He Who Hesitates…

I was on vacation in Virginia City when I stopped into an antique store to browse. In the back I found a stack of New Yorker magazines from the Thirties. I opened one at random and found a movie review of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Huh. Interesting. Put the magazine down.

Thought about it that evening. Returned the next day and headed for the back of the store. The stack of New Yorkers was gone.

Up front, I asked a handsome young fellow where the New Yorkers were kept.

“Sold the lot yesterday,” he said, “but I got Life.”

for Flash Fiction Challenge

at mercy hospital

my heart took charge this morning and my mind did not fight it. i dressed, had a light breakfast, and rode my bike to the mercy hospital emergency room. there was already a line. i was a candy striper at mercy in high school and i still have connections there. the staff was glad to have me but did warn me about the infection rate among those exposed to the virus. i spent the day bringing donated coffee and pastries to those waiting and listening to their concerns, both the ill and their families. we’re all in this together.

for Flash Fiction Challenge


I was prospecting in the asteroid belt when I attached to an iron-and-nickle specimen tumbling slowly through space in a throng of its brothers and sisters. When I climbed out to inspect its surface, clomping around in my magnetized boots, I came upon an individual in a spacesuit sitting in a chair bolted down next to a hatch leading into the asteroid’s interior.

“Who are are you?” I asked, using my communicator.

The person looked away from the sparkling void of space, at me.

“I … I don’t remember.”

“Who knows you’re here?” I said

“Nobody,” he or she said.

for Carrot Ranch



I consider myself something of an outdoorsman. When my wife kicked me out of the house and I no longer had someone handy to cook my dinner, I began taking my meals at outdoor cafes.

This is not an efficient way to meet a new mate who will provide your meals in a home setting. Not an efficient way, at least, on days of tolerable weather. However, I discovered that on marginal days, days with rain flurries or coldish winds, days when the dogged cafes kept serving its outdoor customers, few though they may be, on those days solitary hardy souls like myself are easy to spot and some of them are female,

I met one and then another and another and men too. We dined with umbrellas handy. We caught colds together. Kept warm using alcohol. Commiserated. Outcasts. Outliers. The obnoxious.

We pooled our resources and moved into a renovated loft with roof access. We installed a rustic farmer’s table on the roof, six stories up. Hired a woman to come in every evening and cook our dinner for us. Her daughter served it on the roof rain or shine. (Mother and daughter lived across the street.)

for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner

How Can It Be?

How can it be?

I hear this all the time working with fatal diseases. Comes with the territory.

We know we’re mortal. Something is going to kill us. But from day to day we go along, making plans, procrastinating, living our lives. Perhaps we feel a new pain. Perhaps we’re having a routine checkup. Then out of the blue like a bolt of lightening, the bad news. Your best-used-by date. The heart races. Tears come.

Seeing that moment come for so many, I’ve tried to prepare myself. Not just for a bad diagnosis, but for a phone call that comes at night when my teenager is out driving around in the family car. I’ve never liked phone calls.

I’ve worked to harden myself. I’ve rehearsed. I don’t get too optimistic. That’s just asking for it.

My wife encourages me to loosen up. She laughs a lot. Enjoys life. She calls me a gloomy gus. She doesn’t understand me.

I’m not gloomy. I’m realistic. I maintain an even strain. I root for teams but I don’t root too much. I don’t read fiction. I don’t drink wine.

So I guess I’ve talked myself into believing that I’ve been walking in balance on Mother Earth. I’ve taken a few blows and kept the emotional damage to a minimum, but now it seems that my attitude and my approach have been foolish. My wife has left me for Barry Simon and I find myself actually saying to my son, How can this possibly be?

for Tell-Me Tuesday


https://morguefile.com/creative/GaborfromHungary/47/all _DSC7913

Until recently, my father and I would climb into our pickup each morning and drive our route for the day. Between Sunday and the following Saturday, we covered every one of the better neighborhoods in the area, street by street, block by block.

Every day as we motored slowly along, we came upon objects put out along the road with a Free sign attached to them. We would pick up those item that we deemed salable at one or another of the metropolitan flea markets.

It was a living. We were essentially hauling stuff away that folks didn’t want anymore, for whatever price we could get for it.

Unfortunately, folks started putting out more and more free stuff. Too much for scavengers like us to handle. Finally, instead of leaving things on the curb, folks began abandoning it in a variety of public spots, near Goodwill or wherever. Then other folks from the neighborhoods would come, browse, and take the best stuff home with them.

Whatever happened to the American Dream?

for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practioner

my inheritance

Photo by Tama66 at Pixabay.com

my eccentric rich uncle passed away and left me a huge trunk. i knew that he had collected numerous treasures. i opened the trunk with trembling hands. slow work with all the locks.

inside, i found nested trunks all the way down to a pillbox that held four aspirins. child dose.

for Twittering Tales

My Mother Told Me…

my mother told me you can’t hurry love. she was impressionable and had heard the song. she said i’d just have to wait. love don’t come easy. it’s a game of give and take. then she’d walk away humming the tune.

only thing is, this is a small town. people talk. you can’t hurry love but you can’t slow down a baby from showing. mama has always wanted me to wear her wedding dress when the time comes. if she don’t want a bump stretching the fabric, the time has come.

for Go Dog Go Cafe Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge


when i was away at school, my pigeonhole meant a lot to me. letters from the family arrived there, as did the hometown newspaper that i received courtesy of a subscription from my parents.

some kids ignored the pigeonholes, which were maintained in the administration building. administration handled the incoming mail, probably keeping an eye on it for contraband, and also used the cubbys to distribute school announcements.

the kids uninterested in their mail mostly didn’t want to spend time or effort answering questions from their parents. others simply wanted to forget home until they were finally forced to return to it.

i knew which holes belonged to which of my friends, as well as my own. in my third year, i received my first personal message from one of those friends, a student who didn’t have the courage to share personal feelings with me in face-to-face conversation.

when the school condemned the building years later, i stopped by to look in before it was demolished. all the pigeonholes were empty of course and so many of their owners now gone.

for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge

inflection point

Crispin and his parents were not getting along. At fourteen, without being aware of the fact, Crispin had begun the task of separating from his parents.

“You don’t listen,” his dad said. “You think you know it all. What makes you think you’re so special?”

Crispin didn’t think he was special but he thought he was ok.

“Please don’t keep this up,” said his dad, voice rising.

Then, just like in the movies, his dad grabbed his chest and collapsed. Crispin’s mom and sister weren’t home. He pulled out his phone and dialed 911. While completing the call, he raced to the front door and flung it open. Then he returned to his dad, knelt by him and put one hand on the other on the man’s chest, as he had been taught. His dad’s eyes were closed. He wasn’t breathing.

Crispin pushed his dad’s chest down an inch or two, roughly twice a second. Every sixteen seconds, he stopped and forced air into his dad mouth-to-mouth. He continued thiis for five minutes, which seemed like an hour, until two EMTs appeared by his side and took over. Then he wept.

He got along better with his parents after that.

Photo by https://morguefile.com/creative/GaborfromHungary/31/all _DSC6204