Showing posts with label Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fiction. Show all posts

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Last Laugh

It is day 27 of the Third Second Annual 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike at We Work for Cheese and today's prompt is How did you find out.  Check out WWFC to find out what everyone else is up to.

Once they were back on the main road Charlie and Alex found a tavern and decided to wait there for their cab. It had been a long hike and they were ready to slack their thirst so they ordered up a couple pints and settled in to wait. The dispatcher had said it would be about an hour.

Image Source: Wikipedia
"Well look who we have here," came an unfamiliar voice from across the room. 

Charlie and Alex looked up to see an olive-skinned man with his black hair pulled back, wearing an expensive suit approaching them. "Who are you?" asked Charlie.

"I heard you were looking for me. My name is Jorge Hernandez. I think you have something that belongs to me."

"And what might that be?" asked Charlie. His mind racing now, the police must be in cahoots with Jorge, and whatever is in that briefcase will incriminate both Jorge and the police, or at least the Sergeant.

"I think you know. Now if you will just hand over the briefcase."

"How did you find out we were coming to talk to you?" asked Alex, as he took a step backward and to the right.  This action shielded his right side from Jorge, just in case...

"Why a little bird told me. You see, Sergeant Ricardo works for me," said Jorge as if that explained it all, and frankly it explained a lot. "Since you won't be leaving here," Jorge patted his side, "there's no reason I shouldn't tell you. I believe a condemned man should know why he's dying."

Alex stood still, only a slight nod to Charlie told him he understood the plan. They would just let Jorge talk, and talk he did.  

"You see Tomas found out that I was skimming some money from the company and using it to fund my...uh... business. He gathered records...heck he even hired a private investigator to get pictures of me and my associates. He was carrying those back to the Colombian authorities, but since the good Sergeant is in my pocket, so to speak, he arranged to have him and the evidence disappear. 
So that is why I can't let you leave," Jorge concluded. 

So the contracts Tomas was working on were just a story for his wife, and for obvious reasons he couldn't tell her the truth. But they had the evidence, and now it was time to put their plan into action.  

Jorge pulled his gun.  "Now place your guns on the table."  Not wanting to risk a shooting in the tavern, they complied.

"OK, but not here," Charlie indicated the tavern keeper and a few patrons along the bar nursing their beers, trying not to notice what was going on. No one wanted to get involved.

As they moved to the parking lot, Charlie said "NOW." Alex spun, catching Jorge's ankles and knocking him to the ground. Drawing his backup gun, Alex said "Stay down, hands behind your head. Charlie couldn't resist saying, "you really didn't think you could take on the FBI did you," as he grabbed the gun. 

"That was way too easy," grinned Alex. His grin faded as he heard the familiar sound of a pump shotgun. Jorge got to his feet, brushing the dirt from his suit. "You really didn't think I would come here alone did you, Mr. FBI man?"

As they turned to face Sergeant Ricardo, dressed in his uniform so everything would look official and above board, Jorge took his gun back and theirs too.  He motioned them toward the Jeep with the barrel of the gun. It would look like he was escorting prisoners.  

Charlie said, "I'm sorry Alex." 

"It's okay Charlie, it's not your fault and besides we're not giving up."

Before they reached the Jeep, their taxi came barreling into the parking lot, throwing gravel and kicking up a cloud of dust. It was just those few seconds of chaos that gave Alex and Charlie the break they needed. Alex lunged at the Sergeant and struggled for the shotgun. Just as Jorge started to raise his gun, the shotgun fired striking Jorge in the shoulder. With Alex controlling the shotgun, Charlie promptly relieved Jorge of his gun for the last time.  

"You know my Mama always said, 'he who laughs last, laughs the loudest'. Guess who's laughing now, Jorge?"

Case closed.

To catch up with the story so far:

Beyond the Window
Risky Business
Aliens, Really?
The Colombians
The Key

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


It is day 26 of the Third Second Annual 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike at We Work for Cheese and today's prompt is Naked and Lost.  Head on over to WWFC to find out how the writing-weary participants handled this one.

