Nothing Much To Do

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning ZILCH

Going through some of my files, I came across a flash–fiction tale I wrote about Harv & Bert.  I decided to do a second story with these two old-timers. I’ll call this one…

Harv and Shamus

When Bert heard the double-rap on the door of his cottage soon after breakfast, he knew it’d be his friend Harv. That was their signal.

“Morning, Harv,” he said as he opened the door. “I expected you’d be along soon. You’ll be wantin’ a cuppa tea after your long walk.”

Harv entered Bert’s kitchen, followed by his dog, Shamus. “Thanks much, Bert. Shamus doesn’t let me sleep in when he wants his morning stroll. And I guess it’s good for me to get moving.”

Bert patted the spaniel. “You’re a good dog, gettin’ the old guy outta bed bright and early. He needs it.” He turned to his friend. “Sometimes I think I should get a dog, too. But I’m a slow starter in the morning — don’t know if I really wanna get rousted out at 7:00 in the morning to walk a dog.”

Harv chuckled. “No, you still need your beauty sleep. There’s no hope for me anymore, so I might as well be up.” He suspected Bert was too easily irritated to be a very good dog owner, but he kept these thoughts to himself. Bert was his friend, even if he was rather crotchety.

“Got anything special planned for today, Bert? Doctor’s appointment…or maybe lunch with some rich widow?”

“No hope there. No, I have zilch planned for today. ‘Course I’ll have a quick look through the paper, but with the news these days it doesn’t do a person’s blood pressure any good to read the whole story. Back when I was young there was none of this protesting and tearing things down. Everybody minded his own business and behaved himself.” He handed Harv a cup of tea. “Crooks are getting off too…”

“Well, I’ve heard some good news! I got a letter from my daughter yesterday; she and her family made it to Australia safe and sound and are enjoying their time in Sydney.”

“Glad to hear it. That’ll set your mind at ease. Though why in the world they’d want to go there for is beyond me. I’d rather go to England myself. See the old country; look up some relatives. If there are any still alive.”

sydney-4264195_640
Image by Squirrel_Photos  at Pixabay

“And will you look at this.” Harv pulled a post card from his jacket pocket. “She sent a picture of the Sydney Opera House. Ain’t it a marvel?”

Bert studied the card for a moment. “The power bill for that place would probably give you heart failure.”

Harv frowned. “Maybe, but I’m not payin’ it, so they can do what they like. She says this place draws thousands of tourists every day, and it looks so pretty all lit up at night.”

“Wonder whose idea it was to build it with all them loops? Must be hard to heat in winter.”

“They don’t have the winters we do, so heating costs maybe aren’t so high. And you know, young designers are always wanting to try something different. See if it’ll work.” Harv slipped a dog biscuit out of his pocket and gave it to Shamus.

“All these fancy twisted new buildings. Give me a solid four-square building any day.” Bert handed the card back to Harv. “When we were young, plain and simple was…”

“That’s a great idea. How be I come back this afternoon and we head downtown, look at some of the old places, then stop for pie and coffee at the diner. I got nothin’ else up today myself.” Harv stood up and whistled to Shamus.

“Sounds good. I’ll be waiting.”

A few minutes later, Harv was taking in all the sights and sounds of the morning as he and Shamus walked home. He thought about Bert, then leaned over to pat his dog. “Just think what sort of a rut I might be stuck in if I didn’t have you to get me up and going every day, old pal. Good ol’ Shamus.”

The Path Ahead

Good morning everyone. A rainy day here on the prairie and we’re welcoming the moisture.

I wonder how many of you readers remember that Certs ad of long ago, where two young ladies are debating:
“Certs is a candy mint!”
“Certs is a breath mint!”
And the announcer says, “Stop! You’re both right. New Certs is two, two, two mints in one.”
According to Wiki, Certs was introduced in 1956 and heavily advertised this way on American television in the ’60s and ’70s.
And most of you won’t give two, two, two hoots about this. 🙂

What brought this on? I’m doing two writing challenges this morning:
The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is: THE PATH AHEAD
And Sammi’s Weekend Writing Challenge calls for a 23-word response including the word KALEIDOSCOPE. Here’s her logo:

And here’s my diminutive response to both:

A kaleidoscope of summer tones
on the path ahead,
the trilling of songbirds,
wraps her in its unique condolence.
He wasn’t coming back.

Sunday Whirl: A Hint of Fear

Good morning everyone!

On Sunday I came across another writing challenge offered by host blogger Brenda Warren, called The Sunday Whirl. Here’s the banner:

And here’s the word list for Wordle #457:

I took the given words and wrote the story on Sunday already, just haven’t gotten around to posting it. The above words, in various forms, mostly appear in the first few paragraphs. The second part  I wrote just because I do like a good story. 🙂

A HINT OF FEAR

Larissa had won a scholarship to this college and she wasn’t going to waste it. She concentrated on her studies, foregoing holidays, declining invites to weekend parties. She even limited her trips back home so she could study.

