December 5, 2017 – Prompt – Pretend you are one of Santa’s elves. Write a journal entry about your day.

Everything was going wrong today. The toy manufacturing parts supplier was behind. The delivery vehicle was in for repairs, and they ran into difficulties that would take three more weeks to fix, and it is two days before Christmas. Several of the elves on Santa’s management team have called in sick. It was probably a result of the cold front that came in from the South Pole.

Who knows if there would be a traditional Christmas this year. All the Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s events have satisfied most of the Christmas wish lists for children in the US and probably around the world. Amazon is now offering free delivery anywhere in the entire world. How can Santa compete with that. I overheard Mrs. Claus urging Santa to retire since there was too much competition from online retailers. On top it, the ASPC has sent a cease and desist warning letter to Santa about mistreating reindeer. And NASA is concerned about the unauthorized use of airspace.

I guess that means that elves like me will be out of work. What business would hire a nine-hundred-year-old 3 foot 2 elf with no experience in the retail marketplace? Oh well … Ho Ho HO!

Linda Scott

*****

December, 26, 2016

So Christmas is over for another year. We overtime to build all those hover-boards, now we hear they are malfunctioning—catching on fire.

The big guy in the red suit is unhappy and searching for the culprit who assembled them improperly. That’s my area and I could lose my job before the day is over.

The bearded wonder was already in a bad mood because there was fog and snow on most of this trip and Rudolph had a cold and his nose wasn’t performing well. They had a few collisions with trees, chimneys and streetlights. Santa hit his head on a flashing yellow light and is dizzy this morning. He stumbled in to his bedroom and woke Mrs. Claus so she is in a foul mood too.

I think after I finish this I’ll write my letter of resignation. Maybe I can get a job with Jeff Bezos. I would think he can use help with all the orders he has to fill.

Mortimer Elf aka Chris Howard

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November 28, 2017 – Prompt – use Flee, Coffee and Tradition in your response

Flee, Coffee, Tradition

It is a good tradition to drink lots of coffee before attempting to flee from the bulls in Pamplona.

JL Lahey

*****

Cora’s tradition was to put salt in the coffee.
Not too many in the park liked that. It just wasn’t their thing.

Where it started was from Yuma’s water. Way before everyone decided, except for Cora, that desalted water was the “in” thing.

We all used to joke, “There was a process if you drank Yuma’s best outa the tap: first you go get the snippers, second find an indestructible tumbler, third open the faucet wide, fourth you let about five inches ooze out, more if you really liked the salt, fifth you snipped that off, and last you added distilled water and mixed vigorously.

Well that old joke didn’t go over well, and those who reacted unfavorably had to be ready to flee or face another tradition: a mild form of tar and feathering. Cora had frequently endured such festivities.

Afterward, she always replied to the inevitable question from someone in the mob, “What did you think of that?”

She’d retort, “Well except for the honor of the tar, feathers, and rail, I could have done without the ceremony!”

Cora still puts salt in her coffee, and that’s the way it comes for all guests at her home.

Donavin A. Leckenby

November 14, 2017 – Prompt – Write About a childhood Thanksgiving

Only one thanksgiving from when I was young, and I mean ten or under, stands out in my mind.

It wasn’t the meal itself that stands out; it was the people. It is the only Thanksgiving I remember with my grandmother; she passed away when I was twelve.

I remember sitting at the bar in her kitchen; I think I was 7 or 8. We made cut-out sugar cookies and decorated them, but they weren’t what I wanted to eat. I was holding out for the doo-dads.

My sister put olives on her fingers, but I wouldn’t because then I would have to eat them – no thanks.

We all sat down to eat – adults around the table, kids at the bar. I remember the loud rumble of my father’s laugh and the happy sounds of my grandmother in the never quiet chatter of twenty or more people.

It’s rarely the food or the event I remember – It’s the people, the laughter, the voices and bits and pieces of the stories they told.

Meleesa Stephens

*****

Thanksgiving was a time of cousins, older cousins, five even older cousins who were I thought, very cool, but also condescending.

