Flash Fiction #74


PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


I was always the loner, the social misfit, alone in the corner at parties.  They said, “Have a drink.  It’ll loosen you up.”

One didn’t, but 8 or 12 did.  I felt witty, amusing, entertaining – accepted, until I reached the precipice.

“Did you hear what that drunken asshole said?”

I wasn’t addicted to alcohol, but to being part of ‘The Group.’  They didn’t accept me; they barely tolerated me, kept me as a Court Jester, an object of derision, to be laughed and jibed at.

Stubborn Scottish pride soon cured that.  Now I carefully choose my friends, stone cold sober.


Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Empathy Thrust Upon Me


Of all the things I hoped to be when I was young, a wrinkled bag of aches and pains wasn’t one of them.  Some while ago, BrainRants, a mere stripling in his mid-forties, published a post about all the pains and strange body noises he was accumulating.  Bloody amateur, just wait till he moves up to the pros.

Through a confluence of good genes, a relatively physical lifestyle, and a modified Mediterranean diet, I am far healthier than many men my age.

Several years ago, a doctor at a clinic remarked to the wife, “You have a lot of things wrong with you.  Nothing that will kill you, but a lot of minor problems.”  Between prescription meds and supplements, she downs 20 to 25 pills a day.  She has a general surgeon who has removed a couple of skin growths, a urologist, a rheumatologist, a podiatrist and an osteopath.  I drive her to a cancer clinic and an airway clinic for monitoring.

Until recently, I was exempt from all that.  I had sympathy for her, but didn’t really know what she went through.  All that has changed.  It started innocently enough, about 15 years ago.  She convinced me to take an antihistamine each morning, for allergies.  Then it was a Vitamin B tablet.  I don’t know what it does.  I don’t ask. I am a husband, Yes dear, Yes dear.


Next was Vitamin D, I took a tablet a day.  Last year’s blood test revealed that I am low on Vitamin D.  It has to do with my vampire lifestyle schedule – up all night, sleep all day.  I don’t get enough sunlight.  (It burns!  It burns!)  The doctor insists that I take two.  I take a multivitamin tablet laced with something to keep my retinas from deteriorating.

This year’s physical revealed that I have ‘Old Man’s Disease’, my prostate is swollen.  It also showed that my thyroid is running a bit slow.  Perhaps that’s a small part of my weight gain.  I am now taking medication for both of those.  Only ten pills a day, 9 of them before breakfast, and a heavy-duty pain pill a couple of hours before dawn, to help me get to sleep.  I now take four ‘little blue pills’, and not one of them made by Pfizer – although the doctor did offer me Cialis.

I’m on a call-back list for a Neurologist, from my eye problem of a couple of years ago, but my Ophthalmologist visits are down to once a year.  My long-time Optometrist recently died suddenly, but I’ve found a nice young female replacement.

The duct of a fat gland in my back stopped up and it swelled a bit.  Nothing to worry about – until it infected and grew as big as half an orange, making it difficult to sit or lie down.  It burst before I got to see a surgeon, but now I’m on his call list, because another gland is swelling.

Because of the enlarged prostate, I have an appointment to see a Urologist.  I’d sooner suffer another colonoscopy.  You’re going to push what, up where?  I’m waiting for an appointment with a Dermatology surgeon because I have a couple of suspect skin growths.  I have yet to acquire a Rheumatologist, although the most recent spike of incipient arthritis had me barely hobbling for a week.

I have had empathy for the wife and daughter (and any of the rest of you who suffer these accretions of ‘minor’ problems) thrust upon me.

The most unfair thing about life is the way it
ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot
of your time.  What do you get at the end of it?
A death. What’s that, a bonus?

I think the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first; get it out of the way.
Then you live in an old age home.

You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get
a gold watch when you go to work. You work forty
years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement!

You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you
get ready for high school! You go to grade school,
you become a kid, you play, you have no
responsibilities, you become a little baby, you
go back into the womb, you spend your last nine
months floating…you finish off as a gleam.

Here’s hoping that my list of pills and specialists doesn’t grow to match the wife’s, but even if it does, it beats the alternative.  (Did I mention that my ass gets sore from sitting at the computer too much?)

Big Boy’s Little Toys


After giving the best part of his life (In both senses.) to the American Army – suffering the slings and arrows, as well as the mosquitoes, camel shit and anal-retentive superiors whose assholes are so tight that, when they fart, only dogs can hear them, BrainRants® has discovered that the government bureaucracy values him as much and has the same level of loyalty as found in private industry.

A short time ago he received the highly prized little pink slip reading, “We are sorry, but your continued presence at this time is surplus to our ongoing requirements.”

In the beginning, he got to drive a tank, and blow shit up, but later found that he was required to throw his body in front of rampaging power-point presentations, injuring his shoulders, and pride.

