Skimming Stones

John Duffy

John Duffy | May 3, 2024

Skimming Stones


The pebble skimmed the surface ten times before running out of momentum, then seeming to flounder for a split second, sank into the dark still lake sending ripples radiating outwards.

“Ten, dad. Beat that,” said Michael.

“Hah, easy,” I said.

I scanned the shoreline and spotted a perfect skimmer. A small piece of ancient flint; toffee-brown and white with roughly splintered glass shards along its edge. Ideal for the job. This was going to be too easy. I already estimated my find was a good fifteener, at the very least.

A late summer’s evening with barely a breath of wind, meant no choppy water to worry about. The lake’s vast flat expanse stretched out in front of me, mirroring distant mountains towards the west.

“Last go, Dad. If you don’t make eleven, I’m the winner.”

I smiled. Michael was completely engaged playing skimming stones. A proper old school game that didn’t require a controller or smart device. Amazing.

“Watch and learn, Mikey. Make way for the master.” I said, mimicking a trumpet fanfare.

Standing back from the water’s edge, I hunkered down ready to take my throw. The flint was definitely my trump card and yet… at the crucial moment I just sensed something might go wrong.

I brought my arm back as far as I could to maximise launch velocity, but then subconsciously faltered as I threw. The flint stuck the water heavily, then plopped under the surface after only a measly three hops.

“Pathetic. Three. I win.” Michael’s beaming smile and twinkling eyes were a picture as he did a happy victory dance.

“Well done. You beat me fair and square,” I said. “Just like the day I beat Granddad here on this same spot forty years ago.”

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