"Sergeant" called Charlie again, "We're ready to go!"

No answer.  

Image Source: Wikipedia

"Alex, can you see the jeep?"

"Nope.  How far did we walk anyway?"  

Feeling a little uneasy now, Charlie said "let's retrace our steps and get back to the Jeep."  

What he didn't say was if the Jeep was still there.  The Sergeant should have heard him, but then he hadn't seemed all that enthusiastic to assist them either, but had to follow the Captain's orders.  The Captain, himself, was not very forthcoming with information either.

Having made their way back to what passed for a road in the midst of the jungle-like surroundings, they discovered that indeed the Jeep was gone.

"Well, now that sucks," said Alex, as they both started checking their cell signal.

"We start walking" said Charlie.  He estimated they were about five miles from main road. "We'll just walk out and maybe we can get a ride back into town." 

Being the senior agent, Charlie figured the odds of getting a ride were slim to none.  These people didn't want them here, and locals who would otherwise do a good turn for someone needing help, would think twice now.  This only confirmed his theory that someone here was behind the plane crash and didn't want their secret revealed.

What had started out as a recon of the crash site, turned into a forced march through a jungle filled with hazards, armed with their guns and cell phone with no service.  Still the odds were in their favor if they reached the road before dark.

Aloud he said "at least we're not naked and lost in the jungle."

"Good point."

As they trudged along the rutted dirt road, each absorbed in their own thoughts, a couple of brightly colored parrots squawked loudly, startling them.

"Did you jump, Alex" teased Charlie.

"Of course not.  I just stumbled over a root."

"Me too." admitted Charlie.  "I've been thinking about the case.  First nobody in the States had any information, then there was the crazy housekeeper who kept talking about aliens, and now we are stranded in a South American jungle.  I hope Jorge has some information, but we'll process the briefcase before question him."

Alex was silent and sensing his concern, Charlie said "Don't fret, this may be your first field case, but I've been around the block a few times.  We keep walking...we should reach the main road in about half an hour. We'll have cell service so we can call for a taxi."  

"You hear that?  Sounds like a truck so, the road must be close by.  Check your phone.  I've got signal."  

"You call us a taxi, Alex.  I'll call the Captain to inform him of his Sergeant's behavior, that is unless he's in on it too.  In which case we've just tipped our hand.  No, on second thought I'll hold off on making that call until I know who we can trust."

Check back tomorrow to see how they wrap up the case.

To catch up with the story so far:

Beyond the Window
Risky Business
Aliens, Really?
The Colombians
The Key

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Key?

It is day 25 of the Third Second Annual 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike at We Work for Cheese and today's prompt is Social Media.  I hear there's a party over at WWFC if you need more socializing.

The FBI jet touched down in Colombia late Friday night.  Alex had leftover fortune cookies for his dinner. "Good thing I got extra" he joked.  "The last one said 'don't drink the water'.  Ha!"

Charlie and Alex were met by the Colombian police, and they weren't looking all that friendly.  "I understand you're here investigating the plane crash.  "It went down in an isolated area with rugged terrain.  Will you be wanting to visit the site" asked the officer who was apparently in charge, likely the captain.

"Yes" said Charlie.  "We would like to go there first thing in the morning.  Can you arrange for our transport to the hotel?"

"Yes" was the brusque response.  "Sergeant, please escort these agents to the hotel and see that they have whatever they need."

"Thank you Captain, good night."

Charlie and Alex climbed into the police car and off they went, arriving at the hotel in 20 minutes. They checked in and ordered up some room service so they could get started and lay out a plan for tomorrow.  "What'll it be tonight? Burgers or some local fare?"

"Anything but Chinese, I don't need any more good fortunes," laughed Alex, checking Facebook. "You won't believe what Diane is saying about me.  She thinks I made it up, that I'm really out on the town tonight. Ha! I'm really living it up right?"

