The box of toilet paper issues a challenge of its own: Who Gives a Crap? It’s a clever brand to get consumers to care about the environmental impact of our purchases. Choose wisely, it conveys. So we extend the who to what — what is worth giving a crap about?
To care is an emotion that can create tremendous tension. One’s cares may seem as ridiculous; another a matter of survival. Care can be at odds. In the imaginations and experiences of writers, stories emerge from the idea of what it is to give a crap.
The following are based on the January 12, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a crap about.
A Day At The Office by Pete Fanning
I crush the stress ball, feeling subhuman, asking this poor guy for proof that his wife’s death was natural. “Mr. Flint. We haven’t received the death certificate.”
“I don’t give a crap. What have I been paying you for?”
No idea. Across the cubes, Frida exits the Madison room with a Kleenex and a folder. Twenty-two years, neatly severanced. Mr. Flint starts to sob. “If this claim, if you crooks don’t pay up…I’ll kill myself.”
Frida packs up, sniffling. “Mr. Flint. If I can just put you on hold.”
I stand. Frida’s packing up, shaking her head. “Bastards.”
Give a Crap (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
“Thank God they’re axing that Obamacare. Goddamn libtards.”
Jane stuffs her biology notes in her bag.
“Why does it bother you that people have health care? In the richest country on earth?”
“I don’t want my taxes paying for their bullshit. This is America.”
Jane smiles. “Huh. I don’t mind my taxes paying for your health care.”
The man scowls and turns to the window. The woman beside him nods knowingly.
The bus lurches and stops. Jane gets up with a parting shot: “Not sure how you can give a crap about America without giving a crap about Americans.”
Saving Grace by Jules Paige
(pi ku, tau ku, haiku, tau ku, pi ku & prose)
her out, then in
lady-bug, a beetle
round the lamp light seeking the sun
gently brushed into
a cup; returned to nature ~
she see the full moon?
after some more rain drops
parted for the Wolf Moon and stars
bare branched shadows
Some say humans are aggravating the normal
evolution of climate change. In part that may be
true. But there were thousands of years that the
climate changed and there were no humans.
Or enough human ingenuity to do anything more
than survive. Now human intelligence must work
He Snookered Himself by Joe Owens
“Now that’s what I am talking about!” Kirby declared pounding his fist on the desk. “Let little Miss Bleeding Heart get a load of that!”
He slid the dolly underneath and wheeled the two boxes around so they fully blocked Lizzie Hardy’s office door. She would struggle all day to navigate the impediment.
The next day all the office staff gathered at the request of their young boss.
“I’m not sure if you know this but I wholly support the environmentally-friendly recycled toilet paper industry and thank you so much for the gift left outside my office door yesterday!”
Default Setting by Anne Goodwin
Dragging her group’s attention away from the sunbathers, Grace launched into her spiel.
“Can you speak up a bit?” an elderly man grumbled.
“Did you mean 1907?” another asked.
“Sorry!” Grace forced a smile. “The monument was erected in 1709.”
Her audience glowered at a mother star-fished on the grass, as her baby wailed in its pram. At the back, a woman laughed. “What a racket! Put it in its room and close the door on it.”
Grace stumbled on, her expertise fading as her mind reverted to its original settings. Helpless as a bleating baby, abandoned, scared, alone.
Flash Fiction by Pensitivity
He had defiance written all over his face.
‘He’s got a really serious attitude problem.’
‘What exactly has he done?’
‘Theft! He stole Simon’s lunch out of his locker and sold it!’
‘THAT’S A LIE!’ Jake shouted, jumping up.
‘You admitted you took the food, so don’t make matters worse, young man!’
‘Yes, I took the food BACK. I caught Simon beating up this first year kid in the lavvies and he stole his lunchbox and tuck money. I was returning it because your staff here don’t give a crap about us. Someone has to protect the little ones!’
The Mourner by Luccia Gray
The undertaker pointed to the sullen lad. “He looks like a good candidate, Mr. Bumble.”
“Any job requiring silence will suit this hard-working boy, Mr. Sowerberry.”
“No speaking required,” he said, then turned to the pauper. “Just crying, preferably bawling his eyes out.”
“He’ll be working as a mourner at children’s funerals.”
“Excellent. We’ll be sorry to see him go, but it’s our duty to help destitute orphans.”
Good riddance, he thought. Nobody gives a crap about any of the blighters.
He’d paid a fiver to get rid of Oliver Twist.
How dare he ask for more!
Judgement Day by Geoff Le Pard
‘What are you doing, Penny?’ Miss Castle stood in the door, looking shocked.
