Work: A Short Story

Sam climbed the ladder, his sore back muscles protesting each hand hold. It was the last tree to trim out and he’d be done. Well, at least for this season.

Down the hill, he could hear Marie calling the cow in for the night and groaned at the gathering darkness as if he were Moses and the Almighty himself might just stop the sun in the sky.

Farm chores couldn’t compare to conquering an entire Philistine army. But they were as necessary as drawing breath…least that’s what Ma always said.

Sam hacked at an overlapping limb and corrected himself—would have always said. It’s something Ma would have said.

He threw the limb into the gathering pile on the ground—evidence of growth that needed to be controlled if’n the peach crop was going to be any good at all next fall.

All in all this year hadn’t been a bad year per se. But there were only so many beets and peaches a body could eat…and there had been Ma and now, with Marie’s belly growing he knew the baby was as near as winter itself. And there wasn’t anything to make a man think about providing like a newborn baby, especially since they wouldn’t have any help from Ma.

Another limb dropped from the tree and Sam eased his way out of the bare branched tree.

Yep. It was good to work when a man had a family to feed.

Sam dragged the bundle of branches to the wagon, and watched the horizon nibble away at the last of the light over the fields. The dinner bell clanged over at the house, and Sam touched the tip of a sapling before limping home, praying that the good Lord would see fit to take care of the trees and his family…even if he’d let Sam down before.


This short story is in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Work. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing (although I can’t stop myself a little. I am an editor after all).

I was rather tempted to wax eloquently about writing and editing in this post, but this character popped into my mind and wouldn’t leave me alone. Yes, that really does happen to writers.

Sam is based on a character I’m working on right now who’s struggling with PTSD after WWII (although they wouldn’t have called it PTSD then). I absolutely adore Sam character, but where he is when I’ve been writing him is so dark and twisted. I was having a hard time seeing him before he was broken as Marie would have remembered him before the war, even if he is a little rattled with the coming responsibilities.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, I hope you enjoyed the story and recognize the struggles in Sam.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend full of wide-eyed wandering.

14 thoughts on “Work: A Short Story

    1. I’m working on it. I actually wrote 50,000 words last November for NaNoWriMo. But I needed to go back and do edits for the first book. I’m pitching that one as I do the massive rewrites for this one. I’m still struggling with where to start the story. But I think I’m getting there.

  1. Loved Sam–you can tell he has a struggle with God and his provision, but is ready to power on in faith, even though he doesn’t feel exactly equipped for fatherhood or providing.

    1. 🙂 I’m just starting to pitch my first book as I write this one. The really funny thing is that Sam changed his name as I wrote this. I know. It’s crazy and I might need psychiatric care for talking to the voices in my head. It happens. The other interesting thing is I wasn’t planning on writing in his POV. But he might have just changed that.

    1. I would LOVE your help, Andrew. I have some experience with PTSD, but it isn’t combat related. Thank you so much for the offer to help!!

    1. Mindless work is fabulous for mulling and finding fresh ideas…but I hate dishes. Gardening works for me though 🙂 Glad you liked the story.

    1. Thanks, Karrilee. I’m a novelist so stories are kind of my lifeblood. I haven’t done many yet, but using FMF for story prompts is a good way to flex my story-writing muscles. But I’ve also been known to write thoughtful narratives and poetry as well. Guess I’m just a mixed bag 🙂

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