"What did you tell her anyway.  Never mind, I don't want to know" said Charlie shaking his head. Alex fancied himself quite the ladies man.

After chowing down on a large plate of empanadas and tamales, they got down to brass tacks. "We'll visit the crash site first then we'll talk to everyone who ever had contact with Tomas.  His company has an office here.  Opening yet another file, "it says here a Jorge Hernendez is the manager.  He's been there for about two years.   Maybe he knows something...if he'll talk. 

The alarm rings at 6:00 and after a breakfast of fresh fruit and Spanish tortillas, they met the Sergent to drive to the crash site, or at least as far as they could go by jeep.  They had to hike the rest of the way.  "Why didn't I think to bring insect repellent," complained Alex to no one in particular?  

"At least it went down over land.  We could be wearing flippers instead of hiking boots," said Charlie, swatting another mosquito.

Image Source: Wikipedia
As they suspected, there was not much left of the plane, but they wanted to look at it with fresh eyes.  They rummaged through undergrowth and down ravines, then suddenly Alex hollers, "hey Charlie, I think I may have found something."  

Between the fire that raged through the wreckage, and the subsequent rain, most of the personal effects of the passengers was destroyed.  However, Alex found the remnants of a briefcase.  It had been thrown so far from the plane it survived the fire, and the local investigators had missed it.  

"Good job Alex," Charlie congratulated.  "Maybe that briefcase holds the key to who wanted who dead.  In the meantime, we go see Mr. Hernendez."

"Sergeant, we're ready to go now."

To catch up with the story so far:

Beyond the Window
Risky Business
Aliens, Really?
The Colombians

Friday, February 7, 2014

Give Me a Hint

It is day 7 of the Third Second Annual 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike at We Work for Cheese and today's prompt is Hint, hint.  So take a hint and go check out the other participants at WWFC.

"Oh please tell me.  I'll just die, die I tell you.  Won't you even give me a hint.  I've gotta know.  Oh please, pretty please" begged Charlie.  

"Never!  Not in a million years" replied his older sister. "You'd just blab it everywhere.  Nope, not a chance."

"Patty" complained Charlie, "I'd never tell.  I promise...cross my heart.  You're so mean.  You never tell me anything."

"Charlie, you really want me to tell you something" teased Patty?

"Sure" said Charlie, all ears.

"Get lost" she responded, frustrated at her little brother's persistence.

"Gee, I can take a hint" he grumbled as he shuffled away.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Risky Business

It is day 2 of the Third Second Annual 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike at We Work for Cheese and today's prompt is It Was No Accident!

A while back I wrote Beyond the Window for Magpie Tales, which I used as an inspiration for this story.  It ended by telling us "what happens next will free them both."  I wouldn't exactly say they were "freed" but I guess it depends on how you look at it.

Big Room, 1948, by Andrew Wyeth
Maggie sat in a quaint outdoor restaurant lunching with several friends, the sun was shining and the tea was sweet.  It was the first time she had smiled in months.  The images that had penetrated her dreams and haunted every waking moment were beginning to blur as time marched forward, taking her reluctantly with it.

Six months earlier she had been coping with the day to day ups and downs of her husband's business, a business that provided well for her but at the same time left her with unanswered questions.

"I have to go to Colombia for a few days, maybe a week" said Tomas.  "There are some contracts that I must see to personally.  When I get back, we will take a trip.  Anywhere you would like to go.  I will even make the arrangements myself."

He is trying, she thought, and smiled her thanks.  "I'll think about it and let you know what I decide" Maggie responded, yet unconvinced the trip would actually take place.

Tomas packed his bag and called his driver to take him to the airport where he boarded the plane.  

"Welcome aboard sir" called the pilot.  

"Where is Manuel?" asked Tomas. 

"He came down with the flu, sir, and I am filling in until he recovers.  Enjoy your flight."