The Government, in its soul-grinding way, is requiring him to locate and return every piece of crap they’ve issued him over almost a quarter of a century.  Unless he’s a lot slyer than even I think he is, there is probably not an Abrams tank in his garage, next to the beer fridge.

I don’t feel it’s fair that he has to leave the five-sided game-show without at least a consolation prize.  If any of you kind and computer-literate people want to start a GoFundMe or CrowdSourcing campaign, I will be happy to donate….a couple of ideas.  I might also get around to returning a few beer bottles for refund.

RC Abrams

My first thought was that we could get him one of these Radio Controlled Abrams tanks.  He could sit out on his rebuilt back deck, with a Coors Lite in one hand, and the control in the other, raising Hell with the neighborhood squirrels, and any cats and/or dogs running at large.

Ride-on Abrams

Another idea would be to get him one of these darling ride-on Abrams.  They’re $10 cheaper than the RC, but I’m afraid our boy is a bit bigger than the cute kid in the photo.  We might have to purchase a matched pair, so that he could wear one on each foot, like roller-skates, to zip him to work on future commutes.


A local businessman runs a surplus store.  He’s also into militaria.  I don’t know how much profit there is in carpenters’ pencils, CD jewel cases or field mess kits, but there’s enough to buy him a plane.  When I heard that he liked to get high….


He also bought, and parked in the front corner of his lot, a deceased tank.  If we dug deep enough in our pockets and pocketbooks, we might raise enough cash to convince him to let it go to a good home.  If Rants doesn’t have a covert Abrams in his garage, this might be the ideal DIY rebuilding project.  We could FedEx it to him, a few parts at a time.


Remember, even if he eventually gets it up and running, and in operational condition, this is a Canadian tank.  It’s only dangerous to SmartCars   :lol:

What do you say, people??  Let’s show him that we still love and respect him, even if he has mutated into a civilian!

Flash Fiction #73




He surreptitiously followed her as she tottered out of the bar into the dark.  The cheap booze and clunky heels made her bodycheck a couple of buildings before stumbling left onto East 48th Street

He mustn’t lose this one.  She’d be SO enjoyable!  As he quickly sidled toward the corner, he could hear/feel a vibration – a deep hum.  A bright, blue-white light bathed the intersection.

When both had died away, he cautiously poked his head around the corner, to see only an empty street – no, there, in the gutter.  Now where had that drunk bitch gone with only one shoe?


Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.


I extend a wish for a happy and joyous Thanksgiving to all my American readers.  Enjoy, but watch out for DUIs and too much turkey.  After the fuss raised about Starbucks’ ‘War On Christmas’, which is really Commercial, not Christian, I was pleased to see last evening, TV ads for three large store chains who are staying closed for Thanksgiving day.

Silence, Blessed Silence


Our ancestors enjoyed silence.  At least I hope they enjoyed it, because every invention they produced – every mechanical and electrical advance they made – has led to the constant thrum of noise that we in the developed world are immersed in.

Our forebears worked their asses off 16 hours a day.  When they finally huddled in their huts and cottages and cabins at the end of a long day, these hovels were not the insulated and breeze-resistant wonders we live in today.

It wasn’t so quiet that they could hear the grass grow.  There would have been the sounds of birds and animals and insects – all hopefully outside.  Then, along came technology, and constant, growing noise.  We have become inured to it, and most of us never even notice it.  It’s just part of our lives.

I had one of ‘those moments’ the other day.  Like the digital clocks and power indicator LEDs spewing light around my house, I became aware of how many things were constantly pumping noise into my ears.  I have four analog clocks spread around my house.  They’re all electric, running on batteries, but they all tick, tick, Tick, Tick!

The son doesn’t want the cats or dog messing with stuff in his room, so he keeps the door closed 24/7.  It could get a little funky in there, so he has set the thermostat so that the circulating fan on the furnace runs on low, constantly.  In the summer when the air conditioning, or in the winter when the burner kicks in, the fan ramps up to high.

In the winter, the air in the house gets so dry that I raise half-inch blue sparks, reaching for doorknobs or light switches, so we have a humidifier pumping moisture (and noise) into the atmosphere.  The mechanical timer on the water softener clatters away to itself in the basement, and the softener itself howls for about two hours, twice a week.  Beside it is the chest freezer, beside that is the ‘beer fridge’, plus the big one in the kitchen, none on constantly, but regularly.  Even the water heater burbles away to itself when hot water is used.

In an attempt to conserve electricity, Ontario has banned incandescent light bulbs.  The new CFL, compact fluorescent light bulbs are cheaper on power, but each has a starter built into the base.  These emit a faint 60-cycle hum when turned on.  I sit beside a tri-light bulb when I do my crosswords.  The greater the light output, the more pronounced the hum.  Two or three of those in a room, and the cats have their paws over their ears.

