3-3-2020 – Ocean, Cars, Wind

I wasn’t lost, I just didn’t know where I was going. And other than the circles I had been driving in for the last hour, I had no direction. AFI, awaiting further instructions—suddenly, the instructions came. My phone connected to the car radio, dinged.

Highway 5 rolled along the ocean’s edge with barely room for a shoulder, but every few miles there was a scenic view pullout. I stopped at one of these and read the text.

“Death is the only way out.”

Well, then . . . this obviously wasn’t going to be easy. I stepped out of the car for some fresh air, hoping that a blast of oxygen would help me think. The wind was stiff, bracing. After filling my lungs with the salty air, I returned to my task.

Five miles down the road, I spotted my target—a run-down, weathered shack with a hand-lettered sign that read  “Death.”

Karen Hydock

 

***

Outside, the wind blew like it was frantic to get somewhere other than where it was. I wished it would go—to that somewhere as it was taking me in memory to the day ten years ago when a tornado loomed in my rear-view mirror as I drove my junk-pile I called a car home.

It was a 67 Chevy that had seen better times, but it was what I had. It couldn’t outrun the storm bearing down on me. I could only hope for the best.

There was no best. The brutal beast that is a tornado sucked my vehicle up. Whirled me around and threw my head against the window. I succumbed to darkness.

When I regained my senses. I scanned the area around me. The sun shone, and a rainbow graced the sky.

But how in God’s name did I get in the middle of the ocean?

Christine Howard

2-25-2020 – Just a Few More Steps

By now, it was obvious it would be long after sundown when I exited the forest onto a road. Wouldn’t be much help — the sky was moonless. I was eight thousand feet elevation on a south face of the Wallowas at the top of Mule Peak. My pickup was five thousand feet and six miles below.

I’d placed a portion of ashes near this lookout where she almost froze to death. My objective accomplished, all that was left was to hike back down the meadow, long in shadow from our star sinking beyond Oregon’s Cascades into the Pacific, and then through the timber. I knew the forest below was choked with bug-killed blow-down. This project had been risky. But travel below the open in the dark would be dangerous.

I fell frequently. The pin and screws put in three months earlier to fasten several pieces of my left femur back together held. Thank you, Jesus and surgeon. I tripped and crashed for hours in the opaque blackness. Went a mile the wrong way before realizing was holding the Garmin GPS upside down. Stupid!

Finally, I came out on an overgrown road remnant from past log skidding — good! I thought, just a few more steps, and quickened my pace. I body slammed the locked door of my dark blue Silverado.

Damn— it was dark.  =|;-)}

Donavin Leckenby

****

The Rive Gauche and the Arc de Triomphe- Magnifique! I am delighted with my first trip to France. The cramped space of the airplane, the long journey, and the steep price of the hotel are still worth it. I now look up at La Tour Eiffel- the jewel of Paris, a sight I’ve longed to see, one previously only seen in travel brochures. I wait in line for a chance to view the “City of Light” from the upper deck. Just a few more steps, and I’ll begin the climb. Then, up and up, I go -just a few more steps. The hot summer sun is beating down on my souvenir bereted head. Just a few more steps, I tell myself. My legs are cramping- I need to stop and rest. “C’mon old man,” a teenaged American tourist blares, “It’s just a few more steps.” Sweating and panting, I finally reach the top. What a view! -it was worth the struggle. This is great, but how do I get back down, as the elevator is out? I see the same bratty kid look at me and say:” Get goin’, it’s just a few more steps.”

Tom Rutherford

2-11-2020- Write about your most unique experience in or about a wedding.

IT WAS MY WEDDING DAY…

… My 6th wedding day!  The first had been to my high school sweetheart.  After 3 months she told me that she was leaving me for my cousin.  My cousin’s name was Sue.

After a short recovery period I married my next door neighbor.  She was older than me and stored her teeth in a glass of Polident beside the bed.  I just couldn’t abide that!!

I met number three in Las Vegas after a night of drinking.  It was a quickie wedding followed by a quicker divorce.

Number 4, Betsy, was a truck driver.  She left to pick up a load of lettuce in Yuma I guess driving that ‘refer’ truck cooled her ardor for me ‘cause I never saw her again.

Number 5 was to a lovely lady, beautiful and well mannered in every way.  We had absolutely nothing in common.

Number six and last wedding ended with my wheel chair bouncing down the church steps.  My final thought was of the wise words of my old grandfather.  “Beware women who ask if you have life insurance.”

