Three Houses

My last story for 52|250, written for the fourth quarterly challenge:

Take a well known tale (fairy tale, mythical yarn, an urban legend, a proverb, a childhood story, etc) and give us a unique take on it. Modernize it, alter the characters, play with the setting, whatever: do what you want to create a flash story inspired (however loosely) by a commonly known tale in 250 or less. 

* * *


The first house I built was in the early 1990s. Pre-internet software engineering firm. Boom! went our stocks. My father tsked his tongue, muttered things like house of cards and Icarus. But I was pigheaded, grew the company fast and furiously. Invested in shiny black NeXTcubes, played DOOM til 5am with Marty and Jeff. I secured bank loans and spoke at California conferences with Steve Jobs, got a sprawling cherry desk with a view of Boston’s harbor. Then a cold wind blew in, huffed and puffed and kaboom! went our stocks.

The next house I built was in 1999, a bonafide urban walk-up lovenest. Stan and I moved in together within three months of meeting. My mother tsked her tongue, called it a house of fire. But I was pigheaded and didn’t listen – and he was hot. Neighbors carrying groceries smiled at me in the stairwell. We drank wine and played chess at night, made love ’til dawn. Then a cold northerly blew in. Her name was Ilse. She huffed and puffed ’til he moved out. I licked my burnt ass and didn’t call my mother for a month.

Then I built my third house. Both parents tsked their tongues, but I knew they secretly like this one. It’s smaller than the others – more modest than the first, more secure than the second.  And it can stand up to the wind. So when the cold northerly huffed and puffed this time, I hoisted my sails and went with it.

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3 Responses to Three Houses

  1. Christopher says:

    Beautiful and triumphant. I love the idea that it is how you deal with “the wind” that brings stability to your life.

  2. This is fantastic, Michelle…the use of house to tie the piece together, and knowing your current status, I especially enjoyed “house” number 3, though they are all eloquently depicted. Carried, and buoyed by wind…love the idea, makes me hopeful.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with Christopher. I love that wind becomes a partner, not a nemesis! So creative.

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