Monthly Archives: June 2014

Not My Taste

Picky Tongues

You have to choose one flavor that your sense of taste will no longer be able to distinguish. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, spicy (not a taste per se, but we’re generous): which one do you choose to lose?

The last two weeks I’ve been absent from the Daily Prompt. I’ve been working on a website in an alternative universe; stop and render an opinion if you like.

The prompts have been weird lately or that may be just the way I perceive them. It’s likely me.  But this one sounds particularly so. Where did it come from? Here’s my guess:

Scene One

The year is 1968, four college students are crowded in a dorm room. They just dropped acid.

One says, “Hey, Moondog, (In group of 4 hippies one always had the name Moondog) You have to choose one flavor that your sense of taste will no longer be able to distinguish. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, spicy (not a taste per se,) which one do you choose to lose?”

Moondog stares into space. “Man, you can really get creative on this stuff.”

Scene Two

Juan, a drug cartel leader (All Juans are natural born leaders, especially evil ones.) has just found an informant in his organization. The informant, Manuel (the informant is always Manuel) is strapped to a chair in the middle of an empty warehouse in Miami.

“So, Manuel, what do happen to sneetches?” the Juan says.

“I donno,” Manuel says. “You da boss. You smart man, come up with ideas.”

Juan smiles cruelly.  “I give you choice. You have to choose one flavor that your sense of taste will no longer be able to distinguish. Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami, spicy (not a taste per se, but we’re generous): which one do you choose to lose? Better yet, I just cut your tongue out!”



Filed under Daily Prompt

The Death Of Cribbs

thZD9KI01TCribbs had been Randle’s man for 17 years and he was his father’s man for 30 years. He knew the family better than the family knew the family.

Cribbs was becoming slow, forgetful, and intolerable. Randle was accustomed to having mid morning coffee at 10:05 AM, tea at 3:50 PM, and brandy at 9:35 PM. It was to the point where if those were not served either 10 minutes before or after they were not served at all. Cribbs made snide and cutting remarks upon several occasions to guests.

Randle tried to excuse the behavior, but the day came when the accounting was due.

“Please sit, Cribbs,” Randle said, “I wish to talk about your future.”

“What future,” Cribbs said, “I have no future. I once had a future. Yesterday I had a future. The point is, sir, I may slump over dead before this conversation finishes.”

“Well, Cribbs,” Randle said. “My father and I have always set a little aside for you in addition to your salary for a retirement.”

“You’re telling me I’m fired?” Cribbs said.

“We are retiring you,” Randle said.

“I’m sorry, sir,” Cribbs said. “Retiring is coming in here and me announcing it is time you found somebody to replace me for I will be leaving your employ.”

“Well, Randle said. “I have hired a replacement.”

“What!” Randle said and slumped in his chair.

“Oh,” Randle said matter-of-factly. “The old chap has checked out without so much as spending a dime or minute of his retirement.”

Randle shook Cribbs. Cribbs did not respond.

“I’ll wait awhile before calling anyone,” Randle said. “Reviving him at this state will only burden everyone concerned, even Cribbs.”

“How long did you intend on waiting?” Cribbs said, “until I was cold and stiff.”

Randle jerked and held his hand over his mouth.

“This makes taking my leave much easier,” Cribbs said.



Filed under Short Stories

Donnie And His Doctor

thEJ63UKQSAt age 12 Donnie pleaded with his mother to allow him to visit the doctor on his own.

“Mom,” he said, “when are you ever going to let me be a man? Other mothers don’t go to the doctor with their sons, why me. It’s embarrassing me.”

“Well Dr. Henderson is rather old,” she said, “and I think it’s good for an older person to go along so we can bridge the generation gap.”

“Mom,” Donnie said, “that sounds terribly lame. I may have man things to discuss that can only be shared privately.”

“Well,” she said, “you can talk those things over with your father.”

