OLWG #192- Honey Buttered Biscuits

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. Feel free to seize the prompts, twist them, form them, play with them as you will. All comers are welcome. The words below are just practice for me. I had a lot of fun writing them and, practice makes perfect.

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



It was late afternoon on the 5th of January when Emmitt Dampeer returned to Firebase Ross. He and his team from the 1 / 7 had been on patrol in the Quế Sơn Valley. They were hot and tired. Emmitt went first to the showers to clean up and then to the Mess to get something to eat. The Plan of the Day had told him to expect fried chicken, but he’d been a Marine long enough to know that it would never taste like his momma used to make back in Natchez. Still, fried chicken was fried chicken and, usually, even the Corps fried chicken tasted better than the unrecognizable ‘mystery meat’ normally served in-country.

At the Mess tent, he spotted a few friends. He grinned and waved at Percy as he entered the tent. Tex let loose one of those loud whistles he was famous for and Emmitt pointed Percy out. He went through the line and got what looked like two pieces of soggy, dark meat chicken, cold mashed potatoes with a blue-tinted gravy, some wrinkled peas and a biscuit. He made his way over to sit with Tex and Percy after he picked up a dessert that appeared to be some kinda stewed apples.

“Hey guys,” Emmitt said. He clapped Percy on the back and sat down. “What’re y’all up to today?”

“Well, fuckin’ Tex done spent the day bitchin’ pissin’ and moanin’ in sickbay. Me? I been bustin’ my ass since oh-four-thirty. What about chu, Em?”

“Just got back from patrol,” Emmitt responded. He looked at his plate, “What the fuck is this shit? Shore don’t look like fried chicken!”

“It’s not,” Tex piped in, “but the biscuit ain’t bad.”

Em reached for his biscuit and took a bite, “Tastes like shit.” He said to no one in particular.

“Tole chu,” Tex laughed.

Emmitt looked over at Tex and said, “I surely do miss my momma’s fried chicken and honey buttered biscuits. When we git home both y’all boys gotta come to Natchez fer some. Let me know ‘fore ya show up though, I’ll hafta warn Momma.” They all laughed and, the rest of the evening passed quietly because the rains started. Everyone took shelter in their tents.

In the early morning hours of the 6th the base was attacked with mortars, and sappers penetrated the wire. It was all quiet again by 4 a.m., but the 1 / 7 was left with 13 Marines killed. Emmitt Dampeer was one of them.

On the afternoon of the 8th, Emmitt was not available to receive the package that arrived for him, from Natchez. That batch of biscuits that his momma had sent went missing. No one noticed.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. sunburned and hungover
  2. the camera smiles
  3. fair dinkum

You can start writing whenever you want, just write!

OLWG #191- Coffee & Churros

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. Feel free to seize the prompts, twist them, form them, play with them as you will. All comers are welcome. The words below are just practice for me. I had a lot of fun writing them and, practice makes perfect.

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



Shelly had been running 14th Street Coffee for a while now. She had a routine and an established clientele, consisting of ranch hands and cowboys in the early hours, followed up by tourists till after lunchtime and truckers through the afternoon till she closed.

The Botticelli that her father had stolen still hung on the wall behind the register. Shelly had satisfied the Feds that the painting was a copy and they had finally quit sniffing around the shop trying to locate her dad. She liked the painting and kept the torn pieces of ancient parchment that documented its provenance in a fireproof lock-box tucked inside the box spring of her bed.

She had closed down the shop and put the chairs up on the tables. She swept and mopped the floors, wiped down the countertops, and polished the large chrome espresso machine. Finally running the dishwasher in the back and squaring the cups on the shelves below the painting. She made her way back to the kitchen to work on another batch of Churros.

Churros are pretty simple and quick to make. Quick and simple for everyone, except Shelly, to make. She threw away the first two batches but kept the third before making her way upstairs to finish reading “Wild Ducks Flying Backwards”. Molly was going to want it back soon and Shelly felt guilty for holding on to it for so long.

