Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: THE WHITE VAN



I sit at a window every day here in La Jolla where I look out on the ocean. But I also see a street. On many of the days I have been here, a white van pulls up early in the morning to grab one of the few empty spots. The van contains an expensive bike, a motorbike, a surfboard, multiple coolers, and changes of clothes, a beach chair. And, of course, a man. A man who seems to nearly live in this van because he eats lunch in there, changes his clothes in there and so on. I He seems to have too many expensive things to be homeless, but he is sinister. I watch him enter and exit his van. Does he watch me at the window?

Don't regard any of these details relevant to your story necessarily.

CHALLENGE: Write a story about a man in a white van. What is his story? 1000 words and a finish date of March 13th. Let me know if you're in.

29 comments:

Kieran Shea said...

in.

charlie byrne owns a white van.

Todd Mason said...

The truly sinister ones drive vans with no windows, but the opaque windows are almost as good.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Oh, and that regular schedule too. Very intriguing!

Dana King said...

I'm in. I've been looking for something to re-kindle my interest in my PI character. This could be it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It does sound like a vehicle for a PI, doesn't it?

Dana C. Kabel said...

I'm in.

Deb said...

Is that the van, Patti? If so, you might want to be sure the license plate is not readable.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It's not readable on my computer (lousy one). Is it on yours?

Ron Scheer said...

it's California. He's a divorced man with his last personal possessions, lives on fast food, sleeps on someone's couch.

pattinase (abbott) said...

He has nice clothes but you may be right.

Deb said...

I can't read it but I'm looking at it on my phone. I just recommend it out of an abundance of caution.

John said...

Over the weekend I was wondering if you were planning on doing one of these this year. I'm in!

NPR has a ongoing flash fiction contest called "Three Minute Fiction." It began in 2009. Ever hear of it? I just learned of it last Thursday. The winner (and a few lucky finalists) get the story read on air.

For future reference (and for those curious to read past finalists and winners): NPR's Three Minute Fiction

pattinase (abbott) said...

I'll take a look, John. Thanks!

Chad Eagleton said...

I'm in.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Cool, Chad.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Nice job. I taught creative writing once upon a time!
Cheers from Cottage Country!

Jerry House said...

Count me in.

Loren Eaton said...

Count me in.

Dyer Wilk said...

Count me in. The premise is just too good to pass up.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Keep it coming!

Al Tucher said...

I'm in, assuming this idea works out.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Indeed. I am too driven by the actual events and have to "forget" them to write the story. And damn, here it comes right now-in the fanciest bike riding outfit you've ever seen. He may be poor now but he was rich recently.

A.J. Wright said...

Put me down..but the white van of happiness may not be involved...A.J. Wright

Richard L. Pangburn said...

Patti, you must be aware of our recent local story about a man in a white van.

A few weeks ago police were called to our local Cracker Barrel Restaurant. One woman reported that a man in a white van had aggressively flirted with her while she was on her way to work, offering her a ride and suggesting that she get into his white van. She made up a diplomatic lie to fend him off and refused the ride.

She thought nothing of it until another worker at the restaurant reported that a man driving a white van had grabbed her and tried to hustle her into his white van in the parking lot.

The police were called and the Louisville media ran the story. In the next two days there were two more reports from parking lots in Louisville, one right next to a Cracker Barrel there.

As my wife and I were driving to Louisville, we noted the high number of white vans on the road and remembered that we used to have one ourselves. My hair was not salt and pepper then, but it is now and I remarked that if we still had it, someone might consider me a suspect.

Days went by and there were no arrests. Bardstown is a small tourist/college town with a small police force. The police chief was quoted in the paper as saying that he didn't realize how many "scruffy" men with salt and pepper hair and driving white vans there were--until he started looking for one.

The story began to take on the paranoia of the-monsters-are-due-on-maple-street. The Louisville media ran it every day, one time showing a man with a van who fit the description--who said that he ran a respectable business with his van and because he was middle aged and a bit overweight, with salt and pepper hair, people were giving him unwarranted attention.

He said that every time he drove up to McDonalds carry-out, the girl behind the glass wanted to phone the police.

No arrests were made until about a week later when police arrested the woman who made the original complaint of a physical assault. Police said that they ran all of the video footage and what she said had happened could not have happened.

Furthermore, they discovered that she had given both her employer and the police a false name and that, under her real name, she had several outstanding warrants.

http://www.wdrb.com/story/20647302/police-second-white-van-incident-at-bardstown-cracker-barrel-didnt-happen

Cheers!

Rob Kitchin said...

I'm in. I've not written a word of fiction this year except for drabbles so this is a good prompt to get my act in order.

Bob The Wordless said...

I'm in!

Here it is.

http://bobthestna.blogspot.com/2013/02/flash-fiction-challenge-in-van-down-by.html

pattinase (abbott) said...

I will post them all on the final day. Thanks!!

butterflyonthewall said...

Sounds great! I'm in.

Leigh Neely said...

I'm in! I've never done this but looking forward to the challenge.