Flash Fiction #82

Sandbox

PHOTO PROMPT – © ceayr

SANDBOX

We put the gate up because people steal sand. We came home one day, to truck tracks across the lawn, and a hole in our beach.

The Sahara has lots of sand, but it’s the wrong kind, and it’s too far to ship. Sand to make glass needs lots of silica.  Saudi Arabia imports it.

The sand people steal is to make concrete for construction. We even had a small ship in our cove with a suction hose.  What used to be a shallow bottom is now deep and stony.  We called the Coast Guard, but they didn’t catch them.

***

While theft of sand may seem strange, it’s actually quite common, especially along California’s coast, and on the Hawaiian Islands. The pressure of providing for more and more development is fierce.  Dump-trucks with a bulldozer in tow remove tons of sand from popular beaches.  Sucker ships destroy the bottoms of small bays.  Subsequent erosion threatens the concrete supports of decks of beachfront homes.  Play in the sandbox is getting rough.

***

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

Everything Ended Perfectly

Aghast

For any of my readers who might be in the Southern Ontario region – I suggest you take a few steps back for a couple of weeks. If the Karma Balancing Equation is correct, my house should get struck by a medium-sized meteor soon.

All 3 puppies

Daughter LadyRyl recently got to go for her first plane trip. The crazy cat lady also breeds Chihuahuas.   The daughter has been fostering a female for her, and recently oversaw the delivery of four cute little puppies.

She has had a long-distance friend for almost 18 years – almost since before there was an Internet. She Facebooked photos, and Skyped with the friend, showing off the wee dogs.  They’ve often spoken about getting together, but they’re 500 miles apart.

Alug & Tara

Alug (a look), with Tara, new, much older sister

The friend was entranced by one little male, and decided to add him to her menagerie – then her 7 kids would have 7 pets. Ryl decided that the time had come, and offered to deliver him by hand.  The friend lives a 2-hour drive east of Thunder Bay, ON, and offered to pick her up there and house her for five days.

She has blogged about the flight up, and plans to detail her stay. If you haven’t already, you might link over and have a look.  She had a wonderful visit, although, halfway through, the new main bridge on the Trans-Canada Highway,  between her and the airport, popped a rivet and got a bit bent out of shape.  Crews had it at least usable by the time she left.

Nipigon Bridge

She paid for her own flight. Cat-lady offered to drive her to and from the Toronto airport.  It’s the least she could do.  She’d have had to drive down once, and pay to have the dog shipped, whereas, the daughter took the puppy as carry-on luggage.

It’s a two hour flight home, and it’s a two hour drive from the cat-lady’s home. Just as daughter was getting ready to board her plane, cat-lady texted her.  The storm that was blowing down from the north had reached her.  She got to the highway, and visibility was ZERO.

We got a desperate text. Was our weather still clear??  Could we pick her up at the airport??  Of course!  Where and when?

I’ve been past the Toronto Airport, but never actually entered.  We got some things ready and took off.  Obscured lane markings and a bit of blowing snow made the trip a little longer than the usual one hour.  So did the fact that I left the highway one ramp too soon, driving up the airport’s ass-end, across the top, and back down, coming at the entrance from the wrong direction.

Pulling in off the street, I was suddenly on a Disneyworld ride – roads and ramps and bumper cars, oh my. In the dark!  In a snowstorm!  Where’s the signs?  Where’s the parking.  If I’m not careful, I’ll drive to Disneyworld, rather than fly there!

I followed a previous suggestion, made by the son. He describes it as Zen driving.  Find a car that looks like it knows where you’re going, and follow it.  Those two that just cut me off – they look like they’re going to pick someone up.  Sure enough, they both pull up a poorly marked ramp, and lead me into a parking garage.

Soon, I’m in a handicap spot, ten feet from an entrance. This opens to an overhead concourse, where we can look down on (in both senses) the chaos at the main entrance.  The daughter texted that she was landing, and that her plane would be a D-Gate #111.  Her one checked bag would unload at baggage carousel #9.

