It’s All Greek Till Someone Gets Hungry

Eric loved the Greek fast food place in the mall. He hadn’t been in months; Monica complained of his smelling of onions whenever he ate there. He wasn’t sure he should be letting her stop him from pitas and Tzatziki, but -truth be told- Monica was a little scary.

Something about Monica’s black-lined black eyes worried him.

Something about Monica’s black-painted black fingernails frightened him.

Frankly, something about Monica’s black-dressed black everything gave him the willies.

“You can’t let her push you around just ’cause she’s a Wiccan,” Eric’s pal, Niko, advised.

“You’re right,” Eric said.

He and Niko stopped by Greek Fest that very day. The food was everything Eric remembered; he thought about it with pleasure all afternoon. When he walked through the door to his apartment, he could still feel the crisp onions between his teeth and the fresh tomatoes on his tongue. The lamb had been seared at the edges but soft in the middle. The Tzatziki –

“So,” Monica’s voice interrupted his thoughts. “You did it.”

Eric stopped and stared at her. She wore even more black than usual and stood within a black circle of black candles. Somehow, even their flames looked black. He heard David Bowie’s “Heroes” playing from Alexa.

He stepped backwards slowly. Monica spread her black fingernails wide and he found himself immobile.

♫We can be heroes, Bowie crooned, If just for one day…♫

“So,” she repeated. “You thought you could eat Greek…”

♫Just for one day…♫

“Just for one day,” Eric tried to defend himself, but his mouth didn’t work. His limbs didn’t work. His eyes stayed wide open and staring at the black-clad, black-lit Monica. She waved her hands over and around the black candles, chanting -you guessed it- black words.

♫And you, you can be mean…♫

“Midnight, Coal, Pitch!” Monica’s voice rose in volume to drown out the music. Her candles and the overhead lights of the apartment fluttered.

I’m sorry, Alexa said, I don’t understand your request.

“Jet, Soot, Cave, DARK!”

Eric’s clothes fell off and around him as the room grew huge, stretching up and away. His last thoughts were, I feel a bit like shredded lettuce, before his cognitive functions ceased.

Monica stepped over her candle circle and walked to where Eric’s clothes sat in a pile on the floor. Pushing aside his discarded shirt and jeans, she uncovered a perfectly-made Greek sandwich.

“Now, Eric Morgenstein,” she cackled, “You can be a gyro, if just for one day!”

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Written in response to Peregrine Arc‘s prompt that was supposed to be responded to by last Thursday.

Answering The Real Neat Blog Award

My good friend, Peregrine Arc, listed the best questions to answer as part of the online chain mail that is a blogging award. How can I resist?

  1. What’s something you’ve been doing to take care of yourself during the pandemic?
    Hmmmm… Take care of myself… I knew there was something I forgot! -Ooh! I bought toilet paper.
  2. What’s one song, when it comes on the radio, you just have to sing  along with?
    I seem drawn to those impossible sorts, like “Titanium” and “Dream On.” I try to remember not to do so when my children’s friends are also in the car.
  3. A formal dinner has been held in your honor. Who’s the master of ceremonies?
    M.C. Escher’s in my house! …or, down that staircase. …or, down that one…

    Escher's_Relativity
    Wikipedia, Fair use
  4. A fish comes out of the water next to your boat and starts talking to you. What message is the fish telling you?
    “Did you know that the pH of most natural lake waters ranges from 6-9 and that figure varies based on the presence of carbonates and bicarbonates?”
  5. You’re playing real life Wizard’s Chess. What’re your odds of surviving?
    Haha! None. That Sorceror’s Stone is gone!

    two white and black chess knights facing each other on chess board
    Photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi on Pexels.com
  6. If your life was a play, what would be the major dramatic arc?
    Erm. Hm. I’d have to say the part when the chocolate lands on the floor.
  7. If you could have one chore be automatically done for you for forever,  what would it be and why?
    Omigosh; dishes. If you don’t know why, come fulfill my magic wish.

Thanks for the fun, as always, Madame Arc. Stay cool, and keep your chocolate away from the cruel clutch of gravity!

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Happy Second Blogiversary!

I’d like to interrupt everyone’s regularly-scheduled program to acknowledge my blog’s second birthday. It’s growing up so fast!

