26/12/2019

SURVIVING CHRISTMAS - a true story

SURVIVING CHRISTMAS

It’s a battle-zone for many.
Parents or in-laws, turkey or beef, the Queen’s speech or a film – all are triggers for armed conflict. Far too much food and booze, and enforced closeness with people only seen once a year.
My Mum got away from it all. The septic tank at my brother’s house broke under the strain of too much rain, and I managed to get her into a nursing home at very short notice. She had Christmas dinner with brother, tomorrow with us, and a pub meal to come next Sunday.
Who wishes they could do the same?
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Every word of this is true! It was a Christmas miracle in itself that the nursing home ten minutes' walk from my cottage had space for my 95-year-old Mum. She's actually having the time of her life, with people her own age to talk to, staff on hand when needed, and good food. Hopefully she'll only be there a couple of weeks while my brother gets his tank sorted out, but Mum and I are loving the fact that I can pop in frequently without the need to drive in the dark.
So thank you to Sandra Crook for the photo prompt, and to Rochelle for posting it in the middle of the festivities. See her blog for other stories. https://rochellewisoff.com/
Meanwhile, if you care to scroll down my blog you will find a handful of other seasonal stories I have written over the years and re-posted this morning. They come with my best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2020.


CHRISTMAS STORIES - a seasonal gift for everyone

Here are a few of the seasonal stories I have written over the years.
They come to wish you a very Happy Christmas and New Year 2020.
These pottery crib figures were a joint effort between me and my children about 40 years ago, and I bring them out each Christmas. I might not see my children every year now, but they are always in my heart.
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CHRISTMAS EVE AT THE DINER

 Sally’s feet ached. Christmas Eve had been a long, hard slog.
Lorry drivers had merely grabbed a burger without leaving a tip, every family had brought over-excited, noisy children, and someone had thrown up in the toilets.
The moment the last customer left, Sally grabbed the keys to lock up – with luck she’d be home before midnight – but just then a couple stumbled out of the darkness.
“Don’t lock us out,” the man pleaded, “My wife’s in labour,” and as Sally held the door open for them, one brilliant star came to rest in the night sky over the diner.
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NOT ALL SANTAS

 I still believed in Santa until he took off his red coat that time and hurt me – my own Pa!
This year I couldn’t face Christmas again so I packed my bag and hit the road.
I almost didn’t get into Brad’s truck when I saw his Santa hat, but I was more afraid of Pa catching me, so I chanced it.
Then Brad stopped at this diner and bought me dinner.
Here it comes – payment time, I thought, but he just showed me photos and talked about what he’s bought his kids.
Not all Santas are monsters after all.
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ROAST POTATOES
It wasn’t even a proper fight – he said his mother’s roast potatoes were crisper than mine, I said he could go home to his mother any time he liked, so he slammed out of the house. When I tried to stop him my hand went through the glass door.
Blood spurted everywhere, and before the ambulance got here I’d bled half to death.
Then the police got involved, accusing him of attempted murder, and when I said I’d done it to myself they assumed I’d tried to commit suicide.
How can I tell a shrink it was all caused by roast potatoes?
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SABU’S CHRISTMAS GIFT
 Sabu’s baby sister’s death from cholera was the final straw – wearing only shorts and rubber sandals he walked to the city, his mother’s wails ringing in his ears.
He swept a school in exchange for lessons, ate the scrapings of more privileged students’ plates, slept in his broom cupboard.
Each Christmas he walked home – each year there was one child less in the village.
It took him five years to qualify, two more to earn enough, but finally he drove a rattling lorry home, where eager hands helped him unload its contents.
On Christmas Day clean water began flowing from Sabu’s pump.
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SINCE  GOD  WAS  A  BOY
 Paco’s ancestors had been goatherds since God was a boy – his grandfather maintained it was goatherds who visited the stable when Jesus was born, but the gospellers called them shepherds because goats were too common.
 Paco loved his work. It was usually undemanding – you walked, the goats ate everything in sight, you moved on. He much preferred the gentle clonking of their bells to the honking of car horns in town.
 But today the graveyard needed cropping, the wall would contain the herd while he ate his mother’s Christmas dinner, and he’d get a decent wifi signal on his phone for once.
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IF IT HAPPENED NOW
“What’s up, babe? Your latte’s getting cold.”
“I’ve gone off coffee, Joe – get me an orange juice instead.”
Joe returned from the counter wearing a worried frown, “You’ve been moody all week and now you’ve gone off coffee – are you breaking up with me?”
Mary couldn’t meet his soft brown eyes. “You might want to dump me when I tell you – I’m having a baby.”
“I’m going to be a dad? That’s brilliant!”
“It’s not yours.” The words dropped like a stone between them and Joe leapt up so violently that other customers stared. “Whose is it then? I thought you loved me.”
Mary shrugged helplessly. “I do love you, Joe, but I didn’t have a choice.”
“You mean someone forced you? I’ll bloody kill him!”
“It wasn’t like that. This angel turned up and told me God’s been watching me and decided I’m the right one to have His baby. The angel said this baby will save the world one day.”
“And you expect me to believe that?” Joe’s voice dripped scorn.
Mary shrank back in her seat, her hands protecting her belly, and a tear trickled down her cheek. “I’m having a hard time believing it myself, but it’s the truth. I’m dreading telling Mum and Dad.”
Joe sat down slowly and wiped her tears with his calloused carpenter’s thumbs. “I can’t deny it’s a bit of a shock, Mary,” he said gently, “But I love you and we’ll work it out.” He grinned suddenly. “I’ve always wanted to be a dad.”
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THAT'S ALL FOLKS!  Thanks for reading - feel free to leave a comment.







