Situations and technology call for us to back up. We have backup plans and protocols to save our data. We back up promises or back up and flee the nearest exit. Language provides much play with this phrase or compound word.
Writers backed up their work and took to a strange road that followed the backups of life.
The following are based on the February 28, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the term backup.
PART I (10-minute read)
Go Ahead, Back Up by Molly Stevens
Ruth dreaded asking Chester for help, but she was stuck in a snow bank and didn’t want to be late for her hair appointment. Spinning her wheels would only make things worse.
Chester trudged outside and surveyed the situation. “Go ahead, back up,” he said.
“Which one do you want me to do, go ahead or back up?”
“I said go ahead, back up!”
Ruth sputtered and gunned the engine, rear tires shooting a spectacular plume of snow behind her.
Chester stood motionless, encased in snow.
As she drove off, she yelled, “Thanks! That was definitely the right call.”
Backup by Janice Golay
The exercise/dance class at our public library enticed the heck out of me. Sign up! We started with the merengue, a Latin-beat dance created to rouse your wiggles. Our leader spread us out on the dance floor like a disorderly chessboard. As beginners and maybe prone to tumble, we each had a “spotter” or “catcher” — a backup in case we teetered between one beat and the next. My backup was tall and dark. Tall and dark. Forward: two, three, four. Back: two, three, four. Oops, I backed up into the tall and dark spotter. Bingo!
Accident or design?
When a Planter Isn’t a Planter by Geoff Le Pard
‘Can you see where that planter is?’
‘I don’t want to reverse into it when I back up.’
‘There’s no planter there.’
‘Go and check and you’ll realise how blind and stubborn you are.’
‘Now, back up a moment. What’s stubbornness got to do with the supposed existence of a planter?’
‘You’re the most stubborn man I know.’
‘I’m not. I’ve also got better eyesight. Just reverse and you’ll see.’
‘Ok, I will. I… Hear that crunch? A planter.’
‘It’s not. It’s a flowerpot. Totally different.’
‘Morgan, you really get my back up.’
Wily Larceny by Kate Spencer
“Members of the Jury,” Harper said, walking across the courtroom toward the witness stand. “The question before you is not to determine if any trout went missing from Mr. Parker’s fish market on three separate occasions. The real question is: will the prosecutors’ evidence back up their assertion that it was my client George Prowler, a quiet homeless man who perpetrated the robberies.”
Harper turned and faced the courtroom. “The defense intends to prove otherwise. We will show that the real thief was Mr. Parker’s own large wily cat, Whiskers,” she said pointing her finger directly at the plaintiff.
On the Road to Recovery? by Anne Goodwin
A virus meant missing the concert; but, never mind, there was another in three weeks’ time. I’d be fighting fit by then: hitting the top notes and tramping the moors, albeit not at the same time. Four weeks of fatigue and bouts of coughing headed for five and I remained a recluse, sleeping sitting up.
Steroids: well I never! A single dose and I’m breathing right. But have I the strength to walk to today’s appointment? It takes half an hour if I march at my usual pace. But there’s backup: my husband’s ‘taxi’ only a phone call away.
Posture Support by Norah Colvin
One birthday, thoughtful Hub gifted me a wearable device for supporting my posture during long hours at my desk. Sadly, it was complicated, and he was the only one to don it, semi-successfully. Those of us less brave to even attempt were in stitches as he manoeuvred himself into it. Having failed to convince me or anyone else to try, it has been relegated to the back of an (unknown) cupboard ever since. Mere mention of the BackUp causes fits of laughter and it remained #1 inappropriate gift for many years – until he presented man perfume on another birthday.
The Wrong Path by Tracey
She could not believe she was watching yet another lame Christmas movie about time travel. Just once she wished the woman would choose the glamorous life she gave up for marriage and kids. No one in their right mind picked a lazy husband and bratty children over a successful career and spotless apartment.
If she could back up her life she knew the exact time she would return to. Where she had made that first critical mistake that led down the wrong path to her current life.
She looked out the immaculate window of her high-rise condo and sighed.
All the Time by Sascha Darlington
Every step forward is two steps back: Back up! Back up! Back up!
Celia thought the worst thing would have been running the red light. “Eric, stop!”
The worst thing was backing up, the Mercedes crunching their Toyota pickup, the airbags bursting, screams, shatters, blackness, waking alone. All those taut lips, pitying eyes. “She lost her husband and her baby.” Husband and baby lost. The repetition a desolate refrain.
