Chaika et al.

June 1963

Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, aka Chaika, orbits earth
Ich bin ein Berliner
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini arrested and imprisoned for eight months
Medgar Evers dead in his driveway in Jackson Mississippi
Vivian Malone, James A. Hood successfully enroll at the University of Alabama
Quang Duc, wearing orange, burns in a Saigon intersection

TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #7

  1. now one of us has to tell Mary
  2. conflict diamonds
  3. the sky is so much bigger here

Hjalmar was tired. He turned the bottle upside down and finished off what passed for gin in this god-forsaken place. He was going to exchange the stones for cash and then go home. Back to Karlskrona and his wife, Mary. The 9mm weighed heavy in his right hand coat pocket. His colleagues, Anders, Goran, and Roland were here at separate tables. They were here as backup.

They all knew the stories of the man he was meeting. He was a man who was larger than life, an angry man, a man who could kill without compunction, a man who could kill at the drop of a hat.

There was a commotion at the door and a hush fell over the barroom. An oversized guy, dark and boding; carrying a small duffel and wearing a khaki uniform ducked to come through the door. Respectfully, he removed his hat and paused to allow his eyes to adjust to the gloom inside.

When he moved again he went straight to the bar and embraced the woman who had been leaning against the end. A hurried conversation ensued and she pointed out Hjalmar to the large man.  He nodded, made his way to Hjalmar’s table and sat. The man was so large that Hjalmar feared the chair might collapse.

“Do you have the stones?” the man asked.

Hjalmar nodded and using his left hand removed a leather pouch tied off at the top with a drawstring. Nervously, he set it on the table.

The big man reached for the bag and then paused. He looked to Hjalmar, as though requesting permission. Hjalmar nodded and the man lifted the bag, hefting it in his hand to gauge the weight. He untied the top and spilled a few of diamonds on the table. These were conflict diamonds, blood diamonds. The four Swedes in the room knew only too well how much blood had been spilt for these stones. The big man didn’t care about the history of the rocks. He smiled and kicked the duffel under the table within Hjalmar’s reach.

Hjalmar never got to the bag. The big man shot him through the chest. Hjalmar and his chair wound up unmoving, both on their backs on the barroom floor. Goran stood and made a beeline towards the door. He got no more than three steps before the big man’s pistol barked twice more and Goran collapsed.

Anders and Roland had the good sense to stay seated and not draw attention to themselves. The large man surveyed the room. Put the bag of diamonds in his pocket and picked up the duffel. No one else moved.


Time’s up!
About 30 minutes to write – another 15 to edit and make corrections.


Side Effects May Include…


She had been advised to expect the frequent headaches, dry itchy eyes, painful urination, and sudden uncontrollable verbal outbursts; but the birds? No one had warned her that there would be birds.

What was she supposed to do now?

Photo courtesy of VisDare Source



Railroad Town


The tracks run through this desert town, but
the train moves right on through.
The old depot’s boarded up now.

As a child, on the weekends, my father would take me here – to this depot.
We would stand in the grand hall and watch the engine arrive from the North to
disgorge passengers, mail, and freight.

The train would rest at the platform for fifteen minutes.
Exactly fifteen minutes – no more, no less.
Just enough time to catch its breath.

Mr. Purcyllis would look at his gold watch.
“Booaaarrrdd,” he would yell before grabbing ahold of an after car.
He would swing himself up, as the locomotive gathered speed.

Father and I would move to the platform and watch the train
Slowly diminish as it moved out of sight. It would
fade in the shimmering heat that rose from the distant tracks.

When we could no longer hear the engines,
no longer hear the whistle; we’d pull our hats low over our eyes and
slowly make our way back home.

 A Wednesday morning response to another Monday Writing Prompt generously provided by The Secret Keeper.

Victor and Hugo xi

V&H The Blog Propellant

Charlene sat bolt upright in the bed; she was covered with sweat and filled with terror. It had been the dream again. She looked to her right and assured herself that there was no one there. She looked to the lighted clock and saw that it was 2:24 am. She knew that sleep was over. She never went back to sleep after the dream.

She pushed herself back and leaned against the headboard, trying to figure out what it meant. Who was James Howard Kirkpatrick? Why did he go by three names? Who was Silver? Silver? Obviously a stage name for the stripper in her dream, but who were these people and why did they come to her in her sleep?

