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?

***

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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Smitty’s Loose Change #10

Smitty's Loose Change

A screenwriter was paid $25,000 for two days work, to produce an outline for a successful movie. A story reported that he was given 25,000 “Big Ones”.   Now, twenty-five thousand dollars can be described, in slang, as 25 Thou, 25 Grand, 25 Gs, or even as 25 Big Ones, but, if there are 25,000 of them, they’re not Big Ones, they’re all little ones. I’ve read writers like this described as knowing the difference between wet and dry, but feeling that it’s a fine distinction.

***

I recently discovered something even worse than helicopter parents. These are lawn-mower parents, who precede their children, and mow down every possible problem, obstacle and hindrance to their life. They conceal the realities of life for their unfortunate children and allow them no chance to mature and grow, to become self-sufficient, and to learn from experience and failure, and how to adapt.

***

The Universe of Politically-Correct speech continues to expand and grow. I recently read an account of a small-plane crash which killed three people, described as a shatter landing. No George Carlin bathroom tissue was involved.

***

The Grammar Check needs a slap as badly as the Spell Check. I typed I wonder what Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin tasted like into a one-liner comedy post, and got back, ‘I wonder what Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin is.’ 😯

***

Bag man, and bag lady, mean completely different things.

***

I recently bought myself a box of Wheat Thins crackers, as an occasional snack…. because I like Wheat Thins, and they were on sale. I opened the box, took a small handful, and sat down with a book. I popped one into my mouth and crunched it, and – What in Hell is this petrified wallpaper paste??!

My weak eyes and weak mind must have made me pick up the wrong thing. No. The box clearly says “Wheat Thins,” – but, as I look closer – under that, it says ‘Multigrain.” You assholes do know that oats, barley, quinoa and chia don’t make “WHEAT Thins”, right??! I would have been better off just cutting the cardboard box into small squares, and eating it. Now I know why they were on sale.  😯

***

I also recently astounded my chiropractor. The clinic where he practices also has two massage therapists. I took the wife in for massage, and sat out front waiting and reading a newspaper. When he stepped out of his office, his eyes went wide.

“In all the time I’ve worked here, I’ve never seen anybody read a newspaper here. They all have their noses stuck into the blue glow of their smart phones or tablets. They bring a book, or they leaf through one of our magazines, but I’ve never seen a newspaper in this waiting room.”

I told him that I never have to worry if the ISP is down, I don’t have to ask for the Wi-Fi password, and my batteries are never low – although occasionally I have to remember to sharpen the pencil that I do crosswords and word jumbles with.

***

’19 A To Z Challenge – B

Letter BAtoZ2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all started with a block of cheese at Costco.

Balderson

I never know when a language lesson will rear its ugly head. It was on a recent Costco run, when one leaped (or is that leapt??) out at me. The wife wanted to buy another block of Cheddar cheese, to provide dietary source of calcium for me. Instead of taking Costco’s house-brand – Kirkland – she asked me if I would take one that was on sale, named

Balderdash

senseless, stupid, or exaggerated talk or writing; nonsense.

Obsolete . a muddled mixture of liquors.

Related words; jargon, crock, claptrap, rot, bunk, tripe, rigmarole, drivel, moonshine, poppycock, bull, malarkey, fustian, trash, fudge, twaddle, flummery, bosh

For a word that means nothing, it sure has a lot of synonyms. The dictionary omitted the most recent one – Donald Trump. It’s another great old word that the hipsters don’t have time to use, IMHO. The name that she meant to use, was

Balderson

This interesting surname is of medieval English origin, and is an assimilated form of the locational name Balderston(e), which is itself derived from two places so called in Lancashire. The earliest recording in 1172 (Whitaker’s “History of Whalley”‘) appears as “Balderestone”; in the Feet of Fines as “Baldreston” in 1256; and as “Baldreston” in the Court Rolls of 1323. Balderson derives from an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name “Baldhere”, composed of the elements “beold”, brave, and “here”, army, with “tun”, a settlement. During the Middle Ages, when it was becoming more common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek work elsewhere, they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name.

This is the kind of claptrap, drivel, trash, etc. that I serve you when I’ve been distracted, debating with Apologists, and wait till the last minute to compose an A To Z Challenge post. At least it had cheese sauce on it – tasty little morsel.  I promise that Wednesday’s offering will be a little more entertaining and informative. I hope to see you here then   😀

A To Z - Survivor

Cuz I forgot to add this image to my ‘A’ post, two weeks ago

Good Manners

Smart Phone

Hey you! With the cell phone! – Put that damned thing down in public. I don’t want to sound old, but…. I think the more ‘I’ and ‘me’ we become, the ruder and more disrespectful we become. We’re so full of ourselves that there isn’t much space left for consideration for others.

The bottom line is that unless someone is giving out their credit card information (in which case I need them to speak slowly and enunciate clearly so I can write it down), I don’t want to hear their phone conversations when I’m in a public place.

A person should be able to sit with themselves quietly for a few minutes, without having a phone. You might be surprised at how satisfying it is to be silent, or to be mindful of yourself. There are few enough phone-free zones left in the world – saunas, bathrooms, airplanes. With all the sonic and electronic pollution today, I think that we should work at creating more bubbles of silence – blessed silence.

