The Visitor’s Invitation

strange moon

Image credit: Google Images

It happened just that fast. One moment, the three brothers, having just reloaded their Celestron NexStar telescope back in the camper, were about to put out their campfire and call it a night, and the next they were facing the phenomenon.

“This couldn’t be because we’ve been observing the object.” Forty-five year old Jake was the oldest and the first to get the amateur astronomy bug when he was in high school. “I mean, it’s not that close.”

“Not yet, but…” Terry forgot what he was about to say at that moment as he continued to stare at the glowing sphere. At thirty-nine, he was the “baby” of the family, but also the only one whose marriage lasted.

“But nothing. It’s got to be from the object.” Stan worked as a chemical engineer, so was the brother who came closest to being a professional scientist.

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Batman Nude (No, I’m Not Kidding)

Warning: Some Adult Content

Okay, so DC has published its first issue of Batman Damned under its DC Black Label imprint, and boy is it adult. You actually get to see Bruce Wayne nude, not just from the back but the front. I’m posting an image below as proof, plus I archived two news sources just in case they get “poofed” for their content later on. Actually, that didn’t work, because the archived version doesn’t display the “adult” images.

Here’s a milder version at my archived version of the Popbuzz story, and the non-archived Screenrant missive.

Now here’s the image I captured.

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Quoting: Respond to Disrespect with Dignity

Anger frequently comes from feeling that someone did not treat you with the proper respect. People tend to feel angry with someone who fails to show them the honor they think they deserve.

The solution is to contemplate how valueless honor really is.

When you react to slights to your honor with a sense of personal dignity, you gain much more than when you lose your temper. The greater your own realization that you have intrinsic worth since you are created in the image of the Almighty, the less the slights of mortals will affect you.

Sources: Maaneh Rach, Ch.6; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p. 196

Of Kavanaugh, Ford, and Matters of Credibility

kavanaugh meme

Internet meme found on Facebook – attribution on image

Disclaimer, Trigger Warning, or whatever you want to call it: Depending on your politics and probably several other factors, this essay might tend to raise your blood pressure, so if you have strong feelings about the Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS confirmation hearings before Congress, you might want to pass it up for something else (Yes, I’m going to get in trouble for posting this).

I’m sure just about everyone in the U.S. and probably a lot of people in other countries are aware of the controversy surrounding the Brett Kavanaugh Congressional hearings to determine if he should be confirmed as the next Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in our nation. Opinions about whether or not to confirm Kavanaugh in the News and Social Media were pretty much split down party lines before the sexual assault allegations made against him by Christine Blasey Ford, but then things just exploded.

I’m not going to go into the details of the allegations. You’re probably already well-versed in the details, and probably most of you reading this (like most everyone else) have already reached a conclusion about the validity of Ford’s claims.

What I am going to do is process the credibility of Kavanaugh and Ford.

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The Algerian Exchange

pillars

© Sue Vincent

Twenty-five year old Eileen Kateb could only hear the sound of her own breathing and her soft footfalls as she slowly made her way between the columns of the Cathedral de Sacre Coeur, which had recently been converted to a library. Her grandparents had quietly immigrated to England during the heyday of French rule over Algeria, so she could have blended in among the millions of Muslim women in the coastal city of Oran who looked just like her. However, she chose to dress as a European instead of clothing herself in a hijab, because, after all, Houari Boumédiène and his thugs knew she was here. That was the point.

“You can stop right there, Miss.” The man stepped out from behind one of the pillars to her left about ten meters ahead. He was average height, medium complexion, dark hair slicked back with Brylcreem, neatly trimmed mustache, pressed tan suit. He looked like an Arabic Peter Sellers. “I’m surprised the Americans didn’t send a male representative.”

“Actually, I’m British, and James Bond was too busy killing SPECTRE agents and seducing women in the Bahamas to accept this assignment, or perhaps you haven’t seen that movie.”

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A Girl and Her Dog

dog

MorgueFileJune2018 1418535473h5g6w

Toby trotted casually through the water, understating the panic he felt last night during the storm. The reason for this was the golden retriever now had two sets of thoughts in his head; his own canine concerns, and the comforting presence of Marianne.

“Good boy, Toby. You’re almost there. Just another block and then turn right.”

They’d been having these sorts of “conversations” since he was a puppy, so they no longer scared or confused him. It was a natural consequence of living with the eight-year-old girl and her family.

He remembered the storm, the flood, being separated from them during the evacuation, but she kept him calm.

Then he turned the corner and caught sight of the shelter, the gymnasium of a high school. She was waiting outside for him.

“Toby!” He could hear her this time. She was screaming and jumping up and down with joy.

He broke into a run and didn’t stop until she was grabbing his wet fur, hugging him. He jumped with her, barking and then licking her face.

“I missed you, Toby. Please stay with me always.”

“Okay, he’s back.” Daddy’s voice echoed in her thoughts. “We’ve got to go before we’re discovered.”

I wrote this for Week 38 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner photo challenge hosted by Roger Shipp. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Given that the dog is walking in water and the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I thought I’d make my heroine a flood victim…as well as a mutant telepath.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Greeter

umbrellas

© Dale Rogerson

This had to be a dream because Jae didn’t remember how she got here, and who would decorate a room like this? At only five foot two, the slender Thai co-ed felt tiny in such enormous surroundings.

“Hurry up.” The deep, masculine voice was coming from the shadows ahead.

“This is my dream and I’ll come when I’m ready.”

“You’re not dreaming.”

“But the last thing I remember was going to bed.”

“That doesn’t mean it was the last thing that happened to you.”

“Wait. The car accident…”

“Yes. Welcome to the afterlife, Jae. I’m here to sign you in.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

The image looked surreal to me, so that’s how I wrote it. With only 100 words to play with, I could only vaguely develop my idea. Poor Jae.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Quoting: Don’t Buy Approval

The Chafetz Chaim wrote that a major reason some people live beyond their means is to gain approval. They feel the need to spend large amounts of money on things that will gain them status, even though they are unable to afford them.

This is the opposite of a Torah way of life.

-Sources: Kuntros Nefutzos Yisroel, ch.6; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.271

Seeking Justice

the chelsea beach bar

© Michelle DeAngelis

Jeannie and Richard met outside the Chelsea Beach Bar in Atlantic City, their hometown. She had barely been able to hold in her tears, but became hysterical when he’d gotten out of his car and walked over to her. There was nothing left for the PI to do but hold his old girlfriend and let her cry. The Marine veteran’s instincts never let him tune out his surroundings, such as the multicolored para-sail against a dull blue sky and the sound of the wind blowing through the grass.

“You’re going to find them for me.” She’d finally stopped sobbing.

“I figured that’s why you called me after so long.”

“We were going to get married. He wanted to wait until after tomorrow’s boxing match in Vegas to announce it.”

“You know when I find them, it won’t help. He’ll still be dead.”

“I know. But he deserves justice. I don’t trust the cops on this one. I think they’re in on it. Habib thought the fight was rigged.”

“I know. I’ll find his killers.

I wrote this for the 183rd FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

I looked up The Chelsea Beach Bar since it’s figured prominently in the photo, and found it is in Atlantic City. I looked up the local news and discovered that Atlantic City boxer Qa’id Muhammad was found murdered yesterday near Las Vegas. I decided not to use Muhammad’s name in my story and to fictionalize the crime out of respect for the grieving family.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.