Flash Fiction #210

Success

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

FOCUS ON SUCCESS

Jacob attributed his ongoing academic – and hoped for, future –success, to his ability to compartmentalize and prioritize his mind; family here, sports over there, and social in the back corner.

He was aware of the hot chick in science class, with the top and shorts that were so tight that even he had trouble breathing, but he had a physics exam to write.

He didn’t understand just how he did it, and felt somewhat sorry for those who couldn’t – only somewhat. Many of them just didn’t seem to try. Achievement is obtained through Focus: straight A’s first then go swimming.

***

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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Small Town Boy

Small Town

I was born and raised in a small town.
How small, you say? I’m glad you asked.

Baskin-Robbins only has three ice cream flavors.

You had to step out of the village limits in order to change your mind.

The nickname for the city jail is amoeba because it only has one cell.

McDonalds only has one Golden Arch and the nearest one is 15 miles away.

Instead of a 7-11 they have a 3.5 – 5.5.

The New Year’s baby was born in April.

The “Welcome To” and “Thanks for Visiting “signs are front and back of the same sign.

You have to go to the next town to find 2nd Street….

A “Night on the Town” only takes about ten minutes.

The Subway restaurant that serves foot-long sandwiches cannot fit within the village limits.

You do not bother using turn signals because everyone already knows where you are going.

Big social events are scheduled around when the high school gym floor is being varnished.

You call a wrong number and the person who answers can give you the correct number for the person you are trying to call..

There is no point in high-school reunions because everyone knows what everyone else is doing anyway.

School gets canceled for Provincial sporting events.

It was cool to date someone from a different high-school.

The golf course had only three holes.

Anyone you are looking for can be found at either the Dairy Queen or Wal-Mart, over in ‘The Big City’.

Directions are given using the one and only stop light as a reference – after they finally installed one.

Weekend excitement involves a trip to the grocery store.

Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.

The best burgers in town are at the four-lane bowling alley. 

Flash Fiction #203

Briefcase

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

I’M OVER THE MOON

Roger, where’s my briefcase?

Uhhh, on your desk??!

No, it’s not.

On the kitchen table??

I looked there. I gave it to you to carry in from the car. Where did you put it?

Front hall??

It’s got important papers, a report that needs to be finished or I could get fired.
I look to Heaven and plead, ‘Where is my….’
Why is it on the skylight???

Oh yeah! I wondered if I could throw it over the house. Musta landed there.

Get the ladder, and get it down, safely! Gahh – teenagers! Honey, could we trade him for a gerbil?

***

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 #98

Flood

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

HOW DRY I AM

Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day!

Bobby had always been an active boy, into baseball, football and Scout Camp. He wondered how many times he’d made that plea over the years.  Too many, obviously!

Into each life, some rain must fall. All he’d been doing was delaying the inevitable.  How long had it rained in the Bible??   Forty days and forty nights?!!

His family had retreated up this mountain when the floods came. He hoped that the water level would start receding, before clouds gathered, the sky opened up, and he had to wish the rain away again.

***

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

 

Hurt Feelings

*Crying

The problem is world-wide, but North America in particular has turned into a bunch of whimpering, whining, wimpy, wussy, wieners. I’m all for being respectful, and not intentionally hurting feelings, but more and more, within any larger group, is a smaller sect, driven by the usual ego and insecurity, who make an industry out of being offended.

Quebec flag

In Quebec, Canada, there are actually provincial government agents – Language Police – who drive the streets with notebook, dictionaries, and tape measures, to assure that theirs isn’t bigger than ours.  Signs of all kinds in stores and shops are examined.  The French language must come first and be shown above any others.  English is the most censored and censured.  All non-French lettering must be less than ¾ the size of the French.

Indian

In the past, in the USA, the whites were contemptuous of the Native Americans. Over the years, things have improved greatly.  It’s not perfect.  Nothing is.  At least now, whites aren’t giving Indians smallpox-infected blankets.  Within the Indigenous community, rather than accepting that sports teams’ names like Washington Redskins are now a show of respect and acceptance for a different kind of warrior, there are strident ‘Native American’ voices insisting that these names be changed.  If you want insult, how ‘bout The Washington Lawyers, or -Congressmen?