Her sister drags her, sometimes forcibly, to grief counseling where they say, “Time,” or that’s the perceived message.
She remembers Eric’s hand on her belly. “We got all the time.”
Chapter One by Ann Edall-Robson
“Whoa, backup, stop!”
How many times had those words interrupted conversations while travelling down the road?
He smiled to himself, wondering what it was this time his wife had seen that brought her camera to her eye. An animal? A bit of scenery? A glint of light off the dew sitting on a leaf, caught sparkling when the sun lifted its head over the trees.
A surprise to both of them, sometimes, when they saw the result on a bigger screen. He never tired of her enthusiasm, the sparkle in her eye, that smile, when she said, “Got it.”
Chapter 2 by Ann Edall-Robson
Her voice was now only a memory. Echoing in his mind while he drove to their favourite places. How had he missed the signs she was not well? She never gave an inkling all was not right in her world.
Pulling over, he nosed the rig off the shoulder into the ditch. Had he seen something worthy of her eye? Smiling, he remembered how she would explain to him what it was she had seen, before clambering out of the truck to wander. Moving in tiny steps until she caught sight of what had prompted the “whoa, backup, stop.”
Chapter 3 by Ann Edall-Robson
He sat staring out the window, watching, waiting, but for what? Should he backup, or like her, get out and wander? His heart swelled with the pain of his loss. The meadow that had made him stop blurred from his eyes overflowing with jewels of love.
Wiping away the tears, he opened the door, picking up her camera from its place on the passenger’s seat.
“I’ll just have a look around.” He whispered into the quiet emptiness.
He grinned. Click, click, click. The sound of the shutter shattered the silence.
“I got it, hon” he whispered, “I got it.”
Restoration of a Normal Life? by JulesPaige
Who knew a train could restore one’s faith? There I was waiting. Not knowing what to expect. I had ordered a bride through the mail. This was my back up plan. The eligible women were scarce round these parts. Most men had brought their own. I had… but after the first three births, the fourth took both my child and my wife.
I needed a kind heart to look after my children, maybe even me, after we got ourselves acquainted. No matter what the promise or the paper said I’d be sleeping in the barn until she wanted me.
Immobile by H. R. R. Gorman
The messenger hopped into the trench just after a shell hit. He face chittered, ghostly pale after the brush with death.
“How long until we get backup?” a grizzled twenty-one year old asked.
“It’s not coming,” the fresh young messenger said. “The shelling’s too hard. No one’s moving from the redoubts.”
The professional soldier rubbed his aching feet. “I’m not sure we can hold them off this time. We don’t have enough men in this line.” Upon seeing the fear on the messenger’s face, he comforted. “Don’t worry, mate. I suppose they feed their prisoners!”
The young man gulped.
Decay by Allison Maruska
Rotting wood bends beneath each step. Our porch is almost how I remember–elegant, though neglect has eaten away its soul.
Easing the door open, I back up a step as echoes wash over me.
Hurry, Marie. Leave everything.
With glass crunching under my shoes, I pass our furniture’s remains, heading to the office. I open the desk drawer, feeling inside for the silver pendant but finding only grit.
The empty drawer confirms what I’d known in my heart. The soldiers had left nothing of value behind.
Leaving the drawer open, I depart, knowing this time will be my last.
Fire in the Hole by D. Avery
Dusted by the unremitting snowflakes, the explorers carefully made their way across the glacier.
“They say each snowflake is unique. No two alike.”
“Are they still saying that? That makes this landscape even more diabolical, a conspiracy of snowflakes of astronomical proportions.”
They stopped to take a GPS reading. “Here we are. Standing over downtown. Welcome to Houghton, Michigan.”
“Back up! A crevice.”
They took another reading by the crevasse and checked their notes.
“Down in there, that’s where the CFC used to be. Is.”
“Listen! Hear that?”
“Yes. This means…”
“The Continental Firehouse Company is open! Let’s go!”
Human Mind by Reena Saxena
Amnesia is not a dreaded word. It has not been one for decades. One can find life again and reconnect.
Somehow, this episode is different. I find myself in a world without Facebook and Instagram. There is no digital backup of life, and no tattoos on my body. The fire has damaged more than my skin.
