Thursday, October 29, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Distraction - 10/29/09

This week's 55 Flash Fiction Friday offering uses the prompt "distraction" provided by Lena, a loyal reader. In fact, one of the only loyal readers that is not my daughter. I am doing something a little bit different this post. If you want to hear the piece read in the author's monotone voice, here it is.


He awoke in agony

Choked by the stench of expended gunpowder

His comrades lay motionless

He needed a distraction lest the pain would drive him mad

A pretty, barefoot, girl in a sundress

Her hair shining in the Carolina sun

Her smile beckoned him to her

When medics found him his lifeless face was smiling

Monday, October 26, 2009

Edward Jones - 10/26/09

I have my meager IRA in an Edward Jones account. I have been with them for ten years or so. I have had no major issues with Edward Jones, though I have never met him. My financial advisor is Shaun Walsh. I like Shaun, he has an engaging personality. He is nice to me. I have no misconceptions. He is nice to me just like the girls at Hooters are nice to me. His amiability is proportionate to the size of my account just as the Hooters girl’s affinity is related to my tipping history. If I had a few million invested instead of a few thousand, he would be a friend with benefits.

My reason for this installment has nothing to do with Shaun; it is directed at that prick, Edward Jones. Like every other investor, my balance has shrunk drastically in the last couple of years. It is attempting a feeble comeback as of late, but I am still not back to my initial investment. I have lost thousands, where there are not too many thousands to lose. My complaint is that in this horribly uncertain market, Ed has elected to raise the fee for maintaining my account. What this says to me as an investor is that though all his clients are losing money hand over fist, Eddie is not willing to share that loss. He has picked this point in time to raise his profits at our expense. It is not a huge increase, but spread over millions of clients, it is significant. I do not know if all brokers are displaying this level of greed, but I expect as much. You might want to check your statements.

I have a new, more appropriate slogan for this economy: "Turning Dollars Into Cents."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Necromancy - 10/22/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday challenges us to make sense using exactly 55 words. I put a bit of a twist on it this week. One of my loyal readers, Lena, selected the subject for my submission this week. She chose Necromancy of all things. I gave myself five minutes to come up with this, so it is not a masterpiece. I love taking requests.

He had an extraordinary capability.
He could transport himself into the arena of whatever genre of movie he viewed.
He had journeyed to Hogwarts and Tatooine, walked the Field of Dreams and the streets of Casablanca.
He avoided certain films.
He had no taste for necromancy.
No interest in seeing “Dead People all the time.”

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I am Captain Patience - 10-19-09

My kids call me Captain Patience. I believed this sarcastic nom de guerre of my perceived lack of tolerance was highly exaggerated. It is their contention that during their formative years, I was impatient with them while helping with their homework and other fatherly teachings. They contend that when I had determined that they should have mastered a lesson or task that instead of explaining in more detail that I would elevate the volume, intonation, and inflection of my voice. Josh gives an example of this as:

“what is 2 times 5?”
“2 times 5!!”
“ WHAT IS #@*^*$@! 2 TIMES *!^*#$@ 5!!!!!!”

While my teaching methods may be controversial, all three of my kids excelled in school. But they did not often ask me to help with their homework.
Recently, an event happened that made me grateful that none of them were present to witness. It also caused me to consider that their designation of me as Captain Patience may be somewhat deserved.

There was a cassette tape stuck in the player in my SUV. It had been there for a number of years, as I had several years ago abandoned use of the cassette in favor of the CD and later the IPOD. The tape was probably melted into the deck from nine years of South Carolina heat and humidity. It would not eject and I totally forgot it was in there. Until..................

I went to crank the SUV one morning and the battery was dead. I jump-started it, and while driving around to charge the battery I noticed that the deck was attempting to eject the tape. The little motor was running continuously. Somehow, in the middle of the night, the deck had unilaterally decided to expel the tape. As the tape had become one with the deck, this attempt was unsuccessful but the deck refused to admit defeat and went into lock-down mode, thereby depleting my battery. This simply was unacceptable. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, I attempted to remove the tape from the player. This was no easy task as the tape had become one with the deck. I had to totally destroy the tape and remove it in pieces. To my chagrin, removal of the tape did not cause the mechanism to stop mechanizing.

This is the point at which my alter-ego, Captain Patience, took over. Using the same needle-nose pliers and large screwdriver, I destroyed the cassette deck. Did I mention it was a Bose system? I ripped out the circuit board and every moving part I could find. I totally gutted the entire system. Much of this handiwork was done at 60 miles per hour. Skooter moved to the back seat as he did not want to get hit by any schrapnel. I lost my radio presets, the digital display, and the clock, but to my amazement the radio continued to play and the ejection motor continued to function. (see clip below) It was possessed, but so was I.

By probing blindly and violently with the screwdriver, I finally killed it but I now have a gaping hole in my dashboard and I am limited to the radio station that it was set to. I have evidently lost the ability to tune. But it was totally worth it.

A friend, who is electronics savvy, later offered, “you should have just pulled and reinserted the fuse and it would have stopped and probably reset and not restarted.” He should not have said that to a superhero armed with a screwdriver and a pair of needle-nose.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday -Amnesia - 10/15/09

This is my weekly submission to G-Man's 55 Flash Fiction Friday. I write them on Thursday in case Friday doesn't come.

I have no recollection of who I am or how I got here.
Cameras flashing, people displaying curious hand signs.

I see my reflection, an odd looking little old man with wild eyes.
Who is this loud woman and unattractive youngsters accompanying me?

