Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.
KITTEN and CALF: BFF
Posted from the New Market Daily Chronicle
The sudden drop in temperatures was not the only thing that left Shirley Findel speechless last weekend.
Shirley had an unusual surprise awaiting her last Saturday morning upon the completion of her chores. In the back stall of the portable farming trailer, Effie, Shirley’s prize-winning, three-year-old heifer had delivered her calf… two weeks early… with no assistance.
Well, that was not quite true. Apparently, Freckles, the Findel’s five-year-old mouser for the farm, had assisted in the delivery.
Freckles could be found busy the entire morning giving supportive help with keeping the newborn warm.
You return home to discover a huge flower bouquet waiting for you, no card attached. Who is it from — and why did they send it to you?
Remembering to signal a right turn as I pull into the cul-de-sac (I have been followed by our local constable since hitting the town limits) I maneuver all the way through our circle and stop the car at our community-clustered mailbox unit.
Lowering the driver’s window, I set my key into the third box from the left and remove its contents. Thankfully, I can reach the lower boxes with my window lowered from my ’54 Porsche 550 Spyder. (The drive home in my classic is sometimes the only thrill I have from the day. Love the pay as Senior Investments Officer… Hate the monotony of the office.)
Bearing left, I turn in the driveway and slowly pull toward the garage. Multi-tasking with leafing through the clutter one finds daily in the postal boxes, I catch a glimpse of a parcel setting in front of the entryway to my home.
Releasing the clutch to suddenly, my baby stutters to a stop.
I can feel my face turn crimson as I scan the neighbor to see if anyone witnessed my clumsy stop.
Curiosity fills me, as I recognize the parcel is a pearl white phaleanopsis orchid plant potted in a modern bamboo container.
Under the container is a small crimson red envelope.
Carefully cradling the gorgeous orchid in one arm, and siding the card in my jacket pocket, I quickly fumble with my keys to get into the front door
Placing the orchid on the entry table, I hastily enter my security code into the keypad by the drawing room.
The intoxicating fragrance of the moth orchid had already filled my foyer.
I sit quickly on the foyer bench and use my car key to slice open the top of the envelope.
Inside is an engraved card.
“Thinking of you.”
I was stunned.
I recognized the phone number right way. I was my old dorm number from my Blue Devil days.
But that was 37 years ago.
(Yes, I know that I was supposed to tell who sent me the flowers… and why… But I have no one from my past that I think would ever try to get in touch with me by way of flowers. Old acquaintances know that I can be teased with fires and steak dinners much more easily.)
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.
You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask?
Question One: If you have the permission of the person receiving the truth serum to give the truth serum… why don’t they just tell you the truth themselves?
Question Two: If a truth serum can be trusted, why would the courts not be mass producing it. Using a truth serum would be far more cost effective, and probably more accurate, that the burdensome trials that are in vogue today.
MY ANSWER: I would give the vial of truth serum to myself.
Step One: I would type up the list of the questions about myself… mostly the type “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” and “When do you really want to retire, if insurances had nothing to do with real life?” and “Do I really enjoy the work as well as the enjoyment of writing as my next passion to follow, or is it just another passing whim?”
Step Two: I would set up a videography machine to record me asking and answering the questions.
Step Three: I would sit in front of the video recorder, relaxing in my favorite recliner and press RECORD.
Step Four: Administer the truth serum.
Step Five: After awakening from the after-effects of the serum- everyone knows that it relaxes you…places you in a daze… and then eventually REM sleep- I would visit the kitchen for a much needed snack. (I am always hungry upon awakening!)
Step Six: After my snack, I would hook the videography equipment onto the big screen and discover the TRUE ANSWERS to the burning life questions presently before me.
So, you may ask, why do I need a TRUTH SERUM to use on myself?
I am smart enough to know that people lie to themselves all the time.
Sometimes they are not even aware that the story that they are feeding to themselves is a lie.
I just want to be sure I know my own PERSONAL TRUTH when it jumps up and bites me in the butt.
What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?
I am guilty of sooooo many guilty pleasures, but I am not sure that I no longer feel guilty about any of them?
I love my Mountain Dew. I have tried for years to resist the temptations posed by this delicious, thirst-quenching drink. (Yes, I know that it does not really quench my thirst!) I will painstakingly work to overcome the withdrawal symptoms of removing the drink from my life for several days… even a week… once for even an entire summer vacation. But as soon as I allow myself the mere thought of having a Mountain Dew at a restaurant for a special meal, or as a reward… the liquefied, malicious spirits of the soda god tightens her claws around my heart… Once again, I am in her clutches and bowing to the deities of PepsiCo.
Other guilty pleasures that master me if I am not on guard: candy corn, peanut M&Ms, circus peanuts, chocolate covered donuts, raspberry filled donuts … I suspect that you see the pattern.