The next morning, Shelly opened her eyes and once again looked at red numbers on the clock across the bedroom – already four am. She padded to the kitchen to light the fire under the kettle, showered and pulled her new ‘Identical Charcoal’ t-shirt on atop her customary faded jeans and dusty boots before she went back to the kitchen and brewed her morning cup of tea.

Downstairs she turned on the heater and fired up the big Venezia machine. Three 20 cup pots began making a dark roast, medium roast, and the light “house blend”. She pulled cream along with four gallons of milk from the big chill box and put them in the small fridge under the counter. She checked that the sugar was well supplied, then tied a short black apron securely around her waist and looked around the store, assuring herself that everything was in order.

It was not quite 5:00 when Shelly raised the shade on the glass front door and waved to Ruben, Dusty and Caleb who were waiting outside for her to open. They were stomping their boots and rubbing their hands together to keep warm. She unlocked the door and hustled the cowboys in, “Git in here quick, boys,” she urged them like she did every morning, “don’t let all my warm air out.” They were regulars and Shelly knew what they wanted. Dark roast for Caleb, a latte for Ruben, and Dusty always wanted a cappuccino. She gave them each one of the churros she had made the night before.

Dusty left his on the napkin, “I had a big breakfast, Shelly,” he reasoned with her.

Caleb picked his up and slipped it into the pocket of his duster, “that’s quite the churro, Shel,” he said after pretending to chew the bite he never took. “You got these bad boys figured out. Don’t believe I’ve ever had one quite so tasty.”

Ruben took a tentative bite. As he began to chew his mouth formed into a grimace, “Shelly?” he began, “I believe that you need to buy churros if you want to offer them in the shop. This one is rubbery. It’s like eating cinnamon flavoured jerky. You make the best coffee in Lincoln County, but please give us a break on the churros. Please.”

She gave another one to Toby when he came in. He ate the whole thing. He didn’t comment on it one way or another. When the boys were getting set to leave she stood on her tiptoes and gave Toby a quick kiss. She could taste the sugar that had been on his lips as she watched the taillights disappear north, in the direction of Corona. They were all working for the Maxwell’s right now.

Maybe Ruben was right, she thought. Maybe she shouldn’t make churros



This week’s prompts are:

  1. let it wander around
  2. burning pyres
  3. I don’t like your haircut

OLWG #190- Mostly

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. Feel free to seize the prompts, twist them, form them, play with them as you will. All comers are welcome. The words below are few this week. They are just practice for me. I had a lot of fun writing them and, practice makes perfect.

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



How he’d waited this long without killing someone was beyond him. But he’d made it through … mostly. There had been that day near Kamdesh, in Nuristan Province.

 

It was early October 2009. He had been at COP Keating when the fighting broke out. He’d later heard that there had been an estimated 150 insurgents killed. He had no way of knowing how many he had been responsible for, but there must have been a couple; at least a couple. Two weeks after that, his CO had pinned a medal on his tunic. There mighta been one or two more for which he had never gotten medals. He wasn’t sure.

 

There was also Ms North. He’d only been about six or seven years old. Ms North was babysitting while his parents went somewhere, he couldn’t remember where. They were always going somewhere. Anyway, his mother had told Ms North not to let him swing in the apple tree. Then, she had told him the same thing, in front of Ms North.

 

She had said, “Stay out of the apple tree, Little Bill. Do as you’re told, and don’t give Ms North any trouble, ya’ hear? Your dad and I won’t be home till after bedtime, so we’ll see you in the morning.” Later, when he was swinging in the apple tree, he fell and broke his arm, it caused his parents to come home early. Ms North felt pretty bad about the whole thing. She had a heart attack that evening. Hell, that one might not have even been his fault. More like a coincidence, a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, maybe.

