Faulty Connector – Friday Fictioneers, January 2015

Copyright Ted Strutz

I should have listened; he’d tried to tell me, his little face pale and tense.

Games were left unplayed, prizes unpresented, trampoline untrampled; pretty triangular sandwiches curled at the edges as cream curdled on the jellies.

The cake was left untouched; the solitary guest, a little girl way off the social circuit herself, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ in a reedy voice, then blew out his candle before announcing she didn’t like cake.

“You don’t network, Eric,” shouted his father afterwards. “Try harder.”

Eric’s something big at General Electric now.

Successful…? Absolutely.

Rich…? Bet your life on it.

Hard-wired for loneliness though.

 


Freshly back from a walk along the sea-shore, it’s now time to buckle down to Friday Fictioneers.  Rochelle, belted and braced, takes the chair once again to preside over our international gathering of wordsmiths. 

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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.

70 Responses to Faulty Connector – Friday Fictioneers, January 2015

  1. Oh, so sad! I have an instant dislike of Eric’s father. Odd how the theme in yours is so similar to Rochelle’s this week, even though they’re completely different stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Sandra,

    We both seem to have started with little boys who went in unexpected directions when they grew up. I love the descriptions of his lonely birthday party. So well written as always.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  3. Can you really tell what is success these days. Can he be lonely and happy? maybe.. can he be rich and sorry? definitely. The telling of the birthday present is definitely sad, but his father’s telling of even sadder (I think part of me was that little boy actually)

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I suppose it’s the mother’s view of what constitutes a happy, well-adjusted little boy that’s the focal point in this story. I suspect he might well be ‘happy within his own skin’. Thanks for commenting Bjorn.

      Like

  4. So much being said here. Tough on the loneliness though.

    Like

  5. yarnspinnerr says:

    Kudos to Eric. He made it on his own and not through a network.
    Enjoyed this. 🙂

    Like

  6. This one touches me deeper than you could possibly know. I fear that my success and my truly hideous lack of social graces (or a desire to be a social butterfly? who knows) are directly correlated. And yes. It’s lonely.

    Like

  7. Oh, my heart aches for that little boy. This is one of my favorites of your work yet, Sandra. Deeply touching.

    Like

  8. storydivamg says:

    Dear Sandra,
    I think your story and Rochelle’s are quite different despite the topic of socially misfit little boys. Misfits come in all shapes and sizes, and both of these stories bear telling. Yours brings some comfort to the hearts of parents with socially distant children while maintaining the sense of sorrow at the lack of human interaction.

    I wonder if people like this find their situations sad. I don’t think so.

    Thanks for yet another fine tale.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I think every Mum wants their child to be popular, and every child wants to please their parents. A lot of the time it just happens naturally, other times the path is a little bit harder. Thanks for reading Marie-Gail.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. MrBinks says:

    I loved the vagueness of this. “Something big”. Very good.

    Like

  10. paulmclem says:

    Untrampled trampolines get my thumbs up. Especially when they’re in the garden next door. Good work, as ever. Looking forward to your Writers mag story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      I know; there’s a decidedly trampled trampoline next door to me. How can two kids make so much noise just jumping up and down…? And yes, I’m looking forward to the story appearing. 🙂

      Like

  11. BrainRants says:

    Three of us incorporated sons and parents so far. Odd how an electrical outlet triggers that. No Freud intended, either.

    Like

  12. The little girl you created, as socially awkward as she is, seems like the perfect guest for this sad party.

    Like

  13. Sandra – you get all the details in 100 words. Ruined sandwiches, uneaten cake, two lonely kids, an over bearing dad. Good work.

    Like

  14. Hard-wired for loneliness…cuts to the bone. What is worse, to stand out alone or to melt into the crowd, while dying of loneliness? Well done, Sandra.

    Like

  15. I think Eric and the little girl have their social awkwardness in common. Too bad they didn’t keep in touch. Alone doesn’t always equal lonely, though. Well done.

    Like

  16. Hard-wired for loneliness though….the saddest most poignant line of your story.

    Like

  17. I enjoyed this as well, but I think Eric knew the party would be a bust. I hope he meets that little girl again. Maybe he could take her out for, for… well, not cake, but something sweet. 😉

    Like

  18. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, Wonderful story and all children are different with different personalities, strengths and weaknesses. The little girl was wonderful and I’m so glad that she attended the birthday party. I dislike the father! Well done! Nan 🙂

    Like

  19. plaridel says:

    like bill gates, he probably need his mother to make the match for her. mothers know best.