Is it apocalypse? Yes, I remember this word. So, all is not lost. There is a life beyond, and I can still reconnect – with something more advanced than digital. I will live to invent that.
Hell hath no fire – like the human mind.
Backup Work (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills
Mars sparkled overhead. Could Ike see their favorite constellations from his post in Iraq? Danni lit a lantern at the kitchen table. With the power out from the wind storm, she couldn’t access her computer files. Good thing her work included books and items found in the dirt. She poked at the latest sorting of glass globs. A fire, which locals claimed was the burning of the Rose Bud Inn during Prohibition. If so, Danni might have found its location. Tonight, she couldn’t back up her reports, but she could sift the remains of another era. Stories always surface.
Pierre by Saifun Hassam
Standing on the boulder strewn seashore, Pierre gazed up thoughtfully at the caves in the limestone cliffs he had just come down from. Then he trekked back up the muddy goat trail to the jumble of rocks. Kathryn was right: A cairn of some sort, the runes on the rocks and those on the ancient temples in the area strikingly similar.
He went back over his knowledge of the archaeology of the coastal villages. Had seafarers and fishermen lived there once? Perhaps they had come from distant western lands, although there was no evidence to back up those ideas.
In the Library by Sue Maddeaux
Ssshhh! This is a library!
Reverence demanded I curl up on the long window seat. Enjoying the late afternoon sun teach the dust mites to dance, I opened the newly chosen book.
Prologue: Our heroine lives in a sleepy town on the edge of Lake Erie. She shares the house with a middle aged man, who smokes a pipe and offers a quiet comfort when most needed. Otherwise he fades into the silent walls aware of her requirement for order and serenity.
Chapter 0ne: My story…..
Library silence does not disturb my reading. Memories threaten but are sternly hushed.
Right Quite Quite Not Something’s by Chelsea Owens
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PART II (10-minute read)
Back Up by Pete Fanning
“Okay, Ed. Hit the gas, then rock it back.”
Edna slung the Bonneville into Drive, mashed the gas, then slammed it into Reverse. The car revved and rocked, tires zinging in the mud.
Enda’s husband wedged another board in the hole. “Okay, try it now.”
Edna shot her husband a look that could dirty dishwater. She’d told him not to take River Road. But no one had asked Edna.
Her husband studied the tire, walking behind the car. “Okay back up.”
Edna gunned it, spraying her husband with mud.
She’d told him not to take River Road.
Coastal Cruising by calmkate
Driving along the winding coast
prefer to go where I enjoy most
this tiny café for morning toast
another for the most charming host
linger for lunch over a fresh pot roast
baked spuds well deserving a boast
plenty of coffee to ensure I’m dosed
meandering around every outpost
yet if my car should break down
back up is in the very next town
the mechanic there a bit of a clown
flaunts about in his sequenced gown
causes many an onlooker to frown
so he gesticulates a rather rude noun
life is meant to be colourful never brown
The Fairy With the Broken Wing by JulesPaige
Riding Hawk was supposed to be easy.
Quinn had not always been clumsy,
growth spurts had made everything challenging.
Quinn was distracted, and fell.
You’d think that a fairy with wings
could easily recover just by flying.
Hawk realizing his passenger had fallen,
turned sharply to see the plummeting fairy
whose wings were not cooperating, dove and
grasped Quinn’s right wing in his strong beak.
There were no backup wings for fairies.
The break would be fixed, healed. Quinn would
fly when the cartilage had securely knitted.
And a slight scar would have
to compensated for when in flight.
Momentary Nudists by Kerry E.B. Black
Momma’s eyes darted between her mud-covered children. “Don’t you come in this house. Go around the side and hose off.”
The oldest ran a hand through hair stiffened with drying dirt. “Here’s the thing. I don’t think we should do that.”
“Yeah, we used mud to cover ourselves when the fairies stole our clothes.”
Momma’s eyes grew wide with alarm as she scrutinized her young. Sure enough, no swimsuits. “Back up. Where are your clothes?”
“Told you, fairies.”
They nodded at one another.
Momma squeezed her eyes shut and pointed to the hose. “Guess you’ll be momentary nudists. Hurry!”
Traditional Does Not Equate With Destiny by D. Avery
“Honey! I could use some backup.”
Marlie’s dad came in from his office. “Yes?”
“Our first grader has figured out that she no longer needs to attend school.”