"Thank you."  Tomas proceeded to his seat, and after they were airborne, he asked the flight attendant for a scotch and soda.  His drink finished, he tipped his seat back for a nap.  He was tired and it would be a late night.

As he drifted off, his dreams turned to Maggie.  He saw tears in her eyes, and flowers.  There were so many flowers.  Where was she, and why was she crying?

About that time there was a loud boom as the plane lurched sideways, and there was a gaping hole where the forward bathroom had been.  The explosion had taken out the left engines, the wing was in flames and the pilot was dead.

NTSB investigated, and eventually the voice recorder was recovered.  There was nothing to indicate any mechanical malfunction or human error.  Further scrutiny found the remnants of an explosive device among the wreckage which was believed to have been detonated remotely.  Investigators were still trying to piece together what happened and determine who the intended target was.  Was it Tomas, the dead pilot, or Manuel who was sick with the flu?

Back in Miami, a representative of the NTSB and an FBI agent meet with Maggie.  

"Mrs. Garza, we are so sorry for your loss.  We want you to know that the crash was no accident, and we are continuing our investigation.  Is there anything you can tell us about your husband's business?"

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Rose Garden: The Next Generation

"Gerry, it's time" shrieked Allison.

Gerald was going over some notes on his latest project in preparation for the presentation on Monday.  "What's that you said, dear?"


"Oh...OH, it's THAT time.  These were the words he had both been looking forward to and dreading for the last nine months.  He had mentally rehearsed each moment and memorized every turn to the hospital, including several alternate routes in case of traffic.

Now the time had come.

"Think" he mumbled to himself.  "Grab the car, put Allison in the, I gotta call the hospital. No, bring the car around and wait, I'll get it...just calm down...and breathe."

"Gerry, I'm the one whose supposed to breathe.  You call the hospital and tell them we're coming, take the bag to the car and bring it around to the front.  We'll call Mom on the way."

"Sheesh, there's no one more nervous than a new father-to-be" declared Allison.  "It will be all right."

Gerald brings the car up the front drive and helps Allison into the passenger's seat.  "Let me slide the seat back for you."   "Thank God this is it" she exclaimed. 

Allison's size had been an extreme source of frustration from being unable to tie her shoes to the shapeless dresses she'd had to wear for the last three months. While she embraced the thought of motherhood, she was a fashionable gal, and did not enjoy feeling frumpy.  Even Gerald's constant reassurance that she was indeed the most beautiful woman on earth did not help when every time she walked past a mirror she saw a blimp in maternity clothes.

They reached the hospital without incident, and Gerald promptly announced "I need a doctor...We're having a baby."

"Relax" replied the nurse, calling for an orderly.  "We'll take good care of your wife.  If you would just step over here and fill out these papers.  We'll take you to her as soon as she is situated in her room."

"Is this your first?"

"My first what?  Wife?  Yes, we were married last year.  No, you mean baby.  Yes, it's my first, how can you tell?"

"Well, under reason for hospitalization, you put "we're having a baby."

24 hours later...

"She's beautiful," cooed a jubilant Gerald.  "She looks just like my mother when she was a baby.  I have her old photo album, and there is a picture of her in my grandmother's arms.  She had beautiful blond curls, too.  I'll have to show it to you sometime.  Oh, I've been going on and on, and I bet you just want to sleep.  I'll get the nurse to take the baby back to the nursery, and go make those phone calls.  Wait, I've got to get a picture to send everyone,  I know I'll just email them instead of calling. 

"Gerry, I love you, but just go...please.  It's been a really long day-all 24 hours of it.  I'll see you tomorrow.

Back at home, Gerald revels in his new fatherhood status, and prepares to send a picture of who?  She doesn't even have a name yet.  He regroups and sends a picture of his lovely new TBA.

When Gerald arrived back at the hospital the next morning, he was so excited.  He knew what he wanted to call their daughter.  Upon entering Allison's room he blurted out "Her name is Abigail Christine!  For our mothers, that is if you like it."

