The Dish We’re Served

plate

© Yarnspinnerr

“What are you eating, Grandpa.”

“Ashes, apparently.”

Elizabeth was twelve and still enjoyed visiting her Grandpa for the holidays. Mom and Dad would be up in a few days but this time was just for the two of them. Lately though Grandpa had been acting strange.

“I can make you a sandwich for lunch if you’d like.”

“No, sweetie. This is the plate set before me and this is what I’ll eat.”

“But what is it, Grandpa? It doesn’t even look like food.”

“It’s what’s left of your dreams after the magic’s gone. Dried up like autumn leaves. Good for nothing but throwing away.”

“Oh, Grandpa.” She slipped up behind the old man and hugged him as he sat at the table. You still miss Grandma, don’t you?”

The old man reached up and gently put his hand on the girl’s shoulder.

“She was my dream. Now God’s taken the magic away.”

Elizabeth sat in the next chair and put her arms around him. “I miss her too, Grandpa. I promise. I’ll always love you.”

I write this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of December 12, 2017 challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I have no idea what’s on that plate and it really made it tough to think of anything to write. I thought about aliens, the supernatural, some sort of tie in to Christmas or Hanukkah, but nothing really clicked. What I wrote above is the best I could come up with. Dining on dead and dried up dreams after the magic has gone. The family members one generation older than me are getting sicker and some have died this year. Looking back, I realize I’ve been looking death in the face. The only thing that gives me hope is the children who will come after us.

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

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Sanctuary and the Death of Kate Steinle

sf sanctuary city

Banner found at OneNewsNow.com

I’m writing this as a companion piece to Jury Finds Garcia Zarate Not Guilty In Steinle Murder Trial: My Initial Reaction which I wrote and published rather impulsively yesterday.

Okay, I’ve done some reading since then. The New York Times makes a case for about 60 percent of the unauthorized population has been here for at least a decade and that the vast majority of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. (89.9%) having never been convicted of a crime.

Of course there are organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform that say merely crossing the border into our nation without permission is indeed a crime, so by definition, 100% of undocumented immigrants are criminals. However, CNN states that under federal law, a person entering the country without permission for the first time is guilty of only a misdemeanor that is punishable by fines and no more than six months in prison.

It gets dicey if you are found to have entered our country illegally on multiple occasions, particularly after having been deported, but the waters get even more muddy since approximately 45% of undocumented immigrants actually entered the U.S. legally and then stayed after their visas expired.

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The Mauritius Robbery Affair: Ian

boy in hospital

Found at BabyCenter.com

Chapter Two: Ian

“Good morning, lad.” Dennis peeked around the corner of the door so as not to startle the boy. He saw young Ian had been working on a sketch pad, probably the one that Winston mentioned. “Mind if I visit you for a bit?”

The eleven-year-old eyed him suspiciously. His sandy blond hair looked disheveled but his blue eyes were red but otherwise clear. He’d been crying. He was sitting up in the hospital bed, covered to the waist with blankets and dressed one of those awful patient gowns that opened in the back.

“You a doctor?”

The older Ian stepped into the room and let the door close behind him. “No. I used to know your Mum. Came to see how you were doing.”

The child seemed to brighten for a second that it was a friend and not a doctor or the police come to question him, but then he closed up again. “Don’t remember you. Who are you?”

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Anne

grave

© Liz Young

Her grave was one of the few to survive the uprising. Earth defeated the invaders in the Revolution of ’48.

I can barely make out ‘Anne’ on the gravestone. She was thirty when she died, one of the millions killed in the uprising. Only because my project was so secret did she think I died during the first alien attack.

It’s been decades since Earth became free, and the new government eventually found records of my experiment and sent rescuers. The equipment was still working when they woke me from decades of cryogenic sleep.

I wish I’d died with my daughter.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge for April 28, 2017. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction based on the photo above that is no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

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

Finding Love Again

hotel

© A Mixed Bag 2014

The so-called Country Hotel was located in the center of town. Dreary, gray, depressing place, but it’s where Janice said to meet. He’d been in worse.

Dean checked in and took his luggage to his room on the fifth floor. Janice made the reservation, so she’d know where to find him.

He didn’t unpack, just took off his overcoat, laid it across the bed, and nervously looked at his wristwatch. Almost time. Would they remember him after five years?

He heard the knock. Children’s muffled voices.

He hesitated for a second, then opened it.

“Grandpa!” Eleven-year-old Aaron and nine-year-old Esther screamed simultaneously, launching into the room, embracing their grandfather.

“I appreciate this, Janice. I know you don’t have to do this.”

“Dad, they love their Grandpa and want to spend time with him.”

Thank God Janice was so forgiving and the kids were so loving.

