Flash Fiction #187

Stopped Cold

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

STOPPED COLD

Lenny and Squiggy weren’t their real names, but everyone called them that. Something about a 1970s TV program.

After their respective parents had finally booted them out, they couch-surfed together for a while. Someone suggested that they get a job…. Job??! Yeah, we could pull a job.

Lenny knew where the local gang had a betting parlor. It was simple. Wear ski-masks. Run in the front. Wave some toy guns. Grab all the cash they could carry, and run out the back. Everything went flawlessly – but why won’t the back door open?

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Click above to see their Brain Trust namesakes.

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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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Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Ruler

Canada became metric in 1973….  Or did it??!

So, there was Canada, wedged between England and the United States.  We measured things with the Imperial System – all except where the British 160 ounce gallons, the 40 ounce quarts, and the 20 ounce pints became the wimpy, American Lite 128 oz. gallons, 32 oz. quarts, and 16 oz. pints – and except where you bought a pint of beer, and it was only 12 ounces.

In “Metric” Canada, you can’t buy a pound of butter; you get a 454 gram block.  The wife’s Not-Legally-Pint and Quart glass canning jars are 473ML, and 946ML.  A 12 American ounce can of Pepsi is 355ML in Canada.  At least Canada is not alone in this No-Man’s-Land.  I recently found that the serving ‘Standard’ for beer in Australia is 256ML – or, an 8-ounce cup.  The only time an Aussie bar ever serves just 8 ounces, is to some opal-miner’s 10-year-old daughter.

The weather forecast on the radio doesn’t say that we’ll get an inexact 2 to 3 centimeters of snow, it says that we’ll receive 2 ½ centimeters, because the old guy at Environment Canada still says that it’ll snow an inch.

I thought that all this back and forth might confuse immigrants who are thoroughly embedded in the Metric System, but the Polish women at the EuroFoods store seem to be just as capable of dishing out 300 grams of sliced salami, as they are ¾ of a pound.

We’ve only been at this Metric thing for 45 years now, and with typical Canadian lack of determination, we still haven’t fully committed to it.  This is about the softest conversion that I’ve ever seen.  I wonder if there’s some type of Metric Viagra that could firm things up a bit.  😆

As usual, I hope to see you here again in a couple of days.  Now, let’s see.  In Metric, that’s….  😳  Oh well, come back whenever you like.

Flash Fiction #158

Hot

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN

He’d thought through this move and job change well…. At least he thought he’d thought it through well.  More money, better perks, better advancement chances – yup!  Best of all, no more Pennsylvania winters, so cold they froze his ballpoint pens off, and shovelling snow, drifted as high as an elephant’s aah…..  eye.

Only after moving did he think – if Atlanta’s that warm in the winter, how hot is it in the summer?? Don’t Georgia houses automatically come with air-conditioning?  Praise Saint George Carrier!  What was his promised installation date again??  He might have to sleep in the office until then.  😯

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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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Click on the title if you’d like to hear Leon Redbone sing A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight, a happy little ditty from 1927, a time of Flappers, bathtub gin, and no worries about nuclear war.

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #152

Winter Vacation

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW

Moving from job to job every few years, for a maximum of experience, had been a good idea when he was younger. He’d finally stayed with one employer long enough get a third week of vacation.

They’d had fun going to the beach or camping during the summers. He’d scheduled this one halfway between New Year and Easter.  What should he do during it?? – Absolutely nothing!  Stay inside.

Groceries were laid in. Water flowed.  Furnace worked.  Wrap up in a Snuggie and binge-watch Netflix with cookies and hot chocolate.  He’d shovel all that snow on Friday….Saturday, at the very latest.

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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.

 

Getting The Cold Shoulder

ice

Once upon a long time ago, I overcame my failure to launch, got a job, and moved to a city a hundred miles from home. During the middle of February, a nasty cold snap moved in.  One Friday night, my friend and I went to an early movie.  The place was not crowded.

Afterwards, we went up the street to our favorite restaurant. Besides the proprietor, there were only four of us on that chilly night, the friend and I, and two young ladies.  At least that’s what they told us they were, when we went over to introduce ourselves.

After about an hour, they asked if we would walk them home. ‘Why shor!’ As we left the restaurant, I glanced at the big Coca-Cola thermometer, hanging on the outside wall.  It read -18° F, about -28 of these newfangled Metricated degrees.  The walk home involved only that, not even any hand-holding, although it’s hard to hold hands with snowmobile gloves on.  Snowmobiles might have been invented by then, but snowmobile gloves sure hadn’t.

After leaving the girls, we headed back to the restaurant to warm up again before going on home. I looked at the thermometer again as we stepped in.  It had fallen to -23° F, or -30° C, in the hour we’d been gone.  As we sat cuddling our hot chocolates, my pal said, “Do you know your ears are white?”  Like the joker I am, I said, “No, but if you’ll hum a few bars, I’ll try to sing along.”

“No, no! Your ears look frozen!”  I reached up and found something that felt like Michelangelo had carved from marble.  I wrapped my hands around the mug, and transferred warmth to my ears.  I couldn’t feel a thing.  Within 15 minutes I could feel them again, and was sorry I could.  They stung for hours.

