Flash Fiction #94

Antiques

PHOTO PROMPT © Mary Shipman

HARD-TIME MACHINE

They’d spent a wonderful week at the little lakeside tourist town when he finally succumbed to curiosity about the sign. It read;

TAKE A TRIP IN A TIME MACHINE
Shuttle Leaves At
9:00AM 11:00 AM 1:00PM 3:00PM

The psychedelically-painted hippie love-bus dropped them off at a moribund factory, next to another bright sign declaring;

Welcome to Terri’s Temporal Temple
Come on in and see how your
ancestors lived 150 years ago
(And our Amish neighbors still do)

It was a cute come-on for a ratty little antique shop, but the tour was educational. Our pioneer ancestors worked hard! Vive technology!

***

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

April Challenge – B

April Challenge

This blog-post is brought to you by the number 3.1415926, and the letter B.

Letter B

Basement; a story of a building, partly or wholly underground.

***

When they were first married, they were madly in love, always together. Couldn’t keep their hands off each other, joined at the hip – frequently. Went everywhere together.

He had to go to work to support his wife, and soon, their children. She became a housekeeper, remaining at home, to cook and clean, and raise the kids.  Still, they loved each other, and often expressed it – a quick kiss or a pat on the bum.

His career progressed. He worked longer hours and had to take courses.  When she wasn’t tied up with the kids, she got to coffee-klatch with other neighborhood wives, but they always made time for each other.

While they still liked each other greatly, and showed it, they found that they had different interests. He took up golf; she joined a bowling league.  He read only best-sellers and wondered what she got from the Historical Romance novels she read.  Still, there were the pecks on the cheek, and the rubbing of a forearm.

His job required him to travel occasionally. When he was out of town, she took the opportunity to visit a sister he considered a loud-mouthed trouble-maker.  When he returned home, they had little of interest to discuss with each other.

She moved into one of the children’s abandoned bedrooms, because ‘he snored.’ He might not snore if she didn’t stay awake all night, reading.

With the kids married, or off at college, organized evening meals became infrequent. One or the other might make food for them both, but it was seldom eaten together at the table.  She lounged in her bed and watched Downton Abbey.  He rocked back in the rec-room recliner and watched baseball or football.

One day he realized that they hadn’t spoken a word to each other in days – and he didn’t worry about it. They were down to having corridor sex.  If they met in the hallway, she would hiss, “Fuck you!”  He would reply, “Screw you, Bitch.”  Life had become an armed truce.

He realized that living together – separately, was better than splitting up. His benefits package covered her.  They only had one cable TV bill, one phone bill, one Internet provider.  The mortgage was retired, so neither would have to rent an apartment.

One day though, she gravely approached him, and told him that she wanted her space – without him in it. Somewhat sadly, he signed the divorce papers, and made arrangements to sell off the house and contents.  That was how he had come to be living in this basement, bachelor apartment.

 

Bottle Babies

Genie

Two guys in a life raft in the middle of
the ocean.

One sees an old bottle floating. He picks
it up and rubs it, and a genie comes out.

The genie says, “For letting me out, I will
grant you one wish.”

The guy says, (without thinking) “Turn this
ocean into beer”. And the ocean turns into
the best beer anybody has ever tasted.

The second guy says to the first, “You idiot,
now we’ll have to piss in the boat”.

***

Two old men sit on a bench in a park when one of
them asks the other:
“How many times can you have sex”?
“Not more than twice”, replies the other old man.
A few minutes of silence, then the first old man asks again:
“Which of the times is the best one then?”
“Hmmmm, I think the one in Spring.” says the other old man.

***

How do you find a blind man in a nudist colony?
It’s not hard.

***

Single women complain that all good men are
married, while all married women complain about
their lousy husbands.

This confirms that there is no such thing as a
good man.

***

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries

***

How many men does it take to change a roll of
toilet paper?

We don’t know, it has never happened.

***

A guy from up North (Canada) goes into a
classy bar in the South (States). This
bar has a dress code, and the maître d’
demands he wear a tie.