"Good morning to you, too, Gerry.  Of course I like it.  It's perfect!  I just wish I could have met your mother."  She smiled a sad smile, remembering the yellow roses.  "We shall call her Abbey, and paint her room yellow - no pink for my daughter."

Gerald laughed at the thought.  For all her femininity, Allison hated pink, especially that pale, baby girl pink so many mothers dressed their little girls in.  Not for Abbey!

"The doctor said you can go home this afternoon, and everything is all ready so all you have to do is rest.  Janet even brought over a casserole and chocolate cake for our dinner."

"She's a sweetheart" replied Allison, "and such a good cook.  Oh, is my mother coming over?"

"Of course she is" said Gerald with a smile.  He truly liked his mother-in-law and welcomed her help.  He knew that most new mothers wanted their mothers nearby.  Since babies don't come with instructions, their experience is appreciated.

Once they got Allison and Abbey settled into the master bedroom where the crib had been set up, Gerald set about heating the casserole and setting the table.  He knew Allison wouldn't feel like sitting up too long, so everything was in place before he brought her to the table.  

"Put me down, please" she complained.  "Thank you for caring, but I can walk.  I just had a baby, not a broken leg."  Abbey was in a baby seat on the chair facing Allison.  Christine, Allison's mother, sat cooing at the baby, "you are such a beautiful baby.  I love that little yellow outfit.  It's perfect for you."

As they sat enjoying their dinner, they heard an odd sound coming from the side porch next to the kitchen.  Gerald went to investigate, but saw nothing and returned to the table.  There it was again.  It sounded like someone walking in the kitchen.  Again Gerald left the table.  What he saw when he walked into the kitchen filled him with great joy, and at the same time left him feeling most uneasy.  

There in her apron with her white hair neatly coiled atop her head stood his mother.  Well, not exactly in the flesh, but nevertheless, it was her, and in her hand was a bouquet of exquisite yellow roses.

"Hello Gerald" she whispered.  "These are for Allison.  I am so proud of you and your lovely family.  I loved her from the first time I saw her in the garden."

"Oh Mother, I knew you were here.  That I wasn't crazy or imagining things.  It is wonderful to see you now.  I have so many how...?"

"Would it be too much for an old woman to ask to see her grandchild?" interrupted Abigail.

Gerald was stunned, totally at a loss for words.  What would they think?  How could he possibly explain this?

"Gerry, who are you talking to", called Allison.  "Was someone at the door?"

"Be right there dear" he called back.  He was so used to talking to his mother in the garden he forgot to keep his voice down.

"Now what do I do" he whispered?

"Let me handle this.  After all it is my afterlife, right?" answered his mother with a smile.

With much trepidation, Gerald watched as his mother marched into the dining room to stand before Allison.

"Hello, I am Abigail, Gerald's mother.  I am so pleased to finally meet you."

Without blinking, Allison extended her hand toward Abigail and said "I am equally pleased to finally meet you as well."

Well, Gerald's jaw nearly dropped to the floor and Christine turned several shades of pale.  Although she believed in life beyond death, she had never actually encountered it herself.

"You mean you knew?  How..."

"First of all you spend an awful lot of time in the garden talking to yourself when you think no one notices" explained Allison.   "Then there was the appearance of the yellow rose on my plate after our first dinner together, and the brooch at our reception with no explanation for that either.  It was just too much to be a coincidence."

"At the hospital, when you told me what you wanted to name her, I almost said I wish I could meet your mother instead of I wish I could have met, your mother." 

"It helps, too, that I believe in the afterlife.  You see I had a 'visit' from my grandmother when I was about ten.  She had passed away a few years earlier."

Allison turned to her mother-in-law, "would you like to meet your granddaughter?"

She nodded. 

"Say hello to Abigail Christine."

For those of you who would like to catch up, here are the first 4 parts of the series.
The Rose Garden
The Restoration 
The Rose Garden:  Allison
The Rose Garden:  The Wedding

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Winged Woman

Written for Magpie Tales #184.  Click on the links below if you would like to read Eli's adventures up to this point.

