Challenges Archive

 

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Tween Sleep And Awake

They were twins but you’d never know it. She looked like her mother and her twin looked like her father, one had black hair while the other had sandy brown, and one was reserved while the other was outwardly wild. To see them together you wouldn’t think they were friends.

As Angela thought back to much younger days she laughed to herself. Her friend Creep was there with her. They’d both come a long way from washing hallucinogens down with hard alcohol as they now sat on her front porch sipping tea with honey and half n’ half, something Angela’s Irish father had turned them onto so long ago.

“Why did I name you Creep? I can’t remember.” “You wanted to have a special name for me and couldn’t come up with anything else at the time. You were tripping.” “I have a hard time you know. When I want to say something sometimes it takes me a minute to get it out.” Creep patted Angela’s shoulder. “You were far more hardcore drinking than I ever was. It takes its toll but look at you – a good job, a nice place – you survived it and beautiful kids to boot. You keep going.” “Yeah but most days it’s like I’m still high living between asleep and awake, you know not awake yet though I woke an hour ago.” “The dreamy ‘tween time. Listen, there’s nothing you can’t do. You know what’s funny – how you were supposed to be the wild child of the two of you, yet Madison was the one who got herself knocked up – shocker, shocker – and with all you’ve been through, you had five kids with one man and they’re all terrific. She got married, yeah, but he’s unfaithful, has always been that way, and they’re still together.” “Yeah. She was into hard drugs when all that happened too. Anytime anyone spoke about it, it was in whispers as if she were an angel who fell from heaven. For me it was like, ‘she ran away to Greenwich Village, yawn, yawn’.” Sighing a nod Creep picked up her tea and looked at the sunset as she tried to ignore the cars flying down the street like it was the Indianapolis 500’s track.

“I think your tween sleep and awake mind state is catching, you know, like a contact high. If this were reality police would have these clowns pulled over writing out tickets to support the policeman’s ball.” “They have balls?”

Creep spit out a mouthful of tea as they both burst out laughing and a police car came screaming after a speeder pulling him over across from the house. She grabbed a napkin to wipe her chin; they looked at each other and doubled over.

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Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: double/two/bi-/twin or anything else you can think of that means “two.”

http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-914/

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To A Child’s Mind

Margaret-Anne spotted a bullet on the ground next to her grandfather’s shed. Her brother Geoff saw and asked. “Can we hit the back?” “It’ll make a big cra-bang! Dad might hear.” She held it eye level. “Do you have to make that noise?” “It shouldn’t if we hit it with a rock” he pleaded. “ Ok. Find a rock.” Dad’d overheard everything.

“If you succeed you could blow up your finger” he explained and then continued with how bullets are made. Satisfied with his lesson he turned trusting them with the bullet.

Excitedly Margaret-Anne turned finding Geoff smiling at her. “Find a rock.”

Flabbergasted dad spun around.

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NOISE – WK 142

The prompt this week is:

…Do you have to make that noise?

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week142/

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Facing The Sea

“Wouldn’t I love to be the one standing there taking that shot”, thought Janelle as she studied the portrait. “Look at that sunset! How well it was captured. Those posts look like people frozen in time facing the sea. Are they? Did she know she was being photographed? What’s that?” Her thoughts trailed off as she focused. “It couldn’t be a speck.” She stepped closer instinctively to brush it away. Yellow dust smeared. Janelle looked at the side of her hand. “Isn’t this is supposed to be a photography exhibit?”

She jumped as a voice shattered the silence. “Step back!”

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week140/

PROMPT: … “a picture taken by Chris of Janette taking a picture!”

 

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 Listen Carefully

 

But even when I listened carefully

I couldn’t determine

But even when I listened carefully

I couldn’t see

But even when I listened carefully

To her, the one in ermine

I was distracted

My mind wandered…

“Ermine. How many years has it been since I’ve seen someone wear ermine?” Joseph stood and walked toward the radiator. “Where’s that hissing…”

His desk

E-x-P-L-o-D-e-d…

Word fragments thrust askew.

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100-Word Challenge For Grownups

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week139/

The Prompt … but even when I listened carefully…

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Writing Challenged
Old enough to say that

Seems only a blink

How’d I get here this fast?

It was 50 years ago…

Madeline grabbed the sheet from the typewriter, tore it out, crumpled and bank-shot the ball into the trash. “Need a chapter… deadline’s tomorrow.”

She went down to the basement to get into the chest freezer…

“Sounds like I want to hide there. Maybe…”

She needed to go through the attic.

“And jump out the window. Relax. Breathe.”

A bottle of wine had rolled into a corner. Caked with dust, it was 50 years ago it was…

“Sure could use a glass.” She made another basket.

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The prompt this week is:

…. it was 50 years ago…

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-136/

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STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS: ENTRANCE

I wait for the gag reflex but this stuff is smooth. I’m filled with warmth on an 80-degree day. Should be winter but it’s not and I don’t mean that anyway. I like that summer is upon me. Another mouthful my being filled again. I’m ready for my entrance. Bring on the day.

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SoCS:

This week your Prompt will be ‘entrance.’ As a noun or verb, literally or loosely, you choose how to write your post around the concept.

 

http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-1014/

 

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Challenge Finale For X, Y & Z: X For X-Chromosomes, Y for Years Of Comments, And Z for Zoom-Out, Dolly In: Now Action Begin

 

A Title Explained

 

X For X-Chromosomes

Conversation with girls

 

Y for Years Of Comments

Curly hair’s natural to me

That makes you angry?

 

Z for Zoom-Out, Dolly In

A way of filming I’d learned

I walked toward them you see

The classroom distant behind me (http://youtu.be/svEPWBxpYjo)

 

In the hallway they spoke

I looked and responded I didn’t hear

Into the doorway they moved

I walked toward them to be near

What’s written next is without quotes

 

 

Have you ever seen Tangled I was asked. Well yes I replied. You look like the woman one of them said. Her stepmother I asked. The evil stepmother I then sighed. Yes they both replied, your hair is like hers. I responded oh… thank-you, trying to keep it light using an inquisitive tone to elicit laughter. A good move and it worked. Maybe they were trying to offend me but though I’m not Candide, I appreciated the character that was chosen. You see, the last time I was called a witch, not in the derogatory sense but by a young man who just knew I was an actress, he was referring to Latrine from Robin Hood Men In Tights. She had bigger curly hair than I did, very unruly, and the traditional hooked nose. He was so convinced of my identity nothing I said could sway him. Excitedly he rung-up my order all the while keeping silent to hide who I was from other customers, so proud to have me in his line. I’ll never forget him. This wicked stepmom the second time around was better looking, animated, granted, but there’s nothing wrong with being animated, full of life and vitality, although being recognized as Tracey Ullman was nifty. Then again if my first encounter had thought I was Maid Marian it would’ve really made my day.

 

On the whole not a bad illustration I’d say.

 

 April A To Z Challenge Grand Finale: X, Y, Z

 http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html

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W – INTERROGATIVE: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN THE GARDEN

“I’m not trapped. I can leave anytime I want, but I choose to stay. I don’t have to question why I stay. I know why. There’s no reason to get melodramatic about it. There aren’t any questions nor lament, lament, cruel-world-you-tricked-me-why? Nothing like that.” Penelope contemplated as she wrote. Up since 4 like she used to do in what were her old contemplative days living on 3 hours of sleep and raising her infant son, she knew. Would this re-revelation help her through this day? Would this be the next first day of a new start? It was like a prayer she’d learned back then. “Keep repeating it over and over again until it becomes part of your heart and is always present. That’s the way to do it then” and so she would. “There’s still plenty to live for. There is plenty of life. There is.”

 

There was no real question.

 

 

“Well, that was a great start” Ginny thought to herself as she sat at her desk hitting a brick wall after she’d stop typing. “How’s that for writer’s block. Where exactly am I going to go with this? Sounds like a tragedy. No, no, not a tragedy a rebirth in determination and moving forward. Hmmph… moving forward. Not right now.”

 

April A TO Z CHALLENGE: W

 

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html

 

 

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VENDETTA
So I’m subbing today

So glad to be here

So good to meet you

And see other students again

 

But then

 

There are tough kids around

Not like in the past

Pretty bad-ass ‘twas true

But not the ilk of you

 

Violence boils in your veins

From whence have you come?

Rising anger festers so

Like Vesuvius famed

 

You plot and you plan

Your close little band

You twist words and abuse

Spitting venom is your muse

 

A real teacher unlike some

Standing strong my ground

Direct your laziness around

No dissing in my room

 

Yes, today it’s my place

Look of anger on your face

Outright hatred unmasked

Yet you remained on task

 

Then to the office stomp away

Two of you lied

I wasn’t surprised

Not in the least I knew

 

Daggers in your eyes

Affronted with words

For all your plotting

My life’s demise

 

To your chagrin

My experience abounds

More than you knew

It’s counseling in store

 

There is no more

No victory you see

And protection for us both

This place has changed

 

Gangs and violence moving in

Bullying threats cause pain

But really don’t win

Yet reshapes the scenery

 

The consequence remains

For adult decisions

Responsibility weighs

I will miss seeing you

 

I was your age once and know

What you’re going through

We can’t risk clashing again

Growing volatile from within

 

Never violence for me

The vendetta backfired

For you this day

Bad karma dissipated

 

Paths veer another way

 

 

April A To Z Challenge: V

 

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html

 

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RETURN: THE SUBSTITUTE

I thought I’d be inspired to write when I went back to teach

 

But I’m not, at least not yet

 

I had delusions of humorous stories and anecdotes galore right away

But I sit here in charge of a study hall after lunch no less, good students – ok

Struggling to put these lines down with what I feel is a dulled brain in this domain

 

I want to write

 

Though I read over the sheet for the class coming up that I’ll actually teach

Have my answers organized, so prepared ahead, unmoved by historical quips

Found the teacher’s notes on the computer to help through the day

 

Enlightenment Philosophers seem mundane

 

I sit here otherwise unfilled and read instructions over again to ensure I have it straight

Reread messages to the Sub, perchance I had missed something just in case

It’ll help, I guess, in the longer run for the overall day and make for a better end

 

Nothing sparks my inner flame

 

Perhaps time will move faster though it doesn’t move at all

In fact it doesn’t exist but man brought it into being long ago

Charted, mapped, broke up the day so he can get somewhere on time

 

