Monkey Business

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

“Honest Mom, I didn’t do it.”

I gave a silent chuckle. Any time Ashton began his pleas of innocence with an “I didn’t do it.” I could be fairly sure He had done it. He was not a good fibber. For that, as a mother, I was very grateful and I hoped this flaw would last another ten years.

“The camera was in my purse when we left the car.” I tried to remain calm. It was really no big deal that Ashton was so excited about using the camera. I had intended to show him some of the tricks-of-the-trade on our outing anyway. But he needed to learn a little patience.

“If you took it, you need to tell me, son. You’re constantly getting distracted and losing things. How many times have we had this conversation? This new camera is not a toy.”

“Mom, I didn’t take it.”

This time his response had more of a-ring-of-truth to it.

“Then where is it?” I thought I would short cut all the cajoling and cut straight to the chase.

“He has it.” Ashton was pointing directly behind me.

Quickly I turned right to look behind me. There was no one there.

“Ashton, I’m not upset with you, yet. I understand that you want to use the camera to complete your zoological tour project. That’s a good thing. A very responsible thing. That’s why I went ahead a purchases the camera before your birthday. But we’re getting to that point of no return. We’ve talked about this.” I was very proud of myself for keeping my cool.

“It’s right there is his hand, Mom.”

“Ashton…” I said as I turned again. This time to my left.

And there it was. Two adult macaques were busy passing my new camera between themselves looking at it with fascination.

“Read the sign, Mom.”

Right above me was bold red sign. The printing in bold block letters.

Curious Monkeys

Watch Your Belongings

“You really need to be more careful with things, Mom.” The sweet words melted from Ashton’s lips as they curled into a million dollar grin.


Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner: January 

GENIPAPO: WOTDC (Learnings from Yesteryear)


Learnings from Yesteryear

“Finally setting out the saplings for your new orchard, Ahiezer?” I was riding my roan for our daily necessaries and I often stop in a seen Aliezer. Now that his son was away, Aliezer always had his hands busy making improvements on his farm for his boy’s return.

“Well, yes… and no?”

“Whata’ya mean?”

“Well, actually I’m planting the fence row for my new free-range settin’ hen yard.”

“You’re plantin’ fence posts?”

“Yep,” Aliezer smiled as he looked up at me. “In about five year I will be able to expand my free-range for the laying hens and I’ll have posts to preduce fruit for my son’s medical herbarium.”

“A herbarium?”

“Yep,” Aliezer face was now bursting with pride. “Little ‘Zer will have finished business- accounting school and we plan to enlarge the family farm into a botanical manufacturing complex.”

“That sounds grand,” I tried to say with honest enthusiasm even though I had no idea what he was talking about.   

“Yep, I think we’ll have cornered the market. This fruit is a wonder fruit. Tattooists use it for making ink to create temporary skin art. Mystics use it for consecrating their followers- blessing them with protection from diseases and misfortunes.  Healers use it for tonics that assist in curing stomach ailments and other internal maladies. Hunters use the juices for insect repellent. Even the local bakers have sent in advance orders of the ripened fruit for ice cream flavorings and jellies and jams.”

“Wow, I might just have to look into …”

“Step on down and come in a sit a spell.” Aliezer was no longer smiling. “I’m afraid I’ve run off at the mouth a tad too much.” He had picked up his machete and was pointing toward to house. “I’m afraid you know a little too much. I am truly sorry, my friend.”   


Written for GENIPAPO: WOTDC.

A Picture Is Worth…

Wallpaperflare

“Don’t come any closer.”

I paused. He’s just a kid.  How did he get through those two biometric doors?

“I don’t want to do this, but I will.”

“I don’t want you to do this either,” I responded. “Let’s talk.” I was relieved. Usually I’m the one who has to initiate conversation. This kid wants to talk. “My name’s Antonio,” I said. “What’s yours?”

“My uncle was named Antonio.”

Ouch? Good coincidence? Bad one? I kept going. “Antonio’s a pretty common name. In fifth grade, I had another kid with my name.”

“Huh…”

 “So, what’s your name?” asking again.

“Miguel.” He turned as he said it.

Oh, God. He’s not over twelve years old. I took several deep breaths to calm myself. “Miguel, you must be a very bright young man. This place is not easy to access.” What do I talk to this kid about?

“Miguel De La Rosa. Fourteen.” My com finally sounded. “Admitted four days ago. Suicide attempt. Antonio was his uncle. Marine. Afghanistan. Recently deceased. Suicide. Recipient of three Purple Hearts. Miguel has a mother and three younger brothers.” Finally some info on this kid. “We’ll keep listening.”  Up to this point I had been running on empty. “He likes sports.”

“Miguel,” I inched closer. “How ‘bout stepping down off the safety wall. Let’s sit and talk. It’s right windy up here and it’s hard for me to hear.” I stepped closer. Miguel seemed not to notice. Now near the parapet, I sat. “I’ve got two boys. Rafael’s probably a little younger than you. He plays soccer. You into soccer?”

Carefully I reached into my back pocket and pulled my wallet. Opening it, I flipped to the pictures of my boys.  

