PHOTO PROMPT Copyright -Jennifer Pendergast


They destroy those who become obsolete,” Chandler says.

We’ve taken this same path home for the past twenty-nine years.

But they don’t understand how much I’ve sacrificed.”

Tears are boiling behind my eyes.

It comes down to numbers…That’s all.”

People used to mean more than numbers!”

They won’t change their minds…” Chandler sighs.

No, but they need to realize they’re not the only ones who hold power.”

In my pocket, I caress a serrated switchblade. Spinning on my heel, I head back toward the embassy.

Robert….What are you doing?”Chandler calls out, his voice saturated with fear.

Well, I’ve returned from the complete chaos for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. I’ve been gone from WordPress for roughly two weeks, and I felt hesitant to post again. Though, with all of your support and encouragement, I decided to dive back in. Thank you so much for reading and for the wonderful comments you’ve left me. Also, please forgive me as I take a while to get caught up on all the wonderful posts I’ve missed from you!

And don’t forget to read other fabulous flash fiction from fellow Friday Fictioneers!




48 thoughts on “Cutbacks

  1. All the best of luck on one switchblade against an embassy. Jack Bauer might be behind him.
    Good to see you back. I hope the lyric challenge didn’t cause you too much grief.
    Nice job again!


    • I was slightly worried about crossing the line with vengeful violence, as it seems to be a daily occurrence anymore. But like you, I was on the side of the wielder. Not that violence is ever a solution, but I made sure to mention he’d been working for 29 years, implying that instead of enjoying his retirement, he was dumped unexpectedly. I’m really glad you enjoyed it!


    • Yeah, I figured the character didn’t have much else to lose. It can be dangerous when we don’t have lives outside of work. Thank you so much for reading, and I apologize for the delayed reply. I responded a few days back, but there must have been a glitch!


  2. The powerlessness of the people against bureaucracy. I enjoyed this.
    One little niggle though – I’m not sure about centring the text – for me, it makes the story much harder to read. I’ve seen it done on a few blogs here and there and find it distracting. It’s ok for a short poem, but for a piece of prose it distorts it somehow. What say you? Am I right or am I just a moany old bag?
    Nice to see you back – whether you agree with me or not 🙂


    • Hello! Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. You know, I went back and forth with the alignment. I ended up centering it because when I had it aligned left, it put a couple of words on a separate line, and I felt like they lost their power. I honestly wasn’t happy about centering it, because I agree, it’s more appropriate for poems. I’m sure there would have been a magical solution to this; yet, I’m not tech savvy enough to be aware of it! Thank you so much, again for reading, for taking the time to share your thoughts, and for the wonderful welcome back! 🙂


  3. Dear Artful,

    There is a phrase- “You must vote with your feet” – often used when an individual complains about an organization they belong to. In this case your protagonist is voting with a switchblade. I wonder of the Embassy will get the point.




    • Dear Doug,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing such intriguing thoughts. I’m less likely to vote with a switchblade. Walking out without causing ripples is my modus operandi- which isn’t quite as satisfying as the switchblade.

      Thanks again,


    • Thank you so much for reading, and it’s unfortunate that that saying is quite true anymore. Though, there are still places that value people. Sometimes, we have to be a little crafty searching for them.


    • Susan, I really appreciate you reading and leaving such thoughtful feedback for me to contemplate. While I was initially hoping my character might be able to convince them to reconsider his dismissal, I also realize that such outcome seems rather unlikely. I suppose he felt he had nothing else to lose.


    • Yes, it’s somewhat rash. Let’s hope he doesn’t actually use the knife. Maybe he realizes that it isn’t the best way to express his anger, and he goes to get ice cream instead. :)Thank you so much for reading!


  4. Hi 🙂 He sounds like he’s had enough and had a mental ‘break’ because of it all…. I guess many, many feel that way at times…

    I want to share a post with you. She [Lauren Sapala] is great at giving advice for writers and when I read this I thought you too might like to read some of her brilliance as she speaks to all of us who are trying hard in this writing game. So here’s the url:….

    ….. The title of the post is “How to Measure Your Own Magic” and it speaks so accurately as well as being a positive enforcement. 🙂


    • Thank you so much for reading, Victoria! Also, a major thanks for sharing the article and the support. When I saw the title, I knew it’d be a winner. I just glanced at the article a second ago to see if it was short enough for me to sneakily read at work, and just the part “If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, even a Nobel Prize will only reassure you for a very short period of time,” caught my eye, and I teared up a little because it’s so comforting to know I’m not alone here. I just wanted to express my deepest gratitude before I read it. You’re awesome, and I sincerely appreciate you lifting me up! 🙂


  5. Didn’t it feel awesome once you hit Publish? Then… you realized the hesitation to post was so silly, right? Yeah……… me too 🙂

    Way to come back strong! My favorite thing about your fiction is that the concepts are very outside the box & unique. As I’m new to fiction – I feel like I tend to gravitate towards the obvious – I admire your broad rage of ideas!

    So happy you’re back!


    • Thank you so much for saying such kind things about my writing. They’re much appreciated, as often times, I look back on my stories and think, “I could’ve done so much better.” I struggle with falling into the obvious, and I think that’s a very common occurrence. Honestly, it’s not necessarily a terrible thing either because we all have unique stories to tell. What matters is that we tell our own, for ourselves. When I see these prompts, I usually dismiss the first three ideas that come to mind because I want to throw in something a little unexpected. I still struggle to believe you’re fiction newbie because your stories are so richly evocative and flow so well. They’re artfully crafted and don’t show any signs of trepidation or struggle. You need to give yourself more credit! But you know this! 🙂
      You’re absolutely right. The tension before publishing again was silly once I finally got it out there. See, we understand each other!


    • lol Well thank you. This amazingly talented and fabulous friend of mine suggested I fool around with Pic Monkey, and it just kind of happened. It feels more personal now, and I think it fits better. It’s nice to know that someone else likes it! 😛


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