Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ice Cream Soda

Velvet verbosity #415 – Prompt – Cup – 100 Words

A continuation of the Bus Stop Series

She moved in close, lifting the white umbrella higher to cover his taller frame.

Awkward silence followed.  He stood mute as a statue, dripping wet, while she searched for something to say.

“You aren’t really Gay are you?”

He looked down at her.  “No. ….. No I’m not.”

She mustered up a frown.  “Then why did you say you were?”

“To avoid future complications and inevitable disappointment.”

Now they both stood in silence, neither one with anything to say.

They waited for their bus, two dissimilar ingredients mixed into an ice cream soda topped off with an umbrella of white foam.
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Image courtesy of About Education

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bed Bugger

Flash Frenzy – Round 56 – Image Prompt – kitchen worker in restaurant – 360 words

Graham waited patiently for someone to notice him.  Sticking a toothpick in his mouth, he looked around.  The Green Shingle was packed as usual.  Decent food and cheap fuel never fails.  A disheveled waitress finally detoured in his direction.  Disinterested small talk ensued.

“How was it?”  She swept a rebellious lock of hair out of her eyes and took his twenty.

“Excellent as usual darlin.  Best six egg omelet in the lower 48.”

She made change.  “So, where you headed driver?”

“Movin some executive to Toronto.”

“Bed bugger huh?”

“That a problem?”

She shoved the cash drawer shut.  “Only if you plan on parking here overnight.  If you are, use the back lot.”

Graham winked. “ Thanks Hon ………. “Hey, I’m in the Jackson Van Lines rig with the double sleeper if you feel like visiting later.”

The waitress grinned, “Driver, get out of here.  I’m married and old enough to be your grandmother.”

The lack of post lights in the back lot suited Graham just fine.  He found a spot away from the other trucks and backed in.

As he pulled his parking brakes on, a van drove up and stopped.  Graham wasn’t suspicious, but he was cautious.  He rolled his window up half way.

A woman wearing a halter top and cut off jeans  two sizes too small hopped out of the van and approached Graham’s rig.

“Say driver, looking for some company tonight?”

“No, not tonight.  Just wanna sleep.”

“Well, how 'bout some go fast pills then?”

“No.  Go away.”

Graham did not notice her reaching behind her back.  His eyes were on the figures approaching in his rear-view.

“Driver.  Let me see your hands. … You’re under arrest.”

The gun she held told him it was over.  He turned towards the sleeper.  She shot him in the left lung.

The woman officer who shot him lifted his oxygen mask.  He gasped, “How?”

She leaned in close.  “Caught up with you at the New Stanton tollgate, followed you here, and found Rebecca and your pistol while you were stuffing your pie hole. …. Hope you fry, you bastard.”  She let the mask snap back to his face.
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Image courtesy of Ashwin Rao

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Opportunity

Micro Bookends - 1.19 - Spring/Festival - Image chinese fireworks - 110 words

Spring right on the heels of New Year bore down hard on Chongun.  He considered his added role as he pulled the cart of fireworks past the rice patties etched into the side of Kunlun Mountain.   With his brother drafted by the People’s Liberation Army now, he was not only in charge of the family fireworks business, but the rice paddies also.

Another man might complain.  Chongun saw only opportunity to fulfill his destiny as head of the richest family in the valley.  Provided of course, his brother did not come back.

Chongun smiled and said, “Enough daydreaming, I need to get these fireworks to the temple for tomorrow’s festival.”
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Image courtesy of mathewwwu88

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Hook Up

Last Line First, Week 5  – 200 words -Prompt - I don't believe in love at first sight, but....

“I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I am told there are fools who do.  Are you one?”

The well dressed woman sitting at the hotel bar twirling her drink with a beautifully manicured forefinger looked at Stanton.  “Am I one what?”

“A fool who believes in love at first sight.”

The woman swiveled her bar stool and faced Stanton.  “You get lucky often with that line, do ya?”

“More often than you’d think.  ………. May I sit down?”  Stanton assumed her permission and parked on the stool next to her.  “I’m Stanton and you didn’t answer my question.”

