“The album’s on hold. I’ve downsized,” he would tell people. “You’ve been kicked out,” they would hear. “We grew apart, went our separate ways,” he would continue. “You cheated on your wife, she found out, took the kids and rinsed you for everything you had,” they would interpret.

Frank took a deep breath and moved to the kitchen.
“Vacuum the house, wash the sheets, pay the water bills.” His mind was a muddle of chores. “But first,” he thought aloud, “tea.”
As he stirred the brew he recited his list.
“Pay the sheets, water the spare room, tidy the oven.”


This week I’ve attempted to rewrite an extract from a story I’ve been (trying) to write over the last year. The story of down and out, Frank – a failed musician, trying to get his life back on track. Whilst I have a synopsis, characters and a plan, I’ve not made much progress. I really ought to change that.

The photograph reminded me of the sort of space Frank had been left with.

So I hope you’ll indulge me a little – besides, it was fun (as well as a good exercise) trying to edit this paragraph or two down to 100 words.

This piece was submitted as part of Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 1 photograph. 100 words. Follow the link and give it a try yourself!

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33 thoughts on “Downsize

  1. Dear Peter,

    If he follows that list to the letter there’s going to be a problem. 😉 Sounds like Frank’s story has potential.



  2. I think I see the problem Frank has.. maybe he should mend the holes in his sieve 🙂

  3. Sightsnbytes says:

    I agree. the biggest problem for me is limiting my story to 100 words

  4. I love both halves of this piece – how people interpret what he says is such a great idea. Almost like a conversation but not. And the second half of muddled lists is also lovely – a real insight into his character. But, perhaps because of the editing, the two halves didn’t seem to go together – not a problem though: we got two stories for the price of one!

    • MrBinks says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Claire. I think I agree with you. They don’t hang together perfectly, but I think I almost got away with it; it’s just not as complete as if I’d written something from scratch for FF as I would normally.

  5. Love it! But I can so this as myself some days….. Great story for FF 🙂

  6. storydivamg says:

    My favorite part of this is the confusion at the end. At least if he pays the sheets there’s a chance he’ll have a pleasant surprise upon awaking one morning.


  7. Sorchia D says:

    Poor Frank. You’ve provided a lot of info about him in a short space. Good luck with that writing thing–the hardest part is sitting down at the keyboard 🙂

  8. Indira says:

    Loved both parts. in 100 words came out beautifully.

  9. The push and pull of this story is delightful.

  10. I love the idea for your novel and this photo is perfect for Frank’s room. It might not look so good after it’s been watered though…

  11. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Mr. Binks, I think he should have been faithful to his wife so he would still be sane today. He has lost everything – including his mind, I think. Good story! Nan 🙂

  12. margirene says:

    At least he has his priorities right. Before you do anything else – have a nice cup of tea. He’ll be OK. Enjoyable story.

  13. Maree Gallop says:

    Clever story … I’m sure it will all work out in the wash!

  14. plaridel says:

    i wonder if it was his wife’s old to-do list… poor frank.

  15. Mr Binks, I think you’ve found a groove here; this works and makes me want more. The confusion of a broken– nice job!

  16. I’ve always liked that theme of conversational translation: the difference between what one person says and another person hears. It’s a great literary device. I like the last line too. I’ve been there. 🙂

  17. liz young says:

    His mind obviouly is still with his recent breakup!

  18. wmqcolby says:

    Binks, I did the same thing with some of my flash fictions, just narrowed them down from bigger stories. This is nice.

  19. helenmidgley says:

    I love how you wove the dialogue, fact and fiction make uncomfortable bed fellows. Great job as usual 🙂

  20. I enjoyed your indigence. I pictured him very well I think.

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