Huffing and puffing, Cheryl never thought she’d be doing this. Hated the outdoors, liked looking at it, just not being in it. It had all started with a phone call.
“Hello, Ethel. Before you ask again, remember Caller ID. What’s up?”
“Birds! Let’s go Birding!!!”
“What in the hell are you talking about, Ethel? What’s ‘Birding’?”
“It’s where you look at birds. They’re really pretty, and you learn a lot.”
“Really? Just what are we going to learn? And how are you such an expert”
” I got a book at a yard sale, it’s all the rage now. You go out in the woods and look at birds. I’m going Saturday; please say you’ll come.”
So Cheryl, against her better judgment, agreed to go.
“Dammit, Ethel! Slow down! I don’t like this mud. I see one more barbwire fence, I’m quitting. Are you sure you know where we are?”
“Don’t be such a baby, of course, I know.”
“Well, all we’ve seen are brown birds, I haven’t learned a damn thing, and where’s the pretty ones in your book. I need a coffee.”
“I don’t know; I thought we’d see them. I think the road’s over there, I’m ready for coffee.”
🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦 🐦
I don’t think I’ve done a Sunday Photo Fiction before. My friend at Momus does and his will be SciFi, probably a star cruiser crashed in that field. When I saw this photo prompt, a story started writing. Go read Eric’s and the other SPF Stories also.
Best Friends… a story by Ula Grace
I was five years old when they moved in across the street. They had a little girl the same age as me, and I wanted to meet her so bad, but I was too shy. One day as I was playing in the street on my trike, I was riding it up and down the road in front of our houses, I fell over. I started crying and then there she was, kneeling next to me asking if I was ok. She leaned down and kissed my knee, “There. All better.” She said, smiling.
I looked up at her and smiled back, “Yeah, all better.”
From then on we were inseparable, we did everything together, I waited with her in hospital while her baby brother was being born. I held her hand on the first day of high school, as we walked through the doors, I helped her get ready for her first date, she was so excited. I was there when she came home that night; I was the one who comforted her when it all came crashing down. I was the first one who she told her biggest secret. I was the one who picked her up off the floor of the cafeteria, the one who dried her eyes and cleaned the cuts and bruises. I was the one who kissed all the wounds.
The one who kissed her lips and whispered, “All better.”
And I’m the one who has a diamond ring in my purse, the one who is desperately hoping that she will say yes.
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A short story by frequent contributor Ula Grace. Miss Grace is familiar to regulars as TedBook’s foreign correspondent and is the author of ‘The Cuban Diary’ found here. She attends Spring Street International School and is currently in the ninth grade.
The illustration of the little girl on the tricycle is by Tom Hessel
UGLY FRUIT? NO, GUAVA!
“No way am I trying that!”
“Come on Cheryl, its delicious. Don’t be such a baby.”
“I’m not a baby, Ethel, I just don’t like the looks of it.”
“But Guava’s rich in vitamin C and helps cure bad breath.”
“So, now you’re saying I have bad breath? That’s rich coming from you, Ethel.”
“No! I mean it’s good for you.”
“Never, it’s an ugly fruit.”
(My apologies to my friend Suzanne for not writing something Ghoulistic in my first post at the GGP)
The Prompt for Chimera 66 Micro-Fiction Challenge #4 is:
An edible pale orange tropical fruit with pink, juicy flesh and a strong, sweet aroma.
- • Challenge submissions must be fiction or poetry.
- • Submissions must be exactly 66 words.
- • Submissions must use the prompt as specified.
- • Submissions are written for this challenge, and do not pre-date the kickoff post.
- • One submission per spectre.
- • Please put lengthy explanations at the end of your post, not at the beginning.
- • Don’t forget to add the code for the challenge badge to your post.
- • And don’t forget to have fun!
- Here is where to find out about THE GRAMMAR GHOUL PRESS and read other stories… They are scary, not like mine.
THE BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB
“‘Diamond Jack had his hideout next to the Rattle Snake River’. Ethel, I’m not reading this trash?”
“It’s historical fiction, Cheryl. Set in the Old West.”
“Historical fiction, my ass! Look at the tv antenna on top of the house on the cover. How old is this West? Are they riding horses and robbing stagecoaches?”
