Take a Letter, Maria

How many of you took typing class in Junior High? It was not the macho thing to do in the fall of 1969. The boys who took Athletics (those on football or basketball teams) qualified for a testosterone exemption and were not required to take typing. Those of us who were deemed lazy, uncoordinated, or neutered because of low IQ got to experience the joy of creating artwork by typing fifty-two Xs in a row, followed by six lowercase Rs, then more Xs, and occasionally a few irritable vowels.

I didn’t mind. There were a lot of cute girls in that class and it was still one step above Home Economics on the scale of socially degrading elective courses a boy my age could enroll in. I never dreamed the skills I learned in typing would come in so handy later in life. Just look at all those pretty pictures on my padded walls.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the biker babe whose husband graciously supplied this week’s photo is Venus de Filo Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in this exercise in madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright - Jan Wayne Fields

Mrs. Fannie Balderdash

69 Slut Street

Havertown, PA 19083


Dearest Fannie,

          I was devastated to learn of your affair with my best friend, Harvey Ennis. Mere words cannot describe how deeply you’ve hurt me. Didn’t our twenty-four years of marriage mean anything to you?

          The timing of your infidelity struck like a dagger to the heart. You knew we had a tournament this weekend and that Harvey always shoots the lowest score of our foursome. Where are we supposed to find another player of his caliber on such short notice?


Rot in hell, you inconsiderate wench!


Your EX-husband



And now, a word from our sponsor (or a moment of shameless self-promotion—whichever you prefer).

Between now and September 1st, you can pre-order The Perils of Heavy Thinking from Pen-L.com at a 15% discount. http://www.Pen-L.com/LandingPages/PerilsOfHeavyThinking.html After September 1st the book will be available on Amazon and through other book retailers at regular price.


62 Comments on “Take a Letter, Maria

  1. This was funny, but sometimes the friendship is stronger than the marriage, and in this case only his, because not the friend and the wife cared about him.


  2. “69 Slut Street” … This was awesome, man! 😀

    I also took typewriting in junior high school, by the way (late 1970s, early 80s). It was probably one of the more useful classes I took, actually. To this day, I sneer at the finger peckers. 🙂


  3. Devastating.. coming out of a relationship like that with such a handicap..

    You manage to make even the address to be funny… 🙂 BTW we had mandatory typewriter classes (for everyone) — but Sweden is weird.


    • I think it’s mandatory here now, except the call it “keyboarding.” Not quite the same. I don’t think they get to make the pretty pictures like we did.


  4. It’s odd that I was reading earlier today in a trashy magazine the accounts of two women who slept with their exes’ best friends out of revenge! I wonder if that was Fannie’s motive?


  5. Russell, Russell, Russell…your penchant for the preposterous is as pleasing as ever 😀
    Venus de Filo? LOL you’ve outdone yourself with this one.


  6. First things first–congratulations on the book, Russell!

    As to the letter–I love that the poor discarded husband had to press a secretary into typing the thing out for him. (I also love that today men generally have to do their own typing. Thank God for evolution!)

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


    • The first phrase that popped into my head when I saw the photo was the song, “Take a Letter, Maria.” As usual, things went downhill from there.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Russell, Yes, I took high school typing. I suffered through it. By the time I got to the class all the best machines were taken, and mine always skipped. It was a slow form of torture as you knew you would be graded. I finally learned to type, although I was not all that coordinated. I took a thrid year of it in business college. The machines there were well maintained. Hilarious as usual. 😀 —Susan


    • They had about 30 typewriters at school. 3 were electric, the rest manual. A person certainly built up strength in their pinky pushing down on the “shift” key.


  8. Dear Walter,

    Despite my mother’s urging, I refused to take typing or any other secretarial courses in high school. I was going to be a famous artist or an actress. Right? Oh well. Anyhoo, she brought out my brother’s typing text book, sat me down and taught me that skill herself. I’m grateful. Of course I’d be a mess on a regular typewriter. I’m grateful for the backspace and delete keys. And you can’t beat copy and paste. 😉

    Your letter has me rolling. I’m glad this guy has his priorities straight. One of my favorites of yours ever.

    Putting on my purple butterfly helmet and hopping on the Harley,




    • Well, it’s a close 2nd to the story where I had you committed to a sanitarium over your addiction (to purple). I don’t know what brought back those memories of typing class, but it seems a topic that most all of us can relate to.


  9. Dear Russell,

    Your story this week was spot on. Good job. It’s hard to play well when you’re thinking of your ex-wife fondling your partner’s putter. Shame on her.

    You intro was on target, too. I was severely chastised for typing disparaging words about Hazel Bloom on the platen of my typewriter in typing class. No paper was involved so I thought it was a victimless crime. Hazel alerted my typing teacher who disabused me of that idea. I’m glad we’re mostly all on word processors now.




    • Me too. I love cut & paste, backspace, delete and all those other wonderful keys that are not available on a typewriter.


