Doing It Their Way – Friday Fictioneers

I figure Sunday is as good as any day for a story! I have a quick confession. Somehow I thought I saw the prompt come up in my Reader, thinking it was this other, older one we had before and I wrote a new story (for a prompt used before!). Maybe because it was Friday the 13th?! I don’t have a good reason. I mixed myself up. 

And, I took this prompt to be a theater. But here’s my story anyway.

Thanks as always to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for leading the group and to Ceayr for the wonderful photo. 

arena
PHOTO PROMPT © CEAYR

Doing It Their Way

From behind creaky doors to the spotlight down to the pit of darkness, theaters hold a history all their own. Gossip, rumors, it’s all part of the show. The final review is the truth whispered in the wings.

Like the one about the dancer who languished in the back row, her arms like lead, her head drooping, a flower wilting past her prime. Except she burst; spinning in front of the star with such speed and bravado, she flew into the orchestra, toppling the cellist and his instrument.

Her abrupt entrance was their exit and they left hand-in-hand, stars of their own show.

**************

Please visit the linkup for more stories from Fictioneers who know what they’re doing. 🙂

In Search of Masterpieces (part 2)

If you’d like to read the previous part of this scene, you can find it here. Thanks for reading.

1216685140_ea1b0947ef

Two more steps and my body would have been a heap on the concrete floor.

I inched across the platform, releasing the door from my sweaty fingers, and it slammed shut behind me. When I tried to open it this time, it was locked.

I stepped into the hallway, but instead of a long corridor before me, I gazed at a shortened version, faced with yet another greyish-blue door directly across from me, just like the one I passed through moments before. Had my eyes played tricks on me or had it been there all along?

I had no choice but to but to exit one door and enter the next. The knob turned easily, and as if to say I’d chosen wrongly before, and the door opened to an elegant stairway, the walls and steps a pristine, white marble, with candlesticks mounted on the walls, lighting a path, that wound itself around and around endlessly. I hadn’t been aware that the museum had more than three stories, and in fact, knew I had climbed up just one flight to see the exhibit, remembering it now with the pain in my big toe throbbing the whole way; yet, here there must be at least three, maybe five floors of stairway. 

I gained momentum with each step, winding down and around, not even knowing if I was still in the same building. I recalled a mental picture of the outside of the museum, trying to remember if there was an attachment of some kind and could remember none.

“Is anyone here? Anyone? Hello?” My voice echoed.

As I walked the spiral, I felt like I was drifting, almost carried, and moving faster than I wanted to, and faster than my aching foot would allow me. Don’t give into it, hold it together. Almost there, almost there. Almost where? I found I couldn’t even so much as pause, and gusts of warmth inflated my body like I had been caught in an air pocket, taking one step and falling the next two. Cascading downward, the staircase narrowed, and I needed more air.

Faster, less air, warmth, then heat, spinning around the railing, I felt like I might lose my step and fall, so I grabbed the thick, marble railing and held it as it slid underneath my fingers, friction burning my flesh. The spiral didn’t stop for any floor, and I lost track of how many I’d passed, my disorientation emerging as the ground slipped from beneath me. I reached the bottom with a crash, landing on my side; my cheek hit the cool, smooth wood of the floor.

Faint classical music played in the background. It was a piano, something I’d heard many times. Even if I ended up in the wrong place, I wasn’t alone. A murmuring of voices flowed from a room nearby and the floors creaked with footsteps. I rose, drifting towards their voices and then I saw them all; people milled about, laughing, enjoying themselves, viewing grand art on the walls, and sipping from champagne flutes. A jolt hit me in a deep pocket of my stomach because it was all too familiar. This was the exhibition, the same exact one.

I spun around in every direction, gauging the parameters of the room. Patrons bounced in and out of my path as I searched for the exit.

“Looking for something?” A security guard towered above me.

I said nothing and walked in the opposite direction, and who did I see but Jake, standing by himself. He stared at a painting, smothered in an expression of dumb calm, the way he looked when I ceremonially removed my shirt or my bra for his viewing pleasure.

