The Contender

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

“He’s coming for you,” Tammy whispered. She fell back on the bed, giggling.

Linda got up from her own twin bed and padded to the window. She lifted one corner of the blind.

He was halfway up the block, heading toward the club, just like he did every day this week. Her eyes traced the swells of his sculpted arms. “They say he’s going to fight this weekend.”

Ma would’ve said he was no kind of man for her, but she was one to talk. No, Linda was getting out of this overcrowded flat, and soon. “I’m going downstairs,” she said.

100 words

This has been an edition of Friday Fietioneers. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting this party and to J. Hardy Carroll for this week’s photo.

To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.


  1. Lovely, female banter, what the sisters (?) are saying between them, what Mom would think, or at least what she would admit to. Love the sense of yearning you’ve conveyed, the way he embodies not just her physical desire but her desire to get out of her current situation. I hope she knows what she’s doing. Loved it Karen

    1. I loved your comment so very much. It really made my day! Thanks, Lynn.

      1. I loved you story – my favourite of the week. Just loved those girls, their ‘itchy feet’ need to move on. Rang very true to me, being a small town girl through my teens, having those same needs to escape. Great writing

  2. Good girls like bad boys.

    1. Maybe, maybe not. I’m not sure who’s the good one yet. Thanks for reading, James.

  3. Dear Karen,

    Oh I sense so much more story in Linda’s yearning to get outta that place. And the line that Ma has no room to talk speaks volumes. Love the down to earth dialogue. His description is enticing. (Still have Jack Palance on my mind. 😉 ) Thanks for swinging by for the early shift. Well written…as I’ve come to expect.



    1. Thanks so much Rochelle! Linda does have many yearnings, but now that you’ve reintroduced the Jack Palance visual, I’m not sure I want to think of them. Suddenly I see Jack Palance pushing aside my guy to do one arm push ups.

  4. Splendid story craft here, Karen. The characters are vivid and real. I like the lingering look at the boxer, too. Sexy stuff 😉

  5. You’ve made us feel the emotions of these girls, especially Linda, who reflect every girl’s desire to do something just a little bit outside the box–or maybe a lot outside the box. The excitement is addictive 🙂

    1. What a lovely comment! Thanks so much for reading granonine.

  6. I loved the juxtasposition between the romance genre and the hard-nosed calculation. I smelled the sweat. I also loved the throwaway line about mother’s choices

    1. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting Neil!

  7. The opening sentence of your story felt ominous. “He’s coming for you.” However, you then tell us, subtly and by implication, of the sexual attraction Linda feels for the boxer (incidentally, I like the double meaning of your title – a contender for boxing honours, or a contender for Linda’s heart).
    You’re an excellent writer, making every word count, so I think that ominous start was intentional. If Linda makes out with ‘The Contender’, it’s not going to end well.
    Or maybe it’s just my prejudice against boxing and violent men that’s showing…
    With best wishes

    1. Penny, I am always delighted (and often enlightened) by your careful reading and astute interpretation. I had written this pretty quickly and hadn’t intended that twinge of ominous. But you’re totally right! I like the way you’ve interpreted and it makes me realize to go to the meaning I had originally intended, I should change it to “Here he comes,” to convey excitement and anticipation. But turns out I like your interpretation better.

      You are amazing.

      1. No! Don’t change that first line, it says volumes about the sister’s lives, their communication, and feelings about one another. And also has a drop of foreshadowing. It’s a gem.

      2. OK, I’m convinced! Thanks so much for your insight and feedback!

  8. While many of you have sided with the girls in the story, I’m going to side with Ma. So easy to fall for the bad boy with the good looks and muscles, but perhaps they should learn from Ma and heed a bit of caution. Not sure whether Ma is the shot gun type or might just kick him in the knee caps. Or, if she was a really bad mother, perhaps she could throw herself at him and steal him away from the daughter. Stranger things have happened..
    Best wishes,

    1. Oooh, you make some great points. I’m guessing you might be a mom, like me? Thanks for reading and commenting, Rowena.