They knew things — like dirty jokes told in my grandparents’ backyard. Bernalk, with one foot up on the cement block that was the base of the clothesline. Always the teller. Glen, Jeanette, Lucille, and Lloyd leaning in, snickering, guffawing, belly-laughing. Then Shushing, in case one of the adults heard and came around the corner.

They would watch me, my cousins, making sure I stayed in back by the dried up strawberry patch, out of earshot. Making sure I didn’t ask, during the middle of the turkey dinner being set out in my grandmother’s kitchen.

“Mom, what’s a rubber.”

Donna Costley

November 14, 2017 – Prompt – Tell about your first or best childhood friend

My best childhood friend was Nasilla Nnoc as she secretly called herself. Allison was my first memory of a special friend. We shared many horse experiences they were her favorite and the Beetles as they were popular in our teenage years. We both liked McCartney, but she told me I was to like George Harrison. We shared a friend called Wayne Halgarth.

We were opposite in some ways I was the oldest of six kids, and she was the youngest of two and her older sister was off to college and discovering the World. We did visit her older sister in Seattle, WA.

We met in an obscure small town named Elgin, in eastern Oregon in 4th grade and continued to keep in touch although we moved to different high schools in different states our freshman year. She introduced me to her boyfriend, and we shared him for a while, his name was Sam Valentine Brandt, he was an artist.

Allison and I got drunk on her father’s moonshine  given to him at the mill where he worked. It was in a Vodka bottle in her refrigerator, and we had it with tomato juice for breakfast one morning when I stayed with her.

We told her mom that we wanted to listen to the radio in the pickup. So we went out, and she decided we could drive it, I shifted gears, and she used the clutch, brake and gas pedals as we drove a couple of blocks and then back.

On a country road, we were greeted by the dogs of our farm friend we planned to visit. She turned to run, and I grabbed her and said, “We can’t run or they will chase us.” They kept coming but only followed us up the lane. I like to think I once taught her something.

We each married the first time, on the same day, but across the state from each other. I had called to invite her to my wedding. She came for a visit on her honeymoon.  I realized she was pregnant, but I did not tell her I was too. Our first children were born ten days apart.

Our friendship died over a letter she wrote about selling drugs while our children were in grade school.

I’d like to know how she is, as it’s been over forty years.

Carol Bouchard

*****

I was just about a year old, barely able to walk when I first saw him. He appeared to be a shadow moving in the corner of my vision. And then one day he stepped out of the shadows and looked me straight in the eye and said, “Hi my name is Georgie, will you be my friend?”

I didn’t know much about reality at age one, but I did suspect it was odd for a stuffed bunny to talk, much less to move on its own.

Since I didn’t talk at age one, I just listened to Georgie talk sing and dance to entertain me.

By the age of a year and a half, I was uttering words that Georgie would use. My mother and father were shocked when I blurted out the f-word. After all, I had no idea what it meant.

By the time I was ten my vocabulary had greatly expanded from other ten-year-olds. I learned the hard way which words were not acceptable. When I did use unacceptable words, I had my mouth washed out with soap. That happened so often my friends would call me Ivory.

Georgie stopped talking to me when I was 12. He and I got into a fight and ever since he pretended to be just a stuffed bunny.

Linda Scott

November 7, 2017 – Prompt – The Best or Worst Story From Your Childhood

A Child’s Story of Growth

1953. Fifteen years old.
That was the year we moved from Toronto to Miami.
From the moment my mother and I departed the bus, I was amazed, stunned, fascinated.
America.
The panoramas and the people were festive.
New experiences of joyous encounters around every corner.
Here are a few that I still recall (from that time some 65 years ago).
Pizza
No winter.
No drab streetcars.
Endless sunshine.
Girls with budding breasts and scant clothing.
Shiny cars, all new, washed and spotless.
Palm trees.
Glass buildings.
Astonishing varieties of foods.
Friendly teachers, and surprisingly helpful.
And many more wonders.
Only one of them distressing–how little they all knew about Canada.
My schoolmates were inquisitive, but their questions betrayed their ignorance.
It was as if they thought Canada was backward, uncultivated, possibly even barren.
They were helpful, thoughtful and comradely.
But they were also so ill-informed about other societies; nearby ones let alone distant ones.
How extraordinary.
Now that I am one, American, that is; I understand it better.
And having accumulated a few degrees here, I now know that the problem is a combination of education salted with a few sprinkles of arrogance.
And now that I’m one of them, American, that is, I’m keenly aware that I must eliminate that touch of arrogance from my mental constitution.
Why? You ask.
Because Arrogance is not a synonym for Greatness.

