Final Act

“Double that,” Henry grins around his cigar.

“There’s no way you’ve slept with that many women.”

“Oh come on, Carl, in seventy years? Over two hundred women is not uncommon.”

Carl sniffs into his scotch. “If you’re a playboy!”

“Not everyone finds their one and falls in love.”

Like most comments about ‘love’, it makes him think of Ann and how she felt in his arms. He smiles through the tears that spark in his eyes.

“Was it worth it?” They both ask at the same time.

Neither answers the other. Carl raises his glass of scotch, instead.

“Cheers to our final act.”

Written for Micro Bookends, where they provide the first and last word – you write the rest.

Oil and Tobacco

“Oil, Jack, you forgot the oil,” His mother stated through gritted teeth. “How am I supposed to cook anything without oil? You can’t do a simple shopping errand correctly -”

He let the front door slam behind him but he still heard her words from the porch. He came to his mother’s house once a week to help around the house and pick up the groceries because he was a good son.

It always ended the same way.

He pulled a pack of cigarettes out from his back pocket and lit his first offender of the morning. His mother’s ranting wafted through the open window and Jack took a deep breath of tobacco.

“Where did you get off too? You better be going to get me oil and not poisoning the lungs that I gave you after hours and hours of birth, young man.”

Jack had turned fifty this year but somethings never changed.

The early morning chill hit his skin as he walked down the steps. He should probably go back and get his coat but he’d rather face the cold weather. The store was nearby anyway and purchasing the oil only took twenty minutes.

His mother’s voice greeted from the porch again. “The wrong soda water, under ripe bananas, what’s the point of procreating if they’re constantly disappointing you?”

He took that as his cue to enter the house again, another slammed door behind him.

“Here’s your oil, ma.”

Jack watched as she fought the smile from her face. He wished it all went differently between them even as she spat, “bout time.”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ingredients.”


“I remember color, but it’s a blur.  Like all memories you can’t quite remember,” Ay told her sister Bee as she picked at a loose thread unraveling from the gray circle rug. They were sitting in the middle of their main room, waiting for the truck to deliver dinner.

“We still have prescribed “Vibrant Zones”; there’s plenty of color there.” Bee reminded Ay.

Ay knows about the Vibrant Zones, where you walk in and are handed a shirt at random – she liked the yellow ones the best but for some reason they always handed her red.

It is probably because of her hair color. The same hair she’s supposed to start dying this year. Entering the workplace requires monochrome.

“What was it like when there was color everywhere?”

The memories are a blur of people on buses, purple next to gold next to brown next to orange. “It was beautiful.”

“But distracting,” Bee supplied, dutifully.

Ay nods in agreement because she should, because together, nodding, they are both the same.

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Written for Blog Propellant’s Picture Prompt #15

Bob’s Good Day

“Bob – come!” I like my spot on the rug, warm under a ray of sun, but my Pa is calling.  Just this bit of attention is enough to make my tail flick. What could he want from me? What could he have for me? Maybe I’ll get to lick the syrup off his pancake plate! That would be the best.

My tail wags as I approach Pa and his tiny litter. He lifts his fist and says “Sit!” and I put my butt on the kitchen tile. I don’t know why he has me sit like this so often, but it always results in fun treats. Today is no different. The runt of his litter squeals in delight as I lick the plate. My Humans are lovely.

“Bob – mail!” I know this word. This is one of my favorite tricks. I get to showoff how well I stand on my hind legs after a fun dive through the hole in the door. A bluejay flies overhead but I don’t let it distract me.

Pa was kind enough to teach me how to step on the lever that tilts the paper from the mailbox and into my mouth. I keep my lips as dry as I can so I don’t taste the ink. Ink tastes like rotten grass and I don’t like it.

The whole litter laughs as I return through the door, victory in my jowls. My tail wags and wags as the litter surrounds me with hugs and kisses, chanting “good boy”.

Today is a good day.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Dog Named Bob.”

Mad Dash Escape

“I’ll tell you what you need and that’s a gun.”

An alarm went off, echoing throughout the residence hall corridor.

John turned towards his wife. She had a gun in one hand and an expression on her face he had never seen before now. It was a mix of shining pride and tentative fear.

“Why would I need a gun, Emily?”

“Well, see, the thing is,” she was picking phantom lint off her uniform. She only fake picked at things when she was about to deliver uncomfortable news. “I may have killed the Captain.”

There it was. John actually felt his jaw drop. “You may have?”

“Well, no, I most certainly did.”

As far as he knew, his wife had never killed a person but her hand was steady on the gun, an experienced hold. He tried to catch her eye and prayed it wouldn’t be the gaze of a stranger.

Emily sighed dramatically as if John’s caution was unfounded.  When she met his eye she at least had the decency to look abashed.  “Don’t you at least want to know why I killed her?”

Footsteps were coming down the hall, heavy and united – a squad looking for their target. Their target was his wife.

“Where would I find a gun?”

“We’ll probably have to disarm a guard.” She beckoned him to her side of the corridor with a two finger motion. He followed the order immediately. “It was for a good reason.”