“Well Stanton, I’m thinking you don’t care how I feel about love.  I’m thinking you are just another zipper looking for an invite upstairs.”

Stanton was silent.  He held up his empty glass to signal the bar keep he was still thirsty.  ”So I guess the answer is no?”

The woman pushed her drink away and stood up.  She pulled on her skirt to straighten it and said, “Did I say no?”

“Uh no, no you didn’t.”

Jack opened his purse, found his room card and tossed it on the bar. “Give me ten minutes darling, then come up.”
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Image from Getty images

Share My Umbrella

Velvet verbosity #414 – Prompt – Umbrellas - 100 words

He caught her eye at the bus stop.  There was nothing specific, just a notion this was a man she might like to know.

He did not participate in the trivial morning conversations with the bus stop regulars.  His working class Dickies told her they were definitely from two different worlds.  Maybe it was his somber detachment that drove her interest.  When her cubicle existence became oppressive, thinking of him became her go to escape.

In the rain one morning she walked over to him.

“Share my umbrella?”

“I’m Gay”

“So what.  …… Doesn’t mean we can’t share an umbrella.”
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This piece is tied to my previous VV post "The Loser" - Hopefully I can make a serial out of it......We'll see.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bedtime Story

Prompt - First sentence and special challenge words - Teddy Bear, President, heart, mastermind, cupcake, nightgown

“He hustled her away from the scene, even as more people were arriving to scope out the damage.”

“What happened then Granpa?”  Edie peeked out from under the top of her My Little Pony nightgown.

Granpa tucked the covers around her tiny body.   “Well, they ran down the back stairs and out into the alley behind the hotel.  TB……….”

“You mean Teddy Bear, right Granpa?”

“Yeah right child, I mean Teddy Bear, now hush and listen. …….. Uh, let’s see ….  Running down the stairs tuckered them right out.  So they stood in that alley, hearts pounding and chests heaving.  They didn’t know what to do. 

“The President said, ‘Okay mastermind, now what?’ ”

“Teddy Bear looked at her.  ‘Madam President, I do not know.  Let me check it out.’  Ever so slowly and super quietly, TB sneaked up the alley to the street. …”

Granpa looked at his granddaughter.  Her eyes were barely open.  She couldn’t last much longer.  He better wrap it up.

He smiled.   “So Teddy Bear looked out onto the street.  He signaled the President to come ahead.      Both of them peaked out.   There were Officer Barneys everywhere.  Some were running crime tape, while most were holding the gathering mob back.  One Barney was taking pictures and another was stretching on some crime scene latex gloves.”

Edie struggled to open her eyes wider.  “Just like CSI huh? ……… ”

Granpa looked down on his beautiful grandchild.  “Yes Edie, just like CSI. …… Anyway, what the Barneys were checking out horrified both of them.  There lay Cupcake frosting side down.  Its cherry smashed and cracked open, oozing red cherry juice into the sewer drain. ……. After a few moments, they decided it was best to beat feet the other way.”

Edie mumbled, “What then?”  She had just about had it.

“Well, the Barney taking pictures asked, ‘So Sarge, what do we call this one?  Need something for the report.’ ”

“ Sarge looked at him and said, ‘Hmm, … we found the poor slob near the sewer drain.   Let’s write it up as Suicide.’ “

Edie looked up at her grandfather and grinned.  “Granpa, you are so silly.”   Then she passed out.

Granpa eased himself to his feet.  As he left her room, he closed the door leaving it cracked open a tad, just like she liked it.  Downstairs he found his wife in the living room with a book in her hands.  She dropped the book to her lap and looked at him over her glasses.  “You didn’t tell the cupcake story again, did you?”

“Yeah, sure did.  Worked like a charm.  Don’t worry, I didn’t tell her you were the one who threw Cupcake to his death.