Business rejoices in this gain

 

Now ten minutes has passed since I last checked the clock

The printout that designates begin and end has no yellowed edges to see

Nothing has changed as time is crawling though it doesn’t crawl at all in reality

 

I stifle a yawn

 

Yet the students remain good, focused on their work, hurray team

And behold I’ve managed several lines, almost an entire page is filled

With what exactly you might ask have I added to my verse, call it what you will

 

Another yawn so wide

 

Now all’s left to do is wrap this up in surprising magnificence that grabs and holds

My readers in its thrall, I will then cool down my brain reading about yawning no less

As my research unfolds and drawing a blank on inspiration lost, or not yet found

 

Writing bug won’t let go

 

Eyes water as I struggle to be sublime and aside I need a band-aid for a cut

I look at my thumb, sore to the touch lest my neglect fester and infect

A spot of watery blood on my sheet in a perfect line like mechanical pens

 

I like being back

 

It’s no problem at all in the classroom the place I love to perform

Go teaching, go team and the check that’ll follow whether smaller or small

Is inspiration in itself turning days into weeks though not enough by itself so alone

 

It’s positive thought anyway

 

Soon enough time will end and I’ll be free to journey back, well, walk home

For an espresso this latte, a joke, if I have the energy to make, if I want to stay awake

It’s really up to me after stretching these thoughts as far out as they can go

 

Guess now’s the time

 

Uninspired, let’s not forget, yet I’ve pushed on to describe as I sit writing these lines

I think I’ve gotten enough here said about my day warranting putting down the pen

Welcome back to reading notes over again, spot-checking what I glossed over before

 

Maybe time will fly

 

But it doesn’t exist

 

So that’s it

 

And I’ll say “The End”

 

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html

 

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LAMENT

A woman will despair

Why doesn’t he know me?

The one who I love

I desire unconditionally

So passionately

But that’s the thing

He does know you

More than you can ever hope

He knows the song your synapses sing

And the fire they will bring

He could fulfill you more ways

As a diamond reflects

His refractions are limitless

Therein lies injustice

Driven, selfish, and vain

He knows just how to use them

That you don’t detect

You haven’t discovered yet

And now here you stand

Feeling without substance, without quality

Lost never to be found

Take heart yet lament

He knows you inside and out

 

I never took you as stupid

I’ve known all along

I’ve known since I met you

Your ability for pain

Substances comprising you

Of which no human should be made

What you know you’ll gain

From what you intend to do

Chin up, my dear one

I never doubted you, my friend

But woman has the burden

To see it through to the end

The path stretched ahead

To set you back on the curb

And walk away

 

Now what does your impeccable vanity

Have to say?

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Just Rolling With It

Just you?

Yes, just me.

Why just you?

Just because.

Just because why?

No not just because why.

Just because.

No other words?

No

Just me.

Just you.

Just because.

It’s just me.

And just you is you

Asking just me.

Just because I threw in

As my reason

Just because

It’s those three

It’s just me writing

About just

Only just

 

 

 

{This week, the prompt is “Just.” Take whichever definition of the word you’d like to and run with it.}

 

 

http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-1914/

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O: OBITUARY

With Sundays Off It Could Be O : Obituary

But If You Can’t Wait Until Then It Could Be N: Not Here

 

I’d hoped you were still alive and had faked your death because I annoyed you in some way, and for a while you wanted a break. But, I looked up your obituary and found it’s true. You died suddenly. There was nothing anyone could do. Don’t you see, and in no way your fault, but I need you to talk to.

 

I sit here with reality and want to cry but I hold back the sobs. To what avail will it do? To wail aloud and then what? I grab a tissue for my nose has begun, shall I say to weep too, in the spirit of poetic license to keep a flow for what I want to say that I don’t yet know.

 

You really have passed, yes, this I knew. I had a dream like friends and family who feel loss do. You looked good in a white sweater, turtleneck, and white slacks, something you never wore. Now that’s a clue. Your kitchen was brilliant, dazzling brighter than the sun. You always kept it clean but not like this. We sat down for coffee as we’d so often done. You are happy and at peace. I knew this too.

 

You were the only one to whom I could speak my heart. You knew what to say. No one else wants to listen. I give them a headache, get the brush-off and I’m asked to go away. Now I’m my own headache and at least the one person who doesn’t mind if I stay. Otherwise I ache from the loss of a friend as forever part of me you remain.

 

I sit here alone, single coffee in hand. There’s nothing left except to wish for one moment more.

 

A rustle from the stack of balloons in the corner, a pink one pops out and rolls along the floor. A sign from the heavens, are you here with me, or am I just insane? Do balloons settle? In any case, forever part of me you remain.

 

 

 

 

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html

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Not so much Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” but more MTV’s Half-Hour Comedy Hour is from whence this inspiration sprung, and a scene from one of my all-time favorite comedic sci-fi flicks circa 1985.

 

She Just Knowed They Shouldn’tah Goed.

 

Well she knew in her heart they shouldn’t’ve made a start together so sudden not thinking it through. “I just knowed” she blurted out, “I just knowed we shouldn’tah goed to Reno to get married like a couple of lovesick puppies.” Her new husband turned to her and looked deep in her eyes, ”I’ll have a talk with the boy, no need to despair and he’ll socialize with you sitting right there.” Then he turned and burst into his son’s room. “Come socialize right now with your new mother. We took the vow.” He slammed the door stomping back out but the boy climbed out the window, “Not going to happen, that’s a fact” and together with a six-pack he sat alone howling back at the moon.

 

 

{This week, the prompt is “I know this in my heart.” Write about something you just know – not necessarily a fact, but more a feeling.}

 

http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-1214/

 

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First Person Or Not

Delirious

It’s a known fact the night of a full moon is a trigger for delirious behavior. Mariana was making rounds at the retirement home and Millie, a long-term resident, was sitting up in bed yelling at the chair by the window. “Who are you talking to Mill?” “Husband! See?” As Mariana walked toward the chair she stumbled and fell forward but was steadied. Startled she stood and turned to see Millie grinning. “He helps. Good.”

The word limit for DELIRIOUS is 75. In both cases I used them all.

A new Fall Quarter of Flash has begun. The theme is Disturbed. Click: http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/

 

Delirious

Mariana was making rounds at the retirement home and Millie, a long-term resident, was sitting up in bed waving her arms, yelling at the chair by the window. “Who are you talking to Mill?” Delirious during a full moon was common behavior for her. “Husband! There!” As Mariana walked toward the chair she stumbled and fell forward but was steadied by no one that was visible. She turned to see Millie calmed, grinning. “He helps.”

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Twenty Questions:

You are building your dream house. Choose three characters from three separate fictional works (not your own) to head up your construction crew.

      The Vampire Lestat would be my first recruit. He’s open to innovation, would trade bodies to get the job done, and has the advantage of superhuman strength and speed, doesn’t need sleep, doesn’t need to eat. I’d have him work the night shift.

The Time Traveler of ‘The Time Machine’ would be one of the day crew. A brilliant creator, inventor, machinist and scientist, he can manage the construction, invent and reinvent, utilize and modify equipment, and because he has the capability to time-travel, can have repairs made in the past, re-modify design, and know exactly what the outcome will be.

Last and certainly not least, Hua Mulan would be the third member. There isn’t anything she can’t do, she’s always victorious, and has an excellent eye for style. She would be an asset for all facets of construction design, from fighting in battle knows how to hold together and support team relationships keeping them focused on the job at hand. She would definitely be the foreman of the three without the other two being aware she were in charge.

What album do you play when you are depressed that can be guaranteed to make you feel better?

      Ah albums! I remember them from days gone by and the collection I’d accumulated spanning the floor of my bedroom wall. I remember the threats to my younger brother and sister not to touch that fell on deaf ears. They didn’t even try to conceal they’d listened to them. What would relax me hands down then when the offense had been committed that can still hold the same power, have the same influence now? Something heady, trippy, dreamy – Blind Faith, made up of other established band members who felt like jamming that day. You see, “But I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time

And I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home.” (Steve Winwood 1969-ish)

You are on a first date with someone that you find attractive. Your partner picked the restaurant, and it is an ethnic food with which you are not familiar. When you get the menu you realize that you don’t recognize the names of any of the dishes and there are no descriptions. What do you do?

      If my partner has picked the restaurant, I’d hope he could translate. There’d be no problems turning over the reigns and learning what everything is including the background behind them within reason – depending how hungry I am. If my partner doesn’t really know either but chose the place on recommendation, we’re about to find out everything we need to know about customer service through the waiter who will be bombarded with questions – depending how hungry I am. I may just cut to the quick and ask specifically about things similar to what I eat, fish, veggies – like that. Hopefully we’ll both be nursing cocktails while this is taking place.

What character from fiction do you wish that you had invented?

       Huh, which character from fiction do I wish was my idea? Man, the list is long. I remember as far back as reading in People before it became a gossip magazine, when it was actually about people, about the guys who thought up the Ninja Turtles, one thing leading into another and then it began grossing zillions. Without getting into that long list, let’s say the Ninja Turtles. Otherwise, I can leave the door open for any character that has gained grossing-zillion-dollar notoriety. Nonetheless, I’ve fair to middlin’ imagination myself and’ve come up with some unusual stuff. There’s no telling where it’ll all lead.

 

Have you ever based a character on that character?

      Indirect Ninja Turtle reference? Well, I guess I have. In fact, sure I have. I’ve written about super-folk in human form. They may not spin staffs or nun chucks around but they have powers and can alter outcomes. It’s always better when they show up and there’s nothing like a team of super-folk who’ve come together for a purpose, perhaps to settle a score. How I’d love to shoot a super-glance at a bad guy and land him/her on his/her respective backside.

How do you backup your work, and how often?

      A well-known author wrote, ‘save, save, save – change a couple of words, save don’t wait – always save your work’. Often but not often enough I back up my work, copy my folders and send them to different sites. They have to be accessible in case of crash landings. In fact, I’m going to do that right now, after I take my vitamins.

If you had to power to “uninvent” an existing device and make sure that it would never be made, what would it be?