She pushed the bed clothes back and grabbed her old purple sweatpants off the back of the chair. She loved these sweatpants, soft, faded, baggy, and warm; she wished she could wear them all the time. When coupled with the lime green robe, she was in her favorite morning attire. She stopped in the bathroom and then went down the hall to the kitchen to flick the switch on the coffee maker.

She found the end of a quart of milk in the fridge, sniffed it, and poured it in the sink. Grabbing a fresh one she opened it and took a swig right out of the container. This was one of the perks of living alone. She switched on her television to check the local news while she waited for the coffee to be done.

She thought about the dream. She had been having this dream off and on since high school. She was never a participant, strictly an observer. She worried about Silver. She thought James Howard Kirkpatrick had the capacity for evil. She thought he might be a stalker, but what could she do about it? It was just a dream.

Lately the dream had been more frequent.  Twice in the last three weeks. What did that mean?

The dream slowly faded as the caffeine took hold and she distracted herself with other things. Her TV news told her that one lane on the freeway bridge was going to be closed for two days while crews worked on it. This weekend the library was having a used book sale. Some people had died, some had been born. Some people had gotten married, some divorced. The weather forecast was for more of the same. She played a couple hands of solitaire and looked at some e-mailed photos of her sister’s kids.

She whiled away the morning and then treated herself to a long soak in the tub. By the time she got dressed and went in to the office Hugo was already there.

“Hey, Hugo,” she sang as she came in, “how’s things?”

Hugo stood and hurried over to her, “Charlene, there’s a guy in the conference room waiting for you. He was in the parking lot when I got in this morning and he asked for you. I gave him some coffee and left him alone.”

“What’s he want?” she asked. “Who is he?”

Hugo fumbled in his shirt pocket and pulled out a card. “He gave me this.”

Charlene glanced down at the business card and read:


James Howard Kirkpatrick
Special Investigator
United States Department of Justice


“He wouldn’t tell me what it was about. He wanted to wait for you.”

Charlene pursed he lips and blew out a long breath, as if she’d been holding it for a long time.

“Well, this can’t be good,” she said, “Well, come on, Hugo. Let’s go see what he wants.”


And they said it couldn’t be done! I even managed to work in April’s Prompt too!

1936 Terraplane – OLWG#6


The prompts are:

  1. This isn’t just a story
  2. Soon, soon
  3. Candy wrapper / Hudson / moss covered stone

Marisol popped the last section of chocolate bar into her mouth just as Grampa pulled his old car up to the curb. She stuffed the wrapper into her jacket pocket and ran down to his ’36 Hudson Terraplane. It was a shiny black old car with a khaki coloured interior. It was complete with suicide doors, split windscreen, big whitewall tires, and that long nose fronted by the huge grill. Grampa had gotten the car from his dad, who had gotten it from his dad. Family tradition demanded that it be kept it immaculate. He had already told her that it would be hers when he was done driving it.

She liked to let the chocolate melt in her mouth rather than chew it up. It lasted longer that way; and when she climbed into the car with Grampa he gave he a sideways look.

“You save any of that chocolate bar for me?” he asked.

“Sorry, Grampa; you shoulda been here two minutes ago.” She pushed the bill of her ball cap back and sucked the chocolate smiling at him.

He grinned, put the car in first and pulled away from the curb. He turned East on High Street and headed out of town.

“What’s up Grampa? That was a lot of mystery on the phone call. You didn’t give anything up except that you needed me all day today. Can you tell me what we’re doing? Where we’re going?

“Course I can, girl. That’s why I gotcha. We have a bit of a drive cause I gotta tell you a story. I made a picnic basket though. We can stop at that park in the canyon outside of Elmdale for lunch.”

Marisol knew that Elmdale was over an hour away.

“OK Gramps, let’s hear it.” She slouched down in her seat making herself comfortable and pulled her hat bill down lower over her eyes.

“This isn’t just a story Mari,” he started, “Every bit of it is true and I’ve never told anyone about this before. Not even your grandma.”

Marisol nodded her head and swallowed the last of the chocolate, wishing she had more.

“It all starts with the pirates in the South China Sea,” Grampa said.” I pulled one of ‘em out of the ocean. Saved his life. In gratitude he gave me this map.” Grampa pulled a folded sheet of heavy paper from the inside pocket of his coat and handed it to her.”

OK, I didn’t get all the prompts in, but I seldom do. I wrote for 25 minutes and edited for 5. I was just getting started!

I pick no 7.

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