Monday Flash Fic: Water

A couple months ago, an organization in Key West was offering big prizes for winning a flash fic contest. That contest ended last week, and I didn’t hear anything, so I guess I’m free to post my entry. The amazing thing is, just this morning, I saw a photo on an article about climate change, and it exactly matches the scenario I described in the flash fic. Weird, huh?


We gazed at the endless ocean, and I appreciated yet again the wide aqua stripes alternating with the dark blue. Nowhere else was the water so beautiful.

“How far was it from Cuba to the Keys, Gramps?” sixteen-year-old Nathan asked.

“Ninety miles.” I drew in fishing line and recast. We were sitting in the rear of my small boat, hoping to catch something for dinner. “But no one goes there much these days.”

“Cubans used to come to the US, though. Right?”

“Yup. Boatloads of ’em, looking for a better life.” They didn’t do that now. The remaining Cubans were either dead or stubbornly clinging to what was left of their country.

“Tell me about Key West.” He loved to hear stories about the old days.

“Fun,” I said without hesitation. “Tourists up the yin-yang. There was a pirate festival every year. So many people attended, I’m surprised our combined weight didn’t sink the place.” I gave him a nudge and a wink. “Your grandmother and I went a few times.”

He grinned. “To pretend to be pirates and walk around saying, ‘Avast, me hearties?’”

“Nah. To partake of the rum and get drunk.”

We laughed together. Seagulls flew overhead, eyeing us and hoping for food. No wind today; the water was still as glass. This was what sailors referred to as the doldrums; I imagined being out here without a motor for days, maybe weeks, and shuddered.

“How far are we from Cuba?” He twitched his line, impatient for something to take the bait.

We were sitting under a piece of cloth to protect us from the sun, but it was still hot. Sweat rolled down my spine and into my underwear. “Three hundred miles, give or take. Never thought I’d live to see Sebring become the southernmost city in Florida. Climate change, Nathan. It screwed up everything, and Florida was hit hard.”

“Why didn’t you move north, then?”

Scowling, I bowed my head and looked at the water from under the bill of my cap. “Been here all my life. Don’t want to go anywhere else.”

But I’d have to, for the grandson’s sake. The evacuation notice had arrived yesterday, giving us one month to pack up and go. I’d fuss about it but eventually give in and relocate, as I had when they’d forced me to leave Marathon. The FEMA trailers sucked, but at least they were a roof over our heads.

In a transparent effort to distract me, he said, “Tell me how you and Grandma used to dress up as pirates and swagger down Whitehead Street to Mallory Square to watch the sunset.”

“Argh, matey,” I said, making an effort. “No one looked finer in a corset and fishnets than your grandmother.” My line dipped sharply, and I half-stood. “Woohoo! Got a good bite, Nathan. Fetch the net and stand ready.”


Word count: 476
Genre: Our Inevitable Future
See more flash fics here.


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About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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9 Responses to Monday Flash Fic: Water

  1. Love it! Although if the Flash Fic organization is based in Key West, they might not appreciate this glimpse into their future. :/

    • I know. And I debated whether or not to write a sunnier flash fic for them, then stuck to my guns. Face reality or die! Key West will be underwater in only a few years if nothing is done about climate change.

  2. Helena Stone says:

    Oh wow. That’s powerful. Maybe too close to fact for a fiction contest? Most people would rather stick their heads in the sand than face the truth, be it in real life or in their stories.

    • Yes, I figured it might be too much for them, but the time for sticking our heads in the sand is over. If they want to save the Keys, they’re going to have to speak up!

  3. Lindsaysf says:

    When I was last in Florida, I was surprised at how much of the state has always been mostly water. The bottom third!! Seems to me it will be the state most hit by rising waters. Yet my realtor friends talk about it but don’t change fields or locations. Weird.

    • Now is not the time to buy beachfront property. 😉 Unless, of course, you’re as old as me and don’t care because you know you’ll croak before that ocean rises. Heh.

      Florida was once underwater and will be again.

  4. diannegray says:

    A great story, but maybe too political for the comp. Comps are a real hit and miss depending on the judges, unfortunately they can be very subjective. I remember writing a story for a local comp that came nowhere and then I entered the same story in an international comp and it won 1st prize – weird 😉

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