Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

by , under Fiction Prompts, Friday Fictioneers


“This was it?”

“Yes. The fourth floor. You cannot count the times your grandmother would carry the bags up those stairs. Hundreds. Thousands.”

The girl looked up the block. A group of Puerto Rican teenagers sat on a stoop, boys and girls both wearing the same white t-shirts and baggy khaki pants. A boom box thundered out Latin pop, broken and distorted as it echoed off the high walls of the neighborhood.

The old man saw her face, its alarm tinged with disgust.

“A different neighborhood then. We called it our shtetl.

She did not ask him for a translation.

  1. rochellewisoff

    Dear J Hardy,

    This has to be set in Miami. ;) I love the subtlety of the use of shtetl, a word I’m intimate with. Well done.



  2. Sally

    I can relate to hauling bags of shopping up flights of stairs. Times change and people and communities change, sometimes not for the better.

  3. Emilio Pasquale

    Love this story. I remember going back to my childhood home a few years ago and it was so much smaller, the neighborhood dirtier than I remembered. You can’t go home again?

  4. gahlearner

    Good story. We see changes everywhere, and with an open mind, we can even learn to appreciate them. The scene is so vivid, I love it.

  5. Dee

    Vivid imagery, felt as though I was standing outside too. I was waiting for Rochelle to explain shtetl, but I looked it up. Perfect.

  6. Margaret

    Great feeling here. The details bring the scene to life, and the interaction between the two characters is convincing – there are a whole lot of things going on beneath the surface for both of them. Excellent.


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