Flash Fiction #220

Nostalgia

THOSE WERE THE DAYS

The old man sat at his computer, longing for ‘The Good Old Days,’ knowing they weren’t really, what with polio, segregation and World Wars.

He tried to keep up, especially with the avalanche of technology – every month, new Smart Phones, tablets, readers, apps, games, Twitter, Facebook…. Sometimes progress could only be measured by how less quickly he was losing ground, running hard, just to stay in place.

He didn’t know how the young ones kept up. Some used methamphetamines. For the life of him, he couldn’t guess why. Surely their brains were already churning at the speed of light.

***

Click on Those Were The Days, if you’d like to hear Archie and Edith longing for the same nostalgia, then 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

One Thing At A Time

Boxer

Battered, bruised and bleeding, the Christian Apologist scuttles forward. Desperate to level the debate playing field, and to achieve some validation, relevance and equivalency for his arguments, he claims, ‘Atheism Is A Religion.’

No, it’s not! We refuted that.

Well then, ‘Atheism Is A World-View.’

No it’s not! How dumb do you come??! The only reason that any two Atheists share a world-view, is that there are more Atheists than there are basic world-views.

Waaah! Atheists claim to be intellectual and logical, but they’re using emotion-based ridicule against Christians. (That emotion-based belief stuff should be reserved for the Christians.)

If you’d accept fact-based evidence, instead of dismissing it out of hand, we wouldn’t have to. We’re merely fighting fire with fire – or in this case, mud-slinging and name-calling. We know that you’re busy, campaigning for Trump. Atheism is only the lack of belief in God, or gods.

Frantic to have ANY handle to hang an argument on, the Apologist grasps at the word, ‘only.’ “Atheism must be more than ONLY!   Atheists believe in Science. Atheists accept the Theory of Evolution. Atheists claim that they have morals, and that they are ‘Good Without God.’ It must, somehow, be more than only.”

Hold on, cowboy. Climb down off your hobby-horse. One thing at a time!
What do you do for a living? Truck-driver? Are you only a truck-driver??! For example, you’re not a truck-driver and a guitar player – or a Jeopardy! fan? Do you have to be a Christian to be a trucker? Are all truckers Christians? Do all truckers hate faggots? Do all truckers feel that a wall should be built, to keep illegal aliens out? Are only truckers moral?

You can be Only about one issue, but still be very involved in many others, some of which are only vaguely connected to the one under consideration. Some Atheists believe in evolution. Some don’t. Some Christians believe in evolution. Some don’t. Some Atheists trust science. Some don’t. Some Christians trust science. Some don’t. Many Atheists are highly moral. A disappointing number of Christians aren’t.

Prove that Atheism is true.

There is so much semantic, social, emotional and Theistic baggage attached to that challenge, that I’m surprised the writer didn’t throw his back out, just wrestling it onto the screen. In attempting to prove equivalence, this Christian apparently thinks that Atheism has similar many and magnificent claims and beliefs that his religion does.

Compared to say, Christianity, the footprint of Atheism is small. It is only the lack of belief in the existence of God. On a personal basis, my Atheism is the rejection of all your bullshit claims. What do I believe? I believe that you are deluded and desperate. The mere fact that I write that, and make that statement, makes my Atheism true.

Many Apologists get so intense at winning the argument – at trying to prove Atheists wrong – that they forget what the original point of discussion was. DOES GOD EXIST, OR NOT??! Can you prove it? Even if, tomorrow, we found that everything that we think we know about The Big Bang and Evolution is wrong, (And, with the mountain of scientific results we have, that is vanishingly unlikely.) it still doesn’t justify a claim that God did it. One thing at a time.

They Don’t Speak English

Canadian Flag

One winter day at the JFK airport in New York, a couple waiting for their flight home to Texas noticed a strange pair of folks all bundled up in parkas, fur hats, heavy gloves and boots.

The Texan Lady, musing over where these strangely dressed people could be from, troubled her husband to the point he responded, ”I have no idea…why don’t you go ask them.”

We all know how curiosity can get the better of someone.

Boldly, she strolled up to the Odd Couple, and with all the charm of Texas, introduced herself:

“Hi, Where ya-all from?”

The heavily clad woman responded: “Saskatoon Saskatchewan.”

Smiling, the Texan replied: “That’s nice.”

As she returned to her husband, he asked: “Well, where they from?”

“Don’t know” she replied, “They don’t speak English.”

