The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP Redux 9- Monoku for a Couplet



 Ms Rose, as inspiration, today penned a verse; her gift – enjoy.



The prompts:

During the holidays, stories are fantastic. Even the dull and routine undergo a fanciful transformation, like the winter storm that dumps tons of snow causing widespread disruption, horrible car wrecks, and hours of backbreaking labor, magically becomes “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow / Gave a lustre of midday to objects below…”

So, as we take out our garlands, strings of twinkling lights, glittering wreaths, Sugar Plum Fairies and Elves on Shelves from storage, let’s also take everyone on a journey through the back of our magical wardrobes into a fantastic world of miracles and wonder.

The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP Redux 8- Danseur



My mother was a single mom. She was always disappointed in me. I was the firstborn, the only born, and I wasn’t a girl. She wanted a girl. I’ll bet you can see where this is going, huh?

I got dolls and dollhouses as birthday presents. A pink bicycle with a white banana seat, a woven basket, and training wheels is one of the first Christmas presents, I can remember.  When I turned six, my mom enrolled me at ‘Angel Feet Ballet Academy’ in downtown Franklin. She also presented me with three sets of tights; one set a pastel blue, one was seafoam green, and the third was a bright yellow (the colour of Big Bird).

Fast forward about ten years, and I had become a pretty good dancer. While the other boys were trying out for football and lifting weights in the gym; I was trying out for parts in ‘Don Quixote’ and ‘La Bayader’ and lifting girls overhead.

When I was seventeen, I graduated from high school and got hired on as an ensemble dancer with the state corps de ballet. It came with a forty-week contract and was my first real job. It was pretty easy for me to get too. There are usually more women ensemble dancers required meaning more women get hired. There are not many men in that line of work, either. We toured back and forth across the state. We spent no more than one or two nights in any given city. I lived with and worked with women and girls. I lost my virginity after three days on the job.

I worked for the state ballet for three years. I was a corps dancer. I slept with scores of women, some young, some older, all with a similar body type. It was a great job with benefits that any young man would enjoy, but there’s not much room for advancement. An ensemble dancer, in those days, could make twenty to thirty thousand dollars a year. It was a respectable income, but for me, the lure was the girls, the women. I was one of only a few males in the business. I could talk to the girls about what they loved, dance. I got a lot of attention. Ah, but that was a long time ago.

In the hope of advancing my career, I danced in theatre, film and television. I was never well known. I chased skirts more than I worked, and I got old. Nothing lasts forever, eh?

These days I still dance. I make instructional videos that I sell online. I run an Arthur Murray Studio in the evenings. I continue to meet a lot of women. I still sleep with a lot of women, but these days they are mostly bored housewives. Women who are looking for someone to spend time with while their husbands travel for business. They press themselves up against me and grope my crotch. It’s just not the same.

Not the same at all.

This week’s prompts were:

  • What was the impact of the first job held?
  • What was it about the best job held that makes it stand out from the others?
  • What about a job that fell short of hopes, dreams or expectations?
  • The job lost: What was going on that lead to a dismissal, or what happened as a result?
  • The boss, colleagues, co-workers, business partners, customers, clients, guests…What about them?
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 183- Hookahs and Callipitters

Written for OLWG#183

she lies beneath the willow

recovers, beneath the tree

thinks about tea parties, and

all the things she’s seen

“drink me”, “eat me”

she cannot reach the key

the bandersnatch…

a jabberwock…

the white knight…

and a hare…

she decides she’s gotten over it

she no longer cares

it wasn’t she who stole the tarts

and yet, was swarmed by playing cards

no more looking glasses

there’s been enough for her

all done with rabbit holes

haddock eyes

and queens

especially the queens

This week’s prompts were:

  1. she just gets it
  2. she lies
  3. all done with mirrors
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 182- Trevor

Written for OLWG#182

When Trevor first learned of his posting to the Queen’s Guard he was so excited he couldn’t hardly breathe. He was gonna be a ‘Flash Harry’ with a bearskin hat.

Along with his orders he got an economy class ticket on Continental Airlines. He was supposed to leave from HOU to LHR in ten days. He never questioned why a farm boy and a US Army Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic from Texas would be posted to Buckingham Palace, charged with guarding the Queen. He didn’t question the orders though. He was happy to leave Fort Drum even if it was only for a little while before they discovered their mistake.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. couldn’t hardly breathe
  2. Oh Boy
  3. I got tired
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 181- Bluegrass Anonymous

Written for OLWG#181

Martha could hear it from halfway down the block, maybe even further but she became conscious of it when she was abreast of the Burton house, halfway down the block.