Bob Kelly

1-28-2020 -Bird, Clock, Whistle

“It’s been a while since we’ve met. I’ve been coming here looking for you. Is everything ok?”
She asked with so much concern. It’s the concern I’ve been avoiding for many reasons but the most important being my own grief.
“I’ve been around,” I replied without saying anything at all.
“Well, I am happy to see you here today. You know there’s been something on my mind. When we first met, I noticed your wedding band. Can you tell me about her?”
I looked down at the connection that I dare to forget, but the memories naw at me in starvation. I smiled to myself. Instantly I was transported to the time that is ingrained and deeply embedded in my story.
The day was not out of the ordinary. The sun was hidden by the many rain clouds that cover the city this time of year. I look down at my watch to check the time. My momma always said that I should keep the clock, as she can’t always keep it for me. That was when I was a young boy, but I’m a man now. It’s my first year at university and I’m already late.
“Excuse me,” I heard a woman say just before she place her fingers in her mouth to whistle for a taxi. It’s funny, in two little words I could hear how beautiful her voice was, similar to a birds song

Gayla Nikols

1-21-2020 – Tires screeched. I turned and ran down the alley.

I didn’t anticipate this much adventure when I joined the Adventure Club. After meeting with the other club 12 members, we were each given a specific task. My assignment was to investigate the murder of a prominent politician, Jonathan Bigsby.

I was given the task of interviewing Fritz, the owner of local restaurant frequented by Bigsby. When I got to the restaurant the place was dark except for a light in the back room. I followed the light into the kitchen. There I found Fritz laying on the floor, a bloody knife sticking prominently in his chest.

The sound of screeching tires sounded from the open back door. I turned to run out to the alley. A dozen people standing in the alley yelled surprise! They were the other members of the adventure club and they were laughing as Fritz came out the door with the fake knife still in his chest.

Linda Scott

1-7-2020 – The New Year’s Mystery

Christmas has passed and it’s a New Year. Time to take down the lights and box up the decorations. Always a hassle taking off the lights with needles falling everywhere. As I removed the tree from the corner of the room, I was surprised to find a small unopened present still hiding.

The tag read: “To Tom from Santa”. I wondered who it was really from, as all the other presents were from known family members. I opened the small, well taped package to find a note. It read:”:Tom, you asked me for a new red Huffy bicycle back in 1960, but I was hung up in a snowstorm in Poughkeepsie, and couldn’t get it to you. Take this note to Robinson’s Bike Shop.”

The bike shop was only three miles away, so what the heck, off I went. When I showed the note to the grey-haired owner, he looked shocked. He went into the back storeroom and came out with a red Huffy bike covered in dust and cobwebs.

He said:” This bike was sitting back there, pre-paid for a boy named Tom since 1960″.

Tom Rutherford

November 26, 2019 – Prompt -If I went to the moon

If I Went to the Moon

I’d be the happiest guy in the world, if I went to the moon. All my cares would drift away, all dreams would not be held back. All adventures would be just beginning, if I went to the moon.

My imagination would be set free with every leaping step. I would only be lightly tethered so I could find my way back to my ship. I would write my journal each night after exploring for hours, if I went to the moon.

For me, this time I would return to my homeland, but then I couldn’t contain myself. My next journey would have to be thoughts of travel even beyond.

If I went to Mars, I can’t even explain my joy at the thought. It would be a new and ultimate flight, unending.

Viola LaBounty

***

I remember a long time ago watching early television when the stage character got mad at his wife and said, “One of these days Alice—pow! Straight to the Moon!” I was a little disturbed by that 1950’s comment, but it wasn’t the threat of injury that bothered me, but the fact how would she survive on the Moon? The Moon is a blistering cold place.

Nowadays, if you’re an astronaut, you can fly to the Moon and hop around in a protective suit. If I went to the Moon, I’d have to be younger and stronger to withstand the rocket’s G-force. Where would I stay once I got there?

Housing would be a problem. I’d have to wait another century for them to build habitats. The scientists say they want to cover a crater with a shield and build housing inside a dome. How will they make oxygen to breathe? Where will the food come from, or will Earth ship food to us until we can grow our own?

How much would the trip and boarding cost me? What kind of clothing would I wear? So much to think about.

Well, I’ll tell you this, I’m glad I’m at the age I am. I really don’t want to go to the Moon. I would rather look up at it on a summer day and admire the rabbit features an American Indian once told me about. She said the god wanted to protect the rabbit from the coyote, so he threw the rabbit up to the Moon. If you cock your head to the right side, you can see the outline of a rabbit. From Earth, I can see the Moon turn red and gold colors in the fall. If I went to the Moon, I’d never see all that.

(c)A.Nation2019

 

November 19, 2019 – Prompt – If You Want to Annoy Me Just . . .

Here we go again. The interview of some “important” celebrity is already annoying me. About every other word they say, “Ya know?” Now I’m screaming, “No! We don’t know. That’s why you are being interviewed — so we will know, you twit.”

