Flash Fiction #170

Zor and Zam

PHOTO PROMPT © Yvette Prior

ZOR AND ZAM

A business meeting – the bane of office life, always scheduled for the least inopportune time of a roomful of busy people.

You could be on the phone or computer, actually achieving something, but had to massage egos to justify your budget.  Basically it was a ‘Mine’s bigger than yours’ contest.  There was always one guy who had to show how important he was, by missing it.  Some came late – “Did I miss anything?”  Some had to leave early – pity the poor executive secretary who had to co-ordinate all this.

What if the boss gave an office meeting…. and nobody came?

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Click here to listen to The Monkees sing about two petty kings who tried to have a war, but nobody came.

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If you’ve read Rochelle’s offering, (And if you haven’t already, you WILL, Right!) click here to listen to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band tell the story of Bo Jangles.

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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.

Friday Fictioneers

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Once Upon A Time In The Mid-East

Arab

Once upon a time in the mid-east…. things haven’t really changed much, only gotten more so.

Many moons ago, I worked as a security guard.  One of my co-workers was a man even older than me.  As a young man, just after World War II, he had traveled to England to take advantage of the burgeoning British post-war economy, to get a job.  Instead, he enlisted in the British Army, and was attached to the British Palestine Peacekeeping Force.  Their job was to prevent violence, and protect the newly-minted state of Israel.

Many Jews had lived in what became Arab Territory.  Either voluntarily, or under political pressure, they were convinced to leave farms and lands that they had worked and lived on for generations, and move inside the imaginary boundary-line of Israel, into imaginary safety, and start all over again.

He said that, as they patrolled around in Palestine, it was easy to see who had occupied the properties.  Jewish farms were green and lush with fruit, grain and vegetables.  They had bright homes and barns, and greenhouses to get new crops started.  Arab homesteads were dusty and brown, with perhaps a scrawny goat wandering around.

Did the Muslims who were leaving Israel take possession of these ready-made sources of shelter, food and income??  They did not!!  Usually the homes and outbuildings were burned, the greenhouses torn down, all the glass smashed.  The patrol was supposed to be neutral, but he said that it was difficult not to have sympathy, and side with the people who tried to build things up, rather than the hooligans who just wanted to tear things down.

One day they were called out to a problem.  They were trucked to a nearby Arab village near the new border.  They debarked, and marched into the village square/market.  There they came upon a small clot of idlers, with more drifting in.  As in my StOp! Ed post, the local imam or mullah was working the mob up, to march to the nearest Jewish settlement and attack.  Knives, machetes, clubs, slings, rocks, and bottles were in evidence.

My co-worker recounted that, in English, and in his best brash British bluster, the Sergeant-Major commanding the squad, waved his hands as if shooing flies, and told them that ‘You chappies ought to just break this up now, and get on with your business somewhere else.’

He got back the equivalent of, ‘No speakee English, you Tommy Brit invaders.’, so he went to plan B, and literally read them the Riot Act.  For those of you who think that being read the Riot Act is just a euphemism for your Mom coming down on you, think again.  There is an actual British Riot Act.  The solemnity of having it read to potential rioters is supposed to make them think twice about causing trouble.

Our Sovereign Lord The King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the Act made in the first year of King George the First for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies.

God Save The King

The rules state that it must be read three times, before any official violence is unleashed.  The SarMaj read the ponderous paragraph of it once in English.  Then, because some of the miscreants might be Jewish, he read it in Hebrew.  Then he read it in Arabic.  Then he circled around and read it again in all three languages.

All this time, the crowd is growing in size, and the mood is getting nastier.  Knives are waved at them, and small fake sorties are threatened.  Finally, he got the Act read three times in three languages, and ordered them in Arabic to disperse.

Wasn’t gonna happen, so he started giving the squad, orders.  Present arms!  The Arabs watched.  Insert cartridges!  They slapped magazines into their Lee-Enfield rifles. (They’d been unarmed all this time.)  The Arabs waited.  Charge weapons! Rifle bolts back, and then forward to cock. (Now they’re finally ready for action.) The Arabs wondered.  And, the SarMaj shouted, At the knees, aim!

He said that, by the time he got his rifle up to his shoulder, and his eyes on the sights, a single piece of paper, and dust, was settling to the ground.  The little plaza was empty.  Maybe some of them understood English, or just understood superior firepower.

Sadly, nowadays, little altercations like this happen much faster and more violently.  The Gentlemanly British rules of war have been replaced by Kill Or Be Killed.  Perhaps they were what Mr. Ed, the talking horse’s ass was thinking about.

StOp! Ed

Extra Extra

GAZA TRAGEDY A WAR CRIME

Re: President Trump has squandered his chance for Mideast peace

What’s the appropriate response to Israel’s s shooting dead, of dozens of unarmed civilians in Gaza on May 14 – a total of over 100 such killings since March 30, when the March of Return began(with 2700 injured, 1300 being shot, none of them Israelis)?

