Response – JSW Prompt 6-14-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post it to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“You mean there are ponies all the way over there?”

“Yes, I do.”

“But why can’t we see them?”

“Because they are too far away.”

“I want to see the ponies!”

“I know and we will as soon as the boat tour starts.”

“Can we pet the ponies?”

“No, no. They aren’t pets. They are wild.”

“What does wild mean?”
“It means they live on their own and take care of themselves. They aren’t ponies like at the carnival.”

“I want to ride the ponies.”

“We can’t ride theses ponies. They are wild.”

“Can we un-wild them?”

“Tame? No, because these ponies don’t belong to us. They live out here on the Refuge because they is where they belong.”

“Can we take one home?”

“No, they are wild.”

“It could live in my room with me.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because they are wild and they don’t belong to us.”

“But I want a pony.”

“You have plenty of ponies at home.”

“They are fake.”

“But you enjoy playing with them, don’t you?”

“Uh-huh.”

“So we’ll take pictures of the ponies we see today and you can hang them on your wall to look at when you play with your ponies.”

“I want to see the ponies!”

“I know. The boat is coming.”

“Where is it?”

“I don’t know for sure, but it is coming.”

“Here?”

“Right here.”

“To see the ponies?”

“Yes, to see the ponies.”

“Can I pet the ponies?”

“We already discussed that. No, the ponies are wild.”

“Can I ride the ponies?”

“No, they are wild.”

“I don’t want them to be wild.”

“Well, they are.”

A boat appeared in the distance, gradually growing closer.

“Is that the boat?”

“Yes.”

“Our boat?”

“The tour boat, yes.”

“Is he coming?”

“Yes.”

“Right here?”

“Yes.”

“Can he come faster?”

“No. He knows what he is doing.”

“What if he’s wrong?”

“About what?”

“Coming faster. What if he can?”

“He can’t come any faster.”

“The boat is coming! The boat is coming!”

Yes, please, the boat is coming finally.

The tour boat pulled up to the dock. “Come on aboard,” the old man at the wheel said with a sweep of one hand.  “Captain Jack’s Pony Tours.”

They stepped on board.

“Are we going to see the ponies?”

“Yes,” the old man answered. “There are lots of ponies out today.”

“Can we pet them?”

“Your best view,” the Captain said, “Is going to be from the bow of the boat. The front.”

Cassie dashed off to the bow. Mother followed more slowly.

“Just remember,” Captain Jack said, “you have to stay real quiet or you might scare the ponies back into the brush.”

“Are we going to see ponies?” Cassie whispered.

“Yes, now Shuuuuh.”

The vacation might be salvageable after all.

Retro Thursday 5-20-2021

 BY ATHLING2001

The Little Prince On Essential Matters

“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”

It seems to me knowing about butterflies, games, and the sound of somebody’s voice are much more important than knowing a weight, an age or even money.  Money doesn’t make friends, at least not the kind of friends I’d want. Frankly, I hate figures, whither it is a math problem or figuring out my checkbook.  Thank goodness for on-line banking so I no longer have to struggle monthly with the hell of balancing; I do much better checking my account daily and keeping the balance in my head.  That way, my math output is limited and that brings me happiness.

I am proud to say I never questioned my sons about their friend’s parents – unless it was to clarify in my mind I was thinking of the right persons. I never asked about weight or height.  I decided once another boy was not the appropriate friend and, covertly, gave my son’s regrets to his birthday party.  Realistically, my son was 7 or 8 and this boy cursed in ever sentence.  Not something I wanted my child around.

I don’t, however, remember asking about those essential matters.  What does essential mean?  According to the dictionary:

: extremely important and necessary

: very basic

We all know this.  The words isn’t unusual or vague.  But looking at the definition in black and white it struck me that essential matters are extremely important and yet very basic.  Food, clothes, shelter. A purposeful life and the ability to find happiness inside. Our health.  Family. Friends. Love. Peace.

It all boils down to balance.  Is my life balanced? Can I somehow find the fine line between my life, my work and my son’s still living at home.  Am I content in my work? Do I care about butterflies and voices and games?

Yes, yes, I believe I do.

Response JSW 5-3-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

The main characters are told that something they have been searching for does not exist.

“Shit.”

“That blows.”

“Are you sure it’s not there?”

“Positive, baby. Look for yourself.”

She scrutinized the paper, turning it over and over as if that might make the thing magically appear.

“But I know I saw it. I know I did!”

“Well. apparently not in this lifetime.”

She tossed down the paper. “That is wrong. I know it. I’ve read it a hundred times, both when I was little and then to the kids.”

“Honey, it’s okay. So the name is different.”

“No the name isn’t different. Why would I remember it wrong?”

“A thousand different reasons, hon. You know how tired you always were at night, getting the kids to bed.”

“I wasn’t that tired.”

“Okay, it doesn’t really matter. It’s the same anyway.”

“No it’s not. Why would my brain remember the wrong name?”

“Why do brains do anything?”

“Don’t give me the runaround, Dan. I’m really worried now about my brain.”

“There is nothing wrong with your brain,” he told her again, gently. “Just because you remember Bereinstein Bears and it’s Bereinstain Bears….”

Friday Fictioneers 2-23-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

The marshmallow lights stretched across the field like a string of aliens making for the border. Next thing you knew, they’d be asking for asylum because their Moon Gorky was being mean to them.  Well, damn it, as far as he was concerned those aliens could just go back to where they came from.

