Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My #FlashFiction Tales from Jan. 16-20

Last week was an off week for me and my flash fiction tales.  I didn’t even win an honorable mention, although I was feeling under the weather, and each challenge offers 10-25 other amazing stories by unbelievably incredible authors.  This week is looking more promising, but as for last week, here are my tales!

Wakefield Mahon’s #MotivationMonday (1/16/2012):

Prompts:  Start with “We just wanted to be free.”

“We just wanted to be free.  Free from the hatred.  Free from the disparaging looks we received when we went shopping or to the park.  Yes, we know we are different from the majority of Americans.  Most of us do not have white skin.  Many of us do not speak English as well as those born here.  We dress a little differently than the majority.  Some of our foods can’t be purchased at a local supermarket.

Most of us, probably close to 99%, do not condone terrorism.  We are no different than the Protestants and Catholics living in Ireland, where factions within those religions detonated bombs and killed in the name of God.  We want to live peaceful lives and be productive and integral parts of our communities.  Our goal is not to disrupt the United State government or change the way Americans think or believe.  We are not looking to convert you, and we do not look down upon you for not embracing our tenets and beliefs.

I write this now, as a Muslim-American, because for over ten years now we have been victimized by the actions of a few.  For over ten years we have been unable to travel and gather in our communities without the scrutiny of the United States or local government.  And, just like in this case, we have been discriminated against in the workforce.

Yes, I wished to practice Salah in my office with my door closed at noon and during the afternoon as my religion commands.  I did not interfere with anyone else’s work, nor did I ever cause any undue hardships for the organization.  Not only was I made to feel as if I were wrong for requesting to do this, but I believe I was also passed over on numerous occasions for supervisory jobs based on my religion.  As such, I am resigning from my position, and I have obtained a lawyer and filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission regarding the hiring and employment practices of this organization.


Yusuf Al Farran”

Patrick Wilmore, CEO of Applied Logistics International, Inc., closed his eyes tightly and slammed the letter down on his desk.  His migraine was coming back, full-force, and this was the last thing he needed.  Whoever this Yusuf Al Farran character was, he was in for a fight.  Nobody questioned Patrick Wilmore’s authority, especially some raghead, Koran-spouting, Muslim.

400 words



Cara Michael’s #MenageMonday (1/16/2012):

Prompts:  A statue of Jesus, “blessed are ___”, and a scenario of which an angel is talking to a ghost.

The angel pointed to the statue in front of them and remarked, “He was in the same position you are in now, Mr. Morris.”

The revenant glanced over at the replica of Jesus, his hands open as if forgiving his followers.  “Blessed are those who believe in him.”

“You will have an important job as well.”

He scoffed.  “I am no Jesus.”

“And He is not asking you to be.  You are simply a spirit, left on this earth to accomplish a task before you enter the gates of His kingdom.  Jesus, being His son, was resurrected to complete his work.  That will not be your fate, but you do have something you must do.

“And that is?”

“You must take the lives of men and lead them to their eternal destinations.”

“Wait, what?  You’re saying I’m to be like, what, the Grim Reaper?”

“Yes.  A hundred million souls and your work will be finished.  Just like the one who preceded you.”

“But what did I do to deserve this?”

“Nothing, Mr. Morris.  Believe me, it’s not that bad of a job.  You could have been asked to haunt a schizophrenic or become best friends with a pre-pubescent girl.”

199 words



Stevie McCoy’s #TuesdayTales (1/17/2012):

Prompts:  “Pulchritudinous” and a picture of dresses hanging in trees in a swamp with a dreary background.

“You know how to catch ghosts, don’t you?”

The withered old lady stared at the young boy, her cataract-afflicted eyes simultaneously beckoning and frightening.

“You talk to the trees.  They are Mother Nature’s pulchritudinous children, natural, of the Earth, meant to cast out the supernatural.”


“Beautiful, son.  They keep evil at bay.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“You should!  Look over yonder.”

Her decrepit finger pointed to the swamp.  At first the boy was spooked, but then he knew better.

Scoffing, he said, “Grandma, those are just your undergarments.”

“Aye, be a good lad and fetch them for me.”

100 words



I skipped Siobhan Muir’s #ThursThreads this week due to Adam and I contracting strep throat (early outs, doctor visits, picking up prescriptions, etc.)


Jen DeSantis’s #FridayPictureShow (1/20/2012):

Prompts:  A picture of a tray holding seventeen old-fashioned keys.

“You all have a decision.  Seventeen keys for seventeen heirs.  One for each box in front of you all, but make your decisions wisely, as Eldridge had a bizarre and sometimes heinous sense of humor.”