    Like

  20. Very sad but so true in so many instances. I think your story makes people think about what is really important in life. It did me! 🙂

    Like

  21. latasun says:

    Its so sad.. the loneliness. I wish he could overcome his social challenges.

    Like

  22. Sandra,
    what a wonderful, painful description of the scene. Sounds like the father is clueless about kids. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had business cards made up for his son. Great story. I look forward to yours every week.
    -David

    Like

  23. Brilliant story as always to which I can totally relate. I think the Dad is trying his best in the way he knows to help his son. The sadness is that even though the son is able to find a way to successfully go through the motions, the lonely little boy inside hasn’t changed at all. And that kind of change is the toughest of all.

    Like

  24. Judee says:

    Wow, this one hit hard for some reason, So successful, but so sad, that little boy didn’t have a chance, did he? Love the last line, you always bring it home.

    I’m hoping to eventually do some FF – I just can’t seem to get any ideas from the past few pictures. But I may try one eventually. Meanwhile I enjoy reading yours, especially. 🙂

    Like

  25. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    For the record, when I read your story fresh off the press just now, not for a second did I think of Rochelle’s.

    What most struck me about yours is the way I was enveloped by your words and carried along by the flow. Your imagination is like The Big Rock Candy Mountain. I love to visit whenever I can and hate to leave whenever I have to.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

  26. draliman says:

    That’s such a sad story. I wonder if he’s happy in himself or if he’d trade it all in for a chance at a family and good friends?

    Like

  27. Good, but heartbreaking story, Sandra. The sad thing is, children might not have come because the parents were unliked by other parents. It may not have had a thing to do with the children. I remember when I taught Grade 1 one year, a mother came to me almost in tears saying her child wasn’t invited to a party some of the other children in the room were. She was a sweet person, but I could do nothing about it. These things happen. Children should never be blamed. Well done as always. — Suzanne

    Like

  28. AnnIsikArts says:

    It’s interesting how something a parent can say to a child can accidentally or otherwise, shape the child’s future. Did Eric ‘become’ the network (electricity) because his father accused him of not ‘networking’? Is that why he’s a ‘powerful’ man? Did he grow up to loneliness because his father said he would? Your tale is food for thought. 🙂

    Like

  29. Very moving story, Sandra. I hope he finds happiness one day. 🙂

    Like

  30. Subroto says:

    “Games were left unplayed, prizes unpresented, trampoline untrampled; pretty triangular sandwiches curled at the edges as cream curdled on the jellies.”

    I loved this description of his lonely birthday party, sets up the tone beautifully. Hopefully when he turned 18 and started serving alcohol there were a lot more people attending. Or maybe not.

    Like

  31. wildbilbo says:

    Nicely told, I like a melancholic tale.
    Cheers
    KT

    Like

  32. Great story. Like you I don’t read anyone else’s before doing my piece but it is funny how one picture may prompt a similar response by a few people. Sounds like an introverted child with an extroverted father. It didn’t stop him from achieving but he is still introverted. Probably gave him the necessary focus. You got it across well.

    Like

  33. Sarah Ann says:

    Oh so sad. I take it Eric’s mother is telling the story? I pity she and Eric the husband/ father they ended up with.

    Like

  34. afairymind says:

    Poor child. The father’s lack of comprehension of his son’s obviously shy nature is quite heart-wrenching. I hope grown up Eric finds someone who can to truly understand him. Having few people close to you does not have to lead to loneliness… Good story. 🙂

    Like

  35. milliethom says:

    What a sad little story. Your last line – that despite other successes as a man, Eric was hard-wired for loneliness – is understandable after being brought up by such an unfeeling parent. Beautifully written.

    Like

  36. Amy Reese says:

    Such a sad description of a party, but brilliant take on the prompt. The other side to this is the party where there are tons of kids and the birthday boy feels overwhelmed or doesn’t know his guests. I’ve been to those, too. It’s nice when these things are more organic (for lack of a better word). Well done, Sandra!

    Like

  37. erinleary says:

    Sadly sad, I hope Eric has found some way to fill the void. Nicely done, as always!

    Like

  38. Ellespeth says:

    For some of us, it doesn’t help to try to tell our parents who we are or who we hope to grow into one day. And that’s the sad part – not to be heard.

    Even though your last line makes it seem unlikely, I hope this little boy will find a mentor, later in life, who will build him up.

    Ellespeth

    Like

  39. hafong says:

    I felt lonely just reading the story! 😦

    Lily

    Like

  40. Dee says:

    Well done Sandra, a great deal said in such few words. Birthday parties can be an ordeal for young children sometimes. Well written as always.

    Like

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