Fireworks Sessions – Friday Fictioneers

Thanks to our lovely Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the Friday Fictioneers, a group of writers who meet weekly to write 100-word stories based on a photo prompt. Check them out!

Thanks to Vijaya Sundaram for this week’s spirited photo. Happy Labor Day to those who are celebrating!

vijaya
PHOTO PROMPT -© Vijaya Sundaram

(Humor: 99 words)

Fireworks Sessions

“You don’t actually see them. It’s more of a feeling.”

“I know,” Anna said.

His tongue felt like a lizard tail in her mouth and so she heaved her hot dogs.

They didn’t attempt another fireworks session until the following weekend when Tommy arrived smeared in mud.

“You owe me,” Tommy said.

They sat on the wet grass on a torn blanket. She kissed his muddy mouth and the moon disappeared under a veil of fog.

“No big deal,” said Anna.

“Yeah, nothing compared to your vomit.”

“Tommy, something tells me we’re going about this fireworks thing all wrong.”

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Pokemon, where have you gone to? – Part 2

If you find yourself at a dead stop behind a non-moving vehicle in the middle of parking lot, there’s a good chance the operator of the vehicle is playing Pokemon Go. This happened to me and my son the other day. The woman was staring down into her lap, obviously trying to hide something, her eyes bugging out of her head with enough concentration to burst a dam. Could it be? Of course! she’s playing Pokemon Go!

This determination is common and even more severe than anyone could have imagined. The headlines are rife with tragedies and mishaps. Players falling off cliffs, crashing into cop cars, and getting stabbed. On the lighter side, I read a hopeful story about the rescue of a stray kitten, later named Mewtwo (yes, from the game). Poor, little Mewtwo was stuck in a tree with injuries and couldn’t get down. I’m betting it was Pokemon Go players who drove the poor cat up the tree in the first place, arriving in hoards, stepping on her tail or something much worse.

And did you hear the news? (Although it’s hard to top Mewtwo.) Nick Johnson, a New Yorker, has caught all the Pokemon! Yes, really. He did it in two weeks with a little help from Uber. No crashing into cop cars here. He caught them in two weeks with little or no sleep. It kind of feels like he got the Golden Ticket. He still needs to catch the rare creatures who only exist in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. And what luck! Marriott Rewards is going to partner with him to help him locate the last remaining Pokemon.

My son shouts, “Mom! We should have done this!” For free trips to all these places, I totally would have done this. Just picture the headline:

Mother and Son TEAM catch all the Pokemon

I mean, doesn’t that have a better ring to it?

So far, my progress is dismal. I’m at Level 6. And my son? He’s watched some YouTube video that’s shown him how to hack into the game and play Pokemon Go from a horizontal, resting position on the couch (i.e., he doesn’t have to GO anywhere!). He tells me this game is for people who need to get out and he already gets out enough.

So, he’s playing the game as if he’s walking around San Francisco and he’s catching a lot of fish. As you might imagine, this has put a damper on our Pokemon bonding experience. But he’s busy because you need to capture 132 fish to evolve one of your fishes. You need to capture like a whole school. And what will he tell his cousin, whom we’re meeting in San Francisco when he’s already caught all the Pokemon there? His secret will be out!

Meanwhile, back at that ranch, I got a new line on an old phone given to me by mother-in-law so my younger son has a Pokemon device. Sprint requires not only your account information but also your first-born and a DNA sample…and still, they won’t unlock the phone! It turns out they won’t unlock iPhones. What a bust.

My family and I have been in San Jose over the past few days for the Junior Olympics Water Polo tournament and, in between games, the hotel was a flurry of Pokemon Go activity.

Our hotel, in fact, had a PokeStop. It was this Oasis:

HotelOasis
Calm and peaceful. A perfect place for a PokeStop.