18/12/2019

SUMMERHOUSE - a story in under 100 words


SUMMERHOUSE

The summerhouse was our place, where we drank wine and made love to the sound of wavelets lapping the lake shore.
It was there where, one glorious sun-dappled afternoon, we made our vows, and sprinkled rose petals on the water to thank the gods for our good fortune.
But the gods of love are fickle creatures, who waft a curtain of rosy gossamer over their victims’ eyes. Love couldn’t survive the chill wind of reality, and now those dreams are frozen under a blanket of lies and broken promises.
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The building in Dale Rogerson's photo is clearly intended for summer use - you'd get a very cold bottom on those seats, though the view would be glorious. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/ from where you can follow the frog link to read other stories prompted by the photo.

13/12/2019

BROKEN - a story in 90 words.


BROKEN
I knew as I walked up the path – the very air hummed with violation. I turned the key on an unresisting lock and my feet crunched as I stepped inside.
My art speaks uncomfortable truths, but never before has it incited violence. The shrouded mummy of my lost childhood stood useless guard over a month’s work reduced to rubble, and my latest work had been turned upside-down – the ultimate insult.
I swept up carefully, saving broken pieces to re-use.
My next work already has its name.
I will not be silenced.
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A bit of a weird this week - I'm not sure where this piece came from, but it wrote itself in ten minutes. 
Thanks to Rochelle for the image - I hope this didn't happen to her!

04/12/2019

NIGHT BUS - a story in a hundred words

This week's Friday Fictioneers image reminded me instantly of a story I wrote three years ago, so I adapted it to use again. I have a busy few days coming up so I hope you will forgive the repetition!


NIGHT BUS

After Dave vanished, George was alone and scared – rough sleeping was dangerous. He was huddled in his doorway when a bus stopped and a voice called, “Free ride, mate?”
Bright lights obscured its destination but George stepped aboard into welcoming warmth. The door snapped shut, leaving his belongings outside, but Dave emerged from the misty interior and handed him a bottle. “Wondered when you’d be along.”
George drank deep, tasting strange flavours. “Have you been here all this time?”
“All what time?” Dave’s voice was vague, his eyes empty.
George turned to get off, but the bus was already moving.
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27/11/2019

RONDA - a true story in one hundred words.

In Great Britain we drive on the left, so we turn left at a roundabout, not right. This photograph reminded me so strongly of my years spent living abroad that I had to write about it, so here is my own piece of potted history - every word of it is true!