 

And there was that guy. That guy out by Ruby Falls but that was a case of self defence. That guy was looking for trouble. Yeah, Little Bill thought to himself, he’d made it through without killing anyone… mostly, but today might be his day.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. they did everything right
  2. leave it alone
  3. it’s a little too retro

OLWG #189- The Preacher’s Wife

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. Feel free to seize the prompts, twist them, form them, play with them as you will. All comers are welcome. The words below are just practice for me. I had a lot of fun writing them and, practice makes perfect.

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



Elsie hurried around the breakfast bar and picked up the phone. “Hello?” she tentatively spoke. As always, she toyed with the cord that tethered the handset to the wall by the back door.

“Elsie? It’s me.”

It was Adeline, from two doors down.

“Addy, good morning; how are you?”

“I’m just fine, Else. Listen, Cora’s over here and I think you should come over too – right away.” Lowering her voice, she added in a whisper, “Cora might be in some trouble.”

“I’m in my robe right now and I have a coffee cake in the oven. It’ll take me about twenty minutes. OK?”

“Quick as you can, Elsie.” Addie ended the call.

Oh my, Elsie thought to herself as she leaned down and peered into the oven.

In the bedroom, she pulled on her bright floral print shift and exchanged the slippers she had been wearing for her old flats. She looked in the mirror and patted her hair. Grabbed a sweater from the easy chair and made her way back to the kitchen. She checked the coffee cake – almost done.

“Fuck it,” she muttered and grabbed an oven mitt to pull out the cake.

Only fifteen minutes had passed before Elsie pushed the side door open at Addy’s house. She had brought the coffee cake along to share.

In the kitchen, she found Addy and Cora sitting silently at the breakfast table, staring at nothing. In the centre of the table sat a colourful, hand-made, Mexican walking stick. It was beautifully carved with snakes crawling up the shaft. The handhold was the head of an Aztec Eagle warrior with his mask.

Cora’s chin rested on both her hands and a cup of coffee sat in front of her. She had her mouth drawn downward, she looked worried.

“What’s going on?” Elsie asked as she sat her Pyrex dish, with the coffee cake, on the top of the stove. “I brought refreshments.”

Addy grabbed the cane, “Look at this Else.”

“I can see it. It’s beautiful. Where did you get it?”

Cora’s face fell even further as Addy explained, “You know Mr Santiago? He lives on the other side of Edgemere Avenue.”

“I know of him. I see him around. At the market, downtown, he sits at the park sometimes. I wouldn’t say that I know him, though. Oh, of course, that’s his cane. He has it with him all the time.”

“It used to be his cane,” Addy said as she glared at Cora.

Elsie could tell this wasn’t going to be good. She pulled out a chair and took a seat. She studied her two friends and waited.

“Go on, Cora; tell her.”

Cora straightened up a little and clasped her hands, resting them on the table. She still looked worried and now, maybe even a little scared. “Well, you know how I’m always attracted to beautiful things?” Cora began.

Elsie nodded her head.

“Years ago I used to be attracted to Martín.”

“Who’s Martín?” Elsie interrupted.

Cora tilted her head slightly towards her friend, Elsie. Then she continued, “Martín is his first name. His name is Martín Santiago. He was beautiful once, but it didn’t take me long to realize that his beauty was only skin deep. He was mean. Mean as a snake. I broke it off.

“This morning I went to Gayle’s Bakery for pastries. As I was walking home, I met Martín, on Dorado Street, with his cane. True to form he began cursing when he saw me. He has never forgiven me for dumping him, all those years ago. I crossed the street and he hobbled after me, shaking his stick. Finally, I thought I should stop and just have it out with him. After all, it had been years. Why couldn’t he let it go? But, it escalated when he swung his walking stick; I grabbed it and wrested it from him.

“That’s when he balled up his fists. I stepped to one side and swung the stick, as hard as I could, and hit him across the back of his knees. He crumpled. I ran here.”

Elsie made a tsk tsk sound with her tongue, “Is he OK?”

“I don’t know,” 

Elsie turned her attention to Addy, “You said ‘it used to be his cane.’ Do you know if he’s OK?”

“I said used to be; because, well you know – spoils of war and all that.”

