Scarborough’s School-of-Laughs

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Scarborough’s School-of-Laughs

“Am I under arrest?”

“Of course not. Have you done something wrong?”

“No! I mean, what could I have done wrong? All that happened was this flat tire.”

“A flat tire. But it wasn’t as simple as that. Tell us about the robbery. Officer O’Malley said that you were robbed?”

“You mean the clown?”

“Yes. That was the reason you gave Officer O’Malley for not having any identification.”

“Yea. Sure. This nutter of a clown just comes out of nowhere. I’m kneeling down trying to change my tire, and then from behind me I hear, ‘Give me your wallet.’”

“The man appeared from nowhere?”

“Well it was much darker then. I guess that’s why he was able to sneak up on me.”

“I see. And you gave him your wallet?”

“Of course I did. I didn’t want him to shoot me.”

“Did the clown have a gun?”

“Uhhh. No! No. I don’t think he did. He just had a crazy look in his eyes. Like he wanted to kill me if I didn’t listen.”

“Then what happened?”

“He took my wallet.”

“But you still have your wallet. You gave it to Officer O’Malley.”

“I know. He gave it back to me.”

“The clown took your wallet and then gave it back to you?”

“Yea. That’s right.”

“Did he say anything when he gave your wallet back to you?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think so. OK. Then what happened?”

“The clown took off walking down the road and he was picked up by a passing big rig truck.”

“An 18-wheeler stopped to pick up a man dressed like a clown?”

“Yea. The clown just stood there with his thumb out and the rig picked him up and drove away.”

“Officer O’Malley showed us your wallet. He was having it fingerprinted. Did you know that you still have over fifty dollars in your wallet?”

“I told you the clown was a nutter. I don’t know why he just took my driver’s license and left my money?”

“That does seem strange?’

The lad just nodded.

“Can you describe the clown?”

“No way? I was too scared. I thought I was going to die.”

“Can you describe anything about what the clown was wearing?”

“You don’t think he’s still wearing that stuff. I’m sure he’s already thrown his clown outfit away.”

“Why would you think that?”

“Because I could tell you want he looks like and he wouldn’t want that.”

“But, you can’t describe him?”

“Well, no. I was too scared.”

“Can you describe the 18-wheeler? What color was it? Did you see its license plate?”

“Huh uh. I was still too scared. I thought I was going to die.”

“You can’t tell us anything about the big rig?”

“One thing. It was from that circus in town.”

“The circus that closed last night?”

“Yea. That’s the one.”

“How do you know?”

“It had this great big sign on the back. School-of-Laughs.”

“Great job, Tommy. I think we’re done here. Now, will you let us take you home? Your foster-mom’s been worried about you. She called you in missing just after midnight. You missed curfew.”

“She don’t care about me,” the lad replied… then caught himself. “Who’s this Tommy kid you’re talking about?”

Written for Tuesday’s Writing Group (Write a story using the following ideas: Character- rescued child, a runaway. Other – clown school and deadline. The main character has to change during the story. You cannot kill the main character.) I used the photo from Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner.

Regenerative Immortality


Regenerative Immortality

Wheeling over to the auxiliary tank, Gerald twisted the evacuation value to allow the ten gallon experimental overflow to fill. As it filled, a small multitude of turridos[1] escaped with the run-off.

He had been experimenting with these miniature jellies since high school. Amazingly, his high school oddity had blossomed into a full-scholarship to MIT and summer internships at the Mayo Clinic. Now, it seemed that these pets might offer the key to his own renaissance.

His initial attraction to the Turritopsis dohrnii jellyfish was their claim to immortality. This mystical claim fit right in with his geekish boyhood desires to be a superhero, hence his enormous Sci-Fi comic book collection, and his, former collegiate successes at the pro circuit, thrill-seeking hobby, of motocross.

Adjusting his chair to allow him maneuverability to release the lower valve of his experimental habitat for the turridos, Gerald emptied the experimental tank into the foot bath.

Today was the first implementation day testing his new theory: turrido-spinal/muscular regeneration.

A mere fluke had caused his personal research to take a turn.

About three months ago, Gerald had been completing his bi-monthly measurements and counts of his pets using the auxiliary tank when his left hand had inadvertently dropped into the turrido’s tank. The turridos, in a survivalistic frenzy, had viciously attacked his useless fingers.

