Ask Anyway

27 Apr

Here is my 100 word story for Madison Woods’ FridayFictioneers. Find her story and others here. Read and comment on all the intriguing stories; might be the last chance you’ll get to speak your mind.  The barbed wire is going up in your name all around you even now. Won’t do you any good once you’re inside but at least you can say you heard it here a few years ago. (If you’ve lasted that long.) Or maybe you’ll just keep quiet and keep paying for the fences. Will it matter in the end which side of the fence you’re on? I think so. Good luck.

“Why are they building this fence?”

“You’re not supposed to ask that. It’s against the law.”

“What will happen if I do ask?”

“You’ll find yourself inside the fence, looking out, rather than outside, looking in.”

“When did asking questions become such a dangerous a thing?”

“I guess when they realized they had no good answers.”

“So it’s really just about the people on the outside trying to stay on the outside and people on the inside being muzzled?”

“It’s not that simple.”

“What happens if we all ask the question at the same time?”

“Don’t ask.”

56 Responses to “Ask Anyway”

  1. TheOthers1 April 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I was wondering where you were. The part at the top makes you think even. I think we’re in a bad way when we are penalized for asking why. That’s when it becomes a regime set on controlling. It can be dangerous indeed.

    My attempt:

    • dmmacilroy April 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

      Sometimes I just run out of time. Cobbled together this one while thinking about our country morphing into a police state for no good reason.

      Thanks for dropping by.



  2. Robert Wyckoff (@TheDrabbler) April 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    “Why?” — The most important question, I think.
    Unfortunately, it also seems to be the one that people ask the least, often because it’s so dangerous to do so.
    Why? There’s probably a million reasons. The scary thing is that many of them are likely good.
    Mines at

    • dmmacilroy April 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

      Dear Robert,

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. I loved your story, Trespass. Wicked.



  3. unspywriter April 28, 2012 at 2:16 am #

    A wonderful exposition of what could happen if you stop asking questions. And the title’s perfect–ask anyway.

    Here’s mine:

    • dmmacilroy April 28, 2012 at 4:32 am #

      Thanks Maggie,

      Yes, I definitely will be on the inside looking out. (As will about seventy percent of the country.) See you there.

      Headed your way now.



  4. Parul April 28, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Yayy! You made it! 🙂
    Interesting set up. A liberal version of 1984?
    Enjoyed the dialogue! I liked what you whipped this week as well.


    • dmmacilroy April 28, 2012 at 4:30 am #

      Thank you, Parul,

      Yes, better late than never, I suppose. I’m looking forward to finding your pearl this week.



  5. Atiya April 28, 2012 at 2:38 am #

    Hey Doug,
    I love the innocence of the one asking the questions. Just another person trying to understand. Such a difference from mine. Thanks for sharing and commenting on mine.

    • dmmacilroy April 28, 2012 at 4:29 am #

      Thank you, Atiya,

      Another tough challenge this week. Yours was great.



  6. glossarch April 28, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    The essence of flash is telling a much bigger story when you really don’t have the room to (to paraphrase Wikipedia :-))

    With regards to the above, you nailed it. You only used dialogue, but the dialogue carries with it a much bigger story about censorship. And not only that, lame censorship-apparently the reason no one is allowed to ask questions is because we ran out of answers. Nice, sarcastic touch. I liked it a lot.

    • dmmacilroy April 28, 2012 at 4:28 am #

      Dear Danny,

      Many mahalos for your kind comments. I wanted this to be better, but chance and circumstance left me with little time and less inspiration. I guess you can’t get it right every single time.

      Hey! Where’s your link, friend? Going to make me dig for it? I’m making my way slowly through each and every piece this weekend so i will find it if you’ve written it.



  7. sacha1nch1 April 28, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you doug

    • dmmacilroy April 28, 2012 at 8:21 am #

      Hey, friend, I’m not paranoid….Stand by a minute, there’s someone knocking on my door. Be right ba

      (WordPress connection terminated.)

      • Lora Mitchell April 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm #


  8. Sandra April 28, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Nice one. Even in simple dialogue, the characters of the two protagonists come across very vivdly. Worth the wait Doug!

    • dmmacilroy April 28, 2012 at 8:24 am #

      Hi Sandra,

      Thanks a bunch. Off to look for your story now.