2 Years Blogging

Two years ago; I timidly typed, edited, edited, edited, edited, and edited my first blog post. The idea behind it came from a dream. I stressed so much about what people would think and how many awards I would garner from its publication…

I also set a goal to publish a blog post every day. To get myself going, I re-posted thoughts and stories I’d originally written for Facebook.

After a few months, I broke out and started swimming on my own. Everything I type is original and formed solely for the blog these days. If not, I note otherwise.

I’d like to thank Charli of Carrot Ranch, Geoff of TanGental, James of The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog, Stephen and Fionnuala of Fractured Faith Blog, Nitin of Fighting the Dying Light, P’Arc of Peregrine Arc, and Frank of Frank Prem Poetry for giving me opportunities to share my writings to their sites. You helped me feel my creations might be valuable.

I would also be remiss in not acknowledging all of the friends and fellow writers I have made since beginning. You know who you are, especially since I know I’d miss specifically naming a few due to Pregnancy Brain. Thank you for e-mails, complimentary messages, sarcastic comments, and camaraderie.

And (unless I forgot anyone else), thank you to my real-life friends who actually read what I write and don’t shun me publicly. You’re the best.

The Cell of Snares

You received a letter from the state explaining you were chosen in a lottery to come and rescue an animal. The shelter is being closed due to the owner’s untimely death and his will instructed for his estate to be divided up randomly. Being the animal lover you are, you decide to follow up on this mystery and pop on down to look at a potential pet or two. The address typed on the back of the letter is unfamiliar to you, but your Saturday is wide open. You fill up your gas tank and head out. Why not?

Once you reach the destination, a prison complex at the literal end of the road, all outside communication is cut off and the ‘animals’ are not quite what they seem

—–

Despite my rising alarm at the lack of guards, cell phone service, working car, existence of a cassette player, gouge marks, shackled creature that shapeshifts –Okay, okay, that’s enough thinking that way. I focus, instead, on the gently swinging ivy above me. I breathe in and out. “All right, Beth,” I whisper to myself. “Think positively. What can you control?” –Not that my therapist ever suggested I’d literally be trapped like this, with potential death a mere inchesBreathe, Beth, breathe! Maybe Dr. Querk should have had me run through a few practical situations, but it’s too late to consider that now.

*Greetings, traveler and welcome to The Prison for Dangerous…* begins playing for the sixth time since I entered the creepy room. Nothing irritates me more than repetition, even a supernatural being that might be able to tear my head off. I turn to the apparition within the first cell and glare daggers at it.

“KNOCK IT OFF!” I bellow.

The being within blinks a thousand rainbow eyes at me, squawks, and disappears. I stand on my toes to see where it’s gone: into a bottom corner, rodent-like, somehow still shackled. The tape has stopped. I give the mouse thing a stern nod, in case it gets any ideas.

I let my breath out and look around again. Now fully within the room, I can see that Freaky’s box isn’t the only one with damage to the interior. Of the ten cells, only one or two seem undamaged. Box Four, near the end on the left side, has scorch marks. Number Six -or One, depending on how one wished to count- to the right is dark and molding. The last cell in the row to the right is not only scraped and dented, but the cause of the damage is clearly visible in the form of a large, glowering minotaur.

“Well, Beth, are any minotaurs not glowering?” I tease. A chittering laugh just beyond the shapeshifter draws me forward. “It’s fine. They can’t get out,” I say as I walk, though I certainly won’t go tap on #10’s glass to test my theory.

As I near the source of the laughing, I note signs attached to the outside of each cell. The first reads:

SHIFTER

Charles is the perfect companion. He not only fits most occasions, he fits any occasion or any species. Ever wanted a rabbit one day, then a pony the next? Charles is right for you!

I laugh a bit; again, echoed by Cell Two. “Are they serious?” I ask the open room. It reads just like the plaques at the animal shelter in town but, surely, I can’t literally walk out with something as incredible as a shapeshifter?

I glance at the affixed plaque of #2:

SPRITE

Honeyblossom is the light of the party or room. Besides a natural effervescent personality, she has a natural effervescence. A bit flighty, Honeyblossom would do well in an open environment without the temptation of mischief.

A tiny pair of eyes peers over the sign through the glass front. They blink and a tiny nose and grinning mouth appear as well. I smile a bit in return but immediately look away. Sprites and mischief are practically synonymous; sorry, Honeyblossom.

Mostly due to the very large, heavily-breathing presence on the end, I examine the other labels from a safe distance. They outline a Mouther, Phoenix, Satori, Boggart, Imp, Baby Dragon, Unicorn, Tokoloshe, Taniwha, and that Minotaur. I catch names like Chatterbox, Imka, and Bob.

