle. As I read, I momentarily sensed this coming, and then was lulled by the wonderful dialogue and scene. That final line: “Savage-radiance seared brilliant koi colors into her eyes.” shocked me back into the moment. Truly great writing here!


  • Incredible story, Rochelle. Starts out as a day in the life, one rife with suggestions on the life before the day. But then, in your poetically described last sentence, everything changes. You have a talent for fitting normal lives into many different scenes of history. Another great story.


    • Dear Dave,

      I’m happy you understood and liked my story. It’s difficult to fathom the devastation when I think that these were ordinary people going about their lives. There are no words to describe it. Pika don.




  • Another amazing historical story. As soon as I saw the sentence starting “Nagasaki” I thought “uh oh”. A reminder that people were getting on with their everyday lives just before the bomb dropped.
    Great word, “obdurate”. I shall have to try to pop it in a story somewhere!


  • I had the honour of unofficially guiding a Japanese gentleman around Anne Frank’s house 20 years ago – a man who lost all of his family in Hiroshima, when he was a little boy. Everyday lives can just end – we seem to forget that…


  • What a beautifully written but sad story. It was quite moving. Thank you so much for sharing. It reminded me of when I visited Trinity Site in New Mexico, ground zero of the first atomic bomb explosion at what’s now White Sands Missile Range. It was unbelievable that just a few short weeks later that same horror would be unleashed on Japan. There are still low levels of radiation at Trinity Site even now, and in Nagasaki, I would imagine. It’s frightening.


    • Dear Lisa,

      The same day you commented another friend who lives in NM mentioned the Trinity Site. Perhaps one day I’ll get out that way. I find it amazing and appalling that brilliant minds are used to come up with new and better ways to destroy.

      Thank you for commenting. Glad you liked my story.




  • Very poignant. The young woman had limited choices, as so many women did in that era. But at least she had a life to live, a life of possibilities.

    Thank you for illuminating history once again.


  • Beautifully wrought tale. And you did catch the nuances of the Japanese writing style so well. Plus, you included a horrific history lesson. I too was inspired to write a Japanese tale when I saw this gorgeous photo, but I have not, now that I have read yours. I do not think I could capture the detail as you did.


    • Dear Lindaura,

      I’ve watched and read Memoirs of a Geisha more times than I can count. I’ve always had a fascination with Asian culture and this photo just lent itself to it. Thank you for your lovely words.

      BTW. We did fall back so now instead of waking at 2:30 in the blessed a.m. my eyes are popping open at 1:30. Early rising has been my habit for the past three years. It gives me extra writing time without interruptions before venturing forth to the florescent jungle.




  • Certainly is ‘flash’ fiction. But seriously, I like the contrast in this piece: the family argument (which is by no means trivial) becomes a mundane fact in the light of what happens at the end of the story. It humanises the event. Nice work.


  • Hi Rochelle,
    On this day when the horror is all fake, you raised a very real and somber ghost from our history. What most Americans don’t know is that dropping the atomic bombs on Japan was totally unnecessary. They were within weeks of surrender anyway. And the myth that we’ve been taught, that dropping the bombs forced them to give up, that’s also false. The Japanese surrendered because the Soviets invaded Manchuria and would soon have been in Japan. But I’m digressing big time. Skillful storytelling, with a huge twist at the end and that closing line is poetic. ron


    • Dear Ron,

      Unfortunate and shameful piece of American history. I did know this and I ache as much for the innocent victims as much as I mourn for my own ancestors who survived the concentration camps. Thank you for your digression. Every American should know.

      Thank you for you kind compliments.




    • Dear Helena,

      I was never fond of history in school. Why should I care? It happened so long ago and has nothing to do with me? Right? How wrong. As I’ve grown older (chronologically) much of my past has become “history” and it’s somehow made me realize that all history is someone’s past reality.

      Thank you for your lovely comments that have me smiling all over.




  • Sympathetic depiction of the mother-daughter relationship and the daughter’s prospects. Then the dynamic ending, an unexpected emotional reminder of the horrors of war for the everyday population. Well done, as always, Rochelle.


    • Dear EL,

      Box? What box? It was a devastating part of 20th century history. We talk about barbarism as something that happened in ancient times, but I can’t think of a more barbaric act. Thank you coming by and commenting.




  • Oh my, your character development here is superb! To manage to make all three of these people seem so real — plus tell the action of the story — in just 100 words is amazing work. And that line “Okasan’s face remained an obdurate fortress, damaged by years of sorrow and betrayal” tells another whole story — a whole lifetime — all by itself. Work like this makes me wonder sometimes why we work so long and hard to write thousands of words in order to tell a story when it really can be told in just 100 when it’s the right 100.


    • Dear Sandra,

      Your wonderful comments have me blushing and saying, “Oh my.” Sometimes I think about writing some of these flash fictions into longer works and wonder what more I can say. To say I’m pleased you liked it is an understatement.

      Thank you.




  • You have a surprise ending.
    I’m sure it’s just like that. One second your making plans and the next … nothing.
    May our lives continue for a long time and may we appreciate every second of it.


    • Dear Phyllis,

      Although my story is fiction, it’s a fact that people were simply going about their everyday lives that day. Many hoping and praying their sons and husbands would return from war. I’ve heard that we should live every day as if it were our last. I confess I don’t.

      Thanks for swinging by with your comments.




  • Oh. Oh no. I am forever skipping titles to get right to the story. Maybe if I hadn’t, I would have seen where this was going, and my heart would have been prepared for the sickening lurch provoked by the ending. I did not get to visit Nagasaki when I lived in Japan, but I did spend a sobering day in Hiroshima. So many lives destroyed in a flash–what I saw and read in the museum will forever haunt me. I hope history never repeats itself.


    • Dear Michelle,

      A dear friend told me that a good title adds 100 words to the story. I’ve never doubted his wisdom in this.

      I’m sure that a visit to Nagasaki would’ve been as sobering. Although I’ve never been to Japan, I’ve read accounts and have seen the haunting pictures.

      As for history, although we hope for better, it seems what we learn from it is usually nothing.

      Comments such as yours encourage me to keep writing. Thank you for coming by.




  • It’s a harsh moment in history told with a brilliant viewpoint. While all of us would sooner forget, it’s better to remember the horror, so that it’s not repeated.


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