Sacrifice (and) Manners

28 Dec

100 x 2 words for Friday Fictioneers this week on two entirely different subjects. Rapunzel Wisoff-Fields just moderates the joint. Don’t blame her. Other stories for the same prompt are here. Gird your loins.

Twofer this week.

Flip a coin if 200 words over amps your circuits.

The first story is an homage to Jean Hays, the stained glass artist whose beautiful door is the subject of this weeks photo prompt. I did a little research and found out that she is still owed money for the work and that her chances of getting paid are slim to none and slim just left town. Let’s fill up the happiness bank account by letting her know how much you like her art. (Think how you feel every time something you write garners a nice comment and share the wealth.)

Interior front door


Trace, cut, pull glass splinters out of your fingertips, bleed, solder, frame, install. It’s about art, vision and light.

On this job the owner decided not to pay the last $600.00 owed. Coffee for life sounded good but the Health Inspector just showed up and from the sounds of the argument my free caffeine fix is out the window.

And that, I decide, is what the owner needs to be. With a last look askance at the dregs in my cup, I pick up my chair and head for the door. You have to make sacrifices for the light.

Another view

Front door

Second story is for those people out there with no clue how to behave in a civilized society. I don’t care what you believe in, truly, I don’t. I appreciate that you’re enthusiastic and want to share, but if you’re acting like this you’re doing it wrong. There’s a time and a place for everything, but I assure you that it’s not on a busy street corner or bus stop or unsuspecting flash fiction blog. If you insist on doing it, show some courtesy by using your imagination. Be original. Be funny. Proofread. And above all, entertain skepticism.

Interior front door


Guy out on the sidewalk yammers and waves his holy book while he dry humps passersby with his version of god’s love. Strident voice penetrates the coffee shop each time someone comes in for java or leaves to brave the gauntlet on their way to anywhere out of earshot of his diatribe. I’d tell him to pack sand but it’d be like poking a stick at a wild animal in a cage.

Not sure about heaven, but I know damn well there’s a hell. How’s that?

Guy out on the sidewalk yammers and thumps his holy book while he dry humps passersby….























66 Responses to “Sacrifice (and) Manners”

  1. TheOthers1 December 28, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Oh Doug. I’m trying to decide if its appropriate to laugh here or ponder your words. Loved the first story. And the second? I’m not good at preaching so I’ll keep my rhetoric to myself. Nicely done.

    • dmmacilroy December 28, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      Dear CC,

      By all means, please do both. Thanks for reading and commenting and being so polite:)



  2. boomiebol December 28, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    I have to say I laughed… On a good way. Enjoyed both stories very much. Well done as always sir

    • dmmacilroy December 28, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      Dear Boomie,

      I am glad that you laughed. We need more of that and less righteous indignation in the world. Than you for reading and commenting.



  3. seanfallon01 December 28, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Awesome pieces…thank you for including my story as an example of originality and funniness…I’m honoured and will also be stealing your Cthulhu picture 🙂

    • dmmacilroy December 28, 2012 at 10:17 am #

      Dear Sean,

      Your piece was astonishingly funny and original. I’m still laughing and I don’t even drink coffee. And re the Cthulhu sign, hey, that’s what Tumblr is for, right? Thanks for reading and commenting.



  4. rochellewisoff December 28, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Dear Douglas M,
    It’s a challenge for me to write a comment that comes anywhere close to the caliber (9mm?) of these two stories. High praises for you homage to Jean who is deserving. Hope she likes Sacrifice as much as I did. I laughed at the character’s revenge.
    And while I might not share your theology, I heartily and without reserve applaud the sentiment in Manners. “Discretion” could have been an alternate title as the sidewalk preacher had none whatsoever.
    Well done as always. Stellar writing. Not a word out of place.
    Diatomaceously yours,

    • dmmacilroy December 28, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      Dear Rapunzel,

      Discretion or Clueless or An Argument fo Retroactive Abortion or…. The list goes on.

      Thanks, as always for your concise and complimentary comments on both stories. Jean does great work and I think it’s a crime (actually is) that she got stiffed the way she did. Consider all the joy just the picture of her door has brought to FFer’s alone.

      Thanks for letting down your hair here. Ha ha!



  5. Sandra December 28, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    Thank you Doug. Firstly for educating me about the artist responsible for the photo (and rendering me a tad embarrassed that I didn’t do this myself) 😦 And secondly, in the second offering, for venting a frustration that I all too often suppress. In fact, the only time I don’t suppress it is when such people call at my door. Now THAT is what I call an invasion of privacy. And I do so, in spades!*!&%

    • dmmacilroy December 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      Dear Sandra,

      I am soooooo glad to hear you echo my thoughts re the second story. I wonder what it is that makes them so blissfully unaware of what others might be thinking or feeling while they’re ranting. Pestilential people.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.



