The Essence of Her

Photo Credit === Danny James

The counter space reflects her busy life even as we emerge from this devastating pandemic. The two purses are used for specific purposes which I have never understood. I cringe when she ask me to bring her purse. I invariably choose the wrong one.


The two medical cards with our medications are placed where emergency personnel can find them. I have asked myself a few times if the paramedics will even take the time to look, much less read, them.


There’s the business card from the landscape company she is trying to reach because there are brown patches in the yard. I hate to tell her that the brown spots were probably the result of her using way too much Roundup. But I stay quiet.


The colorful luggage tags are for our upcoming trip to Alaska. No international travel for us this year. She has purchased two new sets of luggage to go along with the six suitcases in the garage. I only need one.


There is a picture of me with my beret sitting in the airport in Dublin. It’s her favorite photo of me. I don’t argue with her.

Some day I will have to clean off that counter.

Nobody Goes To Tucson In The Summer Time

This post is written for FFfAW (Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers).

 

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Photo Credit ===Yinglan

Alfred knew it was time to leave.

Eleven years in a  dead end job was enough. He was still single. He rented an old house his uncle owned. In fact he lived next door to his uncle. The winters were getting unbearable. This, plus the fact he had taken two weeks vacation last February and spent it in Arizona. He realized he was a huge bore.

So on July 1st he held a going away party where three of his friends showed up to say goodby. His mother and father were invited but did not attend.

So he got everything he owned and rented a four by six trailer and headed to Tucson Arizona. Empty beer cans fell off the rear bumper of the trailer as he sped away on his new adventure.

Fear of Tunnels

This post is written for Friday Fictioneers. The challenge: write a complete story, using the picture prompt below, in one hundred words or less. My story follow the picture below. Cheers!

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PHOTO PROMPT – © Kent Bonham

Waking up in the middle of the street in Strasbourg at three in the morning was not the type of vacation they had in mind. They had planned the rail trip for months. It wasn’t the Orient Express but it wasn’t like hopping a freight train in the U.S.

It was all part Gary’s rehabilitation. Poor guy was terribly afraid of dark enclosed spaces. This was their first practice run.

“Listen Gary, when a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

Hardscrabble — Speakeasy #150

The rules for the Speakeasy challenge can be found here.

My name is Cora Ann Skinner. I was born in Stoddard, Missouri on February 9, 1873. I married James Alexander King on May 15th, 1892. I was 19 years old. My mother had to sign our wedding certificate because of my age. I was one of 10 children of John Skelton and Lucretia Mcpheeters. I had ten children; John Daniel, Charley, Vera, Walter, Herman, Marshall, Roy, Nellie, Bertha, and Ralph.

Life was hard in Missouri in the late 19th century. James and I had a small shack called “Hardscrabble”.James never worked a steady job in our entire marriage. He did handyman type jobs around Hannibal. There were occasions where he would take a job “out-of-town”. Where “out-of-town” was always a mystery.

My brother Rueben committed suicide. He had a mental breakdown and locked himself in the attic with his bible and spent several days reading it. They found him hanging from the rafters. I never liked him but he planted the seed.

My father came to Stoddard county from Hawkins county, TN. He had owned some slaves in TN but knew that the area of southeast MO didn’t like slavery but they also didn’t like blacks. So before he moved he freed his slaves. One slave was named Jake and he had taken our last name. He had been with them most if not all of his life. He refused to leave them after receiving his freedom and make the journey with them to MO. It was a worry to my family that he would be beaten or worse by some ignorant member of the KKK which was pretty well established in Stoddard County at that time. They did finally talk him into moving and he settled in an African-American community near Cape Girardeau, MO. I lost a true friend in Jake.

After ten children my husband left me in 1915 the year young Ralph was born. Just disappeared, like through a black  hole and then never returned. Not a single person ever heard from James again. All I had left was ten children, a four room shack, and  five acres with a lone oak tree smack in the middle. The summer and early fall of 1917 were brutally hot, even for southeast MO. That’s when I lost my mind; “snapped” they would say today. I wanted to take Ralphie with me, but in my state of mind could not figure out how to do it. It was surprising easy once I got the rope over the lower limb. Just slipped the noose over my neck and jump off the peach basket. That would do it  I thought. But then I thought about my ten children. Along in this Godforsaken place.

She waited for someone to tell her  what  to do next.

In The Dark I Found

…nothing. It’s still hard after all these years to reach out for someone in the hour before daylight and find nothing. Nothing to touch. Nothing to snuggle up to. Not even the heavy breathing that characterized her final days. She had been my faithful companion for the last fifteen years.

Lucy also had an attitude problem. I would joke with my friends that she even walked with an attitude. It was like her body language said “You want a piece of me? Well bring it on mister.” She became ill a couple of years ago and her state of health was deteriorating quickly. In her last days she became very irritable at the slightest little change in her daily routine. I now had to feed her myself. And she hated taking her pills that the doctor had ordered for her. “What do they know about my state of heath. I bet they look it all up on Goggle and then regurgitate the information hoping that  I would understand what the hell they were saying.” On her last medical appointment the doctor had prepared me for the worse case scenario.