The tower for my PC sits below my desk, down in cat-hair country, so we decided to add a second exhaust fan, just to be safe(r).  The son’s PC is not always on, and only has one fan.  The wife’s laptop has one exhaust fan, but she plays a lot of games.  No Grand Theft Auto – more Canasta and Monopoly – but it was overheating, so now its single fan sits above a cooling pad with two more fans running.


The wife has tinnitus – overactive nerves that make her ears ‘hear’ squeals and whines that aren’t there.  To cover up the fakes, so that she won’t go crazy, she often has the stereo on low, or a play list running on the laptop.

There’s the exhaust fan above the stove, when we’re cooking – the washroom exhaust fan – the washer and/or dryer – the dishwasher – the microwave – the stove-oven exhaust fan – the toaster-oven fan – the traffic noise from the four-lane Regional road, 100 feet from my back door – the four-year-old boy who lives in the other half of our semi-detached house, with his collection of bowling balls that he rolls down the stairs, and his seven-year-old sister who walks like a rhino.

I’m going mad – MAD I tell you!  (What?  Too late??)  It’s a wonder that the kids playing road hockey outside don’t tell us to keep it down.  I moved from a quiet small town to the big city (500,000) for jobs and amenities.  I shouldn’t complain, but I’m a Grumpy Old [retired] Dude, what else do I have to do?  If any of you want to comment about the levels of noise you have to put up with, YOU’LL HAVE TO SPEAK UP!  I CAN’T HEAR YOU!   ;)



Sherlock Holmes – Elementary Dear Watson

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend.

– Watson, look up and tell me what you see.

Watson replies, – I see millions of stars.

– What does that tell you?

Watson ponders for a minute. – Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.
Timewise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?

Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks. –
Watson, you’re an idiot, someone has stolen our tent.


You’re not going to believe this!

A woman got a problem with her closet door – it was falling every time a bus was passing by. So she called a repair man. The repairman comes and sees that indeed, the door falls out every time when a bus passes by. “OK, I am gonna see what is going on, just close the door behind me” and he steps into the closet.

At that time the husband comes home from work, opens the closet and finds the repairman.
Husband: “What the hell are you doing here?”
Repairman: “Well, you are not going to believe it, but I am waiting for a bus!”


Who am I?

A sleeping couple is lying in a bed.
Door bell rings.
The couple wakes up.
Woman: “Quick! My husband is back!”
Man jumps out of a window.
On the way down, he starts to think: “Shit, I am the husband!”


Shoe repair shop

Arnold and his wife were cleaning out the attic one day when he came across a ticket from the local shoe repair shop. The date stamped on the ticket showed that it was over eleven years old. They both laughed and tried to remember which of them might have forgotten to pick up a pair of shoes over a decade ago.

“Do you think the shoes will still be in the shop?” Arnold asked.

“Not very likely,” his wife said.

“It’s worth a try,” Arnold said, pocketing the ticket. He went downstairs, hopped into the car, and drove to the store.

With a straight face, he handed the ticket to the man behind the counter. With a face just as straight, the man said, “Just a minute. I’ll have to look for these.” He disappeared into a dark corner at the back of the shop.

Two minutes later, the man called out, “Here they are!”

“No kidding?” Arnold called back. “That’s terrific! Who would have thought they’d still be here after all this time.”

The man came back to the counter, empty-handed. “They’ll be ready Thursday,” he said calmly.


It Beggars the Imagination

“Can you spare some change?” a beggar asks a passerby.
“No, I know you’re going to spend it all on vodka.”
“No, sir, I don’t drink.”
“Then you’ll gamble it away.”
“No, I don’t gamble either, sir.”
“Well then, you’re going to spend it on women.”
“No, sir, I don’t spend money on women.”
“Okay,” the passerby finally agrees, finally. “I’m going to give you $100 if you come with me. I want to show my wife an example of what can happen to a man who has no bad habits.”

Flash Fiction # 72


PHOTO PROMPT – © J Hardy Carroll


C’mon Carol!  Ya don’t gotta be scared.  There’s no ghosts out here, an’ even if there was, they’d be good ghosts, that’d help you.

This is where they bury Army sojers who died gettin’ us peace an’ freedum.  Daddy says they went all over the world.

Some peepul put up little flags to honor them.  Daddy says up in Canada, sometimes they put up little red flowers called poppies.

It’s okay, we can play here.  They don’t mind.  In fack they’re happy that we can.  Whenever I come here, I always feel nice an’ safe an’ potected.  Happy Veterans’ Day!


Childhood innocence, and the freedom to play, and feel safe and protected, perhaps some of the most important, but only a few of the many things in my November 11th post, that we should remember are guaranteed to us by the selfless actions of those in our Armed Forces.  SALUTE!


If you’d like to try this 100 word Flash Fiction, go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete story in the hundred words, (More or less) and join the Friday Fictioneers.