The Princess
Eli and the Redhead

Remember Eli?  He's the guy who woke up in a giant bird nest.  As it turned out it was really a dream, but what had precipitated it?  His mother told him fairy tales about giant birds who lived in the enchanted forest.  They even raised a child among the tree tops and made her a princess of their family.
artwork by Jeanie Tomanek 

That was just a fairy tale, or so she said.  She never admitted any different or denied the possibility that it was more truth than fiction.

When we last saw Eli, he had just woken up with a substantial hangover after drinking himself into oblivion over a redheaded vixen named Judy in the Come As You Are Saloon.

With his head throbbing, he stumbled into the bathroom reaching for the alka-seltzer, or pepto or anything else that could slay the herd of elephants stampeding through his head. "Why?" he asked himself over and over again.  "Why do things like this always happen to me?"

He fell back on the couch and drifted off again.  Soon he was dreaming of tall trees and sunlight streaming through to the moss-covered ground.  On a branch just above his head he saw a woman.  She was beautiful with soft brown curls framing her face.  What he noticed then took him aback.  She had the most magnificent white wings.  Was she an angel?  Had he died?  Shortly before he had felt like it. 

"Who are you?" he asked, puzzled that there would be a winged woman in a tree.

"Fear not, Eli" she replied in a singsong voice, "for I am your mother.  You do not recognize me because to you this is a dream.  This is the only way I could tell you the truth.  I know you have wondered for a long time.  I know of your dreams.  I was part of those dreams.  It was my way of bringing you to the truth."

"Mother" he began, searching for words.  "All those fairy tales about the princess...that was really you after all wasn't it?  I felt it in my heart, but knew that logically it was impossible.  Birds are birds and people are people.  People don't fly or live in trees, well except for Tarzan, and he didn't fly." 

As he stood there silently staring up at the woman in the tree, he saw her begin to change.  Gradually her soft features became more angular and her curls changed into sleek white feathers.  The basket she had held in her hand fell to the ground.

"Good-bye Eli."

Suddenly there on the ledge appeared a white bird, and much to Eli's surprise he understood what was being said.  

"Come Princess, it's time to go. He knows the truth now and that knowledge will serve him well."

"Yes" replied his mother, "He will be all right now." 

The Quote of the Week will return next Monday!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is that all?

Welcome to the 28th and final day of the 30 minus 2 days of writing challenged hosted by Nicky and Mike of "We Work For Cheese".  Please visit Nicky's post for the cheesy wrap up. 

As we listen in we hear two friends dealing with the stress of the challenge.

Hey, you can't wear that, it's too cheesy.  You'll look like a tramp.

Now hold on a minute, I yelled back, and the next thing I knew we were arguing to test the bonds of friendship

You'd better put out the light before someone sees you in that.

Well my home is my haven and I'll do what I want.  Lemme see that.  Are you texting someone?  I read French you know.

Fifteen minutes later the mayor pulls up.  I just got back from my road trip and I heard the fighting.  I haven't heard anything like that since the day I met Abraham Lincoln.  I was being charged with an (unintended) misuse of campaign funds.  By the way, do you know where I can get a good blintz?  I'm starving.

Mr. Mayor, would you please shut up or else we'll have to ask you to leave. 

That music is awful, can you please change the station.

Oh, so now you're telling me what to listen to?  

I'm outta here.

Whatever, dude

Home at last, he pops open a beer while dialing the pizza shop.  A large everything, please.

As for me, I crash on the couch, flip on the TV and watch the shopping channel.  It's the little things, you know.

They are showing the latest fashion in footwear.  Where's the phone?  Wait, I liked the other shoe better.  Last Train to Clarksville is playing in the background.  

There's a noise coming from the back yard...dogs?   Compulsively, I check the door for the umpteenth time.  I know it's absurd, but I can't help it.  What's that Confusius says "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."

