what do you think of marci?

dude, she’s captivating.

what? who says captivating? that’s something you’d read in a fashion review… so you think she’s pretty?

i don’t know about that. cute, maybe? interesting? the main thing is, she seems nice. she’s… perky? does that sound dumb?

nah. she’s perky. they say she’s also smart.

yeah, that too. she’s, you know, got my interest. i’m captivated.

so you going to ask her for a date?

i think she’s out of my league.

how can you be captivated if you won’t ask her out for a date?

because i can’t stop thinking about her.


For Daily Post

The words blurred into one another…

The words blurred into one another, every yellowed page like the one before.

“What does it say?”

“I can’t tell. The words are blurred one into another.”

“Two-by-two? Can you…?”

“No, all the words on the page are one big blur.”

“How can a word at the beginning of the page blur into a word at the end of the page?”

“It’s just one big blur, ok? Maybe each word blurs into the next. One into another. Maybe each word is just sitting there blurred by itself. All I know is, you can’t read anything. Not a single word. All blurred into one another.”

“Seems like if they all… Never mind. Try the next page.”

“The next page is yellowed too. It’s like the one before.”

“Try the page after that.”

“Every page is like the one before.”

“So what you’re telling me is, the thing is one big blur.”

“Probably got wet. A long time ago.”

“So we’ve got no idea what it’s about? It could be about anything. It’s a worthless book.”

“Well, it’s not the only book. There’s a pile of them.”

“Have you checked the others or just this one?”

“Every one is like the one before.”


For¬†Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Maybe it’s time.

“Maybe it’s time.”

“You know it’s time. It’s been time. I’m tired of waiting.”

“Whoa there. Slow down. I’m saying, look, I’m thinking about it.”

“Stop thinking. Start doing.”

“The thing is, maybe it’s not time. I’m thinking it’s almost time. Not quite time.”

“How many times have we had this conversation?”

“What about you? It’s not time for a lot of your things.”

“You want to trade? I’ll do some of my not-time things if you’ll do this.”

“This is a big thing. You’d have to do lots of yours.”

“Shall we make a list?”

“Look, it’s not the same. You can just do your things. But the time has to be right to do this thing. Just right.”

“The time was right from the beginning. It’s right now. The only thing wrong is you.”

“That’s not fair.”

“For you, the time will never be right. Or maybe it will. Or maybe it’ll be too late when it’s right for you, too late for me, the wrong time for me. I need someone whose time is now, whose time is right for me.”

“Look, slow down. Take it easy. Yes, we’ve talked about this a lot. Yes, I’ve dragged my feet a little. But ok, maybe it is time. I just said that.”

“You know it’s time.”

“Ok. Ok. It’s time. Happy? It’s time. I agree with you. It’s time.”

“Now it’s time. Now. Right now.”

“Yes. Right now. I’m thinking about it right now. About it being now. I’m thinking about it seriously now. Right now. Considering it.”


For Everyday Gyaan


“Where are you going?”

“I’m going out to have another quick look for that bird.”

“It’s getting late and cooling off. Put on your black sweatshirt. I don’t want you catching a chill.”

“Yes, Dear.”

“Pull your hood up. Cover that bald head.”

“Where are my binoculars?”

“Here. It’s a little misty. Keep them in the sweatshirt’s front pocket, not around your neck. You can pull them out fast if you need to. And don’t get run over.”


“Sir, will you step over to the car please?”

“What is it, Officer?”

“Sir, do you live around here?”

“I do. Is there a problem?”

“You’re dressed in dark clothing with your hood up. The light’s failing. Makes you hard to see, and you’re moving slowly and a little erratically while you stare into the neighborhood’s front yards.”

“I can explain that. Let me just show you…”

“Sir, take your hand out of the pocket. We know what’s in there. We know what you’re up to.”

“No, let me explain…”

“No need. You’re the fourth person we’ve stopped. Look for the bird but please pay attention to the foot and bike traffic on the sidewalk. Safety first.”


For the Daily Prompt.

entangled time

“You’re back early.”

“How about a Welcome home, Darling?”

“Sorry. Welcome home, Darling.”‘

“You’re in the kitchen. That’s rare. Miss my cooking?”

“I can cook.”

“Really? How long have we been married? I don’t remember you ever cooking. Or coming into the kitchen. So you’ve been eating what while I was gone?”