“I did,” Donnie said, “and you got mad. You said the internet wasn’t meant for that kind of thing and you accused dad of being a pervert.”

“Okay,” she said. “You can go to the doctor alone today, but make sure you speak up. Doctor Henderson doesn’t hear so well.”

After the visit Donnie’s mother picked him up at the doctor’s office. He was near tears.

He sat in the car and looked stoically forward.

“What happened?” she said.

“Nothing,” Donnie said.

“Tell me,” she said, “I can always tell when something is troubling you.”

“The doctor asked me what I eat and what I do all day long?” Donnie said.

“What did you tell him?” she said.

“I told him I get up at seven, eat half of box of cereal, grab a soda and donut on the way to school, go to school, two hours of baseball practice after school, hang out with some friends, eat a bag of Cheetos, mow the lawn, have supper, do my homework, go to the mall, have a milkshake with friends at McDonalds, go over to some friend’s house, play a pick-up game of basketball, go home, eat a bowl of icecream, and get some rest.”

“What did he say to that?” she said.

“Keep that up and you won’t see forty,” Donnie said.



Filed under Short Stories

Impressions Left By A Lonely Man

th[2]“It seems like no matter where I go I’m already there,” Quinn said.

“What is meant by that,” Marty said. “I bring everything with me; all the problems, all the troubles, all the insecurities, and all the things that make me miserable.”

“I know what you mean,” Marty said. “I used to feel the exact same way.”

“How did you overcome it?” Quinn said. “I can’t go on like this. I’m moving every three or four years.”

“Think for a moment about all the different experiences you have had by relocating every three of four years,” Marty said. “Most are afraid to pack up and start over, but you have adventure in your soul. You like to explore new things.”

“It’s not that I enjoy it,” Quinn said. “I’m forced to do it. People tire of me easily and I have no friends.”

“You have more friends than you think,” Marty said.

“Give me the name of someone you have not spoken to in 10 years,” Marty said.

Quinn thought for a moment. “Bruce Spruce.”

“You got to be kidding me, Bruce Spruce,” Marty said. “I’m surprised that guy didn’t move and change his name. Where do you know him from. Lubbock, Texas, we worked together.”

“Where did you work?” Marty said. “Horizon Industries, his desk was next to mine. We started out as friends and it kind of turned sour.”

“Give me just a moment,” Marty said pulling his cell phone form his pocket, “I’ll get right back with you.” Marty spoke into the phone. “Lubbock, Texas for Horizon Industries.”

“What are you doing!” Quinn said.

“Shhh,” Marty said, “I’m being connected.”

“This is embarrassing,” Quinn said.

“Yes,” Marty said. “Can I speak to Bruce Spruce.” Marty looked at Quinn. “He still works there. They’re putting us through.” Marty pushed the button for speaker and handed the phone to Quinn.

“Bruce Spruce, how can I help you?”

Quinn gave a sour look at Marty. “Hey, Bruce, this is Quinn.”

“Quinn,” Bruce pondered.

Quinn held his hand over the phone. “What did I tell you.”

“The Mighty Quinn!” Bruce said. “Is that you?” Man, it’s good to hear your voice. Where the heck are you now. Somebody said you were in Houston. Tell me what’s going on with you. My life hasn’t changed a bit; same desk, same wife, and same o, same o.”

Quinn smiled at Marty. “Thanks.”



Filed under Short Stories

Prison Can Be A Funny Place

thK20E1N5MIt was Mike’s first day in prison. He was escorted to a cell. The bars slid shut and locked. He tossed his bedding on the upper bunk. In the lower bunk was an old man.

“How ya doing, they call me Squeaky.”

“I’m Mike.”

“Well this is it,” Squeaky said. “Home sweet home. I’m a lifer. I killed somebody. It’s been so long ago I can’t remember who it was. Oh that’s right, it was my last cell mate. I have short term memory loss. Hey I’m just kidding, but I did murder someone. What are you in here for?”