  6. unspywriter December 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Loved the way you captured the craft of the art in the first story. That first sentence can be ascribed to a writer as well. And the second story–a good laugh about a serious problem. Here, they knock on your door and won’t go away until you threaten to call the cops. Both stories are totally worthy!

    Here’s mine:

    • dmmacilroy December 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      Dear Maggie,

      Thanks for visiting and giving the thumbs up to both missives. Stained glass reminds me very much of writing. Neat that you made that connection, too. As to the second story, well, you said it well. Serious problem. No common sense.



  7. readinpleasure December 28, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    I laughed reading all two. Those pontificating pontiffs are everywhere. In Ghana, they are even on our buses traveling long distance with passengers. Those of us who are not lucky have them waking us up at dawn with their message ‘repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand’ 🙂

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 1:07 am #

      Dear Celestine,

      If they had the unfortunate experience of waking me early, they would have found their message coming true very quickly. Thanks for reading and commenting. Love hearing from you and your ‘two oceans away’ perspective.



  8. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) December 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Doug, enjoyed both pieces and I’m with you all the way on No. 2. (Although I did try to proselytize you a bit on a non-religious issue!) I was not familiar with the reference to Cthulhu, but enjoyed the unique structure and graphics of No. 2. And certainly presented with humor and originality!

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 1:03 am #

      Dear Perry,

      And did you notice the polite way I addressed your heartfelt semi-proselytizing that day? (With what I hope was reasoned discourse.) Though we did not change our minds on the issue, neither did we come to blows or wish harm upon each other.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Loved your story this week.

      May Cthulhu bless you,



  9. waitingforaname December 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    I really enjoyed Sacrifice. It was truly a piece of art. Manners… whew. That one’s tough. Unfortunately, there are people who haven’t the slightest clue how to behave, and they make civilized discussion difficult for the rest of us. As a person of faith, I’m sometimes afraid something I say or write will be associated with “those people.” I appreciate their passion and all, but so often that passion is completely misplaced and poorly directed. I don’t know… You wrote a good piece. It’s just really hard to respond to, given the magnitude of the problem that arises when believers are more concerned with hammering their views into others’ head than in walking humbly with their God. Ugh… I hope I’M not proselytizing now! 🙂

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 1:00 am #

      Not once in your cogent and articulate comment did I ever think you were proselytizing. Reasoned discourse is one thing. Unsolicited, high decibel ranting is entirely different. And that sort of thing can appear in writing as well; in this case, poor writing, which doubles the crime, if not the punishment.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate the input and conversation.



      • waitingforaname December 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

        “Poor writing, which doubles the crime…” Amen to that! 🙂

  10. tedstrutz December 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    ‘Twofer’… ‘100 x 2 Words’… Well, it is Doug. I have oft thought that instead of IRONWOODWIND, his blog should be called by the name of the publication ‘CTHULHU’ first appeared. That being said, I want to thank the Aloha Man for providing us with the background to 708 Fulton. A most interesting story, and the ‘slim to none’ link, hilarious to read… not so to Ms. Hays. And it’s too late to steal another chair for payment, as Doug’s first story may suggest. Your first sentence is beautiful, Doug. Unfortunately for Jean, the ‘Cake Man’ was all about illusion.

    ‘Manners’ is a most original take. ‘dry humps passerby’ is one of the coolest descriptions for this annoying activity… I know that won’t happen at Ironwood.

    • tedstrutz December 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      p.s. your ‘original’ and ‘funny’ examples are perfect… I would suggest that people would enjoy reading that author’s ‘100 Word Novel’.

      • tedstrutz December 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

        p.s.s. please insert ‘wind’ on the last word of my first comment… well, you know what I mean… Aloha

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 12:54 am #

      Dear Ted,

      Though I shy away from violence, let me say that my intent was for the artist to ‘repossess’ her window by throwing the chair through it, thereby removing the ‘light’ of it from the thief of a shop owner.

      Your comments are a delight here at the end of a long year and I cannot thank you enough for them. What publication did Cthulhu first appear in? (Don’t make me Google it, please.)

      Hope you are doing well and keeping your lens clean and your wits about you.



      • tedstrutz January 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

        Those kind are always the worst thieves, because not only do they get away with it, but are held in high regard by the unsuspecting public.

