Friday Fictioneers 6-18-2021

PHOTO PROMPT ©  Alicia Jamtaas

“Nobody lives there.”

“The Little People do.”

“Why would they live in a Big Person house?”

“They drove out the Big People.”

“You are so full of it.”

“You don’t believe me, go look inside.”

“I’m not looking inside.”

“Chicken.”

“Damn right. I bet there are snakes in there.”

“No snakes.”

“Then you look.”

“I don’t need to look.”

“Are you sure? No snakes?”

“I promise.”

“Come with me and I will.”

“Okay.”

They snuck up on the building, circling around to the far side where a wood door hung partially open. Peeked inside……

“Surprise!” shouted all her friends.

Friday Fictioneers 6-11-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“That’s just…..”

“Big.”

“And orange.”

“And…..”

They both fell silent.

“Let’s see if it is open.”

“Really?”

“Sure? Why not?”

“It’s just so…. Orange.”

Kerry started towards the ordering window. “That’s why I love America. Such wacky things you guys have here.”

“Huh. Unlike Wales, I guess.”

“Definitely unlike Wales,” Kerry laughed.

Reaching the window, he said, “I’d like a Big Orange Burger.”  He looked at Jay. “You?”

Jay wasn’t sure he wanted a Big Orange Burger, but he was used to America’s fast food. Kerry was still fascinated by the scope and variety.

“Come on, where else are you going to get a Big Orange Burger?”

“Nowhere, hopefully,” Jay responded, then, “Sure, why not, make it two.”

Friday Fictioneers 6-4-2021

PHOTO PROMPTPHOTO PROMPT Liz Young © Liz Young

“This,” Jay said matter-of-factly, “has to take the cake.”

“What? The wall jumped me.”

“Well, there you go, but it looks like you jumped the wall.”

“Twist everything around as always.”

“Look, Chris, you have a habit of destroying cars. Luckily, you haven’t destroyed yourself right along with them.” Truth was, he knew, Chris was trying to destroy himself. Pushing the limits, driving fast, but this didn’t look like his normal attempts. This looked like an accident.

“It was an accident,” Chris said.

“I know, but, boy, you have a way with cars.”

They both laughed. Anytime they could laugh was a good day.

Friday Fictioneers 5-28-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © Miles Rost

“Don’t jump, Harold!”

Harold flipped red wings.

Spencer swung his way up, shooting out a sticky strand of web which wrapped around Harold.

“Oh, for creatures sake,” Harold said, attempting to flick his glued-down wings, “Spencer!”

The spider turned around. “What?”

“I wasn’t going to jump. I was going to fly!”

“Thank goodness, I saved you!”

“What? I have wings, Spencer. I’m a flying bug!”

“What? Oh…I forgot.”

He always forgot.

Spencer looked so ashamed, however, Harold relented – as always. “It’s all right. Just get this sticky web off me.”

Retro Thursday 5-13-2021

When is it acceptable, if ever, to break the law?

I am not a law-breaker. That doesn’t mean that sometimes, in the darkest recesses of my heart, I don’t want to break the law. There are times the law is ridiculous. There are times when it would be so much easier not to abide by the law, but regardless, I was raised to know right from wrong.

To be totally truthful, I do break a couple minor laws. I drive 5-10 miles over the speed limit, mostly just to keep from being the slowest car on the road. Sometimes, I jay-walk. And, once or twice, I haven’t picked up my dog’s poop during a walk. In my defense, the poop was not on the sidewalk or anybody’s yard. It was in some brush on a strip of undeveloped land. So, I didn’t. Turn me in if you must!

I wouldn’t be a good criminal. I don’t like confrontation and I don’t do well in stressful, strange situations. This isn’t why I don’t break the law, but it helps.

As started above, some laws can be strange. Mostly because these are outdated laws which no longer fit into the reality of the modern world. For instance, in Alaska, it is illegal to wake a sleeping bear to take a photo.  In California, a frog which dies in a frog-jumping competition cannot be legally eaten. In Florida, if you tie an elephant to a parking meter, you must  pay the meter the same as you would for a car.

Silly, right? Definitely. These laws make me wonder about the sanity of some lawmakers in those days of old. How many elephants were wandering around Florida? And if you woke up that sleeping bear in Alaska, you wouldn’t need to worry about being arrested or fined. As for the frog, I guess competition frogs needs to be buried with honors or some such thing. Duty to the nation of Frogs.

These laws are so laughable that if I did have an elephant in Florida, I’d tie him to the parking meter and just walk away. What cop is going to stick a ticket on an elephant?

But, how about breaking serious laws, those laws made to safeguard the health, safety, prosperity and lives of the general populace of any country. Would I kill someone?

Maybe. If I was threatened or my children or family were threatened, I might have to step up and break that law. Stealing? If I was homeless and destitute I might consider stealing food. I might consider sleeping someplace safe but against the law.

As much as my wicked side (and/or characters) like to fantasize about breaking the law, being law-abiding is so deeply ingrained that I never would. As for characters, I do have criminals in my worlds. Most of them are not main characters, but a few are. Deanie O’Conner is a Irish Mob Boss during Prohibition.  I have some young folks who have done some really stupid things. A detective or two who has stepped over the line for the greater good.

My desire as a writer, and my tendency, is to look for and explore the moments which change a person’s life. Make bad people better, or good people bad. What moment was it that Deanie became, not just a ruthless Mob Boss, but a compassionate man, a family man, a man who cared enough about his children to walk away from his former life. Who tried to make things better for his ’employees’ rather than worse.

When would you break the law, if ever? And do you have any criminal characters for whom breaking the law is just a way of life?

Response – JSW 5-10-2021

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.

Don’t have many of those any more. Memories, I mean. Got lost somewhere in my mind and they were gone.

