Updated date:

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


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 19, 2019:

Hi, again Abitha. thank you for that lovely comment. I am glad the story manages to touch the reader's emotions. I don't really write a lot of short stories or flash fiction but I am quite proud of this one, so much appreciated.

Abitha from Chennai, Tamilnadu on September 18, 2019:


So beautiful, just like the picture! I love the line where you compare the colours of the rusty boat to the evening sky. You take the reader's emotions up a notch as the story progresses. You make us wonder if the main character has passed on and just then we realize that the main character is the boat! The perfect ending - it gave closure to the reader. I also enjoyed the popular reference to Nemo and the clever use of it at the end. Looking forward to reading more of your writing.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 14, 2019:

Lora, I like that the sea symbolises eternity to you. I agree there is something special about it and it always evokes emotions. It is also one of the most popular subjects for writers and readers alike. So glad you liked this story and I appreciate your heartfelt comment.

Lora Hollings on August 14, 2019:

I really enjoyed your story, John. I loved your theme about a man looking back at his life and his most precious treasure. The sea is symbolic for me of eternity as this man's life is so inextricably connected to the sea through this vessel. Wonderfully written and crafted with lovely imagery.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 14, 2019:

Aww, thank you, Denise. It's all good, second place is fine by me, but I am glad you enjoyed the story.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 14, 2019:

I loved it. What a surprise ending but totally understandable and appropriate. You have a way with words. It should have gotten 1st place.



Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 14, 2019:

I loved it and was surprised by the ending but found it totally appropriate and understandable. You have a way with words. It should have gotten 1st place.



Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 07, 2018:

I'm sure it was.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on December 07, 2018:

Thank you, Lawrence. Yes, I am sure it is the best resting place he could have hoped for.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 07, 2018:


Loved the story, at least the old fisherman is back on the boat that was his life.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 11, 2018:

Oh Mary, thank you for your touching comment. It is sad when love ones die. I wish they never had to.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 11, 2018:

Such a haunting story. It spoke volumes to me and touched my grieving heart. We wish things will stay as is, people we love not die but such is life.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 08, 2018:

Good to see you PoetikalyAnointed. Yes, it is a scene that sticks in most people’s heads. I was fortunate that it fit the scene I was trying to create here. Thanks for reading.

PoetikalyAnointed on November 08, 2018:

Hello John, it's been a minute since I've stopped by your neck of the woods and I must say, Great work.

I've always loved the "mine,mine" scene LOL so I appreciated the reference.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 08, 2018:

MsDora, I think this maybe the most emotion charged piece Imhave ever written, judging by the comments at least. I am glad the ending wasn’t too obvious and that you enjoyed it. Thank you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 08, 2018:

Venkatachari, thank you for that wonderful comment. I was urlrised how easily this story formed in my mind as I gazed at the picture. It almost seemed to write itself. Glad you liked the journal entry and song as well.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 08, 2018:

Imagination rises as I read, "But, the old fisherman is nowhere to be seen." Death was an option for sure, but not in the way you painted it. Emotions tug in so many directions. Touching!

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on November 08, 2018:

A great story with full emotional touch. I liked the ending and the lines of the journal entry. You have done a beautiful piece as always.

The song is also very relevant to the story and appeals a great message.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Flourish, I could feel emotions rise as I wrote this one. I hoped I captured it. Thank you for reading and enjoying.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 07, 2018:

John, I really liked this. It captured the resignation of aging, loss, identity and loneliness. Loved that last bit of poetry.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Ah Sean, my brother, thank you for sharing the words of that wonderful song. I will surely look it up and have a listen. Blessings.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Hello, ps. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your lovely comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Thank you Nell. I always appreciate your comments and am happy you loved this piece.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Much appreciated, Manatita. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write something about that picture. It beckoned me. Glad you liked the poem and song too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Liz, I like that word “evocative.” I am glad you found it so.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Hi, Marlene, thank you for reading and for your kind comment. Glad you enjoyed this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Thank you, Linda. You are too kind.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Yes, I agree Shaloo, we writers can certainly get emotionally attached to our work, some pieces more than others. For me, this was one of those.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on November 07, 2018:

My dear brother, as I was reading your lovely story my head filled by the words and the music of a favourite song from a beloved band. The Waterboys - Fishermans Blues:

"I wish I was a fisherman

tumblin' on the seas

far away from dry land

and it's bitter memories

castin' out my sweet line

with abandonment and love

no ceiling bearin' down on me

save the starry sky above

with light in my head

with you in my arms..."

I lived your words one more time! Thank you for this...

Love gives Spirit to everything!


Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 07, 2018:

Spot on....in my mind's eye I can see a similar boat...beachec and ignored from many years ago just down the creek from our home. And surely the gulls sang...mine mine. Always glad when I stop hete. Angels headed your way...ps

Nell Rose from England on November 07, 2018:

I loved it! it brought the picture alive, nice one!

manatita44 from london on November 07, 2018:

Cute and short and I loved that short poem. This is a picture, which, like Ann's, has huge potential for a Flash. Too much to do these days. The song is beautiful, all right.Peace bro.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 07, 2018:

This a very evocative piece of writing.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on November 07, 2018:

Short, but just the right length to accompany the photo and meet the challenge. I absolutely enjoyed your story.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 07, 2018:

Beautiful how wove the two images together in one sweet story. This is a winner in my book.

Shaloo Walia from India on November 07, 2018:

It's really amazing how much emotionally attached we get to our profession. You have beautifully portrayed the emotional connect of the old man with his boat. Loved the piece!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Thank you, Bill. A thumbs up from you means a lot. Winning's not important.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Thank you, Shauna. I totally agree, what better resting place?

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 07, 2018:

Win or not, John, it's still a dandy worth reading. I love the mind of a writer!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 07, 2018:

Beautiful story, John. It's only befitting the old man deemed his ship as his final resting place.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 07, 2018:

Thanks Clive. Much appreciated.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on November 07, 2018:

Great concept, easily enjoyable.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on November 06, 2018:

What a lovely comment, Rinita. Thank you so much for your constant support and encouragement. I don't care if I win either. The fact I could use it here and have it appreciated is enough for me. Glad you liked the little bit of poetry at the end too.

Rinita Sen on November 06, 2018:

I must say this was your best flash fiction I've read so far, John. I am so glad you took up this challenge, and turned it into gold, yes, as golden as the descriptions of the sky coordinating with the rusty boat, as golden as the poetry imbibed in the end (the best part), and as golden as the emotion that the whole set up stirred. I do not care if you win the contest or not, you've already won hearts through this piece.

Related Articles