“This and that. How did your lecture go? What was it about, again?”

“It went fine. Time entanglement.”

“Time entanglement. Something about physics, right?”

“I’ll give you an example. Suppose you got entangled with another person.”

“What? Why would you say that?”

“Take it easy. Let’s imagine that your wife goes away for a couple of days to give a lecture and you’re left here alone to starve.”

“Don’t be silly. Sure, you teach all day and then come home and make dinner, but I can cook.”

“So I peek under the sink in the wastebasket and… there aren’t any cans or TV dinner boxes. See?”

“I didn’t eat from cans, or any frozen stuff.”

“You cooked from scratch.”

“What does that mean?”

“You used the flour and sugar in the cabinet… Which cabinet is that, by the way?”

“Look… I… I found everything I needed, ok?”

“Uh huh. So I open the dishwasher… and look. It’s got dishes in it.”

“Sure. Because I was cooking and eating.”

“Uh huh. So being a mathematician, I count up the dishes and there seem to be twice as many as necessary.”

“I ate more often than usual.”

“So the entanglement thing, once somebody cooks for you and the food goes into your stomach and into her stomach and then some time goes by, the sheets come into play.”

“The sheets?”

“Yeah. You get entangled in them.”

Starting Small

“Help me out with my New Year’s resolution. I need some inspiration.”

“I have enough trouble with my own.”

“Sure. But you know my pluses and minuses. Just throw out an idea or two.”

“What, like lose a little weight or get more exercise?”

“If that’s what you think I need.”

“You definitely don’t need either of those two things.”

“O.K. So…?”

“Hmm. You could be a little nicer?”

“You don’t think I’m nice? How am I not nice?”

“It’s just that sometimes I think you think you’re not like everyone else.”

“I don’t get it. You mean you think I think I’m better than everyone else?”

“No, not like that. Not that you’re better. You just don’t seem to realize that we’re all in this thing together.”

“You’re talking about life? We all live and we all die?”

“Not exactly that either. It’s somewhere in between – not about thinking you’re superior and not about recognizing your mortality. I think that from day to day as you go about your business and deal with other people, you could be a little more compassionate. I don’t feel much caring in you. You could be a little more, well, kinder.”

“Wow. I don’t know what to say… You’ve surprised me there.”

“I’m not trying to make a big deal out of it. You know I love you. I know you’re a good person. Maybe I’m way off base here. Maybe you’ve got a caring side that I’ missing. I’m not saying you’re mean or anything – maybe just that you could warm up a little. Make a little more eye contact, including with me when you get up in the morning or when we’re arguing about something.”

“It’s not something that a person uses every day. Compassion, I mean. I can’t show up at work and walk around asking my coworkers how they’re doing. If I’m having lunch at a restaurant, I’m not searching my waitress’ face for signs of anguish.”

“You asked for a suggestion and I gave you one. Maybe we should leave it at that and move on.”

“I’m sorry. I did ask. Thank you for being honest. Your answer just caught me by surprise… You think I should resolve to make more eye contact?”

“Whatever. I was just thinking out loud a little bit. I overdid it.”

“No, no. It’s just that I can’t simply resolve to be nicer or more kind. I need something more specific. Something I can commit to. Maybe I should resolve to do something nice. Some particular thing, I mean.”

“That could work. If you’re going to do only one nice thing a year, though, I hope you don’t wait till next December to do it.”

“Come on. I mean, doing something nice for someone would just be a step. The sooner I took that step, the sooner I could take another. A good deed could lead to other good deeds.”

“I see. O.K.”

“A nice thing… Any ideas?”

“No more bright ideas from me, thank you.”

“I’m just trying to think of people we know. You’re more familiar with the neighborhood.”

“The neighborhood. You’ve got a woman who is eighty-five and taking care of her husband with Alzheimer’s. You’ve got a young mother with three children and a husband doing a twelve-month tour in Afghanistan. You’ve got a low-income man in his sixties with ALS, who at this point is a quadriplegic.”

“Good Lord. I was thinking about walking a dog or something.”

“They all have dogs. Walking a dog would be a great first step.”

“It sounds kind of funny. I resolve to walk a dog this year.”

“It does sound funny. All things considered, it also sounds nice.”

Double Dawg Dare Contest

My 6 entries plus 16 others.




“Sir? Hello?”

