What Did You Do In The War?

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

“Katie said that her grandparents knew Martin Luther King.”

He rested against the counter in the kitchen. He was so skinny, his mother thought, that his head seemed perpetually in danger of falling off his neck.

His mother sliced carrots with the stainless knife.

“Katie’s grandparents were very active in the church. That’s probably how they met,” she said firmly.

“Did Pepere know Martin Luther King,” he asked?”

“My dad?”


“Oh, no. He didn’t.”

She could tell he was disappointed. They were quiet for a long time.

She started speaking. This would likely be the first time he’d heard the story.

“Your grandfather and his brothers were a bunch of crooks who blew out of Montreal and set up shop in Rhode Island. They made moonshine in a still. He learned to do that from your grandmother.”

“Memere made booze?”

“Memere made illegal booze, yes. I still have the recipe. Eventually, your grandfather got out of the booze business when Prohibition ended. He was a bookie for a while, until The Italians scared him. Then he opened an air conditioning and heating oil place.”

“Is that why dad sells heating oil?”


There was another silence.

 She spoke again.

“Katie’s grandparents met Martin Luther King. Your grandfather made a million dollars and once tried to steal a canoe while the guy was still sitting in it.”

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