The Future King

peabody

© Google, 2017 – Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University

Twelve-year-old David Cohen experienced a rare moment of awe standing in the George Peabody Library. He’d been accepted in the Cantate, a part of the Peabody Children’s Chorus, certainly a tremendous honor, but a secondary achievement.

He had started reading at age two, mastered algebra at four, spoke five languages by six, and written his first symphony by eight.

His goal now was to devour the contents of this library in under six months, just as he had already consumed most data sources accessible online.

His mother used her influence as the President of the National Academy of Sciences to conceal David’s “talents.” If the government found out his IQ was rated somewhere between 300 and 450, they’d turn him into a lab rat when his ambition was to cure the ills of the world.

But even he had no idea that one day, he would be called King and Messiah.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Of course, I looked it up, but it wasn’t until I paid more attention to the image above and imagined myself standing in the middle of that library that I got my “hook, or rather part of it.”

Of course, the information about the Peabody Children’s Chorus figured into my tale, as did the ScienceTrends.com article Here Is The Highest Possible IQ And The People Who Hold The World Record.

But there was still one piece missing. What sort of goals should David have? I’d picked his last name at random, but then I realized that if one were to become the long-awaited Messiah, one would certainly have to train for it.

Unlike Christianity, in Judaism, the Messiah isn’t a supernatural being, but rather a wholly human Jewish male of the line of David and the tribe of Judah, who would grow to become both a great military leader, and a person of remarkable wisdom and piety.

150 words didn’t give me enough “space” to describe his religious training and accomplishments, so they’ll have to be assumed.

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

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Love’s Blood

mausoleum

© Sue Vincent

“…I met this girl…she ruined my philosophy…my heart skips a beat when she comes around”

From “I’d Rather Have A Love” performed by Joe
Writer(s): Derek Louis Allen, Gerald Isaac, Alvin Jerome Garrett

Even knowing this is what her father wanted, what she wanted, Zachary wasn’t sure he could do it. He loved Deborah very much and he believed she still adored him. It was only because of their love for each other that he was now walking across the manicured lawn in the back of his estate in the bright morning sunshine contemplating murder.

No, it wouldn’t be murder for the simple reason that she was already dead; dead, interned, and yet not dead.

The small duffel bag felt heavy in his right hand, not due to the weight of its lethal contents but that of his heart. He’d almost accepted Peretz’s offer to help him, but it would have been a terrible burden to place upon a father who had lost his only daughter once and now was about to lose her again. Yes, he was losing her, but he had convinced him that as her husband, he had to be the one to save her.

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The Kugel

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 InLinkz.com.

Beware of Malevolent Snowmen

snow globe

© A Mixed Bag – 2013

“What is it, Noah?”

“A fake Santa guy at the store gave it to me, Rachel. It’s a snow globe.”

“Why?”

“Beats me, Rach. You shake it and this stuff floats around like snow.”

Nine-year-old twins Noah and Rachel Frisch were sitting on the floor in the living room. Mom, Aunt Sarah, and Bubbe were in the kitchen working on dinner plans and Dad went with Uncle Mortie and Zayde to the hardware store to buy a replacement for a rain gutter that had cracked after the last snow.

“It looks so pretty, Noah.”

“Just a stupid Christmas toy. If Mom caught us playing with it, she’d get mad.”

“If Bubbe caught us…”

“Hello.” The snowman in the globe spoke quite clearly for being underwater. His fake coal-lump mouth smiled and his coal eyes glowed red.

“Noah, it’s not a toy.” Rachel stood up terrified.

“Come to think of it, that Santa guy did smell kind of funny, like rotten eggs.”

“Give it to Bubbe.” The kids whirled to see the old woman scowling at them, her hand extended. “I know exactly which orifice on that old Elf to shove this into. How dare he pull this on my grandchildren!”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of December 17, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

I know most people, Christian or secular, consider Christmas in a positive light and it certainly can be for some, but it can also be confusing for Jewish children who see their non-Jewish neighbors and playmates getting lots of presents and otherwise having a terrific time. I suppose it’s why Hanukkah, which is a relatively minor holiday on the Jewish calendar, gets so much attention given its relative proximity to Christmas.

This is my minor attempt to illustrate the dangers of assimilation into the general culture and how it might be a lure to Jewish children (with a slight supernatural spin in this case). Fortunately, Noah and Rachel have a wise Bubbe (Grandma) who will nip this right in the bud.

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

Diverting Armageddon

ceres

Found at: solarsystem.nasa.gov

“Papa, why do I have to go to Hebrew school? You didn’t.”

“My dear little Miss, that’s because I’m not Jewish. You and your Mama are.”

