OLWG · writing

OLWG #22 – Newlyweds

I had a good time with these prompts. No such thing as too much practice!

 Written for OLWG #22

Danielle and I were newlyweds when I first learned about her “sensitivity” to caffeine.  Her folks had stayed at our house while we were on our honeymoon. That had worked out well, as they were able to look after the dogs for the week and a half that we were in Mexico. I was going to take them to the airport this afternoon and they were going back to Cincinnati, leaving my bride and me to get busy with married life.

The entire time that we had been dating and cohabitating she never drank coffee or tea. I just assumed that she didn’t like them. She wasn’t into sugary drinks either. She ate healthy. Organic produce, very little beef; chicken, fish, and eggs were her main sources of protein. She exercised and was physically fit.

That first morning after returning from Puerto Vallarta she woke early.

“Stay in bed for awhile, honey,” she whispered to me. “I’m going to go downstairs and make breakfast before Mom and Dad get up.” She gave me a peck on the cheek and got out of the bed. I rolled over and closed my eyes, I did not intend to go back to sleep, but I did.

Some time later I woke up to a loud crash from downstairs. Not knowing what to think, but fearing the worst, I leapt from the bed and ran downstairs in my boxers. Turning at the base of the stairs I encountered my first problem when I entered the living room, falling flat on my face. The furniture was rearranged and I had tripped over the coffee table, badly bruising my shin and breaking a front tooth. Danielle was headed my way fast. She stepped on my fingers as she knelt down next to me and handed me a napkin wrapped around a cinnamon roll.

“Oh good, you’re finally up,” she said as she stood, grinding my fingers into the floor. “Here’s a sticky bun, I have laundry in the washer, can you move it to the dryer for me when it’s done washing? There’s a coffee cake in the oven and you can pull it out when the timer goes off. Put lots of butter on the top and then put the crumbles on. They’re in the bowl next to the stove. I’ve gotta go – got errands to run! I’ll be back as soon as I can.” She jingled her keys, gave my butt a squeeze and ran out the front door. I heard the car lay rubber as she pulled away from the house.

“What happened here?” My father in law asked as he hit the bottom stair and saw me sprawled on the floor.

“I’m not really sure,” I answered him as I struggled back to my feet. “I think, I’ve seen the devil.”

“Danielle?” he asked, and I nodded my head as I watched him move into the kitchen. “Here’s the problem,” he said. I came up behind him and peered over his shoulder. He was looking at a half pot of coffee sitting in the coffee maker, “That girl can’t handle coffee. I thought you’da known that by now.”

“Jeeze,” I said and I shook my head.

“My fault,” he said, “I shoulda warned you. She gets that from her mother, I thought you knew. You should never give her coffee.”

“Well, she won’t be having any more.” I said.

Just then the timer sounded for the coffee cake. I turned it off and opened the oven. It was a beautiful cake so I grabbed a couple pot holders, pulled it out and set it on top of the stove next to the pan of cinnamon rolls.

“Do you guys want some sweets for breakfast?” I asked.

“Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll go get Marge but you need to pour out that coffee, turn off the pot and open a window to air this place out. I don’t want Marge to be tempted. That’s the last thing we need.” He headed back upstairs and I did as he had asked.

I buttered the top of the cake and put the crumble on just as Danielle’s parents got downstairs. Her mom gave me the once over and raised one eyebrow.

“I was just going up for some clothes.” I hurried out of the room for a sweat shirt and trousers. When I got back down Hank and Marge were seated at the kitchen table with orange juice and thick slices of coffee cake.

Marge looked up at me, “I like what you’ve done to the living room,” she intoned, “Where’s Danielle?”

“She’s just running some errands,” I said.

My mother in law started nodding her head knowingly, “You should never let that girl have coffee, you know. It makes her a little hyper. It’ll wear off in time though.”

I swallowed, “How long?”

“Two or three days is all. You shouldn’t lose too much sleep.” Marge and Hank both smiled at me and had another bite of coffee cake.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. I have seen the devil
  2. What happened here?
  3. She won’t be having anymore



And Now For Something Completely Different


The summer sky at Trinity is bigger than in New York.
Still today, some can sense the past; peeking out from the edges of the clouds.


In the hush of the auditorium, I hear my words reverberate around the room.
Passing the open door by the stage, I see the poet who’s reading my poems. He is not me.


Open your eyes, look into the light, hush and wait for the glare to fade. See how gently
her robe falls open; wait for it all to shatter; wait for the vision to begin again.


The glacier calves again and again; each bergy bit set free; to roam the seas,
to evanesce, run aground, and scour the seabed. To finally disappear, forgotten and lost.


