OLWG #97- The Colossal War

 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.



I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out my invitation. I wanted to check the address. The card was beautifully made on heavy paper, hand-done calligraphy. It read:

 You are hereby requested to present yourself to
Government House,
promptly at 0800 on 07.April.
To begin the last job you will ever want or ever need.

Dress is business attire.

We want to thank you for your interest in working at Government House
and
Congratulate you on being selected.
We look forward to welcoming you.

I looked at the row of brownstones that I stood before. The colour of the houses was dark. The style was ripe with Italianate details. The doorways and windows were surrounded by foliated moulding. There was a richly ornamented frieze at the roof line.

The entire block had been cleared of snow and ice. I was excited. It had been over forty years since the “Colossal War” forced the onset of our Nuclear Winter. People around here hadn’t seen the sun since before the war. It was cold, snow and ice were everywhere; black though, from the soot that blocked the sun.

It had been named “The Colossal War” because they had run out of names for these things. Our leaders had named the First World War, “The Great War.” They had also wasted “War to End All Wars” on that one.

They called WWII “The Good War”.

The tension between Soviet Russia and the United States that existed after that had taken the name “Cold War” which would have been perfect for this one, with its onset of the Nuclear Winter and all, but the name had already been taken so, Colossal War became the chosen moniker.  I have forgotten what it feels like to be warm or what fresh produce tastes like.

Anyway, I stood up straight and strode to the front steps where I marched up to the door with a purpose. I turned the knob and pushed, but the door was locked. I spied a bell and pressed the button. A tinny feminine voice came out of a small speaker beneath the bell.

“Yes? May I help you?”

“Uhm,” I removed my invitation again and held it up towards the door.

The disembodied voice spoke again, “There’s a camera over the door. If you are trying to show me that piece of paper please hold it up so the camera can see it.”

I complied.

“A bit closer, if you could,” the voice scolded, “the printing is quite small and I can’t make out what it says.”

I raised the invitation up over my head.

“Just a little higher, please. I still can’t quite make it out.”

I stood on my tip toes and stretched my arms upward.

“Oh!” the woman exclaimed, “You’re Mr  Dolan, aren’t you? Please come in. Come in, please.”

There was a sharp buzz and the door popped open, swinging in just slightly.

I pushed and found myself in an entryway or a foyer of some sort but there was only one way deeper into the house. Closing the front door, I made my way into the next room and found an officious looking young woman with mousy brown hair, and a white blouse. She stood and came around her desk. Her outfit was completed with a dark blue or black ‘A-Line’ skirt that hung at her knees and her feet were covered with unadorned dark coloured flat dress shoes. She was all business.

“I’m so sorry that I didn’t recognize you, Mr Dolan,” she apologized.

I waved it off, “It’s OK,” I said, “Don’t worry about it.”

We stared at one another for a few seconds before she broke the spell, “Please, have a seat, Mr Dolan. May I get you a coffee?”

“You have coffee?” I asked, and she nodded. “Then, yes, please. Just black, no sugar.”

She turned on her toe and scurried down a dark hall, I assumed that she was going to the kitchen.

When she was gone I looked at the nameplate that sat front and centre on her desk.

‘Miss Chalmers’ it read.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. He was a lout
  2. she kept snakes
  3. of course we used to tell them that

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 #96- Heist

 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.



She leaned against the car and twisted the ring she wore on her left hand. He put his foot on the running board and retied the brown laces of his two-tone brown & white cap-toe spectator shoes.

She had a cut-down Browning 20 gauge whippet gun hung with a strap on her shoulder, and concealed beneath her overcoat. He stood and reached in through the rear window; retrieving a .30-06 Browning Automatic Rifle that he held pointing down, next to his leg.

They both turned towards the lights coming from the window of the gas station and made their way towards the front door. He paused outside and looked up and down the deserted highway. She pushed the door open and smiled at the young attendant who was finishing up a conversation on the telephone. Moving forward she leaned on the counter and waited. The attendant wore an oval white patch sewn on the breast of his uniform that identified him as Bill. He held up one finger to show that he was almost finished and exchanged a few more words on the phone before replacing the handset on the cradle.

