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Before Opening, Fiction

He always arrives before opening.

“Nights are getting cold,” he murmurs as I let him in. Coffee’s brewing.

I pour him his cup. He holds it in his cracked, cold hands and raises it to his lips. It isn’t much, but it must be warm enough to make him smile.

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

"...his cracked, cold hands..." showed me the entire gestalt of this man. For some reason it made me feel guilty or ashamed. But I guess that is the point of 50-word stories. They allow us to extrapolate through our own life experience.

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deletedDec 10, 2022·edited Dec 10, 2022
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Dec 10, 2022·edited Dec 10, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Another thought: Ten people can read the exact same book ( or see the same movie) and each one will take away a different story. It is all based on what we, the readers, bring to the page -- our education, our current living situation, the geography we live in, the things we believe, how much we have had to drink, etc. All the writer can do is put it out there. It is ultimately the reader who is interpreter. IMHO This tiny story made me think and imagine. It is what I look for.

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author

Understood! Thank you for elaborating, my friend. I think this fella over here needs some sleep. 😅

Couldn’t agree more with what you said about the roles of readers/writers. I’m happy the story did this for you and brought you somewhere else. Thanks again! 🙏

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Just Window Shopping-Creative Non-Fiction

She pulled up to the brand new Ollie’s store, anxious to see what this one held, since it was in a more upscale neighborhood than hers was.

Grabbing her wallet, she exited the vehicle, crossed the driving lane and saw the Opening Next Week sign.

Deflated, she drove home.

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author

Ah, so close! Next week it is. 😄

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I feel her frustration!

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Closing Time, Fiction-ish

2025 and the planet was dying in earnest.

Friday, three mourning doves died at my feet. Dropped right out of the sky. Orchards barren, branches like bones. Air thick with the scent of decay. Village coffee shop, once promising hope like newspapers of yore, now shuttered. End of an era.

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author

Chilling! (Fiction-ish is perfect, too.)

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

This is chilling, Amie. You put me there and I don't want to be there. End of an ERA is an understatement... Nice work.

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That's a great response to the image, Amie. I can feel the decay!

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Break the Door, Fiction

Eric didn’t believe in “Closed” signs. He slipped on his brass knuckles. With a powerful jab, Eric shattered the glass in the door—

“We’ll be open in ten,” assured the barista as she went inside the locked coffee shop. Eric continued squatting on the front steps, writing on his phone.

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author

I love this and agree with what Sharron said! 🤣

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

So very clever, Geoffrey. The benign, understated response of the barista is perfect. I can just see her rolling her eyes and sighing as she opens the door. This guy ought to monitor his caffeine intake. Excellent work.

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Thanks for the feedback! ☺️

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Geoffrey, I'm hoping this isn't auto-biographical 😂

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

You haven’t lived until you’ve punched your way through a door!

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It feels as though this is a rough neighborhood and the barista isn't fazed by this guy at all. Love it!

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Dec 9, 2022·edited Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Coffeehouse, Fiction from Sharron at 🍁Leaves

He sat in the coffeehouse, scanning the relationships column in the local newspaper. “SWF seeks man who will encourage me to realize my dreams,” he read. It was 1980.

Forty-two years later, sitting together by the lake, she’d realized her dreams.

Realized her dreams were the same as his.

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author

Beautiful as always, Sharron!

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Simply lovely!

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Out Through the in Door - Fiction

I walk through the portal in the lab and out of the coffee shop. As I turn, the awning and doors fade from existence. Here I stand, stuck on US soil, seventy years in a past that never existed. I can tell the Schutzstaffel aren’t happy with my sudden arrival.

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author

I will always love a good portal story. Really enjoyed this, Brian!

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Thanks Justin, I'm a sucker for them as well!

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This is chilling. I hope he can get back home!

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Maybe in another 50 word story 😁

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Waiting for it!

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And now I want to know who the Schutzstaffel are!

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The Schutzstaffel were the SS Nazis from WW2. The idea here is he went back into an alternative past where Germany won the war!

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Wow, learned something today. Thank you!

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Use of the present tense here give this power, Brian. Writers forget to consider tense sometimes. It makes a difference. ( The Schutztaffel were not exactly known for being amenable, were they...)

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Thank you, Sharon! I would not want to be on the wrong end of the SS, like our protagonist.

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How Much For That Shadow In The Window?, Fiction (Horror)

Vanessa walked past the coffee shop that hadn't been there the day before.

Spilling out the open-window was an invitation; music, laughter and the clink of coffee cups.

She turned to join them but stopped. The sounds were gone.

The coffee shop was abandoned.

Save a shadow in the window.

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author

Gah, spooky! 😱 The final line is awesome!

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Thank you! Quite pleased with that. It's a chiller!

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Is that shadow waiting for Vanessa? I'm tempted to say only the shadow knows, but you know...

Great story!

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Haha thank you! Who knows!? Maybe you are right!

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

After I Went Before, Fantasy

My hand-written choices; stay in the past to correct the blunders of others, travel ahead to my present day and deal with my own mistakes, or journey further into the future and make completely new miscalculations.

An unseen hand thrust me through the door.

The decision was no longer mine.

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author

Oooh! I can visualize this perfectly. It looks like Fate has decided, then!

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Where, I wonder, did they end up?

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Meet Up (Fiction)

Always the first to arrive. Giving me time to slow my breath, practice my smile. Trim my coffee order down to not coffee, but hot chocolate with a shot of hazelnut. Because I don't want to come across complicated. Because though some people like depth, they don't appreciate the layers.

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author

Love the “don’t want to come across complicated” line. Great stuff, Tiffany! 🙌

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Dec 9, 2022Liked by Justin Deming

Thank you!

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Nice! I love the last sentence.

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Word Is, Fiction

Sonny comes in before we really open. That's okay, I've always liked the guy. He sits and taps a finger against the newspaper. "Says here that you're going out of business."

"We're still here, aren't we? Living until we're dying, that's always been the way."

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author

This solidifies why we need to support our small businesses! Loved it, Dave.

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Perfect Day (Fiction)

Dara, was first in line outside the coffeehouse where her favorite singer would play tonight. She reveled in the apricity of the sun’s rays on her face as she smiled at the flother floating down to land on her nose. Perfect day—music, warm sun, and the promise of snow.

I added an extra challenge for myself--to use two quirky words. Apricity is the feel of the sun's warmth on a cold day and a flother is a lone falling snowflake that heralds the coming of more.

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author

What a great story, Dascha. I enjoyed your own personal challenge, too! We’ll have to start upping the ante for Fifties in 2023!

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Thanks, Justin.

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If we eat the flother before it hits the ground then maybe the other snowflakes will get scared and stay away 🤔

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Ah, but Dara welcomes the flother and the snow to follow! Personally, I don't mind a little snow if I don't have to shovel it. Emphasis on the word little!

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I agree. If I can just enjoy it and play with the kids then I like it. If I have to drive in it that's the worst.

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Worth a try! I will let you know.

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An Experiment in Chalk, Fiction

No sooner has he completed the chalk drawing when there is a rumble, accompanied by a plume of dust. The former quiet of the alley gives way to indistinct chatter; the familiar hiss of milk being steamed; soft jazz playing.

A single fingertip smudge would cast it away.

He hesitates.

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author

Intriguing!

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