Human After All

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, and our hostess Rochelle has given us a retread prompt from the days before I played along. If you are new to this concept, you can learn more here and play along here.

The photo prompt this week came from Madison Woods, and my 100-word story follows.

Copyright Madison Woods

Copyright Madison Woods

Human After All

The soundtrack of my youth included heavy metal ballads, songs that took heaven and my heart by storm. The first time I saw musicians performing on stage, those larger-than-life performers grew into role models. “When I grow up I want to . . .”

By some stroke of luck, I didn’t recognize celebrities the first time I met them or that famous producer’s name during our online encounters.

The moon raged, but no stars clouded my vision. By the time I achieved name recognition, the famous had become friends, colleagues, nemeses, alter egos. We learned together how heroes fall.

Author’s Note: After spending high school and college listening and performing to contemporary Christian music, I found myself in the company of several notable celebrities without intention. Although this story isn’t autobiographical, it deals with some of the issues common among religious performers. It turns out you can’t keep up a charade forever. It turns out that we are all human. That doesn’t make the art we humans produce less meaningful, but it can cause a huge wad of problems for anyone who puts another human on a pedestal.

Anyway, here are a couple of YouTube links for any of you who might enjoy some of the music I loved back in the day:

First, “The Raging of the Moon,” with lyrics inspired by the fall of Communism. Remember when we thought the fall of the Berlin Wall was the end of all our problems?

Next, “Hero” by Steve Taylor, with lyrics that say what I meant to say, maybe better than I did.

Being a Pepper

Once again, it’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Each week, around 100 writers from all over the world participate by sharing their 100-word stories as inspired by the photo prompt. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is our gracious hostess. Feel free to play along by following the links.

Copyright G. L. MacMillan

Copyright G. L. MacMillan

Being a Pepper

 “Shoot me a Waco, Charlie.” Dr. Charles Pepper leans on the soda counter.

“You know we call it Dr. Pepper now, right?” The pharmacist winks at his customer.

“It’d be a tad awkward to ask you to shoot me, don’t ya think?”

Charlie Alderton grins.

“Morrison said he and Lazenby are buying you out.”

Alderton nods. “People are so enamored with this soda silliness it’s getting hard to do any actual work these days.”

“Well, you know what they say about all work and no play.”

“Yeah, and I also know what they say about all play and no work.”

***

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.”

Irish Proverb

Author’s Note: I’ve taken a little artistic license with this historical fiction piece. The true story behind the naming of Dr. Pepper is unknown, and I have been unable to verify whether or not Dr. Charles Pepper actually frequented Morrison’s Old Corner Drugstore where Charles Alderton invented the drink. Nevertheless, I could certainly imagine the two having this conversation some early evening when the drugstore was quiet. You can learn more about the history of Dr Pepper here.

Our Lady of the Snows

Once again, it’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Every week, about 100 writers from around the world compose original, 100-word stories based on a photo prompt. This week’s photo comes from Dee Lovering, a truly talented member of our motley crew.

Copyright Dee Lovering

Copyright Dee Lovering

Our Lady of the Snows

Half a world away from Rome, She keeps a home in Belleville.

On my first visit, I was oblivious. At six weeks old, I knew Mommy and Daddy and the love of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. That was before the cold wrath broke me—here in Her shadow.

Years later, I learn of how She stands, Protector of Innocents, in the place of my breaking. Did She watch and weep—a powerless spectre?

I gaze upon Her image in the chapel, wander through the Agony Garden, give voice to my rage. Finally, in a quiet corner, grace finds me.

***

A shrine to Our Lady of the Snows stands in Belleville, IL. Follow the link to learn more.

Under the Clock

Yes, this is my response to the week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. It’s a little later than usual, but as today happens to be Friday, you could say I’m right on time.

Before we proceed with the usual excitement, I want to take a moment to celebrate. Although I married my wife before God, family and friends on a lovely May afternoon four years ago, today my state and my entire country finally recognizes our commitment to one another. To all the haters out there, I’ll simply say, “I’m sorry you feel so insecure in the love that you have in your own life. My love and my marriage is but one among millions. It is personal; it is real; it is a lifelong commitment. I pray you will someday find something as wonderful to keep you warm in this cold world.” To everyone else, I say, “LET’S CELEBRATE!”

Love Flag

The regular programming for the week is part of a challenge in which about 100 writers from all over the globe participate each week. Below is the photo prompt to which each of us respond with our own 100-word stories. You are welcome to participate by reading and commenting as well as by writing your own story to post on your blog. My story this week weighs in at 99 words and catches up with one of my favorite characters in my hometown of Kansas City. This one is meant to stand alone, but you are welcome to read other stories about him by clicking on “police chief” or “Ben” in the word salad along the right side of this blog.

Copyright Kent Bonham

Copyright Kent Bonham

Under the Clock

The hands of the clock in the grand hall slid passed 11:00 as Ben strode into Union Station. The legendary timepiece hung as he had always seen it—silent as the grave, an irony not lost on the undead police chief.

“Under the clock.” Ben muttered the phrase to himself. A pungent odor halted him 40 paces from his destination. Garlic. Leftovers, he assumed, glancing toward Harvey’s. Then he caught sight of the aroma’s source—ropes of garlic hanging above the shops in the station’s foyer. Someone knew something. He wouldn’t rest easy until he discovered who and what.