RONDA
We were living in Tenerife when the Cabildo introduced rondas. Many locals had never seen a roundabout, let alone driven round one.
 The first instructions in newspapers were wrong and had to be amended. Leaflets appeared in letterboxes, posters in supermarkets, there were endless discussions in bars.
Then, suddenly they were here.
Wise people stayed off the roads for a while, but others had jobs to get to, or shopping to do, and had no choice. There were countless accidents, many gesticulating arguments, a few deaths.
Years later the local drivers still hadn’t learned that a roundabout wasn’t a parking zone.
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Thanks as ever to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers, and to C E Ayr for the photo which brought back so many memories. To read other FF stories, click on the frog on https://rochellewisoff.com/

20/11/2019

IN STORAGE - a story in 100 words


IN STORAGE

My family sold everything to send me abroad, where the agent promised I would earn good wages, a hundred times more than was possible at home.
The lorry driver packed us into crates like chickens, where we took turns breathing through the air-hole, but when we felt the sea beneath us we were happy. We heard English voices as a fork-lift moved our crates, then others were placed around us, more above us, we heard metal shutters closing, then silence.
My phone is dying, so this is my final message.
Tell my family I’m sorry.
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J Hardy Carroll's photo might be of a simple storage facility, but to me it looks sinister. Whenever I see images of those enormous ships with containers stacked high on deck, I wonder how many poor deluded souls are hidden inside one. I am inflicted with too much imagination! Thanks as ever to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/

15/11/2019

REHEARSAL - a story in 100 words

I'm not sure what this building is - a synagogue without the Star of David, perhaps? A church or Masonic temple? For the sake of my story I imagined it as a decommisioned whatever-it-is, and being put to use as a rehearsal hall for actors.I spent many years watching my first husband on stage and those memories linger!

So, with apologies to Roger Bultot, who took the photo, and to anyone else who thinks I ought to know, here's my story.
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REHEARSALS

The alien clung to the beam, watching as the creatures made the same moves and said the same words repeatedly, while others scuttled round changing the colours on canvas walls. Hunger gnawed but there were always too many of them. It waited patiently.

The next day one plump specimen was on stage alone and the alien saw its chance, but when it dropped beside it the creature whipped out a sword, cried, “Have have at ye, ye varmint!” and pinned the alien to the stage. 
After a dramatic pause a shaky voice called from the darkness, “Darling, you were wonderful!”
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07/11/2019

KITCHEN SINK DRAMA - a story in 100 words


KITCHEN SINK DRAMA

“I really don’t understand why you did it, after all these years.”
“That’s just it – years of the same irritating little things are like Chinese water torture, drip-drip-dripping until you could scream. At breakfast, for example, leaving the lid off the marmalade, toast crumbs in the butter...”
“I agree that’s annoying, but...”
“Dirty socks on the floor, changing channels without asking...”
“My Jim does that too, but even so...”
“He promised to fix the tap months ago. I was making pastry with that drip getting louder and louder – it was just his bad luck I was holding the rolling pin.”
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I assure you this is fiction - honest! Aren't we writers lucky we can take our frustrations out in words? 
Thanks to Ronda del Boccio for the photo and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog. https://rochellewisoff.com/     You can read what others made of the prompt by following the frog from there, after you've commented on my story first, naturally!



30/10/2019

SHOPPING - a hundred word story


SHOPPING
Joan managed their pensions with an iron fist but, as she divided bargain mince into plastic boxes, Andrew ventured, “I’d love a steak sometimes.”
“I’d love a Caribbean holiday,” Joan snapped, slamming the freezer door. “Now where’s my purse?”
“How should I know? I’m not allowed to touch money.” Andrew sipped his coffee and watched her search her handbag and her pockets without success. “Did you open that window?” he asked.
“Yes – it’s stuffy in here.”
As the net curtains wafted in the breeze, Joan slumped into her chair – stolen! - even mince would be off the menu next week.
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I must admit that Joan has an element of me in her makeup, as I too buy food when it's on offer and freeze it in batches. So far - touch wood - I have not had my purse stolen!


This week has been a busy one so far, with various appointments already and more to come. As I have picked up a cold - I blame my granddaughter - I shall be driving to those under the influence of medication! The sore throat did not stop me from carving a pumpkin to display on my doorstep tomorrow. That's a home-grown Scotch bonnet chilli beside it  :) Happy Hallowe'en!

