The Present State of the City

Photo Copyright: Randy Mazie

Here we are again and this week we’re gathered near a boarded-up factory. We’ve come together to discuss our original stories for the week. This is the Friday Fictioneer’s group. Our hostess for the gathering is the talented and gracious author and artist, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The challenge for each of us this week and every week is to write a story with no more than 100 words, not counting the title. It’s supposed to have a beginning, middle, end, and be inspired by the picture prompt for the week. This week’s prompt was provided by Randy Mazie. Thanks, Randy. To read the other stories by group members, just click on the link below, then on the smiling frog. Next, follow the given directions.

9 August 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 99 Words

The Present State of the City by P.S. Joshi

The city once was buzzing with activity, the downtown crammed with shoppers.

The local cinema showed the name of the latest movie.

Now, the cinema was showing X-rated movies. Few people were downtown.

The enormous factory, once humming with the buzz, whir, and clank of the line of cars in the making was silent. No more the smells of oil, grease, and paint. Windows were boarded up.

No bicycles were left outside homes due to theft.

A sign downtown offered quick cash for a government check.

This was the state of Pickering, Michigan today. We had nowhere else to go.














54 thoughts on “The Present State of the City

  1. A good piece of social history, Suzanne. You’ve rendered the change due to the closure of a major manufacturing unit all too vividly. Social matters should be considered far more carefully before such actions are taken.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Neil. I’m glad you thought my description was realistic. It is heartbreaking what’s happened in so many cities in the U.S. It’s home for many and they have no other place to go. —- Suzanne


  2. Suzanne, are you from Midland? My younger son’s wife has family who live there. A lot of MI and I’m sure other rust belt states are peppered with these gutted out buildings. In my Michigan small town, the city “leaders” are building tourist attractions and high dollar lake properties to cater to the rich who come here from Chicago on the weekends, so the townies can have their service jobs, smile pretty, and hope for tips.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jade for commenting on my story. No, I’m from Ohio and there are cities like that there. I’m from Akron which had problems with jobs after the rubber shops shut down and there was a drug problem. There are service jobs there as well, tourist attractions, and the University which became part of the State system in 1967. I’ve heard Akron isn’t what it was. I don’t think it’s as bad as the one I described but not nearly like it was in its heyday. I changed the name of my story city as I’ve learned there is a real Midland. I must have heard the name and it stuck in my memory. I wasn’t intending to name a real city and will be more careful in the future. My husband and I moved to North Carolina in 1982 and my son still lives there. My daughter lives in Chicago. —- Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, ok, thank you for explaining. I know Midland is named because it’s in the middle of the state. I know there was/is a nuclear power plant there and a giant chemical plant as well. I think a lot of rust belt towns are suffering from “industrial disease” as Mark Knopfler called it.


      • It is all so very sad. My neighbors, mostly from Puerto Rico (one of our own territory/colony/commonwealth, something like that) are now afraid to let their children play in the courtyard. One family sent their children to live with another family member, and many have moved out this past few months. It’s so bad that you don’t exit your apartment, or the building without looking through the peep first. We were hoping to move next month, but car issues took that option away…


      • Thanks, Bear. Puerto Rico is actually considered part of the U.S. these days. That’s why it’s so sad they were treated so shabbily by the U.S. after the terrible storm. My kids are both part South Indian. My son worries about being mistaken for a Hispanic especially as he lives in the South. After 9/11 he shaved his face clean as he had a short beard and a mustache. The hate speech needs to stop and stop now. It’s terrible. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ — Suzanne

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jo. I don’t like writing sad stories but that prompt made me think of one. It is a problem. I’m from Ohio and now they’ve had a dope problem killing young people there. It’s extremely sad. Somethings improve then there’s another problem. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, James. There are many cities like that. People don’t go out for entertainment as much. My mother used to take me and walk to the local cinema in the 1940s. My parents never checked the movie because they were family-oriented back then. Some were war movies and I’d hide my eyes. My mother used to tell me it was make-believe. In some parts of Europe, it wasn’t make-believe but in the U.S. it was. —- Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This happens in a lot of towns. It usually starts with large shopping centers being built closer to major highways and the old part of downtown slowly dying. Fortunately, there is a trend now to revitalize the old town squares and main street and refer to them as the “historic” district. It’s worked well around here, and I’m glad to see many of the old buildings (which beautiful architecture) being restored and repurposed.

    Great story this week, Suzanne.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Russell. I’m glad you liked the story. They’ve done what you described in Chicago where my daughter lives. She lives near that restored area. It’s handy for everything. She works in the downtown theater area and can just take the train. ๐Ÿ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This reminds me of a friend who lives in Detroit. He hates Detroit. He has hated it for years, and says it’s only getting worse. But he bought a house there and doesn’t have the money to leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Alice. I’m sorry your friend hates Detroit where he has to live. When you get to a certain age and have property it’s too hard to leave and go elsewhere. It’s a shame it’s getting worse. —- Suzanne


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