Discouraged, the guy goes to his car to
sulk when inspiration strikes: He’s got
jumper cables in the trunk! So he wraps
them around his neck, sort of like a
string tie (a bulky string tie to be
sure) and returns to the bar.

The maître d’ is reluctant, but says to
the guy, “Okay, you’re a pretty
resourceful fellow, you can come in…
but just don’t start anything”!

***

Your kid may be an honors student,
but you’re still an idiot!

Flash Fiction #93

Barbed Wire

PHOTO PROMPT © Madison Woods

IMPRISONED INFINITY

Barbed wire tamed the Wild West. It had been Terra Incognita – the land beyond the law.  Its business was Beef.  Myriad cattle grazed millions of open acres, giving birth a century later to McDonalds and Burger King.

Then came the farmers – Sodbusters.  The cost of enough lumber, on the treeless plain, to keep cattle from crops, was exorbitant.  But then came the wire salesman, offering a cheap solution that was horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight.

Even men with no property deeds objected to being fenced out of once-open land. Wire wars were fought, but eventually, civilization moved west, and peace prevailed.

***

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

Book Review #11

a world lit only by fire

Title: A World Lit Only By Fire

Author: William Manchester

When I published my Torture of Faith post, my well-read and well-respected visitor, Jim Wheeler, suggested the above book as background reference reading, to explain the historical era.

As too often happens, I whined and wheedled. My library didn’t have a copy that I could borrow for free.  The nearby Chapters bookstores didn’t have a copy in stock.  I could order one, but objected to actually paying for it.  Jim sensibly reminded me that I had obtained the copy of Malleus Malificarum(Wiki link) thru Inter-Library Loan; I could do the same with this one.

The book eventually arrived, not from the gigantic Toronto Library system, but from the King Township Public Library – Nobleton branch. King Township is part of what is known as the Holland Marsh, the most fertile part of Southern Ontario, north of Toronto.  Nobleton is a town of 4000 located within it.  Why this rural area would have a copy of this book, when the metropolis doesn’t, is a mystery.

I was in love with it before I even got through the introduction. It introduced me to the word ‘catenas’, which are things or occurrences that lead inevitably, like links in a chain, from one to the next.  Like the chain they describe, I linked it to two other words I already knew, ‘catenary’ which describes the shape of a free-hanging chain, (Think McDonalds Golden Arches – or the St. Louis arch.) and ‘concatenation’, which is the formation of a chain of events.  I know!  There’s only two people in the world who give a shit about this verbal trivia – and I’m both of them.

This book describes Europe from about 1500 to 1550, just at the end of the Dark Ages, and the beginning of the Renaissance. Martin Luther and Henry the Eighth both split from The Church, and it was losing control, and its collective mind.  Catholics tortured and burned Protestants at the stake.  Protestants tortured and burned Catholics.

This book should be required reading for all the blindly-believing ‘Good Christians’, especially Catholics. It describes over two hundred years of some of the most sinful, licentious behaviour of The Church, from the local priests, right up to the Archbishops and Pope.  The Church was operated for the benefit of the religious leaders.

Tithe money bought opulent palaces and jewels and extravagant clothing – and wars to conquer countries to wring more money from. While thousands starved in the fields, the Pope threw lavish, drunken parties.

Sex was a competitive sport. The Vatican supported two whorehouses, which explains people with the name Pope.  They are descendants of bastard sons.  Many convents operated as brothels, funneling money from the nobility and rich merchants into The Church.

Positions in The Church were bought and sold, so that the buyers could gain more power and income. Several Popes simply appointed friends and relatives.  One Pope made Bishops of two young nephews who had absolutely no religious training.  Indulgences were handed out like Halloween candy.  If you gave The Church enough gold, you could commit any act, and still go to Heaven.

I’ve run into most of this information piecemeal, but it was both pleasant and disturbing to see it all laid out in an all-you-can-sin buffet. The religiously-naive would be horrified to see the quiet, historical listings of all the mistakes of the ‘Infallible’ Popes, the changes in the ‘unchanging’ Catholic Church, and the gamut of sins of all the ‘Holy, Sanctified’ religious leaders.

