Flash Fiction #255


PHOTO PROMPT © 
Ted Strutz

THE ICEMAN COMETH

When a younger lion runs off an alpha male, he often eats any cubs.

Young Michael came to work one month-end Friday, looking quite morose.  His divorced mother had remarried a year ago.  As he got ready for work, his step-father said to him, “Give me your house-key.  I’ve sold the place.  We’re moving today, and not telling you where we’re going.  We’ll leave your belongings on the porch.

I’ve heard of kids running away from home.  This was the only time I heard of Home running away from a kid.

Schwarzenegger played Mister Freeze, but this guy was COLD!   👿

***

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

Food For More Thought

I was recently assaulted by a plate of French fries and gravy.
Well, you asked for it!!
Yes I did!  😀  😀  😎  🌯

On a recent Flash Fiction post about fast food, a reader commented, Canadians take French fries to the next level with gravy on top of them.’

Baby, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

….And then the French-Canadians taught us to put cheese curds or grated mozzarella on it and call it ‘poutine‘– English translation – heart attack in a bowl.  😳  It is now common across Canada.  Most Canadian outlets of American fast-food restaurants serve a version of it.  It’s a cheap, easy way to add protein for people too poor to afford much meat, or where dairy cows are common, but beef isn’t.

Then, there are Chili-fries.  The soupy, spicy meat mixture that is poured on wieners to make chili-dogs, is instead, poured on crisp French-fries.  Also pouring on the cheese sauce used to dip pretzels or nacho chips, makes them chili-cheese fries.  The further addition of sour cream and chopped green onions, peppers, and/or salsa, makes them Nacho fries, or All-Dressed.

A DIY version of this can be achieved at Wendy’s, by ordering a plate of fries, a cup of their chili, and asking for a container of the sour cream that they serve with their baked potatoes.

Newfoundland is Canada’s island, easternmost Province, separated from reality the rest of the country.  The population is known to be…. rustic.  😕  Someone(s) down there piled some leftover turkey-stuffing on top of fries and gravy, and created ‘Newfie Fries.’

Jobs are scarce on Newfoundland.  The young have spread themselves all across Canada seeking employment.  There are more Newfies in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada’s oil capital, than are left in the province.  ‘Newfie Fries’, which can also include cooked peas, can be found wherever there are clots of Newfies.

There are several local chip-wagons – often a small Air-Stream trailer with no wheels – which list all these on the menu.  This includes a brick, stand-alone, drive-in that was once a Dairy Queen outlet.

55 years ago, when I arrived here, drive-ins were ‘the thing.’  There was an A&W Drive-in, well out from downtown, at the corner of what would become a ‘Golden Mile,’ and a north/south artery road.  I did not arrive early enough to see short-skirted waitresses on roller-skates delivering food to the cars.

Over the years, the public shunned drive-ins, and wanted sit-down outlets.  This drive-in disappeared, to become a strip mall, with a Money Mart, a Fed-Ex depot and a lube shop.  Back down the street, first, a McDonalds popped up.

A few years later, Burger King bought the land next door, and went head-to-head – or rather – drive-thru-to-drive-thru.  One day, when I was out with the son, he wanted McDonalds, and I wanted Burger King.  We got his order at Mickey D’s, and he surreptitiously entered Burger King through the drive-thru door, while I walked around, and ordered at the counter.

We thought that we had got away with it, but the manager approached us.  I feared that we would be kicked out, but he was very nice about it.  He said that he knew why we did what we had done, and he appreciated at least a portion of our business, only…. the clearly-marked McDonalds containers.  The cola was carefully poured into a Burger King cup, and the fries now rested on a Burger King tray.  The incriminating evidence was whisked into the garbage.

More years later, Burger King had organizational problems.  Six local outlets shrank to three, losing this nearby one, and completely obliterating one at the edge of the BIG mall at city’s edge, to become the depot for the new street railroad.

A&W bought the property, and opened a sit-down restaurant, directly across the street from where they once had a drive-in, a half a century ago.  Around the corner, on the side street, just past the Thai Pho bistro, sits the Canadian, Harvey’s  restaurant, whose parking lot abuts the back of both the McD’s, and the A&W.

