I turned my head to see who was speaking. There wasn’t anyone near me except the llama. I shook my head and took another sip of my coffee. I sighed as I savored the delectable brew.
“I put coffee in my coffee, today. So what are your plans for the day,” asked the llama chuckling at his wittiness.
“I’m going to…. ” I sprang up from the bench. There’s no way a llama could talk. “Who’s playing practical jokes?” I looked under the bench for a speaker, or a microphone. Anything to explain the voice but I discovered nothing or no one. This is bonkers. I must be losing my mind.
“You’re going where? Is it somewhere fun?”
“No, it’s not fun. I’m going to the hospital to get my Botox injections.”
“Oh, are there a lot of needles involved?”
” How are you talking? Llamas don’t talk.”
“Who says llamas don’t talk. We talk all the time. I believe you’re misinformed. “
I slugged back my coffee. ” I need to leave or I’ll be late. Have a good day.”
“Hey could you answer one question before you leave. Do you think someone will look at me the same way I look at coffee?”
I scurried away but not without turning back several times. The llama continued to sip his coffee on the bench. I couldn’t help but wonder what was in my coffee.
Having migraines with aura’s makes writing and reading challenging. Unfortunately, this past three days have been even more so difficult with an earache on top of the migraine for the last four days. Yesterday, I tried Hyland’s earache drops. Day one was still painful as all get out but I’m happy to say day two is much better. I still have the migraine but tomorrow relief is in sight, I get my shots.
The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.
All night there isn't a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.
My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I'll not be knowing;
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
No matter where it's going.
Lily stood watching the train disappear on the horizon and vowed that one of the times when the train left she would be on it. Her good friend, Sally, laughed and shoved her shoulder before sauntering off. “Get real, Lily.”
Lily shrugged her friend’s negativity aside. No way was she going to let anyone keep her in this no-where town one second longer. She hated living in Trenton. It sucked the life out of everyone that lived there. Just look at her friend, Sally knocked up with her second child. That worthless boyfriend of hers doesn’t keep a job for longer than to get another fix. Sally has more excuses than the dictionary has definitions. But it doesn’t matter, she’s living at her parent’s home, taking care of a toddler with another child on the way.
Lily glanced at her phone, noting the time. She scurried home to get into her uniform. She hated the smell of grease, french fries and onions. The smells had soaked into her clothing no matter how many times she washed them , Lily ‘s room even with clean uniforms reeked of fast food.
She glanced under her mattress to check her stash. The crumpled bills totaled sixteen hundred dollars. She needed two more paydays to have enough but she wasn’t sure her sanity would last that long or that the girl would hold the room for her. Lily was scared that Judy would find another taker before she could scrap the required funds. There had to be a way she could get the money sooner but how. Lily made another vow, she was never going to be poor again after this.
Lily drudged through another shift at grease central. It was all she could do not to tell her boss where the sun shone but she didn’t. She dodged groping hands on her way home from the neighborhood homies before collapsing on her bed. She reached under the mattress to reassure herself the stash was still there before falling asleep.
Clenching her exhausted eyes shut from the sun’s daggers Lily pondered every angle of her plan. The train ride was one hundred dollars, and the apartment was twelve hundred leaving her a measly three hundred to live on until she got a job. What if she didn’t get one. She didn’t have enough to cover month number two. But, if she waited the room could disappear, and then she wouldn’t have a place to stay while she got a job. Lily knew she was running on fumes. Go or stay?
Go. Nothing was going to stop her from chasing her dream. She threw her clothes into a bag. Lily grabbed a couple of bracelets, her teddy bear and her toiletries. She decided to leave her Mom, a lipstick heart on the mirror before leaving the room. She closed the door but then realized that she hadn’t grabbed her stash from under the mattress. She took a deep breath and closed the door on this life.
Lily walked to the train station. She purchased a one way ticket to Manhattan. She smiled thinking the city that never sleeps will soon be home. She looked back at Trenton’s skyline, her Momma was going to be heartbroken. The train whistle snapped her back into the moment. It’s now or never.
“Letting go of the past means opening up to the future, and sometimes the unknown is scarier than the past.”― Tamara Lechner
The mice scattered across the IPad screen and Macavity’s attention was captured. His head bobbled with the mice’s movement until one mouse touched another and squeaked. He jumped back like he had been bitten. He glanced everywhere for the assailant before moving closer again. His hunched body ready for whatever the mice did next. Macavity inched closer to analyze the situation. Another shriek from a mouse. He had to know where the mice were. He pawed the IPad edge in search of the mice before gingerly placing his paw upon the screen. He captured a mouse. Yay, his mission accomplished.
