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Then Tomorrow (flash fiction)

October 17, 2013

Shopping carts by Janet M. Webb

Turning the key felt as a lock slamming in a vault. But, as Adam stared through the large window, nothing was left to steal. Beyond the for sale sign: emptiness. Something never imagined when he took over the store from Dad, who inherited it from Gramps. Then worried over when cavernous stores outside of downtown changed the landscape. Fewer shopping baskets plopped next to his cash register. Then the Web, and people filled virtual shopping carts.

Adam shook his head for the millionth time and asked, “What now?”

“Dinner,” Carla said, giving him a small smile. “Then sleep. Then tomorrow.”


Friday Fictioneers prompt given by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. For other stories inspired by this photo, click here.
Photo copyright Janet M. Webb
Story copyright Dave Williams

35 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2013 5:43 am

    Lovely one Zooky, and a thoughtful expose of the future for many shop keepers.

  2. MrBinks permalink
    October 17, 2013 6:06 am


  3. October 17, 2013 6:17 am

    Dear Dave,

    A lot of story packed into 100 words. You captured the rapidly changing world. I felt Adam’s despair and weariness. He’s fortunate to come home to Carla. Nice one.



  4. October 17, 2013 6:18 am

    Dear Zooky,

    Your story has a lot of heart and I love Carla. She will be his salvation. Well done.

    I am constantly amazed that people decry their job moving overseas even as they swarm the ‘big box’ stores to look for the lowest prices (Made Somewhere Else). There are consequences.



    • October 19, 2013 7:04 am

      Thanks so much for your words about the story having heart. I was striving for that. Thanks for stopping by, Doug.

  5. October 17, 2013 6:25 am

    Evokes a lot of emotion, and all too relateable for a lot of people! You created a great connection with the character in a short amount of space.

  6. October 17, 2013 9:15 am

    I have to agree with Doug. Carla is a wonderful addition to the story and an integral part of his future. He’s not wrong about the mindset of the people either.

    • October 19, 2013 7:03 am

      He’s lucky he has a supportive partner — certainly helps in challenging times. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. October 17, 2013 11:21 am

    Yes, agree with all above. A lovely tender story, with Carla as a little shining light at the end.

  8. October 17, 2013 12:24 pm

    Hi Dave,
    There’s always the hope of tomorrow isn’t there? You found a very different take on the photo, and managed a generational story and a sociological comment all in 100 words. Ron

  9. October 17, 2013 12:56 pm

    What an excellent flash fiction IMHO….you really covey so much in such a small package…brilliant!

  10. October 17, 2013 3:07 pm

    I really loved the ending, especially “Then sleep. Then tomorrow” 🙂

  11. October 17, 2013 6:15 pm

    I thought it took longer for some changes. I remember moving here about 20 years ago and on of the often traveled roads was a two lane job, with corn fields on both sides… now the corn fields are gone and that road has 5 lanes – had maybe three traffic lights into the city now there seems like one every other shopping venue.

    I did a stand alone this week…finally 🙂

    Thanks for your visit to my ‘gems’.

    • October 19, 2013 7:02 am

      Those changes can come very quickly, and some with established homes/stores have to deal with that change. Your description of the change from a 2-lane road to built-up shopping sounds like places I’ve lived in Delaware and Virginia. Thankfully, I can still find open places with corn fields and such. Thanks for reading!

  12. October 17, 2013 7:55 pm

    One day at a time, dear.

  13. October 17, 2013 11:51 pm

    lovely story about optimism 🙂

  14. October 18, 2013 2:13 am

    Moving on and through it. A nice sense of hope.

  15. October 18, 2013 6:25 am

    Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun will come out tomorrow. This happens somewhere in America every single day. You did a great job capturing the sadness and despair, but then gave us hope through the love of a good woman. Excellent writing, Dave.

    • October 19, 2013 6:59 am

      The sun will come out tomorrow, but in a different way for these characters. There is indeed hope. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. October 18, 2013 9:04 am

    Dave, that was so good, from the changing of the shopping guard to the love and care of his wife! Hopefully he’ll move into something he loves, even into the digital shopping age.


  17. October 18, 2013 1:32 pm

    This is lovely. One foot in front of the other. The ending was my favorite part reminding us of the importance of love and support- especially in the tough times. Walmart put my friend’s small family mercantile out of business in their little town. It does happen all too often theses days.

    • October 19, 2013 6:58 am

      I like your words of the importance of love and support — that’s what I was going for with those short lines from Carla. Thanks for stopping by and reading.

  18. October 18, 2013 10:55 pm

    Very nice sentiment and way to look at life. It’s one step at a time toward a goal you may not even be able to perceive or understand as of yet. I sure wish I felt and thought a lot more like Carla!

    • October 19, 2013 6:57 am

      Yeah, one step at a time is a good way to go — but it can be frustrating when it’s slow. Thanks for reading!

  19. October 18, 2013 11:22 pm

    A sad story–the three-generation hardware store in our area closed and it was a real loss. They had a basement full of treasures that Home Depot and Lowe’s never heard of.

    • October 19, 2013 6:56 am

      That’s exactly the kind of store I was imagining when I wrote the story. The kind where you can find treasures in things and people. It’s sad to me when those places go away. Many thanks for stopping by and reading.

  20. October 20, 2013 8:49 am

    The world is filled with so many worries and uncertainties. Great advice in your last line.

  21. October 20, 2013 3:05 pm

    Zooky this is one of my favorites from you.. clearly tender and down to earth — at the same time saying a lot of society…

  22. October 25, 2013 12:52 pm

    I love the way there is hope at the end. Very well written.

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