Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

#FridayFictioneers – 7/7/17 – Alternative Summer

with 44 comments

Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

I wrote the below with one pair in mind, but another dynamic emerged once I was done. I’d love you to let me know who you see/ hear speaking. With thanks to Rochelle for hosting and Claire for this week’s prompt.



Alternative Summer

(Genre: general fiction/ humour; 100-words)

‘A cluttered desk is a sign of genius.’

‘And a tidy desk is a sign of an anal-retentive control freak?’

‘I didn’t say – ’

‘You didn’t have to. Clear it, or I will.’

‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’

‘I finished the rest of the house weeks ago. This is the last room to be decorated. It’s not as if I’m asking you to paint anything.’

‘I promise, tomorrow’s the day.’

‘You have until 10am before I fill a black sack.’

‘That’s harsh.’

‘Nope, harsh is a summer with no days off. There are plenty of jobs I can find for you.’



Written by Sarah Ann

July 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

44 Responses

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  1. I heard my father, who used to say, “A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind.” Pretty much what you said, just paraphrased.


    July 7, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    • I like your dad’s version best.:) Thanks for reading and the comment.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 1:54 pm

  2. I LIKE a tidy desk; just have a hard time getting it and keeping it.


    July 8, 2017 at 12:41 am

  3. Althoigh You’ve created a great slice of life tale in reality it won”t end well. We had neighbors like these two and she actually did bag his stuff and take it to the dump to make her point. Your lady will win the battle but lose the war.

    Christine Goodnough

    July 8, 2017 at 2:53 am

    • Let’s hope they get to share the decorating?! My mum once cleared away my dad’s collected unopened post. Nothing calamitous happened, and the pile just grew again.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      • Good for your Dad! I think it totally depends on the people and their personalities. Nothing “calamitous” would happen here if I did that (and I have done similar.) It would be treated as a calamity, though and I’d definitely getting a lecture 😦 I don’t know what I’d do if hubby one day dumped all my unfinished sewing projects. Hmmm… 😉

        And I’ve learned over the years that these little instances of annoyance and disrespect to each other work like moths, affecting the overall fabric of your marriage. Again, depending on the personalities involved. The neighbors I mentioned, where the wife dumped her hubby’s tools, had a miserable marriage.

        Christine Goodnough

        July 10, 2017 at 5:27 pm

  4. it’s no contest. whoever rules the roost wins hands down. 🙂


    July 8, 2017 at 4:02 am

  5. Why do I picture a parent/child discussion? Or one between Mick and me? His desk was always pristing, mine, on the other hand, not so much… 😉
    Fun dialogue!


    July 8, 2017 at 4:02 am

    • If this is parent and child conversation, that would change things a lot. And I’m not sure if your new word is a typo, but I like it. Think I’ll add “pristing” to my vocabulary. 🙂 Prissies go about pristing things up,right? 🙂

      Christine Goodnough

      July 8, 2017 at 5:07 am

      • LMAO!!! Should have read pristine!
        But I think I’ll go for it too! 😂


        July 8, 2017 at 5:31 am

    • I started with a married couple, but by the end they had become mother and son in my mind. So we’re on the same wavelength, which is good

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      • Very good!


        July 10, 2017 at 3:05 pm

  6. Back at university I used to say “a tidy desk is a lazy postgrad” 🙂 Liked the dialogue.


    July 8, 2017 at 6:08 am

    • Surely a postgrad shouldn’t be lazy by definition. At least they’ve chosen to study again. Or are they hiding from the real world? I’m left wondering now….

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:44 pm

  7. I think she’s being perfectly reasonable. And I think he (for it must be a he) is being perfectly adolescent, as only adolescents can. Nice one Sarah-Ann.


    July 8, 2017 at 11:41 am

    • Adolescent and definitely male, yes. I think she’s being reasonable too, but then that’s maybe because i have a summer of decorating in a confined space to look forward to. And if our current weather keeps up, it’s not going to be pleasant.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:47 pm

  8. A house proud wife. However, a tidy desk does is like a blank mind (at least for some of us). An obvious but still a unique take.


