Post #500 – fridayfictioneers via rochelle – 2/8

Every Wednesday Roger Wisoff-Fields posts a picture prompt challenging writers to create a 100-word story, poem, or whatever works for you.  After posting your work on your blog,  go back to her site and add your link on her Friday Fictioneers post.  Place.  Page.

Please read the notes after the story.  It’s important.  

Well, to me, because it’s my 500th post.



Philadelphia Airport – en route Mexico – 11/8/12

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

His mini poodle Ernest was tucked neatly under the seat in his carry-on cage as Flight 505 raced down the runway.  The idea of returning to his lover’s strong arms lightened his heart as the plane floated to the clouds. After finally finding the courage to admit his true feelings, he proudly told everyone and enjoyed his emotional freedom. He couldn’t have been happier. His skin sparkled in the window’s reflection as he looked out at the wing, only to see the engine rip away.

For the first time in his life, it was okay to scream like a schoolgirl.


100 words


This week’s post came about a little differently, but let me first explain that this is my 500th post.  For a few weeks I thought about doing something special or interesting for #500.  Thought about congratulating myself in some way, maybe asking people to contribute something, but that seemed too much like pointing a finger at myself and waving a flag with my own name on it.  And then something else happened instead.

This morning Tom Poet sent me his story to get my opinion because someone else did not like it very much.  I immediately did what I can’t help doing – started “tweaking.”  First, one grammar adjustment, then one or two adjectives, then one or two hints at the ending.  For example, I added Flight 505 because the 505 looked like the SOS distress call.  But my psychic side knew what was going to happen next – Tom felt like I had changed too much, that it was no longer “his” story.  He suggested giving me credit as a co-author, but really he did the hard work, and I swept up the sawdust from the shop floor.  Then I suggested we both post the same story and acknowledge the collaboration, and luckily he was cool with that.  I say “luckily” because occasionally I read someone’s story and leave a comment that says, “I wish I had written that.”  This was one of those stories.

But I need to get to the 500 part without wasting more of your time.

I thought about what I really enjoy doing on/with this blog.  I really enjoy writing these stories each week.  I really enjoy making comments and suggestions on other’s work.  And I really enjoy that there are friends to be made here who I could not possibly meet any other way.  With too many to mention without causing someone to feel they were left out, I’ve been fortunate to have coffee with a couple of you and might soon get on a plane or behind the wheel to meet up with a few more of you.  So it made perfect sense that this would be my 500th post because it is a combination of everything that I enjoy here.  Writing with a purpose, making suggestions, and connecting with people.  Also, it’s a little extra cool that Rochelle used one of my pictures this week.  Too many stars aligned for me not to take advantage of it.

My thanks to Tom for allowing me to join in with his story.  Also, if anyone tries to read into this and think it’s some kind of a “coming out” statement, you are very wrong!


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179 Responses to Post #500 – fridayfictioneers via rochelle – 2/8

  1. AR Neal says:

    Great take on the prompt, and how fitting an inspiration for a monumental milestone like a 500th post (I was just marveling at my 100th today; it is energizing, isn’t it?). Keep up the great work!

  2. ShimonZ says:

    Congratulations on your success at this blog. I’ve enjoyed much of your writing, and am really happy at your success.

    • rich says:

      thanks very much. those things aren’t said very often, and i need to take those thoughts and see what else i can do to keep them coming. thanks again.

    • rich says:

      and i need to do a better job returning the favor to those who regularly read what i write.

      • ShimonZ says:

        I don’t agree with that. We should read what interests us. It’s not really a favor to read someone’s writing if it doesn’t really pull you in. Reading is a selfish act. You do it for yourself… to learn, to be amused… to be stimulated… it’s all a matter of taste.

