Archive for January, 2012

The following story was written for #WeekendWritercize competition.  This week, the challenge was to “Use the published poem of your choice to inspire original prose.”  Given the specifications of the competition, this story also appears as a comment at that site.


The poem that I chose to use was the following:

Das Glück ist eine leichte Dirne
By Heinrich Heine

Good Fortune is a fickle hussy,
And can’t stay put long in one place;
She smoothes your hair back if it’s mussy,
A kiss – she’s gone without a trace

Dame Grief is quite the contrary:
She hugs you till you call it quits;
She says that she is in no hurry,
Sits by your bed, and knits and knits.

Here is the story:

“Fifty THOUSAND dollars!  That’s what I’m saying!  I am NOT just going to pump this back into the slots.  Time for me to go home.”

With that said, Kevin cashed in his tokens at the cashier and left the casino.  Fifty thou was a lot of money and he didn’t want to blow it all by hanging around any longer.  He checked out, got into his car and got onto the Atlantic City Expressway.

At the toll booth, there was only one car in front of him, but it was taking forever to go through.

“People never plan ahead,” he sighed.  “Can’t imagine what a mess this will be when the tolls go completely electronic.  Besides, that guy has a Mercedes!  Why does he have to fish for change?  Let me guess: he probably doesn’t carry anything that small.”

The car ahead began inching forward.  Kevin took his foot off the brake, but the other driver was still having trouble with the toll and hadn’t really moved.  The resulting “SMACK!” both maddened and sickened him.

“Hey, Buddy!” he shouted out through the window.  “Don’t you know how to use a toll booth?”

The driver of the Mercedes squeezed out of his door, walked around back and assessed the damage.  At the same time, Kevin got out of his Chevy to have a look.  By the time he got around front to see what had happened and to talk to the other driver, he had already calmed down.

The collision had dented the bumpers of each car, but it wasn’t anything major and there wasn’t any body damage.  Even so, Mercedes replacement parts aren’t cheap, so Kevin still seethed a bit, inside.

After taking pictures and exchanging phone numbers, license-plate numbers and insurance information, the two returned to their cars and drove off.  Kevin was still angry, but at least nobody was injured and it hadn’t been any worse.

By the time he reached his house, Kevin was just glad to get home, but something didn’t look right as he approached it.  Something was different about his house.  At first, it was so shocking that he hadn’t even noticed, but there were police card blocking off part of the street so that a large truck could back up.

That truck was backing up to HIS house to remove a large limb that had fallen from an overhanging tree and plummeted straight through his roof.

Kevin ran over to one of the officers.  “What happened to my house?”

“You’re Kevin Sanderson?”


“It’s a good thing you weren’t home.  Do you know if anyone else may have been inside?”

“No.  My wife and I just separated and she’s living with her folks.  It hasn’t been going well.”

“Well, I’m sorry to hear about your wife,” replied the officer.  “From what your neighbours have been saying, that tree had some pretty bad rot and it seems it just couldn’t hold up that big branch up any more.”

“Yeah, I have, uh, had someone scheduled to cut it down tomorrow.  Looks like I need a roofer now, instead.”

“I’ll say.  Do you have any idea how much those branches weigh?”

“Well, thank you for your help, officer.”

After finishing his conversation with the policeman, Kevin opened his car door and sat back down to watch the massive piece of wood be lifted off of his house.

“What a day,” he thought to himself.  “Good thing nothing else can happen, I’ll probably need to stay in a hotel until this has been fixed.”

As he sat there, helplessly taking in the scene, someone else came over to see him.

“Kevin Sanderson?” said the newcomer.


The newcomer presented Kevin with an envelope.

“You’ve been served.”