It’s a good thing that my paltry Government retirement pension is so measly that it prevents regular patronage to all these all-too-common/handy eating establishments, but I think that it might be the ingestion of all the chemical preservatives over the years that has kept me alive and fit for so long.  If/when COVID disappears, and the border opens up again, I want to test that theory at a Sonic.  There’s one right down the road from Cordelia’s Mom’s.

People Who Weren’t Really There

Questions not asked – answers not learned.

Are nicknames still ‘a thing’?  They were in small-town Ontario, in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s.  I knew a bunch of people by names other than the ones they were given.  Many of them, I never knew their real name.

In the 20 years I knew him, there was a grocer who my parents always referred to as ‘Pro’ Montgomery.  Did he have a Quaker mother who named him Prophet?  Or a Greek one who called him Prometheus?  As a grocer, did he sell produce?  Or was he just a professional proprietor??!  These, and many other worthless conjectures, are free with the price of admission to this post.

For some years, my Father worked with a man he only called Pru.  Again, thoughts of names like Prudent came to mind.  Years later, I discovered that it is the French(-Canadian) surname Proulx, whose spelling and pronunciation so confound many English-speakers, that I have seen it spelled Prolux.

Hubbie Masterson’s real name was Bill.  He was an aggressive Banty-rooster of a man who showed no signs of being hen-pecked.  His friend, another Bill, was known as Biscuit.  He was a Real Estate Broker whose office was right beside the town bakery, but I’m pretty sure that I heard him called ‘Biscuit,’ before he moved in.

The taxi owner’s son/driver became known as Chink, or Chinky, after the town got a Chinese restaurant, and he was seen there several times a week for meals and snacks.  I once knew his real name, but not 65 years later.  At least twice, my brother being one of them, young men got called Boomer.  Not nuclear-sub commanders, this name is applied to those whose level of conversation is just consistently too loud.  “Okay, boomer” now carries a different connotation.   😯

One of my schoolmates acquired the name Tack, one he still carries today.  It started as ‘Whack-A-Tack,’ because he seemed to have such a fixation on sex, and so little social control that he might be caught masturbating in public.

The town had a Ma Keyes.  This might not seem too unusual….except that there was no Pa Keyes, or any little Keyes kids running around, that she could be a Ma to.  One young fellow became Cobbie simply because one of his friends(?) felt that he needed a nickname, and mangled his last name of McCauley.  The same sort of thing happened when unfortunate Alec, became Ackie.  They tried to attach the nickname Smitty to me, but there wasn’t enough personality to hang it on.

There were two Shular families in town, unrelated to each other.  They each had a boy born in the same year, one, an only child, the other, the fifth of seven children.  They each named their son, Doug.  To keep them straight, we called the only child Boo, though to this day, I don’t know why.

One friend was one of a pair of identical twins, who quickly became un-identical as soon as they were born.  My buddy, Robert, became the bright, outgoing, social, rowdy, daredevil, soon named Butch – by his Mother, and everyone else.  It was so ingrained that I heard a teacher address him as Robert one day, and didn’t know who she was talking to.

Bud Helwig was the flower of his Mother’s eye, who probably had the same first name as his father, David, but if so, I never heard it.  I always knew the adult son next door as Mack.  It might actually have been Mack.  That is an acceptable name, but I’ve often wondered whether it was just Mac, because a Scottish mother gave him a Scottish maiden name – like MacTavish, or MacDougall – for a given name.

Wilfred, the harbor-master, was neither Will, nor Fred, but rather, Wiff.  Although, with his proximity to the fishing boats, perhaps it was Whiff.  My red-headed Scottish uncle became Rusty, even after he’d turned white, rather than the given name, Melvin, which he hated.

Another uncle was named Elmer.  He had 3 daughters, and 6 sons, one of whom he named Elmer also.  Both he and his namesake had the same pronunciation problem.  They could not enunciate the M in the word ‘I’m.’  Rather, they would say, ‘I’n (eye’n) goin’ downtown.’ So they each became known as Iney.  Another cousin with a childhood speech defect pronounced the word snort’, as H-f-nort, and became Nort Brown for the rest of his life.

Three families at the edge of town constantly bred back and forth, cousin to cousin, until the average IQ dropped to about 90.  When my Father came to town, the dim-witted, oldest (boy) of one family was known as Mooney.  By the time I was old enough to encounter them, the Mooney title had passed to the youngest son, and his now 6’-6” oldest brother, with size 14 shoes (Strong like ox – almost as smart) was known as Boots.