      • rich says:

        of course you’re not wrong, but it’s my way of dealing with a type of guilt. many people very kindly give their time and energy to reading and commenting on my work, but i don’t give back even 25% of that. at the same time, there are no rules about that. and it could be argued that the time and effort i put into writing is my work, and reading is the readers work, and i’m providing a form of entertainment for someone.

        now that i’ve rationalized it that way, i thank you for leading me to that conclusion and helping ease my guilt about it.

  3. vbholmes says:

    Second apology for calling you Brian on Tom’s site (Brain/Brian/Rich–some days you can’t win).. Congratulations on 500–that’s a real accomplishment and it was interesting reading the posts. (I hate to say this on #500, but you need an apostrophe in lover’s.) Looking forward to your next 500.

  4. Congratulations on both your part of the story and your 500th post!


  5. MissFourEyes says:

    Great story. Congratulations on 500 posts! And your picture, it’s beautiful

  6. Congratulations on your 500th post. May there be many, many more to come :)

  7. Tom wrote a good story but you wrote a woeful editorial. Congrats on the 500. I feel enriched that I have come to “know” you just a little bit and look forward to sharing more.

  8. Is it weird that I recognised that this story wasn’t your style? But I’m glad that you’ve made a team effort of it. And congratulations on your 500th post. I’m still a long way off my 50th post. I keep saying I should write more but still seem to find ways of distracting myself from doing so.

  9. Tom Poet says:

    I have to say this may be your best story ever! LOL…I changed lover to partner on my story…I tried sending you a message. You made my first draft into a solid story and I am glad we were able to work together on your 500th story…I had no idea this was number 500! I am honored. Thanks again Rich…..ohh and by the way (For the readers cause you know rich) it was my girlfriend who who hated it…wasn’t PC enough for her. Sometimes you have to go with your gut and ignore what others think of your work even if they are the closest person to you…


    • rich says:

      i didn’t mention the 500 thing because i thought you might possibly try to talk me out of it.

      as for your girlfriend and being PC, sometimes that makes a good story, when people do things they should not do. half of my life has been like that, and it’s only half over, so i have a lot more messing up to do ahead of me.

      glad to have you part of 500 because there were several things that all connected along with it, like i explained at the end there.

      • Tom Poet says:

        I think if you were able to explain about “500″ to me the way you did in this post I would have felt like I do now, honored. I am glad it all came together and you were able to do something different. Rather cool it presented itself in the way it did!


      • rich says:

        I’m glad you feel good about it. Also, add first I was not going to post that until either tomorrow or Friday. If I had waited, then another post would have been 500. But then I saw yours was up, and I figured it was just logical to put mine next.

      • Tom Poet says:

        My process for doing the 100 word story is basically, I look at the picture when I get the chance, a few minutes later I write the story, adjusting as I go, keeping 100 words in mind and then I post. I do not put the time and effort others do and often leave it raw and sort of unfinished. Between concept, writing and you rewriting it I think it was a total of 30 maybe 40 minutes. I post early and could have waited this week if you asked but I felt it was good enough. Perhaps we could have tweaked a few things but overall I am happy with it. It has a bit of me in it and a bit of you…didn’t mean to rush you but I am happy it’s up and it gives more time for WIP.


      • rich says:

        no rush. i made that decision. didn’t have to but i went for it because of the combined elements that seemed right for 500. collaboration, writing, my picture for the prompt, all that worked.

  10. madiebeartri says:

    You don’t know me but congrats anyway…. you should be commended for sticking with it this long… :)

    ” For the first time in his life, it was okay to scream like a schoolgirll” Caught me off guard and made me giggle. :)

  11. denmother says:

    I thought this story was great. At first I thought predictable, expecting the plane to have problems, but how it was tied in with his true self being finally acceptable was brilliant. In the end, he is the norm and fits right in. Bittersweet indeed. Great work.

  12. Congrats on 500! So neat that you and Tom worked together. It must be the week of collaboration!

  13. tedstrutz says:

    The stars aligned and out popped #500! Congratulations, Rich.

