Speakeasy #165: A Round Nosed Shovel

It began easily enough. There were three of us who hatched the plan, me, Ruben and Stan. We sat on my front porch that Friday night to suss out the details. Stan’s dad had one of those long, heavy iron bars to help with the digging but he wouldn’t be able to get his hands on a shovel. That was OK because Ruben and I could both get them. I knew that I could get two for sure, one with a round nose and one square. We chose Stan’s back yard because his house sat a little deeper in the valley and this should cut our total digging time. It must’ve been Stan who suggested the idea first, and Ruben took a little convincing, but eventually we all agreed.

“Do you know how many people have tried this?” Ruben asked skeptically. “What makes you think we can pull this off when nobody has ever done it before?”

Stan brushed his red hair back, out of his eyes and crossed his arms. Leaning back he announced confidently, “Nobody’s ever done it before only ‘cause we haven’t tried yet. We can fuckin’ do this man.” He turned his head and spat over the porch rail like he had to prove how tough he was. Ruben and I had always been in awe of Stan’s mastery of the profane.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Ruben said. He and I both nodded our heads in unison.

We agreed to meet at six in the morning at Stan’s. “Don’t ring the damn doorbell when you get there. Just come through the back gate and we can get started. I’ll be ready for you.” He stood; putting one hand on the railing and vaulted off the porch to the lawn. He picked up his bike. “Gotta go, Mom’s makin’ meatloaf tonight.”

“See ya Stan,” I said as he pedaled away.

“Can we really do this?” Ruben asked.

“You know how I feel, Ruben. I’m feeling good. I really think we can.”

“How long do you think it’ll take?” he asked.

“I’m not fuckin’ sure,” I replied, trying to sound like Stan, failing miserably. “I figure it’ll take all summer but just think – we’ll be famous.” I tried to spit over the porch rail but didn’t make it that far. Ruben pretended not to notice.

“Yeah, you’re right. Fuckin’ famous… see ya in the mornin’.” Ruben said as he stood and walked towards home. Ruben only lived two doors down from me. He hadn’t bothered to bring his bike.

I went into the garage and got the two shovels. I stuck them behind the boxwood hedge with my bike so I wouldn’t have to search in the morning. Then I went inside to see what Dad had made for dinner.

It was 5:30 when I got out of bed the next day. I pulled on a pair of cut off jeans and a T-shirt. Ruben was standing on the sidewalk with his little sister, Angie, when I came out the front door. “What the hell did you bring her for?” I asked him.

“Mom says that I gotta take care of her all day dude. Sorry.” He shrugged his shoulders. I looked at her. She had sticky red candy running down her chin and she smiled. Her teeth were red too.

We went down to Stan’s and set Angie up in the yard with the puppy and some cookies for entertainment. We got to work.

“You think it’ll take all summer?” Ruben asked Stan as he stood in the bottom of the two foot deep hole. “That’s what Jim guessed last night.”

“I think Jim’s a goddamn pessimist,” Stan said. “I reckon if we knuckle down we could bring Chinese fireworks back for the fourth of July.”

We worked the hole that entire Saturday and by sunset it was about 4 feet deep and we had hit rock. The next day Ruben’s mom made him stay at home with Angie. Stan and I went to the school yard and got in on a pickup ball game. We got back to that hole the next weekend when Stan’s dad found it and made us fill it in. We never did get to China that summer. We gave it everything we had but it wasn’t enough.

 If the speakeasy is open you can click the badge, above, and see what this is all about.  There are only 40 seats at the bar but if you hurry you might get one!

07 June 2014

07 June 2014

victoriansansalpha 760x100
The prompts are:
Ignore it, maybe it’ll go away
You’re losing your edge
Whining is unacceptable

Begin Writing
The prompts today seem negative and confrontational. I don’t think I like them when taken all together.

A single one of these could be great if mixed in with other prompts about smiles or rainbows but all three at once? Jeez, I’m gonna have to go home and take a nap or eat a cupcake; something, anything to lighten it up a bit.

What are the odds of these three prompts being chosen on the same day? Statistics can be manipulated to prove anything you want them to; so let’s examine this a little deeper. There are 50 prompts to choose from so one might think that the odds are 3 in 50 but they are, in reality a lot longer than that.

Those choosing the prompts are picking blind; they cannot relate the prompts one to another. This assumes a 1 in 50 factor that needs to be considered in our calculations.

Separate people choose each prompt and there are eight people here today. 8×50=400 so we must include another 1 in 400 factor. This brings the odds to one in 450 but wait, there’s more. There are three individual prompts so we have to multiply that by the odds, so far. 3×450 brings our chances to one in 1350. Pull in the constant of π, rounded to 3.14 for simplicity, takes the odds to (3.14×1350=4239) 1 in 4239, which must be multiplied by 52, number of meetings per year. For a grand total of

 1 in 220,428

 Those are the odds of getting these three particular prompts on a single day, at a single meeting. I suppose I should quit whining though. In general whining is not acceptable and at this rate it’ll be more than 4000 years before we get another set of prompts this bad. I’ll make sure not to attend that meeting.
Time is up. Put down your writing implements and step away from the paper.


Gargleblaster #165: Word Travels Fast

I worried as I entered the bakery. I always worry. I should never have told Grace last night.
She’s a gossip. She’ll tell everyone. Soon, everyone will know.
“Good morning Mr. Evans,” the fresh, young counter girl sings. “How’s that nasty rash?”

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