Flash Fiction # 168

Ali Baba

PHOTO PROMPT © Nathan Sowers grandson of our own Dawn M. Miller

UPON FURTHER REFLECTION

I won’t tell how I came into possession of Ali Baba’s magic lamp.  Let’s just say that I found it before it got lost.

“Oh great, another master, and what will you want?”  Where was the respectful genie from the stories?

First of all, I want a grand mansion.

“Never fear, Master.  I will provide everything you deserve.”

While it appeared spacious, it always felt claustrophobic.  I preferred being outside.  I was doing some decorating.  As I knelt to pick up the new bathroom mirror, I caught the reflection of the real ‘Emperor’s new mansion’ that he felt I deserved.

***

This fanciful Fairy Tale retelling is all the fault of Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site.  Visit there, and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

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Offerings To Propitiate The Gods

Gods Our genial host, just back from an anger management class

Not that the lovely couple who we went to visit were actual Gods, but they had long since achieved that status with me.  Hell, anyone who doesn’t complain about my presence is nice.  Those who have the occasional kind word for or about me are saints.  And those who invite me into their home for an extended visit, are surely Gods.  Since we had to drive 500 miles of paved highways to meet them, they truly are The Gods Of Asphalt.

SDC10018A FEW of the son’s collection of skulls

3-D printers have become affordable for the average geek.  A son-in-law of the daughter’s friend acquired one, and started fooling around learning its secrets.  First, my son was given the larger, softball-sized skull.  It’s thermo-optic.  If sufficiently warmed, it changes from grey to white.  Later, the golf ball-sized, darker grey one was added.  They are all low-density plastic, and float like corks.

SDC10015

SDC10014

The son’s two skulls at the back – the two Voodoo, “Impeach Trump” skulls, going to DC, in front

My limited etiquette knowledge only told me that a Hostess gift was good manners – and one for the host might also be a good idea.  Our handsome host instructed me not to spend much money, and assured me that it was our presence that they valued, not presents.  Still…. a few gewgaws to demonstrate Canadian my twisted culture.

One of the pair collects skulls, like my son does.  I obtained another couple of the smaller ones.  I leave it to you to guess which one is the blood-thirsty spouse.

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SDC10011Amethyst is supposed to foster peace and tranquility.  After adding skulls to the home of a skull-collector, and an ex-tank-driver, I felt that we needed all the tranquility we could get.  Since our host is Plus-sized, and his diminutive bride has trouble seeing over a garden hose, I brought a large chunk, and a smaller piece.

The best, darkest, amethyst now comes from Brazil, because most of the good stuff has been removed from mines just north of Lake Superior, in Ontario.  The daughter visited an online friend up there, a couple of winters ago.  She had just returned from a saved-for summer trip before we set out.  It is possible to walk the shores and occasionally find a good piece that a retreating glacier dug up, so these pieces were from both us, and from her.

SDC10007In return for throwing me a fabulous online birthday party, I once promised our hostess a 55-gallon drum of fresh, pure, Canadian maple syrup.  Of course, like most promises that men make to women, I wasn’t able to delivery anything that big.  Still, since our hosts had been so sweet to us, I felt compelled to bring along 2 liters (half a gallon for the non-metric Americans) of freshly-squeezed, Mennonite Maple Juice for them.  If you hear of an IHOP or Denny’s in the DC area going bankrupt, it’s because they aren’t going out for Sunday brunch till this is gone.

Actually, years of residence in New Hampshire has made her a bit of a syrup snob.  Like Florida has laws that translate, “Don’t f**k with the citrus, especially oranges.” Vermont also has strict rules against messing with the maples.  She would have requested some Maple syrup; but felt that it might be illegal to export.  Nobody asked me about maple syrup at the border, and she was thrilled to get the real stuff, cooking everyone blueberry pancakes the first morning.

SDC10650I told this little old guy that it was really important to me, and go out and squeeze his Maplest tree for my kind hosts.  He said that he would be happy to….  or maybe it was, ‘crazy English’…. something like that.  Coming up soon, a post about all the great stuff we brought back – aside from treasured memories, and happy hearts.

spacehounds-of-ipc

Since I have re-read them all over the last two years, and because our host is a great classic Sci-Fi fan, I offered him copies of every E.E. (Doc) Smith book that I possess, 24 out of the 25 that he wrote. Always a fan of Robert A. Heinlein’s works, I felt that he might appreciate obtaining copies of the seminal Space-Opera novels written by Heinlein’s mentor.

