Summer Visit to Grandma’s


“Lucinda watched as a fly made its way to the top of the large picture window. Once at the top, it descended, flying, hitting the glass a million times a second, bashing its small body against the unforgiving barrier between it and freedom.” She named him Magellan.

When the fly reached the bottom of the glass he would make his way back to the top, move over a bit and do it all again. She determined that he must be following a grid pattern, looking for a way back outdoors. Lucinda waited for him to reach Grandma’s collection of Hummel figurines that she kept on the window sill. Poor Magellan would have to detour around them.

She watched Magellan search, and listened to her grandma in the kitchen preparing another lunch of chicken and dumplings. Grandma boiled the chicken for hours in a stock pot with spices that turned the chicken green. When she pulled the chicken apart she boiled the dumplings in the same pot, in the same water. The dumplings turned green as well. Lucinda, concerned about the green food, always waited for someone else to take a bite first. If they survived, then Lucinda would eat too, and hope for the best.

Magellan made his way back to the top of the glass and Lucinda returned her attention to the tenacious fly. He was tiring. She picked up one of Grandma’s throw pillows and held it to her face, waiting to see what would happen to Magellan. The pillow smelled like Grandma. Finally Magellan hit the glass one last time and fell to the window sill where his body rolled beneath one of the Hummels. She realized that Magellan had had a different goal in mind all along. He had achieved it. “Beneath the statue, at last.”

Welcome back Ms. Rose. This is 300 words.

Novich Technologies – TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #28


I shook my head as she shook my hand. I must have gotten a puzzled or confused look on my face.

“What seems to be the problem, Mr. Jensen?” she asked.

“Oh, there’s no problem,” I replied, “It’s just that you seem very familiar to me somehow. Are you sure this is the first time we’ve met?”

“I’m certain,” she responded, “Perhaps we knew one another in a previous life!” She smiled, then she laughed and her entourage laughed along with her. She was younger than I had expected and decidedly more beautiful.

I led them into the conference room where my team was gathered around the table waiting. This meeting could be the one that finally put Peter Jensen Advertising on the map.

Introductions were made all around, business cards were exchanged. I studied her card.

Ana Petroff
President, CEO
Novich Technologies

I knew everything there was to know about Ana Petroff. I had studied a long time for this meeting. She looked younger than the photos I had seen and I commented on it.

“You may have been looking at photos of my mother, we share the same name. I’m quite protective of my privacy so I’m pretty careful to keep my photos off the internet but my parents have not been so lucky. I’ve been told that I look a lot like her.” Her accent was quite slight, yet very musical. I thought I could listen to her speak forever.

Her father, I knew, had been Sasha Petroff, a popular Russian Cosmonaut. Always in the public eye as he traveled the world marketing and “ambassadoring” for the Soviet Space Program.

Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks. She was that girl from the West View.

The West View is a luxury apartment complex, situated directly across the river from my house. For years I had been spying on the residents of West View with the telescope I kept set up in my bedroom window.

Ana Petroff had moved into the West View about six months ago and had captivated my attention since I first noticed her. She had floor to ceiling bedroom windows that offered a spectacular river view. She liked to stand naked in her window to bathe in the morning sunlight, and watch the river traffic. I knew because I liked to stand in my window and watch her through my telescope.

I grinned and thought I suddenly know a whole lot more about Ana Petroff than I did just seconds ago.

What a perv, I am! I thought to myself. Then immediately, I thought, how much that sounded like something my mother would say. Something she would say right before she sent me to my room and grounded me for life. My smile broadened.

“Well, let’s get started, shall we?” I suggested, “There’s coffee and pastries on the sideboard. Please help yourselves.”

Step away from the keyboard. Your 25 minutes are up. – No editing other than to place the quotes around “ambassadoring”. I’m pretty sure I just made that word up.


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?

OLWG – DelMonte



DelMonte’s spurs jingled, and dust billowed from his boots, as he pushed through the swinging door. He paused and surveyed the room, looking for any possible threat and when he was satisfied he made his way to the bar. He fumbled a bit with his duster as he pushed it back to ensure easy access to the ivory handled six-shooter he wore strapped to his leg. There was supposed to be a button back here somewhere that would keep it back and out of the way. That would keep his gun handle clear. When he finally found it he worked it through the button hole, shook his shoulders to ensure that it held and touched his piece, for luck.

The bartender hovered near, eager to attend but not too close. You never knew what would set off a man like DelMonte, gunslingers can be a touchy lot. He cleared his throat.

“What’ll it be Mr. DelMonte?” he asked.

“How do you know my name, Barkeep?” DelMonte asked, his hand resting at his side, poised to unleash lead if need be.

The bartender hooked his thumb over his shoulder indicating the poster that was tacked over the bar.

Wanted, Dead or Alive, it read, and DelMonte saw his picture smiling back at him. “What’s the bounty up to?” he asked the bartender.

“Twenty-five hunnerd dollars.”

DelMonte scowled and nodded his head. All he said was, “Whiskey. Make it a double.”

The bartender slid away, a man in his element, to fetch the drink.

An older show girl sidled up next to DelMonte and put her hand on his shoulder. “How ya doin’, Butch?” she asked him. She smiled and her tobacco stained teeth peeked out from beneath her painted red lips

He glared at her, “Damnit, Mom, what’re you doing in Idaho?” he growled in a whisper, “And, don’t call me Butch. My name is DelMonte.”

