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.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

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.  😀

’18 A To Z Challenge – J

 

Challenge '18
Letter J

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re sorry.  The blog-site that you are currently attempting to connect with, is temporarily out of service…. because we’re on a

JOURNEY

If you’re reading this, it means that my unpaid assistant has done his unpaid job, and clicked ‘Publish’ for this post, which I left queued-up for him.  I am not sufficiently tech-savvy to be left unsupervised with a ‘schedule post’ program.  In fact, only recently, Bell Canada insisted that I give up my rotary-dial telephone.

It was the last one in my telephone exchange area, and they couldn’t afford to maintain my ‘clickety-click’ system, along with the new beep-beep boop-boop one.  I guess they can’t blow the dust out of the new fibre-optic lines, the way they used to with the old electrical ones.

If we merely go to Detroit for some weekend shopping, should a medical situation arise, it’s a quick trip back across the border into socialized-medicine land.  For a week away, 12 hours drive from the nearest Canada, we will be purchasing out-of-country medical insurance from CAA, AAA’s little brother.  Please, nobody mention ‘giddy’ as a pre-existing condition.

We’re not allowed to bring anything toxic back, so we’ll stay away from all Tweets.  We might get close enough to the White House to hear that twit Trump, trumpet.  We might even get to see him playing bocce ball on the front lawn with the North Korean Rocket Man, using nuclear warheads.

We’ll be staying west of DC proper, just left of where Donald Trump hangs out these days.  Of course with Trump, pretty much everyone is to his political left.  Someone should censor him by slipping him a placebo smart-phone, that only looks like it’s actually working.

It’s a good thing that there’s a 140 character limit on Twitter.  Can you imagine how many people he could offend with 300?  He should be put on Twitter-Lite….only 14 characters.  He has surrounded himself with quite a few characters, some of whom last longer than others because they can say, “Yes, Mr. President.  You’re absolutely right, sir.”

This journey is the ‘We’re Going To Rants’ and ‘Sisterhood Of The Blog’ trip that I’ve been threatening you with for months.  We’ll be out of our minds the country for about a week, so, there’ll be no new posts for a while, and likely damned few responses to comments, so feel free to talk about us among yourselves for a while.

I’d suggest that, after reading this post, you get some rest, because I’m sure that I’ll have a shopping bag full of fun facts and photos when we get back.

‘Journey’ is an ‘80s, San Francisco rock band.  If you click, they’ll tell you how much I Don’t Stop Believing that this is one of the greatest adventures of my life.  I’ll see you back here soon, with a big smile on my face.   😀  😎  🌯

Flash Fiction #164

DC Tour

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

DAY TO DAY GRIND

We visited a couple of friends in Washington, DC, for the first time.  I left our tourist itinerary in his capable hands; a day to see the White House, a day at the Washington Monument and the National Mall, a day to explore the Smithsonian, a day to marvel at the Pentagon.

He warned us that there would be a lot of foot-travel.  Anything in DC worth visiting, is on a walking tour.  He urged us to, “Rest up; by the time we’re done, you’ll be worn to a nub.”

I just thought that he meant from the bottom up.

***

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

’18 A To Z Challenge – Flood

Challenge '18

Letter F

Unless the Mayan calendar apocalypse comes to pass, my little home town, situated where a river meets a lake, will never have a flood.

Lake Huron’s levels are closely monitored and controlled by the St. Lawrence Seaway commission, the geography is stable, and it would take something larger than a falling Chinese Space Station, to cause a tsunami.  The land quickly rises, so that most of the town is 50 feet above water level.  My birthplace house is more like 70’.

The closest thing to a flood is the spring ice-breakup in the river.  It starts 3 miles upstream, below the little rapids.  The thin ice breaks, pushing downstream against the thicker and thicker layers, partly impeding the water flow, until finally it lets loose.  Suddenly, thousands of tons of ice blocks, 2 – 3 – 4-feet thick, and as big as buses, thunder down the canyon, scour the harbor docks, and spew into the lake.

I’m told that it is an awe-inspiring sight and sound, but silly little things like education and employment have never allowed me to be present.  In late fall, the docks are cleared.  Ladders for swimmers and boaters are unbolted.  Fishing boats are winched onto the concrete, and placed well up on the banks.  After the cascade, ice that’s in the way is bulldozed back into the water.  Blocks that aren’t, are still melting beside the little park, well into June.

***

When we made our pitifully few visits to the lower United States for vacations, we were usually fixed on getting to our destination as soon as possible, and took the Interstates.  Humming along steadily for hours, at 110Kmh/70MPH, the extra distances were made up for by not having to follow some farm tractor, or stop at every stop sign and red light in every goober little town.

The time we took our On Top Of The World trip, we decided that we had the time, not to go 100 miles from Buffalo to Erie, PA, to get on I-79.  Instead, we took State highways down and back, from Buffalo, through Pennsylvania.  The entertainment and education justified the decision.

We passed through Du Bois, PA, named after W.E.B. Du Bois, a 19th century Negro civil-rights pioneer.  Both names are pronounced ‘due–boys’, rather than the French ‘due-bwah.’

We found a small PA town that clings to a mountainside so steep, that the northbound lane of the highway/main street, is 8 feet above the southbound lane, with a guardrail to prevent cars from falling in.  The industry in another Pennsylvania town was a Weyerhaeuser paper mill.  We could smell that one 3 miles before we got there, and 3 miles after we left, and rolled the windows down to clear the stench.

Rolling into one town we were faced with 6 or 7 truck-docks, at the back of a large plant.  Each dock seemed to be a different color, red, green, orange blue, purple.  When we got closer we found that it was a Pittsburgh Glass plant, and what we’d seen was hundreds of pounds of broken bottles and other glass, all sorted by color, which had fallen below the docks as it was being brought back in for melting and reuse.

As we were coming back north, we reached a spot where a secondary road met the highway at a T-intersection to our left.  Suddenly, in the middle of Nowhere PA, miles from any town or city, I was faced with the first roundabout I’d ever seen.

Like the 1942 song That Old Black Magic says, “Down and down I go.  Round and round I go.”  Round and round the roundabout I went, missing the northbound, uphill highway.  Instead, I continued ‘round, and exited onto the westbound, downhill road.

Six miles this steep, two-lane blacktop weaved its way down and down, with not a sign of a turnoff, another side-road, or even a farmer’s lane, to turn into to turn around.

Finally, after losing hundreds of feet of altitude, we reached a sign that said, “Welcome To Johnstown PA”.  Johnstown??  Like in the Johnstown flood??  Sure enough, there was the Conemaugh River, before we started our long trek back uphill.

In 1851 a dam was built 14 miles upstream, to provide water for area industries, and for a barge-canal system.  Later, trains replaced barges, so the dam was sold to a railway company.  The Railway Company wasn’t in the ‘dam’ business, so they didn’t maintain it, even removing and selling piping that could lower water levels behind it.

In 1889, a ‘Century Storm’ dumped 12 inches of rain in the mountain valley in two days.  The dam finally failed, and the flood roared through several small towns and Johnstown.  It caused $17 million 1889 dollars worth of damage, almost $500 million today, and killed over 2200 people.

I quietly drove back up to the highway and home, to compose this happy tale for you.  Stop back again later, when we visit The Rockies and talk about avalanches.  😯