OLWG #107- The Governors Museum

This week’s prompts are at the bottom.
Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.

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



It was another cookie-cutter day and Mary found herself sitting at a small bistro table with her friend Cindy on the pavement in front of Starfish Coffee on the High Street. Cindy was rambling on about her latest attempt to stave off boredom and telling Mary about the email she had recently received from Lineage.com. She was reciting facts about her great, great, great Grandmother who had disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Union Army; where she had fought in the Civil War. Mary listened with only half an ear and kept her eye on the time as she had to pick up Billy from hockey and collect Buffy from dance by four o’clock and then get them over to the tutors before four thirty. Then Cindy said something that got Mary’s attention.

“You should do it too, Mary. It’s really easy. All you do is spit into a test tube and mail it to them. In a couple of weeks you’ll know everything you could ever want to know about your ancestors. You can even find out about Bill’s family tree without him even knowing… just sign up Billy or Buffy. You’ll learn about their lineage as well: viola you’ll know all about Bill too.”

“Not Billy,” Mary said, “I don’t want to open that can of worms, but Buffy? Well, Buffy could work.”

Cindy just nodded her head sagely and sipped her double, skinny, no caff lattè.

“How does this work, Cin? I might be interested. How would I do this?”

“OMG, Mary there are a ton of places you can work through. I used Lineage.com but there’s also 23Skidoo, or Arborvitae. I gather that those three are pretty much the leaders and basically the same, so any of them would probably do.” Cindy stopped and watched Mary, waiting for her to chime in.

“Thanks, Cin. Text me if you want to walk out to the jetty tomorrow morning? I gotta run. Collect the kids.”

That night, while Bill slept, Mary went online to 23Skidoo and arranged for them to send a test kit. Mary had been raised by a single mom, Irene Dubois, who worked as a bookkeeper in the city. Her mom had been born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut.

Mary had never known her father, but her mom had told her he’d been a decorated war veteran and had passed away before Mary’d been born. The name on her birth certificate identified her father as ‘Unknown’.

When the test kit came in the mail Mary followed the instructions and mailed it back to the company. She promptly forgot about it; just a lark, a spur of the moment decision that was truly meaningless and would have no real bearing or impact on her life. Five weeks later she opened an email from 23Skidoo.com. She read:

Greetings Ms Vanella,

Thank you for submitting a DNA sample to 23Skidoo for analysis. 
Comparisons of the sample you sent with the information in our 
current database shows that your parents are Eileen Dubois, 
of Hartford, Connecticut and Robert Noble, also of Hartford. 
Further our records indicate that Eileen Dubois passed 
on July of 2017 while Robert Noble lives in the greater Hartford area.

With best regards,

There was a lot of other blather about her mother’s parents, grandparents, and so on, that Mary already knew and there was a detailed description of Robert Noble’s lineage that she read and tried to commit to memory. The next morning, after Bill left for work and the kids were in school, Mary Googled Robert Noble.

Online, she learned that her reputed father is still alive, although now in poor health. He was, and still is, an underworld character, who ran a restaurant with his brother and was nicknamed ‘The Waiter’. He is described by the FBI as a member of the Philadelphia Mafia for more than six decades with a criminal record that includes counterfeiting, and assault. He has also been found guilty of trafficking in drugs, firearms, and stolen goods. The most interesting information that Mary uncovered that morning was that her “Father” is a primary suspect in the 1990 heist of The Governors Museum in Portland ME, where on March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art valued at a combined total of more than $500 million had been stolen in the wee hours of the morning.

Damn, Mary thought to herself. If mom wasn’t dead she’d have a lot explaining to do. Mary set about finding ‘Daddy’s’ contact information. She paid the fifteen dollar fee for an online records search but only found out that he lives with his ailing wife in a rundown ranch-style house in the suburbs of Hartford and drives a 1989 Buick.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. he’s a real horse’s ass, but a helluva painter
  2. undeserved ego
  3. you’re missing the point

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!

 

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OLWG #106- TSA

This week’s prompts are at the bottom.
Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.

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



Bertram finished packing and made his way down the hall to the front door with his suitcase. The case was hard sided with wheels and a handle that pulled out so it could be rolled around and didn’t have to be carried. He had gotten it specifically for this trip.

“Brandi, honey; I think I’m ready to go. Should I wait in the car?” he knew she was knocking around in the kitchen so he spoke loud enough for her to hear him.

