From Green Tea and Life for Reflection – July 4, 2015

Moonrise

Walking down the pier under the first rays of moonlight their hands not quite touching.  The wind came off of the water refreshing the air.  The moon reflected off the water and in the distance music could be heard from a nearby “balera“. They moved towards a cluster of trees.

His hand touched hers … a spark leapt from his fingers to her hand.  A shiver ran down her spine. Like shadows they united in the darkness among the trees, they began to caress each other.  Each kiss inviting another, their hands hungry to search out and discover the recesses of their intimacy.

Pearls of sweat trickled down her body creating a small stream between her breasts with a tug her kaftan fell from her shoulders gathering around her feet.  She stood naked in the shadows as he drank the sweat from her body, like a parched Bedouin.

Then he too removed his robe and using it as a blanket he helped her lay upon the ground … cool and inviting. The sweet smell of flowers mixed with the acrid smell of fresh-cut grass mixed with the smell of his passion.

“Margaret, have you finished your essay yet?” Miss Grinitch asked impatiently seeing her student lost in one of her day dreams again.

“Ah … Oh … just about there.” Margaret stuttered suddenly returning from the distant shore she’d created and the vision of making love with the young man she’d been attracted to as walking down the subway corridor that morning.  His deep green eyes in his perfectly tanned face, the slender fingers on his well formed pianist’s hands … she sighed.

“Well, you’ve still got half an hour … let’s see if you finish your  piece on George Eliot today!” the teacher grumbled.

George Eliot

Jessica read what she’d just written wondering if her characters seemed real enough.  Was there enough pathos … would Margaret finish her essay, would she meet the man in the subway … she scratched her head wondering where to take the story … could she add something that would grab the reader?

“Oh dear, she’s stuck again!” thought Margaret. “If she’d stop thinking and start writing …”

© G.s.k. ‘15

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Following is a conversation that I’ve been having with Chris from the Muscleheaded blog  who commented on my Green Tea and Life …

The Mink’s Revenge – November 30, 2014


I’m writing out of the box here and the explanation is below … if you’re not into gruesome, I think you should skip this one 🙂

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Janet had made a fortune working at the biggest stock agency on Wall Street.  There’d been moments, early on in her career, when she’d had doubts about some of the not so honest actions she’d taken but when she read her bank statements, both those on shore and off shore, she let them pass.  Besides, now she could buy anything she wanted, and she had a passion for expensive clothes and fur coats.

She’d seen the three hags on the corner during the sit-ins of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests awhile back but they continued to occupy that corner even though the protests had died down to next to nothing.  ‘These crazy kids come up with the corniest gimmicks ..’ she thought to herself, ‘obviously they’re interpreting the witches from Macbeth presaging our downfall no less!’ She ostentatiously pulled out her silk handkerchief and daintily put it her nose as she past them, giving the impression she’d smelt something that had gone bad.

“Oh haughty lady …
with your nose in fine silk …
know that the animals you wear …
will turn against you
… and have their revenge!”

Intoned  the witches,  then one proceeded to sprinkle Janet some sort of smelly reddish liquid, like a priest would have done giving his final blessing.

“You stupid idiot!  You’ve spattered my mink!”  Janet shouted and would have said more, but suddenly, the three were gone.

Disconcerted, she ducked into the entrance of the building where she worked, rubbing at the stains on her coat and alligator handbag with her silk handkerchief as she walked into the waiting, empty penthouse elevator.

The elevator went straight up to the floor that housed the executive offices of the company.  It made no intermediate stops … up and up until it reached 105th floor, taking a little over two minutes. When the door opened, a young secretary stood at the doors waiting. The sight that greeted her eyes made her scream and faint.

haughty and hoity-toity
she walked down the street
looking like a million bucks
in her silver mink …
her closets full of silks, furs and skins
where they come from
never bothered her …
the importance of being noticed
was really all she cared for
so she strutted with her nose up
looking down at the world.

her collection was vast
every animal represented
from fox to lapin
snake-skin and black bear
she wore leather like a gladiator
when she rode her motorbike …
and silk suits and undies
when she went to work …
a Wall Street executive … she
met her end – one day
in a penthouse elevator.

(c) G.s.k. ’14

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Last week, on November 26th for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie we had a cool photo to work with:

Sheep Control Pawel Kuczynski 36

Pawel Kuczynski

for that photo I wrote a power short entitled: “He followed me Home”. You know how it is, after you’ve posted the comments come in and one thing leads to another …

Tournesol speculated what it would be like to see fur coats come alive and nip people …. I thought that wouldn’t be such a bad thing … we both thought that would probably make a cool, if pretty dark prompt, then Phylor brought to our attention that in fact in one of the Ghostbuster’s  films a woman’s fox stole does come alive and starts to nip at her!

