F3 Nature Collides with Nurture & Makes a Mess

This is my attempt at F3 this week, Nature v. Nurture. Each week we find inspiration through an event, image, song, something and it leads to a first sentence idea. That first sentence is shared with writers of all flavors who have from Friday to Wednesday to write a story on it.

I have had these characters and this moment in my mind for some time and they seemed to rush into this situation without looking where they were going.

Below the screenplay formatting is a little wacky, but the two characters are a NARRATOR and a STRIKING WOMAN. Voices off-screen are depicted by (OS).


Glaring off black steel and thick chrome of a dozen airbrushed Harleys lined up like a column of black seeds on the sidewalk’s edge, the sun offers no forgiveness on this day. Suddenly a gruff voice rips through the Main Street of this soft-spoken town scaring the last bird into the sky.

NARRATOR (OS): My dear, dear woman; it is merely the natural order of things.


The sleepy town, fogged in a never-ending depression, is silent. The shops, wind-worn and dust-ridden, line Main Street. An old diner on one side and a small farmer’s market and equally small church on the other, anchor the street. No one pretends the town will ever be anything more than what it is, small.

Yes, there are men with long beards and goatees, dark jeans and leather vests, sunglasses wrapped around their tanned skulls and women with black shirts and bandannas, long hair and tattoos who hang off their men like jukebox songs after last call. They all stare.

Like a dog coming across its dead owner, these people seem somewhat disinterested, somewhat intrigued, and unable to look away.

People stand in the dirty shop windows, press their faces to the glass; they pause in doorways not knowing to go out; they stand on the sidewalk, in the street, sit on bikes and park benches; they are amazed.

NARRATOR (OS) They are all watching what I am watching.We are, after all, just mangy mutts checking out the latest road kill on the highway of life.

Greasy spoon: Old men and women nurse coffees; plates of toasted hash-browns and Salisbury steaks, eggs, and stacked chipped beef; cigarettes smoldering in yellow ashtrays.

At a table near the window a STRIKING WOMAN in her mid 30’s with bushy eyebrows and high cheekbones turns her attention from the scene out the window to the NARRATOR, a man in his late 30’s early 40’s, who just pushed through a small group of gawkers slouching in the doorway. Dressed in a simple white shirt, faded slacks, and worn loafers, he stops in the threshold and raises his arms in revelation.

NARRATOR The Lord does take away. Excesses and acceptance will lead to our demise my friends, and that, dear people, is excess.

The Narrator locks eyes with the Striking Woman sitting at the table by the window and makes a beeline to the empty chair across from her.

With a strong exhale, as if completely exhausted, the Narrator sits across from her and smiles. She sips at her coffee cup.

A WAITRESS, a young woman with too much make up and a dress two sizes too small, comes directly over, drops a sweet roll and coffee in front of our Narrator and walks away without a word.

The Striking Woman looks outside, drawing the Narrator’s eyes to the scene.

STRIKING WOMAN You saw it, didn’t you?

Returning his attention to the Striking Woman he nods yes, but she doesn’t look to him for confirmation. He offers a feeble smile, quickly takes a peek out the window, and smiles again. He picks up his cinnamon roll and inspects it like a man on the verge of tears.

NARRATOR Damn. Buck fifty for a roll that cost1.29 for twelve at Piggly Wiggly, I’m sure.

The Striking Woman looks at her cup, the Narrator’s roll, then out the window. She obviously is nervous, struggling to find the right words.

STRIKING WOMAN Years ago, I was rear ended by a two ton Ford. It was raining like, like morning smiles at Sunday mass.

NARRATOR How’s that?

STRIKING WOMAN The weird thing, the weird thing is I knew, I stiffened and thought to myself “here it comes.”

The Narrator takes a bite of his roll, taps the window’s glass with a sugary fingertip, gets the fire of his boyhood preacher in his gut, and lays out a mini-sermon before he’s swallows.

NARRATOR Tire-squeal and rubber-skid, metal imposing itself onto metal, the Lord says such things are possible when rain comes down through the hollows of dark clouds and lightning burns like love through the sky and banjo-bastards drink a quart of Old Crow on there slow drive home. Yes, He is wise and good. Was it premonition?

The Striking Woman’s eyes narrow, her pupils become black seeds spit from the sky of her eyes; she’s poised for passion and battle.

STRIKING WOMAN Whatever you want to call it. I knew.What happened out there? Tell me.

They look at one another, find some recognition, and then both sip at their coffees while returning their attention to the scene outside.

