“Hi, it’s me, you’ll never guess what.”
“You didn’t guess.”
“Oh for Christ’s sake! How can I guess if you don’t at least give me a clue?”
“I got something from Gene in the mail.”
“I know Gene’s dead! But, I got a box from him.”
“He’s been gone for three years, so what’s in the box?”
“I think it’s Gene.”
“Open the box.”
“I’m afraid, can you come over?”
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“Evans Funeral Home sent it, not Gene, Ethel.”
“Where should we scatter him?”
“His favorite place of course, Lottie’s Pub.”
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Always fun when Rochelle chooses one of my photos for the prompt at FridayFictioneers. I took this when I was helping a friend move things to storage. It’s not Gene in the box, btw. To read other stories prompted by this image, click on the Frog…
The sight of the forty three couples entering the shabby ballroom caused a stir in the air from the gathering assembled to witness the dance competition. Times being hard, the promoter could not afford an orchestra so a needle was dropped on a record and at the sound of the waltz the couples began to dip and sway as they moved about gliding around the dance floor. Many in the audience had brought their lunch with them and some might return after work to see who was still dancing. It was something to do.
Bella was paired with Ronald a man she did not really know but who had done well at a marathon in Cleveland and she liked his profile in the newspaper photo, he had style like a sex symbol from the flickers. So Bella sent him a letter inviting him to be her partner. He thought Chicago was a step up so he had agreed sight unseen. He was not unhappy when he saw Bella.
The competition lasted almost four days (ninety-one hours and twenty-seven minutes to be exact) before Bella and Ronnie as she was now calling him outlasted the other dancers. She had to pull him up from the floor as his need to sleep was sudden. Bella desperately wanted a shower and a lime rickey, but they needed to collect their prize money first.
After handing Ronald the cash, the promoter suggested they could become an indissoluble couple and do well in the walkathons. He had an even bigger one planned next month at the White City amusement park and wanted to use them in the promotion, suggesting if they could pretend to be married that would be nice. Bella said she and Ronnie would think about it as she slipped the bills from his fingers.
To be continued… I am going to invite a friend of mine to write the next chapter. She knows the dancers in the photo.
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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie… This week Yves has challenged us to write a story using these words: Records, Sudden, Lime, Indissoluble, Anodyne, Pull, Sway, Gathering, Symbol, Sound, Style, Profile (I skipped Anodyne)
What do you mean ‘you call’
I can call if I want to
Aren’t you going to bet first
That’s a big bet, are you going to call now
I call, three queens
Three kings, you lose
Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT#197 Write a story or poem with just 41 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
Last week the Publisher of TedBook sent out the following letter to a recent guest author:
Today we received the following reply:
Her first assignment starts January 14th… Stay Tuned…
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Recent Posts by Miss Grace…
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I thought my friends at yeah write.me would like to meet the new Foreign Correspondent at TedBook. She leaves next week for a country not many Americans have visited. We are looking forward to her reports… internet availability willing. Here’s a few pics of past travels…
“Which way should we go?”
“Why ask me, you’re driving?”
“Yes, but you’re the navigator.”
“What do you mean I’m the navigator?”
“You’re sitting in the navigator’s seat. Use your phone thingy.
“I’m sitting here because you’re driving. ‘Siri!’ See she doesn’t answer.”
“You have to say ‘Hey Siri!!!’.”
“Hey Siri, you bitch, where’s the outlet mall?”
I won’t respond to that.
“You aren’t supposed to talk to Siri like that, she won’t help us.”
“This trip was your idea, Ethel, I’d think you’d know where you’re going.”
“I know where I’m going, which way left or right, dammit?”
To read all the stories prompted by Sandra’s photo, click on the frog…
“Hi, Cheryl, it’s me Ethel.”
“Don’t you think I know your voice by now, Ethel, you call me every day. What’s up?”
“What’s that Beatle song I like about the window? It’s my favorite”
“Ethel, you like all the Beatle songs, and if it’s your favorite why can’t you remember?”
“I have the tune stuck in my head but I can’t think of the words.”
“God you are a weird one, hum a few bars and maybe I’ll know.”
🎶 hum, hum, hum, hum, hum 🎶
“I know it! That’s the one Joe Cocker did too, The Bathroom Window song!”
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When I saw this photo prompt chosen by Nekneeraj for MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge #338 it made me think of a favorite song.
You can see other stories about this window here…
One by one the lights of the city block winked out, the dark coming ever closer. Do the insect sounds seem louder, you think so as a shroud of anxiety settles over you, bringing worry, it’s happening, you tried to tell them, no one would listen.