As we enter, signs say that Gates A – C are waayyy down there.  Gate D is right around this corner, an easy hobble for the wife and her two crutches.  However, carousel 9 is two football fields away.  With no seating on the upper level, we go down the escalator and take seats beside carousel 1.

Another text tells us that daughter’s plane was 10 minutes early, and the plane at ramp #111 is 10 minutes late leaving. They will unload onto the tarmac, and send luggage to carousel 1, since it’s the closest.

Soon, an airport employee delivers daughter and her carry-ons, in a wheelchair. We grab her checked bag and head for the car.  All done in just under an hour, we pay the outrageous $10 parking fee, and quickly hit Highway 401.

A bit more snow on the way home, a bit less wind drifting.  Traffic moves smoothly.  We’re home safely in an hour.  Where’s the snotty GPS?  Where’s the bumper-to-bumper traffic?  Where’s the getting lost and having to stop and ask some rag-head for directions?  Where’s something to rant about?  Karma’s up to something!  I’ll probably get lost going to the supermarket, but, Everything Ended Perfectly!  😀

 

 

Graffiti Grabbers

Executioner

I read about 250 books in the above series over the years. It started with a Special Forces soldier coming home from Viet Nam to avenge his family, murdered by ‘The Mob.’  Seeing the limitations of this story arc, after about 30 books, the hero ‘died’ and was reborn as an independent Government agent, fighting terrorists, although this was back in the ‘80s.  They weren’t called that, then.

In one book, the hero pursued an agent who was bombing American Federal Government buildings and installations, all the way to Detroit. He then crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Canada, just in time to see a bomb blow up a blue, street mailbox.

Mailbox

I’m still not sure what value the author felt blowing up a Canadian mailbox had – a few pizza shop flyers destroyed and somebody’s unemployment cheque (check, for Americans) lost.  What caught my attention was the fact that the (American) author had described the Canadian mailbox as blue.  American mailboxes are blue, Canadian mailboxes have always been British Red.

SDC10787 SDC10788

Graffiti taggers’ ill manners and lack of respect for the property of others started leaking north across the American border, like the Emerald Ash Borer, and deer ticks with Lyme disease. The more OCD at Canada Post began to be concerned about the look of their mailboxes.

SDC10861 SDC10862

They began a program of refinishing them with a glass crystal surface like that applied to subway cars in the movie Turk 182. It’s so smooth that, if the paint doesn’t fall off on its own, it can be wiped off with a dry cloth.  The only problem is, taggers just hate an empty surface, and will keep tagging, no matter how many times it’s cleaned.

SDC10785 SDC10786

Canada Post solved that problem by adding random, jumbled Postal Codes, so that the boxes look like they’ve already been pre-graffitied – so neat – so clean – so much better. Right….

SDC10911

Apparently they were not eagerly accepted, so Canada Post has come up with something a little more artistic.

I recently pulled into the subdivision, and there was a van parked, and a man in a work uniform in front of the neighborhood cable TV junction box. I thought someone might be upgrading to the new fiber-optic service.  As I drove past, I saw that the worker had a small paint tray and roller.  The name on the van was ‘Graffiti Grabbers.’  He was painting over the taggers’ marks.

When I got home, a quick research revealed that graffiti ‘artists’ created enough vandalism to keep the above, and two more cover-up companies busy. I guess we can’t all be bloggers and only sully each others’ cell phones, tablets, and computer screens.

Flash Fiction # 81

Piano

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan W. Fields

IN THE KEY OF F. U.

As a young lad, my parents provided me with piano lessons.

My teacher thought I was very musically declined.

After three years of intense study, I could finally….spell P.I.A.N.O.

Soon, I could carry a tune….in my studies briefcase.

I learned to play piano by ear. It sounded better than when I used my fingers.

As piano players go….I was often ordered to.

A neighbor once requested that I play ‘Far, Far Away’….preferably the next county.

The best thing that I ever played was….the radio.

When I decided to become an accountant, the Mayor gave me the key….to a different city.

