Dysfunctional (Friday Fictioneers, May 2012)

This week’s photo prompt from Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers.

Dysfunctional

Mother papered over the cracks in her family – appearances were important, she said.

She wouldn’t recognise that my sister was a thieving whore, and when she ran off with someone else’s husband, mother said it was a phase she was going through.

My brother was a sadistic psychopath, but mother said he was highly strung.

She’d no problem recognising me for what I was though;  plain, inadequate, a convenient drudge.  And said so.

Often.

So when the time came, I had no problem papering over her existence.

The cubbyhole had been there for years; it was a simple enough matter.

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin'. Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to Dysfunctional (Friday Fictioneers, May 2012)

  1. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    Your MC has a solid voice, no doubt tempered by years of enduring her mother’s acid tongue, and weaves a convincing tale of an acrimonious and delusional family. The final solution of the narrator will ease their lives somewhat, but the bad seed was sown long ago, took root, and now flourishes in them all. A grim portrait painted with an unflinching eye for detail. i hope none of them have children.

    I am also intrigued by what other stellar stories we’re going to see inspired by the photo. Yours got us off to a great start.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for commenting Doug. I’ve certainly enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far, and as ever, there’s been plenty for me to Google (including some of your references). :)

      Like

  2. Madison Woods says:

    Propriety is a word I love because I hate what it does to people, but admire how stealthy it is. Wow, your story sure dredged up some strong feelings in me. Great job!

    Like

  3. A truly dysfunctional family. The narator’s cool and detached attitude sent goosebumps all over me. You captured the essence of the story very well. Mine is here: http://readinpleasure.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/fridayfictioneers-lost-without-you/

    Like

  4. Fantastic, nothing less.

    Like

  5. Nicely done, as usual, Sandra, and a little different for you, I think. Shades of Alfred Hitchcock. The wallpaper image/idea was perfectly realised. Here’s mine: http://repuestodelatabla.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/friday-fictioneer-100-word-srory-parents/

    Like

  6. Judee says:

    Excellent, well written and such a perfect tone of voice. So simple, really, I guess mom taught well about papering over things… ;)

    Like

  7. Brandon Scott says:

    You nailed it with the title. Although, dysfunctional families seem to be the norm nowadays. It’s a shame, really.

    http://authorbrandonscott.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/this-old-house/

    Like

  8. Linda says:

    We’ve all been there, in the relationships which paper over the cracks and this was a fantastic insight into just what could happen if something were taken far enough. Excellent :-)

    Here’s mine: http://womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/05/03/friday-fictioneers-a-wall-to-keep-a-secret/

    Like

  9. Brandon Scott says:

    Great story! You nailed it with the title. Although, dysfunctional families seem to be the norm nowadays. It’s a shame, really.

    http://authorbrandonscott.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/this-old-house/

    Like

  10. Gary says:

    Your title couldn’t be more true! Such a lovely family… ;)

    Mine is nearly 200 words this week:

    http://garybaileywriting.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/175/

    Like

  11. rich says:

    you can’t choose your family, but you can choose to paper over them.

    http://brainsnorts.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/54-friday-fictioneers-by-madison-woods/

    Like

  12. Jess Schira says:

    Something tells me her siblings should be a little worried. Very nice bit of writing.

    http://whimsicalquestsofacuriousmind.blogspot.com/2012/05/may-4th-friday-fictioneers-youre-insane.html

    Like

  13. sue Cottrill says:

    Ah justice

    Like

  14. rainang says:

    wonder what in herself that she papered over..am sure she wasn’t just plain.

    Like

  15. Joanna Gawn says:

    I agree with Jess, her siblings should be making a run for it! Coldly calculating.

    This photo is stacking up the dead bodies – what *has* Madison done!?!

    http://www.lazuli-portals.com/flash-fiction/old-wallpaper

    Like

  16. JKBradley says:

    I think what you captured here is the norm; the facade for show covering the truth. But then, what (which) is the truth?

    Here’s mine: http://thebradleychronicles.wordpress.com/

    Like

  17. unspywriter says:

    Wow, so many of us have gone for the “wall up the loved one” theme, and they’re all unique and great reads.

