Writing Adventure Group Theme #22 – A Real Hero

I was a little pressed for time this week and wanted to try and keep my Writing Adventure Group entry short and simple. With my writing normally tipping the scales as over one-thousand words, I wanted something easier to digest. It also didn’t hurt that writing it up took far less time.

Because I was pressed for time, I am submitting this piece just as I do my Fiction Friday pieces. This has not been edited and is meant to generate a bit of flash fiction. The idea was to inspire a story and not get hung up on editing.

Writing Adventure Group theme #22

“A Real Hero”

I turned to walk away from the ATM when I saw him. He crossed the street and made his way towards me with a purposeful stride. His age and some sort of nagging injury affected his gate, although he masked it well. His keys were what gave it away. With each impact of his left foot, they jostled and jingled before swinging on their hook and colliding awkwardly against his thick leather belt.

Between the smack of keys, his old work boots thudded on the concrete sidewalk as he grew closer. His pants were navy blue. They reminded me of the Dickies work pants mechanics typically wore. His shirt, however, did not match the typical mechanics garb. Tucked neatly into his pants and buttoned up to his neck was a faded plaid shirt of blue and yellow.

The man appeared to be in his fifties, although, he was probably in his forties. Time had not treated him well and left wrinkles around his pale blue eyes. The coloring was stark, as if they had faded over the years. Gray stubble was evident over his lip and across his chin. His hair was deep brown on top with wings of gray around his ears. As a gentle breeze kicked up, thin hairs stood atop his crown. Balding was evident.

As he grew closer to the ATM, he began to reach back for his wallet. The bright afternoon sun glinted off of the simple wedding band at his finger before disappearing behind his back. A moment later a wallet appeared. Calloused arthritic hands fumbled for a bank card. Before finding their mark, a photo of a young woman and her son hung limply. A tiny smile spread across his tired face before he tucked the photo sleeve neatly back into his bi-fold wallet.

We passed on the sidewalk and the man was gone from my life. Husband, father, grandfather, a man battling time. To me he was nothing more than a random man on the street. To a young boy somewhere out there in the world, he was a hero.

Please visit the comment section, located at the head of this post, and leave me some feedback. I would greatly appreciate it!

Writing Adventure Group (WAG) #22: “A Real Hero”Opens in a new tab.. In fiction, often every hero looks like the other, with broad shoulders and a chiselled features, and the heroine always has an oval face and rosebud lips. (Okay, so these are the worst examples!) So for WAG #22, observe a stranger you think would make a good main character, and describe their physical features as accurately as you can (and without cliche) so we can see them as real individuals and not cardboard cut-outs. Feel free to transport those people into your fictional world, or just describe them as you see them in their real environment. No Rules! Now Write!


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - I’m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

12 thoughts on “Writing Adventure Group Theme #22 – A Real Hero

  1. Very, very sweet. You took a truly ordinary citizen and had him don an invisible cape in a matter of seconds.

    I am deeply impressed. Splendid piece.

  2. I loved the angle of this. And always being hard pressed for time myself I think the short ones are the best 😉

    1. Miss G,
      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I like shorter pieces from time to time but I always struggle writing them. Unless my story stretches over 1,000 words it feels like I’m missing something and I need to go back and add in a little more detail here and there.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Peter,
    I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. I was debating with myself over that last line. I didn’t know if it had enough impact and I was afraid that it wouldn’t be an obvious connection to the grandson that I mentioned earlier.

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. I held my breath for a moment, Walt, reading the setup. As a woman–less vulnerable than some–a good screamer, I’ve been scared when facing a sidewalk ATM, so really got into it.

    Good twist on the topic, Kate

    1. One of my favorite aspects of these writing groups is hearing comments from a different perspective. The thought never crossed my mind that I was potentially setting up a robbery / mugging scene by using the ATM as a location. It was simply a place I had been just a couple of days before and vaguely remember someone passing me dressed as I described.

      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the piece and the twist was hidden until the very end.

  5. I’m with Kate on this one- I was feeling a bit nervous at first by the ATM but really liked where you went with it.

    1. Caroline,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. Your comment, as well as Kate’s, has taught me to take moment to analyze for any other scenarios I may have inadvertently set up.

      These writing exercises have been tremendously helpful in learning to look harder at scenarios and characters.

      Thanks for the comment

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