Sunday, May 12, 2013
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I enjoyed the 100 Word Flash Fiction so much I thought I would try it again:
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I was challenged to compose a fiction story using exactly 100 words. This is what I came up with:
Neal parked just out of view of the security cameras. He waited. He noted the time as she departed the supermarket. He did not need to follow her. He knew exactly where she lived. He was inside not an hour ago. He caressed her personal items and basked in her sweet aroma. He knew she desired him. She smiled and called him sweetie as she handed him his change. He felt the familiar excitement rise as he recalled her touch. He hoped she wasn't like the others. The lying, unfaithful, bitches. You should not lie if you are that fragile.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
usually primarily write humor (or what I perceive as humor). As a father
and a grandfather no laughter is in my heart. These words came to me
last night. Feel free to share or pass on by.
Satan's in the schoolhouse
The seraphs hear his roar
The sound of evil coming
A sound we've heard before
School was let out early
The devil's taking roll
He's hunting huddled angels
Stalking children's souls
Spitting his fiery venom
One bullet at a time
Random acts of violence
Hateful senseless crime
Christmas in Connecticut
Won't be the same this year
Instead of exchanging presents
We're exchanging tears
Rick Wainright - 12/14/2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
I have not visited my blog in quite some time. In fact it has been so long that they have changed the format and I forgot how to log into it. Except for small snippets on Facebook, my creativity repository had run dry. I have not been inspired by anything worth sharing with my handful of readers. That changed today.
When I checked my mail this morning, I found along with my daily Geico and heating and airconditioning offers, a greeting card sized envelope. I could not imagine what it could be as my birthday passed two months ago without any such envelopes. Upon examination, I found that it was from my friend, Mike Thorneburg (a real friend, not Facebook imaginary friend that I will never meet). After Skooter drug me through the neighborhood ferreting out squirrels and a public works crew (of which one member mistakenly thought he could pet Skooter), I sat down on the couch and opened the card. This is the card I received:
I can imagine tears welling up in Mike's eyes as he thought of his dad I am very proud that he put me in the same paragraph as his dad and grateful that I am one of the people that comes to mind with the arrival of Veterans Day .
That being said, I have never considered my twenty years of military service as a hardship or a sacrifice. If it had not been for the military I would have probably never left my little northern Idaho village and would have spent my life taking my turn at town drunk and/or village idiot. The Air Force allowed me the chance to see much of the world and get paid for it. My children benefited from their experiences in foreign lands and different cultures. When I was in school a field trip meant going to the post office or fire station. My kids would go to London, Berlin, or Paris.
The Air Force paid for several useless college degrees and has provided me a pension and health care, so that I will probably never be homeless, not even during another Obama administration.
I have now been retired for almost exactly 20 years. My time in the Air Force was almost exactly one-third of my life. I have got to say that it was the best third of my life. I am not one to sit around and tell stories of my exploits (much of which I can't talk about. Not because of the secrecy, but I am not sure of the statute of limitations in foreign countries). Some of the tamer events I have shared on this blog, but for some things it is better to just keep them to myself and smile. What happens in Taiwan, Thailand, Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece, Korea, the Philippines, and elsewhere stays in Taiwan, Thailand, Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece, Korea, the Philippines and elsewhere. Oh, the sacrifices I have made. Sounds like a title of a Dr. Seuss book.
I wanted to thank Mike semi-publicly for thinking of me. I am not a greeting card guy but I can't express how receiving that envelope today brightened an otherwise dismal day.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Since the dissolution of our local writing group I have been searching for a source of prompts and deadlines to inspire me to write. I stumbled upon this site, which seems to be exactly what I am looking for. The first prompt I responded to was this visual prompt with the following flash fiction piece.
But tomorrow was Jenny's favorite day of the year, even better than Hallowiccan. She would participate in the mandatory Cheaster egg hunt and present issue, but the most beloved thing about Chreaster was that gramps would be released for the day. She loved to hear his stories of when he was a child and there were real eggs, and they were hid outside, and people could actually eat them after the hunt was over. She could not imagine what outside was like. She was 9 years old and had never been anywhere but her family's cubicle on this drilling platform. She should feel fortunate, her mom repeatedly told her, that their family had won one of the Powerball jackpots and was allowed to leave earth just in time..........before the Great Cleansing of 2110.
Jenny was born a year later, on this station. Jenny hated only seeing gramps once a year, but he, as all people too old to work and refusing programming, was isolated from the general population. She would not even see him on Chreaster, except her dad had died during a drilling accident when she was 6, and each child was allowed an entire family unit on their holiday. Their keeper wrongly assumed that Jenny was far enough along in her indoctrination that she would discount the ramblings of a crazy old man.
She listened intently to gramps' stories of the wonders of a planet she would never set foot on. Jenny was sure that gramps was prone to exaggerated and people of earth had not actually owned houses, farms, and businesses. There was no mention of such things in the history books she read at school on level 5. She once asked her teacher, Mrs. Kardashian, about the history prior to 2110. The teacher turned pale, started to reply, looked up at the monitors, and abruptly changed the subject. The next day she had a different teacher, so she never broached the subject again.