“Damn him,” she hollered as she broke into a run. She had to stop it before it got out of control. It was unmistakably ‘Bluegrass Music.’ It was loud, and that could only mean one thing, Cooper had fallen off the wagon, and he’d been doing so well.

As she neared the house, Martha began yelling for him, “Cooper? Cooper? Are you here? Are you all right?” She turned up the front walk to the house that she and Cooper had shared for the last eight months. Bursting through the front door, she was shocked by the number of people in her Living Room. Most of them were sitting around the perimeter of the room on furniture that had been pushed away to the fringes. The ages of this group ranged from pre-teen kids to grandmas and grandpas in their sixties and seventies.

The elderly women wore paisley print, or flowered, house dresses, sensible shoes, and “cat-eye” glasses. Some had their glasses hooked to rhinestone chains that wrapped around the backs of their necks. The old men primarily wore black or khaki trousers over their boots and long sleeve white shirts; tucked in and buttoned high. Some sported western hats, but most were bareheaded.

The younger men and boys wore three button shirts with white piping around the neck or button-down shirts, but the trousers they had chosen were the same as what their elders wore. Young ladies and girls wore pastel blouses with Peter Pan collars. They had skirts, cut just below their knees that would flare out if they twirled. Flat or low heeled Mary Janes completed the young women’s attire and provided a solid thump when they danced.

They were all clapping and stomping their feet as they watched two young men clog dancing in the middle of the floor, where Martha’s couch used to sit.

The sliding glass doors to the deck were all open wide. There was a band playing out there. They were playing loud. This was what Martha had heard from down the street. The band consisted of an elderly gentleman, wearing a string tie and playing a brass body National Guitar. Next to him a thirty-something-year-old woman pounding on a dog house bass, you could almost see smoke coming from the F hole, the music was so hot. A middle-aged fat guy with only a couple of teeth visible was picking a four-string tenor banjo that was traditionally tuned to provide that punch, that twang, that sound that could cut through the band’s mix. The fourth guy: Martha had seen at the market a couple of times, she didn’t know his name but knew he must live around here. He had patchy white hair and a white fiddle to match.

She looked around and spotted Cooper leaning against the deck rail and wove her way through the crowd to confront him.

“Goddamnit, Cooper! What the hell are you doing? You promised me. You promised, No more bluegrass. Remember?” Cooper couldn’t look around her, but it still took him some time to realize that she was there.

When he did, he smiled that lazy smile of his. That smile that was probably the reason Martha had fallen so hard for him in the first place.

“Coop,” she said, “Are you going to throw all your hard work out the window? The Rehab Centre? The twelve-step program? The meetings every morning? You’ve come so far Coop – you can’t backslide now! Not now.”

She saw clarity bounce back into his eyes. “This is my group, Martha we’re having one of our meetings now. We’re having it here, at our house. See that guy leaning by the kitchen sink? He’s my sponsor. I called him when I began to feel the mountain music coming on. Do you know what he did? He started clogging. I could hear it over the phone. He’s good too. I’m not going to fight it anymore, Martha. I love bluegrass. I think you do too.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. bluegrass
  2. the center of my world
  3. seeking Amrapali
The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP Redux 7- Homecoming


Keisha crossed her fingers and tried to remain inconspicuous as she wove through the crowd of students in the hallway of the new English wing. Three Seventy-two was near the end of a long bank of lockers, lower row, left-hand side and assigned to Darius Carter.

Darius was a senior at Paxton High School. He was tall and incredibly good looking, at least Keisha thought so and, she wanted to let him know what she thought. She had spent two weeks drafting a note asking him out on a date. Not just any date though, Keisha was inviting Darius to Homecoming. She had spoken, at length with her Bibi about Darius. Bibi, in all her wisdom, had told Keisha that if she felt that strongly about the young man, she should ask him out.

Keisha however, was a bit reluctant at first, plagued by that Chet Baker song, worried that she might be “falling in love too easily.” Then she decided that Bibi was right. Keisha truly wanted to go to Homecoming with Darius, and so had to ask him. She was also reasonably convinced that he would go with her. She was sure that she wanted to go with him.

Clutching the damp piece of paper Keisha hesitated for only a moment before slipping the note in the locker. She moved on, not having much time left to get to 5th period English class.