While I regard them as inexpensive paperbacks, many printed before he was born, he recognised their rarity, difficulty of obtaining, and the fact that they were collector’s items.  I usually don’t mind being kissed, just not by him.  Their value to me is that someone who really appreciates them, now possesses them. He said that he didn’t even know what order to read them in….and then found that I had obsessively boxed them up in chronological order.

Our deepest, sincere thanks to BrainRants and H E Ellis, two of the Titans of the blogosphere.

That’s Not (Precisely) Funny

German Shepherd

Gerry Seinfeld is rolling over in his grave – or, he would be, if he were dead, and if he reads this, he might be.

There are times when comedy, or other facets of life, depend on precision.   Jerry was/is a precisionist.  He replaced a generic ‘dog’, with a ‘German Shepherd,’ in a joke about a blind skydiver, and killed.  He and a friend argued for an hour, about whether to use ‘a’ or ‘the’ in a joke.

Just as often though, it is necessary for the joke-teller to rely on the listener’s imagination.  Sometimes, precision can kill the humor.

Recently, while plagiarizing researching jokes for my comedy posts, I ran into the old classic about a couple making out in a car.  When the male asks the female if she’d like to get into the back seat, the Blonde wails that she’d rather stay in the front with him.

Ditzy Blonde

The Blonde lady who posted it, took the time and trouble to rewrite it, and place the amorous couple in a CORVETTE.  Ever the pedantic buzzkill, I reminded her that unlike the sports car Thunderbird, which morphed into a gigantic land-yacht, Corvettes never had a back seat.

I got back a grumpy (and I’m an expert on grumpy), “Well, maybe it was a BWM then.”  Maybe it was, but why did you feel the need to be specific – and wrong?  Why not just use the generic ‘car,’ the way every other joke-teller does, and let the readers’ imaginations supply their own.  I could imagine a 1928 Essex, because a man in my home-town turned one into a French fry wagon.

Today’s rant about Nothing, is brought to you because I couldn’t imagine a theme for last week’s 100-word Flash Fiction, I didn’t have a WOW composed and ready, and I published a comedy post out of sequence.

I’d like to blame exposure to Donald Trump, during our week-long visit to DC.  Our Osteopath claims that our trip was a success.  Trump was quiet all the time that we were there, but that was because he was too busy playing golf in Florida.  My digestion and my blog-site are all regular again.  Please stop back soon, so that I can prove it….  the blogging – not the digestion.  Ew, Ew, Ew.  😯

Where There’s A Will

Will

JACK’S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

Jack has died. His lawyer is standing before the family and reads out Jack’s Last Will and Testament:

“To my dear wife Esther, I leave the house, 50 acres of land, and 1 million dollars.

“To my son Barry, I leave my Big Lexus and the Jaguar.

“To my daughter Suzy, I leave my yacht and $250,000.

“And to my brother-in-law Jeff, who always insisted that health is better than wealth, I leave my treadmill.”

***

A weary traveler enters a pub.

The lady bartender says, “Welcome! What are you drinking?” The traveler, weary from his long journey, responds simply, “Your finest ale, please.” The bartender tells him, “Brilliant.” As she pours him a pint of her finest ale, she makes him an offer.

“Since you are a first time customer, I will offer you a gift I offer all of my first time customers.” The traveler blushes and nods at the bartender, who was easy on the eyes.

“You may choose either this first pint of ale is free or instead you may pay for the beer and I will give you a piece of valuable advice.” The traveler pondered this for a moment, knowing his coin purse was light.

“Though my purse is light, I am intrigued by your offer. I will pay for my ale, now please share the valuable advice.” The bartender grinned, counting the coins he had given her, looked him in the eye and said, “You should’ve taken the free pint.”