“I haven’t gotten that far yet, they’re just hiding out.”
“Well, that’s what hideouts are for. When you signed us up for a book club, I thought we would be reading best sellers, not dime novels that cost $15. And you know I don’t like Westerns.”
“That’s not so, you like Clint Eastwood.”
“I love Clint Eastwood, but not because he was in Westerns.”
“Well you have to be in the book club. Just pretend he’s Diamond Jack and read the damn book! There’s sex too, and don’t tell me you don’t like sex. You read Lady Chatterley’s Lover.”
“That was historical, Ethel, no television antennas!”
Trying to make time to write some stories again and thought I’d try this group my friend E. A. Wicklund of Momus News writes with.
Here are the instructions… “Are you ready for Mondays Finish the Story challenge? This is a flash fiction challenge where we provide you with a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story.Your challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Don’t forget to use the opening sentence…“Diamond Jack had his hideout next to the Rattle Snake River”. Get creative and have fun finishing the story!”
Look here for other stories for this week’s… MONDAYS FINISH THE STORY
Photo by Barbara Beacham
MUCKING OUT …A Drabble for FriFic
At a brownstone in Wicker Park, the new apartment manager goes to work…
“Where do we start?”
“What do you mean?”
“What do you mean, ‘What do I mean’, Ethel? You asked for help, this place is a disaster! Who the hell was this Doug guy, look at this junk!”
“He was a sweet guy, very poetic, and he loved the sea. Did I tell you he was a submarine commander once?”
“Didn’t look the sailor type to me, Ethel, more of a mountain climber, and definitely not a poet.”
“That’s why he moved to Hawaii, to live on a mountain. Pick something out, Cheryl.”
“He took all the good stuff, Ethel!!!”
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A CAUTIONARY TALE
Cook County General… Chicago, Illinois… Room 317… 11:30p.m.
Everything hurt. Cheryl looked at her friend and that’s what she saw. And that is what she would probably say when she awoke.
It had all started with that damn PennySaver ad. “Why waste money on a repairman when You can fix it?” “Let us show you the easy way to Do-It-Yourself!” She had told Ethel there was no easy way, and that a few online classes wouldn’t make her an expert on fixing things. But Ethel had replaced the cord on her window shade and fixed her blender, though she was out of her protein shake phase, so she had to give her credit for that.
Earlier that day, Cheryl had just fixed lunch and was going to watch the Big Brother episode she had recorded when the phone rang.
“Is this Miss Cheryl?”
“Hi Dominic, why are you calling me?”
“It’s Miss Ethel. She is going to hospital and you should know.”
Cheryl shifted in her chair and continued filling out the crossword in the Trib. ‘What the hell was Ethel thinking? Well this should teach that do-gooder a lesson. Let the landlord fix the damn dryer.’ Cheryl immediately felt sorry for that thought. ‘But really, any damn fool knows you unplug something before working on it. It says so on the back of the machine. Maybe they didn’t teach that in their fix-it class.’
The nurse had looked grave when Cheryl got to the hospital. Nurse Betty explained that her friend had received a serious electrical shock, but was expected to live. She was sedated and would sleep for sometime, they would call when she was awake. The doctor hoped there would be no lasting effects, but you never know. Cheryl thanked her, and said she would wait with Ethel, if that was okay. ‘It would serve her right if she got one of those white streaks in her hair like Angela Lansbury had in that movie.’
Cheryl was wishing there was another bed in the room when Ethel moaned, stirred and her eyes popped open.
“Where am I? What are you doing here?”
“I’m doing my crossword while I wait for you to wake up. Your dryer repair job didn’t go so well. Do you remember what happened? How do you feel?”
“Ooh, everything hurts.”
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The Speakeasy is back from summer vacation!
- Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
- Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
- The following sentence must be the FIRST line in your submission: “Everything hurt.”
- You must also include a reference to the media prompt.
HOT STUFF… A Drabble for FriFic
In a brownstone three flights up… the sound of food being spit out.
“Good God, Ethel, what the hell is this?”
“It’s my new ‘culinary de force’, Cheryl. I’m bringing excitement to my cooking.”