The next day I went to a Men’s Wear store, explained what had happened, and asked if they had a solution. The salesman provided a bright-white as-the-snow, 100% wool, skiers’ ear band, which I wore faithfully.  I later found that, while I had not lost the ears to frostbite, the tiny blood vessels had been damaged.  Now if a cool September breeze stirs the leaves on the Maples, the ears don’t like it.

I left the job, moved back home for a summer, moved out again, went back to school for retraining, got a girlfriend, got a fiancé, got married, and wore that headband every winter. My WIFE looked at the now grey-brown abomination on my head, and said, “That thing’s gotta be washed!”

Most of the wife’s family is allergic to wool. Thank the Catholic God and Monsanto for Nylon, Rayon, Orlon, Banlon, Dacron, and Polyester.  She washed it in nice hot water, and dried it in a nice hot dryer, and I got back a nice, paper-white wrist band.  Oops!

We easily replaced it at K-Mart, before they went extinct, but she always felt badly about destroying the original. Some years later, when her knitting skills had improved to the point that she was arguing with knitting patterns and TV knitting show hostesses, she asked if I would like her to custom-design and make me a replacement, this time in a washable wool/polyester blend.  See above, “Why shor!”

head-band

She started with a tube, a basic sock. Then she steadily increased stitches on one side, while adding a simple pattern.  After achieving a desired length, she stopped the pattern, and reduced stitches till both ends were equal.  Now she carefully sewed the ends together, and I have a double-thickness ear protector.  The protruding edge goes down the nape of the neck, to fend off cold breezes and falling snow.

After letting me be the guinea pig, the son decided that he’d like one also. A neighbor kid, watching me shovel snow with it on one day, asked how I got my hair to grow up through my hat.

I once sliced into an old tennis ball, and pushed it down over the ball of my trailer hitch, to protect it from rusting. This was the same kid who asked me how I got the ball to balance there.  I think he’s got all the way up to manager at his McDonalds location.   😯

SLEEPING WITH SOMEONE STRANGE

Snowbank

For four years, between 1976 and 1980, I worked in the next small city over, just down the Superhighway. It was 13.2 miles to work, after looping around three big clover-leafs, but only 12.2 miles home because – merge lane, merge lane, merge lane.

One winter night, it began to snow just as I was going to bed. I exited the house a little early the next morning.  There was almost a foot of snow on the car and driveway, but a 4 to 5 foot pile at the end of my driveway.  I lived on a bus route, and bus routes get plowed first.

Snowplow

I thought about shovelling, especially carving a hole through the snowbank, but decided to wait till I got home. I always backed in, so I just barged my way out through it.  The bus route led to a Regional Road, which led to the Expressway, which led to the highway out of town, which led to the Interstate, all well plowed, and heavily travelled.  I got to work quickly and easily, while the guy who lived four blocks from the plant couldn’t even walk in.

All day, the snow continued, getting even deeper. By mid-afternoon, the radio was telling listeners not to go out, and that every street and road in the Region, including the big highway, was closed.  Most employees could get home, even if they had to walk, but what was I to do?  Where was I to spend the night, sleeping in the break-room?

Storm-stayed 2

One of the young lads in the plant said, “I have an apartment, and live alone. You could stay with me.”  By the time we left at 5 PM, the sky was clear blue and sunny, though the streets were deep with snow.  As we crossed over, I got a look at the highway – cars everywhere – cars sideways, cars backwards, cars stuck on the shoulder, cars abandoned in the middle, cars banged into each other.  I could have driven home, if not for that blockade.

Storm-stayed 3

On reaching his one-bedroom apartment, the unmarried male operated a can opener to serve me a gourmet meal – Heinz Alphagetti and dry bread. We watched some TV, and told some lies.  As the 11 o’clock news came on, he turned off the TV, and turned on the radio, tuned to a loud rock station, and disappeared into the bathroom.

When he came out, he headed for his bedroom. I said, “I’ll turn the radio and lights off when I’m done.”  Oh, no,” he replied, “I always leave the lights on, in case I have to get up in the night, and I need some music to lull me to sleep.”  So I’m left on a lumpy couch with no blankets, all the lights on, and the radio blaring in my ear, while he’s comfortable behind a closed door.

There are medicines that will cure sociable diseases, but you can pick up something even worse when you sleep with someone strange.  I think I found out why he was still single.   🙄

Flash Fiction #58

White wedding

PHOTO PROMPT © Dee Lovering

BILLY IDOL

Today was the most exciting, important and defiant day in Jenn and Tony’s lives. They had been thrilled that the city had granted them exclusive use of this big gazebo in the park.

After taking care of City Hall paperwork, they had joined their friends here. The non-traditional caterers were set up outside, and inside, they had TUNES. The thing about Canadian weather was, if you didn’t like it, wait five minutes and it would change, but it was only Sept. 21, the equinox.

“Well Jenn, you did say you would also have liked a white wedding. You got one!”

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Got 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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