“Well,” Elsie counselled, “I think we need to get rid of it. I think we need to get rid of it and feign ignorance. Cora, this never happened. Addy, you need to start a fire. Give me the stick.”

Elsie took the cane to the back yard and brought it down hard on the edge of Addy’s brick planter, the one with the geraniums, breaking it in two. She picked up the pieces and brought them back inside where she put them in the fire that Addy had started. They all three stood around the fire and watched the cane catch. Then Addy leaned down to close the screen.

“That sure was a beautiful walking stick,” Addy said.

Her two friends both nodded. After a while, Elsie went back to the kitchen and cut the coffee cake. She gave the biggest piece to Cora.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. wind carries both the bad news and the good
  2. bury them naked
  3. Chinatown

OLWG #188- UrbanCool Ice Co.

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. Feel free to seize the prompts, twist them, form them, play with them as you will. All comers are welcome. The words below are just practice for me. I had a lot of fun writing them and, practice makes perfect.

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



It was almost half five when Sharon came home from the last day of school. She clamoured through the front door, letting the screen slam.

“That you, Sharon?” her father called from the kitchen.

“It’s me, Dad.” She hollered back, “what’s for dinner?”

“I made a tuna casserole.”

In the hallway, Sharon made a face. She should have never told Dad that she had enjoyed that tuna dish he had made last week. He had made it every day since then, and she was beginning to get sick of it. She strode into the kitchen; smiled at her dad.

“Sounds great, Dad.” She sung, “Guess what?” She waited.

“What’s that, honey?”

“I got a summer job!”

Almost immediately, Dad’s smile went terse, “Yeah?” He questioned, “Where?”

“At that new ice company on Portola Street.”

His expression changed again from terse to questioning. “How did you find out they were hiring? What are you going to be doing for them?”

“I saw an ad stuck up on a bulletin board at school, so I stopped by on my way home. I got an interview right away. Told them that I was looking for a summer job and they told me I got it. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing exactly, not yet anyway. They said I’d be working in their marketing department. I’m supposed to show up tomorrow at eight for orientation.”

“Well, that’s good, I guess.” He said. “They most likely need an office girl or something.”

“Yeah, I’ll find out in the morning.”

That night the two went out to celebrate her first job. After dinner, they took a ride out to the new truck stop on I-80 for pie.

The next morning, at a quarter to eight, Sharon pushed through the front door of UrbanCool Ice Co. on Portola. The receptionist smiled, and Sharon introduced herself and announced that she was a new hire. She said that HR had told to report that morning.

“What department were you hired for?” The receptionist asked. The plaque on her desk said that her name was Miss Johnson.

“I’m supposed to be working for Marketing.”

“OK then,” said Miss Johnson, “I’ll call Mr Kirby and tell him that you are here. Please take a seat; I’m sure he’ll be down shortly.”

Sharon smiled, nodded and sat on the divan across the room.

When Mr Kirby came down, he introduced himself to Sharon and asked her to follow him. As they moved towards the loading dock, he handed Sharon a cardboard box. “Here’s your uniform,” he told her, “right up here’s the locker room where you can change. I’ll wait, but please make it quick.”

Sharon ducked into the room and opened the box. When she came back out, she was dressed as a rotund snowman with an UrbanCool Ice Co. tee-shirt. She had kept the snowman head pushed back, like the hood on a sweatshirt, so that her vision wasn’t impaired by the uniform.  Mr Kirby was standing across the passageway engaged in conversation with a man wearing a blue uniform shirt. He had the name ‘Kenneth’ embroidered above the breast pocket of his shirt.

“Ah, Sharon,” said Mr Kirby, “This is Kenneth. He’s the route manager for the downtown area. You’ll be working with him today. This is a very important area for our business sooo, stay sharp and do a good job. I’ll leave you in Kenneth’s capable hands. He’ll let you know what’s expected.”

Kirby turned to the Route Manager, “Ken, take good care of Sharon and show her the ropes. She’s going to be an important part of our downtown marketing strategy this summer.”