I also see that the door of the unicorn’s cell is slightly ajar; her sign askew. Either I am not the first visitor to this strange place, or Rainbow Sparkles, III figured things out on her own… I look around, twitching this way and that. My eyes meet those of a few remaining creatures and no one else, whether that’s a comforting audience or not.

“Oh-kay,” I exhale. Before Charles stopped the recorded message, it’d said all I had to do was activate a cell with my letter. After that, the creature inside was mine. But, do I want to bring one of these home? A Satori was pretty awesome in theory; in practice, not so much. He’d likely run away or hide, knowing precisely when I meant to throw him in the tub or tell him it was time for bed. And no way would I consider bringing home something larger than my car.

Which left at least three animals I’d dreamed about since childhood. Three mythical creatures I’d pored over in storybooks and often said aloud, “Oh, I wish it was real!” Three that would be really awesome to own.

One of those, if J.K. Rowling were correct, that would make the use of an exit vehicle unnecessary.

“What the heck, Beth? The letter and the recording said to choose one.” I pull the crumpled bunch of papers from my back pocket and smooth them out. Before I can change my mind, I walk toward the smoking glass of Cell #4.

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—–

This was in response to Peregrine Arc’s story prompt. You can join in, too! Just click here to read her amazing introduction.

 

Photo Credit:
Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

 

© 2019 Chelsea Owens

The Choice of Three: Roll Your Initiative

Continued from Peregrine Arc’s writing prompt….

Although a heavy, musty dust chokes the corners and edges of every room in the derelict house; the silver pocket watch, gold candelabra, and string of pearls upon the dresser appear untouched. I read the note again:

You who so boldly enter this realm, lay down your tools and be away from this hell. 

But should you still keep Adam’s vain, stay awhile and forego your shame.

An object of three you see with your mortal eyes. Which one shall be your coveted prize?

My senses feel heightened as my anxiety levels rise. Who left this note? These objects? Most importantly, I wonder at who I chased. What I chased. Where did he go?

Was there a ‘someone’ at all?

Despite my worries, I can’t help but feel intrigued by the message and pristine items before me. I read the words for a third time and wonder what they mean. “Lay down (my) tools?” “This hell?” That sounds serious. What is “Adam’s vain?”

My imagination, though tickled, reverts back to teenage years spent tucked in Johnny Platt’s musty basement. The dim lamp we plugged into about three extension cords shone pewter figurine shadows across our wet-erase marker map.

“Roll your initiative,” Johnny’s friend, Dwight, said with glee. We all knew what that meant: we’d stirred up trouble, and we had to fight it.

After a terrible battle of 3,872 orcs; Paladin, Ranger, Fighter, and Thief emerged victorious. Our Mage, on the other hand, succumbed to a curse inflicted in the last encounter; Mike was busily rolling up another character as Dwight listed our prizes.

“There’re 4 healing potions, 500 gold, a jeweled dagger, and a ring.” The Dungeon Master’s eyes glittered as much as the dagger surely did.

“Are they magic?” Kevin, the thief, always wanted to know.

Dwight shrugged. “Run a check.”

Johnny gave him a look. “We can’t. Mike’s dead.”

“I know!” Kevin said. “I’ll try them out.” Addressing Dwight, he declared, “My character examines the dagger.”

As per usual, Dwight rolled a die behind his book. His face was impassive. “It looks expensive.”

“All right; I’ll keep it.” As I and the others in our group began protesting, Kevin waved a hand. “I’m gonna split the costs once I sell it!” We settled down, ever wary of the dodgy thief. “Now,” he continued, “I’m going to put on the ring.”

Another masked roll from the DM clattered on the table. He cleared his throat and we could hear the excited tone Dwight always had trouble hiding when something unexpected happened in the campaign. Something that was usually the result of a stupid decision. We were doomed. “You begin to feel rather strange… like the world has never made sense and now you see clearly. You eye each of your party members jealously; but, never fear -you’ll get what’s yours once they’re asleep….”

“Crap, man!” I said.

“What?” Kevin asked in a panic.

“Change your alignment on your sheet,” Dwight grinned. He stroked his Machiavellian chin. “You’re now Chaotic Evil…”

A small noise from a corner brings my attention back to the present. I turn but only see shadows. Perhaps a section of flooring gave way there, as well. Who knows how many panels I broke in my mad rush to this strange, spooky nursery?