The photo that prompted this week's rash of stories in Friday Fictioneers was taken by Fatima Deria and posted by Rochelle on  https://rochellewisoff.com/

23/10/2019

FIFTY-ODD YEARS AGO - 100 words prompted by a photograph



FIFTY-ODD YEARS AGO
Back then The Pill was only available to married women, and I wasn’t married, so my first visit to the ante-natal clinic was fraught with embarrassment. When the nurse said I would miscarry unless I had hormone injections, and suggested it might solve my problem, I was reduced to tears. My boyfriend and I wanted this baby, I told her.
I was injected so often my backside resembled a pincushion, and despite the stress our baby flourished.
We had four children in all, with injections each time, and they are worth every blunt needle.
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Fact this week instead of fiction - once I spotted that pincushion I couldn't think of a different story. Those children have given me five grandchildren now, and I consider myself very fortunate to have all of them.
Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers and to Jean L Hays for the photograph.




17/10/2019

THE BIG MATCH - a 100 word story


THE BIG MATCH
“Tell me again how we got into this?” Michael said.
“You know the Boss can never resist a challenge.”
“But for Heaven’s sake – seven-a-side football?”
“We’ll beat them,” Gabe said confidently and led his team onto the field.
With such high stakes it was a hard-fought game but, despite the other team’s dirty tricks, Peter refereed impartially, and the scores were even until the final minute.
Then Uriel fired a shot that flew into the corner of the opposition’s net, the whistle blew, and the crowd went wild, throwing their haloes in the air – the Archangels had triumphed again.
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Just a bit of fun this week - light relief from the final chapter of a rewrite of Rock Fall, Book 3 in my Living Rock series. Now would be a good time to read the first two books, A Volcanic Race and Wolf Pack, both of which are available on Amazon.

Thands to Rochelle for the above photo and for hosting Friday Fictioneers. You can read what other writers have been inspired to write by following the Blue Frog trail from her blog at  https://rochellewisoff.com/

10/10/2019

RELATIVES - a hundred word story


RELATIVES

All the other kids in our neighbourhood had hordes of relatives. Christmas, weddings, christenings and even funerals were raucous affairs that often spilled into the street, sometimes ending in fisticuffs.

Once I asked Mum where our family was, but she yelled, “We have no-one but ourselves,” and then hugged me. She sounded so sad that I never asked again.

After her funeral I drank a large whiskey before I tackled her bedroom. One drawer was crammed with photographs – her parents, perhaps, uncles, aunties and cousins. My family.

 I searched every face but not one was brown like me.
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Families are strange creatures - a tower of strength for some, a pain in the butt for others. Some people, like me, have such a ream of cousins that they can't keep track, others can count their family members on one hand. And there are always secrets, some small, some so enormous that they remain hidden - until after the funeral.
Thanks to Ted Strutz for this week's Friday Fictioneers photo prompt, and to Rochelle for hosting this bunch of diverse writers on her blog.  https://rochellewisoff.com/

03/10/2019

TWO GIRLS TALKING - a story in exactly 100 words

This story has been simmering since yesterday but that was also my husband's birthday, so cake-making had to take precedence. It does seem that if I don't get my story out on Wednesday I don't receive nearly so many comments, but that's life, I guess.
Thanks to Dale for the photo and to Rochelle for running the entire Friday Fictioneers shebang on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/
ps. I do hope this actually IS a baseball pitch - not being American or Canadian I can only surmise!
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TWO GIRLS TALKING                                    

‘How’s the big romance going?’
‘All he thinks about is baseball. Our dates consist of holding hands on a hard wooden bench – I’ve had so many splinters my behind looks like a pincushion.’
‘So tell him you want to be taken out for a romantic meal.’
‘Didn’t you see the photo? It was all over Facebook – I nearly died of embarrassment – a table smack bang in the middle of the pitch.’
‘At least he’d made the effort to carry it out there – and getting the pizza delivered can’t have been easy.’
‘Huh! There wasn’t even a candle on the table!’

