Jewel Of A Surprise – 99 Word Flash Fiction

What moves one person may not move the other.   It’s all about perspective.

This week for the Flash Fiction prompt over at Carrot Ranch, Charli ask us this:

‘In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that has a shift in perspective. It can be a transition of one character or a change between character points of view. Go where the prompt leads, either technically or creatively.’

Close up of Kingfisher on River Avon, Bath September 2012 (c) Sherri Matthews

Close up of Kingfisher on River Avon, Bath – September 2012
(c) Sherri Matthews

Jewel of a Surprise

“I hate my birthday,” grumbled Jaynee, “something always goes wrong and now you’ve forgotten to book my favourite restaurant.”

“Don’t worry,” smiled Dan, “I’ve got other plans. I’ve hired a boat for the day instead, as a surprise!”

“But I thought that was, well, for another time…”

Moored on the river that afternoon, Dan poured two glasses of champagne, then reached into his trouser pocket for the ring. He dropped to one knee.

“Jaynee…will you…”

Jaynee gasped. A flash of blue on the riverbank caught her attention. “Shhh…don’t say anything. Look, a Kingfisher! This is the best birthday ever!”

 *******

This flash fiction is a BOTS (based on a true story) only so far as I really did see a Kingfisher on my birthday in September three years ago.  I am not Jaynee, I adore messing about in boats on the river as I’ve shared here many times. and I was absolutely thrilled that hubby arranged a boat trip down the River Avon in Bath for my birthday that year. Complete with a bottle of bubbly, of course.

I have always been fascinated by Kingfishers, but the closest I ever came to seeing one was one morning while sitting on the back of a boat on the Norfolk Broads: I caught a glimpse of  blue and orange, so distinctive to the majestic Kingfisher, but that was it.  It disappeared as quickly as I caught sight of it.

But many years later, this beauty stayed long enough for me to take the close up (Weekly Photo Challenge) used in this post. For me, this Kingfisher’s presence truly was the best birthday present.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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68 Responses to Jewel Of A Surprise – 99 Word Flash Fiction

  1. Hahaha! Fabulous ending! 😀 Great flash, Sherri. Love it. Oh, a boat trip on the River Avon in Bath. *sigh* I love Bath. Have been twice but never to Avon. I can’t see the close up photo. I can’t find your picture…

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh thanks so much Sarah, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I honestly didn’t think I was going to come up with anything for this prompt, and reading about Charli’s Hummingbird gave me the inspiration I needed, remembering my Kingfisher. Bath…yes, a beautiful city. Next time you visit, a little boat ride on the River Avon just might await you 😀 And sorry for the confusion, my fault. I meant to refer to the photo in this post (I had to zoom in and then crop to make it a close up) and then sneakily included it for the Weekly Photo Challenge. I’ve changed my wording for that part to make it clearer, thanks for letting me know…

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  2. I love the twist! The Kingfisher is gorgeous.

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  3. Oh…poor Dan! I hope he’s able to pop the question. 🙂 What a beautiful photograph, Sherri. Do you know if that’s a male or female?

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  4. Tom Merriman says:

    I’d love to see a kingfisher, Sherri. I’m not even sure they venture this far north! I mistook a chaffinch for a kingfisher once though, but it’s easy for me to do that. When I was in Canada, I thought a hummingbird was a woodpecker.
    Great flash once again… I knew the twist would involve the kingfisher, just not in the way you wrote it!

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh I hope you do oneday. I couldn’t believe it when I saw this kingfisher Tom, and it actually stayed long enough for me to get a few photos! I was staggered and almost dropped my camera in the water, my hands were shaking so much! Hmmm…you might have your birds a bit mixed up there, but it happens to us all at some point 😉 I loved having hummingbirds coming to my feeder in California, having never seen one until we lived there. They are so beautiful. A bit smaller than woodpeckers, lol 😀 Thanks so much Tom, glad you enjoyed the twist!

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  5. Heyjude says:

    I envy you your kingfisher photo, how I would love to see one, let alone get a photo!

