The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

Well it’s that time…All stories can be found here.  Thanks Rochelle for hosting.

I wrote this story and asked Rich to check it out for me.  He helped bring it to new heights….Darn good editor.  He said I did most of the hard work but oddly I do not see it that way. So this weeks offer is by both Rich and I.

copyright-Rich Voza


His mini poodle Ernest was tucked neatly under the seat in his carry-on cage as Flight 505 raced down the runway. The idea of returning to his partner’s arms lightened his heart as the plane floated to the clouds. After finally finding the courage to admit his true feelings, he proudly told everyone and enjoyed his new emotional freedom. He couldn’t have been happier. His skin sparkled in the window’s reflection as he looked out at the wing, only to see the engine rip away. For the first time in his life, it was okay to scream like a schoolgirl.


Here is the original…my suggestion to add school girl, he added all the other great details…

With his little dog Ernest tucked neatly under the seat in his carry-on cage the flight raced down the runway. The idea of being back in his lovers arms lighten his heart as the plane floated off the tarmac. He had found the courage to come of out the closet. He told everyone of his new freedom. He was the happiest he had ever been. His skin sparkled in the reflection of the window as he looked out at the wing, only to see the engine rip off. For the first time in his life he screamed like a girl.





77 thoughts on “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

      1. the reason i tossed in “it was okay…” was because previously he had been hiding who he was, and by pretending to be heterosexual, it was not okay to do anything “like a girl” or school girl. but now that he’s come out, it’s okay – within himself – to release anything feminine. and then this situation warrants it even more.

    1. Ted,
      Rich was able to change it around in a few minutes…I agree it was a nice collaboration. It’s almost hard to believe I can play well with others…

  1. Awww.. I was feeling so happy reading the story until I read the last line. I could feel his emotions right till the end – From being happy to sudden shock and sadness in the end.. Great story.

  2. Dear Tom,
    Well done! The changes were subtle, yet huge. Altering a word here and there can really strengthen a piece. That’s why I love Friday Fictioneers so much. I’ve learned a lot in a few short months about tightening and making every word count.
    It’s nice that Rich edited for you. I like having a second pair of eyes who can see what I sometimes can’t.
    Sorry for the long winded, it’s all about me comment. You took me from happy to Oh Crap in one swell foop. Incredibly touching. I repeat….well done. (Didn’t see any typos).

    1. Rochelle,
      Hey you are a writer so the “all about me” comments don’t bother me…I leave my own “all about me comments” all the time on other people’s blogs!

      It was very nice of Rich, his efforts made a piece that was just getting off the ground fly. It was surprisingly easy for two east coasters to work together and we were both happy with the outcome.

      Thanks Tom

  3. I thought you, and Rich both worked well together to give us a memorable story. The schoolgirl scream, we all got a little of that in us!



    1. Thanks Jackie..sort of mixed a bunch of inspirations together to make this one happen. I guess that’s what writers do.


  4. I just commented to Rich that I’d got the literary reference after realising that ‘Francis Macomber’ rang a bell. Well done on bringing that level to the story.

  5. HI Tom
    I love this story and the collaboration with Rich. I especially like seeing the draft version first. Elmo Writes does this too on her site. It’s incredible how a few subtle changes can turn a story around.

  6. Very good. Interesting to see the two versions. Liked the way that the final version doesn’t ‘reveal’ until the very last word, whereas the previous version kind of had it halfway through. The first version is still very good, but the final version has that little extra sparkle.

    1. Pete,
      The first version certainly did have the reveal halfway through and the second one had that little extra happy sparkle. LOL I am glad you you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  7. Hi Tom (and Rich) – Fascinating how you worked together, collaberation is obviously in this week, with Rochelle and Doug working together too. Collabs are a particularly interesting time to see edits, so I’m glad you posted the original too – I just berated Rich for not doing, so I’m glad you did it. Great story, as you say, the edits definitely improve it, but the story itself is yours. A perfect joint effort.

    1. Hey Jen,
      As Rich said on his blog this was sort of an accident….Ok I know you are a big fan of the process so here is the break down, best I can tell it…no need to berate Rich… I posted the rough draft shall we call it, in about 5 views into the collaboration story being posted. I suddenly had the feeling that someone would ask for the original, so I posted it. I suppose Rich didn’t post it because he felt that was up to me.

      The rough draft was basically, my first and only attempt at this prompt. That is how I always do it. I see it, I write it, I post it. Half hour I am done! If Sabrina is around I read it to her. Normally she is all smiles but she is not afraid to hide her feelings so when I read this one to her she gave me a look…perhaps it was too early.. she seems to like it now. I couldn’t stop laughing at the concept because in all it’s sadness, it is still funny. So I figured I would ask someone who’s opinion on writing I respect, Rich. Rich laughed, did what he likes to do and started tweaking, normally not something I am all that comfortable with… 999 out of 1000 times someone messes with your work and your voice gets lost. But I felt his edits were good, not too much of my voice was lost and on top of that I felt it was a better version than the first. I had already at this point put more effort than I ever did into a FF story…I think Rich gave it back to me in a ten minutes or so…I only changed one word after that, I changed lover to partner. Rich changed a few things after we posted as well on his blog….I offered co author rights and he suggested a dual posting. Rich has been as straight forward as he could be and far more humble then I could ever be…That is the story behind the story. This comment was harder to write….but I thought you might appreciate it! Thanks for all the kind words. MY brain hurts now!

      1. You got me, Tom, I do love process. Thank you for sharing yours in all its glory – and for sharing your story. You’re right about it being very funny as well as sad; I think that’s its greatest strength. You make us love the character first, and then we’re more upset by the ending.

  8. Dear Tom,

    I usually work my way upstream from the bottom of the grid of author icon photos to the top. It has been a long slog this week but I finally arrived at Rich’s and read the stroy, then all the comments. Knew I had to skip a few stories up and read yours to sort out how to comment.

    The Short happy Life of Francis Macomber is one of my favorite short stories of all time and your use of it as your title was inspired, as was the name of the mini-poodle Ernest. The story you put together was brilliant, though rough around the edges, which is sometimes (or always) a product of your method of writing. It is interesting that you shot it over to Rich (wise choice) for his opinion. That decision by you sparked a perfect storm of collaboration and the result was excellent.

    Reading all the comments on both of your pages was enlightening and educational. The process involved in getting stories to print is often as compelling as the story itself.

    Your story line and major components and Rich’s ‘paint’ deserve all the accolades you are each receiving. Well done.



    1. Doug,
      It seems as if a perfect storm has come to the northeast. Looking out the window all I see is about two feet of fresh snow. Sure would be nice to be in Hawaii about now or at least have a snow blower…Think I’ll be shoveling all day. I think rough around the edges is always the result of my first drafts and part of my voice as a writer. I cleanup and ‘paint’ certain types of writings but for the most part I like to write a story that has a feeling of a friend speaking to you. The Short Happy Life Of Francis Macomber is a great short story and one of my favorites as well…I plucked the concept of a short lived moment of courage from the story. Thanks for the well thought out comment and for making it upstream. The list sure does get bigger and bigger…It is very hard to get to everyone. Thanks again,


  9. Tom, well done! I love that you guys collaborated on this. I especially love the school girl ending. Sometimes, I think, a piece is meant for more than one person. I do like the subtle changes that Rich made, but the heart of the story is yours. Love the title.

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