OLWG #8 – When I First Met Gertie

I had a lot of fun writing this story to introduce this weeks prompts!

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

It was dark and the fog was heavy, like a load of beach sand that covered absolutely everything. I was on Highway 101; stationed at a ramp just south of Bandon Oregon and I had had high hopes when I first got here. My optimism was fading though. I’d been standing with my thumb out for almost three hours; I’d seen only six cars and two big rigs. In all fairness to the good people of Oregon, it was late and the weather was kinda shitty. I probably wouldn’t of stopped either and I was beginning to think that maybe I should find a spot to sleep and stay dry. I could try again in the morning. Then I saw a set of headlights coming my way and decided to give it one last shot. I put my thumb out and smiled when the oncoming car began to slow. It looked like they were going to stop for me.

I’ve spent a lot of years crisscrossing the back roads of this great country and relying on the kindness of strangers for transportation. I’ve occasionally taken a bus or hopped a freight, but thumbing is my favourite method of locomotion. I like the people I meet. I like to listen to the stories that they tell. I like to collect their stories and I write ‘em all down. I also like the stories that result from their stopping to offer me a ride. I’ve always got my ‘C’ harp in my pocket and it doesn’t take much talking to persuade me to play some ‘cross harp’ blues. I like the old stuff; the Robert Johnson stuff, the Mississippi John Hurt stuff, Blind Lemon’s stuff. They just don’t write music like that anymore.

The car that stopped was an old, piss yellow coloured Volvo station wagon. In the driver’s seat was a woman with long curly red hair pulled back in a loose pony tail tied with a couple strips of rawhide. A toddler slept in a car seat in the back. There was luggage tied on the top and the back end was full of boxes, toys, and clothes. The kid had long dreadlocks and sat in an oversized Henley necked shirt. The woman wore a flowing gauzy fuchsia coloured blouse with flowers embroidered around a scoop neck. She was broad hipped and heavy breasted, definitely the hippy earth-mother type. In the light that was cast from the ceiling I watched the freckles that were scattered across her nose crinkle up as she smiled. I plopped my butt on the passenger seat, grinned back at her and stuck out my hand.

“Hey,” I said, and I waved at the kid; who immediately threw up a peace sign, “I’m Rick. Thanks for stopping.”

“Hi, Ricky,” the woman said right back at me then she took my hand and shook it. Her grip was firm and confident, “I’m Gertrude, Gertrude Starflower. The munchkin in the backseat is my feral child. I call him Wildfish Sunsparkle. I like his name because; if you think about it the sun is a star and a sparkle can resemble the petals of a flower. See, we have the same last name but we each have our own name. Still unique. Still individual.” She looked at me for some sign of understanding. I nodded my head and she asked, “how far you goin’?”

I told her, I was hoping to get to Santa Cruz eventually and she said that she hadn’t been to Santa Cruz in years and that she wouldn’t mind seeing the place again. She rolled down the window, pulled back onto the road, and after careful consideration announced that she and Wildfish would take me all the way there. Then she asked me to reach behind my seat and find the glass jar that she had stowed back there. I rooted around and found it eventually. Upon inspection it looked to be an old mayonnaise jar about three quarters full of a clear liquid. I brought it over the seat back, held it in my lap.

“Can you take the lid off for me?” she asked. I did and when she held out her hand I gave the jar to her.

She took a sip and swirled it around in her mouth before she swallowed it. Then she made an ‘O’ of her lips and sucked in a big breath of night air.

“Hooooo,” she whooped. “This is a good batch.”

“Good batch of what,” I asked. I was interested.

“Grain alcohol,” she told me. “I make it myself. I made this batch just before I started south from Seattle. It tested out at 190 proof. It’ll kill off some brain cells, but only the weak ones. Want a taste?”

This week’s prompts are:

Bipolar, alliteration, and selective (use all three)


Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes!

OLWG #6 – Susan

Well, It’s Sunday. You know what that means! OLWG time. Have fun with these prompts.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

Daniel looked in the mirror and practiced.
Should he try to look contrite? Apologetic?
He tried soulful and said to his reflection…

“It’s not you, Susan.
It’s me… It’s me.
You deserve better than me and,
I love you; so I have to set you free.”