“There you are,” I said, trying to appear as equally calm. He wasn’t flustered in the slightest. He was lost in this painting. The recessed light cast a glow around him, holding him captive; a smile crept across his face as if he could barely contain himself. He stood motionless, unable to turn his head to look at me.

“Isn’t she incredible?” he exclaimed, fixated on a portrait of a woman, dressed in a white, flowing gown. An iridescence emanated from the painting, casting a glow around her husband.

“I looked everywhere for you,” I said. My absence hadn’t occurred to him.

His eyes were wild pinpoints, and I felt he was almost incapable of moving. I waved my hand in front of his face.

“Hey,” I yelled at him, loud enough for the next room to hear me.

“Hmm?” he finally turned to look at me directly in the face and shrugged.

“Where the hell have you been?”

“Right here. I’ve been here the whole time,” he said. “Marveling at this painting. Claudia, it’s called. Claudia,” he whispered the last to himself. “Isn’t she a masterpiece?”

I blinked my eyes several times.  “A masterpiece? No, I don’t think so,” I said, but he didn’t hear me.

The lights flickered on and off signaling the museum’s closing. The security guard, the same one who crossed my path, poked his head in.

“We will be closing in ten minutes,” he said, nodding his head at Jake. The evening had slipped away.

Jake glanced once at the lady in white and then grabbed my hand. Looking back over my shoulder, I swear she blinked her eyes. I knew she could see me. She stole my evening.

photo credit: The Tulip Staircase, Queen’s House via photopin (license)

Filled with Hope (A Photo Journal)

“Mom, my boots are waterproof so no mud will seep through,” my son said from the back seat of the car.

“My shoes are full of holes,” Dad offered.

“I know of some great, cheap shoes from Costco. We’ll get you some tomorrow,” I said, trying to console.

“A lot of good that does me now,” said Dad.

“I know, we can burn your shoes in a fire pit,” my son cheered along side his little brother.

“Maybe we can find a fire pit at the bottom of the lake,” said my younger son.

“I’m going to look for pennies. Legendary pennies worth millions of dollars that will pay for my college education,” said the oldest.

“Yeah, yeah,” little brother said. “A million dollars!”

“Maybe we should look for shoes, too,” I said.

**********************************************

Just outside of Sacramento, California, Folsom Lake is more mud than water. Boats no longer dock in the marina now.

I see boats on them thar hills. They once made quite a picturesque scene here on the docks where the geese swam and floated by. Geese rule these parts now and will roam wherever they please. Thank you very much.

FolsomDrought 010

What does a lake that is at 17% capacity look like? This was our first glimpse of it.

FolsomDrought 009

I know. Gasp. Yes, this used to be water. Or was that just a dream?

People and cars fill the lake now.

FolsomDrought 028

And porta-potties. Now more than ever, Folsom Lake is a popular place to visit. It’s an event.

FolsomDrought 027a

It’s not just the mind-blowing desolation or perhaps the prospect of walking inside a lake. Perhaps that’s as close to walking on water as we can ever experience.

As it turns out, what was submerged under water is now exposed.

Tree stumps:

FolsomDrought 019

Tires:

FolsomDrought 012

My family inside a tire inside a lake:

FolsomDrought 013

My son surfing on rusty remnants:

FolsomDrought 003

Buoys stripped of their purpose. With water, this would float to the top.

FolsomDrought 025

This lake is also filled with history.

The biggest fascination for the masses is the resurfacing of “The Ruins,” a Gold Rush Ghost Town. That town was Mormon Island. In 1955, the town flooded after Folsom Dam was built. Here is what’s left.

FolsomDrought 059

FolsomDrought 046

A docent in Little House on the Prairie attire hurried by us on her way to the airport. She mentioned she’d be back next weekend to give “tours” and answer any questions. A little digging of my own revealed that this bustling Gold Rush town once supported more than 2,500 residents, a school, a winery, a dairy, four hotels, and seven saloons.

Perhaps this was one such saloon.

FolsomDrought 048

The rest of the town is still submerged, somewhere out there.

FolsomDrought 061

Had we uncovered any legendary pennies, they would have remained at the lake bed to preserve this historical site.

