Building Blocks (A Boat Skirting Hell (short story))


Time molds vivid memories from one’s past into the building blocks of one’s writing….

As I have mentioned, as a young and single lad I was able to travel around Europe thanks to being stationed in Germany and the excellent rail service.  This is a true story that I had originally allowed Dave, the fictional protagonist in my novel Through a Stranger’s Eyes, tell as his own adventure.  However, I have edited it out; and I have also hit ‘delete draft’ several times for this blog.  To preface the story, on a trip to Italy I had met a group of fellow young travelers, and as we were discussing women and sports over beers, I mentioned that I was looking for a beautiful blond haired, green eyed, single Italian woman.  Strange as it may seem, Dave had said the same thing to his best friend Rich, who he was traveling with.  I also need to mention, that Dave’s final comment was thought up a few years after the trip, when I told the story at a weekly card game and someone related the story to a movie that had recently come out (because at the time I was speechless).

A Boat Skirting Hell

Venice is a remarkable city, sinking into the sea, sinking under the weight of a gazillion elderly tourist trying to recapture romance via a gondola ride.  Rich did not find any gold coins, but we left Venice with one of these life experiences that you wait until the right time to tell your sons about; why scare them before their prime.  We were on a boat to go down the Grand Canal.  There we are sitting on a bench when a blond haired Italian woman, gorgeous Italian woman, and this pretty little girl of nine or ten sit down on the bench facing us.  The boat pulls away from the mooring and the woman smiles a pleasant hello to us.

Rich leans over and whispers “Dave, you just found your gold coins.  Just don’t make it so obvious”

“Rich, she’s likely married and with her daughter.  And stop whispering.”

The boat slips through the water and I’m lost in her vividly blue eyes, silhouetted by hair of spun gold, when I feel Rich elbowing me.  Whisper…“Dave, look at the little girl…Dave…Dave, look at the little girl!”

“Rich…what…,” can’t you see I don’t want to wake from this dream…OH, stunned stare, mouth open stare, the stare you give when you look at an ‘F’ on your Physics final, the ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me’ stare you freeze into when you have just backed hard into a fire hydrant in front of two cops who are staked out at two in the morning looking to catch drunk drivers in the Dunking Doughnuts parking lot…that kind of stare!

The little girl is looking at me, not just looking, BUT really looking…and…when she sees me looking at her, she proceeds to use her tongue on her lips in a way that left nothing to your imagination.

The mother sees me frozen in that stare, looks down at her daughter, slaps little Lolita across the face, grabs her arm, and drags the vamp away.  And as she is being pulled away, Lolita looks over her shoulder and gives me one last, remember for your lifetime, wanton smile.

“Da…da…Dave, did we just see what I think we saw?”

“Ya, Linda Blair’s role model for The Exorcist;” and for Rich, nothing else could match our experience riding a boat skirting Hell.

(A Boat Skirting Hell, copyright Steven S. Walsky, 2005, all rights reserved.)

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.









Building Blocks (from strange idea to flash fiction)


Time molds vivid memories from one’s past into the building blocks of one’s writing…


In my May 28, 2013 post Dude, nice shirt, I mentioned that I had jotted down a story idea while enjoying a hamburger at an In-N-Out Burger, and that I had no idea what had prompted the possible story idea, or where it would lead to.  Over the past year I have looked at that note residing in my flash fiction ideas file a number of times, to no avail.  Then this past Tuesday I saw Ese’ Voice July 8, 2014 Līgo Haibun Challenge – Picture Prompt and one of the prompt pictures made the rest of a story instantly visualized (added in bold).  Ese this is not a haibun, nevertheless, thank you for the inspiration.

From Ese' Voice July 8, 2014 Līgo Haibun Challenge – Picture Prompt

From Ese’ Voice July 8, 2014 Līgo Haibun Challenge – Picture Prompt

The Coupon

When he turned the page the money saving restaurant coupon jumped out at him; not physically separating itself from the folio, no, cerebrally.  The flash of color and recognition was so strong that he actually shuddered.  When his mind once again regained focus, he had aged dramatically; although chronologically a mere two seconds, metaphysically it was if he had just returned and awakened from an interstellar voyage requiring that he transit in a state of frozen animation.  Looking once again at the coupon, heart racing, body tingling, he smiled.  He remembered how she laughed, then hugged him at his suggestion to go to the restaurant.  He remembered how she made eyes at the college kid waiter.  How she sipped her drink and let her eyes glisten at his every move.  “Not at me”, he remembered out loud.  They had kissed goodbye, goodbye.

He turned the page; the coupon now history, as was she;  thinking ‘romance  can really age you’.

(The Coupon, copyright Steven S. Walsky, 2014, all rights reserved.)


Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.