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.

Polaroid of a man waiting at a taco truck.

 

 

Art Credit: Yazz Atlas

43 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Victor says:

    We felt sorry for Mateo. His father died.

    He dropped out of school to work the truck and we went to see him, me, James, and Marcel, and we could see he was embarrassed. Ashamed. What do you do in that situation? We didn’t know what to do.

    We’d buy stuff. He’d say, “Aw, man,” like he didn’t want us to pay, but we’d make him take the money.

    I think that drove us apart.

    Mateo and me were close. Real close.

    Now I have one less friend. A guy needs friends. You say that out loud and people laugh.

  2. The Old Man

    He’s standing there, just standing. His body does not move, but his head does, a little, reading the menu on the side of the truck, I guess. Reading about those tacos. Maybe he doesn’t have money for them. Maybe I should get out of my car and give him some. He looks tired, standing there, slouchy shoulders, hands sunk in pockets, soft knees. Maybe his shoelaces are tied, maybe not, I can’t tell. Those old beat-up running shoes. He’s never run a day in his life, never run a mile, never run a block. I should know. He’s my dad.

  3. Making it in America

    Camilla left work by 11:30 a.m. on Taco-Tuesdays. She replaced her meticulously ironed Skydeck Tours button-down with a Chuy’s Tacos tee before clocking out to take the glass elevator 103 floors to the ground level of Willis Tower. She stuffed her laminated green card and a few dollars in her fanny-pack, leaving everything else in her employee locker before jogging two blocks to the family food truck.

    She could see the line already snaking around the block and smiled. Taco-Tuesdays were the family’s bread and butter, and Camilla was the star. Papa would be happy to see her, La Cocinera.

  4. Nate Twine says:

    That was the last time my pops stood there at the taco truck. He would go every week, leaving me in the car to watch him stare into that trash can. Same Tuesday, every week. The lady at the table was always there, quiet, cracking a smile at my pops whenever he ordered. I imagine he stared into that trashcan for the same reason. It represented what was to come. That lunch was our last together. I can’t find it in me to stop going every Tuesday. Now I’m the one staring into the trashcan, with a smile behind me.

  5. Nora Hart says:

    The Hidden Taco Sanctuary
    by Nora Hart

    “I wonder if this one’s here today”

    “It’s gotta be! We don’t want a repeat of last time”

    I heard the young voices booming from somewhere distant to the left of me as I sat in my car. I was never sure why they always seemed to hide their location – the truck I mean, not the voices. I wish they’d go bigger after seeing how much joy they gave others. I don’t want to hurt their secret though, so I just smile at the truck from my car and hope those two kids find the lovely tacos awautung them.

  6. It was an unscheduled stop. Less than a hundred bucks in his savings. Maybe forty in change in the coffee tin that rolled and sloshed like a metal tide under the passenger seat. He sat in the car and tried to remember his last meal. His last full meal. Not the pre-packaged stuff, microwave scorched from a large roadside chain that specialized in gas, pornography and for some reason, dreamcatchers. Visited by hunger-induced hallucinations that ranged from a villainous Yosemite Sam lecturing him in the tone of his deceased Dad to stark white scenes, empty and fraught. Kubrick waiting rooms.

  7. Krystyna Fedosejevs says:

    To Satisfy Appetite

    “Hola! Anyone inside?”

    There were no smells of chicken frying or beans being reheated.

    “It’s your Tito,” the elderly man managed.

    He noticed someone sitting nearby.

    “Ran into your madre. Said you bought a food truck. Set up in my end of town. Sorry your restaurant closed. Covid’s a beast.”

    Thoughts of a cold drink teased his mind.

    “Still angry? Not my fault your parents split up.”

    He shuffled around the vehicle, returning to the open window and door.

    “Can’t leave your truck open for the night. People will want to go in and help themselves. I know I would.”

  8. Bernardo Villela says:

    In the Way
    by Bernardo Villela

    Through his windshield and angry man watches an old man awaits his order at a food truck At a nearby table an old woman sits, expecting someone to arrive, perhaps it’s Death or the old man getting his lunch. Neither makes an effort to acknowledge the other.
    The sky is stark, and blown white. The surrounding deciduous trees are bare. Decay envelops the scene.
    The man exits his vehicle. His face is cadaverous. In his mind, he’s the Grim Reaper, but there’s no design to his actions, those targeted by his rage and his firearm are merely in his way.

