Monthly Archives: April 2014

Montezuma’s revenge and the Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire

Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring?

It was a bitter and burning lesson. I tried showing my Mexican friend I was as macho as he.

We ate dinner together.  He sprinkled salt on a plate, he dabbed a jalapeño in the salt, and took a bite of it with each bite of food.

“Das de way we do eet in Meckico,” he said.

Eager to show my multicultural diversity, tolerance, and machismo I did the same. “Bien,” I said.

He rolled his eyes. “You mus be careful,” he cautioned. “Eef you no use to it you know for sure what Montezuma’s revenge really ees.”

Approximately six hours later I was cursing Montezuma and the horse he road in on. Spending the greater part of an evening on the throne leaves a red ring – that’s my ring of fire.

Here is a the link to my short story for the day, Sex and Dirty Words Before Publishing, Please.

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Sex And Dirty Words Before Publishing, Please

Skip just walked into his office at home, the space where he did his writing.

The phone rang.

“Hello,” Skip said and sat behind his desk.

“Is this Skip Rollins?”

“Yes it is,” Skip said.

“Good, I’m Dale Blakely, the agent you sent the manuscript to.”

“I’m glad to hear from you, Dale,” Skip said excitedly.

“I read your manuscript,” Dale said. “And I’m really excited about representing you.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Skip said. “My friend, Butch Walings, who you represent recommended you.”

“You have a good story and well written,” Dale said. “I don’t say this often, but I couldn’t put it down.”

“That’s encouraging to hear,” Skip smiled broadly.

“There are a few adjustments I will recommend that will assure publication,” Dale said. “What I’m going to do is send your manuscript back with a contract. Sign the contract immediately and get it back to me. That way I can start talking to some friends I have in the publishing business about your novel. What I do is get them eager and before long they are asking me for the manuscript, then begging. So during the next month I want you to make some recommended changes. Than I can plop it into the lap of a publisher.”

“Incredible!” Skip said. “What suggestions do you have in mind?”

“Make the character, Charles Flowers, gay,” Dale said. “Nothing graphic, but just an added layer of conflict and realism.”

“But he’s not gay,” Skip said. “How real is that?”

“You’re the writer, make it real,” Dale said. “Weave it in. And don’t your people ever curse? Toss in a F bomb here and there.”

“Normally I opt for just saying that the character cursed,” Skip said. “I allow the readers’ own back ground and breeding to fill in what was said when it comes to cursing.”

“That doesn’t make sense, you know?” Dale said. “Your characters have to have sex and curse and … well do things people do to make life complete.”

“There’s all sorts of ways to use the bathroom,” Skip said. “My characters just go to the bathroom without an announcement or graphic description. Sometimes my characters don’t even go to the bathroom the entire story and no one complains about the story not being real, but they got to relieve themselves sometime. We know they do. If not, there would be a collective gush at the end of the novel.”

“As it is, Skip,” Dale said. “Your novel will never sell.”

“But you read it,” Skip said. “And you said you couldn’t put it down.”

“But I can’t get it past a publisher in its present form,” Dale said. “They won’t even consider it.”

“If you like it as much as you said you did that shouldn’t be much of a problem,” Skip said. “I’m sorry. Dale, the story and writing is true, to change it would be like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.”

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Pride and Joy: Relationships

Pride and Joy

What’s your most prized possession? GO!

Admittedly I don’t take the prompts serious. I have fun with them. Fun has its limits and never would I want to give a false impression for the sake of being funny. This is, to me, a serious subject.

My most prized possessions are relationships with people. I really like them. That’s why I aspire to be one someday.