***

On his 70th birthday, a man was given a gift certificate from his wife.  The certificate was for consultation with an Indian medicine man living on a nearby reservation, who was rumored to have a simple cure for erectile dysfunction.
The husband went to the reservation and saw the medicine man. The old Indian gave him a potion and with a grip on his shoulder warned, “This is a powerful medicine. You take only a teaspoonful, and then say: “1-2-3.’ When you do, you will become manlier than you have ever been in your life and you can perform for as long as you want.”
The man thanked the old Indian, and as he walked away, he turned and asked:  How do I stop the medicine from working?” “Your partner must say 1-2-3-4,’ he responded, “But when she does, the medicine will not work again until the next full moon.”
He was very eager to see if it worked so he went home, showered, shaved took a spoonful of the medicine and then invited his wife to join him in the bedroom.  When she came in, he took off his clothes and said: “1-2-3!”   Immediately, he was the manliest of men. His wife was excited and began throwing off her clothes and then she asked: “What was the 1-2-3 for?”
And that, boys and girls, is why we should never end our sentences with a preposition, because we could end up with a dangling participle.

My friend asked me if I liked any sports.
I said that I was into shooting.
He asked if I was into anything mainstream.
Mass shooting?”

Ice hockey is just basically guys wearing knife shoes and fighting each other with long sticks for the last Oreo.

The first 5 days after the weekend are always the hardest.

If taking a shit is a call of nature, is farting a missed call?

What’s the dumbest animal in the jungle?
The Polar bear….and how did he get in the jungle in the first place?

Everything’s a UFO when you’re near-sighted.

The best place to hide a body is on page two of the Google search results.

Breakups are like;
“You’ll never find anyone like me.”
That’s the plan!

 

’18 A To Z Challenge – K – PART #2

 

Challenge '18
Letter K

KNOCKER-UPPERS

Now that we’ve all had our tween-aged boy snicker, we’re going to speak British.

The daughter, my primary research assistant, sent me a link to a YouTube video about a now-extinct job.  In the heyday of the Industrial Revolution, many men in the cities of the UK, worked in the factories and mills.  They were expected to be at work ungodly early, by 5:00, 5:30 or 6:00 AM.  Alarm clocks had not been invented, and the sun was not up.  How were they to get to work on time?

Alarm Clock

Who wakes up the bugler who plays Reveille, to wake everyone else at a military base?  The answer to that question is the reason that it’s now recorded, and played automatically.  This task fell to certain people, who would come around to your house, and tap on a window to rouse the worker.  These were usually the neighborhood night watchmen, who were paid to stay up all night, and keep an eye open for fires.

Since bedrooms were usually on the second or third floors, they carried a long wooden rod, often bamboo, with a metal hook or knob on the end.  Why not just stand outside and shout??  Because not every house had a mill-worker, and even the ones that did, had wives and children who could benefit from another couple of hours sleep.

It was an interesting human answer to one of the first technological problems.  I have in the past, and I do now, stay up (almost) all night.  I’ve roused my children, to go to school, and day jobs.  I don’t tap on other bloggers’ windows, but I do publish in the middle of my night.  It’s sometimes interesting to see who I wake.

Feel free to stop back in a couple of days when we’re all awake, to see if I’m successful this week with a 100-word Flash Fiction, or if I have to tap into my cache, and publish a WOW.  I’m setting my alarm.   😆

’18 A To Z Challenge – K

 

Challenge '18Letter K

 

 

 

 

 

KIDNAPPED
BY Robert Louis Scribbledorffer

They did everything absolutely wrong!  If criminals were smart enough to get a real job, they wouldn’t be criminals, would they?

My wife and I were kidnapped, for the big ransom that my ‘rich’ father would pay.  One of them lived to regret it.  I don’t.  Dad’s money is all tied up in investments.  With the economic downturn, he’s barely making the mortgage payments on his ‘mansion.’  Besides, even though I’m an only child, I’m still not Dad’s favorite son.  They didn’t research that very well.

They got into the house somehow.  The first we knew of it was when one of them flicked the bedroom lights on at 3AM.  We woke to two scruffy oafs in balaclavas, waving guns at us, telling us to get out of bed.  They secured our hands behind us with nylon zip-ties, and prodded us in bare feet and pyjamas, outside into the back of their van.

The ‘leader’ warned us not to yell, or he’d shoot us.  It wasn’t till I really woke up that I realized that a dead hostage gathers no ransom, but they might have shot my wife, and I don’t know whether the neighbors would have roused, that late at night.

