Friday Fictioneers–Between or Among?

Posted: May 22, 2013 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Time once again to seek inspiration from a photo and choose 100 words to tell your story.
The place to participate is
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copyright danny bowman

copyright danny bowman

Between or Among?

In the end, no one knew how it began because nobody passed it on.

It stayed “just between the two of us.”
“I only told one person.”
“Between you and me…”
“I know you won’t tell anyone, so…”

The death of a marriage,
the rift in a friendship,
the unspeakable hurt to a child,
the accidental ruin of a life,
all inexplicable.

Everyone wondered who had told.
He knew he hadn’t.
She’d only mentioned it to ____.

Mathematically,  1x1x1 = 1.
Gossip doesn’t work that way.
No one understood how “between” became “among.”

They’d all forgotten the game of “Telephone.”

  1. Alastair says:

    That’s a great one. It’s how it all starts though, and part the way along, something changes. A speck of dust becomes a boulder. A trip becomes a push.

    • You caught the essence exactly, Alastair. Don’t you win some sort of prize for being the first person to read, “like” and comment on the first story??? 🙂 Off to do another enormous day of work on house and yard, while I fight off the desire to read all the stories instead. Watch out for vampires today!!


      • Hey, your secret little story is safe with me. Who knows other than me? Don’t worry, then. My lips are as good as sealed. Who told you?

        (good thread of memories and capture of human nature) Randy

      • Got it one (or two or three), Randy!! Thanks for stopping by this morning. Hope your day’s off to a good start. If you have anything to dish, just put it here. No one will see it. I promise.


      • Alastair says:

        Raynard’s already on the prowl 😀

        I win the prize of being first 😉

  2. Dear Janet,
    Ouch! Who among us has the right to cast a stone? Your wonderfully crafted poem as to hit us all squarely between the eyes at some point in our lives. This is worth printing off and reading again and again and…

  3. Dear Janet,

    Telephone, telegraph, tell a woman. That’s what i used to hear and believe. Now i know it to be. Tell anyone. Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead….maybe.



  4. Sandra says:

    Janet, I love this!! It is so true how gossip ruins lives and all because everyone needs to tell that one person.

    • If you only tell one person and that person (in confidence, of course!) tells only one and so on and so on, it doesn’t take long until everyone knows it but no one feels they bear the responsibility.

      It’s very much like this famous story:

      This is the story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. Consequently, it wound up that Nobody told Anybody, so Everybody blamed Somebody.

      Thanks for stopping by this morning, Sandra. I look forward to reading yours (and other stories) at some point today. But hark! I hear the housework calling. 🙂 Getting the house ready to put on the market.


  5. When I was a girl scout leader (in another life), we played this game often. I can only hope “my girls” remember.

  6. petrujviljoen says:

    Well written about a sore subject.

  7. Listen,. Do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell? Now this song has replaced “Hanging on the telephone” on the jukebox in my head.

    Good response to the prompt, Janet.

  8. So well written, Janet, and so very true. Loved the tone of this piece. Sad, simple, matter-of-fact.

    • Good to know I succeeded and that you liked the result. Gossip is often so damaging and too often it’s spread like this, without the least desire to harm.

      Enjoy your day,


  9. Great take on the picture. It’s amazing that we think someone else can keep a secret when we can’t keep it ourselves.

  10. Tad says:

    very intriguing.

  11. kdillmanjones says:

    Such a great take on the prompt! It was almost painful to read, knowing the harm that this gossip might cause. Nice work!

    • Hi, Kristin. I’m glad the story hit home for you. Gossip is much to easy to pass on, isn’t it? Although we can pass on good things, it seems like bad things are mostly what gets told.


  12. Carrie says:

    Very clever piece. To the point and it makes you think 🙂

  13. Penny L Howe says:

    Perfect Janet. The content, the flow, your written words. And the message it conveys …so, so sadly true in each of our lives at some point in time! Just excellent! (by the by, did you ever see the movie Johnnie Dangerously? A nice illustration of that effect there, and hilarious as well) 🙂

    • Hi, Penny. No, I haven’t seen that movie. Once I have more time, I’ll have to look for it. In the meantime, I’ll try not to spread any gossip! 🙂


  14. wmqcolby says:

    Ooohhhh, once again, a CHILLER of a story!!! Janet, you’re getting to me now. I’ll NEVER use a landline again.

  15. Honie Briggs says:

    Oh, this is great, Janet. Have you ever seen the Norman Rockwell “The Gossips”? Something so innocuous, so devastating. Well done.

    • I haven’t seen it, Honie, I’ll have to look it up online. Glad you liked the story. Whoever said words can never harm me, wasn’t thinking very well!


  16. Linda Vernon says:

    A well told lesson in gossip! I remember playing this as a child. It was always so funny how it would end up. It kind of makes you wonder about the news, doesn’t it?

  17. Shreyank says:

    brilliant poetry/story, the main one and the one about Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody ! 😀

    • Lovely words to read early on a Thursday morning (or any other morning.) Thanks so much for stopping in. I won’t tell anyone you were here. 🙂


  18. Very clever, and very well developed.
    Superbly crafted little tale.

  19. Kir Piccini says:

    ah yes, as if our childhoods and need/ache to “tell” never goes away.

    I liked it and then I didn’t. It was very creative.

