This Milk Will Self Destruct In Ten Seconds

milk

© Yinglan Z. 2018

He was a tall man, stark white hair, about forty-five years old. He parked the Buick in front of the hotel, but he wouldn’t be staying long.

Walking up to the front desk, he asked the petite brunette, “Do you have a key for Peter Aurness?”

She smiled. “Just one moment, Sir.” The young woman retrieved a key from a box behind her. “Room 101, around the corner and down the hall.”

“Thanks.” He knew her eyes were following him as he walked away. He had a quiet charisma some women found appealing.

Slipping the key in the lock, he opened the door and flipped on the light. He sat at the table, the only pieces of furniture in the room. There was a small carton of milk and an envelope waiting for him. He adjusted the antenna, heard a click, and then the whirring sound of a cassette tape.

“Good morning, Mr. Phelps.”

Jim Phelps opened the envelope and began to follow along as the control voice outlined the next impossible mission.

I wrote this for the 185th 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 172.

An antenna coming out of a milk carton and an envelope? No help from the language. All I could read were the ISO numbers and even Googling them wasn’t illuminating.

Peter Graves

Publicity photo of Peter Graves – 1967

I’ve written a Mission: Impossible themed story before, and it was the only thing I could think of that fit the photo. Between 1967 and 1973, the late actor Peter Graves played Jim Phelps, the leader of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF), a loose collection of experts who, when presented with an “impossible” task, pooled their resources and came up with a daring solution that was only revealed as the episode unfolded.

Graves’ real name was Peter Duesler Aurness, so I thought I’d throw that into my tale.

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

I’m adding a photo of Graves as he looked in 1967 just for giggles.

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Things That Make Me Laugh

I know as a conservative, religious person, I’m supposed to have a totally “clean” sense of humor, but I wasn’t always the “Boy Scout” who is now blogging here. I’ve been considering a number of images I’ve collected over the past few days, some of which I’ve peppered all over Facebook, twitter, and here, and I thought I’d share them in one place, with commentary, of course.

Oh, if you’re easily offended, you might want to skip this one.

So, without further ado:

ofputin

Image found on twitter

Not too many people like Donald Trump, but you’ll have to have read Margaret Atwood’s novel A Handmaid’s Tale or seen the Hulu television adaptation to know why this is funny. I’ve read and reviewed the book, but will probably never watch the TV show.

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57 Pink Flamingos

pink flamingos

© Susan Spaulding

“$2500! You spent $2500 on that?” Jeanette watched in horror as she watched her husband Terry insert the last of the 57 pink flamingos he’s purchased on Amazon into their front lawn. The driveway was littered with the debris of cardboard shipping boxes.

“Come on. We can afford it. You know how much dough we stashed away from the Corleone caper.”

“That’s not the point. But we’re supposed to keep a low profile, you moron. Why don’t you just get a couple of spotlights and set off some fireworks while you’re at it? Maybe you could send an email to Vito and Sonny telling them our address so they could come over and blow our brains out.”

Terry walked to where his wife was standing on the front porch and put his arm around her. “They look swell, don’t they?” The Cheshire Cat never had a grin as wide as his.

“You’re nuts. They’re tacky as hell.”

“Exactly. We embezzled millions from the mob working as their accountants and we’re on the lam from them and the Feds. What better cover to hide behind than the queen of all tacky lawn ornaments?

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for June 10, 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction of no more than 200 words. My word count is 189.

Lacking an immediate story idea when I first saw the photo, I Googled “Pink Flamingo” only to come up with the tacky but classic 1972 film Pink Flamingos created by John Waters. Except for the idea of criminals hiding out, I found nothing I could use in that movie (and I’ve never seen it), so I moved on.

Then I found The Tacky History of the Pink Flamingo at Smithsonian.com and I had the rest of my “hook.”

These plastic monstrosities were created in 1957 in an effort to allow people to accessorize the “sameness” of their tract homes that reproduced like lemmings in the post-war era. You can read the full history for yourself, but apparently:

In their yard near Leominster, Nancy and Don Featherstone (the sculptor who was commissioned to create pink flamingos) typically tend a flock of 57 (a nod to the creation year) that neighborhood college students feel compelled to thin.

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

Rusty and Me

squeak dog

Found on social media – image credit unknown

The thieves took everything except the dog. Of course there was a good reason for it. The dog was armed.

“What the hell were you thinking? Our stuff. They took all our stuff. What kind of watchdog are you, anyway?”

The small, cigar smoking mutt in the body armor took another pull from his fifth of Jack Daniels. “Back off, man. I have the mother of all hangovers and I’m in a really bad mood.”

“A little hair of the dog, eh?”

“It’s too early in the morning for puns.”

“It’s dinnertime and I just got home from work to find my place has been cleaned out.”

“So what? You’ve got homeowner’s insurance, right?”

“I’m calling the cops. Ditch the clothes, the booze, and the miniature assault rifle, so I don’t have to explain you when they get here.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be passed out in the doghouse by then.”

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Goldilocks Is All Grown Up

girl and bear

Photo credit: Google images – found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

“If your parents find out about this, they’ll kill us.”

“They won’t find out. Besides, I’m not a little cub anymore. I’m a big bear.”

“I fell in love with you the second I saw you. Maybe even before that.”