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    • Sherri says:

      Now I’m surprised Jude, I thought you would have seen one or two of these beauties during your many travels. I couldn’t believe it when we saw this one though I admit. My hands were shaking so much as I turned on my camera that I thought I was going to drop it in the water 😉

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      • Heyjude says:

        They are so fast Sherri, you were lucky it stayed in one spot long enough for you to switch your camera on. I have never seen one in this country. I have seen them in SA and in bird parks. I’d love to see one here in its natural habitat.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Charli Mills says:

    I have a Kingfisher living near Elmira Pond, but he doesn’t have the orange coloring. He’s a Belted Kingfisher, blue-gray, white with a splash of russet. Amazing birds! I love your flash and the bird-distracted reaction of Jaynee!

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    • Sherri says:

      I remember your post about your beautiful Kingfisher Charli! I love seeing how your birds look slightly different to ours, like the Robin too! I always imagined the Kingfisher to be bigger than it is, and they fly so darn fast! I was thrilled to get this photo, they are very elusive…hence Jaynee’s distraction 😉 Thanks so much Charli, glad you enjoyed it. Your beautiful tale of your Hummingbird inspired me, the image of my Kingfisher popped into my mind and that was that 🙂

      Like

  7. Pingback: Shifting Perspectives « Carrot Ranch Communications

  8. Your “Jewel of a Surprise” is a jewel of a story, Sherri! The ring was a nice touch, but not near as important as the Kingfisher. Well done!

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  9. I have never been proposed to in a boat – in fact no man ever took me boating …… but I have seen many kingfishers. When I lived by the sea, I had one who sat on a wire outside my kitchen window every day for a whole summer – at least I think it was the same one……….. That was quite special!

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    • Sherri says:

      Me neither Pauline, been proposed to in a boat that is! Oh how wonderful is that? Wow…what a beautiful story, your very own summer Kingfisher outside your kitchen window! Thank you for sharing that with me, I am smiling from ear to ear at the very thought of it 🙂 xo

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  10. What a beautiful bird! And yes, the majesty of nature is the best gift of all. I got to see eagles one year on my birthday and I will never forget it. It’s like a God-wink and you just know it is going to be a good year.

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    • Sherri says:

      How amazing Renee, eagles are the most majestic and beautiful birds, I am fascinated by them. And I love how you put it…’…like a God-wink…’ I love that. A very great blessing indeed. And you know, the year I saw my Kingfisher was the year I was first published. It was indeed a good year 🙂

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  11. This was quite a twist. I have never heard of anyone being distracted by a bird during a proposal! 😉 That is a beautiful bird. You were most fortunate to get a good clear photo. Another Virgo to add to my list. We are a different breed are we not? 😉

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…well, there is a first for everything Marlene! Yes, I was so thrilled to get this photo of the beautiful Kingfisher, they are very elusive and I thought I would never see one so close up, ever! Ahh…a fellow Virgo! A breed apart, for sure 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Amy says:

    Your kingfisher photo is fabulous! The best birthday present, I agree. 🙂

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  13. jennypellett says:

    I’m so impressed with your kingfisher photo – I’ve only ever seen the quick blue flash as one swooped low along a river – I don’t think that can count as actually seeing one properly!

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Jenny! That was my experience too, until I saw this one on my birthday! I couldn’t believe it, and it stayed long enough for me to snap away, although as I told Jude, I was so nervous, I thought I was going to drop my camera in the river!!

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  14. Sue says:

    Wonderful image of the Kingfisher, Sherri…what a beautiful sight for your birthday! And loved your flash fiction – great twist 🙂

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  15. When I lived in Salisbury, there used to be a river walk nearby my house. I used to walk there often. There used to be a kingfisher who lived down there, and I was lucky enough to see it once 🙂 They are beautiful little birds.