No, it’s not about you. It’s not about how you look or what you think –
it’s about her – how she haunts my dreams; ephemeral,  fugitive, making me long for sleep.

I just submitted this ghazal to the poetry contest being hosted by Kayla Ann on her site – read more about the contest here:


OLWG · writing

OLWG #21 – Joy

I was going to write for the second set of prompts. It got away from me and this somehow appeared on the page. I guess I ignored those prompts

 Written for OLWG #21

I met her in the dance hall where she worked
‘Dime a dance’
I introduced myself, “Sam,” said I, extending my hand
“Joy,” she said in kind as she stands.

She’s not like the other girls who have drawn my attention
she’s taller than I; red corkscrews frame her face.
She has milky white skin, heavy breasts and hips.
A dusting of freckles decorates her nose and cheek bones.

“What brings you to The Five Boroughs?” she asks;
light accent lending music to her words.
“Sailor on shore leave,” I explain,

“I live here,” she says.
She leans in close and we dance.
At ten cents per, I buy her entire card for a song.
We spend the evening together.

She won’t let me steal a kiss when the ball room closes,
but she gives me her address and permission to write.
I write, I write daily.
She writes back.

This week there are two sets of prompts. I ignored both for this post:

  1. I’m gonna be late for work
  2. Hippopotamus
  3. Wait till your father gets home
  1. They had one greedy son
  2. King of clubs
  3. I do
OLWG · writing

OLWG #21 – Every Day’s an Adventure

Another burst of flash fiction

 Written for OLWG #21

I was in the kitchen when Dad came downstairs. I had already cooked up some bacon in the microwave and had just topped off my coffee. I had a cast iron skillet on the stove heating up for flapjacks. When I heard him coming I pulled his cup from the cupboard, filled it with joe and placed it on the table where he liked to sit. I put the eggs and milk back in the fridge and was stirring the pancake batter when he came in and filled the kitchen. My dad’s not a big man, but he’s the kind of man who takes over every room he enters. His personality is large, always has been, and he loves people.

“Hey, boy; are ya fixin’ breakfast this morning?”

“Makin’ pancakes, Dad; that ok?”

“Sounds great, can you make mine look like a hippopotamus?”

I pretended to consider the idea carefully, “Well, I guess I could try. You want a couple o’ eggs this morning too?”

“Nah, just pancakes and pork bellies but hippos today Danny. I think you made me giraffes yesterday, didn’t you?” He laughed and slid into his chair, grabbed the sugar bowl and scooped four spoonfuls into his cup. He went quiet and studied the weather from the kitchen window as he stirred.

“It mighta been giraffes, Dad. I don’t remember for sure.”

Since he had retired from the paper, ten years ago, Dad always had pancakes and bacon for breakfast. He always liked his pancakes made to look like a hippo. Two hippos with honey, four slices of bacon, and two cups of coffee; that was his standard fare and it was new for him every day. I had gotten pretty good at making hippo cakes.

I set his first plate of hippos in front of him with butter and honey already on em and two slices of bacon on the side. I got started on making the second stack. “What do you have going today, Dad?” I asked.

He cleared his throat, and eyeballed me for awhile, “Got a budget meeting this morning,” he said, “then, who knows? That’s what I like about the news business. Never the same two days in a row.”

I nodded my head and he tucked into his food. After breakfast he went back upstairs to shower and dress for the day. He came back down in his rumpled brown suit. I helped him with his tie. He thanked me for breakfast and headed into the dining room. A 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle occupied the dining table. He sat down and started working, he had started this one only recently and still hadn’t connected all the edges yet. I let him work while I cleaned up the kitchen. When I finished there I went upstairs to make beds and gather the laundry. Dad’s grey suit, that he wore yesterday, was hung neatly in the closet but I found his dress shirt on the floor by the bed. When I went back down he was napping in his recliner with the TV on in front of him. I did the laundry and went outside to water.

He wanted a fried bologna sandwich for lunch, we split a Budweiser.

“Want anything else, Dad?”

“Thanks Danny, but no. I gotta get movin’ or I’ll be late getting back to work”

But, he lingered to tell me about his day. It was the same day, every day: ‘the war,’ ‘the shortage of newsprint,’ ‘the deadlines,’ ‘issues with reporters and photographers,’ ‘politicians in the city,’ he had a lot of responsibility. Finally we cleared the table and stacked the dishes in the sink. We worked together on the puzzle for about an hour and got the edges done before he announced that it was time for the game and moved back to the TV. He found a game and settled in to watch the A’s. When there’s no baseball he watches soaps and talk shows. He really likes Ellen.

I took the opportunity to go to the market. I checked on Dad when I got home and he was yelling at the players on the TV. I went in and took a seat on the sofa. We enjoyed yelling at the A’s together till he fell asleep again. I left the set on and moved back to the kitchen, worked the crossword.