Ruach HaKodesh

This is my response to the weekly Friday Fictioneers prompt. Every week writers from around the world share their 100-word stories based on a photo prompt chosen by our amazing leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who happens also to have taken this week’s photo. Play along if you dare!

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Ruach HaKodesh

Whenever Gayle sees art nouveau craftsmanship, she smells the old plaster, sawdust, sweat and incense lingering in the defunct synagogue where she first learned to dance. Much was new to her then—adulthood, the names of Adonai, the pulse of sacred movement.

Change, like a dancer’s form on stage, will ever be life’s only constant. The 25-year-old Gayle guessed at this. The 45-year-old Gayle knows it better than most. In Kansas City, the synagogue still stands—leased to another fringe group of devotees. Alone in her suburban home, Gayle makes a selection on her iPod, and the Spirit moves her.

***

Author’s Note: It bears mentioning that this photo struck a deep chord with me–a chord that led to a story that may be uncomfortable to some of you whom I know in real life. Whether or not you recognize the setting, I hope you can understand that some good comes from all things. There are more reasons than I can possibly put into words for me to write and post this particular story today. The life of a dancer can be complicated.

Inverness

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week’s photo comes to us courtesy of C. Hase.

Copyright C. Hase

Copyright C. Hase

Inverness

“ . . . The Loch Ness Monster! We’ll see it in Scotland.”

I tuned into the conversation and paused, hands above my laptop’s keyboard.

“It’s a monster that eats little girls. They lock ‘em up by the lake so the monster won’t go into town for food. They call the place ‘Loch Ness’ because they lock up little Nessies—and sometimes Sues too.”

Tears welled in Suanna’s eyes.

“Joshua, stop frightening your sister,” I chided.

Comforting my daughter, I felt a swell of pride in my son’s imagination but hoped bringing the family along on my research trip wouldn’t inspire him too much.

The Family That Stays Together

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week’s photo comes to us courtesy of Doug McIlroy.

Copyright Douglas McIlroy

Copyright Douglas McIlroy

The Family That Stays Together

Family is complicated. Another almost-perfect vacation, and I’m about to come unglued. How often must we drive 20 miles off the beaten track to see some roadside attraction? I groan as my husband pulls the minivan up to a Victorian home.

“But I’m not touching you!” comes the complaint from the backseat.

“Kids, you have the rest of your lives to not touch one another. These feuding brothers haven’t spoken in 40 years.”

The yard tells the rest of the story. One side filled with ridiculous-looking folk art. The other side bare but for carefully manicured grass. It looks complicated.

Star of the Silver Screen

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week’s photo comes to us courtesy of Santoshwriter. It reminds me of a song from a well-known Disney movie, and in researching both the song and the movie, I began to think about the elderly people in our society who have so many experiences and so much wisdom to share. May we all learn to listen before it’s too late.

Copyright Santoshwriter

Copyright Santoshwriter

Star of the Silver Screen

“Drip, drip, drop, little April shower . . .” The familiar music fills my mind with memories. I try to smile. A stroke has left my face heavy, my speech slow, but in my mind, I can still see the room filled with easels, the two fawns, the hundred or so artists.

“Grandpa George helped draw Bambi.” My granddaughter has read my thoughts. The eyes of her three-year-old son grow bright. For a moment, I am admired.

I open my mouth. Only a whisper emerges. My age and infirmity frighten my great grandson the way that crashing thunder frightens Bambi.

***

Follow the link for more details about the making of Bambi.

Apocalyptic Pen Pals

Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fictioneers. Each week, about 100 writers from around the globe respond to a photo prompt with their 100-word stories. You are welcome to play along.

This week, my photo has been featured, and I took a little extra time to craft a suitable tale. These 102 words are lovingly dedicated to my friend, Terrill Willard, who first told me about his dream back when no one else was listening to either one of us. Names and details have changed, but I hope the wide-eyed wonder of youth remains alive in our hearts forever.

Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

Apocalyptic Pen Pals

Years later, Quinton still remembered the end of the world each time he saw a silo. They were smaller then, but at the end of the world, size was relative.

Quinton only told one other person how the world ended—with himself and a friend cheering it on. He and Suzanne were misfits, natural companions. Once the world’s end, seen from the world’s largest grain elevator, burned into his memory, he burnt it into hers.

Suzanne never forgot. Each week she sent another photo—a grain elevator, a silo, ripening grain beneath a sun-pinkened sky—mementos of youth, reminders of the future.

The world's (now second) longest grain elevator. Photo courtesy of The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Creative Commons, CC 3.0, Share Alike

The world’s (now second) longest grain elevator. Photo courtesy of The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Creative Commons, CC 3.0, Share Alike

A Tale of Two

This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for April 24. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create. The photo prompt this week is a throwback from before I started playing along and comes to us courtesy of Madison Woods. My story weighs in just over 100 words, but I trust you will all forgive me.

2015 05 08 rerun

Copyright Madison Woods

A Tale of Two

1965

Visiting Aunt Martha in Georgia is an adventure for Nadine. The ten-year-old absorbs every new sight and sound. In town, she sees two drinking fountains. Curious to find out what colored water tastes like, she skips toward that fountain. Aunt Martha yanks her back.

1985

Nadine takes several teens from her church into an inner-city McDonald’s. While ordering, she notices all the people in one line are white while those in the other line are black. Except her daughter. Blond-haired Julia stands in the shorter line behind three dark-skinned adults.

Colored water, it turns out, tastes exactly the same as any other water.