Written for Chelsea’s Terrible Poetry Contest
They panicked the public with talk of the virus
The butcher was worried – his name was Cyrus
One night, when the store closed
He took all the bog rolls
Went home and confessed to a scroll of papyrus. A scroll of papyrus that he used as his journal and sometimes hid in the linen closet – on the top shelf under a bunch of pillow cases, unless he was keeping it under the bed, or in the garage; but then the police found it and he was arrested, went to court and got sent to jail… not for very long though (it was only toilet paper, after all)
Today I received an invitation I had not been expecting. Below is my acceptance of same. Thank you, Tish. This was fun.
Nobody believed that Old Jenny was dead. They believed that she wanted them to believe she was dead. One thing that Mr Mulvaney knew, for certain, was that Jenny was a gardener. She needed dirt beneath her fingernails to feel alive. She needed to feel the soil slip between her fingers in order to feel whole, to feel complete.
Once he learned she had left her watering can behind, Mulvaney put a watch on her allotment. After all, that can had belonged to her Ma, and to her Ma’s Ma ‘afore that. Jenny wouldn’t leave the watering can. Not for long. It was too dear.
It had been several years since Jenny had slipped under the radar. I was one of three sentries Mulvaney had detailed to keep an eye on the allotment, an eye on the can. He was certain that she would come back for it. We were under strict instruction, that when we saw her, it was always “when” never “if”, we were to follow her, but not confront her. Once we knew where she was hiding we were to contact him, and only him. We were to let him know where she was. Then the guard would take over and we would move on to our next assignment. I hoped we never saw her.
I’d become quite fond of this part of the world. This Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, peaceful, picturesque filled with the kind of people my Ma had been. In this town there was all the things you would expect from a Medieval village. There was holy wells, cobbled streets, stocks and whipping posts. There was even a museum filled with all sorts of Olympian artifacts. I would love to stay here forever, but I knew I wouldn’t never fit in. I’m the proverbial square peg and Wenlock is the archetypal round hole.
Last week I was keeping an eye on the allotment but not paying too much attention. A job like this can lull you into a sense of complacency. All of a sudden I realized that a woman was lingering about the watering can. Her back was to me so I couldn’t tell who it was, exactly. I thought she might be a bit tall for Old Jenny and she moved like a younger girl, but I paid attention. If that can were to disappear on my watch; Mulvaney would have my hide for sure.
It turned out to be a false alarm, though. ‘Twas only Ms Farrell. She’d come out with her camera to take photos of the can.
I noted the date and time in my log so I could report the activity to Mulvaney. He’d want to know. He might even send someone by the Farrell’s to find out what had sparked the sudden interest in the old can. See if maybe Jenny had contacted them. I see Ms Farrell out with her Camera a lot. She just likes to take photos. She’s an artist and a writer too but I still needed to report the activity. Mulvaney could decide for himself if it meant anything. That’s not my job. Well above my pay-grade. I just watch for Old Jenny. That’s what I do.
Tish Farrell is a writer on the edge. She’s living her life to it’s fullest. I’ve followed her blog for years. I recommend it, highly recommend it. Stop by and graze on her words and photos. You won’t regret the time spent.
Written for this challenge – Gracias Sr. Mosey
It was midafternoon on a hot day in July. Cooper and Max were hanging out together, waiting for the Postman and wishing they had something cool to drink.
Max scratched the hair on his chin and then turned his attention on Cooper, “So, whatcha think, Coop? You in?”
“I dunno, Max; it kinda goes against everything I was raised to believe. I’m just not sure I can do it.”
“Jeeze, Cooper.” Max snarled, “He’s a Postman. He expects this stuff. This is the kind of shit we were born for. If you don’t do this, I will. Look here he comes now,” the postman rounded the corner a couple of doors down, “and he’s walking. Perfect.”
“Max, you might be bred for this…”
“What’re you saying, Coop? You better consider the consequences if you’re gonna trash talk me.”
No, Max. I don’t mean any disrespect, but man – let’s face it. You’re half Doberman and half Pit Bull. Me? I’m a Sheep Dog.”
“I’m ¾ Pit Bull, and let’s face it. That’s the beauty of this plan. He’s not expecting you to bite him. He’s expecting me to do that. Put your game face on. Growl, bark, and charge him. When you get there take a big chunk outa his leg. You can do this.”