      I would definitely uninvent the Smartphone. What a piece of junk. The person at the electronics store who pushed this product wasn’t technologically savvy at all. She was a damaged droid with faulty programming pushing a product. It is undependable, its updates are questionable and cause more problems than help, it has deleted photos on me, doesn’t share media well with others, is difficult to control and difficult to find functions, it’s unclear how to buy ringtones, in a nutshell it’s just too complicated. From what I’ve heard from others who have purchased Smartphones, buy an iPhone.

If your life were a sandwich, what would it be?

       One of those elegant 300 Sandwiches, let’s see… nah, I’ve got one: grilled smoked salmon and horseradish-cheddar on ciabatta or one of those small Italian rolls I’d buy at Auchan in Citta Bassa. Salmon is so good for you, horseradish-cheddar gives it kick, and good bread completes it. At this point there’s no skimping the grill in either olive oil or butter, nothing watered down. Eat it hot, take a bite, and savor as you chew. Burning sting on your tongue, wash it with wine, dry red or white. Life is important and just for you.

What song from a Broadway musical best describes your ideal relationship?

 ‘Heart’ from Damn Yankees. I’m originally from New York, that’d be me. If he takes it to heart and can sing as good as those ballplayers can, we’ll be fine.

 

If you could choose a pet that was a reincarnation of a historical figure, who would it be, and what sort of pet?

           What an awful thing to do to someone. Give up on resting in peace? In this life you must be my pet? It’d have to be something that can’t bite first of all… I love horses so it’d have to be cool for the both of us… more consideration, hmmm…

The black stallion Pegasus from Clash Of The Titans… who would be Socrates reincarnated. I’ve always loved the Greek philosophers and I’d bet he’d get a kick out of being a Pegasus as much as I’d love to have that one from Clash Of The Titans as a pet, which would also make him a Hollywood icon. Yeah, we’d both dig it.

 

 A comic book superhero approaches you for help in defeating a villain. Who is the character, and how are you able to help?

      Like a Silver-Tongue in Inkheart, I’d change the story. I’d heard that according to marvel Comics, although one of the Avengers now, the Hulk is overcome by what pumps through his veins and will ultimately become a villain. What would happen if The Hulk were the bad guy fighting Thor? Neither of them can be defeated, but if the story can be changed, the bad guy can be changed, eliminated, defeated in that way, maybe in the way the elements can defeat an immortal – that one fatal flaw. Lightening may charge up Iron Man, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone.

Thor, who loves a good brawl, has kept the Hulk at bay but no amount of strength is going to stop him. It’s a shame this turn of events, but he’s been through it before with Loki. The Hulk manages to knock Thor into a park where I happen to be sitting at a picnic table with my laptop responding to a 20 questions writing prompt. I look up and my heart skips a beat at the approaching figure. Usually it takes me a minute to recognize someone but not this time – kind of hard not to recognize Thor. He sits at the table. I could tell by looking at him he’s in battle or just finished one. It does break my heart as he tells his tale, I’ve liked the Hulk until now, and agree to help. It won’t be easy but Thor should be able to keep me safe. The Hulk tramples down trees and is in the park. Just as well, I’d rather a surface to type on anyway.

Dr. Banner wakes up in the middle of a park not certain how he got there. Thor greets him helping him up. Bruce has heard of the Avengers and is excited to meet Thor but he must get back. Today he’s being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Thor asks about his gamma research and Bruce laughs. He’d scrapped that idea years ago. It’s just too dangerous.

After he leaves I’m awarded a cool person nod of acknowledgement from Thor as he summons his hammer, scares up some lightening and rockets skyward. This whole ordeal has given me an idea for writing. Fire and rescue trucks pull up along with a few police cars and an official-looking SUV. Someone runs up to me and shouts, “What happened here?” I shrug. “Don’t know, just got here. I was wondering that myself. What happened to the park? Mind if I keep writing while you guys do your thing?”

Good thing there wasn’t anyone else in the park when it all took place.

 

If three were four, what would five be?

      I know Hendrix wouldn’t mind if six turned out to be nine, so mathematically boringly speaking I’d imagine five would be six. However, if three were four and three plus two make five, that’d mean two’d be three and three being four make three plus four being seven which has nothing to do with six except that three and four both represent five, so seven represents five which means seven represents six, five is six. Five would be three, four, six and seven.

 

If you had the power to make everyone on Earth read one book (not your own) what would you pick?

        I’m going to have to give this some thought. Although the adage is if you read a dictionary you’ve read all the books in the world, except that so much is lost in implication, innuendo, subliminal, decryption, description and the list goes on, I’d say a real classic, and I’m talking an original work. Begin with Plato’s Republic and take it from there.

 

If you were a professional wrestler, what would your ring name be?

           Nemesis.

 

Would you rather have an action figure or a Pez dispenser based on you?

      My action figure would be sitting at a laptop typing. Would that say enough? Pez could handle that by handing out laptop shaped candies, but that stuff is bad for you anyway. When my daughter had her baby her brother asked her if she was ready to be supermom. Supermom. An action figure, Supermom it is!

 

What one superpower would make you a better writer?

       Not needing sleep. I could get thoughts down right when they occur to me instead of dreaming about them because I’m passed out on the keyboard, snapping to just as the drool starts but not before my cheek is indented with square lettering.

 

If you could spend one day living in the world of a movie, what movie would it be? What would you spend the day doing?

      The world of Safe Haven, aside from the maniacal husband on the hunt for his wife, set in Southport, North Carolina would be the movie world I’d like to spend one day living in. Of course when I’d first arrived it’d be necessary to find a place to spend the night. After that I’d wander the beaches, enjoy the atmosphere, food and people. I loved the scenery that was shown in the film, and if the people are that kind of welcoming, it’d be a great place to spend the day. Who knows, maybe I’d even look for a job.

 

What one emotion more than any other would you like your readers to experience while reading your books?

       I think the best emotion is being absorbed in what is being read. We could call that emotion the excitement of being in the book and experiencing what’s taking place as if it’s happening to the reader.

If you could send one object that you own to your ten-year-old self, what would it be?

Tis pity I can’t send myself a letter

It could be kept hidden away

But what could I say except to change my life

My original thought wouldn’t be the same

Be strong and leave home

I’d tell me the age

But I can’t do that

Well now let’s see

Knowing my situation when I was 10

What object could I send to me

Gee

I couldn’t send back the laptop

My father’d have me burned as a witch

Books now are way ahead of my time then

Ears won’t be pierced until I’m 18

Earrings, no sense in that

Sketches I’d bought in Spain

Would be something else I can’t explain

This is becoming a pain

Wait

What are the odds one of my books

If I saw one

What would I think of me

Would that alter future time

Change future destiny

A picture of my kids

A short note on the back

To set me on my way

Chin up

That’s an object not a letter

Better

Anyway it’s looked at

Life makes it no easy choice

This question no easy task

If you could live anywhere on Earth, where would it be?

      San Ditalyego, San Diego and Italy. Not certain how I’m going to pull it off yet.

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July Challenge

Obituary

Prezioso-Frye, Margaret: Grandmother, Mother, Sister, Friend and names her ex-husbands called her stricken from the record, passed away just today choking up blood in contrast to her blogsite title the “Tragic Lady But No TB”. Cause of death has not been disclosed. Ms Prezioso-Frye was born in September under a changing moon, was married twice but never long enough to be a beloved wife. Those who survive her say it’s their loss, those two meatheads didn’t know what they had when they had it; too late now. A close friend writes:

How are you getting along with the heavenly host! I know you’re happy and with the people you loved and who loved you. Say hello to Helena, well, silly as that sounds, I know you’re both watching over me – hi Helena! All those relatives you’ve missed, how wonderful for you to be with them now forever; ha, something to think about – is forever long enough when you’re happy, how is it never to run out of time? Feel free to appear to me… no, no maybe that isn’t the best idea, let me think – feel free to visit my dreams and let me know what you’re up to. I miss you. Love now and without end. Creep (Remember when we used to call each other that? Of course you do; you’re really a know-it-all now!)
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List 10 Of Your Favorite Things – Day 2

At first I wasn’t going to do this one, believe it or not doubting what I’d come up with. After thinking about the gamut of favorites it could be, sitting still for a minute thinking, “what are or were favorite things”, the first that popped to mind was when I was visiting my son in Istanbul, at that time I was teaching in Madrid, and he was living with his boss who was away for the first part of my visit and offered his home for me to stay at:

#1

My son’s boss designed his apartment. Now, it was designed for a bachelor, so a wall of mirrors or mirrors on the ceiling in the bathroom I could do without, but the monstrous Jacuzzi/tub/shower I liked and would like very much. It was deep and large enough you could lie on your back and float. After you jet-propelled bubbles over your head, you could hit another button that started the shower to continue the luxury. Needless to say there was enough of a border around it to hold shampoo, soap and loofah keeping everything at your fingertips. Which brings me to #2.

#2

My second favorite thing is never running out of hot water.

#3

Lindt Chocolate – very good stuff

#4

Gelato and Italian Ice

#5

Licor De Avellano  and Crema De Whisky (I’m not talking Bailey’s but the authentic Spanish version)

#6

Living in the mountains, being able to drink water from outdoor faucets

#7

I’ve always liked nature bigger than me. I have a love of thunderstorms, the winds, the lightening. I got this from my father. When there was a storm his attention would be immediately drawn to them; we’d stand outside on our screened-in back porch and watch the rain, feel the winds and spray, watch the lightening, get caught up in its power – it might sound crazy but it was like becoming part of the storm. Perhaps it was a part of me.

#8

Another favorite thing would be the sea. I love the ocean, it’s vastness and endlessness because I can’t just look across it and always see land. It’s terrifying – there are creatures living in it that render me low on the food chain. It’s a force of nature – if I swim out too far I could be lost never to be found. Which leads me to its beaches.

#9

A favorite thing to do is tanning right so it lasts the entire year until it’s time to lay out again.That means attention to skin care and protection but I love getting my vitamins from the sun.

#10

A grand finale… let’s see if I can think of one:

Ha! Writing, blogging, authoring, publishing, editing, adding, creating, imagining, composing something interesting for others, sharing something significant… yeah, I’d definitely give that a 10!

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Day 4: List 10 things you wish were true but are not, example: I wish the sky was pink instead of blue

 

     This isn’t as simple as it sounds. I’d love to wish for a pink sky, orange clouds, the weather to be sunny 72 and rain only when we’re all asleep safely off the roads or my favorite music piped through the clouds but I might just list that one and come up with a few others. And a fun glitch: although I had each one numbered 1 thru 10 the system decided to number them all 1. We’re heading out for fireworks so I’m not going to argue.

