No Film at Eleven

Tomorrow, I’ll be speaking at the OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) monthly Books & Birthdays bash at Bordino’s. Many of the members of this group are distinguished professionals, teachers, and highly respect community leaders.

I had planned to speak on how to generate a second income from Bellybutton Lint Farming, but have been asked to share The Seven Six Habits of Highly Effective Procrastinators instead. That is, unless I can think of an excuse to postpone it for a couple of months.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, our facilitator is the diminutive, yet effervescent, Speedy Alka-Seltzer 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 ensemble of practicing fic-titioners in the writers in FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.


copyright – Ted Strutz

“Mr. Wingnut, someone came into Ms. Vincent’s house today, had a cup of tea, and allegedly stole a very precious family heirloom.”

“Was it the invisible box?”

“Yes. How did you know?”

“She’s always babbling about how magical it is. I’m sure she told you the story about her great-grandfather and the gypsies.”

“Yes, she did. Has she shown you the box?”

“She pointed at a space beside the refrigerator, but I didn’t see anything.”

“Ms. Vincent believes you have security cameras, which may have captured the intruder on video.”

“I have some cameras, but none with the capability to detect invisible objects.”

  • the snippet above is an excerpt from Criminal Mimes

68 Comments on “No Film at Eleven

    • No, the thief isn’t invisible–only the box. But without evidence, how can you prove there’s been a crime?

      Here’s a brief description of the thief. Please contact Detective Colton Lowry if you see her. She’s short (barely taller than a pigmy), wearing white face-paint and black lipstick, a beret, a purple and white horizonal-striped shirt, and purple sneakers.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dear Speaker of the Out House,

    I’ve thought about procrastinating, but I keep putting it off. As for the invisible box…I might have some inside on it but my painted lips are sealed. How revaulting. I think you need a special lens to see an invisible box. Those criminal mimes are devious, aren’t they? Plop-plop-fizz-fizz oh what lens it is. 😉


    Speedy Alka-Seltzer W(T)F

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dear Speedy Alka-Seltzer W(T)F,

      Thinking about procrastinating is a good place to start. However, I fear you don’t have the willpower it takes to avoid or postpone work, evidenced by the way you’ve been mass-producing wine glass paintings (are there eight to a set?) lately. Even a factory full of Chinese laborers working day & night on black-velvet Elvis paintings couldn’t keep up with you.

      It’s hard to say how many more crimes this mime will perpetrate before Lowry can stop her. But one thing is certain, she won’t be procrastinating.

      Colon Bladder,
      Speaker of the Outhouse

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am up-in-arms about the theft of the invisible box– especially since it is a beloved and valuable heirloom. I really think Russ should call on the general public to call in any tips or clues they might have. Right now I am clueless…

    Liked by 2 people

    • The thief will eventually trip herself up on the laces of her clown-size, purple sneakers. Ms. Vincent has posted photos of the invisible box all over Belton, MO. But so far, no one has seen it.


  3. The invisible box mystery gets better and better!
    I wish I could attend the lecture. I was going to do some research on how to procrastinate more effectively but I put it off. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was considering putting off writing a comment, but I decided to put that off and wait until your lecture on putting things off. Now I’m a dash confused, some I’m writing now. I hope you don’t mind if I write in invisible ink.

    Whew! I really wrote a lot, as you can see in the invisible ink above. I hope hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed your post. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My comment is invisible look:-

    Oh you can’t see it. Ah well, another with my invisibility pen turned around :-

    Nice story. I skipped the intro… I hope it didn’t affect my enjoyment of this story.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Now, now…
        By the way, I’m ordering your book. If I’m to encourage all the published FF peeps, that includes you!


    • You’re not even close, Alice. But if I were you, I’d keep an eye on those “Do Not Remove” tags on my furniture and mattresses, especially if you live in the Kansas City area.


    • Good point. Detective Lowry has been thinking about enlisting the help of a psychic, but has not gotten around to actually doing so.


  6. Will tell you what I thought of the story in a couple of days. Or maybe right now. Here it is:

    Hope that comment proves useful in taking your writing career to greater heights.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ho, what fun. And thought-provoking, too. Would the contents of an invisible box be visible? I suppose Ms Vincent knew the box was missing because she couldn’t feel it? There are all sorts of interesting speculations, but I’ll leave them for another time. I must get back to reading FF posts so I don’t have to work on my novel, which would otherwise distract me from the housework that needs doing…
    Well written story and introduction, Russell!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reading posts and writing comments is a great procrastination tool. Perhaps I’ll include it as an additional point in my speech. Nah, don’t want to give away too many trade secrets. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Like Penny, I want to know more – does the invisible box make everything inside it invisible too? I need me one of those – I’ll keep it in my invisible condo I bought with my invisible millions. How’d the talk go, Russell? Or did you get too distracted to go?

    Liked by 1 person

    • According to the gypsy, the invisible box has magical powers–that’s all I can tell you for now, Lynn.
      The presentation is scheduled for 11:30. I’ll start preparing my speech at 11:26

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was going to read the 7th habit but it was in the invisible box, and I’ll follow up on it tomorrow. Or maybe next week….or next year. Count on it…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lish. I’ve been debating on whether to write any narrative when I get to the chapter from the mime’s POV, or should I just have a couple of blank pages?


  10. The good thing about invisible boxes is that they don’t need dusting. Or do they? Maybe you just see a flat plane of dust suspended in the air… How far can you go with this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question, Sandra. I’m not aware that dust can stick to an invisible surface, but who knows.
      I expect this to be a novella length story when completed.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m intrigued to know why Mrs Vincent thought the intruder had a cup of tea. I can imagine she saw the box gone, but if, as Bjorn says, only invisible thieves can steal invisible boxes, then presumably their tea cups are invisible too and don’t sit happily on draining boards? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you’re intrigued. This is a snippet from “Criminal Mimes.”
      Here’s a brief synopsis; The invisible box was stolen by a mime. That’s not the only thing she steals. Even if he catches her, it’s going to be difficult to get her to talk (at least verbally).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I look forward to your accounts of the court case, if Wingnut ever catches her of course.


  12. I love the criminal theme and here, I got so much form the comments as i did your story….
    and so true…
    without evidence, you cannot prove there’s been a crime!


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Mandie Hines Author

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