Friday Fictioneers – 6/17/19

Friday Fictioneers this week is based on the picture prompt below by Valerie J. Barrett.

My story is below the picture.

vintage-kitchen-tools-valerie-barrett

 

SEEDS FOR A NEW BEGINNING

The old stove looked as if Granny would be scurrying back into the kitchen any minute. I could almost hear the teakettle hum. The house should have felt empty, but instead, it was rich with welcoming sights and scents.

I had come to sort and process the remnants of Granny’s life. But as I stood in her kitchen, where life still seemed so warm and real – and where cyberspace seemed like science fiction – I realized those remnants were treasures that could give my wayward life some meaning. So I decided to light up the stove, fill the teakettle, and stay a few years.

 

 

 

 

 


 

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House of Flawed Flowers — Friday Fictioneers 6/5/19

I haven’t played “Friday Fictioneers” in a long time, but today when I saw the picture I couldn’t help myself. I take no responsibility for the subject matter. It was the jacket hanging on the end of the banister that did it. Honestly — I couldn’t help it.  🙂  And the weirdest thing is that it came out at exactly 99 words without any editing. Go figure.

Here’s the picture prompt courtesy of Ceayr

ceayr-3

HOUSE OF FLAWED FLOWERS

It was a unique little operation. Nothing like the “red-light” districts Derek had been used to. No money actually changed hands here. Men who used the service hung their jackets on the end of the stair banister with the fee in the pocket. Once they were ensconced upstairs, Madam Beatrice relieved the jacket of its contents, and replaced it for the client to retrieve when finished. She even included an innocuous receipt for tax purposes: “One House Special – $100.” Derek had a desk drawer full of those receipts, but he couldn’t use them. His wife was his accountant.

 

 


 

Anthropology 101

{I took a little jaunt through my short story archives today and went waaaaaaaay back. When I got to this one, I stopped and read it again. I have to say I still love it as much as I did when I wrote it —- and that’s a lot.  Hope you get a chuckle out of it.}

 

JUNGLE ISLAND 2

My marriage to an anthropologist was educational – and short. Herman loved his work and was really quite vain about it. He honestly believed that there was no people group that he could not figure out and eventually befriend – even when scores of others in his field had failed.

For years, he had been studying one particular tribe of natives on a tiny island in the Pacific that most ship’s captains refused as a port of call. The tribe was said to be cannibalistic, but my Herman just knew that he could convert them after explaining how much he had studied them in order to become their friend.

On looking back, I suppose that I should have put my foot down and refused when he insisted we honeymoon on the island. But he was so certain that he could convince the natives to help him with his research. So, as usual in our relationship, I acquiesced. My friends and family scolded me for my attitude. They said Herman should be treating me like a goddess rather than just ordering me around and dragging me off to some God-forsaken island to begin our marriage.

When we booked passage on the ship, we had to pay for a skiff as well because the captain told us that he would anchor far offshore, and we would have to go the rest of the way on our own. When we left the ship, he reminded us again what fools he considered us. But Herman insisted that he had everything under control.

We hadn’t been on the island more than an hour before the tribe captured us. They were quite large – both men and women – and exceedingly dark in coloring. They bound Herman immediately and tied him to a large pole at one end of their village. I was shaking like a leaf as they approached me, but they just looked at me with wide eyes and smiles, while making the most excited conversation with each other. I could understand only a very small part of what they said – mainly by their actions.

Then four of them brought a huge carrier – sort of a chair supported between two long poles and carried by the natives. One of the men – seemingly the chief – took my hand and escorted me to the chair.They then carried me ceremonially into the center of the village and escorted me to an elevated area on which sat a throne – all inlaid with gold. I sat, still quaking inside, but almost too overcome by my curiosity to concentrate on being afraid.

Next they placed a crown of the most exquisite jewels on my head and then bowed down to the ground in front of me. Finally, I spoke and asked in my own language for an explanation. One young man came forward and spoke to me in my native tongue to explain.

Evidently my golden blond hair was a sign to them. They had been expecting the goddess of their tribe to come to them in person for many years, and the sign of her true identity was that her head would shine like the sun. So I’m to be worshiped and given every one of my heart’s desires forever. I suppose one might say that, in a way, it’s thanks to Herman that I’m being treated like a goddess.