Luckily, stinging turridos were not poisonous.

Gerald retrieved his hand from the tank without any harm. Just scores of small red dots.

That night, as he was dressing himself for bed, Gerald discovered that the fingers on his left hand had regained intentional movement. They could not actually grasp anything, but they moved. Previously, any form of movement had been nonexistent.

Gerald forced himself to wait a week before testing out his new hypothesis. Stings from turridos might have healing-regenerative powers that could prove useful for paraplegics.

Now, after four additional self-inflected skirmishes with his left hand, enjoying the flurried agitations of turridos, Gerald was going to allow the turridos access to his left foot.

The fingers on his left hand could now not only grasp his clothing as he was dressing, but he could successfully hold eating utensils. He was not sure if this miraculous success was brought on by the aggressive attacks of the turridos or by his thrice-weekly rehabilitative efforts, but he was not going let what might have been mere happenstance hinder the chances of a momentous discovery.

Once, the confinement to his wheelchair had seemed permanent. Now, new options, options that had been previously laid to rest, were bursting forth from his imaginations.

Twisting the value shut after filling the foot bath, Gerald lifted his left leg from its confinement and gently placed his foot into the bath.

Through his fluorescent-enhanced googles, Gerald witnessed the no-holds-barred attack.

Three minutes later, Gerald lifted his foot free and set to dry on the toweled floor.

Renewed sensations in his fingers could have theoretically been a coincidence. If tonight, there were any noticeable changes in his toes… a whole new world awaited him.

Written for Tuesday’s Writing Group (Write a story using the following ideas: Character cards – witness, person in a wheelchair. Other – bid for immortality, key that no one else has. The main character has to change during the story. You cannot kill the main character.)

[1] Turritopsis dohrnii are known as the immortal jellyfish. This species of jellyfish are found worldwide in temperate to tropic waters. Turritopsis dohrnii can transform themselves from adulthood back into it fetal state (a polyp) anytime there are uninhabitable changes in the environment (like sudden changes in the temperature of the ocean waters, or an unhealthy density of the salinity of the waters, or if something caused harm to its jellied dome). It would then recreate itself into an identical turrido.

Wake Me Only for an Emergency

Bow Wow Meow

Wake Me Only for an Emergency

The local officer the doorman had called sat patiently with me as I dried my eyes and held Snickers.

It had been three hours since I had awakened and took Snickers, my four-year-old Australian terrier, for his morning liberties. Dad and I switched off weeks for Snickers routine. Dad worked the night shift at Belleview Metropolitan. He was the head of trauma center.

Snickers was mine. Dad and I had wrangled and wrangled for months before I was able to convince him to let me get Snickers. (Being in my thrid-year at Cornell, I thought I deserved my first pet.) He had finally agreed to Snickers after I had promised I would take the main responsibilities for the dog.

Snickers nuzzled his collar under my hand again for attention. I scratched him under his neck. You could hear his safety tags and the silver key clink when I stopped. Snickers let out a small yelp. “Shhh… “ I whispered. Snickers was anxious for my morning breakfast. So was I.

Picking up another post-it, I wrote…

Me again. Wake up.

Daddy, I’ve locked myself out.

Pop, open the door.

I aligned it beside the other eleven notes. “I’m sure this one will stir him.” I smiled at the officer sitting across from me. “You have so kind to sit and wait with me.”

“Ma’am, do you lock yourself out often?” the officer asked.

Embarrassed, I set my eyes to the floor. “Truthfully, it happens more frequently than I care to admit. Even in high school I was a little absent-minded. Dad thinks I’m rather scatter-brained, but I had thought we had worked out a fool-proof system. Dad placed these Post-its and the pencil cup by our doorway so anytime I have need to tell him something, all I have to do is jot a note to him before I forget it. He is real good at seeing it every afternoon when he awakens. We have the same correspondence system right by the refrigerator.”

“Has that helped?” the officer smiled as he asked.

“It sure has.” I was proud of the progress I had made in keeping my life in order.

“Couldn’t you two have found a way to assist with an extra set of keys for the door?”

