’19 A To Z Challenge – N

AtoZ2019letter-n

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning readers. I’d like to introduce you to Romulus and Remus’ twin sisters

NOCTEM and NOCTIS

Twin Sisters

Noctem is the prettier of the two, but she hasn’t applied for her language passport yet. She’s still Latin, and hasn’t been accepted into English. She’s a party-girl, who hangs out with the likes of Paris Hilton, and Paris Jackson. Her rallying cry and motto is “carpe noctem,” which means ‘seize the night.’ This is like YOLO. Live tonight as if there will be no tomorrow – you know…. a rave.

Noctis is the hard-working, studious one of the pair. Her name means ‘of the night,’ and, being fair-skinned, that’s when she does her best work. She can be found in libraries, university study halls, and 24-hour, McDonald’s drive-thru’s. She’d get more dates if we could convince her to change the spelling of her name to Noctic, to be more adjectival, like ‘frantic’, or ‘dyspeptic.’ I guess not, though. She has a select group of admirers who appreciate her exotic attraction.

I feel kinda sorry for Noctem. When you ‘carpe diem,’ you seize the entire, 24-hour day, but when you ‘carpe noctem,’ you only get the dark part of it. If you do it right though, that’s all you need. Once a king, always a king, but once a knight is enough. 😆

Flash Fiction #204

Rain

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS

Shuffle, shuffle, wait. Shuffle, slosh, wait. Slosh, splash, wait.

Rain is running down the back of my neck. I think there’s a hole in my boot.

Unless you’re the lead sled-dog, the view never changes, just a line of assholes in front of you.

“What Honey? Oh, I was just listening to Alanis Morisette singing her first hit, on my iPod. Haven’t heard that in a while. Remind me again, why are we standing in line in the rain, waiting to get into a Kohl’s? They’re giving away free Knirps umbrellas to the first 50 shoppers??! Now, isn’t that ironic?”

***

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

***

Click above, if you’re enough of a masochist to want to hear her sing the only song about irony – that isn’t.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

The Saddest Funny Story

Sad Emoji

We recently had to attend a funeral service for one of the wife’s sisters. That was only the beginning of the sadness. A nephew of the wife’s sat down opposite us, and related his sad tale.

For about five years, he’s been fighting a neuropathy, a neurological syndrome which has been causing increasing pain in his extremities. First his hands, then his feet, became agonizingly sore. He was up to gobbling eight Oxycodone tablets a day, just to keep the pain level down to a 2.

He married a New Order Mennonite girl who increasingly involved him and the kids in their church. There had been a two-day weekend Salvation Convention. The church brought in speakers to lecture on different sins, and what to do to get rid of them.

After one seminar session, the moderator paired each attendee off with another church member who they were not particularly close to. They were to go to small tables, where each one would confess his/her sins to the other, who would then pray for them and forgive them. Then the process would reverse.

He said that he hunched over the table and told the other man about all his sins. The farmer devoutly prayed for him, and told him that he was forgiven. He said that he suddenly realized that he could no longer feel the continuous pain in his hands and feet. He called the pastor over and told him this, and the whole room had a Glory, Halleluiah, Praise-The-Lord, prayer session of thanks. God had cured him.

I manfully tried not to smirk, and wondered if his posture had kinked, or un-kinked, a spot on his spine, or if the power of suggestion had caused a psychosomatic (perhaps temporary) cure. He might even provide the possibility of a God-answered-prayer miracle. I was all ears!

He continued his tale. He can now not feel anything with his hands. His legs are numb from the knees down. When he had to call an ambulance for his wife’s apparent heart attack, he stood outside for ten minutes, in a foot of February snow in his bare feet. This condition is dangerous, especially for him, because he works in HVAC. This is like leprosy, or diabetes. If he cuts or burns himself and doesn’t notice it, he may have to have an amputation, if infection sets in.

This is the normal, worsening progression of the disease. GOD didn’t cure him, but he believes that happened. I just sat there in stunned disbelief, thinking that it was his belief that was stunned.
What’s the problem with a comfortable delusion?
There are none so blind as those who will not see.

An Irish 911 Call

St. Patricks

An Irish woman was cleaning her husband’s rifle, and it accidently went off and shot him.

Irish woman: It’s me fooken husband, I’ve accidently shot him, I’ve fooken killed him.
Operator: Please calm down ma’am. First make sure that he is actually dead.
‘Click’ BANG
Irish woman: Okay, I’ve taken care of that. What next?

***

Paddy thought his new girlfriend might be ‘The One,’ but after snooping through her underwear drawer, and finding a nurse’s outfit, a French maid’s outfit, and a policewoman’s uniform – he decided that, if she can’t hold down a job, she’s not for him.