  9. Lindaura Glamoura April 28, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    Hi, Doug. That was a really good little tale – and a lesson to be noted. Several of our writers wrote cautionary tales – usually after it was too late – and showed us life behind the wire..I know you were in a hurry editing this because you left a typo in the fifth sentence: “When did asking questions them become such a dangerous a thing?” See it? that there them needs to go!
    Then back to your usual perfection.
    Mine is back at

  10. elmowrites April 28, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Oooh, polotical statements abound, Doug. I’ve just been watching Star Wars 1-3 (I know, I know, bear with me on this one!) and while I have many MANY issues with the acting, directing and general dreadfulness of these movies, I think they make an interesting political point too. George Lucas took 5 hours of bad movie, you give it to us in 100 well-crafted words. Kudos, my friend! I already like both your characters more than Anakin or Padme!

    I’m over here:

    • elmowrites April 28, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      Argh. Political, not polotical. It’s clearly too early in the mornign for typing!

  11. Lora Mitchell April 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Ahoha, Doug: Wow…I am currently reading the book “Hitler’s Children”…plus, I had relatives held in camps during WWII … so this really hit home. Need I say more? Incredible take on this week’s prompt. Here’s my lighthearted story:

  12. Mike April 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    A great piece of dialogue Doug.
    It just shows that sometimes asking questions can be a dangerous thing.
    Mind you, not asking questions can also be equally as dangerous.

    Here’s one of two I posted this week:

  13. Tom Poet April 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Doug…Let me say once again how much I enjoy your writings. This is a great piece. You and I are not the only ones watching this country turn into a police state. It’s sad but that seems to be where we are heading. I for one will never stop asking why…. Tom
    Here is mine…

  14. Janet April 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    This had a “1984” feel to it. Loved it. Here’s mine:

    • dmmacilroy April 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      Dear Janet,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Headed over to you now.



  15. oni1138 April 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    oooohhh, I’d love to see this expanded!!

    • dmmacilroy April 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

      Thank you, my friend,

      That’s one of the things about flash fiction that is so great. The format is an idea factory and many of the results can easily be expanded upon.

      Thanks for commenting.



  16. John Hardy Bell April 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Hey Doug,

    A few commentators on my story suggested that I give yours a read this week, as the commonalities between ours stories were striking. Of course I was going to read your story anyway, but the comments this week gave me a little extra motivation. After reading your story, I see what they were talking about. Seems like you and I had the same vision for the prompt – and that vision is nothing short of bleak. Makes me think that you and I have a bit more in common than a love for writing!

    Oh, and did I mention the dialogue was outstanding? I love how you manage to do something completely different each and every time out. You inspire, my friend!

    Here is my (similar) take. Hope you enjoy!

  17. V. L. Gregory-Pohlenz April 29, 2012 at 4:58 am #

    Everyone has beat me to the kind things I would’ve said. Sooooooo, I’ll just tell you that, as usual, I enjoyed your post. I love how you challenge in your writing to be independent thinkers. Great job on the prompt!


    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Dear V.L.,

      We need more of your frontier spirit in this country. We’ve all gotten to ossified in our strip mall, suburban, fenced in lives. Thanks for visiting. See you again soon. (I’m soooo late getting these replies in.)



  18. Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) April 29, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    Dear Doug,

    I got a very strong Big Brother/Fahrenheit 451 vibe from your story this week. Great dialog too. I hope I don’t live in a world where questions are not permitted and inquiring minds…are quashed.


    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Dear Susan,

      Look around you with a jaundiced eye because it’s happening now. Make your voice heard before it attracts only wolves.



      • Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) May 4, 2012 at 4:55 am #

        I guess I *am* a fine one to talk. My past life did not lend itself to queries and self expression. Now…I find it still is easier to go with the flow and toe the line.

  19. tollykit April 29, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Loved it. Had a wonderful mix of innocence and world weary experience,

    Here’s mine

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      Dear Tollykit,

      Thanks for stopping in and visiting. I’m headed to your story now.



  20. Carlos April 29, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Hi Doug,
    A nice little aphoristic fable, if those are the right words. Not living in the US, I don’t have quite the same sense of the deployment of the always-lurking impulse to control others. Here in the UK it seems not so much the government, but the informal network of global corporations that act on that impulse in a myriad of ways. The best defense is a broad education, i.e., not just job training, and it is telling that that has been so eroded in the US over the last 40 years. The best education leads one to ask questions.

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      Dear Carlos,

      We have become a politically correct idiocracy, afraid of our own shadows and ignorant of the past. We are going to descend further, I am afraid. Depressing, but I see no signs that it will be anything other than what I’ve written.

      Thanks for stopping by. (Hawaii might be better off in the end than some other locales.)