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#FiveSentenceFiction is a flash-fiction event hosted by Lillie McFerrin.  She provides a prompt and participants post five-sentence stories – inspired by the prompt in some way – on their blogs.  This week’s prompt is “clandestine” and here is my story:

The clandestine meeting had just come to a close and everyone was preparing to put the plan into action.  They scattered to various part of the grounds, making sure there were no traps or dogs and nobody who could interfere with the heist.  With everything and everyone in place, they began boldly yet furtively closing in on their prize.  Finally, they made the leap and carried out their objective.  Once again they had successfully emptied the birdfeeder and scampered off with its contents.

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Mom Always Knows

Timmy crept quietly into the room.  His little brother, Seth, was already sleeping soundly on the lower bunk and had no idea Tim was standing there.

Since Seth was sleeping right at the edge of the bed, Tim couldn’t resist pushing him off while climbing up to the top bunk.  As soon as he was up there, he pulled the covers over his head and pretended to be asleep as his brother began crying so loudly Tim thought the whole block could probably hear him.  Even so, Tim continued his fake sleep until their mother came into the room.

“What happened, Seth? Are you okay?”

Seth, who, by then, was sitting up on the floor but still wailing, answered, “I fell out of bed!”

His mother gently picked up Seth, placed him back onto the lower bunk, tucked him in and gave him a kiss.  Then she stood and faced the upper bunk.

“Timmy? Don’t make believe you’re asleep. I know you pushed Seth out of his bed.”

Tim, knowing there was no use trying to lie his way out of this one, said, “I’m sorry, Mom.”

“Don’t you think you should tell your brother something, as well?”

“I’m sorry I pushed you, Seth.”

By then, everyone was very tired and Seth went right to sleep again, anyway, so their mother thanked Tim for being honest, told him not to do it again, then tucked him in, kissed him good night and left the room.

The next morning, Tim woke up early and managed to climb out of the top bunk without disturbing Seth.  As he walked across the room to head toward the bathroom, he noticed something strange on top of his desk.  It was an eyeball!  In fact, it had been turning this way and that on the desk, scanning the room and had stopped moving as it looked right at him.

He screamed a shrill shriek that woke up his brother.  When Seth saw the eyeball, he started screaming, too.  They had often believed that some strange monster had been living in the closet, hiding under the bed or watching them as they slept but, for the first time, they could actually see it for themselves.  It wasn’t the gigantic, hairy kind of monster they had imagined, but only a single eyeball that was much smaller than either of them.  It scared them so horribly that their yelling continued.

Soon, their mother returned to the room.  This time, even though she certainly felt compassion for her two frightened little boys, she also seemed… Well, she actually seemed embarrassed about something.

She walked straight over to the desk and picked up the eyeball.

“Well, now you know,” she said to her scared and confused sons. I’ve TOLD you before that I have eyes in the back of my head.  How do you think I knew you pushed Seth out of bed, Tim?”

The two kept staring at their mother in disbelief, still not fully comprehending what she had just said.

She continued, “I’m sorry if this scared you, but I just wanted to make sure you two were okay last night.”

She opened her hand, raised the wayward eyeball up to the middle of the back of her head and popped it into place before moving toward the bedroom door.  As she walked out into the hallway, she turned back to them one more time.

“Now go get cleaned up and ready for school.  I’ll have breakfast ready soon.”


I would like to acknowledge Lisa McCourt Hollar (@jezri1) and her daughter, Rylie, for the inspiration for the eyeball in this story.

Their original story, “Emma Learns the Truth” is currently (as of the time of this comment) free for Kindle on Amazon.

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A Sunday Drive

There were lots of pedestrians today.  Kevin saw only one or two other vehicles and they were behind him.  Instead, people were walking on either side of him and even in front of him.  As the car pushed slowly forward, he turned the steering wheel to avoid someone who couldn’t have been more than a foot away.  Someone else walked by and Kevin turned the wheel in the other direction.  When he pushed the centre of the wheel for the horn, it didn’t make any sound, but the music that was playing continued.

The car kept on surging and the people kept on walking all around, but even though there were so many of them, none showed the slightest concern for the car – none really seemed to be in any danger.  In fact, one woman had been right beside the car the whole time, almost as though she were watching him.

