Paying Too Much for Stolen Stationery He Planned to Donate

school-supplies-300x187“He waited for an hour.”

He waited for an hour. The line still had not moved so he put half the composition books into his messenger bag. That would teach them.

Another hour passed and the rest of the composition books went into his bag as well. He still couldn’t see the checkout counter.

He looked at the lady standing behind him in line. Mercifully two of her noisy brood had fallen asleep in the shopping cart. The third, her youngest was quiet now, but was still swinging from her hair, his face red from a prior bout of screaming.

Reaching back into his bag, he produced a cookie, “Is it OK for him to have this?” he asked and held it out when she nodded assent.

“Thanks,” she said as she sat the boy in the cart with his bikkie.

His bag then produced a bottle of water which he offered to her.

She took it, drank. She said, “You’re like Felix the Cat.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“You know, Felix and his bag of tricks. What else do you have in there?”

“A bunch of composition books I’m planning to steal.” he said. “They have ‘em on sale; ten for a dollar. I’ve got about four dollars worth. But, if this line doesn’t start moving soon I’m going to have some pens, pencils, paint brushes, scissors, rulers and slate boards as well. Along with some other miscellaneous stationery supplies that I plan to donate to the school. If I have to wait here much longer, I’m going to wet my pants.”

She nodded at her youngest. He was sitting in the cart with his cookie sticking out of his mouth. His eyes were at half mast and a large wet stain was getting larger on the front of his trousers. “Looks like Malcolm beat you to it.” she said.

Wordlessly he stuffed the rest of his intended purchases into his bag. He grabbed a box of envelopes and a pen off the shelf near to where they were standing. He carefully extracted a single envelope and dug in his hip pocket. He was dancing a little bit as he peeled a fifty dollar bill from his money clip and sealed it in the envelope.  He wrote:

Manager, Staples, Soquel Ave. Live Oak

“Have a nice day.” he said to the mom who had been toughing it out with him in the line and he walked away, making a bee line towards the exit.

“See ya later, Felix. Thanks.” She said to his back as he walked away.

He stopped briefly by the frantic cashier. Handing her the envelope he asked, “Can you give this to the manager?”

“Yeah sure,” she stuck it under the counter to deal with later.

He left. As he passed through the door an alarm sounded and he took off running down Chanticleer. He must have really had to pee. He ducked onto the grounds of the assisted living center and headed towards the back. He must have jumped the fence into the creek bed beyond. No one saw him again that day. He might have gone north towards the mountains or south towards the beach.


They Always Find You – They Always Come

As the light blinked out she saw him watching, watching from the shadows. The glass she held shattered on the tiles. “How’d you get in? What do you want?”

“I came in through the bedroom window; and I’ve come for you, Molly.”


Daily Prompt: The Mirror Crack’d

Daily Prompt: The Mirror Crack’d

You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?


Life is good. I have everything I could ever want. Strangers want to give me money and jewels. Women offer sex. I have power. I have these things because I remembered. I remembered how stuff was made.

It was only two or three years ago when it happened and it was not a local thing either, it was global. All the mirrors were gone, in their place were murals. Primitive murals executed with crayons or tempera paints hung where the mirrors had once been. No one really noticed – no one but me, apparently.


I waited for big business or big government to intervene and fix this problem. Meanwhile people went out with bad hair and bad makeup. They would peer deeply into the crayon drawings and believe that they were looking at their reflections. You could not go out without seeing folks whose clothes were hanging funny, or whose shirttails were untucked at the back. There was a lot of stress and two countries with large fashion industries, Italy and France, actually declared war on one another. Fortunately, UN intervention put an end to that without any shots being fired.

It slowly dawned on me that nothing was going to be done. Apparently the recipe for making a proper mirror had disappeared with the mirrors themselves. Why did I remember how it was done? What made me special? I decided that the answers to those questions didn’t matter. I set to work and began experimenting with silvering the back of glass sheets in my garage. My products were primitive but functional. I began selling. Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Duluth, money was rolling in. People craved their reflections. I sold by word of mouth, no marketing or advertising budget required. Soon I expanded to the international markets and it just got better and better. Mirrors in homes were all the rage and I capitalized on their popularity. Mirrors on automobiles were soon recognized as a boon to safety and I jumped into that market as well. The building industry jumped on the bandwagon and started to clad high rise buildings with my product. There was no end in sight. I was rich. I was all-powerful. I was omnipotent.