      • Carlos Repuesto de la Tabla May 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

        A very late reply here. Walking my dog here in the UK, I met a college student, a Marketing major in his last year, and we chatted. He did not know there was a controversy over the Kennedy assassination, he did not know who Alfred Hitchcock was, he didn’t know who Richard Nixon was, he had never heard of Grahame Greene… but I’m sure he knew all the graphs and buzzwords of marketing and would soon get a well-payed job for a large corporation.

  21. kbnelson April 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    “I guess when they realized they had no good answers.” – Boy, isn’t that the truth!

    “What happens if we all ask the question at the same time?” – I’ve been wondering that myself for a while!

    Great job this week, Doug, but I fear it is closer to reality than fable. Interesting what an image of fences or wire will bring to mind, isn’t it? (I also appreciate that the title adds to the story and gives us an action beyond it.)

    My goal this week was to not kill anybody in my piece. I’m not sure if it was a technical fail or not:

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Dear Karen,

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      You kind of pulled it off in your story, Morning Glory. A sweet and tender tale. Might be the only kind we’ll be allowed to write in the future.



  22. Russell April 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    Gee, Doug, I’m almost afraid to comment with all the barbed wire being strung from blog to blog. While the picture you paint is bleak, it’s a message that still needs to be told.

    mine’s at

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      Dear Russell,

      yours was a laugh riot and was just how I felt when faced with this prompt. Good job.



  23. Carlos April 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    The heaviest of all the barbed wire stories is by Michaelfishbowl and it is here:

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      Dear Carlos,

      You are so right. One of the best of the last few months, eh?

      Thanks for turning me on to it. I’m way late and far behind in my reading. Nice to be clued in to this one.



  24. Nellie April 30, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Darn those who ask questions. They’ll ruin it for all of us. 🙂

    But very nice.

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Dear Nellie,

      Those of you outside the wire, that is. Good luck with that. Did you write a story this week? I’m still wading and way behind in my reading.



  25. tedstrutz April 30, 2012 at 5:05 am #

    I liked this, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      Dear Ted,

      Thanks for stopping in. It was not as inspired as I would have liked, but the deadline had already whooshed past…



  26. Caerlynn Nash May 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Yep, it’s a sad state of affairs to live under the thumb of a democratically elected dictatorship! Perhaps they’ll censor the word “why” soon. (ha!)
    I really like your 100 words this week.

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      Dear Caerlynn,

      A future computer search of WordPress blogs may lead them to me and thence to you. Be careful what you say.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  27. Joanna K Neilson May 2, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Aloha 🙂

    Great use of conversation around a ‘don’t ask’ society – what price do we all pay for a ‘quiet’ life? Rather unnerving.

    • dmmacilroy May 2, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Dear Joanna,

      The sad part is that it is happening all around us but few will stand and speak out. For now they like which side of the wire they’re on. Thanks for reading and commenting. Headed your way now.



  28. rich February 2, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    just followed the link you posted in your comment on my “gun discussion” post. on the surface, this is on par with many of the dystopian stories we’ve seen – fahrenheit 451, 1984, etc. to extend it as a real possibility, that i can’t see. i’m sure there were many jews in 1930’s germany who said the same thing. and i would be the one hearing “i toldja so.” however, 1930’s germany did not have the type of system we have now with the safeguards to prevent such things.

    but here’s a question for you – when the team of bush, cheney, and rumsfeld pushed the patriot act upon us, did you see that as a good thing or a bad thing?

    • dmmacilroy February 2, 2013 at 5:49 am #

      Dear Rich,

      When the whole Bush cabal rammed the Patriot act down our collective throats I was dismayed and still am. Who the hell thought up the name Homeland Security? It is right out of Nazi Germany. And seeding something as insidious as The Patriot Act with the word ‘Patriot’ was not only misleading, it was a clear indication of how the government uses language to quash dissent. (If you’re not for the patriot Act, then you are not a patriot. Pipe down you un-American low life….

      What is happening in and to our society is criminal and one day we’re going to reap the whirlwind.



      • rich February 2, 2013 at 5:54 am #

        yes, the patriot act was as well named as the clean air act. there’s something to look up if you want to lose more faith in government protecting your health over the interests of industry.

        as for that patriot act, from what i’ve read, the framework was written by rumsfeld back when he worked for bush 41. when he presented it to bush, he was told he was crazy. i guess bush 43 didn’t think it was so crazy.

  29. rochellewisoff August 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    Just happened by to peruse some of your work I missed in my FF beginning. My story for this prompt was a concentration camp story. Were ours really different from each other? ILY



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