Finally, the car came to a stop and Kevin looked out the open window at the woman.

“Mommy, may I go again?”

Kevin’s mother looked down, inserting two more quarters into the coin slots.

“Okay, Kevin, but we need to get home and make dinner for Daddy, soon, so this is the last time.”

Once again, the car started surging forward and back, the music started playing and Kevin was driving.  The horn never did work, but the people going back and forth in the mall continued their shopping without paying any attention at all to the car or its driver.

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The prompt for this week’s #FridayFictioneers was the following photo:


Here is my 100-word story based upon the prompt:

“Avast, mateys, where be yer treasure?” shouted my son.

“NOW what?” I wondered, scanning the mall to see where he had gone.

“Arrrrrrr!” he yelled and I found him, up in an unusual structure resembling a “crow’s nest,” swinging an imaginary sword.

“That’s the last pirate movie for him,” I thought.  Then I called up to him, “Danny! Get down here right now!”

“I am CAPTAIN Daniel Feherty!”

By now, everyone was watching Danny.  Looking at them, I shrugged.  Then, just as quickly as he had disappeared, Danny was right back beside me.

But how HAD he gotten up there?

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#NightgaleIn the #Nightgale Blog Challenge, we are to write stories regarding immortality or the lack thereof.  For January’s Thursdays, each participant will use the provided prompts (click the image, above, for more information) as the basis or inspiration for that week’s story.  This week’s prompt is “To Die and become one with Nature.” Here is my story:

Not in a box of pine or oak
when Death deals me his final stroke,
but lay me in the ground to lie
with nought but dirt twixt me and sky.

Another wish, I’ve none, just save
to rest within a simple grave,
for not a coffin nor an urn
could grant me what I truly yearn.

I long to end my time on Earth
in just the state I was at birth
unfettered by the worldly care
of thinking what I had to wear.

Though Time will rend me, head to feet,
and worms will, at my carcase eat,
I grudge them not for it befits
that I be torn to tiny bits.

Thou thinkest my request is crude?
Well, I’ve consumed my share of food
so I shall as a banquet be
and things I ate may feed on me.

The plants above me all will grow
because my corpse, to clay, shall go.
Nor any beast shall be denied
consuming my vacated hide.

My passing on will simply be
a handing forth of all that’s me –
a last donation to the soil,
upon the ceasing of my toil.

Shouldst thou have doubts about my choice,
I’ll point to Nature and rejoice
that through these things, by death, I may
become immortal in decay.

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#FiveSentenceFiction is a flash-fiction event hosted by Lillie McFerrin.  She provides a prompt and participants post five-sentence stories – inspired by the prompt in some way – on their blogs.  This week’s prompt is “radiance” and here is my story:

The radiance of the sun brightly illuminated the morning sky.  Some clouds appeared and the heat of the day grew.  A few people took shelter as the clouds approached.  Most of the people could not.  It all would have been an ideal picture of the beauty of the Earth had it actually been the sun and had the clouds actually belonged in the sky.

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The following story was written for the inaugural #WeekendWritercize competition, which asked people to “Pick a familiar fairy tale, throw out the happily ever after, and tell us what really happened!” but to “avoid violence and profanity.”  Given the specifications of the competition, this story also appears as a comment at that site.


Once upon a time, there was a man who made shoes.  Although he didn’t sell a lot of shoes, he usually did well enough to keep his family fed.  After a while, however, the economy became very bad and people stopped buying his shoes

Soon, the shoemaker was so poor that he had nothing left but just enough leather to make a single pair of shoes.  He cut out the leather, but it was getting late, so he went to bed, hoping that when he would make the shoes in the morning, someone would buy them.

In the morning, the shoemaker awoke to find a brand-new pair of shoes on his workbench, and they had been made from the leather that he had cut the night before.  He had no idea how it had happened, but before he could think about it for very long, a man walked into his shop, was very pleased with the quality of the shoes and even paid more than what the shoemaker normally would have asked.

