Queen Mabel

Image: GLady — Pixabay

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is PLUMP. And I’m going to bring back the lovely pigeon Mabel for today’s flash fiction.

Mabel surveys her fellow pigeons, children and grandchildren, from her lofty branch. She enjoys the morning light on what she expects to be another beautiful autumn day. Being queen of the pigeons, she’s had first crack at the feast. Now she rests and as the others — spring chicks most of them — peck away at the grains spread out for them by the kindly old man on the bench.

She sighs contentedly; life is good. Perhaps she’s a little on the plump side, but it’s all in the genes–and who can argue with their inherited genes? She’s old and wise now, simply accepts herself as she is and goes on with the business of directing her realm. So many birds to keep an eye on and order about!

Now who’s that coming along the street, walking briskly, scattering her subjects? One of those humans with his head full of ideas, not paying the least attention to the birds. How they rush about! Oh wait, he’s stopping. He’s looking up at her; Mabel senses he’s admiring her. She plumps herself up and even more, pleased with the admiring gaze of another creature. After all, isn’t she beautiful?

And she’s the queen now. Ah life is good!

You can read the original tale, written for the RDP Sumptuous , HERE.

Haiku in Chocolate

I’ve just checked out The Haiku Foundation’s Troutswirl and read the submissions for the monthly KUKAI. The theme is chocolate and I can see it’s not the easiest subject on which to write a short, proper haiku. Still, an amazing variety have been submitted and readers are invited to vote on which they like best. Some are humorous, some romantic, some are almost risqué. Others deal on the child-labour aspect of harvesting cocoa pods. If you’re interested, you can READ THEM HERE.

Inspired by the various thoughts, here’s a hodge-podge of verses I’ve written on the theme. I trust some will give you a smile.

chocolate bunny
the hesitant child
nibbles the tail
mom’s chocolate chippers
still warm on memory lane
abiding comfort
children’s party
a stack of Oreo wafers
all licked clean
shopping Plus Sizes
the chocolates I’ve eaten lately
come along
eying the curves
of her chocolate cake
his heart races
her longing gaze
wanders once more to his
plate of brownies

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: RISQUÉ

Discreet Issues

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is DELETE. My response will be this little tale of persnickety spelling. (With thanks to Alexas Fotos and Pixabay for this image.)

Adamson had some reservations about the newly hired secretary. He paused a few paces back from her desk to observe her as she typed up his letter to a client. She was pleasant enough to chat with, and definitely attractive. Perhaps that was her biggest appeal to Fotheringill, who’d hired her. Adamson felt their manager tried to cater to certain clients who had an appreciative eye for pretty smiles and youthful curves.

Observing Miss Secretary at her work, he wondered if this girl had the spelling smarts to do a competent job. Red lines popped up frequently on her screen, indicating that SpellCheck wasn’t happy, and she seemed to hit the DELETE key so often. When he saw the words “a discrete inquiry into the matter” appear on the screen, he gritted his teeth.

Stepping close to her desk, he pointed to the error on her screen. “You have the wrong word there. It’s supposed to be D-I-S-C-R-E-E-T.”

She looked up at him. “Does it matter?”

“Definitely. Look the word up in the dictionary.”

Half an hour later she entered his office with a self-satisfied smile and laid the letter on his desk. He looked at it and his eye automatically went to the needed correction. He shook his head as he read, “We’ve made a discreet inquiry into the matter and found that the concreet was delivered at 9am on May 3rd.”

He pointed to the offending word. “Did SpellCheck not tell you this word was wrong?”

“It was underlined, but I figured, if it’s DISCREET, then it will be CONCREET. It’s your report and you know how to spell,” she replied, sounding rather huffy.

Further down in the letter he spotted another error: “This clause in the contract will be deleeted…”

He slapped his hand to his forehead. “One size fits all,” he muttered.

He handed her the letter. “If you wish to keep this job, Miss Secretary, I recommend that you join a remedial spelling class ASAP. I understand there’s one held every Thursday at the community college for those who made it through school without learning how to spell.”

She bristled, grabbed the report and walked out of his office with her head held high.

He’d have a word with Fotheringill about the basic requisites for secretaries but he doubted it would have much effect. Thank God for the faithful Mrs Taylor, employed to scan and correct all correspondence before it left the office.

