Flash Fiction #48

Belgium

PHOTO PROMPT – © Dee Lovering

IF IT’S TUESDAY, THIS MUST BE BELGIUM

You know, they made a movie about this, back in the ‘60s.  We scrimped and saved for years to afford our only European Vacation.  I suggested France, but you booked us on this 12-night, 13-day, whirlwind nine-country tour.

I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, Pei’s crystal pyramid at the Louvre, the Versailles Palace, perhaps the Cote d’azur.  Instead, I’ve seen cows, and sheep, and oats, and potatoes – all streaming by the other side of the dirty windows of this bus.  I’ve seen smelly harbors and – and….What’s this?  The shrine of Saint Shania Twain?

I wanna go to Disneyland!  😥

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

#451

 

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Hot Dog

Hot dog stand

Two guys immigrate to America.  On their first
day off the boat they are wandering around New
York City seeing the sights.  As lunch time
approaches they decide they are hungry.  They
then come up to a street vendor selling hot dogs.

One says to the other in a shocked tone, “My God.
Do they eat dogs in America?”

“I don’t know!” says the other, equally appalled.

“Well,” says the first, “we’re going to be
Americans, so we must do as they do.”

They approach the vendor bravely. “Two hot dogs,
please.”

The vendor hands them their food in a pair of
paper sacks.

The two immigrants sit on a park bench to eat
their lunch.  One looks inside his sack,
hesitates and turns to his partner and says,
“Uh, which part of the dog did you get?”

Hot dog

***

A young woman was so depressed that she decided
to end her life by throwing herself into the
ocean.  She went down to the docks and was about
to leap into the frigid water when a handsome
young sailor saw her tottering on the edge of the
pier crying.

He took pity on her and said,  “Look, you’ve got
a lot to  live for. I’m off to Europe in the
morning, and if you like, I can stow you away on
my ship.  I’ll take good care of you and bring
you food every day.”  Moving closer he slipped
his arm round her shoulder and added, “I’ll keep
you happy, and you’ll keep me happy.”

The girl nodded yes.  After all, what did she
have to lose?  That night, the sailor brought her
aboard and hid her in a lifeboat. From then on
every night he brought her three sandwiches and a
piece of fruit, and they made passionate love
until dawn.

Three weeks later, during a routine inspection,
she was discovered by the  captain.  “What are
you doing here?”  the Captain asked.

“I have an arrangement with one of the sailors,”
she explained. “I get food and a trip to Europe,
and he’s screwing me.”

“He sure is, lady,” the Captain said.  “This is
the Staten Island Ferry”

***

Did you hear about the lawyer who named his daughter Sue?

***

Hear about the psychic midget who escaped from
jail?

Yeah the headlines in the newspaper read
“SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE”.

***

Little Matt is sitting in the back of math class,
obviously not paying any attention, when the
teacher calls his name. “Yeah teach?” he says.

“If  there are three ducks on a fence and you shoot
one of them with your shotgun, how many are
left?” Matt answers “Well, teach, if I shoot one
of them with my shotgun, the loud noise is going
to make them all fly off.” “No, Matt, there will
be two left if you shoot one with your shotgun,
but I like the way you’re thinking.”

“Well,teacher, I’ve got a question for you. There are
3 women that come out of an ice-cream parlor, one
is biting her ice-cream cone, one is licking it,
and one is sucking on it. Which one is married?”

The teacher is a little taken aback by the
question, but answers “Well, uh, gee Matt, I
guess the one that’s sucking on it.” “No teach,
the one that has the wedding ring on her finger,
but I like the way you’re thinking!”

#450

Spring Forward – Fall Back

Nasty old Verna Equinox – AKA Mother Nature – has been toying with us this year.  She’s promised us since March the 21st that it’s Spring, but, like a drunken bar pickup, it’s a lot of talk, and very little action.

Despite Verna’s claims, it’s not really Spring until it warms up, and she just keeps teasing us.  Hold out a little sunshine and warmth – and then snatch it back with an icy hand.  Hold out a little….well, you’re living through it; you know what I mean.

We all want the warmth of real Spring.  We need it.  We hope for it.  Some of us pray for it – except in California, where they’re praying for rain.  They’d even take the forty days and forty nights, and out there, where Sodom meets Gomorrah, they might get it.

I think we all have those ‘It’s Really Spring When….’ benchmarks.  I know I do.  This year, every time we reached one, and hope began to blossom, Frau Nature took the proctology scope out of the refrigerator and said, “Bend over and cough – Bitch.”

It’s really Spring when all the snow finally melts – and two days later, I’m sprinkling the last of my urea crystals to melt the ice on my driveway and sidewalk.

It’s really Spring when you see your first robin.  The first one I saw was in a clothing store in the mall, buying a North Face insulated parka.

