“Yellow boats on a river,” my 3-year-old grand-nephew said. He asks for stories out loud the way we all crave them. In marketing, customers relate to stories not products. In business, new hires learn more quickly about their company through stories. The book industry is booming with writers drawn to tell stories and readers looking for the stories they want. We connect through stories and the child reminds us of that need.
October 8, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) include a yellow boat on a river. A bonus challenge includes writing a story for three year-olds. These tales will follow after the adult versions of responses.
Urban Legends by Amber Prince
We jumped as the shadows danced across the moon lit path that wound around the waterfront. We finished climbing fallen tree trunks until we found our destination.
“Did you hear that?”
I rolled my eyes, “It’s just the wind hitting the trees. Be quiet or we will miss it.” I bit down on my tongue to stop my teeth from chattering, wishing that it was the cold causing the shivering.
“Can we please go home? It is just a stupid legend anyway.”
As if to prove us wrong, I caught a glimmer of the yellow boat on the river.
Merlin in the Holyland by Tally Pendragon
Another night under the stars. This time I’m in hot and very dusty Roman Judaea. Realising no limits to my magic as yet, I find myself enjoying its fruits some five centuries before my own time, having flipped myself there without any serious effort on my part beyond thought. I congratulate myself under a lazy crescent moon lounging on its back in a map of the heavens so altered by time and distance as to be strangely intriguing in its difference. It puts me in mind of a yellow boat chasing slippery fish in a river sparkling with spume.
Head Above Water by Geoff Le Pard
‘It’s lovely, dad.’ Penny ran to the yellow rowing boat. ‘Where are we going?’
Paul looked at his wife, Mary. ‘To say bye to grandpa. His ashes are scattered near here.’ He glanced at Mary. ‘Ok love?’
Mary’s eyes reflected the fathomless blue of the loch. She watched her daughter chat happily to the boatman. Did it matter if she was adopted or flesh and blood like Penny? It was about love, wasn’t it? Unconditional love. That’s what’s makes a parent and her father had given her that.
‘Let’s say goodbye. Properly this time. And then let’s go home.’
No Way Out Part Two: The Yellow Boat by Sherri Matthews
Pulling the garage door shut behind him, Bill reached for the hose pipe hidden behind the freezer. Shoving one end into the exhaust pipe, he trailed the rest into the car with him.
The hose caught on something: he tugged hard, sending a box of old toys crashing down on the garage floor.
Sweat snaked down his back as he stepped out of the car, almost crushing the toy boat at his feet.
The memory of his son and their day together on the river in their yellow boat met him in the cold, dank silence.
Yellow Boat on a River by Irene Waters
“Matron, I just had a needlestick injury”
“It’ll be okay. Don’t worry. Now fill out this incident form, have your blood taken and we’ll take some blood from the patient.”
“Whose going to tell her she’s infected already with AIDS.
“It’s not good news. Your bloods have come back positive. More than positive – you already have AIDS.”
“Do you have any lifestyle risks, had blood transfusions?”
“Does your husband?”
“You’d better check that with him.”
“I’m going to die.”
“She’s in a yellow boat on a river taking her to the sun.”
Gone Fishing by Sarah Unsicker
Motor off, the current pushes them along the river. James studies the murky blackness only a few inches below the surface.
“It’s fifty feet to the bottom,” says Father as James leans over the edge to get a clearer look.
James quickly steps back, releasing the rope attached to his plastic yellow boat. That toy was his constant companion, the last thing his mother had given him before she left.
James watches the boat drift away, rope trailing behind. He begins to cry.
“Quiet, you’ll scare the fish,” Father hisses.
James wishes his father wouldn’t take him sport fishing.
Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin
They called it the yellow boat although technically, as Hazel had reminded everyone, it was a ferry.
Dillon wriggled in his father’s arms: “I want to go with Mummy!”
Jack screened the boy’s view with his coat as men in buttercup boiler-suits carried the stretcher up the gangplank. “You can’t, Soldier. They’re taking her to hospital.”
Dillon made a sour face. He knew all about hospitals. “Will she come back with another baby?”
It had been her job to register the sick crossing the river. No need to take on staff to count the few who returned.
Yellow Boat to Freedom by Larry LaForge
Twice daily Ronald Crampton drove the crowded Ravenel Bridge, crossing the Cooper River between his home in Mount Pleasant and his job in downtown Charleston. He loved the water and envied the boaters below.
“Why not?” he said one morning.
He quit his job, mortgaged his house, and bought a boat. He painted it bright, converting it into a water taxi. His customers gladly paid for the scenic commute across the Cooper River.
Ronald made a fraction of what he earned as a stockbroker, but he was finally happy.
All he wanted to do was drive that yellow boat.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
The Spiders and Mean Purple People by Sarah Brentyn
“The quartet sails in a yellow boat to save the inhabitants of a foreign underwater land from their frozen states.”
“This is your idea?”
“Yeah. It’ll be brilliant.”
“A yellow boat that goes underwater? You mean like a submarine?”
“Yeah, yeah! That’s right.”
“And this…quartet is going to save frozen people?”
“Right. By singing to them.”
“Yup. The band is called The Spiders. Or maybe they’ll be The Beatles. Anyway, they sing people awake from the Purple Meanies. Or they could be blue. Whatever. The Meanies hate music and freeze people. So…the quartet, get it?”