“I can read and my teacher says if you can read you can learn anything. But we don’t have time at school.”
“What about math?”
“We keep doing the same things over and over. I’ll do math here by baking and using Dad’s tools to fix things.”
“Some backup. You did tell her that was real math.”
“So let her try it. I work from home, she can work from home.”
Waiting by Sarah Unsicker
The plane lingers on the runway as I continue to contemplate the wisdom of my trip. My coat on my lap, the suitcase above my head, I have everything I need for the week. My glance at the weather in Boston told me it would be cold, but manageable. This should be a good trip, a much-needed work vacation. But still, I am uneasy about going. Would they manage without me?
As the plane backs from the tarmac, I jump up, unable to still my thumping heart, to catch my breath. “Back up!” I yell. “I can’t do this.”
Backup by The Dark Netizen
I need you on lookout.
Keep me posted about the patrols. If any of the soldiers are about to enter the barracks, you give me an alert. Don’t worry. I can handle all the sleeping soldiers on my own. After all, I am one of the top operatives. Check your walkie. Okay, good. I’m ready to go in.
Wait. Three squads of soldiers are entering the barracks. This was not in the intel. What do you mean so what? I am good, but I can’t take on hundred soldiers alone.
Change in plan. Come with me. Your’re my backup…
Rolling the Calendar by Jo Hawk
“I think we made it,” I said, but I spoke too soon.
Ahead, cop cars blocked our way. I slammed the breaks and as we skidded to a stop, I slammed her into reverse. Tires squawking and smoking, I punched the gas and my Dodge Charger lurched.
“Backup, backup, backup,” Harold screamed.
“No, shit Sherlock.”
Picking up speed, I jumped on the breaks, threw her into neutral and cranked the wheel. My baby spun. I shifted into second, then third.
“Hang on,” I yelled, “If the DeLorean can do it, we can.”
A poof of smoke, and we disappeared.
Back Up Required by Ritu Bhathal
“Back up! I request you all to back up. You are blocking the exit.”
Pete tried in vain to clear a path through the door.
It was always the same when these guys visited.
He needed to get the band to their car, but it was proving to be impossible.
Just as he thought he’d made some headway, a huge scream erupted, and the crowd of teeny boppers surged forward, knocking him to the ground.
Typical. The boys had turned up at the entrance, with their dazzling smiles, unaware that their security was buried, and requiring back up himself.
Backup Plan by Miriam Hurdle
“The storm will hit Maui tomorrow, honey.”
“We’re flying back to Los Angeles tomorrow and pick up our niece from LAX in the evening.”
“We need a backup plan. Call a friend to pick her up?”
“Who? LAX is a mess.”
“Can she take a taxi?”
“She has no key to our house.”
“Can she reschedule her visit?”
“She’s going to a wedding in San Diego on Saturday. We’re taking her.”
“She got tomorrow off from work… Check the weather report…”
“Phew! The storm died down before hitting Honolulu.”
“Oh, mine. The Almighty has a backup plan.”
Take Responsibility! by di @ pensitivity101
I am responsible! I am caring and never shirk in my duty.
It goes with the territory and privilege of ownership.
People may laugh at my stuffed pockets, but I am always prepared.
You can buy one or even two hundred for a pound! Some are scented and come in pretty colours or with cute little cartoons on them.
I will even offer one if you are without, but don’t expect me to do your dirty work.
If there is one thing that never fails to put my back up, it’s dog owners not clearing up after their pets.
Vanishing Floppies by Anita Dawes
Life has a way of twisting around
like a stick of barley sugar
The cosmos handed me one that day
a while ago Jaye decided
to retrieve our floppies with a reader
She saved four out of twelve of my books
We took the remaining ones to our local shop
The boys there are brilliant, they saved five now
All on new shiny discs
So I only lost three of my books
Even so, I was devastated
They’re gone forever, to some floppy heaven
Thank God, Jaye now uses USB’s
and backs everything up
Technology, what can you say?
Flash Fiction by FloridaBorne
Cheap polyester shift from the dollar store…blazer, circa 2005…shoes from an on-line store. Who cut her hair, my ex-husband?
“You qualify for $100 food assistance,” my social worker said. “What are your assets?”
“The rich bastard controlled our finances, left me for a 20-something and filed for divorce after the last child left home. He had good lawyers.”
“You can’t have more than $1000 in savings.”
