fiction

Dad’s Castle

The land, willed to my father, had been in our family for generations. Everybody considered it useless and unbuildable. His dream became constructing something wonderful on the eroding bluff, somehow overcoming the treacherous pull of gravity. Every portion completed required constant reinforcement afterward. Even as the lowest levels crumbled away, more rooms and terraces were added on top. He was certain that one day a magnificent castle would stand atop this land.

When the land was willed to me, his dream became mine. Someday there will be a castle here.

I just hope I live long enough to witness it.

Björn 6

This week’s entry for the Friday Fictioneers, a 100 word story based on the photo prompt above.

Hosted by the phenomenal Rachel Wisoff-Fields. View other entries below.

Bartleby Snopes Issue 12

Attention people of Earth. My short story Droning was selected for the print edition of Bartleby Snopes – Issue #12.

Find out more info HERE.

Download your free PDF version HERE.

Read and enjoy all of the amazing stories published in this issue.

After you have completed this task, you may carry on with your Earthly lives.

Flying High

Both the pilot and copilot had taken ill. The doctor deemed it food poisoning. Ted looked out the window at the earth below, wondering if he could get the plane back on the ground. Nerves had ended his career as a pilot and he’d developed a severe drinking problem. He looked at the cocktail on the tray in front of him, wondering if it would calm his nerves or rattle them more. The doctor looked at him with gravity.

“Can you fly this plane and land it?”

“Surely you can’t be serious.”

“ I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.”

PHOTO PROMPT- Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

PHOTO PROMPT- Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

This week’s entry for the Friday Fictioneers, a 100 word story based on the photo prompt above.

Kind of a cop out I know, recycling old content from the rubbish heap, but I just couldn’t help myself. My ‘ode to the silliest movie ever made, not including Sharknado.

Surely I must be joking. No, I’m dead serious. And don’t call me Shirley.

Airplane! The Movie

 

Dinner Theatre

It seems like every time I visit my mother I arrive during a meal, usually dinner. My mom always asks me to pull up a chair to the table and eat, offering to share her plate of food with me, but I always feel as though I will interrupt the normal ritual with this little intrusion. There is something comforting in such daily routines, especially for people suffering from dementia, and I don’t want to throw off the carefully cultivated dynamic at the dinner table. I prefer to sit to the side and watch the scene unfold with the interplay of all the characters, both comic and tragic at the same time. It is truly dinner theatre. I have never tried to write a play, but I see these nightly meals as a never-ending dramatic production, filled with all the heartbreak and laughs of any gut wrenching performance. If, as Shakespeare wrote so many centuries ago, all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players, then the Deer Hill Care Home dinner play might look something like this.

. . .

Cast of Characters

Mary . . . . .   woman with Alzheimer’s, walks with a cane, early seventies but looks much older
Barbara. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . woman with a spinal injury, confined to a wheelchair, late eighties
Ted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  man with advanced Alzheimer’s, has difficulty walking, early eighties
Foster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . man with Parkinson’s, confined to a wheelchair, mid eighties
Bert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . man with nerve damage and palsy, confined to a wheelchair, mid eighties
Barbie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . woman with Alzheimer’s, walks with a cane, late eighties
Mirna . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Filipino woman with strong accent, caretaker, mid thirties
Jun  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Filipino man, head caretaker, mid forties

TIME: 4:30 sharp on any given night

SETTING: The elderly residents are seated around a large dinner table, each wearing colorful matching bibs, while the caregivers bring plates filled with hot dogs, potato salad, and steamed broccoli.

MIRNA: Bert, I have a hotdog sandwich for you. [MIRNA tries to give it to BERT]

BERT: I don’t want a sandwich.

BARBARA: It’s a hotdog, Bert. [yelling across the table]

BERT: Huh?

MIRNA: Bert, it is a hotdog sandwich. Here, take it. [MIRNA places it in BERT’S shaky hand]

BERT: I’d rather have a hamburger. [Begins eating with his eyes closed but looks disappointed.]

[JUN turns music on, Frank Sinatra station on Pandora. I Get A Kick Out Of You plays.]

TED: [Singing along with song.] Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all, so tell me why should it be true that I get a kick out of you?

JUN: Ted, you know all the words. [Places a plate of food in front of TED]

TED: What’s that?

