For Bubbe

bakery

Daria Shevtsova pexels-photo-1070945

Faye Ballard chained her bicycle to the post and dashed inside just in time for class.

“Ah, Faye. Glad you could join us.” Their teacher Jeremiah Lamb wasn’t the most patient person, but he knew baking like Michelangelo knew painting.

“Yes, Mr. Lamb. Thank you.” She quickly put on her apron and stood with the other students waiting for today’s demonstration. This was the day she had been waiting for, the one that made her sign up for class in the first place.

“Today, students, we are going to learn how to make a classic bagel. The lox is extra of course, but I’ve plenty of fresh salmon available so we can add some flair to all of our brilliant creations. I start with one-half cup of warm water…”

Under her breath, Faye muttered, “This one’s for you, Bubbe.”

Her dearest grandmother turned 86 last week. She was in an assisted living home now, her memory not being too good. All Faye’s life, Bubbe had baked her the most wonderful bagels. She couldn’t anymore, so it was Faye’s turn to treat her. Bubbe kept saying she wished she could have a good bagel with lox and cream cheese again.

I wrote this for week 33 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

My wife is Jewish and our grandchildren call her Bubbe, which means “Grandma” in Yiddish. My Mom is 86 and does have short-term memory loss, and although she’s not Jewish, I think its important for her grandkids to give something back to her as well.

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

As I write this, I’m only the second contributor to this link up, so please consider adding a story of your own. Thanks.

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Only One More

soap

© Fandango

It felt so good to get the crap off of his body, even the nausea-inducing odor with which he was always saturated after each job.

This was number eleven. Only one more to go. Each of these increased the chance of him leaving some clue, though so far, the police were chasing nothing more than their tails.

Looking down, the last of the blood was swirling around the drain, about to be consigned to the sewers.

He turned off the shower and grabbed the towel hanging outside. Drying himself off, he thought of the oath he swore over his family’s graves.

A year ago, the infamous “Gang of Twelve” raided his father’s house, tortured and raped his mother, his sisters, and his daughter, beat and tortured the boys and men, then finally murdered them, all because of rumors that the patriarch had a horde of gold bullion.

They never found gold, but the ex-intelligence agent, who had been traveling that weekend, vowed to end each gang member in the most brutal manner possible. Only one more death until he achieved his goal. But even if the souls of the dead would rest easier, his own spirit would be haunted forever.

I wrote this for the 12 August 2018 edition of Sunday Photo Fiction. 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.

Interestingly enough, I’d just taken a shower before sitting down and writing this story, so the feeling of getting clean was very fresh for me, if you’ll pardon the unintentional pun. For some reason, the smell of blood (like from a bloody nose) popped into my head. The rest of my tale just fell into place.

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

Frozen Memories

restaurant

MorgueFile May 2018 1400068700w0086

Noah Banks stopped in front of the four-star restaurant his Grandparents used to take the family to when he and his sister were kids. Mom told him when he was six that this wasn’t the sort of place you ordered a PB&J or hot dog with extra relish at, but what did he know?

The young man chuckled at his own childishness. Grandpa never minded, and since the old man owned the place, neither did the management.

But that was twenty years ago and everything had changed. The place was still set up, pristine, orderly, waiting for patrons who would never come. He looked up and down an almost deserted Wilshire Boulevard. Everyone was in the shelters waiting for the next Glazzuarq orbital bombardment. Amazingly, this part of L.A. had been spared so far.

Half a block away, his shuttle to the spaceport was just pulling up. The U.S. Marine hustled, carrying his heavy duffel. He had to get to Vandenberg in time to launch aboard the battle cruiser “Intrepid” and fight those alien goonies in space. But before going, he just had to say good-bye to the rest of his family, now all interned at Forest Lawn cemetery.

I wrote this for Week #32 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

Since you can see the reflection of trees in the window, the POV is from the outside looking in. I thought about memories, and how a young woman I used to date many decades ago, told me when she was a child, she did order PB&Js at expensive restaurants her parents took her to.

The rest just unfolded in a dystopian sort of way.

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

Inheritors

garden

© James Pyles

Lee watched his two grandchildren explore the garden. Once it was one of numerous community projects in this mid-sized northwestern city. Now it was a matter of survival.

“What do you think? Think your grandkids will like it here? We’ve got plenty of children their own age, and my wife’s putting together a school curriculum.” Andy Lambert was a carpenter by trade, but he knew how to recruit with the skill of a salesman.

Leland Henderson didn’t take his eyes off of the eight and three year old kids. “Yeah. I think it’ll work out okay. We’d be glad to join, what do you call yourselves?”

“The Remnant. You know, like in the Bible.”

“Right. The Remnant. Guess it’s as good a name as any.”

“Damn right it is. There used to be over 7 billion people in the world, but thanks to the Doomsday Plague, we’ve got less than 6 million left, scattered in little communities like ours all over the globe. Farming, fishing, hunting, we have to preserve the old skills. Geezers like you and me have got to survive and care for the youngsters. Your grandkids and mine are going to inherit and rebuild the Earth.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.

