Those Beaches!

Have you ever noticed how inanimate objects gossip about each other?  Just look at the picture below. Judy and Wanda are over in the corner whispering about poor Carol. Perhaps one of her wheels spins in a circle or flops like flat tire. Maybe she has some rust and corrosion on her frame or the latch is busted on her child safety belt.

Whatever the case, pointing out Carol’s flaws makes Judy and Wanda feel a little bit superior about themselves. Little do they know that Carol is about to be adopted by a homeless person and will receive more love and attention than they can ever imagine. Meanwhile, both Judy and Wanda will be slammed by teenage drivers and end up at the bottom of a ravine, twisted and warped beyond recognition, and left to die against concrete barrier with only some illegible graffiti to mark their final resting place.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better already!

If you are new to Friday Flash Fiction, let me introduce you to one person who will never speak evil of you and will always be a constant source of support and encouragement. Not only that, but if you forget to zip your fly she will tell you discreetly so that you don’t suffer public humiliation. I’m talking about our bus driver, Georgette Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to participate in this exercise of madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF  Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here


Raul was pissed. Why hadn’t he listened to his father?

“Do not open an all-night Quicki-Mart so close to beach, my son. It will bring you nothing but pain, hard work, and unhappiness.”

His father was right. Everyone he hired for graveyard shift fell under some strange spell. Sunrise would find them wandering around the store wild-eyed and mumbling, “It’s true. It’s true.”

It was true all right. Sand and water was all over the floor. The worst part was retrieving the shopping carts. Raul decided to add quarter locks to the carts—like Aldi’s.

“That’ll teach those mermaids,” he muttered.

43 Comments on “Those Beaches!

  1. Too close to the bone! How many of us have made similar decisions despite similar wise words! No all of us have had to put up with pesky mermaid shopping habits though….good fun!


    • I think the folks in Alaska have a problem with seals not putting the carts back. Then they clap their little flippers and laugh like they’ve really done something.


  2. Russell, you sneaky sneak, you snuck in two stories, and I think I like the unofficial story even better than the official one. And I love the Aldi cart system, though I admit it’s the easiest place I know to use slugs and get away with it. No, not those slimy ones you put salt on. Ron


    • I bet you’ve got a pocket full of slugs, Ron. Do you use margarita salt on them or kosher? Either way, I bet it improves the flavor.


  3. Russell, I wish mermaids would replace vampires in the world of overbaked pop culture. Women that double as fish are so much more interesting to me than blood sucking guys. As for inanimate objects talking to each other, I imagine all the furniture in my apartment has a field day yammering about me once I’m out the door. I know my bed is probably leading the yak saying: “I thought she’d never get out of me this morning! This is the third day this week she’s been late to work.” And the writing table chimes in: “Well that was because she was hanging all over me until 4 am!” My lamp adds: “She’s ridiculous! I should blow a bulb.” The energy efficient bulb butts in, “Leave me out of this. I’m good for 9,000 hours.”


      • Little Debbies are made right here in Northwest Arkansas. Perhaps Milton would like to make a pilgrimage to the plant. My personal favorite is the peanut butter bars.


  4. Dear Russell,

    Ever notice that no one writes about the mermaids with the bottom half of a woman and the head of a fish? Why is that?

    Loved your story. Second time I’ve heard of ‘Aldi’ in a story this week. Supermarket chain?

    Good work here.




    • Yep. The Aldi carts have short little chains that lock them together. Stick a quarter in the lock slot to free your cart. When you reattach the chain you get your quarter back.


  5. Great take! Reminds me of those playful “Artesians” from the old Ranier Beer commercials (from the Northwest). I liked the intro, too. I hadn’t really seen the “mean girl” angle until I read that, now it cracks me up. The “cool” carts shutting out the social outcast. Now I want to go re-write mine!


  6. Dear Ted,

    Again, your intro is as entertaining as your story. Y’know, in my spare time I’m a mermaid. Swimming off with your cart now.




  7. Those dang mermaids are always causing trouble. Ever since the little mermaid came out they think they can come on land and muck things up for we of the nonfinned variety. Such a disrespectful bunch, those mermaids are.


  8. This is, I think, my favourite of your stories. Wonderfully done, darling. I also loved your preamble, which I thought might have just been the story itself!


  9. Quite clever to slip in two stories — and I liked them both. Beaches in one and beaches in another! I never gave it any thought, but now that you mention it, I’m sure mermaids would get sick of tunafish and seaweed sandwiches and slip into all-night marts close to the beach. Maybe fill up on nachos and Slurpees?


  10. How do you manage it, Russell? Two fantastic interpretations for the price of one! I loved your intro this week, it almost made your fantastic story a disappointment by comparison, but no… those beaches!


  11. Great writing here, Russell, with an opening that truly bespeaks human nature and a nice pun (you son of a beach!) and then a whimsical story about mermaids. Now about mermaids, I’ve always wondered if …. but you wouldn’t know, now would you?

    Okay, write me a sequel! And thanks, Russell!


  12. I loved both the intro and the story! But I think the store owner should just mellow out and work a few night shifts himself 🙂


  13. Oh, I love it, Russell! Those pesky mermaids get ’em all the time. How can anyone concentrate when they’re around? Your intro was an extra added bonus.


  14. Loved your intro – thought I had misread and it was part of your story.
    I just think the idea of mermaids going around wirth shopping carts is brilliant.
    Up there with your other good stuff, great story


  15. That’s right, blame us mermaids. (My bottom half is of the salmon family. Nice shade of pink, don’t you think? (Salmon, I mean, not my bottom half)). Yep, we get the blame for all sorts of human created chaos. And men! Is it the fault of us mermaids that they go all goggly-eyed at our choral singing?


  16. Good stuff, Russell. Didn’t you like “doing in” your gossiping characters?
    I’ve never heard of the quarter locks, but found them described in your comments.
    At least the mermaids are nocturnal, that could create chaos in the middle of the day.


    • They really need to find one of those old time stores where bag boys carried out your groceries. Of course, there’s always a chance they might not make it back to the store.


  17. Oh both of these stories were qute delightful If there’s one thing I could never stand, it was a catty shopping cart! And you’ve got to hand it to Raul for trying at least. I’m sure when he started out he never dreamed he’d have to make change for seaweed.


  18. I’m running behind, so I just got here from last week. Your pre-story was great. Second one was genuinely funny. Two unique takes on this prompt. Congratulations!


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