I don't know if that's fact or fiction, or if the outfit is cheesy, or if the shoes will match, and did the mayor ever get his blintz?

This has been a very weird day, and that's why I got drunk.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Eli and the Redhead

Welcome to the 27th day of the 30 minus 2 days of writing challenge hosted by Nicky and Mike of "We Work for Cheese".  Today's prompt is "And That's Why I Got Drunk".  My contribution today is a work of fiction and yet another adventure in the life of Eli.  Now go visit Nicky's post for more excuses.

It was in the wee hours of the morning when Eli stumbled up his steps.  He fumbled with his keys, then dropped them.  They went over the rail and into the bushes.  He stumbled back down the steps, missed the last one and landed in a pile of dog poop.  "Darn dog", he mumbled.  He scrounged for the keys, and jabbed a thorn into his thumb. "Sh..!" 

Eli rights himself, sucks on his injured thumb, and climbs back up the steps.  

Four hours earlier: 

Eli was sitting on his favorite stool at the Come As You Are Saloon.  He liked this place because he knew everyone, and they all knew him.  It reminded him of that old TV show from the 80s.  You know the one - where everyone knows your name.

Anyway, he was sitting there nursing a Stella, when in walked a woman.  Not just any woman, but the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.  She was a redhead, and he'd heard they could be feisty.  She was wearing 5-inch red stilettos and a black dress so tight it looked like she must have been born in it.  Her green eyes sent sparks flying when she looked his way.

Now Eli was an average dude, but he believed he sprang from Royalty.  He knew in his heart his mother was a Princess, and that made him special.

He left his stool and walked over to the gorgeous redhead. 

"What's your name, sweetheart?", he said, trying to be cool.

She just looked at him, then past him at his bar mate, Paul.  He tried again. 

"I said what's your name?  My name's Eli".

"Hmmm, that's nice.  What's his name?" indicating Paul who was watching this play out.  Poor Eli!  All the other women had turned him down.  They said he was just too weird...something about birds and he was constantly talking about his mother.

"Oh, that's Paul.  He's another regular here."

The redhead pushed past him and swayed over to where Paul was sitting.  "Hello there.  It's Paul, right?"

Not about to be left out Eli followed, then much to his embarrassment, he tripped on a loose floor board.  As he gyrated to try and stay upright he grabbed for the table, but got the redhead' instead. 

"Oh, sorry...I never did get your name," as he tried to recover.

As she swung and punched him in the nose, she said, "My. Name. Is. Judy."  Paul is now laughing openly at Eli's tortured look, not to mention his rapidly swelling nose.

"Bartender", called Paul, "another round on me, and an icepack for my friend, here." 

Eli slunk into a back booth, bemoaning his never ending stream of bad luck with women. About that time a man, another stranger to the bar, slid into the seat opposite him.  

"I saw what just happened.  That's a dang shame, too, she's quite a looker.  Had no right to treat you that way.  Women like that think they're too good for the likes of us, eh."

"Yeah, I guess you're right." Eli gulped down his beer.  "I gotta hit the john" he said and headed down the hall.  When he got back, the stranger was gone, and so was his jacket.  "Dang, everyone's a thief these days."  Then he remembered, when he had pulled out his ID earlier, he'd stuck his wallet in his jacket.  Now he had a fat nose, no girl and no wallet.  He pulled the last ten bucks out of his jeans and called the bartender.  "Bring me a bottle of bourbon and a glass."

The next thing he knew he was climbing the steps to his house.  "Why?" he wondered as he collapsed on his couch.  

Later, when the fog had lifted, he remembered.  "That was why I got drunk!  It was punch and Judy."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

To Dance Or Not To Dance?

Today is day 24 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese. Today's prompt is "Confucius". Visit Nicky's post to see what else Confucius says.

Ann had wanted to take dance lessons for years, but Carl refused, stating he had two left feet.  That was just an excuse and she knew it, but she had a plan.

