Frankly, A Great Challenge

Footprints Challenge

AFrankAngle has issued a fiction challenge. He is asking his readers to take the above photo, compose a 150 word story about it, and link to his post.  Stop over there to see what he, and others, have written about footsteps in the sand.  Here is my offering.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

Bobby was almost six. A fisherman’s son, he lived on an island off the Carolina coast. He’d had an argument with his Mom.  He wasn’t going to blindly obey her rules any more.  He would run away from home, and live on his own.

He packed what he thought he’d need, and marched down to the shore. The mainland was a blur, and he couldn’t run a boat.  Fine, he’d find a spot in the grass or trees to live.  With his driftwood ‘staff’, he trudged up the beach.

No suitable spot appeared, so he kept slogging – on and on. He finally came around a headland….and there was the dock again.  There was the big log on the beach – and somebody was sitting on it.  It was his Mom.  She just held out her arms and said, “Lunch is almost ready.”

Oh well, he could run away some other time.

Footprints Victory

For Frank, and others, I also offer the story of a devout man who died and went to Heaven. Before God actually ushered him in, He showed him his life with God.  The man saw it as a walk along the shore with God – two parallel lines of footprints in the sand.

At certain spots in his life, there was only one set of prints. When he looked closer, he realized that these had been the hardest times of his life.  He said to God, “How could You have abandoned me when I most needed You?”  God replied, “My child, those were the times when I carried you.”

Flash Fiction #134

Pop Can Tabs

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Sheldon

TANSTAAFLUrban Myth

Save all your pop-can tabs. Someone will donate a power wheelchair.

Mr. Cynicism said, “Who? Why?”

Like a child’s paper-clip necklace, I pulled it apart, one link at a time. Daughter said, “Mom told me.  Didn’t she mention it to you?”  The wife named a sister. That sister blamed an older sister. She said the yenta was a bowling team member.

Bowler identified a man in her trailer park.  “He’s got his; we’re trying for another.”  Wheelchair man nailed them, upside down, to slabs of plywood, and sold them to supplement his meager disability allowance.  “They’re great muddy shoe scrapers.”

***

TANSTAAFL is a term credited to the author, Robert A. Heinlein. It cynically/realistically means, There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

The trailer park man’s wheelchair was not donated.  It had been supplied by the government. He was not aware of any group giving away free wheelchairs.  Pop-can tabs are pure aluminum.  There was a group who collected entire aluminum cans, crushed them and turned them in for rebate at the scrap dealer.  The money was added to a fund which aided handicapped people.

BELIEF is when Hope is substituted for Facts.

***

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

2017 A To Z Challenge – F

Challenge2017

I’ve been caught – found out – laid bare. It gives me no solace to know that I am but one member of a large enough group who are also exposed, that there is a word to describe and identify them.  For the letter

Letter F

I am skipping the WOW, and using the A To Z Challenge to present the latest, and most applicable word, Forgettery

Definitions for forgettery

a faculty or facility for forgetting; faulty memory:
a witness with a very convenient forgettery.

Origin of forgettery

1860-1865

Forgettery is a humorous formation based on forget and (the pronunciation of) memory. The phenomenon is very common in ordinary life, such as that panicky moment when you cannot recall the name of your dinner partner or where you parked the car in the mall parking lot. It is a little surprising that such a useful term entered English only in the 19th century.

My life has been one long series of Forget-Me-Nots. One of my ways of ensuring that I remember something is to repeat, repeat, repeat!  One scientific study said, 35 times – and it’s mine.  It’s a good thing that I like to read.  I scanned school texts over and over….and over.  I understood the concepts, but you only get marks if you remember to write them down.

I describe my situation as ‘Trigger-Memory.’ It’s a long trail of the equivalent of a string tied around the finger.  My days are full of reminders.  A sour cream tub lid, wedged into the top of my boot on the shoe rack means there’s a plate of leftovers to be taken to the daughter.  An empty pill bottle sends me to the pharmacy.  An empty cat-food tin on the end of the counter has me bringing more up when I go downstairs for some Pepsi.

Out of sight, out of mind – or, as the Chinese translate, ‘When you’re blind, you’re also crazy.” If I don’t see it, I forget it. My office desk was always a bit of a mess, because I dared not put anything away until I’d successfully dealt with it.  Lists, notes, memos, reminders – thank (insert the name of your favorite real or imaginary deity here) for electronics.  Now it’s all on the computer….if I can just remember where I cached that file.