26/09/2019

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES - a 100 word story

It's Thursday, so I'm only a day late on parade this week. My excuses are manifold - I am heavily involved in our local Arts Festival, we had a leaking pipe that almost brought down the kitchen ceiling, and the tail end of a hurricane has battered my garden. It's only a very small plot, so tidying up didn't take too long, but the sunflowers are definitely looking ragged in the petal area.

Which leads me nicely into telling you about a bit of verse I wrote a long time ago, about a different garden, and linked this week to Twitter, where one of the vss365 prompt words was 'garden'. You are cordially invited to pop over to my 'VERSES' page and read it.

And finally, welcome to Carole Anne Carr, my 103rd 'follower' - thank you, Carole, for taking the trouble to read my stuff!

Meanwhile, here's this week's story, prompted by a photo on Rochelle's blog,   https://rochellewisoff.com/      
Photo taken by  Na'ama Yehuda.

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KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

‘Take your umbrella, Sanji.’
‘But Mother – it’s so old-fashioned.”
‘A hundred other boys wanted that Government job but you won – carrying an umbrella is expected.’

So Sanji took the despised umbrella, with its curved handle worn smooth by his father and grandfather, and hung it beside his coat.
When the flash flood hit town unexpectedly, the umbrella’s metal tip broke through the office ceiling, the handle hooked a rafter, enabling Sanji and his colleagues to climb to the roof, and its black silken circle sheltered them until rescue arrived.

Eventually Sanji passed the treasured umbrella down to his son.

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Do please leave a comment before you go - on this story and on my bit of verse!

19/09/2019

SKYLIGHT - a story in 100 words


SKYLIGHT
Every day Martha slaved in the kitchen, the outside world only blue sky, scudding clouds, or rain clattering like pebbles. In winter, snow masked the light, reducing her prison to Stygian gloom.
Her mother said she was lucky to be warm and fed, but Martha relished the weekly walk home, the crisp cold a blessed relief from the blast furnace of the kitchen range.
But home was four miles away, and when she twisted her ankle on an icy puddle she was alone. They found her the next morning, her hands frozen around a hambone she had stolen for her mother.
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This week's story is another hurried one. I am heavily involved in our local village Arts Festival, and have to dash off in a minute to lock the church so nobody can walk off with one of the lovely paitings on display. Also my elderly mother has had a few falls in the past week and sitting for hours in A&E waiting for various tests is not conducuve to writing.
Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers and to J Hardy Carroll for the atmospheric photograph that is this week's prompt. You will find other stories by following the Blue Frog from Rochelle's blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/

12/09/2019

BLUR - a story in one hundred words


BLUR
Cataracts.
Operation.
No guarantees.
The words drop like stones. She stumbles home in a blur of eye drops and fear.

The day arrives. More drops so no reading for distraction – nothing to do but wait and worry. Bright lights, a blur of movement, the nurse’s hand a lifeline squeezed bloodless.

She goes home wearing a pirate patch and a relieved smile. Gazes at her unfamiliar reflection, restyles her hair, and walks in the rain without the blur of raindrops on glasses.

Now she’s a veteran. Cataract operation? Nothing to it – a doddle – you’ll be fine!
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'She' is of course me - I had both cataracts done last year and, after a lifetime of -9.5 myopia, I now only need glasses for reading. I could have written another story about having to dot several pairs around the house because I am unused to having to put glasses on for reading! 
I was AWOL last week due to various family matters, but I missed you all so here I am again. Thanks to CE Ayr for the photograph and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog, from where you can follow the blue frog link to read other stories. https://rochellewisoff.com/

29/08/2019

MICHAEL'S GRANDSON


MICHAEL’S GRANDSON
Michael was a familiar figure around town, racing along pavements at 8mph on his mobility scooter, stopping in the pub for a pint or two. So when he broke down outside Boots there were many willing hands to push him home.
“This machine weighs a ton,” one friend said, “Forget to charge it up?”
“My grandson’s fault,” Michael said, “Plugged his extension lead into my socket without asking – they’d cut his power off for growing pot in his loft.”
“You should make him pay for the electric.”
“Nah – I owe him for a month’s supply as it is.”

