Flash Fiction #176

Serenity

PHOTO PROMPT © Randy Mazie

SERENITY

He loved going for a walk, or sitting, in the graveyard beside his house, for solitude or inspiration as he worked on his book.  The residents were quiet and well-behaved, so unlike his redneck neighbors on the other side.

Bitch, bitch, bitch;
Your grass is too long…. So he mowed it.
I’m on the night shift this week. You woke me.
And that harpy wife of his – nude back yard sunbathing??! – on a street of two-story houses.  😯
That was a sight that couldn’t be unseen.  Claimed she had an 18-year-old’s body, but got it all wrinkled.

They get my goat.

***

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

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Halloween In A Graveyard

Gravestone

I once got the chance to patrol a graveyard on a Halloween night.  I know, I know!  The excitement!  The prestige!  Where do I go to apply for a keen job like that?  Sadly, the unemployment office.

When an unethical manager had pulled the cube-drone carpet out from underneath me, I had found temporary employment with a security-guard company.  They had placed me at a St. Joseph’s Hospital as a glorified ‘Lollipop Lady’ crossing guard.  I didn’t even get to wear an orange, don’t-run-me-down vest.

The hospital had two, parallel, one-way driveways down one side.  Traffic came in on one, swung around past Receiving and the kitchens, and exited on the other.  Work on water mains had them alternatively dug up for about a week.

We stationed a guard at the front and the back, with portable radios.  If a vehicle came in, the guard at the back held any outgoing traffic until the single lane was clear, and vice versa.  Out of sight of any street traffic, the guard at the back could rest in a lawn chair until called.  We alternated every hour….until the Mother Superior looked out the window, and decided that that wasn’t fair, and decreed that no-one could rest.

It was especially busy late in the morning, because they had a Meals On Wheels program.  Civilian volunteers picked up a few meals each and delivered them.  We wouldn’t want them smashing into each other, and spilling all that delicious hospital food.

As Halloween approached, and I still hadn’t found suitable employment, the scheduler asked me if I would consider patrolling a graveyard, from 6PM till 2AM that night to prevent any vandalism or skullduggery.

The hospital sat in the middle of a long stretch of main road that didn’t have any cross-streets.  The Catholic cemetery behind the hospital (where the doctors buried their mistakes) extended back to the next road.  Two pedestrian-access walkways converged through it in a V, toward the hospital.

Another guard and I followed each other around the block-long legs of the triangle.  It never occurred to us to patrol in opposite directions, to stop and talk, and compare notes occasionally.  All went well for the first couple of hours – until the sun set.

That’s when we discovered that there were no street lights on the adjoining road, no light-posts within the cemetery, and no lights between the hospital and the cemetery.  It was a typical cloudy Halloween night…. it was pitch-black DARK back there, and nobody thought to give us flashlights.

At about 9:30, I had emerged from one of the exits, and was walking toward the other, when I saw three 15/16-year-old males enter ahead of me.  While it was light, I had found a two-foot piece of 1½ inch PVC electrical conduit on the path – a tripping hazard, especially in the dark, so I picked it up, and was carrying it, just in case.

I could hear them walking, and conversing, a hundred feet ahead of me in the Stygian gloom, although I couldn’t make out the words.  Then it got quiet.  Often, that’s not a good thing.  Suddenly, something smacked into the gravestone beside me.  Something whizzed past my ear.  Something struck the grass beside me!  Holy Crap, those little f**kers are throwing things at me.

I ducked behind a nearby gravestone, and the barrage continued.  Something bounced off the gravestone beside me.  I felt around in the dark, and found a pulped crab apple.  CLANG!  That wasn’t a crab apple that hit my cover.  More crab apples, splat, whiz, then, another CLANG off the tombstone next to me.  The moon, through a slight rift in the clouds, revealed a sharp stone, as big as a golf ball.

What in Hell am I going to do??!  We don’t have our traffic-directing radios, and if this keeps up, my fellow-guard is going to walk around the corner any moment, right into the middle of this.

“It’s okay, Bobby.  You can come out now.  We won’t throw anything else at you.”  I’m not Bobby!  “Who the hell are you?”  I’m the security guard who’s supposed to keep you from damaging anything.  Are you idiots??!  Throwing crab apples is dangerous enough, but throwing rocks at someone you can’t see, or identify – in the dark….  You could blind or kill someone!  “Sorry, we didn’t think.”  Said every teenage boy ever, just before he qualified for the Darwin Award.

Patrolling a graveyard on Halloween is an…. interesting task.  Ghosts and ghouls don’t exist, so they’re no problem.  It’s the live ones who cause all the troubles.  😯

Jack O Lantern

Happy Halloween!  Trick or Treat.  😀

April A To Z – By way of G

April Challenge

I’ve gone and got to G.  What shall I gab about?   I’ve got it!

Letter G

GUNS, GOD AND GRAVESTONES

Any of you who may feel that all three of the above are connected, haven’t been paying attention to the filing system inside my head.