He leaned down and offered Sharon his hand. Although it wasn’t easy, wearing the snowman costume, she twisted until she could shake hands with Mr Kirby. “Thank you, sir,” was all she could manage to say.

Sharon watched Mr Kirby as he made his way back in the direction they had come, and then turned her attention back to Kenneth. He was a tall man with light, sandy coloured hair. The corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled.

“Sharon is it?” he asked.

“Yes sir.”

He started walking towards the dock. “The truck’s all loaded,” he said, “I’m looking forward to working with you.”

“You too, sir,” she intoned. The two walked in silence for a while.

“You’ll be on your own when we get there, but I won’t be far away. Your job is to walk up and down the road, shaking hands with everyone you meet. Can’t talk though. You’re like one of those characters at Disneyland.”

Sharon padded along next to Kenneth.

“You know?” Kenneth said, “You look a wee bit silly dressed as a snowman.”

“I expect I do,” Sharon answered and they both smiled.

“You’ll do great, kid.” Ken said, “I been in this business a long time and I recognize talent. You got what it takes.”



This week’s prompts are:

  1. the magic of your wares
  2. they did
  3. it’s what I do between the bars

OLWG #187- Mañana Sería Otro Día

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. Feel free to seize the prompts, twist them, form them, play with them as you will. All comers are welcome. The words below are just practice for me. Practice makes perfect.

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



Once upon a time there was an old man, name of Porfirio, who lived with his wife, Ximena. Porfirio liked to sit on the heavy wooden bench beneath the álamo that grew in front of his house. From there he could look across the basin. The world was at his doorstep.

The house had a tin roof and thick adobe walls. It had been built by his abuelo. It was small but sturdy and dry. This particular afternoon Porfirio sat with a piece of wood in one hand and his pocketknife in the other. He whittled as he tapped his foot keeping time to the song that ran around and around in his head. The song was trapped there and couldn’t get out. He didn’t mind though, it was a song that had been passed down through the ages. A song he had heard his whole life. His mother had sung it to him when he was a boy. He, in turn, had sung it to his son.

Porfirio knew that today was the day. The day his son would return home to visit. Maybe it would only be for a day or two, but maybe it would be longer. He had told Ximena that Guillermo would come home today. She had been as excited as he, and suggested that she would straighten the house and prepare a fine meal for a celebration, while he waited outside and kept watch for the boy.

It was dusk when Ximena came outside and gently shook her husband’s shoulder to waken him. “Entra Porfirio,” she said, “es tarde y tu cena está lista.” She took his hand and helped him stand. They leaned into one another as they walked slowly back to the house. Tomorrow would be another day.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. pray for them
  2. there was no time
  3. his office phone was ringing

OLWG #186- Girls Night Out, With A Chance Encounter at ‘The View’

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. The words below are just practice. Practice makes perfect.

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



Misty had gone to The View (a downtown rooftop bar in OKC) with her girlfriends, Ladonna and Jewel, to have a few drinks and maybe meet some nice men. It seemed to have worked almost immediately when Ladonna was whisked away to the dance floor by a tall cowboy with two days stubble and no hat. She had smiled at her friends when she followed the guy, who had introduced himself as Lloyd to a table by the guardrail near the roof’s edge. Misty and Jewel had smiled as they watched Lloyd walk with Ladonna. Those two hadn’t even danced together; they were sitting at a table for two drinking and making goo-goo eyes at one another. It would seem that Ladonna and her new paramour had other things in mind.

Almost immediately after that, Jewel was similarly swept away by a visiting businessman who called himself Chance, Chance Henderson from Grady County, less than fifty miles to the southwest.

Finding herself alone after only a few minutes at The View, Misty figured that she should probably head on home. Maybe she’d have better luck next time. Misty had ordered a greyhound and was finishing it, getting ready to leave, when she sensed a presence hovering to her left. She turned and found herself drowning in the deep blue eyes of the most handsome man she had ever seen. He had mid-length curly brown hair, broad shoulders, narrow hips and a flat stomach. She looked down at his boots and proceeded to run her eyes up the length of his body. Studying the entire man, from his cowboy boots to the top of his head. She estimated that he stood about six and a half feet tall with those boots on, which would probably make him just over 6-4 without them.