What a load of hooie. She’ll never believe that.
I need another approach, but it’s gotta be something she’ll believe.

He tried pragmatic..,

“Susan, I’m sure you haven’t noticed, but
Nobody likes you. Not really. Some people tolerate you,
sure. Not too many though.
Hell, my dog doesn’t even like you so I’ve decided that I don’t like you either.”

Nah, she won’t believe that.
My dog likes everybody.


“Susie, honey, I think we both need to see other people.
We shouldn’t be exclusive. You should call that guy you met on the train,
the one who slipped you his phone number.
No, no, don’t worry about me. I’ll call your sister or something.”

She’ll probably kill me if I even think like that.
A Texas girl’d kill me for stuff like that. Sue would definitely kill me.

Honest! Maybe that was the approach to use. How does one go about looking candid?

Susan, it’s over between us.
My mother thought your lasagna was horrible.
She told me I couldn’t be engaged to a girl who can’t cook. She told me I had to make a choice.
You can keep the ring. It’s zirconium anyway.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. Everything was moving in slow motion
  2. adrift in a calm sea
  3. make it a double

Ready, Set, Go – 25 minutes!

OLWG #5 – Biology

OLWG is back. I wrote something sweet for this intro.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

Warren paused at the corner, waiting at the crosswalk for the light to change. When it did he crossed the street and headed on up the block towards home. It was Friday afternoon and he was thinking about his date tonight with Lucy. Lucy was the prettiest girl in school and Warren was excited. He was going to pick her up at 5:30 and they were going to go to the library where they would collaborate on their biology project. This might not really qualify as a “date,” but it was close enough for him. He would get to be alone with her! At the library! They could talk about science, biology! He figured he could call it a date, just not in front of Lucy. She might not like him the way that he liked her.

He chuckled a bit to himself and nervously pushed his glasses up before wiping his nose with the back of his hand. Lucy was not only the prettiest girl in school, she was the smartest too.


Lucy stood outside the door that led from the carport to the kitchen. She hitched her books up a little higher and tighter against her chest. She twirled her dark curls round and round on her index finger and puzzled on the fix she had gotten herself into. Warren was coming over to pick her up tonight and take her to the library. She had just blurted out agreement when he suggested that they should work together on their asignment. What had she been thinking? Did this qualify as a date? She wasn’t sure. Maybe she should ask her mom.

Warren was smart and she thought he was pretty good looking, with his pudgy cheeks and all. This was complicated; he might be thinking of this as just prepping for an assignment. How should she dress? How should she behave? Warren was smart but she was smarter. She pushed her glasses up and went inside.


“Hey Mom,” Warren hollered as soon as he got in the house.

“I’m back here,” his mother called from the laundry room.

Warren dropped his books on the table and found his way back to where his mother was working. “Can you give me a ride to the library tonight? My friend and I are working on a big Biology project together and we need the reference section.”

“Sure I can.”

“We’ll need to stop and pick up Lucy on the way.”

Mom turned her head away and smiled to herself. Her boy was growing up. “No problem, Warren. No problem.”


Lucy set her books on the kitchen table next to the elephant head salt and pepper shakers. Her parents were cooking and dancing around one another in the small kitchen. The room was really too small for two cooks but her folks always worked together at mealtime.

“How was school, Lucy?” her dad asked as he pinched some brilliant red powdered spice that she didn’t know the name of. Rubbing his fingers together to dispense the seasoning into a saucepan, Dad turned his attention to his daughter and waited for a reply.

“It was good,” she told them both, “but we are going to have to read Catcher in the Rye for English. I’ve already read it. I was hoping for Silas Marner.”

There was a moment of silence while Lucy and her dad watched Mom sample the sauce. Whatever it was that was simmering in the pot. It must have been good because Mom closed her eyes and smiled.

“I’m going to the library tonight to work on a big biology assignment.”

“I can drive you,” Dad said, “no problemo.”

Lucy walked across the kitchen and opened the pantry door. “It’s OK, Dad. Warren’s mom is going to drive us over.” She took out two Oreo’s and headed back towards her room. She was thinking that she might like to wear that flowered shift she and her mother had made together last Spring. It was going to be a warm night.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. There’s a hole in my sock
  2. Do as I say, not as I do
  3. Wait, is that a monkey?

