Friday Fictioneers: January 21st, 2022

Endurance swimmer, Mistress Rochelle has placed me in the city library children’s section with a limit of one hundred of my own carefully crafted words with which I must contrive a suspenseful story of escape.

Click on the photo provided by Ted Strutz to buzz on over to Rochelle’s page where “Growing older is inevitable. Growing up is optional.” I considered those options when I wrote the photo-inspired story that follows.

Photo provided by Ted Strutz

Genre: Micro-fiction
Title: The Latte Librarian
Word count: 100

***

Passing through the library’s deserted children’s section, I turned toward the noisy coffee shop.

I set my chai latte and backpack on the counter nearest the women’s table, drank half the latte, then slipped the smoke bomb into the cup. From the men’s room, I called in the bomb threat.

When evacuation was announced, I set off the smoke bomb.

I returned to transfer valuables from each handbag or backpack into mine, then left through the side door just as fire trucks and police cars arrived. I removed the disguise in the car, kissed my partner, and we drove off.


Look both ways to be aware of surroundings.
Notice people and their trappings.
Mind the gaps of their absence.

***

Click on Alec Baldwin’s badge (from 2018 movie, “The Public”) for your library card to read other fine stories.

Friday Fictioneers: January 7th, 2022

For the first time in 2022, our dear and lovely lady, the queen of Friday Fictionalism, Mistress Rochelle has joined forces with Brenda Cox to masterfully tempt me into yet another maddening moment of muse-some, mendacious micro-storytelling.

Click on the next photo for a free taxi ride over to Rochelle’s place where you may want to get smart about writing fibs to a photographer’s photo. My sad story follows the prompt pic.

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox (Click it!)

Genre: Gonzo Journalism
Title: Don’t Be Misunderstood
Word Count: 100

Cold and drunk as I might be, I stumbled into the artists den, desperately needing to pee.

Of a painting man I asked, “Where’s the restroom?” my slurred Texas accent sounded like I asked, boom-boom?

With a mean look he yelled at me, “Number ten. Boocoo dinky-dau drunk, american. Take money!”

Through a white curtain, I entered where several young ladies were sitting around laughing and pointing. One demanded money.

I got out my wallet. Then, I heard a loud crack.

Next thing I woke up, dead as you see me now, with wet pants and an empty wallet.


Look both ways in the house of the rising sun.
Mind the gaps, speak clearly, and reconsider the nearest bush.

Click on Jake or Elwood to check out our literary squares gallery and more magnificently moving micro make-believe.

A bonus, if you dare: —

dVerse—Prosery Monday—Lost/Found/Lost Children (12/06/2021)

From the bar at dVerse, Lisa pitched me the Prosery Monday poem, “When We Sing Of Might,” by Kimberly Blaeser (see it here).

From the poem, Lisa lifted a line for me to fold into a piece of prose of fewer than 145 words of my own making but including the line, “I dress in their stories patterned and purple as night.”

I had to use every word of the entire line. I was allowed to change punctuation and to capitalize words, but I was not permitted to insert words in between parts of the sentence.


But for the Grace of What?

I walked the muddy road through the depressingly disgusting homeless camp. There was nothing but mud everywhere; muddy tents and muddy mad people totally demoralized and pissed off at the world that had put them here. They were angry about being in this place and they refused to come to terms with what they themselves had created, not just a camp, but a metaphor for their lost lives, an intractable bog of stink and decay. The city provided piss pits and shit pots smelled to hell and back. These lost souls were in the grips of unshakable petulance. It was in their eyes, posture, and the way they walked. To report on this homeless debacle, I knew what I had to do. I would be in Rome and do as they did. Briefly, I dress in their stories—patterned and purple as night.


Look both ways to see all that’s there.
Mind the gaps, but spare judgement.
There, but for the good grace of random fortune, go I.

Access other prosery pieces here.

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.

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 #232 (question)

Click graphic for new tab link to Sammi’s blog.

The Weight of Truth

Your question cuts to my core.
You long for unnuanced truth bathed in heavenly light.

Who am I, naked, closeted?
Yet, you ask for the dark light, to know my vulnerable,
captive, and bound heart.

Will my truth set you free?
Shall my vulnerability be set back upon me?
My silent deception belies both truth and trust.

Long sleepless nights.
Regret, haunting wonders of who I am.

If I answer your question the world will hate me.
My truth is heaviness mankind cannot hold.


Look both ways before you answer.
Value truth but weigh the gaps and consequences.

Friday Fictioneers: Tanner’s Plague

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson. Click photo to go to Rochelle’s prompt page.

“Father” Tanner, had a lovely wife, two wonderful daughters, and a future as church rector. Young, bright, athletic, and handsome; he inspired the congregation’s vibrant teen and Boy Scout groups. Eventually, he was ordained to the priesthood.

However, Tanner’s sexual relationships with teenage boys were discovered. He was defrocked, dismissed, and ordered to therapy, without legal action. Soon “cured,” he was again hired as Sexton and advisor to parish youth groups.

Thirty years, over 450 victims, and 2,500 counts of sexual assault later, Tanner was imprisoned, where at 67, he died of natural causes; shamed and disgraced, but never cured.


Click for link to other stories.

Look both ways.
Be alert for predators where least expected.
Never expect victims to confess.
Mind the gaps, remain skeptical, and verify if you trust.

Poetry: Enigmatic Paradigm


Bukowski said
he dedicated much of his life
to avoiding people.
Humanity, he said.
Yet he wrote about people.
So, I assume he failed,
or he lied.

An allegedly unwilling celebrity
bemoaning attention,
lambasting unlively banality,
complaining constantly
about women. His ladies.
Many men, too.

I understand the blessing
of being alone.
I like many fine souls, yet I confess
to not always being kind
(yet not exactly cruel) to
undeserving deplorables.

Hank asks; is he ugly,
unkind (sometimes),
misanthropic, or misogynist?
Some thought so. Maybe he was.
I really don’t know.

Crackpot, with no hope of love?
Bitter and unfair?
Did he put glass in our sandbox?
Was he without morals or mercy?
(Maybe he was.)

Is he my phantom’s mask?
or am I his? Or yours?
What is truth? What love?

I neither know nor care
what most others thought
of Charles Bukowski.
He’s long dead. But
I read and re-read his poetry and prose.
I must have some reason.
Do I want to know my reason?
Do I care?
Or, is this one of those things?
His paradigm, or mine?


Look both ways when considering and discerning humanity.
Mind the gaps. Every day is judgment day.

Friday Fictioneers 7 – 16 – 21

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Untitled flash fiction for Friday Fictioneers. 100 Words.


We were fifteen and looking for a place to shoot. I carried the pistol.

We walked railroad ties near idle coal mines.

Jimmy saw abandoned warehouses and ran ahead.

I heard him scream. I clicked off the safety and saw two men kicking Jimmy.

I yelled, “Stop!” One guy charged. I shot. I’d dropped the gun when it recoiled.

The other guy charged. I picked it up and shot two more times. He tried to run away. I shot again.

We pushed the bodies down an old coalmine shaft.

Jimmy is gone. I alone know where those assholes are buried.


Look both ways and keep your powder dry.
Mind the gaps between the ties.