Confederate flag

Last year there was a big fooferaw about the display of a version of the CSA flag on State properties. South Carolina was forced to remove it from the Capital Building.  While the ancestors of the white citizens may have owned Negro slaves, the flag is a symbol of White resisting White, cultural independence, in a political situation, having little to do with slavery, in the modern day.

Still – down it came. The goofy little, long-rerunning show, The Dukes of Hazzard, has now been removed from the airwaves, because the car – the real star of the show – is named The General Lee, after a Confederate leader, and displays the Rebel flag.

Ion Wall Design

My city, Kitchener Ontario, used to be known as Berlin. It still has a strong Germanic population and feel.  In 1916, in an effort to not offend surrounding non-Germans, it changed its name.  Recently the Twin Cities have been pushing the infrastructure, in an effort to imitate some of the bigger cities.

Among other things, we are installing a street-railroad, down the length of an already overcrowded main artery. A non-German design engineer has been hired to produce design themes for stops, including the one shown above, across from the coming new train/bus station.

Scarcely had the artist’s drawing hit the internet, than there were howls of complaint. “How dare he produce a design with a Nazi Swastika in it??!” Don’t you see it?  It’s as plain as the nose on your easily offended face.

These all remind me of the story of the little old lady who phoned the police, to see if they could do anything about the guy in the apartment across from hers, who wandered around in the nude. The Police detective carefully looked out her window and said, “I don’t see anybody nude.”  She replied, “You have to go into the bathroom and stand on the toilet and use these binoculars.”  😳

This really is a First World problem. Too bad we can’t still use Australia as a penal colony.  We don’t hear this kind of entitled shit coming from down there.  I’d like to see how much complaining we’d get if these easily-offended butt-wipes were scrabbling to survive with subsistence farming.  ‘Take a pill and get over yourself.  Life’s a bitch.  Don’t be another!’

Dichotomy

Easy!  Easy!  It’s still not an English lesson, just a rant about the differences between the Twin Cities where I live.  I live in Kitchener, Ontario.  I am proud to live in Kitchener.  I tell people I live in Kitchener.  I don’t say K/W.  I don’t say Kitchener/Waterloo, and I don’t say Region of Waterloo, which comprises all of, what used to be the entire Waterloo County.

Sparklebumps lives in the Minnesota twin cities.  I don’t know how much, if any, differences there are between the two.  Here, the differences can be seen from space.  Several name-changes ago, Kitchener and Waterloo were just small villages, five miles apart.  Each has grown until Waterloo now perches like a boil on the northern ass of Kitchener.  Kitchener has better than three times the population of Waterloo.  There are several reasons for Kitchener’s greater growth, but the biggest one is, that’s where the jobs were.

The two cities share the same tourist-trapping cowpaths streets, but almost nothing else.  Things are slowly changing, but Waterloo is white-collar, and Kitchener is blue-collar.  Business owners, managers and supervisors lived in Waterloo.  The serfs and peons resided in Kitchener.  Waterloo has two universities, and has been the birthplace of four large insurance companies.  Until recently, Kitchener has been where the factories are.  We have a world-famous Community College that’s as big as their university, but still….Community College?!

Newcomers often fail to realize the significance of signs at the border, and view them as a single organism.  They ask, confusedly, how streets in common can have four different directions.  These are the least of the differences.  When the wife still worked, I would come home after an 11 PM shift, have a bite to eat, discuss our work-days, and tuck her into bed for an early rise.  If there was nothing interesting on late-night TV, I might take my motorcycle out for a late ride.

In Kitchener, the pizzerias were open, the sub shops were open, the Tim Hortons and other donut shops were open, the bars were open, lights were on, people were walking the streets.  A couple of times, I made the mistake of riding into Waterloo.  The good Seigneurs were all abed, the shops were closed, the lights were out and the sidewalks had all been rolled up and put away for the night.  I got a coupon from a sub shop, recently opened in Waterloo, and thought I’d try it, to see what it was like.  I rode north after an 11 PM quitting time, and found that this place closed at 10 PM.

