“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Week #5. Image Prompt: Join in, have fun, and let loose your creative muse.#FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

 

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to week #5 of my  “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write either a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that prompt, in any form, and in a genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on Thursday, June 25th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here beginning on Friday, June 26th. (I’ll feature all posts in the order they were received over several days if the number of entries calls for it.)

I do hope you join in! Have fun, let the creative muse loose!

And now …The image for week#5

flash best marionette

I hope the image inspires you! Come and join in the fun.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Entries for week #4 @KIngallsAuthor @gmplano @pokercubster @pursoot @MarshaIngrao #IARTG #WritingCommunity #ASMSG

 

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #4.

Flash Fiction best header

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction piece inspired by that image in a genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on June 18th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on June 19th.

***

AND Here’s the prompt image and ENTRIES…For #Week 4.

Flash Fiction Routte 66

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

By

Karen Ingalls.

 My name is Willie Nelson Johnson. Obviously, I was named for the famous country-western singer and actor. He was my mother’s favorite singer and his music played all day, every day. I know by heart every song he ever recorded.

I cannot sing or play an instrument, my hair is short, there is no beard, I am not an activist, nor have I ever smoked marijuana. The only thing I have in common with Willie, besides my name, is the love of the open road. The day I got my first car was the first day of being on the road. Over the years I have driven to as many places as my wallet and time would allow.

I grew up and now live in Wilmington, Illinois along with about 6,000 other folks. It is called “The Island City” because it is bisected by the Kankakee River. As you can see, Route 66 goes right through Wilmington.

Map for Karen's post

We have Route 66 Antiques, Rte. 66 Bar & Grill, and the famous (or infamous) Launching Pad Drive-In where you will see one of the many giant statues based on the Muffler Man along the famous highway. These statues of fiberglass were constructed for advertising or purely decoration. Here you will find “Gemini Giant”, a 28-foot spaceman commemorating the Gemini space missions.

On July 4, 1998, I took a three-week vacation and drove the entire 2,448 miles of Route 66, also known as Mother Road. I first drove north to Chicago where it begins (or ends depending on your starting point), and then headed south and west all the way to its final stop, the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again

 In St. Louis, I saw Eads Bridge, the oldest steel bridge, the McKinley Bridge, New Chain of Rocks Bridge, and McArthur Bridge. They are all part of Route 66. Of course, I stopped at The Arch and took the ride to the top marveling at the vista below.

One of my fondest memories is spending two days in Lebanon, Missouri. I stayed at the Munger Moss Motel and visited the amazing Route 66 Museum.

Like a band of Gypsies, we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends

I met many people from all over the U.S. and the world. They were of all ages, races, and religions, and some of us became friends and we have stayed in touch. Sometimes we caravanned looking like a band of Gypsies.

I stopped in Catoosa, Oklahoma for only one reason: to see the “Blue Whale”, which is one of the statues along Route 66. I drove the additional 120 miles to have a delicious meal at “Ann’s Chicken Fry House Restaurant” in Oklahoma City.

Playing my Willie Nelson tapes, I sang my heart out while I drove across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona making a few stops to see more of the Muffler Men statues including the two Paul Bunyan’s in Flagstaff, Arizona and in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I stopped at The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo for a massive meal and visited the shooting range.

I finally crossed the California border into the very small town of Amboy. When I was there in 1998, the population was 5. It was up for sale on Ebay, but it never sold for the asking price of $1.9 million. A group of motorcyclists invited me to join them on their way to Santa Monica. They were a rough-and-tough looking group but as kind as the day is long.

The most famous place in Amboy is Roy’s Motel and Café. They refused to have their picture taken, so I snapped a photo of their motorcycles lined up.

Karen Motorcycles

We traveled from Amboy to the Santa Monica Pier, traveling the two-hundred miles in one day. The eight of us parked our seven motorcycles and one car. We walked to the very end of the 1909 pier. We cheered and broke out into chorus singing On the Road Again.