She did believe that though somewhat embellished, gramps' memories were real. Jenny awoke very early from a fitful sleep filled with dreams of blue skies, fresh air, and football. Gramps had told her that the three favorite things from his youth were motorcycles, football, and bacon. All had been banned many years ago, as they were deemed too dangerous. He would regale her of the exploits of his favorite football player, Tim Tebow III, and his description of bacon could nearly conjure up an aroma Jenny had never experienced.
As Jenny stepped out of the decontamination shower and dried off, she could not contain her joy. She skipped into the family eating chamber and it was exactly as she expected. There was her mom, gramps, and their always present, silent, handler. On the small dining room table, on colorful cellophane grass sat the egg that her mom would later hide on the community deck for her to find.
Each child was allowed one synthetic egg. It was the same damned egg as last year and the year before. She knew that because the binary code on the egg was the same one tattooed on her forearm. Corporate had determined that allowing a child to find as many eggs as their abilities allowed would leave some children with no eggs. That disappointment was deemed unnecessary and counterproductive to indoctrination. So, the one child, one egg, system was implemented. If a child picked up an egg that contained another child's binary code, that child would receive a powerful electric shock, causing them to immediately drop the egg. As a result, the egg hunt was a very deliberate affair.
Once each child had found their egg, they could redeem it from Santa Claus for a present. All presents were age appropriate and androgynous. It was decided by corporate that gender nonspecific items avoided conflict aided in the indoctrination process. Corporate psychological studies revealed that selection of gender was best delayed until late adolescence thereby causing less confusion and emotional turmoil among the children during the programming. Jenny was always disappointed with the gift, but did not voice any discontent in front of the keeper. Gramps had taught her well. No matter how crappy the present was it was infinitely better than the dreidel the Jewish kids received every year for Rosh Hashanukkah. And all Jenny really cared about was seeing gramps and learning about life before the Great Cleansing.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Today I participated as a volunteer in a charity golf event. As a course marshal I had the opportunity to meet a lot of celebrities, quasi-celebrities, wannabe-celebrities and golf professionals. By and large the experience was enjoyable and a very rewarding experience. There was one moment that stood out to me and left an impression.
I met a golf professional named Lee Elder. Unless you are a fan of professional golf you have probably not heard of this man. He only won 4 PGA events in his career. Today he did not play nearly as well as most of his fellow professionals. His team did not win today's event.
Lee Elder is a 77 year old black man. Though you would never know it by looking at him. Not the black part. That is readily evident. You would never guess he is 77 years old. He is fit, strong, and still swings pretty fluidly.
Without Lee Elder, there would have been no Tiger Woods. Lee was the first black man to play in the Masters. He entered in 1975 amid death threats, heckling, and hate. Golf is a tough enough game to play at that level without being distracted by overt hostility. Today's pros are distracted by the click of a camera. This man endured things being thrown at him in his backswing.
In 1979, he became the first black man to represent the United States in the Ryder Cup. Again, those not familiar with golf will not appreciate the significance of this honor. Suffice to say, Lee was one of the top 12 golfers in America that year. And he proudly represented a country in which he was not awarded all the privileges of full citizenship.
I do not have a very elaborate belief system but I think we should celebrate the accomplishments of a man, not his color or lack of it. And every man should have the opportunity to go as far in life as his talents allow, regardless of pigmentation. Sports are microcosms of society in general. At the same time Lee Elder was struggling to make a career as a golf pro, others were denied access to the pursuit of their dreams because of bigotry and racism.
As a Caucasian, I do not profess even a rudimentary understanding of the barriers that Mr. Elder overcame, I can only voice my respect and admiration and what a thrill it was to meet him.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The final assignment of the, now defunct,South Strand Writing Group was a visual prompt:
My dad spent his formative years during the Great Depression. One of his most vivid memories was of one particular Christmas that his only presents were an apple and an orange. Best Christmas he ever had.
As a result of his experiences in living in abject poverty, he was always hesitant to throw away anything that had even a remote chance of being reused. Recycling is not a novel concept.
Under our kitchen sink were Maxwell House coffee cans and Mason jars filled with hardware items: nuts, bolts, screws, washers, nails, cotter pins, etc. I do not remember where these components originally came from. Dad must have once participated in some great demolition project to acquire all those bits and bobs. At least that is what I thought until I found out that nearly all homes have a similar stockpile of hardware odds and ends. Except mine.
My dad was quite a handyman and could fix anything. He even learned to repair televisions, back before televisions were disposable. Ours broke and he took it to a repair shop and upon hearing how much the guy wanted to do little more than change out a vacuum tube, dad came home, studied the schematic diagram, and isolated the problem. It came so easy to him that he enrolled in a correspondence course and became a part-time television repairman. Because he was fair, he soon had more customers than he could handle. As a young boy, I often accompanied him in his workshop, "helping" him fix televisions and other electronic devices. I learned to replace tubes, use a voltmeter, oscilloscope, and other test equipment. I even learned the electronic color codes, which I remember to this day: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, gray, and white. I also learned that an unplugged television still carries enough voltage to knock a person across the room. I only needed one such lesson to secure that fact in my memory banks forever.
