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


Ascending Sparks

sparksThis experience, to give life, to watch it grow, to be torn apart by it, to receive pleasure from it, and to give life again—for this the soul descended from its ethereal heights.

And when it shall return to there, enveloped in these memories, it will finally know their depth. And with them travel ever higher and higher.

“Life’s Memories”
-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Based on the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory

I’m so tired. I can’t remember when I didn’t feel exhausted. I wake up exhausted. I barely have the strength to lift a spoonful of soup to my mouth. My bladder only can hold on so long anymore before I either make it to a toilet or embarrass myself. I have a hard time remembering what I did last week or even yesterday.

I am so old.

But I do remember many things before yesterday and last week.

I remember watching “Gunsmoke” when I was five, and trying to outdraw Marshall Dillon with my toy six-shooter (I never could).

My Dad was in the Air Force and we lived in Spain near Seville when I was little. Instead of Santa Claus, one of the Three Kings from the Bible (well, not a real one) would ride the streets of our neighborhood in a horse-drawn wagon. I got my picture taken with him once.

My Dad pointed up to a shiny thing in the night sky and told me it was called “Sputnik”. I didn’t find out until decades later that the satellite couldn’t be seen by the unaided eye and what we were looking at was one of its rocket boosters tumbling end-over-end in low orbit.

I remember when we had vinyl 45s and to play them on a record player, you had to put this funny disk thing in the big hole in the middle so it could fit on whatever the little stem sticking up in the middle of the turntable was called.

I remember the one-eyed, one-horned blind purple people eater.

I remember my Dad growing roses in our yard when we lived in Spain.

I remember getting sick on the airplane when we flew back to America.

I remember getting lost after my first day in first grade when we lived in Omaha. My Dad came and found me. I was so scared. I was only six.

I remember always getting picked last for sports during recess at school because I couldn’t run very fast and I was lousy at throwing and catching.

I had a crush on a girl when I was in the second grade. I got teased about it a lot.

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