#

Karen Ingalls can be found on

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

***

This Entry by Gwen Plano:

Flash Fiction Routte 66

John Steinbeck famously called Route 66 “the mother road, the road of flight” because thousands upon thousands fled the Dust Bowl for the hope of something better. His Grapes of Wrath captured the dire poverty that so many experienced and helped later generations understand why there was an epic journey West.

Though the road is now decommissioned, it basically follows Interstate 40 from Santa Monica to Oklahoma City where it changes to Interstate 44 through Missouri and Interstate 55 to Chicago. For those of us who have traveled this road, there’s a reverence for its history. My tanka poem (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) tries to capture that sentiment.

GWEN ROUTE 66 USE THIS ONE

You’ll find Gwen here:

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

 

***

This Contribution by D.G. KAYE

Flash Fiction Routte 66

From the first time I ever visited Las Vegas, I felt an inexplicable energy through me, an unfamiliar state of feeling that I should be living on the west coast. This feeling had nothing to do with the fact that Vegas is like a Disneyland Mecca playground for adults but more about the atmosphere – desert, climate and just being in the southwest.

It must have been my colorful childhood education from some of the shady characters I’d met in my mother’s circles that began my fascination of mobster stories. After my first Vegas experiences there were plenty more visits there, sometimes 2 and 3 times per year. After so many years of going to Vegas, and one helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, I had an instant feeling that I needed to relocate our vacations to Arizona, more evidence to myself that it was the southwest calling me, more than the casino attractions in Las Vegas.

The first time I landed in Phoenix Sky Harbor airport, I remember strolling the carry-on through the airport with hub, on our way to grab a taxi, when I stopped myself in my tracks and took a pause when this incredible feeling of something inexplicable came over me and told me this was where I needed to be. A familiarity ran through me as though I were home, like I was familiar with a place I’d never before been other than in a helicopter landing in a canyon.

My long fascination with everything southwest, from the climate to the beauty to the rich history of the various Native tribes and cultures, felt familiar and I’d always had this longing to drive Route 66, pretty much inspired by Thelma and Louise. I’d flown over the spot where the movie ends and their car goes off the cliff, while in the helicopter, the tour guide made it a point to announce.

Our first trip to Phoenix was fantabulous. My husband loved all the cowboy stores, venues and paraphernalia, and me, well, I couldn’t get enough of the views, and of course, shopping anything southwest. Don’t even get me started on beautiful Sedona, but those are other stories for another time. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t going home without something ‘Route 66’ and it seemed only fitting when I spotted a set of luggage on discount while I was in the market for a new bag to return home with since what I’d come with was already overflowing. The luggage was colorful with Route 66 plastered all over. And along with some other goodies I found at a flea market when our new friends had taken us to in Mesa, I picked up this sign.

 

route 66

Here I am living in the east, still living in the dream of being a southwest coast girl someday. Who knows what will come when the new world opens up. Never stop dreaming!

DGKaye may be found here:

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GOODREADS

***

My own Contribution:

Flash Fiction Routte 66

Déjà Vu

by

Suzanne Burke

FBI Field Office Chicago.

Special Agent Daniel Paterson raised his hand for quiet, “Okay, people, listen up! On all five case files, we have death by Asphyxiation. 5 Different states, 5 Different dates. The order appears random. But look at this on the map.” He illuminated the screen behind him.

“The small towns where the murders occurred can only be accessed from Route 66. The states however are in random order. This unsub could have begun his killing spree from either Chicago or Los Angeles. Traveling from Chicago to L.A We have eight possible locations … Illinois, Kansas, Texas, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, exiting in California.”

He stopped and faced his team, “However, our unsub selected five victims, located in crime scene order, 1. Illinois, 2. Missouri, 3. Kansas, 4. California and 5. Arizona. That leaves us with three possible locations to watch,” He circled them, “New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. The profile suggests that if this perp moves to victim 6 it will be in one of these states. Questions?”

“Dan, given this info, we need to check all available footage on the exits and access from Route 66 to those town locations.”