Her death came very quickly. I put her in the hospital  the night  before and  the  doctors called me late the next afternoon to say that I should come down to the hospital quickly to say my goodbyes.

As I entered the hospital I was greeted by a very somber technician who lead me to a “grieving  room”. This room smelled of death. There was no hiding or masking of that smell. After a few minutes they brought her body in. She looked wide awake. Too wide awake. She had her leg bandaged in preparation for inserting the needle that would take her to another world. In a few minutes  it was over. I stayed and prayed for what seemed like days. I don’t usually cry but I sure was making up for that in a big hurry as the tears would not stop.

When I was ready  to leave they had already put  her in an urn. She now rests on top of the fireplace mantle with our  other  deceased cats.

The Chess Queens — Speakeasy #149

The rules for the Speakeasy challenge can be found here.

MurielStreeter

“Don’t blame the sinner.” That was the last words Jose  uttered before the jarring jolt of electricity ended his life. The events that preceded this vicious event that would end his life became were clear to him. He had killed his rival Hector.

He was the War Lord of Los Angeles. He alone controlled the flow of illegal drugs into this city of Angels. He had developed a very sophisticated organization. There were the runners, the pawns that did all the dirty work and paid the price if they were caught. There were district managers that the runners reported to. He even had the Church in his pocket. Even Bishops could be bought. They would look the other way if you had evidence against them using their little boys. The Church looked the other way for these sinners. He even had his main bitch, Carmen, who would do anything for him.

He began noticing that he was losing bits  of HIS  territory. A corner here, a corner there, and then some of his lieutenants were defecting. His extensive network was beginning to leak.

He was informed by his men that a new rival was after his turf and his name was Hector. Hector was organizing his narcotic gang along the same lines as Jose.  He even had a main squeeze named Rosetta. Hector was on the fast track to replace him and he  knew it. He vowed that would never happen as long as he lived.

Jose had a large shipment of drugs from Columbia that  was scheduled to arrive at the port the next day. He knew that this was the most vulnerable part of this operation.

As the boat approached the dock, Jose checked and made sure his players were all in position. The two ranking Generals positioned on top of freight containers, the two  Lieutenants on either side of the dock and 10 runners, five on each side of the dock, armed with AK-47 assault rifles. Jose, with Carmen at his side, was safely seated in an extra armored Escalade  about 100 yards away.

As the  boat navigated within about 5 feet of  its docking  station the  crew dropped to the  dock and began securing  the  large vessel. As planned, the crew members were killed within seconds, the gun fire subdued by silencers. Two runners headed for the captains location and would soon take him out of action. The two containers containing the  contraband were located mid ship, the lowest point and easiest point of entry for his team.

Jose looked at Carmen in the dark recesses of the Escalade, patted her on the knee and said, “Everything going as planned my queen. The street value of this shipment is around $10,000,000. You may have whatever you want and live the life of luxury you deserve.”

With a roar of tremendous power three Black Hummers barreled through  the  gates that Jose  though  were secure. All three had open roofs where  suddenly  three  men with machine guns started heading toward the ship. At the same time Jose heard two sharp cracks and saw his two Generals crumble. “Good God, they have snipers.”

Two of the Hummers continued their journey towards the now docked ship. Jose could  only watch as all but two of his runners  were gunned  down. Jose gasped as the third Hummer headed toward his  Escalante. He could see clearly now that  the shooter in this Hummer had an antitank rocket launcher.  And the shooter was Hector. Looking through  the Hummers wind shield he could see that the driver was Rosetta. The resulting  explosion killed his driver and threw him and  Carmen to the hard concrete of the  dock.

As Hector approached the burning overturned vehicle, with Rosetta trailing, Jose already losing  consciousness, drew the pistol he kept inside his jacket pocket and fired. The bullet was a clean hit to Hector’s face and his brains flew out behind him leaving a strawberry trail of blood.

Jose  last memory before the trail that  convicted  him of murdering Hector  was the  vision  of  Carmen and Rosetta  standing  side by side and surveying the battle field.

“a la potencia de las mujeres” *

* To The Power of Women

Highball and Seven Murders — Episode II

Episode one can be found here:Episode One.

Melinda, still not sure what had transpired, turned to Jill and said “What just happened? I saw four men, including 2 police officers enter the garage and then the sound of guns being fired I think and then the same four men emerge but this time with the two police officers leading the other men at gun point. That building is  where our husbands were going to meet with Mr. Morgan wasn’t it?”

Sirens could be heard in the background as Jill replied, “Yes, but I think something has gone terribly wrong.”

Detective Bacon, a Sargent with the Chicago Police Department along with his partner Lee Johnson were first on the scene. 

