OLWG #48 – Heavenly Bodies

Written for OLWG #48



Nell and Beatrice (call me Trixie) finished up their breakfasts and slid out of the orange and brown Naugahyde bench seats at the coffee shop.

“Thanks, Bernard!” Nell hollered back towards the kitchen and both ladies waved goodbye to the staff as they headed out the door. “I think that Bernard’s kinda cute,” she offered up by way of conversation.

“He mighta been cute before he put all those tattoos on his neck and such.” Bea replied, “He mighta been cute before he put all those earrings in his cheeks, eyebrows, chin, and tongue,” she went on, “but I certainly wouldn’t call him cute now!”

At the bus stop Nell added, “I bet he can still get it up though.”

Immediately Bea stretched her neck and looked around, “Hush Nellie, you don’t talk about things like that here, somebody could be listening!”

“I’m just sayin’.”

“Well just don’t, damnit.”

“Ohhhh, listen to you.” Nellie sang, “Language like that can get you thrown out of here too, ya know.”

“Shit,” Beatrice said and she giggled. Nell giggled too. The friends stood at the stop smiling and laughing at the joke between themselves until their coach arrived. They boarded and made their way to the back where other people weren’t. They were on their way to work. Nell closed her eyes to nap and Bea pulled out a Good Housekeeping magazine to occupy her time.

They got off the bus at about a quarter till nine and made their way to the warehouse where they changed into their work clothes. Nell couldn’t let it go, “Do you ever miss it, Trix?”

“Miss what?”

“You know… sex. Physical gratification? Scratchin’ that itch?” Nell looked at Beatrice who appeared dumbstruck and horrified by what she was hearing. “Do ya think they have sex in hell, Trixie? We damn sure don’t have it up here. Or do we? Maybe I’m just in the wrong part of Paradise? Ya think? I’ll tell you what I think. I think I still look pretty good for a woman who passed away in her fifties.” She studied her reflection and smoothed her work smock down past her hips.

They left the locker room and plucked time cards from their respective slots to punch in; nine o’clock on the dot. They headed towards the factory where Nell tied loops to the stars as they rolled off the production line. Trix’s job was Quality Control. She’d take a look at the finished products and tuck a little tag in the package: “Inspected by No. 17” it would say.

Nell tried to pick up the conversation but Trixie wouldn’t let her, “Best not to even be thinkin’ about such things.” she said and they continued their walk in silence until a voice rang out from behind them.

“’Scuse me, Ladies, I beg yore pa’don.”

The girls turned around to find a slim middle aged man had just entered the hallway behind them. In unison, both Bea and Nellie asked, “Us?” as they pointed at themselves.

“Yes ma’ams, I do mean y’all. I’m new here and I’ve gotten turned around some. Ah’m tryin’ to find my way to the work-floor. Kin y’all point me in the right direction?”

“We’re going there now,” Bea said.

“Come on then, you can walk with us; we’ll show you the way.” Nell added.

He hurried to catch up. He shook hands with Beatrice, “Nigel Parsons, ma’am. From Fort Worth.”

“Nice to meet you, Nigel, this is my friend Nell.”

He took Nell’s hand and perhaps held it for a little longer than was necessary, “Ah’m most pleased to make yore acquaintance Miss Nell.”

“Oh,” she replied and fanned herself with her free hand. Bea had never seen Nellie at a loss for words before.

Nigel finally released Nell’s hand. He said, “I unnerstan’ that quittin’ time’s ‘bout five-thirty. Would y’all ladies be free to join me for a drink afta work?”

“Unfortunately, I won’t be available,” Trixie replied, “but Nell’s available. Aren’t you Nellie?”

“Why, yes. Yes I am. That would be delightful, Mr. Parsons. Thank you.”

He slid between the two friends and brushed Nell’s back with his finger tips. “Please, call me Nigel. Mr. Parsons was my daddy’s name.” He grinned and Nell tittered.

As they passed a door Beatrice pulled up, “I just remembered, I have to stop in here and clear up some things for my Supervisor. You guys go on without me.”

Nell looked back over her shoulder in time to see Trixie mouth “Be careful what you wish for Nellie. Be careful.”