“Excitement! Inedible, it’s so damn hot. I hope you meant ‘du jour’, because I don’t want to taste that again. And, don’t pull that pouty face with me! What did you put in that soup?”
“It’s my new thing. ‘Rooster Sauce!'”
Ethel proudly displays a bottle of Sriracha.
“Rooster sauce my ass, Ethel. There should be a Dragon on that label. One word… ‘Moderation'”
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The Speakeasy #159… THE LEPIDOPTERIST
Somewhere in Chicago a telephone rings…
“Hi, Ethel. Let me guess, we’re eating Mexican food today.”
“Si, mi hermana. Arturo’s is having a burrito sale. It’s on me.”
‘On me’ coming from Ethel meant she wanted something. Cheryl was proud of her friend for sticking with the Spanish class she had found in the PennySaver, but she was not about to tell her. Most of Ethel’s ‘projects’ lasted a week at best, and it had been a while since the ceramics fiasco.
“Let me guess. You have a new hobby.”
“You know how I’ve always been interested in Entomology, I’m going to be a Lepidopterist!”
“So now you’re taking Latin? What the hell are you talking about, Ethel, some English please?”
“A butterfly collector, Cheryl. I’m going to be a Butterfly Collector!”
“Okay, first of all, where are you going to find a butterfly in the city? Second, how does this involve me?”
“I’ve already collected one. You know how I can’t harm animals, I need you to stick the pin in when I mount it.”
“Oh right, the PETA thing. All right, I’ll do it, but only after Arturo’s.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Western & Armitage…
“Uno burrito pollo con extra salsa y beanos, por favor.”
“I’ll have a number seven, Arturo, thanks.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Later on the third floor of a brownstone in Wicker Park…
“It’s kind of drab and not very pretty, Ethel. I didn’t know you had a net, where did you find it?”
“I used a jar, Cheryl. It was on the back porch by the light. I don’t want to hurt it and besides those beady little eyes give me the creeps. That’s why you have to do it”
‘All right, give me the pin. Where do you want it?”
It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still.
“One thing, Ethel. I hate to break your butterfly bubble, but I’m pretty sure that’s a moth.”
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Speakeasy Managing Editor Suzanne Purkis has issued these instructions for this week’s entry in the writing contest:
- Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
- You must include the following sentence ANYWHERE in your submission: “It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still.”
- You must also include a reference to the media prompt. An American Silver Fox by John James Audubon
The sentence is courtesy of last week’s winner… A Z Gringa in the Bleached Bone Valley. Her story is called No Time For Patience… I loved it, and you will too.
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Incidentally, if ever in Chicago… Check out Arturo’s Tacos in Bucktown. Fond memories of fabulous burritos after closing the bars…
“This news does not satisfy me, Cheryl.”
“What’s that, Ethel?”
“Trifecta Writing Challenge is folding their tent. I loved the writers and their stories.”
“Me too. They won’t stop writing, we’ll find them.”
Here is this week’s prompt… Using the third definition, your piece must be exactly 33 words.
SATISFY (transitive verb)
1a : to carry out the terms of (as a contract) : discharge
b : to meet a financial obligation to
2: to make reparation to (an injured party) : indemnify
3a : to make happy : please
4a : convince
b : to put an end to (doubt or uncertainty) : dispel
5a : to conform to (as specifications) : be adequate to (an end in view)
This news does not satisfy me either. After three years, The Trifecta Writing Challenge comes to an end this month. The Brainchild of Lisa Harvey, TWC has been a solid weekly platform for writers to strut their stuff. Prompts always challenging and never boring, the number of writers submitting entries swelled, sometimes reaching 100. That’s a lot of stories. I don’t remember how I found TWC, but I’m glad I did. I had been writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers, many of who write stories here, and I got up my courage to submit a story to TWC… the cruciverbalist… was my first. I learned so much about writing and gained new confidence by reading and writing at The Trifecta Challenge. And, not only that, but I’ve made some good friends. I’ve started submitting some stories at yeah write and still take part in FF. I have fond memories of my time at TWC and thank the editors for all their hard work. I’m sure we’ll meet again. When I told Ethel and Cheryl they were not happy.