First there is my wife. If that doesn’t exist life is somehow a little less full. There are times I look at here and see the girl I dated as a teen ager. Her hopes, he dreams, her vulnerabilities, her fears. She makes me smile and feel not so alone. She knows my thoughts, my feelings, and who I am (and loves me still).  Then comes my children. I really like them. Of course I love them, but they are really likable. (This includes grandchildren, sons-in-law, and daughter-in-law, it’s a package deal.) They are easy and enjoyable to talk with. My mother, who is now 100 and at present not doing well. But we talk daily and it means much to both of us. I have friends far and near. One I call perhaps once a week and others less often, but that in no way indicates any less attachment and regard for them. Most importantly is my relationship with my Creator. Without his direction, examples, and teachings none of the above would even be remotely possible.

Here is a link to my daily short story, The Kellen Moore Selfie at Billy Bronco’s.

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The Kellen Moore Selfie At Billy Bronco’s

Things have been so quiet down at Billy Bronco’s you can almost hear the blue turf grow.

Kevan was behind the bar doing what he could to keep interest alive, but Billy Bronco’s hasn’t been this quiet sense the Nevada loss or the Northwest Mortician’s Casket, Hearse, and Embalming Convention in 03.

Louie was at the bar and has been nursing the same Guinness for three days. It’s about as tasty as warm mug of spit. He was just itching to say something outrageous and set everybody on their ear.

“Okay,” Louie piped up, “whose gonna be the first Bronco to come out?”

“Man!” Blue said. “Everybody knows D-Law came out early. He had another year of eligibility.” Blue headed for the restroom. “Hold that thought. I’ll be right back.”

“No, no,” Louie said. “Like out of the closet.”

“Let’s have that discussion when it happens,” KC said.

“I got a better idea,” Sailor Sam said, “Let’s not even discuss it if it does come up.”

Nobody was in the mood to mix it up.

“I heard Boise State ordered rainbow Astroturf ,“ Louie said, “and it will be installed during the summer. Every ten yards will be a different color of the rainbow.”

“Will you stop with the coming-out stuff,” Sailor Sam said. “It ain’t got no traction here. We just don’t care.”

“Hey, it‘s what I heard,” Louie said.

“And where did you here that?” KC said.

Louie squirmed in his seat and sipped his warm Guinness.

“Well,” Blue said. “Answer the man.”

“I made it up,” Louie said. “I just wanted to start a dialogue.”

“Conversations start naturally,” Broadway said. “They don’t have to be forced. You can’t go making up crap and expect people to take you seriously. Before long nobody will believe anything you say. Haven’t you ever heard about the fable of the little boy who cried wolf.”

It got deathly quiet.

“You guys wanna here a story?” Louie said.

There was a collective “NO!”

Louie continued as if everyone was waiting with bated breath. “I was pumping gas at a Jackson’s. Guess who pulls into the handicapped spot in a big hurry?”

KC rolled his eyes. “Chris Petersen.”

“Close,” Louie said.

“Steve Georgiou,” Sailor Sam said. “Now, there, if I buy you a beer will you shut up?”

“Well I’m not telling,” Louie said.

Kevan sat a Guinness in front of Louie. “Now, tell us.”

Louie was about to latch hold of the Guinness shaking like a BSU field kicker down by two with 3 ticks remaining. Kevan pulled it away. “Tell us who you saw going into Jackson’s”

“It was Kellen Moore,” Louie said.

There was a collective groan and Kevan pulled the beer beyond Louie’s grasp. “I’m pouring this down the drain.”

“No!” Louie said. “I got it all on my phone.” He pulled out his cell phone, reached across the bar, and showed it to Kevan.”

“That’s a guy taking dump,” Kevan said and passes the phone around. “His hand is over his face. We can’t tell who it is.

Everyone agreed with Kevan.

“Look here’s the story,” Louie said. “I was pumping gas. Moore drives up like he’s chased by a blitzing safety. He gets out of the car and runs into Jackson’s. I count to five and go in after him. I held my phone under the commode door and snapped the picture.”

“That ain’t him,” Blue said.

“If it is him,” Sailor Sam said. “That’s voyeurism.”