Colt 1911

I don’t give a shit what the Nervous-Nellie, conservative, reactionary do-gooders claim. Guns don’t kill people! Guns don’t kill people any more than hammers build houses.  People kill people when the wrong people get ahold of guns.  I know of guns that are older than I am, and the only thing they’ve ever done is put holes in pieces of paper.

The wrong people get hold of guns when gutless Gus thinks he hears a burglar, and hides a rifle under the bed, and his 4-year-old ‘pretends’ to shoot the neighbor kid – when an armed Security Guard is too lazy to store his gun in his house, or at least in his car’s trunk, and lets his girlfriend and her 6-year-old use the car, and it slides out from under the front seat – when a lady shopper leaves a loaded, cocked pistol in her purse, next to her child in a shopping cart.

We don’t need ‘Gun Control.’ We need people control! We need  background checks, waiting periods, licensing, gun handling and storage safety training, and – instead of emotional, hand-wringing histrionics – an ongoing campaign like we have for smoking in public, or drunk driving, to get people to think, (Could happen) and take their guns, and their control of them, seriously.

OH GOD

God is!….And all the rest of you are wrong.

In the beginning, God created Man – and immediately, every Man created the God which best suited his selfish needs and mistaken beliefs.

The Muslim God is different from the Jewish God.   The Jewish God is not the same as the Christian God.  The Roman Catholic God is not the same as the God of the Greek Orthodox Church – and neither is the same as the Russian Orthodox God.

The Catholic God differs from the Protestant God, and the God of each of over 42,000 Protestant sects varies widely and wildly from the Catholics’– and from each other. In every case, at least one of them must be wrong.

‘Your God’ is a mean, vicious, vengeful, violent God, who would torture me for eternity for respecting all humans and their rights, even if some of them are gay, whereas ‘my God’ is loving, forgiving and inclusive.

The God of the insecure egotists, ‘sees every sparrow fall,’ but they fail to notice that the Bible doesn’t say anything about Him actually doing anything about it. If a greater being created the universe, It is not the God of the egotists’ dreams. It regards this little ball of rock called Earth like an ant-farm, mildly interesting at times, but not worth interfering with, no matter how much they vainly pray.

None of us have enough brains to know what an infinite ‘God’ thinks and wants, but too many of us also don’t have enough brains to keep our mouth shut, and prove our ignorance.

ENGRAVED IN STONE

I’m not going to get stoned – even though it sometimes looks like I am, when I write.

My maternal grandparents lie side-by-side in a double plot, in the old section of my home-town cemetery. Someone in the family must have had some money.  A four-foot high white marble obelisk sits on a sandstone plinth at their heads, with all biographical data professionally and artistically carved in.

Ever the prepared planner, my Mother arranged and paid for all funeral details long before she and Dad died. They (which may mean she) opted for cremation.  They purchased a single plot, and had their urns buried at each of the top corners.  There’s room for four more urns – two on the sides, and two at the bottom.

In the new cemetery section, the rule is that all gravestones must be flush with the earth, for ease of groundskeeping. They put two small sandstone slabs (about 8” square) over the urns, with only their names, and the word ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, no dates of birth or death.

Not exactly welcoming the inevitable, but like Mom, knowing that it should be planned for, I recently had a conversation with my younger brother. Since there’s room at Mom and Dad’s plot, did he plan to be cremated and buried with them?

No more religious than I am, he surprised me with a vehement refusal. No cremation for him!  He plans to be buried the old-fashioned way – embalming, body in a coffin, coffin in the ground.  He’s going to buy a single plot, and have a stone about a quarter of the surface area laid over him.

Like my Mother, I am not a believer in physical resurrection. I also want to be cremated.  The whole process, from beginning to end (actually, from my ending, to the delivery of the urn by Amazon drone) is about $2000/$2500.

I see no reason to rob my heirs of what little I can leave them, by purchasing a plot of land I don’t need, and a chunk of stone that, eventually, no-one will visit. I will be given, probably to my daughter, as a bagful of bonemeal fertilizer that she can sprinkle in her garden, and I will be resurrected as a rosebush, or a lilac tree. (Although, with my luck, I’ll come back as crabgrass.)  That’s the true ‘Circle of Life!’

Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns

We often think that the important things which happen, and the marvelous things that are created, are the products of “big city” people.  It just seems right that those with the most exposure to society and education, would be the “doers.”  It is often a surprise that some city-, country- or world-changing events are caused by small-town, backwoods boys (and girls).

On August 21, 1860, Aylesworth Perry was born in a tiny Ontario hamlet.  Despite being a patriotic Canadian, interested in our history and heritage, I had never heard of him.  It seems that this was the gentleman who went on to transform the North West Mounted Police – who would later become the R.C.M.P. – from a loose-knit band of rowdy frontiersmen, into the effective, respected organization it became.

What caught my eye about the little newspaper filler article was the fact that this strong, powerful organizer of tough, gritty men, in a tough, dirty landscape, was from the tiny-rainbow-pissing village of Violet.  Like the famous….whatsisname, above, I’d never heard of a place in Ontario named Violet, so I began to do some research.

