Almost a Samaritan (Friday Fictioneers – November 2014)

Copyright Claire Fuller

“Wouldn’t want one in my workshop.”

“One what?” Geoff says, glancing around.

“The retard there – a liability, I’d say.”

“He’s no problem. Someone’s gotta help ‘em.”

“Better man than I am, Geoff Roper.”

“His ma begged me to give him a job; what can you do, hey?”

“You’re a push-over.”

“Way I see it, you have to do your bit. You can’t just pass them by, Hank. You can’t pretend they don’t exist.”

“You got kids, Geoff?”

“Nah, we wasn’t blessed.”

The customer leaves.

Geoff locks the door behind him.

“Let’s go, son, your ma’s got our supper ready.”

Friday Fictioneers:  100 word stories from writers around the world, brought to the table of our hostess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  Bon appetit!

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' and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to Almost a Samaritan (Friday Fictioneers – November 2014)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    I thought Geoff a tender humanitarian until that last line. A Samaritan he’s not. As always, spot on dialogue with lots to read between the lines. This story’s bound to stir emotions. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  2. What a beautiful surprise at the end. A lovely story that shows things aren’t always what they seem.

    Like

  3. It’s such a shame that he couldn’t be proud enough of his son to acknowledge him no matter what. You’ve given such a wonderful example of how short sighted people can be when viewing others and their abilities. A great piece of writing.

    Like

  4. Another gem. How you get to the heart of complex matters in so few words is nothing short of amazing to me.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I’ve been doing 100 word stories for so long now that I have something of a struggle pacing longer pieces these days. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting Barbara, hope all is well with you.

      Like

  5. Lucy says:

    Excellent ending. Lucy

    Like

  6. 😉

    Too bad he just didn’t tell the customer off.
    Who are the real retards here?
    Randy

    Like

  7. Adam Ickes says:

    Excellent story. Sad that he isn’t a bigger man though.

    Like

  8. Ouch.
    Great piece of writing, takes us along a difficult road to a brutal ending.

    Like

  9. elmowrites says:

    As always, Sandra, you give us a lot to think about with this one. I’ll admit that I wasn’t certain about a couple of the inferences until I read the comments. In particular, I wasn’t 100% sure the boy WAS his son, since “son” could be used colloquially, and the mother having the dinner ready could be a sign of a new relationship or just her gratitude. Secondly, when I decided he was the man’s son, I wasn’t certain whether the customer knew that – if they were neighbours for whom the truth was taken for granted the conversation would still make sense (although it would make the customer pretty tactless!). One suggestion would be to change the name, so the customer says “Mr Roper,” or even just “Mister”, implying less of a relationship.

    But I say these things to nitpick, I enjoyed the story and its subtlety / twist.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      OMG I hope I never have any neighbours like that, Jen. :0 It shouldn’t surprise me that so many people can read stories in different ways, but just when I think I’ve covered all the angles, someone does. And you weren’t the only one, so it’s down to me I think. I usually leave the title to the end when writing these pieces, because those few words (not in the wordcount) sometimes lend clarity. Not on this occasion. But I see your point about the woman perhaps being a new partner.

      Like

  10. Ahh, what a sad story. You should never be ashamed of your kids. You delivered a powerful story.

    Like

  11. A sad story, Sandra, and so well written.

    Like

  12. paulmclem says:

    Slightly disturbed that any man would deny being the father of his boy, no matter the issue. Not saying it wouldn’t happen, but it leaves me feeling unsettled and irked that the kind of Redneck who would act like this, might actually exist. I need to go and find some cute kitten videos on YouTube to cheer me up.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A complex story with more than one twist, Sandra, and one in which no one except the son comes off well. “Thought-provoking” would be an apt description.

    janet

    Like

  14. storydivamg says:

    Great story, Sandra. I feel for Geoff and understand why he wouldn’t want to tell that particular customer who the help is. Great dialogue. This story rings tragically true.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Like

  15. Wow. You are very good at tugging at the heart strings and then bashing the reader over the head! Keep it up 🙂

    Like

  16. misskzebra says:

    I agree with Elephant, it takes a while for that ending to fully sink in, but when it hits home, the meaning is quite brutal! Very clever and subtle writing.

    Like

  17. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    I love how this story can be read a couple of different ways. Very subtle and a perfect mirror for us all, which is what every author should be happy to pull off. Your dialog was nuance and even, your pacing perfect and your ending a thought provoking twist.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I would say that the real story is more about the twisted mind of the customer than about the father and son (or whatever they are).. I hope next time Geoff manage to do something to that car of his..