Five Sentence Fiction — Ache

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week Lllie McFerrin  will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

Lillie McFerrin Writes

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It’s visiting day here at the human ant farm and it’s nice of you to take time out of your busy day and visit us unfortunates  trapped behind this glass shield. The air is getting very thin in here and our population are becoming desperate.  We are desperately contending with the calamity of being suddenly cut off from the outside world by an impassable, invisible barrier; one that literally dropped out of a clear blue sky. To survive we are doing things you can’t believe. I leave my hand prints on this shield to take my dinner or maybe I will be dinner.

San Diego Cafe — Weekly Writing Challenge

Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge

Hunter S. Thompson was an American author and writer. (He was also a drug enthusiast, among other things, but that’s another story for another day.) His infamous, detail-dense, first-person narrative, The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, spawned a genre of reporting called Gonzo journalism. Gonzo journalism differs from typical reporting in that Gonzo journalists renounce claims of objectivity, often place themselves in the story as a first-person narrator, and include verbatim dialogue to capture and convey their first-hand experiences. The work can often have a “stream-of-consciousness” feel to it. In summary, the basic hallmarks of Gonzo journalism are:

There were a range of options to take in order to participate in this weeks challenge. I picked this scenario:

You’re in a street-side café in San Diego, California. The couple seated at the next table is breaking up.

“Don’t turn around Sara. I think the couple behind you is breaking up. Apparently she has had enough of his carousing around. Oh look, no don’t look now, she’s stirring her glass with that swizzle stick so fast there is a little whirlpool going round and around. Boy is she mad. I mean really mad. She keeps pushing her hair back with that real agitated look. You know the one I mean Sara? The one that says I’m pissed.”

“What does he look like?” asked Sara.

Cindy without a pause says, “Beautiful face, beautiful body, horrible attitude. The Holy Trinity of Hot Boys.”

Sara, finally looking back, says “I would say that boy is in for one hot argument. I would not like to argue with her because I would no longer feel safe because of the possible actions she may take. Watch her start pacing back and forth real fast, breathing out her nose. I least that is what I would do to that no good cowboy. I don’t care what he has done. What do you think he has done?”

“I don’t know what he has done but it must be a really bad thing. You know what that girl will do? I’ve seen her kind. When she gets to her boiling point she will start talking in the third person. That’s scary as hell because that’s her way of telling him that from this point on, she is not responsible for none of her actions. You go Girl!, said Cindy. I tell you women are cursed and men are the proof.”

Wildebeest — Speakeasy #144

The rules for Speakeasy #144 are found here.

He kept glancing at the pictures on her nightstand. There was their wedding day photo. It was a small wedding in a boat on a river. She was extremely pretty. There was the picture of both of them dressed in period costume taken on the Boardwalk. He as Clyde Barrow and she as Bonnie Parker. She used that picture on her desk at work and most of her co-workers never guessed that it was them. There was the one with both of them poking their heads out of an open aired jeep on a safari in Kenya with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.

The room was always quiet. No air sucking machines, no tubes invading her body, no pill bottles,  just the slight up and down movement of her chest. No noise. She was living by sipping nourishment through a straw. That was her life now.

That trip to Kenya was a special trip for them after she became very ill. It was on this trip they made a vow and a secret word that went with that vow. A word that they both understood to signify  it was time for the grand migration to the afterlife.

He left her room and went back to his den. His den was where he went to remember. His den, except for the time with his wife, was his whole life now.

Hospice had arranged for someone to visit three times a week. This time was the only time he left her side.

He chuckled as he told her stories about their marriage. The time she thought he was putting the moves on a waitress and all he was actually doing was making arrangements for a birthday cake to be brought to their table to celebrate their anniversary. The time he finally got enough nerve to tell her the dress she had picked out for a special occasion looked like the rug pattern from his grandmother’s house. She,  who on her first round of golf with friends had picked up the dime he used to mark his ball on the green and brought it to him and said, “see honey I found a dime.” Seeing the great Pyramids, the river cruise up the Nile, Whitewater rafting in Virginia, driving a NASCAR in North Carolina, a Hot Air Balloon ride in Wyoming were some of the many adventures they experienced together.

She usually was able to smile when he talked to her like this even though he knew she didn’t understand. She was just smiling because she recognized a voice she remembered and loved. Somethings can’t be forgotten.

Yesterday morning she made no reaction at all to his attempts at comedy. On his afternoon visit he sensed she was alert with her eyes open. She raised her chin in an effort to say something. There was no mistaking what she said. “Wildebeest.”

With no hesitation he make his way to the kitchen and made her the  special tea that she liked. He added the toxic ingredient he had bought illegally for this occasion and stirred. He returned to her bedroom and leaned over her frail body and inserted the straw into her mouth. She sucked in her last taste of life. And smiled! The same smile as he was blessed with on their wedding day.

The Hospice volunteer, arriving on time as usual, called out for him. She expected him to be in her room but he wasn’t there. The volunteer knew from experience that she had passed. Rushing to the den she found him slumped over his desk with a single sheet of paper. She picked it up. All it said was “Wildebeest.”

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