The officially-issued, Province Of Ontario roadmap refuses to even mention it.  Time to go online!  My first search for Violet, Ontario, got me Violet’s Violets, in Milton, ON, and Violets and Roses Flower Shop in Brampton, ON.  My next step was my usual, Mapquest.ca, which located a Violet Hill, ON, not far from my home town.  This magnificent megalopolis boasts almost 300 residents, which is probably why I’d never heard of it either.

When all else fails, go to Google, which had no trouble locating Violet for me.  Where my town is almost as far west as possible, in Southern Ontario, this place is at the far, east edge, close to Ottawa and Montreal.  To call this place a village is perhaps to stretch a point some.  It’s more than just a wide spot on the road, with a house on both sides, but not much.  It makes Violet Hill look like urban civilization.  There is one road into town, which splits at a Y, and two roads leave town.

I was astounded that Google Earth had actually driven these roads.  They must have been on their way to a real town.  It had to have been a remote-controlled vehicle.  A human driver would have dozed off.  If it’s this tiny now, I wonder how much smaller it was, a hundred and fifty years ago.

At about the same time in history, a famous feminist/suffragette/ human rights proponent, named Nellie Mooney McClung, was born in a tiny village about 30 miles east of my home.  She’s so famous, you’ve never heard of her either, and the only sign that she and the village ever existed, is a dedication plaque, and a small cemetery.

“Famous”, in Canada, means that two people know how to spell your name.  More recently, just before I crawled out of the igloo, a famous female Canadian author was born in a small town 30 miles to my south.  At the age of 76, she’s decided to stop writing, and retire back to her birthplace, to count up all eight Loonies she’s made from the Canadian publishing industries.

A couple of years before my birth, a man was born in a village of 300, twenty miles south-east.  He went on to be the long-term editor of the Toronto Sun newspaper, until the Frogs from Quebecor Publishing hopped down from Montreal, and gobbled it up.  You’d probably not notice his birthplace either, if it weren’t for the stench of the pig-processing plant, and the truckers’ restaurant, which is well-known for its ribs and wings.

All of this has generated great optimism in me.  If people from places like Nowhere, and Never-Heard-Of-It, can become movers and shakers, it’s never too late for me to become famous also.  (It’s spelled S.M.I.T.H.)  Two more posts like this, and it’s onward and upward to FreshPressed, and fame and glory.  Did I mention the money?….or I could just keep trying to amuse, entertain and educate you, my faithful followers.

Being famous, and from a small town is not always a good thing.  We have a Canadian lady (?) from Wadena, Saskatchewan, a mighty little town of 1300.  She’s been a television news reporter, and then anchor-person, who puts her pants on one leg at a time, just like all the other guys.  The Prime Minister gave her a pork-barrel appointment to the Canadian Senate.

She now has to, grudgingly, repay $140,000 in expenses to the Government, because she was “confused” and “forgot” things like that her “primary residence” was in Wadena, not Toronto.  She’s one of four recently appointed Senators under investigation by the R.C.M.P.  I’m not sure how much of this type of thing the American system of electing Senators would prevent, but I’m pretty sure it couldn’t be much worse.

End of bitch!  Insert comment here.

 

A Letter From Momma

Dear Son:

Just a few lines to let you know I’m still alive.  I’m writing slowly because I know that you can’t read fast.  You won’t know the house when you come home….we’ve moved.  I won’t be able to send you the address, because the Newfy family that lived here before, took the house numbers with them so that they wouldn’t have to change their address.

About your Father….he now has a new job.  He has five hundred people under him.  He’s cutting the grass in the cemetery.

There was a washing machine in the house when we moved in, but it isn’t working very good.  Last week I put 14 shirts into it and pulled the chain and haven’t seen the shirts since.

Your sister Mary had a baby today.  I haven’t heard if it’s a boy or a girl, so I don’t know whether you’re an aunt or an uncle.

Your other sister Margaret was pregnant, but had an abortion because she wasn’t sure the baby was hers.  The doctor thought it might be twins, but she’s never been on a double-date.

I had a hysterectomy last week because I don’t want any more grand-children.

Your Uncle Dick drowned last week in a vat of whiskey in a Dublin distillery.  Some of his fellow workers dove in to save him, but he fought them off bravely.  We cremated the body and it took three days to put out the fire.

Your father didn’t have much to drink at Christmas.  I put a bottle of castor oil in his pint of beer.  It kept him going till New Year’s Day.  I went to the doctor on Thursday and your father came with me.  The doctor put a small tube in my mouth and told me not to open it for ten minutes.  Your father offered to buy it from him.

It only rained twice last week.  Once for three days and the other time for four days.  Monday it was so windy that one of our chickens laid the same egg four times.

We had a letter from the undertaker.  He said that if we don’t come up with the last installment on your grandmother’s grave, up she comes!

I have to quit writing for now as I just broke my typewriter.  I don’t know what is wrong with it.  It just jammed up.

 

Your Loving Mother.

 

P.S.  I was going to send you $20.00 but I had already sealed the envelope.