July 21, 2011
Response to ‘Picture prompt challenge’ – write a story based on the picture using 100-500 words
Length: 500 words
JD entered the saloon and looked around. He frowned when he saw Vin sitting alone at a table, apparently playing cards by himself. If it were Ezra, JD wouldn’t have thought a thing of it. Ezra was always playing solitaire if there wasn’t a game to be had, but Vin?
He walked over to the table and sat down with a greeting. “Hey, Vin. What ya doin’?”
Vin started and pulled the cards to his chest as he looked up at JD. “Nothin’!” Vin growled, folding the cards together protectively.
JD sat back at the unexpected harshness of Vin’s response. Instead of replying, he lifted his hand and caught Inez’s attention ordering a milk for himself before leveling a calm gaze on Vin. It wasn’t like the laid back tracker to snap, unless he was worried or embarrassed. JD watched the way Vin’s hand lay over the cards and figured it was ‘embarrassed.’ “Didn’t mean to pry,” he said, giving a nod of thanks to Inez as she left his mug.
Vin shifted in his seat, but relaxed a bit. “Sorry, JD. Didn’t see ya comin’ and I…” he flipped the edge of the cards nervously with his thumb. “Well, I guess if I didn’t want no one to know what I was doin’ I shoulda gone somewhere more private like,” he added with a wry grin.
JD lifted his eyebrows curiously, but shrugged. “It’s your business, ain’t got to share if you don’t want,” he said nonchalantly, even though the curiosity was killing him.
Vin smiled and looked around to make sure no one else was hovering, then turned one of the cards over. “Ezra called ‘em ‘flash cards.’ Ordered ‘em special for me to help with my readin’,” he said softly.
JD looked down at the face of the card and saw a picture of a mountain with the word printed neatly below. Understanding lit his face as two things became clear at once. The cards were special teaching cards and Vin couldn’t read… or was in the process of learning now.
JD grinned. “Hey, these are great,” he said, moving his hand toward the stack slowly as he waited for Vin’s permission to pick them up. When Vin moved his own hand away, JD picked up the cards and browsed through them. “Ma couldn’t afford anything like this,” he said as he looked at the fancy drawn pictures and printing press words. “We’d go for walks and she’d point things out then write the word in the dirt. Then she’d have me spell it, say it and write it out myself,” he said with a fond smile handing the cards back to Vin. He met the older man’s eyes. “Let me know if you need any help. Figure we got a lot o’ dirt around here.”
Vin swallowed the lump in his throat as he took the cards and put them in his pocket. He nodded and smiled. “Sure thing, JD. You free to take a walk?”
Feedback is greatly appreciated. JudyL
Note: I checked, flash cards were available during the late 1800’s