Rusty nails, debris, shells of broken bottles are collected and stacked as treasures.

FolsomDrought 056

The concrete covers what was once a well.

FolsomDrought 058

We left with plenty of mud on our shoes and our socks and

…with a lot of luck…and a lot of hope…

FolsomDrought 054

for the water’s return…because hope is a good thing.

Folsom Lake when full with marina in the foreground. Image Credit: www.discovergold.org
Folsom Lake at normal levels with marina in the foreground. Image Credit: www.discovergold.org

On January 17, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought State of Emergency in California. 

************************************

Related Video:
Drought Exposes Ghost Gold Rush Town in Dry Lake Bed – Folsom

Related Article:
Governor Brown Declares Drought State of Emergency

A Journey by Boat – Friday Fictioneers – 09/13/13

This week’s Friday Fictioneers is based on the story of my grandparents, whom I never met. My father is the youngest in this story.

Thank you Rochelle for leading our group. Find more stories from the Fictioneers here.

Biography: 100 words

Copyright – Jan Wayne Field

A Journey by Boat

Melchior, a carpenter, couldn’t have known his fate the day he walked into the church of St. Francis. He saw a smile in her eyes and heard his mother tongue of German Swiss once again. It was here that he met Elizabeth, a stranger in this foreign land, but a neighbor who had lived only twenty miles away in their native Switzerland. Six months later, in this same church, they married.

Their twelve children taught them English. Seven left to fight in the war. Melchior played the accordion with his youngest, Michael, while Blackie the dog howled at their feet.

Santa, The Jig Is Up

Santa, I’m on to you. Who’s been naughty or nice? I have an answer to that question.

It appears that the orange that people put in their stockings has its own story…and it’s huge! I think this is the closest I’ll ever get to solving the mysteries of the Universe and Everything.

First, the supposed story of the orange goes something like this. Bishop Nicholas wanted to help a poor man by providing a dowry for his three, lovely daughters. Because the poor man did not accept charity, Bishop Nicholas secretly threw bags of gold coins down their chimney, which magically landed in their stockings hung by the fireplace. These bags of gold transformed into balls of gold, which are now symbolized by oranges.

They they are again. Suspicious oranges.
There they are again. Suspicious oranges.

Not so fast, Nicholas. Why all the secrets, huh? You say it’s because the father didn’t want to accept charity, but how did you come across three bags of gold? Maybe it was you who wanted to keep it a secret. Never mind that the dowry was for a woman who would marry someone else. That’s beside the point. I think our friend Nicolas was trying to impress a lady. I’m going to go out on a limb here, because I feel it in my bones, and say that Nicholas did this for a woman with intentions that weren’t altogether pure. He did this for a love that he could not have.

But, alas, this was the next best thing…to see her have happiness. He watched her from a distance and threw himself into gift giving.

And, now, we’re all running around like rabbits, trying to fulfill his hidden agenda, anxious and stressed out. All for the sake of a woman. Yes, it all makes sense now. It’s crystal clear. St. Nick, consider yourself found out. I bet you never thought I would reveal this on a blog with readers that could number in the millions. It could happen.

I imagine now that I have revealed this story, there will be a mad rush to make a documentary or, perhaps, an Academy award-winning film. Of course, this won’t happen. No one would ever produce it because Christmas would be ruined for the kids.

But for the record, the first gift of Christmas was cold, hard cash in the form of gold coins. My oldest son has requested cash for Christmas. First, he requested books, which I was happy about until I learned he wants them in hardcover only. I explained hardcover cost quite a bit more than the soft cover. He, however, wants the hardcover for his collection that he will hand down to his kids. Such a manipulator. Just the books, oh, and some cash, in addition to some gifts he assumes he’s getting.

Oh, he can have some cash. Here darling, how about all that I have left? Here’s a dollar. That will get you half a candy bar, which will taste as good as a whole one. If that isn’t enough to satisfy you, look deeper into your stocking…you can have that orange.

Nicholas, Saint, jolly man…I hope it was worth it.