    Thanks for the comment on mine.

    Like

  18. siobhanmuir says:

    Wow, nicely done, Sandra. I got the patient and determined anger. The frustration and then the solution. Dark and I loved it. Well done. :)

    Like

  19. janpoulton says:

    Excellent and so powerfully chilling is so few words. I think the moral here is ‘Never take anyone for granted’ Loved it !!

    Like

  20. Kris Kennedy says:

    I like the powerful, flat tone in the POV…the first line, to me, was great…set the cynicism and tone.

    Here is mine: http://integrativethought.wordpress.com

    Like

  21. KT McClure says:

    SHRIEK! In the best possible way.

    I’m at:

    http://notforallmarkets.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/the-beholder/

    Like

  22. Another deliciously written vendetta! Well done! I loved it!

    Mine: http://www.vlgregory-circa1800.vpweb.com/blog.html

    Like

  23. teschoenborn says:

    This piece is one of my favorites so far. You say so much between the lines and I love that.

    Here’s mine: http://teschoenborn.com/2012/05/03/friday-fictioneers-the-gig/

    Like

  24. Sandra says:

    Thanks for commenting. Off to yours right now.

    Like

  25. Amanda Gray says:

    Good job. The MC can see the wrongs of others but is deficient in spotting her own. Mother failed to recognize the reality of her child yet again.

    Like

  26. TheOthers1 says:

    Are they wealthy or prestigious? Because that’s the vibe I get off mom. Appearances for appearances sake. Covering up problems only ever makes the problems worse. Always. Great job.

    My attempt: http://unduecreativity.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/rebuild/

    Like

  27. Funny…the ones who are the biggest trouble makers are easier to ignore and the one who is not the problem is the one the mother dumps it all on…hmmmm. Thanks for sharing.

    ~Susan (http://www.susanwenzel.com/)

    Like

  28. Once again, your writing amazes me in its perfection. I try not to be jealous and allow myself to learn from you, but this line: “Mother papered over the cracks in her family – appearances were important, she said.” Is so wonderful in the context of this prompt and your story.
    Your fan,
    Laura

    Like

  29. Harsh and sardonic, highly entertaining. The edge of truth is what gives fiction its strength.

    Like

  30. Sandra says:

    Thank you! And for dropping by.

    Like

  31. sphrbn says:

    Like the way the narrator speaks with cynical, matter-o-fact attitude. One of the best I’ve read today! Oh, and thanks for commenting on mine.

    Like

  32. This definitely puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional”. Very identifiable MC for me. We can all find a memory somewhere of being the long-suffering “good child” and yet getting shafted for it. Very well done indeed.

    Like

  33. rochellewisoff says:

    Super! I think I’ve met this family.

    Like

  34. Mike says:

    A great story Sandra.
    This is one hell of a dysfunctional family.

    Like

  35. Stacey says:

    That’s horrific! (But really well done :) )

    Like

  36. In a way, I think the mother gets what she deserves – it’s often the quiet, “normal” ones that you have to watch out for! Excellent story!! :)

    Like

  37. Michael Fishman says:

    It’s true that it’s the quiet ones we need to worry about. Another excellent story from you, Sandra.

    Like

  38. Sandra says:

    Thank you Michael; yes, still waters run deep.

    Like

  39. Russell says:

    Obviously, the MC wasn’t Mama’s pet. Covering up for the brother reminds me of the lyrics to the Warren Zevon song, “Excitable Boy.” This was a great tale from start to finish.

    Like

  40. elmowrites says:

    Very clever story here, Sandra. You tell everything in a matter of fact tone, but we can feel the venom beneath the surface.

    Like

  41. writelindy says:

    Great story Sandra. Love how you build up to the end and the feelings you portrayed were very believable.

    Like

  42. oni1138 says:

    sounds like my family!! and I DO have that little cubbyhole…

    Like

  43. Pingback: The Ties That Bind (Friday Fictioneers, June 2014) | castelsarrasin

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