The first three strategic interventions created only a muted response from the defacto-governmental officials. I had personally thought that using their world as a colored pencil- pin cushion was a uniquely creative way to show my disdain for the mere mortals. A few bureaucrats were slightly unnerved, but the majority of the governing bodies were still assuming that they would have a say-so in the new governing of their world.
They feigned concerned at my surprisingly immense powers to effortlessly infiltrate their world. The news organizations in each of the largest municipal groups kept the local populous unenlightened as to my unlimited sovereign authority.
My tauntings had been broadcast to the world as the birthing and showcasing of a budding abstract artist just of the cusp of stardom.
I did not see myself having any desire to become a demonic dictator of my New World Order, but I would be respected and obeyed. If humane warnings and benevolent power displays would not graciously compel them to bend-the-knee, I had other options.
“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?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.)
If you have crisscross-cut your sandwich, like me, place the bottom triangle in first. Then its sides. Then the top.
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.
“Well, sunset is a great time for the fish to change their minds and come up to grab a tasty worm.”
He was trying so hard. My mom was so happy with him.
I was too, mostly. Except for days like this.
I wanted to tell him I had plenty of bits. The mosquitos were feasting on my legs.
I wanted to ask ‘If the fish are nibbling so great at sunset, why have we already been here five hours!’ But I wasn’t going to say a word.
Mom was happy. Happier than she had been for a long time.
I was happy… mostly… just not today.
So I kept my mouth shut.
Dragging his three-legged chair over, Jeff sat down. “Bring your line in. Let’s check the bait.”
Reluctantly, I did.
“Wow!” he exclaimed, “they’ve munched that old worm to bits. Let’s put on another.”
I reached in to lift out another night crawler. These things are so disgusting. I hope my squeamishness doesn’t show on my face. Bravely, I threaded its head- I guess that’s its head- and wrapped its body around my hook twice. Just like Jeff had shown me. Then I hooked its other end firmly in place.
Pleased my bobber landed midway in the lake, I relaxed.
Jeff had done likewise as he was watching me… casting downwind so that our lines wouldn’t cross.
“You gotta dance your line a little. Make’em think that old bugger is alive.” As he showed me how to dance better I watched his bobber jump slightly out of the water and land. He did that several times. “Now, you give it a try.”
“Almost,” he said. “Use more wrist action. Pretend you are a gunfighter in one of your X-box games and just give your rod a swift draw.”
“Great. Now a little slower, but be jerky with it,” he continued. “Prefec…..”
I screamed. “My bobber…. My bobber… It’s gone. Something’s got it!”
“Easy. … Easy.” Jeff had laid down his rod and was right by side. “Reel him in slowly. Keep the line tight.”
I tried. The bobber was busy going downstream.
“You’ve got a bigg’n.” he said. He sounded as excited as I felt. “Just keep the line tight and slowly wind him in.”
I was shaking all over.
Maybe the day wasn’t going to turn out so bad after all.
Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #16 Today’s prompt is to write about boring becoming something exciting.
The three of them collapsed on the grassy incline.
Jenny smiled. “I told you, girls can do anything boys can do.” Her face was aglow as she was only beginning to gloat about her second place finish.
Aaron had known Jenny was fast. She was the headstriker on the girls’ soccer squad. He had been confident he could beat her in the mile, but he had warned Jeremy that maybe he should keep the time on this trash-talking event.
Jeremy had held tight to his pride. He refused to not compete.
Aaron had thought that he was the most competitive person ever, until he had been assigned as a roommate to Jeremy last year. The two of then were a dangerous match. They competed for grades in classes. They competed in sports. They competed in food-eating competitions. They held nothing sacred.
That was how they had met Jenny… on a dare.
Aaron had accepted a dare to get Jenny’s digits. Jeremy had given him three minutes to accomplish the digit-acquisition deed. At stake had been fifteen wind-sprints after the next basketball practice. The dare had been a public dare- in front of the entire basketball team; to not accept the challenge was unthinkable.
It had turned out to have been far easier than he could have hopes. He did not think that there was any real chance at succeeding in this digit-acquisition, so instead of trying to charm his way through the task, he was completely up front. He told Jenny of the challenge. And how competitive he was. And simply begged.
She found it hilarious. Surprisingly, she had four younger brothers who were always doing stupid things like this. She traded her digits for the right to watch Jeremy run the wind sprints.
Since then, the three of them had been inseparable.
Jeremy was still panting from his third place finish. “Alright,” he said. “A double-or-nothing challenge. I accept that you beat me in the race, but I bet I can hold my breath longer than you.”
“Jeremy…” I tried to intervene.
“No!” he said firmly. “This is no big deal. We had the same contest with three of the freshman in the hall last night. We’ll just have a new one tonight.” He paused smiling. There was an evil glimmer in his eyes. “That is… If you’re up to it.”
Thank God for Jenny’s four brothers. “Before I say ‘yes’,” she said, “Tell me all the rules.”
Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #15 Today’s prompt is to write someone who needs to take a deep breath.