  1. As a young girl I was in love with the movie “Thief Of Bagdad” starring Steve Reeves. For one of his trials to find the blue rose that will heal his love, he rode a flying white horse. I’ve always wanted a Pegasus but I have to say as an adult and watching the remake of Clash of the Titans with Perseus and Pegasus, that bold, free-spirit black stallion, I know that we have genetically engineered horse to fly. I want one… I wish he would come to me when I thought of him. To corral him would be a crime.
  1. I wish I had a Luck Dragon for a house pet. Have you ever seen The Neverending Story? The Luck Dragon has a puppy-dog face and big wide eyes. His body is a dragon’s body and tail, he can talk, fly and has a great laugh.
  1. I wish that when I ride a motorcycle or go for a walk my favorite music would be piped through the clouds and follow me wherever I go. That doesn’t mean everyone else would get a headache from it. I think we should all be able to hear our favorite music without disturbing anyone else. Sounds like the beginning of a science fiction partnership.
  1. I wish I lived by the sea instead of being land-locked.
  1. I wish I drove a Lamborghini instead of having no car at all. Whether or not it comes to me tax-free, I’d need a substantial stipend to keep it fueled and stop off for a bite to eat.
  1. I wish passports lasted a lifetime instead of having to be renewed every 10 years.
  1. I wish driver licenses lasted a lifetime instead of having to be renewed at all.
  1. I wish public transportation in the US were as good as it is in Europe instead of being undependable and overpriced.
  1. I wish organic food were affordable instead of being overpriced. The artificial stuff should be overpriced to help people eat healthy.
  1. I wish airline tickets were affordable, refundable, insurance was provided and the seats were wider and more comfortable for the passengers instead of a flight being designed solely for the profit of the airline.

And so I am driven right back to reality, feet firmly planted in mid-air waiting for the trapeze to swing back for me to grasp. It’s a shame these things aren’t true but what can you do?

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Day 6: If you only had 3 wishes, what would they be (no wishing for more wishes)

“From the land beyond Beyond

From the World passed Hope and Fear

I bid you Genie now appear” (7th Voyage Of Sinbad)

Hello Barani,

Don’t worry, after I make my three wishes I’ll take the lamp to the iron works and toss it in. You should be released so we can both go to the free Urge concert downtown this weekend. I promise.

For my first wish I would like to have a substantial enough number of book sales that I could support both my son and daughter, although that’s not necessary for me to do, and put my grandson through college up to a Doctoral degree if that’s what he wants.

For my second wish I would like to have the investment smarts of Warren Buffett to invest this money and have a steady and secure income for 20 lifetimes plus 20 lifetimes more.

For my third wish, I would like my children and their children present and future and their children present and future, and all I would call friend to have wonderful, safe, prosperous, successful lives.

And now Barani my friend, I release you. See you Saturday!

http://youtu.be/i-mPYtGRUyY

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July Likes & Dislikes DAY 10

I think if I were much younger I’d have more of an opinion of what I like and don’t like about July. I can see me saying “Oh boy, fireworks on the 4th!” At the same time I could say “Yikes! Fireworks on the 4th!” Whether or not I’ll wind up with 10 things in either case I can’t promise, but here goes:

Back to the 4th – when I was younger and all of us still lived at home – I’ve a sister and 3 brothers, my brothers would begin early in the day with firecrackers. There were bricks and bricks of them. They’d light them under bedroom windows, everywhere else, blow up anything they could find and that would be a good part of the day. Later on there was a barbecue, friends and family and at night, the colors. When fireworks became illegal in NY, NJ and CT everyone bought them anyway. Each year a State Trooper would pull up the driveway and ask if we were shooting off fireworks and we’d say, “Wasn’t us Officer. Hard to say who; you hear them off in the distance here and there. Good luck tonight.” When he’d leave we’d continue the festivities. When my son was in his adolescence, he and his friends would always have firework wars at my house. Yup, they’d be shooting them at each other, chasing each other around. I’d provide the food; I was an avid barbecuer – I’d barbecue when it was snowing, so there was a barbecue and a point when fireworks’d be shot off for his sister and any friends of hers who’d be sleeping over. These days, for myself, there may or may not be a barbecue and I might just look up at the sky to watch fireworks from where I am. Now, how many yays and nays was that?

Again, when I was in school still living in NY July meant the really warm weather was finally here; July and August were usually sweltering and that was a great thing. When I worked it meant vacation time. Here in the Midwest it could mean drought, which isn’t good. Many summers, because of the lack of rain when the 4th rolled around, there was concern for fires from fireworks and as drought continued that meant fires in general. I remember working Home Health / Hospice and having concerns for where fires were and getting to my patients. I live in a college town, one university, two smaller colleges, so July means the student population is gone and it’s a treasure to drive on the streets even during rush hour, go grocery shopping, go to the movies, you name it; it’s just those of us who live here year round and because it is vacation season a lot of us are gone too. I can go for a walk late morning and still have peace and quiet.

What else, what else… I like the summer months so July is ok with me. I also like the change in seasons, so the rest of the year works too.

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Day 8: 10 Favorite Movies

    I’ve always loved movies. It was when my first child was around 3 years old I started collecting them and by the time he was in high school I must’ve had over 500 titles. I continued collecting so that number kept going up. First it was VHS tapes with cable TV making it possible to record 3 and 4 movies per tape, then laser disc – movies on an album – which I never wasted my time with and then came the DVD that slowly transformed my collection, but seeing VHS was still cheaper than DVD I’d kept buying tapes only we’d watch them on a combo DVD/VHS player so we’d have the best of both worlds.  When I began teaching abroad I bequeathed my collection to my daughter for safekeeping, my son had moved to Europe and was traveling light, and she was the one who began the process of finding the titles we had in DVD dwindling down the now cumbersome VHS tapes. Today there are about 75 VHS titles still in existence from my original collection only as reminders to find them in DVD format. Some of the older ones are tough to find.

It would have been very lazybones of me to leave you with a list only:

Thief of Bagdad – with Steve Reeves; although I do like the one with Sabu and the giant genie, but I’ve loved this movie since I was a kid and I own a copy now.

Chocolat – just a good story, excellent choice of cast and chocolate…

Bell, Book, and Candle – a classic that I didn’t know about until about 15 years ago. It was part of a TV Christmas marathon but it really has nothing to do with Christmas except the story begins on Christmas Eve. The majority of the characters are witches…

A Christmas Carol – a timeless classic. The DVD I have offers the original black and white and a colorized version.

High Society – Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra…

White Christmas – Bing again with Danny Kaye…

A Chorus Line – the movie. Do you like dance?

The North Avenue Irregulars – an old Disney classic: church ladies and their minister vs illegal gambling

Le Fate Ignoranti – a movie my son turned me on to – in Italian – the storyline has to do with a relatively happily married couple, tragedy when the husband gets hit by a car, as the wife is going through his personal effects from the office she comes across a painting with a personal message written on the back, she decides to find the artist who is obviously “the other woman”, except that’s not exactly it…

McClintock – a John Wayne vs Maureen O’Hara western

Bedknobs and Broomsticks – another Disney classic – a novice witch wants to use her gifts to help with the war effort

Hair – a musical about the 60s

Believe me there’s a whole lot more.

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Day 11: Dream Houses

Day 11: Describe your dream house in 500 words or less, what kind
of house, what setting?

 

My dream house will be part of a medieval town overlooking the coast. It will be made of stone and have an entryway from the street, a cobblestone street, the type when stones need to be replaced they are replaced by hand. When I enter and the door closes behind me, I will still be outside walking up stairs and crossing balconies that overlook the street where I can see people coming and going. My kitchen, that will be huge and eat-in will be the main room, there will be cabinets and an oven built into the walls all in old European style, a living area, bedrooms with their own bath and huge “cathedral” windows. The views will be stunning.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=651289768232169&set=a.650693658291780.1073741856.122352437792574&type=1&theater

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Day 7 : Language

Make up a language, what would it be called, who would speak it, where do they live?

Rakiyana is a language that is made of symbols as well as an alphabet. The Rakis who live on the island of Rakiya have been speaking the language for centuries although the symbols have changed to reflect the changing times. It’s been a way to send coded messages and according to legend, a way to see into a person’s heart testing their abilities reflected in the how the symbols are used. They themselves are not pronounced and do not add or take anything away from speech. Symbols might connect words or break them up a certain way especially when there might be danger. Rakis wouldn’t want strangers to know what they are saying.  “Youmu) stta/kesma (llma\ttersa sser%iousl]y as build[ing rel\atio//nshipsbe-/twe\\ encoun trieso//ryo uw|illne (verbe(*)res po/nsib/)l eingre// \atterma\\t ters”, an admonition handed down from generation to generation.

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Challenge Day 12: A Walk Down Memorable Lane

   This turned out to be a little more involved than I expected. I began with the voice of a child then thought “I’m supposed to be a grown-up writer” so I went back through everything revamped and organized. It’s wonderful to remember those good times.

 List three memorable moments from childhood

Memorable moments from childhood: Confirmation, Horseback riding every weekend, Going to the ocean every day in the summer.

The first memorable moment from childhood is when I made my confirmation, not because I was suddenly becoming holy – I was in Catholic school at the time and if there’s one thing that was beaten into our heads while being whacked on the hand with a ruler, it was we are all sinners and the chance of being saved is slim to none. I remember in second grade right before a test the Sister of Charity took out all her colored chalk and drew an enormous eyeball on the blackboard almost taking up the entire board. Then she turned to us and said, “God is watching you, He’ll know if you cheat.” All of us had collectively figured God must be a giant anyway because he’s God, accepted his eye could be that big, so we swallowed it hook, line and sinker, but that’s an aside; the reason this event sticks out is I got to wear stockings for the first time and I got a boatload of cash. Now I didn’t get to pull on pantyhose; they didn’t exist in those days. I first had to stuff myself into a girdle that sported garters. After that mission was accomplished you put on stockings one leg then the other. I don’t know if seamless was in existence yet, maybe, I don’t have clear recollection of making sure my seam was straight, but I was happy with all of this because “that’s what women do”. My cousin lived across the street so we went together, the two of us nervously laughing as we walked because the stockings felt like they were falling down which they weren’t, we weren’t used to wearing them. Confirmation doesn’t take place every year, it was every four years then, so kids from all schools public and private were being confirmed. I remember sitting there after I had my turn watching the procession, and at the end of the line was a blind student being escorted by two other candidates. I wondered if he wouldn’t be healed and jump around because he could see. When it was over we had a joint celebration with everyone in the family, cards with cash, a lot of good food, and my mother’s crème puffs (or were they cream puffs).

