’20 A To Z Challenge – J

Jezebel

I once had a great-aunt named Jessie – until I got old enough that my Father told me I didn’t.

Just before I turned 12, my Father informed the family that his favorite aunt had rented a tiny cottage in our tourist town, and would be vacationing for a week.  Never married – she may have been lesbian – she still gathered four small children, cared for and mostly raised them, when Dad’s mother died, giving birth to his younger sister, and his father abandoned them to go off and become a hermit.

She always treated him particularly well.  The few times I met her, she treated me particularly well.  I had (almost) reached the Age Of Reason.  With no obvious prompt, my Dad said, “Her real name isn’t Jessie, you know.”  (No, I didn’t know that.)  “What is it then?”

JEZEBEL

Dad’s paternal grandparents weren’t exceedingly Christian.  Their two boys received common, normal names.  Dad’s dad was Howard.  His aunt may have been assigned her questionable moniker, because her mother was reminded.  She was an unfortunate, female, every-third-child, who was born with a head of brilliant red hair.

She soon tired of the name Jezebel.  She was picked on, mocked, and bullied, at school and in church.  She was still young – elementary school – when she decided to do something about the despicable actions and attitudes of ‘Good Christians.’  Jezebel disappeared, never to be heard of again, and Jessie (or was it Jesse?) came into being, to take her place.

I am so glad that my mother gave me two Plain-Jane (Well…. You know what I mean) names.  I can disappear in a crowd of two.  Archon, and the Grumpy Old Dude, haven’t disappeared though.  Stop back again soon, and I’ll tell you about the fellow who appeared before a judge, requesting to legally change his name.  The judge asked, “What is your name?”  He replied, “Joe Schitts.”  “Well, I can understand why you would want to change your name.  What do you want to change it to?”  “Bob!”  😯

Flash Fiction #26 – Summer Rerun

Hollywood

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I had a WOW composed, Just In Case, but Rochelle has once again, kindly proffered a prefabricated excuse for the creatively challenged.

It All Comes Out In The End

Rob honey?!  Come have a look at this.  We saved hard enough for this Hollywood trip; you should come and enjoy it.  Just look at the people – and the palm trees – and the….  ROB!!?….  What was that….?

What was the name of that stuff we saw advertised back in Illinois, that’s supposed to prevent ‘travellers’ diarrhea’?  Duckitall??  Dukerol!!  I thought that was just if you went to, like, Thailand.  I didn’t know about a bad fish taco in Redlands.

You go ahead with that walking tour of the homes of the stars.  My tour’s going to be sitting.

***

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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I saw Dukerol advertised a couple of days before the original challenge, so I worked it into this Flash Fiction.  In the six years since, I have never heard it mentioned again.  😳

 

Flash Fiction #232

dolphin

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

JUMPING FOR JOY

They’d done it!  They’d outlasted and outlived COVID19.   The world was back to as normal as it would get.

At last the borders were open.  They could finally re-visit Charleston.  They’d been three previous times, each visit finding something interesting in Old Town – The Market, haunted houses, Churches, and toured a submarine and an aircraft carrier, over at Patriots Point.  Twice they’d taken the boat to Fort Sumter.

Living near the Great Lakes, they were used to expanses of open water, but a lake trout breaking the surface did not compare to the joy of watching dolphins chasing the tour-boat.

***

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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Flash Fiction #229

Hot Air

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

THE WIND’S WILL

He and his wife ran Sundance Balloons for years, offering riders magnificent views of Southern Ontario scenery. They’d booked an African vacation…. because Kenya also had great scenery. They arrived just as COVID19 did.

Because @BlackLivesMatter to them also, officials quickly shut the country tight. He was pleased to discover that Kenyan telecommunications services were better than at his Canadian office. Trapped in an albeit luxurious tent, with his laptop and cell phone he could book rides, schedule employees to provide services, and do the banking.

By the time lockdown was released, he’d have Sunrise Air Safaris organized and operating.

***

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

***

Another feel-good, ripped from the headlines, more-fact-than-fiction story, showing what Canadian, or anybody’s, tenacity and imagination can accomplish.

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Double The Fun

Comedy

Yesterday, I went to my boss and asked, “Can I have next week off for Christmas?”
He said, “It’s MAY.”
“Sorry boss, MAY I have next week off for Christmas?”

