Fifty Ways

To say my dad loved to fish would be an understatement of epic proportions. As a youngster, I remember watching him put in ten to twelve hours of hard labor on the farm, then, after supper, gather his bait and tackle and head to the river for four or five hours of fishing.

After he retired, I heard a man ask him, “Pug, do you still fish as much as you used to?”

“Nah,” replied Dad. “I’ve cut down to once a day.”

Like Dad, I’ve spent a lot of time baiting my hook, but have not yet become a Master.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the leader of this shoal of mackerels is Bianca “Bubbles” Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in this exercise in madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF  Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.


Happy Halloween to friends, followers, and fellow Fictioneers. Today, I’m masquerading as a “serious” writer. I hope you find this week’s offering more of a treat than a trick.

copyright - Douglas MacIlroy
copyright – Douglas MacIlroy

Roy was mesmerized by her beauty. Her eyes, her lips, the way her body swayed so gracefully. In his eyes, Wanda exemplified perfection.

What Roy lacked in self-confidence, he made up for with low self esteem. The only thing they had in common was the school. She was near the top of the social ladder and he was a lowly bottom feeder. Why would she even give a boy like him a second look?

Weeks turned into months. Roy prayed for the courage to swim against the social current. His best friend and confidante, Mack, told him, “Don’t be so coy, Roy. Just ask her out.”

27 Comments on “Fifty Ways

  1. Dear Russell,

    Your masquerade worked until the last line. Nice tone and tempo, a perfect beginning setting the stage for the delicious ending. I nibbled, you waited. I took the bait and you set the hook. I struggled, but it was useless. Now here I am, gasping for breath along with Paul Simon and the rest of your gang as you wade confidently through the swirling waters of your river, ever ready to reel another reader into the happy, warped world you hold sway over.

    You are the Master… (no, I didn’t say it… but you thought it.) 🙂




    • Five minutes later and I’m still laughing over your comment. I think I’ll just stay an apprentice or journeyman baiter as long as possible 🙂


  2. And then, and then? As someone lacking in self-confidence but who makes up for it with low self esteem, I want to see Roy get the girl and then fade to black or at least fade to HBO or the internet. C’mon, Russell, don’t be so coy! Very well-written piece though.


  3. Hi Russell,
    Well, I had heard that you were a master baiter, but this proves it. You showed with this how often you have your pole in hand and your worm in the water. I was lured into this story and reeled in by your line. But you’re going to be disappointed when you find out I’m a trash fish. Ron


  4. Nicely done, Russell, even the smile you give us with your puns doesn’t detract from the empathy we have for Roy. But like others, I want to know, what happened next???


  5. Dear Roy,

    I saw it coming and went for the bait anyway. As always I’m hooked on your writing. Now Paul Simon’s singing in my ear. Swimmingly good.




  6. I was going to add that I once saw Paul Simon in a sushi restaurant near my apartment, but then I remembered that the restaurant was Thai. Feel free to insert a downbeat.


  7. Nice one, Russell. Perfect ending. Now humming Kodachro-o-om…I like Paul Simon, too.


  8. Well, after all those lovely comments above, what more can I say? This story of yours was so perfectly crafted, the analogy so dapper and your prose quite lovely. It may not have been your funniest, but it really was one of your best. So there. X


  9. Anything I could say after Doug’s comment — and everyone else’s, would not add one iota to the praise you deserve. I did not see it coming. I was like Dory in Finding Nemo when they were about to be eaten by the owner of that tempting, hypnotic light. Once again you have excelled in both story and introduction. I’m sure, like me, Bubbles looks forward to her new name every week 😀


  10. Serious writer? Well … maybe. Still a fun read, Russell. I’m with KZ on this. Smiles, everyone, smiles. Good story.

    My mom’s name happens to BE Wanda. Who knew?


  11. Nice set up for a lovely pun. I love the rhythm of this work. It suits both image and thought.


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