Civics 101

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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.

A New YouTube Sensation

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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.

Ramon Sees Red

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Ramon Sees Red



Ramon, third-generation matador want-to-be, carefully donned the waistcoat of his great-grandfather’s traje de luces. Clutching the muleta under his left armpit and a single banderillo in his right hand, he ran out the door in pursuit of his prey.

The neighbor boy had called and reported seeing Diablo, the Disperser, running like a banshee in the backyard again.

The Disperser had won the last battle.

It had cost Ramon two days of school (not that he had minded that), and three evenings of soccer practice (that he did mind) and three consecutive nightly hour-long soaks in a tomato juice bath.

Between the evils of a bath, and the forced absence of soccer practice, Ramon was not in a forgiving mood.

His mother had been horrified when Ramon entered the house after the first battle with Diablo.

He knew he stunk.

But the way she ran away from him… screaming never-before-spoken words…

For that, he would never forgive The Disperser.

His father had laughed.

In fact, every time his dad had replenished the bathwater on the back porch with another gallon of heated tomato juice, he had had a renewed fit-of-laughter.

After the third evening of baths (at least now he was allowed in the house facilities), his father had sat him down and they had the talk.

Not, thank the heavens, the one about birds-and-the-bees. But the one about when life hands you lemons, make lemonade?

He wasn’t real sure what lemonade had to do with bathing in tomato juice, but his dad had been very serious in the tone of his voice and the seriousness of his message.

Ramon tried to grasp the jest of the lesson.

Find the hidden truth.

Make right the wrong.

Slay the dragon.

Maybe the ‘Slay the dragon’ was just the inner- Ramon wanting out of the tomato-bath to rise and a fight again.

The Inner-Ramon straightened his spine.

There were unforgiveable wrongs to right!

 

Traje de luces: The traje de luces[1] (‘suit of lights’) is the traditional clothing that Spanish bullfighters. (Wikipedia)

Muleta: A muleta is a stick with a red cloth hanging from it that is used in the final third (tercio de muleta or de muerte) of a bullfight. It is different from the cape used by the matador earlier in the fight (capote de brega). (Wikipedia)

Banderillo: Banderilla most often refers to the colorfully decorated and barbed sticks used in bullfighting. (Wikipedia)



Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #3 Today’s prompt is to write something that incorporates the color red.

Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner: Week #3. 

Pay Day

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Pay Day



Giving me the thumbs up said all that needed to be said.

We had rehearsed and rehearsed until I could complete this mission in my sleep. Sure, it was my first true mission, but I had been involved in the desk-top planning for hundreds of others. Ok. Maybe not hundreds.

Bart and Marty stayed hidden near the stern of the ship.

I meandered, shrouded by the keel, starboard toward the bow.

At exactly 0400 we were to converge topside.

Giving the looters an entire hour to scavenger the remains had been the plan. It was a good one.

They did all the work.

We would reap all the rewards.

I pulled my knife from my ankle sheath on my left leg.

This clock was ticking.

I was to be the distraction. The marauders would turn to see me… Bart and Marty would finish them.

So, you ask… “Why did I have my diving knife out?”

Diving knives make quick work on the tubes of an air tank regulator.

A one-way spilt is far bigger than a three-way.

My fortune awaits.



Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner: Week #04. 

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction Challenge #1: Today’s prompt is to write a story with no dialogue.

Geppetto’s Gift

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Geppetto’s Gift



“She doesn’t bark.”

“What are you talking about?”

“She doesn’t bark. The dog grandpop made for me. She doesn’t bark.”

“Bradford. You’re twelve-years-old. The dog Grandpop Rossi made for you is a classic. It is a hand pull-toy crafted from imported Ceylon ebony and Ponderosa pine. It is a collector’s toy.”

“I know that. But I wanted a dog that barks. One that I can go to the park and throw Frisbees with and he’ll bring them back.”

“Well, we don’t always get exactly what we want.”

“But Grandpop is always telling me stories of him and Papa when Papa was just a boy. Every night he would tell these remarkable stories of trips through the Great Forest to find just the right piece of wood. And all about how he carefully carved each of Papa’s parts. How he lovingly whittled and sanded and whittled and sanded until every piece fit just right.”

“I know the stories.”

“The stories must be true. Papa said that they were true.”

“Papa wouldn’t lie to you. But what else did Papa say?”