Nell frowned and turned back as Nigel continued, “They tole me Ahd be workin’ in the bizness o’ manufactrin’ heavenly bodies, but I didn’t realize Ahd get ta meet one on my furst day o’ work.” Behind the couple, Trix shook her head. The man droned on, “Perhaps, after a drink, you could join me fo’ dinner? Do you enjoy games? I play a mean game o’ tiddlywinks.”

“Oh, Nigel,” Nell said and she looked back with concern at her friend who was pushing open the door of the Quality office.


This week, the prompts were:

  1. Hanging stars
  2. a ladies’ man from Texas
  3. tiddlywinks

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.


Daily Prompt; Cur

Daily Prompt; Cur



Carol was an outlaw. Born in Boston, he came with his family to the territory in 1864, when he was about five years old. They homesteaded a ranch just outside Bayard on the banks of The Whiskey River. His father was killed in a poker game when Carol was eight and his mother took up with a hotelier, named, August Blake. She abandoned the ranch to move herself and the boy to Silver City. Blake adopted Carol who then took on his name.

Carol Blake had almost a complete year of schooling at the one room schoolhouse in Silver City. He learned to write, a little, and learned to read a little too. It was there that he met, the two people who would help to shape his life. He fell in with William “Billy” McCarty and Juana Montoya Patron, whom everyone called La Tullida, as she walked with a limp.

Like most boys of the day, Carol and Billy were delinquents. They started by taking penny candies from the jars at the General Store, but quickly the severity of their crimes grew and soon they were robbing rooms of the guests at August Blake’s hotel. It was about that time that both teenage boys took a fancy to their mutual friend, La Tullida. All was well and good till the time that Billy found Carol with Juana and called him out. In the ensuing gunfight Carol Blake lost the ring finger and the pinky finger of his left hand, Billy was unscathed. Carol Blake slunk out of town, and drifted  to Arizona. There, with the help of his pistol, he gained a modest amount of notoriety by robbing stage coaches, trains, and the occasional bank. His picture was on the walls of most every Post Office. He continued to evolve into a merciless killer and outlaw who would not let anyone or anything stand in the way of something he desired. He cut a swath of terror across Arizona. The Yuma Weekly News published a story in ’76 where they called him and his crew of five, curs. Carol quite fancied the moniker and adopted the name Carol “The Cur”, aka Cur Blake.

It was about that time that word reached him about his old friends, Billy and Juana. Word was that they had gotten hitched and set up house somewhere back in New Mexico. “Cur” determined he would go back and extract revenge on his one time friend and rival, Billy. He just wasn’t sure where they were in the territory, and it was a large territory. He rode east to Silver City, figuring that was as good a place to start looking as any. On the ride he began to dream of rekindling his romance with La Tullida.

###

Blake pulled Cerveza, his pony, up short at the top of the hill overlooking the town he had once called home. He knew that Billy was a drinkin’ man and he figgered he might just start lookin’ for him at the saloon. He clucked with his tongue, pulled his hat low over his eyes, and moved the reins against the horse’s neck. They moved slowly down the hill and into Silver City. Outside the “Miner Saloon” he looped Cerveza’s reins around a post and pushed his way into the barroom. His reputation had preceded him and someone there recognized his face under the brim of his Stetson.

“Blake!” was whispered from the long bar and the whisper quickly spread.  He stood at the doorway allowing his eyes to adjust to the gloom inside. Slowly a hush fell and he moved deeper into the room, his spurs jangling with each slow, measured step. It was deadly quiet when Carol stopped and took a place at the bar.

“We don’t want no trouble, Mr. Blake,” the barman squeaked.

A grin spread and Carol replied, “Me neither.” The room remained quiet as the drama at the bar unfolded, the girls were watching from the landing upstairs. The gamblers were watching from the card tables. The piano man was watching from his stool. The tension was so thick it could be cut with a knife. “You know what they call me in Arizona?” he turned and asked the room.

No one answered “Cur Blake’s what they call me, and I’m lookin’ for Billy,” he said softly.

No one said a word. The silence pressed down suffocating all except Carol.

Blake held up his mangled left hand, “I’m lookin’ for the man who shot my paw.”


I had to rise to this challenge, I just had to. Sorry it’s so corny. Hope you got a smile out of it.