The second memorable moment was being able to go horseback riding every weekend. I was in 6th grade then and landed my first job as a housekeeper. Saturday mornings I’d go down the street to Mrs. Kennedy’s to dust, vacuum and otherwise tidy up. She had 6 kids and a large German shepherd so there was plenty to do thanks to disarray and dog hair. I got paid enough that I could go to the local stables and ride for an hour, which I did Saturday afternoon. My best friend whose name was also Margaret, would come with me. She got to ride Captain, a horse larger than my quarter horse I always rode named Little Joe. Margaret’s dad owned horses and she got to take care of them and ride, so she had the kind of experience needed to handle the big fella. I’ve loved horses as long as I can remember; my favorite book as a kid was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. When I saw the Pegasus for the first time in Thief of Bagdad, well, nothing changed but oh, how I wanted that horse. My dream then was to own a stable so I could ride whenever my heart desired. Taking care of horses would have been pure joy.

The third memorable moment was when we lived out on Long Island (NY) and I mean away from the city. Montauk Point and the lighthouse at the end of the Island were only an hour away. Our spot was the inlet on Fire Island, the calmest point passed all the rough sea where older kids surfed. Behind us was the bay, a body of water we considered really boring compared to the inlet that reminded us of a massive still-like-stagnant-water puddle. Each morning we couldn’t get out of the house fast enough, usually get there early when the tide was going out and stay until it came back in. Some days we’d stay late and have a barbecue: dig a hole in the sand, line it with foil-wrapped corn on the cob, grill hamburgers and hot dogs, toast marshmallows, and the other days we’d stop at the boats that had come in, buy seafood from them and then have a feast for supper. I became a professional when it came to the ocean, its inhabitants, the tides, undertows, sandbars, tanning, seaweed, and everything else about it and it was here I saw two foreign women walking along the shore who impressed me in such a way it’s remained with me to this day. Here’s that story:

The Inlet

Ten-year-old Miggsie was at the beach with her cousins on yet another beautiful day, but everyone went to the inlet even when rain was forecast with a chance of clearing. The only thing that could keep her, her mom and cousins away was a torrential downpour. Their usual routine for a day in the sun began early morning with the tide going out and ended around the time it brought the fishing boats back in loaded with the catch of the day: clams, lobster, crab, flounder, that resulted in a seafood fest for dinner. Life couldn’t be better.

Today like every other day, beach umbrellas, blankets cold chicken and peanut butter sandwiches had been packed and the coolers were filled. Miggsie and her cousins each had a Styrofoam surfboard and goggles for deep sea diving when they weren’t surfing, not that as kids they could ride big waves anyway. No one was allowed out over his or her head and the low rolling waves brought them right back to shore. Sometimes Miggsie, Ben and Lora would walk down the shoreline to where older kids surfed, for real, on high waves in a much rougher sea. That was awesome; they itched for the day they’d be joining them or at least be big enough to play in the “real” ocean.

Miggsie loved every part of their day, even when the endlessness of it began winding down with the tide coming back in, the sun beginning to set and the sea taking on that silvery hue like it’d become molten. By then most sun worshippers usually had left the beach, which transformed it to her private property; anyone just getting there and spreading out their blankets would be an intrusion. Loving the emptiness surrounding her, she became engrossed playing in the sand when her attention was drawn toward two women walking along the shore. She instantly felt a twinge of protectiveness and disappointment that they were marring her scenery but at the same time a curiosity; no one usually wandered through the calmer part, but stayed further down around the ‘real’ waves. The closer they got she realized they were much older, were, surprisingly, wearing very small bikinis, were tanned and wrinkled that their skin looked like leathery mini-folds overlapping, and were carrying on conversation in a language she didn’t recognize. She was struck by the hideousness of their bodies, no real defined waistline and that “old-people” shape. The two women didn’t have a care in the world as they kicked the sea out of their way while they strolled along. Miggsie started playing in the sand again but it wasn’t long before the two women passed by her walking back. She stopped and watched them again only this time what had shocked her about their bodies wasn’t there anymore; she felt something else. She still wished they had better waistlines but she knew whatever they looked like, the way they were was a good way to be, and it was a way she wanted to be. When she was old, Miggsie wanted to wear a bikini just like they did, not worry about what people would think and just be herself. She felt how it would be to have been around for so long, to have experience and know all that she would know.

“I want to be like that when I get old”, she thought as she watched them disappear down the shore. Then she made it a promise to herself, a real wish from her heart, “I’m going to be like that.”

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Day 13: A Short Fairy Tale

Day 13: Make up a short fairy tale (has to have a moral to the story)

Photo on 2013-07-13 at 15.48

The Prince Who Was A Pauper

A decree was set forth by The Prince, once upon a time of course, that all the writers of his kingdom must make up a short fairy tale. If he chose a man’s story, that man would receive a check for $5000; if the Prince chose a woman’s story he would publish her story and split her royalties 60/40, 60 for him and 40 for her because she was a gifted writer and he was a generous man. Should any writer refuse the challenge they would be exiled to Paris, France where they would be forced to pay the very high income tax rate of 90% until exile’s end.

All the men set right to work for each of them wanted to win. All the women set to work except for one; Moira didn’t want the Prince taking 60% of her royalties, she wanted the cash. She preferred her independence, the challenge of presenting her own work, meeting her readers, and making them happy. Knowing she’d be exiled, Moira asked Gwendolyn, the Prince’s bookkeeper and her friend, to give her the royal checking account number. Gwen and Moira made plans to get together after she got settled. All the writers presented their fairy tales except Moira and she was sent away. In Paris she gave the Prince’s account number making him responsible for all her expenses. As soon as the charges came through, Gwen authorized them with the Prince’s signature under “vacation”. After everything came back “approved”, Moira walked with her luggage to the bus station.

Gwen flew to Rome and was met by Moira at the airport. She had withdrawn a large sum of money from the Prince’s account for “mansion renovations”, authorized it with his signature, pretended to go to a neighboring city known for elegant light fixtures, and left. After unpacking at Moira’s flat located across from the Fontana di Trevi, the two friends sat on the balcony, sipped wine and watched the sunset.

Moral: Sexism pays …and pays …and pays.

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Day 14: Memorable Moments Of Adulthood

Day 14: List three memorable moments of adulthood

Having Children, Taking A Course In Rome, Teaching and Living Abroad

      Memorable moments of adulthood certainly go by in a blink of an eye, then you’re sitting at the laptop thinking about “what are my memorable moments” because someone asked “please write them down, it’ll be fun… what kind of things can you write about?” Good question, I guess we’ll find out. Before I get into the three I’ve listed above I do want to say that turning 21 was the milestone, my starting gate of adulthood. I know I’ve written about it in other posts, in poems – this and that, but it’s something I’ll always remember. It was the day all doors became open. I was completely responsible for me and I thought that was great. If my outlook is too young, blame it on 21. I always do.

Having children is a memorable moment for me times 2. There was turmoil all around, relationships ending, worst possible case scenarios to be in for childbearing but life is a gift and nothing else mattered. Raising them can be terrifying, there’s so much to know, to do, to watch out for, to teach, to protect, to guide and then seeing these little people becoming who they are yet seeing yourself inside them… wow.

Maybe for some taking a course in another country is something to yawn at but not for me. It is an amazing moment, you see I’m a single mom forever it seems and while I was raising kids my imagination could not fathom this future for me. In fact if I tried to think of a future at all a terror would grip my chest, it would be too bleak – almost non-existent, so I focused on the day, now, what we were doing at the time and let go of the future. My son had gone to Italy to attend college, something he did himself, then my daughter moved out and I found myself alone in what once was our basement apartment and realized I could do something I wanted to do. Both kids could take care of themselves. The rest fell into place. There I was living in Rome taking a course to be certified to teach EFL and from there came the third memorable moment – moments would be a little more accurate.

What followed being certified to teach all over Europe and Asia, pretty much wherever “over there”, was actually teaching. I got a job in Istanbul and lived with then near my son, traveled back to Italy and had the chance to work there, wound up teaching in Madrid – all of this included living, learning and surviving new cultures, some I was familiar with and others I wasn’t. I also was flying back and forth between the States and Europe. I worked, bought a plane ticket – keep in mind in Europe it’s fairly inexpensive to fly between countries. Istanbul taught me taking the train between them is fun too. Memorable, you bet and amazing that a single mom working and sometimes struggling to raise her kids now had the chance to do these things she might’ve done 20-30 years ago when she was single but the opportunity didn’t present itself then. Am I going backwards in time like Benjamin Button, the child born old then aged younger, became un-aged, as the years ticked by? Did someone build one of those clocks for me as a surprise? If you ask me, when it’s time, it’s time.

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Day 16: List the five jobs you would love to have held, imaginary or real

So far 4 jobs popped to mind: Lego Big Tower-Tunnel Builder, Secret Shopper, Critic, Advice Columnist

I’ve joked in past posts about becoming a paid Lego Tower-Tunnel builder, but what if I could? I’m a granny-nanny, I take care of my grandson while my daughter works and he loves his wooden train track set and his giant Legos. Our first project of the morning is always building train tracks and then a tower-tunnel. When it comes to the Legos, it’s important to construct it to include sheds for the narrow-gage engines, the smaller engines in the Thomas and Friends Train set. Sometimes he wants the tunnel to span several tracks, sometimes he wants it very tall and deep so he can also put all his hot-wheels cars in the center, and lately he puts his dinosaurs around and on top of it letting worlds collide, and knocks it to the ground. I’ve become quite practiced at designing the tower-tunnel and think it’d make a fun part-time job.

