I write short fiction

Category: filmmaking (Page 1 of 4)

Mannequin Monday – I play her guitar

5:55 p.m. Supermarket checker Lari talks addiction recovery with a customer. A story bite of mine.

And I visit the songwriting doc It All Begins with a Song. It’s all about the thriving artist colony that is the Nashville songwriting community.

What I’m Writing This Week

I’m sharing another story bite, this one inspired by a real supermarket checker I knew. I hope you enjoy it.

  Five Fifty Five

Bob Gillen

Lari’s phone alarm chirped as she scanned the last of twelve cans of cat food for her supermarket customer. She dug the phone out of her jeans pocket, smiled at the display, turned off the alarm. She stuffed the phone back in her pocket.

Her customer glanced at her own watch. “5:55. Is your shift ending?”

“I don’t get off till eight tonight.”

“Oh?” Her customer gave Lari a puzzled look.

Lari leaned around the register to see that there were no other customers in line.

“Five fifty five,” she said. “I had my last drink at 5:55 in the afternoon, I’m six years thirty two days sober today.”

“Good for you,” the customer said, as she slipped her credit card into the card reader. “You must be proud.”

Lari reached into another pocket, placed a large token on the counter next to the card reader. 

“I got this at my fifth year sober. Pick it up.”

The customer handled the token. “It’s heavy.”

Lari nodded.

“Your family must be happy with your sobriety.”

Lari checked again that there was no one else in line. 

She shrugged. “No one left. I do this for me.”

“I admire your courage.”

Lari looked the customer in the eye. “Husband left me years ago. My daughter is dead. OD’d last year.”


“She’d be twenty eight tomorrow, if she had made it. Booze got her.”

“I’m so sorry.” Her customer took the receipt Liza handed her, folded it into her purse.

Lari put the token back in her pocket. Filled a paper bag with the customer’s grocery items.

I play her guitar.

“How do you cope?” the customer asked.

“I play her guitar.”

 The customer picked up her bag. “Her guitar?”

“I play it every night. Her favorite songs. I don’t play well, but…” 

A new customer began tossing her groceries on the belt. The exiting customer said, “You take care.” She walked away.

Lari scanned the first item sliding off the belt, a bottle of vodka. She quickly pulled out her phone, reset the alarm for 5:55 p.m. tomorrow.


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Mannequin Monday – Who Tells Your Story

Mannequin Monday – Who Tells Your Story

Once again, creating the word on Mannequin Monday. This week, Africa-based fantasy fiction, with Nnedi Okorafor sharing her stories and her journey.

And viewing Hamilton this weekend got me thinking about some of the show’s lyrics. George Washington sings of Alexander Hamilton, “You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story”.

To close, I offer my own story, “The Kiss.” You have no control after a word is spoken.

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Mannequin Monday – The Driver and the Passenger

Mannequin Monday – The Driver and the Passenger

collage phots of mannequin heads

Welcome back for another Mannequin Monday. Today we dress the blank form, the empty page, with art and image. Writer/artist Austin Kleon inspired me with one of his recent blog posts. He focused on artist David Hockney’s photo collage Pearblossom Hwy., 11 – 18th April 1986, #2.

I also add writing of my own, my attempt to create a word collage reminiscent of Hockney’s photo collage.

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