Encounter with a bug

As I sat on the park bench, watching the frisbee golfers playing through, I became aware that I wasn’t alone.

He was on the other end of the wooden slats, just a tiny little beetle of some kind. He paused in his journey across the bench surface while we each examined the other.

It was amusing to me. My imagination provided the thoughts he must be thinking, his little buggy dreams and aspirations. After a few moments, he turned and silently departed over bench’s end.

Just in time. A hungry sparrow arrived, only seconds after he left. In my heart, I cheered at his brave and narrow escape from the cruel fate Nature had determined.

What must that sort of life be like for my little friend? Any moment and the flutter of a bird’s wings or the shadow of a careless boot, and its life would vanish. Indomitable and undeterred, my beetle acquaintance just soldiered on, as each of us must, crawling through his life’s finite moments one by one.

I never saw the plane that screamed out of the sky and made a red splotch of me.

My spirit observed, with my final parting thought, “Ain’t metaphor a bitch?”

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Three Wishes, Please?

Finally, my luck was changing!

When I rubbed it, the antique lantern produced volumes of smoke. The smoke had eventually coalesced into this gigantic barrel-chested individual in loose silks, brass wristbands, and large hoop earrings.

He spoke at length in a booming voice. My initial elation turned to ash when I realized he was speaking some language I did not understand. It sounded vaguely Middle Eastern.

“I didn’t understand a word of that, big guy. Do you speak any English?”

He peered at me quizzically, and touched fingers to his ears.

Nope, my luck hadn’t changed. The genie was deaf.

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Inspired by this week’s Picture It & Write prompt:

Original image by Alberto Seveso.


How much do you know about sousaphones?

“Not much,” is the usual answer from an average person on the street. The dorky kids in your school band played sousaphones or tubas.

Did you come to hear our band playing tonight?

I’ve got the dork-plus instrument, the sousaphone with the fiberglass bell. Cheaper and lighter, the entry-level version of the instrument. It doesn’t even sound identical, whatever the manufacturer claims.

The spoiled brat next to me is the conductor’s kid. He’s playing real brass. I hate him for it.

Did you know that brass conducts electricity very, very well?

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Inspired by this week’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT ©David Stewart

Viewing Portal


“Yeah, Marty?”

“Have you made any progress figuring out what’s happening, yet?”

“I have a theory, that what we’re seeing is a sort of portal into the spirit world. It’s like a painting, but with movement.”


“I’m not sure. Certainly not the sort of magic you hear about in the stories. Watch this bit, here.”

“Mountain, trees, grass. That’s all familiar. But what’s that big thing there?”

“I’ve seen a lot of this before. I’m thinking maybe it’s a god of some sort.”

“It’s certainly big and shiny enough. But what makes you think it’s a god?”

“I’ve just got a hunch, really. There seems to be a lot of reverence attached to it by these spirit-world folk. And they’re all so scrawny, like little stick-figures.”

“So this here is another kind of deity, then?”

“I’m still studying, of course, but they seem to have an entire pantheon that can be viewed through this portal. This one seems to be quite small. Looks like a lizard.”

“Toy Yah Ta. Guy Khoh. They have some weird gods.”

Eugene and Marty grew quiet as they peered from their totem poles, passively studying and evaluating this fascinating spirit world’s “television screen.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

No image attribution



The exquisite fragrance of Madonna Lilies lingered in the atmosphere surrounding the mahogany altar. Vorveserech gazed fondly into the eyes of Oudueta, resplendent in her column silhouette gown, which perfectly accentuated her lean and slender figure. He lifted her hand in signal, and they kneeled as one to complete the ceremony that would bind them together forever as man and wife.

The demonic powers struggled to be free of their bindings. Somber and inky shadows gathered in stygian swirls, and the demons seethed with impatience. So close now, after all of the preparation. Immortal souls are so delicious.

Bride and groom reached together to touch, sharing this tender moment. Their heads tilted to bring cheeks to fingertips, and each gently, carefully peeled the last precious bits of flesh from grinning skulls. Crossing arms, each gently offered the other a taste.

