OLWG · writing

OLWG# 210- Garage Sale

Written for OLWG# 210



Harley Jenkins impulsively pulled the wheel to the right. He hadn’t planned on following the large red arrow on the hand-lettered “Garage Sale” sign tacked to the pole, but he did it anyway.

This whole trip had been an impulse. Harley was a heavy equipment operator currently on hiatus. He’d been rough-grading for a new housing development off Airways Boulevard on the east side, and when he went into the job one morning after a heavy rain. There were a lot of people gathered around his dozer, which he’d left where he had finished up the evening before. The rain had washed some dirt away and exposed what looked like a human skull. Harley would undoubtedly have uncovered it this morning if the rain hadn’t beaten him to it. The foreman hovered at the edge of the crowd. He beckoned Harley over.

“Did you see this last night?” he asked.

“No, I sure didn’t. Looks like the rain uncovered it.” Harley answered.

“Yeah, it looks that way to me too. I’m sorry, but I had to ask. Look, we can’t move this dozer right now and it might be a while before we can sort this out and get you back to work. You want to go pitch in with the cement guys or, you want to take the morning off?”

“I’m not dressed for cement. I’ll run some errands and come back at noon.” Harley said. The two men nodded at one another before Harley turned to walk back to his pickup. When he got back after lunch, there was a canvas cover over his dozer and the skull. The foreman told him that there were some people from the university on the way over. The coroner had been called. He told them that the bones were old. There was a complete skeleton there and scattered fragments of clay pots. The suspicion was that the remains were probably Native American. Harley said he was going to go home. He asked if someone could call him and let him know if he should come to work in the morning. The foreman agreed and once again, Harley walked back to his truck.

It was nice to have a Friday afternoon off. Harley decided to treat himself to a nap from which he was awakened about an hour later by the phone ringing.

“Hello?” Harley grumbled into the phone.

“Hey, Harley; it’s Elaine from Davenport.” Elaine was the ‘Girl Friday’ at Davenport Construction. Harley did a lot of work for them.

He sat up on the couch, yawned and rubbed his face, “Yeah, Elaine, what’s going on?”

“Them professors took a look at what you uncovered this morning and declared it a burial ground. They’re shutting the site down for the immediate future.”

“Shit! How long is the immediate future?”

“We don’t know yet,” Elaine said, “Billy’s got some more work for you though. Problem is that it don’t start for about a week. If you want that, I’ll text you the particulars.”

“What the hell am I going to do for a week?” Harley wondered out loud.

“I could take the week off too.” Elaine said, “You could shack up with me.”

“That’s a real tempting offer, Elaine. You’re a sweet girl, but I’m thinking I might get out of town for a while. I haven’t had a week off in a long time.”

“Suit yourself, Harley. You’re the one’ll be missing out.” They both laughed and Harley disconnected the call. He paused to consider whether Elaine might have been serious.

He shook his head, Nah, couldn’a been.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. a simple kitchen chair
  2. mistake my big talk for truth
  3. big door prize

The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #9- I Like Clouds



Russell woke when it was still dark. His head throbbed as the drink he’d drunk hammered on the back of his brain and stabbed needles deep into his eyes. He cursed when he banged his shin on the edge of the coffee table, which had stood in the same place for at least ten years. Maggie had arranged the furniture this way, and Russell had never changed it, never moved it. Maggie had rearranged furniture all the time, the layout never satisfied. Russell could understand running into things if Maggie had still been here, but she had left a long time ago.

When she had gone, Russell quit changing things. He rarely cleaned or cooked anymore. No one came to visit, and he seldom went out. His refrigerator was a science experiment, like a Petri dish filled with mould and fungi. The “Crisper” drawer brimmed with what he assumed to be a moss of some type, but he couldn’t be sure. It was safer not to open it. Russell lived on breakfast cereals, crackers, and potato chips. If he needed to splurge, he could always buy a pack of Fritos or a Twinkie. 

