“Follow The Leader”

(Photo copyright Doug McIlroy)

I stare at the multicolored koi. They band together as they circle the fountain in the middle of the pool. They remind me of my high school friends. We see each other every day in class, play the same sports, call one another each evening. Our friendship is the lifeblood of our daily existence.
Except that today I violated our oath of silence. I told my mother about the new rule of acceptance because I’m only fourteen years old and I don’t want to make it with Tony Abruzzi.
Now, like the little fish in the corner, I’ll circle alone.

(Written for Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. November 1, 2013.)

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to “Follow The Leader”

  1. Adam Ickes says:

    I’d choose circling alone over being something I’m not or doing something I don’t want to do any day of any week of any year.

  2. These koi can be found in canals in Miami Dade County I suppose from former pet owner aquarium release. Your use of the word omerta got my typing fingers amovin’. I am half Roman and half Sicilian. The use of the term by Mafia and Cosa Nostra is an evil bastardization of the concept. Gangsters are buddies until the money smells better then whack the guy. There is no code of silence when they rat each other out for their own plea bargaining. Omerta has in reality nothing to do with gangsters. They are a disgraceful breed. Last year mother suddenly took ill and diagnosis massive cancer throughout and she lasted 5 weeks. I was her caregiver for home hospice and took care of her hourly needs and with help from visiting nurses in critical moments. I slept next to her every night and she died at home in my presence not in a death house. My parents have lived with me since 2002 as I am only child. Dad will be 90 next month. I have lived a very reclusive life these years and big events include going to the grocery store, the doctor and waiting for the mailman (thank God for the external connection through blogging) but I do my blood duty and honor my mother and father. That is omerta.

    • Carl, Quite a letter! My brother has been a full-time caregiver for my mother with dementia for over 7 years, having a similar totally dedicated existence without hardly any respite. (I help quite a bit but do nowhere near as much as he does.) Even though we are Jewish, I guess he honors Omerta just as you have. Thanks for your comments here.

      • If you have your doctor write her up for Medicare consideration(NOT Medicaid) it will pay for hospice nurse to give ya’ll a break from time to time as well as having a professional monitor and record routine and events for expanded home care recommendations. Meds would be free. Home hospice family care once certified relieves the burdensome financial strain as minimum for nursing home I’ve researched $2,500 a month. Medicaid may pay for nursing home but will seek reimbursement from estate. Avail yourself of Jewish Family Services if such are present in your community. It is a tearful rite of passage for all. I would have created the universe much differently. Regards.

  3. vbholmes says:

    Thank you, Carl, for straightening me out on the meaning of omerta. I must admit, my understanding of the term comes from TV and gangster movies as I have never consciously been exposed to the full concept. I have changed omerta to silence in my post.
    Your dedication to your family is heartwarming. During the time I’ve been visiting your site, I’ve enjoyed meeting your father, son and granddaughter–you are lucky to have such close relationships–and they are lucky to have you.

    • It is natural and that’s the way word portrayed in movies but the word still fits in fine with the poem and you know I am not an old fuddy-duddy(well maybe old). Just don’t let this delightful young lady get within a hunnert miles of Mike the Nose, Three Fingers Charlie, Jimmy da Pro or Carmine The Cementman.

  4. Sandra says:

    A touching tale of teenage dilemma, vb. Nicely done.

  5. Breaking silence or being broken. the choice of too many teens
    Well done look inside the mind of a teen

  6. DCTdesigns says:

    Hallelujah! A girl that knows who she is. Being alone is a small price to pay to have yourself. Well done.

  7. A brave young woman. I believe she is the leader.

  8. It’s tough to swim in a school (see what I did?), but you’ve done a wonderful job putting it into a story here! Nice.

  9. Quite a realistic comment on human life, conformity, and acceptance all told in a pond of fish. Well done no matter what the terminology!

  10. Nicely done! And isn’t is so true in the story of teenage angst, the free thinker is shunned from the clique. Bravo to her for not conforming.

  11. unspywriter says:

    Well done, and thanks from those of us who decided swimming alone in High School was the better path. 😉

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/lure-of-the-nishikigoi/

  12. wmqcolby says:

    Good use of metaphors here. Inspiring, really, in finding things that ask us, “What comes to mind?” when looking at a photo prompt. Super!

  13. Dear VB,

    Good use of the prompt. One day the daughter will look back on her decision to stand alone and smile, Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

  14. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear VB,

    This was a great story using the movement of the koi as a backbeat for the harsher rhythms of human behavior. I enjoyed it very much.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  15. Nice metaphors. A teenager would feel like an outcast if he does the right thing.

  16. I never liked Tony Abruzzi. Really moving story. Aren’t school kids little shits sometimes.

  17. That’s the way it is for a lot in high school, just a little fish swimming alone. I like the parallel you drew. It’s amazing what 90 different writers can see when they look at a fish pond.

  18. Good use of metaphor. Well done.

  19. pattisj says:

    I’m glad to see your 14-year-old student confided in her mother and opted to go it alone rather than be one with the crowd. Smart girl!

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