      1. Yes, Karen. I have a 14 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. The parent can an example of what to do and also paths to avoid. They don’t usually mention that in parenting courses.
        BTW these days I send to connect with the Mum in the story, rather than the kid. Clearly, I have grown up.
        xx Rowena

  9. Great take, the determined Linda will get her man – for once he won’t know what’s hit him 🙂

    1. Hehe, great comment Iain. Exactly so! Thanks for reading.

  10. Great writing! I really enjoyed your story. You have described Linda so vividly through her thoughts, her words and her actions. She is an “I see, I want, I will” girl! Good luck to her.

    1. She is indeed. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment Edith 🙂

  11. Heavily nuanced tale, layers within layers.
    Interesting that, except perhaps from Tammy, there is no suggestion of affection anywhere, just need.
    Great piece of writing.

    1. Thanks for your kind words! No, there is not much evidence of affection in that girl, is there? Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, ceayr.

  12. Dale

    I loved your story and all the comments that followed! Always a good sign when it sparks such a discussion!
    Many layers to this indeed. Need to get out, love doesn’t necessarily matter, might be making the same choices as Ma, and youthful lust. What woman doesn’t admire a nice set of biceps?

    1. There might be a woman who doesn’t admire a nice set of biceps, but she’s not me 😉 Thanks for reading. Your comment made me grin and then laugh out loud.

      1. Dale

        She ain’t me either 😉 Like me some nice strong arms.
        Glad you laughed out loud!

  13. Good for her. She saw what she wanted and she was willing to go out and get him. I wish her luck.

    1. She might need it! Thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂

  14. I am so excited for Linda.🙂 She reminds me of some driven friends from my teenage years.
    Loved your story, Karen.

    1. I knew a few myself! Thanks for reading and for your kind words, Moon.

  15. I see so much in this, both that attraction to a bad(?) boy and a wish to escape her mother… so well captured with just a dialogue. Love it

    1. Thanks so much Bjorn–glad you liked it!

  16. Very realistic sister talk. I love how one detail of the man defined him. Well done.

    1. Thanks so much Sascha!

  17. I like the last paragraph, where Linda breaks free from her mother’s restrictive world view. “but she was one to talk”.

    1. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting James!

  18. Great dialogue and an intriguing family back story there too. Truely a many layered story.

    1. Thanks so much, I’m glad you liked it.

  19. You’ve described the excitement of young love so beautifully.

    1. Aw, very kind of you to say that. Thanks so much for reading.

  20. Hitching her wagon to the next hopeful in the hopes of escaping her current life. A bit mercenary, but I guess the “sculpted arms” are a nice bonus 🙂
    (I read it from the POV of them never having actually met face to face.)

    1. Hehe, what a great comment, you made me laugh out loud! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  21. I enjoyed both the story and the comments. I hope you expand this into a longer piece. This is the best use of 100 words I’ve seen in a long time.

    1. Wow, thank you so much for your very kind words. You just made my day!

  22. I could just see those sisters, especially as my two girls are together this week.

    1. Ah, how sweet. Thanks for reading and commenting Liz 🙂

  23. I guess if I was her parent I wouldn’t want him for my girl either. Good story Karen 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂

  24. I am hoping that Mom’s example wins out. Maybe the girls will learn from her and steer clear of muscle-man.

    1. I hope so. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Lish.

  25. Great dialogue though I wonder if she will regret her choice later in life.

    1. The impulsiveness of youth is often regretted, for sure. Thanks for reading and for your kind words.

  26. even the chosen title has many stories to tell. well done.

  27. As others have noted, you draw the characters very well and hint at more than just those sculpted arms making Linda want to leave. The suggestion of Ma’s past was a masterstroke.

    1. Thank you for your very kind words. Thanks so much for reading!

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