Since she had left, Russell had received three postcards from Maggie. The first one had talked about her travels through the rust belt with a peculiar friend named Gunnar. Russell had gone on a thirty-day bender. He remembered nothing after receiving the postcard until he was sprayed down with cold water, by Officer Willoughby, in the Tillamook County Jail. 

He lost his car, his cash, his credit cards, and his ID. It took five days to hitchhike back to Colorado. Once back in Denver, he found he’d lost his job as well. 

The second card had arrived a year and a half after his return home from Oregon. The photo on the front of the card was a sepia tone shot of La Tour Eiffel. On the back, written in a cramped hand, that he nevertheless recognized as Maggie’s, he read the following:

-Qui aimes-tu le mieux, homme énigmatique, dis? ton père,
ta mère, ta s«ur ou ton frère?

—Je n’ai ni père, ni mère, ni s«ur, ni frère.
—Tes amis?
—Vous vous servez là d’une parole dont le sens m’est resté
jusqu’à ce jour inconnu.
—Ta patrie?
—J’ignore sous quelle latitude elle est située.
—La beauté?
—Je l’aimerais volontiers, déesse et immortelle.
—L’or?
—Je le hais comme vous haïssez Dieu.
—Eh! qu’aimes-tu donc, extraordinaire étranger?
—J’aime les nuages… les nuages qui passent… là-bas… là-bas…
les merveilleux nuages!

He put it on the refrigerator door. It took almost a year, but eventually, he found it had been written in 1942 by Charles Baudelaire. A short piece of poetic prose titled “L’ Étranger,” he removed it from the chill box and tossed it into the trash.

The final card was the straw that broke the Camel’s back. Maggie explained, in that note that, her manservant, Gunnar, had finally lost his mind. She speculated that it must have been from the drugs he’d been taking for years. So Maggie had abandoned him in Tangier. She wrote that she could arrange a ticket for Russell if he wanted to meet her in Istanbul. She would be there in a month.



Written for The New Blog Propellant Prompt #9

This week’s prompt:

Visit TBP to see the prompt yourself. It’s magnificent – a true work of art. Go Here


OLWG · writing

OLWG# 209- Sharon

Written for OLWG# 209



Kurz vor Walpurgisnacht mit Sharon einkaufen.
Lagerfeuer brennen – unnatürliches Licht.
“Schatz, sieht mein Hintern darin groß aus?”
“Ja, na ja, vielleicht nur ein bisschen.”

Blitzeinschläge, Dolche fliegen.
Ich wünschte plötzlich, ich wäre irgendwo anders, jemand anderes
„Cept mich – hier bei dir.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. wanna be someone else
  2. hard times are easy to find
  3. shamelessly speak the truth

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 208- Precious

Written for OLWG# 208



She was born in Jamaica, grew up in New York.
I was a red-headed Irishman from Cork.
She’d been christened “Precious” after a grandmother,
who had carried that name.
I asked her to marry me the night that we met; she turned me down.
“I could never do that,” she explained. “We’re as different as
chalk and cheese, you and I.”

I wore her down, though.
We have beautiful children.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. gut shot
  2. who am I kidding
  3. chalk and cheese

OLWG · writing

OLWG# 207- To Live and Die in New Orleans

Written for OLWG# 207



Billy Bob Soulier scratched the stubble on his chin and crushed his cigarette in the overflowing glass ashtray. He knew that it read, “The Silver Penny” on the bottom, even though he’d covered the lettering with ash and dog ends. He’d been sitting on that barstool all morning, and he’d seen it before it was covered up.

From his shirt pocket, he pulled a five-spot and tossed it on the bar, signalling to Emi that he needed another drink. She pulled herself up from the stool she liked to perch on and went to work. Billy Bob lived to watch Emi work. She wore her dark, tightly curled hair in a #2 buzz. She stood well over six feet tall. The girl was long, lithe, and lean. She moved with an economy of motion that he admired. He could imagine her sleepin’ in the kitchen with her feets in the hall.