John wanted to believe her and as they dipped into a nearby empty room he decided that he would believe, at least until they got out of this mess.

“They’ll be checking each room individually. Let’s hide behind the door.”

“This isn’t a movie, Emily.”

“Trust me, it’ll work.”

So they waited behind the door, his breath caught in his throat. They heard a nearby door open, then another, then their own. Like in the movies, the door swung open and concealed them. A single guard searched the room.

Emily jumped forward and onto the back of the guard in a single movement. The guard, caught off guard, stumbled backwards and onto John. It was easy to twist the arm and disarm the man, easier still to use the side of the gun to knock him unconscious.

“Let’s head to the escape pods.”

“We need a code –”

“A code I have, John, since I manage pod maintenance.”

They ran down the path that led to the lower decks. “Why is the ship still moving?”

“Auto-pilot. I doubt they want to alarm anyone.”

She went down the ladder, John followed. At the base the room was empty, for now.

“Why did you do it, Emily?” He needed to know before getting in the pod with her, before soaring straight to Earth. He’d either be traveling with a vigilante or a psychopath, but he needed to know which.

Her smile twisted then, eyes widened with lunacy. John stepped back in fear. “Because I wanted to and I could.”

Written for this weeks #FinishThatThought

Brother’s Keeper

“Hurry up!” James yells over his shoulder. He’s struggling to get his twin to follow him down the path; Gary was always such a scared-y cat.

Through the fog, he cannot see his brother. He can only hear the rustling of leaves and Gary’s incessant sniffling.  Even after ten years, James finds it unbelievable that they even came from the same fertilized egg. His “older” brother was both scared of everything and a walking allergy machine.

The snap of a stick echoes throughout the woods as Gary makes his way through the fog.  James can see the dark silhouette of his twin now.  He taps his foot, bored now and sick of waiting.

To his right, he sees a large tree. It is definitely wide enough to conceal him and with a wicked smile he decides to hide behind it. He picks at the bark and waits.

“James?” His brother is near and his voice is trembling. James mentally counts as the forest quiets around them: the birds evening chirp disappears; the predators of the woods are hidden from view, watching the two human boys.

James doesn’t have a plan, he hardly ever does. He only knows that he wants to see his twin flail and fall onto the leaves, wants to watch as he stumbles back and shrieks. He wants to kick Gary while he’s down then run up the path leaving him all alone on the foggy path.

This anger towards his brother isn’t new – if anything it’s the most consistent feeling he’s ever experienced.

A snap of a stick from the other side of the tree trunk and it’s the cue James needs to move.  In a single jump he’s in front of his brother with a roar. As if in slow motion, Gary’s face twists in fear. The shriek James expected follows but so does something he wasn’t expecting – his twin swinging his arm around, punching on instinct.

Time speeds up and James realizes that he is the one the floor, leaves crinkling under his jeans as his hands come up to cradle his face.

Gary is on his knees then, carefully trying to inspect the damage. James waits for a mocking laugh that never comes.

- Oer Wout

Photo Challenge #64, Pathway, June 09, 2015


“Over there,” the Ghost pointed.

I craned my neck. “What am I looking at?”

“That bit of rubble, that’s my Deathplace.”

A chorus in the wind – “Deeeeeeeeathplace.”

“Did you hear that?” I demanded, looking for the source.

The ghost nodded. “Of course, that’s my Haunting.”

“Your what?”

“It’s On Demand –one of my many powers. Here, all my powers are more powerful because it’s my Deathplace.”

A chorus in the wind – “Deeeeeeeeathplace.”

“Okay…,” I felt like an actor in one of those staged prank shows as the Ghost snapped. The ruins began to rise.

A chorus in the wind – “Deeeeeeeeathplace.


Written for the Janet Reid Writing Contest, where we were challenged to write a story in 100 words of fewer and include: stage; actor; crane; ghost; chorus.

The piece did not win the competition but I still get a hoot from it 🙂


“Mary! Jane! Come here!” Amnesia fretted under the afternoon sun. Her seedlings were missing and after last year’s slash-and-burn by the men in blue – she had reason to be concerned.

There had been a backpacker earlier and images of her babies, plucked by some hiker chasing a high, spun her into a panic.

“Mary! Jane!”

What they needed was a proper farmer. She had managed to plant her seedlings and watch them grow. But she needed help, someone to monitor the grounds and nutrient their water; someone who could make her babies even grander than the sun alone.

It’s impossible though, their plant family were the “villains.”

Then she heard it, a chant from down the mountain: “Legalization!”

Excitement floated up the hill with each breeze. Heavy footprints followed and she still couldn’t find her babies. Her leaves reached out for them as a boot trampled her friend. She screamed their names as greedy hands ripped up her neighborhood.

She awoke, replanted, under artificial light; the sun gone but her roots full of proper nutrients.

“Good morning, mama,” Mary said.

“Welcome to our new home,” Jane greeted.

There were men in white spraying them with mist. The farmers had found them and now, they may never see the sun again.

A two part prompt written for Flash!Friday:

The protagonist must be a farmer and you must to incorporate:

Inspection. CC2.0 photo by Brian (Ziggy) Lilioia.