Morgan Reginald Hollingsworth III

Cubing the Stories #11

Morgan Reginald Hollingsworth III was nervous. He had butterflies in his stomach. His mother had told him it was normal and if the lights were set right he wouldn’t even see the audience. It would be just like when he practiced in his room or in the garage. “Nuttin’ to worry about, Reggie,” she said, “easy peasy,” she assured him, “piece o’ cake! Now go break a leg!”

She put her hand in the middle of his back and shoved him out onto the stage and into the spotlights. He stumbled forward and squinted out at the crowd. Mom had been wrong. He could see everyone in the  audience, in great detail. He could see his Aunt Fiona’s mustache and the large mole Uncle Alfonso wore so proudly in the middle of his chin.

Nervously Reggie tried to smile and wave at the crowd. He opened his mouth to begin his well rehearsed line of patter but nothing came out. He screwed up his face and tried again with the same results.

Why had I agreed to this? He asked himself. What had I been thinking?

He tried to picture everyone in the crowd naked, he had heard that this technique worked to lessen stage fright, but then his eyes fell on his cousin, Elsie and her fraternal twin Edgar. Just the thought of those two naked was enough to make him a bit nauseated. Looking down at his feet he studied the worn oak boards of the stage.

His grandfather had performed on this stage; Harry Houdini had performed on this stage. Blackstone had trod these boards. Even Claudio and Evangeline had gotten their big break here. He took a deep breath and reached up his coat sleeve to pull out his wand. This was the part of his act where he would always say “Abra Cadabra” but he found that his voice was still missing so he simply pointed his wand at the audience, waved the tip ever so slightly, and a shower of stars flew out over the entire theatre.

Oohs and aahs echoed towards the stage from the seats.

“Catch one if you can,” Reggie said, “Catch one and put it in your pocket. You never know when you’re going to need a light.”

He smiled and watched the audience reach upwards, as one, to capture the tiny lights and secrete them into their pockets and handbags. He glanced to the side of the stage and watched his mother pluck one of the stars from above her head. She placed it gently on the palm of her hand, held it up to her mouth and blew it, like a kiss, towards her son, Morgan Reginald Hollingsworth III, tonight’s headliner.

He smiled and knew it was going to be OK.


Cubing the Stories #9 – You Scared?

TBP Cubing the Stories #9

Rhonda was worried. They were en route to the front and getting ready to jump right into the middle of a shitstorm. She wasn’t worried for herself, she was worried about Billy. He was new, and this was his first firefight. She stood and unhooked her strap to walk to the back of the plane where Billy sat staring at his feet.

Rhonda nudged Dogbone over so she could sit between him and Billie.

“You scared?” she asked.

“A little bit.”

“You’ll do fine. You’re well trained and we’re jumping with a new moon. They won’t see us coming. They won’t know we’re there, till we light em up. It should be over pretty quick.”

“OK, Sarge,” Billy said, “I’m OK.”

“We’re good to go then,” she said and tagged his shoulder with her fist before she moved back to her place at the front of the line.

When the red light came on she glanced back. Billy seemed OK as he shuffled forward with the rest of them. When the door was pulled open she touched her Ka-Bar for luck.

The buzzer sounded and when the jumpmaster hollered “GO” Rhonda stepped into the inky void, hurtling downward, she said a short prayer for Billy.

Too many words – sorry!

Cubing the Stories #9

“La Llave” Means “The Key”

Cubing the Stories #8

Todd’s eyes popped open and he sat upright in the bed. It was four am on a Saturday morning. He knew it was four am. He didn’t even need to look at the clock.

He reached for the spiral bound notebook that he kept on the bedside table and pulled the gel pen that he loved to write with, from the binding. Opening to a blank page he rearranged the thoughts that were swirling in his head. His mind had been churning all night. He had enough stories running around in there that he just knew he would be able spend the entire day writing them down.

He had an idea involving teenage superheroes who banded together to fight evil forces and saved the world on a weekly, if not daily, basis. One of them could be a young girl, he might name her Sequester, her super power might be that she could burst into flames and fly around the world in mere seconds. Her older brother would also be part of the cadre. He would be named Bob and have the ability to disappear, to vanish and become invisible. Together with their friends, they would all be amazing and call themselves “Thunder Teens”.