With its two universities, Waterloo brands itself as “The Intelligent City.”  They contracted out the development of the industrial park where Blackberry-making, RIM Products located.  They received verbal guarantees that the interest rate would be approximately 5%, and the payback term was 20 years.  It took a Kitchener reporter to reveal that the actual rate was over 13%, and payback would take 30 years.

The Berlin Record became the Kitchener Record, became the K/W Record, became the Waterloo Region Record, because Waterloo, with a population of almost a hundred thousand, only puts out a 20-page weekly newspaper, headlined, “Boy loses ball in tall weeds”.  Kitchener Transit provided buses in Waterloo, because they had none of their own.

Waterloo residents used to boast of their low tax-rate, which was achieved by providing almost no public services.  Kitchener Parks and Recreation finally had to pass a rule insisting that all Kitchener minor sports applicants would be served first.  If there were any spaces left, Waterloo residents could apply.  They had almost no arenas, soccer fields, baseball diamonds or swimming pools, but filled the ones in Kitchener.

Kitchener resident, and employee of Kitchener’s, Superior Sanitation, Nyle Ludolf, is credited with starting the Blue Box recycling program.  He received a letter some years ago from the Federal government, thanking him for instituting the program and allowing Waterloo to be the first city in Canada to participate.  He wrote back explaining that Waterloo had turned it down as too expensive, and didn’t jump in until Kitchener, New Hamburg, Cambridge, Guelph and Toronto proved it worked, and they were shamed into it.

It’s chicken-feed in a municipal budget, but a few years back, a provincial agency got an application from the City of Waterloo for a $35,000 grant for having performed various “green” initiatives.  A suspicious clerk did some checking, and found that all the claims were for things that “The Region of Waterloo” had instituted.  The city hadn’t actually got around to most of them.

On average, the residents of Waterloo have a higher level of education and income than the good Burghers of Kitchener.  On average, Waterloonies are also more likely to have a smug, self-satisfied superiority towards Kitchener, and its population.

Kitchener has a business-like “downtown.”  Waterloo has an artsy-fartsy “Uptown.”  Kitchener stores sell boots and pants.  Waterloo stores vend patchouli, beads, and Bubble Tea.  At various street-corners and parks, Kitchener has, cleaned and re-painted presses and rolls from now moribund factories, to remind folks of our manufacturing past.  Waterloo paid some artist (?) over a hundred-thousand dollars to create a metal sculpture which resembles a large rusty bell, “To evoke the Image of Industry”.

One of the few saving graces about Waterloo, for me, is that two of the downtown Oops, Uptown hotels, have in-house micro-breweries which produce some good craft-beer.  Kitchener has a working-man, get-‘er-done attitude.  Waterloo is more, “Have the gardener and chauffeur get it done!”  You can see how simple and down-to-earth I am.  I may be just the slightest bit biased.  Your Waterloo experience may vary….but I doubt it.

Beer And Hockey

Well, that title should up the search-term traffic to my site.  KayJai issued a challenge the other day for me to explain the complexities of the Canadian beer and hockey industries, but I think I’ll take a slapshot or two at the Americans while I’m at it.  I explained that, with my extensive knowledge of these subjects, and a dollar, you can get any size drink at a McDonalds this summer.

At the height of my drinking, the amount I imbibed wouldn’t equal the *hair of the dog* some of my compatriots sucked back to kill a hangover.  I had a friend stay the night after a teenage party, and he wouldn’t even throw back the covers till someone put a bottle in his hand.

There are basically three major brewers in Canadia, of which KayJai is our president.  They are Labatt, Molson, and Carling/O’Keefe, which is actually owned by the Canadian/American, Molson/Coors conglomerate.  There used to be four but, if you’ll put your beer down and look carefully, you’ll notice that two of them merged.  There are some great, and not so great, smaller, area brewers.  Then we get down to the even-smaller micro-, and craft-breweries.

