Well, obviously I failed miserably at the A to Z Challenge, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on the flash fiction stories I was writing. Here is the N story:
The Nail Store
Joe stood in his quiet little booth. The Nail Store was always the most boring game in the carnival. No one thought they could actually drive a nail into a board with one swing of a hammer. The booth itself was faded and falling apart just like the concept of the old game.
In recent years, Jo had even begun to use softer wood and shorter nails just to help encourage people to play the game. They’d rather test their strength on a silly high striker. Joe watched them line up at his friend’s game and wondered if it was the fancy bell and the over-sized hammer that made people flock to it.
“So, how does this game work?” a kid said from behind him.
Joe turned around and started to explain, “Well, we take three nails and we stick them into these tiny holes so that they stand up. I’ll give you a hammer and you have to try to get the nail all the way into the wood in one strike. You have three chances, which is why there are three nails. If you sink one, you get a small prize, if you sink two, you get a medium prize, and if you sink all three, you get to choose one of those large prizes over there.” Joe pointed the the area where a giant teddy bear, a camera, and a few other good prizes sat.
“The prizes are neat, but I don’t think anyone can drive a nail in one swing,” the kid said. He was a strong enough kid, and Joe had faith that he could do it.
“I’ll tell you what. It’s been a while since I’ve played my own game. If I can hammer all three nails, will you give it a try?” Joe asked.
“I’ll take that bet,” the kid said.
Joe smiled and took a deep breath. He set the one of the nails up on the wooden board clamped to the table and gripped the hammer firmly. By this time, a small crowd was forming.
One. Two. Three.
The hammer hit the nail straight on and it sunk all the way into the wood.
“Whoa!” the boy said. “Do another!”
Joe set the second nail up and once again gripped the hammer. The fact that his father had been a strong man had probably helped him out in some small way. The hammer came down again and smashed the nail right down to the wood.
“One more!” the boys yelled out. The crowd was growing.
Joe set up the last one and tightened his grip on the hammer.
The last one sunk into the board and the crowd cheered.
“Me next!” the boy said, as he handed Joe a dollar.
“This one is on me,” Joe whispered to the boy as he realized that the rest of the crowd was digging through their wallets, ready to play the game.
“I guess all it takes is the interest of one young child to bring back an old game,” Joe said to himself.