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

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Friday Fictioneers: 2024

Photo Prompt by Claire Sheldon

The words litter the walls of my cubicle:

Happiness is Productivity

Every morning, I dive into bliss, glad to be fruitful. Robotics have replaced meaningful jobs and attending University is unattainable, except for the uber-wealthy. Fearing the words ‘welfare state,’ the Government creates jobs for workers like me, so we too stay productive.

I am a ‘Stapler.’

Daily, I receive stacks of paper, filled with meaningless words. I separate, stack, and staple. Eight hours a day. At the end of my shift, I gather my packets and pass them to Pete in the next cubicle.

Pete is the ‘Un-stapler.’

 

This story was inspired not only by the great George Orwell’s 1984, but also by a photo prompt posted on Friday Fictioneer’s a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less. Photo Prompt provided by Clare Sheldon

 

Friday Fictioneers: Blood Pact

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Photo by Sarah Potter

It started as a childish prank. Go to the old Miller house and enter through the sunroom. The wooden desk stood in the corner. Nick your finger with a knife, just enough for a few drops of blood, and trace your initials on the desktop. The blood pack guaranteed a carefree adolescence, or minimally, a date to the prom.

What they don’t tell you, however, is the pact binds you forever to an insatiable spirit. With each passing year, the demands grow greater. Breaking the pact was not an option.

He thought of this as he stalked his next victim.

 

This story was inspired by a photo prompt posted on Friday Fictioneers, a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less. Check out other great stories or submit your own at Friday Fictioneer’s June 9 2017

 

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Last Move

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photo credit: A Mixed Bag

The Director held the phone in his hand and considered his next move. The events of the past few days unnerved him in ways he never thought possible. During his 25-year tenure with the agency, he had learned the secrets of the rich and powerful. He knew what men, and women, were capable of when push came to shove. But this man; he was ruthless. He would stop at nothing to salvage his legacy.

Do you really want to do this, Jimbo?

In the corner of his office was a chess board. As a boy, the Director mastered the game and in return learned one of life’s most valuable lessons: always look beyond the next move. He out-maneuvered his opponent so far. With this phone call, the game would be over.

His contact answered promptly and agreed to the Director’s request. He called his wife and told her the car would be there in 10 minutes, taking her to safety. Before he left, he looked at his office for the last time.

This is the right thing to do.

They arrested him as soon as he stepped through the door. He would go quietly.

Smiling, he thought to himself, check-mate.

 

Sunday Photo Fiction: The Empty Space

06-jade-m-wong-16-april-2017Siggy sat on the arm of the chair, mesmerized by empty space between the old steeple clock on the mantel and the ceiling above. Her tail switched fiercely and a guttural growl erupted from deep inside her throat.

“What are you looking at Siggy-cat?” Tom and Charlotte loved their foster kitten and secretly hoped she would become a permanent fixture in their home. But at times, her strange behavior was hard to understand. Like seeing the most minuscule bug crawling on the wall and hearing noises no one else heard.

Charlotte sat on the sofa across from the fireplace, feeding her 6-month old daughter, Agnes. Siggy’s odd behavior gave Charlotte pause. A few weeks ago, a bee sting sent Agnes into anaphylactic shock and her pediatrician warned that another occurrence could be deadly. Noticing Tom, as usual, had his nose in a book, Charlotte placed Agnes at her shoulder and walked across the room to look for herself.

Siggy continued to growl but a quick glance at the wall proved nothing was there. Relieved, Charlotte turned her back to the clock. “Siggy, you silly cat. There is nothing….”

Her words were cut short by Agnes’ screams of terror.


Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a short story (200 word max) inspired by a photograph. This week’s photo is provided by Jade M Wong  and was inspired by my real-life cat, Siggy, who really does seem to see things no one else sees. Maybe those empty spaces are not so empty after all.  

Enjoy!

Sunday Photo Fiction: Pier Runner

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Photo credit © Jules Paige

“Shouldn’t we be getting back to the ship?” 

Tony and I sat at the bar, finishing off the last of our frozen margaritas. I couldn’t remember how many I had today. We spent our day in Cozumel at one of those all-inclusive resorts with free-flowing booze and warm sea air. I was feeling fine, but the sound of the ship horn brought me back to reality. Glancing at my iPhone, I noticed it was 4:55 pm. Five minutes before sailing.

Tony flashed his sweet smile and said don’t worry. Ships don’t leave passengers behind. He guzzled the last sip and left a 50 on the table. “Let’s go.”

The port was eerily empty. We picked up the pace, hoping the pedicabs were still shuttling passengers. By the time we walked outside I could see we were on our own, and the pier leading to the ship went on forever.

A second blast.

“Run for it!” Tony yelled and together we took off. I heard the music from Lido deck. I heard the cheers and jeers of passengers smarter than us, already on board. I could see walkway. We might make it. Then a third blast.

“How about another margarita?”