I know I’m hopelessly old fashioned and not a big believer in multi-tasking, but I still feel that when a person is driving a car, that is all they should actually be doing:  driving the car.  They should not be texting, putting on eye-liner, eating their dinner, or stirring their coffee.  Yes, all of those things can be important, but they aren’t important enough to risk someone’s life in a car accident – theirs, or mine.  They just aren’t.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, I firmly believe that personal business should actually be kept personal.  I don’t believe that social media is the appropriate setting for family conflicts, neighborhood feuds, failing marriages, or imploding friendships.  We all tend to say (or write) things that we shouldn’t in those situations, so why make it worse by doing so in front of the whole world?  These days, privacy seems to be little more than a quaint idea, but I truly believe that not every single detail of our lives needs to be shared. 👿

 

Book Review #17

Dark Matter

It is no paradox that I like to read stories about paradoxes. In my list of books read in 2016, I included several time-travel novels. More recently, my Book Review #16 – The Whenabouts of Burr, was not really about time travel, but a voyage across parallel, but slightly different versions of Earth.

I recently read another alternate Earth novel. It was

The book: Dark Matter

The author: Blake Crouch

The review: This book is also about alternate Earths/Universes. The narrator is a man who might have been a great physicist, married to a woman who might have been a great artist. Instead, he is a university science professor, and she runs a graphic design studio out of their home, as they raise a beloved 10-year-old son.

He is kidnapped by Himself from a parallel existence, who never married or had a family, but instead invented/designed a device to make this transposition possible. He is thrust into the other’s frenetic life, while the imposter takes over his peaceful existence.

The ‘Burr’ book makes inter-dimensional travel possible by an electronic device that limits which realities are available. It is largely a discussion about social and political alternatives – USA vs. Russia vs. China – disguised in a roman a cléf.

This book is about infinity, quantum entanglement, and the definitions of ‘reality.’ The device is mostly an elevator-car-sized sensory deprivation chamber, because quantum theory says that merely observing an action, changes the outcome. Essentially, the traveller becomes Schrödinger’s cat. He got some help from a biologist friend who developed a serum that shuts down the section of the brain that accepts the remaining input.

Instead of electronic controls, where you end up when you open the door is controlled by the psyche, the subconscious. You go where you unconsciously want or feel to go. It takes him several months, in and out of the box, to train his mind to return to where he started from.

Just when the reader thinks that it is “Happily Ever After” time, the writer throws another curve-ball at reality. While there is only one ‘his world’, and ‘his wife’, and ‘his son’ to return to, decisions that he made during the months that he was gone, caused other versions of him to split off, and 110 of them return, most of them ready to kill to get the prize. How do you surprise, outthink, and win out over yourself??

I found that this was a great, thought-provoking Science Fiction novel, about something that may become science fact in the all-too-near future. What are you reading? 😕

Awed…. Odd Thoughts

Confused Emoji

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered I couldn’t live on my net income. I went to work in a meat processing factory, but I couldn’t cut it. So then I got a job at a gym…but they said I wasn’t working out!

***

If it’s any good….they’ll stop making it.

Talk is cheap….until you hire a lawyer

***

How many optimists does it take to screw in a
light bulb?

None, they’re convinced that the power will
come back on soon.

***

How many Jehovah’s Witnesses does it take to change a light bulb?
Three! One screws it in, and the other two knock on your door to ask you if you’ve seen the light.

A Jehovah’s Witness came to my door the other day and said, “Can I ask you about God?”
I said, “Sure, what do you want to know?”

***

In what year did Christmas and New Year’s fall
in the same year?

They fall in the same year every year, New
Year’s Day just arrives very early in the year
and Christmas arrives very late in the same year.

***

Murphy’s First Law of Computing

Whatever happens, behave as though you meant it
to happen.

Murphy’s Second Law of Computing:

When you get to the point where you really
understand your software, it’s probably obsolete.

***

Music was much better when ugly people were allowed to make it.

***

A weasel walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Wow! I’ve never served a weasel before. What will you have?”

“Pop” goes the weasel.

***

I picked up a hitch-hiker recently. He said, “Thanks, but how do you know I’m not a serial killer though?”
I replied, “The chances of two serial killers being in the same car at the same time are astronomical.”

***

These days your memory might be better if you use marijuana, but don’t play football.

***

I saw a bumper sticker today. It said, “If you can read this, I’ll slam on my brakes and sue you.”

***

 

One Jackass – Or Two?

Jackass

An Old Man and His Mule

An old man walked up and tied his old mule to the hitching post. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, “Hey old man, have you ever danced?”

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No,… I never did dance… never really wanted to.”

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, “Well, you old fart, you’re gonna dance now,” and started shooting at the old man’s feet.

The old prospector — not wanting to get his toe blown off — started hopping around. Everybody was laughing. When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air, and the crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds, too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old man and the large gaping holes of the twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man’s hands, as he quietly said, “Son, have you ever kissed a mule’s ass?”

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, “No Sir… But I’ve always wanted to.”

There are five lessons here for all of us:

  1. Never be arrogant.
  2. Don’t waste ammunition.
  3. Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
  4. Always make sure you know who has the power.
  5. Don’t mess with old people, they didn’t get old by being stupid.