“Oh, Dad did,” I said. “He wired an extra house key right to Snickers’ collar just in case I ever locked myself out again.” Snickers let out another small yelp as he pressed my hand to his neck.

The officer rubbed Snickers under his collar. “You’ve got a smart dog here with you, Miss.” I heard Snickers’ safety accessories tinkle again. “I’m sure this will work out.” The officer patted me on my head as he rose. “My shift is over in fifteen. I’ll send another officer around to check on you soon.”

FYI: This is a haibun. A haibun is when a writer combines proses and haiku to tell a story.

Written for P.A.D. Poem-a-Day: Writer’s Digest … Day 18: For today’s prompt, write a message poem. You can decide the medium: Message in a bottle, postcard, or voice mail. Of course, there are text messages, telegrams, and letters. My wife loves to leave me messages on Post-It notes (and I love to find them). So write a message in a poem today!

A Kitten, a Bowl of Soup, and a Towel Walk into a Bar…

A Kitten, a Bowl of Soup, and a Towel Walk into a Bar… 

The Daily Prompt: An Odd Trio

Today, you can write about whatever you what — but your post must include, in whatever role you see fit, a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel.

Late… again… as usual.

I slurped the last of my Campbell’s Sirloin Steak soup, donned my coat, stuffed two energy bars in my left pocket, grabbed the keys, and locked the door.

Thankful that my moonlighting delivery job was just three blocks away, I quickly straddled my Pinarello and headed to The RTI.

Having lost my full-ride scholarship due to a campus clerical error, I was moonlighting with campus deliveries for the research department of RTI until my chemistry professors would allow me back into the lab.

We were just beginning round two of our clinical trials on a drug that would revolutionize the exercise conglomerates. We had been working at perfecting an energy drink that contained not only the electrolytes that an athlete’s body needs during intense training, but the drink contains enzymes that allow the athletic trainers to track your muscle twitch and static contractions. This would allow the trainers, while sitting with their laptops, reading your energy-elevation-outputs, to know ahead of time when an athlete is beginning to experience dehydration. Then medical intervention could happen before the athlete experiences muscle cramps. (IMPORTATNT NOTE: This is all in my imagination- NONE of it is real!!!)

Riding to the back door of the RTI lab, I rang the bell. Instantly the door opened and I was tossed a box.

“To the incinerator.” And the door closed.

The curtness of my greeting was surprising. I knew all the guys on the research team. They all knew that my dismissal was not my fault. I was still a full team member on the council… I thought.

I rested the box on the handle bars of my bike and began the short stint to the waste disposal facilities at Corbell.

I usually had to pedal there once an evening. We were careful with the disposal and incineration of all of our research findings. Theft was a major fear in clinical trials.

Rarely … Actually NEVER … had I made the ride to the waste facilities first thing. Suddenly, in box twitched on the handle bars of my bike and feel to the street.

I skidded to a stop.

The sealing tape on the lid of the box had opened and strewn to one side lay a towel with a big red bear emblazoned upon it. Then I saw the bear twitch.

I carefully pried just a little more of the tape from the lid.

A small, furry paw was experiencing severe muscle spasms as its tiny, kitten body lay skewered on the towel- like a frog ready to be dissected.

My stomach suddenly arose and found the ground beside of my fallen parcel.

What had they done?

What was I involved with?

I was with them, but I knew nothing that would cause such a horrific torture to such an innocent creature.

I placed my index finger next to its tiny pulsating neck.

Its heart was racing.

What was I to do?

In front of me was the waste facilities.

Did I dispose of this ghastly living apparition and pretend that I knew nothing about it?

I knew the formulas for the RTI muscle relaxants. Many of the components were common home ingredients.

Did I take this innocent babe home? Was I to become the mad scientist to counter what was happening in the RTI labs?

Did my professors even know what was happening? No way they would allow such grisly research? Would they?

I found myself astride my bike and earnestly pedaling toward home.

The parcel was closed and tightly secured to the handlebars.

Apparently, the decision had been made?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “An Odd Trio.”

