Perception is a funny thing. Some of you will look at that photo and find yourself transported back in time. Maybe you’ll remember a quiet moment spent with your father in a donut shop. I know, because for the first twenty something years of my life that is what I would have seen.
More specifically I would have remembered a quiet Sunday morning with my dad. It is springtime, the snow has finally melted and the sun has graced us all again with his bright, beautiful presence. Dad and I have just finished a long hike and have decided to celebrate with donuts and coffee. I park the car in front of the Dunkin Donuts on Passamore Boulevard and we walk in.
Passamore holds a special place in my heart. It is a busy street that has a ton of shops and lots of traffic, both pedestrian and vehicles. For years mom refused to let me walk down Passamore by myself. I remember begging her to let me do it. It is on the way to school and lots of kids walk it. Those of us who don’t are called babies, but none of this bothers mom. She says to remember the line about sticks and stones, tells me that one day I’ll be old enough.
Eventually the day comes and I rejoice. I am eleven years old and I walk to school via Passamore. Dad gives me a dollar to celebrate with and I use it on an Apple Fritter in the same Dunkin Donuts that we are sitting in. This is a happy place or it was then. These days it holds a different place in my heart, one that is far darker than before.
Dad and I order two cups of coffee, his small, mine large. He tells me that one day my metabolism won’t work quite so efficiently and that my body might not appreciate all that caffeine I am injecting into it. I laugh and tell him that “I hope I die before I get old.”Â He nods his head. I don’t know if gets the reference, music isn’t his thing. For a few minutes we talk about my new job and I tell him that I miss having vacations. He laughs and tells me that I better get used to it, college is over. We talk about this and that and he mentions that he wants to take mom on a trip to Europe, says that as soon as my sisters are out of the house they’ll start traveling.
I nod my head and excuse myself to hit the john. Dad makes a crack about me aging before his eyes, not even a full cup of Joe and I am running to the bathroom. I am only in there a minute but it is one that will haunt me forever. When I come back out I see a man pointing a gun at dad. Stringy hair, dirty jacket and torn cargo pants with a gun. His back is to me. Dad never looks away from the man, but I know he knows I am there.
Dad is seated and I am worried about what might happen. I can’t stand still.Â Two quick steps and I’m airborne. I slam into him and we hit the ground.
Twenty some years later I’m seated in the same Dunkin Donuts, except this time I am in uniform. The kid I am training is in the same john I was in the day of. One day I might tell him why donuts make me cranky, but not today. He hasn’t earned the right to know. One moment in time changed everything for me and nothing will ever be the same.
Yes, another prompt for The Red Dress Club.Â This week’s prompt is simple: write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by the delicious shot. Word limit is 600.
Kenya G. Johnson April 29, 2015 at 7:58 am
Halloween candy makes me cranky – true story.
Kenya G. Johnson April 29, 2015 at 7:53 am
Jack that was excellent. I’m starting to recall that one of these such writing prompts is where we may have crossed paths. I have very little fiction on my blog though. Just 33 words here and there for Trifectra. Did you ever write for those prompts?
Jack April 29, 2015 at 5:58 pm
I don’t recall doing many short prompts, but I think I probably did one or two of them. I have a fair amount of fiction running through the blog. I enjoy doing it.
I think it helps become a better writer in general.
subWOW April 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm
Very nicely done! stealthily you draw us in…
Stacey March 27, 2011 at 6:40 am
I was NOT expecting the gunman. It seemed to be a nice memory piece, then out of nowhere, there’s this life changing moment! But I’m left with questions…Did the gunman’s gun go off? I really want to know what happens next!
Jack March 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm
Stay tuned, there just might be a sequel.
Cheryl March 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm
Hey Jack! i liked this piece. I liked the twist of him becoming a cop and being in a donut shop – and hating donuts because of the memories.
I agree with what CDG said. The first couple paragraphs don’t move the story forward. The details of the characters in Dunkie’s is really where it all begins.
Jack March 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm
I think that one of my goals is going to be to work on finding a way to hit the ground running instead of taking a few minutes to get the ball rolling.
Renee March 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm
Oh my! This is goood!
I was all relaxed reading about dad and son. Then? Adrenaline rush!
Jack March 26, 2011 at 7:49 pm
It really was fun to write. I had a bunch of ideas that I played with but this came to the forefront.
CDG March 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm
This was a great piece of fiction, the relationship between father and son is wonderfully real.
