When facing a trial, unyielding institutions or difficult committees it helps to have an advocate. Sometimes that advocate is hired, and often not. A mother might have her child’s back or a grandchild might look out for the elderly.
The idea for “got your back” sprang from support for a veteran facing a difficult situation. The expression comes from being in a dangerous situation where you might need another to cover your back as you move forward. In the military, this is called “got your 6.” And there is an organization that seeks to empower today’s US veterans to be community leaders and for the community to have a more normal perspective of veterans beyond “heroic or broken.”
Check out the organization Got Your 6 and see the video clip at the end of this compilation.
The following stories are based on the August 12, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who is called to have the back of another.
Back Up by Sherri Matthews
The questions had started out basic but became more complex with every turn of the page.
Write in as much detail as possible the applicant’s difficulties with everyday tasks.
She sighed and ran her hands through her unwashed hair as she glanced up at her kitchen clock. Damn. Already noon and still she hadn’t showered.
Her phone vibrated, she jumped.
“Mrs Martin? This is Dee Caldwell, the Council Welfare Officer. I had a message to call you about helping fill out some forms for your daughter. When can I visit?”
Someone had her back. Someone cared just enough.
Back to the Future by Geoff Le Pard
‘Sore?’ Paul massaged Mary’s back.
‘Hmm. I need a better chair.’
‘What you reading?’
‘Rupert’s notes. He’s determined to find my twin.’
‘What’s he found?’
‘She was definitely Katherine not Sharon. That’s my imaginary friend. Katharine was adopted by a family called Potts.’
‘They moved to Ireland in 1984. He’s going to see what he can find. He wants me to go too.’
‘What about you?’
‘Would you mind? I’d take the baby but you’ll have Penny.’
‘You know I’ll do whatever you need.’
‘Course. Covering your back has always been my priority!’
Lost Loyalties by Christina Rose
She found the emails from his ex, the U-Haul rental receipt in her name, obvious signs of a quick exit. He he was gone by the time she got home.
I emailed him, unleashing my rage, my fury over their actions, the betrayal she was too brokenhearted to fight. He took the lowest of blows, personal attacks, things she said behind my back.
She denied saying those things of course, but I always wondered.
Years later, we don’t talk. Memories of me, bring back memories of him. Avoidance from the friend I once loved, no appreciation for the loyalty.
Providing Cover by A. R. Amore
The overnight detective was young, respectful and professional; he started almost every sentence with, “I’m sorry sir, but…” Chief Barret felt he actually meant that.
“Bring him,” he ordered and the detective nodded.
When they brought him all he could say was, “It looks bad but they have it wrong. It was a wild frat party…”
“The girl was 17,” Barret said. “You drugged her.”
“I didn’t,” his son mumbled. “No, I…”
This was his second college and third assault allegation.
“She was drugged; raped.” The Chief stood thinking: I won’t cover this one up. He needs to learn.
Growth: a Mindset by Norah Colvin
Marnie propped her head on one hand while the pencil in the other faintly scratched the paper. She hoped it wasn’t too obvious that she didn’t get it. But she didn’t get it. She didn’t get last year, or the year before. Why should she get it now? What was the point? Her brain just didn’t work that way. She was dumb. They had always said she was dumb. No point in trying.
Then the teacher was there, encouraging, supporting, accepting. “Let me help you,” she said. “You can do this. Let’s break it down into steps. First …”
Eating…by Bill Bennett
I had to have his back. I couldn’t count the times he had saved me from being bitten and turned. The Ruger 10/22 was a great weapon for killing the eaters, and I had never had a problem until now. The stupid gun kept jamming. Was it the amo or was it because the gun was dirty? Never the less I had to do something. I pushed my back against his and jabbed each eater in the eye socket with the gun and thrust harder into the skull, killing each monster and the threat of catching the hideous virus.
I Have Your Back, Grandma by Kate Spencer
“I have your back, Grandma”
“Yes, you have tact. Always have – ever since you were a little boy.”
“Grandma, listen, I’ll take care of you.”
“You? What can you do? Oh, goodness, no Jason. I’m fine and can manage quite nicely. Did I tell you I went strawberry picking last weekend?”
“Yes you did, but I wanted you to know that I’ll be there for you.”
Grandma walked over to the kitchen counter and Jason watched as she re-arranged some tomatoes in a bowl with one hand and quietly wiped her eye with the other.
“Love you Grandma.”
The Irony by Ruchira Khanna
Trisha lay still accompanied by silent sniffs.
“Don’t worry Trish. I am right here” she said in a pacified tone.
“Oh! I am scared Mommy,” she said while sniffing, “Will it hurt?”
“Not at all dear!”
Soon she felt the prick, the pressure on her arm build up, and within seconds, everything was back to normal.
She wailed, whimpered as the nurse dabbed cotton on the spot.
Mom took over with a gentle smile while making her sit up.
Aha! The paradox of life that in spite of a whining, weepy kid, the Mom was wearing a smile.
The Advocate by Sarah Unsicker
Mrs. Smith felt less alone when she walked into the room with her advocate behind her, but she still instinctively cowered when she saw the table with ten people around it. Ten people unwilling to expend resources on her child. Ten people who saw his naughty behavior as willful disobedience rather than inability to comply.
The teachers’ names flew past before she could take them in.
