Our March 2018 Silver Medal Winner - "Broken Window" by Sarah Gardiner

by - Friday, May 18, 2018


I live with my husband and our two small children in Calgary, Alberta. Being a busy stay-at-home mom, I try to use nap time as my creative time to write, read, crochet, and cook. 

If someone were to peek through our window at any given time, they’d likely see couch cushion forts, something bubbling on the stove, a Blue Jays game on the television, and a dining room dance party. —Sarah Gardiner

The Photo Prompt: 

 The unedited story:

Broken Window
by Sarah Gardiner

Gravel scattered under his sneakers as he dragged them along the pavement. The old brick building was the largest on the street and brought with it an engulfing shadow that draped the sidewalk with an unexpected chill. Pulling up his light windbreaker to warm his neck, Jake squinted against the rising sun. It was early Sunday morning, not typically a time when he was up and wandering around town. But Jake had made a mistake and therefore made a promise, which now had him pacing between the bakery and the antique shop.

Tilting his Yankees cap just enough to block out the sun, Jake could see Mr. Mason walking through the park. Giving a quick wave, Mr. Mason jogged across the street to meet Jake.

“Well, golly-gee boy, I wasn’t even sure you were going to show, let alone arrive early. Wonderful!” Mr. Mason was vigorously digging through his deep pocket trying to locate what Jake could only assume was a key.

“Ah ha! Here we go.” Before Mr. Mason unlocked the door, he reached over to the damaged window. Lightly running his fingers over the broken glass he said, “The new window will arrive next week. In the meantime, let’s get this taped up as best we can.”

With a gentle nudge of his foot, Mr. Mason pushed on the door with his left hand while his other hand jiggled the key. “Good grief, while I’m fixing the window I really should tend to this darn door. Anyhoo, watch your step Jake and come on in.”

The door gave way and Jake stepped up into the shop. His nostrils were quickly filled with aromas of dust, ink, and metal. An old persons smell. Like something reminiscent of his grandmothers attic.

“Wow...” Jake couldn’t help but gawk at the room and its contents.

There were shelves of record albums, textbooks, newspapers and film boxes. Rows of jewelry, china, and porcelain trinkets. There were bins of phones with tangled wires, milk crates with old spinner toys, even a rusted sink filled with stoppers. An abundance of light fixtures hung from the ceiling, along with flags, hubcaps, and even a ladder. Musical instruments occupied one whole corner. Guitars, a piano, trumpets and tubas. Suitcases lined the floor filled with scarves, ladies hats, and mens ties.

“Is this your first time in my store Jake?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, welcome. Would you mind pulling off some pieces of tape while I cut this cardboard to fit?” He tossed Jake a roll of grey heavy tape.

Mr. Mason shrugged off his coat and hat and hung them on a dented wall hook. He looked like the type of man who would own an antique shop. Thinning hair, beady eyes, and a dusty-brown- tweed-with-spectacles kind of look.

Jake kept his coat and hat on and started pulling the tape into strips. He shifted on his heels, bit his lip and peered over at Mr. Mason, who seemed strangely happy to be patching up his broken window.

“Sir, I’m really sorry about all this.” He paused. “After I help with the tape do you want me to sweep the store or stack boxes?”

“Oh no boy. I mean yes, I want your help in the store but not in the way you think.”

Mr. Mason suddenly dropped to the floor and gave a loud “Ha! Well, there you go!”
Laying flat on his belly he reached under a shelf. With stark contrast to the dull, grey surroundings, a bright white baseball rolled towards Jakes feet. “I believe this belongs to you.”

Jake quickly pocketed the ball and diverted his eyes to the worn tiled floor.

“You know what boy? It was an accident. Watching you kids play baseball each afternoon brings me great joy. Besides, that was one hell of a hit you had.”

Jake smiled in surprise and looked around. He passed Mr. Mason the pieces of tape and then started wandering through the store.

“Well, that should do it,” said Mr. Mason. He dusted off his pants and headed towards Jake.

Mr. Mason reached behind the small wooden desk that held the cash register and heaved a large box up onto a rickety stool. He popped the lid off and said, “This is what I need your help with Jake.”

Jakes eyes widened as he took a step forward and leaned in.

“I recently received these boxes of sports items. And would you believe I know nothing about sports? So here I was yesterday afternoon clouded with great confusion. I don’t even know where to begin with all this.” He gestured to the box full of baseball cards.

“You see Jake, all these things that you see in this room have a story. And aside from my old man dragging me to a Yankees game when I was a kid, where I spent the whole time with my nose in a Dickens book, I have no connection to the sports world.”

Suddenly with great animation Mr. Mason jumped and clapped.

“Then SMASH! A baseball crashes through my window. What a revelation! What a sign! That ball was my answer. Well, you are my answer. Jake, I need you to tell me about the things in these boxes. I can’t place an item on a shelf without knowing the story behind it. It’s my one rule.”

The colour had drained from Jakes freckled face. He was staring inside the box. Reaching in he pulled out a single card. “Mr. Mason, this is a 1952 Mickey Mantle card. This is a big deal.”

“And you see boy, that means nothing to me. So why don’t you get cozy and tell me all about this Mickey fella while I clear a shelf. We have a lot of cards to get through.”

Jake set the card back in the box and smiled.

“Yes sir. I would like to help you.” He pulled off his coat and hung it on the back of the stool. 

Learn how you can participate in one of our Write-Prompt Flash Fiction Contests HERE 

You May Also Like


Thanks for visiting!

© Alanna Rusnak Publishing est. 2016 and Blank Spaces Magazine