Walter Rogers drove me to and from my summer job at a plywood plant every day.  Of course, he wasn’t known as Walter, or Walt, or Wally, but as Watt.  There was a co-worker at that plant who I had known as Seven Hearn for as long as I’d been aware of him – not Sven, mind you, but Seven.  Apparently he came to work on the short bus.

I asked Watt if he knew why everyone called him Seven.  Some years back, in the lunchroom one day, unprovoked, he suddenly declared that he was number seven to own/run this plant.  His reasoning (?) was – there was the General Manager, and the Assistant Manager, the Office Manager, the Plant Manager, the Department Foreman, and the line Lead Hand.  If all of them died in a van crash on their way to a curling bonspiel, as number seven, he’d be the ‘Big Boss’.   🙄

Our school bus driver in 1958/59 was nicknamed Kaw-Liga, after the 1953 Hank Williams song about a cigar-store wooden Indian.  He didn’t object much, because he was one of several males at that time named Beverly.  I don’t know if girls named Carolyn, Marilyn, and Jennifer, who became Cardi, Marnie, and Jeff, count.

One family in town was somewhat poorer than most.  Because of this, there were many things that they did not possess, things like – Protestant Work Ethic, regular employment and income, as well as respect for laws and others’ property rights.  The son, Carl, became quite famous…. For finding things before they were lost, and getting five-finger discounts at many of the local stores.  The kindly townsfolk felt so badly for Carl, that they finally gave him something – the nickname ‘Hooker,’ which, at that time meant, shoplifter, petty thief.

Flash Fiction #250

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

THE LONG, SLOW CLIMB

When is a Starbucks not a Starbucks?  When it’s right across the street from the city hall, but in a building that’s designated Historic, on which they can’t hang any exterior signs.

He’d studied welding in Community College, till he found out about clothing fires, toxic fumes, and blindness from ‘welders’ eye.’  Waiting for his barista betrothed, he was soon as adept as any employee, and was quickly hired, himself.

COVID slashed their hours and income in half, but it did give him free time to study online, as a Civil Engineer.  Education is the best way up and out.

***

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

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

No matter how cynical you are, it’s never enough to keep up.

I learned about scams at a very young age.  My Mother obtained two successive jobs in Detroit during the Dirty Thirties, in the middle of ‘The Great Depression’.  She worked at Burroughs Adding Machine as an assembler, and later moved to a better-paying position in the kitchens of Detroit General Hospital.

Pencils could be bought in a store for 1 cent each.  On the sidewalks of the commercial district where she worked, could be seen a little Jewish man, with a mug half-full of pencils, and a sign, 2 cents each – 100% markup.  Mom said that one time she gave him two pennies, and took a pencil, as many others did.  Some dropped in the two cents, but declined to take one.  Some dropped in the occasional nickel, or even the rare dime.

She shared a tiny apartment in a huge building, amongst several more, with few trees, little green space, and no parks.  Sometimes on Sundays, to get away from the industrial blandness, she and her room-mate would take a bus to a more upscale residential neighborhood.  There they would tour the area, enjoying the shade, the grass, the flowers, and the birds and squirrels, staring longingly at the magnificent homes.

One Sunday, they passed a large red-brick manor home on an acre lot of manicured lawn and gorgeous gardens, behind a six-foot wrought-iron fence.  When they reached the driveway, there was the little Jewish man, washing his Cadillac.  😳

On my Flash Fiction about seeing a roadside beggar, a commenter from England said that a panhandler in his city has been spotted ending his day by climbing into a nice car.  Toronto had a similar scam artist.  The Shaky Lady was regularly seen in the banking district.  She had muscle tremors, a distorted face, and difficulty speaking…. until quitting time, when a Toronto Sun reporter noticed her striding up a side street, and driving away in this year’s Audi.

I’m not saying that begging as a means of support is easy, especially the roadside panhandling.  You have to stand on pavement for hours, exposed to wind, rain, heat, cold, snow, and exhaust fumes.  You can’t eat or drink on the job, or it destroys the image.  You generally can’t take a break, and washrooms are not available – unless there’s a nearby clump of bushes.