***

My roommate claims that I’m schizophrenic….
….The joke’s on him. I don’t have a roommate.

Today is International Cannibal Day….
….Celebrate with a friend

My head says, Gym….
….My heart says, Nachos

My wife tripped and dropped a basket of freshly ironed clothes….
….I just sat back and watched it all unfold

I just bought a new mouse pad….
….That should stop them leaving footprints all over the kitchen

Kids don’t put anything back where they got it….
….unless it’s an empty cereal box

There are two times when a man doesn’t understand a woman….
….before marriage, and after marriage

A little boy asked his father, “How much does it cost to get married?”….
….Dad replied, “I don’t know. I’m still paying.”

The secret to a happy marriage remains a secret.
Henny Youngman

Marriage is the main cause of divorce.

Death and taxes are inevitable….
….but at least death doesn’t keep getting worse

What happens when two raindrops fall in love?….
….They become rain beaus!

A seal walks into a club….

I tried to pack myself into a small suitcase….
….I was so excited, I could hardly contain myself

My religious next-door neighbor worships exhaust pipes….
….He’s a Catholic converter.

My Mother-in-law fell down a wishing well….
….I was amazed. I didn’t know they worked

I’m on a vodka diet….
….I’ve lost three days already

I was never a fan of SpongeBob….
….I prefer dry humor

To the person who stole my glasses….
….I will find you. I have contacts

You should always hang out your laundry….
….otherwise it’s launwet

God moves in mysterious ways….
….but Bishops move diagonally

I have a new theory on inertia….
….but it doesn’t seem to be gaining momentum

I invented a new word….
….Plagiarism

People who live in glass houses….
….should think twice before making purchases

How do I feel about the Earth’s rotation?….
….It makes my day

A Thesaurus is great….
….There’s no other word for it.

I’ve decided to sell my vacuum cleaner….
….Well – it was just collecting dust

My Father suggested that I register for a donor card….
….He’s a man after my own heart

I had a great childhood. My Dad used to put me in a tire and roll me downhill….
….Those were the Goodyears

The Day I Almost Went Over Niagara Falls

Niagara

Dear (un-named deity), how did I ever survive childhood, to become the Grumpy Old Dude that I am today??

Early in the 1960s, my Father took our family to Niagara Falls. We rented a little cabin in the village of Chippewa, 5 miles above the Falls. I don’t know what it’s like there now, but back then you could stroll along the Canadian-side bank of the river, like a continuous park. Having been told of a picturesque picnic area, one day we set off downstream to take advantage of it.

If I was 6 or 7 years old, my brother was 3 or 4, and my Mother was busy holding or carrying him. Dad was laden with a box, full of food and drink, and I wandered along behind them. About halfway to our destination, there was a gnarly tree, growing out of the bank at a 45 degree angle, out over the river.

Someone had tied a rope to a branch, and a group of 13/14 year old boys were using it to swing out, and splash into the river. One lad would climb/walk up into the tree, and flick the end of the rope up to his compatriots. One by one they’d launch themselves, swim back, and one of them would take the spot in the tree.

I had a tree at home. It had a rope in it. I liked trees. I liked ropes. I liked swinging. 😯 When all had plunged into the river, I asked the kid in the tree if I could swing from the rope. Sure! And he flicked the end up to me.

I launched myself off the 8-foot high bank, and enjoyed a magnificent swing. I didn’t learn to swim until I was 14. When I reached the extent of the outward swing, I realized that I couldn’t let go – a little late! Holding on for dear life I swung back in, but the arc of the inward swing is never as long as the outward one, and it was nowhere near long enough to put me back up on that bank.

Actually, the point nearest the bank would have been the best time to let go. I’d have smacked into the clay and rock, and would have been able to scramble up the bank, dry and safe, but my Grade 1 brain was busy trying to figure out the physics of this whole thing.

Back out I swung. These guys wanted their rope back, and were shouting, “Let go! Let go!” Once more I swung back inward, this time again the arc becoming much shorter. As I reached the inner apogee – right or wrong – I let go…. and splashed down three feet from dry land.

