Liar’s Grove

Yesterday, I gave my 2nd Toastmaster’s speech at a club meeting. This was Project #8 from the Competent Communicator handbook and required the use of visual aids. I made some oversized flash cards to walk the audience through the hazards of “Irritable Vowel Syndrome.”

As a writer, I’m sure you’re well aware of the problems IVS can cause. Just the other day, I was scratching graffiti on a bathroom wall when “I” and “E” got into a fistfight over who should go first in the middle of a word. Things got ugly. It’s no wonder Perry can’t get a date.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Letter Tamer who has no problem getting her vowels and consonants to jump through flaming hoops is Jackie Collins Wisoff-Fields. If you’d like to participate in this exercise of madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the mug shots of all the addicts in FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Half-way House click here.

copyright - J. Hardy Carroll
copyright – J. Hardy Carroll

Our route to New Orleans skirted around Memphis and cut south, straight through Mississippi.

“Connie, did I ever tell you about my job at the cookie factory in Jackson?” I pointed to a road sign announcing the first exit to the city.

“No. When did you work there?”

“It was a summer job. I was responsible for adding raisins to the oatmeal cookie batter. Everything went fine until we ran out of raisins.”

“What happened then?”

“I substituted ‘smart pills.’ That is, until my boss fired me.”

“Why did he do that? 

“He said the smart pills tasted like rabbit shit. To which I replied, ‘See, you’re getting smarter already.’”

*the above FF is an excerpt from the short story, What Happens in New Orleans.




43 Comments on “Liar’s Grove

  1. Dear Pill Buried Dough Boy

    They’re only old if you’ve heard them, right? I love Irritable Vowel Syndrome. A real hare raiser of a story.


    Joan Collins Wisoff-Fields


    • Dear Jackie,
      Are you masquerading under your sister’s name, or did you have an attack of IVS while typing your comment?

      You’re right about the old joke. But after a certain age (and considerable memory loss) they’re all new again. Perhaps you could bake a batch for Kent. No one would be the wiser.

      Pants on Fire


  2. I have actually HAD IVS before … when I studied Hebrew. Of course, Queen Jackie (yes, JACKIE!) knows how to read it without vowels. She also can handle chopsticks.

    Yes, I have heard this “story” before, but wisdom always reigns supreme in these. And, yes, I did laugh! You are always fun to read each week.

    The Jester.


    • Dear Jester,
      Thanks for wading in on this argument. I can see how IVS would be ten times worse in Hebrew. Poor Jackie is still recovering from her celebrity book launch event, so I’ll cut her some slack on not remembering which Collins sister she is. I don’t want her to chop me with her sticks.

      Glad you enjoyed the recycled punch line. I always appreciate your comments.


      • Dear Jester and POF,

        Pobody’s Nerfect. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of who I am from week to week. It’s a tough burden to carry, but somebody has to do it. Right? Of course right! And to those who dare to eat Asian food with a fork, you’re just WRONG!


        Jackie…or …?


      • I can understand why you have an identity crisis. Like I told Kent that time at OWL, it takes longer to figure who you are each week than to write the rest of the post. It is a tough job and very demanding work, but the public has come to expect it, so alas, we must carry on.

        As for eating with a fork, Connie does not allow me to feed myself with any instrument that has sharp points on the end unless covered with a cork. Eating Asian noodles with a spoon is a little bit challenging, but it works well with the rice.


  3. ha ha. I too get a bout of IVS somedays…but our dear Jackie C comes to the rescue with wipes…er..corrections 🙂

    Enjoyed your humor as always.


    • I struggle with getting words on paper (and the computer screen). The letters are always so darned uncooperative. I mean one thing and they spell something totally different.


  4. if the company is still around, it must have happened before frivolous lawsuits and otherwise became fashionable.


    • It all depends on how you market the product. I’m sure there are plenty of health benefits to “smart pills” beyond the fact that they increase your IQ.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You may remember the old Cheech & Chong tale where the story line went: Looks like shit, smells like shit, tastes like shit——good thing we didn’t step in it.


  5. My IVS is under control… but now i have constant consonant constipation … incurable tics that make me long to learn to speak Welsh…

    I think I might have eaten those cookies… I feel quite smart some days.


    • I love that Consonant Constipation. I may have to write a follow-up to IVS.

      As for the cookies, a little mouthwash will help flush the residue from between your teeth.


  6. Hehehehe. My first thought after reading was the same as pattisj’s. I bet he talked to my dog though. She loves rabbit shit so much that we were thinking of picking the pellets up and selling them as dog treats. 😉 And no wonder Joan answers, how could Jackie possibly do that, from the beyond?


  7. You make me laugh, Russell. Raisins ruin everything although I’ve come to tolerate them. Cookies are really the only place I will allow them. Fun story, dough boy! I can’t resist.


    • Just call me Poppin’ Fresh. You might try “smart pills” as mini meatballs in spaghetti. I think that’s what they used in canned Chef Boyardee.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe I’ll try that, but texting is challenging enough without using vowels. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.


  8. I can see how irritable vowel syndrome could get nasty. Grammarly insisted I change the word “vowel”. I told it to “ignore”. Poor thing is having a grammar breakdown. I hope your speech went well, Russell. Are you writing the short story in a new book? All the best if you are. 🙂 — Suzanne


    • Irritable Vowel Syndrome is a short story in my first book. The 2nd book is about halfway finished. The story I’m working on now is One Idiot Short of a Village. It’s taking longer to tell the story than I originally anticipated. Who knows, it may be a novella all its own.


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