L for Labour Like You Don’t Need Money: #atozchallenge Fiction

 Today’s picture prompt and story starter (in bold at the beginning of the story below) came in from Michelle Wallace.
 Labor like you don’t need money, Father said as he did every time Rob worked in the yard, That will bring you true happiness, my boy.
I already labor like I don’t expect nothing, muttered Rob under his breath. The air smelled of dying lichen. It was a wonder Father did not hear him in the stillness of the hills.
Each autumn weekend, Father and Rob would crush the fallen, dry leaves as they walked, Father’s gaze sizing up the best oaks to cut, Rob’s eyes lowered on his boots dragging over the gravel. Father slid his arm on Rob’s shoulder. His hard hand stroked Rob’s back, rubbed over the pockets at the back of his fitted jeans, To be young again, my boy, I would give anything for such pleasure.

As usual, Rob flinched, but this time he felt a pulse of hope. Maybe it would work if he asked permission to go for a weekend out camping with the boys right now. Father was always in a generous mood when he talked of pleasure.  
Work is worship, Father replied instead, handing him a pair of ratty old gloves that did nothing to save his hands from blisters, Get to work, and no breaks till lunchtime. And remember, happiness, my boy! Look alive! He strode out with a crackle of dead leaves under his feet.
Rob got rid of his jacket, set to work.  
 I’m happy, he said with each stroke, his arms straining as he lifted the hatchet, One day I’ll be truly happy, he continued as he brought it down. The day it is your head right here Father, he said, setting the next log for splitting, that day I would labor like I need nothing else.

A to Z Stories of Life and Death
If you liked this story you might like some of the stories I wrote for my A to Z last year

As a co-host, I end with A to Z Challenge  reminders:
1. Turn off your word verification. It helps no one. You may moderate comments for a while if you’re unsure.
2. In your comment id, link only to your AZ blog, NOT your profile which may have 5 other blogs. 
 3. Leave a link to you when you comment.
4. Comment when you visit blogs. Start visiting with the blog below you on the linky list.
5. Make it easy for people to follow your blog and follow you on social media.

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

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Add Yours
  1. Damyanti

    Thanks everyone, again, for the time you took to comment on the piece.

    The boy was abused by Father, and I just let the undercurrents remain as they are, to be guessed at bythe reader—I guess when (if) I come back to it again, I'll try and decide if I was too subtle (as Isabella pointed out)

  2. DJ

    This one describes the generation gap very aptly…be it chopping woods or other things kids don't like to be forced at.
    Hope the kid's last thoughts were a mere expression of his anger and frustration and he didn't actually mean them!

  3. michelle

    Great job Damyanti!
    I've always maintained that good, honest, hard work never killed anybody… but your piece lends a twisted meaning to that philosophy!

  4. Masquerade Crew

    The first thing that struck me is that you aren't using quotation marks. I wonder why.

    Visiting for the A to Z Challenge. We're doing guest post writing tips.

  5. bruce


    i had to read it twice…

    and even knowing the ending, i was still chilled at the end…

    i always say "no one ever said on their deathbed, i wish i had worked one more day, and just a little bit harder"

  6. rch

    Yes chilling indeed. Reminds me of a drunk that taught the one creative writing class I ever took, he made hints of attraction to young boys – gross.

    Great writing!!

  7. Sue McPeak

    Labor lessons for no pay…hard ones to learn especially when the payoff is given and taken as punishment and bitterness….or at least that's my take. I'm sure there's more one could read into the ending. Well done.

  8. Linda Sherwood

    OK, your story made me worry. I live in northern Michigan and cutting and stacking wood is a family exercise. Of course, we have a mechanical log splitter, so it should be OK.

    My husband is excellent at chopping wood. There is a style to it that involves sliding the hands to get maximum impact. If you do it well, you can also do really good at those hammer games at fairs.