“It’ll never work.”
Thank God I’m Fifteen…by Pete
We sat in a darkened corner of the Travelodge TGIF, sipping Sprites and huddling like detectives. We were nearly 200 miles from home, almost having fun even, at least until Mom’s face crumbled before my eyes. I glanced towards the bar.
There he was, in a crisp gray suit and giggling with a woman who certainly had not taken two jobs to pay the bills when he went back to college.
“I think we’ll have two of those Yellow Boats on the River,” Dad said. I looked back towards Mom—she was gone.
Then I heard the glass break.
Home Sickness by Charli Mills
Sarah closed her eyes while the wagon trundled down dusty ruts. Sunset over the prairie hung hazy and pink on the horizon. Leroy said it’d take another hour to reach his ranch. After that he didn’t speak.
Like on a rocking boat, Sarah swayed. “I’ll buy you a yellow boat, Rosebud and sail you away from here.”
To Sarah, it was a promise Cob made to her years ago in the daisy-strewn meadow of the hollow where they met. Carolina meadows. Carolina mountains. Like swells of sea-sickness, she longed for home. She wanted off this boat. Cob had lied.
The next set of stories are for the Gymnast (and all 3-year-olds at heart). My grandnephew is highly imaginative. Within minutes of meeting, he showed me his trucks, his room, his flips and his deck. Out on the deck he gathered a green hose. I pointed out that my shoes were green and he corrected me–they were green and gray. The kid is smart. And he loves putting out fires so we played firefighters for the afternoon. My niece and daughter joined us outside with the little Babe who always smiles. The Gymnast decided that we needed to play hide and go seek. He told my daughter to count.
Then he hid behind this tree:
And told me to hide behind this one. I did my best:
Thank you for these stories! They were a delight to read to the Gymnast.
The Little Crocodile by Sarah Brentyn
The little crocodile moved toward the water and the yellow boat. “I’m going to get there first!” he yelled to his brothers and sisters who had also just hatched. No one answered. The little crocodile stopped and looked back. “What’s the matter? Can’t catch me?” he turned and moved closer to the lake.
“Collin! You get back here!” Uh-oh. It was Mama crocodile. “What do you think you are? A Plesiosaurus?”
Mama crocodile sighed. “It’s a swimming dinosaur.” She looked up. “Or a big reptile. At least, I think it could swim. Actually, is that a real dino…?”
The Gymnast Saves the Day by Geoff Le Pard
The Gymnast took three yellow cushions to the pond. Nanners stood alone on the island, her eyes covered by weeds, her glasses floating on the water.
‘You need to trust me Nanners, if I’m going to save you.’
‘What’s your plan my love?’
‘I have the yellow cushions.’
‘But they’ll sink…’
‘It’s alright Nanners. I know what I’m doing. You trust me, don’t you?’
‘Of course my love. What do I do?’
The Gymnast pushed the cushions into the water. He said the magic word as he did. A yellow boat appeared and Nanners stepped forward. She was safe.
And one for you. I have posted this before but it might resonate today after your experience.
Learning for Real by Larry LaForge
Mrs. Pendergast knew her nursery school class would love the Little Tyke River Boats.
The colorful miniature boats were only twelve inches long. “Pick out your favorite and take it to the launching point,” she told the kids. It wasn’t supposed to be a race, but it always seemed that way.
Jacob and Ritchie grabbed the same boat. They pulled it back and forth trying to wrestle control. Frustrations mounted. Tears were shed.
Mrs. Pendergast watched but didn’t say anything. Soon she was smiling with pride.
Jacob remembered the lesson on sharing.
He let Ritchie have the yellow one.
For the Gymnast by Aunt Nanners
“Turn the yellow boat around,” the captained commanded.
We were on the river behind Grammi’s house and the dinosaurs were lumbering after us. We found this yellow boat with a captain who wore a hat with an eagle feather. I gave him a piece of bubble gum and he agreed to take us across the river in his yellow boat.
The boat spun around leaving a crest of water in its wake that sprayed the biggest dinosaur. It melted. Now we knew their weakness. I popped my bubble gum and smiled at the captain. The yellow boat sped away.
A Yellow Boat by Ruchira Khanna
Charles was wading in water on a summer afternoon, with thoughts keeping him company, when a boat at a distance caught his attention.
After focusing hard, he realized that the yellow boat was drifting towards the shore with no anchor. Curious, he started walking towards the riverside, and waited patiently for it to arrive.
Just then he jumped in fear, as he heard a loud bang.
He turned towards that direction, to see fireworks in the sky and a group of known faces appear on the yellow boat in the river with joyful and perky birthday wishes for him.
Yellow Boat on the River and the Adventures of Perspemon by Irene Waters
The faded yellow boat felt sad. Why didn’t the children want to go in him? They always chose the red boats and left him on the side of the pool. He knew he was special but why didn’t they?
One day a family came. Two of the children clamoured to ride in the red boat. Perspemon wanted to go in the yellow.
“Alright. You can go in the yellow by yourself.”
“Hold on tight” the yellow boat willed. “We’re off. Your family will think you are still here”
Perspemon blinked. He was in a yellow boat on the river
New prompt on Wednesday. All writers welcome.