“What?” she called, and he could hear her footsteps coming his way across the tile floor in the den. When she got to the entryway she said it again, “What?”

“I said that I’m all packed, dressed and ready to go. Should I wait in the car? You are still driving me to the airport aren’t you?”

“Of course I’m giving you a ride to the airport, Bert, but your flight’s not for four hours yet. It’s too early to go. I’m making us some lunch. I thought you might want to eat first. Besides that, we need to review your packing and go over what you can expect today. I’m frying some bologna. I wanted to make sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and brown mustard.”

“I’m too nervous to eat. The airport’s going to be the worst part of this trip. It used to be fun to fly but terrorists have taken all the pleasure out of air travel.”

“Relax, Baby,” she said. She reached up and put her hand on his shoulder. It was comforting. “Did you pack everything? You didn’t keep anything out, did you? You can’t smoke on the plane, you know so all of that stuff has to go into your checked baggage. Let’s take a look, OK?”

“OK.”

“Let me just go and turn off the stove first,” Brandi said and she spun on her toe and retreated back to the kitchen.

Quick as a wink she was back. She grabbed his suitcase and laid it on the floor. She knelt down next to it and reached for the clasps. The case wouldn’t open. “Good,” she said, “you locked it.”

“Just like you told me to, Honey,” he reached in his pocket and removed a small key. He held it out to her, “Here ya go.”

Brandi smiled and took the proffered key; unlocked the case and looked inside.

“Wow, you’ve done a nice job here,” she rifled through his folded shirts and jeans. She glanced at his underwear and socks, bypassed his old tennis shoes and soon found the crude false bottom in the case. “Jesus, Bert; a secret compartment? Really?” She studied the look on his face. “This isn’t going to fool anyone.”

“I thought this might work,” he shrugged, “you know how I feel about people who take drugs, and those airport security guys they’ll take my drugs if they find ‘em”

“This false bottom isn’t going to work though, Bert. It’s too obvious. They’ll find your stash straight away.”

“Open it then,” he told her, “go on – open it.”

She did, and tucked inside were a couple of old Penthouse magazines with some of the pages stuck together. There was a thumb-worn copy of “Portnoy’s Complaint” that was filled with notes written in the margins and yellow highlights. She picked the items up one at a time and then tossed them roughly back into the hidden compartment of his case.

“My God, Bert,” she grimaced, “that’s disgusting and demeaning. And, where’s your stash. You can’t have it on you or in your carry on. Are you thinking at all?”

“You didn’t even look in my tennis shoes, I’ve got about a quarter pound of premier bud stashed in my socks and tennis shoes. The false bottom is a ruse, a red herring. I hid weird porn in there because it kinda makes sense that someone would hide things like that from a TSA agent. They’ll find that first, and quit looking.”

Brandi turned her face up and gave him a kiss, “You’re brilliant, Bertram, brilliant. I’ll go put those bologna sandwiches together. You want some iced tea?”

“That’d be great Honey, thanks.”


This week’s prompts are:

  1. keep walking till the music gets loud
  2. it’s always money
  3. he only came in to get out of the snow

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!

 

OLWG #105- Mutiny, Most Foul

This week’s prompts are at the bottom.
Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.

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



After the mutiny, Captain Jacques Hellion found himself adrift on a lifeboat with only his parrot, Samuel, and very few supplies. His first mate, Sneed, had led the crew against him and taken Hellion’s ship. As Sneed turned the ship alee and sailed away the Cap’n shook his fist and cursed his former crew, He yelled and yelled. He didn’t stop until his ship, Buccaneer’s Slave, had disappeared over the horizon at which point Jacques Hellion got down to the business of inventorying the small boat’s contents.

He found tobacco, hard tack, salted fish and maybe three litres of drinking water. There was also an old bottle with a cork stopper. Cap’n Hellion pulled the stopper from the bottle, and a Genie appeared. The genie announced that he would grant only one wish to the Pirate Captain; not three, as was the custom.

Excited, and without thinking it through, Jacques Hellion blurted out, “Turn the sea into rum!” which is, of course, a Pirate’s favourite drink.

“As you wish,” the genie waved his hands elaborately, a mighty storm blew up and the Genie vanished.