An Unresolved Rivalry

DAY 28

WRITING PROMPT:  Write a poem about the sensations of running as fast as you can.  Or write a story in which your character has to find a friend and warn her before the friend makes a terrible mistake (e.g., quitting a job, breaking up with a boyfriend over a misunderstanding, committing a crime, going on vacation with a new boyfriend who has a dark past, etc.).  The friend’s cell phone is turned off, and the friend is nowhere to be found…

An Unresolved Rivalry

The air was filled with the anticipation of an ancient rivalry resolved. Vindication … after 50 years. It would taste great.

Many were making small wagers on the two combatants, even though gambling was frowned upon. This was an unsanctioned race, so in truth, it really wasn’t a sport’s bet.

Fredrick had his starter’s gun at hand. Freddy didn’t run. (Freddy didn’t do anything to cause sweat. Brains were made to overcome exertion was his life’s mantra… even as a teen.)

The course had been set, marked, and groomed- there was to be no visible reason that a foul should take place… again.

Medics were parked under the trees at the lower gate. Precautionary measures were complete.  We weren’t as young as we used to be.

There was a slight breeze blowing; this could help me. It had been eons since this dispute began. It would be settled this morning.

I had received a certified challenge in the mail two weeks ago. My notice was marked #62. After signing for it, I had immediately called Fredrick. He had just received his: #61. I could not believe that Kevin had held a grudge for this long. Actually, that was easy to believe.

The misadventure (What else could you call it?)  had happened during Senior Days at McPatton Institute. I had beaten Kevin in the 5K … by a mere breath… literally. Kevin had collapsed at the line – just before crossing- and I had passed him.

Kevin had always been a bit of a blowhard and a show-off. Just before crossing the finish line, He decided to add a handspring and a backflip to complete his run-away victory. His arms gave way… He went crashing to ground. I kept running. I passed him… trying not to laugh.

Apparently, Kevin did not take defeat well. We weren’t surprised. He jumped and demanded that ‘all concerned parties’ run the race again. It was really quite amusing. He had been winning by several yards, until his stunt.

The spectators were roaring at the comicalness at the completion of the race. Kevin was not especially well liked… He had gotten his comeuppance.

The race officials ruled that no misconduct had happened and the results of the race were made official.

“There will be a rematch… or you will all burn in Hell!” And with those words, Kevin cleared out his quarters and left the Institute. That was 50 years ago. We had seen neither hide-nor-hair of him…except for a few news briefs.

The three of us were friends from Gopher Springs, Georgia. Classmates since fifth grade. He entered the Institute together… Were commissioned together… And left the Institute together to pursue our various worldly ambitions. Well, Kevin left a few hours before we did.

At earlier reunions, the tenth, the twentieth, and so on… Kevin had not made an appearance. We had heard of a boating accident, but after that initial bit of knowledge… Kevin’s world was hush-hush.

Still, it did not catch me completely off-guard with the receiving of the rematch summons. But Certified MailIt did make me chuckle. All 62 members of our Corp were invited… just like the original event. Another chuckle.

While I readied myself, not being in quite as good of shape as I had been fifty years earlier, I was accosted by Fredrick. He was breathing heavily and perspiration was dripping off his forehead. “Samson, don’t do this!” He panted.

I was in shock… I had never seen Fredrick sweat… except during our training drills. And that was FIFTY years ago!

“Of course, I’m going to run. I know that I am fifty years older… but so is Kevin. It will be fun. We’ll all get a few laughs.”

“No!” he was still panting. “The laughs have already started. All is not as it seems.”

The tittering was getting louder behind me. I turned to find the reason for the laughter and Fredrick’s stress.

Kevin was here. He was in a motorized wheelchair. And his wheelchair was spraying gravel in rapid donuts all along our well-manicured track.

I chuckled…Leave it to KevinApparently one can do donuts and wheelies in Hell.

Just then Kevin’s chair tipped.

Not again.

Written for Creative Writing Now: Day 28.

Other People’s Children

DAY 27

WRITING PROMPT: Write a poem with the title “Other People’s Children”.  Or write a story about a character who agrees to take care of a friend’s teenager son or daughter while the friend goes on a trip.  But the teenager is out of control, and your character soon finds himself/herself with a big problem on his/her hands.


“Lima beans, too.”

Bennie was using his spoon to build a small fort with his vegetables. I knew this was going to be a long weekend when Jerad had dropped Bennie off. Jerad went to hug his son good-bye and Bennie had ran to my car, slammed the backdoor, and stuck his tongue out at his father. “Boys, whataya do?” was Jared’s response as he drove off.

