OLWG#115- Whydon’tcha?

 Written for OLWG#115


The thin man, with the grey buff Stetson, sat a bit taller at the bar, reached into his coat pocket and fished around till he found his crumpled pack of Marlboro Reds. Pulling out the last cigarette he held it up to the light and tried to straighten it. He was moderately successful so he pulled a blue tip match from his hatband and struck it alight with his thumbnail. He repeated this step three times before he finally got the smoke lit.

Behind the bar Andi ambled his direction, “Dusty, ya’ll know ya can’t smoke in here. Ya gotta either put that out now, or go outside.” She put her hands on her hips and glared at him; challenged him.

He looked back at her, “Hi, Andi,” he said. He closed his eyes, rubbed the stubble on his chin and smiled absently at her.

Dusty, yore all liquored up again. You oughta just go home.”

I’m never going home agin, Andi. ‘Less you let me come home with you!” He took a long draw on the cigarette and blew the smoke in her direction.

She shook her head and teetered away, back down the bar. Zimmerrman raised his finger, signaling for another gin fizz.

An older woman a couple of stools down piped up, “I’ll take ya home Dusty.”

The thin cowboy looked down at her, “Jeeze, Ma; what’re you doing here? Aren’t you missing the Channel 7 News?”

It’s OK, honey. I got yore ole bed for you to sleep in. Still have those ‘Cowboy Bob’ sheets you liked so much. Nothing’s changed.”

Dusty grimaced and spun on his seat. He stood to leave and started stumbling towards the door.

Andi called out after him, “Give my best to Rose Marie, Dusty. We’ll see you guys for dinner t’morrow night. Don’t forget to bring that drain snake. Our downstairs toilet is clogged again and Dave can’t clear it with the tools he’s got.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Dusty murmured under his breath. He raised his left hand in a kinda half-assed wave.

The door swung closed behind him and his mother hollered out, “See ya, boy. Bring those grandkids around for a visit sometime, whydon’tcha?”



The prompts were:

  1. the final year of growth and liberation
  2. liquored up
  3. never going home

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Miss Scarlet- In the Kitchen- With an Apple

I wrote this for the August 8th Flash Fiction Challenge



She who’d smiled and cooed when she gave him the fruit,
now laughed out loud
and watched him chew.
The fruit glowed red, juicy, crisp, and tart.
When he bit in, droplets ran to his shirt and
down his chin.
They burned through the soft cotton and scarred his skin.

He reached for her, in pain, confused;
his finger was cut
on the hem of her red pleated skirt.
I watched the rent spread wide, filling with crimson before
overflowing the wound and splashing onto her open-toed mules.
Shoes that were once white, were now scarlet,
like her name.


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a poisoned apple. Let’s explore dark myth. Deconstruct the original or invent something new. Negotiate the shadows, shed light, but go where the prompt leads you!

Sunday

I wrote this for the July 25th Flash Fiction Challenge



Rita tucked her hair behind her ears, sipped her coffee and turned ‘The Times’ to read below the fold.

Mark,” she asked her husband, “if you could do, or be anything for one day; what would you do or be?”

I don’t know, dear but it would probably involve sex or food. Why?”

I’d want to be queen.”

Queen for a day? Like that old television show?” Mark looked up at her.

Uh huh,” she said, “and, I freed a genie from an old lava lamp at Goodson’s Antique’s yesterday. My day is Sunday.”


The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the phrase “for one day.” The words single out a special occurrence. What is the emotion and vibe, where does it take place and why? Go where the prompt leads!

OLWG#112- Once Upon an Us

 Written for OLWG#112


Darla was a sailor. A slender girl, who stood just over five feet tall, a Gunners Mate on a warship that was known for inflicting damage when damage needed to be inflicted. The days at sea can flow into one another, you are busy every day and there is often little to distinguish them or set them apart, mark them as special. As such, she completely missed her21st birthday. It came and went without registering in her psyche.

Darla refrained from going out clubbing with her older friends, she only bought beer on base, not in the liquor stores on the beach. She also neglected to renew her driver’s license but as she was active duty military, she didn’t have to anyway. She carried her military ID.

She was in port for her twenty-second birthday though and she planned to go into town with friends. She looked forward to going to Hākari to have a big plate of fish and a bottomless basket of sourdough rolls. She was going to order one of those craft beers from town that you couldn’t get on base. She thought it might be something light, maybe a little bit fruity. Her current roommates, Amy and Elaine, had shown keen interest when Darla mentioned that she might like to go dancing after dinner.