***

Paddy and Murphy are on a holiday, and are running out of money. They see a sign that reads, “Challenge! Spend 10 minutes in a room with a million flies, and win £200.”

Murphy goes in first, and spends 1 minute in the room, before running out yelling, “Fuck that! I couldn’t do it. Them flies was in my mouth, and I couldn’t breathe. You’ll never do it Paddy.”

Paddy says, “No sweat Murph. Get me in there.”

So, Paddy goes into the room and spends the full 10 minutes in there, and then comes out….

Murphy says, “Fucking Hell, Paddy! How did you do it?”

Paddy says, “Easy! I shit in one corner, and sat in the other.”

***

Paddy and Murphy are at the airport, waiting for a flight.
Paddy says, “I wish I brought the TV.”
Murphy says, “Why, are ya bored?”
Paddy responds, “No, the passports are sitting on it.”

***

An Irishman went to the liquor store yesterday on his bike

He bought a bottle of whiskey and put it in the bicycle basket. As he was about to leave, he thought to himself that if he fell off the bicycle, the bottle would break, so he drank all the whiskey before he cycled home. It turned out to be a good decision because he fell off his bike seven times on the way home. Imagine what would’ve happened to the bottle.

***

Paddy is painting his lounge. His wife walks in and can’t believe the good job that he’s doing, but the sweat is just dripping off him.
She says, ”Why are you wearing a leather jacket, and a parker?”
He replies, “Helloooo… Read the fuckin’ tin. It says for better coverage, put two coats on.”

***

I was in an Irish couple’s home trying to fix their Internet connection. The husband called out to his wife in the other room for the computer password. “Start with a capital S, then 123,” she shouted back.

We tried S123 several times, but it didn’t work. So we called the wife in. As she input the password, she muttered, “I really don’t know what’s so difficult about typing Start123.”

***

 

What’s the difference between an Irish wedding, and an Irish wake?
One less drunk.

 

Happy Birthday 75

Birthday Cake 75

Click below to hear

Swedish chef happy birthday

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthdayyy dear Archon
Happy Birthday to me!

Happy or not, at my age, I’ll take any birthday that I can get. I almost can’t believe it. I’ve been hanging around this planet, making a pest of myself for ¾ of a century. I’ve seen Century 21 Real Estate become a reality. A 75th birthday is something special to be celebrated. Not everyone gets to do it. I don’t plan to repeat the feat, although a recent study proved that people born later in the year have a better chance of living to be 100.

I felt that an extra, out-of-normal-sequence post was justified. All contributions gratefully accepted. Cash and checks (cheques) would be nice, but I will happily settle for visits, views, likes and comments.

Dad & Danny
Early August 1960, Detroit (Ferndale) MI
I am the handsome one on the left, not quite 6.
The sulky one on the right is my 3-year-old brother.
I’ve come a long way, Baby.

For those who may not have seen it, HERE is a further explanation of how I got here.

Tombstone 2

Flash Fiction #203

Briefcase

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

I’M OVER THE MOON

Roger, where’s my briefcase?

Uhhh, on your desk??!

No, it’s not.

On the kitchen table??

I looked there. I gave it to you to carry in from the car. Where did you put it?

Front hall??

It’s got important papers, a report that needs to be finished or I could get fired.
I look to Heaven and plead, ‘Where is my….’
Why is it on the skylight???

Oh yeah! I wondered if I could throw it over the house. Musta landed there.

Get the ladder, and get it down, safely! Gahh – teenagers! Honey, could we trade him for a gerbil?

***

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

You’ll Pay For That

Every year, around tax time, there are a spate of hard-luck stories about how unfair the American tax system is. One subject which always comes up is about Americans who work out of the country.

The American IRS is the greediest, graspingest, most inflexible, most confiscatorial system in the world. They make paying the vig to an underworld loan shark look easy and polite.

Many people think that those who work abroad are well-to-do. Many are free-lancers, barely getting by, and the American government makes it overly difficult. There is a law which states that a person born outside the US, to even one American citizen, is also automatically an American citizen. That was the rule that allowed Ted Cruz to run for President, even though he was born in Canada.

IRS

The Internal Revenue Service has a rule that, any citizen working outside the country, must pay taxes to them. This often means that people have to pay taxes twice, and the IRS paperwork involved is intrusive, convoluted and arcane. It’s enough to cause a career bureaucrat to throw up his hands and retire.

The money-grubbing and paperwork has got so bad, that many Americans are giving up their citizenship. No taxation without representation! This used to be an easy “fill in a form, and pay a $300 fee.” In retaliation, the IRS has instituted new regulations which require a whole tree’s worth of paper, and an increased charge, north of $2000. You have to pay lots of money, not to have to pay lots of money.

