Random Scribbles · writing

Lat and Long

Written for Light and Shade Challenge for Monday 7.July.2014 – check it out

Roger closed his eyes and longed for the old days. He was too young to remember but, had heard stories and, he had the photograph. Roger had been given the faded old photo by his father, who had been given it by his father, who had been given it by his father, and so on and so on for an indeterminate number of generations. No one knew what it actually depicted but there had been theories.

On the face of it the photo was simple enough. It depicted a wet, dirty ramp with powder blue ceramic walls, defaced by graffiti. Graffiti was as old as man. Hell there were documented examples of graffiti on cave walls south of here that were tens of thousands of years old. Indigenous peoples in the new world had left graffiti all over the rocks in the southwestern deserts. It was impossible to tell how old the graffiti was in the photo. Roger had shown it to hundreds of archaeologists who had merely shrugged their shoulders, “Who is to know?” They had all said. Then he showed it to Dr. Decker and she actually turned the photo over and looked at the back. No one had ever done that before.

Written on the back in faded blue print were some numbers:

52.4831, -1.8936

“I believe that this is a primitive code that was used to define locations.” She said then she offered to explain it for a fee.

A price was agreed and Roger heard of an ancient numerical system where imaginary lines were drawn around the earth from pole to pole. These lines intersected with a separate set of perpendicular ones. Each line had a number. Any location could be defined by stating the numbers of the two perpendicular intersecting imaginary lines. It sounded like mythology to Roger and he told her so. He reached to get his money back but she kneed him hard in the groin and ran. By the time he could stand again she was long gone.

Fifteen years later he remembered that story that Dr. Decker had told as he looked in the window of an antique store at a centuries old globe, a map of the earth. For the most part the continents were recognizable although they were crudely drawn. Sections of each continent bore brightly colored splotches as if infected by hives or marked by a code, long forgotten. What got his attention though were the lines. It was just like she had explained it. He went inside and bought the globe for a king’s ransom. He took it home and studied it. That location, if Dr. Decker was to be believed, was in a place identified on the globe as U.K. but, now known as Peoples Republic of England. He booked a transport right away.

The globe set his desired location on a spot labeled Birmingham which he assumed to be a city. There was no record of a city by that name in the PRE but Roger went anyway. When he got there he found a copse of trees in a field of grasses. Wildflowers punctuated the expanse of green and deer grazed near the treeline. “So much for that idea,” thought Roger. “Dr. Decker was obviously a fraud. There are no ceramic walls covered with ancient graffiti. There are no dirty ramps or broken handrails. There is nothing interesting here.”

Roger closed his eyes. He longed for the old days. The days of restaurants, and convenience stores, the days of highways and automobiles that he had heard about. He opened his eyes again and scanned the empty countryside; nothing but trees and grasses. He thought he might hear a river over the hill. He headed that way. Perhaps he could catch a fish for dinner.


BirminghamImages courtesy of freeimages.co.uk

Random Scribbles · writing

Light and Shade: Two Tries

Light and Shade Challenge 04.July.2014

To make up for last week – I worked to get two pieces in one post while still remaining within the prescribed word count limit!


Measure This

I was tasked by my masters to find,
Tools to measure the passage of time,
I tried the tape first
But, they yelled and they cursed;
Though the clock I presented was fine.

tapeImage courtesy of freeimages.co.uk


Do You Think?

Look at her, she’s beautiful today.

Has she changed her hair? New dress maybe?

I don’t think so… I don’t know. She just looks-
prettier somehow.
She’s positively glowing!

Did you see that? Did you see? She touched her belly. Do you think?

Random Scribbles · writing

Light and Shade: Walter, The Drivin’ Man


Walter was a drivin’ man. That’s what he did. Walter was an honest man. That’s the way he rolled. If he told you he was going to do something, it got done.

Walter was, in that time, driving for “Home Charities, International”. He would drive to your home and collect your donation; he would then transport it back to Home Charities’ workshops and distribution center. There, your donation would be evaluated, cleaned, repaired (as necessary) and delivered to Home Charities Thrift Shops all over the Country for resale.

Technically, Walter worked for the Logistics Department, in reality he worked for Murray Sturgis. Murray was a dispatcher, his dispatcher. Every work day Murray would hand each driver a list of where they should go, who they should meet with, and what they could expect to pick up there.

