Misfire

Anticipation is tangible, even from flickering television to sunken sofa.

“Why don’t you ever talk to me, Jesse?”

Taught, strong limbs swing shadows across the track.

“All you do is watch those runners. You’re not a runner no more; you know that, right?”

Athletes stalk to their blocks; praying, kicking, crouching; poised. Waiting.

“I’m getting sick of it. Sick of it! D’ya hear me, Jesse?”

Set.

“You turn around right now, Jesse Wellesley, or ..or ..I’ll shoot!”

*POP*

“And that, officer, was when he grabbed the pistol from me and fired it into the couch. I ain’t seen him since.”

108

©2021 Chelsea Owens

100 Words, written for Deb’s 50 Word Prompt.

Image by Michaił Nowa from Pixabay

Genetic Dress Up

Granma said I had her hands.
From Mom, I got her hair;
In fact, I got her everything
But not her everywhere.

Daddy said we both could talk
‘Bout science or the sky.
Aunty found her backside’s home
And hips’, above my thighs.

Granpa gave me both my ears
And then he gave his nose;
If I had known, I’d’ve passed them by
And just gone with his clothes.

Unca thought we laughed the same
At similar, odd jokes.
Great grammie said, “Jes’ be yerself,
“Don’ blame yer looks on folks!”

She’s one to scouff;
She’s got my mouth.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens

In response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt:

January 14, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about dressing up. It can be a child or another character. Be playful or go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 19, 2020. Use the comment section [on her site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Monkeys, Happy Place, Iceland

In the few seconds between bedtime and actually getting to bed, I snuck over to my Reader’s Feed. And there, an epiphanous* idea appeared:

Why not write whatever pops into my head based on the three random words suggested at the top? Today’s prompt: Monkeys, Happy Place, Iceland.


“I say, Gorillford, this simply cannot stand.” Chimply scratched an errant flea.

His friend fixed him a bewildered look. “What’s that? Iceland’s moorings?”

Chimply sighed. “No, though that is distressing. Bad news, that, after so many years of stability. The country’ll be at Africa by summer. No, I was referring to this whole classification nonsense.”

Gorillford huffed, puffing up onto his thick knuckles.

“I know, I know. ‘Don’t you start’ -but you haven’t experienced the indignity, Gill! Everywhere I go, it’s, ‘Look at the monkey!’ ‘Mummy, may I have a monkey!’ I’ve… I’ve broken a bit; I’ve even considered saying, ‘Sod it’ and pasting a tail back there anyway….”

Gorillford had no reply. His beady eyes nearly popped from his leathery face. His jaw hung slack. A tail? That was far worse than living with mislabeling. He gathered his thoughts to attempt reasoning with his friend.

“You needn’t bother,” Chimply cut him off. “I know.” He sighed and then contemplatively peeled and ate a banana. “I know.”

This would take some thinking. Gorillford snapped his meaty fingers. “Chim.”

“Hm?”

“I’ve got it.”

“Hm?” Chimply retained a glum expression as he set the peel atop a fence post.

“I said, ‘I’ve got it.'” Leaning into the mesh between their enclosures, Gorillford grinned. “You’d rather we not be monkeys, yeah?”

Chimply didn’t even look over. “Obviously.”

“Well… given the rate at which these loony bipeds are going, do we really want to be known as apes?” Gorillford leaned back against a vine-twisted log in this, their happy place, allowing the import of his words to sink in.

It didn’t take long.

“My Gibbons! You’re right! Why, come to think of it, they’ve even used us as insults in some of their so-called ‘professional debates.’ If the orangutans aren’t safe, who is?”

“Precisely.”

They both sat, now in companionable silence. Only the clink or clunk of food pails interrupted a peaceful morning.

“Gill?”

“Hm?” The large ape monkey looked over at his smaller ape monkey friend.

“At least we’re not donkeys.”

“He.” Gorillford rolled his eyes and then rolled over to nap. “Ha.”

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©2021 Chel Owens

*Epiphanous is not a word.

The Ends

It wasn’t much, the new addition; just a bit of pipe and connector and some clever diverting on Jim’s part. Where he’d learnt that, she’d never know.

Still, when The End of Times came, Deb counted that bidet as a true asset.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

©2020 Chelsea Owens

In answer to Deb’s 42-word prompt, apocalyptic.

Muse-ical Mishmash

“No, Love, yeh can’ wrie-that!”

What?

“That bid abou’ ‘ow sad yer life is. I mean, people ken only take so much abou’ yeh ea’in’ yer toffee in the closet.”

I sit back, stuck. But, I felt inspired to write because I felt depressed. Wasn’t that-

“No, Love. T’ain’t ‘inspired’ – leastaways, not by me.”

