Catch & Release

Gifts I received this Christmas included the David Sedaris Masterclass Course on Storytelling & Humor, and a book entitled “642 Things to Write About.”

Each page of the book contains at least one short writing prompt and enough blank lines to scribble something on the topic. Here is one example: Write about what you’ll be worrying about five years from now, ten years from now, and in thirty years.

Unless you plan to be cremated, worms in the coffin might be a concern. Or, if you plan to be buried at sea—that could open up a whole new can of tuna.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Kansas City Sardine who hooks a keeper from her pool of photo prompts each is Wanda Gerschwitz 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.

copyright – C.E. Ayr
To heighten your camping adventure, I suggest selecting a site near water. My personal favorite is a second-floor hotel balcony overlooking a salt-water pool.
The fishing usually isn’t very good, but on one occasion I did catch half of a two-piece bathing suit.
It put up a real good fight too, charging back and forth from one end of the pool to the other. That is, until the girl’s boyfriend snatched the rod from my hands and broke it over my head.
He obviously wasn’t a fisherman and refused to accept my explanation regarding the concept of “catch and release.”

 

Out of the Cold

The topic of today’s FFF intro is Wisdom Teeth. According to Wikipedia, they’re called Wisdom Teeth because they come in so much later than your other permanent teeth (or, if you’re from Arkansas—your single permanent TOOTH). Since they choose to show up so late, a better name might’ve been Procrastinator Teeth.

Some people opt, and even pay exorbitant amounts of money, to have theirs extracted. If this is example of wisdom, it’s certainly an odd symptom of sound judgment.

My two upper ones were yanked out by their roots years ago. The other two are so lazy they flopped over on their side and have no intention of showing themselves. I take comfort in the fact that having two remaining makes we half as wise as some people and twice as wise as others. How many Wisdom Teeth do you have?

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Head Nurse who prefers to extract 100-word stories without anesthesia is Charlotte Diesel 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.

copyright – Dale Rogerson
Reaching out, Shelley’s hand came in contact with something solid. It felt hard, yet smooth and cool to the touch. She opened her eyes.
“Oh my God!” she whispered. “I can see it!”
The sides and corners of the box were clearly defined by thin blue lines, creating a three-dimensional image, holographic in nature.
Awestruck, Shelley began to weep. She pressed her cheek against box and let her tears glide down its surface.
Mr. DeKalb slid an arm around her shoulders.
“Congratulations, my dear. You have a special gift. Millions of people have eyes, but only a few can truly see.”

*the above is an excerpt from Criminal Mimes in which Shelley “sees” and invisible box for the first time.

OY! Frankfurters

Connie and I just returned from visiting a friend in Kentucky. While there, we took one of their famous Bourbon Tours (hiccup). The scent of mash in the tanks brought back memories of my dad making moonshine. The primary difference being that they let theirs age in charred oak barrels—Dad didn’t have the patience for that.

We also toured a Shaker village and Connie bought some brooms to give as gifts. They’re too nice (and expensive) to use for sweeping, so I suppose the lucky recipients will reserve them for midnight rides.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Superheroine of 100-word stories who posts our photo prompt each week is Hazel Brunhild 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.

copyright – Roger Bultot
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is our final stop on Superhero Row, the home and laboratory of Shalom Shlacker and his portly sidekick, Bagel Boy.”
The guide pointed to the roll-up door. “This is the garage for the Deli Wagon, a portable kitchen filled with high-tech utensils created to protect kosher foods from becoming cross-contaminated by non-kosher contact.
“In the movie, OY! Frankfurters, Shlacker’s nemesis, the evil Mr. Shekel/Dr. Chyde, contaminates a hot dog factory, kidnaps Bagel Boy, and tortures him with pickled pork feet. At the last second, Shlacker comes to the rescue and handcuffs Chyde with a hard pretzel.”

 

Crabby Lane – Revisited

In many ways, 1969 was a memorable year. Fifty years ago, man first set foot on the moon, Woodstock was held in upstate New York, and the Beatles crossed Abbey Road.

Somewhere there is a fifty-year-old who took his first step, got potty trained, or whose uncle smoked his first joint—and took a trip without ever leaving the farm.

Not all these events are worthy of reenactment (except for the good bowel movement), but are still pivotal moments in our lives. What memory would you like to share from 1969?