This week’s prompts were:

  • Though she wasn’t one for gossip, Mrs. Jamison knew exactly who had started the fire.
  • One thing was certain: The mission was doomed from the beginning.
  • Keisha hesitated for only a moment before slipping the note in the locker.
  • He’d been wildly, savagely hungry for as long as I’d known him. 
OLWG · writing

OLWG# 180- New Mexico Territory- A Poker Game

Written for OLWG#180

There was five of us sittin’ ‘round the felt-covered table. Six if you counted Miss Fannie who perched on the Kid’s knee showin’ a lot of cleavage. She was certainly a distraction an’ Kid Hicks knew it. There was a lot at stake. Ever’one was strapped.

English Satchell carefully shuffled the cards and dealt. His every move was slow and deliberate and he dealt from the pack of cards lying facedown on the table in front of him. The first card went to Hicks. Miss Fannie scooped it up and showed it to him. Arnold Macy got the second, he didn’t take his eyes off ‘a Satchell and left it where it landed. The next card was mine. I left it facedown, didn’t look at it, but pulled it in closer. Luis got the fourth card. He reached towards it and drummed his fingers on the back. English pulled a card to himself and repeated the process four more times.

Miss Fannie was grinnin’ like a Cheshire cat and holdin’ all the Kid’s cards where he could see ‘em.

“I’ll open fer a hunnert,” he drawled and Miss Fannie snaked her arm around his neck, “oh,” she whispered and kissed his cheek. Kid Hicks shushed her. He tossed a stack of chips into the pot.

“I’ll see yer hunnert,” Macy intoned and he slid a black chip forward. He studied his cards.

My cards were all still facedown. “See the hundred,” I said, “and raise another.” I tossed two black chips in.

Luis said nothing, barely glanced at his hand, and counted out two hundred dollars’ worth of chips. He offered them into the growing piles near the centre of the table. He went back to drumming his fingers.

All eyes were now on the Englishman. He drew a deep breath and looked at each of us, in turn. Finally, he dropped his cards face down on the table, “Fold.”

Miss Fannie giggled and fanned Kid’s cards so that he could see them. He twisted his mouth a bit and put his hand on her ample bottom.

“Hey,” Macy hollered. “Keep yer hands where I can see ‘em.”

When Arnold started to stand, I reached out and stilled him, “Easy there, Mr Macy,” I said, “He didn’t mean nothin’.” Arnold slowly lowered himself back into the chair, shaking his head as he sat. The kid brought his hand up from the whore’s bottom and showed it to everyone. It was empty but Miss Fannie grabbed it and placed it roughly on her breast. The kid squeezed once and then, using both hands pushed all his chips toward the centre of the table.

“All in,” Kid Hicks announced. From his lap, Fannie Parmalee squinted to study his cards.

Macy reached for his drink, amber liquor that Luis made in the back and sold as whisky. He leaned back and made a show of thinking ‘bout his hand. Then, he placed his cards face down on the table and pushed his chips forward. “All right” he said and leaned back in his chair once again. He crossed his arms, waiting.

I was working the math, calculating the side pots and still hadn’t looked at my hand. I had figured out that this could be lucrative for me, if my cards were any good. “I’ll stick around,” I said as I moved my chips forward.

Luis raised his eyebrows and addressed me, “Doc, you haven’t even looked at your cards.”

“It’s OK, Luis,” I replied, “I feel good about this one.”

Luis took a sip of his drink, a clear liquid that I suspected was water. When he sat the glass down he pushed his chips forward too.

“Let’s see what we all have,” Luis said and he lay his cards face-up on the table. He had three aces, Spades, Clubs, and Hearts.

Fannie fanned the Kid’s cards on the table. “Royal Flush, Spades” she said laughing.

“Cheatin’…” was all Arnold Macy said as he pulled his Colt and stood. He was quick. His bullet hit Fannie at the base of her neck, passed through and caught Hicks in the face. It shattered his jaw and the chair tumbled over backwards. Fannie was clearly dead, blood spurting from the hole in her neck. The Kid moaned from beneath her.

By this time we were all standing with our guns drawn. Navarro and Macy fired at the same time and they both went down.

I looked at Satchell and he looked at me. “Wadda ya say, Doc?” he asked, “Wanna split the pot?”

I smiled at him and shook my head, “Don’t think I do,” He was surprised when my bullet pierced his chest and went through his heart. He crumpled I leaned down gathering all the chips from the table. I bundled them in a bandana and with my gun still at the ready I took them to the cashier’s cage.

I handed the scarf full of chips to Mrs Parmalee. “I wanna cash these in please,” I said. “Sorry ‘bout what happened to yer girl.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. playing a poor hand well
  2. not a sound for miles around
  3. like a poem without words