Of course, they prepared a huge feast in celebration of my arrival, and I guess everyone would have to admit that Herman truly did give his all for the cause of getting to know this tribe of people better. Naturally, I declined any food.

I certainly miss Herman, but I have to admit that what worries me more is what will happen when my roots start to grow out.

 

 

 


 

Belated Goodbye

Copyright Sandra Crook

 

“This was your family’s restaurant?” Erica asked.

I nodded, silent, reliving that horrible night: My fiance Haydn’s pushing me into the cellar and commanding me to keep silent, no matter what.”

Erica understood. “You never saw him again?”

I shook my head. “Two survivors said he’d been captured. But I never could find out.”

“Look!” Erica grabbed my arm. “Someone’s in the upstairs window — looking at us.”

“Some scavenger,” I said, brushing away tears. But then I looked more closely, catching my breath.  “It can’t be,” I whispered.

“What?”

“It’s him!”  I waved frantically: “Haydn!”

He waved, smiled, and in the same moment, vanished. I looked at Erica. Her shocked face assured me I hadn’t imagined  him.

“Finally … after all these painful years … we’ve said goodbye.”

 


Friday Fictioneers writing challenge

 

 

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How About a Glass of Wine?

photo copyright: Sarah Ann Hall

 

“What the heck are they?”
“They look like candle holders to me.”
“Hmmm, I don’t see any candles. Hey this one is open down to the bottom … and so is this one. Maybe they’re fancy vases.”
“Well, they sure wouldn’t hold many flowers. Wonder why Aunt Enid left them to us.”
“Honey, you know Aunt Enid. When she’d had her daily wine quota, she was liable to do almost anything.”
“That’s it!  That’s what we’ll use them for.”
“Huh?”
“At our next dinner party, we’ll use them as wine glasses.”
“Well, that’s one way to start conversation. Let’s get ’em washed.”

 


Friday Fictioneers Fun.

 

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The Journey – Friday Fictioneers 9/8/17

FF - DANNY BOWMAN LANDSCAPE
Copyright: Danny Bowman

 

Created by feet of Shoshone buffalo hunters, the trail had eventually become a stage coach road. But today, Hiram Baker plodded it alone – hungry, thirsty, bone-weary. His horse had given out two days ago, and all that kept him going was the love of a blue-eyed woman waiting for him beyond that mountain range. Cecilia had promised to marry him as soon as he was released from prison. Eight years could change a woman’s heart … but he knew Cecilia. Her heart could feel his, and those blue eyes would see him as he crossed over the summit.


 

Follow this link to participate in this week’s Friday Fictioneers and share your own 100-word story.

Weekly Smile 85

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make our life happy. Each time I look at this picture of the donkey, I find myself smiling. I wrote this story some time back in response to a flash fiction challenge, but I found myself thinking about this picture as I pondered my “smile” this week, so I decided to share Clover’s story here.

DONKEY

Clover nuzzled the sweet-smelling ground cover that had inspired her name. She lived here now, on Old Jake’s homestead, having stumbled onto it by accident – or by Divine intervention – after being beaten by her previous owner and barely escaping. Limping through the stormy night, she’d eventually collapsed  in this sweet-smelling field.

Next morning, Jake had found her, huddled in pain and traumatized by her injuries. He’d bathed her wounds, fed her, petted her, and made her his own. She had the run of the farm, but her favorite spot was this field of sweet clover where she spent quiet days being grateful to Old Jake for his love.


 

To participate in ‘Weekly Smile’ visit “Trent’s World.”

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers 7.28.17: “Love On The Line # 2”

This week’s Friday Fictioneers picture prompt reminded me of a delightful and heart-melting true story that I read about several years ago. It took place during WWII, and involved a real U. S. serviceman, the woman who was the love of his life, and a tender-hearted, romantic telephone operator. I was so touched by the story that I told it (changing names, etc.) in a poem on this site about four years ago. That poem, however, in order to tell the whole story properly, took much more than 100 words.

But when I saw the picture today, I just couldn’t get away from that love story, so I’ve tried my best to squeeze it into the requirements for our FF challenge. I’m still 14 words over the limit, but if your romance outweighs your legalism, you might enjoy it anyway.

Today’s thought-provoking prompt comes to us from J. Hardy Carroll.

 

LOVE ON THE LINE

“Operator, I’m calling Susan Wheeler, St. Louis.”
“This blizzard may interfere with connection, sir.”
“Please try, my 2-day leave is almost gone.”