Yes, those are my grandchildren, and because I promised my son I wouldn’t put photos of his children online, I made sure I selected on where their faces can’t be seen.

I won’t tell you where or when this picture was taken because I don’t want it to influence how others might create their stories.

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

Chasing the Frontier

beach

Credit: MorgueFile May 2018 1365256807kyjpp

Kara Cooper sat on the sand watching the afternoon sun. She came to California to say good-bye. Divorced, no children, parents dead, she had nothing to keep here anymore. Her brother’s family wanted nothing to do with her, her sexual orientation, gender identity, and politics.

She’s spent most of her life hopping around from place to place, but California was home, or it used to be. Weeping, she remembered her childhood, but that was before the revolution. Strictly speaking, being straight and conservative wasn’t illegal, but it was difficult to get a job or housing, unless the employer or landlord was sympathizer.

“Enough. I’m not going to wallow in self-pity anymore. Screw them. Let them turn the planet into a cesspool.”

She stood defiantly, took one last look at the ocean she’d loved as a child, turned around, and headed back toward the parking lot. She felt the ticket in her pocket. In a week, she’d enter the Vandenberg Spaceport for the first and last time. The shuttle would take her up to where the “Windrider” was parked in orbit. Then, with nearly 500 other colonists, she’d begin the interstellar journey to a new life on the frontier planet “Outlaw.”

I wrote this for Week 30 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner photo challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

Once again, I decided to wage a liberal, progressive revolution in the first world nations, so that political and social conservatives became the marginalized population. I know a lot of people on the left side of the aisle either don’t believe this could ever happen, or if the do, believe that it would be a good thing. However, as I’ve stated previously, ANY ideology that forces its beliefs and practices on unwilling people becomes a totalitarian regime (and I suppose a lot of people feel like that’s what they’re living in right now in the U.S.).

Fortunately for Kara, there’s another option, and it’s on a frontier planet where free, independent, and pioneering people can forge a new life and make it anything they want.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com. Oh, and I’m happy to see this linkup has finally gotten some traction. Good work, Roger.

Death by Squirt Gun

bike

© C.E. Ayr

It’s so hot and humid here, you can only go bike riding in the morning. At least I’ve traced him to one of those two people ahead. Have to be cautious, though. If I spray the wrong one, the Jinn will get me before I can reload.

Have to wait until he makes his move, which should be soon. The demon can never quell his thirst for murder for more than a few weeks. He slaughtered my brother ten years ago, and I’ve spent every day since then learning about them and tracking this spirit halfway around the world.

Last month it was Melbourne, and now Port St. Lucie.

They’re turning into that gate to the left. It’s opening.

Ducked in just as the gates closed. That’s him now. He’s pulling out a garrote. I’ve got my gun right here.

“Hey, Jinn.” He spins as I pull the trigger and spray him. What a stupid weakness, but it’s working. The possessed body is collapsing and the Jinn is oozing out his orifices. Really disgusting. The other person’s bending over him.

“Glenn. What happened?” She’s looking up at me. “What did you do? He’s soaked in pee. Are you nuts?”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

This is a continuation of yesterday’s flash fiction tale The Long Wait for Retribution, which was about demonic possession and murder. I decided to let my demon hunter catch up with his target and eliminate him.

According to Exorcism in Islam, you can harm or kill a Jinn by urinating on it or throwing hot water on it. So the weapon of choice, under the circumstances, is to load a super soaker with urine. Yucky, but it works.

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

When Meg Comes to Visit

ferry and birds

white-ship-traveling-through-vast-body-of-water-with-white-birds-flying-beside-879479 Pixel Photo

The Golden Gate Bridge was almost completely concealed in early morning fog as the 6:30 a.m. ferry made its way from Vallejo to the San Francisco Ferry Building. It was a typical Monday morning commute, and a much more civilized way to get into the City, though the crowding on board was still barely tolerable.

It was Erma Carr’s first day traveling to work by water, having given up with both driving and BART, this being somewhat ironic, seeing that she was an Ichthyologist.

“Hey, look at that.”

“Is it a whale?”

“Whatever it is, the thing’s huge.”

The comments of her fellow passengers pulled her toward the starboard side of the ferry, which was facing the Golden Gate and the Pacific Ocean beyond.

“There’s a dorsal fin. Is it an Orca?”

Carr’s blood proverbially froze in her veins. She was a shark biologist working at the Steinhart Aquarium, and had done her Master’s Thesis on extinct shark species. What she was looking at was impossible. The Megalodon species had perished over two-and-a-half million years ago. It was nearly as big as the ferry, and as it breached the water, she knew it would kill them all.

I wrote this for Week #29 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. 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 195.

I found out the other day that a film called The Meg is coming to theaters in August, based on the book series by Steve Alten. Yes, another shark movie, but this time the shark is 60 or 70 feet long. You can read more about Megalodons at Wikipedia or do a Google image search to get some sort of idea of how huge these brutes were.

I wrote this one just for giggles.