The ‘really Spring’ point for the gardener wife came a couple of weeks ago, when the nearby supermarket assembled their outdoor garden center.  We might as well buy plastic plants.  They’re just as hard, and they won’t wilt when they thaw out.

I thought I’d finally reached the ‘really Spring’ point Sunday night/Monday morning.  The ‘warm Spring rain’ had been coming down steadily for hours, and had finally melted the permafrost that is my front lawn.  The grass was so sodden that the poor earthworms were drowning, and were crawling up and out of the dirt to breathe.

Monday being garbage day, I was taking out the trash at 3 AM so that the neighbors would not be blinded by my sartorial splendor.  It’s really Spring because the earthworms are out of the ground, and all over my driveway.

Here I was, lugging two bags, and daintily pirouetting down the driveway, avoiding worms, in a pair of fleece shorts and slippers.  It’s not that I believe in the Hindu/Karma thing.  It’s just that She Who Must Be Obeyed doesn’t take kindly to having worm guts all over her floors.

Two days later, BrainRants could have used the worms like frozen spikes to hold down the planks on his rebuilt deck.

SDC10802

The above photo of my deck was taken at 3 AM Tuesday April 22nd, Earth Day.  Really, snow?? Again?? C’mon Ma Nature, over a month since you claimed it was Spring?  Have a hot flash or two.  I am so looking forward to putting away my ice scraper and snow shovel….  Wait, that means I have to get out the rakes and lawn mower.  🙄

#449

Flash Fiction #47

Hawaii

PHOTO PROMPT – © Douglas M. MacIlroy

PER ARDUA AD ASTRA

When Bob heard that he’d been awarded an internship at the Moana Kea Observatories in Hawaii, he thought he was going to Heaven.

When his boss picked him up for work the first night, he found out that Hawaii has six of the seven global climate zones.  There are no deserts, but it ranges from Tropical, to Arctic where he would be working.

With frigid fingers, he quickly called his Mom in Chicago to send his winter coat, but the views were well worth the trouble.  He could see Heaven spread out below him, and Heaven in the stars above.

***

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

***

And if I’d been born rich, instead of so darned handsome, I’d be living near lucky Doug MacIlroy in Hawaii, where he was fortunate enough to snap this awesome photo.

#448

 

Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

Avon

I had thought that sociological changes would have rendered the art and practice of door-to-door sales and solicitation obsolete.  I am surprised (and disappointed) by the number of folks who still ring my chimes.

We recently replaced our front door, and now have no outer storm door, through which I can talk at unwanted callers.  If I open the door too wide, the stupid dog takes off to water all the light posts.  I must seem a strange paranoid sight, suspiciously peering out, and talking through a six-inch gap.

I was just dozing off for my 6PM nap recently, when the front door was thumped on strenuously.  When I peeked out, I saw an 18-year-old male.  Ignoring his immediate verbal presentation, I saw a belt-mounted ID badge for UNICEF.  Did I also see confusion and disappointment as I closed the door?  Put on a mask and costume, and I’ll put a dime in your collection box, as I do with the rest of the kids collecting at Halloween.

The doorbell recently rang at 3 PM.  After I shut the mouthy dog up, and stepped onto the porch, a middle-aged male handed me a coupon from Culligan, which would have him inspect my water softener for “Only $14.95.”  I’m also sure I’d be inveighed to replace my antique, which is paid for and works just fine, Thank You, and rent one from him at $29.95/Mo.

In a time and culture where both parents often work, I found 3 in the afternoon a strange time to be calling.  Wouldn’t he have done better, coming around early in the evening?

The one with the best line, and the best delivery, was a 20-something male who showed up in the middle of a Sunday afternoon.  He was dressed in a very official-looking uniform, with a very official-looking laminated badge – which didn’t actually identify his employer.

When I opened the door, he informed me that he was from, “the inspection division.”  (Of what?)  He was there to, “ensure the integrity of my home,” (My home’s integrity is better than yours!) and he would “just leave my shoes, here on the front mat” – and also looked so confused and disappointed, standing there in his socks, as I shut the door.

Governments of any level, phone, email, or send letters to inform of any such “inspections”, and damned few of them pay people to work on Sundays.  I don’t know what his game was, but the look on his face told me that I was one of the few who didn’t just unquestioningly let him in, to later wonder where the laptop, or family silver went.

It is not my job to make uninvited solicitors happy.  I don’t always try to make things hard for them….sometimes it just turns out that way.  Early of a recent evening, the doorbell rang.  I played Rock, Scissors, Biscuit with the dog – and lost.  When I gapped the door the regulation six inches, he was still barking in one ear as I tried to hear what the female of a well-dressed 20ish couple was saying.

Jehovah’s Witnesses??  No, I managed to make out that she would like me to step out, so that we could talk about my telephone bill.   Was I  ‘J. Smith?’  Kicking the dog back, I stepped out.  I didn’t confirm or deny that I was J. Smith.  I’m not the one the phone is registered to.  “Why do we need to talk about my phone bill?”