This story was inspired by   Sunday  Photo Fiction March 26, 2017

 The Widow and the Watchmaker

Time stood still at the old watch shop on the corner of 7th and Broadway. From the street, the vintage store front showed little change since it was built in 1920. The faded red façade facing the street needed a new coat of paint, and soot and grime glazed the large display windows. A large sign hung above the door, welcoming all to Milo’s Watch and Repair.

Yanno parked his dull yellow taxi in front of the shop. He quickly ran to the other side of the cab and opened the rear passenger door. Taking Yanno’s extended hand, Mrs. Henry Emmerson of Signal Hill exited the cab.

“I will only be a few minutes if you don’t mind waiting,” she said.

“No problem Mrs. E. I’ll be here when you come out.” Yanno lit a Lucky Stripe cigarette and leaned next to the cab while he waited.

Inside of the small shop, time was frozen as well. Along the outer walls, old glass cabinets held hundreds of watches from every era. There were railroad watches, military watches, chronograph, and quartz. On the walls, antique clocks ticked-ticked-ticked to an unchoreographed melody.

Behind the front counter, Milo Schwartz hunched over a cluttered table as he worked on an old pocket watch he found at a garage sale. With a little effort, he knew he could get it working as good as new. These days, Milo spent most of his time repairing watches he had picked up along the way. Everyone has a smart phone now, he was known to say. No need for a good watch. Which is why he quickly stood up and smiled when Mrs. Emmerson walked through the door. She was not just a customer, she was a dear friend, and he had not seen for quite some time.

“Mrs. Emmerson! What a surprise! How can I help you today?”

Reaching into her black coat pocket, she took out a small bundle wrapped in an old blue handkerchief with the initials “H.E” embroidered in the corner. Inside was a pocket watch.

“This was Henry’s and I’m afraid it is broken. It hasn’t worked since he passed away. I thought you could look at it and see what is wrong. “

Milo gently took the watch as if it were a delicate flower. Such a beauty, he thought to himself. As he examined the watch, he could see that that it was German made, with a slightly tarnished case. There was a long chain attached with a small key at the end. Milo opened the back and found an inscription, H. Emmerson, Berlin. The Emmerson’s were originally from Germany and Milo guessed Henry must have received the watch as a young man. Old as it was, the watch was in excellent condition. A watch like this should last a lifetime. Milo reached into a small candy dish and popped a peppermint into his mouth.

“I am sorry for asking, but how long ago did your husband die?”

A look of sadness momentarily crossed Mrs. Emmerson’s face. “It’s been almost a year now. It was such a shock. Have I ever told you the story of how he died?” Milo invited her to go on.

“It was a Saturday night, and Henry and I had just arrived at our favorite restaurant. A lovely little Italian place, called Luna’s. We had been going there every Saturday night for as long as I can remember. Our grandchildren use to call it our ‘date night.’ Every week we sat at the same table, next the window so we could look out across the ocean and watch the sunset.”

“We were drinking a glass of wine when largest man I have ever seen walked in. You could tell he was in dire need as his clothes were well worn, and a bit dirty. We overheard the man ask the owner for a meal, but the owner does not allow panhandling of any type and ordered the man out. My Henry was always such as pushover for someone in need. He walked over to the man and offered to buy his dinner. The man was so grateful that he grabbed Henry in a bear hug, saying Thank You, Thank You.”

Henry was not a large man and had a bad heart. I guess the man just hugged him too long because when he let go, Henry fell to the floor. By the time the ambulance arrived, there was nothing they could do to save him.”

“Such a terrible story,” Milo said. “What happened to the large man?”

“He felt horrible of course, but I have to admit I wasn’t very nice too him. For the past year, I blamed him for what happened and it has been eating away at me. But now it is time to move on. That is why I brought Henry’s watch to you.”

Milo inserted the small key at the end of the chain into a small hole on the inside of the watch and gave it a few turns. He placed the watch by his ear, then with a smile handed it back to Mrs. Emmerson. For a moment, their hands touched.

“All it needed was to be wound. See, it is good as new.”

Mrs. Emmerson listened to the watch then shook her head. “Well imagine that! I feel so silly. Every time I looked at that watch it reminded me of Henry’s death and how time had stopped for me as well. Just think, I could have started it any time I wanted.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself Mrs. Emmerson. Everyone makes mistakes.”

Mrs. Emmerson smiled at the old watch maker. “Please, call me Clara,” she said. “We have been friends for a long time, and I don’t see a need for formalities.” She paused for a moment. “I hope that man will forgive me for being so awful.”

“Mrs. Emmerson…. I mean Clara. Would you like to have lunch with me?”

They planned to meet later that week at a small diner up the street. True to his word, Yanno was waiting for Clara when she walked out the door. As the taxi drove off, Milo noticed an old clock on the wall that had not worked for many years. As if by magic, the brass pendulum was swaying back and forth. I guess time has started for me too.

This story was inspired by a writing prompt from Creative Writing Now (http://www.creative-writing-now.com/short-st), using the words Broken Wristwatch, a peppermint, and a hug that goes too far.

Total word count is 1080.