Saturday, April 21, 2018

A to Z: S - Sewage & Salt

My A to Z Challenge: Flash fiction written using two words and a photo for inspiration. How did I chose the words? First I brought up a noun list for each letter, then averted my eyes, scrolled the mouse down, stopped and double-clicked. That was the word! The second word was chosen the same way but from a dictionary list of words.
NOTE: Photos are from free to use photo sites such as and No attribution necessary.

"Egad but that stinks!" Ray held his nose as they removed the manhole cover. This was his first day on the job, hired on by his brother-in-law as a sewer system inspector.

Jack snorted. "It's sewage. What did you expect? Roses?" He lead the way down the ladder deeper into the bowels of the pungent labyrinth of tunnels below the streets. He hadn't wanted to hire Ray but his wife had insisted. That was after she insisted Ray move in with them until he could get on his feet.

"Don't get me wrong. You guys are the salt of the earth. I am really grateful for the job and the place to stay." He paused at the bottom of the ladder, wiping his face and only succeeding in spreading the dirt across his forehead. "How do you stand this? It reeks like a fat woman on a pig." He shook his head and squinted as though that might change the odor.

"Don't just stand there, we've got a ways to go before we ht the spot that needs repairing. Pick up the pace." Jack adjusted his headlamp before moving his tool bag to his good shoulder.

Ray continued grumbling about the stench, the dampness and the darkness. "Can't we take a break?" He propped himself against the wall and made another attempt at wiping the sweat off his face. "I don't know how you do this every day. I think-"

Jack cut him off. "We're almost there. You'll get some relief from," he waved his hands, "all this." Inside he was counting the minutes until he was free of his brother-in-law. His freeloading, lazy, good for nothing brother-in-law.

"Okay, fine. Two minutes." Ray took a swig of water. He swiped his mouth and tossed the water bottle on the ground.

"Pick it up."


"The bottle. Pick it up."


"Damn it, Ray. Pick up the bottle. You don't leave litter here or anywhere. Don't be such a slob."

With a shrug, Ray picked it up but as soon as Jack turned his back, he tossed it back down. Ten minutes later he was complaining again. "You said it was just around the corner twenty minutes ago. When we gonna get there?"

"Not much further, down this way." He took a sharp right. "Watch your step." The path made a rapid descent and the air cooled.

"Well dang, but that feels good." Ray stopped and took a deep breath. "Smells different. Not good but different."

Jack smiled but kept walking and said nothing.

"Can't we stop for lunch? My stomach's emptier than my wallet and you know how empty that is." he laughed but Jack still said nothing.

"C'mon, bro. You know that's true. Been a long time since breakfast."

With a snort, Jack finally broke his silence. "That was barely three hours ago. Let's get to our work location and then we can take a break."

With a loud grunt, Ray pushed off the walk and trudged behind Jack who soon stopped in front of a barred door.

"Now what?" Ray grumbled.

"Hold on." Jack pulled a key ring out of his tool bag before setting it on the ground. He unlocked the door and motioned Ray to enter.

As Ray turned around in the small enclosure, the door slammed behind him. "Hey! What're you doing?"

Jack laughed as he pushed a button on the side of the enclosure. A sluggish door creaked opened and loud breathing could be heard from the other side. "Lunch is now served!"

Ray whirled around and saw something unrecognizable coming toward him, a enormous mouth ringed with razor-like teeth opening and closing. "Jack, get me outta here. What the he-"

Jack tipped his hat at the thing now crunching contently on what was left of Ray. "Take your time, not sure when I can get you another meal." He sauntered off whistling.

"Hey honey, I'm home!"

Jack's wife gave him a kiss. "How was your day? Wait, where's my brother?"

He shrugged. "He left at lunch time, said something about an easier way to make a living. Don't think we'll be seeing him again."

Stay Calm and Read Flash Fiction!



  1. Ha, great fun. Poor Ray. I can't imagine having to do that job to be honest!

  2. That was sort of ... creepy. A nice clean ending, nevertheless, hahaha.

  3. I kinda don't blame Jack. Nice way to explain it. My first thought was that there was going to be an accident but this way is much easier to explain away!

    Janet’s Smiles

    1. Glad you enjoyed it...thanks for continuing to stop by!

  4. I like the way you're generating the words for your stories. Must be challenging. Thanks for your visit.

  5. Jack certainly gave Ray an opportunity -- and cleaned up his home life as well. Nice grisly twist as Ray finds the door closing. I've enjoyed your daily stories! Beth

    1. Thanks, Beth. Glad you're enjoying the little tales!

  6. A creepy read for sure and an unexpected ending. Really well written though.

    1. Thank you, Seema. I hope you get a chance to read all the stories.

  7. I can't stand working with people who complain away the day but I don't want them dead. LOL! Just to be quiet or maybe positive. Poor Ray.

    Well told, Donna.

    Emily In Ecuador | Sunrise in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

    1. {snicker} I had no idea where this one was going to go...took me a while. LOL!


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