***

And there you have the history of my musical career. Despite Rochelle’s theme, sadly, little of it is fiction.

***

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

I Read You, Loud And Clear

For years, I averaged reading a book a week – about fifty a year. Two years ago, when I first listed what I’d read, there were only 31 books.  Last year’s list improved minimally, to 33.

When we moved into this house 15 years ago, we placed the TV and all attendant electronics in the finished Rec Room in the basement. The wife’s deteriorating mobility and bladder problems have meant that we haven’t watched more than 10 hours of TV together since last April/May.  That has led to an increase in my reading.  Below are what I read last year.  The year’s total ran to 46.

Eric Flint – Grantville Gazette VI

grantville gazette VI

David Weber/Linda Evans – Hells Gate

hells gate

Lee Child – Nothing To Lose – Gone Tomorrow – 61 Hours – Worth Dying For – The Affair

nothing to losegone tomorrow 61 hours

worth dying for    the affair

Clive Cussler – Golden Buddha – Trojan Odyssey – Sacred Stone – Lost City

golden buddha  trojan odyssey

sacred stone   lost city

James Rollins – Sandstorm – Map Of Bones – Black Order

sandstorm  map of bones black order

Greg Loomis – The Coptic Secret – Gates Of Hades

coptic secret gates of hades

Steve Berry – The Romanov Prophecy – The Alexandria Link – The Venetian Betrayal – The Paris Vendetta

the-romanov-prophecy-1 the alexandria link

the venetian betrayal the-paris-vendetta-1

Ilona Andrews – Magic Bites – Magic Burns – Magic Strikes – Magic Bleeds – Magic Rises – Magic Slays – Gunmetal Magic

magic bites magic burns magic strikes

magic-bleeds magic-rises

magic slays gunmetal-magic

John Ringo – Strands Of Sorrow

strands-of-sorrow

F. Paul Wilson – The Tomb – Legacies – Conspiracies

the tomb  legacies conspiracies

This is a series introduced to me by Ted, at SightsNBytes.  Thanx Ted!  There will be more in next year’s list.

Sharon Lee/Steve Miller – Saltation

Saltation

Larry Correia – Monster Hunter Nemesis

monster hunter nemesis

I read the paperback version of this, but the best photo I could download was the audiobook.

William C. Dietz – At Empire’s Edge

at empires edge

Tom Clancy – Against All Enemies – Dead Or Alive

against all enemies dead or alive

Like Monster Hunter, above, I read the softback version of Dead Or Alive, but picked up the photo of the CD version.

David Feldman – Why Cats Don’t Like To Swim (Imponderables)

why cats don't swim

Jonathon Sarfati – Refuting Evolution – Refuting Evolution II

Refuting Evolution Refuting Evolution 2

Tony Daniel – Guardian Of Night

guardian of night

William Manchester – A World Lit Only By Fire

a world lit only by fire

This was a book suggested by Jim Wheeler, as a research tool for the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.  It clearly lists the excesses and sins of the European Royalty and the Catholic Church hierarchy (They were often the same thing.), and justifies claims I made in my The Torture Of Faith post.

Bonaventure Des Perier – Cymbalum Mundi (The Noise of the World)

cymbalum mundi

I found this book mentioned in Manchester’s treatise, above.  Written about 1542, it sneaks around mentioning the same things as ‘World‘ does, because, at the time of writing, accusations of heresy or sedition could get you tortured and burned at the stake.

Robert A. Heinlein – The Door Into Summer

the door into summer

Still in my book collection, I hadn’t read this one for 30 or 40 years.  It’s always possible to get a new insight from Heinlein, so I re-read it.

Gordon R. Dickson – The Man From Earth

The man from earth

Another book from the ’60s.  A collection of 10 of Dickson’s short stories, written from ’52 to ’65.  This anthology was published in ’66.  I never read it then, but pulled it from a pile the son was getting rid of.

***

In past years I have proof-read about half of two novels, for two different authors.  This past year, I had the privilege of beta-reading (proof-reading, character and plot development suggestions) for two new authors.  There are no cover pictures because they have not been published yet, hopefully soon.

