Mother’s Last Laugh

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photo prompt: A Mixed Bag

For twenty years, the children of Mrs. Adeline McCarthy impatiently waited for their wealthy mother’s death. Finally, the crazy old woman succumbed to a lingering illness. Harold and his sister Lizzie listened as the lawyer began reading the will.

“For the record, I am reading the last will and testament of Adeline McCarthy, dated September 1, 2017.

Both children gasped in horror! A recent change must mean one or the other would receive less than expected. Some devilry must be at work.

‘…to my son, Harold. Your love of money did not go unnoticed. Therefore, I leave you $1.00. Use it wisely.”

Harold glared at Lizzie with accusing eyes. He always knew she was a conniving woman.

“…and to my daughter Lizzie. You love animals; therefore, I leave you my priceless fox stole. May you wear it proudly to your P.E.T.A. protests”

Lizzie fainted.

Unable to contain himself, Harold blasted. “What about the money!”

“There is no money. Everything went to charity before she died. Frankly, you both got more than you deserved.

Harold raised an imaginary glass of champagne. “Cheers Mother, may you rot in hell.”

Turning to his hysterical sister, he chuckled. “fox stole… that is priceless.”

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. A Mixed Bag provided this week’s challenging photo.

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Green Hill Monster

Leaves

Photo Prompt: A Mixed Bag

For the past 60 years, the old couple made a pilgrimage to Talihina to watch the changing of the autumn leaves. The tradition started the year they married. Too poor to take a real vacation, the happy couple packed their car with a picnic lunch and blanket, and drove three hours to shores of the Kiamichi River. Although their financial circumstances improved over the years, they continued to return every September.

Today’s banquet included fried chicken and homemade potato salad, and a special bottle of wine. As the couple enjoyed a second glass, a loud squeal echoed through the hills. Without warning, an ugly creature eight-foot tall with long, stringy black hair towered before them. Sharp, pointed teeth filled its mouth and its eyes were black as night.

Seeing the creature, the old man grabbed his chest.

“My God! You know better to sneak up. My old ticker isn’t what it used to be. Have a seat”

The old man pointed to the blanket.

The old woman handed the creature a glass of wine.

“We were wondering when you would show up. Our little excursion would not be the same without you. Hungry?”

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. A Mixed Bag provided this week’s challenging photo.

This week’s story combines a true Oklahoma tradition – the drive along the Talimena – with an Oklahoma urban legend. Here is more on a sighting of Bigfoot in Oklahoma.

Bigfoot – Talihina

Bigfoot stories have been a staple of southeast Oklahoma for decades. In fact, the heavily forested area is said to be one of the most active for Bigfoot sightings in the country. One of the first sightings occurred in 1970, when a group of local high school kids decided to cruise the foggy back roads near Talihina after an evening pep rally. They pulled over and one of the teenage boys wandered away from the group and into the edge of the surrounding forest. It was here that he caught a glimpse of what the locals later dubbed the “Green Hill Monster” of southeastern Oklahoma – a hideous creature several feet taller than a human and covered in long, matted hair.

The boy ran back to the car in fright and the group quickly sped away down the road that lead back to town. After they reported the sighting to the police, the local sheriff investigated the area. He found several dead deer in the vicinity and immediately forbid anyone from going into the woods at night for fear of an attack. The creature was never caught (http://www.travelok.com/article_page/oklahomas-spooky-urban-legends)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unanswered Questions

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Photo Credit: John Robinson

The people watched in horror from their apartment windows as the young woman jogged across the bridge. A normal sight under normal circumstances, but these were not normal times.

Had she not heard the public service announcements about the air quality?

Five days ago, North Korea launched a nuclear bomb that exploded mid-air. A cloud of radiation slowly drifted toward the West Coast. Alerts went out to all residents from Seattle to Portland: the air was no longer breathable. The President consoled the citizens and assured them the government was diligently working on a solution. Until then, a mandatory curfew was in place.

How could she not know? How is it even possible that she can breathe?

Parents covered their children’s eyes, protecting them from the shock of what would surely be an agonizing death.

They questioned how they could warn her.

Would pounding on the glass get her attention? Could they put up a sign?

There must be something someone could do.

As the minutes passed and the woman seemed unaffected, a more horrifying thought began to take form.

How is it she can breathe?