“Good call, Tracey. Get on it.”

She nodded and hurried back to her laptop.

***

Two hours later:

Agent Tracey Prentice watched and re-watched the footage. She suddenly sat forward. “Dan! We may have a hit!”

Dan and several of her colleagues hurried across.

“Okay, we have the same vehicle exiting and re-entering Route 66, at the murder locations, in all five states! The dates correlate to the day before and the day after the murders took place. We have details on the RV plates. I’ll have them in a moment.”

***

“Yes! The RV is registered to Thomas Cranston. Thirty-six years old. Male Caucasian. I’m running facial recognition …”

“Jesus! This guy is a Lt. Commander and a former Navy Seal!” She read further … “Medically discharged, six months ago. Two weeks before our first victim. The last known address was here in Chicago.”

Dan spoke up, “Any request to access that file needs to come from The Director. I’ll arrange that now.”

“Dan, we’ll need teams moving into these last three locations. Let’s hope this guy hasn’t changed his M.O.”

***

It took thirty-minutes to be granted limited access to the Medical file of Lt. Commander Cranston. His mission briefs were classified as Top Secret and access to them was refused.

Dan and his team read through his discharge details, much of which was edited out. The commander was severely injured on his last mission. The collateral damage was high. Six of his team were lost. He began exhibiting signs of PTSD and was considered medically unfit for further active duty. His ramblings about retribution caused concern. He blamed the Government in Washington for the cost of his team.

Tracey shook her head. “None of our victims were employed in any capacity by our Government. Jesus, what if these victims are meant as a distraction? What if he has another agenda. But what, when, and where?” She stood, something was nagging at her and she couldn’t place it. She stepped outside, lit up a smoke, and felt the chill of the November air invade her lungs.

She glanced at her watch and the date suddenly registered. “Oh, hell!” She ran inside, “Dan! It’s November 22nd! The date President Kennedy was assassinated! Where is POTUS currently located? Please don’t let it be Dallas!”

Dan checked the morning’s National Security briefing. “Oh, sweet Lord. He is in Dallas, doing a meet and greet.” He grabbed for the landline and made an urgent call. Then turned to his team,  “Tracey, what exact time did JFK go down?”

“12.30p.m Eastern standard time. It’s now 12.18!”

Dan made a grab for the ringing phone and put the call on speaker. “In response to your call, ‘Operation Lockdown’ has been initiated. POTUS will be extracted. Secret service agents are en-route to the Book Depository on Dealey Plaza.”

“Copy that.” Dan ended the call.

He turned on the live TV coverage of the Presidential motorcade, and they all watched with hearts pounding.

The CNN reporter suddenly spoke up excitedly. “Something is happening here! The Presidential Motorcade has stopped! The escort vehicles and the one carrying the President have just slammed into reverse. Something is clearly very wrong! We have secret service agents and a swat team swarming the book depository! The motorcade is no longer in view!  … We have a shot fired!” The reporter moved closer to the shelter of her camera van.

She continued moments later. “We’re all praying that the President has reached a safe location.”

Dan turned from the screen and responded again to the ringing phone. He hung up and faced his team. “The President is secure. Lt. Commander Cranston was found deceased at the scene, apparently dead by his own hand.”

His voice shook with anger as he continued. “By order of The President, these case files are now closed. They are to be designated Unsolved and moved to the Cold-Case register.”

“The order is not open to question! Is that clear?

Tracey’s face paled. She walked over and placed her ID and her gun on Dan’s desk.

She turned as she reached the door and glanced back at her colleagues as they sat in stunned silence “Déjà Vu, anyone?”

#

This contribution shared with us by Marsha Ingrao .

Flash Fiction Routte 66

Get Your Kicks Right Here.

by

Marsha Ingrao.

“Cinnie, settle down back there. Where’s Teddy?” Bobby smiled at his two-year-old bundle of energy. “Put your blankie over you and cuddle up with Teddy.”

The bathroom break took forty-five minutes but Bobby didn’t care. He winked and grinned at his wife as they pulled away from the gas station. He was going to be a movie star.