    I read Tom’s story first. Your story sure sounds the same! What a cool thing for you guys to do. I enjoyed reading the original, and then with your ‘tweaks’… I’ll know where to come to get tweaked. I haven’t checked the word count yet. Good one!

  14. great little story and nice collaboration. I like the subtlety of partner and admit his true feelings. I absolutely love the last line, and I like your 500th post. Good stuff, all the way around.

  15. kz says:

    congrats and it’s a great collaboration.. awesome story, really. that last line made me smile ^^

  16. pennycoho says:

    Excellent collaboration on this weeks story! Worked out extremely well for both of you (great minds and all that). Congratulations on your 500th Rich. You see, it’s people like you who have made the blogging arena, platform, medium (call it what you will) so – well – human and wonderfully interactive, so that the “word” becomes more than just a word. It has the power to emote, generate feelings that helps those who blog or read feel a connection with others. So strong it’s almost better than an initial meeting with a stranger (where everyone’s guard is up) Yes, a wonderful thing. Thank you so very much for all that you are and all that you write. You make a positive difference!

    • rich says:

      i need to print this up, frame it, maybe hang it in the window. i hope that everyone who picks up a pen or sits at a keyboard eventually has someone say these same things to them. and thanks for spending time reading here. i know there’s lots of other places you could be reading and things you could be doing, so i’m lucky that you’d choose to spend your time here. thanks very much.

  17. muZer says:

    That was an awesome collaboration which brought out an amazing story. And well told. Congrats on your 500th post, that’s quite a milestone. Wish you many more in the future.

    • rich says:

      thanks very much, and here’s to wishing you many more as well. as for the story, it was really tom’s work and i added a few brush strokes. i loved it as much as you did.

  18. claireful says:

    Congratulations Rich. 500 posts is quite an achievement. And the collaboration on the story seems very fitting, since what you feel you get most from you blog is that the help we all give each other and receive on our stories. Here’s to 500 more…

    • rich says:

      yup. that’s why it made sense to me that this one should be 500. thanks for reading and enjoying, and giving and receiving, and thanks for reading.

  19. Sandra says:

    As I told Tom, I love this story and the contributions you both made to it. It’s hearth warming with a bucket of ice at the end.

    I also agree with what you said, on making friends here that you wouldn’t meet otherwise, the cammaraderie over here is really inspiring me to try harder at my writing!

    Congrats on the 500th post.

    • rich says:

      thanks very much for the kind words, and thanks for reading. i’m sure there are others who are beyond 500 and also those who will eventually get there. thanks again.

  20. Hi Rich, great take to the both of you. I agree, with you that the fellowship here is strong. Meeting others here has been a blessing for me too. We are all one big family. Alongside from that it amazes me how we all can look at the same picture, and have different stories. We are all so gifted in our own special way.

    I join you all in heart as you meet some of your blogging friends.
    Beautiful picture you captured.


    • rich says:

      thanks very much for all those kind words. as for the picture, i just wish i had angled a little to get my reflection out. i was in a hurry and didn’t think. thanks very much for reading too.

      • My pleasure. I think you did awesome. Would make a great wall décor if it was framed. You seem to capture your name, because the colors are so rich!


      • rich says:

        you’re just full of kind words, aren’t you!

      • yes, but they are sincere. Besides I love sunset/sunrise photos, and nature photos a lot! Photography, is not easy as I thought. I’m still working on it.


      • rich says:

        what i’ve learned is to keep a camera in my car when possible, or just take it with me every time i drive somewhere. i drive a lot near the ocean and sometimes get lucky to capture good thing.

  21. Oh! Congrats on the big 500. Looking to read more.

    God bless you, and all who stop by here.


  22. Dear Richness,
    I’ll chime in with my own Mazel Tov on your 500th post. Kudos on your collaboration with Tom. A good editor doesn’t change the author’s voice and knows when and what to tweak. I’d say you did just that.
    Roger, over and out.