As my eyes pass over the note and the items it references, my fingers twitch a bit.

Kevin ended up murdering everyone but the Paladin in our group. Johnny only survived by the divine influence of his deity, thus finishing off the little thief and his ring in the ensuing Blessing.

My fingers quiet. No, not worth it. If there’s one thing D&D taught me, it was to never take chances with a strange object.

I cast my gaze around the room as I back out of it, even stealing glances over my shoulders. I’ve seen enough scary movies to know that one ought to never not look a certain direction. That’s how you end up getting stuffed in a bathtub by a dark, long-haired ex-lover of your husband.

My return to the porch is less hasty than my leaving of it, particularly since I’d left random, haphazard holes in the hallways and had to dodge them. I look at one in passing but only see swirling, pitch-dark dust. I wonder how far I might have fallen if I’d broken through.

Not soon enough, I regain the porch and my lunch. The rain is still falling, though not in torrents. I won’t be able to finish mowing with wet grass. “Reschedule, it is,” I tell the vacant property. Stooping, I pack up my lunch and self and rise and head down the creaking porch steps. I pass the ancient lawn mower, still parked near the hawthorn bush. I push it into the bush; perhaps that will stave off some rust.

As I near my car the rain slackens and a waterlogged sun peeks out. I can’t help but look back. I see the old, old house; yellow, peeling paint muted in the recent showers. Just before I get into the driver’s seat, I catch a movement from an upstairs window.

I look back, heart racing a mile a minute, but there’s nothing. It’s only a gold candelabra, glinting in the new light.

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Photo Credit:
Rikki Austin

Behind the Blogger Tag Thingamajig

Thank you, P’Arc for the nomination! I know it’s not Thursday, but we’ll just ignore that and move on.

Here are the questions with my answers:

1. Why did you start blogging & why have you kept blogging?
I kind-of, sort-of wrote on Facebook. Like, wrote wrote. My goal was to post quality content with immediate results from my adoring fans in real life.
It turned out to be really hard on my self-esteem, watching ‘friends’ re-post crap and ignore my pearls. A truly wonderful (intelligent, beautiful, amazing, kick-a**) friend of mine suggested I move my act over to blogdom.

2. What is your favorite type of blog post to write?
Hands-down: humor. Even with a serious or non-fiction post, a bit of personality gets me giggling at myself.

3. What are your top 3 favorite blog posts?
From myself: I enjoyed my how-to on writing poetry, “Let’s Stay In Bed Today,” and “The Case of the Kitchen Cacophony.”
From other bloggers; I most enjoy reading short stories, humor, poetry -anything well-written, really.

4. What are some of your favorite things to do to relax?
I love curling up with a good bag of potato chips and French onion dip, with only my current book or video game to judge me.

5. What are 3 of your favorite things?
Running in the rain, cuddling during a movie, and satisfying creation.

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6. What are your proudest blogging moments?
Hmmm… that time I broke out to composing every day instead of pasting what I’d already done; and every. single. time someone leaves me a thoughtful comment.

7. What are your hobbies outside of blogging?
Ha ha ha ha ha…. Oh. Maybe you were serious.

8. Describe your personality in 3 words:
Repressed, tired creationist.

9. What are your top 3 pet peeves?
Intentionally unkind people, Intentionally ignorant people, and children singing pop songs.

10. What’s something your followers don’t know about you?
Welllll… if I answered that, it wouldn’t satisfy the question any more.

I’m not sure who I’ve mentioned before and honestly feel too exhausted to double-check. So, here are some blogs you all ought to check out:

Ruth at Ruth Scribbles.

J of Thru Violet’s Lentz.

Stephen, down by the Fractured Faith Blog.

Masercot, who shouldn’t be given a computer at Potatoes and The Promise of More Potatoes.

Geoff LePard, aspiring member of MP’s Flying Circus who writes from TanGental.

Just ’cause I didn’t list you, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I’m firing on about half a cylinder and can therefore only recall the last two blog posts I read. Anyone can play; I’m not picky.

——

THE RULES:

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Answer all the questions down below

• Pingback to the creator: Ellyn@Allonsythornraxx

• Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag.

THE CREATOR IS:

Ellyn@Allonsythornraxx

 

Photo Credit:
Geetanjal Khanna

A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still Be Sarcastic

I used to be afraid of the world knowing my name. I guarded it like I did my writing. Both were precious, unique things I should not give to the world for free.

