After "the end"
Present Tense

Random Photo Story

From the blog Terrible Minds, comes another Flash Fiction Challenge. We were directed to go this site, which pulls up six random photos at a time from Flickr. From those six, we were to pick three, and use those as inspiration for a short story, 1000 words max, by noon EST on January 27th.

These are the three I picked. I don't know anything about the people or places shown, nothing implied about them, I just used the images as starting points for my own imagination.

The images are - a building in downtown Taipei, Taiwan

two guys sitting on a rooftop

and two girls biking down a road .

And now the story, it's about 575 words long ...



Taipei was big change for a high school student from rural Ontario. Tom's English teacher would have never believed that the school's star quarterback, her worst student, was now an ESL teacher in Taiwan. Tom found it hard to believe too. Up until now he had only left his small town on football trips to other area schools, so this had been a culture shock of international airports, cramped hours in the air, and a loud and incomprehensible town.

The first few days were a blur of students with confusing names, rules and regulations of the school, and the crush and chaos of a large Asian city. Luckily Tom's new students overlooked any gaps in his knowledge in their eagerness to learn some Canadian slang, complete with a rural Canadian accent. By Friday he had met Todd, another new teacher, who was also on his first journey from a small town - from Australia it turned out. They had bumped into each other at an after-school staff party, and seemed to fit together from the start. Tom was glad to have a new buddy to hang out with, especially a fellow jock, as he'd been missing the constant companionship of all his friends on the football team. The two of them shared a room in the small dorm and a table in the cafe, swapped lesson plans, and argued the relative merits of Canadian versus Australian football. Tom soon lost his homesickness as he and Todd explored Taiwan together, from rooftop picnics to local clubs to bike rides in the country. The school's group of teachers including two women from San Francisco that were working their way together around the world. Annie and Gayle seemed equally inseparable, night and day, also exploring the city or countryside, so that the four of them often ran into each other. The girls flirted and joked with everyone, but seemed to usually keep to themselves. so Tom was surprised, and intrigued, when they asked him and Todd to double date.

 They all headed out that evening, starting with spicy local food in the market, then several dance clubs, quarts of ice cold beer and shooters of expensive Scotch, finally ended up in the Red House district in a karaoke bar. Todd and Tom faced off against Annie and Gayle, each side trying to outdo the other, until all four finished off in medley of ABBA tunes, much to the amusement and applause of everyone else in the bar. Todd had just excused himself to go to the bathroom, and Tom was trying to decide which one of the girls to make a move on first when Gayle leaned over and gave him a hug.

"You guys are great," she said. "It's such a relief for Annie and me to be able to go out clubbing without worrying about getting hit on by other women. Or guys. But I'm sure it's the same for you two, right?"

Tom looked at her blankly. 

"Oh my god," she said, "didn't you know we were gay? You really are a small town boy, aren't you." Her eyes widened. "But you two are gay, right? I mean you're always together, and so comfortable with each other ..." 

She laughed. "Oh well, if you aren't you should be, you guys are so obviously a couple. Good luck buddy."

Just then Todd slipped back into his seat next to Tom.

"Good luck with what?" said Todd.


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