“I’m sorry, can we repeat those introductions, slower, so I can write down everybody’s names?” said the advocate.
Mrs. Smith’s shoulders relaxed. Finally, at this meeting, somebody had her back—and her son’s.
Two at Her Back by Paula Moyer
“You will have 10 minutes to empty your desk.” Jean knew she was good. What was up? She handed her key to the guard. Walked out like a robot.
Still numb, she drove home, walked up the drive, unlocked the door. Ellie was on the other side, whole body wagged by the tail. Jean dropped into the couch. Ellie’s manic wagging stopped. She plopped her head onto Jean’s knee.
Jean pulled out her phone, scrolled to Lynn. “Cousin, I just got fired.”
Lynn gasped. “How could they?”
“Well.” Lynn’s trademark.
“I’ll just take my business elsewhere.”
I’ve Got Your Back by Irene Waters
Close to the summit, Kathy’s hand hold faultered. The crevice was tiny and her anxiety was turning to panic.
“You can do it.” Richard gently encouraged her onwards in his calming, believable voice. “I’ve got your back so don’t worry. Your safe. One step at a time.” She trusted him and reached the top.
Now, back home, they danced. She loved being held against him but Richard was dancing clumsily, trying to look behind him to avoid collisions on the crowded dance floor.
“Look forward. Trust me, like I trusted you. I’ve got your back now. You have mine.”
Chips Are Unhealthy for More Reasons Than You Think by Dave Madden
The door jam is my Prime Meridian. In waiting for the right choice, I notice potato chips next to the garbage.
A wave of boys wishing “good mornings” heightened wonderment: How good would it have been had I crossed any time zones through the door’s threshold?
An innocent Kindergartner admitted, “A friend shared them.”
My tone validated, with no hint at hiding urgency, “We don’t share food at school, so go throw them away.”
He nods his head; I turn around.
Crunch, crunch, crunch!
Even when teachers try to have students’ backs, it doesn’t always go as planned.
Family Reunion by Sarah Brentyn
“That’s not how it happened,” Terri barked.
“Who cares,” Kim interrupted, “I want to hear more about Tracy’s new ‘boyfriend’.”
“No,” Mark gestured with his beer, “let’s hear more about this supposed thing I did to Tracy. I hurt her wittle feelings?”
Britney laughed. “It’s bullshit. Like her new job.”
“Tracy?” Her mother glared. “Don’t just stand there like an idiot.”
Tracy’s boyfriend squeezed her hand. “It was nice to meet all of you but we have a weekend meeting at work.” He turned to her. “Do you want to leave now or wait a bit?”
“Now is good.”
Undaunted by Ann Edall-Robson
Hearing the horses milling around in the corral, she slipped into her coat. Picking up her rifle, the undaunted woman headed for the barn.
She shivered. The hair on the back of her neck was standing. The screaming had been sporadic for weeks. Tonight it was close.
The tawny coloured cougar lay waiting. Ears back. Tail twitching. Ready to spring.
A blur rushed past her towards the cat.
One shot and it was over.
Squatting, she rested her hand on the dog that came to stand beside her.
She depended on her partner. He was always there for her.
Legal Maneuvering by Larry LaForge
Judge Stone called Ed to the podium and read the charge. “How do you plead?”
Ed stood nervously.
“Not guilty,” someone proclaimed from behind. All eyes turned toward Edna, whose loud voice surprised even her.
The Judge was startled, then amused. “Does she always have your back?”
Ed answered immediately. “Guilty as charged, Your Honor.”
Judge Stone didn’t know if Ed was admitting he ran the stop sign or proudly affirming he has a supportive spouse.
The Judge smiled, scratched his head and then announced “Charge dropped.”
Ed ignored Edna’s signal to remain silent. “The defense rests,” he said.
Special Recipe by Pete Fanning
They tortured that boy. Day after day, smacking his head and taunting him. He never said much. But that numb look on his face said it all. His clothes were a mess. His hair butchered. And that bruise under his collar? I’d been there.
I don’t know how they found out Butch was on assistance, but by then I’d had enough.
The hell with probation, the next morning I wrapped that hairnet for the last time. When Butch arrived I took that bowl of pudding from off his plate and winked.
“Might want to pass on the that today.”
Sarah’s Deliverer by Charli Mills
He’d hid the kittens Mr. Boots had in the barn. On those nights when coyotes yipped and she felt abandoned on the prairie, Hickok read to her his mother’s letters. Last night, after Cob raged that he’d clean out Rock Creek, Hickok calmed her fear. “I got your back, Sarah,” he said.
Now that Cob had thrown Wellman to the ground, Nancy Jane growled by the door and young Sally whimpered from under the kitchen table. Hickok strode tall and calm from the barn, walked right past Cob.
“Friends, aint’ we Hickok?”
No Cob, it’s my back he has.
The Good Parent by Jules Paige
Children who are different – some schools want to put them on drugs.
To make them docile and compliant and pliable. Ones who are curious,
disrupting the normal routines of a class. But Janice had her son Manning’s
back. As a parent you have be your child’s best advocate. Since they
just don’t always have the right words to express their needs.
If you didn’t know it, at least where Janice lived there was such a
document called “The Parent’s Bill of Rights.’ And she used it. Janice
had Manning’s back. And he knew it.
Veterans, we got your 6!