“Without love, unabashed love, it never would have happened.”

“Well, there you have your answer.”

“I just have to love Piddle’s, that’s his name, I just have to love Piddle’s until he is real?”

“Sounds like that’s what Grandpop would say.”

“Good. Mom, what’s unabashed mean?”



Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner.

Geppetto’s Gift

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Geppetto’s Gift


“She doesn’t bark.”

“What are you talking about?”

“She doesn’t bark. The dog grandpop made for me. She doesn’t bark.”

“Bradford. You’re twelve years old. The dog Grandpop Rossi made for you is a classic. It is a hand pull-toy crafted from imported Ceylon ebony and Ponderosa pine. It is a collector’s toy.”

“I know that. But I wanted a dog that barks. One that I can go to the park and throw Frisbees and he’ll bring them back.”

“Well, we don’t always get exactly what we want.”

“But Grandpop is always telling me stories of him and Papa, when Papa was just a boy. Every night he would tell haunting stories of trips through the Great Forest to find just the right piece of wood. And all about carefully carving each of Papa’s parts. How he lovingly whittled and sanded and whittled and sanded until every piece fit just right.”

“I know the stories.”

“Papa said that they were true.”

“Papa wouldn’t lie to you. But what else did Papa say?”

“Without love, unabashed love, it never would have happened.”

“Well, there you have your answer.”

“I just have to love Piddle’s, that’s his name, I just have to love Piddle’s until he is real?”

“Sounds like that’s what Grandpop would say.”

“Good. Mom, what’s ‘unabashed’ mean?”



Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner.

I Don’t Believe in Fairytales.

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I Don’t Believe in Fairytales.



“This is the path.”

“How can you tell?”

“Look around you, stupid. Do you think that these trees were planted in a double line by Mother Nature?”

“Don’t call me stupid.”

“Quit saying stupid things. Now we just follow this lovely path to the castle.”

“Do you really think that it’ll be that easy to rescue Princess Agatha? Haven’t you read any of the fairytale endings?”

“I don’t believe in fairytales.”

“And you call me stupid. Of course you believe in fairytales. Why do you think that Princess Agatha has been locked away, sound asleep in this bloody castle for the last 175 years? Do you think she just got tired and decided to take a long nap?”

“OK. I believe the stories that Dad told us. He believed them. Dad said that his two best friends tried to rescue Princess Agatha more than seventy years ago.”

“What happened to them?”

“They never came back. Every 25 years or so, two men from our town feel the ‘passion’ to go on the quest. It is said that this ‘passion’ will continue throughout the generations of our town until a man of honorable birth rescues Princess Agatha.”

“And you’re that man?”

“Yep.”

“That sounds like a fairytale to me.”



Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: 2020: Week #47.

The King Is Merciful. Long Love the King.

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The King Is Merciful. Long Love the King.


“You gonna stand there watching me or you gonna say something?” the executioner continued to hone the edges of the sword.

“Do you know what the King has decided?” I asked.

“He is the King. I do not question his wisdom.”

“He is executing an innocent. Maybe even a child,” I continued.

“The king would never execute an innocent.”

“The entire village will be there,” I said.

“Of course they will. All of the King’s executions are in public.”

“You don’t understand.” I said. “I am to remove alphabet letters from King’s purse. After each letter, those villagers with that surname are moved to the back of the commons awaiting me to draw the next letter.”

“Why the letters?” the executioner’s curiosity was finally piqued.

“This village has given comfort and shelter to the bandits. They see them as Germany’s version of Robin Hoods. The King has decided that the village has offended him- the village should pay the price.”

“I see,” responded the executioner.

“Do you?” I asked. “After the first letter is drawn, I will continue to remove villagers according to their surnames until it is just one family remaining. Then I will draw letters for their forenames.”

“Makes sense to me,” responded the executioner.

“The last person remaining will be the person you execute.”

“I understand that.”

“Have you ever been called upon to execute a four-year-old child?” I said.

“Never. The King would show mercy,” replied the executioner.

“There will be no mercy. I am here to hold ransom your son. Should you fail to execute the King’s commands, your son will take the villagers’ stead.”

The executioner stroked one last stroke on the sharpened blade. “It seems the King has thought on everything.” Putting on his hood, he slowly walked toward the scaffolding.



Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner: 2020: Week #46,

The Root of the Problem

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The Root of the Problem


Death

Slaughter

Destruction

Execution

Extermination

Immortality

Vigorous

Survival

Safety

Life


Many people see them as the ‘Bringers of Death’. Senselessly slaughtering all you get in their path.  Delivering destruction to families… villages… towns… entire countries.

Executioners have used them. Dictators have allowed the extermination of millions of people ‘not of their kind’. Young men, with dreams of immortality, have used them to create havoc in our society.

But they are only the tool. They are a symptom of a far greater disease. Mankind has allowed the development a pandemic of wanton savagery.

Vigorous interventions must be made into the lives of our youth. Accolades of honest, no-strings-attached love must be showered upon them. The survival of mankind is at stake.

Families and communities have a right to safety. Safe countries. Safe cities. Safe towns. Safe families. The change has to begin with us.

LIFE is sacred. It needs to be a cherished treasure once again.



This was written in the form of a diamante poem. Instead of using the parts of speech, I used a syllable count. 1-2-3-4-5-5-4-3-2-1 and went with antonyms as the poems endpoints. Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner. 

Let Them Eat Cake

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Let Them Eat Cake


“Yellow!”

Sara screamed as she neared the dock.

“I thought you’d like it.” Grandpa was smiling. “But the surprises aren’t over yet.”

Sarah was already running passed the “Careful. Slippery When Wet.” signs the get to the new boat. Grandpa and her brother had been working on it during the winter as their ‘togetherness project’. She was surprised when Fredrick told her that the maiden voyage of the craft was supposed to be just her and Grandpa, but it was a good surprise. Sara loved to waters. To spend a day with Grandpa was always a plus.

Sara was barely able to contain her bubbliness and stay on the dock as she waited for her grandfather to catch up.

Grandpa stood beside her as they silently marveled at the magnificent work that he had Fredrick had completed.

“Well,” Grandpa looked had her. “Ready for the unveiling?”

“The unveiling?”

“Sure. Every worthy craft has to have a name fitting for it majesty. Fredrick and I decided on the name for this one’s christening. We thought you should have the honor of revealing it.” Suddenly, as if from the shadows appeared Fredrick and Sara’s mother and father.

Father was carrying a small basket. “Wait. Before this solemn evert occurs, we need to have our toasts ready.” He went to one knee and opened the basket. Swiftly handing out glasses to each of them, he handed a bottle of OceanSpray Cranberry-Grape to Fredrick. “Prepare us, please. Sir Fredrick.”

Fredrick’s smile was ear-to-ear. He twisted the top off of the chilled OceanSpray and filled each of their plastic goblets.

“To Grandfather and Fredrick,” Father toasted. They all took one small sip. There were to be more toasts.

“To the ‘Togetherness Project’,” Mother was quickly following in line.

“To a family a man can be proud of,” was Grandfather’s toast.

Before Sara could say anything, Fredrick busted through. “And now, the time we have all been awaiting. Sara, would you removed the silk covering draped across the bow of our magnificent vessel.”

As Sara stepped onboard the craft to remove the silk cloth masking the port of the vessel, Fredrick boldly announced, “To the Sara Anne.”

There was much hugging and handshaking as Sara stood stunned at this turn of events. Then, ever true to Sara, she let out a squeal of joy that would have awakened dead sailors.

“Now, let’s give’er a spin.” Grandpa loaded the poles and boxes he had been carrying onboard joining Sara.

“See you for supper,” father said as he handed Grandpa the basket that the family had brought.

“Start her up, Sara,” said grandfather. “The fish are awaiting us.”

“We’re going to spend our day fishing?” Sara was taken back and just a bit pale.

“Sure, lassie. That’s Fredrick’s and my favorite pastime on the waters.”

“Grandpa, I’m not Fredrick.” Sara tried to be very polite as she was suddenly filled with incredible hurt.

“Oh. That’s right. You’re with me today.” Grandpa was smiling. “That must be why your family gave us this extra basket. Go ahead. Open it.”

Sara lifted the lid from the basket and found sandwiches, chips, and several chilled waters. “Look under the linen napkins,” said Grandpa.

Sara lifted the napkins and there were two large pieces of red-velvet cake.

“Grandpa!” Sara giggled as she reached starboard to give him a hug.

“Let’s wait ‘til we get to my favorite fishin’ hole.” smiled Grandpa. “Today, dearie, we just feed the fishies.”

Written for Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner.