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Lamps On, Screens Off (flash fiction)

March 29, 2013

Another time with the Friday Fictioneers, and a thank you to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for posting these prompts!

Oil lamps

“All right, everyone, listen up!”

Three heads turned toward Mom, then to the flames in glass vases.


“What, are those antique flashlights?”

“They’re oil lamps,” Dad said.

“Didn’t they kill whales for oil?”

“Yes, they did,” Mom said. “We’re going for a weekend without electronics. Time to unplug.”


“You’re kidding, right?”

“Not at all,” Mom said. “We’ll have good, old-fashioned fun.”

“They had fun in the old days?”

“Of course they did, you dope. They just killed more whales back then.”

“We’re not killing whales,” Dad said. “We’re gonna play games and tell stories.”

The two kids groaned.


Story copyright Dave Williams

Photo copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

41 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2013 7:11 am

    I like this. It fits in well with the “No power hour” from last week as well. I like the bit of history you put in there about killing whales for oil. Also the kids going without electronics … nowadays I think the adults couldn’t do it either 😆

    Great story. If you are interested, I will be starting a new blog this weekend using photos that I have taken as prompts for stories.

    • March 29, 2013 2:54 pm

      I’m sure I wouldn’t easily go for long without electronics… that urge to check for emails and want to post more stuff on my blog!

      Cool idea for your new blog of photo prompts. What’s the blog name/URL? I’d like to check it out…

      • March 29, 2013 3:41 pm

        Still not decided on that yet. Will have done by tomorrow

  2. March 29, 2013 7:38 am

    LOL – we need props even to have fun, it would seem.

    Yet, as a kid I recall story-time by grandpa – what a treat!

    Nice tale and almost all in dialogue. Enjoyed it.

    • March 29, 2013 2:52 pm

      Story time is a wonderful thing. My wife and two daughters have enjoyed a game where three people name a person, place, or thing — and then the fourth person comes up with a story that has to include each of the things mentioned. It’s led to many crazy stories and laughs.

  3. March 29, 2013 7:55 am

    very nice, fun, clean writing style. And a very nice spin on the pic. I like. Randy

  4. March 29, 2013 8:58 am

    How could they possibly have had fun before electronic gadgets?! Flames in glass vases and antique flashlights – very funny 🙂

    • March 29, 2013 2:50 pm

      And there’s still a ton of imaginative fun to be had. Thanks for reading!

  5. March 29, 2013 9:56 am

    More families need to do this. It’s a great way to get to know each other. Nice dialog through out, rings true. Wonderful work.

  6. March 29, 2013 11:39 am

    Maybe a story or two about killing whales….that will get them groaning even more. Nice job with the voices…the dialogue sounded real.

    • March 29, 2013 3:03 pm

      Thanks! I really enjoy writing dialogue, so I’m grateful it came across well.

  7. March 29, 2013 11:58 am

    The ‘like’ button on here didn’t work. Liked this story.

    • March 29, 2013 3:02 pm

      Hmmm.. not sure why the like button didn’t work for you… but thanks for leaving the nice comment!

  8. March 29, 2013 1:36 pm


  9. March 29, 2013 1:43 pm

    Funny! We do this to our kids sometimes, just to see the panic on their faces 😀

  10. March 29, 2013 2:15 pm

    What’s wrong with these kids! I’d love something like that.. Oh wait! I’m not a kid..
    Sweet story.

  11. March 29, 2013 3:23 pm

    Oh yes! Story time, I enjoy spinning tales but get similar reactions from the girls of mine!

  12. March 29, 2013 4:59 pm

    Lovely, sweet story. And let me tell you I think about unplugging often. It’s very tempting.

  13. March 29, 2013 6:18 pm

    I live in an area which loses power frequently: first three days of camping out are kind of fun–fourth day on, no fun at all.

  14. March 30, 2013 3:34 am

    The concept of fun has changed over time, hasn’t it? a very practical and realistic story

  15. March 30, 2013 7:26 am

    Great story! I love how it is nearly all dialogue – but all the characters come across really well. I’d suggest we should all do go with electricity for a while, but how would we contribute to Friday Fictioneers….?

  16. March 30, 2013 7:43 am

    I think Mom and Dad need to explain that no whales were killed in the making of this oil! I think they’ll have fun.


  17. March 30, 2013 9:30 am

    I’d groan too, but it seems like a good idea. Nice use of the prompt!

  18. March 30, 2013 9:38 am

    Loved it! Very realistic dialogue!

    P.S. my cable and wifi experienced outages recently, and I was actually forced to find other entertainment–poor me! I read more books than I thought possible, including several authors I hadn’t read before. It was enlightening. Can’t believe how technology-dependent I’d become!

    • March 31, 2013 5:38 am

      Thanks for stopping by! I like that you caught up on reading with the power outages — certainly a nice way to spend that time away from electronics. I’ve also become very dependent on electronics, for my job and fun stuff like blogging!

  19. March 30, 2013 10:27 am

    I spend vacations every year away from electricity and communication coverege. interesting to observe how people transform. Telling stories, playing cards and reading, yes you can have fun without electricity

    • March 31, 2013 5:39 am

      Sounds like a great idea for vacations, to take a break from many things in your normal life. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. March 30, 2013 3:37 pm

    “They had fun in the old days?” I love that line

  21. March 31, 2013 6:07 am

    Dear Dave,
    What? No electricity? No computer? No dishwasher? You radical! Fun take on the prompt with believable dialogue.

  22. March 31, 2013 12:05 pm

    You’re right, though our approach was different, our story ideas were very similar. Great minds think alike! ha Loved the line, “They had fun in the old days?” Ron

  23. March 31, 2013 9:33 pm

    story time with my parents?? *groans* lol no actually, the thought scares me haha though i’m pretty sure this stuff works in other households ^^
    “They had fun in the old days?” lol ^^ great story.

  24. April 1, 2013 2:32 am

    Good one!

  25. April 1, 2013 8:38 pm

    Very close to Ron’s story, except this one is parent’s driven. It’s hard to miss what you don’t have. And as my mother said about the depression, “Everyone else was in the same boat.”

  26. April 2, 2013 8:51 am

    Three cheers for good, old fashioned game playing! Great story.

  27. April 3, 2013 3:33 pm

    I love the simplicity of this. So very realistic too, very well done. Thanks so much for stopping by mine

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