Whistle Stop

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad station, Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

All my life I seen things different.

I look at a place and I don’t see it like it looks now.

I seen everything ever happened in that place all at once, like the way you can drill into a tree and count the rings.

Some places, like roofs and treetops and the high sides of buildings, they barely got anything on ’em since no people been up there aside from window washers.

A place like the station, it’s so full of people that have passed through– why, it’s just a blur.

I can hear ’em sometimes, too.

Oh yes.


Friday Fictioneers



  1. Thom Carswell

    A nice concept. I liked the idea of the places that have barely anything on them – they are really interesting! And then to look back at a seemingly ’empty’ photo and see what our narrator sees… Great take on the prompt.

  2. Sandra

    Convincing voice, and an interesting concept. Nicely done, and a great photo offering lots of scope for this week. As an aside, someone (probably a Friday Fictioneer) posted on Facebook “When I hear you start a sentence with ‘I seen’ I can safely assume it will never be followed by the words ‘the inside of a book’. :)

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    Oh this is excellent, and following up on Sandra’s comment, even i reacted to that choice of words, that made the voice all the more convincing… Thank you for the wonderful image that gives hundred of options.

  4. Joy Pixley

    I join the chorus complimenting the compelling voice. I can’t decide whether I think the narrator is crazy, or if this amazing (and possibly crazy-making) vision was somehow acquired by someone who seems so uneducated,. Although maybe the lesson is that wisdom does not equal book-learning.

  5. rochellewisoff

    Dear J Hardy.

    When I first read “I seen…” I thought “surely not.” As I read more I realized it was the character’s voice. Well done. And thank you for the picture.



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      J Hardy Carroll

      I was talking to my wife about this particular choice earlier today. Vernacular is often overdone, but a subtle change of a single word can color the entire piece (especially in a hundred words, where everything is distilled). It’s like a pinch of saffron coloring the dish bright yellow.

  6. elmowrites

    Hard to know if this would be a gift or a curse. I fear maybe the latter. Either way, a fascinating idea and one you could definitely expand. Thanks for the photo!

  7. gahlearner

    Wonderful. The narrator seems to be content with his ‘gift’. Such a great concept, it could lead to all kinds of stories, all kinds of genres. And a great picture.

  8. Lynn Love

    I cannot tell you how beautifully you’ve written this – the voice is perfect, the tone marvellous. Your descriptions spare, not a word wasted – lean and wonderful.
    Adore it

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  10. patriciaruthsusan

    When I see English used that incorrectly I assume it’s to give the character voice and make him different. I’ve done the same in some of my stories. This fit quite nicely. A good story and thanks for the picture this week that made so many great stories possible. :) — Suzanne

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