“No it isn’t,” Louie said. “It’s photo journalism.”

“That’s paparazzi,” KC said.

Everyone ordered up and the discussion ensued.

Louie leaned over to Broadway. “Is that how you start a discussion? Sailor Sam said it starts natural.”

Broadway smiled. “Who is the picture really of?”

“It’s me,” Louie said.

“Why did you take a picture of yourself taking a dump at Jackson’s?” Broadway said.

“It wasn’t taken at Jackson’s,” Louie said. “It was taken here about 15 minutes ago. My wife called and accused me of hanging out with the lowlifes at Billy Bronco’s. I snapped a selfie and told her I was at Jackson’s and had sushi today and it didn’t settle well.”

“That’s disgusting,” Broadway said.

“What’s disgusting is things like this starts conversations and guys drink to it,” Louie said.

“Won’t your wife smell beer on your breath?” Broadway said.

“The natural carbonation settles the stomach,” Louie said.

“That’s not true,” Sailor Sam interrupted.

“Then come up with something better,” Louie said.

“I got it!” KC said. “My dog hangs his head out the window with his mouth open when I drive. He’s got good breath after that.”

Blue came back from the restroom. “How did we get from D-Law coming out to doggie breath in one pit stop? And by the way, who wrote Jackson’s above the commode?”

 

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The Daily Prompt and, (a short story) Lesbian Bully

I Can’t Stay Mad at You

Do you hold grudges or do you believe in forgive and forget?

My About page is mostly about forgiveness. Give it a read if you like. I think it is behind every story I write. Sometimes the story is cut short, but forgiveness is where it is heading. I think it was comedian Buddy Hacket who said why stay at home and hold a grudge while the other guy is out dancing.

My short story covers a delicate subject. It tests the extent of real tolerance. I hope it’s tolerable.

Lesbian Bully

Matt sat quietly at his department’s quarterly diversity meeting. It was a conference room with about fifty chairs and a lectern. The company wanted to make certain everyone respected the other regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

Discussions were often dripping like honey with expressions of acceptance and tolerance; each one trying to outdo the other. Promotions, raises, and letters of accommodation were often based on what was said or how strongly one agreed in these meetings.

Ms. Carpenter passed a petition for all to sign in favor of gay marriage. When the petition reached the half-way point of her lecture on diversity she counted only 29 names instead of 30.

“Who didn’t sign?” Ms. Carpenter said.

Matt reluctantly motioned with a slight hand gesture.

Ms. Carpenter smiled. “Pass this back to Matt,” she said firmly. “So he can sign this.”

“That’s okay,” Matt said. “I won’t sign.”

“So you’re against gay marriage?” Ms. Carpenter said.

“If you’re asking, is it for me? The answer is no,” Matt said.

“What about for others?” Ms. Carpenter said.

“That’s their business,” Matt said.

“That’s what you are signing it for,” Ms. Carpenter said. “So it will be their business and nobody else’s to decide.”

“That’s a compelling argument,” Matt said. “But I just can’t bring myself to do it.”

“So you see gays and lesbians as second class citizens and you want to force them back into living their lives in denial and secrecy?” Ms. Carpenter said.

“Ms. Carpenter,” Matt said. “It is well known and you have made certain that we all know that you are a lesbian and have a lesbian partner, until this moment have you ever seen or felt anything from me that I don’t treat you with kindness, dignity, and respect?”

“That’s because I am your boss,” Ms. Carpenter said.

“So are you saying I’m not genuine, Ms. Carpenter?” Matt said. “Because that is not what you say on my evaluations.”

“Perhaps there are fears and feelings you are hiding,” Ms. Carpenter said.

The comment rippled through to department like a rapidly spreading plague. Some began to lean away from Matt.

“I guess this means nobody will be getting my coffee anymore,” Matt quipped.

There was a nervous chuckle in the room.

“Gary,” Matt said to a young man across the room. “If I’m correct you are a homosexual, right?”