Miguel stepped from the wall and sat by me.

I think this one’s a win.


Written for Secret Attic Weekly Write: Dialogue Starters.

MORE, PLEASE

Photograph by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash

“We need more snow.”

“Look out the window, dear,” I tried to remain calm. “We have 57 inches of snow outside right now. There are drifts over 10 feet deep. You have had to climb through the window to get outside to shovel the kitchen door open the last two days to go feed the livestock and the hens because of the blowing winds.”

“Yes, the wind seems to be blowing all the snow away.”

“No, dear.” It’s hard to be the sane one in a couple when I have been house-bound for eight days. “The snow is still there. Just look out your window. You can see it.”

“If we just get a little more snow, maybe they will cancel school for the rest of the week.”

“Darling, schools have already been called off until at least next Monday. We heard it on the radio last night.”

“Oh, that’s right,” my husband replied. “I remember.”

FYI: I could have been this person. I loved the start of school. I loved vacation days. I loved each Monday to see the students again. I loved a surprise day off.

It’s strange, even after being retired for several years, I still look forward to the first day of school and I still love snow days off from school.


Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner: January 

Ready or Not …

Photograph by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash

The afternoon sun blazed down on our snowy mountain oasis. Our winter family retreat was coming to a close.

It had been a great time.

The days were filled with sledding and skiing and snowball-fights. In the evenings we assisted Mom with home-baked cookies and we gophered for Dad as he manned the outdoor grill. Each night we gathered in front of the fireplace as a family or games of trivia or charades.

Being the family prankster, I had enjoyed pulling tricks on each of my seven brothers and sisters. I even got a good one on Mom last night.

This year, however, I had been caught a little off-guard my family’s friendliness upon receiving my Christmas ‘treats’.

Thursday night, I was successful with placing plastic roaches in my oldest sister’s salad. On Friday night, I taped balloons to the back of the bedroom doors of my two youngest brothers so that when they opened the door completely the balloons meet with pins and burst.

Saturday night, my luck ran out. I placed my oldest brother’s hand in warm water while he was asleep. He woke up before he wet the bed.

After each and every trick, there were shouts and giggles.

But the strangest thing was that after each prank, that person just stopped dead still, looked me right in the eye, and said very calmly, “Pranks sure are a lot of fun. Aren’t they, Freddy?”

After hearing that same statement, said exactly the same way, for nine times during our winter weekend get-away… Well, let me tell you … It was a little nerve racking.

So I was just a little relieved as I took the youngest out for our final hide-and-go-seek as the rest of the family packed the station wagon and the van.

“98… 99… 100. Ready or Not. Here I come!”

I stepped away from the tree.

My forehead banged back against it.

I tried to step again… but my arms wouldn’t come loose from the tree trunk.

I was stuck.

Suddenly, I was surrounded by laughing and giggling. Two snowballs hit me on my left shoulder.

“Mom!!!!” I screamed.

“I’m right here,” she said as I got another snowball to my backsides.

There was another countdown. All at once the yelled together, “Pranks sure are a lot of fun. Aren’t they, Freddy?”


Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner: Week 1: 2022

Flash Fiction for the Practicial Practitioner Returns in 5 Days


I am sooooo looking forward to re-starting this challenge.

Get your juices flowing…

Your fingers limbered up..

And you pens in hand.

It is just around the corner!


Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner.

HESITATION: WOTDC


I love being a story-teller. I enjoy reminiscing.

Often the stories I tell about events from my past.

Usually they are stories of something ‘stupid’ I have done. The episode for the story usually never started out as stupid, but the end result would speak for itself.

It is with great hesitation that I like to “toot my own horn”.

But like they say, “There is an exception for evey rule.”

So today, I will make an exception.

START THE COUNTDOWN.

IN 20 DAYS

FLASH FICTION FOR THE PRACTICIAL PRACTITIONER

WILL START ONCE AGAIN.

For those of you who don’t know, FLASH FICTION FOR THE PRACTICIAL PRACTITIONER is a weekly 300 word flash fiction story challenge.

Get your fingers revving to type.

A NEW START IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!


Written for HESITATION: WOTDC.

“In for a Penny…”

Snopes


“In for a Penny…”



At first, I passed it off as two drunks trading archaeological war stories. I had never heard of Horacio McQuoid, and after completing my BA in Archeology at Cambridge, if he were of any relevance to the primordial world, I would have read of him at some time.

But hearing them lower their voices as their discussion seemed to become more heated, intrigued me. I ordered another boilermaker and settled in. I really had no place else to go.

They talked for another ten minutes or so and then left.

I was disappointed that I didn’t learn much else about this MacQuoid fellow, nor this mysterious skeletodial artifact. I left the waitress a generous tip. It was a Friday night and I had monopolized a top-drawer table for almost two hours.

Walking passed my drunken friends’ booth, I saw a ratty booklet laying on the seat. It looked the size of an old journal. Trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, I retrieved it and slipped it into my side pocket.

I left.

