From the Balcony by Christina Murphy

He liked to sit on his balcony and watch the people go in and out of “The Blind Spot” bar across the street. He felt he knew many of the regulars, who came a few hours after sunset when the bar’s sign flashed neon red letters that lit up the street.

He had worked in construction but was retired now. His knees began to give out after thirty years on the job, and when he could no longer climb ladders, he knew no one would hire him. It was a young man’s job, and he had too many years on his face to be the type of guy anyone wanted these days.

His hands were gnarled from his years on the job pounding nails and laying shingles and lifting heavy coils of copper in the hot sun or the cold of winter. Often the flashing red of the bar’s sign would show upon his hands and look like blood in the cracked skin of his knuckles. He’d swig down another beer and wonder what had happened to his life.

About 11:00 o’clock he’d call it a night. He’d fall asleep with the music still echoing from the bar and the red light flashing against his bedroom wall, forming bits of letters that took on odd shapes. He liked to believe the letters watched over him as he slept, filling his dreams with images as his mind surrendered to a darkness he’d accepted and no longer feared.


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Filed under Christina Murphy

19 responses to “From the Balcony by Christina Murphy

  1. I love how you describe his hands! Beautiful, thanks for sharing.

    • Christina Murphy

      Thank you, Tom. It is so gratifying to have a story appreciated and especially for the images employed to convey the story’s effects.

      Christina Murphy

  2. The detail, the movement of this piece of this man’s world is exceptional.

    • Christina Murphy

      Hello, Susan. What a very nice comment. Thank you so much. It is more of a challenge to stay inside a character’s head than to move to an external narration, so I am glad you enjoyed that.

      Christina Murphy

  3. Alexandra Pereira

    I enjoyed reading this story and how you bring us into his world, his mind. Well written. :-)

    • Christina Murphy

      Alexandria, I am so glad you enjoyed the story. That is the best part for any writer when someone who is reading the story finds value in it.

      Christina Murphy

  4. Such an amazing job with details and being entirely in this man’s head, world.

    • Christina Murphy

      Hello Robert,
      I was trying for conveying the “feel” and feelings of this story through the details as a small picture that conveyed more through a larger lens, so to speak. I am so glad you enjoyed the story.

      Christina Murphy

  5. This is quite wonderful, you captured the man, his life now, his history with such depth in this little space of story. I esp love the “red light flashing against his bedroom wall” which nailed the story home.

    • Christina Murphy

      Hello Susan,
      Thank you–I was hoping that the imagery at the end would pull the story together and have an effect upon the reader, so I am glad you appreciated that, and I thank you for your comment.

      Christina Murphy

  6. Deborah A. Uptojn

    Such loneliness blended with acceptance.

    • Christina Murphy

      Hello Deborah,
      Yes, I was attempting to focus on and convey his loneliness as well as his acceptance of his life, so I am really pleased you saw that in the story and understood.

      Christina Murphy

  7. I liked how it seemed like it should be a depressing story but it wasn’t. :)

    • Christina Murphy

      Hello ganymeder,

      Oh, that’s wonderful because it was the effect I was hoping to achieve.

      Christina Murphy

  8. len kuntz

    you paint some nice images. he feels familiar, someone i probably know.

  9. Christina Murphy


    That is a wonderful compliment when a character seems that real. Thank you for sharing this with me.

    Christina Murphy

  10. Lovely. Resigned, but hopeful, somehow. What a wonderful tale.

    • Christina Murphy

      I really appreciate your comments and your insights into the story. What you describe is exactly how I hoped the story would come across to a reader, so it is great to see what you wrote and your appreciation for the story

      Christina Murphy

  11. Pingback: Week # 47 – Blind Spot | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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