Until this time, many rulers, both religious and nobility, were illiterate and ignorant – and proud of it. Peasants knew only what they were told. Even the elite were only vaguely aware of occurrences at any distance, and days, weeks, months after they occurred.  After Gutenberg perfected the printing press, more people learned to read, and knowledge began flowing – the beginning of the end for the Church’s control.

The Church had invented Purgatory as an extortion racket. It all came to a head when one Pope wanted money to wage yet another war.  The selling-indulgences scheme had folded faster than a Kardashian at a spelling bee, so the Pope announced that, for those who ‘donated’ enough gold, time spent in purgatory by relatives could be reduced or eliminated by his prayers.

The now widely-read Martin Luther published a tract questioning if that were true, and asking why the Pope wouldn’t do so merely for the sake of supposedly good Christian souls and their obedient kin still here on Earth, and not for the money, “like some brazen harlot”.

While it could still use some updating and improvement, the Catholic Church is a thousand times better today than it was five hundred years ago. If you’d like a look at a time when peasants were regarded as worth less than the animals they kept, and society was run to wretched excess by hypocritical, entitled rulers, both secular and religious, this would be an enlightening book.   😯

April A to Z Challenge – Eh

April Challenge

When is an April A to Z Challenge not an April A to Z Challenge?  When it’s a Frank Sinatra April Challenge!  I’m going to accept this challenge, but, as usual, I’m going to do it my way.

Frank Sinatra

There is no way that I could ever write and post 26 alphabetical blogs in one month, especially with weekly Flash Fictions and other time-sensitive thoughts. I am going to try to post them from April to April.  Every couple of weeks, I’ll slip one in among my regularly scheduled insanity/inanity.  I’m already 2 weeks behind, so here’s number one.  (This is alphabetical. Shouldn’t that be letter A??!)  😯

Letter A

Advent – a coming into place, view, or being; arrival:

Arrival- the reaching or attainment of any object or condition:

April – from Latin ‘aprilis’, meaning to open (up)

Articulation – using language easily and fluently; having facility with words:

All four of these words fit into this post. Since this is the first in a, hopefully completed, series, this is my advent.  I finally got my ass off my keyboard, and applied my fingers.

Since the definition of ‘advent’ includes the word ‘arrival’, I’ll mention it also.  The definition above includes the terms reaching and attainment, almost unintentionally implying completion.  I’m still 25 words away from completion of this project, but I have reached the starting line and attained a mission.

Speaking of starting lines….Why are comedians making ‘end of the world’ jokes like there’s no tomorrow?

April, the month, and the name, is a good time to ‘open up’ this series.

I like to think that I have articulation – ease of language usage and fluency, having facility with words.  While I still possess these, I avoid being placed in a facility with wards.

Articulation has another meaning also, involving bones and joints and physical movement. More and more, I find myself using handicap parking spots, even when I’m alone in the car, because the arthritis pain in my right hip is increasing.  I can’t drive with my wallet in my right ass pocket.  I have a gay fanny-pack for summer, and an inside pocket in my leather jacket for cold weather.

I wondered if I’d forgotten how to put socks on, because I was finding the front seam balled up under my toes, like walking on a pen. When I paid more attention, I found myself walking duck-footed on the right side to ease the ache, putting pressure on the foot from a non-standard direction, causing the sock to slip and bunch.

What? You expected more?  That’s it for today!  Come Back later, for Bigger, Better Blogs.

Flash Fiction #92

Coloring Book

PHOTO PROMPT © Kent Bonham

KEEP CALM AND COLOR ON

Henry was a binary fellow even before the internet. He only had two settings about everything – on/off, good/bad, yes/no, light/darkness, black or white.

His wife got him to a therapist who urged him to add a little color to his opinions. Soon, Henry had learned to add the red of anger, the brown of sadness, the blue of serenity, the beige of apathy, the yellow of interest, the green of life, even the plaid of uncertainty.

Finally, Henry was a much more colorful person, only now; his life’s design looked like it was laid out by a drunken dung beetle.

***

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