Cooper nodded his head and raised the hackles on his back. The growl started deep in his belly and he began moving toward the hapless Mailman. He picked up speed as he moved forward. He barked. He barked again. When he was close enough, Cooper leapt and hit; knocking his target to the ground. The mailman was now on his butt, scooting backwards and away from his attacker as quickly as he could. When he fell further and was flat on his back Cooper stood on his chest. The letter carrier closed his eyes, waiting for the inevitable. Cooper wagged his tail.
“Hi,” he said, “I’m Cooper, I’m a dog. Do you have any dog treats in that big bag?”
“Damn it, Cooper,” shouted Max from the driveway. “That was disgusting. You make me ashamed to be a dog.” He turned and hightailed it away from the scene of the crime.”
- Did David definitely dance down Devon, dear?
- If you don’t do this, I will…
Haiku written for Vita Brevis’ Comment a Haiku Competition
In between the rock,
and lasting damnation lies…
the devil you know.
I found an intriguing prompt at writersdigest.com and I had some time so I decided to practice.
Chyna reached across the table and took his right hand in hers; in the dim light, she studied his knotted and lumpy knuckles as she massaged the back of his hand. He was old; his skin was thin, and mottled. He seemed relaxed and passive; accepting of her actions.
“Your hands are strong,” she told him.
“Used to be,” he replied, “not so much anymore.” He studied the differences. Her hands were young; his, old. His skin was parchment-like, fragile, and freckled with age spots; hers was clear and youthful.
Finally, she turned his hand over and ran the tip of her index finger around his palm. She followed his life line first before shifting her attention to his unhealthy line. She clucked her tongue softly and moved her gaze to his eyes.
“What?” he questioned.
She took a deep breath, “I have concerns for your general well being; your health.”
“This line,” she pointed it out, “we call this ‘the unhealthy line.’ On you, this line is broken, composed of many parts. Rather than sweeping down with a single stroke, it is terraced as it works downward. This indicates ill health.” She shifted the location of her index finger, “But look at this,” she said, “look at your life line,”
Thanks to Ms Rose for the inspiration. It’s kind of silly but I couldn’t resist.
Bettie, a genuinely overweight, middle aged woman stands at the pharmacist’s counter waiting for someone to tell her why she was given the wrong prescription. While she waits, she does what she can to put off horrible thoughts of what might have happened should she have gone ahead and taken the wrong drugs.
A woman’s voice behind her says, “Your ass looks really good in those pants!”
Stunned, Bettie turns and confronts the other woman. “Well…I have a lot of it…”
“No, I mean it! You look great in those pants! Who are they?”
“I don’t know. I got them at Macy’s; on sale.”
“Seriously, you look great!”
“Do you really mean that?”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t.”
The woman held her hand out to Bettie, “I didn’t introduce myself,” she said, “I’m Wilma Stokes. I’m new in town. Fred and I bought a house near the corner of Third and Carlisle.”
“I’m sorry,” Bettie replied, “you and your husband are Fred and Wilma?”
“I know; it’s horrible; isn’t it? At least our family name is Stokes and not Flintstone!”
They both laughed and then lapsed into a silence there in the queue. Bettie was fidgeting a bit, seemingly uncomfortable. Finally she spoke up, “Is that the grey and white house near the east end of the block?”
“Yeah, yeah, with the flat roof.”
“OMG! I live just over your back fence on Cobblestone Way. I’m right behind you! I’m Bettie, by the way. I’m so glad we met.”
“Oh, me too! Hey listen, Fred and I are planning a housewarming this weekend. Maybe you could come?”
“We’d love to! Can I bring my husband along?” Bettie asked, smiling.
Wilma got a serious look on her face, “His name’s not Barney, is it?”
“Oh, heaven’s no, his name’s Steve.” she said, “Steve Rubble!” she kind of mumbled afterwards.
“Get out. It is not – NO FUCKIN’ WAY! I need to buy you a drink!” she looked at her watch. “Look, it’s almost noon – where can we find an open bar?”
“There’s the Martini Lounge. It’s downtown. I think they open for breakfast.”
They both stepped out of the line, spun on their heels, linked arms and marched out of the pharmacy.
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.