Let’s discuss your biggest concern first and then get to the others.
Your new friend Jimmy, he’s insecure like you are in the ever- changing world of the early 70’s. I know you didn’t consider how fragile male egos are when you stepped into the fiasco that changed the dynamics of your friendship. Insecure white boys bullying the only black boy in a predominantly white school. You couldn’t let three of them hurt your friend, that’s not your nature. In retrospect, you should haven’t gotten help from an adult. But that’s also your nature since the adults you know are unreliable.
It was difficult for Jimmy to have his ego bruised like that. Pretend for a few minutes that you were him, having a white girl jump right into a fight and beat the boys up that you were losing too. You would’ve been embarrassed as all get out too. I’m sure when you weren’t around them tormented him more about having a white girl fight his battles.
Jimmy felt victimized by the bullies and unfortunately you added to the picture. It’s hard for a boy even a man to be rescued by a girl. Sometimes, girl instead of jumping head first into the mess you need to look at the bigger picture. I was and still am very proud of your loyalty to your friends. You’re a fierce warrior.
But then that also was the same thing with that guy Richie, deep down I think you knew he wasn’t going to be there for the long run. He said all the things you needed to hear because he played on your vulnerabilities. He knew about your home situation with abusive alcoholic parents so it was easy for him to seduce you. I know it’s hard to look at things cynically when you’re young but making a pros and cons list has served the adult you very well. Look at the bigger picture and what every angle really is before letting your heart and body get involved.
I’ve stared at this prompt for over an hour nothing comes to mind but I am stubborn so here goes.
The nuns of St. Leon Abbey gathered in the meadow after Mother Superior rang the end of day bell. They paced nervously waiting for the monks from St. Mark Abbey to join them. Both had competed in this odd game of chance by a secret contest that offered them special gifts they coveted from their lives before them went to the abbey. Like one nun, really missed wearing lip stick. Her lips were always dry without the silky gloss. She was ecstatic to find 6 tubes with her name on in her room after winning the challenge. The monks were really annoyed with her winning streak but oh well, she chuckled happily. Mother Superior couldn’t see the invisible gloss at all. In fact, everything they won in the challenges was invisible to their superiors. No one understood how the magic worked, they just accepted it was happening.
But then came the message, that they had to pay a token for the new challenge. What was the token? Why now? None of the other challenges had a token attached. The nuns and monks agreed there was an implied risk now but they couldn’t pin what specifically made them feel like the game had changed. They discussed everything they gained since the first challenge was offered. It had been so much fun competing against each other especially knowing their superiors were none the wiser.
Life at the abbey, was extremely boring. Same old routines, same old food, for that matter same old clothes until their secret benefactor proposed a way for them to have material pleasures without consequences. It was by mutual decision to accept the additional risk by both sides. How bad could it be?
A card appeared in the morning on the altar stating what the additional token would be if they chose to proceed. The nuns decided to look at what they were competing to win. A garden of vegetables and fruit that abundantly produced in all seasons. The nuns agreed never having food shortages was worth the risk. They had to beat the monks. At the same time, the monks were having similar discussions about taking the risk. Food was huge at both abbeys.
Eating once a day might work for their superiors but both the monks and nuns were tired of a grumbling tummy before bed at night.
Neither dared open the other card until they met in the meadow after the night bell rang. They scurried through the days mundane tasks ignoring the hunger. The thought of having ample food made their suffering fade.
The nuns and monks opened the risk card together. There were four levels to the challenge. What made this different from the other challenges was on each level the loser sacrificed their soul. The silence mocked them. Accept or decline. They had never declined but then there had never been a risk like this. Both agreed hunger was a great motivator. Each side secretly agreed they weren’t going to lose. In the morning, the first quest appeared stating each side must choose a competitor to complete a spiritual quest. There are trinkets that must be collected before they return. Suzanne was chosen by the nuns and David by the monks. They were young, energetic and competitive.
Suzanne didn’t return by the time the Mother Superior rang the night bell. The nuns rushed to the meadow, hoping David would be missing as well. David and the monks were waiting for the nuns. David quickly produced the selenite, the grapes, and the book. David handed the book to Naill. He opened the book, to discover it wasn’t actually a book but a cover for a glass box. Naill lifted the glass box out so everyone could see.
“Suzanne! ” The nuns screamed in horror. Their beloved sister was trapped inside the glass box. A note fell beside Naill’s foot. David picked it up and read it. “Soul number one has been collected.”
The jarring dead silence was like a hopeless black void that swallowed them all. This was real. Both sides decided to end the challenge, they would find another way to get the extra food needed to feed them all.