    July 8, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    • Thank you. I can see a tidy desk as a blank mind, and for someone far more organised than me.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:38 pm

  9. I hope this is between parent and child and not any other type of relationship… great dialogue.

    • Thank you. Yes parent and child – recalcitrant teenager methinks. Although, it started out as a lazy husband. I think the dialogue changed the character profiles as I wrote.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:41 pm

  10. A tidy desk does help us work better but its just difficult to get there and keep it that day. I am one of those who can thrive better in chaos!

    Namratha Varadharajan

    July 8, 2017 at 5:43 pm

  11. Nice one, does sound like a parent child conversation. Though I type this while sitting at my cluttered desk. I plead genius as my defence.


    July 9, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    • I too believe you are a genius. My dad had a sign on his desk with my story’s opening line. He was a headmaster of a primary school, not a genius at all, and had barely an inch of desk showing. No one knew how he got anything done.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:37 pm

  12. My desk is piled and cluttered, though I’m far from a genius. When I do clean up and organize I can no longer find what I’m looking for.


    July 9, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    • At our house it tends to be me that finally cleans up tables and window sills — I don’t dare start on the desk — and then hubby can’t find anything he’s looking for. He left it sitting right here on the … 😦

      Christine Goodnough

      July 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      • Well, it your husband put things away in the first place, you wouldn’t have to move them. 🙂

        Sarah Ann

        July 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      • I knew ZILCH about housework when I got married, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate the gold in that old maxim: A place for everything and everything in its place. That would benefit both of us at this house. Let’s just say “We are a couple of seekers after the wherever.” 🙂

        Christine Goodnough

        July 10, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    • Ah the disadvantages of age/ a clear up. My husband occasionally tidies and a few weeks/ months later will ask me where that thing is he put in a safe place to remember. He doesn’t seem to think it’s fair that all I do is pull a face.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:34 pm

  13. I used to tell my mom that a cluttered desk shows activity. Now, 20 years later I keep frowning at the cluttered desks of my employees. This was a fun take on the prompt. Cheers, Varad


    July 9, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    • Thanks for reading. Everyone has their own style of desk. As long as the clutter doesn’t affect the quality of anyone’s work, I suppose it’s okay. No good for the person looking for something on a colleague’s day off though.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm

  14. I heard parent and child, but also could have been husband and wife. I’m with the tidy person in this argument 🙂 Well done.

    Iain Kelly

    July 10, 2017 at 9:43 am

    • Thank you. I started with husband and wife and ended up at parent and child. I think there’s a messy/ lazy teenager at the heart of this story.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm

  15. I’m a neat person myself and support the tidy person too.

    Eric Alagan

    July 10, 2017 at 10:54 am

    • I like to think I’m a neat person. At least if you put everything in its place, you know where it is when you go looking.

      Sarah Ann

      July 10, 2017 at 7:28 pm

  16. I’m happy to have a cluttered desk (‘cos I’m a genius) but nobody else must. Solved!

    Patrick Prinsloo

    July 10, 2017 at 10:17 pm

  17. I heard a husband and wife…. I’m with the tidy one. A mess gives me hives, especially when the “outside world” is a mess.

    Alicia Jamtaas

    July 11, 2017 at 1:02 am

    • Yeah, I’m with the tidy one too. I imagine you can’t get out very often, with the outside world being such a mess right now. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      July 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm

  18. Great dialogue. I saw a couple in the beginning and mother/son or daughter in the end. There’s this tale attributed to Einstein that goes something like: If a cluttered desk is a sign of an empty mind, what sign then is an empty desk (paraphrased, don’t know if he really said it). I usually have a mess of a desk, but I prefer to keep it at least somewhat organized.


    July 11, 2017 at 1:51 pm

  19. I’d say that’s the wife wanting the husband to clean up his desk. I could be wrong but that’s the way I interpret it. Good writing, Sarah Ann. 🙂 — Suzanne


    July 11, 2017 at 3:11 pm

  20. So familiar! Great job.


    August 6, 2017 at 3:19 am

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