He had an idea for a story about a beautiful woman – a siren who liked to sit naked on the rocks at the edge of the reef. She would wave and sing to passing ships luring the lustful sailors, with her empty promises, to certain death on the rocks; where their ships would be broken and their bodies torn apart on the sharp corals. Maybe she would have a couple of pet dolphins to help her with her nefarious scheme.

He had an idea about dogs and cats, who wore clothes, drove cars, held down jobs and kept humans as pets. Every evening they would give their pets a bowl of cold food, maybe macaroni and cheese, or maybe oatmeal or something else which had been specially and scientifically formulated to provide them with energy and help to build strong bodies. Meanwhile the dogs and cats feasted on meats, grains, and other nutritious delicacies spooned onto porcelain dishes straight from a can. They would eat too much, drink too much, and forego exercise. Slowly they would descend into the throes of mass hysteria and mental illness before becoming extinct. Fish would then become the dominant species on earth and they would invent bicycles.

He wanted to write about the new checker at the market.

He wanted to explore the dark side of secret and forbidden love.

He wanted to invent new words and write them in his notebook after carefully considering the proper spelling.

He wanted to write the great American novel.

First though, he wanted a cup of coffee so he sat his notebook down on his pillow and climbed out of bed. He straightened his twisted pajama pants and padded down the hall to the kitchen. The dark green can of ‘Café La Llave’ sat on the shelf and he prepared a pot; watched the dark liquid drip from the filter into the clear glass decanter and when it was done – he poured himself a cup. Mmmm.

Back in the bedroom he was surprised to see his notebook had moved from its customary place on the nightstand. He carefully put it back where it belonged and picked up the TV remote. Pillows propped against the headboard, he slipped between the sheets and pointed the controls at his new 96” flat screen TV. He could watch a few hours of home makeover shows, or the shopping channel before he had to get out of bed for anything other than more coffee.

“Damn,” he thought to himself, “today has the makings of another boring day. Why can’t I ever think of something exciting to do?”

Thanks, April! I got a couple of them in. Can I pretend that telephone is a TV remote?

Cubing the Stories #6.1 – Dear John

TBP Cubing the Stories 6.1

There was a telegram waiting for him when he reached his hotel in Montpernasse, he had been gone for three days. It was from her and it began:

Dear John,

First, I want you to know that I will always treasure the time we spent together [STOP] Your crooked smile and the way you moved on the dance floor [STOP]  

I’ll never forget that time, we parachuted into the rain forest to hunt Pokemons [STOP] I don’t blame you though, who would have been able to anticipate the lack of Wi-Fi in the jungle [STOP] Even though we had both hoped for a Pikachu head to mount and hang over the fireplace [STOP] Without cell phone coverage it just wasn’t meant to be [STOP] In my entire life I’ve never been anywhere else without Wi-Fi [STOP]

This business trip you are on now though is cruel [STOP] You should never have left me alone for this long [STOP] I held out for almost an entire day but I have needs [STOP] I met Connor [STOP] I did not intend to meet a new man and fall in love [STOP] It just happened [STOP] You can have the house in Pleasanton and I will keep the condo in the high rise in the city [STOP]

I never want to see you again [STOP] I’ll always keep a warm spot in my heart for you [STOP] And thank you for giving me the opportunity to write a DEAR JOHN letter [STOP]

Ever SusieQ

TBP Cubing the Stories 6.1

There’s Always an Excuse or an Explanation!

Cubing the Stories #5







I haven’t been writing a lot lately. My agent called, reminding me of an upcoming show in London. It was dark when she called, but moonlight glinted on the shards of glass that lay amongst the flowers, beneath the broken bulb.

One of those numchuck kids had rolled by, wreaking havoc. The one who lives down with his mama in the double wide you passed, when you came in.

I’ve been working on some new pieces for the show.

The kiln is firing now. It’s “Africa Hot” in that kiln.

90 words and maybe 5 cubes, if you stretch it just a bit!

Too much fun. Gracias, April.


He Got Lucky This Time


Chester studied the board for awhile then he looked up at the kid. The kid was watching the skateboarders across the park. Chester could tell that the kid would rather be over on that half pipe than here at the chess boards. He figured he should probably make short work of this kid so that he could skedaddle; do him a favour and let him get over with his friends doing ollies, and wheelies, and whatever other tricks the skaters were doing over there.

