The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP Redux #12- This Fine Spring Day

A Haibun, of Sorts

Maisie, Gigi, and Coco took the bus downtown. They boarded on the eastside, not far from the Junior High. They got off on Pacific, down by the Catalyst and set up there. Gigi’s dad had told the girls that he had seen John Lee Hooker at the Catalyst. He had seen Little Charlie and the Nightcats there with Maria Muldaur. Coco’s mother told stories of Ry Cooder and Neil Young live at the Catalyst. Coco thought it might be just the place to be discovered. It might be just the place to start on their road to fame and fortune.

Cool chicks busking dark jazz collecting ones, and fives in an upturned hat.

This week’s prompt

The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #2- Interview with a Wannabe Writer

So they sent someone to ask me questions. I was gonna lie to her, but her questions were more interesting than I thought they would be. She wondered why I was taking notes, though.

What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

The Eden Express by Mark Vonnegut

No, Mark Vonnegut, his son.

Let’s just say that I could identify with it.

Have you read it?

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I’d like to think I coulda been a pretty good bartender, but I never wanted to work that hard.

If not that, then I’d like to own a hot dog cart.

Near a beach, on a boardwalk, not in a city

Have you ever eaten a hodog with brown mustard and julienned jalapeños?

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I try but I’m seldom successful.

My readers, in most cases, have more life experience than I do.

It means that they see right through my feeble attempts at embedding secrets in my work.

Only once and I’m not going to tell you any more than that.

Do you Google yourself?


Nothing that I didn’t already know

Mostly boring shit. My story isn’t that exciting.

I wanted to know the ending

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I would want to have my parents read to me more.

As a teenager, the question is not so easy.

I guess, I would like to think that writing more at that stage in my life would have made me a better writer, but then I would not have had the opportunity to observe teenagers in the wild; in their natural habitat.

This would have hampered my ability to recognize their reality and know their reactions in any given situation. I might have become even less successful than I am currently and, that would be really bad.

You know, “A legend in my own mind …”


This week’s prompt:

Interview someone! Real or imagined. Come up with five questions and three follow-up questions to your interviewee’s answers. The Interviewer can be in first person, or a third person character.

I chose to present the interviewers initial question only, and then present my answer to that as well as her follow up questions below. You can undoubtedly ascertain the follow-ups on your own.

The Blog Propellant · writing

TBP New Prompt #1- Allegory

Prince Preston set his Daughter, Princess Imogen, on the saddle in front of him. “Today’s a big day for you, Immy,” he said, “Today we set out on a quest for the monsters. I need to introduce you to them one by one, just as my father did for me when I was your age.”

“Monster’s, Dad? Should I be frightened?”

“Not at all, Princess for the most part, the monsters are our friends. They protect our kingdom from foreign invaders and ensure that the press reports only the truth.”

The pair set off with a full entourage including; soldiers, cooks, nannies, cartographers, fools, and other consorts. Prince Parson’s plan was to head North first, then work around in an anti-clockwise direction. He would introduce Imogen to each of the monsters who patrolled the perimeters of the kingdom.

These included Persephone to the North, Germsnake in the West, Trancemouth in the South, and The Donald. The Donald who is ‘Keeper of the Eastern Purlieus of the Kingdom of Hoi Polloi.’ During the journey, Prince Presley regaled Imogen with tales and stories of the monsters.

“I expect that first, we will encounter Persophone,” he told her, “She is a dreadful and terrifying green-skinned being, but she has a gentle soul. Most imposing, she is taller than a tree, and when opening her mouth to roar she reveals hundreds of long razor sharp teeth used to slice our enemies to ribbons. It’s been aeons since anyone attempted to invade Hoi Polloi from the north. She likes kittens and could eat six score in a single bite. She’ll like you, I’m certain,” and she did. Persophone and Imogen got along famously and even built a treehouse where they could take tea.

“Next we will find Germsnake, in the west. When I was a lad, I used to sneak away from the castle. I would come to play with Germsnake. He has always been my favourite. As his name implies, he is a serpent. A five headed serpent whose bite is laced with deadly venom and whose scales are coloured a mottled brown and ecru. I would trust him with my life. I would trust him with your life. In the wars of Oh-Four, I watched him single-handedly repel 10,000 invaders from what used to be the Kingdom of Texas that lay along our Western border, but after Oh-Four Texas was annexed by Hoi Polloi.”

Germsnake was smitten by the princess and immediately asked her father, Prince Pomeroy, for her hand in marriage; but the prince said that she was too young. Germsnake vowed to try again in a few years.