        I see your intent… Sacrifice takes on new meaning… I should have thought deeper.

        You might want to grab a copy of WEIRD TALES from 1928.

        Happy New Year! Ted

      • dmmacilroy January 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

        Dear Ted,

        Thanks for the information. You’re right about my blog title. Do you suppose they’d mind if I copied theirs?

        Happy New Year to you, too, Ted. I’m glad at least three people made the connection and that you were one of them.



  11. December 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Doug, you are the star, as always. Two great stories that have meaning and touch the emotions. Great way to stretch and use that prompt. God bless. –kd

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 12:50 am #

      Dear Kady,

      Nice to see you again in these parts. Doing my best to clean up the neighborhood. Thank you for your kind comments and for the blessing. Coming from you, it settles about me like a cool mist near a waterfall and is full of rainbows. Hope to see you next year!



  12. Tom Poet December 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    P.S…..I’m agnostic.

  13. sustainabilitea December 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Doug, I really enjoyed your first piece, even though I found myself ducking to avoid the shards of glass. I’m sorry to hear about the woes of the artist of the beautiful piece of work. The subject of your second story was also a piece of work. Although I’m a Christian, I doubt that sort of “preaching” elicits anything but responses like yours. I prefer to “preach” by the way I live my life and the way I chose my words (the latter not always well done, I admit.) Hopefully that works better. 🙂

    Off to try to catch up with all the news stories, always an enjoyable task, even though sometimes it’s difficult to find the time.

    Ho, ho, ho, to you, my Hawaiian Santa, and a very happy New Year (and new year.)



    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 12:41 am #

      Dear Janet,

      Thanks for liking my first story and understanding my second. Being ‘Christian’ is often used as an excuse for the behavior exhibited and highlighted in my second story, but being such should also prevent such unwarranted attacks on the peace and harmony of unfortunate passersby. There is no excuse whatsoever for it, though you’ll never hear proselytizers admitting that they’re doing wrong, only ‘good’ through their actions. If pressed further, they will tell you they are justified by specific orders (anecdotal) to spread the ‘word’.

      I am extremely tolerant of all religious beliefs, in large part because I feel that such behavior is polite and that what someone else chooses to do with their time is none of my business. Mosquitos and other blood sucking parasites come quickly to mind to illustrate the borderline. They do not ask my permission to drink my blood and as a result are sent to meet their ‘maker’ as often as they get away with their theft.

      People who believe as you do far more to spread the word by example and carefully chosen words than thinly veiled testimony or writing filled with capital letters to denote reverence, submission and adulation of various deities. Sermons in disguise are repulsive and their authors lower the mean average intelligence of the room by a significant percentage. Some counsel tolerance or at the least, forbearance, but have you ever seen pictures of elk standing up the their eyes and nostrils in rivers because the mosquitos simply will not stop? Tolerance and forbearance only encourage them. Proselytizers of any stripe are a plague on humanity.

      Thanks for reading and commenting and getting this far in my reply. Here endeth the sermon for the day.

      Happy New Year.



      • sustainabilitea December 29, 2012 at 3:41 am #

        You did a fine job of writing your second story, too, BTW.

  14. elmowrites December 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    As usual, thanks for the lesson, Doug. Your intro and first story remind us indeed how artwork is often overlooked. I have to say the ending was a bit ambiguous for me – did she throw the chair (or the owner) through the window or just steal the chair? My interpretation was that if she wasn’t veing paid, she was going to smash the work as revenge but I wasn’t sure about that.
    As for your second story… great description and use of repetition. Something tells me you’ve recently had a run-in with one of these “preachers”. Remind me never to make you angry!

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 12:12 am #

      Dear Jen,

      I can see where the ending was slightly ambiguous. Chose to leave it that way as I wanted the piece to focus on the art of Ms. Hays. But yes, the chair was going to exit the building through the stained glass window, the message to the owner being, “If you want the beauty of the window, sacrifice something and pay for it.” The ‘sacrifice’ for the artist is that sometimes a piece should only be allowed to live on in photos or your mind, but never in the hands of someone willing to steal your work from you, hence her throwing the chair through the window. Sacrifice for the light.

      And how did you know a recent run in prompted the second story? (You don’t have to look far to find it, either.)

      Happy New Year, Jen. I love reading your work. Lots of light suffusing them with the beauty of your spirit.



  15. Parul December 28, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    I liked both your stories Doug. I did a twofer too this week. But of course my pieces are nowhere close to your high standards. But I am getting there. Another decade or two maybe, if I’m around… 🙂

    I really liked the way you put across the helpless anger of sane people witnessing dumb insanity in the second piece.
    “I’d tell him to pack sand but it’d be like poking a stick at a wild animal in a cage.”
    I feel frustrated when I can’t confront such people but can never express it. Your sentence sums it up aptly.