“Hello.”
“I have a call for Susan Wheeler from Bill Meadows in Boston.”
“This is Susan.”
“Hold please. Go ahead sir.”
“Susan! Sweetheart!”
“Oh, Bill, I was getting worried.”
“Honey, the blizzard’s too bad for me to get there, but I must ask you something important.”
ZZZZmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
“Sorry sir, we’ve lost your connection.”
“NO! Please. I’m trying to propose!”
“It’s no use sir.”
“Noooooooooo!”
“But she can hear me. Shall I relay your question?”
“Yes, please; I have to know! Ask her if she’ll marry me.”

“Great news, Sir. She says yes!”


If you’re interested enough to get the more complete version, here’s a link to the poem.

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers: 7/14/17

To participate in this week’s Friday Fictioneers, visit Rochelle’s site. The picture prompt below is the property of  Janet Webb.

 

BETRAYED BY TECHNOLOGY

He’d done it. He smiled at the perfect job. He’d left her lying across the bed with the pill bottle in her hand. And she hadn’t even suspected that he’d doctored her drink.

She did love to drink, and that had made it so easy. He smiled again as he leaned back in his easy chair savoring his success. Leaving the lone candle burning was an artistic touch. And his fake alibi was so tight, he’d never be suspected.

Now, to call Bernard and report his success. Reaching into his pocket, he froze. Where the hell was his cell phone?

 

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Daily Post Prompt: Jangle

The jangling of the bells gradually seeped into Garret’s unconsciousness and began to nudge him into a little clarity.  He listened for several moments before trying to open his eyes. When he finally lifted the heavy lids, the light seemed blinding and pain shot through is head at the entrance of that light. He immediately shut his eyelids again and groaned.

Unfortunately, the groan itself caused more pain in his head. He was lying flat on hard ground, and he tried to lift his right arm to touch his head and see if he could determine what was wrong. He did manage to get his arm up, but it felt so heavy, he didn’t bother to take it all the way to his head.

The jangling sound was coming closer, and he wondered why the sound itself didn’t cause him more pain. Maybe because it was very low-toned and rhythmic. It reminded him of something, but he couldn’t think what.  In fact, he felt as if he couldn’t think much of anything.  That scared him, but before he could delve into that problem, a gentle voice spoke to him, and a soft hand touched his shoulder.

“Mister, are you alive?”  The voice sounded young, but masculine. He opened his eyes again and, in spite of the pain, managed to roll his eyes to the side enough to see a young boy — perhaps twelve or thirteen — kneeling beside him on the ground. He spoke again. “Oh, you are alive. Thank goodness. Can you move?”

Garret put all his strength into slowly moving his head toward the boy and forcing out the words. “A little.”

The boy heaved a sigh of relief. “You’re not far from my house. I’m on my way home with our cows now, and I will tell my father. He will come for you and help you.”

Garrett gave a small nod of his head, but stopped immediately. Too much pain. So he croaked out his thanks and closed his eyelids again. The young boy patted him on the shoulder and rose, calling to his cows.  As he did so, the jangling sound, which had been intermittent during the conversation with the boy, now began its rhythmic music again as the herd evidently obeyed the boy’s command.

During the wait for the boy’s father, Garrett slipped in and out of consciousness, but his periods of lucidity were longer now and more clear. The pain had dulled a little, and when he heard an engine approaching, he took heart and even lifted his head slightly to look that direction. Pain seared him, but he took courage when he saw the old truck.

The farmer had his young boy with him, as well as another grown man. They stooped down and the second man spoke. “I was a medic in the army, sir, and I’m going to try to check you before we try to get you up.”

“Thanks,” Garrett managed to whisper. The young man began to feel Garrett’s arms and legs and press on his abdomen, checking for broken bones or internal injuries. As he worked he reported that he was fairly sure Garrett had a concussion, and that one leg was broken and a shoulder dislocated. But with the help of some splinting materials he had brought along, he felt it was safe to get Garret up and into the truck. They had already phoned the doctor before leaving the house, and he’d promised to come out to the farm when he was finished with hospital rounds.

During the transfer to the truck, Garrett lost consciousness again, but when he was finally lying flat and had a cold cloth on his head, he came to. “Can you tell us your name, Son,” the farmer asked, as he sat beside Garrett in the truck bed for the trip.