Bennie was mine to watch for the weekend. A favor that I had done off and on for Jerad since my sister had passed on. It had been fun, when Bennie was little. The rules were the same as for a puppy…  Run him hard, and then he’d sleep. At eleven-years-old, the ‘tried and true’ did not seem to be working.

At supper this evening, suddenly Bennie did not like anything on the table.

First, pork barbeque and chunks of bread sprayed all over the table when Bennie had to cough. OK, that could have been purely an accident. But when I reminded him to cover his mouth, I got a smirky grin, then a reach for the napkin and a spill of massive proportions from his glass setting on his right.

Maybe nervousness? Anger issues at Jerad? But then the intensity of his laughter.

“Please use you napkin to true to sop up the Kool-Aid.” I reassuringly asked.

“Do it yourself. It’s your table.”

So maybe there are anger issues toward me, too?

Next came the picking of the nose.

“Please, Bennie. That is so impolite- especially at the table.”

Response… He places his well-rounded booger on the side of his plate and announces that he thinks he will keep this one to play with later.


There were no “Pleases” …Not a “Thank You” … Not even an “Excuse me”…. When we both knew that smell was not from my Boston terrier. Just a roiling of the eyes and a wave of the hand across his face.

Where was the little Bennie I knew?

Abruptly getting up from the table, Bennie left. “You are excused.” I responded. To which I got … “Whatever.”

I had taken Bennie’s things to the spare room. I was assuming that was where he was heading.

My spare room was in the basement. It doubled as a game room. I had figured that this would be heaven for an eleven-year-old. But when I went down to his room, Bennie was flopped on the pull-out, talking on his phone.

“Do ya mind?” Bennie yelled as soon as he saw me in the doorway. SLAM went the door.

“OK,” I thought. “This has gone on long enough. I will give him ten minutes… a cooling off period… then we will have a meeting of the minds. I will not tolerate this for the weekend.”

Ten minutes pass and I firmly knock on the door.

There is no answer.

I open the door and go to speak when I am met with the window curtains blowing wildly in the breeze… an opened window… and NO BENNIE.

Quickly I run outside to check the pool, the basketball courts, and the tennis courts.


I get ready to go to the car to drive the neighborhood, but then I realize… I have no idea where to look.

So I call Jared.

“Oh, I bet he went to AnnaBeth’s. She lives several streets down from your place. He’ll be back later.”

“He’ll be back later!”

“Nothing to worry about. Bennie is always home by morning.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” was screaming through my mind. “He does this all the time?”

“Not all the time. Just when he’s mad at me. Relax. He’ll be back by 10 tonight. Betcha anything on it.”

“Thanks.” I hung up. Go my pillow from my bed and turned on the television in the living room. This is the last weekend I babysit.

Written for Creative Writing Now: Day 27. 

Come Sit in the Stars

DAY 18

EXERCISE: Come up with writing prompts based on the following pairs of words from this lesson:

– “shy” and “astrology”

– “trick” and “audition”

Come Sit in the Stars

Adeline was always dressed in brilliantly, flamboyant colors. They suited her personality as well as her profession. Adeline was an intensely-passionate, influentially-popular astrologist. Her nationally syndicated show, Come Sit in the Stars, had just be renewed for its eleventh year. Her private consultations were now netting more profit than the televised series. Come Sit in the Stars had just signed on a new syndication contract with fourteen other foreign television stations to broadcast only the reruns. Her last seven seasons in DVD had sold more than many hit movies.

One would think that the universe was at Adeline’s feet. Well, it was…. But her personal world was- and always had been- in shambles. Her charisma and charm on camera belied her private personality.  Adeline had been a gifted ‘fortune-teller’ from the age of five. She had that sixth sense people talked about. But, as a child, when events that had not yet occurred would slip out of her mouth, and then happen, Adeline became ostracized from her peers and eventually from all close relationships. People seemed to blame her for what she saw. Adeline became excessively shy, a total introvert: a shadow of who she truly was.

Adenine had no secret power to influence the future- she only saw the impending occurrences. She could not stop them.