“Hello,” he said, “I couldn’t help but notice you sitting here all alone. I figured I should come over and introduce myself.” He stuck out his hand, and she took it. They stood like that for what was probably only a few seconds but felt like an eternity.

“Well?” she asked.

“Well, what?” he replied.

“Well are you going to introduce yourself, or do I have to guess your name?”

“Oh, sorry,” he said, “I got lost there for a moment. “My name is Brock and I’m pleased to meet you.”

“Are you from around here, Brock?”

“Uhm, no ma’am, I’m from Kenton … that’s over in Cimarron County.”

“Well, that’s in the panhandle, isn’t it? I’ve never been there.”

“Yes, ma’am, it is. Just south of the Black Mesa.”

“What do you do in Kenton, Brock?” Misty asked him.

She was liking him by this time. He was so handsome, so polite.

“I’ll be happy to answer your question, ma’am but I don’t even know your name yet?”

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Brock. I’m Misty and I live right here in OKC. I work for the county and spend evenings looking for handsome strangers named Brock. Looks like I have achieved my goal tonight, and let me tell you this is the first time, I’ve ever done that.”

“May I buy you a drink, ma’am?” Brock asked.

“No thank you, sir, but I’d be honoured if you’d let me buy you one. You look like a whiskey man. Am I right?”

Brock smiled, “Yes ma’am. I do enjoy a good glass of bourbon.”

Misty signalled the barman and Brock ordered a “Red Fork Reverence.”

When his drink arrived, Brock told Misty that he ran the Museum in Kenton. He told her that the museum was mostly artefacts from the Anasazi who used to live around the Black Mesa. He told her that he was also the Mayor of Kenton.

“Oh, I am impressed,” Misty said, and she genuinely was.

“Don’t be too impressed, ma’am. We only have a population of sixty-three folks. And, most of them are relatives of mine.”

Misty raised her eyebrows, turned her head and studied this tall good-looking man.

“That why you came to OKC, Brock? You looking for a broader gene pool?”

“Not necessarily, Miss Misty, but I would be honoured if you would join me for dinner tonight.” He smiled, his eyes sparkled.

She grinned and took his hand



This week’s prompts are:

  1. girls lit by neon
  2. don’t pray for me
  3. An Englishman, an Irishman, and a Poet

OLWG #185- Writing Poetry

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. The words below are just practice. Practice makes perfect.

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



Write about the people, places, and things that you love.

Freely explore ideas and beliefs. Both your own and those with which you disagree.

Abstract language is best avoided;

never go ‘Diving into the Wreck’

               It’s already done, you will never make it better.

Don’t write about the Spring,

better to write about the mundane; the day-to-day.

Write about the terrible Winter and the bitter cold that creeps into your bones.

Remember- good intentions do not trump craft

                Even games have rules

Do not label your work other than to identify form.

Allow your work to be expansive, definitive, or both.

Drink between poems.

Understand why you write;

              perhaps it’s fun to play with words?

Read everything,

never stanch curiosity,

observe and maintain a strong sense of optimism.

Anything can be significant, meaningful.

               Allow descriptions to be used as verbs, or not.

Don’t try to re-write the classics.

Learn from them, but question them.

Avoid elitism and,

never sacrifice veracity for articulacy.

               Choose simple.

Lean into your work.

Invite readers in and,

encourage them to experience your thoughts

Your way of being.

               With poetry comes fear, risk, and vulnerability.

Embrace it.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. needs more salt
  2. past the “Sell By” date
  3. show me something better

OLWG #184- All The Standard Janitorial Tools

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. The words below are just practice. Practice makes perfect.