Penny stood by the whiteboard, a felt tip in her hand. On the board the words ‘Bitch’ stood out. ‘I…’
‘Wipe it off and go to Mrs Hind’s office.’
‘How could you, Penny?’ Mary looked furious.
‘I was protecting Nadia. The others made her write it.’
‘Others?’ But Mary knew who Penny meant. She hugged her daughter. ‘Nadia’s new, isn’t she? What did Mrs Hind do?’
‘Detention. It’s worth it.’
‘Well done. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions. Shall we ask Nadia round?’
Part of the Problem by Sherri Matthews
She knew the minute she walked into the room with her daughter, the therapist didn’t want her there.
It was the always the same: the unspoken insinuation that she, the mother, was part of the problem, in the way, hindering progress.
I’m here to help, she wanted to yell. I’m here because my daughter wants me here and because I give a crap! I’m here because she has Asperger’s and when you stare at her and tell her to ‘step outside her comfort zone’ and make friends, she wants to scream, ‘But I don’t have a comfort zone, anywhere.’
Pulling Together by Norah Colvin
“It’s mine!” they spat at each other. With faces red and contorted, they pulled in opposite directions.
The object finally stretched to its limit and ripped apart, catapulting the opponents backwards to land on their derrieres.
“Now look what you’ve done!” they accused each other, and scrambled to retrieve what was salvageable.
They contemplated the useless fragments. There were no winners, only losers. Their eyes, previously filled with hate, now brimmed with sorrow.
“What have we done?”
Moving together, each comforted the other, feeling as much for the other’s loss as for their own.
“Let’s start anew,” they said.
Damn Duck! by Bill Engleson
There it is again, that damn Muscovy duck, running wild on the rarely busy streets of our island.
“Pull over and fetch it. Some goobah’s gonna cream it.” Shelley says this knowing my duck phobia. One trip to a farm when I was seven and I had to run into the most vicious fowl ever. I could still feel it’s bill scrunching my pudgy little palm.
“Someone else will stop and save Donald,” I say as we speed by.
My peripheral sees her head shaking.
“Are you the man I married?” she fires away.
I slam on the brakes.
The Old Lady by Allison Maruska
On my way to her spot, I skip over the biggest sidewalk cracks, gripping my prize. Colton says stepping on a crack will break Mama’s back. I sometimes hit one but she’s okay.
The old lady is outside 7-11. She smiles big. “Child! What you got?”
I hold the paper bag out. “I did it! Learned all my sight words!”
“Oh, baby girl.” She sniffs the buttery smell. “Keep this. You don’t get treats often.”
“It’s yours. I don’t wanna hear no more about it.”
Smiling, she pops a piece of popcorn into her mouth, then one into mine.
I Wish a Better Life for You by Roger Shipp
I despised school.
Hated my classes.
What you wore… Who you dated… God forbid if you were different.
I loathed my teachers. Be’in’s as I was from the wrong side of the tracks. Who’d I think I was applying for advanced placement enrollment?
I wanted out. I wanted something different.
Turning out the light quickly, I slide The Iliad back under the covers.
Past midnight… Dad’s home.
Tuesday… All three jobs today.
He worked hard. Wanted a different life for me. Not what he had.
The door cracked… “Go’night, sweetheart. See’ya in the morning,” he always whispers.
Worth Preserving by Liz Husebye Hartmann
“Enough of that,” he snapped off the television and stepped onto the back porch. Easing into a wooden rocking chair, he cupped his hands around his coffee, and gazed down dewy lawn and dark granite, sloping to the mist-shrouded lake.
“How was hunting?” he raised an eyebrow at the tortoiseshell at porch’s edge, opened lap space to share warmth.
She purred and kneaded his thigh, her claws catching in the thick corduroy. He chuckled as she arched and settled under his knotted fingers.
The chair creaked. The sun spilled over the hills of the mainland. Another quiet day unspooled.
Hidden by C Jai Ferry
The officer pressed her thumb against the cardstock. “Fourteen and a prostitute.” He shook his head and inked her other fingers.
She gave him a practiced bored look.
“My little girl dreams of having babies with Prince Charming in a pink castle.” He flicked a sidelong glance at her. “Who wants damaged goods?”
“A whole lotta men wanted me last week.” She snatched his only offering, a moistened towelette. The black ink smeared, creating shadows on her fingertips.
“Bet your parents are proud.”
She snorted. She’d endured so much worse than shame. “They’re pissed they didn’t sell me sooner.”
Who Gives a Crap by Michael
My editor as far as I was concerned had one bad habit. She always wanted more from me. “Give a crap!” she’d say as we discussed my latest effort. A fantasy in involving a witch living in a suburban street who was capable of no end of good and evil all wrapped up together.