JUN: You remember all the words to the song, Ted.

TED: No, what’s that? [Points at the plate of food.]

JUN: It’s your dinner, Ted.

TED: Oh.

BARBARA: Ted, you have such a nice voice, keep singing.

TED: What was that now?

BARBARA: I really enjoy your singing. Keep going.

TED: If you say so. [TED doesn’t keep singing, but stares at his plate in silence.] (more…)

The Hoarding Gene

After my mom died we realized the extent of her hoarding. Rooms stacked with boxes in boxes, years worth of newspapers, closets that spilled out like avalanches when opened. Most items made no sense.

My wife suggested a dumpster. It felt a shame to throw it all away, a lifetime of memories tossed. In one room we uncovered a forgotten memento from my childhood that I wanted to keep.  My wife called the glass eyes creepy.

No way, she said, we have zero room at home, but I knew there was always space for one more thing. 

The hoarder’s mantra.

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Adam Ickes

Posted for the Friday Fictioneers Photo Prompt – a complete story in 100 words or less.

This is perfect for me because my attention span is a about 100 words.

Too Long in London

The day starts with you in front of a tube station in south London. You and your traveling partner, who has really started to get on your nerves recently, as the two of you nickel and dimed (euroed and franked) your way across certain parts of Europe for the past month. The hostels and camping had turned weary, tired, every night the beds less comfortable and home further away. It is the twenty-first of May, the day of your return flight to America. The plan is to take the tube to Heathrow airport, which for the both of you costs three more pounds than you can scrape together. You knew those last few pints the evening before had been a bad idea. Your last night abroad had been a beer filled celebration, but it was all a blur now.

It is eight in the morning, the bustle of a weekday London morning, the entrance to the London Underground a river of umbrellas and raincoats. Did I mention the rain? The both of you look the part of the greasy vagrant, unshaven backpackers begging money so you could catch the train to the airport. In half an hour you’d only scraped up a few schillings. Then one business-dressed lady stopped for a moment, having a bit of a problem closing her umbrella. Excuse me, you say. Do you have extra money so that we can make it to the airport and get home to America? After she manages to close her umbrella she turns to the two of you and has a long disappointed look at you.  So you’ll be leaving the country then, she asks. She agrees to give you money, all three pounds that you need. But before she hands it over, she makes you promise that you wouldn’t return to Britain. Ever.

So you purchase your fare and take the tube to Heathrow. On the map it looks like Heathrow is very close. Actually it feels hours away. Much like London, the train ride seems to go on forever. At Heathrow you stand in line for an hour at check-in. You study your tickets about fifty times while you wait. Nonstop, London to San Francisco, May 21st. You get to the counter and show the lady your tickets, relieved to have finally made it through all the obstacles, to verge so close to your homecoming. Then she tells you that your flight isn’t until tomorrow.

The 21st of May, you say.

Yes, today is the 20th

Rainy Day In London (by oatsy40 on Flickr – CC BY 2.0)

One Block Past Sunshine

Depending on which direction you’re traveling, our street is one block past Sunshine Drive. But the direction of approach is important. One block past Sunshine from the wrong direction and you end up in front of a long line of rent controlled apartment complexes, the check cashing place, the laundromat Señor Burbujas, and the shady liquor store my wife is scared to go into. There is also a dive bar called Catfish Charlie’s. Every time I pass by I must fight the urge to go in.

At first I thought it might be a fish market or a sporting goods store, but when I finally found the courage to enter and explore all I found was a dingy hole in the wall that smelled like a stale bar mat. The two guys sitting at the bar each had an eyepatch. What was the chance of that? I wondered briefly if Catfish Charlie’s was actually a pirate bar, which didn’t seem that unusual at the time.

The inside of Catfish Charlie’s was greasy, smokey, sticky. It felt if someone tried to light a cigarette the entire place might ignite, including the two dirty pirates bellied up to the bar. At least the bartender had two eyes. I slid onto the sticky barstool and ordered a Captain and Coke. I wanted to blend in. When the bartender brought my cocktail I realized that one of his eyes was a glass eye that seemed to be pointed in the wrong direction, like a pirate in disguise. I gave him a wink and he gave me a look like he might poke one of my eyes out and make me walk the plank. I pounded my drink and got the hell out of there.

I’m no pirate.


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