Her mind skipped immediately and maybe a touch guiltily to Ben, her on-again / off-again beau from back home. Ben worked on his daddy’s farm. He was a sure thing when she needed someone to talk to or spend the evening with. Her romance with Ben didn’t stop her from going out with other guys, or from doing the occasional cowboy when she wanted to mix it up a bit. But, it was comfortable knowing that he was there.

She got off work early and picked up her mail on the way to the barracks. She had a new flowered sundress that she planned to wear. She bought it last weekend at a boutique downtown. It was made of some kind of slinky material that felt like nothing next to her skin. It had been expensive, but remember, she thought she was turning twenty-one; you only turn twenty-one once.

In her room, she laid her new dress out on the bunk and hurried to take a shower before Elaine got back. Elaine worked in the radio centre and usually got back a few minutes before Amy, who worked in the periscope shop on the sub-base.

She finished a quick shower and shampoo, wrapped herself in a towel, shaved her legs, just in case, and left the head to sit on her bunk and read her mail. There was a letter from Ben. She thought about setting it aside and reading it tomorrow. She didn’t want to be thinking about Ben if she got lucky with another man tonight. She wrestled with her emotions and finally succumbed, slit the letter open and started to read the words in Ben’s familiar scrawl.

Darla,

I don't know how to break this to you so I reckon it's best if I just come 
right out and say it. I know we both made some promises before you 
went away and I know that we aren't exclusive but I am planning on 
getting married in June. 

I met Nora a couple of months back and we are in love. She's only 
ten years older than me and her family owns a big spread closer in to 
the city. Nora's an only child. Her mama's been gone for quite a few 
years now and her daddy's getting poorly. She doesn't know what to 
do with a big farm so her daddy's been pushing her to find a man 
who does. She found me, I found her and well, the rest is history. 

I probably won't be writing much any more.

Sorry,
Ben

As she finished reading, the door flew open, Amy and Elaine walked in together. Darla stuffed the letter under her pillow.

“Hey girls,” she said, “Do you guys have your hearts set on dinner and dancing tonight?”

The roommates smiled and shrugged in stereo.

“Whatcha got in mind, Darla?” one of them asked. Darla thought it might have been Elaine who asked, but didn’t particularly care.

Darla’s turn to shrug, “How would you feel about going over to the Marine base and picking a fight with some jarheads.”

“I’m always down for a bit of head bashin’,” Amy grinned in anticipation and showed the gap between her two front teeth.



Last week I ignored the time limit. This week I did it again.

The prompts were:

  1. it’s a circus out there
  2. on her 22nd birthday
  3. don’t send any more letters

Fascinating Stories From Science – I

I wrote this for the July 11th Flash Fiction Challenge



Scientists from the Kingdom of Australia are reporting that the marsupial species known as Thylarctos plummetus, commonly called ‘dropbears,’ and previously believed extinct, are thriving in the forested regions of eastern and southern Australia. The Australian Museum describes these creatures as “predatory marsupials related to koalas.”

Little is known about dropbears, to date, as they have only recently been rediscovered. Preliminary research indicates that they seldom prey on Australians. This may be caused by the marsupial’s uncanny ability to recognize Australian accents, or they may be repelled by the scent and taste of Vegemite, common in the Australian diet.


Note: My gratitude goes to the Australian Museum, in Sydney for their inspiration and assistance in researching this article.

The prompt: “My kingdom for a koala!” In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a koala in a kingdom. You can create a character out of Norah’s koala and give it a Vermont adventure. Or you can make up a story however you want! Can you pull off a BOTS (based on a true story)? Go where the prompt leads!

 