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

So far, I’m the only one participating in this week’s linkup, so please consider adding your own story. Thanks.

The Fan

maradona

© Susan Spaulding

“And here you go. My pride and joy, so to speak. Signed shirt from the great man himself.” Andrew Cullen puffed up his chest as he showed his friend Tommy Cabrera his trophy room. “Diego Maradona. Best footballer ever. Your American mates call what you have football, but this is the real deal.”

“I wasn’t always an American, Andrew, and I know what real football is.”

“Oh yeah. Sorry about that. You emigrated to the States from Argentina, right?”

“Yes.” Tomás and Andrew met online at a fiction writers forum five years prior and hit it off. Now Cabrera was visiting his friend in Swords, outside of Greater Dublin, while on a promotional tour. His fictionalized autobiography had become a runaway bestseller, and he had personal appearances scheduled for all over the UK and Europe.

“Anything the matter? You’ve gone awfully silent.”

“Just remembering, Andrew.” Tomás didn’t give voice to the memory of growing up in a totalitarian socialist regime, nor how Diego Maradona had unswervingly supported the communist dictators who had crushed the souls of his family, and nearly killed him. “Sorry. I can’t say I’m much of a fan.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for 15 July 2018. 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 191.

Being an American, I don’t know much about the World Cup, and in fact, I don’t follow sports even in my own country. I had to look up Diego Maradona and discovered he has a colorful history. I chose to focus on his political views and found out he supports a number of socialist dictators, including Carlos Menem, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chávez. No, I’m not much of a fan, either.

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

Waiting for Time to Pass

airport

flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo

I can barely see them inside because of the glare on the window, but they all look like ordinary people. Ordinary people getting on with their lives, unlike me. In the window, the reflection reveals the plane behind me, the luggage carts, the main terminal, everything out here except my own rather ordinary face. You see, I don’t have one yet.

I’m an inventor, Dr. Ernest Pratt (no relation to the actor). I had (or will have) a research lab on the grounds of the Albany International Air and Spaceport. My company “Superluminal” is trying to develop a faster-than-light drive. I was the only one in the lab sometime past 2 a.m. when it happened; the accident. One minute, I was trying a new lattice configuration, and the next I was looking at an airplane that Charles Lindbergh should have been flying.

A newspaper told me it was June 15, 1928. It was still the Albany Airport, but a hundred years ago.

mail plane

EARLY BIRD…This Fairchild FC-2 Cabin Monoplane, with strut-supported wing, was probably similar to the plane E.B. White rode in his flight over New York City. (Quora)

I’m invisible and immaterial. My theory is that if I stay sane and catch up with present time, I’ll have a body again. I’ve made it ninety years so far. Another ten and I’ll have it made…I hope.

I wrote this for Week #28 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge hosted by Roger Shipp. The idea is to use the image at the top as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

I forgot about the word count limit as I was writing, so I was most of the way through a longer story when I realized it wasn’t going to fit the challenge. I’ll publish it later and put a link to it here if you’re interested in more of the details of Ernest’s woes.

Anyway, I looked up the The world’s 10 oldest airports and found that Albany International Airport best suited my needs. According to that site:

The first airmail operations at the airport began in June 1928, while passenger services began in October of the same year. The airport witnessed the movement of 180 passengers in 1929 and now handles over 2.5 million passengers per annum.

Above, I’ve included the photo of an old mail plane from that era for reference.

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

I’m seeing more participation this week, but it’s not to late to write and contribute a story for Roger’s Linkup.

For a longer version of this tale, read Waiting for Time to Pass (Expanded Version).

Timeless Saint

person and train

black-and-white-person-train-motion-42153 Pixel photo

He didn’t look a day older than the last time I saw him, but that was over forty years ago. He could still pass for a kid of nineteen, but I was almost seventy. I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call telling me to meet him here. He stood alone as the BART train that brought him to East Oakland pulled away in a blur.

“Why me? Why now?”

“Because it is who I am and what I was born to do. I saved you in a war halfway around the world, and now you’ll return the favor.”

“Who the hell are you and why aren’t you old? You pulled me out of that firefight in Nam. You were shot seventeen times. I never asked about it then. How are you even alive?”

“My earliest memory is of Masada. I don’t know how I escaped death there either. I only know that the lives I’ve saved over the ages have always been called upon to save others. This is your calling, Derek. For nearly 2,000 years, I have been called the Saint. There isn’t much time if we are to avert a nuclear holocaust. Come with me.”

I wrote this for Week 27 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.

I have certain characters and scenarios living in the back of my mind. One of them in “The Saint” (with apologizes to Leslie Carteris, Roger Moore, and many others), who is either a medevac helicopter pilot saving the lives of wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War, or an immortal being saving lives so that at a later date, they could save others.

This being the American Independence Day, I felt like I should write about someone heroic.

Oh, the The Siege of Masada occurred from 73 to 74 CE, but the curious question is was “the Saint” one of the Romans or a Jew?

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

As I’ve mentioned before, this link up needs a lot of love. Please consider contributing your own story here.

Happy Independence Day to you and yours.