“What’s wrong with Butch?” she pouted, “I gave you that name. I like that name.”

“Not tough enough.” He said. “Listen, Mom, you gotta leave me alone or folks will figure out we’re related. I can’t afford for my enemies to know that there is anyone I care about. They’ll come after you.”

“Well, I love you too, I guess.” She stared at him for a moment. Waiting to see if he would respond, “I have to get ready, DelMonte. I go on in a few minutes.” She said to him and turned; heading backstage.

“It’s just not that simple.” He muttered to himself and slammed the palm of his hand down on the bar.

The bartender jumped at the loud report and grabbed a bottle and glass. He scurried down and set them in front of DelMonte, “On the house, sir.” His voice quavered a bit. The last thing he wanted was an angry gunslinger in his place.

Butch DelMonte reached for the bottle and pulled the cork with his teeth, staring at the bartender, watching him back slowly away. He smiled and his tobacco stained teeth peeked out from beneath his mustache.

39 minutes but I was interrupted by a phone call. Still probably a bit more than 25 though. Sorry.

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

Cherie, Chief Inspector Ricard, and TBP’s OLWG#24


Chief Inspector Ricard had been in New York for almost a week. He had come to attend the Law Enforcement Officer’s Conference. He had not gone to any of the proceedings.  Nor had he visited the show floor yet, but there was still another day remaining. He had time.

He nudged the shoulder of the young lady lying next to him in his hotel room bed and wished he could remember her name.

“Cherie,” he said, “put in another quarter.”

She sat up in the bed, modestly covering her breasts with the sheet and leaned over to rummage through the debris on the bedside table. She pushed a couple of empty wine bottles aside. Moved Ricard’s service revolver, and a pile of room service plates.  Finally, she found the proper coin and inserted it in the coin acceptor.

“Magic Finger’s Vibrating Bed,” she read. She dropped the coin in as she dropped the sheet. They both rolled over onto their stomachs. Over the course of the last several days, they had decided that they enjoyed the motion of the bed better this way.

They stared into one another’s eyes until she finally broke the silence.

“You’re going back to France soon?”


“Could you take me with you?”

“I’m sorry but no, I could not.  I am seriously considering taking this bed though, and a large supply of quarters.”





I had a bajillion friends, till

It slowly came to light that

My friends were all broken

I cast them aside one by one and

Vowed to find new friends

Friends without flaws

Or cracks

Unbroken friends

Friends who were worthy

Unpugnacious friends

Friends lacking relentless bellicosity

Friends who do not play accordions

Or banjos

Friends who are not always flat broke, busted, looking to borrow money

I have a dog around here somewhere

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.


TBP’s On-line Writer’s Guild #22 – Dad

  1. It was nothing more than a rusty old nail
  2. But he didn’t really believe in them
  3. I’m younger now

I sat across the table from Dad. We were talking about what the Doctor had said.

“Dr. Domenicalli wants you to slow down a little bit, Dad.” I thought I would try this argument, but didn’t expect it to do much good. Dad never really believed in doctor’s anyway.

“Yeah, well screw that. I’ve never had so much fun. What does he know? Just a quack.”

“He’s worried about you, Dad. Hell, we’re all worried about you. Jeeze you went to  a free concert and saw Guns and Roses at the Boardwalk last weekend. You’re almost 96 years old. What do you know for Guns and Roses?”

“I know a lot now. I know that they used to be famous. I know one of them is named Axl, and one is  named Slash, I never knew anybody named Slash before. I took Carrie to that concert too. Afterwards we went and got matching tattoos. Did I show you?”

Dad stood up and started to undo his belt and turn around.

“That’s OK, Dad. I don’t think I want to see your new tattoo… Wait a minute, did you say you and Miss Loudermilk got matching tattoos?”

“Yeah.” He grinned impishly, “I let her watch me get mine and she let me watch while she got hers.”

I held up my hand, “Too much information, Dad. I don’t think I really want to hear this story.”

“Aww, fer Christ’s sake, Richie, I just watched her get a tattoo. Nothin’ happened. Remember, I’m almost 96 years old. And Carrie’s a month older than I am. I mean – I’m younger now, with my lifestyle and all, but I’m still pretty damn old. I enjoyed watching; but there wasn’t much either of us could do about it. Next weekend me and Carrie are going out to see The Burning Man with some people we met at the concert. We’re gonna turn on and tune out. We might be gone for a few days, maybe a week or more. Make sure you water my plants for me. Will ya?”

“Dad, you don’t have any houseplants.”

“Oh yes I do, Richie. Carrie’s teaching me to grow pot. She had some legacy seeds that she gave me. She said they produced Panama Red and it was some good shit. I can’t believe I forgot to tell you about that. They gotta be this high by now.” He held his hands out, one about 12 or 14 inches above the other.

“Dad!” I started.

“Don’t worry, Richie. I’ll share some with you. I’m no Bogart.”

I stood up and turned towards the refrigerator.

“Can you bring me a beer, Richie?” Dad asked.

“It’s only ten o’clock in the morning, Dad.”

“Yeah, but it’s five o’clock somewhere. Make it a Guinness would ya?”

27 minutes – 27

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