Miss Piggy glared at her husband.  ” Hey now, he was trying to steal my girlish figure. …….. If I was still president, I’d…………”


“Yeah Yeah, you’d have the stuffing beat out of me. …….  blah blah blah.”  Teddy Bear headed into the kitchen for a beer.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Pigrimage

Flash Frenzy - Round 55 - Prompt - the image below - 358 words

Jose climbed the broken steps of his ancestral home and gazed at what was left of Hacienda Grande.  It had been one of the oldest ranches in Columbia. Quality cattle, coffee, and grain lifted it above the rest.  It was the Coca plant that destroyed it.  Gone was the main house, the granero, and all the corrals.  Instead, squatter shacks were scattered about.  The residents were probably eking out a living tending the coffee plants on the slopes of the Andes to the west for some agri-business based in Cartago.

He had heard the stories.  A perceived insult to one of the cartels some said.  Others were positive it was when Jose’s grandfather stopped growing their coca.  The truth of why did not matter now, 25 years later.   What mattered to Jose was his birthright disappeared the day the cartel Sicarios came.  They dragged his grandparents and 3 of their 4 children from their home and shot them dead.  Burning and ransacking all the buildings just to emphasize to other growers how seriously the notion of loyalty was taken.

The cartel made a mistake.  They failed to find Jose’s mother, who was attending college in California.  When word reached her, she disappeared.   Unknown to her, she was one month pregnant.  And now Jose stood on this old killing ground trying to make sense of it all.

“Senor?”

Startled, Jose turned around. Facing him was an old man he assumed was a mestizo, probably a resident of the tin shack village near the tree line.  “No Habla Espanol.  Do you speak English?”.

The old man replied, “Si Senor, a little.”

They stared at each other.  The old man spoke.  “You have her eyes.”

“Her eyes?”

The mestizo handed him a photograph.   “I pulled it from the rubble.” 

It had to be his grandmother, the most famous Flamenco dancer since Carmen Amaya.  Another family fable had risen from the grave.

“You knew my grandmother?”

“Si, I was head vaquero.”

Both became silent.   Jose said, “Thank you for this, my mother had no pictures.”

The old man stared at Jose.  “You must avenge her senor.”


“I will.  ………. Count on it.”
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Image courtesy of Ashwin Rao

Friday, February 13, 2015

Trouble

Flash! Friday Vol 3-10    -209 words

How does one describe the bond created between pets and their humans?

I first met Trouble at a rest stop in Colorado.  Battered, broken and half starved, she stole my heart immediately.  I hauled her to California.   A vet there did his best but did not offer much hope.  She and I flew back to Maine.  There was no problem locating her at baggage claim, her distinctive yowling guided me right to her.  Upon picking her up, she purred and began nursing on my neck.

After she had convalesced and the bandages came off, we took stock of her healed condition.   She walked with a limp and her fractured jaw had not healed straight, forever giving her the ugliest mug in Cat-dom.

We need not have worried about her inclusion into the dynamic of the rest of the cat crew.  She took control immediately and ruled with a firm paw.   Whatever she faced now was a cakewalk compared to what she had been through as a kitten.  The other cats gave her wide berth unless invited into her world. She always laid her kills at my feet.  And even at age 17, she was still nursing on my neck.

She was a gladiator who survived.  Damn, I miss her.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Scotch on the Rocks

Micro Bookends 1.18 – Prompt  - Sweet ~ Tooth – 107 words

Sweet memories began flowing halfway through his third scotch on the rocks.  Harris settled deeper into the wing back chair.  He glanced at Julie asleep on the couch.  She was sitting up, head back, and snoring softly.

Harris smiled as he gazed at his wife of 40 years.  The night they met, she looked like this.  She had tried to be a good sport.  She matched him shot for shot.  Five minutes later she passed out.

Her face had more wrinkles and her ex-dancer’s body was less petite.  But by Jesus, he still loved his sweet Julie even now when she was so long in the tooth.
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Image from Crafthubs

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Loser


Velvet Verbosity *413 - Prompt ~ Robbed  - 100 words

Standing at the bus stop in the cold rain.

Foul weather and melancholy, 

bring into sharp focus, a lifetime of pain.

The soul had suffered so many felonies, 

a thousand cuts of momentary shame.