The shadows exploded inward with a joyous howl as the consumption of the flesh completed the dark ceremony. Vorveserech and Oudueta rose, as the demon-magic swirled around their animate skeletons, creating new and everlasting bodies of solidified magic.

Oudueta grinned at her husband, the first time as liches.

“Let’s just see what you have planned for the honeymoon.”

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Inspired by (last?) week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

(Hey, I was on vacation!)

199 or 198 words (word and scrivener disagree).

No photo attribution

Ok, well, I’m back.

We did a little Chi-Pitts-Philly-Pitts-Chi trip this week.

Annie shot a bazillion tourist-y photos, I didn’t get anything at all written, and a really good time was had by all. Except for the late March snow. But there’s not much you can do about that.

Catching up on email and comment-backlog, what’s been happening on Facebook, etc. It’ll take a while.

In the mean time… Hi, how are you, how have you been?

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We all fall down

My husband Samuel was a Downs. In Louisiana, you just couldn’t make a finer “catch,” as my mother put it. The Downs family owned plantations, Uncle Solomon was a U.S. Senator, and the power and prestige of their slaves and properties offered vast advantages for a new blushing bride.

For me, Samuel built this manor home and farm. He often said our children would forever be wealthy, famous and a political powerhouse in the New Orleans area.

That was before the war, however, 150 years ago. Today it all belongs to the swamp, and no one remembers except the spirits.

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Inspired by this weeks Friday Fictioneers prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT – © Copyright – Rachel Bjerke

Spring Rain

A body suddenly crashed through a plate glass window at the Brigadier’s house. It made a hungry lunge for Captain Cooper, but its feet were tangled in the window curtains and it slammed to the floor, hungry teeth snapping and arms reaching. Captain Cooper quickly dispatched the zombie with a ceremonial saber thrust through the brain.

“Well that was too bloody close,” the cool Brigadier remarked, pouring a fresh cup of tea for the Captain.

“I’ll say.” Cooper wiped the zombie’s brains on the ruined curtains. “Where do you suppose it came from? This installation is supposed to be biter-free.”

Right on cue, a U.S. Army Apache helicopter hovered into view. It swerved dangerously with over a dozen biters clinging to its wheels and weapon pylons. The pilot’s terrified eyes met Cooper’s for just a moment, before it slid out of view sharply to the right in uncontrolled descent.

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150 words. In response to this weeks Monday’s Finish the Story prompt (the first line of the story).

Just climbed out of the bath

Ahhh…ahhhhhhhhh hhh hhh hhh man, that feels good.

I mean, most mornings are the shower. That feels good, too, but not as much. Every now and then I just need to switch it up. The bath gets deep into those muscles and says “warm” and they echo back “ooh, yes please, more thank you”.

If someone could capture and bottle that feeling. When your whole body is sending peace messages of clean and warm and happy. Even the tired and abused feet seem pretty happy, for once.

Imagine how easy it would be to get through an eight-hour day, if you could get a once-an-hour recharge like that?

Stress? What’s that?

It does drain you, a little. Body wants to sit here and enjoy the warm for a little while longer, rather than fetching breakfast right now. Guess that could be a little counter-productivity.

Peaceeeeee. Sleep would be so easy, too.

No no bad dog. Breakfast, work, responsibility. Or no biscuit.

Oh, all right. Damn you conscience. You’ll pay for this.

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I should write something today

But Monday, not a good day for prompts. Daily Post is meh today. Hmm hmm hmm.

Nothing on the ‘to do’ list, project-wise. Maybe I won’t write anything at all, and just vegetate in front of the TV.

I should have some stuff “in the can” anyway. That’s what column writers do, so they can take a day or a week off. Bunch of canned articles, ready to be released on date X.

I’m not that prolific.

I mean, I’d feel bad to miss a day, but it really wouldn’t kill me.

Just not going to let the urge-to-vegetate wreck “the streak”.

Won’t miss a day for any reason that trivial. Vacation, anniversary, birthdays. Christmas and Thanksgiving (probably).

I’m just not organized enough to have column articles “on the spike”. Nor does my income depend on it.

This streak is doomed…heh.

But not today!

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