’20 A To Z Challenge – P

Frat-boy college students did not invent – or perfect – the booze-your-face-off, lost-weekend, drinking party.  Adult men, who should have known better, have been doing it for millennia.  Modern-day drinking glasses have flat bottoms, and stand up straighter and steadier than most of the sots at bars.

Greeks and Romans, and many Medieval European hard-drinkers, went about the task with a round-bottomed pottery, or later, metal, drinking cup in their hand.  Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the

PTOMATIS

If ever you needed an incentive to drink, owning a ptomatis might be it. Derived via Latin from Ancient Greek, a ptomatis is a cup or similar drinking vessel that needs to be emptied before it can be put down, because it is shaped in such a way that it won’t stand upright open-end up.

These handle-less drinking cups were even made from wood, but as technology improved, they were fabricated in china, and glass.  This is why drinking glasses, are referred to as ‘glasses.’  While most are flat-bottomed and steady today, the earlier, fall-over versions were why they are also still called tumblers.

Aside from weapons forging, there wasn’t a lot of technology among the Norsemen.  For their drinking, they made do with hollowed out cattle horns.  After a hard day of looting and pillaging, they would settle down with a bovine ptomatis full of mead.

If you ever watched the movie, The Thirteenth Warrior you will have seen the young Muslim, exiled to the far North as an emissary.  When he is offered a little fortified fermented drink to keep the cold away, his face shows disappointment when he says that he is forbidden to partake of the fruits of the grape or the grain.  It quickly lights up again in delight when the Viking claps him on the shoulder, and explains that the mead is made from honey.

Let the party begin!

 

Flash Fiction #240

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

IMPRISONED INTELLIGENCE

In 1960s America, civil rights was still just a dream for many.  What should have been an inalienable right – Voting – sometimes had conditions.  Negroes had to Prove they were educated, Prove that they were intelligent enough to vote.

A Negro in Alabama approached a polling station.  A redneck Cracker handed him a copy of the Hebrew Times to read.  When he couldn’t, he was given a sheet of waxed paper and a ballpoint pen, and told to write his name.

When he failed that several times, he said, “I just don’t understand it.  I could read and write this morning.”   😯

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

Flash Fiction #239

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS

He tried to raise his head from the floor, but someone had turned the gravity up.  He’d just lie here and ask Whatzizname, the jock, for assistance.  Whatzizname??!  What was his name?  This was silly.  He just got a bank statement….  Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday dear…. Jerry.  Yeah, that was it – Jerry.

He vaguely recalled a frat-party that included beer-pong and tequila shooters.  He also remembered some nice man…. Dad – telling him to concentrate on his university studies, and not attend such bashes.  Right, Dad – when the bleeding in his eyes cleared up.

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

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I credit 1950s/60s comedian, Shelly Berman with the inspiration for this cautionary tale.  Click here if you’d like to hear some classic comedy about The Morning After The Night Before.

Flash Fiction #238

PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

BOTTLED UP

They remove half the tables, stare out that huge window, and complain about being bottled up.  What about me??  I view Nature through two layers of glass, and I’m stuck in this dispenser, like a genie.

Shut up Sugar!  At least your glass is smooth.  Poor Pepper and I are confined in these tiny, faceted shakers.  We see outdoors only as fractals.

Hey!  My plastic envelope is translucent.  I only see shadows until some fat guy grabs me by the tail, jams his thumb up my spine, and squeezes me out onto French fries.  I’d love to be bottled up.

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

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I promised myself that I would not do any COVID19 Flash Fictions, but three of the four voices in my head told me to do it.

Flash Fiction #237

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E.Ayr

FAIR TRADE

I hope you rode that bicycle down here from the bank.  This ain’t no sea-going swap meet.  They ain’t gonna exchange it, for that…. that…. well, it ain’t no yacht, but it ain’t no rowboat either, even if it is painted light-loafer pink.

Them owner folks is Frogs – pardon my French – they’s Frenchies.  You go aboard to ‘negotiate,’ and they’ll offer you some of that there wine, and the next thing you know, you’ll be in some camel-chaser’s hareem in Dubai.

Nothin’ good ever come from furriners and pink boats.  C’mon, I’ll buy you a real man’s rum drink.

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

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Today’s low-brow, red-neck, politically-incorrect, intolerant, machismo-laden rant is brought to you because…. I don’t know.  Maybe because, in this supposedly enlightened, intelligent world, there’s still too much of it going on.  Vote wisely.  😀

’20 A To Z Challenge – M

I don’t exactly hate poetry, I just hate what sometimes passes for, and pretends to be, poetry.  I have written some poetry, and had some poetry written about me.  I am going to introduce you to the word for the letter M Challenge this year.

Musophobist

A person who regards poetry with suspicious dislike.  From the Greek words meaning “Muse” and “fear.”
A person who doesn’t like poetry and is suspicious of it.

This word was used (and probably coined) by the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), who quite possibly inspired more than a few musophobes, with poetry that was as dark and disturbing as Edgar Allen Poe’s works.