OLWG#111- Being Neighborly

 Written for OLWG#111


I remember when Ruben Billigmeier and his wife, Christine moved into our apartment block on the south side. It was only the two of them but they took a large three bedroom – two bath place, upstairs overlooking the pool in the centre courtyard. Margie, the kids and I had the corner place two doors down.
They were an attractive couple. Ruben had a thatch of blonde hair and wore a moustache. Christine was tall and lean with curly red hair that hung down to the middle of her back and a spray of freckles tossed across her button nose.
Ruben and I would leave for work at about the same time most days. I’d drive off in my twenty-year-old compact and he’d leave in his brand new Chrysler sedan. Over the course of a month or so I learned that he worked at the zipper factory as some kind of manager in the production area.
Margie said that Christine stayed at home and inside most of the time. She would go down to the pool for at least an hour every day though. She’d sit on a chaise, in the sun to read her magazines and work on her tan.
People, usually women who looked like housewives, would come and knock on their door. Margie would let the visitors in and they would stay anywhere between five and fifteen minutes before leaving. Sometimes they’d leave with a small paper bag in hand or cradled at their elbows. Margie thought that Christine might be selling drugs over there and decided to do some investigation, on her own. She started going down to the pool when she’d see Christine there.
They started with idle chatter. They’d talk about the weather or something else inconsequential. Margie avoided discussing religion and politics. Eventually, they became pool buddies. Margie would invite Christine up to our apartment occasionally for a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, but Christine always declined. That is, she would always decline until that one day in early August when she surprised Margie and agreed.
I think I’d like that,” she said. They went upstairs and between the two of them consumed a bottle and a half of Chardonnay. This got to be a regular event with the two friends, who’d get together at our house about once a week and share a few drinks. Chardonnay was Margie’s favourite so that was primarily what they drank.
After a month or so of these informal get-togethers, Christine invited Margie up to her and Ruben’s place. Margie, of course, accepted. This was what she had been angling for. She wanted to see what went on at the Billigmeier’s.
As they made their way up the staircase and along the upper landing Christine said, “I don’t have any wine, Margie, but I have something just as good, or better. You game?”
“Sure,” Margie laughed, “Long as it won’t make me go blind!”
Christine led her friend to the dining table, laughed, and disappeared into the back of the house. When she returned she had a clear glass bottle that looked like it would hold about a litre of the golden liquid that was in it. There was a cork in the top and no label. She sat the bottle on the table, grabbed a couple of small mason jars from the sideboard and splashed a couple of fingers worth from the bottle to the jars.
Margie took a glass and sniffed it. It smelled earthy but flammable at the same time. Christine took a small sip from her glass and smiled. Margie followed suit and felt the drink warm her all the way down. It tasted like magic.
“Damn, Christine, this is wonderful.”
“Thanks, I make it myself, but don’t tell anybody.” She pointed through the door to the kitchen where a wooden sign hung. The sign read “Whisky for Sale – Good Whisky for Sale” in hand done black letters on a Redwood board.
“I thought you were selling drugs.”
“Nope, what I’m selling is better than drugs. I sell it by the bottle, I sell it by the jar, or I sell it by the shot. We couldn’t afford to live here on Ruben’s salary alone.”


I ignored the time limit this week as I was interrupted several times during the course of writing. The prompts were:

  1. whisky for sale
  2. a button nose
  3. When entrusted with a secret…

OLWG#110- Imogene’s Splintered Obsession

 Written for OLWG#110


Imogene stood in line with the other kids to see Santa. She’d done this every year for the last twenty-one years.
The boy behind her, maybe five years old – maybe seven, poked her butt, she turned, “My name is Curtis,” he wiped his nose with his sleeve, “Are you waiting to see Santa?” he asked her.
She nodded her head and faced forward again, clutching her list, anxiously waiting her turn.
He tugged on her sleeve, “Is that your list?”
She nodded again, saying nothing.
He poked her again, “I’m asking for a Big Wheel and a baby sister.”
“That’s nice,” she said.
“What are you asking for?”
“Mind your own business,” Imogene snapped, and the boy recoiled.
When it was Imogene’s turn she tugged on her skirt and perched on Santa’s knee.
“Well, Merry Christmas, young lady.”
They went through the standard shit that Santa did every year… What’s your name? Have you been good? Blah, blah blah.
Imogene politely answered his questions and waited for the important one.
“What can I get you for Christmas this year?”
She opened her list, “a boyfriend,” and proceeded to go through the checklist on said boyfriend. How tall he should be, his name, and facial features. She knew the length and colour of hair, the type of car he drove, how much money he should have. He must have a sense of humour, she itemized her list and when she finished she folded it back up, rolled it, and clenched it tightly in her hand. She looked at Mr Claus.
Santa cleared his throat and said, “I don’t know, Imogene. This close to the holidays this might be a tough order. You haven’t given me a lot of time. I’ll do my best though. Is that OK?”
Imogene nodded her head and hopped down. Curtis called her from his spot in the line.
“Hey girl!” he hollered, “You know that’s not even the real Santa Claus.”
“Is so…” Imogene took the bait.
“Is not…” Curtis yelled back
“Is so…”
“Is not…”
“Is so…” Imogene yelled at Curtis one last time, spun on her heel and marched smartly out of the mall.
Curtis turned to the younger kid behind him in line. That kid was drooling red candy on his chin and the front of his shirt.
“I hate that girl,” Curtis told the kid.
“Hape dat grrl,” the kid echoed and a crimson bubble appeared at the corner of his mouth.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. he lives only in her mind
  2. is so…
  3. this close to the holidays