Yeah, he would cut the kid some slack. Beat him quickly. Chester moved his Queen’s rook forward. He figured he could beat the kid with four more moves. He slapped his timer.


He reached for his pipe thinking to get a smoke in.

The kid casually looked down at the board, moved a bishop three spaces on the diagonal, “Check,” the kid said and hit his timer. A passing girl caught his attention and he watched her, turning his head as she walked by.


“Jesus, Kid,” Chester said as he shook out the match, “I didn’t even get my pipe lit.” He studied what the kid had done. There was no problem. Moving a pawn forward one space would block that bishop from getting his king. Might take a few more moves to beat the kid now though.


The kid didn’t even look at the board. He was still watching the girl walk away. Grabbing blindly he picked up his queen’s knight. He tore his eyes from the girl and placed the knight on the board, the only place it could go. He turned his head back to where the girl had vanished around a curve in the path and then looked back at Chester.

“Checkmate,” the kid said, “Good game Mr. Wharton. Hey, I gotta go. He stood up and dropped his skateboard on the asphalt pathway, immediately pushing in the direction of the vanished girl.

“Will you be here next weekend?” Chester yelled after him.

“I’ll see you then, Mr. Wharton, we can have a rematch,” and he was gone.

“That kid got lucky again,” Chester Wharton thought to himself, “that’s one lucky kid! I’ll get him next week though.”


Grandpa’s Lunchbox

Cubing the Stories #1

It was not quite half past twelve when Grandpa carried his lunchbox to the fallen log. He liked to take his lunch there; it was cool with filtered sunlight and a view of the pond. He leaned his walking stick next to him and took off his work boots and socks. He let the long green grasses tickle the soles of his bare feet.

Grandma had packed his lunch, as usual. He never knew what she was going to send, but he loved the thrill of finding out. He could tell a lot about her mood by what she sent him for lunch.  He pulled the thermos out first and clamped it between his knees. He figured it was just water but he was hoping for lemonade and would be over the moon happy if it was filled with coffee. Grandpa liked his coffee black, no sugar. He was a no-nonsense guy. He decided to see what else was in the box before he opened the thermos.

A sandwich wrapped in wax paper with an elastic band holding it in place was the next thing he pulled from the old metal container. He undid the wrapping and took a look. Looked like the bread that she had baked night before last. It was cut in half from corner to corner, just the way he liked it and a thick slab of roast beef with plenty of mustard, tomato, pickles, and lettuce, dressed it up so that it looked good enough to eat. The roast beef must have been left over from last Sunday’s lunch, saved special for him. He needed to remember to give Myrtle a kiss as a thank you for this sandwich. She must have snuck this slab of beef from the table early, because the parson came for lunch after church last weekend and he usually finished off everything that was on the table. Grandpa shook his head and smiled; his wife, Myrtle, was a crafty one.

He dug a little deeper and pulled out a wedge of apple pie wrapped in newspaper. This was going to be a great lunch. With unbridled enthusiasm he pulled his kerchief from his pocket and spread it on his lap. He thought a big slug of lemonade or a cup of coffee sounded good so he unscrewed the cup from the top of the thermos and pulled out the cork from the top. He held it up to his nose hoping for the aroma of hot coffee but got the smell of something fishy instead. He tipped the thermos and curiously watched what poured into the cup.

“Damn, it’s turtle soup. Where the hell did that come from?” They hadn’t had turtle soup in over three months. Grandpa loved turtle soup.

As he ate he wondered, “What’s Myrtle up to? Why the great lunch? All of my favorites?” Usually he had to settle for store-bought white bread and a single slice of bologna or pimento loaf. His thermos was usually filled with tap water and ever since the city had put them on the water service and capped the well the water didn’t taste as good as it used to.

“Maybe, she’s feeling frisky or, she might have bought something. Oh well,” he thought, “if she bought something and it netted him a lunch this good, she deserved it!” He slipped his teeth from the pocket of his overalls into his mouth and took a big bite outta that sandwich. He might have time for a short nap here after he finished eating. Just a short one though. Still had a lot of work to get done today

So happy to get to write a story for the first ever cubing the story prompt! Thanks April.

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