American Gothic

Worst job I ever had?

That’d be when I was a rent collector in Detroit.  Also the last job I ever had, come to think of it.  I quit pretty quick.

Nah, quit ain’t the right word.  My employer explained it better: “Our rent collector was shot at point-blank range through the chest whilst out collecting rent late one night and, whilst he lay there dying, the rent money he was carrying was stolen.”

Figures.  Like I said, worst job I ever had.

After that, I took possession.  Seemed fair.  ‘Sides, who should own all your old ghost towns if not ghosts.


This piece of flash fiction was written for Friday Fictioneers: a story in 100 words prompted by a picture that Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts every Wednesday. Here’s the link to the stories and this week’s picture is below, copyright Björn Rudberg.


26 thoughts on “American Gothic

    • Yep, I did the head scratching, too 🙂 Then the photo got me thinking about a newspaper story I read over breakfast, about Detroit – that led me to thinking about a chat I’d had with another blogger about some ghostly poems she’d written – then it all started to coalesce. Glad you enjoyed it.

  1. Well … it *is* hard to sell or rent a place after a murder’s taken place there … seems fair enough to let the ghosts inhabit them!

    “Love what you’ve done with the place.”

    Seriously — I did enjoy this — I’ve been trying to sort out this photo and can’t quite decide what to do with it. Your take is brilliant!

    • Well, your poem with the playful ghosts got me looking at them in a different light, i.e. instead of being unwelcome intruders they might come into a property by right because they belonged there more than the living, by virtue of bloodshed or because the city itself had died.

      And I think you’re right – ghosts would have impeccable decor. If you’re chained to a property for all eternity it’s got to make you a little house-proud, right? 🙂

    • Thanks. To an extent, it was a “found story,” inspired by a newspaper article (with the addition of the ghostly elements, of course) and the voice simply grew out of it. Glad you enjoyed it.

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