On this particular day Murray gave Walter an address in Chesterton on Loggerhead Lane. It was noted on the chit that he should not arrive before 9:00AM and if the donor wasn’t home the front door would be unlocked. The driver should simply go in and remove all the women’s things from the bedroom closet and dresser. A second notation mentioned a few cardboard boxes on the closet shelf containing books, games, and a few stuffed animals that were also for collection. Murray told him that the donor’s wife had recently passed away, so he might not be there for the collection, it might be hard for him. “Promise me you’ll do a thorough job with this one Walter. I went to school with this man. We wanna do this one right.”

“Sure thing Murray,” Walter promised.

Chesterton was a 10 minute drive from the distribution center; Walter had some time to kill if he was going to wait until after 9 o’clock to arrive. He drove first to Churchy’s diner, had a big breakfast then drove to Loggerhead Lane. There was no answer when he knocked on the door so he tried the knob. It was unlocked, as he had been told it would be, so he went in. “Hello,” he called into the house. When no one answered he walked in further to find the bedroom and the things he was meant to collect.

Finding the bedroom was easy and though he felt like a thief, he quickly removed all the women’s clothes from one side of the walk-in closet and loaded them into boxes he had set up for that purpose. He wasn’t real comfortable emptying the “unmentionables” drawer either. He would rather not have been handling the lady’s underthings but, he had given his word so he worked on.

In about three hours he had everything loaded and another hour was needed to drive it back, unload and process it into the workshop for cleaning and such. This one job pretty much filled his day, so he cleaned his truck and went home.

Murray found him later, “Well done Walter, I knew I could trust you with this one.”


Light and Shade

I think I got the word count right this time!

Random Scribbles · writing


This year winter is threatening to last forever. It seems that I have been cold for so long and I yearn for summer to come. I took it upon myself to see if I could hasten its arrival.

My abuelita used to say that summer and horchata was a natural pair. You couldn’t have one without the other. I have fond memories of drinking horchata on hot summer days. It was so cooling and fresh; it tasted like nothing else.

Since my grandma said the two went hand-in-hand and I knew that whenever summer came we would have horchata – logic would have it that the reverse was also true. Therefore, if I whipped up a jar full, summer should result. I had not tasted it for years and I began to look forward to this exercise.

I went to work and gathered up the ingredients. I blended rice, water, and canela. I let it soak in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning I added milk, and sugar. A splash of vanilla topped it off and I was in business.

I poured a tall glass and headed for the kitchen table. Glancing out the window I saw it had begun to snow. I knew it was not going to be easy to banish the winter. I brought the glass to my lips, took a sip and closed my eyes. I was immediately transported to my grandmother’s kitchen. It was warm and the smell of cooking meats and breads perfumed the air. My abuelita would hum a tuneless song as she worked; and all was right with the world.

I glanced out the window of my kitchen again. If anything the snow was coming down harder now. So, it’s on then. I was prepared to drink the entire pitcher right now, if need be. I was done with winter. I craved summer. I topped off my glass and raised it in challenge to the winter snow.

Too many words, sorry about that Light and Shade.  Here’s a recipe.



1 1/3 cup rice
5 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup milk
1/3 cup white sugar (or to taste)
Vanilla (to taste)

Put 1 1/3 cup rice in the blender with about 2 cups of water and 2 cinnamon sticks. Blend until the rice and cinnamon are roughly ground. Add the remaining water and blend thoroughly. Pour into a pitcher and place in the refrigerator to soak (overnight is best but if you can’t wait that long go at least 4-5 hours).
Strain the mixture. Add the milk, sugar (a rounded 1/3 cup for ‘not too sweet’ – 2/3 cup for ‘sweet’) and a generous splash of vanilla. Serve chilled




Light and Shade: Angel Yard


Michael scrunched up his eyes as the bull opened the heavy door and shoved him outside into the sunlight. After a while he was able to open them a bit better. He was barely awake, sore all over and his head throbbed. Assessing his surroundings, he found himself standing on a concrete pad about 12 feet square. The door that he had come through was set in a concrete wall. It was the only way to get here. The other three walls were chain link. Probably 10 feet high the roof was chain link as well and the sun – the sun was relentless.

There was a patch of barren dirt beyond the back wall of his cage and an identical one about 50 yards away. It seemed to be attached to a separate wing of the same building. Lucifer was standing in the far cage, leaning against a corner post, talking with a couple of others from his posse, and smoking. Michael waved in greeting and Lucifer raised the middle finger of his left hand. “Same to you buddy.” Michael shouted across the open space.