“zzzzzzzz… Huh? Wha?”


“Hunh. Must have dozed off. Big lunch… What can I do for you?”

“The man at the bus station said I could get some money here for a bus ticket. I’ve got to get to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.”

“From Area 51 to Devil’s Tower, huh? You some kind of extraterrestrial fanboy?”

“I’m not sure what a fanboy is, but perhaps I am.”

“Well, that’s a thousand-mile trip, my friend. What have you got on your person that’s worth the price of the ticket? And how much would that ticket cost?”

“$184. It’s a twenty-four-hour trip, the ticket seller said, on the big gray dog. He told me I could pawn or sell this. See?”

“Do you want to sell it or pawn it? Are you going to want it back?”

“I won’t need it back, I guess. I won’t be around these parts.”

“Then you’ll want to sell it, not pawn it… What is it, anyway?”

“It has many uses.”

“Like what?”

“It is my principal weapon.”

“Oh, yes? It is one strange-looking gun… Is it loaded?”


“Will it shoot? Will it fire?”


“Then get out of the store, Pilgrim! No loaded guns in a pawn shop! That’s a firm rule everywhere. Take that thing outside and remove its bullets. Don’t come in here with ammo, for Cry-eye! Not in your pocket and not in your gun.”

“I’m sorry, Sir. I misunderstood. There are no bullets in this… this gun.”

“Then why did you say it was loaded?”

“Earlier today, I tried to buy a car. The man told me it was fully loaded. It didn’t mean there were bullets in the car.”

“Say, you speak English real good, but you aren’t from around here, are you?”


“You’re just in the U. S. to see Area 51 and Devil’s Tower and places like that?”

“Well, those are two popular sites, yes.”

“You didn’t buy the car?”

“No. The man wanted too much money. That’s why I went to the bus station. That’s why I need enough money for a bus ticket.”

“O.K. Well, give me the license for that baby. I’ll need to make a copy. I’ll pay you for the weapon and put it up for sale, and in case you might change your mind and want it back, I warn you, with all the sci-fi freaks around here, this baby will move fast.”

“A license?”

“Don’t tell me, let me guess. You don’t have a license. What is that thing, anyway? Where was it made? Is it military? Israeli? Rumanian?”

“Listen, it’s not a gun, per se. It has many uses. I just meant that, well, it could be used as a weapon, if need be. Please forget the gun appellation.”

“Say, what do you take me for? You want $184 for what? A toy? Give me something to work with here. What’s your name?”

“My name. Um. Brad.”

“Brad. You’re a Brad. Uh huh. Well, Brad, put that thing through its paces.”

“O.K… It can make food.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“Look. I press this, and…”

“What is that, a tomato? Hold on. I’ve gotta call my wife out here. Trixie! Trixie!”


“Come out here. There’s something you gotta see!”

“I’m watching my show in here!”

“Tape your show in there! There’s something you got to see out here! Get a move on!”

“What’s so important I gotta miss my show? This better be good.”

“Wait, look. I press this doohickey here…”

“What is that, mashed potatoes? All over the counter? Are you nuts? Don’t call me out here again unless it’s a stickup or you won the lottery.”

“Aw, baby… She didn’t get the point, Brad. Like, how did these mashed potatoes get here, you know? Hold on while I pile them up… I can make… I want to make…”

“You’re making Devil’s Tower.”

“Oh, yeah? I’ve never seen it.”

“Let me clean this up…”

“Hey, my tower… At least you left the tomato. Say, that thing is amazing. What else can it do?”

“Music, like d e c c g… Re, me, do, do, so.”

“Oh, yeah? That’s the music from that space movie, right? What else can it do? What about that thingee there?”

“Time travel.”

“How does that work?”

“I’ll show you.”

“What about that thingee there?”

“Time travel.”

“How does that work?”

“I’ll show you.”

“What about that thingee there?””

“Time travel.”

“How does that work?”

“It’s hard to demonstrate, I guess. Let’s skip that one. This one over here lets you read somebody’s mind. It’s not half as much fun as you would anticipate.”

“Can I try it out on you?”

“No, I don’t have a mind, not the way you would think.”

“Hey, Babe! Get out here!”

“I’m not comin.”

“I mean it! I’ll horsewhip you!”

“You and what army, you old fool? Alright, what is it?”