    • rich says:

      over roger, copy that. i wasn’t sure if i changed the voice at all as i jumped all over it too quickly, but i do know i tried to not do too much. thanks for reading.

  23. nightlake says:

    read it in Tom’s blog and yours. very well done..and congrats on your 500th post.

  24. First, congratulations on 500. I so enjoy reading you. Next, great story!

    • rich says:

      thanks very much for reading and enjoying. i can’t take credit for the story except for some nice decorations i added to tom’s story. but i’m glad you stopped by.

  25. Sandra says:

    Very effective collaboration, and congratulations on 500.

  26. Glad he went out happy. Or so it seems. Has to be the most entertaining story about a plane crash I’ve ever read!

  27. I love this post and the effort of collaboration on it ( two other folks did too)…BTW, i only wish it ended on a lighter note.
    Congratulations on your #500th post and your sure commitment to this blog! Well done sir!!!

  28. rgayer55 says:

    By the time I read through the comments, I had to go back and read the story again. I love the title, poodle’s name, and the school-girl scream. I suppose he wet his pants too, but that would have put it over the word limit.

    Congrats on 500 too. I’m only on eighty something, but hope to hit 500 but the end of the decade. :)

  29. annisik51 says:

    Congratulations on your 500th. I like blogging for the same reasons. Last November I took the train up to London to an art exhibition in which I’d entered some work. It had toured The States and Canada first. It was the first time I’ve met people I’d previously known only ‘virtually’. I was quite nervous, but a group of us got very loud and had to be asked to leave at closing time!

    Your collaboration (the story) works very well. Not easy to do. The ghastly humour appeals.

    I spent most of my weekend reading other people’s stories last Friday. I wanted to get to know everybody. But I won’t be able to do that again and have decided to read a quarter of the stories every week, starting from the top quarter one week and moving to the second quarter the following week.


    P S When I hit my 100th post I wanted to write something ‘deep and significant’ and froze. I got writer’s block!

    • rich says:

      i must admit that i can’t always get to them all. only a couple months ago the total was around 40, but it has more than doubled quickly. yeesh. the more the merrier, but the more mean more time time time needed.

      as for writer’s block, feel free to search a post i wrote called “what to write about.” it might help.

      and thanks for reading.

  30. annisik51 says:

    P S. For the first time in his life, it was okay to SCREAM LIKE A SCHOOLGIRL. Ooh! Bit close to the bone that one!

  31. JackieP says:

    why would anyone read into this story that you are ‘coming out’? Silly man. (I say that with friendship) congrats on reaching 500! May there be another 500 in your future. You and Tom made a great story.

    • rich says:

      thanks, thanks, but tom made the story. i just added a little paint. another 500? took me about 6 years to get to 500. however, for the first three years i only posted about once a month, maybe twice a month. now it’s more like 6 or 7 a week.

    • rich says:

      oh, the coming out comment, i put that there because the story was about coming out, and i worked with a partner on this one, and the 500 thing, and the speech about meeting new people and all that. oh well. call me paranoid.

  32. JKBradley says:

    This is a well formed story, taking something pleasant or even such an accomplishment as overcoming the social and family resistance to come out, to then be snuffed. These are elements in the formula of creating a horror, whatever it is.

    I might have used ‘pansy’ or for a greater smack ‘pansy-ass’, but thats just me.

    Well done.

    Oh, and I can’t seem to work Tom’s website with my outdated phone…

    • rich says:

      that significant word choice was tom’s, regarding pansy. he originally had “scream like a girl,” and then added the school girl part. i added a little, but a great balance was his stemming from his idea. either way, thanks for reading.

  33. Joe Owens says:

    500 posts is quite an accomplishment. i am certainly a babe to WordPress, just posting my 100th last night. I am glad to see others who stay around, that means the experience is enough to keep you engaged. I certainly enjoy the interaction with other bloggers and find this to be the best place for that. Good for you and Tom for your collaboration. I hope to get to try that with another some day.

