You once were my soul confidante.

You listened patiently as I read to you my bedtime stories, the same story fourteen nights in a row.

You never criticized my two extra thumbs appearing when I practiced for piano recitals.

You protected me from under-the-bed monsters and comforted me horrific dreams.

You never told a soul the deepest secrets of bygone years or of dreams yet to unfold.

Even when you were moved from your treasured seat between my pillows to the sideboard nightstand, you took your demotion in stride.

You stiffened my spine when I didn’t make the junior high basketball cuts and during failed attempts at finding first love.

You never wavered.

Even now, you sit watch high atop my study shelves… Keeping my world from tilting askew.

And now, after this unexpected news, I might need you more than ever before.

My bold-hearted friend.

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #14 Today’s prompt is to write about platonic love.

Begging for a Change in the Weather

Chicago Tribune

Begging for a Change in the Weather

“Samuel, you are scurrying around like cat with a rocket is lit on its tail. What’s wrong?” Samael had just entered the kitchen door with our five-year-old son Andrew on his hip. They were both soaking wet.

“It’s the gosh darn weather. Go open every window in the house. Be careful not to fall off the chair as you reach the locks.” Samuel said as he placed Andrew firmly on the floor and gave him an encouraging pat on his backsides.

“It’s a beautiful day. It calls for great weather this entire weekend.”

Now at the hall closet, Samuel was removing the picnic basket and headed toward the kitchen. “I know. That’s the problem,” he said.

“What are you doing with the picnic basket?” I was now totally puzzled.

“I’m packing for an afternoon down by the river. Promised the kids after the washed the car and the tractor we’d have us a great meal and a swim. I hope you’re still planning of doing laundry this morning and hanging it out to dry.”

“What has gotten into to you, Samuel Bilford? What is all this fuss for today?” I had just peeked out and Natty, Angus and Daphne were heads-to-toes in suds washing the station wagon and Danny was pulling up the old Ford nearby.

“We need the rain. If eleven open windows, your weekend laundry line filled, two freshly washed cars and a planned family picnic don’t make it want to rain, I think our garden is in real trouble.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #13 Today’s prompt is to write about the weather.

Lessons from Popeye


Lessons from Popeye

“Honey, do you really think it’s the right idea to withhold Popeye from Arnold?”

“I think it sends the appropriate message.”

My wife was always into sending messages. Especially subliminal messages. She could never just come out and say what was on her mind. If you wanted answers from her, you had to be a master at reading-between-the-lines.

“Don’t you think that we should talk to him about why Popeye is suddenly not allowed on the television.”

“I think serving spinach every meal for the next week for supper, and you and I enjoying its pleasures, will send Arnold the message.”

“It would be so much easier to just talk to him.”

“He has to learn.”

“So you think that emulating Popeye is what we want our son to do?”

“Most certainly.”

“Sweetems’… You do know that Popeye smokes a pipe and often gets into fights.”

“Arnold would never so that. You’ve already spoken to him about those evils.”

“I certainly can’t argue with that logic.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #12 Today’s prompt is to write about a food you (or your character) hate.

When You Can’t Ring a Doorbell

Travis Heights Elementary School

When You Can’t Ring a Doorbell

“Somewhere over the rainbow… Way up high.”

“What are you doing?”

“What do you mean, ‘What am I doing?’”

“Why are you shouting?” I asked. We briefly paused our afternoon hike.

“I’m not shouting, I’m singing.” Cassandra, my five-year-old, closed her arms across one another and firmly drew them together mimicking her mother perfectly.

“OK, why are you singing… and so loudly?”

“So they can hear me.”

“So who can hear you?”

“The leprechauns.”

“Leprechauns. Why are you singing for the leprechauns?”

“There’s the rainbow and everyone knows that leprechauns live at the end of the rainbow.”

“So…  You’re singing because…”

“I don’t have their phone number to call them, and they’re probably a lot like Momma and don’t want unexpected guests. I thought it was only polite to announce our arrival ahead of time.”

And with that, my darling daughter once again took off skipping and singing, “Somewhere over the rainbow… Way up high.”

FYI: Yes, I now that the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” is from The Wizard of Oz and that there are no leprechauns in The Wizard of Oz. But my five-year-old called the Munchkins leprechauns, and if you have ever had a five-year-old, they are always right.

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #11 Today’s prompt is to write about a holiday.

A One Sentence Story

New Method Wellness

A One Sentence Story

“And just last night I was in a tizzy, according to my wife, about an unexplained parking lot ding on the passenger door.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #8 Today’s prompt is to write a one-sentence story.

Civics 101

MorgueFile 7412431c75b38f899a79ef471a0d913e

Civics 101

“Where did these come from?”

“What do you mean?”

“Where did these two twenties come from?”

“It’s illegal to search through my wallet without a warrant?”

“I’m your mother. I don’t need a warrant. Again, where did these come from?”

“I plead the Fifth.”

“I know the words that are going to eventually come out of your mouth will incriminate you. I am glad you were listening in Civics Class, but the Fifth doesn’t work on your mother. This house is not a democracy.”

“I still have constitutional rights.”