A cell pings, a text, but you can’t find it, you ask Alexa for help… “Find my phone!”
It’s Sylvia… Is this what you meant, are they here? The lab lost power, generator not working.
An overwhelming sense of loss takes over you as you find your SIG320, making sure it’s loaded.
One by one the lights of the city block winked out, the dark coming ever closer.
Dylan Hughes first line and the photo immediately spoke to me and I combined the two to write this 100 word flash fiction. Click the Frog to read the other First Line Friday Stories…
Kristy, looking to embalm the air,
chose a sandalwood fragrance,
knowing it would please him.
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Love a good flash fiction prompt, this is what I got, Kristiana.
Thank you the freeversererevolution inspiration.
Edwinna glared through her veil, watching the endless line filing by the casket containing her husband’s worthless body.
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Want to take part in the WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT#172 Write a story or poem with just 18 words, no more no less, and send it to Sammi Cox.
The Fifteen Mile House
But first, since Friday Fictioneers is all about fiction, I’ve asked Ula Grace if I could use the play she wrote about this house. For those who have followed my blog, they may remember that Ula was Tedbook’s Foreign Correspondent for many years. Now she is a student at Rutgers University (an honor student I might add… that’s what grandparents do) and in her living room, on their hearth, there is a ball and chain from Folsom Prison, she wanted to know all about the history. Here is the story she wrote for a creative writing class. I know it’s over 100 words, live with it…
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Prison Break… by Ula Grace
California, late 1880s. The barn at the Fifteen Mile House, not far from Folsom State Prison. A convict is attempting to saw through the chain holding the ball to the shackle around his ankle. He is wearing black and white prison stripes.
Whilhelmina Deterding walks into the barn. He doesn’t see her.
Convict: (muttering) Almost there, almost there…
Wilhelmina gasps and hides
Convict: (breaking through the metal) Finally!
He turns around and sees her
Convict: (still holding saw) Don’t scream. I won’t hurt you if you cooperate. I’m gonna need new clothes. You’re gonna find ‘em for me.
Wilhelmina: (pointing to the door of the tool shed) Th-there should be some clothes in there.
Convict: Go git ‘em for me.
Wilhelmina walks to the door of the shed. The convict follows behind. She reaches in and pulls out a pair of coveralls and a coat
Wilhelmina: (quietly) Are you from Folsom? How did you escape the chain gang?
Convict: (taking off his uniform) It’s better if you don’t know.
Wilhelmina averts her eyes as he strips and puts on the coveralls, leaving the striped uniform on the ground next to his shackle
Convict: I’m gonna leave now. Yer not to make a sound or a fuss til I do. Nor leave this barn til ten minutes after I leave, ya hear?
Wilhelmina: (to herself) What am I supposed to do with these prison rags…?
The Convict hears her as he leaves with the coat over his arm
Convict: (calling back) Make ‘em into a quilt or something!
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Well, Wilhelmina never did meet the prisoner in real life, but there really was one, and he did escape from Folsom Prison in the late 1800’s and cut off the chain attached to his leg to free him from the heavy ball in the barn at her ranch. He exchanged his striped uniform for a pair of coveralls and that supposedly made it’s way into a quilt she made.
The Fifteen Mile house was about 16 miles from Sacramento, California and was the second pony express stop from the city going east.
My Great-Great-Grandparents William and Wilhelmina Deterding came to this country from Germany in 1846, traveling across the plains in a covered wagon. They eventually established a ranch in 1857 near what is now the town of Folsom. They had 5 sons and 5 daughters and one of the daughters was my Great-Grandmother Matilda, she was born in that house. In addition to being a pony express stop, stage coaches would stop off there, travelers often staying overnight. Dances were held there too, judging by the ticket stubs we have.
A look at Wilhelmina and William in my sister Marja’s house today. In the center is a hair wreath she made in 1877. It would have been mine, but I made the mistake of wondering how much it might fetch on eBay within earshot of my mother.
We are fortunate to have an actual photograph of The Fifteen Mile House, and when I took a snap with my cell it took on an eerie appearance due to the reflection in the glass. “Perfect for Friday Fictioneers!”
Presently, across from this historical marker, a Costco stands in place of the old house.
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If you would like to read another story by a then 14 year old Ula Grace… Best Friends
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This week Rochelle choose my photo for the Friday Fictioneers writing prompt… always an honor. To read all the stories this old house prompted, click on the frog…