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swimming — friday fictioneers

August 9, 2012

Madison Wood’s friday fictioneers challenges us to write a story from a prompt. Try it, you’ll like it.

The boy’s excited. Today the whole family goes to the beach and Dad teaches him to swim. The family doesn’t often vacation, making this a special day.

At the beach, the boy and his sisters play in the sand until it’s time for his lesson. Dad takes his hand leading him to the pier where the water’s deep, dark, cold. “Swim back” he says gruffly tossing the boy out. The boy goes under choking, but makes it back, only to be heaved in over and over again. He cries, pleads, begs for his life to no avail.

He never cried again.

  1. Loved the story – heartbroken for the little boy.

  2. Russell permalink

    I know several people who learned to swim that way, and most were mentally scarred for life. You did a great job capturing that grim reality.

  3. When I read it the first time, I though the boy died. This is better but not good.

  4. Powerful. My dad was taught to swim exactly like that (except not off a pier and not in the dark). Just thrown in with the sink or swim attitude.

    Like some others, I feared the boy drowned. I’m glad he made it back to safety. Hope he got even with his dad. Well done. Thanks for commenting on mine.

    • Thanks Beth, I suppose it was just a different time, but how empty revenge against your own father would be…

      hope you stop back — bw

  5. I am guessing this is how his father learned to swim and was passing on the tradition. Hopefully his son breaks it. Nice job =)

    • thanks, hard to tell what happens to this boy, he may become a fierce rugby player, but I can say my daughters learned to swim pushing off the edge and gliding into my arms. — bw

  6. So glad I never experienced anything like that. Lovely sense of menace.

  7. You really captured two characters well here – the father for chucking the son back in time and time again, and the son for never crying again. Nice.

  8. Sink or swim. Tough lessons…not the way I teach or want to learn, though.


  9. I’m glad I read the comments because I took the words “He never cried again” literally. Happy to find he soldiered through the torment. Good story.

  10. A very savage tale, and powerfully written. Quite shocking actually for such a short piece.

  11. Dear Billgncs,

    Your story was sad and heart wrenching and subtle in its development through to the conclusion. Very well crafted, sir.



  12. Powerful stuff. You nailed it with this one.

  13. I’ve heard similar tales from many people I know about being taught to swim by being dumped into deep water by an adult, it was brave to adopt this for the story and I admire you for it.

  14. rochellewisoff permalink

    Hard way to learn how to swim. Good story though. Evokes a lot of emotion. Like I want to give Dad a lesson.
    Thanks for commenting on my story.

    • Thanks for commenting — maybe that was the only way the dad knew to live. He had held the boy’s hand when he led him to the pier.

      I enjoy your posts — bw

  15. Wow, had to read it twice. Really powerful.

  16. Did he kill his father when he grew up? I wanted to do it for him.

    • No, eventually he forgave him. Much harder to do than claim revenge.

      thanks for commenting

  17. Hi Bill, I think my character probably had a Dad a bit like this! Powerful story. Mine is at

  18. Bill…This really hit me in the gut. I grew up with macho men just like him who got away with that type of child cruelty. Today they call that “child abuse”…

    • Thanks Lora —

      I am glad the story touched you — albeit hard.

      sometimes it takes great courage to break the chain

  19. oh dear…a li’l cruel and tough that dad. great take on the prompt though…

  20. OH yeah. The “make a man of him if it kills him” approach. I like – well, admire – the way you start with the boy’s eager excitement, then chill it into terror, and end with his ability to feel conclusively drowned.

    • thanks…. when you write something, even at 100 words and feedback tells you communication occurred, it’s neat

  21. TheOthers1 permalink

    Of the sink or swim philosophy? Traumatic. I liked this.

    • thanks, I imagine the boy would be ashamed of his weakness the rest of his life.

      • TheOthers1 permalink

        Yea, his father may have just made him a candidate for life long issues that only therapy can fix.

  22. No way…why did the dad do that?!?

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