Short story: Disassemble


Flora’s parents were both authors; dealers in words: two dimensional, unless you let them into your brain where they might transform into images and emotions.

Flora had always preferred the three dimensional – things she could walk around, touch and take apart. At first her parents encouraged her, enchanted by a child who was the antithesis of them – buying her lego, meccano, a plastic tool set. They paraded her and her creations at dinner parties and at family gatherings. And then one day Flora found a real toolbox under the stairs, with real screwdrivers and spanners and hammers.

Then they weren’t so happy.


This picture, for Friday Fictioneers was supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who also hosts our group where writers from all over the world gather to write about 100 words using a photo as inspiration. Click here to read other people’s and to join in. And please comment below with any suggestions for improvement on mine.

41 thoughts on “Short story: Disassemble

  1. Ouch!! I like your descriptions of your family as two- or three- dimensional and how the parents became three-dimensional in their work. Perhaps many of us are like that: two-dimensional in some areas, three in others. I’m torn between knowing how they would feel and realizing that there are many more learning opportunities now (for all of them), other than possibly being able to put the things back together. Nicely done, Claire!



  2. Now I got a clear impression that I might not like Flora very much. And that the next thing she might start taking apart was the relationship between her parents… if not her parents themselves. Great piece!


  3. I really enjoyed this. A friend of mine’s son used to take things apart. One day while visiting a friend he was suddenly quiet and unassuming for an hour or so. Upon discovery she found he had completely dismantled her friend’s vacuum cleaner. Needless to say she had to replace it. Thus began a long history of buying junk at the thrift store for him to take apart. He never did learn to put anythign back together. But I can see you two dimensional parents employing such a tactic. Great story.


    • Did he turn out to be an engineer by any chance? Just from the comments I’ve received it seems taking things apart and not being able to get them back together is quite a common occurrence.


  4. I’ll echo others by saying that the contrast of two dimensional vs three dimensional was wonderful. There was a bit of repetition and listing in the second paragraph — real toolbox with real ….etc.. but the listing “lego, meccano, a plastic tool set” might be said to be mirrored in “screwdrivers, spanners and hammers”. Dunno. Just something that made me want to tweak it.


  5. ooh, I want so much to know more about what she did! I guess the picture is the answer, but still… A nice comparison of characters between Flora and her parents. I enjoyed the description of writing in the first paragraph immensely.


  6. Hi Claire,
    Isn’t it funny how we rebel from our parents by going to the exact opposite direction! I think Flora may have a future as an engineer, or an auto mechanic, but I suspect that someday, years from now, she may find she has this urge to write buried deep inside. Great, creative take on the photo. Ron


  7. brilliant. Lots of layers to this story. I love the ‘dealers in words’ – and this acts as a warning to future parents who think their kids will turn out just like them. They don’t!


  8. Loved the distinction between two-dimensions of music and the three-dimensions of hands-on. I have a kid who loves to take apart and can never get it back together again.His joy is in seeing what’s inside…and he doesn’t care about whether it works or not once that goal is met.


  9. A really cute take on this prompt, Claire. And I was immediately reminded of my grandfather Elmer, who loved taking things apart. He just had a knack for doing that and then putting them all back together again correctly. I even have a picture of the whole family (about 15 grandkids) together at his house for Christmas were we were all opening presents, but Grandpa was sitting right in the middle of the crowd, taking apart the TV.


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