INVITATION TO TAKE A RIDE… A Non-fiction Drabble
Checking my mail. The usual holiday catalogs. Here’s one from Figis wanting me to buy fruitcake. No checks or bills, so that kind of evens out. Wait a bit, here’s a brown envelope postmarked Seattle. What’s really odd, is the way they did the address… letters cut out from something… addressed to ted strutz. Maybe some new advertising gimmick to catch the eye. Inside, letters attached to a paper bag.
Walk on to the 8:05 ferry
on December 4th
Prepare to b gone all night
don’t forget your hearing aids
don’t ax questions
You think I’m kidding?
You can imagine my surprise when I saw this week’s Friday Fictioneer’s photo prompt. It was one I had taken, and Rochelle-Wisoff Fields had chosen it to be this week’s inspiration for some 100 Word Flash Fiction. I wanted to wait till Friday was almost over to explain the photo and not influence any of the Fictioneer’s writings. It has been fun to read the different takes the photo evoked, and you can see them by going to the Fictioneer’s link page. As of now, 81 writers have linked their stories… I’ll be #82.
There are two types of ferries that service the San Juan Islands in the state of Washington. Located at the top of Puget Sound, in what is called The Salish Sea. The San Juan Islands consist of something like 172 islands, some no more than a rock… but since it is always above water, it’s officially an island. I live on San Juan Island… it was named for an explorer called Juan… and is the county seat. I live in Friday Harbor, which may or not have been named for an indian called Joe Friday… but that’s another story.
The ferry serves the 4 main islands Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and mine. You board in Anacortes on the mainland (although technically Anacortes is on Fidalgo Island which is connected by bridges and is not part of the San Juan Island Group) and travel by ferry-boat to the different islands, and can even go to Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island (which sails once a day).
There is another run, which is the Interisland Ferry, it is a little smaller ship. The MV Evergreen State was built in 1953, and holds 100 cars and 1000 passengers. That is what I was on when I took the photo. I was the only passenger. In 17 years riding ferries, and I ride the Interisland a lot, I have never been the sole passenger. Let me tell you, it was a strange feeling, almost scary. I walked about the passenger deck and had the weirdest feeling, almost like I was in some of the stories my fellow fictioneers have written, they tend to run to the macabre, cheerful lot. It was around 5 p.m. when I took the photo, as the sun was starting to set. I thought it was an interesting shot, with the eerie calmness of an empty boat (that should have been busy with people doing all manner of things, including jigsaw puzzles) and the beauty of the scenic calm outside.
If you ever get up Seattle way, come up and take a ride on the ferry… I’ll buy.
I do not know who sent me the invitation, but I have my suspicions, my birthday is Dec. 4, 1943… do the math, it’s a milestone of sorts. There are two Prime Suspects, but they are not fessing up. I guess I will have to wait till I walk on the ferry and see who’s there. I will be sure to take my hearing aids… maybe there’s a Steely Dan concert I don’t know about.
April ’14… Here’s one I wrote for Friday Fictioneers… I thought it would be fun for my yeahwrite friends to see. I’ll post the follow-up story next week.
“I still can’t believe you talked me into this, Ethel.”
“It’ll get warmer when the sun comes up,Cheryl.”
“That’s at seven-thirty, the store opens at five.”
“I know, and I want that big-ass-flatscreen!”
☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎
The Editors of The Trifextra Writing Challenge are busy with their families this week, so they said: “This weekend we are assuming that many of you are slogging your way through leftovers and family bickering (or is that just us?) and thus we’re going way easy on you. We are asking for a 33-word free write. Give us whatever you’ve got.”
The lights dim and the white screen comes to life. You mute your cell and settle back with your bag of buttered popcorn. The only day of the year you go to the movies. It has become a tradition now. Oh, plenty of friends invite you over… some feel sorry, some want to fix you up with their girlfriends, and then there’s her folks. You politely decline.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sorry for myself, I just like to be alone, and watch the latest holiday movie about fictional families doing what real families do, just maybe a little more outrageously. I’ll go home and have a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce later, I picked one up at Katz’s Delicatessen yesterday.”
You had both been in a pretty bad place when you met. The church basement at Seventh and Pine was a comforting place, you started sitting together. You were told it wasn’t a good idea to form relationships within the group, you thought it was helping.
“I remember when I got my ninety day coin. She got her two month. We celebrated at Katz’s with coffee, pastrami sandwiches, and cheesecake. We kept collecting coins and fell in love.”
