Flash fiction: The Roper Brothers’ Garage


Ivy always took the car to the Roper brothers in the village, even though she knew they rolled their eyes behind her back and over-charged her.

‘Sounds like it’s the carborator or the catatonic convertor,’ Gordon would say, his voice echoing under the bonnet and Greg would cough and turn away to stop himself from laughing out loud. Ivy wasn’t stupid; she knew.

It was the smell of the place that kept her coming back to be made a fool of: oily dust and petrol fumes, warm leather and cigarettes. The smell of her father; dead and gone these past sixty years.


I’m delighted that this week Rochelle has chosen one of my photos for our flash fiction prompt. Why not join in with the 100-word challenge, or read what other writers made of the picture.


I’m also delighted that a short piece of my non-fiction about living with teenagers has been published on the Tin House blog today.

63 thoughts on “Flash fiction: The Roper Brothers’ Garage

  1. Dear Claire,
    One of my favorite things about Friday Fictioneers is reading the flash written by the week’s photographer. You certainly did not disappoint this week. I love “catatonic converter.” I also appreciate the reason your heroine keeps coming back. It struck close to home.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  2. It’s hard to find a trustworthy mechanic! I love “catatonic convertor, Claire, and the nostalgic love in your story. I think in your title, you need “Brothers’ “, as there are two. Congratulations on your story. Headed there now.



  3. Dear Claire,

    They use her and think she doesn’t know it, but she does. She uses them and they have no clue and she doesn’t care. Her money pays for something more precious than gold. I love that they have no idea of the subtleties of live and that she exists in a higher plane. Beautiful work.




  4. Two people using each other, but one party’s motives more dignified than the other’s. Lovely story. That’s a great description of the way garages and car interiors used to smell. (Carburetor and catatonic converter btw – I know this … I used to do car maintenance) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Claire, Congratualtions on having your piece published in the Tin House blog! Good and well-written story as always. The joke’s on the Roper Brothers. I think we’ve all probably experienced smell bringing back memories. Well done. 🙂 — Susan


  6. Pingback: Bib – Friday Fictioneers! | Life in the Foothills

  7. Claire, thanks for the prompt this week. I read your piece on the Tin House blog. As the mother of a son now 25, I can say, it does get better. My relationship with my son is worlds apart from where it was only a few years ago. As for your flash, I liked it a lot and can very much relate to Ivy.


  8. It would be hard to see someone else inhabiting a space which was a big part of your life. We’re in the process of moving out of a house where we’ve lived for 20 years, and it’s quite a wrench. I think you’ve shown really strongly the power places, and their associated smells, have over us. Ivy probably should find another garage and move on. Easier said than done, I know.


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