“I sold my car to buy an aluminum tent.”
Public assistance was a back-up plan; I’d taken $150,000 from the bastard’s safe. I’ll live well while I find a rich 60-something to marry.
Minuscule by Paige Leppanen
The computer is dead, and the backup USB is gone.
I’ve torn my desk apart and searched in the most implausible places: the bathroom, the refrigerator, even the garage. I had a suspicion but didn’t want it to be true. Still, I couldn’t deny it any longer. I invited my sister over and casually asked her if she had seen the minuscule blue thumb drive.
She sipped her iced tea and looked at me, not straight in the eyes, but close. “No, sorry. I haven’t.”
It was that moment that I knew I could never trust my sister again.
Breaking Point by Joanne Fisher
“Just back up! Just back the fuck up!” screamed Penny as Angela approached her for a hug. Angela stopped in her tracks looking hurt. “Don’t fucking hug me. Not after what you’ve done!”
“And that makes everything fine does it?” Penny shot back.
“No, of course it doesn’t, but we’ve got to get past this.” Penny just shook her head and turned away.
“If you’re going to sleep with someone else, we don’t have a future together anymore.” Penny walked out of the room leaving her alone.
Angela collapsed onto the floor knowing she had lost everything.
Backup by Nobbinmaug
It was her smile that caught my eye. She started the conversation, which is great for a shy guy. She grabbed my phone out of my hand and typed in her number. I fell fast and hard.
The texts stopped abruptly. I tried a few more times, but she didn’t respond.
I ran into her friend a little later. She told me she’d been seeing someone.
It turns out, she never really wanted me. All along, it was him she wanted. I was just a backup.
She broke my heart and knocked me down, but I’m getting back up.
The Backup Plan by Susan Zutautas
About to get married in a few weeks. Had everything planned, and in place.
It wasn’t going to be a big wedding just family and close friends.
My maid of honor was a little pregnant, (Okay a lot pregnant) with a chance of giving birth before our wedding day.
During the wedding rehearsal, I thought she looked a little piqued and asked if she was going to be okay. “No worries.”
Thank goodness I had a backup maid of honor, my sister in law Jackie as Shelley gave birth to a baby boy on the eve of our wedding.
Back Up Front by Bill Engleson
Back up front;
Rear guard house;
House home in;
Out side entry;
Exit strategy chaos;
Calm storm weather;
Climate change coins;
Coppers police baton;
Rouge lipstick Hemingway;
Writer reader library;
Information highway patrol;
Car bicycle lane;
Rocky smooth dude;
Ranch dressing naked;
Lunch free expensive;
Posh tacky ticky;
Houses hillside strangler;
Boston Bruins Bears;
Arms legs diamond;
Blood guts glory;
Modesty Blaise blaze;
Starr Ken aware;
Blank sheet wind;
Pass fail safe;
Vault leap year;
New old me;
Lai lie down;
Up periscope sub;
Sandwich grilled fried;
Egg face music;
Festival joy sorrow;
Pity party favours;
Bribes corruption backup.
Best Laid Plans by D. Avery
“Mom, Dad. Sit down, I have something to tell you.”
They sat, exchanging wry smiles. They weren’t naïve.
“I have struggled with this but really have no choice.” Their child fell silent, swallowed nervously. They held hands under the table. “You need to know that I am…”
“You can tell us, Dear. It’ll be okay.”
“I- I’m a writer.”
Now it was they that blew out their breath. This they hadn’t expected. Perhaps they were naïve.
“But what about money?”
“I’ll write a book.”
Damn. A partner might have meant income, security.
“Tell us you have a backup plan.”
There’s An Easy Button by D. Avery
“All right, Pal. I’m up. Whut’s goin’ on?”
“Shorty’s cut off.”
“At the pass?”
“The peninsula. Not only is Ranch HQ gittin’ buried in snow, Shorty’s had ta bury her computer- it up an’ died.”
“Yep. So how kin we back her up?”
“Reckon all the buckaroos have her back. They’ve hung in, kep’ right on writin’.”
“Yep. I tell ya, Kid, when Shorty gits knocked down she sure gets write back up. I’m thinkin’ mebbe backup means payin’ it forward.”
“How da ya mean ‘pay’, Pal?”
“Really? Yer pushin’ my buttons, Kid.”
“Oh! PayPal. That’s easy.”