Have you ever walked into a room, and wondered why you did? I’ve walked into rooms, and had to look around to remember which room I’d walked into.  Use it, or lose it. As much as for my Asperger-type inability to make and hold friends, my lack may be because I forget people as soon as they walk out the door, and people get upset if you do that.

Once upon a time, I forgot to pick something up, probably food for a special meal. I got from the wife, that expression that every marriage gets at least once.  “If you loved me….you would have remembered.”  I pointed out that the forgetting had impacted me even worse than her.  If I can’t remember for myself, I sure won’t remember for her, no matter how much I love her.

Would she say, ‘If you loved me, you’d be an Optical Surgeon, and make lots of money?’ With the tremor in my hands, somebody would lose an eye.

If I forget to read your posts for a week, (or a month) or forget to leave a comment, please forgive me. I’ll remember eventually, probably triggering my memory when I’m looking up another odd word, like syzygy….now what does that mean, again?   😳

Flash Fiction #133

Financial

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

THE REAL COST OF LIVING

We recently returned from the vet’s with the wife’s favorite cat – $200 dollars, and no guarantee the medicine would cure it. Then she had to go into hospital for knee-replacement surgery.  You could say that she doesn’t need surgery, but, to her, gardening is as important as eating.

The bill for the last oil change said that the year-old car’s brakes need work. The cost of gasoline and electricity are mounting.  The yearly ‘cost-of-living’ increase on my pension was 97cents/month.  I feel the financial walls closing in.

Will we survive this retirement tunnel, or finish, begging on the street?

***

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

2017 A To Z Challenge – E

Challenge2017

I know that, according to my own, self-imposed schedule, I should have had a post composed and ready to publish today, about the letter

Letter E

Just about the time the daily A to Z Challenge bloggers were posting their offerings for the letter E, I contracted a case of 48-hour flu. By the time I got back to the computer, it was too late to acquire a list of possible theme words.  Between the virus-induced mental incapacitation and the lack of inspiration, nothing got written.

The situation was made worse by bureaucracy. One of the drive motors on the daughter’s power wheelchair seized, and Murphy worked overtime to ensure clerical catastrophe.  What should have been a (bad enough) two weeks inconvenience, has become more than three months of dragged-on denial of service, before the Provincial disability office finally decided that it’s too expensive to repair a 13-year-old chair.

New rules say that, since she doesn’t need it all the time, she can’t have a new one.  Now she has to break in a new case worker, and jump through all the hoops to find an acceptable handicap scooter, for which the Government will (eventually) pay monthly rent.  Winter cabin fever was bad enough.  Now, the nice summer weather is here, and she still can’t get outside and be independent.

Besides the afternoon-long, hour drive up the highway and back, for her anti-pain treatment, this means that I have taken her shopping several times, to the Farmers’ Market, twice to her dentist, once to the next city to pick up cheap, bulk, dog and cat food, and each week to a counselling forum which helps her deal with the physical and emotional problems of having her loving, supportive son 500 kilometers away.

Eighteen months after being told that the wait time would be 12 months, the wife was finally contacted by her orthopedic surgeon, (the same guy who installed my artificial shoulder ten years ago) and was told that her first knee replacement, the right, was a go.  This required two trips to the hospital to fluff their paperwork.  The first was a mere two hours, the second, an extended, four hour clerical comedy show.  At least it’s finally going ahead.  On June 27th, Hobble-Along Cassidy meets Dr. Stabby McStab-Stab in a dance to the death.

All of this means that, instead of having time to write my usual, knife-sharp, crystal-clear, diamond-hard posts which inform and entertain you, you are being afflicted with this whiny, apologetic, idiosyncratic, fogbank collection of Excuses, for my E contribution.

Thanx for your sympathy, and I hope to see you in a couple of weeks with something a little more solid, for the fabulous letter F.

Flash Fiction #132

Clutter

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

CREATIVE CLUTTER

A clean desk is the sign of a diseased mind.

Once, he had been embarrassed by his messy work area. Accountants are neat and orderly.  Writers are artists, whose minds must be free to soar.  Their thoughts, words, ideas and concepts eddy and flow to produce prose which will reach out and grab the reader.

