Coffee and Tea


Photo Credit: MorgueFile

He couldn’t believe he was drinking see-through coffee from a little porcelain cup decorated with pink flowers, but what the heck. The things you do for love, right? He had to build the fire for her and actually make the coffee, but she chose the cups and the number of scoops.

“How’s your coffee, Grandpa?”

“It’s fine sweetie. How’s your tea?” She drank lukewarm chamomile tea on cold winter afternoons when someone made it for her.

“It’s fine, Grandpa. Can you read me a book?”

“Sure, which one?”

She pulled out one of her favorites, “Sesame Street Library,” with Elmo and the little black puppy in it.

“Here!” She thrust it in his free hand. He put down his cup on the coffee table and after she did the same, she cuddled up to him and he started to read.

She leaned her old, grey head against his shoulder. Ben Richards loved his granddaughter but she was almost ninety now and her dementia was advanced. He wasn’t able to pass on the immortality gene to his children or theirs, so all he could do was visit and love them and watch them age and die.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner -2018 Week #2 writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 195.

At first, I wasn’t at all drawn to the image and thought I’d pass up this week’s “practitioner” challenge. After all, the cup is one that most likely an old woman or little girl would fancy. Then I thought of putting the two together. Time travel doesn’t work, but immortality does.

There was an American TV show on in about 1970 called The Immortal starring Christopher George as Ben Richards. Richards is a test driver who discovers his blood contains an immunity to every disease known to mankind meaning that he never gets sick and will age very slowly. His brother, who disappeared years before may also carry the same blood factor, but whenever Richards gives a transfusion to someone else, the beneficial effects are only temporary.

Naturally a greedy and aging millionaire wants to capture Richards so he can become his personal and permanent blood donor. Richards has to go on the run to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and try to find his brother. The show only lasted one season, probably because it had been done in so many other ways before (and since).

My granddaughter (who is two-and-a-half) really does love the book Sesame Street Library in which Elmo goes looking for his little black puppy. Of course, everyone thinks he’s looking for a book “about” a little black puppy. Childhood hilarity ensues.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to


The Kugel


Photo credit: Morguefile831314117088

“I tell you Esther Cowell’s the quintessential Kugel, Avi, laughing and flirting with the Vichy like a woman of ill repute. Just look at those clothes, how the neckline dips. Is that the dress of a modest Jewish woman?”

“Be reasonable, Moshe. There are so few of us who live on the island. Who does she have to look to as an example?”

“Who did her namesake look to? I tell you, if the German fascists had their way, she’d have had four million Jewish examples living here, exiled from Europe by that paskudnik Hitler.”

The two older Jewish men sat at a small table outside of Yoshi’s Cafe sharing a cup of Robusta in the mid-morning sun as they watched the young woman in the company of two of the Vichy entering the hotel across the street.

“Do you think they even know she’s Jewish, Avi?”

“Does she know, Moshe?”

They both chuckled unaware she could hear them. Everyone believed she was a collaborator seduced by ill-gotten wealth and attention, but the intelligence she was gathering would be invaluable to South African and British troops when they invaded and liberated Madagascar next month.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner Challenge for 2017 – Week #52. As with other similar challenges, the idea is to use the image above to inspire the creation of a small story no more than 200 words in length. My word count is 194.

I looked at the photo of the dish being removed from the oven and wondered what I was going to do. Hanukkah has come and gone and that didn’t look like latkes (potato pancakes). However, it could pass for Kugel. That said, what kind of story could I write about a traditional Jewish potato and egg casserole?

I read through the information at Wikipedia and discovered “Kugel” is also a South African derogatory slang term for a young Jewish woman who has forsaken “traditional Jewish dress values in favor of those of the ostentatiously wealthy, becoming overly materialistic and over groomed.”

I defaulted to World War Two and wondered about the possibility of a Jewish woman posing as a Fascist collaborator in South Africa only to discover that the country entered the war on the side of the Allies (although the history is complicated). Then I found out that (relatively) nearby Madagascar was under the control of the Vichy French at that time, and that South African troops aided by the British liberated Madagascar in 1942 preventing the Japanese from capturing it.

Traditionally, Madagascar had only a small Jewish population established in the 19th century when France colonized an island, but they didn’t form a cohesive community. Also, in 1940 the Nazis hatched The Madagascar Plan which was the idea of relocating four million European Jews to the island, but it fell through.

Oh, Paskudnik or paskudnyak is a Yiddish insult meaning “A revolting, disgusting, evil person.” Also, Robusta is a coffee found in Madagascar in modern times, though I have no idea if it existed in the 1940s.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

Loose Nuts and Bolts

“So that’s where I left you.” He addressed the pristine pieces of metal on the kitchen table.

Sunder Paz had been assigned some DIY problems by Dr. Reuven as a test of his reasoning abilities as well as how he functioned independently. He had been performing a routine maintenance task when he was distracted by the doorbell. Dr. Reuven was teaching at the university, so Sunder had the place to himself.

It was the UPS delivery person and he required a signature. Sunder signed his name (he thought having a name was a wonderful thing) and accepted the package. However by the time he closed the door and put the parcel on the coffee table, he’d quite forgotten what he’d been doing before. It took Sunder over fifteen minutes of searching the house before he rediscovered the small collection of nuts, bolts, and washers.

“I’m glad I found you. Now I can finish re-assembling my short term memory unit. Dr. Reuven will be so pleased.”

I created this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a small tale of 200 words or less. My word count is 165.

When I saw the photo, it seemed so sterile that for a moment I was stuck for an idea. Then the phrases “losing your marbles” and “loose nuts and bolts” popped into my head and my story was born.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to