By Lloyd Rain 11/1/17

*****

She was the new girl on the block. She stood with her friends in her home’s front yard.

All of us boys were there: Rick on his black, BMX, Joe on his blue Huffy and me on my bright yellow, banana-seated bike.

We were, as twelve-year-olds often are, showing off trying our best to get her exclusive attention.

I got off my bike to climb the tree, as Joe had already done, followed by her little brother. I don’t remember what she said that made me stop climbing, but stop I did right under the tree.

When it started to rain, I am confused by the lack of clouds and the panic-stricken look on her face. She rushed me into her house and cleaned me up.

I should have thanked her little brother for my first kiss.

D.T. (Gray) Richoy

*****

My mother was a divorced single parent, and as a child, we moved around a lot. We finally settled in El Cajon, California. It was a farm community where she found work at the local diner. We believed that we had found our forever home. I loved it there; the people were so welcoming and kind.

Unexpectedly, in October 1955, my mother died, and I found myself homeless and penniless. It was the worst experience of my life.

I was very blessed to have five families offer me a home. One lady was the bookkeeper at the local High School. She and her husband offered me a home. I went to live with Mom and Pop Sherman, and they became my new family.

A couple of months later, Coach Carmichael called me in her office. She told me that someone had helped her out when she needed it. Now she wanted to return the favor by helping me. She offered to pay my tuition and books for four years so that I could attend San Diego State College.

My greatest loss became the greatest gift of my life. I was given a future.

Jean Dunstan

October 17, 2017 – Prompt – Smelly, Short, Number

Use the three words smelly, short, and number in prompt.

My yard needed cleaning, and the first thing I thought I’d start with was the old bricks and rocks next to my back porch. I turned over one of the bricks and awakened several short black and brown beetles that began scurrying around in all directions. They began smelling to high heaven. The vast number of them began crawling up my porch steps. Hopping over them, I raced up the steps and into my house to look for a can of insecticide.

Searching through one of the cupboards in the utility room, I spotted the can I needed. Other items crashed to the floor in my haste to withdraw the spray can out.

As I opened my back door, the creeping beetles began marching in over my threshold. I sprayed and sprayed as many as I could. Grabbing my broom, I swept the dying bodies to the ground outside and sprayed them again.

I looked to my right and spotted my shovel which leans against the outside wall of my home. Snatching the tool, I began shoveling the sheer numbers into the burn pile and lit a match.

I don’t know what kind of black beetles they were, but it was either them or me in my crusade. I wasn’t going to let them win.

Then, from the neighbor’s yard, a boy child walked over and asked, “Have you seen my bug experiment?”

©A. Nation-2017

 
WHAT SMELLS?
After a short vacation away, I walked into my kitchen, and something assaulted my nose.
“What is that smelly thing around here?” I said out loud.

Next thing I knew, hundreds of mice scurried around my feet. I jumped on the table without first stepping on the chair. I would have screamed if my voice had worked. After some minutes, I dare look where the mice came from.

The mystery was solved. My room-mate who I had not heard from for several weeks was lying in the pantry, her body mostly eaten away by the mice.

Ellynore Seybold, 10-17-2017

 

October 3, 2017 – Prompt – A Substance that generates ideas, a spy

I couldn’t believe there was actually a dime store in the tiny town of Hopewell.  It brought back a flood of memories from my childhood.  Inside I spied the sewing notions, the kitchen utensils and the books that were at least 50 years old, but what really caught my eye in the stationary section was a small Pink Pearl eraser. 

 My Pink Pearl eraser memory was the day I stole a 5¢ eraser from a five and dime store. When I was a girl you used to get school supplies the week before Labor Day and they were expected to last all year.  Because I was a perfectionist, I had already used up my eraser and I really wanted a new one.  Dad said, “No”.