Questions (unanswered)

link it here:

https://pressingpatience.com/2018/04/19/questions-unanswered/



So I saw this on Marilyn’s blog, Serendipity, and I was entertained by it. I figured I might have a go too. Gracias to Willow for asking.

Do you have a nickname? What do you prefer to be called?
In the Navy my name was Dad. My kids still call me that.

Do you have books on your shelf (ereader) that are begging to be read?
I’m working on “Y is for Yesterday” right now. It won’t take long.

Are you a doodler? What do your doodles look like?
Poetry or flash fiction

What do you do if you can’t sleep at night?
Read or write

How many days could you think you would last in solitary confinement?
I could last forever. I used to live on a submarine and, I enjoy my own company just fine.

Do you save old greeting cards and letters or do you toss them away?
I have some old ones. They are handmade by artists I admire. I save them. Store bought ones are normally recycled.

Who is the biggest pack rat you know?
My great-aunt Clint, she never threw anything away. Had four houses filled with stuff, and drove a ’40-something DeSoto. She passed away in an earthquake.

Were/are you a good student?
No.

How often do you look at yourself in the mirror?
I have no idea.

What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
I actually believed that adults, for the most part, knew what they were doing.

Do you re-gift items that have been given to you?
Maybe… why? Did you get something from me that you recognize?

Do you know the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
One has a long narrow nose; the other – less narrow

Do you still read the newspaper?
There is nothing but advertising in the ones here now. I watch the morning news and weather on TV.

Are there any animals that frighten you?
Humans

Are you a collector of something? If so, what do you collect?
Woodworking tools, you can never have enough routers.

What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?
I’ve never won the lottery. I hope that will change, but doubt it ever will. Does that count?

What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but no one believes you?
See this: https://tnkerr.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/daily-prompt-worldly-encounters/

What’s something that amazes you?
Babies are the most amazing.
I often consider the difference between a liar and a storyteller to be insignificant and yet only one is socially acceptable. That’s pretty amazing too, although not as amazing as babies.

Do you prefer the blunt truth or would you rather people temper their words?
It depends on what they are telling me.

What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself?
Pour concrete

What are the qualities that tend to draw you to someone new?
I like open, honest, a quick smile, and a good sense of humor

If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?
McCool, it was my Grandfather’s name.

Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not?
No, I don’t, but you’ll never know why ‘cause I’m not telling.

What (if anything) do you consider unforgivable?
Mistreating others

Do you ever break out into song just because you feel like singing?
This often happens when I’m driving


OLWG #47 – The New Riverside Children’s Home

Written for OLWG #47



Sybella Proud did not grow up like other girls. At least not the way that she thought other girls grew up,

but sometimes she dreamed it might not be all that different after all.

Then she’d catch a glimpse of her reflection in a darkened window and she knew.

Each night she would lie in her cot (near the end on the north side of the room).

She watched the spider high in the corner, and wondered why it stayed there.

In the morning all the children would rise before dawn and report for work. The breakfast bell would ring at 7:30 and they could come back to eat.

Some of the girls worked in the kitchen. Most of the boys worked in the gardens,

boys raised squash, tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers. Fruit trees. Rabbits, sheep, and lots of chickens.

Sybella Proud worked in the laundry. Washing, wringing, hanging things out to dry, ironing.

The good sisters would arrange to bring in laundry from the town.

The girls would fetch it, soiled, in the mornings. Deliver it back, clean, in the evenings.

The good sisters would count the pennies. Once a week, market day,

a few kitchen girls (usually the older ones) would set up a barrow in the middle of the block.

They sold produce and eggs.

New parents never came for Sybella Proud.

New parents wanted infants. Sybella was a wash girl. Too old.

New parents were not shown the laundry, or the kitchen, or the skinny, undernourished  girls who worked those places.

New parents were shown healthy babies, less than three years old.

Sometimes Sybella Proud would watch the town girls, playing dress-up or skipping rope.

She wondered what the point was.

She learned to tell the difference between town girls and Riverside girls.

It was the look in their eyes.


This week, the prompts were:

  1. playing dress-up
  2. watched the spider high in the corner
  3. in the middle of the block

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.


Daily Prompt: Fret

Daily Prompt: Fret



Danny clutched the case and pushed into the shop. Mendoza was perched on a stool at the counter caressing a Stratocaster.

