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.

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You Want It, We Got It

Junk

The wife and I are Mr. and Mrs. Just-In-Case. Over the years, if there’s been some small, inexpensive thing that could make our lives easier, we’ve purchased it.  As I bitched about in my ‘Autumn Housecleaning’ post, the problem is that we never get rid of things we no longer use.

Living as we have, in the same houses for decades, we have accumulated the greatest collection of ‘stuff’, some of it fairly non-standard.  We lived for a couple of years beside a single mother with two young daughters.  She acquired a long-term boyfriend who was there for more than just the free sex.  Whenever he tried to clean up, fix up or paint up, she never had any/the right tools, so she would tell him to go next door, and ask Archon if he might borrow something.

A tree branch had grown over the driveway where he wanted to park his car. Would I have a saw that he could use to cut it off?  We used to go camping when the kids were young.  How about a small, light bucksaw? Perfect!

Later, he wanted to clear out a lilac bush which had overgrown a fence corner. Did I have a small axe or hatchet that he could cut out the sucker shoots with? See ‘camping’, above.  Weekend after weekend this went on, many requests common, some, not as much.  A circular saw, a hand drill and set of bits, a pipe wrench(?), tape measure, carpenters’ level, (3-foot professional, or foot-long home version?) a pry-bar, (standard crowbar or 8 inch window jimmier?) all quickly, freely provided.

Finally, she wanted to reward him for the things he’d done around her place, by baking him a cake. For this, she wanted a spring-form cake pan.  “Go next door and ask (Mrs.) Archon if they have one.”  If it involves food, ‘Of course we do!’  As I handed it to him, he asked, “Do you guys have everything?”

I guess she didn’t understand the ‘spring-form’ concept. You’re supposed to unlatch the little clip on the side to increase the diameter and have the cake slide out.  Apparently she tried to remove it with a large butcher knife, ruining the non-stick, Teflon coating, and gouging the aluminum pan.  She felt badly, and bought a replacement at a Dollarama store, but it wasn’t the quality that the wife had found.

Loupe

Even now, there are things in our house that I’m sure few other homes contain. The son owns a jewellers’ loupe, that thing that you stick in your eye and hold in place with your eyebrow, which magnifies things 10 times.  He bought it from a local jeweller after he left high school, but can’t remember why.  I’ve used it often over the years to check the detail on some of the coins I’ve acquired.

Mortar and Pestle

Recently, the wife encountered a recipe that called for powdered ginger. We have fresh ginger root, grated ginger and dried, chunk ginger.  We also have a small, powerful little electric ‘thing’ useful for such tasks as grinding coffee.  It would quickly turn the dry chunks into powder, but the wife decided to go a different way.

(To the son) “Call your sister, and ask her if we can borrow her mortar and pestle.  She just bought one that she uses to crush herbs for cooking, home remedies and aromatherapy.”

The son replied, “Why bother her? When she bought the new one, I bought her old one from her.  It’s in my room.”  It now sits in pride of place, below the overstuffed spice rack in the kitchen, groaning under every spice known to man, and a couple only to Martians.  ‘Eat your heart out bland potatoes, Matt Damon.’

Into each life, a little weird must fall. It’s just that it falls a little harder and faster at our house.  😉

Screw You

SDC10824 SDC10822

This is another in the series of ‘Old Shit I Own.’ Do any of you know what this thing is, or what it was used for?  It’s another piece of long-lost memorabilia I discovered in the protracted Autumn Housecleaning.

The younger ones in my readership may find this hard to believe but, there was a time, not that long ago, when homes were not provided with numerous electrical outlets – or power points, or even wireless recharging of all those indispensible electronic gadgets.

This is a screw plug. It was used in rooms of homes where there might not be even one wall-socket electrical outlet.  You unscrewed the light bulb from an overhead fixture, screwed this in instead, and had a place to plug in things like my Mother’s washing machine, which rolled out to the middle of the room on little wheels.

Double socket

The problem then was, all work had to be done during the day, or the room would be dark. That problem was quickly solved by the development of the above little gadget.  You could screw the bulb back in to see what you were doing, and insert the socket on the other side of the Y.  I used one of them for a while, until I managed to install a light fixture over my basement workbench.

I know I am truly older than dirt, and born and raised out on the frontiers of the universe. I was too young to do so, but I have seen people using telephones which were a big box on the wall, with a speaking funnel on the front, and an earpiece dangling from the hang-up hook on one side.  You picked up the earpiece and turned a little crank on the other side, which attracted the attention of a real, live, operator.

CFL Bulb

Edison’s incandescent light bulbs, with an output of 60 watts or more, have been outlawed in Ontario, and replaced with CFL Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, or now the LED style which produces more light and less heat, and save power. The only thing more ancient than incandescent, may be wall sconces with flaming torches – and you can’t plug a radio into one of those.

Poet’s Corner

Poetry

On Thinking Of My Love

And love Thee; And need Thee; And have Thee not,
Yet the Light of Thy Presence banishes the darkness of my loneliness,
Joy and sweet Happiness personified.

But the great pinions which would fly to Thee
By dark and dreary mundane passings, are clipped.

Oh Beauteous One!  Sweet life itself Thou art to me.
Full well know I Thou art my soul,
And my heart be not full and complete without Thee.

And forget Thee?
Say nay!!  For with me always art Thou,
In both angelic face and soul,
In sweet remembrance.

Thy kind, pure person,
With ever-happy, smiling countenance
And silvern, crystal laughter,
Desire I by my side.

Yet despair not and nor will I.
Soon, Love, shall we be rejoined,
That I may again drink deep of the pure, clear stream
Of my devotion, and offer Thee

On humble knees,
The obeisance
Of my love to thee.

Phoenix-Maker Thou art; Truly,
Shaper of Fate and Fortune,
To burn away the nothing detritus
Of a nowhere life,

And from the ashes, draw,
Hot and molten, the nub of an almost forgotten past,
To be forged on the anvil of Reality,
Into a tool with which to garner a fuller future.

Guide Thou art, taking by the hand
A soul, lost in the wilds of mediocrity and suburbia,
Drawing a willing spirit past
The traps and pitfalls and morés
Of reliability, and respectability, and responsibility,

To a haven of a life to be lived
And savored and enjoyed,
Not merely observed and endured.

Friend Thou art, and much, much more.
Lover even, to give of the heart and soul and mind and body
To one so unworthy of Thee.

Treat me as Thou will,
Yet I hope it be not ill.
Spurn me not, nor leave me lonely,
For now Thou art my one and only.

In the ongoing Autumn Housecleaning, I came upon this, one of my first (and fortunately few) love poems, in free verse and archaic language.  The wife and I are coming up 48 years married, so you can imagine how old this attempt is.  Be kind to the callow 21-year-old me, who thought he could impress a woman with poetry.   🙄

#459