Ninth Ward Flash Fiction Day 1 of 3

If you’ve been following our blog, you might remember that we piloted a new digital literacy project this spring with author Jewell Parker Rhodes and her book Ninth Ward.  During the program, each student wrote a flash fiction piece about the characters in the Ninth Ward reuniting ten years after the end of the book.  What better way to wrap up the digital literacy pilot than by publishing the student’s short fiction?

These flash fiction pieces will be posted in three installments: today, tomorrow and Friday.  We encourage you to return to the blog each day to read and comment on the students’ great pieces.  Happy reading!

Author Jewell Parker Rhodes looks up her comments on the students’ previous blog post to share with the class.

The Break Away

By Tommy

“Hey Mama Ya-Ya, I can’t wait for your anniversary today, it’s going to be so much fun.”  Her ghost smiles, but doesn’t say anything. I get dressed and go downstairs to see if everything is ready for the anniversary party.  The drinks were in the refrigerator to the left, and the snacks were on the table to the right. “Now, all I have to do is wait”, she said to herself as she checked to make sure everything was perfect.

I sat on the couch and turned the TV on.  The Oprah Winfrey Show was on.  “Ding-dong, ding-dong”, I was so excited to see who it was!  Maybe it’s Ginia, I have not seen her since the hurricane and I miss her.  I opened the door expecting to see Ginia or someone else I have not seen in a longtime, but to my surprise when I opened the door, it was TaShon!

I opened my eyes in surprise and thought to myself “why does he have to come.”  I didn’t want to be rude, so I let him in.

“Hey Lanesha, how are you?” I tried to ignore him but it was no use.

“Lanesha! are you listening?”

“Yeah, I’m just… mad at you.”  “Why?” I’m mad at you because after all this time now you decide to come? It’s been 10 years, I have missed you a lot, we’ve survived Hurricane Katrina, how could you forget me?”

“I’m sorry Lanesha, I have been so busy.”

“Too busy for me huh?”  Lanesha said in disbelief.

“Okay, well, sorry, I’m too busy for you too!” Lanesha said angrily!

“Bye TaShon, I don’t ever want to see you again!”

Students gather around to get their books signed. Ms. Rhodes autographed each student’s book with a personal note.

 Past and present

  By Hassan

”Im on the corner, do you want something from the store?”Tashon asked his wife.

“Yeah a bag of doritos,” Tashon’s wife said.

“Hi do you have money for drugs?” said Lanesha.

“Do you even know who I am? I am Tashon from Ninth Ward.  I am a successful person with a successful animal clinic. I dont have time drug dealers. I know who you are, you are Lanesha” Tashon said.  “What do you do Lanesha?”

“I dropped out of school and became  an alcoholic and a drug dealer, but I’m glad things went your way Tashon.” Lanesha said.

“Thanks but I will be on my way to the store. Bye, see you later.” Tashon said.

Stalker or Not ?

By Sayeda

 I have a feeling. A feeling as if someone was following me through the misty, cool air. I brush my hair away from my eyes. “BOOM, BOOM,BOOM”. Someone was running after me. I run. I run with all my strength and might to my workshop. I lock the door, “click.” I breathe hard as I sit down near my blueprints. I’m thinking to myself “who is this guy and what does he want from me?”

“Knock,knock” a hand pounded on the door. My instinct was to stay down but I heard my name “Lanesha?” I walk over to the door and open it a slight bit. A man stood there with a New York Yankees baseball cap.

“Who……… who are you?” I manage to spit out.

“It’s me TaShon, remember? Hurricane Katrina?” the man said.

“Does this idiot think he can joke around with me about Hurricane Katrina?” I think. “Look I don’t know you and don’t want to. If you think you can just to me and mess with me about Hurricane Katrina you’re sick” I say raising my voice.

“Lanesha just listen —.”

“Look I’m sorry to cut you off but I don’t know you” i say losing my patience.

“Lanesha just hear me out” he says. ” NOOOOO. GET WAY FROM ME!!! YOU ARE A CRAZY STALKER AND YOU THINK YOU CAN FOOL ME WITH HURRICANE KATRINA!!!!!! YOU’RE AN IDIOT!!!!! HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW MY NAME?” I scream my lungs out, I can’t take this anymore.

“Look Lanesha you do know me. I’m TaShon, you survived Hurricane Katrina with me. Mama Ya-Ya died and…. Spot….. ghosts. You know me Lanesha. I know you know me” he says.

“How do you know Mama Ya-Ya died?……….YOU ARE TASHON !!!” I say.

“YES” TaShon says. I look at TaShon and then…. I CRY.

 Ten Years Later

By Taylar

It was a drowsy, dark day and it was raining cats and dogs. Laneasha is in love with Tashon, but he doesn’t know it. She does not want to remember him because she’s not sure if she’s in love with him or that’s just the long years they had together. Tashon actually has feelings for Laneasha too, but Laneasha doesn’t know it neither even though he gave her

all the signs, but she just won’t get it.

So one day they met in the park then those three special words that you hear from your one true love.

Tashon looked lovingly into Laneasha’s eyes and said “I love you, Laneasha, ever since we were in the hurricane together I fell in love with you”.

Laneasha replied, “I love you too, Tashon,” and they kissed like Prince Navene and Tanisha in “Princess and the Frog”.

Ms. Mayers shows a student her support while he reads his flash fiction draft to the class and Ms. Rhodes.

 Heart Broken

By Melvin

“Lanesha I can’t believe that you are going around saying that you are the one that saved me from the hurricane. You are a liar,” Tashon said.