“Are we almost there yet?” Cinnie asked bouncing up from her mattress laid across the back seat of the 1941 Buick.

“Honey, sit back down. Do you want a fruit cup?”

She and Bobby dreamed of going to California. He wanted to write songs after he got out of the military.

It was early May of 1946. Cynthia was due in late June. Bobby suggested they take a cross-country trip and check out Hollywood possibilities before she had the baby. Cynthia could barely turn around and touch Cinnie in the back seat.

“How long do you think it will take, Bobby?”

“It will be quicker if we take US 40 all the way to San Francisco,” he answered.

“True, but I’ve always wanted to see what the big deal was about Route 66, too.”

Cynthia handed Cinnie her book, The Carrot Seed. Tiny fingers thumbed through the well-worn pages as Cinnie recited the words to herself.

“She’s such a good girl. I can’t imagine doing this trip with a baby, too,” Bobby smiled, his white teeth flashing as he handed Cynthia the map.

“I can’t imagine trying to get this map to lie down flat on a stomach bigger than all of Cinnie.”

Cynthia punched the map, wrestling with the folds, turning it right side up to read the names all the small towns they would be going through. She trailed her finger trail along Route 66 reading the names out loud.

“Galena, Tulsa, Elk City. I wonder if we could get some pictures of elk. Shamrock, Amarillo, Tucumcari. I really want to go on Route 66, Bobby.”

On the third day away from home, the threesome drove through the green corridor from Pennsylvania to the Smokey Mountains. At lunchtime, they pulled to the side of the road and took out their sandwiches. Other lunchers stepped out of their cars and snapped pictures of their babies on the backs of the wild bears who had come to the road for food.

“Me want big bear, Daddy.” Cinnie jumped on her mattress, hitting her head on the headliner of the Buick.

“Too dangerous, Cinnie. We need to go. Let’s sing a song. Better, let’s write a song about our trip. Which one, Westward Ho on US 40 – Let’s Go or Motor Best on Sporty Forty?”

Bobby couldn’t get the crazy tune out of his head. Over and over he sang, “If you ever plan to motor west, Travel my way, take the highway, that’s the best. US Forty, Forty, Forty it’s so sporty, sporty, sporty.

Cinnie chortled. “No, no, no. Sing journey song.”

Bobbie cruned, “‘Gonna take a sentimental journey. Gonna set my heart at ease.” That one, Cinnie? That’s what we’re doing.”

Cinnie sang along until she fell asleep.

Two days later they had to make a decision, to finish the trip on US 40 or veer off onto Route 66. A cool, dry breeze blew through the open windows. Cynthia felt bigger than when she had left home. Cinnie woke up from a nap and laughed as a gust of air blew up Cynthia’s skirt almost blowing the rumpled map out the window.

Cynthia patted her map and started reading city names, “Winslow, Flagstaff, Oatman, Amboy. What about Get Your Kicks on Route 66?” she said humming the first strand of Bobby’s song. “If you ever plan to motor west, Travel my way, take the highway, that’s the best. Get your kicks on Route 66. It rhymes.”

“It shore do, beautiful lady.” Bobby reached over and took her hand. “It winds from Chicago to L.A. More than 2000 miles all the way,”

Five days later they arrived in Los Angeles. Bobby and Cynthia finished the song.

“I have a feeling this is going to be the one,” Bobby said as he wrote the last words in his journal. “Won’t you get hip to this timely tip When you make that California trip? Get your kicks on Route 66!”

And he was right.

###

Contact Marsha here:

 Always Write blog

TWITTER

Thanks so much for stopping by. The Challenge Photo-Prompt for Week #5 will be posted on June 19th.

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Week #4. Image Prompt: Join in, have fun, and let loose your creative muse.#FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to week #4 of my  “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction piece inspired by that image in any form and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on Thursday, June 18th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on Friday, June 19th.

I do hope you join in! Have fun, let the creative muse loose!