You watch the film and cringe when the drinking starts. You still don’t know what made her think she could have just one, and after three years sober. You never saw her again after that Thanksgiving. Everyone was at a loss. Occasionally you hear that someone has caught sight of her.
“Maybe I’ll go tonight. I go to my meetings at the YMCA now, I just couldn’t go back to 7th and Pine. From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.”
THE SPEAKEASY… Check out the other writers… Write something yourself!
Here are the Editor’s instructions: This week our sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner Courtney at IASoupMama, must be used as the LAST line in your piece. And in honour of the coming holiday, our media prompt this week is a video, which you will find below. As with all our media prompts, your post shouldn’t be about the video, but you must make some sort of reference to it in your submission.
“From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.”
SO MANY DISHES
“What’s wrong now, Ethel?”
“I’ve thought, thought and thought, Cheryl, but I can’t decide what to bring for my Thanksgiving side dish.”
“As long as it’s not your lime Jell-O with marshmallows, Ethel.”
The dish, pictured above, actually existed… Thanksgiving 2009… My son-in-law Steve insisted on making it. I don’t know if he got the recipe from Ethel. I think he ate most of it.
Trifectra’s Editors issued this decree:
This weekend, writers, it’s up to you. We want you to choose a word and use it three times in your 33 words. However, it must be either a verb, noun or adjective and the form of the word cannot change, it must appear exactly the same three times. Please highlight your chosen word in your piece before linking up.
ALAS… A Drabble for FriFic
The Globe Theatre had been awash with excitement for a fortnight. Shouts of “The Queen is coming!” could be heard as workers scurried about applying a dab of fresh paint here, a bit of new carpet there, and of course the Royal Box had to be completely redone. And now, the night had finally come.
In his dressing room, the great Sir Michael Fitzpatrick was beside himself. In two hours, he would be giving the most important performance of his career, restoring the luster to his crown that a series of B movies had dimmed. Alas, poor Yorick was missing.
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I like photos like this one by my friend Sean Fallon, who lives in Istanbul, has a new hot wife and is writing an exciting political thriller. Rochelle chose it for this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. Look at the photo… find inspiration… write a 100 word story.
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This week’s bonus is a photo of noted Shakespearean actor Daniel Mayes demonstrating his best “Alas poor Yorick” moves to Ula and her friend.
AT THE MERCY OF HIS COMPANION
He had been at odds with his companion for some time now. After all, here she sits; eating his food, drinking his wine and watching his TV. Isn’t she the one hired to take care of him? Not being able to speak has hampered his ability to express his concern. When family visits, he tries to convey his dismay with his eyes, like they do in the movies, but to no avail. They just don’t get it. What’s worse, they think she is doing this wonderful job tending to his needs. The accident had left him in such sorry state. He guessed he should feel lucky, since without her he would die. Actually, death might be preferable to another episode of Jerry or Maury. He had forgotten about Judge Judy, but at 4 o’clock he will be reminded.
The smell of smoke lingered in the air. The shrieking was deafening. The fanning of air with a magazine was frantic. The front door opens…
“Just what the hell were you thinking, Ethel. How many times have I said… ‘You have to open the flue before you start the fire’?”
“Oh, for God’s sake, turn off the smoke detector!!!”
“I don’t know how, that’s why I called you!!!! Here’s the instructions!!!!!”
Cheryl took the manual outside. This was not the first time this had happened. This was, however, the first time under the watch of Ethel’s new smoke detector, and this time it was not as easy as pushing a button or taking out the battery. The pounding on the ceiling in Betty’s flat below was only adding to the consternation. As Ethel chased the smoke out, Cheryl quickly scanned the instruction book for answers.
“Thank you, Cheryl.”
“You’re welcome. Why in Heaven’s name do you think you need such a fancy system?”
“You know me, Cheryl, I like to be on top of the latest technology.”
“Oh please, give me a break! I suppose that’s why you still get your People in the mail, while I subscribe online. You think you’re so ‘green’, look at all the trees I’m saving, Ethel. And speaking of trees, the next time you start a fire open the damn damper. I know you think it lets cold air in, but you are starting a fire. Don’t be such a stubborn ass!”
THE SPEAKEASY… #136 …More stories here…
Here are the Editor’s instructions for this week’s submission… Welcome back, dearest bootleggers, to the third week of November here at the Speakeasy! This week, our sentence prompt, provided by last week’s popular vote winner Stacie, must be used as the FIRST line in your piece. And our media prompt this week is a painting, which you will find below. As with all our media prompts, your post shouldn’t be about the painting, but you must make some sort of reference to it in your submission.