Garrett opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He couldn’t find a name — no name at all. He couldn’t find any identity in his conscious mind. He turned fear-filled eyes to the farmer.  “No sir,” Garrett said.  “I don’t know my name … I don’t know who I am ….”



Daily Post Prompt: Jangle

 

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‘After the Storm’ – Friday Fictioneers 6/16/17

Photo Prompt:  Copyright Dale Rogerson

 

AFTER THE STORM

“Ouch! Hey, watch where you’re stepping!”

“Sorry. I was taking pictures of the moon breaking through.”

“What’s the big deal? The moon’s out every night.”

“Not bursting through the center of heavy storm clouds. Aren’t you glad that vicious storm’s over?”

“That storm destroyed my home and killed my dog. The moon won’t change any of that. Now move!”

He shoved past, and she froze, remembering how, years before, Hurricane Katrina had robbed her of her home, her husband, and her son.

Suddenly, she looked up and refocused her camera. It was important to remember that storms didn’t last forever.


To participate with your own 100-word story, visit Friday Fictioneers host at this link.

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers 6/9/17: ‘The Gardener’

It’s been a while since I’ve had opportunity to participate in Friday Fictioneers, but this week’s photo just pulled this little tale right out of me. If you’d like to join in the fun, visit Rochelle at the link above.

This week’s photo is courtesy of Sarah Potter. There was no link for Sarah on the host site. Sorry. But her photo is below, and my story follows that.

summer house

Photo © Sarah Potter


THE GARDENER

There it was: the jar labeled plant food. Just as I’d left it when they’d handcuffed me and carted me off. It looked innocuous amidst the heinous overgrowth of Hilda’s desk-top garden. Everyone knew plants were her life, and a jar of food drew no attention at all.

The police finally released me; no trace of evidence I had poisoned her. The doctor identified the fatal stuff with some multi-syllabled word, but nothing pointed to my having any of it.

Now … to mix a drink for these damned plants with the rest of that powder.

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers 1/27/17 – The Date

This week’s Friday Fictioneers 100-Word challenge was hard for me. I just couldn’t get “connected” with those antique cars. But finally, thanks to Orville and Julie-Bell, I managed to come up with something. If you’d like to join the fun follow the link and get the details.

My story is below Al’s photo prompt.

PHOTO PROMPT © Al Forbes
Copyright Al Forbes

THE DATE

 

“Orville! Stop pretending we’re out of gas, and get me home!”

“But – ”

“Stop. Aunt Pearl always said never trust any man who drives a crank-up machine with no top.”

“Oh, Julie-Bell … Honey,” Orville cooed, wrapping his arms around her. “Just one little kiss.”

Julie squirmed, blushed, fluttered her eyelids. “Well …”

“That’s my girl.”

Just as Orville’s lips settled firmly in place, the sky burst open, and drenched the lovers.

“Now look what you’ve done,” Julie wailed.

Orville hopped out and went to crank the motor. “Well, at least I can skip the cold shower when I get home.”

 

 

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Saturday Mix – Lorraine

Lorraine is the challenger for this week’s Saturday Mix. She has offered three possibilities to stir up our writing egos. I was most drawn to the 25-word challenge based on the picture. But you may enjoy the other two as well. So if you like writing and want to stretch yourself a little, take a look at the details of the challenge here.

My story is below the picture.

untitled-4
Photo copyright: Lorraine

FROM THE CELLAR

A twelve-year-old, I gaped at the twister roaring toward us, tossing houses and livestock like matchsticks. From the cellar, I watched my world change forever.

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Saturday Mix 1/14/17 – ‘Last-Minute Decisions’

This week is the first time I’ve taken part in the “Mindlovesmisery” writing challenges. This week we are to write a story in 100 words or less. The host site offered a picture for inspiration, but I put that aside because the idea I wanted to work with didn’t fit that particular picture. To take part you can visit here.


wedding-cakeLAST-MINUTE DECISIONS

The auditorium was full of guests, the organist waiting for her cue. The best man stood at the door, ready to enter as soon as the groom came back inside. He’d just stepped out for some air. Where the heck was he?

Suddenly Carter hurried into the room, passed by his best man, and entered the auditorium. Looking at the guests, he took a deep breath and spoke:

“Sorry folks. Seems my bride eloped with someone else.” He laughed. “She took the car I’d arranged for my own last-minute escape.”

 

 

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