Flash Fiction Friday – The Box

I’ve been having fun with the prompts that my writing group has been sending out. So much so that I’ve decided to create a new category for The In-Between Things: Flash Fiction Friday.

For this week’s post, here is the prompt we were given:

The prompt today is suggested from Harlan Ellison. Ellison liked to come up with the title of the story first. Your title prompt is, “THE BOX.” The box can become a source of fear, love, funny, or adventure. You decide what’s in the box and how it affects you!

I immediately knew what I wanted to write. I hope you like it!

The Box

I was chatting with someone when I heard it.

“The thing about you is …”

Oh, here we go again, someone wants to put me in a box. Even though it happens all the time, I still can’t help being surprised. 

I used to try on every box. It seemed like the polite thing to do. I would really try to fit. I would climb in, poke around in all the corners, and contort myself in every possible way. I was much thinner and more flexible in those days, so it was easier to humor someone when they presented the box they had selected for me. But even then, I never could make myself fit.

I always hoped that when someone recognized that I didn’t fit in their box, they would want to discover why there was more to me than they had thought. That is why I always tried to be polite. I didn’t want anyone feel embarrassed about their misjudgment.

Some people were really adamant about wanting me to fit into their box. They would shove and stomp, like they were trying to close an over-full suitcase. No matter how hard they tried, I never fit. No one ever had the right box.

One day, when I was waiting patiently to get out, the people trying to put me in that box started talking as if I couldn’t hear them.

“All I’m saying is that if we just cut off the leg right about there, we could shove it in over here and voila! Then we could get this box all sealed up.”

“Yeah, but that is going to make a big mess, I don’t think this box is coated to retain liquids. Maybe we can just snap some joints so that they bend further.”

The most surprising thing about this exchange was how invested they were in getting me sealed up in their box. Most of the time, folks would just loose interest and wander away.

These days, I still try to be polite when someone wants to put me in a box. But I don’t try them on anymore.

Photo by Sep on Unsplash

6 Replies to “Flash Fiction Friday – The Box”

  1. You’re so smart to stay out of any box. Leaves you open for more fun, adventures and growth.

  2. Great photo for your story. I can relate to being polite and trying to fit into another person’s version of you. It’s best you don’t fit into their boxes.

  3. Brava! Clever prose, Cynthia.
    Boxes are such fun to play in as children, they are limitless structures for our imaginations to project onto. What if we were defined for life by our favorite box from then. I think I’d be “refrigerator”.
    It’s terribly sad that what probably starts out as one person attempting to relate to another turns into pigeon-holing.

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