And now …The image for week #4

Flash Fiction Routte 66

I hope the image inspires you! Come and join in the fun.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Entries for week #3 @gmplano @KIngallsAuthor @pursoot #IARTG #WritingCommunity #ASMSG

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #3.

Flash Fiction best header

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction piece inspired by that image in a genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on June 11th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on June 12th.

***

AND Here’s the prompt image and ENTRIES…For #Week 3.

Flash Fiction empty hammock

This contribution Authored by Gwen Plano.

ENTRY:

This week’s photo takes me to an imaginary island somewhere in the Atlantic, far from COVID-19 and riots in the streets. Walking its pristine beach, I am surprised by what I find and share it today. I hope my discovery brings a smile and maybe a fresh breeze. Have a great day!

​A Haitian Proverb

“Bekka, come on. This will be fun.” His irritation mounting.

“Mom’s not gonna like it.” She looks away and shifts her legs nervously.

“Come on, she won’t even know.”

“Remember last time? Not pretty…”

“Good grief! Just crawl across the tree trunk and we’ll jump together.”

“What if we miss?”

“How could we? We’d be right above the swing. We can’t miss.”

“Yeah, well, if something could go wrong, it will.”

“You always do this. You know that right? A l w a y s. Forget about it! I’m going without you.”

“Alright!! I’m coming. No tricks though.” She struggles to pull herself up the tree trunk.

“I’m gonna count to three. Are you ready? Here goes…one, two, three. JUMP!”

Thump!

“Bekka, what happened? Why didn’t you jump?”

“Just got scared is all.”

“Come on! What could go wrong?”

“I dunno…but it feels so high up here.”

“Then jump and stop complaining.”

“Okay. One, two, three…”

Thump!

“Eddy, Eddy, where are you?”

“Well, no thanks to you, I’m in the ocean. I bounced off when you hit.”

“Oh no, here comes mom.”

“Geez!! Y’know what she’s going to say! The crab that walks too far falls into the pot.”

“Have you ever wondered what that means?”

“Yeah, but I suspect it’s code for stay away from humans – or at least humans with pots.”

***
You’ll find Gwen here:

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

 

***

This contribution by Karen Ingalls.

Flash Fiction empty hammock

A VACATION FROM HELL

I was excited to go to the Caribbean island of Barbados with my three closest friends from college. It was a five-day trip to celebrate our graduation and my upcoming marriage to my college sweetheart. What was to be a relaxing, fun, and wild trip turned out to be a nightmarish, insane, and stressful trip.

Day 1: my seat assignment was changed to the middle seat in the last row between a young mother with a baby and a 300-pound woman. The baby was asleep until the plane took off, then it cried until the plane touched down. On my other side, the obese lady snored and kept nestling her head on my shoulder.

Day 2: I awoke with a hangover after partying most of the previous night. I spent most of the early morning on the bathroom floor hanging over the toilet bowl. I felt as if I had two heads banging against each other. Some aspirin, tomato juice, and an icepack soon brought me back to normalcy.

By late afternoon, I felt well enough to go snorkeling. The beautiful fish and coral were breathtaking. I thought I was in heaven until a jellyfish stung my left leg. I came up for air, screaming in pain. As I stepped onto the boat my left foot slipped, twisting my ankle. The rest of the day was spent at the local clinic, treating the jellyfish’s sting, and wrapping my swollen ankle. That evening I sat in my room alone, left leg elevated, an ice pack on my ankle, and enjoyed the euphoria the pain pills provided.

Day 3: The four of us stayed by the pool, playing cards, and drinking rum island drinks. This was not a good idea since I was still taking pain pills. Before I knew what happened, my face fell into my lunch plate of fish cakes with fresh fruit. I do not remember anything more about the third day of the vacation.

Day 4: The next morning, I awakened in a hammock attached to a palm tree swaying above the Caribbean water. I looked around and saw my buddies laughing and pointing at me. At first, I was angry, then I decided to enjoy the moment. The warm sun, gentle breeze, and gentle rocking of the hammock relaxed my weary body.