“Who will read this?” she’d ask. “Its quaint and trite and as a character she isn’t believable.”
So I’d walk away feeling why should give a crap about what she thought, after all my writing made me feel good. Wasn’t that the most important factor?
The Artist by Pete Fanning
At midnight, the band finished its set and a spokesperson announced that it was time.
Champagne flutes clinked. Techie elites and business moguls lurched forward.
“Fuse considers this to be his life’s work, titled, Giving A Crap.”
Fuse didn’t speak. His disdain for vocal communication was well documented. Quietly electrified, the crowd waited. After some grunting, the curtain dropped to reveal Fuse, hunched atop a commode.
Polite applause. Fuse stood triumphantly, naked. He turned, amidst the delighted murmurs, and picked out his feces, barehanded, and smeared them across the canvas.
“We will start bidding at one million US dollars.”
‘America’ Deserves an Idiot (not Americans) by Elliott Lyngreen
After the same commercial (you know the one where the kid is eating that three foot tape of candy, and eating the other end of it is an alien looking creature dressed like his grandmother???) for the umpteenth break in the latest televised celebration, Cletus disgust, “Morons..”
Billy Bob victoriously grinds his knife across a tri-stone, “Ha! Hear them blowing dog whistles cuz?. They all goin to hell
…. People earning livings off tragedies? the advertising…? . This fake ‘America’ aint it .. well, Seems we chose the right Idiot for ’em.”-“Amen.”
Political C#@p by Florida Borne
A man with midnight skin stood next to a coconut palm, amused when a slender woman with a cane hobbled past.
“Kill all cracker babies,” he yelled.
Barely 5 feet tall, light beige, and grey-haired, the woman with sharp blue eyes asked, “Were you born in Florida?”
“You ignorant SOB,” she said. “Anyone born in Florida is a Florida cracker!”
“Racist!” he blurted.
“So…you want to play political poker? I’ll raise the stakes! My grandmother was a Seminole, I’m old and disabled. That beats your ‘racist’ any day.”
She mumbled as she walked away, “I hate political c#@p.”
Boring Conversation by Diana Ngai
Damn it, I thought, as he sat down. I closed my eyes, preparing for dull torture. My sister’s boyfriend could ramble on long beyond any inner dialogue I focused on while appearing interested. Either he cannot read social cues, or I am that good of an actor.
I reminded myself that I love my sister and must be friendly. But hearing about his day is as riveting as counting to infinity. No point. No end.
I dug my fingernails into my palms; the pain keeping me alert. Focusing my eyes on his, I concentrated on giving a crap.
Old Lady by Jane Dougherty
Every day it’s the same route to the same shop to buy the same things that won’t empty her purse completely. Until the day I find her wandering, her bag empty and her eyes full of hurt.
“Been burgled,” she said, her blue eyes wide and watery. “Two kids, pushed past when I opened the door. Went straight to the drawer with the money in it.”
All I can do is give her my arm, guide her distracted steps home. I can’t give what I would—more time, strength, and a safer world to live her last years in.
Serving All (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
“Officer Roubineaux, explain why you were in Naples that day,” said the judge.
“Yes. I made a promise to a friend who is serving in Iraq to look out for his wife.”
“Which branch of service,” the judge asked.
“He’s a contractor for private security,” answered Michael.
“That’s not service. That’s a cover for meaningless acts of mercenary.” The judge made the comment as casually as if stating a fish has scales.
Danni resisted the urge to throw her shoe at the judge. He had no idea how much Ike gave a crap about serving his country, even jerks.
Destruction by Sarah Brentyn
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” She slammed the door in his face, turned to me, and smiled.
“Rhett Butler, Mum? Seriously?”
“Your grandma loved that movie. We watched it every Christmas. Anyway, I’ve always wanted to say that.”
“Well,” I picked some fuzz from my socks, “you got your chance. It was about time, too.”
She trailed her fingers along the windowsill. “I know. I’m sorry. He won’t be back here anymore.”
“I hope not.”
“I made sure of it.”
“Good. I love this old house. And it’s not like this town needs another fast food joint.”
I Give a Crap! by Ann Edall-Robson
Snake fences, two pronged barbed wire, old machinery, wagons and buildings. All are very quickly being torn from our history without a care.
Well, I care. These pieces of our history are needed to tell future generations of the hardships and laughter our forefathers lived to give us the gift we now live.
Writing is one way to embrace and record history, but I am at home behind a camera lens capturing the mementos, potential stories. Sharing the rusted icons and pastures riddled with old fences.
I am passionate about their story. Matter of fact, I give a crap!