But, there was a dark side. I became ruthless. Employees, workers, were not allowed to leave the company under penalty of death. When a competitor surfaced in Sri Lanka they woke to find their factories burned to the ground and their families missing. I did what I had to do to protect my business but I don’t feel good about it. It’s hard to face myself in the mirror these days. I’m going to have all the mirrors in my house removed and replaced with murals; murals done in crayons and temperas. But, then I won’t be able to leave the house any more.

Daily Prompt: Pains and Gains

Daily Prompt: Pains and Gains

Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto, “no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?


Some are born with a silver spoon but most get ahead through other means. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there. Which path do you choose? Some of your choices are as different as night and day, while some are separated only by subtle nuance.

Daily Post likes Ms. Fonda’s credo, “No Pain, No Gain”
Is there a reason that strugglingartist is one word?

The Bible tells us that if we are meek we will inherit the earth
Gandhi, Mother Theresa

Old wives and philosophers advise patience and tell us that “good things come to those who wait”
True enough if you want good things. What if you want to conquer? Is there always a difference?

Mark Twain, in all his wisdom, reminded us that we need to get started if we want to get ahead
Get off your rusty-dusty?

“There are two ways to get ahead in this world,” advise many captains of industry, “by your own industriousness and through the stupidity of others”
Synonymous perhaps, with, “work smart, work hard, and take advantage of opportunities when they are presented”

Maybe it’s just ‘luck’

Perhaps ‘fate’ and preordination are the keys

Do the scouts have it right with their motto, “Be Prepared”
Definitely wisdom with this one. Whether when striving to get ahead or merely to survive


I know only, that this is not a multiple choice quiz and that you don’t get a lot of chances to get it right.
First, define what ‘success’ means for you.
Remember that what works for one may not work for another.
Choose wisely children and be kind.

Winter – In the Places I Live

Photo Challenge: Dialogue



Nikon CoolPix L20 f/4.8 1/76 sec
Winter – Santa Cruz
Nikon CoolPix L20, f/5.5 1/402 sec
Winter – Lincoln County


Daily Prompt: New Dawn

Daily Prompt: New Dawn

 How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise? Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).


I wake and go down to the kitchen with ‘spot on’ timing,
Mr. Coffee is sputtering his last, through the grounds and into the pot.
As I dress, I drink my first cup. Dark and warm.

Flannel shirt over wife beater,
Lace-up work boots.

Grab an apple
Fill a travel mug.
Fire up the truck and start north.
I’ll stop for breakfast in a couple of hours.

Watch the sunrise.


I Threw It Away

Saturday, 17.May.2014



“Si Senora.”

“Uhm, ¿Por favor… como se dice?… Do you? No, no… ¿Sabes, que pasó los papeles, que estaban uhm, sobre la mesa aquí?

“Very good Señora. Tu español es cada vez muy buena.”

“Thank you Soledad, but I’m looking for those papers. Do you know where they are?”

“Si, Señora.”

“So, where are they please?”

“Bueno, para ser honesta me tiré a la basura.”


“I threw them away Señora. Old newspapers, envelopes and scraps was all that was in that pile, did you need them?”

“No, I guess not Soledad. I thought my Lotto ticket may have been there and I was going to check my numbers. It’s not important I probably tossed it already. I never win anyway.”


Saturday, 30.August.2014


“Buenos días Soledad. Cómo estás?”

“Bien, gracias, Señora. But my mother is not well. I have to go back home and help look after her.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. When will you be going?”

“Monday morning Señora. We are worried that she may not last much longer.”

“Monday? Oh no! This is a problem. When will you be back? Who will clean my house?”

“I don’t know Señora. I have to go home to my mother. There are plenty of girls looking for work. I am sure you will not have a problem.”


Sunday, 31.August.2014


Soledad threw the last box into the back of the new red truck that she bought last night with some of her cash. It was the first she had dared to spend. She had had to give her cousin half of her winnings, he was a US Citizen, but she still had almost 25 million dollars in the Caymans. That would go a long way and do a lot of good in Oaxaca. She would give some to the church, she would give some to the orphans and she would build a school. Maybe they would name it after her: The Maria Soledad Esperanza Marquez School. It would be a fine school indeed.


flash-fiction-badge1Flash Fiction Challenge Prompt-35