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



Nayla had overslept and was running just a bit late. Not so late that she was going to get fired for being late; only a bit late. Even so, she was stressed when she punched in for work. She tossed her sack lunch in the breakroom refrigerator and hurried to her desk, dropped off her briefcase, picked up her yellow legal pad, and ran the rest of the way to the conference room. She tried to sneak in and not disrupt the meeting that was already in progress.

“Nayla, so glad you could join us,” Mr Payden announced to the room, “I skipped your new assignment, as you weren’t here, please hang on till we finish this up and I’ll go over it with you, one-on-one.”

For the next forty-five minutes, Nayla listened as Payden handed out assignments to her co-workers. As always, he encouraged the team to consult one another if problems arose. Mr Payden was a pretty good boss, but he was an overseer. He did not like to get involved in the nitty-gritty of what they did. He didn’t want to know the details; he only wanted results.

“Alright guys,” the boss summed up, “Let’s get on it, don’t forget that your self-evaluations are due today. If you haven’t done so already you can turn those in with your progress reports this afternoon. Email is the best way.”

Nayla kept her seat as the rest of the team filed out of the conference room. She grabbed Danya by the wrist as he stepped past, “Did I miss anything important?” She whispered.

Danya shook his head, “No not really,” he said, “Payden’s primary concern this morning is those self evals, so don’t forget to turn that in.”

Nayla nodded her head. Danya turned toward the door where Amon grabbed his arm, “Dude?” was all Nayla heard Amon say as the two turned towards the library.

Mr Payden straightened his paper and moved down the long table to Nayla. He sat down next to her, “Nayla, you were late again today. That’s twice this month already. You need to better your punctuality. Corporate is gonna start cracking down.”

“Yes sir, I understand, and I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” She said.

The two studied one another for a few seconds until Payden smiled. “Thanks,” he said, “Listen I’ve got a tough one for you this week,” he started rifling through his stack of papers, “There’s this old guy in New Mexico, fancies himself to be a writer. You need to look in on him. He goes by  TN Karr, or TN Kerr, or something like that. I know that the TN is right, and the last name is close. Maybe it’s Kern or Kirk, whatever – you’ll find him.” Nayla nodded because it seemed appropriate to nod about then.

“Anyway, this guy’s imagination is running out of control and, we need to nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand. Your assignment, Nayla, is to find him and clean his imagination up before he writes something that will embarrass himself and his family. Now, this is strictly a clean-up and you are authorized to use all the standard janitorial tools to get it done. Do not, I repeat, do not; cut or otherwise damage his imagination; just clean it up. We don’t want to have anything like what happened with Mary and Gestas and that CPA from Indianapolis last month. Think you can handle it?”

Nayla thought about what Payden had just said. She was familiar with TN Kerr’s work and she knew that to clean up his imagination without using a scalpel or a chain saw, or an axe was not going to be an easy task. Was Payden setting her up for failure or was he allowing her to shine?

Slowly she nodded her head, “Yeah, I think I can do this,” she answered; then quickly added, “and, I appreciate the opportunity, Mr Payden. I do.”

“I think you can do this, too,” Payden told her, “If you need any help though, pull in either Danya or Amon. I watched you work with those guys in the past. They both get better when they work with you.” He slapped the palms of his hands on the table, with a sharp clap, “Get with travel to go to New Mexico. You might need a passport. Any questions?” He stood, expecting none.

“No sir,” Nayla answered. She stood and watched Payden leave the conference room as a smile spread across her face.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. prosaic
  2. labourious
  3. boresome

OLWG #183- When Time Stopped

This week’s prompts  are at the bottom. The words below are just practice. Practice makes perfect.

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



I’ll never forget where I was when it happened; when the clocks stopped, and everyone froze in place. I was in Saline County, driving west from Wilber, where I had just knocked over the Farmers & Merchants Bank on Main Street. I was heading home.

For the job, I had parked my car about a block south of the bank, at the Subway.