She concluded:  “So, very cool idea to take it further as suggested by your conversation. It would make a great prompt!”

So we’ve agreed to write the story … each from their own point of view.

 

 

The Half Eaten Brioche – August 8, 2014

Photo Credits - Leanne Cole

Photo Credits – Leanne Cole

The Half Eaten Brioche
Sitting at the breakfast table, I took off my glasses thinking about what had happened yesterday.

Everything had seemed so normal, nothing outstanding that could have been a harbinger of future events. Just morning coffee and a brioche as usual.  I finished breakfast then walked downtown to work off some of my winter fat. Then to the bank to make some payments I didn’t want to do on-line. It was whilst I was sitting reading the paper waiting my turn, that the man came in.

He looked quite distinguished. Perhaps in his early fifties with a well kept beard and salt and pepper hair. He wore an expensive suit and his hands were well manicured. I have a weakness for hands and they’re often the first thing I spot in a man, after noting if he wears a beard or not.

He looked nervous, in fact, vaguely panicky. It wasn’t anything really up front, just an undercurrent.

The bank manager came out of his office and greeted the gentleman, solemnly. They hadn’t closed the door properly and we could all hear the rumble of their voices growing steadily louder. It seems that the gentleman couldn’t keep up the payments with his loan. He remonstrated, then cajoled the finally began to shout. Everyone looked somewhere else, embarrassed for the man who was obviously about to be financially ruined. Then, we heard a loud explosion followed by another.

We all ran towards the door, someone pulled out their iPhone and started taking pictures. There in the office lie the manager, blood on his white silk shirt. The gentleman now had a gaping wound for a face.

I sat here this morning with my brioche and coffee, reading the article of what was behind the tragedy in morning paper. The crisis … he had a construction firm and his clients, a public administration, weren’t paying the work he’d done for them. He still had to pay his workers, his suppliers and the bank though. Just another story of the economical crunch. I lost my appetite.

 

Note: In Italy over the past few years something similar has happened and not just once or twice.  The only difference is that the person who’s being financially ruined doesn’t take the bank manager with him. So this is based on a reality with a little fiction thrown in.

The Train – August 7, 2014

Julie-de-Waroquier@DeviantArt

Julie-de-Waroquier@DeviantArt

The Train

Mary Anne used to love her brother’s Lionel trains. He’d long since stopped playing with them, or rather to tell the truth, he’d never much played with them. Their father had bought them for him when he was 6 years old. Thinking of that Christmas of so many years ago, she could remember her Dad sitting for hours with a bored Jason putting up the tracks down in the playroom in the basement. After a day of seeing the train go round and round on the special table their father had gotten for the set, they just sat there. Strangely enough though if Mary Anne wanted to use them, her brother would shout that they were his and to leave them alone.

It was a couple of summers after that famous Christmas. Dad had gone off somewhere leaving their Mom and them behind. Mom never talked about it and Jason just got mad if anyone said anything about their Dad. He took the train set down, putting everything into a box, shoving it into the back of the garage.

Mary Anne saw where he’d put them and one hot morning she went to the garage and got the train out of its box. Out back of the garden there was a small gazebo surrounded by sand and pebbles. She attached the engine to the cars and began to play.

“Toootoo … all aboard for Westchester!” she intoned, and began her imaginary journey throughout America. From Westchester to New York from New York to New Orleans. She imagined the big cities and imagined walking around them looking for her Dad. Around noon, Mom called her in for lunch. She hid the train under the gazebo’s skirting shouting: “Coming Mom, just a minute!”

“Now, what’s my barefoot girl been up to all morning, haven’t heard hide nor hair of you.”

“Nothing much, I was just playing pretend.”

“And what were you pretending?” Jason asked.

She didn’t answer right off. She knew he’d get mad at her if he knew she’d gotten his train out and she couldn’t tell him she was looking for their Dad.

“Nothin’ much. Just imaginin’ how it’d be cool to travel.” She said in the end. After lunch she put the train away.

When she was 19 she went away to college. Mom had long since remarried and Jason had married too and had a little son of his own. She decided to go by train rather than take a plane. She’d always wanted to take a train trip and so Mom bought her the ticket and off she rode. She got off at her destination and called a porter to help her take her bags to a taxi. There on the street corner near the taxi stand stood a man who looked like her father.