  34. jmmcdowell says:

    Congrats on no. 500, and I enjoyed the collaborative story. Sometimes, two people might work separately and each produce something that’s average. But the two working together (whether intentionally or not) sometimes come up with a piece that’s greater than the sum of the two parts. I think you and Tom might have done that here.

    • rich says:

      thanks very much. i’m glad you liked it, but tom gets the lion’s share of the credit. i might have added 10 of the 100 words, but i followed his lead.

  35. 40again says:

    Wonderful, well crafted story, thoroughly enjoyed reading it, you and Tom should take a bow.
    Well done

  36. Debra Kristi says:

    500! Wow. Congratulations! The first thing I noticed was the style change. I loved the story – screamed like a schoolgirl. I have known a few of those in my time. Love them all. I’ve only just started making the rounds this week and already I’m seeing collaborations abound. Is it a theme this time? ;) I need to pop over to Tom’s now. Loved the work as always. Now party down and enjoy the milestone!

  37. Not sure whose site I’m on now. But congrats on the 500 posts. And I loved the story, even though I read it on the previous blog. A little confused here, but that’s nothing new.

  38. sandraconner says:

    A captivating story, Rich. You guys should actually consider the possibility of a novel together.

    Loved your postscript, and laughed out loud at your last line.

  39. [...] This Friday’s challenge is here in the form of a photo from Rich Voza [...]

  40. Tom Poet says:

    You know Rich…I forgot to say congratulations on your 500th post..Man do I feel like an ass! Congratulations! I think what Penny said was perfect. You have been a great help to many writers and and your good nature shines through on your blog. Thanks for the encouragement. I owe you a beer! Keep up the great work!


    • rich says:

      you already said something, i’m pretty sure, but i’ll take it all over again. and i’ll take the beer too. no problem. red wine tonight while watching golf highlights from pebble beach.

  41. Tom Poet says:

    I am all over the Island today….heading back out west in a few minutes…In about an hour and a half I’ll have a cold one in my hand. tried a nice Oatmeal Stout last night from a nano brewery out of Port Jeff..9.2% Pretty smooth and just a hint of alcohol for a beer over 8%.


  42. Lol, I didn’t think it was a “coming out” story, but I figured someone would!!!
    Congrats on the 500!

  43. k~ says:

    500th post, does WordPress keep track of that for you? ;-)

    Flight 505 on your 500th post. Fate indeed.

    • rich says:

      actually i did the “505″ because it looks like SOS, the distress signal in morse code.

      wordpress used to congratulate you on 100, 200, but it doesn’t seem to have continued.

  44. [...] time for Friday Fictioneers. Thank you to our gracious host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Thanks to Rich Voza for the photo, another inspiring [...]

  45. I can just imagine what would happen if anyone even remotely suggested coming out Rich …. It’s great to see the collaboration all round here, you presenting the other side of Ms Rochelle’s story and I’m going to go and see Tom’s too. Well done, loved it. A master craftsman at his work once again Rich :-)

  46. elappleby says:

    Very interesting collaboration – I really enjoyed this story and, on Tom’s site, seeing the draft version. It must be the week of collaborations what with Doug and Rochelle’s amazing duet. This has to be my favourite Friday Fictioneers yet.
    And congrats on 500 posts – do you get a prize for that?
    (Oh, and I probably ought to apologize for mine this week. Again. :) )

  47. elmowrites says:

    Hi Rich (and Tom!) – Fascinating how you worked together, collaberation is obviously in this week, with Rochelle and Doug working together too. I wish you’d posted versions on this one – collabs are a particularly interesting time to see edits. great story, totally clear meaning without hammering it home.
    And congrats on 500 posts. I’m approaching 200 so you’re a long way ahead!