No one slept well that night especially the nuns. They knew Mother Superior was going to ask where Suzanne was. Sneaking around after dark was one thing but thus far they hadn’t lied until now. They couldn’t tell the Mother Superior the truth.
The note on the altar was quickly grabbed before Mother Superior saw it. The nuns feverishly prayed Mother Superior wouldn’t notice the missing nun. The cards fell in their favor for now. Once Mother Superior headed to her office, they huddled to read the note from their mysterious benefactor. “One task was completed, three to go. Declining the challenge will cost both sides more souls than the four potential souls.”
What did he mean more souls at risk? The nuns sent a message to the monks to inquire if they received the same message. They tried to focus on their cleaning tasks. Hours had passed since Sister Heather left, she should have returned by now. Where was she? As soon as the bell rang they fled to the meadow.
The monks shackled by fear watched the nuns reaction to the two books lying on the log. The books were identical to the one that held Suzanne. Neither group had the confidence to open the book. The thought of opening the books made them nauseous. They knew something had to be done, but what. How do they get out of this nightmare?
Write a story that doesn’t use unhappiness as its narrative catalyst. That is to say, write a happy story, one that is textured, interesting, not overly sentimental, but that is at its core, a happy story, however, you choose to imagine that.
Macavity sprang from the floor to the back of the couch and on up to the shelf overlooking the landing. He batted the crystal heart suncatcher and then tried to capture the light reflections on the wall. His gleaming yellow eyes wide open with the thinnest black lines were more stunning to me then the heart’s glass center. He became distraught when the reflection vanished with his body movement. He spun his head in every direction seeking the vanished colorful prisms
He meowed in protest and then leapt to my chair. I took advantage of the moment and snuggled with Macavity. He nestled in briefly but then noticed the light reflecting on the wall again. He sprung back to the shelf in pursuit of the mysterious light.
Write an interview with a character who invented something that changed the world…years after the change took place.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Cavanaugh. Thank you for making time to respond to my inquiry about your updated article on January 13, 2021 about blow-up dolls.”
“My pleasure, Ms. Crain.”
” In the article, you indicated that blow-up dolls have been around since the 17th century, yet no one has claimed credit for being the creator.”
“Yes, the first documented proof is linked to Dutch sailors in the 17th century who used a doll made of cloth to relieve sexual tension during long sea voyages.”
“Interesting. Is there more documented proof of their existence?”
“The first recorded blow up doll appeared in psychiatrists Iwan Bloch’s book, “The Sexual Life of Our Time”. His book was published in 1908, described the doll to be used for sexual purposes.”
“There was speculation that Adolf Hitler ordered sex dolls for his German troops to keep the men away from Parisian brothels. Is that true?”
Mr. Cavanaugh rolled his eyes and cleared his throat before responding. “Yes, there is indeed speculation but upon further study there isn’t proof of this actually happening.”
“When did blow-up dolls become familiar to the general public?”
“After the sexual revolution of the late sixties, advertisements began to appear in magazines which allowed men and women to select dolls with different hair colors and styles to suit the customer’s desires. Over time the blow-up dolls have become realistic looking and multi-functional offering an interesting sexual experience.”
“Why do you think they’ve gained in popularity?”
“The best thing about blow-up sex dolls is that they provide the most realistic sex experience possible with a sex toy. These are popular among those who are into fantasy games, and also prove to be the perfect gift to a passionate friend.”
“The prices vary drastically by the quality and appearance. One can expect to spend from around one hundred dollars to five thousand dollars. “
“Geez, that’s crazy!”
“It comes down to how much realism you want to have with your sexual pleasure.”
“Thank you, Mr. Cavanaugh for your time.”
“Feel free to reach out anytime if you have questions about blow-up dolls.”
The house that never stops giving, and people that push buttons continuously. The buyer withdrew again based on potential risks by the home inspection like our roof is showing age. Well, yes it is fourteen years old, it was replaced by the previous owner because it was leaking. He didn’t replace the inside rafters so they show water damage. But inside there is no water damage presently and there was none visible at the time. He also pointed all there was no barrier between the wood and the stone. Well, that is true. There isn’t a house in this development that has barriers, they weren’t required when this development was built.
Thankfully, the town occupancy inspector didn’t flag any of these issues so now it’s back to square one. Whatever that is? Our realtor is considering what he thinks should be our next step. All I know for sure I don’t want this buyer back in the picture. She’s offered, withdrew and then re-offered. I didn’t trust her and after seeing her in person I knew my gardens would never be loved as I hoped them to be. Gardeners know gardeners.