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    • Sherri says:

      There is a lovely river walk in Salisbury isn’t there? How lovely that you got to see a Kingfisher. They like to perch on those low branches so that they can swoop down to catch fish. But they are so fast that is hard to see them…you must have been as thrilled as I was! 🙂

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  16. Proposals can never go exactly as planned can they?! I must admit that I had never heard of a Kingfisher before reading your post but what a beautiful bird it is! Such brilliant colors, it almost looks tropical. So glad you were able to see one and catch a great photo 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…poor Dan 😉 He is one patient man, that’s for sure!! Thanks so much Heather, yes, Kingfishers are so beautiful, but very elusive and hard to find, hence my amazement at seeing one at all, much less on my birthday! They were also my Granny’s favourite birds 🙂

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  17. restlessjo says:

    But no ring on that occasion, Sherri? 🙂 It was already securely there.
    Kingfishers are things that flash past, a bit like this story, aren’t they? I like it 🙂

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  18. lbeth1950 says:

    Delightful story.

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  19. Great twist Sherri, maybe he’ll change his mind! I’ve never seen a Kingfisher but hopefully one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Andrea! Haha…yes, maybe! Oh I hope you do…reading the comments here, I’m really surprised that so many have neve seen a kingfisher. I assumed most had here and there, although they are very elusive. I never expected to not only see this one but be able to take its photo too. A one-off I’m sure. Thank goodness I didn’t drop my camera in the river with the shock and surprise of it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Sunni Morris says:

    Gorgeous bird. Wildlife is very hard to photograph – birds in particular. They don’t stay put long.
    Nice twist on your story too.

    Sunni
    http://sunni-survivinglife.blogspot.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Sunni, lovely to hear from you again. I hope you are enjoying your summer 🙂 Thanks so much, I’m thrilled you enjoyed the read and the photo. Yes, it’s really hard, I keep trying to get photos of the beautiful finches around my bird feeder, but to no avail. I was amazed not only to see this Kingfisher so clearly (I had wanted to see one all my life) but on my birthday too…and it stayed long enough for me to photograph. A moment I’ve never forgotten and never will!

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  21. Nice post Sherry…like some of the others, I have never seen this bird.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Great flash fiction with an ending I appreciate since I can see me doing just that if such a lovely bird landed close by. 🙂 Your hubby is a gem and what a treat for your B-day. Once again you leave me smiling……. xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Yes…most certainly the best sparkling jewel for distraction 😀 Ahh…so glad to bring you smiles, and yes, that was a lovely birthday. Mum and daughter were there so they got to see beautiful kingfisher too 🙂 ❤ xoxoxo

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  23. I had no idea where your story was going Sherri. I loved it! I kind of feel sorry for poor Dan, though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. What a gorgeous kingfisher, never seen one. Lovely piece of flash fiction too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Luanne says:

    A huge L.O.L. So funny!!! That would be me! And what a gorgeous photograph!!! You outdid yourself here!!! My goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Poor Dan … proposal upstaged by a bird. A beautiful and elusive bird, but nonetheless, the poor fellow must have felt quite deflated!

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  27. Sherri I would do this if I saw a Kingfisher lol. Great writing and beautiful picture.

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  28. Marie Keates says:

    Great story. I saw a kingfisher when we were sitting in Paphos harbour on the last day of our Cyprus holiday. It made the whole holiday for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Rachel M says:

    Great pic! And what a lovely bird. I’ve never seen one before.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. julespaige says:

    Just beautiful. I haven’t seen any around my bird feeder. But I do get bright red Cardinals, Blue Jays, and yellow Finches 😉

    Thanks for stopping by my current Carrot Ranch prompted piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Jules! Kingfishers are very hard to come by, they are only ever seen by water and then quite low down as they like to fish from small branches just above the flowing river. I couldn’ t believe it when I saw this one, and that it stayed so long for me to take a photo! Such a thrill. Oh I adore red cardinals and blue jays, I loved to see them when I lived in California 🙂 And finches are beautiful too. My most recent post (In The Presence of a Hedgehog ) has some more photos of finches, if you would like to see a few more! I look forward to reading more of your flash fiction 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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