“Good Afternoon, Madam.” It was a young man, possibly in his twenties. I saw him as he was entering our office through the security cameras. We have the entire facilities wired for safety concerns. His coal black hair hangs over hand opened collar. He is rather handsome- if you like the strong, cowboy type.

“Welcome, fellow traveler.” Rhoda, my long-time receptionist, would say those words to each and every client as they walked through the doors. “Here is a questionnaire that we like all of our first time visitors complete. Answer each question the best that you can. Often, these questions will allow the great and powerful, wonderfully-awesome Adeline to assist you on your life’s journey.”

No matter how many times I have asked Rhonda NOT to say those lines… she says them anyway.

Usually each client will just smile. Many people feel a touch uncomfortable coming in to see an astrologist the first time. Sometimes a little self- denigration can relax a situation. The only problem is that Rhoda believes those words.

“Thanks, but I think I will just wait to see the Amazing Adeline.” There was an unmistakable twinkle in his eye. This one could be trouble.

He sat in the corner seat. “There is a purposed poise that seems to possess this new client,” I thought as I pushed back my Lorica-leather, ergonomic chair and stepped from behind my glass-topped writing table.

Walking over to the door, I open it and boldly announce, “Next”. Knowing full-well that he was only one visitor in my receptionist’s area. 

“Have a seat.” I motion to the twin pseudo- leather chairs that formed my counseling area. I do not do the psychologist’s sofa bed.

“I am Ady. How might I be of assistance to you, today?”

“I remember you.”

I was ready for anything but that.

“I remember you from grade school.”

Now, I was really mystified.

“I sat behind you in Ms. McAlister’s class at Cotton Springs Elementary.”

That was where I went to school. I suspect that could have been is some article that had been written about me?

“You have no idea who I am. Do you?”

“I do much better at reading people’s futures than their past”

“You always were quick with the smart answers. That’s why seventh grade was so terrible.

Now, that…. That had not been in any biographical; expose’.

You started crying one day in class when Beatrice was telling about her five kittens being born. Everybody thought that you were just a jealous little snot. We all knew that your father did not allow pets. But then you burst out and said, ‘They are all going to be dead in the morning!’ After that, you ran out of the room.

I remembered that very day.

“The next day, Beatrice came to school crying. All her kittens had died. She accused you of putting a curse on them. Nothing was ever the same in that class… Even after you moved away.”

That had happened, too.

I tried to remain straight faced and professional. “So, what may I help you with, today?” I asked again.

“You really aren’t that good at knowing the future. Are you?”

“I try to very careful, before I offer assistance.” I restated.

“Don’t you know that I have been in love with you since Cotton Springs?”

Then I remembered.  “Are you Matthew?”

Written for Creative Writing Now. Lesson 18.

Revenge Is Best With a Cigar

The jagged rocks tore at my gear as I quietly crept toward the bungalow. I knew that a lava flow cuts deep, I was glad for the added protection on my feet.

The thirst for revenge had never been greater. Bob had wronged me. He knew it. And I knew it. It was only a matter of time before the score was settled.

Tonight was the night.

It was a simple plan- except for the chartering of the yacht from a marina two towns back, renting the scuba gear and night goggles, and purchasing armor-melded socks and gloves for the lava shoreline climb at the cliffs

He would never have his security system activated around the cliffs. No one in their right mind would try to scale a lava embankment. Besides, he enjoyed the late nights with his scotch and his Cuban cigars too much to waste time deactivating alarms that were unnecessary.

Intimate knowledge of his routines was a plus. Being his best friend had its advantages-particularly during a black-ops mission.  Halo was a rush to play. This was even better!

Stealth was the key. I still had to see Rex, his black Labrador, before Rex spotted me. A whisper from me and Rex was a docile pup. Coming upon Rex without him knowing it was me… Unthinkable!

There he was. Rex was as oblivious to the lava embankment as his master. Clueless! I quietly whistled his favorite tune. His ears perked. I whistled again. He came running and was now licking my face. What a great watchdog.

Rex and I walked to the terrace under the immense viewing decks surrounding the upper floors of the house. In the shadows, I would not be detected.

Now, to try to neutralize the alarms. The keypad had a timer wired into it, Bob had bragged about the intricacies of his state-of-the-art security system. What was funny, after bragging about the alarm, he rubs Rex’s head and says, “And the code is just between you and me. Isn’t it boy? It’s our little secret.”