“Daddy?” she said she walking up to the distinguished looking gentleman who so reminded her of her father. The man looked blankly at her … then recognition dawned in his eyes.

“Mary Anne?” he replied looking shy avoiding her eyes,  “Well, it’s been a while, you’re all grown up now. You look a lot like your Mom.”  A woman came towards him with tickets in one hand a two children tagging along behind her.

“Michael, hurry up! The train leaves in 15 minutes.”

He looked embarrassed at Mary Anne.  “Well, it’s been nice seeing you again,” he said formally, “Here’s my card. Give me a ring sometime.”  And off he went never looking back with his new family.

Mary Anne felt like she was six years old and barefoot again feeling all the emptiness she’d felt when she’d found out that her Dad had left them. A tear wandered down her cheek. She never called him.

Written for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

A Photo That Inspires – Leanne Cole – June 20, 2014

(c) Leanne Cole

(c) Leanne Cole

The Bench

Years past, bushes and undergrowth grew ever higher in the abandoned garden.  Once so full of sun-shine and summer glow, now the pathway seems to go through a mysterious forest, something you might have read about in a fantasy novel. Continue reading

Wordle Monday – June 2, 2014

 

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/wordle11.png

The wordle contains 12 words those words are:  Fetid – Cotton – Scribble – Shambolic – Fraught – Paraphernalia – Synthesis – Henna – Grace – Diffuse – Pagan – Decanter


 

Near a decanter by the wall, filled with fetid cotton, is a book of hours filled with the witch’s scribble.  Shambolic symbols of pagan lore she’d picked-up throughout the years, during her many trips to exotic countries, to ancient castles and shaman’s dens, mixed with many strange formulae.

She wasn’t really very tidy.  Among the paraphernalia in her room, were bunsen burners racks of test tubes, incense burners, stuffed dolls and animals, plus a few scented candles. Cob webs hung from the ceiling, but these were actually just decorative, she was afraid of spiders, but she felt a witch should have cob-webs, so she synthesized spider-fluid and created them herself.

She also knew how to create, with grace and elegance, a synthesis of pure black henna. She’d gotten the formula from a Marabout she’d met in deepest Africa whom she’d visited with when she was very young.

Getting on in years, she’d thought to diffuse this black henna on the market and make her fortune.  Alas, she soon found that this was fraught with many legal issues. She’d forgotten to take out a patent before publishing her article and offering her product for sale.

Big Pharma, an important company, stole and patented the formula, then branded it!  Big Pharma sued her for publishing the article about their patented product. She lost in court and the judge forced her to remove the article, and write an apology for having written it!  Within a few short months the product, that long-lasting, pure black tattoo henna we all use and love, became very popular.

The witch, of course, was angry and rightly so.  She put a generic hex on anyone who was responsable for stealing her formula. However her hex was really very generic and hit whoever was responsable for stealing people’s intellectual work. It hadn’t been her intention, but that’s how hexes work sometimes.

From that day forward, for every tube of black henna that was sold, two white hairs would grow (which could not be removed) on the responsable’s chins and two hairs would fall from their heads.  Soon all the members of the many legal firms and company departments, the heads of management in many important companies and a few research scientists, as well as some journalists, photographers, editors, writers, judges and her niece were bald and sported white beards.

The End


Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #11

 

The Battle … And the Sun Goddess (a samurai story)


The red samurai army marched a thousand strong through the forests in the north.  The Sun Goddess looked upon the marchers…the wind whispered it’s message.  The villagers heard their drums on the wind long before they were in sight.

The women and children hid in caves in the hills to the east,  along with most of their food reserves.  When samurai came to a village, one never knew what to expect.  In these terrible times, between bandits and samurai, one was never safe…for the villagers both were enemies!

From the south the white samurai army marched over the fields.  Kitsune looked on as they marched and decided that, that day was not a good day to play her tricks and ran to hide.

The villagers heard their drums too and realized that they where in a terrible position.   They could only run towards the east and hide with their women.  Their homes, which they’d hoped to save, would soon be lost in any case.

The two armies began setting up camp on the outskirts of the village, preparing for war.  The abandoned village stood between them.  The new stalks of young rice waved in the wind like tiny lakes of green water.

The first of the fire arrows began to rain on the village at dawn.  The poor buildings that once belonged to the villagers, burned quickly being made of wood and bamboo.  The battle ground  now prepared awaited the first forray.