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. John Robinson provided this week’s challenging photo

The Meeting

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Photo Prompt by A Mixed Bag

The two great leaders met in the Arizona desert. Alone. No one in the President’s administration knew of this meeting. If word got out, his political enemies would ruin him, much as they had his father. But the risk of doing nothing were too great. Young Trump, as the President was affectionately known, watched as a teenager while his father’s political party spit in the face of science and ignore the signs of climate change. The Deniers became a powerful political force, rolling back centuries of innovation and learning, all in the name of Capitalism.

If only his father had listened to the Truth-Sayers. He could have prevented this catastrophe from happing. But that is all water under the bridge,

Young Trump chuckled at the thought. What a fitting pun.

Swallowing hard, the President spoke.

“I believe they call you Saguaro?”

“My race is known by many names. That is one. Little children know our true name. I believe we are called Man Cactus in your language.”

Young Trump smiled, remembering.

“What do you seek from me,” the ancient one asked?

“Teach me how to live without water.”

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. A Mixed Bag provided this week’s challenging photo

Old Crow

Kika and his brother Hakan were walking through the woods in search of blueberries for Grandmother’s pie. Across the stream, Hakan noticed a bush ripe with berries.

“There are enough berries for two pies on that bush,” said Hakan, stepping into the stream.

In the tree above sat Old Crow, cawing “Danger, Danger.” Hearing the warning, Kika pleaded with his brother to return. “Do you not hear Old Crow?” he asked.

“That old bird is a trickster. He wants the berries for himself.”

Old Crow persisted with each step Hakan took, but the berries were too inviting for Hakan to return. When Hakan safely reached the other shore, he turned to Old Crow and laughed.

“Maybe I will leave a berry or two for your dinner.” He then filled his basket with the juicy berries.

By now Hakan was hungry and it would be hours before Grandmother baked the pie. As Hakan placed a handful of berries in his mouth, Old Crow cawed even louder than before. But his warning was unheeded and within moments, Hakan’s stomach burned in pain, causing him to fall into the stream. The berries had been poison.

With that, Old Crow flew away.

 

I hope you enjoyed my story. Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story, inspired by a photography. Stories for this week can be found at flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2017-week-32

 

Bus Stops, Bus Goes

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Alice waits at the bus stop, remembering. Thoughts of how quickly everything changed often filled her mind when not otherwise occupied. Once she had a wonderful job, a caring husband. A home and family. Without notice, it all disappeared.

Alice, that’s not true, they said. There were signs.

Why spoil happiness? she would reply.

At least she had the ragged blue sweater, bought at Goodwill, to keep her warm.

The B-2 bus pulls away from King’s station, moving toward Ocean Avenue. Ed knows the route by heart. Ten years a driver and God willing, he would drive for 10 more. The job keeps food on his table but not much more. Most fares were OK and he could handle the occasional trouble-makers. Just kids with too much time on their hands.

At Ocean, the bus slows to a stop and the doors open. A lady in a blue sweater steps in. She tells the driver she doesn’t have enough change. Her eyes look sad.

Go sit down. Bring it next time,” says Ed.

“Bless you,” says Alice.

Some things never change. God willing.

Shutting the doors, Ed pulls the bus into traffic and heads for his next stop.

 

198 words

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Red Rider

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Photo Credit: J. Hardy Carroll

Marcus Darksmyth, the Wolverine of Wall Street, eyes the tele-monitors hanging on the walls of his massive office. A brilliant man with a tenancy for evil, Darksmyth craved chaos. Today, using his influence with the corrupt police department, he placed off-limit signs on a perfectly good stretch of a busy sidewalk. Darksmyth chuckles as he watches countless commuters approach the barricade, override their instincts to continue and instead race across the busy street.

“This town needs are more men with balls,” Darksmyth would often say to his boardroom minions.

How he hated the lemmings of the world.

Darksmyth soon notices a young female strangely dressed in tight black leather pants, knee-high boots, and a bright red hooded cape approach the sign. If nothing else, she was pleasing to the eye. Unexpectedly, she looks straight into the camera transmitting the images to Darksmyths office. With a smile and a wink, the woman tosses the sign into a pile of rubble and marches down the sidewalk, followed by a throng of others.

The bristles on the back of Darksmyth’s neck stand up as excitement fills his being. Life suddenly became more interesting now that he was aware of the Red Rider.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short 200-word story inspired by a photograph. This week’s photo is provided by J. Hardy Carroll