The lifeboat was a modified Norwegian yawl boasting a double hull, filled with cork, for buoyancy and a cast iron keel that made it self righting. Captain Hellion had no trouble with the storm and when it blew out only the gentle lapping of rum against the hull broke the stillness. Both the pirate and the parrot, Samuel, sampled the rum and found it to be very good rum, indeed.

The two stared at one another as they considered their circumstance.

Finally, Samuel narrowed his eyes and looked disgustedly at the Captain. Hellion stared back, defiantly.

“Now yee’ve done it.” cackled the bird, “Now we’re gonna have to pee in the boat.”


This week’s prompts are:

  1. it’s clogged
  2. soaked
  3. rocket surgery

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!

 

OLWG #104- The Bachelorette Party

This week’s prompts are at the bottom.
Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.

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



Mavis leaned closer and studied her reflection in the mirror. She was drunk and her makeup was a mess, but the dress looked good. Her wedding dress lay on the bed behind her and she could see it in the mirror. She turned her head and looked at the wind up alarm clock on the dresser it was 7:00 AM. Still three hours till her wedding.

She had partied last night with her bridesmaids and her maid of honour. What had been planned as a dinner at La Paloma had turned into dinner at La Paloma, a few drinks at Sinvergüenzas on ‘D’ Street, and finally visiting the after hour joints down by the train station. It was almost 6:00 when she had stumbled home held up between Eileen and some shirtless man who looked familiar but whose name she didn’t know.

Now Eileen was in the bathroom, vomiting from the sounds of it, and the shirtless man was sleeping in the middle of her front lawn.

She needed coffee and a shower, the wedding was at 10:00.

She picked up her phone and dialed her mother, “Momma, bring coffee. Bring lots of coffee. Hurry.”

She put down the phone and went into the bathroom. Gagging she pulled her maid of honour into the shower and turned on the cold water. Eileen screamed and tried to bolt. Mavis held her in the water and then climbed in with her, slowly peeling off her clothes.

Just as Mavis was beginning to feel a little bit better her Momma opened the bathroom door. “¡Híjole, qué tarde!” Momma exclaimed, “What’s going on here?”

“We had a little too much to drink last night Momma, we need coffee and help getting dressed.”

“Hijita, you are getting married this morning.”

“I know Momma, I know. I’m about to become Mavis Davis,” she pressed her index fingers to her temples as her mother began to laugh. “Derik is a good man Mavis. He’s a good man with a promising future. Don’t screw this up.”

“I’ll be OK, Momma. Take care of Eileen, please.” She grabbed a towel and moved back to the bedroom to look at her dress and clean the old makeup off her face.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. can we trust them?
  2. Maddie was a nice girl
  3. just another one

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!

 

OLWG #103- Fishin’

This week’s prompts are at the bottom.
Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.

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



Picture Bennett sitting in a camping chair with a fishing pole in one hand and a Budweiser in the other. He is shirtless… cutoff jeans… water shoes.

A young boy sits on the bank next to him and digs through a picnic basket as Bennett watches the river flow.

Bennett’s attention is drawn to the boy and he watches him searching for a moment. Then, he clears his throat, waves a mosquito away from his ear.

“How’s school, Kevin?”

“It’s OK, Dad.”

“What’s your favourite subject?”

“It changes from time to time, but right now I guess its Science. We’re studying the universe. Stars, planets, black holes, white dwarfs, light years, things like that. It’s pretty cool.”

“Light years, huh? What’s a light year?”

“You don’t know what a light year is, Dad?”

“’Course I do, boy. A light year is ah, well it’s, I reckon it might be the same as a regular year, only one third fewer calories.”

Their laughter cuts off when Bennett’s line goes taught. The fish starts to run.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. treat him like a sister
  2. In case of fire
  3. getting out of hand

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!

 

OLWG #102- The Trade

This week’s prompts are at the bottom.
Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.

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



Some of you who know me, or who have read enough of my postings, are aware of the fact that I am a submariner. Submarines have been around for a long time, though not as long as poetry. I thought I might bring to your attention the existence of a famous submarine poem ‘The Trade’ from the book “Sea Warfare” (1916) by Rudyard Kipling : A combination of prose and poetry, kinda like a haibun; only different.

The term ‘The Trade’ refers to the submarine service. The part of “Sea Warfare” from which this is derived consists of three articles that Kipling wrote about British submarine activities, published in The Times, between 21 and 28 June 1916. As published in the book, they are preceded by a verse, “The Trade”.