“The smell of smoke lingered in the air.” by Stacie at Snaps and Bits
The painting is by William Blake and is titled The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy… 1795.
Walter took the stage to perform the deadliest feat of his career… The Wall of Water!
The audience gasped as he started to drown, but the ring of his bedside alarm saved him.
Yesterday I came across this story written last July. I was in the mountains and was not able to publish by the Trifextra deadline due to spotty internet. I was ticked, since I thought this was a good one. I decided to let it see the light of day and add to The Trifectra Writing Challenge, even thought it is a little late. Maybe they won’t notice it’s not following this week’s prompt.
The illustration is a still from the 1953 film ‘Houdini’, starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh.
A telephone rings in a three-story walkup somewhere in Chicago…
‘Cook County Jail’… what the hell??? “Hello?”
“Cheryl, I need your help.”
Front Desk at the Cook County Jail…
“Hi, I’m here to bail Ethel out.”
Corner booth at the Blue Line Lounge & Grill…
Cheryl had taken her friend to Damen and North Streets under the El, a new restaurant they had been wanting to try. Cheryl could tell Ethel was upset, she had been silent on the way, most unlike Ethel. As curious as she was, she would bite her tongue and wait for her friend to explain why she had to ruin a perfectly good evening of watching Survivor. Ethel knew it was her favorite show, why couldn’t she get arrested on a different day.
“We haven’t been here since it was the Busy Bee. Remember the pierogis Sophie made?”
“Boy, it’s changed. Just like all of Wicker Park. Yuppiefied! I guess you are wondering…?”
“Of course I’m ‘wondering’ Ethel! What the hell did you do? They said you beat up an old man at Walmart.”
“Oh for crying out loud, I didn’t hurt him. Just a little slap and he makes such a big deal.”
“The blue vest you’re wearing wouldn’t have anything to do with why you were there?”
“I guess I won’t need it anymore. I should have told you, Cheryl, but I thought you’d laugh at me.”
“So this is why you’ve been so busy, nothing to do with your sister I’m thinking? The one you don’t like, remember? Start at the beginning, I’m dying to know.”
“At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea. I wanted to earn some extra money, so I went looking thru the want ads in the Reader, circling jobs I thought I would like. Then I saw the perfect one, you know how good I am with people, I could work as a greeter! Well, of course they loved me, the manager wanted me to start at once.”
“Get to the old man, Ethel.”
“I’d been there two days. Most of the people were nice, but some I could do without. I was having fun, helping people by giving directions to the different parts of the store. I was greeting a woman when I got poked in the back. A little old man, who I had directed to sporting goods, was furious because he could not find sporting goods and he called me a ‘bitch’. So I slapped him! End of story.”
“End of story? What about Cook County?”
“Oh. Well he got all uppity, found a cop and pressed charges. The store had to go along with it, as employees aren’t allowed to hit the customers. It’s in the handbook they said.”
Walmart Superstore ~ North and Cicero…
“Hi,Welcome to Walmart!”
“Hi. I’m here to return Ethel’s vest. Remember Her?”
This is my response to The Speakeasy #135 prompt… This week’s sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner Janna, can be used ANYWHERE in your piece. And our media prompt this week is a song, which you will find below. As with all our media prompts, your post shouldn’t be about the song, but you must make some sort of reference to it in your submission. The song is by Sarah McLachlan ‘I Will Remember You’; and the sentence by Janna is “At the time, it seemed like a brilliant idea.”
I’d read stories from Speakeasy prompts by some writers I like. I thought I’d give it a try. Here is where to find The Speakeasy!
DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY… “What’s this Ethel?”
“My new motto, Cheryl. Meher Baba, he’s a god.”
“No he’s not, there’s only one.”
“We all are, Cheryl, we just haven’t learned how to live it.”
This was a card my sister Mariya gave me many years ago. I may not have done the Trifextra Prompt correctly, but it’s the first thing I thought of… and I have always found comfort in his words. Meher Baba created controversy in the early 20th Century saying he was God. It is accepted by many that we all are and have not yet learned how to live it.
Buddhist cosmology tells of Trāyastriṃśa, or the Heaven of Thirty-Three gods, which rule over the human realm. This weekend we’re asking for exactly 33 of your own words about a god of your own devising that shares heaven with the other thirty-two gods. Make it yours and have fun with it. – See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/11/trifextra-week-ninety-three.html?