This made me wonder if the game makers sought permission for naming their PokeSpots. While the hotel might appreciate the free advertising, it may be a tad disturbing to their paying guests to have all these extra “guests” while ensconced poolside at their hotel. My son assured me that no one has given any permission for any PokeStop and that that trespassing is rampant. In fact, people are walking into the backyards of people’s houses looking for PokeStops. What could be a PokeStop in someone’s backyard, I wonder.

Perhaps it’s a fountain like the one we saw at the De Anza College campus in Cupertino, California:

This gets PokeStop status.

Or a sculpture:

OmubakaSculpture
Here we have the Omubaka Ambassador Sculpture and, apparently, an Ambassador to the PokeStop.

I vote for this turtle, who wasn’t a PokeStop:

Turtle_DeAnza
What gives?

Sometimes, a PokeStop truly is deserving, like this plaque celebrating an English professor. My son remarked that the quote was nice. Indeed:

plaque2

plaque
It reads: In the shooting lights of thy wild eyes…from a verse from William Wordsworth.

My son used my phone to play and we let the game track our every move, which doesn’t seem to bother anyone anymore. Not in the case of Pokemon Go. Me, I’m betting there’s some other game probably already in the works. You know, like something darker out of a dystopian novel, like play or be eaten. Although what could be darker than enslaving Pokemon to fight until they fade and pass out while fighting in that innocent, healthy arena called a “Gym.”

My son ran around with his buddies later in the week. Without their devices. They were playing a game you may have heard of. Hide-and-Go-Seek.

Yeah, they did. It’s a classic.

Manual for Bureaucracy – Friday Fictioneers

Step in line for a summer rerun. Thanks as always to our splendid host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo was provided by Sandra Crook. Thank you, Sandra. If you haven’t read Sandra’s stories, you simply must.

Enjoy! It’s time to go look for Pokemon.

sheep-and-car
PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

(99 words)

Manual for Bureaucracy

1. File in, collect a number, determine destination.
2. Sit down, complete paperwork, wait to be called.
3. Talk to the hole in the glass, return paperwork.
4. Wait.
5. Talk to the glass; learn you need a Specialist.
6. Repeat Step 2, add paperwork.
7. Walk through long, white corridor. Hint: Turn left, left, right, no left. Just follow the red tape.
8. Repeat Steps 1 and 4.
9. Talk to the Assistant who talks to the Specialist.
10 Repeat Step 2.
11. Learn it is the wrong Specialist.
12. Repeat 2, 4, and 9.
13. Take multiple flights of stairs. Hint: Follow the red tape if you’re lost.
14. Read the sign: Sorry. We’re closed. Come back tomorrow.

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For more 100-word stories, visit the Fictioneers linkup.

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.

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

Insufficient Backup Storage Error – Friday Fictioneers

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, even when it’s Saturday. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this group and to Kent Bonham for sharing his cool picture with us.

The challenge is to write a 100-word story based on the photo. My story follows.

kent-b
PHOTO PROMPT © Kent Bonham

Genre: Humor (98 words)

Insufficient Backup Storage Error

“Have you ever noticed that things that are top secret are marked top secret in big, bold letters?” asked Charlie. For all he knew, Susie wasn’t even in the room until she threw a crumpled ball of paper at his head.

“Wise guy,” Susie said. “We found it buried in a cave. And it’s not marked top secret.”

“Some kid probably buried this mumbo jumbo a long time ago and now he’s in jail, dreaming about his book.”

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

“You assured me the code was stored in a secure location,” said Tim Cook. “What do you mean it’s missing?”

 

********

Tim Cook, of course, is Apple’s CEO. 

To read more stories from the Fictioneers, click here.

The Bottom Half – Friday Fictioneers

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers hosted by our Fairy Blog Mother, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo was provided by Emmy L. Gant. Thanks, Emmy.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly writing group challenged to write a 100-word story based on a photo. All are welcome. Join in. Here are helpful instructions.

emmylgant
PHOTO PROMPT – © Emmy L Gant

(100 words)

The Bottom Half

A pitcher of ice water with floating lemon slices graced the table, unoffered.