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 12:04 am #

      Dear Parul,

      My standards? Entertain and Proofread and your stories always do both. There, saved you a couple of decades because you’re there now. If i say anything to those sorts of people who are the focal point of the second story it is that they are being rude and that I’m pretty sure their god wouldn’t want them to behave that way. Best bet for your own harmony is to ignore them as one would any pesky creature there are laws against harming.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Happy New Year,



  16. bridgesareforburning December 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Hi Doug,
    One thing we seem to share is that we both like to research. I came up with different stuff than you did, so you just added to my knowledge. I think I liked the first story a little better, especially the way you introduced it. Ron

    • dmmacilroy December 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

      Hello Ron,

      When I’m given a clue such as that bold and beautifully framed address, I can’t help but try to find out more for the sake of a possible story. I can easily see you Googling away in the same vein. Those stories were apples and oranges for me. The first was a labor of love and the second was an admonition that will no doubt be ignored. That’s the way those people work. Blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other.

      Happy New Year, my friend.



  17. JackieP December 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    As an artist who has also been in the shoes of the person who did this beautiful work, I sympathize. I enjoyed both stories. Also, zealots will always be around. In some form or another. I try not to get close enough for the ‘dry humps’ though. Great stories.

    • dmmacilroy December 28, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      Dear Jackie,

      Zealots is a good word and though it fits, I would not use it to describe people who care not a whit for other’s feelings or sensibilities or beliefs as it has mostly a good connotation in my mind. But, yes, they will always be around. That’s one reason to root for their Rapture, unless, of course, that they all get left behind. (That would almost be worth missing the bus for, to see them standing, mouths agape, silent for the first time as they wonder what happened.)

      Thanks for reading and commenting.



  18. dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    Dear Tom,

    She’s going to throw the chair through the door or window, thereby ‘repossessing’ her work and moving on. Strange thing here, Tom, in that I have ‘saved the neighborhood’ in the same fashion as you many times. I used to time these affairs to see when the adherents of various religions realized that they had reached a point of diminished returns. (We get our entertainment where we can find it.) I’d never give them 35 cents, though. You are far more charitable than I.

    Father Tom has a nice ring to it even if you are agnostic.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.



    • Tom Poet December 29, 2012 at 1:55 am #

      I thought about her throwing the chair/rock through the window….but that has to be hard for an artist to do. I am not sure if I could rip up my work just to get back at some one….while I suppose others could. Great work as always.

  19. valeriedavies December 29, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    Great stories – both. Can I ask you to spare a thought for God? imagine having your ear bashed by nut-cases continually. I think it’s really bad manners to bore God as well as every-one else!

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 5:20 am #

      Dear Valerie!

      I so love it when you stop in to visit. I will take some time and do just that. Though perhaps with a bit of judicious ‘house cleaning’, the world might be rendered a quieter, saner place. I’ll mention that in my moment of communion.

      I hope you are well and rested from the recent Alpaca Lips and are gearing up for a prosperous and productive New Year.

      Thank your for reading and commenting.



  20. rich December 29, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    i don’t read other comments. i only need to say “atta boy.” guts is guts. and you are you. well done.

    • dmmacilroy December 29, 2012 at 5:23 am #

      Dear Rich,

      Your ‘atta boy’ just got added to my ‘get out of jail free’ card in my wallet. Thank you, sir. Thank you.



  21. SocietyRed December 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    You have a knack. Even your comments are creative.
    These two stories described two entirely different scenarios in a way that made my imagination itch in different directions. I’ll bet you had 3 others as well.
    I really like your work.

    • dmmacilroy December 31, 2012 at 7:06 am #

      Dear Red,

      Thanks for saying so. Feel the same way about yours.



  22. Madison Woods December 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    LOL, yes, the world must be turning on end. My story was so “normal” and your invoking the Cthulhu is a serious sign. Oh the stories that could arise from the interpretations of such signs 😉

    I’m pretty good at letting stuff go in one ear and out the other while gleaning what I might like to hold onto. But I once worked 12-hour rotating shifts with a proselytizing pontiff and on more than one occasion during late hours I was cornered in some nook of the lab while he preached. The man was off-kilter and I preferred to let him make his spiel and then go on about my way just to keep the peace. He was later convicted for murdering his ex-wife and step-daughter by stabbing them to death and felt his deed was justified because it was his duty to call down the wrath of God on them for their sinful behavior or sacrifice them as Abraham had been called to sacrifice Issac. He vacillated between the two reasons. Scary.

