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#AtoZchallenge #flashfiction: V for Vagrancy had always been his calling…

As part of the A to Z Challenge,  through the month of April I’ll be posting a story a day based on photographs by Joseph T. Richardson and prompts given to me by blog-friends.

Writing prompt: Vagrancy had always been his calling…

Provided by: Mary Wallace, friend, fellow blogger, and one of the Magnificient Seven of #TeamDamyanti


Vagrancy had always been his calling

#atozchallenge: Vagrancy had always been his calling

         He turned to look at me so I shoved him and said, well, go on, or you’ll never catch the bus.

  He used to go to library and brought books home, about big words like space and time and how to write well by hand and fancy painting stuff, bright melty things drawn by a madman, Picasso he said the painter was, a yellow-billed toucan postcard stuck in one of them, from Peru, look Grandpa! All useless watchammacallits I wanted put in the burning barrel, but didn’t cos I wanted no library fine. 

         He wanted to learn hoity toity words like Shakespeare, Wildlife, Investment. Vagrancy had always been his calling, he said at dinner one day, he felt like a loser. I later sneaked a look in the word-book his dead grandma given him to reckon what he said.

I could tell him what he needs to learn.

       Tell him he’s not a loser. He’s lucky, not like his Ma who died giving birth to him, or his Da whose car crashed into a truck ten years ago and all that sod’s done is drool ever since. That I might be an old hillibilly but I fed him since he was small, cute as a bug’s ear, and saved enough he could take a bus to city. He’s young and healthy, not like this old coot.

          That we’re all stories, city, town, country, no matter, and stories begin and end, all pretty much the same. The middle is different, but all said and done, the middle don’t mean diddley squat.

           No schoolhouse would teach him that. I could tell him, but young un’s they’re stout as mules. He’ll learn with years, way I did.

           I shoved him once more, and turned back as he walked to the bus stop.


Are you taking part in the A to Z challenge? Do you read or write fiction? Ever write based on a prompt? Are you a parent? If you are, what did this story make you think about?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Loved the voice… and the sense of poignancy… and the touches of cynicism in the name of love… 🙂

  • Mou Mishra says:

    It is the reality, our existence is in between our birth and death. In fact, this is what I too believe that’s why I’m sort of detached to many things. Am I happy without those? Yes, I’m very much.

  • Peter Nena says:

    “That we’re all stories, city, town, country, no matter, and stories begin and end, all pretty much the same. The middle is different, but all said and done, the middle don’t mean diddley squat.”
    The narrator is no fool, but in a rustic, timeworn fashion. He should let the boy read, though.

    • Damyanti says:

      lol, he’s sending the boy to the city to read, Peter, though he believes that reading won’t bring the boy much good. 🙂

  • mgm75 says:

    Hindsight is always a great thing but I believe that if you don’t make the mistakes you have made, you wouldn’t be the person that you are. A good introduction to your blog for me. Looking forward to reading more like it 🙂

  • Enjoyed this story, Damyanti. You really got the voice of the old grandfather. Well done.
    Nearly there with your A-Z challenge. Well done with that too.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and ‘liking’ my wee poem about editing.

  • Pat Hatt says:

    Age comes knowledge and aches and pains lol

  • Susan Kane says:

    Flash fiction is dear to my heart. Precise words, setting characters, and establishing the scene–all in a short slice of the pie.

  • it’s amazing….

  • Lucy says:

    This was my favorite paragraph … “That we’re all stories, city, town, country, no matter, and stories begin and end, all pretty much the same. The middle is different, but all said and done, the middle don’t mean diddley squat.” Beautiful!

    I love writing prompts. They push me to places I haven’t been able to venture to on my own.

  • Even though this character seems cynical, I felt the love in his words, his care, and his love of stories and his younger charge.

  • “That we’re all stories…” I like that line. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way to realize and appreciate what the older generation was talking about. You certainly painted a pretty story that compliments the illustration.

  • Rajlakshmi says:

    Time is the best teacher, harsh but enlightening. I am a fan of your story telling.

  • sdneeve1 says:

    Even through cynicism loves finds a way. Nicely written. 🙂

  • Birgit says:

    Great Story and I have a wonderful visual about the drooling man:) How I remember catching the bus

  • I’m torn. I need more of the story to decide.

  • mcrohio says:

    Love V. It “aches”. Look forward to more of your writing! Heading off to explore of your site. Mary at Variety, the Spice of Life

  • Basic, down to earth, love in its finest form. At least this one didn’t twist your insides like the burning one!!!

  • Tracy says:

    We all need tough love. Great story. Yes, a to z-ing! Have a great weekend!

  • I always get a little thrill when I get to the part where the prompt becomes clear. It’s like the anticipation of–I wonder how they’ll use it?–to–SO COOL I NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF THAT. 🙂
    In response to your question, yes I have written based on a prompt! I’m doing a writing blog with my sister where we give each other prompts ( I usually avoid linking directly, but it’s not my primary blog so you can’t click straight through.) I think writing prompts are bomb.

  • Nice. You’ve got so much character in this piece. I’ve written from prompts in the past, but it’s been a long time. I’ve got so many projects and deadlines that I just can’t find the time to fit anything else in. =)

    True Heroes from A to Z

  • Ahh, the wisdom of age and hindsight… another great post…

  • ccyager says:

    Thanks, Damyanti, for liking my last post at Anatomy of Perceval. I enjoyed this post. Great idea to ask for writing prompts from your readers. What a great way to exercise the writing muscles! Keep up the great work…..

  • Loni Townsend says:

    The voice was really fun in this one.

  • Another great post, Damyanti, with a different character every time!

  • What a depressing thought – we’re all born and we all die. What happens in between means nothing. How sad it must be to be so jaded and cynical. Superb post again.

    • Damyanti says:

      I think if youth had this cynicism, we might make better choices. I find it depressing the way we scatter away our youth, believing that the middle will be forever, and the end would never come. I don’t remember who said it, but the saddest bit is that by the time we achieve wisdom, we’re rarely in a position to use it.

  • littlecely says:

    This was very nice. I love how the writing style fit the narrator. A loving Grandpa. =)

  • Harliqueen says:

    What a great piece, always need that someone pushing us to keep going 🙂

  • Shine Kapoor says:

    I use to struggle to catch my school bus, and now I am dot on time in office. Nice Post!

  • Rosie Amber says:

    With age comes wisdom!