Saskatoon Saskatchewan is a city in Canada, and yes, the majority of Canadians speak English.

***

This Man’s Wife Wouldn’t Let Him Go With His Friends, So He Does This.

Four guys have been going on the same fishing trip for many years.

A few days before the group’s annual departure date, John’s wife puts her foot down and tells him he isn’t going. John’s fishing buddies are very upset that he can’t go, but what can they do?

Two days later the three get to the camping site to find John sitting there with his tent set up, firewood gathered, and dinner cooking on the fire, drinking a cold beer.

“Heck John, how long you been here, and how did you talk your missus into letting you go?”

“Well, I’ve been here since last night. Yesterday evening, I was sitting in my recliner when my wife came up behind me, put her hands over my eyes, and asked, ‘Guess who?” I pulled her hands off, and there she was, wearing a nightie.

She took my hand and pulled me into the bedroom, where she’d lit candles and put rose petals all over the place. Well, she’s been reading 50 Shades of Grey.

On the bed she had handcuffs, and ropes! She told me to tie her up and cuff her to the bed, so I did.

And then she said, ‘Do whatever you want.

So, boys, here I am!

***

Orange Juice

A man comes home early from his job at the Orange Juice Factory.  “What’s wrong?” his wife asks.  “Why are you home so early?”  The man shakes his head and looks sad.  “I got canned this morning,” he admits.  His wife asks “Why?”  The husband shrugs and says.  “I just couldn’t concentrate.”

Pickle Jar

A man comes home early from his job at the pickle factory. “What’s wrong?” his wife asks. “Why are you home so early?” The man shakes his head and looks sad. “I did something stupid at work and got fired. I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I stuck my penis in the pickle slicer.” “Oh my God, let me see it.” She examines it closely, but can find no injury or damage. “What happened to the pickle slicer?” “Oh, she got fired too.”

***

Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl to marry him. She said no. The guy lived happily ever after.

Flash Fiction #219

High

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn Miller

IT’S HIGH TIME

So, Canada had legalized marijuana, and he had wound up getting a job with one of the legal grow-ops after graduating from Agricultural College. Given the ‘entertainment’ habits of some of his dorm-mates, it was a surprise that it was him, rather than one of the 4:20 cadre.

He was pleased with the safety equipment his employer provided – gloves, coveralls, respirator masks. His hometown had once been the center of a tobacco-growing area. Each year there had been at least one case of death from nicotine poisoning. Here, about the worst thing that happened, was a nice contact high buzz.

***

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-badge-web

It’s a good thing that I went back to proof-read one more time. Spell-Check didn’t catch that I had titled this Flesh” Fiction. That’s a whole different genre!   😳 🙄

’19 A To Z Challenge – X

Shrew

Why are women and children evacuated first in an emergency?
So that the men can think.

philosopher

I’m not saying that every wife is a shrew, nor that there are no husbands who need the occasional bit of constructive nagging. I am a case in point. For every testosterone-poisoned dolt who slaps, pushes, or punches his wife, there is a shrill-voiced termagant whose tongue can etch glass. Sometimes they are married couples who deserve each other, and it is the neighbors who suffer. Let me introduce you to

XANTHIPPE

Shrewish wife of Socrates
an ill-tempered woman

While history records her as being a nagging shrew, it is not complete enough to make clear what caused her ill temper. There are records of Socrates helping the widow of a friend, but help seems to be all he did. Perhaps she felt that he was spending too much time down at the Acropolis with the boys, running the country, when he should have been at home, running his estate.

Some while ago, the BBC presented a show titled “Rumpole of the Bailey.” It centered on a 1950s/60s British barrister (lawyer). He was intelligent, educated, and could have been far richer and more famous if he hadn’t been saddled with ethics.

He could often be seen working into the night for a client, or hanging out at a cheap bar down the street. He was asked why he didn’t go home. The running joke was that he had a wife, named Hilda, but she was never seen.

He preferred the long hours and the bad booze, to going home to her. Like Xanthippe, he referenced H. Rider Haggard’s novel, and called her, “She Who Must Be Obeyed”, only, if he didn’t go home, he didn’t have to obey.

This is the end of the fourth year of the A To Z Challenge, and available words for the letters at the end of the alphabet grow scarce. If I accept the challenge again in April, next year, for the letter X, I think I’m down to X-Men, and Xerox machines – and I don’t know which I know less about.