Ready, Set, Go – 25 minutes!

OLWG #4 – Another New Duty Station

Oh no – not again!

This week’s prompts are at the bottom – Have fun!

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

Beauford stood in the shadows, near the foot of the pier,
studying the boat.
It was painted black, about 300 foot long with only a few feet showing
above the water line so, the beam was difficult to discern.
He knew though, how broad it would be.

Topside, just aft of the sail, he saw a non-designated striker
wearing dress whites – it was “The Watch,” whose shoes were blackened
but scuffed.
A holstered 45 on a webbed belt hung from his hip as
he wrote in a green cloth covered log book.

Beauford sighed and pinched the cherry from his cigarette –
saving the dog end for later, and tucking it inside the cellophane that wrapped
his pack, before
he leaned down; hoisted his sea bag over his shoulder, squared his hat, and
swaggered towards the brow.

This week’s prompts are:

  1. Time to excavate our relationship
  2. A twenty dollar shine on ten dollar boots
  3. It’s a handicapped spot

Ready, Set, Go – 25 minutes!


Thought I would try something a little different this week. The prompts are down at the bottom, as always.

Have fun!

It was the summer of 1869 when Captain Joseph Beal and his crew of twelve sawyers felled the giant redwood on the north-west face of Loma Prieta Peak. In those days, crews would go out into the woods for up to sixty days at a time. They hunted their own food, they maintained their own tools, and they were charged with felling, limbing and bucking all the trees that they cut. Other crews would follow behind the sawyers to haul the logs to the mills. Sawyers were paid by the board foot. Most of the crews practiced clear-cutting but Captain Beal and his crew would seek out the giant trees, the monsters. They left the clear cutting to the weak and lesser skilled.

They had to braze two ten foot crosscut blades together to fell this tree. All of the crosscuts were Lance toothed with rakers except the ones that Sims used. Sims preferred his whips with Champion teeth. The stiffer bucking saws that they had brung were mostly Lance toothed as well. Thirty six axes and a dozen mauls had finished out the compliment of equipment that they carried. All told there were enough saws for each man to wield five at a time. Evenings were spent sharpening and cleaning their equipment. They made their own springboards and wedges.

The twenty foot long, two man misery whip, that they used for this tree, had a handle at each end and the men worked in shifts of two pulling from opposite ends, as they felled the giant tree. It took four days of labour, and when the tree finally fell, it fell at night when the crew slept. It fell with a sound that woke them all. It even rousted Vaughn, who had spent most of that evening in communion with a bottle of whiskey that he had smuggled up the hill from Santa Cruz. The weight of the giant Sequoia sempervirens brought its own self down leaving a hinge that was almost a foot and a half wide.

After limbing the bucking sawyers took another two days to cut it into twenty foot lengths, as was the norm, the tree was tagged, and they moved on. The crew were pleased to find that when the tree fell it killed an adolescent male brown bear. By all appearances a limb had snapped when the tree landed; the force of the limb, as it was flung away from the trunk was sufficient to kill the bear without crushing him. They butchered him before they moved. There would be plenty of fresh meat for the foreseeable future.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. I have to find a way to tell them
  2. Nothin’ special
  3. This was not what she needed right now

Try not to overthink it. Have a good time.

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OLWG #2 – How Much Sugar?


I stopped what I was doing and turned back to the book.
That couldn’t be right.
Could it?
I peered through my half moons
Studied the words

1t (4.2g)               granulated white sugar

That’s hardly any at all
‘Specially for a berry pie.
Well, Mom always said,
“Follow the recipe the first time”
“You can make it your own after that.”

Everyone oohed and aahed when I brought out dessert
The blackberries were just shy of ripe
How much sugar?
Hearty slices with a scoop of vanilla
Puckered faces ’round the table.

“Maybe a bit more ice cream, please!”
“Oh yes, me too.”
“That sounds like a good idea.”
“Just a bit more ice cream for me, as well!”
I took a taste.

Damn, out of ice cream.