These are essentially state executions.  They constitute war crimes against humanity.  The victims have both the right to return to the land from which they were dispossessed by Israel, and the right under international law to resist the illegal, oppressive and life-threatening occupation and siege to which they are subjected.

The correct response is for the United Nations to raise a force to arrest the killers, charge them with murder, and bring them to trial before the International Criminal Court.

In contrast, our Prime Minister calls for an investigation of these admittedly ‘inexcusable acts,’ knowing full well what happened to the investigations into the 2008-9 and 2014 Gaza massacres.  The United States rendered them inoperable.

The Record says Israel ‘should be making a far greater effort to mitigate the loss of civilian life.’  That is, aim the dumb-dumb bullets at the legs, not the heads.

Thus do the Canadian government and media continue to enable Israel’s 70-year campaign to cleanse Palestine of Palestinians.

Ed Eglin

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PALESTINIANS COULD HAVE PREVENTED GAZA TRAGEDY

There were two tragedies in Gaza, on May 14.  The first was that Palestinians died.  The second was that Israel, its security wall, and its army were threatened with obliteration, and were forced to take such measures.

Militant, terrorist Palestinian leaders cynically incited a vulnerable mob to attack a secure fortification, with no concern for the lives and safety of their fellow-citizens, just to make a political statement.  The heavily-armed leaders remained mostly safe, well behind their cannon fodder.

Just because none of those killed possessed guns, they were far from unarmed.  They had stones and slings, like David killed Goliath with.  They had Molotov cocktails.  The defenders were not to know who had guns – or rockets, or high explosives.

“Dum-dum bullets” fragment on impact.  I believe that Ed meant mushrooming bullets, though, other than his letter, I have read no mention of their use in this fray.

Any police officer will tell that they are trained to fire at center of mass.  When a screaming mob, intent on your death and destruction attacks, there is no time for the niceties of aiming for rapidly-moving legs.  All shots are to be toward the center of the mob.  Even if hundreds of legs were maimed, apologists like Ed would probably complain about the number of cripples created.

Israel was created by the United Nations, in an area that they had been dispossessed from by the Arabs, and it has the right to protect its existence.  ‘Under siege’ means to be surrounded.  Palestinians are not under siege by Israel.  They may move back at any time.  Israel is surrounded by, and under siege from militant Muslims, whose rallying cry is to kill all Israelis, and drive them into the sea.

There are two sides to every story. Both sides of this one were regrettable, but to blame Israel for something that Palestinian leaders created, is biased and wrong.

(Both sides now)

Archon

’18 A To Z Challenge – E

Challenge '18 Letter E

Hold your nose and vote.  The last-minute surprise (and disappointment) winner of this year’s A to Z Challenge for the letter E is

ELECTION

Ballot Box

If the word ‘election’ is the winner, the voters here in Ontario are the losers.  We are about to hold a Provincial vote on Thursday, June 7th, and there is no good choice, only, the least of the worst.

The Liberal Party, who regard themselves as ‘the Natural Ruling Party,’ have, during their 14-year rule, financially run the province into the ground.  With their social engineering fascination with ‘renewable, Green Energy,’ like the wind turbines and solar panels that I wrote about seven years ago, they have made Ontario’s the second highest cost of energy in North America.

High electricity costs drove jobs and companies out of Ontario, reducing tax income.  Last year, the Premier cut the cost of electricity by 25%, by borrowing Billions that will have to be paid back plus interest over 30 years – not merely our children, but our grandchildren are mortgaged.

In a cynical bid to be elected in their place, the New Democratic Party – the NDP – promise that they will reduce electrical costs by 30%….  while also cutting taxes.  Even a first-year vocational institute bookkeeping student can see that that just can’t be done.

They’re having troubles with their list of candidates.  In 2012, one young man took part in a rather spirited protest at his University, and can be seen in published stills and video, holding up a large sign that clearly says, “FUCK The Police.”

A middle-aged female candidate has been on Twitter and Facebook about the wearing of Memorial poppies.  She thinks that they are just a way for the present government to brainwash and control the electorate, glorify war, and become more waste in the landfill.  She refuses to wear one, and sticks to her peace symbol.

Near my home-town, some yahoo published a post saying that he was going to soak a poppy in bleach, and “let the red bleed out,” to get one of those white ‘Surrender’ poppies.  The Royal Canadian Legion owns all rights to the red poppies, and published an article decrying the desecration.

Another middle-aged female candidate jumped in, claiming that the original article was relevant, supporting the writer.  She objects to the Legion having a monopoly on red poppies, says that they (the Legion-and the poppies) glorify wars – ALL wars – and ends with, “A plague on their house.”

It’s hard to know what to hate most, the fiscal incompetence, the cynical manipulation, or the social malfeasance.  “I’ll take all three, for $500, Alex.”