    • rich says:

      I am a long way ahead in posts and in years. So I have an unfair but natural advantage. My collaboration with Tom was an accident, But it worked out very well. Thanks for reading and thanks for the congrats.

  48. R. E. Hunter says:

    Congrats on your 500th post. Hopefully if you fly to visit any other FFers, it’ll turn out better than in your story 8^}

  49. Congrats. I will read most anything in front of me, but I confess I selfishly use my free time to read what I enjoy first. You are one that I choose to read first. Keep writing and I hope you hit 500 more!

  50. boomiebol says:

    Congratulations on 500…here’s to many more.

  51. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Rich,

    I usually work my way upstream through the stories each week and have finally arrived at yours, much to my delight. I’ve read the story and all comments and then went to Tom’s page and did the same.

    The use of Hemingway’s title and his name for the mini-poodle was inspired, as was the entire story. Reading both versions gives the reader a good feel for the process involved in fine tuning a story for review by the keen eyes of the FF gang. Your ‘paint’ job put just the right gloss on Tom’s story and I applaud the results.

    (Is your little faux dog named Ernest?)

    Congratulation on 500 posts. Better still, congratulation on being a writer who produces writing that educates, entertains, amuses and enlightens. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. i love to read your work and I’m glad to be riding this bus with you.

    Looking forward to many more posts from you.



    • rich says:

      my dog has a less interesting and more embarrassing name than ernest. i didn’t name her “sweet pea.” i happened upon her already named.

      when tom showed me his story, he told me it was based on that short story of francis macomber. i thought he said that he wanted to name this story with that same title, and i said “great idea to use that title.” then he corrected me, and i said “use it anyway. someone will know what it’s from.” and i specifically told him that you would know, and i’m glad i was right. the mini-poodle was one touch i added as originally he just had “dog.” when i asked him for a breed, he went poodle.

      thanks for the congrats and thanks for reading. knowing that readers like you are out there is a good push to keep writing and to keep improving when i can. thanks very much.

  52. Rich, nice story. That’s a great idea, to do it as a collaboration. Congratulations on 500 posts. I look forward to reading the next 500 too. :)

    • rich says:

      i wish i could take credit for the story, but i really can’t. it was all tom, and i just added some paint and small details. but thanks very much for reading.

  53. writeondude says:

    Well done on reaching 500! The collaberation worked well and produced a excellent little story. I particularly liked the reveal being left until the very last word.

  54. erinleary says:

    Congratulations on #500 and on your collaborative work. It was an enjoyable read. I also want to thank you for the photo inspiration this week. It evoked many ideas for me.

    • rich says:

      for the photo, i just happened to be in the right place at the right time. i just wish i had taken the time to get my reflection out of the glass. thanks for the congrats.

  55. MythRider says:

    Congratulations on 500.
    I have a huge favor. I’ve read a post on grammar. If I make a huge mistake – not just an error of fingers on the key pad, but something I really don’t know, please let me know. I like to learn and improve.

  56. As I said to Tom, I thought the original concept was great and that the editing tightened it nicely. Well done to both.

  57. Rich, Congratulations on your 500th post! Wow, what dedication you have. I’m way behind you. And this post is so poignant. That’s cool you shared this story with Tom, and that it happened quite by accident. I guess it was destiny!!! I enjoyed this story. A lot of writing is collaborative in the end. Say, script writing, for example. I think it’s good to experience writing with someone. We can learn a lot this way. Well done!

    Not for one second, did I think this was a coming out…

    • rich says:

      Thanks, miss, but the main credit goes to tom. He approached me so I must bow to him. The 500, however, was all me, except the actual 500th. Either way, thanks for reading and enjoying.

  58. yay for being around a while. Hope you are here for a lot longer too

  59. Abraham says:

    Congratulations on the 500!
    Well done on the story!

  60. Sunshine says:

    …i say it was a joy reading all of #500. congratulations. :)

  61. Congratulations on all your successes. I really enjoyed reading this collaboration piece. :D

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