Beautiful Balloon

Beautiful Balloon

This is my first week as Admin to Sunday Photo Fiction. Two things struck me about my new role. First, it’s hard to choose a photograph that has a story to tell. Second, it’s hard to write a story from your own photograph without dipping into the where and why of where it was taken. The story below was not my first idea. That one still sits as an open WORD document on my laptop. Maybe it will get deleted, or maybe saved for another day. This one came about from watching the Sunday morning news. The story is a bit political, but in a light-hearted way.  I hope it is enjoyable, just the same.

SPF May 4 2018
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

“Were you lying when you said the president didn’t know about the $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels?”

The stoic press secretary stared out into the press corps through smoky eyes. No amount of preparation readied her for the questions coming out of left field. Her career and credibility were on the line, and worse yet, she could no longer tell her children that lying was wrong. Unsure what to do, she gave her former boss a phone call, asking for advice.

“I feel like I am swimming in a shark pond,” said Sarah. “Sometimes I think I need a bush to hide in.”

“I know just the place,” said Sean. “Even the press corps didn’t hear about this one.”

Sarah listened to Sean’s instructions with skepticism but figured if it wasn’t immoral or illegal, what did she have to lose.

Upon arrival at the designated spot, Sarah noticed a colorful, hot-air balloon, ready for flight. Sarah beamed as she realized her prayers had been answered. Escape was possible.

As the balloon floated into the clouds, a soft voice sang,

Up, Up, and away in my beautiful balloon. The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon*…


*”Up, Up and Away” is a 1967 song written by Jimmy Webb and recorded by the 5th Dimension, that became a major pop hit, reaching No. 7 in July 1967 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart, and No. 9 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart. In other countries, it reached No. 1 in Canada, and in Australia. The song placed No. 43 on BMI’s “Top 100 Songs of the Century”.





The Last Newsstand

The Last Newsstand


Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag) for providing this week’s challenging photo.



Photo Credit: Al Forbes

Sell any papers today, old man?

Nah… who buys newspapers anymore? The only thing they are good for is lining a bird cage.

As the boys took their jabs at Joe, owner of the last newsstand, he knew they were right. Print news was a modern-day dinosaur. Facebook delivered news faster and Twitter didn’t waste time with too many words. Joe represented a past they no longer cared to remember: a time when news was delivered on your doorstep, not your iPhone; when reporters investigated first instead of apologizing later.

Joe never gave up hope, however. One day, the readers would return. Until then, let the boys have their fun.

The jangle of cell phones interrupted today’s game.

“Another school shooting!”

“Says here, the shooter was ISIS!”

“No, they were Russians!”

Joe noticed one of the boys with a furrowed brow holding back.

This is it, thought Joe.

“Hey man, give me one of those newspapers.”

“It’s not going to tell you anything about that school shooting,” said Joe. “You’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s edition.”

“That’s OK. Maybe by then they will have the story straight.”

The Revolution had begun.