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A combination of photos prompted my story this week - one from Rochelle's blog  and one which I took on Monday while shopping for a lawn edging tool with Mum.
Thanks to Linda Kreger for the first one and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers - Follow the Frog from her blog to read other stories and/or to join in!  https://rochellewisoff.com/ 

22/08/2019

SHARK - a story in less than 100 words



SHARK
“That shark’s head gives me the shivers,” Kirsten said, “Let’s go somewhere else.”
“We only want a quick snack,” Rick said, “You can sit with your back to it.”
He was lifting a toasted sandwich to his mouth when his hand froze and he turned a sickly shade of grey.
“What’s wrong?” Kirsten asked, but he could only point. She turned round to see the glass wall bulging, and powering towards them at full speed was an enormous shark.
There was no time even to scream.

Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers each week on her blog   https://rochellewisoff.com/  and to Dale Rogerson for the photo that prompted this week's stream of consciousness!  I am late on parade this week because last night I had the privilege of my granddaughter staying for a sleepover. She is four and a half - need I say more? <3

15/08/2019

TWENTY-SOMETHING


TWENTY-SOMETHING


Dora had built the perfect life.
Henry returned each evening from the city to a sparkling home and the smell of something delicious cooking. Dora fitted her translating work seamlessly around school runs, entertained Henry’s clients, and did a fortnightly stint at a charity shop.

Then she found condoms in Henry’s car and her world wobbled. She tried to prop it up with his favourite meals, a different hairstyle and a new negligee, but it was too late.

A twenty-something brunette had blown in like a hurricane, reducing Dora’s carefully constructed edifice to a heap of crumpled wreckage.
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There have been some strong winds blowing round here recently, though the only damage we suffered was to a tower of runner beans, which are now propped up horizontally on my neighbour's fence. I have spoken to the plants gently in the hope that the shock will not have stunted the growth of their babies. 

Thanks to Rochelle for the photo of her own minor disaster which prompted this week's stories, and for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/


08/08/2019

BOYS WILL BE BOYS - a story in 100 words


BOYS WILL BE BOYS

It began with boys climbing the fence and diving into windowless rooms, rat-a-tat-tatting imaginary guns at unseen enemies. Later they sneaked in to smoke, swigging from bottles purloined from parental cupboards. ‘Boys will be boys,’ people said indulgently.

Then Craig hit town, all motorbike, money and black leather. The rampant bougainvillea now hid darker secrets, and an atmosphere of danger seeped from the crumbling plaster along with the smell of pot.

‘The police should have stopped it,’ people said when it was too late – after a local boy was found with a needle dangling from his arm.
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Rochelle is on holiday yet she still remembered to leave us with a photo prompt onher blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/  Thanks to Randy Mazie for the photo. One of these days I will work out how NOT to slip into a smaller font after copying Rochelle's blog title! The only alternative I can find is this which is the next size up on my toolbar! Or I could go really large, but that would be ridiculous.
Pleae leave a comment before you go :)

02/08/2019

FLYING VISIT - 100 word story

FLYING VISIT


Jake dropped the bombshell at suppertime. “Mum’s coming tomorrow for tea.”
“Tomorrow?” Alice squeaked, “I’ll never be ready in time!”
“Calm down,” Jake laughed, “It’s only a flying visit.”

Alice spent all evening cleaning, and in the morning she put out fresh towels, baked a cake, and weeded the garden. She was exhausted by the time Daphne arrived.

The cake was a success, and all went well until Daphne was leaving.
“I’ll just pop to the little girls’ room first,” she trilled, and Alice watched helplessly as her mother-in-law ran a finger along the top of the door.

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I know nothing about seaplanes, apart from the fact that my husband has always wanted to fly in one, so Ted Strutz's photo took me in an entirely different direction. Thanks as always to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog.   https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/07/31/2-august-2019/ted-strutz-plane/



I only just caught the Friday Fictioneers plane myself this week, as I have been away for a few days with my mother, who is 94. She walks so slowly with her two sticks that we hired a mobility scooter, and one afternoon while she had her nap I took it for a spin myself. It was fun, but also an interesting experiment being a person in a wheelchair. Some peole moved politely out of the way, others completely ignored me! This is Mum bowling along Eastbourne seafront in a howling gale.




And for sheer over-the-top ostentatious decor, check out the interior of the Victorian Tea Room on the pier!