“Trancemouth is the third monster who guards the Southern frontier. She is a vixen, a beautiful maiden with coffee coloured skin who used to lure sailors onto the rocks before coming to work for my father, King Kenny the Just. She can hypnotize our enemies with the sound of her voice and tell stories to entrance all listeners. She reasons with invaders and convinces them of the folly of war with Hoi Polloi. She is also fond of fruitcake. In fact, last year she presented your mother and me with a very large rum soaked fruitcake for our Christmas.”

“We never ate that cake, Da.” Princess Imogen pointed out.

“Right you are, girl,” he answered her as he poked the dimple that was centred in her chin. “And, we never will. Fruitcake is vile and disgusting. We will re-gift that this Christmas.”

After a polite and cordial visit, Pumpernickel and Imogen left the company of Trancemouth and headed towards the East to meet The Donald.

As they travelled Pantomine told his daughter about the final monster, “The Donald is the most frightening of all the monsters. He surrounds himself with minions who do his bidding and praise him. He is covered with an orange outer wrapping, that one must suppose is skin, and has hair that even wise men are unable to explain. He cannot be trusted, but he can be bought. He is the one to whom we will re-gift the fruitcake because he likes that kind of stuff. We hope that it will keep him pacified for at least another month. I shudder to think of what might happen if it doesn’t work. Then I remember the other three faithful monsters. They who serve the people of Hoi Polloi and seem to posses a genuine affection for you. I believe that, if necessary, the good people of Hoi Polloi, our three trusted protectors, and our armies could defeat him; but it would not be an easy battle. Never allow yourself to be caught alone in the company of The Donald.”

Author’s Note: The work above is a slightly reworked version of a post I wrote several years ago. In these days it seems appropriate. Does it count as allegorical, Ms Rose?

This week’s prompt:

Literary devices highlight important concepts in a text, strengthen the narrative, and help readers connect to the characters and themes. Some might work on an intellectual level, while others have a more emotional effect. They may also work to improve the flow and pacing of your writing.

Use Allegory in your story, character sketch or poem.

(from In an allegorical story, things represent more than they appear to on the surface. Many children’s fables, such as “The Tortoise and the Hare,” are simple allegories about morality — but allegories can also be dark, complex, and controversial. Example: “Animal Farm” by George Orwell is a commentary on the events leading up to Stalin’s rise and the formation of the Soviet Union.

The Blog Propellant · writing

Sorry That I Called Your Dad A Dick


I crushed another empty beer can against my forehead and snagged another handful of stale Cheetos when I realized I was getting pretty drunk. Across the room, the clock on the VCR told me that it was 1:37. The little red light was illuminated next to the time so that indicated AM. It was 0137 and I was drunk, eating stale Cheetos and rearranging house plants.

Before she moved out Clarissa had written directions for proper care of the plants. Each had a little card with directions saying things like “needs a lot of sun,” “needs only a modicum of water,” to wait, wha…what the hell…? This one says never water! It says to keep in a dark room! I can’t believe this… all the plants are all going to die now. I should chuck em out the window. She better never come back, ‘cause if she does I’ll probably have to send her away again. I wish she hadn’t left. I would’ve done anything for her; well anything except apologize to her dad, or get a regular job. I’m an artist, for cryin’ out loud!

She is something. I wonder how long’s it gonna be before she comes crawling back. Before she realizes that she never had it so good. When she calls she’ll most likely be crying and asking me to take her back… and then… and then I’ll tell her no. I’ll tell her I got three or four women over right now, but I may be able to make some time for her next week.

What am I saying? I wish she hadn’t left. I promise to try harder. I promise to get at least a part-time job. Hell, I’ll even tell her dad that I’m sorry. She won’t pick up when I call her though. None of her friends knows where she is. I’m getting worried.

I used your prompts verbatim, then I looked up V.E.R.B.A.T.I.M. I’m so confused!

The Blog Propellant · writing



You came home to a house filled with strangers,
strangers with all of their dangers,
dangers they bring to your door.

You reach for the strap at the small of your back and
back, right back outside.
Outside into the gloom

Where the moon is a cat’s smile,
A smile holding water,
water that ebbs; becomes a low tide.

You and a house full of dangerous strangers – low tide ‘neath a bright crescent moon.

I took a few liberties with the prompts, sorry.

