Flash Fiction, Short Stories

Friday Fictioneers — 1/31/14 — A Man of Value

Friday Fictioneers is always such fun, and I’m so glad when I can manage to take part. This week’s prompt is a photo by Claire Fuller. You’ll find it below, followed by my 100-word story. (Actually my story is definitely over the limit on words, but it relates an example of true events that are taking place on a regular basis with prisoners from a maximum security prison close to my hometown. I learned about these projects a few years ago and the difference they are making in the rehabilitation of prisoners — as well as in the lives of the people served by the end results. This week’s photo brought the projects to mind, and it’s worth sharing the concept even though it takes a few more words than is technically “legal.”)

CARPENTRY SHOP

A MAN OF VALUE

Eddie couldn’t hold back the tears as he stood at the building site, his hand gripped by Tony, an ox of a guy with tears in his own eyes as he thanked Ed for his part in the project. Tony and his family had lost everything and had no place to live. But today they’d received the key to a brand new home.

Eddie, serving the 7th of his 25-year sentence, had worked in the carpentry rehabilitation unit for three years now, making prefab elements for these low-income housing projects. Getting permission to be present at the site for the presentation was a dream come true.

He’d considered himself scum for most of his life, but today – wiping tears away with his shirt sleeve – he began to see himself as a valuable human being with something worth giving to life. Dang, if he wasn’t actually looking forward to the next 18 years of helping create a better life for a lot of people.

~~~

Visit our hostess, Rochelle, and get the scoop on how to participate:
http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/31-january-2014/

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38 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers — 1/31/14 — A Man of Value”

    1. In the prison I referred to, this carpentry project is one of many that the prisoners have an opportunity to take part in. There is another that allows them to crochet caps for women who are suffering from cancer and lose their hair as a result of chemotherapy, and there is a project that gives them an opportunity to make stuffed animals for destitute children who had to leave all their belongings when they were removed from meth homes. I’ve seen some of their work, and it is amazing. The stuffed animals are some of the most creative and beautifully done that I’ve ever seen.

    1. I was grateful the picture was a little hazy. That way I didn’t have to worry about describing any one aspect of carpentry or woodworking. The scene brought to mind the real-life experiences of the prisoners, so, in my mind, it fit nicely.

  1. Sandra, this is the type of project we should all support, a project that provides both a skill to provide a living and the opportunity to change the heart and mind to grab hold of that living. Thanks for sharing.

    janet

    1. Yes, it’s a great example. I’m not sure how many different prisons have initiated something like this. I’m acquainted with only the one. But I’d like to think all of our tax dollars that go into the prison system could really be helping some people return to wholesome lives.

      1. Hugs for your compassion towards folks that are forgotten members of society. I don’t condone their crimes, but if they want to better themselves and be productive while doing their time, they should be supported in those efforts. It can only help all of us in the end.

  2. Dear Sandra,

    Well done. Fortunately there are positive prison stories. Of course we never hear those on the news. 😉 Your story’s engaging enough that if you hadn’t mentioned the word count no one would’ve notices.

    Shalom, Rochelle.

    1. Thanks a bunch, Rochelle. I almost didn’t mention the count, but, you know what they say: confession is good for the soul. Although when I’m only 8 or 10 words over, I find I can ignore it completely.

    1. Thank you, Dawn. A friend of mine used to work with the program I referred to in my introduction — working with the maximum security prison near me. I was just amazed at the positive results of the program.

  3. You are right about the prison systems. Many of them really do have wood-working shops and they build stuff. Sometimes there are people who teach them electricity, plumbing, and H-VAC to get a license – that way when they return to society, they have a real skill. GOOD writing!

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