They didn’t blindfold us.  I’d seen their van, though not the licence.  I watched through the windows as we drove, at every street and every turn.  I saw their house when we arrived.  I could find this place in my sleep.  That worried me.  Did they intend to kill us?

They herded us into a back bedroom, and made us sit on the bed while they added zip-ties around our ankles.  Then they turned to walk out.  I yelled, “Hey, you can’t just leave us like this.  I have to piss!”  The Boss said, “Tough, hold it.”  Speaking of pissed – if I wasn’t before, I was then.

It is said, that a dog can strain against a leather leash, until it rots – or snap it with the first lunge.  I had no room for lunges, but I could certainly strain hard.  As soon as they left, I looked around the room.  On the far wall was a mirrored aluminum dressing table with squared-edged legs.  I rolled/crawled over to it, and put my back against it, and started rubbing the nylon wrist tie against the corner.

By the time baddy #2 came back in, the next morning, the wife and I were both a sodden mess.  He tipped half a bottle of water into each of us, and turned to leave.  Without much hope of it, I asked, “What about some food?”  He replied, “You better hope your Father brings some pizza, when he drops off our money.”

He came back with some more water later that afternoon, and again the next morning.  We, and the bedroom, got wetter and smellier, how demeaning.  Between the visits, it was a constant rub, scrape, rub, scrape.  Finally, on the second afternoon, just before I thought he might come in for our water break, the zip-tie parted.

I found a nail-clipper, and managed to get the tie at my ankles off.  That was about the best thing in the bedroom for a weapon, unless I wanted to hit him with a pillow.  I quickly rubbed full circulation back into my hands and feet, and moved to check the door – unlocked – well, of course, this is just someone’s house.

I risked a cautious look.  The bedroom opened into the kitchen, and there was no-one in sight.  I quickly eased out.  All kitchen knives must be in drawers, and I couldn’t risk making a noise, rummaging around, so I grabbed a heavy frying pan off the stove.

I peeked around the corner, into the living room.  The apprentice dummy was standing, looking out the little window beside the door.  I quietly padded across the rug behind him, quickly, before he smelled me.  Just as I raised the fry pan to knock him unconscious, he opened the door.

There, just outside, was ‘The Brains’ of the pair, coming back with a bag of groceries.  In desperation, I quickly swung.  Later, the police pathologist said that, instead of catching him with the flat of the pan behind the ear, I caught him in the first cervical vertebra, with the edge.  It crushed the bone and severed his spinal cord.  He died instantly, and dropped like a rock.

Still not too firm on my recently-shackled feet, he took me down with him.  Boss-man gaped, then dropped the food, leapt forward, and began clawing at his kidney area, I assumed, to draw his gun.  As I fell, I did the only thing I could.  On the way down, I backhanded him in the knee with the frying pan….  And another bad guy dropped like a rock – this one screaming until his face smacked into the floor, and he lost his gun.

They were armed.  I acted in self-defence.  Two minor, known-to-police hoodlums with guns, out of circulation, a dozen minor crimes solved, no-one said a word about the fact that one of them was dead.  Instead, I got a Civic Medal of Bravery, a television interview, and a book deal.

I was told that the ringleader will walk – not out of jail – but out of the prison hospital ward, once he gets a new knee and kneecap to replace the one I smashed.  Dad claimed that he tried to get the $2 million, but, you know….the markets – the banks.  Gee, thanx Dad.

We got showers and clean clothes at the police station where we made our statements and ate Whoppers and fries, a little book royalty to augment income, a new respect from neighbors and coworkers, and best of all, NO PTSD.  Guns and all, it was hard to take ‘Boris and Natasha’ seriously.  What an adventure!  Let’s not do it again.   😯

 

Flash Fiction #167

Taxes

PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

TAXING FREEDOM

Start your own business, they said.  Become an independent sub-contractor.  Be your own boss and answer to no-one.

It was a great idea, but this was a downside that the cube drones only had to worry about once a year, by April 15thHe had to calculate and pay his business taxes quarterly.

If he had a heart attack while filling in all these arcane forms, would the cause of death be listed as ‘acute bureaucratitis?’  He wondered if he could list the government as a dependent.

Another shot and a smoke, and he’d be filed by the midnight deadline.

***

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

Friday Fictioneers