’19 A To Z Challenge – &*%$#

AtoZ2019

I was right! Somebody slipped something to me. I’m lucky it wasn’t a roofie at a bar. It took two of them, ganging up, to do it. Julius Caesar, aided and abetted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, reformed and refined the calendar commonly used today.

My publishing schedule is simple. There are 52 weeks in a year. There are 26 letters in the alphabet. Publish every two weeks – 26 x 2 = 52. It all comes out even, except….

52 weeks times 7 days, is only 364 days, and the year has 365. Each year starts a day later than the previous one – except that Leap Years add 2 days. In the 6 years that I’ve been doing the Challenge, I’ve gained 8 days – more than a week. It was either start doing a March Challenge, or add an excuse, an extra 2 week cushion, and an ad lib post.

Ampersand
Once the 27th letter of the alphabet
Click here for more info https://www.dictionary.com/e/ampersand/

Caesar and Il Papa lawyered up with a smart Jewish attorney. He told me to shift the blame to my old friend, the Ampersand. It was his fault that there was Plus a day or two each year. Old Amp is a bit archaic, and somewhat out of style these days. I felt some regret at betraying him, but it’s every blogger for himself these days.

Survivor

I guess I’m actually lucky to have survived this past year. I’ll have to try harder in the coming months.  😀

For those of you who thought that I might publish an extra comedy post…. the joke’s on you.  😉  😆

 

’19 A To Z Challenge – Z

AtoZ2019Letter Z

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun goes down, the tide goes out.
People gather ‘round and they all begin to shout.
Hey, hey, Elmer Fudd
It’s a treat for the elite to know that Archon is no dud.

Avatar

Ray Charles – Mississippi Mud

At least I think those are the lyrics. Click above to hear Ray Charles sing it, and check me out. I don’t know whether All the People gathered ‘round and shouted. I know I did! This post is about the letter Z. I have survived the 2019 A To Z Challenge.

Survivor

For the letter U, I claimed that I had a Useless tale of absolutely nothing. For the final letter of the year, I turn it completely around, and give you a Useful tale about nothing. It is interesting, how many terms for nothing, cluster at the end of the alphabet. For the letter Z, I give you

ZERO
ZIP
ZILCH

These are not terms that you want to slip into the weekly production meeting.
What did you accomplish this week, Hodgens??
Zero, Boss. Real zip. Absolutely zilch! I read all the Dilbert cartoons, to keep up with Wally‘s antics.
Well, you can do all that nothing from home, because that’s what we’re going to pay you.

Wally

Be especially careful with that last one. I had a female co-worker who went into paroxysms at the mere sound of it. It was the first time I found out that there are people who get angry, or ill, just hearing or reading certain words – ‘Moist,’ anyone? 😳

Even in the song above, I thought that, to rhyme with the Mississippi Mud title, the real lyrics mentioned “Uncle Judd.” When I researched it, I found that they sang about ‘Uncle Dud’ (Dudley), which is just another word for nothing, nothing useful, nothing productive.

Speaking of duds…. either I missed a letter, or somebody slipped an extra week into the calendar. Two weeks from today is not the first week of April, to begin the challenge anew. I’ll have to get productive and compose an extra, ad lib post. An extra joke post, anyone??

Flash Fiction #222

Vindication

PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

PRIDE OF PLACE

His fifty years of work history – half in factories, half in offices – was proudly productive, but not boastworthy. Finally, here in this little park, in his retirement, he was vindicated.

It began innocently. A young mother watching a child, wondered what ladies were like in the last century. Another day, a young boy asked if he’d driven any cars like the ones in the Cruise Night parade.

He waxed eloquent, weaving tales of similarities and differences. Soon, he had a small audience whenever he came here to sit – stories of this, remembrances of that. He had become the tribal elder.

***

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

It takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes it takes the village idiot to entertain one. 😉 😆

Flash Fiction #221

Corona

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

FEAR SELLS

Danger! Danger, all about
Run in circles! Scream and shout!

Dig a hole, and pull it in after you.

‘Dog bites man’ doesn’t sell.
‘Man bites dog’ sells.

A man shoots up a brewery. Five are killed. Eight are wounded. What’s on the news?
One person in the US died of the corona virus.”

A man in Philadelphia is found with three assault rifles, a sniper rifle, three handguns, and 20,000 rounds of ammunition – and a cruise ship is refused docking in three countries because one crewman has the sniffles.

Stock up two weeks’ worth, and don’t leave the house.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site – apply hand sanitizer when you arrive, and again when you leave – and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Sorry! Once again, this is not so much Fiction, as sad reality – a truncated rant about how we are distracted, and distract ourselves, from far more important things. (Has Khloe Kardashian released a new makeup line?) Even firearms fatalities, as unfortunate and heart-wrenching as they may be, are massaged and manipulated. Ten times as many people are killed in traffic accidents, as in gun deaths, yet we hear no hue and cry to ban automobiles, outlaw Hummers, or confiscate pickup trucks.

Eh?? Did you have a comment? I wasn’t paying attention. ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes died when his steam rocket crashed.

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

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.