With the money from the sale, the shoemaker was able to get a little something for his family to eat and just enough leather to make two pairs of shoes.  After dinner, he cut the leather and, as he had done the night before, grew sleepy and went to bed.

The next morning, as with the previous morning, he found that the leather he had cut had been made into perfectly crafted shoes.  Again, people came in and bought the shoes and he earned enough money to buy even more leather.

This process continued for quite some time.  The shoemaker would painstakingly cut all the leather as needed for the shoes, and then the shoes would, magically, be fully assembled by morning.  It went well enough that the shoemaker was no longer poor, but had done very well with his business.

Then, curious as to how the shoes were so mysteriously made, the shoemaker installed a security camera in his shop and watched what happened after he had cut out the leather at night.

When it was midnight, two small, homeless men, wearing what could only loosely be called clothing, entered the shop, sat down at the workbench and sewed, stitched and hammered all of the pieces into perfect shoes as the shoemaker watched them on his monitor.  As soon as they were done, they didn’t bother to tarry, but immediately ran out of the shop.

When the shoemaker and his wife saw the shoes, the next morning, knowing that the homeless little men had worked so hard to produce them, they decided that they would reward their workers by buying them clothing.  They also helped them rent an apartment with some of the money the sale of the shoes had brought in.

Over time, the shoemaker and his wife became very wealthy and their little helpers made a good living, as well, but things were about to change.  The rest of the country went through another bad economic period and the hard work the shoemaker and his helpers had put in was no longer a thing that people valued.

Instead, the rest of the people, calling themselves “the ninety-nine percent” and calling the shoemaker and others like him “the one percent,” began shouting and carrying signs that said, “Occupy Shoemaker Street.”

Ultimately, the shop had to shut down, the helpers became homeless again, and the shoemaker and his wife lost all that they had struggled so hard to save.  Thus, all lived miserably ever after.

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The prompt for this week’s #FridayFictioneers was the following photo:


Here is my 100-word story based upon the prompt:

“How did you like that last place, hon?” the husband asked his wife as they walked along.

“I’m not sure.  It WAS pretty, but it was kind of old and didn’t have much of a yard for the kids.”

The real-estate agent interrupted, “If that wasn’t your style, maybe you’ll like this place a little better.  It has a great yard and a wonderful view.  Of course, as you can see, it’s still under construction, but I assure you it would be a good investment.”

“Oh, darling!” the expectant squirrel said to her husband, “Isn’t this just adorable?  It’s perfect!”

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#NightgaleIn the #Nightgale Blog Challenge, we are to write stories regarding immortality or the lack thereof.  For January’s Thursdays, each participant will use the provided prompts (click the image, above, for more information) as the basis or inspiration for that week’s story.  This week’s prompt is “Immortality comes to you, you do not go to Immortality.” Here is my story:

The bargaining had begun just a little over three years ago.

“I would do anything to be famous,” the young musician had said.

Then one of his videos had become an overnight sensation on YouTube and even the pros had taken notice.

“I’d like be a star in the real world, touring all over, making real money, and idolised by young girls everywhere.”

Then an agent had signed him, records had been produced – and sold millions, and he had made TV appearances in many countries and cities – the teenage girls swooning wherever he went.

Now, as so many others, he had become intoxicated by the spotlight.  Reality and fantasy were no longer distinguishable.  Even his fans had difficulty discerning fact from fiction as he left the stage after his latest concert feeling the drunken rush that went along with the performance.

“I want to live FOREVER!”

“I’m sorry, that cannot be arranged.”

“But you said I could have ANYTHING!”

“Well, we DO still have to stick to the terms of our original contract.”

“We do?  What does that mean?”

The response was not verbal, but physical and he felt it full force.  Suddenly, he grabbed his chest and his face contorted into a mixture of fear, disbelief and despair – and then resignation as he fell to the floor, dead.

“Immortality comes to you, Mr. Bieber, you do not go to Immortality and appointments are currently closed.”

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