“Sorry, ma’am,” he began, “I didn’t mean to make y’all wait. I was just finishing. You want me to fill ‘er up?”

She widened her smile and squinted at his name badge, “I will, Bill, but can you get me a pack of cigarettes first, Camels.” Bill turned to oblige and she reached for a box of matches from a bowl full on the countertop.

When he turned back around, she was brandishing her cut off shotgun. She added, “Oh, and I’m going to need all the money from your register drawer, and the safe that you have down under the counter there.” She pointed to the left side of the counter where the safe sat below.

“I, uh don’t have the combination to the safe, ma’am,” Bill told her.

“You can explain that to my partner,” her smile had vanished.

He walked in and raised the Automatic Rifle that he had been holding down by his leg. It was now levelled at Bill. “Is there a problem here, darling?” he asked her.

“Well, Bill here says that he doesn’t know how to open the safe.”

“That right Bill?” he asked and lifted the barrel of the gun so that it was now pointed at Bill’s face.

“No, no, no, sir,” Bill stuttered, “I just remembered that Mr Towers has the combination written on the underside of this shelf here,” he said.

“Well, get it open and get it empty then, son,” he said. “Put it all in one of them paper bags you got and put in a pint of whisky too. Maybe some of that beef jerky you got as well. When you’re done with that we need some gas.”

She moved around the counter to watch Bill and hit ‘NO SALE’ on the register. When the drawer sprang open she grabbed a bag and scooped the cash in. When Bill got the safe door open she gave a low whistle, “There’s gotta be ‘least four hundred dollars in there.” She said.

She raised the barrel of her 20 gauge and fired a celebratory shell at the ceiling. Bill let go and collapsed on the floor. A puddle of urine appeared beneath him and a foul smell filled the office.

He reached over and yanked the phone cord from the wall before joining her on the other side of the counter. He took the paper bag with the register cash and pushed Bill to the side with his foot. Reaching in the safe he picked up a couple stacks of cash, smiled and dropped them in the bag. Then he turned and picked a bottle off the shelf and a couple pieces of jerky from the glass display case. He leaned over and gave her a kiss on the lips.

“Damnit, honey,” he said, “now we gotta pump our own gas.”


This week’s prompts are:

  1. blue Bombay Sapphire
  2. one scream at a time
  3. justifiably so

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 #95- Never Mailed

 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 Martha passed away, at the age of 71, it was almost a year before her husband, Richard, could bring himself to go through her dresser drawers and her closet. Gather her clothes and her stuff. Throw some away, save some, and donate the rest to The Goodwill.

On her closet shelf he found a box tucked away at the back that was chock full of memories. There were some letters he had written her from Vietnam. Martha had promised that she would wait for him to come home; and she had.

There were two wedding invitations. The oldest was for their own wedding, printed on heavy cotton paper with gold filigree on the edges. The second was for their daughter Sara’s wedding to Jim. Those two were a handsome couple and would have had beautiful children if not for Jim’s war. Jim had not been as lucky as he had.

Sara went downhill fast after that, with all the booze and the pills. He shook his head.

There was some buttons, several pieces of ribbon, and a delicate gold chain that he didn’t recognize, or at least didn’t remember.

He found Boda’s old dog tag with their phone number engraved on the back. The phone number from when they lived in Lompoc. They’d been happy in Lompoc.

In the bottom of the box he found a letter written on blue air mail paper. The really lightweight stuff that you could fold and came pre-glued. Didn’t require an envelope and saved on postage. There was a 12¢ stamp stuck on the upper right corner and it was addressed to him at an APO address. The one he had used when he was with Charlie Company. The letter had never been mailed.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. outside
  2. just ice
  3. Hi, Mom

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 #94- Abilene, Party of Three

 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.



Abilene hurried to answer the door when the bell rang. As she expected it was Nora so she let her in. Nora was dressed perfectly, wearing a white cotton blouse with a scoop neck and puffy short sleeves atop straight legged, high waisted blue jeans.