The one guilty pleasure that I do not fell inclined to feel guilty about any longer… An All-You-Can-Eat-Breakfast-Bar. I reward myself monthly with this delicacy of breakfast delights.
Melted-cheddar-covered-scrambled-eggs with two slices of crisp bacon
Straight-from-the-oven homemade biscuits with country sausage gravy
Homemade glazed donuts
A saucer of mixed freshly sliced fruits
Four pancakes and a patty of spiced sausage
Two glasses of orange juice and two glasses of grapefruit juice
What’s the date today? Write it down, remove all dashes and slashes, and write a post that mentions that number.
I wasn’t at all surprised at finding the envelope under my dorm door.
Everything was on their terms. The announcement. Time. Meeting place. All prearranged so that there was no time to any of my own security- like a sophomore work-study student had a team– to assess and intervene.
I was OK with that. Actually, I wasn’t. But there was not a blasted thing I could do about it.
They had what I wanted: the proof of misallocated funds and faulty work orders.
If I wanted it, I would have to play by their rules.
The stakes were too high. I had to play.
The note was typed on the school’s stationery stuffed inside a standard envelope. I was sure that there would be no prints. But this did seem to indicate that I was working with an insider on the campus.
You Are Invited
Room 118 @ Paulsen’s
YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED
I heard an internal laugh at the irony.
We were meeting because I had discovered inconsistencies in the drawings of the school’s new parking deck: if the deck were to be completed as planned, all seven stories would fall at a whim. Any minor tremor would flatten the entire structure.
*** *** *** ***
I was in shock the day I read the plans. After one comment, the lead engineer removed the rolled layout of the parking deck and quickly gave me the guided tour of the excavated parking facilities.
The next day, when we began our calculations for the work site, the plans were not the same. Even the timed-date stamps were different.
I said nothing- that day…but I had been privately inquiring around the construction site for the past week.
*** *** *** ***
Tonight, finally, someone had agreed to talk to me.
The meeting was to be held in the offices of the School of Engineering Building.
Having been awakened by my cell that I had an envelope under my door at 2:45, I had about five minutes to arrive at Paulsen’s on time.
I donned a pair of sweat and a windbreaker and left.
Paulsen’s front doors were ajar when I entered. I could see a light in the room down the hall and to the right. If I remembered correctly, that was a meeting/classroom for the Dean of Engineering.
His office rooms were unlit. the door to the classroom was open.
Peering in the classroom, there were only the rows of chairs and a lectern in front of an enormous white board.
I heard a moan to my right. It came from the Office of the Dean.
Flicking on the switch to the right of the door, I found Dean Hastings lying prone on the floor. As I knelt to see if I could assist him, I found a note laying beside of him: YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED
This note had been typed on standard school stationery as well.
The Washington Monument is an obelisk of monumental proportions. To build such a narrow obelisk, yet achieve the height of 555 feet, 5 /18 inches, was an unheard of accomplishment in 1848.
Robert Mills, the architectural designer of the monument was a Freemason. (I thought you conspiracy theorists would love that fact!) He was perhaps the most famous student of the Irish architect, James Hoben. James Hoben, also a Freemason, was the architectural designer of The White House. (Another fact for the conspiracy theorist- James Hoben was also a Freemason.)
In 1833, The Washington Monument National Monument Society, led by Chief Justice John Marshall, was formed to raise funds for a memorial fitting for our nation’s first president. Chief Justice John Marshall was not only a Freemason, but he was Grand Master of the Mason of Virginia from 1794-1795. (The plotthickens!)
In the original design of The Washington Monument there were to be the statues of all 30 of the original signers of The Declaration of Independence encircling the 600 feet tall edifice.
The Washington Monument was also to include President Washington, himself, riding in a chariot, urging on his team of horses. (Huh???)
A far more simplified version of the monument was began after President James Polk set aside land near the Potomac River.
Construction was started July 4th, 1848. The bluestone gneiss foundation of the monument was competed during its first year of construction.
The walls were raised to 157 feet before the funding for the project became harder to find.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, the construction of the monument was put on hold.
After 25 years of being an eye-sore, Lt. Col. Thomas Casey was asked to continue work on the project. Architects and engineers are still amazed at the results of this ambitious undertaking.
Upon the completion of the monument, it was the tallest edifice in the entire world. What make the feat even more astounding, the building was constructed on swamp land!
At the dedication of The Washington Monument, tens of thousands of people were in attendance. The ladies and children were required to enter and ascend the monument by the 898 steps. The men were allowed to ride in a steam-driven elevator. The elevator was deemed too dangerous for the ladies and the children? (To ride the steam elevator to the top of the monument took 20 minutes. Usually, the ladies and the children were awaiting the men.)
Today, the base of The Washington Monument is ringed with 50 flags.
The Washington Monument is still the tallest building in Washington, D.C. By law, no other building is allowed to be built taller than the monument.