  9. Elizabeth Stone says:

    A taco truck in pre-snow winds, jacket draped heavy over shoulders. Flurries from above; spices wafting. Coffee taste still hot on tongue; veins still warm; hands in pockets. Salsa verde from plastic squeeze tubes; chilled air and warm hearts; hoodies pulling tighter. Black-and-white film; treetops; sneakers. The ding of an order; a chair pulls out. Options written on paper plates. Steam hugs cheeks; the sweetest thing I’ve ever tasted. TACOS/TORTAS; the click of spatula against stove. The smell of pine somewhere, faintly, a Christmas tree pop-up shop on a street nearby. Bare branches sway, twist; a soft crackle against late-November skies. Smokiness in early-Sunday morning air, another ding, another order. Film develops pale, snowflakes fall faster. Spiced hot chocolate from the truck next door. Warm tortillas against fingertips. Bliss permeates.

  10. Rickie Roberts says:

    “Just as I imagined”, Martin thought; salsa dripping down his chin. Through the windscreen, or should that be wind-shield, he could see a truck driver, hands in pockets, baseball cap firmly attached. Twenty-four hours ago Martin was checking-in at London Heathrow. Now he was sitting in a hired sedan looking at a taco van. The plan had been simple, drive south to Baltimore and Washington, then the long drag west through Nashville, Memphis, Oklahoma, and Albuquerque to LA. The great American adventure had begun. What to start with, “Jungleland” or “Thunder Road”? Or maybe the big one, “Born To Run”.

  11. Anxious Homo says:

    Trum, Trum, Trum. The ferocious old motor and my frighted heart were in perfect harmony. He waited for food, but I knew his eyes were on me. His predatory instinct could tell I was planning to escape. He had locked the doors and taken the key. If I broke the window now, would people help me? Or would they believe the crazy elder Latina screaming? “Mi esposa no es bien en la cabeza.” He’d lie. They’d all believe like in all the last stops.
    But again, my clamped hands worked the lock.
    Again, I ran and screamed for help…
    Then—

  12. Gia Porter says:

    A Life’s Dream

    “Por favor Senor” she pleaded with tears in her eyes. “Please, mi abuelito and abuelita built this stand and made it what it is today. They started it twenty-five years ago building into the thriving business it is today. We sell the best tacos, tostadas and taquitos in town; everyone says so! They put their blood and sweat into this business, it’s their life. If you shut it down, they will die, they have nothing but their faith and this stand. The officer stared blankly, pretending to listen to the granddaughter’s cries. Down the street the immigrant officer waited patiently.

    Gia

  13. K.Hartless says:

    I read the menu for a second time, but it’s all gibberish: Tamarindo, tamale, taco, torta, so many of the foods start with “t” I wonder how anybody tells them apart. Eighty-eight years in Henrico county, and I’ve never once had a Hispanic happy meal.

    “Ready?” Olive skin glistens in the bald afternoon heat.

    “Don’t rightly know. What do you recommend?”

    “Pupusas?”

    Pupusas, yes something that doesn’t begin with “T” and I order one, praying no real pups arrive.

    “With frijoles, chorizo, pork or cheese?”

    Two out of four of those are English. Well, I hope dollars will be accepted.

  14. Christy Brothers says:

    Daylight Savings

    Of course it was quiet. Hiding in the car, I
    snap a photo. I want to remember. My papá waiting
    for customers who never come and my brother pretending it’s okay. I hear my sister light another cigarette. She’ll be gone in the spring. Doctor
    said so. First Tita, then Mamá, now Ana. The only
    person left I can talk to. I click my camera on and off. She asks me to stop. Anything for you my sister. Why is that stupid yellow star still smiling? Every day it just stares and smiles. Hasn’t it heard I’m out of wishes?

  15. bethel says:

    taco time

    “I can’t wait to muffle over it” mila said grinning from ear to ear jumping excitedly as dad packed his wagon opposite the taco truck.
    I was welcome by the sweet smell of fries clouding my nostrils sending me up haven,I breathe in the aroma feeling satisfied, dad moved closer to the truck to order for three tacos.

    I stood behind reminiscing on mom’s freshly made tacos were the family’s favorite,barely a day goes by without eating taco fries not until death snatch ma away. now mr Odin’s taco had been our saving grace mila cant do without.