As luck would have it, my two drunken friends were at the trolley station just ahead of me. I had already wasted half my evening on them, so I stood two pillars down from them and waited. What was another two hours? It might prove informative if I knew more about them.

When they boarded, I followed.

I sat two seats behind them. I found a used copy of The Illustrated on my seat to peruse, so I settled in for the ride.

Soon, their conversation riveted me to my seat. Snatches of phrases captivated me. A scuba expedition… the Aegean Sea… Cyclops unearthed… Odysseus … an underwater temple to Poseidon … a Siren graveyard …

Either these men were massively delusional, feeding into one another’s fanciful imaginations, or I had stumbled upon a mythological impossibility.

Apparently, these drunken buffoons had discovered the historical proof to the stories of Homer …

Disembarking with my newfound friends, I shadowed them into the lobby of the Dorchester. To stay here, they, or someone they knew, had a silver spoon.

Catching their names and suite status at the registers, I nearly maxed out my Visa. This weekend, I would truly live out the old saying, “In for a penny…”



Written for Tuesday’s Writing Group (Write a story using the following ideas: Character- person who will do whatever it takes, an eavesdropper. Other – rest area, glue. The main character has to change during the story. You cannot kill the main character.)

Written for Sunday Afternoon Writings: A Zoom Writing Group. Requirements: Idea: Your legs have gotten stuck inside a fish. No matter what you do, you can’t convince people that you are not a merman. Take the prompt a twist it any way you like.

P

Me and Meatloaf

Hot 100.5


Me and Meatloaf



It’s just me and Meatloaf. He goes with me wherever I go. We’ve been roommates for the last three years. Meatloaf was a rescue cat. And ‘Yes’… I did crochet both of our scarves.

My mother’s go-to relaxation skill was crocheting. She and I would work on projects together while waiting for my father to get off stage. He was a stuntman for Universal Studios.

I am still very ‘crafty’ because of my mother’s influences. I suspect that I got into body -sculpting building because of my dad.

I have been to all fifty states in the United States and every U.S. territory. I have also traveled to 112 different countries.

I am employed by the U.S. Marines as a consultant. Much of my work is classified, so I will not be a huge fan of “Honey, how was your day?”

My job has many perks; one of them is the ability to travel- a lot! As a military consultant, my flights are hassle-free and Meatloaf and accompany me… no questions asked. (In case you were wondering.)

Five things I enjoy:

  • Classical Music (especially Mozart, Vivaldi, and Tchaikovsky)
  • Movies: Gladiator, The Patriot, Top Gun, National Treasure, Raiders of the Lost Ark (series), Shrek (series), Braveheart, and The Batman (series). My tastes depend on my mood and the company. Meatloaf enjoyed the gamut- as long as there are treats.
  • Sunrises on the beach
  • Daily taekwondo training and surfing or swimming
  • Trying the fine cuisine from the places that I visit (especially pancakes!)
  • Fast cars (my Achilles heel)

Yes, I know that is SIX. I am also a (modest) overachiever.

If I sound interesting, swipe me.



Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #18 Today’s prompt is to write someone’s online dating profile.

The Perfect PB&J Sandwich

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The Perfect PB&J Sandwich



Have you ever made a mess all over the front of your shirt while eating your delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Has the bread from your beloved sandwich ever been so soggy that the jelly gooed-out, getting all over your fingers and then you wiped them on your pants without a thought?

Let me explain to you how to fix these calamitous situations.

Step One

Collect your ingredients and place them on the counter.

        • Peanut butter (Crunchy or Smooth.)
        • A jar of jelly (Go wild, there’s so many to choose from.)
        • 2 slices of bread (Be as healthy as you desire.)
        • 1 plate (Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Plus, I usually do not always have the cleanest of countertops?)
        • 1 knife (No, it doesn’t have to be sharp.)
        • 1 baggy (I prefer the Zip-Locked ones.) to slide your sandwich in once you have completed this task.

Step Two

Spread peanut butter on one side of the bread. DO THIS TO BOTH SLICES!

As you compete the spreading of the peanut butter, place each slice, DRY SIDE DOWN, on the plate.

Be as generous as you desire with the peanut butter. It’s your sandwich.

FYI: With peanut butter on both slices, the jelly cannot seep through and soggy-up your bread!

Step Three

Select the slice of bread which you would like to bless with your jelly. Just do it. As you have competed the task of spreading your jelly, gently invert the slice and place it upon the twin brother (or sister) awaiting to complete your sandwich.

Step Four

Firmly grasping your knife (by the handle, please!) cut your sandwich into its desires shapes.

FYI: I prefer the crisscross method. (This gives me FOUR small sandwiches to eat.)

Step Five

If you have crisscross-cut your sandwich, like me, place the bottom triangle in first. Then its sides. Then the top.

Step Six

Zip it!

Step Seven

Once you have completed the skill work necessary for this new-and-improved, never-soggy, never messy peanut butter and jelly class, send me an signed affidavit stating your success, I will gladly send you a graduation certificate.

FYI: Don’t do Step Seven. There will not be a certificate awaiting you in the mail. Get real!



Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #17 Today’s prompt is to write a second-person how-to.