Flicked Off

“Doug’s Watch” by Vandy Massey

Flicked Off

He collected pocket watches and was a real bastard.

His wife–a widow before they married–always sighed- oh he just likes to have things his own way–until she woke to a too-loud tinkle of glass.

Turned out to be a woman in khaki, boxing up her medicine cabinet for the moving van.  (From Mayflower she was; name of Nina.)

The wife, discovering then he’d left her, sat, shocked, back on the bed.

I would like to say he’d snored but she never really recovered.

She was a proud woman, vanity part of her make-up.

Only it was a made-up vanity–sure, she moued in mirrors–dimples deep as a wink–pivoted with hand on hip when she tried on clothes, liked shoes–but the truth was she just couldn’t feel herself without feeling pretty; and she could not feel pretty unless a man thought so; and though she’d smile, laughing, at just about any stubbled nod–it had to be a man of worth to give her worth, for she’d been poor, young, her first husband sick for years, and nothing makes a warm soft glow like gold.

He gave no reason for leaving, though he’d never given much.  Not even one of the many many pocket watches.

Then she, amazingly quickly and well before her time, just wound down.

So sad–she, a kind person, despite the posing, never speaking ill of anyone, and with the cutest smile.


I don’t know exactly what flash fiction is but here’s an attempt for Grace’s prompt on With Real Toads to write something (a poem or flash fiction less than 250 words) responding to the wonderful watercolors of Vandy Massey.  More of Vandy’s wonderful work can be seen at With Real Toads and on Vandy’s website.  Sales of her work support a military charity called Care for Casualties.     

My apologies to Doug–whose watch this is a painting of, according to Vandy’s title.  

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14 Comments on “Flicked Off”

  1. Brian Miller Says:

    rather bittersweet character you created in her k. some interesting transitions in this from the snoring to never recovering…to her need of identity in others…

    i have a pocketwatch, a railmans watch of my grandfathers.

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    The opening is so lifelike–how many times have you heard someone make excuses like that for their spouse–whom they suffer more from than anyone. Very lifelike portrait here, with the watch works being a rather nifty metaphor for relationship and even life itself. Or so I read. I would think someone who preferred clockwork to people might indeed be a bit of a bastard, though I usually prefer dogs to people, so who am I to talk? ;_)

  3. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    You have told a whole story in 250 words – with great characterization and a tragic conclusion. No mean feat.

  4. claudia Says:

    oh heck… amazing work on carving out the characters here… really love the images and how you make me feel her… sad how she depends so much on what others think of her… we all do in a way though..

  5. Sumana Roy Says:

    a neat story in so few words!

  6. I think as character description goes this is just excellent.. the smile and mirrors.. what she really is never shown.. might the reason be there… and yes to me it’s flashfiction… waking up to having the furniture being moving away… that’s something.

  7. Brendan Says:

    Flash fiction happens without the need of intricate cabling. It helps that the subject’s mind has lost hers. So it’s all happening in kaleidoscopic fashion, all and nothing at once. A long love vanished. Only the mirror has possession of a life. And she with all the watches run out of time.

  8. Grace Says:

    What a story K ~ This part struck me most as this tells me the trajectory of her life:

    Then she, amazingly quickly and well before her time, just wound down.

    Thanks for linking up to Sunday’s challenge K ~ I used the watch too for my story, smiles ~

  9. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    It reads like a prose poem to me.

  10. coalblack Says:

    Oh way to go, Karin, you broke my heart with this one. Such a detailed story in so short a space. Marvelously done, girl.

    ps–I think of Pearl every time I come here. Hi, Pearl! (I know she can hear.)

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Thanks, Shay. I think of her a lot too of course. Her grave is now deep with snow, and you know, I worry about the cold. But what can you do–Thanks. k.

  11. janehewey Says:

    I am amazed at what you have accomplished here. Your characters are clearly drawn. And she, like one of his watches in the end.

    will be back later for more in-depth response.

  12. dougshaw Says:

    Hi there – this is Doug, of Doug’s watch fame 🙂

    Thanks for writing your story – I enjoyed reading it.

    In case you are interested, the watch was only mine for a brief period of time. It belonged to my Dad, and after he died…

    Well – here is the story of the watch.


    Cheers – Doug

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