Withdrawn and numb now, the shell still exists, 

while the essence and joy in Life long ago floated away.

Was it the theft of a childhood, one drunken blow at a time?

Or rather school yard bullies and a brief hollow marriage 

that bears most of the blame?

It matters little now, standing here in the rain.

What once was, is the present, nothing has changed.
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Image from Saustria

A Conversation Over Drinks After Work

Last Line First – Week 4 - Prompt – “You’ll know better next time”  -  200 words or less 


“You’ll know better next time.”

“If there is a next time. ………. Big Guy frowns on failure.”

“Calm down. He always hands projects to rookies proposed by the liberal whack jobs on the Board. Did it to me my second assignment, eons ago.”

“Why that no good Bast…….”

“ Be careful. His eyes and ears are everywhere. Develin landed in the basement, distributing office supplies after using the F-word. Big Guy hates the F-word.

“It’s not fair. I was handed a no win project and expected to succeed.”

“Welcome to the big leagues kid. Fair doesn’t exist.”

“Friggin attachments were the problem.”

“Attachments? …… He’s been known to toss the Liberals a bone on occasion. They do propose good ideas sometimes.”

“Give me some examples.”

“They came up with trees, flowers, and butterflies. ………… What were the attachments?”
First was Free Will. Really? Folks thinking for themselves?……. Riiiiight. Next, the laugher notion, procreation should be pleasurable. And last, Evolution. Allowing denial of his existence, well, it seems counterproductive.”


“Sounds like a mess alright. Maybe Big Guy will send his cocky kid down to straighten things out. ……. But enough shop talk. Pass me that sacrificial wine. My glass is empty.”
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After the break is the longer original version - about 500 words


Sunday, February 8, 2015

One Way Trip


Three hours of crawling through slimy storm drains gained Francis entry into Elder Phelps’ wine cellar.  Grate out of the way, he climbed onto the cool stone floor and collapsed on his back.  He considered this poorly planned mission as he regained his composure.  There had been no time for decent recon.  The recent televised sacrifice of his Oxnard neighbors demanded an instant response from his 666er cell.  He assumed it would be a one way trip.

He shined his flashlight around the room.  There were barrels and wine racks filled with bottles.  Above him hung a chain with an iron ring.   He shined his light on the grate.  At once he knew what the chain and ring were for. 

Finding his way down a long narrow hall, he found the stairs leading to the kitchen.  The map indicated he was to take the servant stairway on his right to the second floor.  The master bedroom was the first door on the left.

Making no sound, he found his way to the bedroom door.  He thought it odd there were no bodyguards along his route.  It was too easy.  Francis shook it off, took some deep breaths, and pulled his knife out.  Ever so slowly he turned the knob.  It was unlocked.

This was it.  Time for some payback.  He passed through the door and worked his way silently to the bed.  A small night light plugged in near the bed was the room’s only light.  A covered figure lay on the bed.   Francis stood some moments over the bed, the grip of his knife slick with sweat.  He wanted to look Elder Phelps in the eye when he slit his throat.  He pulled back the covers, and immediately stumbled back in shock.  He began to retch and cough.  Laying there was Mrs. Simmons, ravaged and bloody.  She was his friend and neighbor and one of the sacrificed he came to avenge.

From the shadows, ”That’s right, we knew you were coming.”  Francis turned as Elder Phelps and two of his AAG goons came toward him.


“Take him back to the wine cellar.  I will be down shortly.”
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Image courtesy of Ashwin Rao

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Mugging

Flash! Friday – Vol 3-9  -- 209 words – written prompt – “A Fleeting Moment” – Image prompt – man w/ umbrella on a bare square
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Mark slid his hand truck under the stack of burger buns.  Tipping the stack, he walked it down the ramp of the trailer.  At the backdoor of the restaurant, the previous two stacks were still waiting to be taken inside by his co-driver.  There was no room for this one.

“Division of labor …… Right,” he said to himself.  “George is probably munching on a Whopper.  What a Loser.”