Fifteen greedy hedonists chose, but Wesley and Gretta, the two teenagers, stood back, watching, frowning.

Simultaneously the keys turned, each person instantly being sprayed with a noxious mist, causing them to retch and fall over dead.

“How did you know?”

“It’s chlorine gas.  Seventeen is chlorine’s atomic number.  And the odor of pepper and pineapple, unmistakable.”

“Uncle Eldridge was pure evil.”

“Or a mad genius.”

100 words


Friday, January 13, 2012

My 1/12 and 1/13 Flash Fiction Tales

Before I post my tales, I just wanted to note that I won honorable mentions for my 1/9/2012 #MotivationMonday tale as well as my 1/10/2012 #TuesdayTales stories.  Yay for me!  Think I’ll buy myself a donut this weekend!

Today is #FridayPictureShow hosted by Jen DeSantis (@JenD_Author): The prompt was a picture of a black cat with the number 13 and a full moon.

Here is my tale:

He lounged on the sidewalk, staring up at the full moon, waiting for his next victim.  It was a special day, Friday the 13th, and he had purposely come to Walmart to have some fun.  He’d already gotten a few, walking in front of them, chasing them under a ladder, and even spooking someone into dropping a mirror.  He loved how superstitious people could be.

Of course, he hadn’t had much luck himself.  He’d wanted desperately to have supernatural powers, but of all the lycanthropic curses, he had to get the one that turned him into a domesticated black cat.

100 words


Yesterday was #ThursThreads hosted by Siobhan Muir (@SiobhanMuir):  The prompt was to use the line “sure you are, tough guy” in the story.

Here is my tale:

“Here you are, in all your glory. Tie just right. Shirt fitting perfectly, outlining those muscles. You’re tall and handsome, and you have a winning smile. You look great, and yeah, you’re worth a million bucks. You know that? You can tackle anything. And you want to know something else? You will take the bull by the horns and come out of here grinning with the thought of knowing you did it. People may say you lack character or charisma, that you maybe aren’t brave enough to do something like this, but sure you are, tough guy. You are a born winner, and you can accomplish anything.”

“Hey buddy, quit talking to yourself and move it. You’re holding up the line.”

He turned and glared back at the sour old man, then took a step forward. Time to shine.

“Hi, can I help you?” she asked, smiling cheerfully.

“Yes, my name is Reggie, and I have severe agoraphobia. I’m trying new medication though, and this is my first time out of my house in seven years. Ahem. I’d like a hamburger and a small Coke please.”

As she smiled awkwardly and called out the order, he whispered to himself, “You did it, Reggie. You did it!”

206 words

UPDATE:  Just heard from the judge.  I won for this tale!  Woohoo!!  Buying myself a donut AND a mint chocolate mocha this weekend!


If you actually read these posts, and you have a Twitter handle and want to participate, just do a search each day for #FlashFiction or any of the individual daily challenges.  The people are great and very positive, and it’s always a good time.  Join in on the fun!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My 1/10/2012 Flash Fiction Tale

From @theglitterlady and her #TuesdayTales challenge:, the prompt was to use the word "defiant" along with a picture of a little girl with her arms crossed sitting on a bed with her back to the viewer.

Here is my tale:

She fled from the kitchen to her room, and as he followed, plate in hand, he saw her sitting on the bed with her arms folded.

“Britt, please, you need to eat this.  It’s all we have.”

She began to sob, burrowing her head in the blankets.

“Britt, if you don’t eat this, you’ll starve!”

She looked up at him for a moment, defiant, then shouted, “No, I won’t!”

“Please, honey!”

“But I can’t, Daddy!  I can’t!  They are people!”

“Yes, but it’s all we have.  Now eat this or it will spoil and I’ll have to go kill another!”

100 words


Monday, January 9, 2012

1/9/2012 Flash Fiction Tales

From @WakefieldMahon and his #MotivationMonday challenge:, the prompt was to start with the line: “An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different.”

Here is my tale:

An ancient legend tells of a sword and stone, but this was something different. He knew that to achieve greatness he had to cast aside all doubts, seize the tools and weapons in his midst, and rise above his fears. Like King Arthur, he would soon sit upon his mighty throne, but first he had to master the skills that would make him great.

He pulled the helmet from his sweaty head, letting loose an abundance of black tousled hair, and placed it on the ground next to his mighty war hammer. He unfastened his cape, setting it neatly in the confines of the winged helmet. Finally he pulled off his chest piece and sat it delicately beside the rest of his gear.

He took a step up, inspecting the foreign surroundings with wavering confidence. He recognized some of the equipment and peripherals around him, but he was uncertain of their purpose. An oddly-shaped bell-like device with a short wooden handle. Another handled object shaped like a tear drop with long wiry bristles. He did not think he would need to utilize them, but their mere presence was discomforting.