Property manager Zelda dropped the contract in front of Leo. “Welcome to Zephyr Gardens. Just initial and sign.”

Leo flipped through the stack of paper. “Like I’m buying a house. Want an arm? How about both my legs?”

“You can itemize.” Zelda looked away. 

“Like a shopping list? Pool, keys, security, landscaping, housekeeping, dog clean-up…air.” Leo shrieked. “Since when are we paying for air?”

“It’s filtered. Clean,” she said.

He checked a box. “Suppose I gotta have clean air. I can scoop up the poop.”

Zelda shrugged.

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For more stories from the Fictioneers, click here.

Pink Lady Queen Blues

pinktiara

Lorna bought a pink fleece pants set at Macy’s. In fact, she wore it up to the register. Her tattered clothes were neatly folded, held tightly under her arm. The pants set was fun, on sale and pink. She simply couldn’t take it off. It was ballet pink. Not that obnoxious cotton candy or bubble gum pink.  An embroidered butterfly spanned the jewel neckline, and she touched it while she waited to make her purchase.

Pink was her favorite color, but she never wore it. The fact that was she was an autumn through and through, meant olives, grays, and browns were best suited to bring out the chestnut of her eyes and her natural complexion, the net result enhancing the highlights of her auburn hair. Everything came together when you simply followed your chart. Ballet pink was for springs and clearly she was not one. Today, Lorna wandered off her chart and she just couldn’t stop herself.

Leaning over the register’s counter, Lorna struck a graceful dancer’s pose, fully embracing her ballet pink, so the sales clerk could scan her pants set; she was confident that her recent extra pounds went unnoticed. Lorna felt so close to starlet status that, just as the clerk hit the total button, she nabbed a pair of silver hoops displayed by the register, each studded with a faux pink diamond at the bottom. She held them up to her ear. “What do you think?”

The clerk said, “Nice. It matches your outfit.”

The earrings looked like they fell out of a Cracker Jack box and were far too young for her, and Lorna knew it, but spontaneity channeled her inner child and she decided to buy them anyway. Sitting comfortably in her car, she thought about going to her Zumba class in her new pants set or maybe even for a quick jog. Anything seemed possible. She could just as easily call a friend and arrange that much-needed coffee date, the one promised in the final moments of a passing conversation. Her new outfit freed her spirit. That’s what she knew.

The pants and jacket hugged her skin, inviting a rest on the couch, and so she spread out her limbs and lounged, an altogether new activity she never allowed herself. Her husband Randall had already adopted his usual position in his La-Z-Boy recliner.

“Nice outfit,” Randall said, looking up from his smartphone. “Pink, huh? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in pink.” He went back to his scrolling.

Lorna couldn’t hold back her grin. “Just trying something different.”

Randall grunted; whether it was in response to her comment, Lorna didn’t know nor did she care. She stretched out some more and watched TV until it glowed in the darkness.

Finally, Randall asked, “What are we having for dinner?” He had fallen asleep, a common phenomenon for he woke up in shock every time when he slipped away like that. Lorna counted on his typical snoozing for personal space and peace of mind, now invaded.

“I thought we’d order out. Why not Chinese from that place in the shopping center? We’ll have it delivered.”

When the food arrived, they resumed their watching positions and ate quietly, Lorna careful not to spill on her pink fleece, so soft she hardly wanted to wash it. And the comfort. The longer she wore it, the more comfortable it felt, comfortable enough that she fell asleep in front of the TV and didn’t wake until the next day.

Waking up in her outfit made getting ready a snap. A few stretches and she was off running her usual course, feeling as light as the butterfly that passed her, running sparingly so as not to muck up, what she momentarily considered, her new activewear. She showered quickly and slipped right back into her pink pants set. Her absence didn’t occur to Randall as he slept through her run and only noticed the pink flush of her skin as she prepared morning eggs.