“I been ‘specting you Danny, heard what happened.”

Danny set the case on the counter and popped it open. Inside was cradled his ’56 gold face Les Paul. The finish was dinged bad and the neck was bowed.

“Can you fix it?”

“I can straighten the neck and re-fret the fingerboard. The finish is probly done though. She threw it out in the rain, huh?”

“After she swung it at me; I don’t blame her, I prolly deserved it.”


 

OLWG #46 – What a Rush

Written for OLWG #46



I was in my study staring at a blank screen. I still have time but the deadline is fast approaching. My mind is blank so I seek distraction. I seek a reason that I cannot work, a reason other than “My mind is blank.”

The kids are off to school; they run past my office on their way to the back door. I hear the screen creak as they push it open on their way out, “Don’t slam …”

¡¡¡BANG!!!

“… that door.” I yell behind them, too late. The kids are gone. I guess I can’t blame them now.

Eileen is gone too. It’s Wednesday, and she always works early on Wednesday. Maybe, since I’m here all alone I don’t need to pretend to work. Maybe I can find a game on the cable or I could find an old western to watch. Who would know?

I stand up to pace. The office is small, not too many steps across but about the third or fourth time past the window I slow down. There’s something going on down the street, on the corner. It’s hard to make out, but there’s a stranger down there; his hair’s kinda long, but not really. He has a full mustache and a couple of cops are trying to get him into the back of their squad car. He’s yelling something, but it isn’t in English. French maybe?

I raise the window in an effort to hear better; was that my name I heard? Maybe… I leaned out the window to see if I can hear better.

“TN TN,” yeah, that’s my name. I figure I had best go check it out, so I march downstairs and out the front door, down to the corner.

“Officers?” I open, “May I help here?”

The two cops looked at me, “You need to stand back, sir,” the smaller of the two said. I noticed his badge identified him as ‘Lambert’ and he wears his salt and pepper hair cropped high and tight.

“Officer Lambert,” I admonish, “I can be of assistance to you. I believe this man is speaking French. I also speak French and could, perhaps, help us all to identify the misunderstanding. Furthermore, I believe I heard my name called earlier.” I bowed slightly and announced, “I am TN Kerr. I live just up the block.”

I spoke a few words with the man and he told me that his name was Honoré de Balzac.

I laughed and asked how that could be since de Balzac had been dead since 1850.

“S’ il vous plait,” was all he said.

I thought about the situation. I was intrigued, “Officer Lambert,” I called the cop over, “It seems that this gentleman is indeed looking for me. He claims to be some sort of long lost uncle or some such. I can relieve you of him and take him to my house and see if I can get further information.”

“Just don’t leave him alone in public sir,” Lambert told me, eager to be loose of the situation.

“You have my word, officer.”

As we walked back up the block he looked at me and said, “I think you are having some difficulty with your writing this morning, no?”

I shrugged the question off as we arrived at my home.

“Dès que le café est dans votre estomac, il y a une agitation générale. Les idées commencent à bouger … les comparaisons se produisent, le papier est couvert. Le café est votre allié et l’écriture cesse d’être un combat. ” He said in the kitchen and pointed to the coffee pot.

“I agree, I need coffee” I said, “but I might have phrased it differently. I might have chosen a different word from agitation. I would have some other word instead of comparisons, and I would have said struggle instead of fight, but these are minor. Who are you really?”

He puffed up and pointed to his chest, “Honoré de Balzac,” he assured me.

“But Honoré de Balzac is dead.” I pointed out.

“Dead is something that the living say,” he told me, “Those of us who are dead don’t use that terminology. How is my English, by the way?”

“Pretty good,” I told him, “Wanna hang out, I can teach you more English and you can help me with my writing.”

“I can help you with your writing; without even having to hang out with you. Remember to drink coffee. As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move… similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle… Similes, do you think that is a better word than comparisons?” He began to fade and shimmer like heat waves over a desert highway. “Hey do you know where I can find Jack Kerouac? I’ve heard that he likes my work.”

“Simile is a much better word.” I told him, “and, you and Kerouac – shit, you are both in the same boat. Dead? Not dead? I think he died in Florida in the 60’s. Good luck and it was nice to meet you.”