Satan smiled, happy that he had provoked his adversary. Then he yelled back, “Tough night Mikey?” He turned, walked over to the door and pounded. “Hey,” he said as the door was swung open by a burly guard. Satan waved over his shoulder as he vanished into the gloom of the other building.

Michael spread his wings and knocked on the door through which he had so recently come. The guard opened the door and shook his head. “It hurts to see you in here Michael,” he said. “I’d never have believed it would happen. You oughta take this time to walk it off some. I had to pull a lot of strings to get you into the yard. The exercise will help to clear your head before your lawyer comes and, believe me sir, you’re gonna need a clear head.” He started back into the building, pulling the door shut.

“Wait, wait,” Michael folded his wings back down and pleaded with the guard. “Where am I?”

“Santo Piedras Cárcel,” the guard replied. We don’t get a lot of your type here and, I’ve never seen anyone of your stature here. We segregated you from the general population for your own safety. The warden was afraid of what that mob would do to you if they had found you in the condition you were in when you got here. It would have been a riot for sure.”

“What are you talking about?” Michael asked. “I don’t remember much about last night. Gabe and I went out for dinner and a few drinks. That’s all.”

“There musta been more than a few drinks sir. You should have been in the drunk-tank with those devils over there but, like I said, we kept you away from that mob by putting you over here.” He pointed to the sign above the door.

“Angel Yard”


Michael sat down and leaned against the concrete wall. It was hot. He buried his face in his hands. “What’s the boss going to say now?” he thought.


Light and Shade Challenge 23 June 2014

Random Scribbles · writing

Light and Shade Challenge: What’s the Law Like in This Town?

Light and Shade Challenge Monday 26th May 2014


Two prompts. A photo and a quote.

Image courtesy of wax115 on rgbstock.com

The photo was lovely. A boot. I tried, I really did, but I couldn’t do anything with it.

The quote:

Anyone breaking these rules will be loved and forgiven in the usual manner
.     From part of a sign in a shop in York, UK

 Author’s note: I love England. I love London. I love York. I love San Francisco. What you are about to read is fiction and does not reflect the opinions of the author. What you are about to read is what “Al” thinks. Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead is accidental. Al and Carmen are figments of my imagination.


I ain’t never going back to England
Too much sweetness ‘n nice.

We was in London, havin’ tea and bread
We’d been there for about a week.

I leaned over to Carmen and I said to her
I said to her, “Jesus, Carmen, don’t it make ya crazy?”

She says to me “What’s that Al”
“Ever’body is so fuckin’ nice here. That’s what.”

You know what she says? She says “I dunno, I kinda like it”
We were in some fancy hotel restaurant.

Drinkin’ tea
Eatin’ some kinda hard biscuits with cream. I didn’t feel alive.

I needed some conflict. I needed some chaos. I needed to mix it up
I stood up right then, and I made a beeline towards a waiter holdin’ a big tray over his head.

Filled with glasses and plates and food
I put my shoulder down and clipped him as we passed between tables.

Broken dishes, fish, chicken, and cutlery flew ever’where. All over the restaurant
Lots a noise and that waiter landed hard on his ass. It was beautiful.

I knew he was gonna be angry
I knew he was gonna jump up and lay into me. I craved it.

You know what he did
He apologized.

Yeah, that’s right
He apologized.

Like it was his fault I took a run at him
What a pussy.

It’s this city, I figgered
We gotta get out of London.

Next morning – me, Carmen, and the boys took a train to York
I figgered it’d be like New York ya know. Namesakes and all that.

Gritty and hard. With an edge
I needed that.

I was excited when the train approached the station
I wanted bookies, junkies, whores, and street fights.

I wanted to get my hands dirty
You know what I got?

In the station there was a sign over the platform
Said, “The City of York Welcomes You”

How fuckin’ ‘touchy/feely’ is that
I almost puked. I could get this shit in San Francisco.

We got a taxi outside the station
The hack looked a little punchy.

Like he’d gone a few rounds in his day, so I said to him
I said, “What’s the law like in this town?”

He says to me “We got some tough coppers here
They don’t tolerate law breakers.

“Anyone breaking the law in York will be taken in,
They’ll be loved and forgiven.

“Cuz that’s the way we do things here
That’s the way we are in York”

Fuckin’ English
Too damned civilized. I ain’t never going back.