I was used to a well-mannered Lake Huron, where you could walk out 100 feet before it got chest deep. In this river, three feet out put me in chin-deep water. Still, I scrambled out, and rejoined my family. If either parent noticed that my shoes, shorts and tee-shirt were drenched, neither of them mentioned it. Only later did I realize that I could have climbed up the rope, and down the tree, safely. At the time, I was a bit too busy to think of that. What do you think?? A young fool became an old one??  😕

Flash Fiction #198

Moose Meat

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Three men hire a bush-pilot to fly them to a remote moose-hunting lodge, and return a week later.

They shoot a moose, and pack the meat. When the pilot returns, he looks at the extra pile, and tells them that his plane won’t take the additional 1500 pounds.

“Aw c’mon, the guy last year let us.” Grudgingly, he agrees, and begins gaining speed across the lake. Just at the far shore, he lifts off, only to tangle with a tree.

One guy regains consciousness, and says, “Where are we?”

His friend replies, “About a hundred yards farther than last year.”

***

Please excuse me. I couldn’t write anything new, so I hope you don’t mind an old joke. I took one look at that photo, and this was all I could think about.

***

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 #184

Pizza

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER

His mother ruined his lazy summer by insisting he help his cousin Roberto open a pizza shop??! Yet another pizza shop in Florence – the home of pizza? But Roberto had an idea….

BOB’S
AMERICAN PIZZA
FINEST INGREDIENTS
FAST DELIVERY

Delivery?? We stay at home; hot food comes to us?? Great idea!!

An idea whose time had come. They did a landslide business from day one!

He had spent a glorious summer, riding up and down the winding streets of this magnificent city – and received enough tips to be able to buy his own motorcycle.

Molto grazie, cousin “Bob” – and Maman.

pizza

***

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 #179

alone

PHOTO PROMPT © Renee Heath

A MAJORITY OF ONE

I’m glad the wives agreed to this weekend away.  They probably think we’re just drinking beer, and telling fart jokes.  I love my wife, but…. my ears were tired.  The average woman uses twice as many words in a day as a man.

It’s so nice to be out here all by myself with Nature, – uh, and you guys…. Whuh??  Okay!  I’ll be quiet.  I know how.  One time, as a kid, I almost starved.  Wouldn’t tell my parents I was hungry.  Pass me another beer, willya?  I think those beans we had for supper are startin’ to come through.

***

Click above to hear Eric Carmen extol his solitude, and 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

Insecurity Blanket

security blanket

I was recently reassured that, as a person, I have value.  That’s not something that I usually worry or am in doubt about.  In my usual, humble way, I am normally pleased with who and what I am.  That did not hold entirely true before my recent trip to visit BrainRants.  Online, he seemed like a nice guy, but in person, he would be

 A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR
AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN

Could I keep up?  Would I fit in?

He has two university degrees, and a small string of subsequent educational certificates.  He has more letters after his name than Noah Webster.

I have a Grade 12 education, and a few minor employment-related post-secondary courses.  Of course, over the course of a lifetime almost twice his, I am a continuing scholar of the English language, communication, amateur psychology, and the human condition.  Would that be enough?

Hero

He left the Army as an officer.  While I have respect for people in uniforms – police, fire, ambulance, etc. –I am not necessarily impressed with just the fact that someone is an officer.  Too often it merely indicates a slavish, unthinking addiction to rules and regulations, the established system, prevailing policy, and current convention.

He earns five times what the wife and I receive together, in our paltry retirement pensions.  I’ve met some monied ‘gentlemen’ – business owners, and captains of industry.  Some of them were nice.  Others had homes where commoners mowed the lawn, not sat on the furniture.  Would I be accepted?

I had concerns that I was travelling to meet a cultured, scholarly, conservative, socially-judgemental ‘Gentleman.’  I need not have been concerned.  All my petty fretting and worry was for naught.  The true mark of a gentleman is his ease with any company, in any situation.  True gentleman that he is, he immediately and completely put me at ease.  I kept up.  I fit in.  What I was, was accepted and enough.

We spent a glorious week, discussing a wide range of topics, unaffectedly bouncing erudite words off each other in normal conversation – and letting the other know that we’d noticed (Paucity – Ding!  There’s another.)

He was the stereotypical common man, who just happened to have more formal education and income than me.  He was the kind of guy that I might have been, without my learning disabilities.  I will never doubt myself again!  Thanx, Rants, for providing far more than just a great getaway vacation.  😀