Evidently my name is ...............Ozzy, and I am the Prince of Darkness.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I have never set a woman on fire - 10/14/09

I went golfing last week with a dear friend of nearly 30 years, Mike Sova. It was one of the most enjoyable golf days I can remember. I think I enjoy golf more now that I don’t play as often. The weather was spectacular. I played well (for me) though Mike is a much better player (younger) than I am. When he hits 3-wood and I totally nut a driver, we hit it about the same. We played with two other geezers, which assured I would not be last on the tee all day. I also saw my first baby blue heron. Amazing! But that is not what this post is about. It is about relationships.

As I chronicled in an earlier blog, (click here) I once set Mike on fire. I contend that cremation will test a relationship. The fact that we remained friends is a testament to the difference between men and women. I have never set a woman on fire, but in spite of that virtue, I have never maintained a relationship with one anywhere near as long as my friendship with Mike. Oh, there were small transgressions and isolated incidents of inconsideration, but nothing compared with setting someone on fire. I know that in India it is permissible to set one’s wife ablaze if she pisses you off. I just leave, or she does. Seems like an easier solution to a squabble and it doesn’t waste valuable gasoline.

Maybe I will log onto and in my FREE personality profile state: Straight, overweight, nonsmoking male, 50s, with a poverty level income and no prospects, that has never incinerated a woman, seeks soul mate. That should create some buzz.

It is possible that Mike has maintained our friendship, looking for the right moment to ignite me or is just waiting for me to spontaneously combust. As they say: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Or in this case, hot. Or it could be that his reprisal is just to humiliate me on the golf course for the rest of my life. Anybody got a match?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Dixie Classic Fair - 10/13/09

This weekend I attended the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem with my daughter, Carly, son, Rick, his wife, Jennifer, and my three grandchildren. It is an amazing fair and we had a great day. I had no idea we would endure the intensity of a melanoma growing sun in Winston-Salem in the middle of October. I got quite a bit more sun than my dermatologist would recommend…..which is none.

One of my favorite things about a fair is the variety of food available that I would not, could not, order anywhere else. I love a real carnival corn dog and funnel cakes, washed down with fresh squeezed lemonade. I abandon any concern for hygiene standards. Don’t ask don’t tell. One joint even fashioned their funnel cakes into French fries, making it easier to eat while walking the fairgrounds. Novel idea.

Something they do here in the south that may not be a big hit in the health-conscious Pacific Northwest, is that they deep fat fry everything. Healthy food like broccoli and string beans. Fry ‘em. Candy bars, Oreos, and Twinkies. Not unhealthy enough. Let’s fry ‘em. One place even advertised fried butter. I am not a health nut, but WTF? Who thought of that?

I am in a place in my life where I have become an observer of life rather than a participant. The fair is the absolute best place to people watch. If you ever lack in self-confidence or have image problems, just go the fair. You will feel like Brangelina with a touch of Einstein. Note to woman weighing 4 bills: There is no place on your body that a piercing enhances your look. Please do not show them to me. I just ate a corn dog.

I am certain that every person who has ever punched out a relative on Jerry Springer was present at this fair. And I am certain that the people running the rides that we entrust our children to have all done hard time or were acquitted on a technicality.

Mountain people, who only come to town once a year, come to the fair. There is a booth there where the carny offers to guess a rube’s weight, age, or birth month (Like in The Jerk). Judging from the people I saw, it would be more interesting to guess their number of extra chromosomes, number of teeth, or which is higher, their IQ or the temperature. If they really wanted to make the game challenging, they would have the yokel guess who their daddy is. Kind of a Maury Povich twist on the game.

After I had put in the appropriate amount of grandpa time and the obligatory waving like a moron at the kids on carnival rides, I followed the sound of music to the stage where various bands played all day. I heard two really good local bands: Doug Davis and the Solid Citizens and Kavish. Both were very enjoyable. I left before the Pranksters took the stage. They were a Grateful Dead tribute band and since I would not cross the street to see the actual Dead, a fake version did not interest me at all. Of course the advantage of playing a 2 hour Grateful Dead set is that you only need to learn one song. They tend to go on forever. The Grateful Dead have given me a very graphic description. When I want to portray a very foul odor I say "smelled like Jerry Garcia's beard."

Adding to the excitement of the fair was the fact that Wake Forest was playing Maryland at the adjacent football field. It was homecoming for Wake, so they had scheduled one of the worst teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference to assure a victory. Is it me, or does the Wake Forest mascot look suspiciously like Ebenezer Scrooge? They call him the Demon Deacon. I have no idea what that is, but when he comes onto the field he is riding a motorcycle. Wake Forest is an amazing school. It is very small but very competitive against the huge schools on its ACC schedule. They have a beautiful football stadium.

This fair is by far the largest I have ever been to. But I knew I was out of my element when I realized there are people that can tell goats apart. There was a tractor pull that drew more of a crowd than several major league baseball teams. But the coup de grace was that there was a line to get into the vegetable displays. I will stand in a line for a funnel cake but not to look at a turnip. Even a prize winning one.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Retribution - 10/8/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday entices us to compose a story using exactly 55 words. I challenge you to give it a try.

Timmy’s “step-dad” was drunk again. He could hear the blows, his mom’s pleadings. Tomorrow, dark glasses, makeup, and sleeves would cover the damage.

Cesar’s words: “neutered dog equals better dog.”
The monster would pass out soon.

Timmy made a practice swing with the 7-iron. He eyed the driver, smiling grimly. "Let the big dog eat".

Thursday, October 1, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - "No Intelligent Life Here" - 10/1/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday challenges us to write a piece using exactly 55 words. Not as easy as it seems. My first draft is usually about 90 words.

Off course.
Landed on uncharted planet.
Met by people all wearing identical drab clothing and the same vacant smile.
“We accept aliens with open arms. No one has to work. We have free everything. Our government will take care of you.”
He got back into his craft and flew directly into one of their suns.