“That’s right” Gary said.

“What was it you told me at lunch yesterday?” Matt said.

Gary cleared his throat. “I told you that of all the people in the department you were the most helpful and you helped trained me as if you wanted me to succeed.”

“What else?” Matt said.

Confused Gary said. “You bought my lunch?”

Everyone chuckled.

“You said something regarding Ms. Carpenter,” Matt said. “And don’t be afraid to say anything because anything said in these meetings can not be used against us when evaluating our performance, promotions, and salary, ahem, ahem.”

“I said that I miss out on some constructive and helpful criticisms from Ms. Carpenter,” Gary said.

“And,” Matt said.

“She treats me special because I’m gay,” Gary said.

“That is because he is openly gay,” Ms. Carpenter said. “It is tough enough for him to struggle with the stigma attached with that plus perform up to standards.”

“We won’t repeat what you just said, Mss Carpenter,” Matt said. “It was very telling.”

“Aren’t you concerned how you are viewed by others,” Ms. Carpenter said. “Now everyone knows you really hate gays and lesbians. Will you refuse to buy a piece of art or attend a concert if the artist is something other than what you believe in or holds and opinion different than yours?”

“I think the opposite is true, Ms. Carpenter. “There would be more likelihood that I would be tossed from an artist’s showing or a concert for not wanting to sign something I can’t consciously do.”

“And you should be,” Ms. Carpenter said.

“So if I’m getting this right,” Matt said. “It is you that is restricting my freedom of choice and even more disturbing my thoughts and conscience.”

“I’m just saying you must be open and accepting,” Ms. Carpenter said.

“And what is our company’s policy on bullying?” Matt asked.

“This has nothing to do with the discussion,” Ms. Carpenter said.

“Then stop bullying me,” Matt said.

 

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The Daily Prompt and (a short story) The Bascom Curse

It’s My Party

You’re throwing a party — for you! Tell us all about the food, drink, events, and party favours you’ll have for your event of a lifetime. Use any theme you like — it’s *your* party!

What a rousing coincidence. Many of the ingredients for a good party are in my short story for the day.  I would invite the entire Bascom family along with Missy Flutter and some of her friends to equal things out. We would have corned beef and cabbage. You’ll see why by reading the story. There will be a contest, left to your imagination as to what it will be. Nothing goes as good with corned beef and cabbage as a good dark ale. This will all be followed by a huge bowl of ice cream over plum pie. I’m not into party favors or is it famours? But I’ll hand out t shirts with Peppy LePews of the front.

That’s my part and I’ll cry if I want to.

Now let’s read about some of my quests, the Bascoms.

The Bascom Curse

Corned beef and cabbage.

Corned beef and cabbage.

It was the strangest thing ever heard of. Ken Bascom’s parents left him with Uncle William for the summer and they never returned. They seemed to have vanished.

Ken’s parents were… well, nobody knew what they were, other than foot-loose and eccentric. They were the only ones like that in the family. Every family has them, hopefully so distant they don’t bring harm or disrepute to a family’s good name.

Uncle William enrolled Ken at a local school, a prestigious school. Uncle William was actually quite fond of Ken and it would not have bothered him in the least if the parents never returned. The way Uncle William saw things, it was the only way Ken stood a fighting chance of being normal.

Coming from odd-ball eccentric parents is enough of a curse, but being the new kid in school is quite another. Especially a school that has last seen it’s new kid three years earlier. That kid was relieved to see Ken enrolled. The new kid title was passed on to Ken.

Ken’s quiet, awkward, and shy tendencies left him open to every sort of snide comment, practical joke, and total isolation.

He spoke on occasion to Uncle William about his dilemma.

“You are a bright, lad,” Uncle William said. “You come from uncommonly good stock. You will find your opportunity to turn the tables and seize it. That’s what our family does.”