They slowed to wish Abi’s mom good night and took their leave after telling her that they would be studying at Julia’s house and would spend the night there. It was OK with Julia’s parents.

“I’ll be home before noon, Mom” Abilene assured her mother.

“OK, keep your cell phone on,” Mom called as they hurried out the door.

Nora drove as Abi dug through her backpack and pulled out a tight red leather miniskirt and a long-sleeved black crop top. She changed in the car; packed her jeans and tee in the pack along with her bra.

Julia was waiting on the porch when Nora pulled the car up in front of her house. She opened the door and yelled her goodbyes into the house before hurrying down the stairs and jumping into the backseat of Nora’s car.

“You look great, Abi,” she said as she wiggled out of her jeans revealing the Daisy Dukes that she already had on underneath them. She pulled off her sweatshirt and revealed a form-fitting blue tank top that left very little to the imagination.

“You too,” Abilene said.

Nora pulled into the Texaco to gas up her car and ran into the women’s room while Mr Lightner filled the tank; all while Julia and Abilene fussed with their makeup. When Nora came back out she looked spectacular. She was wearing embroidered Capri’s and a tight open back shirt. She handed Mr Lightner a ten dollar bill and climbed back into the driver’s seat.

Lightner leaned down to Nora’s window and tipped his hat. “Evenin’ Nora, Abeline, Julia,” he began, “You girls are all gussied up tonight. What’s goin’ on? Is there a dance at the high school?”

“No sir, Mr Lightner,” Julia answered. “We’re driving to Shelbyville. We’re going dancing at the new nightclub there, The Viper Room. Please don’t tell our parents.” Nora and Abi were nodding their heads in agreement as Julia explained their plans to Mr Lightner.

“No, I won’t say anything to your folks,” he said, “but have you considered that they might not let you girls in? They serve drinks there and Y’all are only high school students. What if they ask you for ID?”

“We thought about that and we’ve got fake ID’s Mr Lightner,” Nora explained. “We ordered them from an ad in the back of one of my dad’s magazines. The ad said that they were guaranteed to work so we’re not worried. We’ve been planning this for a while now.”

“Well, it sure sounds like you’ve covered all the bases then. You girls be careful tonight and have fun. Nora, don’t you drink and drive now.”

“No, sir, I won’t,” Nora replied as she started the car. The girls pulled out of the Texaco and onto the highway, heading east towards Shelbyville.

At the Viper Room, they stood in line for over an hour just to get to the door. The big man sitting on the stool by the door took one look at them and then looked at their fake IDs. He looked at the girls again.

“I can’t let you ladies in here,” he said. “Y’all don’t look old enough to be here and these fake IDs aren’t very well made. I hope you didn’t spend too much for them.” He handed the counterfeit driving licenses back to them and smiled politely.

Dejected, the three friends turned back and wove their way through the car park back to Nora’s car.

“Now what are we gonna do?” Abilene asked, “I told my Mom we were sleeping at your house, Jule.”

“Yeah, me too,” Nora echoed.

“I told my mom I was sleeping at Nora’s,” Julia chimed in, “but we can go sleep at my house. We can have a slumber party and stay up all night. I’ll just tell my mom that your stupid brother came home sick so we moved the party.”

They stopped at the Texaco again on the way back to change out of their clubbing clothes and take off their makeup. Mr Lightner saw the girls but let them be. He just waved as they walked back to the car together and left. They turned west on the highway heading towards Julia’s house.

Lightner chuckled to himself and watched their taillights recede into the darkness. He lit another Chesterfield and coughed out the smoke.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. everything, except the last thing
  2. it’s tragic
  3. rows and rows

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 #93- Abasdarhon

 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.



Mark pulled his coat tight around him and listened to his stomach growl. The night was cold but at least it wasn’t raining. Finally he fell into a fitful sleep, or maybe he never really got to sleep before realizing that someone was shaking his shoulder.