Before I entered the F&M I unzipped my black canvas gym bag and placed it behind a trash can in front of the bank then I pulled my ski mask down over my face. Only my eyes showed, and of course, my pistol. Everyone in that bank saw the piece, I made sure of it. I was carrying a newly purchased blued Cimarron .45 LC single action revolver with a 5.5” barrel and walnut grips, that I had bought on-line. It had room for six rounds, but I had only loaded five. I didn’t have to do much more than flash the Cimarron to get what I wanted. I made my way to the cutest teller and handed her a white canvas sack. She put in all the money from her drawer and, I motioned her to pass it on to the next teller. It took less than three minutes for six tellers to empty their cash drawers into my bag. I got it back full, backed to the front doors and ducked outside. Grabbing my gym bag, I headed west on Fourth Street and cut across the big yard surrounding a modest-sized house on the corner of Fourth and Wilson. Behind an outbuilding nestled in some trees, I put the canvas sack, with the cash, my .45, and my Army Field Jacket into my gym bag. Then I hopped the back fence to run diagonally across the yard of what might have been a farm equipment repair business. Back on S. Main, I slowed, took five steps along the sidewalk and was at the Subway lot where I’d parked.

Hitting the button on my key fob popped the boot of the car, and I tossed the gym bag in, shut the lid and meandered over to the shop. I ordered a foot long ‘Spicy Italian’ and was informed by the high school kid working the counter that there was a special, “buy one foot long and get a second one free.” The kid had an acne-scarred face, freckles, and red hair with a cowlick that stuck straight up in the back.

“OK, I’ll take two,” I told him. He and I discussed the weather and what kinds of condiments I wanted on my sandwiches. I took spinach, red onions, black olives, tomato and an oil and vinegar dressing. At the register, I got a large iced tea and a bag of Lays classic chips to go along with my sandwiches. I ate the first sandwich sitting in my car watching the police race by to the scene of the bank robbery about half a block up. Finishing my sandwich, I headed west on 41 and right before turning onto Hwy 15 it happened. Traffic was light, and I was waiting in the turn lane for an oncoming pickup when he seemed to lose control and run off the road. I decided not to draw attention to myself, and as there was no other traffic, I made the turn and continued south. I was heading to my Momma’s house in Western.

Western, is not a large town, maybe 250 residents, but it was clear that something weird had happened. There were a couple of cars crashed their drivers slumped over the wheels. Three or four people were lying on the sidewalks, and there was no activity on the streets at all. At Momma’s, the radio was on in the kitchen. It was playing some country song that I couldn’t recognize, playing over and over on a loop. Momma was sitting at the kitchen table. She had The Observer spread out on the table, open to the obits, and a ceramic mug of coffee cooled next to her hand. Momma looked peaceful, she wasn’t breathing and I couldn’t detect a pulse but she had a slight smile on her face.

I turned on the TV and it seemed that the networks were all broadcasting. Back outside I knocked at the Nogales’, next door, no answer. Same thing at the Whitakers, across the street. I glanced around, no traffic. I tried the Whitakers front door. Gina and her mom were watching TV in the den, surrounded by light wood panelling and bookshelves. I found Mr Whitaker in the back yard laying in the grass behind his lawnmower, which had shut down when he let go of the handle. Back inside I sat on the coffee table and studied Gina and her mother. Just like my own mother, neither of them appeared to be breathing and no pulse was detectable. Gina was only a couple of years younger than me. She still lived at home and made the 40-mile drive to Southeast Community College for classes. She had been studying to be a Radiography Technologist.

I thought about what she had been like as a kid, always pestering my friends and me, following us around. I remembered how excited she had been when she’d turned sixteen and gotten her driver’s license. How she grew aloof and unapproachable when she graduated from high school.  I thought about unbuttoning her blouse and taking a peek but quickly discarded that idea.

I lifted myself from Mrs Whitaker’s stone-topped coffee table and made my way back to Momma’s house. I figured I oughta stay there until I figured out what had happened, what was going on.



This week’s prompts are:

  1. she just gets it
  2. she lies
  3. all done with mirrors