Source credit: Met-Art.com
Trish didn’t want to get naked. That was evident by the way she kept her legs crossed in front of her, purse clutched tightly to her body.
“Why don’t you lose the purse?” the photographer suggested. Trish swallowed hard, but then followed the direction she had been given. Her hands trembled as she relinquished her purse. Her eyes betrayed fear, even shame.
Trish knew that nudity was stipulated in her contract. She had already accepted payment in exchange for baring all. But she couldn’t clear the mental hurdle staring her in the face. Beyond her own fear, she worried about what her parents would say if they found out.
“You’re nervous. I know you are.” The voice was warm, reassuring. “Look, fair is fair. If it’ll make you more comfortable, I’ll take off my clothes too.” Trish looked up. “I wouldn’t ask a model to do something I wasn’t willing to do. Would you like that?”
The photographer quickly got undressed, then stepped behind the camera.
“Your turn,” she said. (172/175)
Behind the Scenes
This week, Ram the Sunlover's Flash Fiction Friday assignment featured the above prompt photo and the required word "payment". Additionally, rather than a maximum word limit, a range of between 171 and 175 words was imposed. In the past I've been accustomed to writing Flash Fiction with either no minimum word count, or else a much wider range between minimum and maximum. The narrow range required careful writing and very deliberate wording.
It is not necessarily a judgment of the prompt itself to say that I found this week's challenge relatively uninspiring. Although I spent more time than usual pondering the photo and considering possible story threads, I was unable to come up with any solid ideas with my usual speed. There have been weeks in the past where it took a long time to think of a story, but this week I questioned whether I'd be able to do it.
I'm not sure why this is; I found the image itself aesthetically appealing, and briefly considered having the young lady pictured be a photographer at a department store photo studio. This could have made a semi-comedic story; people come in to take family portraits only to find that the photographer is naked. But I abandoned the idea when I acknowledged that while there are some Flash Fiction Friday regulars who could pull off such a radical idea, I'm probably not one of them.
Despite the image of a naked woman behind the camera, I chose to leave the gender of the photographer ambiguous until the final line of the story, wherein the revelation that the photographer is female is something of a plot twist. The title, "Model Release", refers less to the legal document signed by the subject of a photograph allowing its publication than it does to the model's eventual willingness to be naked on camera.
In writing this week's story, I managed to pace myself pretty well. In fact, I brought in the first draft at 169 words, two words short of the minimum. Thus, there is no material written for this story that didn't make the cut. However, before coming up with the idea I actually used, I had a completely different idea - more like a seed, admittedly - that I actually wrote half a paragraph of before losing interest. I'll have to keep it handy should it fit a future Flash Fiction Friday prompt.
"Porcelain" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.