Gardening in the pink fleece was as equally as comforting. Lorna sat her soft, fleeced bum on the dirt before remembering to protect her clothes with a towel. As the dirt was dry, she simply brushed it off. She saw no reason to change before having that coffee with her friend Felicia, who noticed her new outfit straight away.

“Do you need to change?” asked Felicia, who never needed to change a thing, always achieving the right combination of personal style and high fashion know-how.  

Lorna did a pass in front of the mirror, brushed a few stray flecks of dirt and powdered her nose. “No, I’m good.”

Several times during their outing, Felicia looked her up and down and interrupted Lorna in mid-sentence asking if she felt all right, to which Lorna responded, “I’ve never felt better.”

Her heightened mood continued even as she shed her clothes into the washing machine for a cleaning. Hot from the dryer, the pants set retained its lovely pink softness and Lorna promptly returned it to his proper place, her body. It didn’t matter that it was Monday and that her body would be returning to the office of mortar grays and fabric browns. Her smooth pink undoubtedly influenced her co-workers’ cheerful nods and smiles.  No one suggested she return in more formal attire, which was a good thing considering she had neglected to wash her clothes; she determined that her pants set be washed in exclusivity and nothing else fit in her closet anyway. The pants set really saved the day.

So, she wore it with no hesitation, day in and day out, and it was no surprise that she wore it out to dinner with Randall. Not since the gorgeous gown of her wedding day had Randall bothered to comment on her attire, and remarked, “It’s the pink lady.”

“Oh, stop,” Lorna said, and then, “Do you think I should change?”

“Nah, I’m glad you’re comfortable, hon.”

“That’s what I said,” Lorna said. “Why should clothes really matter? If anything, my production has gone way up.”

After they ordered two spaghetti plates and red wine, Lorna explained how her boss called her in, giving her a lecture about the importance of on-the-job professionalism and so she asked her husband between slurps of noodles, “Where else would you have professionalism, right?” A few drops of wine fell onto her jacket, which she forgot to take off at dinner; she almost forgot she wore it all. Her whole outfit, in fact, had become her second skin, and now it was stained.

“Tsk-tsk. I guess you’ll have to change now,” Randall said. “Or, you could wear nothing at all.”

His comment faded into the checkered tablecloth Lorna stared at while she sipped her wine, twitching her eyebrows together as they did when she sank into deep thought. “I need to order some backups.”

That evening, Lorna ordered seven “backups” from Macy’s online, one for each day of the week, all pink and, of course, she knew they would fit. It was an action both pure and simple, and resolute self-assurance swelled in her loins. It was her suit and tie, her prescribed uniform of happiness, and no one could stand in her way.

Scarfs, purses, and necklaces fortified her outfit and added just enough variance to fool her boss when he saw her from the waist up sitting at the conference table. She even joined Felicia in a spontaneous shopping frenzy, accessorizing her outfit to such a degree that her slim wardrobe was allotted more money than she had ever spent on herself in the past. It was her small price for freedom of a pink pants set. Her co-workers presented her a tiara with sparkling pink diamonds, which adorned her desk and bounced prisms of light across the ceiling in late afternoon. She wore her pink pants and matching jacket with pride.

Except, she couldn’t bring herself to wear anything else, even when all of her outfits were dirtied. It got so that everyone expected to see her dressed in her multitalented pink pants set: her work getup, her jogger, her activewear lounger. She was the Pink Lady Queen and she had the blues. This second skin morphed like a tattoo she couldn’t undo.

Constant washings diluted her pink pants sets and they became lighter in color, all different versions of themselves, ghosts of white. She was done with backups. One day, she let them all float away and lay in bed in her real skin, lingering a little longer. Naked and exposed, her light shone through, her skin illuminating its own private hue.

photo credit: she lives in shadows via photopin (license)