I actually did try to get a job as a secret shopper not that long ago, but tragically the ads I’d come across were scams; that aside, this job does exist. With a banking job years back we, the new hires, actually did go into other banks to ask questions and observe customer service techniques then discuss how we were treated. What a wonderfully diversified position to be able to shop or eat and then write a review about the experience and get paid for it. This of course does lead to the next two jobs I’ve wanted to have since I was younger:

A critic and/or an advice columnist – I’ve read enough “Dear Abby”, since I was a teenager actually, and I knew I could give just as good and with some I thought better advice. What an interesting thing to do, how interesting a job could this be. I’ve loved writing since time began – this would be a job I’d love to go to. It offers the possibility to work from home, or from anywhere, which would certainly make me happy. As a critic I could review books and movies, which then leads to writing and the last and certainly not least job #5 that I would love to have held and to hold; there’s no need for it to pop to mind, it’s always there:

A successful author with great book sales and happy readers says it all.

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Day 17: If you could find out any one piece of information/truth what would you want to know and how would you obtain this information/truth?

 

Day 18: List 10 different categories you might create for different people if you were given the task of sorting people for some reason

I decided to write these two together although I’m not certain why… maybe… because I don’t think there’s any piece of information I want to know and in order to categorize people properly there’d have to be as many categories as there are people. That said, then I thought, “What could I come up with for fun?” But, I don’t think I could be as funny as Dr Seuss, could I? Is there a truth, a piece of information that I really want to know? I’ll have to sleep on it… but although my body’s tired I did have a cappuccino around 7ish; nonetheless, when I’m tired enough there’s nothing on the planet that will keep me awake. Reminds me of when I worked in Home Health / Hospice and at the hospital: I’d pull a night shift, go home and get kids off to school, have one or two Home Health morning visits, then go to sleep. Let me tell you that schedule didn’t last long. I tried buying those caffeine pills that truckers use to stay awake and at best they’d upset my stomach. I still couldn’t keep my eyes open. The charge nurse at the hospital didn’t appreciate losing me for the night shift but I had a lot to live for. No more overnights but part-time evenings worked well with full time home health visits during the day. Sleep can be grand! Back on track…

Day 17: The Dead And I

What information I would want to know and what occurred to me made it seem unnecessary to ask. Someone special popped to mind who I’d normally kick this around with but: I miss you my friend since you’ve passed, brave, rare soul that you were who I could always be myself with. No matter what, it didn’t matter what was on my heart or how I said it. You never condemned or judged. You know, I thought there were two of you in this world but one grew tired of me and who I am. And now? Nothing changes; I miss you. So, my friend, is there an over there? Ha! There must be from what I can see that I believe you show to me. When I think of you because I need you to talk to, your presence becomes known. Thanks for always being there and now forever. I’d tell you to say hi to George for me but I know he’s been listening, necessarily so I don’t doubt. We’re both finally free to be just us, no constraints for can or can’t. So this writing challenge asks how would I find out what I want to know… just by asking wouldn’t you say? A picture comes to mind of lounging white lions. I’ll take that as a ‘Yay’.

Day 18: Card Cataloguegrapher

Sorting people is another story, but of course if I were a business person I might need to categorize people for tasks seeing, hopefully, the company is growing and in a constant state of metamorphosis (developing, being ever mindful, aligning with and abreast of trends), so let’s see:

(Any similarity to genuine terminology or general English vocabulary, business or otherwise, wasn’t planned on – this is strictly you on my brain)

 

Diplomatics, those who are skilled at authoritative objectivity and can communicate clearly with all employees from executive to janitor.

Innovators, those who can be depended on to naturally take responsibility to higher levels and have a contagious mannerism.

Contagionista, those who have a particular positivism in their approach to responsibility that can’t be stopped from spreading throughout the company on all levels.

Organizers, those who keep order within the workplace, do not allow any form of disarray with a particular forward approach that others incorporate into their routine.

Go-Getters, those very dependable people who can be trusted for any type of long distance travel necessary, do not waste funds and outwardly observe things beneficial for organizing and operating

Couriers, those very dependable short-distance go-getters with their eyes open for other system and method technique that could be useful to, for and adapted by organizing and operating

After-Hourstrepreneurs, those very dependable people who are the foundation of any organization, who keep the system running for others to keep running and have a unique positivism to their approach toward individual responsibility

Greeters and Meeters, those first impressioners who have a unique positivism of support and representation that is contagiously inspirational and influential

Dapper Wrappers, those final impressioners who follow through with Greeter and Meeter positivism reassuring support, inspiration and influence

Scribists, those with the biggest responsibility and highest level of contagious positivism, who embrace the challenge of taking note of and keeping all others abreast of metamorphosizing so the beat goes on

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Day 19: Describe an alien invasion of Earth in 500 words or less

I came home from shopping unlocking my door

Kiwis were tap dancing down on the floor

Huh?

A football leapt in a graceful pirouette

While rolling oranges ate chocolate bars

This is going too far, but wasn’t the half of it yet

My shopping list pencil lunged straight in the air

And dove in the cat’s milk in the corner right there

I started, I shouted, “What’s going on here!”

As a six pack of cola sprayed foam in my ear

“I knew I should have put you away yesterday!”

I gaped in dismay at the whole disarray

What’s causing what’s happening?

What’s happening today?

“I’m going outside and then I’ll come back

You’d better be in your places, you get on that rack

Or I’ll cut up fruit salad with you over there

And football I’ll let out all of your air, a flat pancake you’ll be

Will you like that, we’ll see

And I walked out in a slam, heels clap, clap, clap, tap, tap

Was I talking to toys?

Did my produce make noise?

In bed I jumped up, heart pounding, “What’s that!”

As I crept down the stairs just to see

The state that my kitchen would be

There was a stir like an echo a rustle so slight

A light in my bathroom I couldn’t help think

“What is it that’s going on tonight?”

I gently pushed open the door

You wouldn’t believe what I saw standing there on the floor

It turned and it smiled turned a couple of dials

Attached to a belt that it wore

As its long arm was reaching for a brush behind the door

“Well I use that for cleaning right there”

“You do really?” It said fixing its long hair

“My name’s Z-na and I really love earth

We vacation each year at this time

To get away from slug season all hissing slime”

“Slugs! Gross, wouldn’t want to live wherever is there

If you really don’t mind”

Z-na projected a map from one of the dials

And it shone on the bathroom wall bright

“There that smaller light”

“What else do you do besides sneak into bathrooms?”

She turned and she smiled then let out a sigh

Who is it I’m talking to?

Am I in my right mind?

“How many are you?” I just had to ask

But Z-na quietly quickly was putting things back

As she passed through the wall into night

She entered her ship, had it always been there

I started but too late for a fright

“We’re heading down the coast to the beach”

I heard her say as the ship lit up bright

1000 more lit up and they took off, followed her into the night

“Those sugar cubes you gave”, I later asked my friend

“They’re special”, he smiled “So, how did it end?”

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Day 20: List 3 monuments you would like to see created

I was going to write this one off. When I first read it I thought “Honestly! Monuments! I certainly don’t think we should put up more monuments…” and other ridiculous conjectures. I got into aliens and invasions happily forgetting about it. Just a moment ago I logged in to WordPress, selected “Reader” and saw the topic for today that another blogger had posted. In less than an instant it hit me – women, there should be monuments to women who have done something, accomplished something, discovered or invented something that should’ve been placed right next to the ones of men as they were being put up. Rome flashed before me and the Fontana di Trevi; why not something simply for the aesthetics of it, that tells the story of a town, a happening, a special place. Last but not least I thought, “why not a monument to the women in the military”? Then the one of Iwo Jima came to mind, the soldiers raising the flag. Why not have one to represent all the women in the military for the simple respect and acknowledgement of who they are and what they do.

   Those are my 3 monuments. Isn’t it about time for the upgrade?

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Day 21: Tell the life story of a fictional character in 1000 words or less

 

Bella Vecchia

The first time Jill realized she had special abilities was at the tender age of 3. She had knocked over a caddy of colored pencils from her mom’s desk. “Jill”, mom called, “Jill are you ok?” By the time she’d reached the room everything was in order. When Jill’d heard her mom’s footsteps she’d cried out “mommy no!” The pencils went back into the caddy that went back onto the desk. Her mom looked around, “Did you bump something punkin’, here, come to the balcony with mommy.” Jill didn’t realize fully what’d happened, but that was the first time. After that if she’d spill milk or knock a plate on the floor, by saying “no” or “get back” Jill could reverse what had happened except when her mother was right there; Jill wouldn’t have to say anything, mom was quick to take care of it. Luckily, at such an innocent age Jill didn’t make a connection with the damage she could do in the other direction. It wasn’t in her nature to do in any case; Jill was one of the good ones.

There was a “problem”, if you want to call it that, when she was around 8 years old. Her mom was cleaning upright shelves loaded with DVDs and tried to shift its position. The structure was uneven and began to topple over right onto her. Jill came running but her mom pushed her back so she wouldn’t get hurt and was pinned underneath. “Go get Mrs. Tuturroni next door. She’ll help lift it.” Instead Jill waved her hand in a nervous gesture and commanded “No! Off!” Up went the shelves and the DVDs with them all back in place. “Oh no, busted!” Realizing what she’d done, Jill nervously looked at her mom who smiled up at her. “Well, that’s my girl. Here, help me up. I think I’m OK but I’ll probably be bruised.” When she was on her feet she asked her daughter, “Is this the first time?” Jill squeaked, “Mom?” She helped her up, helped her to the bathroom to check for bruises then both went into the kitchen for tea, English muffins and a nice long talk.