  10. I remember those typing classes. No letters on the keys. I finally made it to 32 words per minute. I have to say learning to type has really helped me over the years and continues to provide much joy. Far more benefits than I what I learned from playing football in the eight grade. I was a right halfback and weighted 88 pounds. The only person smaller than me was the water boy. I learned to run faster than those huge defensive linemen. Unfortunately, I was not always faster than the defensive backs who honed in on me like Great White sharks going after a lone turtle.


  11. Your story is hilarious. Slut street. Ha ha. But who is ms? I took typing, Russell, and I have to say it’s one of the best classes I could have taken. Kids today don’t know how to type either, but I’m sure by the time they need jobs, it will all be voice driven. Anyway, it’s really come in handy.


    • I suppose you’re right, Amy. My phone has voice messaging, although it rarely gets what I say right. I think they need to be programed regionally to compensate for our dialect. That will be a strange way to write a book or post your FF story.


  12. I’ve learned to examine every inch of your offering for the hidden gems. Yet still I missed ‘slut street’. This guy is truly broken up by her betrayal, I can sense his anguish. Nice one Russell.


  13. oh, that inconsiderate whore! lol 69 Slut Street–that was genius 🙂
    i used to play with my mother’s typewriter then as an adolescent, wrote poems using that typewriter. i liked the clack-clacking sound. 🙂


    • It was quite noisy in class with 20 – 25 kids whacking away at the same time, but I had forgotten about the sounds until you mentioned it.


  14. Brilliant as always. A threesome might have helped this foursome. My heart bleeds for Mr Balderdash, hopefully he will find someone who does not cheat on their golfing score.


    • A good rule of thumb is don’t mess with a man’s dog or his golf partners. Couldn’t she just sleep with the butcher or the mailman?


  15. On first read – “shoots the lowest score of our foursome” took me to a different direction – especially after the address! 🙂

    … and we had our grandpa’s typewriter at home for mandatory practice for all cousins during the summer vacation!


    • I don’t play golf myself so I wasn’t sure of the terminology. Hopefully, you got the drift by the time you finished the letter.


  16. A very amusing story to read on a Saturday night. Not sure across the pond, but in England, we refer to it as a four ball, hence took me a little to get the golfing reference. Nonetheless, very well penned


  17. A-hahahaha! You gave me a good hearty laugh today.

    BTW, the typing class had cute girls, sure. But the gym elective which was ballroom dancing? Wow! Girls to boy ratios were off … the … chart! Good one this week, my funny friend.


  18. Personally, I think typing should still be required… after all, we use keyboards more than ever. I loved typing class, for many reasons… including the cute guys. 😉 Poor Walter…something tells me that the tournament is the least of his concerns! (And now, I have that song in my head!)


    • They call it keyboarding now, but it’s not quite the same and certainly a lot quieter. Hum a few bars, Dawn. It’s a catchy tune.


  19. Dear Russell, Brilliant story and I love the address and the typing! I learned to type in 9th grade and it’s one of the best classes I ever took. My husband uses his own system. I used to be able to type around 100 words a minute – won an award (big deal – just in class). I learned shorthand also – and only used it once – ever. Thanks for making me laugh – I really don’t like golf though. Nan 🙂


  20. Just last week, while using the one typewriter we have left in the office for the occasional form or label, I said to my friend, “I really miss using a typewriter”. I’m old enough to remember using carbon sheets for duplicates, and white eraser pencils with brushes for errors (that didn’t require a complete redo of the page). 🙂 Thought your piece was funny, although as a woman, I took a slight issue to the Slut street comment. While humorous, this little story definitely shows the historical differences between how men view an infidelity. The woman is a slut, the man remains just one of the boys.


  21. I agree with your comment about the use of slut. But why is an older woman who cases young men called a cougar, but a man is called a pervert or dirty old man in the same situation?
    I am glad you enjoyed the humor. That’s the whole purpose of this blog.


    • LOL That’s a relatively new phenom, and I’m not sure it’s complimentary. But I get your point. On the other hand, men regularly take up with younger women (the term “trophy wife” comes to mind) without insults, and they do in large numbers and have since forever.. I’m not sure the same can be said of women. Haven’t heard the term “trophy husband” recently. 😉


  22. At first, when I got to the end of your intro (“Just look at all those pretty pictures on my padded walls”) I thought that was the story! So, two fun reads for the price of one. Now that’s value for money 🙂


    • I have been accused to posting two stories instead of one, but the intro is actually just an appetizer before the main course.


  23. I’m glad Walter has his priorites right, and thanks for the heads-up re your book. Id been wondering about it.


    • Harvey is not going to be easy to replace. Fannie, yes. Harvey, no.
      Do go to the Pen-L site and check out the book. There’s an excerpt you can click on and more that will give you a clue to the contents. I think you’ll find it entertaining.


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Mandie Hines Author

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