There is also freedom in writing behind a mask. I’ve enjoyed pseudonyms in the past because I could then complain about real people in my real life with real details and how I really felt.

Besides the maturity of not-caring that comes with age, I’ve also grown to learn there is little that is private. I realized my name is not so special, and grants me little protection if when I am an insanely popular novelist.

My good friend, Peregrine Arc, recently wrote about the origins of her name and thus inspired my musings. Since I obviously do not use a pen name, I thought to list a couple I have used and their origins. I also wanted to open up the discussion to what name you think I could use as an alternate -buuut, we can cross that bridge when the story arcs to it.

  • Celine des Guimauves – In junior high school, our French teacher suggested we all choose a French name to use in class. There was a list: Monique, Elise, Natalie, etc. I chose the least odious from the list. That ‘middle name’ I added isn’t grammatically correct, but I was 12. C’est la vie.
    ‘Guimauves’ means ‘marshmallows.’ It was one of those words I flipped to in the dictionary and thought hilarious. Again; 12 years old.
  • Celine d’Espions – This was the gradual evolution of my French name over the years of French classes. Technically, the name was Céline d’Éspions, but we won’t nit-pick. The name also gave a nod to my spy-philia; I sincerely wanted to be a spy when I grew up. That may not be a past-tense wish…

P’Arc said she admired Peregrine Falcons, hence the use of the word in the first part of her name. She has an elaborate shrine at home with diving spaces and fish in streams and such, but claims she drew the line at dressing as one more than once a year.

Have I an animal that resonates with me? I loved dogs when I was younger and can bark like a German Shepherd. I definitely wanted to fly but did not want to eat bugs nor regurgitate my food for my young. Therefore, I resonated most with being a dragon. Most of the awesome fantasy beasts would do -even an imp, since I …sometimes behave like one.

Which doesn’t lead at all into my final thought: what’s in a name? I’m not attached to the one I have. I feel it doesn’t fit, somehow. When allowed any time to ruminate, however, I cannot find one that works. Even mention of the one I respond to does nothing to my soul when I hear it. Have you an idea for a name? I could use it for nom de plume purposes since legal name-changes are sticky affairs.

What do you think of pen names? Animal spirits? Your given name? Am I strange in not liking my own?

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Photo Credit:
Carlos Quintero

Smells Like Reanimated Spirits

You’re at a burial, dressed in shoes you didn’t have time to polish or lace up correctly. It’s a grey sort of day, overcast with rain coming soon. They’re lowering the casket into the ground and all you can do is stare at the stubborn knot in your shoelaces.

Someone lights up a cigarette after the service is over and you move away to avoid the smoke. Your heels slip into the soft ground and you get mud on the hemline of your clothes. You stop to catch your breath after a long day and close your eyes. You smell rain in the air.

There’s a piano you can hear in the nearby chapel playing a soft tune. You think they’re playing “Amazing Grace” and then it changes. A sudden thought strikes you: “I must get back into the car before the last note. Once the last note plays, it’ll start raining.”

You’re heading back to the car when you see a man standing at the fence. He’s dressed in overhauls and a flannel shirt, looking directly at you. You glance away but are drawn back by the man’s intense stare. He’s holding something in his hand. A letter? A book? You can’t tell. You feel you must find out, before the last piano note…

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Dodging headstones and mushy half-buried plots alike, you walk to the fence. And the man. Conveniently, they are both in the same direction. As you walk, you wonder at the prevalence of recently-turned earth. Just how many people have died lately?

The eerie piano playing from the chapel plays background beat to your even tread. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” will do that to a person, even if it’s a piano cover version and therefore lacks that awesome bass guitar.

Your attention draws back to the overall man who is fascinated with staring. Some people clearly need a hobby, especially since there are a lot more interesting things to stare at than a muddy-hemmed, sneaker-clad burial-crasher like you. You get closer and closer, noting his lack of blinking; his lack of attention on a bird that poops on his shoulder or on a passing dog that relieves itself on his trouser leg.

Just before you call out to him, his image blips and reloads. He is a clean, staring man again, proferring a flat object that is meant to look like a book. Thunder rumbles nearby, and he finally glances to the grey and heavy clouds. His gaze returns to you, who have stopped just before the projection of him.

“244224,” he says, monotone. “42,” he adds. Then, “2442.” He beeps.

