Skip to main content

Mine, Mine! (or the Old Man and the Boat): A Flash Fiction Story

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

I am a member of a group called 'Authors Community', and this competition/picture prompt was in the most recent newsletter.

"Fiction or Non-Fiction

What does this picture inspire in you? Fiction and non-fiction can be inspired from the same image. 1. Flash fiction 2. An opening story scene from a story 3. An inspirational non-fiction article

I'd like you to write a flash fiction piece (no more than 500 words), or a scene from a longer story (no more than 1,000 words), or an inspirational non-fiction piece (no more than 1,000 words)."

I was really drawn to the picture/painting and felt compelled to write a response. This short piece of Flash Fiction is my contribution. I thought my HubPages followers may enjoy the read. (see picture prompt below)


I am happy to report that this story came second in the Flash Fiction section of the competition and will appear in the next edition of The Author's Community newsletter.


Mine, Mine! (or The Old Man and the Boat)

The old man sat solemnly gazing at the rusted skeleton of the boat. The ‘Point Reyes’ had been part of his life for more years than he could remember. As a fisherman it had been his livelihood, his most treasured possession, but all that was in the past.

Oh, it was still part of his life, or what was left of it. His body felt like the ship looked … old, worn out, beached, useless.

He came every morning at sunrise, and in the evening when the sun was setting. At those times the Point Revere looked its best, the rusted hull seeming to co-ordinate with the oranges and greys of God’s colour pallet in the sky.

Even an old park bench had found a use. It had been a struggle, but the old man had dragged it to a grassy spot as close to the boat as he could. It saved his aching back and allowed him to sit and contemplate longer. The fond memories were all he really had in life anymore.

Seagulls flew overhead, shrieking, “Mine, mine!” Where had he heard that line …some animated kid’s film? He smiled as he recalled, “Finding Nemo.” Now, every time he saw the gulls it seemed clear that’s what they were saying. Well, he thought, “The Point Reyes is mine, or what’s left of it at least.”

The boat still stands there beached on the shore where it has sat dormant for years. Sunrises and sunsets come and go with their beautiful displays, and the seagulls still call. But, the old fisherman is nowhere to be seen. The park bench sits there, empty unless some stranger wanders by and sits to pause for awhile, wondering briefly how the ‘Point Revere’ came to be where it is and what it’s history held.

No one has climbed aboard the decaying hull to gaze inside to see the equally decaying body of its once proud owner, in now his final resting place. Or the small leather journal lying beside him, the last entry: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, lay me down amid your rust. Whether the skies be cloudy or fine, Point Reyes’ you’ll always be mine, mine.”


Author's Note

I felt the need to write something short and simple after my recent marathon series of The Innocents Abroad. I thought of writing a poem, but, this challenge was the perfect solution.

I don't expect to have the winning story (the 1st prize for a fiction and non-fiction story is an Authors Community T-shirt, 2nd and 3rd place getters are published in their newsletter) but it gave me some inspiration and was fun to write. I hope you enjoyed the read.

A Beautiful and Haunting Song

© 2018 John Hansen

Related Articles