24/07/2019

CHUFFER TRAIN - a little story in a hundred words


CHUFFER TRAIN
The landing craft circled, its cameras focussed on the train below.
“A primitive form of transport,” the Commander decided, and sent Phtam to make First Contact.
Slightly wobbly on her unfamiliar legs, Phtam walked along the platform and approached the nearest figure. “Good day.”
The man didn’t even acknowledge her. She tried each person in turn with no success. A train chuffed into the station but still no-one moved, and when it left, so did Phtam.
“They’re all dead,” she reported. “Probably a virulent virus.”
The ship left hurriedly – without spotting the sign on a gate --
‘Model Village closed today’.
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Apologies to the real people - if they ARE real - on this station, but Sandra Crook's photo reminded me of a model village on the Isle of Wight which I visited recently with my granddaughter.
Thanks as ever to https://rochellewisoff.com/ for hosting Friday Fictioneers - if you care to follow the links from her blog you can read other stories prompted by Sandra's photo.
PS to Sandra - is that Corfe Castle in the background of your photo?

This is the Isle of Wight model village...









17/07/2019

MARVIN'S EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCE - a story in 100 words


MARVIN’S EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCE

Marvin was waiting for his brother to help move his stall, so when the Thing landed he was alone.
“Who are you?” it demanded.
“Don’t you mean, ’Take me to your Leader’?” Marvin replied.
“That is so last millennium.”
Marvin tipped his hat. “Marvin Brown, purveyor of pretzels and chilli chicken dogs. You look a bit undernourished.”
The Thing sniffed with a nose the size of a small car and covered its face. “Don’t think I’ll risk it, thanks,” it said, and shot back up into the night sky.
“Bloody aliens don’t know what’s good for them,” said Marvin.
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A ten minute, one hundred word story for a very odd photo prompt - my first thought was, who would actually PUT something so weird in the middle of a town? My granddaughter would be scared silly. 
Thanks to Roger Bultot for the photo and to Rochelle for running the weekly show that is Friday Fictioneers. Click on the link to read what other writers thought of the photo - https://rochellewisoff.com/

10/07/2019

DINNER - a story for Friday Fictioneers in 100 words


DINNER
People were enjoying a peaceful dinner when the power failed, plunging the restaurant into darkness.
In the ensuing confusion tables were overturned, glasses smashed, and then the screaming started. One after another the voices rose to a crescendo ... and stopped. Then there was another sound, like a child slurping thick milkshake through a straw, but amplified a hundred-fold.
After a few moments there was nothing but silence.
When the police arrived, three strange tubes were disappearing into the ground, smeared with gore, and the floor of the restaurant was a foul, pulpy mess.
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Not the most pleasant way to make my reappearance after a few weeks absent, but those waving arms look menacing to me! Two weeks ago I was in Northern Ireland visiting my elder daughter and her husband and drinking Guinness. And last week I was painting my bedroom and my desk was inaccessible!

20/06/2019

DELAYED - a story in a hundred words


DELAYED

When my flight is seriously delayed, I phone Ellie.
She’s furious. “How could you? We’re meeting the vicar tomorrow!”
Her shrill voice carries to the woman beside me, who smiles sympathetically. “My boyfriend has to attend a business dinner alone – he thinks I’ve done it deliberately.”
The airline offers hotel rooms and we share dinner – I haven’t talked to Ellie for that long, ever.
We meet again at breakfast, share a cab back to the airport, and part on a promise – once the decks are cleared we’ll meet again.
We have so much more to say.
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Rochelle is the indefatigable woman who runs this weekly beanfeast and you can find her on  https://rochellewisoff.com/   if you follow the froggy link you can read scores of other stories prompted by her photograph.
I have been busy painting the door frames on my landing. It's a small cottage and the three doorframes, which comprise three sides of a square, have only an inch of wall between them. This makes positioning the drip sheet easy, but it's also easy to step back and smudge the paint, and oh! the repetetiveness of the task! Only the light shining on wet paint tells me where I've been and which is still waiting to be done.
Writing and gardening have filled my spare time :)
PS - I may be AWOL next week - we are off to Lisnaskea in Northern Ireland to visit my daughter.