The touch on his shoulder pulled Jeffrey back from his character’s mind and he turned.

“Jeffrey, will you take Karen on the Merry-Go-Round?”

Oh, please! “Yes, dear, of course……” As if he didn’t have better things to do at his typewriter, what with an alien invasion looming and all…

Story For The Week 4-20-2021

The sadness was all persuasive, wrapped around them like a blanket of fog, holding them all together. Alone they would have fallen and quickly. Together, they managed to prop each other up and hold the grief at bay.

“Why?” was Susie’s endless question.

“How?” Macy’s.

He just wanted to go home and be alone. This was something he didn’t like or want to share, this sorrow. It filled him full, leaving no room for kind words or reassurance of hope and continuation. Dead was dead. The mere fact of the matter took away the last traces from his life. Soon even the memory would be gone, the sadness over.

Maybe, if he hung on tight enough some sprinkle of memory might remain; colored sugar on a cake.

“He was a good man,” Macy said, wiping raccoon eyes. “He never judged me like the fathers of some of my friends.”

“He always supported us in everything we did,” Susie agreed.

They both looked at him so he nodded. “Never said a word when I bought my bike.” The bike that lived in his living room so he didn’t forget. The father who lived with him so he remembered.

“He was hoping you’d get over stupid on your own,” both of his sisters said and laughed.

If only they knew. He hadn’t ridden the bike in over ten years, not wanting to risk more loss. The Doctors couldn’t tell him why the accident wiped away only part of his memory, only that he was lucky.  At least he had something left, some memories, some hold on the world of his past. Not people, but events. Some didn’t. Some people with similar brain injuries simply forgot everything. He might have been left with only 15 minutes of everything. Or 15 seconds. Or nothing.

Lucky meant he only forgot people once they faded from his life. Like birthdays. He remembered the day, the cake, the presents but not the people. He knew people had been there, but they no longer existed. Bare walls bracketed the memories; he the last person alive. Childhood. Christmases. Lovers. Nothing.

The funeral was over. They hugged, kissed, promised to keep in touch before another funeral brought them together again. They wouldn’t, but they pretended for him. He looked at them, his sisters, aching to commit them so deep in his memory he would never forget but eventually, inevitably, he would.

Turning, he walked away.  Why the heck was he in a cemetery anyway?

Story For The Week 4-13-2021

Solitude

Solitude didn’t both him, that wasn’t it, but his brother, Silence, was a different story. Nights when he was the only person alive and the vast silent expanse of the sky cupped over him like a giant’s hand. Those nights he curled up in his blankets and shivered, eyes tight closed, not wanting to see the Nightly Things creeping up on him. If he didn’t see them, they couldn’t see him, no matter how close they crept. Nightly Things couldn’t peer inside closed eyelids, that was the rule.

The Doctor didn’t look over at Mrs. Marshall as he spoke.  “As you can see, he hasn’t gotten any better.”

“Do you know why?”

“The workings of the mind are still mostly a mystery.  There  is so much we don’t know about mental illness.”

“He isn’t mentally ill.”

“Look at him, Mrs. Marshall. He has no connection nor concept of the world.” He paused, feigning sympathy and patience. “He isn’t going to get better. The best thing for him is to put him into an institution so he gets the care he needs…” Droning on until his words turned into blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Care for him yes, but not love him. Not like a mother.

Mrs. Marshall stared through the window at her son. She knew so little about him, his world, but one thing she did know was he was not mentally ill. Those words he scribbling over and over – Nightly Things – scared her. What did he mean? What was he trying to tell her, his mother, the one person who loved him unconditionally?

She thought his words were a cry for help, for protection; to be heard. Something somewhere terrified him. Something, real or not, chased him in his silent world.

On the drive home, she thought about being a mother. Mothers didn’t give up. They didn’t leave their child behind.  She stroked his hair, silky even at ten. Mother’s protected against Nightly Things, whatever they were. Mothers loved. Mothers listened even to the silence.

Mothers didn’t walk away.

JSW 4-12-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 500 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

Copyright csk 2020

JSW 3-8-2021

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

JSW – 3-1-2021

(For some reason this didn’t post)

The JSW Challenge is open to anybody who wishes to participate. Using the writing prompt, write a flash fiction no longer than 200 words and post to your page. The Challenge starts on Monday and runs through Sunday each week. Please remember to link your story back to this post so everyone can read your entry.

“On the corner of main street/Just tryin’ to keep it in line/You say you wanna move on, and/You say I’m falling behind/Can you read my mind?” – Brandon Flowers, The Killers

He stopped playing, fingers poised over the piano keys as the next verse of the song rolled into his mind and, a moment later, out his fingers onto the keys. The melody had been in his head for days just waiting for the words to come.

He was alone in the studio. He preferred it that way now, not like when he was young and they first started the band. Then, the more chaos the better. In all the ruckus, he could create all day.

Turning on the bench, he started out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the Northwest forest beyond. Dusk was settling down over the trees like a blanket and he could hear the first, faint, call of an owl.

Another marriage down the drain and he just didn’t want to do it anymore. It was easier to be alone and find a companion when he wanted company. Companions were a dime-a-dozen. Love, well, was overrated. Even if the decision made his heart hurt.

Dark hung over him, kissing the room’s corners and elbows, whispering among the furniture and drapes. He was alone. Truth was, he didn’t want the companionship either. He wanted…. darkness. The world was moving on. He was falling behind.

Could they read his mind?

(This story is purely fictional and has no resemblance to the actual author and band).