I’d already spotted ID badges, but she informed me that they were from Bell Telephone.  They just wanted to be sure that I was happy with the company and their service….was I?  “Well, it’s better now.  I had to call the repair department, and they sent a tech around this morning to do some repairs.”

That caused some consternation.  “But he got here with no problem?”  “A couple of years ago, when we had a different problem with your service, the tech arrived a day earlier than promised.  Scheduling said this one would be here the standard ‘between noon and 5PM’; he called at 10 AM, said he’d be here at 11, and showed up ten minutes later.  What if we’d been at a doctor’s appointment?”

Hmmm…no comment.  She referred to a clipboard.  “I see here that you have only a land line with us.  I assume you get your cable and internet from Rogers.”  “No, and No!  Directly above you, on the porch roof, is my Shaw satellite dish, from which I don’t get cable.”  “I’m too short.  I didn’t see it.”  Not even from the sidewalk, where you should be??  “I’ll boost you up so that you can see it.”  “No thanks!”

This is not going well – for her….I think it is.  “Bell is installing new fibre-optic cables, and we’d like to know if you’d like to pay to upgrade your service.  Are you J. Smith?”  “No, I’m not.  That would be my wife.”  “Oh, could we speak to her?”  “No, she’s upstairs in bed.”  “Oh, I hope we didn’t wake her by ringing the bell.”  “No, you set the dog off, and he woke the whole neighborhood.”  “Ohhh…”

The guy with her never said a word.  One of them was probably training the other, though I’m not sure which was which.  I told them I was already being charged too much for the amount we use their services, and shut the door before one or both of them broke down and cried.   😀

#447

Plastic Surgery

#446

Just over two years ago, I wrote a Coming Home piece about how my old auto-parts plant was being given a cosmetic makeover.  An engineering firm was ready to move in, and an electronics firm was considering renting space.

Google had set up in a nearby, refurbished, gentrified tannery building, steadily increasing their local presence till they occupied the entire top floor, but was looking for still more room, and was considering a move to my old plant.

Google Building  Google’s ultimate dream

‘Considering’ is over, and money is being spent.  Not satisfied with mere lipstick and eye shadow, they are paying for a pair of implants.  On top of the three-storey section where I used to make Jeep parts, they are installing a partial two storey addition, set at a rakish, artistic angle.  They plan to occupy this entire ‘new’ (1956) end, as well as the complete top floor of the older 1906 brick section.

Prehistoric section  front

Indoors  rebuilt inside

SDC10700rear

It fronts on a street named for a German pioneer, Henry Breithaupt (brite-up), so it’s now called the Breithaupt Block, 200 feet wide and a block long.  The tank which was white, and held vinyl chips when I worked there, has been painted Gawdawful Orange, and now probably holds enough Starbucks coffee to fuel all the offices.  Note the gorgeous new (expensive) Thermo-pane windows.

Nothing is too good for Google employees.  They will have a spa, a gym, a nap/rest/reading room, several lunch rooms, c/w microwaves, stoves and refrigerators, and a staff of fulltime cooks in a cafeteria.

I have taken, and lifted, several pictures for those few who are interested, showing then, now, and near future, above.  The second photo below, shows the deteriorating brick facing and cracked windows.  During several really cold spells over the years, we would come in, to a couple of rented, jet-engine-type propane heaters on each floor.  Other photos show the facings stripped off, and the new upper floors, getting ready for a new look, taken from several angles.

SDC10701  New joining old.

Jeep building  Old Girl with her clothes on.

Jeep stripped  Stripping down to essentials.

SDC10698Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Jeep goiing upEnd-on from the main drag.

The strange angle is because the side street doesn’t meet the main one at 90 degrees.  The bus is crossing railroad tracks, and the road is currently being dug up to lay tracks for the new LRT.

This is all located right beside the upcoming bus/train/LRT transit hub, and just at the edge of the Technology Circle, envisioned, promoted and coming to fruition in the core of Kitchener, Ontario.

The old girl looked pretty good when I visited her a couple of years ago.  These new additions and improvements proceed apace.  She’s looking so much better and more functional now, and may be open for Google business by the time I publish this post.

Flash Fiction 46

fire-roger-bultot

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

FOUR ALARM

Bob had been born and raised in Titusville PA, and had worked for a Pennsylvania oil company after graduating.  Two years after a transfer to Austin, he still wasn’t sure he wanted to stay in Texas.  It was hot and dusty – but the food was great!

He’d always liked Tex-Mex food.  It came as a surprise when he’d invited his neighbor, Pecos, over for Sunday brunch.

“Never cottoned much to that beaner food.  Steak and potatoes is good enough for me.”

“Perhaps you’d better start with Huevos Rancheros, they’re mild….!!?  Easy!  You’re not putting ketchup on fries – that’s Habanera sauce!”

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