Missy Flutter was absolutely the worst of everyone. She compensated for her ugly looks with an even uglier and biting personality that ripped at everyone. All were afraid of her whit and power, three years in a row class president. No one dared to run against her.

Cabbage had always been a difficult food for the Bascoms to digest. It has a normal fermentation period of about 12 to 14 hours. It is during that time span that being far away from a Bascom is the wisest course to take. It was called the Bascom family curse.

It was English class, thirteen hours beyond corned beef and cabbage at the Bascom house. As the students prepared for the bell to ring Ken leaned over to gather his books beneath his seat. With Ken now in a vulnerable position he passed an unbelievably loud burst of gas only outdone by the thunderous laughter that followed. And not one laughter was any more uproarious than Missy‘s.

Mr. Hamilton calmed the tumult, but snickers continued.

In a stroke of genius Ken remembered Uncle William’s words “You come from uncommonly good stock. You will find your opportunity to turn the tables and seize it.  That’s what our family does.”

He turned to Missy who looked at Ken’s pitiful expression and snorted. There was yet another burst of laughter.

Mr. Hamilton slammed his hand flat against his desk. “Enough! That will be enough.”

Ken said to Missy, “That’s okay, Missy, keep laughing, I’ll pretend it was me.”

Denials came fast and furious from Missy. Not even Mr. Hamilton could stifle the turn of events. Everyone was now laughing at Missy Flutter.

From that day on, Ken was no longer the new kid, but Missy’s last name took on a whole new meaning.

 

 

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The Daily Prompt and The Short Story – The Lonely Dream Maker

He’s (She’s) So Fine

What was it that drew you to your significant other? Their blue eyes? Their ginger countenance? Their smile? Their voice?

Let me start out by saying, the smile. Yep, that smile got me and still gets me today. Even to this day I say at least once a day, “I love your smile.”

Attraction and why men and women marry is sort of easy. It is physical and later emotional and intellectual. How ofter have amateur matchmakers and casual observers said, “they look so cute together.” The match is physical at first; not bookends, but things that go together well.

How often do you see a couple divorce and remarry a person that closely resembles the divorced spouse? This is not 100% full-proof, but it’s more than coincidence. And size matters; The divorced woman will find a 5’10” 175 pound guy again, the guy will find another 5’4″ 135 pound gal.

Well that’s all I have to say about human relationships. Here is my short story for the day.

The Lonely Dream Makerth6IM6K33S 

Eldon’s job at the restaurant was done an hour after it closed. From 11:00 PM until 6:00 AM he walked the streets of downtown Des Moines, Iowa. When the weather was cold he could be seen some of the night nursing coffees at an all-night diner. For the most part he walked the streets.

At first it was a random meandering, but soon it was predictable. You could almost set a watch as to where he would be at a given time.

People wondered and talked about why Eldon did what he did, but no one questioned him.

To all the people that worked at night; the policemen, the firemen, night watchmen, cab drivers, trash collectors, night janitors, and even the street people – he was a comfort, a constant that let them know all was well and all was normal.

On one of those cold nights where the wind and snow whipped through the empty streets like a ghost of death Eldon stopped for a coffee and piece of apple pie at a diner.

Eldon sat alone at the counter.

Rollie, the night cook came from behind the counter, sat next to Eldon, and finally ask the question, “Why do you do it, Eldon?”

“Do what?” Eldon said.

“Walk the street till morning,” Rollie said.

“While some people are catching sleep, I’m catching dreams,” Eldon said. “I’m sort of keeping watch on the city.”

“We got policemen and firemen that do that,” Rollie said.

“I know,” Eldon said. “They make sure bad things don’t happen. I make sure of all the good dreams.”

“What!” Rollie said.

“I think and dream good things,” Eldon said. “I make up dreams and release them into the night.”

Rollie smiled uncomfortably and moved away.

“Rollie,” Eldon said. “You see why dream making is a lonely job?”

 

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