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Purple Pixie who posts our photo prompt each week is Aelfwine Twiggy 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.

copyright – Na’ama Yehuda

 

On Wednesday, tens of people waited in a steady drizzle for their turn to be photographed in the crosswalk at the intersection of Crabby Road and Snipe Lane in Belton, Missouri.
Legend has it that on this site the mythical mime, Le Petite Velouse, crossed the street carrying a stolen invisible box.
“It’s amazing to walk in her footsteps, eh?” said one pilgrim from Montreal, Canada. “The feeling you get leaning back, pretending to carry an invisible object is awesome!”
“There’s no proof she even crossed here,” said Detective Colton Lowry, who investigated the crime. “Knowing her, she likely jaywalked.”

 

 

Wider Shade of Fail

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to miss telemarketers. Making hateful remarks and slamming down the phone on a recorded message leaves me feeling empty and unsatisfied.

What if I want to pull a prank, or try to get extended vehicle coverage on our 1948 Ford truck? Who can I chew out over options to refinance my zero-balance credit cards? To quote Lucinda Williams, “You Took My Joy. I Want It Back.”

I guess the only thing I can do now is call Customer Service in New Delhi and ask for help with a deck of Bicycle playing cards that’s missing one of its Jokers.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the Twisted Sister who ties our brains in knots each week is Dee Snidely 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.

copyright – Penelope Gadd
Marta nodded toward the door. “Let’s go to the Resource Center. It’s peaceful there.
The Resource Center turned out to be a fancy term for what people of my generation would call a library.
“Our reading program is rated in the top five nationally,” Marta said. “Most of our students develop college level comprehension skills by the time they enter the third grade.
That was a relief. Many of the recent college graduates I worked with couldn’t explain the theme of Horton Hears a Who!, let alone grasp the complex nuances hidden between the covers of a Dick and Jane reader.

“Joy” by Lucinda Williams – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhGt6KktfS4

 

Peep Show

Remember when TV stations had local programing?  You do?  Then you must be as old as Perry Block.  For those under forty, let me explain. Back in the golden era of television, stations would do anything to gain viewers and improve ratings. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this was by bringing local children into the studio for fifteen seconds of fame.  

Every station in our viewing area (all three of them) had a “Santa Show” where the kids would sit on Santa’s lap and stare dumbfounded at the camera while Santa attempted to gain their attention long enough to learn who they were and what they wanted for Christmas. (A ridiculous premise since he’s already supposed to know those things.)

My favorite local show was Uncle Zeb’s Cartoon Camp. It came out of channel 8 in Tulsa. Uncle Zeb dressed like an old prospector and was forever popping adult oriented one-liners. If the temperature was below freezing, like it is here today, Zeb would proclaim, “Hey, kids, it’s Brass Billy Goat weather out there.”

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the host of our weekly program is Elmyra “Babs” 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.

copyright - Randy Maize
copyright – Randy Maize

“Hey, Randy, why do you think they boarded up the windows like that and spray-painted ‘No Trespassing’ on the building?”

“To attract attention. It’s a new marketing ploy.”

“That doesn’t make much sense.”

“Sure it does. Anytime you tell people NOT to do something, they can’t help but do it. For example, hang a ‘Wet Paint’ sign on a park bench and see how many people touch it to see if it’s wet.”

“Ah, that explains the gaps between the plywood.”

“Exactly, they’ll line up in droves to peek through those cracks.”

“But isn’t that the home of a supermarket gossip rag?”

“Yep, The National Inquirer.”

Uncle Zeb
Uncle Zeb

The Idiot Express

I heard a great piece of advice last week. “Don’t waste time judging yourself. Plenty of people are already doing that, and you don’t want to put any of them out of work.”

Just think of the freedom that statement offers. Now, instead of worrying about your own stupidity and social gaffes, you can stop beating yourself up and focus on something more productive, like what shade of purple to dye that unruly lock of hair that tends to flop down over your left eye.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the capable engineer who keeps this train from derailing is Kacey Jones 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.

copyright – Sandra Crook

 

“You seem to have forgotten the goal of our little endeavor,” Fish said.
“Guys like Ole Birdsong aren’t graduates from Miss Manner’s School of Sophistication and Etiquette. They rarely consult their brains before opening their mouths. They’re carefree, unpredictable, and totally devoid of common sense. That’s why they’re called idiots. You should be thrilled we found such an outstanding candidate who has the talent and ability to catapult Nasal Falls from a tiny hamlet to a village.”
Rip smirked. “I’m fine with being catapulted, I just don’t like the form of internal combustion he’s using to shoot us to the other side.”

