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Sunday Morning (Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge)

March 18, 2019

From Charli Mills, here’s the Carrot Ranch prompt for this week.

March 14, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a chisel. Use chisel as a noun or a verb. Think about what might be chiseled, who is chiseling. Be the chisel. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by March 19, 2019

Click the link, go there, write, read, relax, have fun!

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Sunday Morning

“Hey,” she says. “Trick or cheat.”


“Trick or cheat.”

“You mean ‘trick or treat’?”

“No, trick or cheat.”

“I don’t get it.”

“The crossword puzzle, doofus.”

“How many letters?”



“You sure?”

“Sure I’m sure. Don’t you trust me?”

“When I’m using a pen I don’t even trust Will Shortz. Wait… Fits, OK, I trust you.”

“As you should.”



“What’d you say?”


She gives me a sidelong glance. “You said something.”

“Your ears OK? I said I love you.”

She leaned over, kissed the top of my head. “That’s what I thought you said.”



Wheres the proof?

March 17, 2019

I was watching the Twins Spring Traing game against the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon and in the bottom of the 1st when the Twins took the field they put up this graphic –

It took me by surprise a little. I knew there was something odd, something weird, but it took me a sec to land on it.

So where’s the proof… reader?

By the way, the Twins lost a boring game 9-8.

In unrelated (and quite possibly uninteresting) news, I’m using the WordPress app to create this post on my phone. It’s not terribly difficult, but since I can’t do that double thumb typing I see everyone else doing, it’s not very much fun typing using just my index finger and it’s very slow.

For Better or Worse

March 14, 2019

From The Haunted Wordsmith is the Opposites Attract Challenge #11.

For this challenge, I provide one word and a list of its antonyms. The challenge is to use the prompt word AND one (or more) of its antonyms in some form of writing (or creative work). Explore the word and its opposite … challenge your creative side
Today’s word: glorify
Antonyms: abase, degrade, demean, humble, humiliate

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For Better or Worse

My husband. His name is Gus and he’s a bastard.

He degrades me at home. Criticizes my cooking, my housecleaning, my haircut, how I dress the kids. Humiliates me – and I shouldn’t even be telling you this – in the bedroom. Humbles me by contradicting my opinions when we’re out with friends or family. But get a few beers in him and he’ll glorify me with an arm around my shoulder and a smile and a kiss on the cheek. “My trophy,” he says to me and others.

His trophy.

Rinse and repeat, and I let it continue while I continue to abase myself day after day.

Week after week.

Year after year.

I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be venting to you.

Why do I stay? I used to tell myself I could change him, but I realized years ago that would never happen. No, he’s not easy to live with, but what am I supposed to do, pack a suitcase for me and the kids and just walk out? It’s not so simple to up and leave and there aren’t a lot of alternatives, you know? Plus he’s good to the kids. And I… well, even though it’s been a long time since he hit me, I don’t know what he’d do if I took the kids and left.

For better or worse, right?

Me and Gus.

For better or worse.

Lately he’s been taking to criticizing my garden. He tries to humble me by commenting on the lack of color. “No roses?” he says. “Don’t gals like roses?” He says, the white plants are boring and why don’t I cut back their huge leaves.

The “white plants” are my favorite but I don’t tell him that.

And the “huge leaves”, I don’t tell him why I don’t prune those back.

You see, his “white plants” have a name. I don’t tell him the plants are called conium maculatum because he’d just shake his head, laugh and walk away. I don’t tell him that funny named plant is actually Hemlock.

And I don’t tell him that the dinner he’ll be eating tonight will be filled with the seeds and leaves of that white plant.


“Imagine a Pine Tree” – Thich Nhat Hanh

March 13, 2019

Lion’s Roar magazine re-ran a very short article by Thich Nhat Hanh titled “Imagine a Pine Tree” and if you have a couple of minutes I think it’s worth checking out. The short article is his answer to a question on suffering; specifically what practices he recommends that might ease not only suffering due to physical pain, but suffering with the pain of despondency over the world . The answer, like everything he says, is not a simple solution. But, like everything he says, the answer is beautiful and it gives you something to pause and think about, and maybe try, and hopefully apply. Here’s a snippet of his answer (which hopefully doesn’t violate any copyright laws) – –

“Imagine a pine tree standing in the yard. If that pine tree were to ask us what it should do, what the maximum is a pine tree can do to help the world, our answer would be very clear: “You should be a beautiful, healthy pine tree. You help the world by being your best.” That is true for humans also. The basic thing we can do to help the world is to be healthy, solid, loving, and gentle to ourselves.”

I think the takeaway there is the last sentence – “The basic thing we can do to help the world is to be . . . gentle to ourselves.”

Are you gentle to yourself? Are you as gentle to yourself as you are to others?

If you visit the link above or follow this link you can read his full answer.

The Mouse

March 13, 2019

This little 99-word flash fiction is a response to Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Unfortunately, life – and a criminal misallocation of time – sometimes has a tendency to get in the way of the important stuff like reading and writing and that’s what happened this week and I missed yesterday’s deadline. Anyway, I kinda liked the story so I didn’t want to just file it away in the What Do I Do With These folder so I thought I’d post it. Click the links in the first sentence above and go read some of the stories from people who are not only good writers, but better time managers.

