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Brooklyn, 1947

May 4, 2012

Brooklyn, 1947

The room was a broken mess.

“I’ll take it,” Ruth said.

The landlord stared in disbelief.

“You in trouble?”

She laughed.  “It’s perfect.”

“It’s $45 a month.”

“What if I cook and clean for you?”

“Might knock off a few dollars.”

The landlord moved closer, touched her arm. “What else you do?”

Ruth looked at the walls, the exposed 2x4s.

“Talk in my sleep. Quite loud. Your wife and neighbors might hear.”

He backed away. “All right, make it $30.”

After he left, Ruth opened the window. A warm, long-forgotten scent filled the room. Everywhere she looked was life.

The above photo prompt is from Madison Woods:

Come up with a story, 100 words, more or less, based on the above picture.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2012 2:24 am

    Really lovely, WBS. A vignette filled with memory and personality, beautiful.
    Mine is at:

  2. May 4, 2012 2:30 am

    Cleverly done. Nasty landlord! I hope Ruth has a good life 😉
    Our link is

  3. May 4, 2012 3:21 am

    What a beautiful way to end the tale ‘Everywhere she looked was life” it’s so positive from something that looks so negative. I really enjoyed it, thanks.

    Here’s mine too:

  4. May 4, 2012 3:50 am

    Bravo, that woman! Strong and full of life, in a world full of scumbags.

    Mine is nearly 200 words this week:

  5. May 4, 2012 4:41 am

    i’m confused. when she says she talks in her sleep, quite loud, why does the landlord take money off the rent? is talking in her sleep loudly a good thing?

    • May 7, 2012 1:05 pm

      She asked the landlord would he lower the rent if she cooked and cleaned for him, but he answered “What else you do?” That’s when she said about talking in her sleep. He got her message. Then answered her original question that he would lower it. – hope that explains it. Thanks for commenting.

      • May 7, 2012 1:12 pm

        sorry, doesn’t explain it. or it does and i missed it. you said that “he got her message.” what’s the message? does talking in her sleep mean she’ll tell people secrets about things unless her cuts the rent?

      • May 9, 2012 4:09 pm

        She wants him to cut the rent in exchange for her doing cleaning and cooking for him. He wanted more than that and her message is she would tell his wife and the neighbors if he tried anything. Talking in her sleep wasn’t meant to be taken literally, just that she would talk. Hope that helps, but it seems you’ve got it. Thanks again.

      • May 9, 2012 4:13 pm

        i did. and sorry to have bugged you with so many questions.

      • May 9, 2012 4:38 pm

        You didn’t bug me at all. I appreciate your honesty and persistence. If what I’m trying to say in my writing doesn’t come across to the reader, then I need to know that. Your comments are always welcome.

  6. May 4, 2012 5:35 am

    The dialogue in this was convincing and tight. I’d like to know why she really wants this room, the landlord sounds a bit grim. Nice one this.


  7. May 4, 2012 5:57 am

    Sleezy landlord.

    Here’s mine:

  8. Lora permalink
    May 4, 2012 7:42 am

    She talks loudly in her sleep… lol…love it…perfect reply to that sleezeball. I bet she said politely and with a smile. I truly understand this woman…alone in Brooklyn in 1947…living in dire circumstances… really NEEDs that room. You just know this savvy gal will make it a cozy place for herself. Nice work. Here’s mine:

  9. May 4, 2012 7:57 am

    Great job–I just want to say “Ditto” to Lora’s comment. I enjoyed the hope you portrayed at the end of the story–making her best of an overwhelming situation.


  10. TheOthers1 permalink
    May 4, 2012 10:59 am

    Her reply made me laugh. He definitely would’ve taken advantage if she were a weaker woman! A piece filled with hops as well. Very nice.

    My attempt:

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