    • Perhaps that’s often the nature of gossip–we like it and then we don’t, especially when it comes back on us. Thanks for reading. I’m slowly making my way through the stories but the necessities of work keep interfering!! See you later and have a wonderful day.


  20. What we didnt learn as childs play
    a friendship or a job
    will rue the day…

  21. Hannah says:

    A story and a lesson… Well-done!

  22. julespaige says:

    Gossip is not pretty. Not ever. There was a story though I can’t quite remember the whole of it. But A town elder was trying to stop a gossip and compared her words to the feathers in her pillow. Contained they couldn’t hurt, but when spread around they could drift everywhere and cause distress. So he took her pillow opened it up and tossed the feathers everywhere with the instructions; once you find all the feathers – then you can speak again.

    Thanks for your visits and help.

  23. Excellent! I remember that game and how it not only got out of hand, but became such a lie so quick!

  24. rgayer55 says:

    Oh how I miss party lines (NOT!). When I was young, we had a neighbor who spent most of her time eaves dropping on telephone conversations. I love your poem–and I’m a blabber-mouth–soon everyone will know!

    • My grandparents lived on a farm and the party line had a lot of people on it. You could tell by the ring whose call it was and probably almost everyone else on the line would pick up with the volume of the sound diminishing as each person picked up! For private calls, my grandparents would go into town and use the pay phone, ironic in view of the prompt.


  25. Joe Owens says:

    What a harmless bit of fun that game could be. Oh how we stray from that simple notion as adults. I have seen how quickly a morsel of supposition can morph into outlandish gossip and become so hurtful! You came up with a great offering this week Janet!

    • Joe, there are quite a few things that might have been harmful to do as children but aren’t harmful when grownups do them. Glad you enjoyed the story and enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, too.


  26. neenslewy says:

    Clever story! Great read.

  27. claireful says:

    A very salutary reminder Janet. Well done.

  28. unspywriter says:

    A fresh take on the prompt, and a lesson for us all. Great job.

    Here’s mine:

  29. So true and relevant to all our lives. And a creative, somewhat off-beat use of the prompt. Thanks, Janet!

  30. I love the 1x1x1 comparison with gossip. That’s very true. Gossip has a life all its own. Really liked this!

    • Trudy, it’s always good to know when a story hits home readers, so thanks for letting me know. Gossip does have a life of its own and too often a nasty one.

      Have a great weekend!


  31. EmmaMc says:

    This is very clever. I was thinking about the domino effect of gossip earlier today. A poignant, almost a cautionary tale.

    • Thanks very much, Emma. I wish I could only say good things about people but I struggle with gossiping all too often. I’ll try to remember my own story when I get the urge to pass something bad on.

      Have an excellent weekend,


      • EmmaMc says:

        I think we all struggle with the lure of gossiping! You have a great weekend too.

  32. rheath40 says:

    Perfect take on the prompt. Perfect.

  33. John Hardy Bell says:

    Ah Janet. I haven’t read a fictioneers story in a while, and I picked a great first one to start with! I’ve missed reading your incredibly unique style! Guess that means I have to come back next week!! 🙂 Believe it or not, I was even inspired to write one!

    Great work as always.

    • John, I saw that you were back, just haven’t had time to get over to you yet. So good to see you other than on FB. So nice of you to say you missed my writing and that you loved the story. Feel free to browse the older stories on my site if you want more fun!!! 🙂

      Seriously, good to see you and I look forward to reading your story later. Have a wonderful weekend and welcome back. Don’t make a stranger of yourself!!


  34. John Hardy Bell says:

    Thank you Janet!! It feels like home, though home is a little more cramped than it used to be! 🙂 But that is a great thing. I plan on being a regular contributing going forward. I forgot how much I missed this!

  35. This is an awsome description… and then when we thougt we mastered gossip with the telephone came social networking.

  36. troy P. says:

    You write sad stories so beautifully.

  37. denmother says:

    Excellent job, janet. It’s got me wondering who let it leak.

    • Nobody knows, but if each person “only” tells one other person, it doesn’t much matter. It will get around!

      Have a relaxing weekend,


  38. JackieP says:

    Now ain’t that the truth! Well written as always Janet.

  39. Looks like you’ve got the start of something longer here. Love the questions lingering in my mind after reading this. Nice job.

  40. k~ says:

    This is an interesting way to use the image, without being there with it. Secrets… who was it that said they are only good between three or more people if one of them is dead?

    Thank you for the feedback, you were right and it is changed. 🙂

    • Thanks for letting me know the feedback was appreciated. I’m always a bit hesitant in case it offends someone. As for secrets, I think it’s probably if all but one are dead! 🙂 Any more and someone’s bound to talk.

      Have a great weekend!


  41. sandraconner says:

    Very imaginative, Janet. Good job.

  42. Beth Carter says:

    What a unique take on the prompt. Well done. I hate gossip. Also loved the Anybody, Somebody, Nobody, Everybody story! I’d never heard that before.

  43. Anne Orchard says:

    This really makes me think – the whole point I’m sure. (We used to call it Chinese Whispers when I was at school.)

  44. Sarah Ann says:

    Wonderful. So subtle and understated and yet the route to so many ruined relationships.

    • Thanks you, Sarah Ann. Gossip is so destructive, even though it often isn’t passed on out of bad intentions. Thanks for taking time from your weekend to read my story. 🙂 Hope the weekend’s going well.