The foot soldiers were the first to be played one against the other as the great horse-men looked on.  Many died as their long lances entered soft bodies, blood tinted the once green fields in sticky red.

Then the horsemen came, trampling the wounded, they themselves were sometimes thrown to the ground by a lucky enemy foot soldier with a long lance.  The Goddess looked on…the wind wept.  Great individual battles were fought between samurai with their katana and wakizashi.  Dust, ashes, smoke and the cries of the wounded rose into the sky.  The dead and dying covered the ground among the stumps of the houses and in the fields. Crows and flies came from afar to feast that day.

The Sun Goddess hearing the prayers of the poor, homeless and despairing people in her anger made the earth begin to shake.  A great rift opened separating the two armies, burying their dead as it closed again.  A mighty wind began to howl, the Kamikaze, sent by the Sun Goddess to help her people, began to blow bringing with it rain and hail.  The armies broke rank and began to flee from the cursed fields as quickly as they could.

One young samurai stood his ground before the great sacred wind.  He’d been destined from birth to be a samurai, but he’d watched horrified when he saw the village destroyed to make room for battle.  For the sake of his and his families honor, he’d taken part in the battle, but he also vowed to himself, that it would be his last battle.

Now he shouted into the wind: “I renounce my name, and exchange my silk robes and armor for the kesa and my katana for the alms bowl, and now,  I cut my hair.  No longer will I be part of the destruction of the people whom we should serve!”  And saying this, he took his wakizashi and cut off his top-knot.

The wind howled around him but did not touch him for the Sun Goddess was pleased.  She then enveloped him in a shaft of golden light.

 

Dolls

Tom Bagshaw

Tom Bagshaw

  Dolls

She’d been collecting dolls and stuffed animals all her life.  As with most little girls, her parents and friends would gift her a new doll on just about any occasion that popped up, unlike most girls though, she never played with her dolls.  She never had tea with them or took them from the niches she’d placed them in to go out and play house.  Her dolls were her audience her peers.

When she began school, she’d return home and tell her dolls about her day, she’d read to them the stories she read in school and show her art work to them.  As she grew older she’d write her stories and poetry then read the drafts and make corrections according to what she imagined they commented on her work.  Eventually, she reached 18, went to college, taking just those dolls she felt were the most articulate.

When she met Matthew in her second year of collage, she felt that he was the man she wanted to marry.  There were aspects of his personality that worried her a little and she discussed them with her special favorites, but in the end, she decided that these defects were minor and could be worked out.

They married when they both graduated.  She’d been publishing her work from way back in her early teens.  He wasn’t a writer.  He’d graduated with full marks at the top of his class as an engineer.  Where she was a little dreamy he was very pragmatic.  Upon graduation he took a job with a prestigious company in the mid-west and so they went to live not far from St. Louis in one of the nicer areas of the state.

Their marital problems began almost as soon as they set up house together.  She had her own studio where she had her computer, printer and reference books, which she barely used now that internet was so easily accessible.  She also lined her room with all her dolls.

He felt that her dolls were superfluous and somehow kept her from becoming a full adult.  He wanted her to get rid of every last one.  She’d explain that they were her muses, that they were her audience and without them she couldn’t write at all.  This explanation only convinced him even more that the dolls had to go.

During a month-long book signing tour around the country, one evening, he took all her dolls and put them into a large box and left them at the Good Will.  His nightmares began that night.

He’d toss and turn in bed as the dolls surrounded him and mutely stare at him.  They never said a word, just stared or maybe glared would be the better word; those looks they gave him as he’d stood in the middle of a room surrounded by them made his blood run cold.  Each night the dolls would come closer and closer.  After a week they seemed to start to whirl around his head even in day-time.  He couldn’t work and he began to take sedatives.

When she returned home, she was shocked, not only by the fact that he’d so high-handedly given away her dolls but also at his appearance.  He was haggard and gray faced.  He was afraid to go to sleep at night and would stay up late drinking.  He never told her about the nightmares…the pragmatic part of himself refused to admit that something so intangible as dreams could have any relevance on his life.  He figured he’d been working too much, and that of course he felt a little guilty for having taken that step which he knew was actually based on his jealousy of her work which took time from him.

On the other hand, she grew despondent as she slipped into a writer’s block that no exercise could break.  Tried as she might, no stories were forthcoming.  Her poetry was flat and without her habit to read her work out loud to her dolls she couldn’t infuse them with life.  He’d never been interested in her work, so it was useless to read to him.  She’d spend an hour, ostensibly writing, just staring at the empty spaces around her room.