“It doesn’t seem so long ago. I miss you mom.” At 70, Jill was spry as if she were still 21. She certainly had led an interesting life so far. Her mom’d passed away only 2 months ago at the ripe old age of 105, “Vecchia Women have the gift of longevity” she thought to herself, “I wish we could have had longer.” Everyone around was told she’d died peacefully in her sleep but in reality she’d moved on to what her family called the next stage of being. Aunts, Uncles and cousins were there, and other “gifted” ones, as Jill’s mom stood and was surrounded by fall leaves, symbolic of the stage of life she was ascending from, then dissipating they were gone. “You’ll always feel her with you”, Aunt Krista, her mom’s youngest sister had said, “Especially when you use ‘gifts’.” As far as the townspeople knew, there was a closed casket and only the immediate family were permitted to the private plot of the cemetery because of Vecchia tradition. Looking out over the balcony from her home built on the mountainside over 2 centuries ago, Jill felt her presence as if she were sitting there like they had done so many mornings together, listening, sensing, both overseers of a small town unaware it was being looked after. They had prevented catastrophes, fixed mistakes, averted accidents; “How interesting people are” she thought, “How they rationalize what they’re not sure they saw or when they don’t understand what happened.” There was the time when she was just 21 and her boyfriend decided to show off by swerving from lane to lane as they crossed the Piquat Bridge driving to a movie, blew a tire and would have otherwise plunged into the rapids if it weren’t for Jill. She’d cried “No!” and the car straightened scraping its length on the railing, knocking itself into a 360 and back to the right hand lane then coming to a complete stop. Charlie thought he’d saved them thanks to the way he was driving and the moment he’d slammed down on the brakes. They broke up some months later so he could go to LA to become a stunt driver. She chuckled to herself, “I wonder if he made it.” When she was around 50 she and her mom prevented a fire from consuming the local bank that was caused by one of its managers and her botched robbery attempt. “Hmpf… How’s that for backfired?” The woman could have sworn there had been flames as the police pulled her from the smoke-filled building. Nothing had been burned but she’d be responsible for minor smoke damage among other things. Conveniently enough the manager’d become tangled in wiring from a monitor on her own desk. Jill and her mom certainly had had a full and fruitful life together. She thought of her own daughter who’d settled in a small town in Bulgaria. Camille had studied at an art academy there and decided to stay. Although she hadn’t made it back for her grandmother’s ascension, she was coming back to stay for a couple of months to help Jill get her affairs in order so she could return with her to Bulgaria. “The town will have to go on without you for a while. Some days you just need your Ma.”

How well Jill knew that. As she looked at the scenery and at the town below she said, “Well Mom, is there anything we can help anyone with today?” As she exhaled and closed her eyes quieting her thoughts, she felt warmth on her shoulders as if an arm had been put around them. She stilled herself completely and listened.

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Day 22: List 5 people you wish existed

I apologize for being a “cheater pants” with this one, but off the top of my head, the people I wish existed all had spouses and I’m not leaving them out. That means 8 people, 4 from my mother’s side and 4 from my father’s side are who I wish existed.

Yup, you got it… dead relatives…                                                      The End (not really)

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Day 23: If you had the power to time travel – would you, where would you visit, what would you do?

If I had the power to time travel then I’d keep it in present time and just use that ability to take me somewhere I’d like to be, a location I’d like to live, a place I’d like to check out employment. That in itself would save travel expense and give a chance at a successful new beginning.

I don’t see any reason to go back in time and relive something. I have no desire to meet a dinosaur or see the Declaration of Independence being signed. If it were for me to witness I’d have been born during that time. I don’t want to travel to the future, I’d rather make my own. I’d like to use my ability to choose wisely.

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Day 24: List 5 places you wish existed & Day 25: Create a fictional world and describe it in 500 words or less

Based On “Excelsior” in A Notebook Of Stories, I see day 24 connected with my day 25 fictional world that could certainly be one of those 5 places I wish existed.

The Village Of Slides

Ulyssesville the theme park is located in a newly established resort village called Slides. Ulyssesville is situated on a space that is 5 city blocks long and 2 city blocks wide, with its highest points about 5 stories up. Based on the journeys of Ulysses (or Odysseus if you prefer the Greek), from the entrance the exit can be seen straight across; however, one will find s/he cannot just walk straight across thanks to designated detours and several aside distractions that are up to the individual to take or not. Now, it’s not designed so anyone actually takes 20 years to complete the journey, and there are plenty of security guards and attendants dressed as mythological characters around to help people through. The exits open to a courtyard where there are restaurants for those who’d prefer a sit-down meal, a couple of cafés, stands selling souvenirs, fast food and snack foods. At both the entrance and exits are restrooms, and at the entrance are lockers and a coatroom to store valuables.

Slides itself is a modern village housing some very tall buildings although they are not the tallest in the world. Its uniqueness lies in the design. An energy field surrounds each building that creates a collective synenergy field that repels intrusion and impact so they can’t be damaged. Each floor has outer slides that are escape routes for any emergency specifically for employee protection lending to each building’s unique appearance. The village itself has several 24-hour stores with very sensitive security that detects weapons before a person enters instantaneously alerting law enforcement. In the village center there is a park with the same style of sensitive security and the security system protecting the schools also detects weaponry before anyone enters the building and has law enforcement there before potential perpetrators know what hit them. Right now, Slides has been voted the safest place to live.

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Create A Fictional Character : Day 3

His name was Rambo Balboa and from looking at him you’d never guess he had anything in the name of chutzpah at all. Rambo had that slight pudge of contentment although he wasn’t involved with anyone and hadn’t been yet in his life. At 29 &1/2 he was thrilled with his fantasy girls; those women portrayed with thigh-high stiletto boots, thong bodysuits and were brandishing a sword. He loved their long locks that conveniently blew back out of their eyes in battle and, he imagined, wrapped around him when they would embrace. He wasn’t sure why, but inside he knew this idea of these worldly-wise warrior women came from somewhere. She existed, was waiting for him and he’d find her.

By day he was a behind-the-scenes IT guy, a genuine technician, the one you could only wish would answer the phone when you needed to ask a question instead of those customer service reps who read out of the manual like you just did except they had the manual online; all they had to do was type in a couple of abbreviations dot number dot dot and up the solution would pop. You’d think they’d have the sense to pretend they weren’t reading. Rambo’s appearance was always laid back: jeans, wife-beater, untucked and open tailored breathable-cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled. For the most part he was in an enclosed room so there was no need for a suit. If he wore one it would distract him from his work making him feel uncomfortable that his movements were too restricted. Many times he was called on to fix the hardware so if his bosses wanted him to dress for success this was it or no success. He didn’t even own a pair of Dockers. Rambo kept his curly dark brown hair in a ponytail and sported the Don Johnson scruff. His wide, expressive eyes were as dark as his hair, his voice was startlingly deep but gentle and he had a great gluteus maximus. It wasn’t that women didn’t like him, they did, but he kept to himself and was keeping himself for “her”.

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Day 5: Create a superhero and describe them in 500 words or less

To look at Nela you’d never guess she had powers at all. She was slight of build with mousey brown hair and wore John Lennon wires, those round wire rimmed glasses you were more likely to see on your grandmother. Her eye color remained a mystery no one cared to solve. She was a bookworm by nature so it made sense she worked as a librarian long hours. She didn’t have to, she wanted to. Nela loved keeping the library organized and ordered for the patrons as much as she loved assisting them in finding exactly what they needed. She always smiled and her demeanor was gentler than a kitten. Those who frequented the library or even passed her on the street were more inclined to protect her from harm than to seek her out for help. No one would be shining a big “N” in the sky if they were in trouble. When she wasn’t working at the library she was home writing. She had a gift for poetry and had decided to write an epic like the Iliad or the Odyssey based on the lore she’d heard all her life about her family. It was certainly no surprise when she had first told her mother her idea, but she’d made Nela promise she would never reveal the story had anything to do with her family. Family business was private.

What no one knew was that Nela came from a line of unique women whose origins went back to the time of the island of Thera, a couple-thousand BC. It’s said that her ancestor foresaw the volcanic eruption that would destroy the island and its inhabitants, warned everyone of its ferocity but the inhabitants wouldn’t leave believing offering libations, dance and celebration would pacify the volcano. Wanting to get away from Greece altogether to avoid the volcanic aftermath, she took her children and journeyed to southern Italy where they lived for generations until the rule of Mussolini. It was then her grandmother took her mother, still a young girl, and immigrated to America where Nela would be born. No one ever spoke of who her father was; all she knew about him was that he died in the war. Nela had inherited the ancient gift of sight and if she chose to she could hear someone’s thoughts, she had the speed of the winged goddess Nike, charioteer of Zeus himself, and strength like those hot TV vampires had only hers wasn’t an act. This was the normal way the women in her family had always been but she had been taught and certainly had seen growing up that all people were not like her, should anyone like her come her way she’d know it, and to make certain she guarded her “gifts”. No one could ever know.

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Day 9: Create a villain and describe them in 500 words or less

Agon sat in his basement completely absorbed in his crossword puzzle. On his wall were ones he’d completed making it look like it was constructed of papier-mâché instead of concrete. In the background was a bubbling sound of simmering liquid. It had taken almost a year for Agon to set up his network of beakers, pipets, flasks, and cylindars interconnected by more pipets and hoses all suspended above Bunsen burners. He even had a pestle and mortar for the sake of ambience. During the warmer weather he was a glassblower, a real tradesman who turned quite a profit, so it was nothing for him to connect the glassware how he wanted then expand until he had his ultimate, elaborate and very functional design. In the left hand corner of the room was a to-scale likeness of Agon’s ex-girlfriend made of glass. She broke up with him a year and a half ago; the townspeople said after the breakup she just up and disappeared and he was so devastated when he’d heard she’d left, he couldn’t stand to be in town anymore so he moved. At the time everyone’d guessed it was because of all the memories. Made you wonder if it was so hard on the both of them to be apart why break up at all? Can’t figure out these young people today!

Agon completed the crossword; he pushed back from his desk studying the wall for the right place to mount it then stepped back admiring his collection. He walked to the end of his worktable, and unclamped a hose pouring liquid into a graduated cylindar. He clamped the hose again, picked up the cylindar and swirled the substance around admiring its clarity and its consistency. There was a large brown spider scurrying across the table; Agon quickly snatched up a dropper and filled it with the liquid, held it over the spider and covered it completely. The spider slowed, slowed and stopped. He looked up at the clock above the likeness, counted 20 seconds and carefully put his finger to the spider, then tapped it, then picked it up and placed it on the palm of his hand. Agon broke into a big smile; in his hand was the spider hardened in glass. He put it on the corner hutch with his unique collection of statuettes and knick-knacks. He grabbed an artist’s brush, the liquid and walked over to the likeness speaking gently as he touched up some cracked places on her face. “You can never leave me,” he crooned. “We are forever. I’ve met someone like your BFF Sandy was. I’ll make her like you so won’t be alone anymore.” He put down the brush and cylindar, picked up his cell, selected contacts and pressed “Natalie”.