Neatness was over-rated. Cleaning was non-productive.  Filing was prosaic.  His system was chronological – newest stuff on top of the pile.  Besides, his Mom was coming over to visit and bring him supper Friday evening.  She’d have his little nook Spic and Span before she left.

***

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

Smitty’s Loose Change #5

Smitty's Loose Change

Everybody’s always got something to add.
I recently saw this list of women’s names

Ann
Anne
Annes
Anais
Anna
Anni
Ani
Annie
Annika
Agnieszka

Ann is a good solid English name taken from the Hebrew Hannah, and means ‘kind, helpful.’ The French language insists that all nouns have gender, and makes Ann feminine by adding an ‘e’ to make Anne. Welsh speakers must think that there’s more than one, because, to them, it becomes Annes (annis). At least one Spanish-Cuban/French woman also pronounced her name annis, but spelled it Anais. Languages like German and Spanish have no silent letters, so the ‘e’ is pronounced, and Anne soon becomes Anna. Languages like Italian converted it to Anni, all except for the unfortunately-named, Italian-American singer, Ani DiFranco.  The construction rules of the original Latin say that one is an anusani means ‘many assholes.’ Some people can’t just leave it short and simple.  A landlady of ours had a son she wisely named Paul, but insisted on calling him Paulie.  I thought she had a parrot.  English soon had females named Annie. Languages like Swedish and Dutch can be poly-syllabic to indicate diminutive and feminine, and the name became Annika. Polish is a ‘busy’ language.  It took Annika, and married it to the similar Greek name Agnew, to create Agnieszka, which, aside from meaning ‘kind and helpful,’ also means ‘little lamb.’

***

Every time I open my mouth, some damned idiot starts talking.

***

After only 5 ½ years at this blogging thing, I finally achieved 1000 followers on April 22nd – and again on April 24thand, once more on April 25th.  WordPress has been doing some home redecorating, and the previous two weeks were inexplicably up and down.  I’d go to bed with 998, and get up to 997.  999?  No, still just 998.  😀  Finally, the magic number was reached.

I thanked and congratulated the gent who finally broke the bank….and got up the next day to 999 again. Twice more it happened before I got two followers in one day, and haven’t looked back.  I’d kinda like to know why.  Were my followers dying, – getting kicked off WordPress – or intentionally un-following me?  I know, don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.

***

In my blog-post Words, I included the word ‘lagniappe’.  Recently, a little 10-page, throw-away community newspaper has added a food and cooking column.  The author has titled it; La Yapa –Bolivian phrase for that little extra gift given in gratitude by market vendors.  I noticed the common linguistic ancestor.  Did you?

***

For our ‘Good Christian’ friends, Mark Twain said that; It’s easier to fool someone, than to convince them that they have been fooled.

The English surname ‘Bullard’ means – son of a monk or priest.

***

Recently, at about 2:30 AM, my son’s cell phone vibrated to an incoming message. Sent from a phone with a number one digit higher than his, the screen read, “Hi, I’m your text-door neighbor.”  That’s one random way of meeting new people.  I think I still prefer the drunken butt-dial.

***

[Ouг ϲompany camе to the һealth center (which believeѕ that a resort), obtaineɗ cheϲked in, carried սpstɑirs and into οur room. I entered into HUGELУ large moo moo as well as craԝled into the mattreѕs … it waѕ actually meаns ahead of time to be in that bedrоom.Тime, ϲoming from this aspect on, apρeared to crаwl and also go bananas swiftly all concurrently. It crawled coming from facet from yᥱarning for the dаy to become over and also would like to bbe back with our little bit of guy again, as well aѕ it went bananas fast due to the fact that once points stаrted, there was no stopping!]

After insisting that I never receive any interesting spam comments, I downloaded the above, whose occasional strangely sized and shaped letters do not publish as they originally showed.  I fail to see how anyone would think that an excerpt from an illiterate account of a young family’s trip could induce anyone to open it, or access the site.

I won’t waste the time, but I could have some fun correcting all the spelling, punctuation and construction errors.  I do think that it would be a great prompt for a short-story post.  Anybody want to have a go at a Flash Fiction-type challenge and finish it?    😕