“oh really,? Said, Lanesha. I was the one that saved your life by finding that boat, jumping off the roof, and swimming in that dirty water.”

Leave!

By Kendell

“Tashon is that you?!”

“Lanesha what is she doing here” Tashon said to himself quietly. “Lanesha stay away.” I said with an attitude.

“Why do you want me to stay away? Remember its me Lanesha. Me and you survived the hurricane together.”  Lanesha said looking puzzled.

“That’s why I want you to stay away.” I said.

“ok bye” she said with a low toned voice.

“Yeah” Lanesha turns back around and gets ready to say something. “ If me and you survived the hurricane together why do want me to go away. I saved your life you saved my life.” She said

“Because every time I think of you I think of the hurricane and Mama Ya-Ya   dying. You was suppose to protect her not let her die.” I said that so fast that she probably thought I was Flash.

“I know but there was no way to protect her from a hurricane I would’ve died too .” she said.

“What about Spot?” I asked

“ He died” She said.

“You can’t take care of anything.” Lanesha turned around and left and I was hoping I would never see her again.

The students of Ms. Mayers’ class with Jewell Parker Rhodes

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7 thoughts on “Ninth Ward Flash Fiction Day 1 of 3

  1. Pingback: Ninth Ward Flash Fiction Day 2 of 3 « Behind the Book

  2. Pingback: Ninth Ward Flash Fiction Day 3 of 3! « Behind the Book

  3. · @Tommy: I like it that you made Mama Yaya return as a ghost. Very creative thinking on your part!

    · @Hassan: It is too bad Lanesha is in such a bad way. Tashon sounds like he has his life really together. Good detail that he has a successful animal clinic! It tells you a lot about him.

    · @Sayeda: What a suspenseful and interesting story! Dialogue works very well to communicate feelings and plot. I love how she recognizes Tashon in the end.

    · @Taylar: I love your first sentence: “It was a drowsy, dark day and it was raining cats and dogs.” I know just what kind of day you mean and it sets up the mood perfectly. Your writing creates pictures in my mind.

    · @Melvin: It seems like they are having a bad argument…It makes me want to read more. You write good dialogue.

    · @Kendell: You portray strong emotions in a powerful way. It is interesting how you raise the question of who is reponsible for Mama Yaya’s death.

  4. It’s very interesting how each short piece is different from the other, yet one can piece them together to create a very intense love story. Good job everyone!!

  5. Let me start off by saying that, as much as I loved Ninth Ward the book, I love these pieces even more. Each and every one offers a new meaning to the original text, but also stands on its own as a lively emotional moment. Thank you for writing these, and I hope you keep on developing your talent and your desire to tell things to the world.

    Below are a few specific comments (I didn’t have time to write to each story) addressed to their author:

    Hi Tommy,

    I loved how you set up a sense of space in your story – I could really see the anniversary party décor and how much Lanesha cared about this party, because of your descriptions. There was also a sense of her loneliness, and it was nice to include Mama Ya-Ya’s ghost. I also really liked how your dialogue built up, and how much tension there was. Great work!

    Dear Sayeda,

    Wow. What a start – I love that first line. It sets the tone perfectly for the rest of your piece – gripping, emotional, a little bit mysterious. I’m left with a sense of wonder at what had happened in between all those years, but Lanesha and Tashon’s characters still feel believable, like the same people but grown up. And I love how action-packed this piece is, the running, the screaming, it makes her feelings seem even more raw and real.

    Hello Kendell,

    What a lovely use of dialogue..! The spaces between each line are palpable. I love the little details of their expressions, how they said what they said, the body language – combined with the content of the conversation itself, in this moment Tashon and Lanesha really come alive. And what a gut-wrenching ending, just enough to leave me wanting to know more. Really, really good work.

    Love,
    WL

  6. This first group of stories are fantastic! Tommy, Hassan, Sayeda, Taylar, Melvin and Kendall you all clearly got the essence of the characters in this book and then dug deeper. Can’t wait to read the next two groups. Chris

  7. Tommy,
    You really captured that sense of anticipation for a party through your use of details. I love the idea that Lanesha is still able to see Mama Yaya. It’s sad to think that Lanesha and Tashon might have become estranged, but I think that does often happen to people, even those who have been through so much together. Well done!

    Hassan,
    What a hard juxtaposition! One survivor flourishes, while the others life wastes. Your piece made me happy and sad at the same time. Thanks for writing this!

    Sayeda,
    What dramatic tension! I find your story compelling, that Lanesha would be so afraid of Tashon, that it would take her so much to remember and believe him. I found your piece very believable– have you ever had an experience like this, where you didn’t recognize a friend after a long time apart?

    Taylar,
    I love your opening sentence– I can see this day so clearly in my mind. What a happy ending for our characters, I appreciate it.

    Melvin,
    I can imagine that Lanesha and Tashon might still disagree about their memories of the storm, even after ten years had passed. Sometimes these kinds of details really matter. I’d love to read more about why they’re arguing, to know where they are and how they met again.

    Kendell,
    I think you made sophisticated choice as a writer to change the first person narrator to Tashon. It’s so important to know what’s going on in the minds of all our characters, to really understand how they’ll behave, and why. It makes me sad that Tashon holds so much resentment towards Lanesha still, but you’ve helped me understand it. You have a knack for dialogue, too– keep writing!

    To All,
    I can’t thank you enough for the time and energy you have put forth. As a writer, you have given me the greatest gift possible: to know that my story has not only impacted my readers, but inspired their writing in turn. You’re all brilliant! Well done, and keep writing!

    Hugs,
    Jewell Parker Rhodes

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