He was gone. I looked out the window again – the cops were gone too.


This week, the prompts were:

  1. what a rush
  2. on the corner
  3. don’t slam that door

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.


OLWG #45 – The Third

Written for OLWG #45



Geronimo Green adjusted his leotard singlet, stared at his reflection in the mirror, and silently cursed his manager, Murray, for arranging this fight. Not only had Murray agreed to this fight, he had been the one to toss out the initial challenge. Not only had Murray antagonized Sally, but he had issued the challenge in such a way that she could not refuse. Almost immediately; her manager had picked up the gauntlet – it was on.

“Battle of the Sexes” was the billing; it was like that Billie Jean King tennis match against Bobby Riggs back in the day. Sally Higgins was a small girl who wore her hair in blonde cornrows. She was from some small beach town in Florida. She wrestled as ‘The Butcheress of Belarus’. Everyone knew that she had never been to Belarus, and the word in the business was that she had been the Prom Queen at whatever High School she had gone to in that stupid little Florida backwater. She had come a long way – from debutante to butcheress.

She was a fierce wrestler though, who showed no mercy to her opponents. She never talked to anyone either. If an interviewer or sports caster asked questions; she would only grunt, with an affected Eastern European accent, turn on her heels and stalk away. She was beautiful even though she carried a perpetual scowl whenever she was in public. Truth be told; Geronimo wasn’t sure that he could beat her and, it worried him. The stakes were high.

When the door crashed open Geronimo looked up and it was Murray. He had an armful of fight posters and, as always, he was on the phone, “Alright, baby. Yeah, yeah – I’m with him right now…” Murray looked up at Greene and winked, as he listened on the phone, “Ok, look that was never my intention. Uh huh – yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I gotta go. Love ya, man.” He lowered his phone, studied the screen and then pushed a button with his thumb and terminated the call.

He stared at the telephone for a few seconds, tossed the posters in the corner, then looked back up at his fighter, Geronimo Greene, “’Mo, baby,” he said smiling and throwing a few punches at no one – shadow boxing, “Big night, eh? Big night for you Geronimo.”

“I guess so, Murray. I’m not looking forward to it though.”

“’Mo, listen,” Murray reached back and flipped the deadbolt on the dressing room door before coming over to where the fighter sat with his hands on his knees. “I need to talk to you about tonight, Champ.”

“Jesus, Murray don’t call me that. I’m not the Champ and if I don’t beat Sally tonight I never will be. Tell me again why I’m doing this.”

“You’re doing this for me, ‘Mo. That’s what I need to talk with you about.” Murray’s whole tone had changed. He was serious; he was not the ‘happy-go-lucky’ wrestling manager and promoter that he normally portrayed. “I need you to lay down in the third.”

“WHAT?”

“’Mo, you know I wouldn’t ask for this in a million years.”

“Yet, here you are asking, Murray,” Geronimo was pissed off, “what nerve, man. I trusted you. How can you ask me to take a dive? You of all people!”

“I’m sorry man; I got in deep with some guys. I owe ‘em. I owe ‘em a bundle. If you don’t do this they’ll kill me.”

Geronimo sat up straighter and studied his long time friend and manager. Murray outweighed him by at least fifty pounds, but he was slow and out of shape. Geronimo Greene didn’t even need to look for an opening; this wasn’t the ring and Murray had his hands open and spread wide as he pled with the fighter. Without a second thought Geronimo landed a deft uppercut with his left hand that rattled the trainer from head to toe. Murray collapsed onto the cold concrete floor.

Greene climbed down from the bench, shook his left hand, and pulled Murray across the floor, positioning him so that he was seated with his back against the wall. He unlocked the door, grabbed his robe from the hook and pushed out into the passageway. As he neared the entrance to the arena he heard his name called out by the referee over the public address system, “Geronimooo Greeeeene!” The crowd got loud as he stepped out where they could see him. Glancing towards the ring he saw The Butcheress of Belarus leaning against the ropes in her corner. She was leering at him as he made his way down to the mat.


This week, the prompts were:

  1. at least fifty pounds
  2. never my intention
  3. Geronimo Greene

Don’t think! Write!
You have 25 minutes but if it takes longer – just don’t tell anyone.