There was nothing he could do.  George was lead driver.  Mark tipped his stack back up and lit a cigarette.  He considered this new driving gig.  A full weeks pay for a 36 hour run delivering buns to Burger Kings in New York City and Long Island.  Leave Thursday night, back in Lewiston, Maine dark thirty AM, Saturday.

He noticed a man with an umbrella walking in his direction.  The back door opened and the first stack disappeared inside.  Mark tipped his stack.  Something poked him in the back.

“Give me your wallet.”  Mark turned to face umbrella man.

Oddly, Mark felt no panic.  “No wallet. I have ten dollars in my front pocket though.”

“Ten dollars?  That’s all?”

“We eat for free.  I don’t need money.”

The mugger snatched the ten spot.  “Cheap ass truck drivers.”   He walked away.
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Back story – This incident actually happened to me.  However, the guy was not carrying an umbrella.
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Image courtesy of NannyDaddy

Relentless

Micro Bookends 1.17 – 104 words

Water is relentless.  Man can only hope to guide its flow.

Harry looked down at his crew crossing the bridge over the spillway and into the mine.   Something was not right.  After so much rain should not more water be flowing from the dam just one thousand yards away?  Harry picked up his walkie-talkie, “Jerry, …. Jerry come in.”  No answer.   Concerned now, Harry drove his truck up to the dam.  He found Jerry slumped over in his truck, dead.

He turned to head to the flow control shed when the dam broke.  Harry realized now, Jerry never made it to the flood gate.
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An interesting aside - Before i knew of the title of the image, "Coal Mine", I picked a mine as my setting.  I never worked the mines, but I did deliver more than a few pieces of large equipment to mines scattered throughout the PA and WV region during my trucking days.
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Image courtesy of Duncan

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Before Zombies Came


They never, ever learn their lesson until it is too late.  As it was in their past, so it is in this future.  Civilizations rise and then they fall.  Some lasted only decades, others lasted centuries.  But in the end, they always failed, burning out their greatness with self absorbed cockiness.

In early times, geographical distance insulated one group from another.  A society could fail without affecting their neighbors, many thousands of miles away.  As time passed and these cultures expanded, the effects of each new collapse had wider ramifications on cultures near and far.  Eventually, the planet’s population became so interdependent; a failure on the other side of the globe could and did create death and destruction on this side of the globe.

“Grand Pa, what was it like before the Zombies came?”

Grand Pa finally wrestled his ax out of the head of the zombie on his porch.  He set the blood drenched ax head down and leaned on the handle.  Wiping his brow, he said, “Well I’ll tell ya young Jeremy.  It wasn't so easy telling the good guys from the bad, but at least I did not have to distill my own whiskey.”
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Last Quilt

Velvet Verbosity - The prompt for 02/01/15 - 02/07/15 is QUILT – 100 words
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Aunt Helen sat in the Windsor chair.  With gnarled finger, she pointed to something and determined its destiny.  Sticky notes were applied.

“Quilting frame?’

“It goes with me.   Your uncle made it for me in 1954.”

 “You can barely grab a doorknob.  How are you going to use it?  Besides, your new apartment is too small.”

“It goes with me.”

Aunt Helen lay on her death bed, a twisted hand gripping Mark.  “There’s a package under the bed for you.”

After the funeral, Mark opened that package.  Inside was her last quilt.  Embroidered on one panel, the words, “FOR MARK”.
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lucky Harry

Weight in low volume was what was needed to justify leasing a wormhole tapping a planet so far from the core.

 “Who’s the Babe?”  Harry was notorious, better known for striking out than scoring.

“Oh, that’s Alice.”  The bartender smiled.  “You might finally get lucky tonight.  She leaves with a new guy every night.”

Back at Alice’s place, Alice pulled out some handcuffs.

Harry grinned and thought, “Oh yeah, tonight’s the night.”

Alice switched on the conversion gun.  Lights on the barrel blinked as it warmed up.  Strapped in and wetting himself, Harry asked, “Why?”

“It is hard to explain Harry.  Let us just say our gain is your loss.”
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Flash challenge from Micro Bookends - 110 words

Image courtesy of this site