That left me with two options. One was simple. Perhaps too simple. The code name- REX. The other was not as obvious, but since I knew all the proclivities of Bob, I had a hand up. Bob celebrated everything. “There is always a reason to have a party” was his mantra. So, my second guess was Rex’s birthday. Yes, Rex has birthday parties… complete with presents.

Since Bob had made such a big deal about the timing mechanisms in this alarm, I decided to go with the longest code first: Rex’s birthday. I could re-code the word REX far easier than a date of birth- if there were time constraints.

Keying in the birthday was a snap. But upon hitting the enter button, red lights began blinking. I knew I only had seconds. Quickly, I typed R-E-X. I re-pressed the enter button. All lights went green. Bob… you are so easy to read.

Entering the lower rooms, I walked into the study, found Bob’s bottle of Irish scotch, two crystal glasses, and his Cuban cigar humidor. Collecting all my necessities, I walked back out to the terrace. Rex followed.

Sitting on the lounger, I poured myself a shot. Rex settled quietly beside of me.

All I had to do now was wait for Bob.

Written for The Word Wednesdays: Number 428: Using the three prompt words, create a story.

Intimate, adjective: closely acquainted; familiar, close; (of a place or setting) having or creating an informal friendly atmosphere; used euphemistically to indicate that a couple is having a sexual relationship; involving very close connection; private and personal; (of knowledge) detailed; thorough.

Jagged, adjective: having rough, sharp points protruding.

Thirst, noun: a feeling of needing or wanting to drink something; lack of the liquid needed to sustain life; a strong desire for something; verb: (of a person or animal) feel a need to drink something; have a strong desire for something

More Than Meets the Eye

DAY 10


Write a poem about ghosts. Or write a story about someone who gets a great price on a house because it’s supposedly haunted. His/her first night in his/her new house, s/he starts to think s/he’s made a terrible mistake…

 “Come on, Sheila. Let’s do this right.” Aaron said as he bent down, swept her off her feet, and carried her into a foyer with walnut stairs curving up to a balcony view of the Susquehanna River from a ridge near Endless Mountain.


Sheila giggled. “Me… or the river valley.”


“It is the most gorgeous site I have ever seen. And it was the last thing Uncle Wilber saw before…”

“Don’t think about that, dear. Uncle Wilber had always had a bit of a screw lose his whole life.”

“How can you say that!” retorted Sheila as she stepped away and collapsed into one of the three immensely-cushioned settees that were encircling the bay windows.

“You know it’s true. Even your cousin, William, said that as he was signing the deed over to us. He and his wife just didn’t like it up here. You know how fussy Reva can be about a house.”

“That’s not what Reva told me.”

“Riva…. Now there is another emotionally distraught woman.” Aaron made a quick head duck and a giggle as soon as the words were out of his mouth.

Grabbing Sheila by both shoulders, and with a tender gaze into her deep ember eyes, he said,” I thought we were here to celebrate the first night…. alone…. Before all the rugrats get here with William.”

“We are….”

“I’ll get the champagne from the coolers in the car.” Aaron winked.

“I’ll meet you in our new room,” replied Sheila as she sashayed off to the master suite.


As Aaron walked up the stairs, a rich, burnt-butterscotch aroma filled the air as he neared the balcony. “Did you find one of Old Wilber’s cigars? That smell really brings back the memories.”

“Of course not. But I thought that I caught a whiff of it too as I came back from the bedroom. I thought it would be more romantic to watch the sunset from here. This is why we bought the place.”

“You look beautiful. Deep green has always been my favorite color.”

“You fool,” giggled Sheila. “You are the one that bought me this.”

“Yes, and I have such excellent taste in so many things.” Aaron nipped at her lips as he bend and sat down to snuggle on the settee.

“To what shall we toast?” asked Sheila as she held her empty glass she had collected from the picnic basket Aaron had retrieved along with the chilled champagne.

“Beauty…. Definitely beauty,” Aaron responded with another nip.

With a playful slap and a push away, Aaron drew Shelia into his arms. And soon the sunset had faded and so had they.


Morning found them still in each other’s arms and intertwined on the settee.

