What the Hell is It?

How many of you have at least one pair of holey underwear? No, I’m not talking about the kind of “holy” you reserve for religious holidays; I’m referring to the type with non-factory openings for extra ventilation. Okay, you can put your hands down now.

Well, here’s some good news. In today’s fashion world you’re more in style than ever. People pay a fortune for jeans and shirts that look like they lost a fight with a weed-whacker. Consider yourself ahead of the curve—possibly even a trendsetter. Viva la holey bloomers!

If you are new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Chief Inspector who checks for 100-word skid marks, is “Skivvies” Hanes Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to submit your tale to the weekly collection, zip over to her blog for instructions. To rent a box in the FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright – Ted Strutz

The Resource Center turned out to be what people of my generation would call a library.

Twenty-first century libraries have become more of an entertainment center than a repository for books. The one at The Academy of Spoiled Rotten Brats was no exception. It featured a wide array of multi-media options, each partitioned off by a hideous piece of modern art.

One look at this fiasco told me it was the work of Claude Bawls, Professor Emeritus at Joe’s College of Mobile Home Design and Shoe Shine Institute, and a disciple of the man who invented the cocktail umbrella.

* the above is an excerpt from “The Academy of Spoiled Rotten Brats.” This tale and others are featured in One Idiot Short of a Village, now available for pre-order from Pen-L Publishing.

79 Comments on “What the Hell is It?

  1. Dear Fruit of the Looming Hole,

    Humorous. if not ultimately sad, commentary on the library…or shall we say “media center” of the 21st century. I’m not even sure you’re required to whisper anymore. I used to love the library…the smell of books and the wonder of the obsolete card catalog. Perhaps I’m the one obsolete. 😉 And that’s what I want to be. Going to wash out a few unmentionables now.


    Skivvies Hanes W(T)F

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear “Skid Marks” Skivvies Hanes W(T)F,

      Card catalog? Ha, you are a dinosaur indeed. I’ll have to ask someone much older than me (like Perry Block) what one of those is. It sounds like a catalog filled with baseball cards.
      As for the undies, remember–yellow stripe in the front, brown at the back.

      Happy washing day,
      Fruit of the Looming Hole

      Liked by 3 people

      • Grannie panties? Bloomers? Why would you think I would know what they are? Hmmmmmm??

        Actually, my mom, a child of the Depression, grew up wearing bloomers made out of flour sacking. She didn’t have store-bought underwear until after she was married. So I DO know what they are, because my mom was good at reminding us how it was when she was growing up 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • My parents grew up very poor too. Dad only wore underwear in the winter. Mom probably didn’t get her first pair of store-bought undies until after they’d been married a few years. Things got much better for them after WWII.


  2. “I don’t know if it’s art, but I know I don’t like it.”

    Yes, libraries are changing. They’ve been using computers for a few decades and you can check out digital books, DVDs, music CDs, and even software as well as traditional hardback books. I recently was able to watch the fourth season (2017) of the BBC show “Sherlock” because it was stocked at one of my local libraries. They still have plenty of books lying about. A great place to spend your lunch hour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a great place, and ours still has a summer reading programs for kids. They also have a 2nd Sunday local author day every month and let us hawk our books. It’s not all bad.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I do hope you’ll read the longer version in the book. The Academy is an interesting place. The name came from a yellow pages listing in North Carolina, so it really does exist–probably not as cool as my version though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not a fan of the modern library either. Our town library is unique in that every single member of staff appears not to have taken on board the need for silence. If they don’t talk to each other at the top of their voices, they talk to themselves at the top of their voices. I’m known as the glowerer behind section K – M, and am avoided like the plague.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I guess I’m behind the times. I thought “libraries” were still operating. I would agree this machine would’ve been created at the Mobile Home Institute. Tornadoes would almost certainly be drawn to it. Funny stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Seriously funny! 🙂 Books are no longer the main attraction at libraries.
    I went to a dept store a few weeks ago in search of jeans. The clerk pointed to several with rips and holes at the knees. I have those at home! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It doesn’t have to BE anything, Russ.. In these days of interpretive imagery an object bends to the viewer’s comprehension and becomes his interpretation of its existence.
    Easy-peasy. This is how holey jeans become fashion statements. 😉 How’s that for being up with the times?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I don’t know any of this — like modern artists, I just pick up pieces pf phycho-babble and glue them together.
    I do know someday the pendulum will swing back again and teens won’t be caught dead in ripped jeans. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true. It’s funny how fashion goes in cycles.
      My dad said that in the 1920s his sister would roll up in a sheet and lie under the bed to avoid sunlight. Evidently, me preferred girls with snow-white complexion in those days as opposed to tan (which was a sign of working long days in the sun). I wonder if that trend will ever return?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Now that you mention libraries, I feel like visiting the holy spot just for the sake of the smell of old books.( if I can find some🙂) It’s been almost 7-8 years since my last visit and like you I wasn’t pleasantly surprised about the huge collection of movies and music cd’s and the diversion of interest/ attention towards them. 🙂( says a perennially library-absent, non- reader. Shame on me!)
    Wonderful write, Russell. Congrats on the book. I would try and see if I can order one from India.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must confess that I don’t visit libraries very often either. Ours does sponsor some great programs including the “Famous Author” series every summer. I met Dave Barry (one of my writing heroes) and Louis Sachar (the author of “Holes”) there.