“Murder also,” Mike said.

“Sit down here partner, Squeaky said patting his bunk, “You tell me your story and I’ll tell you mine.”

“Not much of a story,” Mike said. “I laughed at this guy. I thought he was being funny. He wasn’t. He felt insulted. He took offense to it. He pulled out a knife and I pulled out a gun.”

“Couldn’t you get off with self-defense?” Squeaky said.

“That ain’t the way the jury saw it. I swear I’ll never laugh at a guy again,” Mike said. What about you?”

“You talk about cruel irony,” Squeaky said. “I was a comedian and this guy wouldn’t laugh at my jokes so I killed him.”

Mike was nervous, but broke his promise and laughed.

“I didn’t mean that to be funny,” Squeaky said.

“Oh, it wasn’t,” Make said, “it was your delivery.”



Filed under Short Stories

Looking For Kindness

th1PMYJDAPHenry opened the door to the lobby for the old lady. She was neatly dressed, lightly perfumed, recently to a salon, and serene in appearance.

She smiled. “Thank you young man.”

He walked faster than she did and got to the open elevator door. He stepped in, turned as he was about to push the button for his floor, and noticed the old lady was walking toward the elevator also. He held the door for her.

“Thank you again,” she smiled.

“What floor,” Henry asked.

“12th,” the old lady said.

Henry pushed 12.

“You are so kind,” the old lady said.

“I suppose you find that people aren’t as polite as they used to be, there‘s a lot of rudeness now days,” Henry said as the elevator slowly moved up.

She smiled. “You have been very kind to me this morning, may I share a kindness with you?”

“I’d like that,” Henry said.

“A long time ago I used to think the same thing,” she said, “and I began to count the acts of kindness compared to the acts of rudeness. To my surprise when I looked for kindness I found it. In fact, it outnumbered rudeness 10 to 1. I just rechecked my figures a couple of days a ago and nothing has changed.”

“Thank you,” Henry said.

“Here’s where I get off,” she said. “Have a nice day, young man.”

“You too ma’am.”



Filed under Short Stories

Adam’s Choice

th399POQ1L“As much as I favor a discussion with you,” Professor Morley said to his learned student, “I find your position short-sighted and lacking an understanding of how the real world works.”

“Sir,” Adam said. “My position is backed by science and scholarship of the highest regard.”

“You and those who you hold in esteem, intellectuals that they be,” Professor Morley said, “have painted themselves into a corner. The have placed there money on the popular pony only to find out it is running dead last into the final stretch.”

“I resent you calling me a mere student,” Adam said. “I am your equal in degrees.”

“Fair enough,” Morley said. “Perhaps it is your age, but likely it has more to do with your lack of curiosity and willingness to be led along. You must explore new ground and question. You have locked yourself into one untenable position It’s ‘mate’ and you stare at your Queen hoping for an earthquake to vibrate her to another square.”

“Your mind is closed, Morley,” Adam said, “so pathetically closed. You are indeed a fool and should be banned from science.”

“Explain or at least demonstrate in some fashion, the eye, the ear, the nose; I’ll not bother you with the brain. Just tell me, please, how it evolved and came to be in this room at this exact time to explain how we got here. And as long as we are on the subject explain the timing within an atom and the complexity and preciseness of it’s movements. Oh, dear Adam, your friends have put you in an unenviable predicament.”

Adam chuckled. “So, Morley, who created the creator?”

“Is that curiosity that speaks or sarcasm?” Morley said.

“You are blind, Morley,” Adam said.

“So you have decided on sarcasm?” Morley said.

“Yes,” Adam said.

“It all starts with a decision, right, Adam?” Morley said. “A series of decisions and they all had to be exact. Just one of them wrong and … blindness.”

Adam skeptically shook his head, sort of an intellectual disappointment.

“That’s okay, lad,” Morley said placing his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “A missing link will come along to give you hope.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Short Stories