Rusty Old Wrench

The Prompt for this story comes from, by Julie Duffy. I further challenged myself with this prompt by writing it completely in dialogue.

“Derek! I have a surprise for you!”

“You know I hate surprises.”

“I know. But just humor me?”

“Oh, fine.”

“Close your eyes. Come with me…”

“It’s in the backyard?”


“Come on, Kris.”

“Okay, okay, open!”

… “A shed!”

“Had it delivered, and assembled it myself while you were on your trip! Meg helped me organize everything.”

“You…organized my stuff?”

“Don’t worry! Meg’s like a pro.”

“Somehow I don’t find that reassuring.”

“Don’t you like it?”

“I like the shed, sure. You… did a good job. You put it together yourself?”

“It was kind of hard, and I’m not sure I did it all perfect, but I promise it’s stable.”

“Yeah, it feels solid. I admit I’m impressed at that.”


“Gosh, Kris! You messed with my stuff!”

“You can  rearrange if you want. I promise I didn’t get rid of anything important.”

“Again, not reassuring…”


“Hey, Kris, I’m looking for a particular wrench…?”

“Do you mean this one? I took a picture.”

“Yeah, that’s the one… Why’d you take a picture?”

“So I could buy you a new one at the store. Sorry I haven’t done that yet, but I can go out in a couple hours, or you can…”

“Did you get rid of the old one?”

“Well, yeah. Look at it! It’s so rusty! I had to throw away my work gloves after handling it, they got so nasty.”

“That was my grandpa’s wrench! And it still worked!”

“…I… I’m sorry. I’ll get you a new one.”

“I don’t want a new one!”

“Where’d you take it?”

“Meg took some stuff to the thrift store, but, I don’t know, she might have thrown it away.”


“Derek, you’re scaring me…”

“I’m going for a walk.”


… “Are you still mad at me?”

“Nah. You were right; it was a nasty old rusty wrench.”

“But you’re still upset.” … “Would it help to talk about it?”

“I don’t know…”

“Come on. Tell me about the wrench. What made it special to you?”

“It was my grandpa’s.”


“He used it once to help me fix my bike. We spent the whole afternoon together, and he told me lots of stories about his time in the Navy, and… Three days later he died in a car crash.”

“…Oh. I’m so sorry…”

“Yeah, well. Grandpa could be a jerk a lot of the time. We weren’t very close, and he harassed my mom a lot. But… that day, he seemed different. He was like that old rusty wrench– kind of nasty, but… he still worked, you know? He didn’t deserve to die that way.”

“You never got to say goodbye…”

“No. And Grandma had him cremated before any of us could even see his body. I guess it was pretty beat-up from the crash.”

“I have another surprise for you.”

“Please, no…” … “Oh. You found it? How?”

“It was still in Meg’s truck; she hasn’t made it to the dump yet.”

“Oh, thank you! I–” … “Wow, it really is nasty.”

“Better wash your hands before you touch anything.”

“Yeah… You know, I have kind of a weird idea.”


“I think I’m going to bury this wrench. Give it a sort of… memorial.”

“For your grandpa?”


“I’ll join you.”

“Thanks, Kris… And the shed really is nice.”

“Mmm, so are you…”

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