Olympics, I’ve Gone Color-Blind

I’ve tolerated the pink wash of the gymnastics arena. I’ll admit in the heat of the women’s competition the other night, I was revved up by all the pink. I could barely make out the gymnasts in their red, or was it pink, leotards. That’s okay, too. I’m good at squinting. But when they were on the podium accepting their gold medals, after their tear-jerking, emotionally driven reality-tv aired footage…more on this in a minute…what do I see the American gymnasts wearing on the podium but gray, yellow, and purple.

Huh? I’ll admit their attire is snazzy in a Star Trek, futuristic, Kingdom of Oz kind of way. I understand Ralph Lauren designed their outfits. Or, was it Nike?The tops expose sleek lines, showing off the athletes’ well-defined musculature. And, the hoods are quite fetching.  I supposed we had to brighten the gray with yellow sneakers. Clever. Purple? I’m not even sure where that came in. Maybe they were holding purple flowers or was it the ribbon medal? I can’t even remember. But who I am to dispute this tasteful choice of clothing?

It’s simply that I’m accustomed to certain colors. For example, we say a red glass of wine is red, not green. And, green grass, well, it’s green…not orange. Or, wait a minute. Is this one of those things where we’ve been conditioned to accept that the sky is blue, not yellow. Like that? It could be yellow, but we know it as blue. Is it simply a trend? Next Olympics will the athletes will be wearing a whole plethora of wildflower colors. The Olympic rings are colorful, are they not?

One venue that has been absent of an array of colors is the pool, at least on TV. With the pool we have blue. Nice calm, pool blue. You’ll notice that the sidings are blue, like the pool. It’s as if the organizers said, “No, we’re not having any of that pink here. ” Perhaps, a portion of the lane lines are pink, or it could be my TV. Or, maybe my brain has now rewired the colors. The colors that should be red, white, and blue, now grey, yellow, and purple. Got it?

The pool….yes.  On to other more important topics. How about that Michael Phelps achieving his 19th Olympic medal? History was made, and I’m touched that he could share this moment with his teammates defending the Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay title. I was on the edge of my seat, cheering. Yes, I get emotional. I have to hide my face and pretend I’m not shedding tears. Oh, just coming down with a cold is all.

I remember witnessing another historic moment in gymnastics when Nadia scored her perfect 10, and it showed up as 1.0, confusing the hell out of all of us. I, too, was a gymnast at that point in my life.  It had stirred up a wistful hope that I, too, could be an Olympian like Nadia. Little did I know that I would quit the sport only a couple of years later. Still, I remember that time of my life fondly when the Olympic dream was alive inside of me, even if only fleetingly.

I suppose this is why I get so emotional when I watch the Olympics. I could never be the parent caught on camera when her child has completed the event or when the results are in. It would not be pretty. I would have to wear a bag over my head. I would be a blubbering mess, tears streaming. Folks at home would say, “Oh, look at her. Hold it together, lady.” But perhaps, these parents are seasoned as they have seen their child compete countless times in their quest for Olympic gold.

But not everyone gets gold, of course. Most go home empty-handed. But just to be at the Olympics is a dream so few experience. The emotions run high, especially when the expectations carry such weight. Such a tremendous weight, in fact, I’m surprised the Russian gymnasts could even get off the ground. The pressure bearing down on them, and the outpouring of emotions when they didn’t quite get it.

It all came down to a tumbling pass…

Wait  a second….I mean two tumbling passes actually. But NBC decided to air only one of them, toying with our emotions so that our TV watching experience could be what, more exciting? Evoke more tears? NBC, are you making a joke out of my tears? This decision was quite deliberate it would seem. Since the Russians did not fulfill two tumbling passes adequately, the Americans clinched the gold before they even began their floor routines.

Did they think we weren’t going to find out? Are they mocking my emotions and my intelligence? These gymnasts on the podium stand with integrity and deserve to be there. I hold this broadcaster to the same standard. Now act like it. Shame, shame. The Olympics is not reality television. People want the actual real thing. The athletes, dedicating years and years to their sport, deserve to have their events documented and aired as truthfully as possible.

Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net