Sheila pushed hard against Aaron’s chest. “It’s not very funny.” She pushed again. Harder. “Do you hear me? It’s not very funny.”

Yawning, Aaron tried to sit up but Sheila ready to bounce on him again. “Honey, what’s wrong?”

“Why would you do something so uncaring? So utterly stupid?”

“Honey?” he tried to put his arms around her, but she pushed him away. “What are you talking about?”

“Look at the side table?”

One the side table, placed in a crystal ashtray, was a smoldering cigar emitting a wondrously rich, burnt-butterscotch aroma, and setting just beside of it was an unfinished glass of what appeared to be brandy.

“Where did that come from?”

“That’s not all. Look at the balcony!”

Aaron turned and looked to where his wife was pointing. Tied onto the bannister of the balcony was a rope. Stepping closer, Aaron saw the noose at the end of it.

“Honey, I’m not sure if this house is the deal of a lifetime.” Aaron was visibly shaken. “Thank God the children are not here. Let’s pack and meet William in the driveway.”

Written for Creative Writing Now: Be a Writer Now class.

Waiting to See Alice


WRITING PROMPT: Write a poem about a hospital at night.  Or write a story about a character who has to sneak out of a hospital at night (you can decide why your character’s in the hospital and why s/he has to sneak out).

“I knew he would die on my shift. I just knew it.”

I know that to think that was immature… maybe even rude. Definitely unprofessional. But I am on my fourth day of night shift, working as the new on-floor morgue orderly, and I have had to wheel a body into the service elevator and down to the morgue after every shift for every night.

The nurses are beginning to whisper about the regularity of it all.

I’m not stupid.

I knew as an orderly for the morgue that I was going to be in rooms with bodies….

Dead bodies.

But I thought that they would be behind those stainless-steel. closed lockers. Maybe, I would have to push a coffin to an awaiting hearse.

I had no idea that I was going to the one that had to provide transport to the morgue. The bodies were still warm.

At least I guess they were, I wasn’t going to touch one.

Then there were the jokes. At least I hope that they were jokes.

“Don’t worry about dropping him. The last fall already did him in.”

“Be careful. Don’t let him sit up on you.”

“If you see the sheet on his chest move… think nothing of it. He’s just expelling gasses.”

What is wrong with these people?

The doors open, finally, to take this last one to the morgue. Then my shift is over. One quick tug and the gurney is over the threshold of the elevator. The lips don’t line up very well. It’s always a solid bump just to get the wheels from the far side of the gurney into the elevator before the doors want to close.

Tonight, after work, I am going to the pub with the rest of my study group from college. They are all at a ‘post-renaissance poetry reading’ for our literature class. I wasn’t able to make it. I chuckle. Don’t think I missed much there.

Looking down, I see that the floor nurse left the patient’s clipboard on his gurney.

Looking at the top of the chart, I see his name. Samuel Adams.

“A good lager. I will see you later tonight,” I snicker. “What’s wrong with me?  Now I’m making jokes about the dead.”

“That’s alright. I’ve heard that one before.”

“Huh?” I look around.

“They’re right about the warm ones. We are still around for a while. Sort of, checking out the new digs.”


“For a college kid, you don’t have much of a vocabulary.”


“That’s alright. It took me a time in life to get on my own two feet as well.”

I look under the gurney. It did feel a little on the heavy side as I was trying to get it across the lip of the elevator.

It’s empty.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be gone by the time we get to the basement. Nothing down there is in my future.” The voice titters. “Get it? My future?”

I still say nothing.


“Well, that’s my stop. I’ll be seeing you. Think nothing of your rudeness. I know you didn’t mean it.You’re one of the good ones.”

The doors open.

“See ya, chum. And by the way, Alice likes you. That’s something to think about for tonight. A man’s gotta live life to its fullest.”

I push hard to get the gurney across the lip onto the heavily-waxed, concrete floor of the morgue. The on-call morgue director is waiting.

“Hey, Alan. What took you so long? The floor charge said you left almost ten minutes ago.”

I say nothing. I push the gurney into the admitting room.

“Oh, yeah. By the way. Alice called and said she was going to be a few minutes late. But not to worry, she’d be there.”


Written for Creative Writing Now: Be a Writer Now class.