*the above is an excerpt from “One Idiot Short of a Village.”

Plugging In

When we hear stories about a particularly heinous crime, someone will always remark, “There’s a special place in Hell for people like that.”

What exactly does that statement imply? That the vile offender will be granted an exalted position in Hades as a reward for “Excellence in Evil?” If so, where does this leave the common, everyday sinner when cast into the fires of eternal damnation?

These are today’s burning questions (pun intended). Feel free to share your views in the comments section.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, our stage director, who always manages to connect with the audience, is “Sparky” Alma Edison 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.

copyright – Dale Rogerson

 

“I’m on the nominating committee to fill that vacancy on the board of directors.” Richard’s voice was soft and reassuring. “You’d make a great board member.”

Edith blushed and bit her lower lip to conceal an ever-widening smile. She visualized herself on the annual report cover.

“The hot tub is full,” he said.

“Sounds good, but I didn’t bring a swimsuit.”

“Neither did I.” Richard flashed an impish grin.

She removed her dress and draped it across a chair in front of the mirror. “Edith Cox, board member,” she announced to her reflection. I like the sound of that.

 

Saving Hollywood

We just returned from a weeklong, fact-finding mission along the Missouri River. At the insistence of Detective Lowry, we spent one night in the thriving metropolis of Belton, MO.

The purpose of this stop was to locate, and investigate, the home of that dastardly criminal mime known as “Le Petite Velour.” Unaware of our mission, she graciously welcomed us into her abode. While Connie kept her busy with idle chitchat, I scanned the premises for Do-Not-Remove tags. None were to be found. One can only conclude they were squirreled away with the tags stolen from nearby homes and stashed in an invisible box (also stolen)—which I was unable to locate.

Ironically, Ms. Velour’s residence is only a few blocks from the Belton Police Station.

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, the director of this weekly production of 100-word stories is Zelda Rubinstein 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.

copyright – Ted Strutz

 

“You guys were great,” the producer said. “I can’t remember ever working with anyone quite like you. Your performance today put Hollywood back forty years.”

It was an “Aww, shucks” moment for Connie and I. We looked at each other and blushed. The glory days had returned to Hollywood.

The roar of applause followed us through the back door and spilled onto the patio. Members of the production crew came over to offer congratulations and shake hands.

The way they carried on, you’d have thought Colonel Sanders had just arrived with a bucket of fried chicken.


*the above is an excerpt from “Saving Hollywood,” and can be found in my second book, One Idiot Short of a Village.

“From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend on reading it.” – Groucho Marx

Karma Bites II

I learned a new word this week. Pentheraphobia is a fear of your mother-in-law. While I was never afraid of mine, I know people who cower at the mere mention of their mother-in-law’s name—and with good reason.

Mothers are a protective lot. Sometimes overly protective. If her Baby stops by, or calls to vent about a relationship problem with a spouse, whose side do you think Mommy is going to take?

The tension escalates when Baby’s spouse appears to be “a lazy, no good, worthless piece of horse dung.” To which the spouse responds by pointing out Mommy’s exceptional talent as “an overbearing, Nazi witch.” Now, the table is set for a long and resentful relationship.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

If you’re new to Friday Flash Fiction, our resident advice guru on Outlaw In-Laws is Jeanne Phillips 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.

copyright – C E Ayr

 

Detective Lowry’s phone hadn’t stopped ringing since the release of the murder victim’s name. Confessions poured in. At first only ten people admitted to the crime, but that number had passed twenty-five and was still growing each day.

It seems everyone who’d encountered the old Scot wanted to see him get his just deserves. According to Medical Examiner Gayer, the causes of death were drowning, strangulation, blunt trauma, knife wounds, and gunshots, among other things.

“This man truly died a thousand deaths,” Gayer said.

“It could’ve been worse.” Lowry shook his head. “At least he wasn’t trampled by pink pachyderms.”

 

Mandie Hines Author

Poetry, Horror, Psychological Thrillers

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