Friday Fiction: The Importance of Being Bob

For those who don’t know, Friday Fictioneers is a challenge to write a 100 word story from a picture prompt. It’s hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, and anyone can play. Thanks for hosting, Rochelle! Check out the link at the end of my story to see what other fictioneers did with this week’s prompt.

Some of you non-fictioneers may have noticed that the Friday in Friday Fictioneers doesn’t appear to relate to the real Friday (you know, the one that normally follows Thursday), that’s because in Fridayfictionland Friday lasts from Wednesday morning all the way through to about Saturday lunchtime. Which is great because that means it’s always almost the weekend!

My story follows the picture prompt below, kindly provided by Claire Fuller. The steps made me think of those library step chairs – the ones which turn from a chair into steps.

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Copyright-Claire Fulller

Copyright-Claire Fuller

The Importance Of Being Bob

We all wondered how Bob could be so happy so much of the time. We discussed it in groups, in pairs, and even with our wives.

‘It’s no mystery,’ Bob said, beaming. ‘I’m happy because I take pleasure in the simple things. Like this library chair, for instance. Flip the back down and it turns… into steps!’

Bob laughed and clapped his hands.

‘Chair… Steps!’ Bob laughed and clapped again. ‘Chair… Steps!’ Laugh. Clap.

We backed away, slowly, exchanging looks, ridiculing him. But secretly, deep down, each and every one of us wished we were a little more like Bob.

(100 words)

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Never considered writing in first person plural? This story is inspired by Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris- a novel written from the perspective of the collective – well worth a read.

Wish you were a bit more like Bob? Play Bob’s favourite game: Don’t Shoot The Puppy.

Need more Friday Fiction? Click the blue frog to read more stories from other fictioneers!


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72 thoughts on “Friday Fiction: The Importance of Being Bob

  1. Simple pleasures are the best, partly because they’re the easiest to find. And if you lump lots of simple pleasures together, you get the big, complex pleasures. Good stuff, EL.

    janet

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  2. Most cool. How funny that someone who gets so much enjoyment from life is treated as strange. And then the same people wonder why they don’t find enough happiness! Silly. Great concept and execution.

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  3. I liked the phrase ” we discussed it in groups, in pairs and even with our wives” Hell, not the wives surely? Terrific one EL, as always.

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    • Thanks Sandra – I don’t know where that phrase came from (my head obviously, but why?) – I think I was going for an office environment so it was about going home and discussing it at home. Glad you liked it anyway 😀

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  4. Dear EL,
    Your tale this week, while charming, is multi-layered and telling. Bob is simple. We scoff at him and, secretly, we envy his simple, cheerful view of life. Who’s the intellectual here? Nicely told….as always.
    Shalom,
    Rochelle

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    • thanks Rochelle – this comment means a lot to me. For me there was always a lot more to this story than the face value of it. Lovely that you saw beneath the surface. Thank you so much 🙂

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    • Hi Joe
      Just googled it (what did we do before google?) – I’ve never seen it, but i’m guessing he’s more annoyingly simple than my Bob. I’ll see if I can rent it at some point. Or I could wait until you incarcerate me for that murder in your FF story – I’ll have plenty of time on my hands then!

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    • Secretly, I am pretty Boblike. I have a side table with a shelf below which flips up to double the size of the table – it’s hard to explain so you’ll have to trust me when I say that it’s very cool and I often just flip it up as I’m passing because I like the mechanism. Then I have to flip it down again because there’s no room for it in it’s expanded form!

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  5. I know those steps!…clever things they are. Joys in simple things are best. Spent a good part of an hour play with soap bubbles with my grandson this afternoon.

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    • Lovely – the best thing about kids is all the playing you get to do (and grandchildren can be handed back at the end of the day so you get to sleep all night too!) Thanks!

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    • We could start a Be Like Bob campaign – I’ll get some government funding and buy a load of library chairs to hand out!
      Glad you liked my simple tale 🙂

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  6. I’m thinking about Forrest Gump now, (wonder why?) and how I haven’t seen it for ages. I really enjoyed this 🙂

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  7. I’ve been reading about the science of happiness lately, how it is ingrained in us, but can be a learned skill. Some are dialed to happy, others need to be reminded it’s within their grasp. An interesting tool is out there – https://www.trackyourhappiness.org/ – a place where you can track what makes you happiest. I’m giving it a shot – I’d like to become more Bob-like. Nicely done!

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    • Best of luck with your quest for inner happiness. I checked out the link but it seems to be i-phones only. My mobile is old school – I’m waiting for it to become a collector’s item! thanks for your comment 🙂

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  8. One summer, I worked a farm job with a man named Claude Stringfield, who was a lot like Bob. He could get excited over a can of pork & beans. It seems like the more we have, the more it takes to make us happy.

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  9. I like the fear communicated in:

    ‘Chair… Steps!’ Bob laughed and clapped again. ‘Chair… Steps!’ Laugh. Clap.

    We backed away, slowly, exchanging looks, ridiculing him.

    You almost wonder if Bob might be crazy, a little dangerous… Which is the whole point of it, right – how much we, as a society – fear and dread that which is different? Anyhow, very well done, and especially in communicating the collective apprehension.

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    • Yes, absolutely – fear of people who you don’t get – and fear of people who are unreasonably happy (how dare they?)
      thanks so much for your comment – glad you enjoyed my simple story 🙂

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    • Unfortunately, Bob is too busy with his library steps (yes, he’s still there laughing and clapping), so I guess we’re all going to have to spread the message and save the world for him!
      Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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  10. Pingback: Friday Fictioneers 100-Word Story Challenge: | Poetic Mapping: Walking into Art

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  12. I like that you’ve highlighted the ‘herd mentality’ aspect of human nature, and using the chair/steps as a prop. The first person plural works well in this scenario.

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  13. That ending could have gone so differently. At this point, ‘‘Chair… Steps!’ Bob laughed and clapped again. ‘Chair… Steps!’ Laugh. Clap.’ I worried that Bob had flipped into complete hysteria and everyone was backing away in fear. 🙂

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  14. Great job, Bob 🙂
    Er I mean, EL. I really cherish my streak of ‘Bobishness”. There is already a Church of Bob actually but I like your Bob better.

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  15. Pingback: Friday Fictioneers: The Gift | Alastair's Blog

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