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"Are you ready", he called, "we don't want miss our reservation".  They had these reservations for weeks.  Le Chateau was a hard restaurant to get into, but they wanted to do something special for Carl's birthday.

"I'm almost ready, you go start the car and I'll be right out."  She had to get his birthday card which contained his gift.

They arrived at the restaurant and were seated at corner table next to the window.  The view was gorgeous, overlooking the river, the multi-colored lights on the bridge twinkled, reflecting on the water. 

"A bottle of your best Champagne, please."  Carl beamed.  He had always wanted to say that.  It was his birthday and he was going all out.  "Two steaks, medium rare, too please."  

"Thank you, sir" said the waiter.  "I will be right back with your Champagne".  

"Carl" exclaimed Ann, "Do you have any idea how expensive that is?"  She really didn't care, though, she was happy just watching him enjoy himself.  God knows he works hard enough for it.

"This is fantastic.  This has to be the best meal I've ever had, except for your cooking, of course", Carl said, quickly correcting his faux paux.

"OK," said Ann, smiling "now for the rest of your gift."  She pulled a card from her purse and placed it in front of him.  

"I thought we agreed that this dinner would be my birthday gift."  He opened the card and he grinned from ear to ear.  Inside was a receipt for 6 weeks of fencing lessons.  "Oh Ann, this is so cool.  Thank you!"  Carl had been longing to learn fencing for years, ever since watching sword fight scenes in old movies. "Did you know I love you?" he asked teasingly.

Then he noticed something else in the card.  It was a second receipt, for 6 weeks of dance lessons.  Ann was very clever in her choice of fencing instructors.  This particular one required students to demonstrate dance skills, stating that one can't fence properly with two left feet.  Since Ann wanted to take dance lessons, and Carl wanted to learn fencing this was perfect.  "Still love me?" she teased back.

But seeing the look of dismay on his face, Ann explained their policy.  "Confucius say: Don't give sword to man who can't dance."

Thursday, February 21, 2013


 It is day 21 of the 30 minus 2 days of writing hosted by Nicky and Mike of We Work For Cheese. Today's prompt is "The Last Train".  Visit Nicky's post to see who else is participating in today's train ride.

Jeannie stared at the pile of papers littering her desk. The blank computer screen was agonizingly bright as she rubbed her tired eyes. The deadline loomed, and the old clock the wall went tick, tick, tick... The newspaper was an unforgiving beast and, like the mail, it too has a schedule to maintain.

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She pulled a paper from the pile. "Dear Jean, my son is engaged to a lovely girl. She's smart, funny and well educated. The problem is that she is Jewish. Our family is Catholic..." We are okay with it, but her parents are threatening to cut her out of the family if she marries my son. How should we handle this? Signed Distressed in Duluth."

Another one reads " husband is planning an surprise 40th birthday party for me. I am not fond of surprise parties. My cousin let it slip the other day, and it is apparently an elaborate affair. I love my husband, and don't want to disappoint him. Should I say anything or try and act surprised and happy? Signed Party Pooper."

Jeannie ponders these and other letters, searching for the right mix for reader interest. She's been a columnist for 10 years, and had noticed that while the times have changed, technology has advanced, and life grows more complicated, people's problems remain the basically the same. Relationships blooming, relationships falling apart, children, bullies, money problems, he-said, she-said, and who's fault it is.

Finally she chooses two letters, one about a young man who finds out his fiance is actually his half sister, and the other about meddling grandparents.  She dishes out sound advice from her many years of experience, insight and imagination. Yes, columnists must be creative and imaginative to keep from giving out cookie-cutter advice. Each response must be fresh and individual.  Some days this is a struggle.  "Have I been doing this too long?" she wonders to herself.

The sun is now setting, glowing golden against the wall behind her. She finally taps out the last words, hits save and sends it to the Lifestyle department. Done!  It is Friday and the weekend has begun. She glances at the clock. If she hurries she'll have enough time to meet Seth at the bar for a drink before catching the last train out of the city. 


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