Random Scribbles · The Blog Propellant · writing

OLWG #18

  1. It was mockery
  2. I liked the way she spoke
  3. While the dog wheezed and sputtered in the other room


Wearing only shorts, I lay on the cool tile floor seeking relief from the heat, while the dog wheezed and sputtered in the other room. Poor girl, she was having as much trouble with the oppressive temperatures and humidity as everyone else was. I finished the last beer and knew it was only going to get worse now that there was nothing cool to drink. The water was unsafe. The beers were done, as were the coca colas. Eventually I was going to have to venture out to the market for supplies. I craved ice and wished for bottled liquids. Perhaps this time I would stock up on bottled water instead of beer and soda. That might be smarter. I dozed; off and on to pass the time.

As the afternoon waned and the shadows began to lengthen I sensed the respite promised by the evening. A breeze began to kick up and blew a bit of life back into the city. People began to take to the streets again; I could hear them as they passed by my curtained window. Almost reluctantly, but knowing it was vital, I picked myself up off the floor and pulled on a thin white cotton shirt and my Huaraches. With a few pesos in my pocket, I checked the dog’s water and walked out the front door, pulling my rolling cart behind me. It was a few blocks to the Mercado and I intended to buy lots and lots of water.

It was still hot outside, like a furnace, I estimated it to be at least 45 degrees and I considered going back in the house. No, I had to do this; else I would surely perish tomorrow. I trudged slowly up the hill to the end of the block, turned left and walked down to the store where I bought water. I filled my cart with water; water and three large bags of ice. I greeted Sr. Zuniga and asked how his day was going. His wife answered for him. In Spanish she told me that it had been a very good day for them. The weather was good for business. She was from somewhere down south and I liked the way she spoke. Her accent was lilting and soft. Zuniga was a lucky man. She was beaming as she scurried about the shop, staying busy by straightening shelves and making sure everything was stocked properly. She pointed out that they had watermelon and I took two of those as well. I would have bought them all but I was a little light on pesos, with no income anticipated until late next week. I had to conserve.

Melons balanced precariously atop my basket of ice and water, I headed home. The old dog, who lives in my house, greeted me when I got inside and sniffed around my basket to see if I had brought her something. My refrigeration system here consists of three old Igloo Ice Chests I keep them iced and anything that requires refrigeration goes into one of the coolers. I got the ice in the coolers and threw some water in there with them. The rest of the waters I stacked on the floor in hope that they might be kept temperate by the Saltillo tiles. I cut one of the melons in half and set one part on the rough wooden table. The other half I lowered into a chest. I would save it for tomorrow.

Slicing off several thick slabs of melon I sat at the table and ate. I offered some to the dog and we ate our dinner together. The melon was delicious, juicy and sweet. The old cur seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

Oh, times up – 25 minutes passes fast when you’re crafting a story. I spent another five to edit. I choose 3!

Random Scribbles · writing

AKA Missy Peaches

The back screen door opened and Roger shuffled inside, dumped his school books on the kitchen table, and opened the refrigerator.

“Don’t drink from the milk container,” his Mother admonished, “get a glass.

“How was school?”

“It kinda sucked, Mom. I got an F on my English paper.”

“What? How could you get an F in English? What paper?” She fired the questions at him as he tilted up the gallon jug of milk and took a drink.

“Roger! Get a glass.”

“Sorry Mom.

“It was that paper that you helped me with. The one you suggested I write about our trip to Mexico.”

“I read that paper Roger. It was good. How could you get an F? I based my last book on that trip and it made the best seller list!”

“Yeah, I think that was a big part of the problem. I think that Mrs. Brown read your book and she said my story sounded a lot like a novel she had read recently. She accused me of plagiarism. That’s why she gave me the F.”

“That’s crazy Rog, you were there too. Of course the stories are going to sound alike. We were writing about the same experiences. Do you need me to go talk to her? There’s a difference between plagiarism and inspiration.”

“If you do, Mom, you’ll blow your cover.”

“What do you mean?”

“Mrs. Brown thinks you’re just Madeline Kirkland, single stay-at-home mom. She doesn’t know that you’re a writer. She doesn’t know that your nom de plume is Missy Peaches. If you go in and tell her who you are; you’ll lose your anonymity in town. I know how much you value our privacy. I’ll take the F it won’t hurt my GPA that much. I do really well in that class.”

Madeline Kirkland, aka Missy Peaches held her arms out wide and then wrapped them around her son. He hugged her back and they stood motionless for awhile, embracing, savoring the moment, right there in the middle of the kitchen.