“I know, Goldie. You’ve told me before. You ate my porridge, sat in my chair, even *ahem* even slept in my bed.”

“I was a little girl then, Babe.”

“And I was a little cub who didn’t know the ways of the world, but look at us now.”

“We still have to keep this our little secret. If Mum and Da ever saw us together, they’d freak.”

“I’ve seen your Da’s gun. He even tried to hunt Papa once, but fortunately he missed.”

“It’s not just my parents we have to worry about, there’s yours as well.”

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The Princess and the Bear

girl and bear

Photo credit: Google images – found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Catherine and Vincent were in love, but cursed by the evil Bishop of Aquila to forever be apart. She had spurned his blasphemous advances, and though thought to be the faithful servant of the Holy Pope, he in fact was in league with dark and sinister forces.

He discovered her affair with Vincent, Captain of the King’s Guard, a relationship forbade her due to her royal blood, and so with His Majesty’s blessings, a powerful spell born in Hell forever changed the man Vincent was into a huge, ferocious beast.

“Oh, sure. You want it now. Can’t you wait until we get to the cabin? In case you haven’t noticed, its freezing.”

Come on, Baby. Don’t be like that. You’re just mad because I was hibernating with those other bears.”

“I noticed how you had your eye on the large female.”

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The Woman from Ogygia

gleneagles bar

Photo credit: MorgueFile 14228002011gx95

Gilberto Curry wandered into Gleneagles Bar, probably one of the more famous landmarks on Gozo, and sat at the nearest vacant table. He’d become bored with nearby Malta the minute he entered the airport gift shop and saw endless replicas of the cinema’s “Maltese Falcon.”

Sipping on his second beer of the day, he was surprised when a very beautiful and very drunk young woman sat in the chair opposite him.

“I hate every single one of you men.”

“Then why are you sitting with me?” No doubt her husband cheated on her or her boyfriend just came out as gay.

“You’re always running off, even when captured, the gods make you let them go back to their wives…uh wife. He only had one.”

“Well, if he was married…”

“I had twins by him. Think he ever came to visit, pay child support? Oh no. Bleeping Zeus wouldn’t have it.”

“Zeus? Who was your intended?” Gilberto was still sober enough to be curious.

“Odysseus. Seven years together and he never came back.”

“Lady, you must be really drunk if you think…”

“Calypso. I’m Calypso. Want to see my island? Maybe you could stay a year or two.

I wrote this for the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2018: Week #12 challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.

I was able to make out the name Gleneagles Bar in the photo and found out it’s located on the island of Gozo which is the second largest island in the Malta archipelago (the first largest being Malta).

Gozo is associated with the island of Ogygia, home to the mythological nymph Calypso. She is said to have kidnapped the Greek hero Odysseus as recorded in Homer’s “Odyssey” and then held him against his will for seven years (some sources say five) because of her love of him. They eventually had sex and there are other legends stating she had either one or two children by him.

Eventually, Zeus made Calypso let Odysseus go so he could return to his wife, and the whole tale sounded worthy of the most schmaltzy country and western song. So I imaged an inconsolable Calypso still pining for her lost love (who she’s never seen or heard from ever since), drowning her sorrows in a bar on the 21st century version of her island while trying to pick up any man who will listen to her tale of woe.

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

A Case of Mistaken Identity

snowman

© Jade Wong

“We should call him Mr. Snowy McTinsel.”

“Grandpa, that’s a silly name for a snowman.”

“Okay, Daria. What would you name him?”

“How about Frosty?”

“That one’s been used.”

“A name can be used for more than one snowman.” The six-year-old stomped her foot down in resignation.

“If you say so, but we’d better get you back home now. Sun’s going down.”

“Can I have cookies?”

“Dinner first, then cookies.”

The pair walked away bidding the newly crafted snowman farewell, the old man crinkling the left over aluminum foil in his pocket. When they were gone, metallic eyes shimmered and glowed.

“We have arrived after our long slumber, Amon.”

“Indeed Gaap, and claimed the first possession for Legion.”

“Wait,” cried Zagan. “Something’s wrong. I can’t move the arms.”

“You’re right,” added Kasadya. And it doesn’t have feet or legs either.”

“By Lucifer, I should never have put you in charge of choosing the first victim, Gaap. Now we’re stuck inside of this…this object.”

“It’s been so long. I just forgot what humans looked like.”

“Terrific,” sulked Amon. “Now we’ll have to wait until the thaw before being free to roam the Earth again.”

“But Amon, this is Canada.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction – March 4th 2018 challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

I’ve written a lot of “snowman” and “Grandchildren” stories, but seeing that this snow-being used aluminum foil gave me the idea of glowing eyes. The rest just sort of wrote itself.

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

Just Walk Right In

jack-o-lanterns

Some creations of Steve Clark, the world’s fastest pumpkin carver – Found at History.com

“So, you think we should just walk right in?”

“Why not? The invitation seems pretty clear.”

“Look, I’m not all that sure about this ‘invitation’ business. After all, we’ve just got this one guy’s word for it.

“Yeah, but he worshiped the boss for like twenty-five years. He should know what he’s talking about.”

“Okay, I get that, but he’s gone over to the other side now, actually warning people about us and that invitation thing.”

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