Tom Elias – Degree Of Separation

Moon

Sci-Fi mystery

Will Greaney – The Last Ride

Tank

Army mystery

Aside from my posts (Thank you!  Thank you!), what have you guys been reading?

Flash Fiction #80

Memories

PHOTO PROMPT © Amy Reese

WHAT A DRAG IT IS GETTING OLD

Senility or Alzheimer’s aren’t necessarily the only causes of memory loss. Lots of times it’s just data overload.  Young folks have few memories, and they find them easy to access.  Old people have been piling up a lifeful of memories of successes, failures, and regrets, for years.

It’s like going to your Grandmother’s house, and climbing up to the attic. There are lots of interesting things up there, but there are also things like dust and spider webs.  It gets more and more overgrown, and less and less fun.

After a while, it just doesn’t seem worth the climb anymore.

***

Daddy's Home

***

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

***

Click on the title to enjoy(?) the Rolling Stones’ ‘Mother’s Little Helpers.’

Hurt Feelings

*Crying

The problem is world-wide, but North America in particular has turned into a bunch of whimpering, whining, wimpy, wussy, wieners. I’m all for being respectful, and not intentionally hurting feelings, but more and more, within any larger group, is a smaller sect, driven by the usual ego and insecurity, who make an industry out of being offended.

Quebec flag

In Quebec, Canada, there are actually provincial government agents – Language Police – who drive the streets with notebook, dictionaries, and tape measures, to assure that theirs isn’t bigger than ours.  Signs of all kinds in stores and shops are examined.  The French language must come first and be shown above any others.  English is the most censored and censured.  All non-French lettering must be less than ¾ the size of the French.

Indian

In the past, in the USA, the whites were contemptuous of the Native Americans. Over the years, things have improved greatly.  It’s not perfect.  Nothing is.  At least now, whites aren’t giving Indians smallpox-infected blankets.  Within the Indigenous community, rather than accepting that sports teams’ names like Washington Redskins are now a show of respect and acceptance for a different kind of warrior, there are strident ‘Native American’ voices insisting that these names be changed.  If you want insult, how ‘bout The Washington Lawyers, or -Congressmen?

Confederate flag

Last year there was a big fooferaw about the display of a version of the CSA flag on State properties. South Carolina was forced to remove it from the Capital Building.  While the ancestors of the white citizens may have owned Negro slaves, the flag is a symbol of White resisting White, cultural independence, in a political situation, having little to do with slavery, in the modern day.

Still – down it came. The goofy little, long-rerunning show, The Dukes of Hazzard, has now been removed from the airwaves, because the car – the real star of the show – is named The General Lee, after a Confederate leader, and displays the Rebel flag.

Ion Wall Design

My city, Kitchener Ontario, used to be known as Berlin. It still has a strong Germanic population and feel.  In 1916, in an effort to not offend surrounding non-Germans, it changed its name.  Recently the Twin Cities have been pushing the infrastructure, in an effort to imitate some of the bigger cities.

Among other things, we are installing a street-railroad, down the length of an already overcrowded main artery. A non-German design engineer has been hired to produce design themes for stops, including the one shown above, across from the coming new train/bus station.

Scarcely had the artist’s drawing hit the internet, than there were howls of complaint. “How dare he produce a design with a Nazi Swastika in it??!” Don’t you see it?  It’s as plain as the nose on your easily offended face.

These all remind me of the story of the little old lady who phoned the police, to see if they could do anything about the guy in the apartment across from hers, who wandered around in the nude. The Police detective carefully looked out her window and said, “I don’t see anybody nude.”  She replied, “You have to go into the bathroom and stand on the toilet and use these binoculars.”  😳

This really is a First World problem. Too bad we can’t still use Australia as a penal colony.  We don’t hear this kind of entitled shit coming from down there.  I’d like to see how much complaining we’d get if these easily-offended butt-wipes were scrabbling to survive with subsistence farming.  ‘Take a pill and get over yourself.  Life’s a bitch.  Don’t be another!’