Emi sat his Bloody Mary down and lifted the fiver from the dark wood of the bar. With the bill in hand, she glided down towards the old National Register. Billy Bob was daydreaming about Emi as he watched her drift. Her head started bobbing, ever so slightly, as the jukebox played an old Dorothy Moore song. He smiled.



This week’s prompts were:

  1. kick up your heels
  2. a barroom in New Orleans
  3. every week

The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #8- 637 Consecutive Days Of Sunshine



Monday morning 0630

Spring 1965

 

Daniel’s alarm clock clicked, and Jimmy Fusion, the morning jock for KQMZ – 15.90 on your AM dial was yelling the weather, “TODAY MARKS THE 637th CONSECUTIVE DAY OF SUNSHINE HERE IN THE CITY OF THE SUN, THE PASS TO THE NORTH. HIGHS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH TRIPLE DIGITS AGAIN TODAY AND, AS USUAL, THERE IS A ZERO PERCENT CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION.” Jimmy Fusion played an ad for a local glass company:

♬ Break a glass… Call Baker glass… For broken glass… Call Baker Glass… ♬

♫♪ For faster service on all your glass ♫♪ 

Phone Baker right away

♬ ♬

 

Downtown by Petula Clark played next. It had been climbing steadily up the charts since its release last fall.

 Daniel rubbed his face with both hands before climbing out of bed and walking down the hall to pee. Back in his room, he pulled on a pair of ‘big bell’ Levis and a Rolling Stones tee then, padded to the kitchen where he found Melissa.

 “Good morning, Daniel,” she said. Daniel frowned and suddenly remembered why he didn’t want to go to school today.

 “Hi, Melissa,” Daniel groaned.

 “I really wish you’d call me, Mom; I am married to your father.”

 “Sorry, don’t think that’s going to happen.” Daniel grabbed a bowl and spoon from the dish drainer, a box of Froot Loops from the cupboard above the oven, and milk from the fridge. He sat down at the breakfast table. Melissa lit a cigarette and made herself busy in the kitchen, avoiding him.

 Daniel ate fast, grabbed his school books from his room and quickly left through the front door. He would be way early for school. As Daniel walked, he thought about what had happened yesterday afternoon and knew he would hear about it today at school. After all, Melissa (Mom – he grimaced) was only four years older than he.

 Yesterday had been the 636th consecutive day of sunshine. When he got home at about three, the temperature was almost 107 degrees*. Nary-a-cloud was in the sky. He decided to go to the pool for a quick swim. So, grabbing a towel and pulling on his trunks, he headed for the community pool. Only a block and a half away. 

Sunday afternoon (one day earlier) 1515

Spring 1965

 

 Daniel walked through the door to the Cielo Vista Community Pool Clubhouse; it was a quarter after three. He smiled at Janine and showed her the membership tag that was safety-pinned to his trunks.

 “Hey Janine, sure is hot today.” Janine was beautiful; she had perpetually chapped lips, a deep suntan from lifeguarding. Her long blonde hair was bleached by the sun and damaged by the chlorine.

 She flashed her pearly whites, “Hi, Daniel,” she said, “Your Mom’s here.”

 “I doubt that. My mom lives in Fort Lauderdale with her boy-toy, Hank.”

 “Sorry, I knew that. HEY, NO RUNNING!” She yelled at a bunch of kids hurrying through – they slowed down but still were walking fast. Janine shook her head and smiled again. “I meant to say that Melissa’s here.”

 Daniel grimaced and put his head down as he moved past Janine to the showers. He put his towel on a bench and rinsed in the cold water. He continued to the pool area, where he scoped the scene. Half the girls from school must’ve been there. Melissa was there too. She posed at the deep end, preparing to dive in. She wore a tiny pink bikini. It was not much more than two small triangles on the top and a high French cut on the bottoms. He ducked his head, looked away, and spotted Bodi Hale hanging on the side of the pool, holding court with a batch of his Toadies. They were splashing water towards Donna Bustamante, who was busy trying to ignore them.