Huh. Well… I had another epiphany, back when

Definitely not.” Harumph. “We’ll not be bringing politics out again.

But

“No ‘buts’ about it, young lady. No self-respecting writer would name a rant as ‘inspiration,’ either.”

I face another dead end as my cursor blinks in an empty page. What else can I write? Maybe poetry?

“Shtop rright therrre!”

But I only just

“I-yuh know what you thought to do, and I’ll have none of it! Poetrrry must flow frrom an experrienced poet, one bending a keen earh to catch everry whisperh Naturre drrips like rrainwaterh!”

My cursor-blink fades to a black screensaver. What next? I consider artifical inspiration, then recall the disastrous consequences the last time I attempted that. I certainly did not need a Dionysus-like ghost to join the growing crowd in my mind; I’d crack for good. There was only one option left.

“no.”

Excuse me? What? I feel a slight tingle, perhaps near my hippocampus.

“no. don’t. don’t give up. “

Who said that? I can barely hear you. I can’t even see you!

“i’m barely here, but i am here.”

Where? Who?

“way back here. i am your muse.”

Are you sure? You’re different than I expected. I mean, you don’t even have completely proper grammar- Wait! Don’t go!

“i’m sorry. so tired. but i am here; i am just not able to do much. yet.”

I feel panic. Well, what -what can I do, then? I obviously can’t write anything good without you! I can’t get anywhere near publishing!

“you’re fine and you know it. just keep trying. when you have more time, i’ll be ready. …readier.”

Wait! I -I didn’t even know you existed! And what do you mean about “more time?” How long? What should I do if I shouldn’t give up?

“few… years… more time… just… keep… writing…”

The tingle’s nearly gone. Wait! One more thing!

“yes?”

Who are all those others? Are they relatives of yours?

*sigh* “poseurs. don’t listen to them …unless it’s about politics. …or romance; you cannot write romance. au -au revoir.”

I’m alone -more alone. For a few minutes, I stare back at myself in the empty screen.

Oh, all right. I take a deep breath, tap a key to wake the computer, and start writing.

Photo by George Shervashidze on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

For Diana, who has a much more intimidating muse. Sorry I’m late.

Oh. Christmas Tree?

One December, our family room looked barren. Where a glorious, fresh, decorated Christmas tree usually stood, we had but empty carpet. This was strange, since my mother loved fresh pine trees and had insisted on one for years. She loved the smell, you see. That year, however, she couldn’t bring herself to do Christmas. I’d say it was Winter Blues or a Nervous Breakdown or whatever euphemism people preferred for describing Depression, but it was also that my brother and I fought like angry dogs while complaining about our difficult lives in wealthy suburbia while demanding expensive presents.

Facing the reality of a tree-less Christmas, we children called a cease fire. Enlisting the help of the only other licensed driver in the house (our father), my brother and sister and I set off to see what was available on a literal Christmas Eve.

Fortunately, we didn’t need to go far. At the point of commerce touching neighborhood, we saw that one of the businesses had donated their holiday decorations to the large dumpster out back. We drew closer. In the light of minivan headlights and father-held flashlight we saw them: a few skinny, short, still-alive Christmas trees.

“Let’s take them!” my sister said.

“They’re too small,” I claimed -or my brother; we share a similar optimism.

But we all knew we were short on options. We also knew we needed time to decorate, open our traditional pajamas, read Luke 2, and set out milk and cookies for Santa. Therefore, we took them.

And that is how, for our most memorable Christmas tree experience, we had three (rather dwarfish) pines in the place of honor. We looped the lights and tree skirt around them all, roping them like contestants in a three-legged race. We hung the ornaments where they’d fit.

And they smelled lovely.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

Thanks to CalmKate of Aroused for the prompt!

Second Breakfast

Janie did not like green food. When her mother placed Janie’s toast in front of her, then, she stared at the green slices in consternation.

“What’s this?”

“Breakfast, Honey.” Mom smiled and ate a bite of her own.

“It’s green.”

“Mmm. Yes.”

“It’s green mush.”

“Mmm. Yes.”

Mom wasn’t going to helpful. Janie pushed her fork against the offensive topping. It smooshed and slimed into the tines, leaving green behind it on the bread. “Ew!” she cried. “I’m having normal toast!”

“Suit yourself,” Mom said. While Janie was at the toaster, Mom reached across and ate her daughter’s serving.

Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

Now I’m hungry. Thanks, Charli! Oh, and here’s the prompt:

November 12 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story includes avocado toast. How can this be a story or a prop to a story? Use your senses and imagination. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by November 17, 2020. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.