Dean kneeled down and excitedly announced. “Guess what? Tomorrow, we’ll go on an airplane to where Grandpa lives in Florida. We’re going to have a terrific time over Spring break.”

Dean’s mistake cost him five years in prison away from his family. Now he was going to make up for lost time.

I wrote this in response to this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction. The challenge is to use the photo prompt (see above) to write a complete story of no more than 200 words. My wee missive comes in at exactly 200.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The Nurturing Tree

broken tree

© Shivangi Singh

Savannah hated to see the old tree taken down, but the thunderstorm three nights ago had broken its trunk, and it was a danger to her home and family.

She’d lived in the same house across from the park since she was a little girl. She had fond memories of climbing in that tree. She remembered the summer when her Dad built her and her brothers a tree fort.

She was just starting to encourage her own three little ones to explore the adventure of the tree when the storm took it away.

The tree was also a symbol of everything else Savannah had lost. Her husband Jeremy walked out of the house and family. He said he couldn’t handle the responsibility anymore.

Savannah has been divorced for four months, and in those months, she became stronger than Jeremy would.

She and her babies had lost the man they thought was their tree.

The broken tree wasn’t gone, just transformed.

Savannah’s life had been transformed, too. She would always be her children’s strong, nurturing tree.

I wrote this as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story, in the range of 125-175 words with 150 being ideal. The story is based on the weekly photo prompt. For more information go to Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The word count is exactly 175.

The Child Came Home

boy coloring

Image: Children’s Advocacy Center of Grayson County, TX website

Julian was 35 years old when reality became too much for him. It wasn’t so much his dull job at the accounting firm, or his break up with Jill after seven years of living together. His parents think it must have been the disappointment, the loss of hope for the future that took his mind and spirit. He had such expectations at the beginning of November and now in December, they were crushed. So Julian’s parents watched as he sat on the floor of his old room with a coloring book and crayons. He was their little boy again.

This was a piece of flash fiction (less than 100 words in this case) I recently submitted to The Drabble. I received an email from them saying it didn’t meet their needs, so I figured why waste it? Yes, it is a commentary on how some people, at least according to the popular press, are so overwhelmed and dismayed by Donald Trump’s recent election win, that they seem to retreat into less “mature” behavior. I wasn’t poking fun at these individuals, but rather trying to communicate the tragedy involved in such decisions.

The Bubble

bungalow

Image: hookedonhouses.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

I might have lived alone in that 1920s bungalow that I inherited from my Grandpa for the rest of my life if I hadn’t discovered the Bubble. That’s what I call it because that’s what it looks like, a big soap-bubble suspended between the trunks of two Elm trees behind the house.

It’s mostly wooded back there, and the Bubble is almost completely transparent, so unless you’re right on top of it, you’d never see the thing.

I was walking around the property, Grandpa still owned it all when he died so I had plenty of privacy, and I only saw it at the last second (guess I was daydreaming) before I walked right into it.

I got dizzy for a few moments and then I walked out the other side. I looked back at it and my first thought was to wonder why it hadn’t popped.

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First Encounter

liquor

Image: theguardian.pe.ca

Ed left church just as the service ended and headed to the nearest liquor store. He didn’t wait until the ushers came along to release people row by row. He didn’t wait until the Pastor was ready at the door to shake hands with each parishioner as they left. He just left. He needed a drink.

Ed Tillman, 44 years old, divorced, behind in his child support, absentee Daddy to 16-year-old Tiffany and 12-year-old Johnny. Yeah, his life was messy, really messy. One of the other Postal Carriers he worked with said he needed to find God. His friend Mark told him God could be found in church.

Ed was desperate enough and dumb enough to believe him.

As Ed pulled into the parking lot of the strip mall off of Meridian Road, he was still trying to figure out if God ever went to that church.

Oh, the people were polite, they were descent, they all got along. They went to the same picnics, attended the same Wednesday night Bible studies, and some even went on vacations together.

They were all so nice and squeaky clean. Ed wasn’t anything close to that. If God requires that you put on a suit, shake hands and introduce yourself to the people around you in your pew, and sing a bunch of really boring songs, then maybe God didn’t want Ed to find Him.

Standing in front of the display of the different brands of Vodka, Ed opened his wallet and checked how much cash he had left. Just barely enough. He’d memorized the price of a cheap 750 millimeter bottle including sales tax.

“How’s it going, buddy.” The guy behind the counter must have been about Ed’s age, maybe a little older. Long, dirty blond hair, ragged beard, tattoos on both forearms disappearing under his shirt sleeves, definitely not squeaky clean.

“Not bad.” Ed looked around. “Business is slow.”

“Yeah, no shit. You’re my first customer.”

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