My first day of college.

I sat in my assigned dorm room at my desk. I had chosen a bed. The one next to the window. And the desk, of course. Had unrolled a little rug beside the bed.

My new roommate arrived within the hour. This was in the afternoon. My parents were on their way back home.

The dorm was on a hill and the room had a view out over the campus. I didn’t get up to shake my new roommate’s hand. His name was Ben. I wanted to be cool but that was a mistake. He was a jock, star of his high school football team, his father a well-known doctor. I was just… some guy. He told me a year later (we roomed together for two years) that it bothered him when I didn’t get up.

He was ok with the other bed and desk.

Now came the moment of truth. I had debated for a month whether to bring one of my stuffies. Finally went with Pokie, the little dog. In the room, I debated whether to hide him and smuggle him out in the night. I decided to be true to myself and sat him on my pillow.

“I have a dog at home,” Ben said.

“What kind?” I said.

“Just a mutt. A rescue dog.”

“Was it tough to leave him?” I said.

“To tell you the truth, I cried,” Ben said. “I like yours.”

for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.


Carson pulled at his necktie as the air became heavy with organ music and she approached clouded in white. Sweat ran into his eyes.

Carson wanted the marriage. So did Chloe. But they were two souls caught in a different sort of indicision. Neither was clear about their gender identity.

Carson had a hunch he should identify as a woman, Chloe the opposite. What was she (Carson) doing here, standing in a tux? Why was Chloe trussed up in that wedding dress? And yet.. and yet…

Neither was quite sure, either, which gender they were physically attracted to. Both? Neither? Confusion.

They flipped a coin on the suit/dress conundrum. They used their birth names for the ceremony. They could handle the wedding, but the honeymoon was looming!

for First Line Friday

How could I forget?

“How could I forget?” Mrs Judkins said.

Molly and I helped her out of the gondola.

“You’ve been experiencing some memory problems lately,” I said.

“My memory is fine,” Mrs Judkins said.

“It must have been a terrible shock,” Molly said. “Right there in my bedroom. This is the best hotel in Venice.”

We made our way into the elegant lobby.

“Well, it was a shock, of course,” Mrs Judkins said. “I thought I was alone in the suite… although perhaps you two were there…?”

“No, no,” I said. “You remember, we were at Fenice Opera House. La Traviata.”

“La Traviata…”

“Remember?” Molly said, “We sang you bits of the arias at breakfast the next morning.”

“The next morning…”

“Picture what you saw ,” Molly said, as we entered the elevator.

“Well, I…”

“You looked into Molly’s room,” I said. “You saw dark shapes on the bed. They were still, not moving.”


“Did you hear breathing?”

“No… Perhaps a moan, before I opened the door…”

“Wind moaning in the eaves? It was an unsettled evening,” Molly said.

We made our way down the hall to their suite.

“I checked the room after you told us about this,” I said. “There were pillows bunched up under the dark spread.”

“Well, I…”

“Had you been into the sherry?” Molly said.

“Absolutely not. No more than usual, at any rate.”

“Well,” Molly said, “we’ve notified hotel management. Ned and I won’t leave you alone again.”

“For now,” I said, “I’ll return to my room.”

for 50 Word Thursday


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

Birding Aid

Photo courtesy of P. Allman

“What is that thing?” I said.

“It’s a flamingo,” my husband said.

“I mean, what is it…?”

“I don’t know what you’d call it,” he said. “A floating… thing.”

“Why is it here? It’s garish. What will the neighbors say? Plus, there aren’t any flamingos within a thousand miles of Massachusetts.”

“The guy who sold it to me said it attracts birds. We need something like that around here besides our feeders. He said the bird count in Massachusetts has dropped twenty percent since the ’70s. I think I’ve noticed that.”

“He made it up,” I said, “to sell you that thing. How much did it cost?”

Hubby didn’t answer. We were standing on our deck. The flamingo bobbed its head as a solitary ripple reached the shore, caused by an errant tern diving into the pond.

Hubby paddled out in the silly thing. It moved slowly. He kept it near to shore as if to show it off to birds in the woods near the water, as well as to the season’s waterfowl.

In the next week, we spotted common gallinules, an American coot, and an Eastern wood-peewee, all rare in these parts.

for Sunday Photo Fiction


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

My Birthday

Photo from Pixabay

Dear Diary, today was my 40th birthday. Woo hoo!

Of course I threw a big shindig. No surprise party for me. I wanted to hand-pick the guests – all the folks I wanted to impress. Me, the loser in high school and college. Mr. Unlikely To Succeed. Come to my party and see where I am now!

I had everybody up to my new ultra-luxury penthouse. Fifty-fourth floor! A view over the city and the river beyond. And the foothills and mountains beyond that.

From the photo, you can see where I’m going with this. Everybody crowded out onto the balcony. In spite of the cost of the place, shoddy construction. Way too many people in one place, all drunk.

The building owners can replace the balcony but they can’t replace the friends.

Silver lining: The friends all got to see how well I’m doing and feel jealous. Yay!

for Sunday Photo Fiction

The 13th Floor

The elevator stopped on the thirteenth floor with a lurch.

The elevator didn’t want to stop. The lurch was the elevator tugging on the reins. Mr. Noving ignored its wishes and stepped out.

Prior to Mr. Noving, nobody had wanted to stop on the thirteenth floor. For years nobody had. All the other floors were sparkling. Modern. Equipped with stairs that circumvented the thirteenth floor. The twelfth and fourteenth floors ignored the thirteenth’s existence.

This was a city with serious superstition issues.

Mr. Noving brought with him great wealth and energy. He renovated the thirteenth. He introduced top businesses to it. He made it chic. The place to be. And then he extended his wealth and power to the floors above and below it. In time, the building became the business showplace of the city.

With the exception of the seventh floor, that is. Mr. Noving had a problem with the number seven. As shown in the photo above, the seventh floor descended into rack and ruin.

There is a moral here somewhere

for First Line Friday



I just went to the country for the first time.

We left the city and drove a long ways and parked in the woods.

We got out and Dad and Mom led us down a path marked Nature Trail.

There is a tree outside our house in the city, by the sidewalk. Here it was all trees. No houses.

We walked a long way and saw birds and a pond with ducks and had a picnic.

I wasn’t sure what all I saw. Later I needed books to explain it to me.

for Rochelle Wisoff Fields Addicted Friday Fictioneers

The Last Time

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

That right there was my last birthday in Otis County. My last birthday held at the Stockyards Bar and Grill. The last time John Jacobs gets to offer me a ride home and then put his married paws on me. He can explain the black eye to his wife best he can.

My feet are killing me but the road’s too hot to take off these shoes.

One mile to the crossroads. John can give my presents to his durned wife. I don’t need them. How’s he going to explain that?

Last time listening to Wanda and Elsie talk about their kids. Nettie bragging about her dispatcher job. In the city I’ll get a job just as good as hers. Better.

Fifty dollars in my bra. Greyhound picks up at the Shell station at three. Keep walking. The big grey dog. Thank God and Greyhound she’s gone.

Aunt Faith has offered me a place enough times. Surprise! Here I am.

Do they allow balloons on the bus? What am I doing with these balloons? Let them go. No, give them to a kid at the Farmer’s Mart by the gas station.

No, just let them go. Look up, somebody. That’s me saying goodbye.

for Foto Flash Fiction