Our federal government, certainly not aided and abetted, or influenced by huge campaign contributions from the beer behemoths, had a rule that beer brands could not be sold unless they were brewed in the Province of sale.  There are some very nice beers brewed by companies in Atlantic Canada, or B.C., but we in Ontario have to rely on kind relatives who come for a visit.

To explain the nuances of taste and quality among the various lagers and ales produced by the almost-monopolies, I would like to refer to the great Benny Hill, who said, “Not a hape o’ the difference!”  I know there are die-hard, or in some cases, die-easy, beer drinkers who claim to know the difference.  These are the same, silly, opinionated fools who think that Ford is better than Chevy; or is it vice-versa….I can never keep it straight.

With all their products, it’s difficult enough to tell lagers from ales.  Anyone who claims he can tell one make from another, thinks too highly of his sense of taste.  It’s no wonder that the wine snobs look down on lowly beer drinkers.  I went to a family gathering at a brother-in-law’s house, and he had put out some more-expensive Christmas Bock beer, along with the regular slop.  When I went back for a second, an hour later, they had disappeared.  His excuse was that, after two or three, you can’t taste the difference, so he was saving the good stuff.

Canadian beer is mostly bland crap, but at least it’s 5% alcohol bland crap, suitable for guzzling and getting a buzz on with.  I watched a comedian who claimed he was cutting down on his alcohol consumption.  He went from liquor to Canadian beer, to water, to American beer.  3% alcohol in regular American beer??!  What’s in the Lites?  Baby cough medicine has more of a bite than that!  Do all American beer-drinkers have huge bladders?

Personally, I drink local craft beer, or imported,  Waterloo County Dark, Sleeman Honey Brown, Newcastle Brown Ale, Rickards Red, or Dark, the Rickards White is so empty, it’s worse than American.  I drink them because I value the body, not the buzz.

I could have written the preceding in a snowbank, with my fly unzipped.  Having flamed the beer industry, let’s move on to defame hockey.  WWE on skates!  Soap opera for jocks!  Bread and circuses for the masses.  Remember what happened to Rome, when they started playing that game?

Bah!  You young guys don’t know what real hockey is.  I haven’t seen a good game since there were only six teams in the league.  There’s only so much real talent, and it’s diluted way too thin.  I went to a fight, and a hockey game broke out.  Once upon a time hockey players could play hockey.  They knew how to skate, pass and shoot, then came the enforcers.  These guys can barely move their sticks, because they’ve got a blackjack in one hand, and brass knuckles on the other.

Years ago, when this movement was just starting, Boston hired a young goon and told him to keep an eye on Detroit’s Gordie Howe.  He spotted a chance to take Gordie into the corner, and acted on it.  He came out with a broken arm, and a five-minute penalty.  “Best way to avoid punch, is not be there.”  Gordie danced around him and made him look like a fool.

The fervor and loyalty that many fans have for their *local* team, just astounds me.  My bunch of arrogant, overpaid, bunny-screwing, bar-fighting, drug-using egotists, who don’t actually live here, can beat your bunch of arrogant, overpaid, bunny-screwing, drug-using immigrants!  And hockey in the South??!  What a great idea!  Florida Panthers….Atlanta Thrashers….when they play, there has to be a translator on the TV screen, like for the deaf.  If mint isn’t involved, they don’t know what ice is for.

I’ve heard some of these zealots bitch about Toronto Maple Leafs fans.  They don’t care whether Toronto wins or not, they still go to, or watch, the game.  Actually,* Leafs fans* is a misnomer.  They’re hockey fans, or just entertainment fans.  They pay to see a game, and they see one every time.  Sometimes the Leafs win, sometimes they lose.  When you go to a movie to be entertained, you don’t care whether Batman beats up the Joker, or the Joker thumps Batman.  You probably want both to happen, and are happy when it does but, either way, you know there’s always tomorrow and tomorrow.  There will always be, The Rise of Maple Leafs, and, Son of Maple Leafs, and, Bridge on the Maple Leafs, so, drag out that cold case of Labatt’s Blue, and we’ll watch the game, eh?!