Course, my mind is gone, too, so it wasn’t any surprise. But I miss them. Wish I knew what I was like as a six-year old, a twenty-year old, fifty. I’m 101 now, lots of memories gone. Sometimes memories, or the lack of them, are the worst form of torture.

You young folks don’t believe me, I know, but wait until you’re my age. Wish I could remember my wife. Assuming I had one. Maybe I was alone the whole time. If that was the case, I’m glad I don’t remember.

The attendant come up to say it’s time for dinner. I don’t want it. Why eat when you don’t remember it after it’s done?

But I gotta eat otherwise they fuss and fret and threaten. They say I’ve done that before, not eating. Called it a hunger strike, but, course, I don’t remember.

Bet I did some good things in life. Least I hope so. I’d like to be remembered as a good man. Remembered… huh.

Hilarious. Maybe no body else remembers anything either.

“Come on, Mr Connelly, dinner is waiting.” he starts pushing my chair.

Guess my name is Connelly. I wish they call me by my first name. I’d like to know that before I die.

“What were you doing over there, Mr. Connelly?”

“Over where?”

“There, by the window.”

“Nothing.”

“You looked like you were talking to yourself.”

“Phaw…. I ain’t gone that far.”

Retro Thursday 5-6-2021

 BY ATHLING2001

How Do you Kill a Monster without Becoming One….

———-

It ain’t easy.  That much is for sure.  Been a long time since I killed anything but back in the day….. yeah…. back in the day…..

It came for me when I was 15.  Thought I was tough then, I did.  Big swagger as I walked down the street.   Tough words.  Angry words.  Ugly words.  Funny how when you’re young you think those things make you tough.  Don’t take me wrong.  I was a scrapper.  I’d been in any number of street fights.  All my life.  Thought that made me tough, too.  How little I knew.

It came on a Monday.  I was home.  Had to be.  My little sister was there.  Didn’t like to leave her alone at night.  Not if I could help it.  We had day-old hot dogs for dinner.  A dented can of baked beans.  Marshmellow fluff. 

Lived in a series of rooms. Used to be offices when the building was a warehouse. One central room with a hotplate, couple broke-back chairs. A table. A radio. Another room with two mattresses on the floor. A bathroom that worked. Barely. But enough for water to clean and cook. I’d installed locks on the doors. Kept us safe so far. Then again, I wasn’t asleep yet.

Been years now. Too many. Never did find my little sister. I looked for her sometimes. All the times. That face in the crowd. A voice across a street. A dream of before I’d become a monster. But now… now I am old. Haven’t killed in years.

Weren’t killing that’d made me a monster. No. Abandoning her did. Ran when the Government people finally tracked us down. Gonna take us into the system. Foster homes. Schools. The ‘right’ life. Couldn’t take that. And so I ran.

She screamed. Begged. Tears. Never did forget that. Never did forget the sound of tears. Sound rang in my ears the rest of my days. Still there now. But it’s gonna be gone soon.

Soon. Another breath. Two. Another tear. I’ll no longer be a monster.

Question Of The Week 5-5-2021

If you could only have one book for the rest of your life, which would it be?

This is a hard question because as soon as I list one book, I know multiple others will come to mind, each one dear and worthy in its own right. The first book that always comes to mind is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. However, after more thought, I have to say The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I don’t know how many times I have read The Little Prince, but it makes me cry every single time. It also always reminds me of the important things in life.

If you haven’t read The Little Prince, I whole-heartedly recommend it.

Friday Fictioneers 4-30-2021

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

They sat amid the devastation, oblivious. If not oblivious, at least resigned. The flood waters lay flat, motionless. Behind them, well, there used to be a house.

“Funny,” the first said, “how these daman chairs are bout the only thing to survive.”

“Yeah, funny,” agreed the second, dead-pan.

“Indestructible less you sit in them wrong.”

“Ah huh.”

“Think FEMA will get their tails in gear this time?”

“Nope.”

“You’re right. Probably not. Still……” And he was silent for a long moment. “There is always tomorrow.”

Retro Tuesday 4-20-2021

Do we leave a bit of ourselves behind in everything we touch, be it pencils, paper, a tree, a chair or even a moment of the day? A place where we’ve been, where the past and present and future collide? When I go somewhere, I can often feel the deep connection to the past. To the people who lived and loved there, to history going back hundreds or thousands of years.

The truth is, we probably do. We are all connected after all, down on the tiniest level, all made of the same stuff. You and I and the table and chair, the flowers in the garden, dogs, horses, everything in this entire world is connected at its tiniest points.

I once read that the breath I am taking now might once have been Lincoln’s. Or Cleopatra’s. King Arthur’s. Moses’. Or Joey’s down the street.

What an awesome thought that I breathe the same air as everybody who came before. That something of their lives remains and will always remain. For me, for my kids, my great-great-great-great grand-kids. (Supposing I have grand-kids at all.) That in their lives, they may breath the same breath which I am breathing now.

So do we leave something of ourselves on everything we touch? Of course we do. Nothing is ever created or destroyed. Just because we can’t always see it, or feel it, doesn’t mean it is not there.

I have my grandmother’s yarn basket in my bedroom and every time I see it, I think of her. Of the part of her which made that basket special to her and now, to me. If only a memory, she is there and isn’t that leaving something behind?

We all die sometime; there is no stopping that truth. But we aren’t gone because so much of us remains in everything which we touched with our lives. I like to think of my kids saving something of mine, whether a picture, a piece of jewelry, a dish or one of my model horses, something important to me, thus making it important to them. Something I have touched, something upon which I have left part of myself.

The past isn’t really past at all, not when everything we touch, everything we cherish, contains little part of us for all eternity.