Friday Fictioneers 12 – 01 – 2021

Friday Fictioneers challenges us to write micro-fiction (<101 words) prompted by a photograph supplied by one of our colleagues. It’s all teed up by our friend, extraordinary artist, and fabulous leader, Rochelle. Click the prompt photo to see her blog page with all the skinny. It’s fun.

Today’s picture has a two-level outhouse indicating politicians up top and voters below. I recall seeing this arrangement in a military cartoon with officers on top and enlisted below.

In the Viet Nam War, officers and radiomen were preferred targets of the North Vietnam Army and the Viet Cong, which is why soldiers did not salute officers in the field.

Click on the PHOTO PROMPT by © Lisa Fox for Rochelle’s blog to get all the FF info.

Genre: Military Fiction (War Story)
Word Count: 100
Title: FNG* Down

The new Lieutenant ordered me to be his radio man. Our platoon leader was callow, yet confident and eager. A stickler for rules, he risked soldiers’ lives needlessly. A poor listener with a gung-ho, know-it-all attitude.

He chewed me out in front of my squad and gave me extra guard duty. Bad enough I had to hump the motherfucker’s goddamn radio.

In the jungle one day the lieutenant ordered me to step back, I yelled, “Yes, Sir,” stepped back and saluted him. The crack sound of the AK-47 made me dive for cover.

Our next lieutenant was a big improvement.


Be aware of enemy presence and men with guns.
Mind the gaps, make more friends than enemies, and keep your powder dry.
Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean you’re not being watched.

Click on the soldier to link to the squares, where other stories are being told.

*FNG is military initialism and jargon for fucking new guy.

Tuesday Rune: Health

Nine on Tuesday

It’s nine o’clock on a Tuesday.
The patients just shuffle in
with oxygen tanks and walkers,
some in wheelchairs, hoping
for something better
for medical science
to keep them in one piece
to keep us alive and well.

Now, for some, is the time
of politics over health,
religion over medicine,
conspiracy over science.

I look around
and I say to myself,
man, what are you doing here?

It’s nine in the morning
and I am just one
of these people.
Another old fart
or flatulentess
getting a test to tell us
what we already know.

Some day this shit’s
gunna kill us,
if our own stupidity
and pride
fail to do it first.

It’s a lovely, sunny, cool day
here in Temple, Texas,
for wondering, Bill,
what are we doing here?

So, we sit and wait,
neither early nor late,
to have some clinician guide
say it has not gone away.
“If you stroke out,
give us a call, and
have a nice day.”


Look both ways.
Understand life backward but live it forward for as long as you can.
Mind the gaps for the fountain of youth, the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and life everlasting. Amen.

Sammi’s Weekender #237 (mudlark)

Click the graphic to open Sammi’s blog.

 


Over The Susquehanna River

From New York it winds
nine hundred mudlarkable shoreline miles
through the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic.

Unlike Billy Collins, I fished it,
caught carp, sucker, catfish, perch; swam
polluted waters; climbed and walked
bridges and trestles. I grubbed its mud.

Remember disasters. Before mountains rose.
The Susquehanna is in my blood.


Look both ways when the river flows.
Here it comes, there it goes.
Mind the gaps, the pits, the whirlpools, and vermin.

***

Poetic license: The Susquehanna River is 444 miles long from New York, flowing through the State of Pennsylvania (where I knew it) into the Chesapeake Bay. That’s 888 miles of shoreline. I rounded up. Disasters include the Knox Mine crime, Three Mile Island, pollution and environmental catastrophe on an epic scale, and many devastating floods.

Thursday Rune: Thanksgiving Poem

Grateful

The mythical geneses
of Thanksgiving Day
doesn’t matter to me,
nor the religious significance,
or supposed underpinnings
of this America’s holiday.

It’s healthy to have
the attitude—to feel
thankful, to reflect,
to summon love & respect
for others in my life—
today and those past.
There is the good,
the bad,
and the ugly.

My family, love,
music, art, health,
heart, happy stuff,
rain, books, writing,
babies, moms, medicine,
motorcycles, children,
grandkids, good coffee,
air conditioning,
electricity, good teeth,
this poem.

Today is about all the good!


Look both ways with a grateful mind and heart.
Mind the gaps but see the good.

Friday Fictioneers 11-26-2021

Today we contrive stories from a cityscape photo with a narrow street from Roger Bultot. Rochelle has set it all up on her blog and we post as directed by her wonderfulness.

For Friday Fictioneers we write micro-stories of 100 words or fewer given ideas germinated by a new photo on Wednesday of each week, provided by various participants. You can read the rules over on Rochelle’s blog and join in the fun. Here is the photo and my story for this week.

Click on the PHOTO PROMPT by © Roger Bultot for Rochelle’s blog to get all the FF info.

Genre: Ethnic Fiction
Word Count: 100
Title: Crucible Mossad

***

They stopped jogging.

Chava whispered, “It’s the white truck. Remove the gas cap. You won’t see the nano drone. Wait two seconds, replace the cap, and run. I’ll meet you at Freeda’s.”

Tzitta moaned, “You distract the guards. I’ll be gone before they notice. Sexeh outfit, Sista.”

Five minutes later they ducked into Freeda’s Deli. An old man yelled, “Check the ice!”

The crowd went silent as they sat at the bar.

Freeda looked, “Nu?”

Chava nodded.

Then an explosion rocked the building.

Tzitta said, “Oy gevalt!”

Everyone stood, shouting, “Mazel tov.”

Freeda pushed sandwiches toward them, “Ess gezunt, ladies.”

