Sample Sunday, Burning Ambition

In my bio, I always mention that I’ve had a story published on the label of coffee cans. There was once a company called Story House Coffee that sold coffee over the web. They bought short stories, poetry and essays and printed them on their labels. I don’t know what’s become of them; their URL leads to an announcement that they have a new server coming soon, but that’s been up for a long time, now, and my heart misgives me.

My story was on cans of Columbia Mesa de los Santos Organic dated May 20, 2003, and here it is.

by Marian Allen

“Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” I can hear my grandma’s voice saying that. How many times did she say that to me, I wonder? A thousand? A million?

I was always in trouble over something or other. I guess that’s why she said that so much.

Now I got a good job. Self-employed, tax-free. I always get paid, and my clients always get paid. Bound to be an investigation, but none of my jobs ever get held up or reopened. I’m that good.

Grandma would have been proud.

I think of her as I sit in my convertible, on a hill overlooking the city, and watch the flaming warehouse light up the night sky. I can almost smell her lily-of-the-valley perfume beside me.

“Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward,” I can hear her say.


WRITING PROMPT: Grab a much-used quote and bend it out of shape.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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