“You sure do. Right now you have the right to breath, collect your thoughts, and tell me thr truth. Where did these to twenties come from?

“Would you believe I found them?”

“If you want me to believe something, you probably shouldn’t start your sentence with ‘Would you believe…?’ Guess they didn’t mention that in Civics 101.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #7 Today’s prompt is to write about a discovery.

Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner: Week #5.

Cutting Corners

PHOTO PROMPT © Trish Nankivell

Cutting Corners

“A lock on the paper dispenser? Are you kidding me?”

“I’m tired of you replacing the roll with the cheap stuff.”

“Do you know how much money I can save… We save… each week because I find ways to cut corners?”

“I love you. You know that. But we both have good paying jobs, we can afford the good stuff.”

“It’s for crap, you know.”

“There’s more to it than that.”

“It’s for crap, and then … Swish… and it’s gone.”

“Why don’t you cut some corners on that fancy moisturizer you use every night?”

“So, you’re going to go there? You want me to be thirty with more ridges in my face than the garden in the back.”

“You’re already more than thirty. Besides I didn’t marry you because I thought you were a beauty.”

“What does that mean?”

“That didn’t come out right.”


“You’re beautiful. I’ve always thought you were the most beautiful woman in the world.”

“Keep talking.”

“I don’t care what you spend on that special moisturizer of yours. I just want MY toilet paper.”

“So why that paper?”

“You already know. I don’t like how it’s tough enough to cut corners.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #5 Today’s prompt is to write about a couple.

Written for Friday Fictioneers: February 5, 2021.

A New YouTube Sensation

MorgeFiles e32881395fc4c55bc3bc54564d3da961

A New YouTube Sensation

“Are you sure this is the way they did it on YouTube?”

“Sure I’m sure. I watched it umpteen times. You saw it, too.”

“But they did it off the roof of a house and then a second floor balcony.”

“That’s child’s play. We want to break the record, don’t we?”

“We could break the record by standing on the railing of the balcony and jumping onto the trampoline. Why the rock-climbing?”

“Why the rock climbing? Extreme sports is all the rage.  We’ll instant celebrities!”

“But a balcony is only about fifteen feet from the trampoline. And the smart jumpers place mattresses around the tramp because you don’t unusually fall on the trampoline after the first bounce.”

“Are you scared?”

“Of course I am! Aren’t you?”

“I’ve done this in my head a thousand times. Nothing can go wrong. I’ve got this.”

“If you are the one that wants to be a celebrity, why am I climbing up this rock face with you?”

“Moral support.”

“OK. Moral support I can handle. I’ll film you jumping, and afterwards I’ll walk down and help you post the film footage.”

“You don’t have to film anything. I brought the tripod. We can zero in the best shots for the film with the practice run.”

“That sounds good.”

“The practice run is always shot first. Then the star does the real stunt.”

“What do you mean, ‘The star does the second jump? Who’s jumping first?’”

“What do you think you’re here for?”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #6 Today’s prompt is to write something in the absurdist style.

Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner: Week #6.

We Were Meant to Be


We Were Meant to Be

“So, what’s shaken?”

“Cute. I’ve never heard that line before.”

“So you’re a spicy one.”

“Another line I’ve never heard before.”

“Whoa. I’m just trying to be friendly. You don’t have to have such an attitude.”

“I prefer my own kind, if you don’t mind.”

“What’re you talking about? Don’t you know we’re a pair?”

“The Man put us together. I refuse to accept the constraints society deems necessary for me to adhere to.”

“So, spicy and a rebel. I think I’m in love.”

“I heard that before, too.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #4 Today’s prompt is to write from the perspective of a kitchen item.

Morning Rituals


Morning Rituals

Leering… Sneering… Smirking…

She awaited me at the corner on the right side of the vanity.

I could sense her contempt.

It had been seven days since our last rendezvous. I had sensed an untoward seething developing in our relationship, so I had purposefully instituted an armistice.

I stretched my right foot forward to scoot her closer to the center of the bathroom floor.

Right away, her animosity was registered. “Error…Error…Error.” The word flashed three times.

I had anticipated her malicious reaction. Our morning rapport was never friendly.

Each morning we shared this daily cavort. Her bursting with anticipation to boldly proclaim her authoritative calculations. My reluctant anticipation of truth. Taking a week from her vindictiveness had been a cherished reprieve.

Today was a new day.

A new dawn was awaiting.

Sweet morning…Here I come!

Spring had sprung, and so had I. Walking two miles every morning and two miles every evening had put a spring back in my step. (Please, pardon the incredulous pun.)

Grapefruit and granola bar had become my colleagues at breakfasts. My dinner plates had become far more sociable with vegetables than bacon-cheese burgers. I had even purchased stock in Niagara Falls…Ten glasses of water a day.

Today was my day of reckoning.

I firmly set my foot forward.

Ready to go where no man had gone before… at least he had not gone there for a week.

My left foot joined my right.

Today was my Normandy.

Written for Sunday Afternoon Writes. Prompt: Write about a machine you have either loved or hated.

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #2 Today’s prompt is to write something usual doing something unusual.