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These Shoes

25 Mar

100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below from David Stewart. (I once spent a long day sleeping and sick underneath just such a gazebo, listening to people walk above me unaware as I waited for a friend. I cannot imagine a lifetime of that.)

Gazebo:be nice

(Copyright David Stewart)

 

Officer Sloan cruises by the gazebo.

“You alright, Sam?”

I nod and smile.

Long ago a robbery suspect shot him. I called for help with his radio and kept pressure on the wound until I was tasered and arrested. Dash camera footage changed their minds and since then the police department has looked out for me. Like elephants, they have not forgotten.

Am I homeless? Guilty as charged. Hopeless? You tell me.

You’ll never know anyone’s story until you ask. Never know where you’ll find yourself until you’re there. Never know how it happened until it does.

Be nice.

 

These shoes

 

 

Two Wolves and a Sheep vote on what to have for Dinner

14 May

A 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers, a restive flock of writers shepherded loosely by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, based on the photo prompt below provided by Sandra Crook.

This is a story that has been written many times. To prove my point there are at least four clues in this version that point to a previous incarnation. If you find them all I challenge you to then examine the events of the last fifteen years with the same attention to detail. Then return to your grazing.

 

Two wolves and a sheep vote....

.

Heinrich Luitpold, head of the DHS Border and Transportation Security Directorate sat in the back of his bullet-proof BMW and smiled as his driver fumed. The conference recently held in headquarters suite 1-C had yielded an action plan that would lead at last to a final solution.

In 2019 increased fees charged by TSA to travelers would finance new uniforms and prominent, respect worthy badges. By 2022 agents would be given arrest powers and weapons. In 2025 the mandatory registration and RFID chipping of all citizens would commence.

“Relax, Franz,” said Heinrich, “We are no longer concerned with the sheep.”

 

End game

 

The Department of Homeland Security Border and Transportation Security Directorate is the actual name of a department of our government.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

“Don’t rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world stood up and stopped the Bastard, the Bitch that bore him is in heat again.” – Bertold Brecht

 

 

HeadsTails

 

 

 

 

 

Because Freedom is Dangerous

28 Aug

Here is my story for Friday Fictioneers, a gathering of writers from around the world who meet each week in Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s cyber garage  to share their 100 word inspirations based on photo prompts such as the one shown below from Dawn.

This week’s picture is of Union Station in Washington, D.C., a city created by Congress to keep the nation’s Capitol distinct from the states and to provide for its own protection. (Seems they were doing then what they do so well now. Go figure.) It  is also famous for harboring a disproportionate population of vermin whose actions are the subject of my story. (I’ll let you know my cell number as soon as I’ve settled in.)

Lubyanka

“Destination, sir?” the TSA agent asked.

The elderly man standing trackside looked his interrogator up and down, taking in the blue and gray uniform rife with none too subtle bells, buttons, whistles and decals.

“Do I know you?”

“I’m a Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response team member. We’re authorized to….”

“Visible Intermodal what?”

“VIPER Team, sir.”

“Has it crossed your mind how ridiculous that sounds?”

“The Department of Homeland Security chose the name.”

“Ever wonder who chose theirs?”

“Your destination?”

“My ticket says Denver, but it’s looking more and more like Lubyanka Square, Moscow. ”

“Please come with me, sir.”

Future’s So Bright…

2 Nov

Crosses to bear. Some are heavier and more visible than others. Some of the heaviest are  invisible except for the tracks they leave behind. We all carry something.

This 100 word story for Friday Fictioneers was inspired by the photo prompt below from Ted Strutz. It was written from the edge and is a plea for you to shade your eyes and peer into the darkness beyond the circle of light in which you stand. The people out there that need a hand don’t always know how to ask for help. You may even find yourself out there sometime. Do what you can. It matters and it helps. Aloha, D.

Carnival in town.

Ruth stood in impenetrable shadows watching happy people silhouetted against the glare of tent lights. She used to be happy there, too.

Darkness embraced her as she washed down a handful of pills with warm beer.

Take these, the doctors said. Better? Try this instead.

Haphazard prescriptions held no keys for the locked doorway to her troubled mind.

Let them hone their skills on someone else. Tonight she was going to show them what dosage the cure required.

A song from a brighter past wafted across the midway. She smiled ruefully. Downed a few more pills….

(the song she heard)

 

 

 

Post Script: I want to share something that Valerie Davies shared with me in the comments section. I’d never heard of Don Ritchie before I wrote my story but I can’t thank Valerie enough for telling me of him and the way he helped those in need. (Valerie’s story is pretty amazing, too. Check out her ‘about’ page to read about a life well lived.)

Twists and Turns

14 Aug

This afternoon I got into my truck to drive into town and saw Widget, my Australian Heeler, walk out from his place in the shade of the mock orange bushes on the side of the house. He’d come out to see me and the least I could do was return the favor. I got out, knelt down and rubbed the sleep from the corners of his eyes and when he was looking square into mine I asked him to please come find me in heaven. I told him I’m going to need his help and that I hope he’ll meet me whenever I show up. Widget’s brown eyes showed no sign of comprehension, but if you don’t ask, the answer’s always no. So I asked, and personally, I think he’ll be there when the time comes.

Back in the truck and driving down the long driveway past the barn and stables, the arena full of weeds, and out the gate I thought about the time with Widget and about the changes that will happen in my life because of how I spent those two minutes. Each decision changes everything that follows and each day is filled with an almost infinite stream of moments. Twists and turns that lead to….more twists and turns. And whither then? What’s out there waiting round each corner? The only answer is the one the grizzled New Englander whittling on the front porch of the general store gave to the tourist asking whether it was going to rain that day; “Hard tellin’, not knowin'”.

Tomorrow I’m taking grandkids to a resort hotel down on the coast. They want to go on a water slide that corkscrews for a hundred and twenty feet of distance and thirty or so feet of elevation change and empties into a pool near a cave-like grotto. Almost twenty-six years to the day, the very same hotel was about to open its doors to customers and I was doing punch list clean up work for the terrazzo company I was working for. The pools had just been filled and were being inspected for leaks and new hotel staff was being trained. Most of the construction crews were long gone but there was still quite a few workers like myself on the grounds, aware that very soon we were going to have to move on, find other work or take a long unpaid vacation. (A resume of mine had been in the hands of the Operations Manager of Atlantis Submarines in Kona for a few months but that’s another story, and at the time I had no idea what, if anything, was going to happen there.)

Four o’clock rolled by and someone put three garden hoses at the top of the water slide and turned them on full blast. Another someone found a bottle of dishwashing soap and slicked up the first twenty feet of the slide walls with it. Word spread fast and in no time there were about ten construction workers stripped down to their blue jeans and whooping and hollering as they followed each other down that slide to splash into the pool overflowing with soap suds. We were celebrating, that much was clear, but what?  The end of the day? A job well done? The unknown that waited somewhere out ahead of us?

It didn’t take long for someone to chase us out of there, but for a few beautiful minutes we were just kids having a good time, the first of many to come, sliding happily down that slide and headlong into the future. Tomorrow I’m going to have to pay for the pleasure of revisiting my past. My grandkids will think I’m there with them, little knowing that I’ll be time traveling with a big smile on my face, moving backwards along the twists and turns of the past decades until I meet myself one hot afternoon a long time ago, the first guy down the water slide.

(the slide now)