“Wake up. Wake up,” the someone said

“Aw right, aw right, I’m going,” Mark grumbled. He was accustomed to the cops rousting him when he was sleeping rough. He sat up and pulled on his beard, trying to smooth it down.

“You don’t gotta go, mate,” the voice said. “Just sit up for a bit. Talk to me. I got some questions to ask, but I wanna sit down.”

Mark rubbed his eyes and peered at the someone behind the voice. “You’re from England, aren’t you?” Mark asked thinking he recognized the accent.

“No, I’m from France actually, but I’ve had the operation.”

Mark grinned at the old joke and sat up. The someone sat on the wooden slats next to him and felt around his coat pockets till he found a flask which he removed and screwed the cap off of. He took a drink and offered it to Mark.

Mark shook his head, “no thanks.” He stretched, “whatcha want to know?”

“My name’s Abasdarhon,” he said, “you sure you don’t want some of this?” he held the flask out again.

“I’m sure. How’d you say your name again? What kind of name is that anyway? Is it English? Or French?”

“It’s neither, actually. I guess you could say it’s heavenly.” He took another sip from the flask. “Until tonight I worked there, but I quit, or maybe I got fired. Anyway I don’t work there anymore. I was cast out and I landed here.”

“What’d you do there?” Mark asked wishing he was more awake.

“I was an angel. Specifically, the angel of the fifth hour of the night.”

“Get outa town!” Mark exclaimed, “You’re that Abasdarhon?”

“Fraid so,” the someone said, “You’ve heard of me?”

“Sure I heard of you,” Mark said, “I was an altar boy.” He reached for the flask now, which the angel surrendered willingly. “What’re you doing here, Mr Abasdarhon?”

Abasdarhon eyed Mark and took the proffered flask back as Mark wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve, “I’m thinking about joining up with the likes of you, Mark. Seein’ as I’m not working in heaven any longer. What d’ya do down here besides nap on park benches? Oh, please call me Abe. Only my mother called me Abasdarhon; and then only if she was mad at me.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Mark was flabbergasted.

“O’course, I’m kidding. Angels don’t have mothers. Jeeze what’re ya thinkin’!” He took another swig from the flask.

Mark’s voice took a serious tone and he said, “Well, sometimes, I panhandle or manage to snag an odd job ever now and again. Some days I run a three card Monty game down at the beach.” He reached out his hand and Abe put the flask in it.


This week’s prompts are:

  1. should I come back later
  2. The closet was locked
  3. Time becomes elastic

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 #92- Anniversary Blues

 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.



I glanced at the screen and saw that it was my brother calling.

“Hey, Simon ’sup?”

“Robbie, Francine told me I should call you,” he answered.

This was a little puzzling, but Francine was our sister so I figured I should roll with it, “Well, you’ve called me, did she mention what you should say? Why you were calling?”

“She said I should tell you that I found almost ten thousand dollars in Pop’s toolbox.”

“Oh, no; Simon. What have you done.”

“It wasn’t my fault, Robbie. Pop never goes into his toolbox anymore. I can’t remember the last time he fixed or built anything. I figured he must have forgotten that he had stashed money in there. I figured he would never miss it, but I left the money alone anyway and walked away. Stayed away for almost an hour, too before I went back.” He stopped talking and I let the silence linger on the line waiting for him to continue. He didn’t though. He outwaited me.

Finally, I broke the quiet, “Did you take the money, Sime? If you did you need to put it back. Francine and I have been socking that money away for years. Next month is Mom and Pop’s fiftieth anniversary. That money’s going to help them take that trip to Paris that Mom’s always wanted. It’s a gift from all three of us to them for their anniversary.”

“You never told me about that,” Simon said. “You never asked me to contribute any money. How was I supposed to know?”

I tried to explain, “Simon, we never asked you for any money because you never have any money to spare. Francine and I were kicking in for you as well. You’re right though we should have told you. We were going to tell you before we gave it to them. Just put it all back in the toolbox and no harm’s done.”

“Can’t do that, Robbie, it’s gone. It wouldn’t have been enough for a good trip to Paris anyway. It only lasted one night in Vegas.”