Every day’s an adventure. There’s an award dinner next week at the Airport Hilton. I’m taking Dad. We can rub elbows with some of his old friends, mix it up a little.

This week there are two sets of prompts. I chose the first set for this post:

  1. I’m gonna be late for work
  2. Hippopotamus
  3. Wait till your father gets home


  1. They had one greedy son
  2. King of clubs
  3. I do
OLWG · writing

OLWG #20 – Untitled

I’m back to Flash Fiction this week. Just over 750 words to cover a few moments of time shared by three people in a bar in San Diego

 Written for OLWG #20

Near Balboa Park; autumn afternoon, clear skies, light sea breeze –

“Hey, bud,” he hailed.

I paid him no mind.

“Hey, hey, bud,” he shot again.

I stopped, made eye contact, “My name’s not Bud.”

Ida been surprised if it was. Come over here a minute wouldja? I wanna put a bee in yer bonnet. I wanna tug on yer coat a bit. I wanna make ya an offer ya can’t refuse.”

I moved about half a step in his direction.

“What?” I asked.

“Gotta smoke?”


“Couple bucks, mebbe? Some spare change?”


“Let’s step in here,” he indicated the red door to the barroom he was standing in front of.

I looked at the neon sign in the window: The Red Door.

I had lots of time, a drink sounded good, and it wasn’t a dark alleyway that he was luring me into so I followed him inside.

“This is better,” he said, “Less interruptive.”  We made our way to a Naugahyde booth at the back and slid in on opposite sides of the table.

“Whaddaya drinkin?”

“Beer’s good.”

He waved at the bartender, “Hey tarbender; Red Stripes. Cain’t be too careful,” he said, “we don’t want a lotta people in on this deal. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”

A thin, fair skinned, dark haired girl floated across the floor to our booth and slid in next to me. My new friend rolled his eyes, “go away Nadine, this don’t concern you.”

“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend, Ace?” she asked.

“Nadine, this is Bud… Bud this is Nadine. Now get lost Nadine, we’re talkin’ business.”

“My name’s not Bud.”

“That’s OK,” she said, “my name’s not Nadine” she extended her hand and we shook.

The bartender ambled over with three Old Fashion glasses that he sat in front of us. Ace talked him out of a cigarette. The glasses had some kind of whiskey in ‘em. It certainly wasn’t beer.

“What’s this?” I asked.

Not Nadine picked up her glass and took a sip, “Southern Comfort,” she informed me.

Ace lit his smoke and drained his drink; he motioned the bartender for another.

He looked at me “I got a truckload of, shall I say, commodities that I need to sell quickly. I’ll make ya a really good deal.”

He stopped talking and we sat on opposite sides of the table, looking at each other. Finally he picked it up again.

“Whut ya say, Bud. Ya in?”

“My name’s not Bud.”

“Whatever, are ya in?”

I looked at Not Nadine. She was leaned back comfortably in the seat smiling and shaking her head. I looked back at Ace.

“What kinda commodities?” I asked.

“Oh, you know, the regular kinda shit; appliances, TV’s, stereos, toaster ovens, mixers,” he watched my face, “Oh, and some power tools too. Drills, Skil saws, sanders, and the like.”

I picked up my drink and took a sip, grimaced, I hate Southern Comfort.

“I’ll need to see the goods, and I’ll need to know the price.”

“Sure,” he said, “let’s go.” I looked at Not Nadine who was still shaking her head.

I reached for a napkin and pushed it across towards him. I set a felt tip marker on top of the paper napkin, “Whole truck full?”

He nodded.

“Write down on that paper what you want for the entire load then fold it in half and give it back to me.”

Ace uncapped the pen and shielding the paper with his right hand, he thought for awhile and when he made a decision; he tucked his head down and wrote something down with his left. He folded the paper in half and pushed it back towards me. He put the pen in his pocket. Not Nadine watched both of us carefully.

I didn’t look at what he had written; simply covered the napkin with my hand, “No doubt, you have represented a fair price here, Ace, but I can tell you right now that you’ll be lucky to get twenty-five percent of this figure from me. You still want to talk?” I watched his laryngeal prominence, also known as his Adams apple; move up and down as he pondered my offer. Finally, he nodded. “OK then,” I said, “let’s go look.”

Not Nadine slid from the booth, “Can I come?” she asked.

“It’s all right with me if it’s all right with Ace.” I said, “OK with you, Ace if Not Nadine tags along?”

