Photo Prompt

Each month, we post a photograph as a writing prompt. Post your 100-word story in the comments section, and we’ll choose one to feature in our next issue. To see examples, read photo stories we’ve published in the past.

In the spirit of fun and fairness, please follow these guidelines:
• Post only one story per photo prompt.
• Be mindful of others’ feelings when commenting (keep it positive rather than giving feedback).
• Remember this is a shared safe space for all lovers of 100-word stories.

A pile of quarters, nickels, and dimes, with one shiny penny on top.


Art Credit: Barbara Friedman

34 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Joyce Peim says:

    After my diagnosis, my husband and I began putting coins we found in that little cup on the inside of the car door. Although we never said it, we thought those coins would somehow bring me luck. Each day before my surgery, as the number of coins grew and I moved them into a box I kept in my desk drawer, I imagined the doctors telling me the pathology showed I didn’t have cancer, never had it, and my biopsy must have been mixed-up with someone else’s.

    I’m still stashing coins I find in that box.

    And I’m still waiting.

  2. JENE CONKLIN says:

    I toss the penny into the wishing well — one shiny copper in a sea of sliver. It was my last coin, my last hope. It shines and shimmers as it gently dances to the bottom of the pool where it lays glistening in the sunlight.

    As I stare at it, I am reminded of my own uniqueness, my own ability to shine to those around me even though I am different. Hope is reborn within me, a realization that only I can be the best rendition of myself both now and ever. Only I can be me.

    So, I rise, go forth, flourish and thrive. I’m alive! I am exquisite!

  3. Edward Molina says:

    There once was a girl named Penny.
    People always called her a dime.
    She never felt they cared for her.
    They only saw her as Bill’s daughter.
    Shadowed by her father, she wanted to stand out.
    She went on a journey to find her worth.
    Figured it’d be best if she ventured out into the world.
    A Quarter after 12 she left the wallet.
    Her local neighborhood.
    Along her journey she met Benjamin.
    Who showed Penny the importance of confidence.
    It’s the only way to feel of worth.
    Penny doubted her friend, and left him to begin her journey of worth.

  4. Careisha LoweHill says:

    “Please, don’t leave me!”
    Her pockets jingled as she chased him down the stairs.
    She was afraid.
    Afraid that he would go, and she would never see him again.
    In her desperation, she stumbled and fell down the last step, coins spilling from her pockets, rolling along the floor in several directions as she lay there with tears in her eyes, gasping from the pain.
    He turned to look at her, and she could see that he didn’t want to stop.
    Didn’t want to care about her.
    Like those copper coins, out of reach, he was breaking free from her.

  5. Sandra Elgizooli says:

    “Give me Liberty or give me death!” Innocently quoted the 5th grader during his presidential election speech. Innocence in the cause he was fighting for (pajama day every Friday), but also in his oblivion to the quote’s origin. Nonetheless, his strong message and Abraham Lincoln costume won the audience’s hearts.

  6. Nayelly Illescas says:

    The goal was a trip to Disney World for his two year old son’s birthday. All he ever wanted to be was a good dad. This would prove it. But he was short on money. He broke every piggy bank in his home, flipped over many couches, emptied every pocket he owned. As he counted each dollar and coin, he realized the importance of each cent. He needed fifty cents left to reach his goal. Looking around the pile of nickels and dimes, his eyes landed on a singular shiny penny. He would be taking his son to Disney World.

  7. Sandra says:

    And somehow that penny was everything I needed.
    I truly felt it was a sign not to give up in such a hard time.
    I never believed in superstitions but right now I needed to believe that a dumb superstition like finding a penny was actually good luck and that I was going to be okay.
    I had found for a reason everything was going to be okay.
    I picked it up and felt a sudden relief
    For the first time I felt calm
    I decided to go home and tell the truth, let my worries go, everything is okay

  8. Andrea Daniels says:

    It was nineteen-eighty and they disagreed about the penny tip. The sin of lukewarm service. A current of spite rallied back and forth between her parents. She hoped for a reprieve on foreign soil. Her father, already high-strung and especially put out by a fungus he claimed was the result of not being able to remove his shoes on the fourteen hour flight, clamped a tumbler of Scotch. An extension of his appendage and one that fueled his sharper tongue. She often prayed her mother wouldn’t take the bait but in truth her mother gave as good as she got.