“What! One night. Jeeze, Sime, how could you spend all that in one night?”

“Well, I had to buy gas to drive there.”

“Doesn’t take that much gas to drive to Vegas, Sime.”

“Well, I got a really nice hotel room, and had a great dinner.” He went quiet again.

“What else, Simon?” I finally asked.

“I met some really nice girls,” he said.

“That’s enough, man. I don’t want to know anymore. We’re gonna need some money from you now. If we each pitch in twenty bucks we can get them a gift certificate at The Golden Corral. It’s not a trip to Paris, but it’s an all you can eat buffet. Pop oughta be able to get his money’s worth.”

“You’re not mad at me are you, Robbie?”

“I’m furious with you, Sime. What the hell were you thinking?”

“I guess, I wasn’t thinking. I just saw all that money and… well, I don’t know.”

“Shit, just give your twenty to Francine for now.”

“Uhm, Robbie? I don’t have twenty bucks. I spent all I had in Vegas.”


This week’s prompts are:

  1. my outfit is entirely vegan
  2. it had to come to this
  3. unique isn’t always useful

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 #91- Friendly Skies

 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.



“Well, I don’t think its right.” Hugh exclaimed. “Just because I’m a large man…”

“I completely agree, sir it’s not right at all, but it is policy, and there’s nothing that I can do to change it. I’m just a lowly customer service agent and this process was actually defined in the Geneva Conventions of 1933. It has remained unchanged for all that time, even with the updates that were negotiated in ‘48. The fact that this policy has existed, intact for this long means that it is now unimpeachable, and a challenge could not hope to survive; not even in the ninth district.”

The young man stopped speaking and stared at Hugh. He seemed to be waiting for some type of argument.

“Are there any alternatives?” Hugh asked. “I mean, it seems pretty harsh, don’t you think. Are exceptions made for hardships, or low income situations? Can I get a scholarship or financial aid of some sort?”

“I’m truly sorry, Mr uh?” the attendant looked down at the itinerary that Hugh had shown him, “Uh, Mr Jass. Jass, is it? Did I pronounce that right?”

Hugh nodded.

“The only way to avoid paying full fare for the second seat is to check yourself as baggage and fly in the luggage compartment. We can do that for the cost of a single Business Class fare.”

“Isn’t it cold in the luggage compartment?” Hugh asked, “I mean, what kind of altitudes do you guys fly at anyway?”

“Rest assured sir, that if you should choose the luggage compartment we will provide you with a complimentary blanket and a thermos of hot coffee. Now there’s something that isn’t even available in first class, an entire thermos of coffee all to yourself.” The young man stopped and stared at Hugh again. Again, he appeared to be awaiting a response.

“What about my luggage, Timothy?” Hugh asked as he eyed the ticket agent’s nametag, “I have a suitcase that I need to check.”

“One checked bag is allowed with no charge, sir. Will you be selecting the luggage compartment option then?”

“You don’t give me a lot of alternatives, do you Timmy?”

“Very well, sir. Your current ticket is for Coach, I’ll need a credit card for the difference in fare and I need you to step on the scale.”

“Why?”

“Why what, sir?”

“Why do you need my weight?”

“There’s a charge for checking items that weigh over fifty pounds. I need to verify that you weigh less than fifty pounds if you want to avoid that surcharge.”

“How much is the surcharge, Timmy?”

The young man blanched, “Ten dollars, sir.”

“Just go ahead and charge it then.” Hugh resignedly handed over his American Express Card and watched as Timmy ran the transaction.

“Thank you for flying with us Mr Jass.” Timmy said as he handed back the card. “You may be contacted sometime in the next sixty days for a survey. If they ask about me, please note that my name is Timothy Guinan. I’ve made a note of it here on your receipt. I appreciate your patronage.” Timmy looked around Hugh and called out, “Next in line! I can help you here.”


This week’s prompts are:

  1. a gypsy cab glided to the curb
  2. It’s a shame about your future
  3. she knows too much

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!