Friday Fictioneers for 9/11/2020 (When I Met Sparky)

Thanks to Rochelle @ Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple for another midweek, Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. Her weekly challenge is for us to write a story of 100 words or less based on a photo prompt (this week, hers).

photo by Rochelle


Genre: Memoir
Title: When I Met Sparky
Word Count: 100

Old Sparky was its name. A useless device, except for taking out life 695 times.

I could have been seeing any old gallows, a chopping block, a guillotine, but it was an ugly wooden chair with dried up leather straps and old wires. It was a creative invention to kill in a kinder, gentler way.

I felt a willfulness choke me.

I kept my emotions hidden. When the warden asked if I would like to sit in the chair (against the rules), without moving my eye from what must have been a sight for thousands, I mumbled a muffled, “Nope.”


Look both ways when you kill.
Mind the gaps death cannot be undone.

Click for link.

44 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers for 9/11/2020 (When I Met Sparky)

  1. Dear Bill,

    My mind suddenly flashed to “The Green Mile.” That must’ve been quite an experience. And I love how you used the one word from the prompt. Brilliant usage. You never disappoint.



    Liked by 3 people

    1. You make me blush, Rochelle.

      It took place about 1970ish, but it was the Texas chair. The number I used was for the New York executions using that method.



      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know if it’s true, but I thought I read Thomas Edison promoted the invention of the electric chair partly in order to sell his competitor’s AC electric current as dangerous in the public’s minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent telling, Bill. I’m ambivalent about Old Sparky. One part of me wants it burned to ashes in a crematorium and another part wants it stand as a testament to the barbarity humans love to visit upon each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At the time I was there, the chair was still located in the room where executions were carried out, so the whole death row environment could be seen and felt. Now, there is a Texas Prison Museum and Sparky has been relocated.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kinder and gentler? I don’t think so. Harsh, terrifying, yes. Of course, you could always point to the fact that crime was even more horrendous than the punishment, in many cases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. P.S. I couldn’t “like” your post–computer wouldn’t let me. Don’t know if it’s my problem or yours, but anyway, just wanted you to know I did like it, very much. Descriptions were perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s weird–the notifications show up on my stats page, but not on my main page. My “like” button doesn’t work for me, though, and no one else’s does, either. I’ve done a little searching, but I get so impatient trying to weed through things I don’t understand!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Linda,
        The post has 31 likes, which is about normal. When we interact with WP sites, we need to be sure that we are in the “blog.” I can’t tell you exactly how to do that.
        Sometimes, when I hit like I get a flash but nothing really changes (most likely did not take). Also, some folks comment and do not like. Or, maybe it is not working for them either.
        But I thank you for caring enough to tell me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A powerful story and a chilling memory for you knowing so many had died in that chair. I find it sad that an instrument of death, any death, should be on display. Good decision to just say “nope.” Excellent writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Branda.
      Back when I saw Sparky, it was not “on display” but still in room just off of Death Row. I was being given a private tour with a friend. Now, it is on display in a Prison Museum.
      I think it should be on display. When I saw that chair that day, my view of capital punishment was firmly fixed in my memory. I think we need to know and to face the truth.


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