One of my biggest objections to individuals supporting themselves in this manner, is that these people are like leeches on society, adding nothing – no goods or services – to the economy and the general welfare.  My other main objection is that most, or all, of the money received is unreported, and no tax is paid on it.  This means that I (and you) have to pay more taxes for infrastructure and social services, like supporting the unfortunates who really need it. Get some ethics!  Get some self-respect! Get a job!

The Joke Is In The Mail

One day, a man put an ad in the classifieds –“Wife wanted”
The next day he got a hundred emails.  They all said the same thing.  “You can have mine.”

***

What did the patent office employee say about Edison’s new light bulb?
“Whose bright idea is this?”

***

Job interviewer; To start, you’ll be making $20,000.  Later, that will rise to $40,000
Me; OK, I’ll come back later then.

***

If you had to choose eating tacos every day of your life, or being skinny….
Would you pick hard or soft tacos??

***

I don’t trust journalists.  Sometimes they wear badges that say “Press”, but if you press them, they just fall over, all surprised.

***

A baby can drink a bottle and fall asleep, and people say that it’s cute.  But when I do it, I’m an alcoholic.

***

People tell me that I should stop using F-bombs.
What the Fuck is an F-bomb?

***

My daughter screeched, “Daaaddd, you haven’t listened to a word I’ve said, have you?”
What a strange way to begin a conversation.

***

Joe: “My girlfriend and I often laugh about how competitive we are.”
Pete: “Glad you can laugh about it.”
Joe: “But I laugh more.”

***

Joe: “When I was a kid, my parents always said, “Excuse my French” after a swear word.”

Pete: “My parents said the same thing to me.”

Joe: “I’ll never forget that day at school when the teacher asked me if I knew any French.”

***

The Grandson works as a barista at Starbucks.  The other day, he had two young females in.  Suddenly, one of them gushed, “Wouldn’t it be great to have hot, all-vegetable smoothies?”
He said, “I didn’t have the heart to tell them that soup already exists.”

***

Joe: “I asked my wife, ‘If I die, will you remarry?”
Pete: “What did she say?”
Joe: “She said she will live with her sister. Then she asked me if she died would I remarry?”
Pete: “What did you say?”
Joe: “I said, no, I will also live with your sister.”

***

Flash Fiction #227

Investment

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

INVEST IN YOURSELF

Josh’s orientation meeting at the investment firm was an eye-opener. He thought that he would be offering carefully researched stocks and bonds to willing buyers.

The Sales Manager said, “Our analysts are good, but we’re not here to make our clients rich. We’re here to collect a commission on every trade, whether they’re buying as stocks soar, or dumping when they dip. The economy works, because they believe that it works. If you sense any reluctance, turn up the volume! Give them a little song and dance. Most of them love the personal attention, and your paycheck will appreciate it.”

***

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 #225

Retirement

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E.Ayr

ONE-WAY STREET

He gave his life to the company, or would have, if they’d let him. He joined when he was 45, and planned to retire with a full 20-year pension, just as he turned 65. Things didn’t work out.

Once upon a time, manufacturing companies made things. Nowadays, corporations made PROFITS, at all costs. 2-1/2 years before his official retirement, his plant was declared –not unprofitable – merely superfluous.

He and 450 of his co-workers were unceremoniously dumped, like so much trash, desperately searching for employment, while the Vice-President in Charge of Expense-Cutting took a two million-dollar bonus. So much for loyalty. 😦 😯

***

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

’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??

The Whole Fam-Damily

Sara Sidle

The wife has been watching reruns of CSI on YouTube. The son began talking about the character, Sara Sidle. While others came and went, she remained. Son and I soon realized that we knew her entire family.

Jailbird

Her father, ‘Homie’ Sidle, came up from the ghetto and made good, but is in prison because he killed a guy.

Her mother, Sue E. Sidle, was devastated by his crime, and took her own life.

Her older brother, Herbie Sidle, opened his own plant nursery and landscaping company.

Her younger brother, ‘Pesty’ Sidle, the family joker and prankster, finally settled down and got a job with a firm which rents out poisoned traps to warehouses and food companies, to control rats.

Sara’s grandmother, Jenny Sidle, came here from Germany, shortly after WW II, and has learned to keep her political and social opinions to herself.

You can take all these names and occupations, and stick ‘em where the pun don’t shine.   We were a bit rushed because we had to get back to the show after the commercial. Can you think of any more members of the Sidle family that we have missed?? 😕