  9. Yash Seyedbagheri says:

    My older sister Nan teaches me to hunt for coins. Dive, probe, listen for clinks, she says, pretending to smile through eyes rife with rings.
    The best days are quarters. Quarters at least lead to vending machine Pepsis and bags of chips. A fleeting, but good lunch.
    Dimes help too.
    Sometimes, we dream of an apartment with more than one bedroom. Of our own spaces and the whoosh of heat at night. On really dreamy nights, we talk of owning streaming services.
    But before long, reality returns.
    Now we rampage and ravage, our lips pursed. We wobble, but don’t stop.

  10. Denise Bayes says:

    Finders Keepers

    You are invisible.
    Your grimy fingers scrape through the verge, searching for treasure.
    Bright. Shining. Clasp the coin tight in your palm. Joy ululates your throat.
    Your day is transformed.
    Swagger towards the café doors, enter a magical world. Steam buzzes from the coffee maker, people chattering at tables. Their eyes flick towards you, intruder in their sanitised space.
    “A white coffee, please.”
    The waitress takes the precious coin, pushes a cup towards you.
    Pungent liquid dissolves the flavour of life on the streets.
    You stride out onto the pavement, renewed.
    A businessman’s disgusted expression fast-tracks you back to reality.

  11. Cheryl Snell says:

    One night a cop pulls her over. She touches the copper penny her father once gave her from the spill of change across his dresser. “That’s a lucky penny. Keep it close and your luck won’t run out.” She still carries it with her, and now, as the cop approaches her, she slides it from her pocket to her mouth, and sucks it. She has heard you can fool a breathalyzer test by sucking pennies, but the cop catches her and laughs, “That penny trick is just a myth, an old wives’ tale.” And that’s when her luck runs out.

  12. Thompson Emate says:

    At the Brook

    At the first entry of light, she left her home for a walk to the brook. Her sleep was intermittent. Her mind was on a wild spree. The tranquility of the brook was embracing. She felt a heaviness fall off her. Hope welled up in her and her visage brightened. As the morning light reflected on the brook, she could see a glowing light at the edge of the brook. The light increased as she drew closer. She was captivated by the sight.
    “Wow! A coin,” she thought.
    It was surrounded by sombre coins. It became her good luck coin.

  13. Sherri Bale says:

    “Xороший?” our new daughter asks, dumping a handful of change on the conveyor belt.

    It is her first time in a grocery. She wants to pay with Amerikanskiy money we used to explain the value of pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters.

    Later, six hands reach to pull her investigating fingers out of the garbage disposal.

    At a school assembly, she reads aloud the poem she wrote in ESL class.

    Eight years later she edits her high school yearbook. With her bachelor’s degree in hand, she starts her first business.

    I’m most proud when people tell me “she is just like you.”

  14. Steph T. says:

    Find money in the park, what luck! I pick up the shiny penny on top, smiling at my good fortune. Count the change, it’s dirty, of course. A robbery no doubt. Just my luck. Turn to leave but someone appears, gun pointed at me.

    The penny isn’t just a penny, it’s a damn tracking device. I’m the bait in some twisted police trap. Which is fitting. I finally have a taste of the good life, only to have it torn away. The gun presses into my temple and I wince.

    Being an undercover cop really stinks.

  15. Anne Marie says:

    Pockets emptying onto a hard, dirt covered floor. Silver, shiny and dull, is all that looked back up at the young woman standing above the spare change. The days were once filled with joy and limitlessness, now they are spent scurrying and scrounging for what others deem unworthy. She kneels down to floor to separate the coins into piles. The woman huffs out a soft chuckle thinking of how she use to be, before the bills and debt drove her mad. Yet, among the dreary coins, she spots a penny, that shines like a beginning coming on a bleak horizon.

  16. Doug Sylver says:

    During the pandemic he realized his coin jar was full and untouched. No one wanted coins any more. No one wanted bills. A fear of contagion through touch. Through sweat.

    He decided to roll all his coins in paper wrappers and bring them to the bank.

    His eyes focused on a shiny penny in the middle of the other coins. Lincoln. He was a Republican? He owned slaves? No. The Gettysburg address was one of the greatest (and shortest) speeches ever. Did Lincoln believe every word of it? Was the Civil War about slavery?

    Or was it about power, control?

  17. Samantha Gargiulo says:

    The piggy bank dropped onto the ground.
    Slouching onto her knees feeling defeated, Mei asked herself this question aloud: “How could this have possibly happened?”. How did this happen? How could Mei be so late for something that she was the first to know about?
    It all started lask week where Mei was walking down the street with her friends. She had seen something in the store’s window that they didn’t. A lucky pouch. She kept her eyes on it all week and waited for her allowance.
    By the time she noticed, it was her mother who bought it instead.

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