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, owner of the world’s most confused and contradictory name, recently installed a new Provincial caucus leader.  He has been favorably (or is that unfavorably) compared to Donald Trump.  With The Donald’s impressive abilities, I think that the Ontario version is just a Mini-Me, even though he tips the scales (and SmartCars) at 300lbs.

He is everything that you would not want your daughter to marry – brash, impulsive, self-centered, ill-mannered, sexist, entitled.  He has little political experience.  He did run a multi-million dollar business in Toronto, but can he run the multi-Billion dollar Province of Ontario, where tact and restraint will be required?

Claiming that he didn’t have enough time for normal nomination protocols, he simply appointed his picked candidates in 13 ridings – so much for his promise of transparency in government.

In my local riding, we’ve had a P.C. representative for the last two terms.  He has been efficient, and caring of his constituents.  His name is Michael Harris.  Some years ago, Ontario had a P.C. Premier named Mike Harris. Now his son – also Mike Harris – wants to get into politics.

The P.C. Association played a dirty #metoo trick on our Michael Harris, dragging out years-old sexy tweets to some woman who never worked under him, and suspending him, to parachute in Mike Harris.  Even with the transparency, did you follow that?  Who’s on first??!

You Americans should try to get Trump to put up a wall at the Ontario border by Thursday.  If things go the way I fear they might, you may need it.  With the prevailing winds, most of the fallout should carry into Quebec.  I will not waste my ballot by not voting, nor refuse my ballot, to make a political statement.  I will not give it to the Libertarian or Green Party, one-trick-ponies.  I am in a quandary.

E was for Election.  Stop back in a couple of weeks to see if F will be for, “We’re F**ked.   😯

Silence Is Golden

monitor

The preceding period of peace and quiet has been brought to you by….  MY NEW COMPUTER!

No 100-word Flash Fiction, or even a WOW, this week.  They say that people begin to look like their pets.  Maybe, but my now-old computer was beginning to act far too much like me.  It was sated, stuffed, glutted, over-filled, crammed – over 900 blog-post files, and more pictures than an art gallery.

My poor, old H-P Compaq was almost 7 years old. I got it shortly after I began blogging, and even published a story about being without a computer for three days while it got trained.  Never terribly powerful to begin with, it has become subject to Moore’s Law, which says that power doubles every 2 years.

In dog– computer-years, it was…  let’s see.  Holy Crap, it’s pterodactyl-time.  The thing was older than me, practically prehistoric!  We considered adding more RAM and/or memory, but it would be like ‘souping up’ an old car.  We’d be putting soup in a sieve.  My new Acer has 10 times the process strength, and 2 terabytes of memory.

The old Compaq was like me after a big meal, just sitting there, mumbling to itself, and not really accomplishing anything.  I asked the son to have it do a complete security scan, when he arrived home in the morning.  We wouldn’t be getting out of bed for 2 or 3 hours.

On his computer, that would take an hour/hour-and-a-half.  Like a contented cow chewing its cud, it sat there, happily burbling away for over 9 ½ hours, stealing most of a day’s work time from me.  Finally – ‘Can I go to WordPress now?’  Moooo.

It’s been another 3 days without a computer, and I’m getting trained on lots of new (to me) computer tricks.  I know enough to be able to retrieve Word files, and publish them on my blogsite.  My new electronic best-friend is doing things much quicker.  Just don’t expect the quality of the posts to improve.  By Monday we’ll be back on schedule with the A To Z – Challenge post for the letter C.  I hope to C you there.  🙂

Flash Fiction #151

Car Accident

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

DRIVING INSTRUCTOR

Well…. The air bags worked!

EVERY! DAMNED! ONE! OF! THEM!

yes dear

That was like the Bouncy Castle at the State Fair. We’re lucky to be alive.

yes dear

Kiss your fishing trip with the boys, to Minnesota, goodbye. We need a new car.

yes dear

Didn’t I tell you not to drive so fast??

yes dear

Didn’t I say that it’s not a go-kart – like when you were a teenager??

yes dear

You’ve driven home this way a thousand times. Didn’t I warn you to slow down for that sharp bend??

yes dear

Hummph, husbands!! Like raising another kid!  🙄

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Another dose of PURE FICTION marital relationship for the Friday Fictioneers….  Because we all know that there is not a husband alive who would drive too fast or recklessly after being carefully directed by a loving wife – and there is not a wife who would so castigate a husband for a little fender-bender like this.  😳

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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.

 

Flash Fiction #146

Trump

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

ROUND AND ROUND

I don’t want to go on a round-the-world cruise. By the time you get there, you’re back here.  Besides, it might pass perilously close to North Korea.

Still, it would be nice to get away from Trump for a while. The two most inflated things about The Donald are his ego, and his Twitter account. Those are the only things that I want “blown up.”  Are there any cruise ships without Wi-Fi?  It might be worth it to pay extra for some political peace and quiet.

Unlimited booze and food??! I’d come back with a figure like Frosty the Snowman.

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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.