The evening he died, a Good Will van pulled up in front of their home.  The driver got a large box out of the back of the van and came up their sidewalk, rang the bell and waited.  Matthew opened the door and when he saw the box he let out a yell, grabbed his chest and fell over.

The day after his funeral she placed her dolls back into their special niches and wrote a loving eulogy for Matthew.

 


This Short story was written for Photo Challenge #4 “Figments of Inertia” Go by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie and become inspired by a new prompt every day!

Ciao, Bastet.

 

The Vacation – Short Fiction

© Leanne Cole

© Leanne Cole

Walking down the pier that night, the moon shone brightly giving off a hazy glow.  Michael and Gloria looked over the water, hand in hand, thinking of the wonderful day that they’d just enjoyed.

“When do you have to return home?” he asked her.

“Next week.  School opens on the 11th.” she sighed.

Silence fell between them.  They’d just met two days before and already they had to contemplate separation.

“It’s not as though we won’t be able to talk to each other…” he said, “I’ll configure your computer with my Skype address.”

“I know, but, keeping a relationship up long distance…”

“It’s been done before.”

The days passed quickly, then came their last evening together.  The moon no longer shone over the bay.  The stars twinkled brightly that evening as they walked along the pier.  Then they embraced and a tear rolled down her cheek.  they walked back to her hotel, Micheal came up to her room and they consumed for the last time, their love for one another.

He took her to the airport the next morning.  Summer was over for Gloria.  He watched sadly as the plane took off.  Then watched as a ne plane landed.  He stood near the exit terminal.

Mary walked through the sliding doors and when she saw Micheal a big smile came across her face.

“Oh Micheal dear, how much I’ve missed you!” she said as she threw herself into his arms, “Did you miss me too?”

“Ah Mary, life just isn’t the same without you!” he replied.

Written for: From a Photo Story Prompt #3 We Drink Because We’re Poets from a Photo by Leanne Cole.

 

The Phone Call – Tale Weaver’s Prompt #1

The Phone Call

“Maria Marks? You’ve got a phone call,”  the man at the main desk said, “You can take it in the phone booth over there.”

She’d was at the conference as translator and wasn’t expecting any calls except from her husband who was due to fly into Rome from Uganda.

“Hello, Michael?” she said with enthusiasm.

“Hello Maria.” came his reply, a little flat.

“When are you arriving, they’ve given me a double room so just tell me when and I’ll have a driver pick  you up!”

“Listen, I won’t be coming.  I’m afraid that, well, it’s over.”

“What’s over?”

“Our marriage.  You see, while I was down in Uganda, I met this woman and … well, I’ve brought her back with me, I’m in love.”

“What?  Just like that?”

“I’m sorry, I know … I’m a bastard, but you know, these things happen.”

Silence fell.  She felt as though she’d just been dropped into a lake full of ice and that ice had seeped into her blood stream.  Now she understood the silences…the counter order for her departure to Uganda last month, why he’d encouraged her to go to the conference, where he said he’d meet her.  She wondered why she hadn’t caught on sooner.

“I need you to do me a favor.”

Could he be kidding?

“What favor?”

“Well, I’m at the house, and well, it’ll cost me a fortune to go to a hotel, do you think you mightn’t stay at one of the firm’s apartments?”

“What the fuck are you saying!” she felt the ice turn to fire.

“Well, I know you can if you want to … it’ll just be for a little while, until I can get settled.”

“I’ll be home tomorrow at 5:00 as planned and you’d better not be there with anyone else.  If this is a joke, it’s really in poor taste!”

“It’s no joke.  I couldn’t leave her down there, you know what those countries are like!  Come on it’s just for a few days, until I find an apartment!  I know you won’t mind helping out.”

She felt light-headed.  So, this was the image he had of her was, nice sweet complying Maria, always ready to help out.

“You get out of that apartment.  I’m having Joel pass by and you better not be there when he gets there.  You hear me.  You go and find yourself a hotel for you and your new girlfriend.  You just get out of my house!”

“It’s my house too, I’ve got a right to stay here!”

“Not with another woman you don’t”

She put the phone down and called Joel, telling him everything.  He agreed to go by the house and then have the lock changed once he was sure Michael was gone.

She went to the beauty parlor.  She had long red hair when she went in, Michael had always loved her hair, when she left she had a short bob.  Somehow cutting her hair made her feel stronger.


Written for Mindlovemisery’s MenagerieTale Weaver’s Prompt.