The March 7th prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse. It can be real, imagined, electronic or whiskered. Go where the prompt leads!

Tuesday’s Mouse

The mouse was dead.

There are four steps leading to the front door and the mouse was laying on the second. I saw the body when I returned from the store. Greyish brown and wrinkled, highlighted in a spotlight of sun. I thought it was an oak leaf and when I went to sweep it away with my shoe I saw that the stem was a tail.

And then I saw the face. He looked, I don’t know. Calm?

Seeing him made me feel sad; surprisingly, not frightened. It felt odd, that feeling of not having to be scared.



The Hunter (March Speculative Fiction Prompt)

March 12, 2019

I’m happy I bloggled (another word for “stumbled”) onto D. Wallace Peach’s blog, Myths of the Mirror, because I found she has a cool monthly writing prompt. The photo prompt below is the March Speculative Fiction Prompt and you can read or play along simply by clicking the link.

Here’s the photo and my story is below.


pixabay image by Natan Vance


The Hunter

Pris Hulden was a Cleaner.

At 12-years-old he was too young to be trusted as a Watcher and much too young to given the responsibility of a flash pistol and the duties of a Hunter, so his role in the family, for at least the next three years, was as a Cleaner. When Pris turned 15 – assuming he lived to age 15 – and was able to prove himself to the Heads, Pris’ role would change and with luck he’d become a Hunter.

Taking his place in the family and becoming a Hunter, strutting in parade past the Growns. Marching with pride past the Watchers, and even the Heads, hearing the young Cleaners who wanted to grow up to be him chatter when he walked past; holding back his smile as he cast sidelong glances at the girls who would paint themselves yellow and red to catch his attention, that was his dream. And it was that dream that filled Pris’ adolescent head. If he was luckless at 15 and couldn’t pass the Proving he would be banished from the Family. Pris never let himself think about that.

Strong-willed and persistent Pris had a difficult time taking no for an answer and those three years in his mind might as well have been 30 which was much too long for a headstrong boy to wait. To pass the time and prepare himself, whatever free time Pris had would be spent practicing the fighting skills of the Growns, and in particular, the Hunters because they got to use flash pistols.

Pris’ brother Eerin was a Hunter and as such he was allowed a flash pistol. Pris knew where Eerin kept his weapon and on the 23rd of Sanrom, when Aurora was low in the sky and blocking the light of Kimbder – and Eerin was deep in the bed of Ferline – Pris took his brother’s flash pistol and went out into the dark.

He walked slow and kept to the shadows of the buildings in the Dead Area. Anxiety and common sense teamed to rob him of the thrill of being an imaginary Hunter and they kept him from walking too far from his home; he was young, but not a fool. Soon he was standing in the shadow of the deepest recess he could find among the dead buildings. He was chilled despite the Sanrom heat and as he was trying to slow his breathing and calm his racing heart he saw her walking down the street.

She’s young, he thought. Younger even than me! I wonder what she’s doing outside? He moved an inch to his left to try and get a better look at her and see if her body was painted and the girl heard the shuffle of his foot and froze.

“Hello?” she said. “Who’s there?” She waited, heard nothing and took a few shaky steps forward. Stopping again: “Hello?”

Pris heard the quiver in her voice. She’s scared. More scared than me, he thought. No, I’m not scared, I’m a Hunter, he reminded himself. Then, Maybe I could help her? Or . . . but before he could finish the thought something, some instinct from deep inside him, something that had been gestating for generations rose to the surface and he felt his heartbeat slow and his body warm. He felt his body grow skyward and his shoulders broaden with confidence. He felt his hand close tightly around the grip of Eerin’s flash pistol and he felt his finger coil around the trigger. He felt his feet move him forward out of the shadows until he stood directly in front of the girl.

“Who are you?” she said. “I didn’t expect the eclipse and I think I’m lost. Will you–”

Pris raised the flash pistol and without hesitation shot the girl in the chest. He watched without feeling as she crumpled to the ground. He walked to the girl, pushing the barrel of the flash pistol into the waistband of his pants. He bent down and picked the girl up and hoisted her over his shoulder and turned toward home. With no worries or thoughts of staying in the shadows he began walking down the middle of the street.

“Tonight,” he said with a new depth in his voice. “The Family eats.”


An Old Blogger

March 11, 2019

I received the badge thingee down there from WordPress this afternoon congratulating me on my 10th anniversary as a WordPress blogger.

Ten years, wow. I guess I’m an old blogger.

No need to feel old though, I’ll take solace in this quote from Franz Kafka who was some Russian guy who wrote stories and books and stuff.: “Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”

If you’re interested, the first post I wrote here 10 years ago today was a movie review for Dalkomhan Insaeng (A Bittersweet Life) and you can find it if you click on the word “HERE” which is, coincidentally, right HERE. And if you watch that movie and like it, then the director, Jee-woon Kim, directed two other movies that I thought were pretty good: “The Good The Bad The Weird”, and “I Saw The Devil”.

So here’s to 10 years and here’s to feeling groovy.


  1. 10 Year Anniversary Achievement
    Happy Anniversary with!
    You registered on 10 years ago.
    Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.




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