Her diligence paid off in spades. When the marks were handed back after the last set of exams, she had to look twice. But it was true: she’d aced the exams. She was going to graduate with honors. She plowed her fist into the air and did a little pirouette.

She resisted the urge to dance around the room. Instead she thanked her professors and headed home where she could do all the singing and dancing she wanted to. Ah, but first a stop at Dairy Delightful, where she indulged in a delicious hot fudge sundae with whipped cream. This might inflate her waistline a bit, but she’d take a long jog tomorrow.

“Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars,” she sang as she slid the key in the lock on her apartment door. She opened the door partway when the strangest feeling hit her. Something felt very wrong, like someone was here. The odd sense of danger made her skin prickle.

She shook it off as imagination and stepped into the apartment, but that feeling of apprehension kept her from closing the door. Made her sigh a prayer. “God, if there’s really something wrong here, show me somehow.”

Though her eye saw nothing unusual, she did pick up a slight difference in the air. Had she left a window open? “Once I get a good-paying job I’m moving up in the world,” she promised herself. “Tenth floor at least.”

She straightened her spine and told herself firmly, “There is nothing wrong. I am not going to give in to some silly fear and let it spoil this beautiful day.”

But as she entered the room, the slight air movement brought to her a hint of stale tobacco. She didn’t smoke and neither had anyone else when they visited her. Acting on impulse she backed out of the room, shut the door, and locked it. Then she called her cousin Matt, grateful that she had his number on speed dial.

Handy having a cop in the family. So what if he’d find nothing amiss and tease her about being a chicken or needle her about her good imagination. She wasn’t taking any chances. Not like that girl in the news last week.

On second thought, Matt probably wouldn’t laugh.

Bert & Harv Reminisce

Crispina has posted another weekly challenge HERE

Everyone’s welcome to join in the fun. Here’s how it works:
Every Wednesday I post a photo. You respond with something CREATIVE
Here are some suggestions:

  • An answering photo
  • A cartoon
  • A joke
  • A caption
  • An anecdote
  • A short story (flash fiction)
  • A poem
  • A newly minted proverb, adage or saying
  • An essay
  • A song—the lyrics or the performance

You have plenty of scope and only two criteria:

  • Your creative offering is indeed yours
  • Your writing is kept to 150 words or less

Once you have your response posted, visit her blog and do a PINGBACK, or leave the URL of your response post in her comment box.

Here’s this week’s photo:

And here is my response, 150 words on the dot.

BERT & HARV REMINISCE

“Look at that, Harv. What’s it gonna be when it’s done?”

“Maybe it is done? Some kind of modern art?”

Bert scowled. “More’n likely. Folks nowadays know nothin’ about art. When we were young you could look at pictures and know what you were seeing. Today it’s all splash-dab and heaven knows.”

“Maybe it’ll be one of them water slides?”

“Maybe. Fool kids apt to kill themselves gettin’ up that high. Nowadays they need crazy thrills to keep ’em happy. When we were young, Harv, it was fun enough to…”

“And see those flimsy supports holding that tube. Any weight on them and down the thing’ll come.”

“For sure. Nowadays they don’t know how to build anything solid. Watched my grandson put up drywall one day. When I was young, builders tested plaster with a hammer. You take a hammer to today’s flimsy stuff…”

“Let’s get us some tea, Bert.”

Rowan Lane Cottage

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is DANCE

And Crimson’s Creative Challenge is this quaint little cottage:

Every week the challenge is to post…

  • An answering photo
  • A cartoon
  • A joke
  • A caption
  • An anecdote
  • A short story (flash fiction)
  • A poem
  • A newly minted proverb, adage or saying
  • An essay
  • A song—the lyrics or the performance

You have plenty of scope and only two criteria:

  • Your creative offering is indeed yours
  • Your writing is kept to 150 words or less

So here’s my response:

Rowan Lane Cottage

Here we are. Rowan Lane Cottage, aka ‘Home of the Slashers’. Are you ready?”

Linna cringed, picturing blood red splashes throughout the house. “You’re scaring me.” She clutched Chapter One to her chest.

“Bwahaha! At these meetings we’ll toughen you up, gal. Our group is good at that.”

“Surely they go easy on newcomers,” Linna asked, fighting the urge to flee. “Encouragement builds confidence and all that?”

Tannis patted her shoulder. “Don’t worry. We’ll be merciful. But today’s editors don’t dance attendance on writers; manuscripts have to shine from the first line or they won’t get past eagle-eyed gatekeepers. If you want to be a published author our group can help that happen, but it may be painful. We’ve some excellent writers attending and you’ll get a good critique. Believe me, your work will be better for it.”

Linna straightened up. “Yes, I’m ready.”

The door swung open.