The shit has hit the fan, even if it’s not obvious yet. This year, just about tax-time, something occurred which will cause waves, if not change the entire ex-pat tax scheme. A baby was born. There was no star in the East, and definitely no three Wise Men.

Prince Archie

Megan Markel gave birth to Archie Harrison Windsor. Being born in a foreign country, to one parent of American citizenship, the Federal Government has declared him to be an American citizen. The IRS rule says that he must declare all assets, income, and increase in financial worth – and pay taxes on them.

Most 1-year-old children don’t have much of an income stream, but as a member of the British Royal Family, Archie owns a chunk of a nation, and his worth is considerable, and increases constantly. The chances of the IRS collecting a piece of that, are less than the Jehovah’s Witness Church forcing Michael Jackson to tithe 10% of his obscene income.

There’s trouble looming down the line, too. All American citizens, no later than the day after their 18th birthday, must register for Selective Service. Can you see a future King of England fighting in a foreign war? Nah, I can’t either.

The invasive, prying paperwork that either Megan or Archie would have to submit, must include full financial information about a spouse or parent, since that can affect taxes owed. This means that Prince Harry must also reveal to the IRS, all his assets, income, and investments. I can just imagine a Federal clerk opening a letter on Buckingham Palace stationery.

Dear IRS

Re: your request for full disclosure of Harry Windsor’s financial situation

FUCK YOU! Strong language to follow.

I will not be surprised to hear of special dispensation in this case, but surely some enterprising lawyer/taxpayer team can use it as a precedent, to force changes to a Federal Department whose mascot is a shark.

Shark

’19 A To Z Challenge – M

McMuffin

I want to talk about

McGuffins.

They’re not those breakfast sandwich things that you get at the Golden Arches.

McGuffin = MacGuffin = Maguffin

Noun; an object or event in a book or a film which serves as the impetus for the plot

Word Origin for McGuffin

C20: coined (c. 1935) by Sir Alfred Hatchplot Hitchcock

Most stories, whether books or movies, have a beginning, middle, and end. Some stories though, have lots of action, and a great climax, but need a boost to get underway.

Dashiell Hammet’s novel, The Maltese Falcon was a great novel of the 20th century. There was lots of action – treachery, deceit, lies, double crosses, assaults, murders, and back-stabbing – literal and figurative. When the exciting ride finally came to a stop, the little sculpture that everyone was fighting and scheming about, was just a small, ugly, statue of a bird, just an excuse for all that excitement.

At the last Star Trek movie that I went to – Star Trek Into Darkness – for the first half hour, I fidgeted and twitched in my seat. Is this thing never going to get underway? I even considered walking out – and I NEVER walk out of a movie, especially a Star Trek.

What should have been served, hot off the griddle, as the McGuffin, the impetus, to catch and hold the viewers’ attention, was dropped cold, an hour and a half later, as a by-then, un-suspenseful and un-dramatic ‘Great Reveal,’ a story of brotherly betrayal, abandonment and revenge.

So remember, those of you who want to write – even if it’s just blog-posts. If you think that your story needs a little something to draw readers’ attention, get that McGuffin out early. Craft a catchy title, and compose an interest-grabbing opening line. Once you’ve got ‘em hooked, you can reel ‘em in.

I’d be reel real happy if you stopped back in a couple of days, for another instalment of Do-It-Yourself Philosophy. Phil will be reel happy too. 😉

Reel

Flash Fiction #202

Erudite

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

RISE UP

Bobby’s mother said, ”You want to be what?”

“Sesquipedalian and erudite.”

Well, the long word meant, ‘using long words’, and the short one meant, ‘learned or scholarly.’ “Why?”

“I want to impress people.”

She replied, “Your grandmother used to say, ‘Don’t get above your raisin.’ ” She almost smiled at his puzzlement. She hadn’t understood it when she was 16, either. “The word is actually raising. It means, ‘Don’t put on phony airs’. People will like you if you are honest and real. You have to study to get big words. You can’t just find them with a magnifying glass.

***

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

I’ve Never Herd Of Smith

People Named Smith
H. Allen Smith once wrote a book titled People Named Smith. This was a financial move on his part, as he knew that if only five percent of the Smiths in the United States bought the book, he would be able to retire rich. Unfortunately, he discovered that “almost everyone named Smith is either (1) stingy, or (2) illiterate, or (3) both.”

He did this because Mark Twain had shown him how. Twain claimed that he had met a John Smith in every town he had ever been in, and cynically dedicated his first novel to “John Smith,” claiming that people who have a book dedicated to them, will purchase a copy of it.

Captain John Smith was an explorer of note, and an island he discovered near Cape Charles was named “Smith Island” after him. However, Captain Smith wasn’t happy with the island chosen to honor him, and he complained, “Why, I could spit across it.”