As he passed through the office area later, he overheard Miss Secretary complaining to one of the other staff about Mr Adamson being so difficult. “Don’t know why he’s so hard to please. He actually told me to join a spelling class! I mean, does it really matter if it’s EET or ETE? As long as the customer gets the idea.” She sniffed. “They probably don’t spell perfectly, either.”

“He’s always been that way,” the other secretary answered. “Mr Fotheringill never fusses about spelling.” She giggled. “He cares a lot more about how we look. Not to worry. Just send it to Mrs Taylor – she deals with the spelling stuff.”

Adamson rolled his eyes. Oh, well. Five more years and he’d take early retirement. Then he’d write his memoirs!

Supercell Storm

Ragtag Daily Prompt: SPELLBOUND

The original and main meaning of this word is “held by a spell, or as if by a magic spell” but a second sense has arisen from this, fascinated by something wonderful or intriguing.

Supercell storm cloud: Terry McGraw — Pixabay

I enjoy thunderstorms, watching the boiling clouds. In his poem “Cloud-Break,” Canadian poet Archilbald Lampman, describes an intriguing storm scene…

To the summit of heaven the clouds
Are rolling aloft like steam;
There's a break in their infinite shrouds,
And below it a gleam.
O'er the drift of the river a whiff
Comes out from the blossoming shore;
And the meadows are greening, as if
They never were green before.

One day I stood in our yard, spellbound by the phenomenon of an approaching storm. Overhead there were some stormy clouds, but not far to the west this giant circle of cloud hovered, overshadowing many miles of land beneath it. The outer edges were lumpy and white like cumulus clouds usually are, yet a clearly defined ring, quite apart from the sky around it. And there it hung, the whole mass slowly turning, like I imagine a giant hurricane would.

I ‘d never seen the likes, so told my husband about it and he found a description of a supercell cloud. Yes, this is what it was. The precursor of storms, hail, even tornadoes. Thankfully it didn’t move over our area. I searched for an image that shows a supercell like I saw and was glad to find this one, posted by David Mark on Pixabay…

Supercell over Chaparral, New Mexico, USA


Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt: TWILIGHT

This is one of my very favorite words! In fact, its imagery of the slowly darkening landscape has appealed to poets song writers all through time.

“You and me alone at twilight time.”

Or the Scottish version
“Roamin’ through the gloamin’ with a lassie by my side.”

I’ve used it in both haiku and poems…

hunter moon
great-horned owl’s silent flight
over twilight fields

breaking waves
fragments of moonlight dance
in the twilight

Songs of Twilight

Piercing the sunset stillness
a scream, descending to a wail,
followed by a dozen more howls
from the wandering coyote band.

Shadows drift along the shelter belt,
as their howls grow faint. A thousand
peepers resume their reedy chant;
in the nearby pond drowsy ducks mutter.

Quarter moon rises over the poplars
casting its silver glow on branches
and birds snuggle into their nests
as twilight creeps over the prairie.

Agatha Christie: Plot Pro

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is QUEST.

I’ve read several of Agatha Christie’s novels in the past few weeks, including One Two, Buckle My Shoe and Five Little Pigs. Even though her tales involve crimes, I enjoy the old-fashioned flavor. Characters are relatively polite; the language is clean; usually immorality is alluded to discreetly. Her two famous detectives are rarely in any danger themselves so suspense is at a level I can tolerate. And the reveal is usually a surprise.

Her two famous sleuths, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, are presented with a mystery and begin their quest for the truth. In my latest read, The Peril at End House, Poirot has declared himself retired; he will no longer use his little gray cells in chasing down evildoers. But lo and behold! A crime lands in his lap in the seaside vacation town where he and Captain Hastings are spending some R&R time.

I have to hand it to Mrs Christie: she has an amazing talent for building her plot into a pyramid, adding clues and suspects here and there as she goes. Then when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle and have a fairly good idea whodunit, her detective flips the whole thing upside down! In this story I had very little idea who the culprit would be – maybe because there were several culprits revealed. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s well worth reading!

I’ve also read two stories involving her Scotland Yard Superintendent Battle: The Secret of Chimneys and The Seven Dials Mystery. These involve espionage & subversion type crimes. In both books the flip is barely believable. In both, when I got to the final reveal I was saying , “Wait a minute! If this is true then why did that person do such and such? If he’s who he claims to be, why didn’t he recognize her, when they surely would have known each other?”

I’m quite a stickler for all these things adding up and behavior making sense. However, I found these books just as interesting as her other tales, even if I did have to suspend my disbelief to accept some of the facts as revealed.