Thinking Outside the Box

It’s probably been over three years since I last participated in the Friday Fictioneers, a group of hundreds of people from around the world who share their 100-word photo-prompted stories each week. Thank you, Rochelle Wisoff Fields, Friday Fictioneers’ Fearless Leader for her hard work in keeping this group thriving and growing over the years.

This week’s photo prompt is by Russell Gayer.

I must admit, when I first saw the prompt, I thought, “Maybe I’ll start next week. What do I write about a toilet?”

Then,  a memory came to mind . . .

Thinking Outside the Box

“Mommy! Mommy! When will you be finished?” whined my three-year old daughter as she pounded on the bathroom door.

The muffled slaps of tiny hands against the door followed. “Yeah, finish, Mama!”–My two-year old son’s attempt to mimic his sister.

I sat. I hung my head, face in my hands. Was there not one…single…place in the house where I could be…ALONE?

Then, the proverbial light bulb flashed on. It was, after all, where I did my best thinking—when I could think, that is.

In the house? How about OUTHOUSE?

That’s what I call thinking outside the box.

If you’d like to read other 100-word stories, click HERE.


For anyone who doesn’t know, my husband, Steve, is also a writer, though he doesn’t have a blog. Periodically, I’ll share his stories here, too. Here’s this week’s:

It sat on the porch, then on the sidewalk for three days, in the rain. On the third day, the rain turned to snow and someone draped a strand of battery-powered red twinkly lights over it.

At midnight Claire and her boyfriend Jonathan, both seniors at the town high school, walked together in the snow. She sat on the toilet seat, lit a cigarette, and put it to Jonathan’s lips as he leaned forward, hands in his pockets.

She crushed the butt in the snow. “Kiss me.”

There’s a stone shed behind this house,” he said. “Let’s go.”

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19 Responses to Thinking Outside the Box

  1. Dear Jan,

    How wonderful to see you here! I so remember those days but never would’ve thought of an outhouse. We both went with toddler memories on this prompt it seems. Good one.




    • Jan Vanek says:

      Hi Rochelle,

      I’m excited to be back! I’m not getting much writing done these days, but I surely should be able to squeeze in 100 words! Best of all, I get to read your wonderful stories and others!


      Liked by 1 person

  2. TheDiaryOfSin says:

    Hey Jan! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I am not a mother yet, but I do babysit and I know the feeling, haha. I loved this story, that was a good idea, ;D Thank you for sharing and coming back :D.. Also thank you for your comment, I accidentally deleted it, and don’t know how to undo it but if I figure it it out I will reply, if I cannot, thank you for reading and enjoying my first attempt, I am enjoying reading the many others.


  3. Ha ha – I’m very pleased to say that I have never had that sort of experience! Welcome back from a relative newcomer. 🙂

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


    • Jan Vanek says:

      Thanks, Susan. It’s funny how my perspective on that memory has changed now that my kids are grown–my son with two kids of his own, and my daughter with one on the way. Frustrating as it was then, it makes me smile now. 🙂


  4. rgayer55 says:

    What I hate is how the phone always rings when you’re on the pot and the only one in the house. I’ll waddle to get it with my pants around my ankles, only to find its a telemarketer–and a recording and that! Grrrr…..
    Thanks for adding Steve’s story. I enjoyed it too.


  5. Liz Young says:

    Two stories for the price of one click! Both great – and I wouldn’t care to start a domestic by saying which was better 🙂


  6. Love both stories… and such fun to see you again. I actually did enjoy the outhouse a lot for just that reason… Siblings can be quite a nuisance. Another thing is when it’s dark


  7. Dale says:

    What a wonderful memory…. sort of! I, too, remember those days oh so well and could not be paid enough to start that over!
    Loved your hubby’s version too!


  8. pennygadd51 says:

    Thinking outside the thunderbox! Great little story, inspired by two great little characters!


  9. Nan Falkner says:

    I really liked both the stories – The two kids are enjoying their youth! Your husbands and your stories were very entertaining. I’m glad he chimed in too! Thanks for the smiles! Merry Christmas!


  10. Dear Jan (and Steve),,

    I didn’t see the first story. Glad I came back around. I would drape lights around a toilet seat if it sat on the porch. 😉 Well written coming of age story. You should join in more often, Steve.




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