I feel like the story really starts in the fifth paragraph, and could stand strong on its own without the back story/nostalgia. The back story seems sluggish to me, and then bang! The fifth paragraph comes and it’s like–yes! here’s the narrative.
In the same spirit, I think you could cut the last sentence. “He hasn’t earned the right to know,” is a strong ending. You’ve shown us so clearly that moment. Trust us to know it changed your character!
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:13 am
I struggle with brevity- telling a back story seems natural to me- but I see what you mean. I have read it with your edits and I like it.
JR Reed March 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm
Sweet stuff Jackie boy. Sweet stuff…
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:03 am
Thank you sir.
Jessica March 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm
What a great story, you carried me right through it and I thought the whole thing was non-fiction and then I got to the end and quickly scrolled through the comments to make sure it was fiction. Great job, so believable.
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:10 am
Thanks! I like to make it hard to discern reality from fiction. I think it is fun.
JP March 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm
Jack, this was THE BEST!!!! I forgot all about the damn donut thinking and feeling life!
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:09 am
That is the kind of comment that makes a man want to keep writing- thank you.
Jennifer March 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm
Oh, Good Lord, I am so glad this is fiction and even more glad that the Dad lived! I was sure you were going to kill him off.
The relationship between the Dad and son is so real, so honest, I think that’s why the question of fiction or not came up. These lines particularly captured that. “He tells me that one day my metabolism wonâ€™t work quite so efficiently and that my body might not appreciate all that caffeine I am injecting into it. I laugh and tell him that â€œI hope I die before I get old.â€ He nods his head. I donâ€™t know if gets the reference, music isnâ€™t his thing.”
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:08 am
I used my relationship with my dad as a model. The story isn’t an exact replica, but it is close enough to provide some substance. The reference to The Who is definitely accurate.
Erica Allison March 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm
Good Lord! I was almost in tears there! Great piece of fiction, JackB! Well done.
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:07 am
Thanks so much for visiting, I am glad that you enjoyed it.
Lisa March 25, 2011 at 9:59 am
Well, I’m glad you told me to scroll all the way down to the bottom. Me and my rotten Internet Explorer 😉
Intriguing story. Side note – I love apple fritters.
I like the reflective side of this.
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:05 am
Apple Fritters are my favorite too. I am a fan of stories that are narrated, so that helps with the reflective tone.
Ashley March 25, 2011 at 9:55 am
I finally figured out how to leave a comment on here…I’m slow. Anyway, what a twist! I was expecting the dad would have a heart attack or something. Not the gun thing. Yikes! I like that he ended up working at the donut shop but would have liked to know why he did so. I love how you surprised us. Keeps us on our toes. Well done.
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:04 am
I like twists…donuts and otherwise. This was fun to write. Thank you for coming by.
Leighann March 25, 2011 at 7:35 am
Great piece jack.
Pulling us in with emotion and then keeping us locked with fear!
Jack March 26, 2011 at 11:02 am
Tracy March 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm
Guessing (hoping) fiction…this was a very engaging story, well told. All the prompt did for me was make me want to go to my hometown and engage in a donut taste test–Mighty Fine Donuts versus Donut Connection.
Jack March 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm
A donut taste test sounds like a lot of fun to me. I am all for it.
Kris March 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm
This is a fabulous piece of storytelling.
I love this. Grabbed me from the beginning. Very nice.
Jack March 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm
Thank you. Glad that you enjoyed it.
Amy Hillis March 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm
Well, my piece is about 11 year old self and a very sweet memory about Dunkin Donuts, I’m glad that’s were the similarity between our 2 stories ends. Perception is a funny thing indeed. Well written, as usual.
Jack March 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm
I look forward to reading yours. We didn’t have Dunkin Donuts in LA until a few years back. I only knew of them from trips to see family.
Crayon Wrangler March 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm
I can’t wait for your tweet forever….I don’t know if this was fiction or non-fiction, but POWERFUL is one thing is it! You carried me easily through most of it and then just body slammed my heart into the floor of that diner.
Well done Jack, well done!
Jack March 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm
Thank you. You give me more credit here than I deserve.
IzzyMom March 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm
Wow, Jack…did that really happen or is a fiction piece? I was really not expecting the gunman thing at all!
Jack March 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm
It is fiction. Just a story that I thought of. Almost tied it into a real story from college but opted to go a different direction.
Jack March 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm
It is fiction. Just a story that I thought of.