 He looked toward the deep end of the pool again just as Melissa dove. She hit the water in fine form, a shallow racing dive, but she didn’t start swimming. She was working on the dives. She slewed towards the edge of the pool, where Bodi was splashing Donna. She pushed herself up to sit on the edge of the pool.

 Daniel noticed that Melissa had lost her suit top at the exact time one of Bodi’s little buddies did.

 “TITS!” guffawed the Toadie. He pointed at Melissa’s chest.

 Bodi’s mouth dropped open. He stared.

 Daniel ignored the “No Running” rule, hustled over to Melissa, who was now red-faced and embarrassed. He draped his beach towel over her shoulders and dove straight into the pool to retrieve the missing piece of apparel, which he got and promptly returned. He levered himself to the edge of the pool, stood and walked to where Bodi and his Toadies hung on the edge.

 “Quit staring at her,” Daniel said slowly to Bodi.

 “No way, Dude. Did you see those titties?”

 “That’s my mom. You can either quit staring at her or, I can drown you.”

 Bodi shifted his attention to Daniel, “Sorry, Dude. I didn’t know.” He focused on the blue wall of the clubhouse.

 “You should probably apologize and make your little friend, there, do the same.” Daniel was fierce. 

Monday morning 0820

Spring 1965

 

Daniel pushed through the door to the English wing and headed towards his locker. He knew that half the school had seen what happened. He had no idea what to expect, but he knew he was going to hear about it.


* 107 degrees F = 41.6666 degree C



Written for The New Blog Propellant Prompt #8

This week’s prompt:

Not really this week’s prompt – The prompt is from 28.April.2021.

In your WordPress Reader, have you noticed at the top they post three suggested topics to explore? The suggestions are usually a weird combination, but always entertaining.

My suggestions today are: Cocktails; Community Pool; Groovy. Write a post inspired by these suggestions. I took out the links because it took me so long to respond.


OLWG · writing

OLWG# 206- People You Have Yet to Meet

Written for OLWG# 206



Marie threw her car keys on the credenza, “Goddamnit, Ted! I don’t want to. I won’t.”
“You should give it a try, Marie. You might like it. Try it out for a year or so. If it doesn’t work, we can do something else.”
“Ted,” she exclaimed, “you’re asking me to give up my life and move to some little town where I don’t know anyone. You’re asking me to start my life all over! Why would I do that?”
“Why wouldn’t you?” He watched her, waiting for a reply. When she didn’t, he continued. “What do you have here? Your beloved husband left. Your children are all at least three hours’ drive away. What do you have here?”
“I have my house.” Marie snapped.
“You can keep your house. After a year, you can decide to come back to it or sell it and move on.”
“Shit, Ted. I don’t know. It seems drastic.”
There are beaches there,” Ted said. “There are people there you’ve never met, people who might engender a new slant on your perspective. You might even like some of them. Hell, it’s even closer to your oldest girl.”
“Yeah, there is that.” Marie set her pencil down and twisted her mouth as she considered Ted’s proposal. “No, I’m not going to do it. I feel as though I need to visit for a week first before I could commit. Just because you grew up there doesn’t mean I’m going to like it.”



This week’s prompts were:

  1. I don’t want to
  2. a town with no future
  3. elegant or crude

So I found a new writers group. They call themselves “Missing State Writers” because, you know we’re in New Mexico. I don’t’ have the statistics at hand, but there is a significant percentage of Americans who do not realize that New Mexico is one of the fifty states! The American mind is a marvel – sometimes ‘Magnificent’ ofttimes ‘Mediocre’. I wrote this during our meeting on Monday morning, last! Fifteen minutes.