This week’s prompts are:

  1. my name’s not Bud
  2. Southern Comfort and smoke
  3. pull on your coat
OLWG · writing

OLWG #19 – Nothing is Real

I’m hung up on Ginsberg’s “American Sentences”
I wrote four of them for this prompt response.

OLWG #19

“I’m so confused right now; I just don’t know what to believe anymore.”

“Nothing they tell you is real. They’ll lie, it’s about controlling you.”

“But you haven’t heard what they said about you and the things that you did.”

“So, some of it might be real but ALMOST nothing they tell you will be.”


This week’s prompts are:

  1. Dirty little secrets
  2. The cure is worse
  3. Nothing they tell you is real
OLWG · writing

OLWG #18 – How Me, Dad, and Uncle Vinnie Found Hell

OLWG #18

When I woke this morning my mom was standing there like she’d been watching me sleep.  When she saw my eyes open she clucked her tongue, the way she always had, and smoothed my hair back off my forehead.

She smiled, “Sally, you made it. We weren’t sure if you would for awhile, there was some heated debates going on.”

“What are you talking about, Ma?”

“We wasn’t sure they was gonna let you in, but looks like they did, allright. Did you really kill all those people on that bridge?”

I knew immediately what she was talking about, but I was confused. “That was wartime, Ma. How’d you find out about that? Wait a minute… what are you doing here? You passed on years ago. Where am I?” I looked over her shoulder and saw my dad’s mother, Gramma Nonie; my dad, and my sister Carmella. “You guys? None of you can be here either. What’s going on?”

Carmella leaned forward, “This is heaven, Sal,” she snapped her gum, “this is heaven and we’re all here ‘cause we’re dead. You’re dead too.”

“Dead – No, I’m not dead. I don’t feel any different. I’d feel different if I was dead.”

My mother just looked at me nodding her head. “Yeah, we all thought that too. We doan though, and despite what your sister says, I’m not sure that this is heaven either. I mean, your father is here with his mother. Your Uncle Vinnie’s here too. That doan seem like heaven to me. I never liked those people… Well, maybe your father for a year or two. I shoulda left him, but the family, ya know, and the church; I was stuck.”

“Ma, I don’t want to hear this. I can’t be dead, what…”

My father interrupted me, waving his hands, “Course you’re dead Sally. What’s the last thing ya ‘member?”

Everybody turned to look at me.

“Me and a couple of the guys were doing a job on the hill. I opened the safe, and got the cash in a bag. We were getting ready to leave when I saw the red lights flashing through the window. I hightailed it out the back with the bag in hand. I don’t know what happened after that.”

“You was prolly shot by the cops while you was tryin’ to ‘scape,” Dad said, “at least that’s what it’ll say in the report.” He pointed his finger at me and he grinned that lopsided grin that everyone loved so much, specially the ladies, which was why my mom and dad hadn’t gotten along real well.

I sat up in the bed and my Gramma Nonie came around and took my hand, “You just need a little time to adjust, Sally,” she said. “Let me make you somethin’ to eat. What can I get you?”

“I’m not hungry Nonie, thanks. Who else is here?”

“Family, it’s all family,” Ma butted in, “unfortunately, it’s all his family.” She made an obscene hand gesture towards my father.

My dad frowned, “Enough of that shit, Rosie. Knock it off, and all of youse get the hell outa here. I gotta talk to Sally.” Everybody started mumbling and turned away, shuffled off. Dad watched ‘em till they were out of earshot then he turned back to me. “I told you not to work for Jimmy. I told you that years ago, but you wouldn’t listen. Dangerous work, I said. Working for Jimmy’ll get ya killed, I said, but you wouldn’ listen to me.  Nooooo, you only saw easy money, booze, and broads. That’s what you wanted; and I hate to say I tole ya so, but I tole ya so.” He slapped the back of my head like he had done when I was a kid.

“Hey, shit. Dad?”

He smacked the back of my head again, “watch yer fuckin’ mouth. Yer mother’s right over there.”

“OK, OK sorry, but what difference does it make now?”

“Listen Sally, yer mother’s right. I don’t know where we are but it doan seem like heaven to me. Me an Vinny, we’re plannin’ to get outta here, but it ain’t easy. Now doan point and doan look but you see that hill over my shoulder? The one with the single tree growin’ on the top.”


“There’s a fence just the other side o’ that tree, youse caint see it from here. Bob wire. We just need to get to the other side o’ that fence an we’ll be home free. We go tonight after yer mother and sister get ta sleep.”

Everything worked smoothly till we were walking down the backside of the hill and heard my Ma’s mother, Gramma Rosie; after whom my mother was named. She was cackling and hollering, “Well, look who’s come ‘a callin’,” she shouted.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. I don’t feel any different
  2. Life in flip flops
  3. Go easy on the cayenne