Rife for the Picking

Last Saturday, Jan Wayne Fields and I, along with his wife, Lil’ Whats-Her-Name, attended the February OWL meeting in Branson. In the afternoon session, a pair of esteemed editors critiqued submissions of opening paragraphs. The subject of grammar came up and both mentioned their aversion to writing with colons.

Those who follow this blog know that I sometimes write from the lower intestinal tract. The Master of colon writing is Dave Barry. He even published a study the subject entitled “A Journey Into My Colon—And Yours.” In one version, he asks the doctor ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?

If this is your first visit to Friday Flash Fiction, the nurse who will prep you for your deep cleansing of 100 words is Cloris “Nurse Diesel” Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to participate in this weekly exercise in madness, head over to her blog for instructions. To rent a box in the writers in FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block, click here.

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

copyright – Sarah Potter

Scattered snow-showers with a chance of breakfast

At six am on Groundhog Day, the Nasal Falls Volunteer Fire Department pushed their lone engine out into the wintry blast to make room for the voting booths.

Father Kowalski and the firemen huddled for a quick prayer, petitioning God to postpone any unnecessary fires or cat-in-the-tree rescues until the polls were closed.

By seven-fifteen a line had formed on the downwind side of the building. The threesome stood with their arms crossed, gloved hands tucked under their armpits, shuffling their feet like little penguins, and hoping a polar bear looking for breakfast didn’t round the corner.

The above is a snippet from One Idiot Short of a Village


56 Comments on “Rife for the Picking

  1. Dear Father Kowalski,

    I have to say I read a lot of fiction with colons and semicolons; some of it is even on the Best Seller list. Still a cleanse is a good idear. I can’t wait to read the rest of this story. It was good to see you and your long-suffering Connie. It’s a little difficult to relate to the snow when spring is happening all around us. Whassupwitdat? Our weatherman says not to worry; it will be cold tomorrow. Laughing too hard to write more.


    Nurse Diesel: Cloris to my friends; purple-obsessed-pygmy to others


    • Dear Nurse Diesel,

      You know, I’ve always wondered about semi-colons. Does it mean they are partial or incomplete colons, or are they super large, like a semi-trailer sized colons? Some of the colons I’ve met turned out to be real rectums in the end.

      I still don’t think it was fair that you stood on a chair when Jan took our picture, but I guess you wanted him to get more than just the top of your head in the photo.

      Now, say three Hail Mary’s and get back in the bus driver’s seat
      Father Kowalski


    • Thanks, Loré. I’m thrilled that I could share all this important information about colons. As Nurse Diesel always says, “Take good care of your colon, and it’ll take good care of you.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That does not bode well…polar bears ’round the corner? I’m surprised anyone turns up to vote if that’s the possibility!


  3. I’m now adding the polar bear excuse to my repertoire! As in, “too cold to shovel the walk; there might be polar bears out there”.
    I’ve heard several people talk out of their colons; never saw anyone write with one.
    -signed Nurse Ratchet 😀


  4. I used to love colons. But since I spend so much time at the GI doctor these days, the sight of colons makes me twitch. And semicolons? Even worse. They are like colons with mild health problems.

    About the tale, I like the the lighthearted tone… the small details, too. I mean, to be able to comfortably fit a firemen, a priest, plus the thought of cats, fires and polar bears in a 100-story is rather brilliant… and grin worthy.

    By the way, I suffer of severe ellipses. It’s chronic… I’m sure.


    • It takes a lot of courage to go public with a condition such as chronic ellipses. So many people are in denial, or are embarrassed by their addiction to a trio of dots.

      While we’re confessing–I have an affinity for the em dash. Some have found it annoying—and you can tell me if you do, I won’t be hurt—when a writer inserts a thought into the midst of another one that’s not yet complete?

      I’m glad you enjoyed the snippet from the Idiot Tale, and I thoroughly loved your comment. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You certainly don’t want your colons to become inflamed and leave you with colitis.
      I wonder if the polar bears are picky about their political taste? I always assumed they were nonpartisan, but with all this hoopla about immigration they may be dining strictly along party lines.


  5. A colon: very important for your health; the semicolon has its uses, I’m told. Fun as always.


  6. They need to just chop a hole in the ice, line the edges with peas and when the polar bear comes out to take a pea, you kick him in the ice-hole. Simple.

    Five out of five “Now at the hour of our Desi Arnaz’s.”


      • It came from a book by Dick Van Dyke back in the early 70’s called “Faith, Hope and Hilarity.” Kind of a Kids Say The Darnedest Things In Sunday School. The variations on the Hail Mary was a hoot. That was one of the lines some kid said. Apropos, yes?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Our nearest port in Tenerife was called Puerto Colon, which caused some hilarity among the uneducated Brits.It actually means Columbus Port, but not a lot of people know that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am sure the winning candidate would not have hesitated to send his stooges disguised as polar bears to scare off the other candidate’s voters.

    To which part of the body do ellipses belong to?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rumor has it the bears were Russian immigrants.

      The ellipses come from an area that most people are pretty modest about. In fact, you would probably be arrested if your ellipses were showing.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The ellipses come from an area that most people are pretty modest about. It actually means Columbus Port, but not a lot of people know that 🙂


    • Dear Mary,
      You must have read the comments. 🙂 Thank you for wading in and bringing insight and expertise to the ellipse issue. I must confess I was totally clueless where the came from or why. Are they used in other languages, or is their contagious infective nature strictly limited to English?


  10. The ellipses come from an area that most people are pretty modest about.
    I can just hear you saying, “That’s a colon if I ever saw one.


    • I’ve seen far more colons than ellipses in my time. But what about a partial colon eclipse? Would that be considered a semi-colon?


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