You roll your humanoid eyes, reminded of how your familial assigners could not be happy with a short sequence like all the others. “Yes?”

“Precipitation imminent. Nirvana ending. Accept reanimation.” *Beep*

Your eyebrows raise. “Reanimation??”

“Affirmative.” He pauses, then remembers to *Beep!*

You look back and around at all the mounds of dirt, and swallow. It’s not easy considering the difficulties the body emulators had in transferring your normal shape to a humanoid form, but you manage. The sky growls again. A spot of earth near you seems to as well, but perhaps it’s the simulated imagination you’re equipped with.

Whipping back around to the hologram, you place your right forearm directly over the outstretched object in its hand image. The flat object glares a red light of warning. You realign. Still red. The growling from below ground is definitely not just your imagination now and you grit your teeth in frustration.

“Please align to shape,” the ‘man’ intones.

You try again and get the angry light again.

“Please align to shape,” he repeats.

Just as a very visible hand claws through the mud to your side and just as the final lingering notes of the piano are played, the tablet magically accepts your forearm’s outline and turns blue. “Code accepted.”

Your humanoid form releases a sigh of relief just before dematerializing. Your normal self, meanwhile, has a final, comforting thought. I am so glad that finally activated. Earth’s a real downer during a zombie apocalypse.

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From the story prompt beginning shared by the highly-imaginative, amazing, wonderful, and fantastic Peregrine Arc.

You can play, too! The submission window closes on April 12.

 

Photo Credits:
Daniel Jensen
Wendy Scofield

That Liebster Award Thingie

Many thanks to Peregrine Arc for this here Liebster Award.

Liebster Flowers

 

In answer to her questions:

  1. Why is blogging called blogging? Why isn’t it called ejournaling or something similar, you know?
    *Ahem* It’s a portmanteau of “web” and “log.” In the old days, before you young’uns even had a microwave death trap for yer food or a cellular cancer ray fer yer textin’, a person who wrote online kept a web log.
    I blame the rising generation, George Orwell, and the Germans for the term.
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  2. If you ever actually came across a ghost (yours to invent) what would your honest reaction be, as far as you can tell? 👻
    That’s easy! I’d scream like a banshee (also a ghostly apparition) and run away.
  3. If an animal talked to you, would you respond back? Or would you run to the nearest neurologist? What’s the animal and what did it say to you?
    Assuming an animal spoke English to me, I believe it would be like Gary Larson’s Far Side of the dog translator: a bunch of mutts saying, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” I wouldn’t tell the neurologist anything; they charge way too much. And, dog is the first animal I thought of.
  4. You’re on stage, accepting your dream award. What’s the award and what did you do to deserve it? Who do you remember to thank in your speech? And, here’s the kicker: is there anyone you blow the whistle on? This is your chance now to start some change…
    I am so boring. I don’t even know of any awards besides the movie ones and that Nobel thing. I’d really just want to be extremely rich and famous, but for the best reasons. So; no, I wouldn’t be blowing any whistles -except on those idiots who don’t know how to use a roundabout.
  5. What do you think should be done about me-monsters? You know, those people who just rattle on about themselves at dinner parties until you bend your fork into a boomerang so the investigators can’t find the murder weapon?
    A boomerang fork is highly inventive! I’d go with that, or a laryngitis-shooting secret ring.
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  6. If you could have one book unpublished (as in never published and removed from time) what would it be and why?
    I would unpublish every single serial book that is crap (and all the movies, too). Yes, that counts as one.

And again, here are a list of sites you ought to read and follow. I try not to repeat people I’ve suggested from past nominations (here, here, here, and here):

PK Adams. Writes about running, religion, and life.

Bruce. The best at writing bad endings for his characters; recently taken to composing songs and sharing them.

Roberta Writes. She lives in South Africa and writes some creepy (and good) stuff.

John L. Malone. John’s about quick punches, short stories, and the nonsense that makes them.

Michael B. Fishman. Michael is funny, and a fantastic terrible poet.

Nominees, here are your questions if you wish to answer them:

  • Would you rather sleep in on Sunday, and would a cat sitting on your face change that answer?
  • Given an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters, how soon before they realize typewriters are outdated and they’ll need to learn sign language?
  • What is the best paper airplane design?
  • Who would win in a duel: chocolate volcano cake or bananas foster?
  • If you could choose one magical power, what powers would everyone else have?