Novel Shipwrecks

Treasure Island

I read a trivia blog about shipwreck novels, and left a comment about Great Lakes shipwrecks, including Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and one that was found in the sand of my home town’s beach. When the writer asked for details, I emailed him this double-barreled story.

65 years ago, there were a couple of boards which protruded from the sand, at one spot on our lovely beach. We kids tried to pull them out, but they were obviously attached to something heavy. Eventually, they disappeared – storm damage? Town works crew cut them for tourist safety?

Lighthouse

About twenty years ago, a couple of residents became interested in history and restoration. The abandoned lighthouse-keeper’s house on the offshore island was repaired, and little boat tours began. Someone must have remembered the boards on the beach. A group of archeologists from the University of Toronto arranged a dig. They had to design and build a coffer-dam to keep the waves out as they dug up that section of beach.

Sure that they had something physical, they began searching the written records. Soon they found the story. Once upon a time, my home-town was a bustling Lake Port. Prairie grain for bakeries, iron ore for steel mills and lumber for construction were unloaded and shipped by train below Niagara Falls.

The wreck on our beach turned out to be an 87 foot sailboat freighter. “She” was the ‘Sir Robert McAllister,’ making what might have been the last trip of the fall, before the lake iced up in 1887. Unloaded, they set sail ahead of an autumn storm. Heading back north, they barely got outside the safe harbor when the winds raged. Unloaded, top-heavy, empty and bobbing like a cork, she couldn’t maneuver, and was driven onto the beach.

No hands were lost, but the storm pounded her to flinders. Our Lake is not an ocean, but I remember body-surfing 6 and 8-foot storm waves. Little was left above the keel. She held no cargo, and what was left wasn’t worth salvaging. She was just left to rot, and subsequent storms piled sand over her.

The other local shipwreck that I wanted to tell you about – wasn’t – quite. There used to be a prosperous fishing trade out of our river harbor, until they overfished themselves out of business. Each day, six days a week, 4 forty-foot, enclosed, steel fishing boats would go out a couple of miles.

One spring, the lake ice had broken up and had moved offshore, drifting slowly down the middle of the lake, toward Detroit. Finally, two miles of ice on the river broke up, and thundered out to join it. One fish boat owner, whose craft and crew of three had been unemployed for almost 4 months, got the boat winched back into the water, with plans to go out the next day.

The weather was clear, if cold, and away they went. They set nets, waited for fish migration, and pulled the nets back in. While all this was happening, a spring gale blew up, pushing all that ice back in past them from the west. By the time they headed for home, it had piled up against the shore in a wall 15/20 feet high, a mile out from the river harbor.

As they looked for a solution, more ice piled up behind them, wedging them against the barrier, ice floes 4 – 5 – 6 feet thick, as big as the boat. Soon, the increasing pressure tilted them, to almost 45 degrees. Fearing that the boat would be crushed or capsized, they decided to unship the lifeboat, and push it like a sled across the valleys of the ice-field.

About halfway to shore, the youngest crew-member, a 19-year-old nicknamed Zip, lost his footing – and his hold on the lifeboat rail – and plunged through a small gap into the freezing water. Two days later, when the weather had cleared, and the ice had moved offshore again, the owner used a motorboat to chase his fish boat two miles out, and 8 miles south, with a cargo of frozen fish. It was slightly dinged and scraped, but the rudder and propeller weren’t damaged.

Zip’s body was found a couple of weeks later. The ship didn’t even sink, but still cost a crewman’s life. The town has a small park, where the river meets the lake. They added a memorial to all those lost to the lake, and specifically, Zip.

***

Somehow, I conflated the stories of the lumber freighter that I researched for an earlier post about the decline and fall of my home-town as a Lake Port and the change from a transportation-driven economy to a manufacturing-based one, with a previous War Of 1812 warship-turned freighter, named H.M.S. General Hunter. The light-as-a-cork lumber boat was repaired and refloated. The repurposed warship, still heavy with cannon, got buried. Click above to read her story.

 

Flash Fiction #218

ICU

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

ICU

Millie finally got to see her Ophthalmologist. She looked blurry – everything did, but the doctor said that removing some cataracts would improve her sight.

On the back of her follow-up appointment card, it said, “How did we do today? Go to our web-site and complete the survey. You could win a free liposuction.”

Health Care System?? Sure! It works great if you’re a guy. Need hair replacement? Need penis enlargement? That we can do immediately. Does your wife need new eyes? That could take a while.

She figured they’d patent a cure for death about a week after her funeral.

***

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