The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...


My grandfather’s basement smells of clean, damp concrete despite it being poured in 1963. Fishing through some containers on the neatly organized upper shelves of his workbench, he pulls a leather pouch out of a Hills Brothers coffee can. I sit on a metal stool’s edge beneath a shimmering fluorescent shop light.

He holds the knife to the light, examining. It gleams

“Keep it safe, clean and sharp,” he instructs, pressing the fat of this thumb directly against the blade. “Only a dull blade will ever cut you.” He winks, “Don’t tell your father.”


Another flash fiction for Charli at Carrot Ranch Communications.

This past week’s prompt was “Edge”.






Updated: January 30, 2018 — 1:46 pm


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  1. Ahh… from the smell of the cellar to the sneaky bequeathing of wisdom and sharp objects.. you found the softer side of edge writing.

    1. Thank you. This was a fun flash. Charli always comes up with great prompts to work with.

  2. “only a dull blade…” pondering that….. but boy, i was in that scene.

    1. My grandfather was a professional meat cutter and he knew knives. While this scene never actually happened he would insist on sharpening my knives whenever he visited. He insisted you’d never cut yourself on a sharp blade, only a dull one. Luckily I’ve never had to find out…

  3. Such a prized gift to pass on. The grandfather seems as excited as the boy.

    1. I think that is an apt assessment. Thank you Charli.

  4. For a flash fiction this is full of brilliant imagery, I can smell it, see it, feel it. What a warm sentiment in the end, a secret exchange down the legacy chain. <3

  5. You had me. I thought this was real life until I got to the end. Glad you were inspired.

    1. Happy you liked it Jennifer. Thank you.

  6. Grandparents are there to gift what parents often fear. 🙂 Did your grandparents have a basement like this, or did you picture it for a different child?

    1. Yes, my grandfather’s was like this. I can still smell it, hear the creaky handle on the wooden door, and see the lines of tiny baby food jars holding screws, washers and small bolts.

      1. That’s awesome! We have screws and nails in baby food jars because my husband remembered HIS father and grandfather storing them that way.

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