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July Challenge Triple Header: 26, 27, 28

Day 26: List 5 – 10 books you wish had been written

OK, here’s one book I wouldn’t mind having “How to ask the Mac laptop tutorials for the right tutorial to find out what you want to know when you’re not certain how to word it.”  I guess we can make it 2 books, “The dictionary of layman’s terms – what a Mac technician calls the way I’d put it.” Here’s a 3rd in my struggle with the you-don’t-get-a-manual-anymore Mac, “What to do when you lose an application because of software updates and how to find something that’s not in the same spot anymore because of software updates when of course it’s not expected that you should have to now purchase them because they’re not there anymore.

You get the picture…

Day 27: If you were famous describe what you would be famous for, how you became famous, what you would do with your fame

I don’t want to be a party pooper for this one but I don’t want to be famous, my private life is no one else’s business so I don’t want a headline about the tank, sweats and sandals I’m wearing because I decided to have a comfy, bum day, I’m taking a break from the movie marathon for a junk food run and I’m not decked out in designer anything. (I don’t think it’s anyone’s concern that if I went designer it’d be strictly Gucci – ti amo Emilio. You know, when I was teaching in Madrid, the huge shopping center that housed my favorite supermarket also housed a Gucci shoe and handbag store. I’d pass it each time I went for a few groceries. One day a fringed leather shoulder bag was displayed in the window that I fell in love with but it took several weeks before I mustered up the chutzpah to inquire about the price. The young lady who was the attendant was cool and I was cooler. When she told me the price I said, “oh thirty-six hundred thirty-five euro… just a little more than I want to spend… but I do love it!” I handed it back to her, nodded and said “thank-you”. I could envision just stepping out the door and getting knocked over the head by a high-end purse-snatcher. The closest I’ve come to Gucci other than that one time was buying Vogue designer patterns. It cost less to sew my own.) What I’d like are good book sales and to have a great relationship with my readers. I think “I love them – they love me” is the perfect balance. One of the first things I will buy with my earnings is a frother so I can make my own cappuccinos at home.

Day 28: List 5 things you wish you had said and to whom

I don’t even want to write a fractured fairy tale about this one. What’s done is done, what’s been said has been said and the future is open and awaits being written. If I get an opportunity to do something better this time I’ll take it.

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Day 29: Create One Thing And Bring It Into Existence

Day 29: If you had the power to create one thing and bring it into existence, what would you create?

I hesitate to create cures because I believe they already exist. The same with innovation like environmentally friendly cars; I believe we already know how to and have those but business as it is releases these things when it is most profitable for business and not before. In the past people have been murdered for their good ideas and helpful inventions. That being said: I’d like to create the process to bring all these things into existence that they can never be hidden again and to ensure all cures and other planet-saving innovations as they are created and proven safe and effective are immediately brought into existence forever. This guarantee never runs out.

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Day 30: List your 10 favorite characters from books, television, movies, whatever

Over all the years I have of favorite characters, there should be at least 100,010. I’m turning the dial to way-back time and starting from there:

The first favorite character I remember is Steve Reeves as Hercules. I was a little girl, let me tell you, who was captivated by the quest for the Golden Fleece, terrified by the dragon that kept guard over it, and unconditionally in love with Hercules. Every Sunday I believe it was channel 9 that ran these movies and I was right there.

The second favorite character was Tom-Tom the Piper’s Son from March of the Wooden Soldiers starring Laurel and Hardy. He was so handsome he made my heart stop. Not much later, I was overcome with excitement when I watched thanks to the Beatles invasion. I fell in love with Paul McCartney and Tom-Tom looked just like him, which leads us into my third favorite character from music: the Beatle Paul.

Let’s see, after the Beatles invasion my fourth favorite character was Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees. They weren’t a real band when they started out but no one cared. He was the make-believe drummer but he was real enough to me, and in case I thought I was over this crush stuff I was dead wrong and didn’t mind at all. He’s still cute.

Somewhere in all of this was my fifth favorite character, the hero cowboy of the book The Virginian. When sparks flew between him and whatever woman he bumped into they rained on me. I didn’t brush them away – sizzle sting, sizzle sting. At the time I was in Catholic school, I lived on Long Island so I was somewhere between 8 and 10 years old, and you know what they say about Catholic school kids. It wouldn’t be so believable but that’s what happens when everything is a sin, forbidden or a sprinkle of both.

So, to put this chronologically, who could it be after The Monkees? Did I finally kick TV heart-throbbing to the curb and find another interest? Well, boys in school were certainly characters but that’s a different kind and no one’s really worth mentioning – well, I did think of this one really cute guy but he wasn’t a character character… actually I just thought of a few more… never mind. The sixth character would be Goya as he was portrayed in the book Colossus. We’ve now jumped about 10 years to my early 20s and Paco was depicted as a real ladies man. He painted and had to have most of the women who posed for him. I was so thrilled by the way he was described I’d rather stay at home with my book than go out with my boyfriend. He was destined to become my first ex-husband anyway. Should’ve kept reading or found other books by Stephen Marlowe…

After this it is safe to ask what movie characters stick out in my mind. For the most part I went to the movies and strayed from books. Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) from the Pink Panther would be the seventh. He’s the best.

The eighth would be Kreton the visiting spaceman played by Jerry Lewis in Visit To A Small Planet.

The ninth would be Dolly Levi played by Barbra Streisand in Hello Dolly.

The tenth would be Elvira Mistress of the Dark played by Cassandra Peterson.

Then there’s any character Mae West played, any character Cher has played; we won’t get into the classic actors and any roles they played, the original Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein, the Thing, how could you not love him – I could go on for pages and pages before we even touch base with Anne Rice’s witches, vampires and demons, then all the current characters from Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, Grey’s Anatomy, don’t get me started with the Winchester boys, Grimm (is it possible the whole cast could be favorite characters) and the list goes on. Oh yeah, the FBI agent from Fringe… Josh Hartnett in The Faculty and in Halloween H2O, then there’s Jamie Lee Curtis as his mom among other roles…

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 Day 31: Write a flash fiction piece involving your fictional character, your hero and your villain

Natalie went out for an afternoon walk. It’d been cloudy all day but as she stepped out the door she saw the sun was shining in front of her and on the street she was going to walk down while in the opposite direction there were gathering dark clouds. “Too funny”, she thought, “I step out the door and the sky clears a path. I wonder if there’ll be a choir of heavenly host too.” No singing yet but as she made her way down the street the sun broke through strong shining directly onto her. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh,” Natalie mused to herself although her own voice in her head was the only one singing. She thought of the guy at the library she’d befriended; he’d been there day after day researching glass-art and he couldn’t talk enough about his girlfriend. “How he loves her!” she thought. He seemed so nice, quite studious, and very talented. He was a glass blower by trade and would bring in pieces to show Natalie. The town was new to them, his girlfriend hadn’t made many friends yet, and he’d love it if Natalie could come to dinner sometime so she wouldn’t think he was fooling around. His name was Agon. Today he hadn’t come but she’d made plans with him a couple of days ago to meet them tonight for dinner. Her friend who worked at the library had wanted to meet Agon, and she’d warned Natalie to be cautious. As she reached the top of the incline dark clouds began to surround her. The cool felt good but for some reason Natalie felt they were a warning but for what? As she kept walking the sun would break through and shine on her strong but would be gone again all too soon while dark clouds kept swirling out wider and wider almost occluding the sky altogether. “What on earth”, Natalie thought to herself. “Am I in danger?” But there wasn’t a soul on the street.

Nela was closing up the library but she couldn’t get Natalie out of her mind. “Why do I feel she’s not safe”, she thought to herself. Natalie had left early that day but Nela couldn’t shake off the thought going to dinner alone just wasn’t a good idea. Now the feeling was stronger and menacing. Sensing someone behind her she turned quickly. Agon was standing there: he’d been watching her lock up. “Can I help you?” “I was hoping to check out a book I’d wanted, I found it a couple days ago and left it behind. Is the library closed for the night?” “I’m afraid it is but you can come back tomorrow. In fact, if it’s still available I’d be glad to put it aside for you. What’s the name of it?” “Oh, you don’t have to go through so much trouble. I’ll stop by tomorrow afternoon and if it’s still here I’ll remember to check it out this time. My girlfriend and I just moved into town, we’re in the middle of getting organized, we’re so busy and I feel bad for her because she works so much. She hasn’t had much time to make friends. Have a good evening.” Agon flashed a disarmingly charming smile that might have worked on any other woman in the world but Nela. Nela smiled back disguising the alarms that were going off inside her. As Agon walked away his thoughts rang loud and clear, “I’ll have to change the process. It’ll be more pain; I have to make it permanent but I can still do this tonight. There’re a couple of hours before Natalie gets to the house. More than one friend might be good.” Nela gasped, “Natalie! So, this is Agon!”

On the way to Agon’s Natalie stopped by Rambo’s work to let him know she wouldn’t be helping out this evening, she was meeting up with friends for dinner. “Friends? You spend almost as much time alone as I do. What friends?” Natalie laughed, “Yeah, that’s true Rambo B but this guy’s been in the library a lot, he’s a glass blower, new in town, you should see his stuff, he’s real good. He’s got a girlfriend he wants me to meet, seems nice enough, so I said I’d come over for dinner.” “I don’t like the way that sounds”, Rambo said, “You really don’t know these people. What if he’s a serial killer, his girlfriend’s his first victim and he keeps her mummified body at the head of the table?” Natalie pushed him and his rolling chair across the small room. “That’s some imagination! Maybe you should write murder mysteries in your spare time.” “Spare time, I’ve heard of it. I tell you what, why don’t you bring me so there’ll be an even number and just in case, so it’s not two against one.” Natalie thought of the clouds earlier as she was walking. “Maybe that’s a good idea. You know, when I took my walk clouds started gathering but not for a storm, like they were trying to tell me something.” “Tell you something! You’ve always had this crazy connection with the weather…” “Nature. I’ve always had a connection with nature.” “And you’re not American Indian?” “You know I’m not Rambo. We’ve been through this.” “Yeah, some non-existent island near Greece… I don’t have a good feeling about this whole setup anyway; let’s listen to Mother Nature.” Rambo powered down the computers and closed up shop for the night. As they stepped outside he offered Natalie his arm. “If there’s time I’d like to stop home and shower first.”

Jill opened her eyes with a start. “Oh, mother”, she gasped, “A descendant from Thera, no… there’s two!”

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