Random Scribbles · writing

Light and Shade Challenge: Mother Nature

Light and Shade Challenge Friday 23rd May 2014

There were two prompts.  A photo and a quote.
The photo caught my attention this time and you can see it below (sulaco229 at rgbstock.com):

The quote:

the rarest chords in the soul’s harmonics Are found in the minor strains of life.
E. Wheeler Wilcox. Life’s Harmonies

mother nature copy

Mother Nature wasn’t always Mother Nature; she started off as Baby Nature. Age has mellowed her, she’s learned more control but, it’s always been the case that when she moved things would happen. Flowers bloomed, forests appeared, grasses and ivies grew and spread. Things got really exciting during adolescence – volcanos erupted, mountain ranges rose in her footprints when she stormed off after spats with her parents. Rivers and lakes formed if she sobbed over a skinned knee or mourned a lost love.

And then there was the day she skated into the house. Rolled right in the front door…

Random Scribbles · writing

Light and Shade Challenge: The Ghost of Blackfriars

“You want ghost stories,” he said. “I’ve got a ghost story.”

“It was a while back, the late 1980’s if my memory serves. It was late, almost midnight. I was making my way on foot to the river crossing at Blackfriars, having spent a pleasant evening at the Fox and Firkin in Elephant Castle, an establishment which has since shuttered their doors.

It used to be a good place to tip a glass or two though. My wife, my sweetheart, the love of my life, tells me that the bar closed because I moved and no longer supported it. There may be some truth to that statement, but I doubt it is 100 percent accurate and I am sure, it could never be proven.

“There has been a bridge crossing at Blackfriars since the mid 1700’s but not the bridge I was crossing that night. This was a newer bridge. Designed by Joseph Cubitt this new bridge was opened almost exactly 100 years after the original. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1869, it was. As I set foot on the southern end that evening, I spied someone at mid-span, climbing the rail. It appeared to be a small slender young woman in a long, flowing white frock, her hair done up in an old fashioned way, wrapped on the crown of her head. I sensed that she intended to jump. I shouted for her to wait and began to run that direction. She glanced at me, then looked down at the inky, dark waters below. She silently and deliberately stepped from the railing just before I reached her.

“I hit the side hard, looking down; nothing, no girl, no splash, nothing… not a trace of her. I stood on the bridge looking below as the clocks began striking midnight. My god, I’ve got to get help. I ran on and when I reached Queen Victoria, happened upon a constable. Breathlessly I related my story of the jumper and implored him to call for assistance.

“’Was it a girl?’ he asked. ‘A slim young girl in a white dress?’

“I nodded my head and begged him to help.

“’Did you see her hit the water?’

“’No,’ I shook my head.

“’No one ever does,’ he continued. ‘You see sir, it happens occasionally, always at midnight when there’s a new moon. People, like you, you see her jump but she never hits the water. We’ve had search boats and divers out time and again. There’s nothing to find. She’s not there. Scotland Yard has even gone so far to hire a consultant. That consultant told us that she is an apparition. A ghost if you will. Go home sir. What you saw tonight may have happened long ago but it didn’t happen today. There’s nothing to be done.’

“’Are you certain?’ I asked.

“He nodded his head. I staggered, in shock, slowly towards the embankment and hailed a cab to take me home.”


Light and Shade Challenge – Monday 19 May 2014

There were two prompts.  A photo and a quote.  The photo supplied wasn’t doing it for me but the quote begged for attention.

The quote:

I stood on the bridge at midnight as the clocks were striking the hour -Longfellow

Random Scribbles · writing

Light and Shade Challenge: Walking the Fence Line

Cletus, Bo and Zeke were walking the fence line through the woods.

“I been thinkin’,” Cletus mumbled, “If I had a penny fer ever’ stone in this wall, I’d be a rich man”

“I reckon that’s true,” Bo agreed, “but, if I had a dollar fer ever’ item in the Sears Catalogue I’d be richer than you.”

“Shore you would be,” Zeke offered, spurring the other two to nod in agreement, “but if I had a nickel fer ever’ dime y’all two have, I’d have half yer money.”

“Ahhhh,” they all said in unison, then silently pondered that idea.

Many thanks to my friend Jetgirl for introducing me to this challenge, the Friday Light and Shade Challenge.  This is my first submission. Writers are allowed 100 words or less.

Two prompts – a photo and a quote:
.            The Photo:

Photo credit: Lyssa Medana
Photo credit: Lyssa Medana

.            The Quote:

If you don’t find it in the index, look very carefully through the entire catalogue.
.             Sears, Roebuck, and Co., Consumer’s Guide, 1897