 

According to P’Arc:
What is the Liebster Prize?

“The Liebster Prize is an award that exists only on the Internet and is awarded to bloggers by other bloggers. The first case of the award goes back to 2011. Liebester in German means sweet, kind, kind, dear, charming, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome. It really is an excellent way to meet other bloggers and gain more visibility in the community.”

Use the links below to follow the rules and find the submission page:

https://theglobalaussie.com

Submission Page

Official Rules

 

Photo Credits:
Image by suju from Pixabay
Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

A Ghost of a Pinned Chance

For this week’s prompt, we’re at a restaurant for lunch. One of those local businesses, with an antique fireplace in your favorite room to eat in. The restaurant, you see, is inside a very old house, one with a murky, somewhat spooky, history. The restaurant is even part of the village’s ghost tour at Halloween time every year. But that’s all nonsense, right?….. (Read the rest of the opening prompt here.)

You eye the door. It’s solid, naturally, being a door and all. Still, if Lara Croft can fist-punch a granite statute, this skeleton-keyed obstruction shouldn’t stand much chance against a vegan-powered, Umbrella Academy-watching powerhouse like you.

Unfortunately, an attempted shift of your center of gravity reminds you that about three feet of petticoats and lace obstruct any sudden movement. If not for the witch-woman who first introduced you to The Door, you would have fallen in a puffy white heap. “Steady, Beatrice,” she admonishes. Then, some expression or resolve of your eyebrows catches her attention. “I wouldn’t try fainting again, Miss Pondewaste. Your father supplied me with smelling-salts.”

With a sniff, your matron of imprisonment opens the door. She hustles you out, arm firmly round your brocaded waist. “Not that he would consider such an event occurring that I would need smelling salts…” the stern woman mumbles as you attempt to walk down a narrow hall.

You feel too distracted to pay her much attention. The walls, formerly painted and hung with cheap printer paper pictures of vintage times, are now wallpapered. Sad, serious paintings hang in proper frames at measured spaces along the papering. A spindly-legged end table supports a flickering oil lantern atop an embroidered cloth. Its light plays across the delicate white stitchings of your dress.

Your dress! You stop mid-shush to admire the extensive needlework and lacework arms. How many slave laborers had to give their lives to produce this thing? “Now, Miss Beatrice,” Mean Lady hisses. Your tailing ladies-in-waiting snicker unprofessionally behind you, stopping at a quick glance from your captor.

Against any will you might have had, she drags you to the end of the hall. What is going on? What can I do? you wonder. Dimlit walls and antique furnishings distract and confuse you. Your tormentor walks you forward relentlessly, grunting with the effort and chastening you that, “It’s just the entry, for Pity’s sake!”

As a sunlight-outlined door flanked by sentry windows draws imminently close, you realize that something sharp is within your hand. You’ve been caressing it as you walked, oblivious to the action.

Your tread slows, even against the push of Mean Lady. You draw your hand before your face and squint to focus on the object in question. It’s the sewing pin, the one you picked up from a restaurant floor a few centuries hence.

“What have you got, Beatrice?”

As your fingers slip down the sides of the pin and you hold it aloft in the light, her eyes widen. Her eyebrows raise. “Where did you get that? Just give it here; I’ll -” her clawlike hand reaches to take it but instinct tells you to keep it away from her. You move it just as she snatches.

“Beatri- Miss Pondewaste! Hand it over this instance!” She makes another grab. Very unladlylike.

You turn your body to help shield against her reachings and make a split-second decision. With the aid of the other hand, you snap the pin in half. *Snit*

The Mean Lady’s gasp is the last thing you hear before blacking out.

The next thing you hear, of course, is that too-good-looking server’s voice, “Mushroom risotto, just as you ordered.” A plate clinks to the table in front of you and its steaming contents are the first, blessed thing you see. After that is the gorgeous server’s face. Nothing like the present.

“Oh, hey,” he says suddenly. “Did you drop something?” He stoops to the floor and retrieves two broken halves of a sewing pin.

“No!” you nearly yell. Seeing his confusion and surprise, you repeat it more calmly. “No, thank you.” You take up your napkin and lay it on your lap. “Go ahead and just throw it away.”

He shrugs and walks away, leaving you to your risotto. It’s a good thing Mean Lady isn’t there to witness your eating it, because you’re too hungry to mind many manners.

In response to Peregrine Arc‘s writing prompt. What an imagination!