“But it’s so boring. I already know all of the Hebrew, the cantillation is so easy, and Rabbi Endelman drones on and on and…”

“Now stop it. Rachel Aiyana Zheutlin, you will not mock your elders. This is important. There are so many Jewish children behind the Iron Curtin who would love the opportunity to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, but…”

“I know, Papa. The Communists made it illegal.” Almost twelve-year-old Rachel Aiyana hugged her Papa. “I’m sorry. I love you and Mama. I just sometimes get…well, frustrated.”

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Where the Hell am I?

lucifer

Actor Tom Ellis as “Lucifer”. © Tricia Helfer. Found at Buzzymag.com

“Welcome to Hell, Daniel, where we’ll try to make your stay as uncomfortable as possible.”

“Wait. What? Where am I? Who are you and what happened to me?”

“There, there dear Daniel. I’ll try to explain.”

From Daniel Katz’s point of view, he was standing in a large, empty white room in front of a tall, charming fellow with a British accent. The man wore a tailored black suit, his dark gray shirt open at the collar, black hair, and deep brown eyes which seemed to pick up a bit of red from time to time.

“You see, you died.”

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The Name on the Gravestone

rosenberg

Found at commons.wikimedia.org

“No one even knew his first name, just the initial A.”

“It’s okay, Bubbe. It took a long time, but we finally found your Dad.”

Esther Rosenberg Katz had been waiting for this day since she was old enough to understand her precious Abba was lost in the war. She grew up with her mother, two brothers, numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins but she was always without her Tateshi.

Thanks to years of research and her computer savvy granddaughter, Esther finally found him.

“Are you going to have him exhumed so he can be buried in Israel?”

“No, Elisheva. We’ll leave him here with his comrades. Hashem will restore him to Israel in His time.

Esther reached into her handbag, opened the small container inside, took out the soil she’d brought from the Holy Land and sprinkled it on Abraham Rosenberg’s grave in her final duty as his daughter.

Today at “What Pegman Saw” we are taken to Kanchanaburi, Thailand and specifically to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. I found the image above when doing a google search and found it and the cemetery’s history fascinating.

The idea is to use the Pegman Google image to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149. I’ve added some links in the body of the story to explain certain words and concept that might not be readily apparent to all readers.

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

Matzah Pizza and an Island of Peace

pizza

© Dale Rogerson

Esther had some cheese and matzah pizza and another sip of wine. Fortunately the owner of “Stanley’s Pizza” knew how to accommodate her needs during the Passover season.

At work, time was very fluid, which was why she appreciated the dependable rhythms of a Jewish life. Looking at her watch on the counter, she chuckled. She could only wear it off-duty.

Being a Cross-Time Detective was draining. Thank Hashem she’d captured the dimensional jumper before he could illegally copy the plans for, what..oh, “velcro” and bring them back to our reality.

Now she could enjoy her pizza and peace.

Written for the Friday Fictioneers photo challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The idea is to use the photo above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. Mine is exactly 100 words.

Since this is the week of Unleavened Bread, and since my wife is visiting our daughter in California and I’ve got the place more or less to myself, I thought I’d write this small bit of “Jewish themed” science fiction. Besides, the pizza really does look like it’s made of matzah.

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

The Collector

singing

© The Storyteller’s Abode

Sidney Feldman finally acquired the crown jewel of his collection, an original Joyce, circa 1897, simply titled, “Woman Singing.” It had been taken from its Jewish owner by the Nazis in 1939.

Feldman found it at an estate sale and knew immediately what he had. True, he could have returned it to the owner’s heir. He was even acquainted with the family.

But he was a collector, and the painting was priceless.

He heard the music the second night the painting was mounted in his private exhibition room. He staggered there and sat on the floor. The melody was mesmerizing. Feldman was there for days listening to her exquisite voice, his piano playing, watching the girl endlessly turning pages of music for her Father.

He died of thirst a week later. The maid eventually discovered the body. The authorities investigated and found dozens of items in the Feldman collection that rightfully belonged to others.

“Woman Singing” was returned to the great-granddaughter of the man who died in Berchenwald. She donated it to Yad Vashem in Israel.

This was written for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 28, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My story word count is exactly 174.

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

The Last Battle in the War of Darkness

chanukah

Image: StepByStep.com

Although Greg had never served in the military, he was a veteran of the last war. He’s fought year after year with therapy, antidepressants, long walks, calming music. He’s held his own, but the war continued. He didn’t lose, but he couldn’t win.

He turned to his only ally, an ally not because Greg started out trusting Him, but because he had no choice. The ally knew everything about Greg, what he ate, what he thought, what he did, sort of how some of his childhood friends thought about Santa Claus.

But the ally was real and He’d made a promise to Greg. If Greg would trust Him, He would help Greg win the final battle of the last war.

What choice did he have?

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