by , under Fiction Prompts, Sunday Photo Fiction



I could tell from the look on his face that he couldn’t fix it. He held it between his blackened fingers, turning it this way and that.

“This,” he said, “is junk. Not worth repairing.”

I swallowed. “But my father gave this to me. He said it had been his father’s. It’s an heirloom.”

“Nonsense,” said the old man. “Cheap Chinese junk. Come here.” He crooked the finger at me. “Behind the counter.”

He picked up a small caseless watch from the work table, handed it to me along with an oversized magnifying glass.

“Look at this one. This is a Hamilton. Made in Pennsylvania in the 1930s. You see the quality? That ring on the outside, it’s called the balance. You see the center?”

“The ruby thing?”

“It’s a jewel. Not a ruby, but similar. Fine watches use jewels at the axis because they don’t wear out. You see how precisely everything fits together? How it moves? This is a beautiful thing. This is a—what did you call it?—an heirloom.

He handed my watch to me. “Now look at this one.”

The gears were plastic painted to seem like gold, the movement wobbly and uncertain. It looked sloppy and cheap.

“How much did this watch cost, you think?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Twenty dollars. Maybe less. That it ever kept time is a miracle.”

My eyes stung. “My father told me something different.”

The old man’s eyes were kind and oddly hard.

“Fathers,” he said.


  1. Graham Lawrence

    Excellent. I love how you infused the story with facts. Well done.

  2. Sunday Fiction

    Very good. Question is, is the old man telling the truth or is he trying to get it off him for a cheap price and then sell it on for a tidy profit?

  3. paulmclem

    Sentimental value perhaps? If all people are looking for in heirlooms is cash then perhaps they deserve the odd let down :-)

  4. Dave

    “Kid, your father believed you had value, too. What does that tell you about dads?”

    Cold man, really cold.

  5. afairymind

    The narrator definitely learned a hard lesson there! It’s sad that his father felt he had to deceive him. Great story. :)


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