The book is mainly about names, and not all of them were of people named Smith. He once met an imposing man, when invited on a cruise on a yacht in the Caribbean. Not impressed with the commonness of his name, Smith, he declared, “A man’s name is a mere label – nothing else – and has no more meaning than the label on a can.

The gentleman disagreed, and introduced himself. He was Theron Lamar Caudle, the assistant Attorney-General of the United States. His name was all old Anglo-Saxon, and represented a complete sentence. Theron means ‘go seek.’ Lamar means ‘the sea,’ and Caudle is a ‘hot toddy.’ Translated literally, it means, “Go seek a hot toddy by the sea,” and here he was, with a drink in his hand, on a boat, in the Caribbean.

People afflicted with the last name Smith, sometimes go to lengths to have a first name of some significance which sets them apart from all the other multitudes of Smiths. Labels are important to many, although one Appalachian mother cared so little that she insisted to the interviewer, that the official names of her two kids, on the ‘Guv’mint papers, really was Shithead and Fartface Smith.’

One child was named 5/8 Smith. I don’t know if he was the runt of the litter, or maybe, just not all there. One father christened his son Smith, so that he went through life with the double-barreled name of Smith Smith. A photographer, whose work appeared in newspapers and magazines, legally changed his given name to Another, because he was tired of hearing, “Oh, another Smith.”

One day the author was speaking to a writer friend. They discussed some personal things, and then he said, “What are you working on these days?”
“I’m collaborating on a book.”
“With whom?”
“Man named Ira Smith.”
“You serious??”
“Certainly I’m serious.”
He said, “My God, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I’m collaborating on a book with a man named Ira Smith.”

It was true. The other writer was working on the memoirs of Ira R. T. Smith, who for 51 years had been in charge of mail at the White House. At the same time, H. Allen Smith had been working on a book of baseball anecdotes with Ira L. Smith, a Washington journalist.

Ira wouldn’t seem to be an especially common first name, yet Ira L. had had his share of confusions. He was forever getting newspaper clippings from friends;
Ira Smith caught drunk driving in Georgia
Ira Smith an upstate New York cabbie, kidnapped, robbed, tied to a tree, and murdered
Ira L. Smith, a retired Virginia lumberman, dying at the age of 91

He even had a newspaper ad which said;

FOOL your friends. Pretend you are in San Francisco
3 postcards sent 25 cents (20-$1) You write
message, address, return. I remail in San Francisco
Letter mailed 15 cents. Your friends will think
you’re travelling. Ira Smith, 153 Liberty St., San
Francisco, Calif.

The middle name of our Ira L. Smith was Lepouce, his mother’s Belgian maiden name, meaning ‘the thumb’. He was once under consideration for a great job in Washington, but a senior executive named Smith, didn’t want him hired. There were already too many Smiths in the office, and he didn’t want another one messing up phone calls and mail.

Ira went to the man, and offered to apply his middle name to all phone calls and correspondence. The exec replied, “Anyone who would permit himself to be called I. Lepouce Smith in order to get a job must want that job pretty badly. You’re hired.”

The author mentions a situation called Ultra-Smith, where one Smith marries another. My sister did this, confusing all sorts of folks. As you climb down from the family tree, EVERYBODY is named Smith.

(* I have a framed reproduction of a Feb. 13, 1923 Saturday Evening Post cover, with a Norman Rockwell painting and an article about Wodehouse’s recent Psmith book, which refused to upload to WordPress.  It, and a mug with his name, Cyril, were all I got from the nursing home when my Father died.  I didn’t even know he had it.  Perhaps if/when I figure out the problem, I can display it in a later post.)

In England, we have the interesting case of Mr. Psmith, a dashing young character invented by P. G. Wodehouse. In the novel Leave It to Psmith, we find him engaged in a colloquy with a young woman.

“The name is Psmith, P-smith.”
“Peasmith, sir?”
“No, no. P-s-m-i-t-h. I should explain to you that I started life without the initial letter, and my father always clung ruggedly to the plain Smith. But it seemed to me that there were so many Smiths in the world that a little variety might well be introduced. Smythe I look on as a cowardly evasion, nor do I approve of the too prevalent custom of tacking on another name on the front by means of a hyphen. So I decided to adopt the Psmith. The P, I should add for your guidance, is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan. You follow me?

This Smith book was written in 1952, which explains the ancient, minuscule postage fees, and the somewhat formal construction. Aside from the P-ed off words above, the author used ‘expatiate,’ which means, to enlarge in discourse or writing; be copious in description or discussion: ramble on and on – which I’ve done magnificently with this post. Thanx for rambling along with me, and some of my questionable namesakes.