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      🙂 It’s a long time since I heard the word ‘retard’ used. It’s not one we use in the UK but we probably have, or had, something equally offensive. I think things have improved now.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Amazing treatment, Sandra. To me indicative not of being inhumand, but of trying to survive in an inhumane and prejudiced world. I “felt” it was closer to being in the 50’s and suffered for all three of your characters.

    Like

  20. J says:

    Wow. Sometimes, even as adults we can’t stand up to idiots or bullies. Didn’t see that ending coming — well done.

    Like

  21. i b arora says:

    we are often unwilling to own the less fortunate, sad but often true

    Like

  22. Really powerful and lots to think about. Somehow I had some sympathy for the father – perhaps it was just the great way you wrote his character.
    Claire

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      When I tagged the piece ‘hypocrisy’ it felt like too strong a word for the character. I think he was just … well, not very brave. Thanks for reading Claire.

      Like

  23. draliman says:

    I started off thinking Geoff was such a nice chap and then you turned it all around.
    Amazing writing as ever, Sandra!

    Like

  24. Sandra, A sad story but realistic, not idealistic. There is so much that can be done to help mentally challenged children these days if parents are willing to work with them. It’s truly tragic when they have a parent or parents who are ashamed of them. They’re often loving children and it must be profoundly hurtful. As usual, a well-written story. — Susan

    Like

  25. Sad story. That’s the way it, I expect. Well done.

    Like

  26. helenmidgley says:

    That was masterfully done 🙂

    Like

  27. My mouth hung open at that last line. Good job.

    Like

  28. Lovely story. You kept me going right up to the surprise ending Kudos!

    Like

  29. rgayer55 says:

    I think the kid was a retread, not a retard. After all, both his parents were tires, right? Oops, that’s Perry’s story. My bad.

    Like

  30. Maree Gallop says:

    Wow, that story certainly stirred my emotions. A good samaritan he ain’t! Well written with great dialogue.

    Like

  31. plaridel says:

    nice dialogue you have here. 🙂

    Like

  32. I’m still mulling “Nah, we wasn’t blessed.” and thinking, :Good thing!”

    Like

  33. You got me. My heart did a massive lurch there at the end. Here i was thinking how admirable Geoff was 😦 never the less, Beautiful piece of emotional writing.

    Like

  34. high five and raspberries says:

    Ouch! The father is nearly as shameful as the foul mouthed visitor. Irks me that he would deny his own son by omission. There is no such thing as a “retard” .. the word was invented by narrow minded arses to describe anyone who fell short of their perceived perfection. Well written and provocative. Certainly stirred up my coals 🙂

    Like

  35. wildbilbo says:

    Very clever – led down that line of charity, with a twist to forced obligation at the end.

    Good stuff.
    KT

    Like

  36. Sandra, that last line is so heartbreaking and so ironic. I swear, you knock them out of the park every week. Wonderful job.
    -David

    Like

  37. Ellespeth says:

    Sad – for both the father and the son. Moving and revealing piece, Sandra…
    Ellespeth

    Like

  38. MrBinks says:

    Eeesshhh that was a tough one to read at the end! (But brilliantly told.) Well done again, mrs!

    Like

  39. Great story as always. I can read it two ways: 1) The boy is Geoff’s son whom he doesn’t want to acknowledge or 2) Geoff adopted him but doesn’t want anyone to know that. Sure, it’s probably No.1 but I kinda like No. 2 better.

    Like

  40. Sadly, I imagine this is not fiction in all homes. Really well told, Sandra. Your twist this week was smoothly delivered!

    Like

  41. Margaret says:

    Poor family. I feel for the father – he’s just not up to the whole task, I believe. You show his love and kindness for his son and allow the reader to see the whole picture, not just the failure.

    Like

  42. Sarah Ann says:

    What a nice and generous man, not. I suppose I could go with the ambiguity of the last line and read ‘son’ as a term of affection. I wonder if Geoff will ever regret denying his son. Great reveal in that last line.

    Like

  43. The last line turns this from a heart warmer to a much crueler piece. Good story

    Like

  44. wmqcolby says:

    Geoff is SO in denial. Super story, love that dialogue with the tasty English idiom we Americans can never duplicate. 😉 Really good, Sandra!

    Like

  45. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, This is a wonderful story! I hate it that he would deny his own son so as not to be embarrassed? What a horrible father! Great story Sandra – you are a top notch author! Nan 🙂

    Like

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