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In an afternoon

July 19, 2021

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s challenge.

July 15, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the word meltdown. You can use it to describe an event or emotional reaction. You can create a new meaning or explore the word origin. You can Go where the prompt leads!

In an afternoon

Business is slow. You’re not one to argue so when Colby tells you to take the afternoon you listen.

At the park you take a bench by the lake. You read, toss peanuts to pigeons. You doze.

Waking, you look around, get your bearings. You see Colby about 20 yards away, on a bench perpendicular to yours. His back is to you. He leans left and you see your wife. You see her laugh; touch his cheek.

You see them kiss.

Your wife. Your job. Your boss.

A life lost in an afternoon.

The meltdown happens in the car.


11 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2021 8:05 am

    Restraint, tensely ordered unfolding of the sequence of your words well- matched to the event & meltdown in the scene. Wow!! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. July 19, 2021 9:01 am

    Joe Cocker…his Mad Dogs and Englishmen LP was one of my old favorites. Dang. Your wife and your boss…

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 19, 2021 12:13 pm

      Not my wife and boss, just my imagination. Yeah, Mad Dogs and Englishmen was a great album and one I still listen to today. As much as I like Joe Cocker, it was Leon Russel who stole the show for me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 19, 2021 12:17 pm

        No, no…I know it was your imagination. Which is pretty darn great, by the way. Leon definitely stole the show!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. July 19, 2021 11:25 pm

    Oh no! Let’s hope this character gets themselves on a better path now they’ve seen the truth. A meltdown can be relieving and revealing. No more boring afternoon shifts for sure. Damn that Colby. Great take on the prompt, Michael!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. July 20, 2021 10:39 pm

    Michael, that’s such an effective use of second-person POV. It puts us in the story to feel the moment of shock. We are witness to the triggering meltdown that then happens in private. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. July 22, 2021 2:45 am

    Oh dear, how awful for this poor man.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Meltdown « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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