Whenever dad had a project that required a nut, bolt, screw, washer, nail, cotter pin, etc., he would drag out the appropriate can or jar. They were not labeled, but he knew which container held the type of hardware that he needed for the particular job. Much to my mother's chagrin, we would dump the contents of the receptacle on her kitchen table and sort through the contents looking for just the right part.
As a young boy, I really enjoyed this activity, as I loved to put washers onto bolts an thread nuts onto them. I would sometimes slide several washers and thread several nuts on to one long bolt. My dad didn't particularly like having to unthread several nuts from a bolt, but he never discouraged my interest in mechanics or creativity.
I could amuse myself for hours assembling combinations of assorted hardware into abstract metal architecture. Sadly, my fine motor skills and capacity for spatial thought never progressed much beyond that of a child.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
This South Strand Writing Group's prompt for this week was "The first day at a new school." I responded with the following piece:
Clark woke up before daylight, but that was normal for him and most people that live on a working Kansas farm. What made today special and excited Clark was that it was to be his first day of school. Though he was about 12 years old, he had been home-schooled up until now. He was going to be a seventh grader at Smallville Junior High. He had ventured off the modest 300 acre homestead on rare occasions, but was never allowed to interact with any other kids. His mother and father, Martha and Jonathan Kent, were always afraid that someone would discover the "secret." They had told him since he could remember that if anyone found out about him they would take him away and they would never see him again. Though he felt a bit like a prisoner, he certainly did not want to be alone, so he never objected. And he loved the Kents. He was pretty sure that the people in Smallville thought he was retarded anyway, since he never communicated. It was finally decided that he was old enough to begin to go out in the world and to be trusted to keep the "secret."
The Kents had told him the amazing story of how a rocket ship had crashed near their farmhouse and baby Clark had miraculously survived. The highly religious Kents, who had been unable to conceive children, considered him a gift from God, if not a God himself. They had surreptitiously raised him, nurturing and loving him as their own. Though he did not have a birth certificate, it was not uncommon in farm country in the 1930's for child to be born without any official records. So Ma Kent had registered him at the school, making up a back-story that he was left to them by a dying relative. No one questioned that. People were always farming out kids in those days.
"No, Pa. I mean without a plane. Just flying, like Peter Pan."
"That is a storybook, Clark. Not real. Not even Jesus could fly."
But Clark could. At first, just a few feet off the ground. But soon he could fly as high and fast as he desired. It took him a while to learn to control his flight-path. That is how he found out about one of his other capabilities. He evidently could not be hurt. One day he flew right into the barn door, smashing it to kindling. He was not injured. At all. Not a scratch. When Pa Kent found the damage, he blamed it on one of the horses that was known to be pretty ornery. Never imagining that little Clark could cause such destruction.
Clark tested this invincibility power several times to varying degrees. Once, he tried to stab himself with a pitchfork and another time he put his hand in a boiling pot of water. He didn't feel a thing either time and there was no damage to his skin, whatsoever. Though it felt just like the skin of his parents, it seemed bulletproof. The pitchfork, on the other hand, was no longer usable. The tines fanned out in all directions. Pa Kent took it back to the hardware store, as it was clearly defective. It caused quite a discussion among the hardware crowd.
Then there was that unfortunate incident when he was milking Bossy. That one was hard to explain to Pa Kent. Bossy was his favorite milk cow. He had to learn to manage his new found strength. He also learned two valuable lessons from that regrettable episode. One: that milking faster did not get him finished with the chore quicker. The second concerned the appropriate pressure to apply to a nipple. This knowledge would serve him well in the future.
Clark had never thought too much about where his capabilities came from but noticed they got stronger and he discovered new ones as he got older. He assumed it had something to do with arriving in a spaceship. He heard programs on the radio about flying saucers attacking Earth, but never really considered that he might be one of the invaders. Someday, he would have to try to find out more about where he came from, but not now. Not today. He had big plans for today.
He looked forward to starting school, mainly because of a girl that he was eager to meet. He had observed her on several occasions during his night-flights. She lived a few miles from the Kent's farmstead. Though she had a paralyzing effect on him, he could think of little else. She had beautiful red hair and dazzling green eyes. She always wore a silver necklace with a, large, shimmering green stone. This piece of jewelry totally mesmerized Clark. Not only did the presence of Lana take his breath away, it also took his ability to fly. He would crash to the ground if he got too close. And it hurt when he hurtled to the ground. He guessed that was what love did to you. Took away your gifts.
Yes, today, he was going to school. But while it was still dark, he was going to fly to a bank far away from Smallville and make a withdrawal. What good were extraordinary skills if he did not use them? He didn't want to work on the farm his whole life and Ma and Pa Kent were not getting any younger. They believed in a spaceship crashing on their land. Why not a big bag of money? Clark smiled as he said aloud, "Up, up, and away," and shot straight up through the dark sky." He plotted a course in his head to a place he had read about, called Metropolis. There were lots of banks there.