Reading the report, our house isn’t sloped enough, we sit on the highest elevation and never have standing water on our property but could possibly. Love all the possibilities, yeah lightning could strike our house tomorrow too!
Oh yeah, let’s not forget the carpenter bees buzzing around. Yes, the neighbor’s house has a nest in her roof but we’re penalized on the report because she has chosen to be neglectful. Seriously, we have no holes, no nests on our home. We did a thorough inspection after the pest guy commented on the bees. Brought it to the attention of the Architectural committee in our development. I think the HOA should absorb the cost because they do all the other pest management. What’s one more pest.
Do we write a rebuttal to the inspection or simply ignore it? Afterall, home inspectors make their money finding every possible flaw for the buyer. But seriously the things listed are ludicrous. All he did was give her an easy out. If she had seen the real beauty in our home she would have wanted it. Her loss.
Our electrical friend is putting the gfi needed in the kitchen this afternoon. That’s what the town inspector asked of us so we’re doing it. He was really nice unlike the buyers inspectors. I wonder does rudeness as an added bonus come with the inspection because he definitely had that covered and then some.
I pruned the rosebush on the back side because it was leaning into the neighbors walkway. I take my responsibilities as a neighbor seriously. They were budding last year at Mother’s Day but I don’t think they’ll be this year. The leaves are all a glorious red edge but no sign of new buds yet. I wasn’t sure I would have another season with them but looks like I will. I’ve shown pictures in other blog entries, the roses do really well here especially with the homebrew I give them regularly. Coffee grounds, chopped banana skins and crushed eggshells aka nitrogen, potassium and calcium all the things they need to flourish. I don’t believe in buying chemicals for my gardens, I try to be organic as much as possible.
Going to put some of the beer a friend left here last fall in aluminum pie pans to take care of the slugs that invade the hostas every year. I’m sure that’s not what Michelob intended for their product but it works for me. I’m not a beer drinker so she shouldn’t have left it either but she did so its not getting a new location. May have to put some out again after the rain clears out. If only the weather report was accurate but it hasn’t been yet this week and I don’t want the slugs to weaken my plants.
I did the six minute challenge earlier today with a bird picture. It was a stunning green with a red beak and a black mask around its eyes. None of the birds that come to our feeders in the back have that bold of a coloring except the American goldfinch with its vibrant yellow. Even the red-bellied woodpecker is dull in comparison to the picture chosen for the prompt. I love birdwatching. I was excited that we would have different birds to watch in Las Vegas area. I know we’ll get there just not with this buyer.
I will give Ms. Mediratta credit, sitting down to write 1000 words in one setting is definitely challenging for a woman who typically writes poetry. I know I will be thankful down the road for the experience but right now I feel like I’m pulling my hair out. One hundred and fifty more words to go. I know some writers set a time schedule and others a word count. I’ve always focused on the poetic feeling as to my ending. Not sure I can pull a poetic ending out of this narrative. Nor could I come up with a story I wanted to explore today as a response. Just too much stress coming from all directions.
Only good news of the day is James is doing better after his surgery. He’s not really into my scene/ beliefs but I did light a candle for him and ask the Goddess to keep him safe. That’s what friends do. I was reminded again today that all people come with good and bad. I’m very aware of that but I’m also aware of my limit or tolerance. I’ve been biting my tongue for a very long time even though this person did a very nice gesture when I was first had the health scare but unfortunately the things since don’t balance for me. It was also noted how judgmental as leaders we are if we don’t like someone how they need to go and why others haven’t been asked to leave who are mutually annoying well that has almost happened and may yet. But then there’s also the question who will take the group once I have relocated as in person leadership. Lots of things in the undercurrent, that are going to need answers. Among one of them is my needs versus theirs.
I look at the situation like a cut on my finger and see it as a metaphor for the world, how long do I let it bleed or do I simply bind it off and wait to see if time heals it.
Sorry my ending isn’t verbatim but it works for me. 1152 w/c
A stunning green bird with a red beak and a black mask landed on my deck rail this morning. I said good morning and went back to sipping my coffee. He decided that I was harmless because he moved closer to me. I decided to ask him, “how are you?
He said, ” As a matter of fact, I’m irritated with the lack of variety of birds in this area. All that seem to come around your feeder are rather boring looking birds. None are vibrant like me.”
I spilled my coffee on the front of me before responding back. “What’s wrong with brown, gray, yellow, blue and black? I love seeing the nuthatches, chick-a-dees, blue-jays, crows, blackbirds, robins, finches, juncos, sparrows. “
“Ah, you’re a bird fan, but I bet you don’t know what kind of bird I am?”
” Are you a parrot?”
With that he flew off, leaving me to wonder what kind of bird he was.