I am also annoyed when officers in a movie or TV cop show are yelling at a suspect, “Get down on the ground! Get down on the ground!” The scene may be in an apartment on the 15th floor of the Vegas Marriott or similar location. The suspect has a clear choice: 1. Comply with the police and run to the balcony and jump; 2. Or they can ignore the order and drop to the floor. Either way they could get resisting arrest tacked on to their charges. There’s no ground anywhere fifteen floors up. Potting soil for the palms in the hall doesn’t count either. When the cop catches up to the suspect below where they’ve landed on sidewalk or pavement or grass, anywhere but “the ground,” the suspect has still ignored police orders. They should be subject to resisting arrest.

In movies and videos the blue uniformed horse soldiers arrive with bugle calls and flying flags to chase the attacking tribe away from circled wagons. Actors often shout, “We’re saved! The Calvary is here!” I am yet again very annoyed. That religious landmark cannot leap oceans to help them. They should have shouted, “cavalry.” It may help script writers and actors to learn and remember the correct word is derived from Spanish for horses.

If you want to annoy me enough to scream at you just do one of the previous or another from my long list, “Things that piss me off.”

Donavin Leckenby

*****

I am a person who comes to anger very slowly and when I do reach my boiling point, I don’t yell and scream, throw things, hurl curses and deplorable names at the person who has annoyed me. I stay extremely quiet and express my feeling with forceful words punctuated by silent emphasis.

One such occasion I recall occurred when I was working at St. Anthony’s in the Orthopedic surgery. When you arrived in the morning you got your assignment for the day.On this particular day my scrub tech, Alan was his name, and I had a case that was on the schedule for eight o’clock. We gathered our supplies and we took them to the operating room.

Now an aside when you get ready for a surgery you do not or did not open your sterile packs to early. We were notified that our case had been delayed so we left our packs unopened. Alan and I left the room the have coffee.

Twenty minutes later we went to our OR to find another scrub tech who wasn’t assigned to our cases opening our packs. Now as the circulating nurse I feel I am in charge of the room.

I don’t know what I said to her, but Alan later commented, “I hope I never make you mad.”

And I know I never raised my voice.

Christine Howard

November 12, 2019 – Prompt – One More Mile

Hattie didn’t like the back seat. She had always gotten sick in her tummy enough so that Aunt Pearl would never feed her anything with grease. But Aunt Pearl had forgotten today was the trip to visit cousin Louie.

Hattie burped. She could taste the sausage she’d eaten for breakfast. Aunt Pearl eyed her like a black crow at a roadkill. “Hold it child, just one more mile.”

The sun beamed out after weeks of rain. The cotton fields all in fancy rows, with full blooms spreading pollen throughout the community—causing havoc on running noses with nowhere to go.

Hattie burped again. She scooted near the side door and rolled the window down, slow and easy, so not to disturb Uncle Howard’s driving. The hot wind set cool on her face.

This week’s trip, much like last weeks had Billie and Jesse Mae kissing and smooching, sucking on each other’s earlobe every chance they can get.

Watching them was enough to make Hattie ill. She hates where she is, but at ten-years-old there isn’t much she can do to change the situation.

Someday—someday, soon.

She burped, feeling the grease crawling up trying to escape.

She swallowed. Oh, Lordy, give me  . . . one more mile. 

__ Suzie Hagen

 

November 5, 2019 – Prompt – River, Stone, Branch , Cloud

The reflection of the sky in the quiet and still lake showed one cloud as it floated on towards the river.   I traipsed knee-deep through the lake just because I could . . . stepping gingerly over the round rocks on my unshod feet . . . ouch . . .  A branch poked into my leg.   I wonder why I didn’t see it . . . the lake is so clear.   That was silly of me.   One would think I would have seen it.

What a beautiful day it is.   I breathe deeply and can smell the forest of pine trees, the sweetness of the grass; I can hear the sound of the water flowing down the rapids as the lake pours its soul through the rocks below.   Hear the birds?   I do . . . Tweet, tweet, tweet.   Oh, look at how they dance together.   There is a little one just chasing the hawk away.   I bet there is a nest over there, and the bird is protecting it from that hawk.    I love to watch them in action.    Oh look see the chipmunks scurrying in and out of that downed tree with the knotholes.   Chasing each other as if they have nothing else to do.  Oh look, he stopped, and another fell right into him.   Ha ha ha . . .  they make me smile.    Ah the love of wildlife and nature.   There is so much joy in the watching.

And now . . .  back to reality . . .  but I always have this to review in the avenue of my mind on another day.   I do that, you know.   I bring these memories out when I am having a bad day . . . they change my spirit into something bright.

 

-eileen detloff