Some of the best contemporary poets are song writers.  If you listen to, or read the lyrics to their songs without the music, you find that they reference social situations, with intricate, repeating, progressing word play.  We’ll ignore Justin Bieber, who actually doesn’t write poetry much better than I do.  Justin Timberlake has some good stuff, and I like Ed Sheeran who, like Billy Joel, writes poetry/lyrics about his life.

I’m stuck in the past, liking writers such as Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, and (another) Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues.  THE BOSS, Bruce Springsteen, made a name for himself writing intricately-rhyming songs for other singers, before he began performing them himself.  Sadly, in the song Blinded By The Light which was released by the group Manfred Mann, a young singer with a speech defect turned a 1932 “Deuce” hot-rod into a douche.  😳

On a couple of Moody Blues albums, between some beautiful songs, John Lodge does a spoken-word recitation of poems that didn’t turn into songs.  I’ve published them before, but for those who may have missed them, here they are again.

MOODY BLUE

Breathe deep the gathering gloom.
Watch light fade from every room.
Pensitive people look back and lament,
Another day, uselessly spent.

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one.
Lonely man cries for love, and has none.
Senior citizens wish they had some.
New mother picks up and suckles her son.

Cold-hearted orb, that rules the night.
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey, and yellow, white,
But we decide which is right.

And which, is an illusion….

 

MOODY CONTEMPLATION

Between the eyes and ears there lie
The sounds of color
And the light of a sigh
With thoughts of within
To exclude the without
The ghost of a thought
Will exclude all doubt
And to name this thought
Is important to some
So they gave it a word
And the word is ‘OM’

 

Flash Fiction #236

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

FAIR TRADE

How do you get down off an elephant?
You don’t!  You get down off a duck.

I got a dog for my wife.
Seems like a good swap.

I saw a sign that said, Watch For Children.
I thought, that’s a fair trade.

Maybe I could get the Traders to exchange some new jokes for these old ones.  I would trade two weeks of COVID isolation for a fortnight visit to Wilmington, NC, to see how it took 75 years for Southerners to trade their insecure, racist bigotry, for acceptance, and peaceful coexistence.  It’s still not perfect, but it’s better.

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Join the merry band of Friday Fictioneers.  Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple https://rochellewisoff.com/ site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #235

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE

How do you get to the K-W Oktoberfest Parade??!
Well, I wouldn’t start from here.

Summer road construction diversions were completed in time for the autumn detours.

Just go around the big COVID Obstruction, then straight through the Bicycle Virtue-Signalling Snafu, where 5000 traffic cones have produced cycling lanes, but reduced miles of four-lane major streets to two-lane parking lots.

Seating in beer tents will be every third chair, and special Pandemic masks, with little holes to drink beer through straws will be provided.

Extra test kits, and extra hospital staff, will be on hand.  Have fun, but stay safe.  👿

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I published a post some years ago, https://archonsden.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/you-cant-get-there-from-here/ with the above title, describing traffic problems on local streets, which were laid out by cattle, rather than surveyors.  The City has gotten bigger, but so have the traffic problems.

Last year, we had 700,000 people attend Oktoberfest in 9 days.  At this time, the 2020 Oktoberfest is still a go. with – what is hoped are – sufficient safeguards.  There will be no parade, and fest-halls will not be as crowded as elevators.  The Oktoberfest Committee seem to be hoping that COVID – rather than a chunk of the population – will be dead by Canadian Thanksgiving, or a vaccine available.

My home is out on the West side of town, so that prevailing winds should blow any infection away from me.  I’ve installed HEPA filters on the air intakes, and won’t be leaving the house for over a week.  😆

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

Flash Fiction #234

Negotiation

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

VROOM! VROOM!

I’m not a very good bargainer, but I really wanted that second-hand Toyota Supra!  Like cars from my youth – only better.  Something I could feel as I piloted it, not computer-ridden, and self-driving.

Not midlife-crisis-red, it had a four-speed stick-shift, and was painted Electric BlueTravis McGee would approve.*

He was asking $18,000.

I offered $12,000 – book-value.

Standard transmission is rarer – $17,000

I’m stealing from my son’s inheritance – $13,000

It’s got four brand-new tires – $16,000

My credit card is melting. – $14,000

My wife is expecting our first. – $15,000!

Radar-detectors are illegal.  I must be careful.

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* Author John D. MacDonald invented a Miami-based character named Travis McGee. To support himself, he specialized in finding and returning items that were not precisely ‘legally’ lost, because they may not have been exactly legally owned in the first place – all for a 50% cut.  In novels written between 1964 and 1984, he drove a 1939 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, which someone had Frankensteined into a pickup truck, and painted Electric Blue.

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

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Flash Fiction #233

ted-s

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

LESS IS MORE

In some ways, under-population is the bane of the developed world.  When I was a child, I thought that inheriting this house would be marvelous.  Now that it’s happened, I own a white elephant.

When it was built, 150 years ago, the normal 8-10-12 children were needed to maintain it.  Older sons mended the shingles. Middle teens cut the grass and pruned the trees.  Daughters tended flowers and vegetables.  Young Tom Sawyer-types whitewashed the fence.

Medicine improved, and families shrunk.  Now, I don’t have the time, energy or income to keep it presentable.

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

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