The Polished Rocks

Alice waved goodbye to her mother as she drove away. She was always sad to see her go, but she loved spending December with her grandparents in Brooklyn. Their house was much larger than her apartment, and they had the neatest collections. Grandpa loved to build model ships, and Grandma loved her polished rock collection.

They were getting older and Alice knew in her heart that time was getting short. They knew it too. For two weeks, the three took in Manhattan’s Christmas displays, attended Radio City’s Christmas show, and visited Rockefeller Center to look at the tree. But, this year was more special than all the others. 

“We’re going on a trip,” Grandpa said once morning. “We’re going to DC for the weekend.”

“Yeah!” Alice had never been out of New York before and was excited. 

That afternoon, they all packed for the weekend. Alice watched as Grandma opened the curio cabinet and picked sixteen polished rocks from her collection, whispering to each one as she set it in a red cloth pouch. 

“Why are you taking those, Grandma?”

“You’ll find out soon enough, Sweetie.”

Grandma and Grandpa were the only ones still allowed to call Alice, Sweetie. She was nearly eleven and had outgrown her baby name, but they liked it, so she loved it.

They rode down on the train and got to the hotel after dark. There were so many lights, she felt like she was home. In the morning, Grandpa asked the hotel for a driver. Alice didn’t know where they were going, and it didn’t matter to her; she was happy to be anywhere outside of New York with her grandparents.

Alice read the name of the museum as they walked up. She looked at the large stone building marked United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Why are we going here?” 

“To teach you about your family,” Grandma said, pulling out her red pouch. 

Alice was even more confused as they went from room to room listening to the tour guide. Grandpa pulled out his handkerchief from time to time as he paused and looked at the photographs on the walls. Alice didn’t want to look, but she didn’t want to look away either. 

She knew this was important to her grandparents even though no one spoke after the first room. 

As they walked through one exhibit called Daniel’s Story, Alice thought the cakes looked sweet and tasty, and that even though her and her mother didn’t have much, they would sure need more than one small suitcase each if they were moving. As they walked through the exhibit, everything came together for Alice. She started to cry with her grandparents, but she still didn’t know exactly why she felt such a connection to this exhibit.

The tour came to a stop in front of a large display filled with photographs of children. Many much younger than Alice wearing striped clothing. Dirty faces, and piercing eyes drove daggers through her heart. Grandma opened her red pouch and with tears streaming down her face, turned to Alice.

“Open your hand.” Alice opened her hand as Grandma pulled out a polished stone and held it up. “My father, Jakob.” She placed the stone in Alice’s hand and pulled out another. “My grandmother, Ruth.” Another stone. “My grandfather, Isaak”. Stone after stone until all the stones had names attached to them and rested in Alice’s shaking hands.

Other visitors understood. Grandpa didn’t hide or wipe his tears; he understood. Grandma wept openly; she understood. Alice wept openly; she finally understood.

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You’ll Never Win

Vicki couldn’t believe her luck in landing a new job with the best private school in her hometown. She was happy to be out of the city and put all that nasty blackmailing episode behind her. She was more careful now. Never in a room with windows or cameras. She was determined not to be driven from another job like she had been from so many others.

She loved her job, but the task she disliked the most was having to interview new teachers. Still, it needed to be done. There was only one more applicant for the day, and then she could go home and slip into something more comfortable. Her face flushed just thinking about getting out of her work clothes.

There was a knock on her door. She glanced at the clock and raised her eyebrows. At least the man knows how to be on time. She crossed her office and opened the door. “Hi…Oh My Good…”

The man chuckled nervously and held out his hand. “Hi Vicki. Been a long time, huh?”

“Yes, it has. Nearly thirty years since we graduated.”

They sat at her desk and she stared at him for a moment. Of all the people to walk through her office door, looking for a job, it had to be the boy that tormented her for all those years. He had bullied her since Kindergarten. All the times she wanted to kill that boy, and now he was asking her for a job. She couldn’t help grin. Inside she was relishing this moment. He was going to squirm like the worms he used to drop down her dresses. There was no way he was going to get a job with her.

“So, Brandon, teacher now, huh?”

“Yes. I just finished my degree at Trump University, now I’m ready to be a teacher.”

There was no way to hold back her laughter. “Trump University? The now defunct non-university, University?”

Brandon nodded and smiled.

“That wasn’t even a real school! Nor did they offer degrees in Teaching and Methodology.”

“I know I will make a great teacher,” Brandon said as his smile turned into a smirk. “And you’re going to give me a job here.”

“Hardly!”

“You’ll change your mind once you see my portfolio. I come highly recommended.”

Vicki sighed. There was no way he was going to work for her, but if she wanted to keep this job she better play along, she reminded herself. Don’t want any lawsuits for not interviewing someone.

“Fine,” she said with a forced smile. “I’ll look at your portfolio.”

“When I read in the paper that you were the new school administrator, I made one just for you,” he said, sliding the manila folder over to her.

Vicki opened the folder and gasped as the blood drained from her face. She flipped through the photographs she had forgotten all about. Going back to her early teens. 

“You’re hired.”


This was written for Sandmanjazz’s prompt of a former bully applying for a job from the person he used to bully. I am also keeping this G-rated, but if you want to more about Vicki, be sure to check out his posts.

Age Old Debate

Henry and Jacob sat at their table in the coffee shop and listened to other customers chat about holiday this and that. Rachael finally brought their drinks over and apologized with her usual smile. Jacob smiled back and waved to the barista. 

Henry watched her walk back to the counter. “I wonder if she’ll ever catch on?”

Jacob smiled over the lip of his coffee and he continued staring at her. “Not until after the holidays if I can help it.”

Henry shook his head and chuckled. “You don’t even know her name! What are your holiday plans anyway?”

“Going home like a good little boy.”

“Good my ass. You’re failing most of your classes and spend all their money on coffee.”

Jacob frowned. Henry was right about the coffee shop, of course, but not about his grades. He just didn’t have the heart to tell him he earned better grades than his best friend. “What are you doing?”

“Same. Have to go home. Mom’s orders.”

“Well, better than staying around here, I guess.”

“Yeah.”

The following week, Jacob sat at his favorite table in the coffee shop and sipped his coffee. 

“Where’s your friend?” Rachael asked.

Jacob took a long deep breath. “Home for the holidays. Why are you working on Christmas Eve? Didn’t want to go home?”

Rachael sighed and frowned. “Didn’t have enough money.”

“You –” Jacob stopped himself before blurting out that she should have said something. He had plenty of money and his family were in France for the holidays.

“Yeah?” 

He looked into her deep blue eyes and smiled. “You should join me for the holiday. Relatives then or relatives later, its all relative.”

She laughed as she pushed her long hair behind her ear. The coffee shop was empty, so she sat down and joined him. 

Jacob still loves to tell his great-grandchildren all about the Christmas he formally met their great-grandmother.


This was inspired by FOWC with Fandango – relative

Daily Writing Challenge, Dec 2

Welcome to the Daily Writing Challenge

Everyday at 6am CST, I will post a prompt that will hopefully provide you with some inspiration. What you produce is up to you. It can be a story, poem, art — anything everything goes. Just see where the muse takes you and take us along with you.

Participating is simple: follow the muse, create a post, and either link back to this post as a pingback or post the link to your post in the comment section. Please use the tag THWD.

* Please remember that pingbacks are approved manually (and don’t always work).

Today’s Prompt:

Chipmunk, snowy forest, starlight