He could do this. He would do this!

Lowering his pajama bottoms and training underpants, he sat upon his toilet seat adorned with images of Mighty Thor and Iron Man battling their enemies. Shouting out triumphantly for his Mommy or Daddy to help him tidy up, he was a proud warrior.

Adam had finally mastered the potty.

246 words



And, from @CaraMichaels and her #MenageMonday challenge:, the prompt was to use a picture of an older trike (3-wheeled motorcycle), the words “blame it on”, and the words “terminal moraine”.

Here is my tale:

“The Steelers are playing in Denver, right?”

“Yeah,” he said, not taking his eyes from his prized 72”, 1080p, 3D-enabled television screen. He’d been there all day, having watched the earlier game, drinking several cans of beer and wolfing down practically a whole bag of salt and vinegar potato chips and two luncheon meat sandwiches.

“Hey Hon, what would it take to get you to climb to the top of the Rocky Mountains?”

He turned to his wife, a curious look on his face. “Uhh, well, that’s a good question. Blame it on the Boy Scout in me, but I’d want at least a three-wheeled, motorized vehicle with plenty of storage compartments to navigate the terminal moraine at the bottom. You know, the rocks and boulders and stuff. Once I got past all of that, I’d have to have plenty of gear: climbing ropes, carabiners, rations and water for probably two weeks, probably a compass and a satellite phone. That’s quite an undertaking, you know? I could do it, though.”

He seemed satisfied with his answer, but his wife did not appear impressed.

“Well, that’s great,” she said. “So what would it take for you to carry out the garbage?”

200 words

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's a parent to do?

So my son is 2 years and 7 months old. He is not potty-trained yet. We've purchased everything there is to purchase, it seems, in an attempt to get him potty-trained. We have a Marvel Superhero's toilet seat, a stool, a separate potty, flushable wipes, books depicting Elmo and others using the potty, etc. Every time we try to take him to the potty, though, he screams "No potty!"  He is physically able to do it, but I think the potty just scares him.  Any time we even mention using it, he gets antsy to the point of tears.

We had yet to discuss this with his pediatrician, and that will most likely be our next step, but first we decided to try a rigorous potty-training boot camp over the holiday weekends when he was home from day-care.  The first day did not go well at all, with two trips to the bathroom and him just kicking and screaming.  On the second day, we ran into somewhat of a brick wall.  The poor little guy had been developing not one but two chalazia in his right upper eyelid.  A chalazion is like a stye on the inside of your eyelid, and even though he wasn’t complaining much about it, his poor eyelid had swelled up to the point where his eye bore a slight resemblance to a pickled egg.  We took him to the pediatrician as soon as we could get him in, the holiday schedule making it difficult, and of course the doctor just prescribed eye drops and told us they'd have to schedule him with a pediatric ophthalmologist.  Naturally the ophthalmologist couldn't see us for two weeks, and so now we’re just waiting it out and trying to treat it with the eye drops and warm compresses.

I love being a dad, and I pride myself on the great relationship I have with my son--reading with him, playing games on the Wii, teaching him everything I know in short little age-appropriate bursts of information, egging him on when he's picking on Mommy, etc., and so you can imagine the heartbreak I feel when I have to physically hold him down to put these eye drops and warm compresses on his eye.  If he had claws like an animal or Wolverine, I’d be finished in seconds.  He screams and flails and punches, says "oww" and "it hurts!"  I know it's not physically painful, but to him and his limited vocabulary, that's how he expresses it, and I feel like my heart just thumps out of my chest and falls to the floor with a dull thud each and every time I have to do this to my little man.

I remember when my wife first became pregnant, and everyone gave us all of this advice on parenting and what to do when this or that happens and blah blah blah.  My in-laws, who hail from Vietnam, had very different and sometimes drastic and bizarre ways of doing things, including my mother-in-law’s stye remedy.  It involved rubbing your CLEAN index finger vigorously against the palm of your opposite hand for 30 seconds until it became warm and then immediately applying it to the affected area.  She swore up and down (literally cursing at us while standing up and sitting down) that it worked, and when you consider that it really is something like a warm compress, I could see the logic.  She’s half-Chinese, and her father actually owned a kung fu school and monastery where she learned Chinese herbal medicine while growing up, so there had to be some validity to her therapy.  Anyway, we’ve tried that as well, but even it hasn’t had much (if any) effect on his poor eye.

We'll get to potty-training soon, but until we see the ophthalmologist, I can't torture the little guy with putting eye drops in and making him use the potty.  One thing at a time.