“Hold on while I press this button… Lordy, Mister. You were right. It ain’t much fun after all. Go on back to your show, Babe… How about this slider, Brad?”

“It predicts the future.”

“How often does it get it right?”

“It’s never wrong.”

“Let’s try that one, then. Hang on while I call my man in Reno… Jose? Put a hundred down on… hold on… I slide this doohickey over… and more… a hundred down on Drizzle Foot in the fourth. Going off at eighty-to-one.”

“Be careful with that slider. If the evil-doers find out you never miss in your predictions, they’ll descend on you in a flash.”

“Don’t worry about that. I ain’t greedy. What about this thingamabob?”

“Don’t touch that one! Only touch that one when the environment is maximized for reproductive activities.”

“That would be never. You saw what I have to deal with.”

“I assure you, press this button in the dark of night, alone in your bedroom with your spouse, and serious, furious congress will occur. Repeatedly.”

“Hang on. Let me get this cash drawer open. I’m giving you $200 for the thing. That’s enough for your bus ticket and some meals along the way. Have a nice trip.”

Twin Dating

“I’m going to tell Debbie what your intentions are.”

“Go ahead and tell her. She knows already.”

“Why do you have to date her in the first place? You know how I feel about her.”

“I like Debbie. She doesn’t object to dating both of us. She thinks dating twins is kind of interesting. I plan to date her all summer and then go off to school. I told her this. She’s OK with us just having fun.”

“I know what you mean by fun. She doesn’t need that kind of fun. She has feelings.”

“Hey, I have feelings. I already told you I like her. All we did was go to the Saturday-night dance.”

“And park afterward.”

“And we went to the movies.”

“And sat in the back row of the balcony.”

“I know you say you’re in love with her, but that romantic feeling you have? It’s your feeling, not hers. It’s all in your head. I don’t know what it means to be in love, but I wouldn’t trust it if I were you.”

“I’m not saying that Debbie is in love with me, at least not yet. I’m realistic. I just don’t want her to get hurt this summer. We’re going to learn watercolors together. We’re going to play guitar and flute duets. We’re going to go for long walks up in the hills and talk about the things that are important to us. I hate to see her wasting her time with you.”

“You hate to see her smooching with me, is what you mean. Too late. It’s her chance to learn something she’ll never learn from you. Something about friendly relationships. Something about boys. Maybe she’ll grow up a little.”

“She doesn’t need to grow up that way.”

“Sure she does. Do you want to marry a girl that’s never been kissed? That’s not fair to either of you. Debbie is still in high school. Paint with her. Play music with her. Talk about Life with her while you walk. It’s all good. It’s just not all.”

“I don’t think the physical thing is a good idea until a couple has an emotional connection.”

“That’s because you haven’t tried it. There is nothing wrong with kissing a stranger, believe me.”

“Then go kiss a stranger and stop kissing Debbie. You know, I don’t get it. You were never interested in Debbie before, but as soon as I told you I was falling in love with her, you refused to leave her alone. What are you trying to prove? You can’t be jealous of me. You’ve never acted like this before. What’s going on?”

“You’re making too much of it. We’re just having some summer fun before I leave.”

“Stop acting innocent.”

“I am innocent.”

“Is this about the fact that I’m not coming with you?”

“You should be. You should be going to college somewhere.”

“If I decide later that staying here and going to work with Dad was a mistake, I can still go to college.”

“Not with a wife and kids you can’t.”

“So you’re worried that I’m going to marry young and have a bunch of kids and be tied down here for life, while you’re out making your fortune in the big wide world?”

“You’re too young to get married. Debbie is way too young to get married.”

“So you’ll ruin her for me. Is that it?”

“I’m not going to ruin anyone. If I can’t convince you, maybe I can convince her that you should go with me.”

“Convince her that she doesn’t love me?”

“You don’t know anything about love. We’re too young. I don’t even want to talk about love. I’m not worried about love. I’m worried about you getting married to a high-school senior, having children, and regretting it. If Debbie is ready to marry, what’s she doing going out with me?”

“It’s only because you’re my twin. I think that mixes her up a little bit.”

“If she’s kissing me, she isn’t so mixed up she thinks it’s you. I’m dating her to try and help you, but why is she doing it?”

“She’s inexperienced. She doesn’t know any better.”

“Please. She’s doing it because she likes kissing. Answer me this: how can you love someone who doesn’t love you? Think about that.”