  9. Why would anyone pay good money fro ripped jeans? But they do! I suppose libraries have to diversify to attract the masses, but I like the traditional library. My kids used to consider it a treat to go to the library when they were little, just to read some different books. For me it was a short period of time when they could be entertained at no cost!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really enjoyed the library as a child too. There was something magical about it.
      As for the ripped clothing, it actually sells for about 50% more than the stuff without holes–go figure.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It seems libraries will peddle anything they believe will draw people in – even highly dubious artworks! Though as budgets are squeezed more and more we’re in danger of them becoming extinct in this country. Children of the future will stare at us in bafflement, wondering why paper books were so dangerous we had to lock them up in a special building … Nicely done. Russell

    Liked by 1 person

    • Knowledge is dangerous as it gives people power. Those in power prefer to keep the masses as ignorant and uninformed as possible. That’s how our current president got elected.
      Fortunately, my book is harmless, but look out for those kids coming out of the Academy of Spoiled Rotten Brats.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, ignorance is bliss or so they say – for both the public and for elected representatives! I’ll be sure to look out for those Brats. Happy New Year 🙂


  11. The last time I was in a library in the U.S. I did use a computer program to look up available books. I don’t know what they have now. I’d probably have to take a class in operating whatever it is. It’s probably hooked up to Amazon in some way. Everything seems to be these days. I always wondered who invented those little umbrellas. 😀 — Suzanne


    • I haven’t used any of the gadgets at the library, but ours does have a half-dozen computers that people can use. I think that’s very nice as there are still many people in my area who can’t afford a computer of their own.

      I doubt that little umbrella would afford your drink much protection in a monsoon.


  12. What a hoot you are… My husband’s skivvies didn’t have holes in them, but when I hung them up on the clothesline, you could see through the two layers… all I had to do was suggest throwing them out to get a glare.

    As for the library situation… no thanks. I’m still old school though a tad younger than you !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, at least you’re old enough to have used a clothes line.
      Mom had a wringer-type washer when I was a kid, but didn’t get a dryer until I was in high school. Unless it breezy, the clothes would dry stiff as a board. You had to be carefully folding them, they might break.


      • And I still do!!
        I may have put out a load or two that came off rather stiff!


  13. In the olden days I counted on those cocktail umbrella’s to keep my ice from melting. A complicated device to do a simple thing. Joe’s College is my kind of place.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. i think rochelle favorite quote applies in this case. “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Happy new year to you and all your loved ones. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You gotta think the man who invented the cocktail umbrella was pretty innovative…successful…rich?
    The answer is…a bartender from Hawaii named Harry Yee who Popped a tiny parasol in a Tapa Punch in 1959; the drink faded but the umbrella lives on.
    He is credited with creating 15 tropical cocktails including: the Blue Hawaii, the Banana Daiquiri and the Tropical Itch
    You’re welcome 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see why cocktail umbrellas would be necessary in Hawaii. We wouldn’t want our ice cubes getting sunburned, now would we?

      Thanks for doing all the research for me. It sounds like Harry might make an interesting topic for a future FFF post, that is, if I were into historical fiction. Perhaps you or Rochelle should give him his due.

      Liked by 1 person

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Mandie Hines Author

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