FLASHES — Each image follows in rapid succession:

A strange crowd of regular townies, bikers, and blue-collar workers gathers in the street.


Ants swarm on a cracked watermelon that lays in the diner’s threshold.


Old men shuffle and shift holding various items while standing in line. They don’t meet each others eyes, but they do try to see what each other is buying.

EXT. CEMETERY – DAY Bundles of flowers fall on a casket as it’s lowered into the earth.


A burly BIKER, a younger, bear of a man in Harley attire, lifts his shades off his eyes to study the geography of watermelon littering the street. There are watermelons everywhere: in the street, on the sidewalk, under cars and under foot — whole, halved, smashed beyond recognition, juice, pits, and dogs licking the gutters. It’s a war zone of melons.

The Biker finds an unbroken one thrown next to his bike’s tire, kicks it with a black boot, and picks it up with his big paws. Cracking it on the back of his bike, he bites the flesh, chews, spits — juice drips from his ragged beard.

The sound of slurping followed by a black screen.


While a dozen BIKERS laugh and smoke and drink across the street, a rusted Chevy truck with wood sideboards and bearing hundreds of watermelons backs out of the farmer’s market’s driveway.

Suddenly, a motorcycle appears around the corner. The engine races and a young couple with matching gold helmets comes tearing through Main Street on Kawasaki Ninja. When they smack into the side of the Chevy, they’re hurled into the air like eggs or water balloons, and they fly with a strange flock of ripe green fruit, then land in the midst of hundreds of watermelons shattering in the street.

NARRATOR (OS) I’ll tell you, but I won’t enjoy it.Much. A person should get little pleasure in sharing horror; of course, the realizing it is horror makes us need to give it, take it, taste it on our own. Should you be condemned if your heart pitter-patters with the telling regardless if it strikes the aorta drum out of compassion, sadness, or sheer excitement?

People on the street drop their bags. People in the diner gape. People in their cars pull over. The bikers stare in disbelief.

NARRATOR (OS)(cont’d) There was an argument, a great cursing of metal and flesh. A woman with short red hair jogged down the street with her hand over her mouth like she was going to be sick.

The motorcycle’s driver begins to crawl toward his partner as RED WOMAN, the woman with short red hair, runs toward them, her sun dress waving. She sprints past the diner holding back her scream as the Striking Woman presses her bushy eyes to the greasy window. Like she saw a woman in a movie who witnessed something horrific, and this was how that actress had reacted.

The Striking Woman hunches over the table, leans closer to the Narrator.

STRIKING WOMAN You ain’t no Koerner Ray, and you sureain’t no Glover, so stop dodgin’ the question here.

The Narrator looks defeated, sad, wiped out. He leans back in his chair and nods.

NARRATOR Heed my words, sooner or later, our excesses will cause our destruction.

FATHER TIME, an ancient biker with gray, black beard and leather the color of night, kneels next to the motorcycle’s driver and takes his bloody hand.

Meanwhile, Red Woman crouches over the driver’s partner, her sun dress hanging off her hip like a frown. Tears stream down her eyes as she slumps into the nest of crushed watermelons, as she slumps into herself.

NARRATOR (OS) The wife or girlfriend lay still in thegutter’s arm, her helmet cracked and beaming: a split golden egg in the sun, and all we could do is watch.

STRIKING WOMAN (OS) It’s just the natural order of things.

NARRATOR (OS) So sayeth the Lord, Amen.

By Chad Rohrbacher

7 comments on “F3 Nature Collides with Nurture & Makes a Mess

  1. Pingback: And The Natures Have It; Or Is It The Nurtures | Flash Fiction Friday

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention F3 Nature Collides with Nurture & Makes a Mess « Chad's Site -- Topsy.com

  3. I’ve never read this type of script before, but I actually got into this. Quite complelling! Striking Woman’s scene with the god/premontion: that was intriguing, would like to know more about that. Interesting!

  4. I’ve never read anything in this format before. It was so easy to visualize the scenes and pick up on the emotions. Striking Woman’s recounting of her accident and macabre interest in the current one and Narrator’s responses and comments make them quite the pair. I think I’d prefer to avoid sitting near either of them! I am also interested though in finding out more about these characters (especially the Narrator). Does he wander from town to town creeping everyone out? Striking Woman may be just passing through on her way somewhere? Maybe not. Can we have more of them, please?

  5. Thanks for the comments — I had these people in my mind for awhile and the moment itself came from a story my father told me — he saw a watermelon truck and schoolbus collide when he was young.

    Maybe I will try and bring these two people back — they were fun — in a weird way.

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