    I’m wary of dogma in all forms whether social, religious or political. Or maybe I just don’t like being told how to think. I don’t mind people expressing their own thoughts on matters, as it applies to them.

    • dmmacilroy December 31, 2012 at 7:01 am #

      Dear Madison,

      Sounds like you dodged the proverbial bullet there and I’m glad you did. The problem with religious zealouts is that there’s no middle ground with them, no two way street, it’s never a conversation, just a waste of one person’s time and the space taken up by the other. I wish there was a country, perhaps a large island with no air service into or out of and no phone or internet service where they could all congregate and worship with like ‘minded’ persons. That there is no hope of that makes me a fan of space travel. Now all I have to do is get them each a ticket out of here.

      Thanks for dropping in. Dubai’s getting closer. See ya.



  23. Jodie December 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    LOL, loved it! (The manners story) 🙂 Also a shame about Jean Hay not being fully paid for her work, but thank you for taking the time to do the research and bringing this to light. 🙂


  24. claireful December 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Doug, both great stories this week.

    As an occasional stained glass artist who often didn’t get paid for the amount of hours I put in, I can really sympathise with Jean, but I suggest she takes a small hammer and chisel and removes the window entirely.

    As for the second story I couldn’t agree more, and I don’t think you even needed your red warning sign – after all how often do ‘preachers’ warn us before they start preaching, verbal or written?

    • dmmacilroy December 31, 2012 at 6:55 am #

      Dear Claire,

      Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed Sacrifice and Manners. I was afraid I’d lose everyone with the second story, but some things just need to be said.



  25. train-whistle December 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your words. I enjoyed both stories.

    • dmmacilroy December 31, 2012 at 6:53 am #

      Thak you for thanking me,



  26. Running from Hell with El December 31, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    That truly is a gorgeous piece of art! Well-done, my friend. And I’m with you all the way on the manners (or lack thereof) issue addressed in your second piece.

    • dmmacilroy December 31, 2012 at 6:53 am #

      Dear El,

      You are kind to drop by to visit and comment. Manners are important. Keep on fighting the good fight, El.



  27. erinleary December 31, 2012 at 6:25 am #

    Oh Doug, you are a man of few words but on target with those you choose. I am a live and let live personlaity. I tend to assume others are, as well. One does have to draw a line in the sand. You did this clearly, definitively, and without malice. I especially enjoed reading the tags on this post. You made my morning here in (still dark) Finland! Happy NYE to you! Skol!

    • dmmacilroy December 31, 2012 at 6:51 am #

      Dear Erin,

      Skoal to you also! Must be a tad dreary outside there. Any Auraora Borealis is evidence?

      Thank you for your kind comments on my stories. I did try to be even handed re Manners but sometimes it’s hard. Those that need to read it most haven’t commented on it. Oh, well. They probably ignored my warning and now have me pegged as bad juju. One less blog to comment on myself.


      • erinleary December 31, 2012 at 7:16 am #

        No light shows here – a little further north in Lapland and they are easier to see. I am on the west coast in Jakobstad.

        I think your attitude is the right one – you set your boundary and that’s all you have to do. It is about mutual respect more than anything. I loved that i knew who Cthululu was. The son I am visiting here used to read Lovedraft as an impressionable teen. He educated me.

  28. Russell December 31, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Dear Doug,
    I’m out of breath from reading both stories and all the comments. I’m going to talk to Rapunzel about lowering the word count to 40, although I doubt that would stop you from writing world class stories that make people tread water in a pond of deep thoughts. I’m glad you’re one of a kind, cause I don’t know what we’d do if there were three or four of you. Looking forward to more of your fine work in 2013.

    • dmmacilroy January 1, 2013 at 4:35 am #

      Dear Russell,

      What better way to round out the comments on Manners and Sacrifice and ring in the New Year than with a fine missive from Mr. Russell Gayer of Laughghanistan, USA.

      You, too, are one of a kind and have given me more than my share of belly laughs this past year. I needed them and I thank you for them. Looking forward to more in 2013.



  29. mari wells January 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Loved the first story. The second one, I’ve seen people like that. Someone should smack them with their books.

    • dmmacilroy January 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Dear Mari,

      So I can clobber them? Would that it could be. Thanks for the kind comments. Happy New Year.



      • mari wells January 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

        Make sure no cops are around and everyone nearby is annoyed then go for it. Protect your back!

      • mari wells January 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm #


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