***


Look both ways but take a side.
Mind the gaps, cameras, and guards.
Run like the wind.

Click on Ziva David, former Mossad on NCIS portrayed by Cote de Pablo, to read all the wonderful micro stories written by participants.

Gloss: Nu is a Yiddish expression to ask a simple question instead of using words such as “well” or “so.” Oy gevalt! means oh, violence! It is used to express shock or amazement. Ess gezunt is deli slang for eat in good health. Everybody knows mazel tov, right?

National Novel Writing Month (Nano) Report (as of 22 Nov 21)

I expect to surpass 37,000 words today. That keeps me on track to finish up 50,000 one week from tomorrow, on November 30th.

I thought the project I chose was going to be easy. Answering 127 questions about my past and myself has taken more time than I expected. I laughed at questions about my favorite hairdo and making a dinner party menu. Yes, I did that, but we called them haircuts (like crewcut) not hairdos, even though they were.

Memories are not forever. Sometimes there’s not much to say. Often, I must ask questions. Like yesterday, I had to ask Yolonda the name of the drive-in burger place where we met. She sent me an article about it closing in the 1970s.

Research can be fun, but to write enough words each day, I must answer four or five questions with four to five hundred words each. And each question is different and unpredictable.

As I enter my fourth week of this self-inflicted Nano challenge, I feel like I will not do it again. It’s a lot. However, I’ve managed to keep up with everything else.

In addition to writing for Nano, I’ve posted at least two poems and one essay each week. On the 8th, I accepted a challenge to write a short prose piece on dVerse, a poetry writing webpage. The problem there was making time to read and respond to 40-plus other bloggers.

I’ve also written three micro-fiction stories for the Friday Fictioneers challenge (30-ish to read and respond to), with one more to do before Nano ends next week.

The weekend of November 5th through the 7th, we drove to west Texas to visit with Julie and her bunch for grandson’s last football game of the season and his 16th birthday.

(Christian Ashby #74, Colorado City, TX Wolves.) When you find yourself the varsity center and defensive nose-guard on your high school football team as a sophomore.

I’ve also managed to complete several home honey-do and self-assigned projects. I’ve been shopping several times and there is more to do this week in preparation for our family’s Thanksgiving on Saturday.

Except for three or four days, I exercised every day by walking or swimming. I’ve been reading as much as I can (finally completed Papa Hemingway) and trying to figure out what to read next.

I tried doing my Saturday morning writers group zoom meetings. That hasn’t worked well. I’ve had to leave early on two occasions because I couldn’t concentrate (needed to be writing for Nano), and I’ve passed on two others. And now I’ve done this report.

Have a good and thankful week.

Bill

 

Thursday Rune (Kip)

Temporary Friendships

I never understood him.
He told me things,
as others have,
where truth
may have been shaved,
distorted, or it was not
exactly as it was.

He was my roommate,
at times a friend,
but solid ground
did not bridge us
for very long after
I went one way,
he another.

Many silent years later,
Yolonda found Kip.
Living in Florida,
where he has since died.

It’s hard to say
what matters,
so many years later.
I wonder what
I saw then, that
I cannot recall now.


Look both ways but mind the gaps.
Hold on to dreams and memories. But sometimes,
I wish I knew then what I now know. At other times,
I wish we didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.

Friday Fictioneers 11 – 19 – 2021

Today, two of my favorite people conspired to inspire Friday Fictioneers. Magnificent Rochelle teamed up with photographer extraordinaire, Dale, to throw us on the old woodpile.

We write micro-stories of 100 words or fewer given ideas mused by a new photo each week, provided by other creative and imaginative compatriots. You can read the rules over on Rochelle’s blog and join in the fun. Here is the photo and my story for this week.

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson. Click it to fly on over to Rochelle’s blog to get all the hot words on how to join up.

Genre: Gonzo journalism
Word Count: 100
Title: Chainsaw Hammer

***

I cut logs all day with my new chainsaw. After dark, I drank a beer in the yard with my new toy. I thought when all you have is a hammer

I heard footsteps, then voices. Two burglars! They jimmied a window. I worried and drank more beer.

I grabbed my chainsaw and jerked the start cord. She sounded off. I gunned her a few times before yelling, “prepare to die, mutherfuckers.”

You never heard such a commotion. Yelling and running for dear life. After they left, I finished my beer and went to the house to change my pants.


Look both ways if you’re gunna burgle in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Mind the gaps where crazy old farts sit drinking beer with their favorite new toy.

Click on Gonzo, The Mordant Scribe to read some other stories from the same picture prompt.

Sammi’s Weekender #235 (mirror)

Click for Sammi’s blog and links to other blogs for prose and poems.

Timeless Reflections

For twenty-seven thousand days and nights
what you have seen is not all that ever was.
You see in me today’s truth, one perpetual now.

With one look I never judged anyone.
I reflected an eternal present
without darkness, forgiving the past,
each glimmer gone, days and nights
numbered and stacked
upon your tired shoulders.

Like ashes from wood burned
in past fires, days forgotten, names confused,
adjusted appearances, time
carefully dealt from fate’s shuffled deck,
one at a time until there was none.
Lines of life get clearer, youth
forgotten there, inside grandfather’s mirror.


Mirrors can’t look both ways.
The reflection they cast is only today.
Mind the gaps and fix the cracks, everyone has history.

This mirror hung in my grandfather’s house 100 years ago, then in our dining room from before the day I was born. Click on the photo to read Sylvia Plath’s poem, “Mirror.”