  16. NT Franklin says:

    The Taco Truck
    By
    NT Franklin

    My Tata sat in the front row crying. A photograph of his beloved 1977 taco truck stood next to Mita’s casket. Very first taco truck on the east coast, he always said. Mita bought a taco from the truck at closing. She was a stunner and captured his eye. Always the gentleman, he would not let her walk home in the dark. He drew a crowd as he rolled up to her family home in the taco truck. Her parents came out and wanted to evaluate his cooking. Today will be the first day they will be apart since then.

  17. Scott Rothschild says:

    As he waited for his order, Ricardo recalled an old memory. “I binged last night on pretzels,” Onnelly said. Ricardo smiled at her confession. Later, when he left to cross, he was homesick and full of doubts. Ricardo wished he could feel her warmth. He wished they had a house and he could sit on the patio, smoking a cigar, while Onnelly pushed their future daughter, Anna, on a swing. He chastised himself for dreaming. A red cattle truck stopped to gave him a ride. Forty years later, he waited for his order to take back to Onnelly and Anna.

  18. Joyce Peim says:

    Santiago and Lupe are the salt of the earth. They came here 30 years ago, and worked hard to take care of their growing family. Now Juan is a doctor, Carmen is in law school, Rosa and Pablo are in college, and Jaime is captain of the high school football team.

    And now I have to shut them down.

    New zoning and licensing regulations twisted their American Dream into a nightmare.

    I open the car door slowly. It’s as if someone slid a colored gel over the sun, casting a sickly green glow over everything.

    Sometimes I hate my job.

  19. Fazal says:

    THE MAKEOVER

    “Learn to cook ! ”
    I had heard this umpteen times. Well l could cook up a story, a scheme , but a meal ? What were Takeaways for ?
    I had worked late , slept badly and as l walked , the aroma of food drew me to the popular trailer.
    One look at me and the owner said ,” Girl lost smile , Rosa.”
    Rosa rushed in and returned with a steaming platter – Tacos , Burritos, Enchiladas… l dug in and was transported into warm summer afternoons, grandma’s cooking, being pampered …
    The couple smiled indulgently.
    Through my euphoria, l said , ” Will you teach me how to cook ? “

  20. Lisa Gioia says:

    “Why doesn’t he get back in the car? It’s cold out there,” Carlos asks his sister as they watch their father through the windshield. “He misses mom,” Nina said. “Last week she was standing next to him, today he’s alone.”

    When he returns to the car handing out the food, the siblings notice an extra plate. “This one’s for mi amado, my beloved Carmela,” Paulo says as he places the covered paper plate lovingly on the dash. “Tonight, I will have this enchilada for dinner in her honor. It’s her recipe they use. Tonight, I will eat with Carmela.”

  21. Kathy Whipple says:

    Fitting, by Kathy Whipple

    The service had been dignified, the condolences sincere. But stiff and empty. Nothing comforting. Nothing fitting the vitality of Luka’s grandson. The lad would have hated all of it.
    Evening shadows passed over Luka’s worn, weary face and the calico jumped into his lap. He clenched his fists. How dare Death skip him for the boy?
    Dammit.
    This game wasn’t over.
    Lukas hatched his plan for revenge.
    At morning’s light he’d walk until his bones ached. Attend the concert in the park. And hadn’t he seen a Taco Truck parked at the edge of the ball field? He’d order two.

  22. While Waiting For Lunch Dad Thinks About What’s Wrong With His Apartment

    Not an old country school turned into a house using salvaged materials, like a yellow toilet and wood-shingles for interior walls.

    No burn barrel outside, just a chute that snags trash bags.

    No space for wires, boxes, a painting found at the landfill and possibly worth something, bicycle parts, cap screws, wrenches, etc., accumulated since Mom entered the care-home.

    No water system problems providing excuses to avoid baths.

    Too much carpet to catch chair legs.

    No cats allowed.

    A door entry system that rings through to his phone and he can’t remember which number button to push, anyway.

  23. Rabab says:

    ROLE MODEL

    “It’s taco time, ” l cry out to Shelley, as we race to ‘ Taco – time. ‘ A delicious aroma wafts to us in the cold morning air.
    Carlos gives a toothless grin. Maria , slicing tomatoes, smiles , ” What will you have ?”
    Shelley is distracted. Having interviewed an award winning author and a star football player, she needs one more interview to complete her Role- Model series.
    As we dig into Enchiladas , Burritos and Tacos, she says , ” WOW !! Such delicious food !! ”
    ” And to think they crossed the border aged sixty years and began cooking ! ”
    Carlos smiles affirmation. ”
    ” Found my Role Model ! ” Shelley says with her mouth full.

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