It’s that time of week. Time for Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction. This week’s picture was donated by Beth Carter.
Of Cacti and Cars (100 words)
“Quite a car you’ve got there,” the cactus said, sarcasm dripping from its words like sap.
The sun was hot. Hurley wiped sweat from his forehead with a bare forearm. He narrowed his eyes at the cactus. “Don’t talk bad ‘bout my car.” He patted the hood. “Built her from a kit. Got me 68,000 miles. Fifteen times ‘cross the country. Just a little overheated. Be back on the road in no time.”
“You think I’m lyin’?”
The cactus grinned without moving, its upturned arms as good as any curled lip. “Nah. Just wonderin’ what you’re runnin’ from.”
I read it as the cactus being a person, a man who the narrator simply calls “the cactus.” I don’t know if you meant it that way, but I liked that it made me think.
I was going more with the “Talking cactus as mirage,” but if it made you think, then I’m happy for whatever interpretation you bring to it. 🙂
The car over heated and konked out in the desert. Nice job.
Seemed like the kind of car that would overheat. Heh.
Reminded me of this song: Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked, by a band called Cage the Elephant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t99bpilCKw
I like that song. 🙂
Really enjoyed that. 😉
Loved his inner dialogue; I could see this happening in the heat of the ‘dry country’.
Yeah, that car likely needed a roof. Heh.
Your mind always amazes me, Patrick. Great job.
I got a chuckle out of that because you reminded me of the “old days” when cars easily overheated. I remember a time or two on a family vacation where we had to stop the station wagon and let it cool down or my dad had to add water. No talking cactus, though. Ever see “The Three Amigos”? The talking cactus might have escaped from that or been killed there.
Been a while since I saw “Three Amigos.” I’d watch out for that cactus. I happen to know that he showed up in a partial novel that I wrote a few years back.
Talking to a cactus is the first sign of dehydration; getting an answer… well that’s serious. Nicely done
Oh, bummer. I must be dehydrated. 😉
Sounds like he’s got bigger problems than just an overheated car if he’s talking to a cactus. 🙂 Of course, maybe cacti make the best therapists.
Yup on both counts. I suspect he should have packed more water in the car.
Like Sandra, I assumed the talking cactus was a sign of delirium. Love the cactus’ voice, by the way – and the curled lip and sarcastic sap. Brilliant stuff 🙂
Thanks. I was pleased when I realized that the classic cactus shape DOES look like its quirking its lip.
Very well done! My impression is that the cactus is a mirage and that he’s having a conversation with his conscience. Wonderful writing in any case. You had me feeling the desert heat..
BTW…wondering where in North Missouri? My husband was born in Galt and his family has a farm in Humphreys. Just curious.
Glenwood, MO. Five miles from the Iowa line, 28 miles north of Kirksville. Population 197. 🙂
I hope he has some high powered sunscreen. He could die in the desert! If the cactus is talking to him he may be already too far gone.
If he’s the kind of guy to drive across country a half-dozen times in the car pictured, I doubt he has sunscreen. But, hey, maybe. 🙂
If he could build a car like that he’d be clever enough to drink the sap and use it as suncreen – surely?
I loved the fact that he never once questioned his talking with a cactus – pitch perfect!
Thanks! And, yeah, it just seems so natural to be talking with a cactus.
Fantastic, believable dialogue, Patrick. Well done! And loved the twist at the end. What’s he running from indeed.
Thanks for the picture prompt! 🙂
I gues if you are on the run in a car that gets overheated in the desert, it’s nothing strange to start to communicate with the saguaros 🙂
Yup. I do it all the time. Usually cacti give pretty good directions, but once I ended up having to sneak back across the border with a bunch of itinerant workers, a donkey, and a guy wearing a football for a hat. 😉
I read it as an imaginary friend, that cactus dude. This is one of my favorites this week.
Wait, cacti don’t talk? 😉
a mirage in the desert. the cactus is a wonderful character, curled lip line was my favorite. Great work here.
awesome conversation.. though with a cactus ^^ makes me wonder too what that man is running from. great story 🙂
Thank you. I wonder what he’s running from, too, though it’s probably one of the usual suspects: family, love, or self.
can’t lie to a cactus. well done.
Well, you can always lie to a cactus, but if they find out about it things can get…er…prickly. Heh heh heh.
What’s this surprise that one can talk to a cactus. Don’t people talk to trees, their plants? I do. All the time. … I also wondered what spurred him to build a car like that. An ordinary guy needing to do something extraordinary and he did. Maybe not running, just becoming?
Apparently it isn’t the talking to the cactus that is surprising people, but rather that the cactus answered. As to running or becoming…you doubt the cactus? 🙂
Yeah, sure I do. I can get prickly too – ain’t afraid of no cactus, no sir!
A sarcastic cactus, eh? Might be a little bit more than dehydration playing with that guy’s mind – love the ‘upturned arms as good as any curled lip’.
Strangely, most plants in my stories tend to be sarcastic. I don’t know if they aren’t getting enough nutrients or what. 🙂
ha … very inventive short story. I like the cactus as an alibi 😉
Thank you. I do like that cactus. Seems like he knows stuff.
Talking cacti are new to me, but yours has great character. Love the images – ‘sarcasm dripping from its words like sap.’
I often have lunch with the cactus, so I’ll let it know that you enjoyed its performance. 🙂