 I carefully looked around the store to see if anyone was watching before I slipped an eraser into my pocket.  I had no idea I would still feel remorse fifty years later.

Sandra Thiesen

September 26, 2017 – Prompt-You Wake up in a Different City than the One you went to sleep in.

You wake up in the different city than the one you went to sleep in.

The story is as old as some vintage wine. I pass out in one place and wake up in another. That’s the usual version. However, the strange version is that I only had a sip of  wine. It was given to me by a weird looking man whose clothes seemed to be from a different era and his hair was as wild as the look in his eye. He grabbed me by the arm as I walked outside my office. At first he was incoherent. He didn’t make much sense. Eventually I calmed him down enough to discover he had this bottle of wine from some distant relative and I had to take it back to that relative who incidentally had the same name as mine.

That’s all I remember until this morning when I woke up in a room  familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. The sound of horses outside work me up and when I looked out it was like looking at my home from a distant century. A horse drawn carriage stopped in front and a younger version of that crazy man stepped out and headed toward the house.

Linda Scott

July 25, 2017 – Prompt – It was like the grain in a slab of wood or like the crash of waves.

Zuri held the worn piece of driftwood tight in one hand. Around her, the other exiles held mementos of their past: a rubber ball, a diamond ring, a fountain pen. From her seat on the rocky hill, she could look over the sand dunes below, forming rows like the grain in a slab of wood or waves nearing the shore of her hometown. She could almost pretend that she was home, waiting on the pier with her sister or exploring tidal pools with her brothers. She would be safe, secure, with her family around her, her parents alive, her friends close and her subjects adoring. But she would miss her new friends, the exiles from other kingdoms. She would miss the new experiences, new books, new training and learning and growth… and she would miss Glen. He was worth it–at least, he was when he was present when she hadn’t made an instant decision to watch after his wild sister. In times like this, without him, she just had to remember.

Christie Powell

*****

I had that headache again the one proceeding every encounter with a dead person’s spirit. It hit me like the crash of a tidal wave, a tsunami of torment and it left me feeling like I was drowning.

I struggled to get out of bed the pain intensified. I couldn’t focus my vision, the room blurred and a wavery figure appeared.

“Please,” she said. The voice was that of a young girl. The presence became a more distinct silhouette. I realized this spirit was a very young woman maybe even a teen. She had long hair worn in a French braid that fell to her waist, and she wore a dotted sundress.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Alison. I’m Alison Sharp.”

“How old are you Alison?”

She gave me a strange look as if she was searching her mind trying to remember.

“Seventeen.” She finally murmured. “I just turned seventeen. I’ll be a senior in high school this fall.” She smiled then frowned.

There’s more to this story I thought.

Christine Howard

(This week’s prompt from Robin Christensen)

 

July 18,2017 – Prompt – At the end of my life I considered my most significant accomplishment ?

At the end of my life, I considered my most significant accomplishment to be simply me——a woman.

It didn’t matter that I shouted my angst against the war in Vietnam.

It didn’t matter that I had protested, vehemently, Monsanto and Ford’s three-time bailout.

It didn’t matter that I had sold more lipstick than the other gals, and it didn’t even matter that I had won a car.

What mattered was that I built a home, wrote poetry, found refuge in my garden. I shared my wealth.

What really mattered is that I accepted the life he chose for himself–the way he wanted to live–and who he was meant to be.

Robin Christensen

*****

I woke to another dull day as usual.

Same daily routine, but I am nothing if not predictable.

Home, train, work, sometimes a stop at the store for necessities, on Payday’s, I sometimes grab a Pizza. Then of course it’s back home.

However, a startling interruption of reality as one of my neighbor’s was being attacked. I didn’t think, I just charged in, a mad rush of noise that made no real sense, the sharp smell of a brisk winter evening, but no real sense of anything else.

I can’t say how long it took, but the thug ran off.

My neighbor tells me the ambulance is coming.

I can only think, I am happy for the one day I lived.

J. Graymayne

(This weeks prompt contributed by Jeannie Browning)