“A person can come to love you. They can learn to love you.”

“Listen to yourself. You’re just a kid. This is all wrong.”

“What can I promise, to make you stop seeing her?”

“Someone in love cannot be trusted. No promises. I’ll stop seeing Debbie in either of two cases: first, you agree to go to college with me in September. You can register the week before classes. Or second, you convince Debbie to stop going out with me. I doubt you’ll have any luck with the second, not by using watercolors and your guitar.”

“The more you see her, the more it hurts and the angrier I get.”

“That’s my dilemma. Do I look out for you by going out with Debbie, or do I respect your feelings and let you go your own way?”

“You know my answer to that.”

“You know what? I’m going to talk to Debbie myself. I’m going to explain to her exactly what’s going on, why I’m dating her. I’m going to tell her my worries about you and your future. I’m going to see what she thinks.”

“Please don’t do that. It’s not her problem. Don’t put that on her. You’re already using her against me. It’s almost like blackmail. If I don’t go with you, you’ll spend the summer making out with her, or worse.”

“I’ve got to do something.”

“Let’s sit down together with Dad and hash this out. The whole college-or-job question. We can also tell him how I feel about Debbie, but not about what you’ve been doing. I understand that you’re trying to do the right thing, but this isn’t it. Let’s ask Dad. He’ll help us.”

Tax Time

“I’m thinking about cheating on my taxes.”

“Why would you tell your next-door neighbor that?”

“Drink loosens my tongue.”

“Are you that hard up for money?”

“It’s not because I need the money, it’s because I don’t agree with the way my tax dollars are being spent.”

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

“Where did that saying come from, anyway? If I believe that my tax money is being spent for evil purposes, and so I don’t give as much as I should, then fewer bad things are done with it. That’s a right, not a wrong, isn’t it?”

“The thing is, there is something called a social contract. You’re part of the country and society, which means that you agree to follow your society’s laws.”

“I never signed a contract. I was born here. This is my country. I don’t demand that everybody obey my laws, but by the same token, I don’t have to obey everyone else’s.”

“It doesn’t work that way in a democracy. You don’t stop obeying the law every time somebody gets elected whom you don’t like… Wait a minute. Why are we even having this conversation? You’re thinking about cheating on your taxes. End of story.”

“I’m just wondering how likely I am to get caught.”

“I have no idea. I doubt you’d get caught. I don’t know how many people cheat on their taxes but I’m sure there are plenty who stretch the truth a little.”

“The government is just borrowing money to stay afloat, anyway. It doesn’t need mine.”

“Will you please stop? You’re making me wonder how honest you are in general. Maybe this is why you always beat me at golf.”

“What? How dare you? I would never cheat at golf. Some things are sacred.”

“Maybe this is why you borrow so many eggs and so much sugar. Maybe this is why you’ve still got that set of Allen wrenches you borrowed from me.”

“Helen cooks more than Sue. Don’t get jealous.”

“But seriously. If you would cheat on your taxes, what else would you cheat on?”

“Don’t get personal. I’m sorry I said that. But now that I’ve finished another one of these drinks, I’ll answer you. We’ve been neighbors for many years. You’re Mister Straight-shooter. Every Sunday you troop out with your family to church. You’ve never borrowed anything from us. Your children never need a haircut. Your dog doesn’t bark. ”

“You do sound a little tipsy.”

“You never get drunk. But what really kills me is, you’re a salesman who doesn’t lie. You’re an honest salesman. How is that even possible?”

“I believe in my product. I’m proud of it.”

“Helen keeps talking about how wonderful you are. Every time you come over, she just lights up. I look over there when you’re at your dinner table and you and Sue look like you’re carved out of ice, but over here, you’re the life of the party.”

“I’m not so perfect. I have my ups and downs.”

“Tell my wife that. She thinks you walk on water.”

“Helen is a fine woman. You’re lucky to have her. And she is a great cook, in addition to her other fine qualities.”

“You’re right about that. Say, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Has anyone heard anything about Fred? Did he ever show up?”

“No. Fred is still missing.”

“I saw his wife out in the yard the other day. What a babe. She didn’t seem unhappy, either. Had a little smile on her face. She was humming as she pruned her roses. You’re friends with her, aren’t you?”

“Yes, we’re good friends.”

“What does she say about her husband?”

“It hasn’t come up.”