The Big Blow

10 Jan

c2a9dawn_q-_landauPhoto copyright Dawn Quyle Landau

Mama, what is it? Why you cryin’?

Remember dat piddly-ass check FEMA gimme after Katrina? $1700 for “rent and expenses”?

Yeah, don’t know how dey ‘spected you to live on dat kinda money. Why?

Dey want it back.

Want what back?

Da money!! Dis here letter say there was some kinda “clerical error,” and now dey want da money back. It been six years! Dat money gone! Why else I be here livin’ offa you and Jeanie?

Okay, Mama, just relax. We gonna fix dis.

Oh, Lordy. First my house, den my freedom, now my dignity. I got nothin’ left.


It’s Friday Fictioneers time again! One hundred words in response to a photo chosen by leader Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. There’s a solid group of 80-100 writers who contribute stories each week–if you haven’t checked out the links, you’re missing some great fiction.

Dawn’s photo is actually of a bathroom in Barbados, but no roof, missing steps…I immediately thought hurricane damage. So I went to Google to see what interesting things I could find about hurricanes and stumbled upon the outrageous story of FEMA trying to reclaim nearly $600 million from Katrina victims six years after the relief payments had been made (I was living overseas at the time, consciously avoiding as much US news as I could, so I missed the story when it actually occurred in 2011). Now, I can understand trying to recoup losses from fraudulent claims, but trying to squeeze money out of innocent folks (many of whom are elderly, disabled, and economically unstable) because of the agency’s own internal errors really rubbed me the wrong way.


Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Challenges, Fiction



5 responses to “The Big Blow

  1. Sun

    January 10, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    your story puts the image right in place. thanks for explaining the current news on FEMA. sad. a big blow indeed!

  2. talesfromthemotherland

    January 10, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Powerful story and excellent reference to the prompt. It does remind us of devastation/ hurricanes, etc. The dialogue is great here, and compelling. The back story is deeply disturbing. Great job!

  3. rochellewisoff

    January 11, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Dear Michelle,

    In a hundred words you’ve given us a lot to think about. As always, amazing writing. Love the dialogue.



  4. plaridel

    January 11, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. well done.

  5. lingeringvisions by Dawn

    January 12, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Well that’s a bunch of sh…!


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