###

THEY bear, in place of classic names,
Letters and numbers on their skin.
They play their grisly blindfold games
In little boxes made of tin.
Sometimes they stalk the Zeppelin,
Sometimes they learn where mines are laid,
Or where the Baltic ice is thin.
That is the custom of “The Trade.”

Few prize-courts sit upon their claims.
They seldom tow their targets in.
They follow certain secret aims
Down under, Far from strife or din.
When they are ready to begin
No flag is flown, no fuss is made
More than the shearing of a pin.
That is the custom of “The Trade.”

The Scout’s quadruple funnel flames
A mark from Sweden to the Swin,
The Cruiser’s thund’rous screw proclaims
Her comings out and goings in:
But only whiffs of paraffin
Or creamy rings that fizz and fade
Show where the one-eyed Death has been
That is the custom of “The Trade.”

Their feats, their fortunes and their fames
Are hidden from their nearest kin;
No eager public backs or blames,
No journal prints the yarn they spin
(The Censor would not let it in! )
When they return from run or raid.
Unheard they work, unseen they win.
That is the custom of “The Trade.”


This week’s prompts are:

  1. Do the authorities know you’re here?
  2. as you slept
  3. what became of forever?

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!

 

OLWG #101- Miss Chalmers

This week’s prompts are at the bottom.
Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.

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



When she returned she was pushing a small wooden cart with wooden wheels that squeaked when she pushed it across the floor. It went cheep, cheep, cheep. Miss Chalmers’ smile was wide and her teeth were impossibly white and she motioned me to a camelback sofa opposite her desk. I took a seat and laid my greatcoat over the arm.

Atop the wooden coffee cart was a silver tray, porcelain cups and a small silver coffee pot with a Sterno flame beneath it. Miss Chalmers placed a pair of delicate cups and saucers on the low table in front of me. They were handpainted, flowers of some sort. Certainly not a variety I had ever seen. I thought I should ask her about them. What kind of flowers they were, but I didn’t.

I watched her lift the coffee pot, holding the handle with one hand and a white towel in the other. She poured the brew into one of the cups and delicately wiped the front of the pot with the cloth. She put a cream pitcher and a sugar bowl on the table as well. The sugar bowl held cubes and there were small tongs to pick the sugar up with.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Would you mind if I joined you?” she asked, and I waved her over. She almost scurried around the low table and perched on the sofa, keeping a proper distance between us.

She poured herself a cup and then lifted her saucer, balancing the cup, holding it steady and not spilling a drop. She added two cubes of sugar and a drop of cream and sat ramrod straight in her place on the couch.

“How much do you know about the position you have been selected for, Mr Dolan?” she asked.

“Please call me Tom,” I answered.

“I’m more comfortable calling you Mr Dolan if that’s alright with you,” she flashed her bright smile again.

“Whatever suits you, Miss Chalmers,” I replied getting into character, feeling like an actor in an old black and white movie. Something noir, maybe starring Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains. In my imagination, Miss Chalmers was morphing into Ingrid Bergman. “What will I call you?”

She continued, “After we’re done here we’ll get you settled into ‘Number 27’. This morning we have some forms for you to sign and a few documents for you to read, but we should be finished for the day relatively early. You can call me Miss Chalmers. Do you have any other questions for me?”

“How do you keep it warm here, Miss Chalmers? Will it be warm at ‘Number 27’?”

She finished her cup and placed it back on the silver tray along with the sugar bowl and cream pitcher.

“Well,” she began, “it’s warm here because of our proximity to the generator. Number 27 will not be as warm as it is here, but it will be better than anything you have been accustomed to since the war.” She walked delicately back to her desk where she picked up a file folder that was about an inch thick and carried it back to her spot on the sofa. Opening the folder she removed the first sheet of paper.

“Should we get some of the preliminaries out of the way first?” she asked.

“Whatever you say.”

“This is a standard liability waiver,” she said leaning over so that I could see the swell of her breasts and look down her blouse, “It simply spells out that you have been advised of the risks accompanying your new position here, and that you release The Government of any and all liability that may be associated with same.” She set the paper down in front of me, “You need to sign, here,” she pointed at the appropriate spot, “and initial here, and here.” She handed me a pen.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. los pobrecitos
  2. the present was poorly wrapped
  3. bottle of emotions

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!