My leg and foot were much improved and my brain was clear of the pain pills’ effects. We rented a car and drove around the island, stopping at Harrison’s Cave where we saw stalagmites and stalactites on a tram, explored Bridgetown, and visited the Morgan Lewis sugar mill.

The day ended with dinner and drinks at a restaurant near our hotel. That was when I realized that my wallet was missing. Fortunately, I had left my passport in my room.

Day 5: My friends each pitched in and bought a first-class ticket for me.  “This has been a rough few days and we want you to be rested for your wedding tomorrow.”

I had a window seat in the last row of first-class. I had just settled down when the same obese lady sat in the aisle seat next to me. I slumped down, covered my eyes, and asked myself, “How can this be? What are the odds? What have I done to deserve this?”
No one answered my questions, but once again the lady immediately started snoring and used my shoulder as her pillow. Two rows behind me a baby cried during the entire flight.

The wedding gift from my college buddies was a 20 x 30-inch photo of the hammock hanging from the palm tree. I have it displayed in my office at work. Clients marvel at how beautiful and peaceful it looks.  I just smile and nod.

#

Karen Ingalls can be found on

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

 

My own contribution:

Flash Fiction empty hammock

A Touch of Paradise

By Suzanne Burke.

Tessa pulled back the drapes and slid the glass doors wide open. She stood on the deck and sucked in a deep lungful of the tangy salt air. It was just as she’d pictured it. Long stretches of pristine white sand lovingly embraced the palm trees and the deep blue ocean tugged at its edges.

She hurriedly changed into her swimsuit, ignoring the jetlag and determined not to waste a moment of this longed-for vacation.

The white hammock was waiting, and she sighed at the utter perfection of it as she carefully lay back. The soft breeze washed over her, and the view relaxed her and lulled her to sleep.

“Time to wake up sleeping beauty.”

Tessa sat bolt upright too fast and toppled out of the hammock, landing in an undignified heap at the intruder’s feet.

“Oh, hell! Are you hurt?”

“Only my pride.” Tessa began brushing the sand from her body and then laughed up at the man standing there. “I presume you have a good reason for waking me?”

He reached down and offered his hand and she was gently pulled to her feet. “It’s safe enough to fall asleep in the sun here in the early morning, but, it’s past noon now, and sunburn is no way to start a vacation.”

Tessa grinned at him, “Well then, thank you.” She extended her hand, “I’m Tessa Carpenter.”

He returned the handshake, “Lee Bradshaw.” He laughed, “Sorry, I’ve just never had a woman throw herself at me quite like that before.”

Tessa dissolved into gales of laughter, “I finally get to be a fallen woman.”

Lee grinned in appreciation and glanced at his Rolex, “Can I buy you a drink to make up for startling you.”

She gave it some thought, “I’m not in the mood for a crowded bar, I’m still jetlagged and I need to freshen up. Later perhaps? My bar fridge is fully stocked, maybe we could fix a drink and sit out on the deck?”

“Sounds like a plan. Say I come by around sunset?”

Tessa smiled and agreed. She showered and slept. Her guest arrived at 6.30 carrying platters of food prepared by the restaurant staff. Tessa’s stomach growled in happy anticipation.

Lee fixed them each a tropical cocktail. They sat outside and witnessed the fire of sunset then spent the remainder of the evening in relaxed conversation and shared laughter as they discovered each other.

The days that followed blended like rich chocolate, swimming, and scuba diving out on the reef together in the pristine clarity of the morning ocean, followed by long afternoon walks exploring the island, and finally to warm nights sitting on the sand under a canopy of black diamond-studded velvet. They spoke of their dreams, their work, and the people that mattered in their lives.

***

Tessa couldn’t sleep. The thought of heading back to New York tomorrow chilled her. She could save every penny and come back to the island again next year. But he wouldn’t be here. She chided herself for being a fool. Suck it up buttercup. She squared her shoulders as the thought took hold. I will not spend my last day here dreading tomorrow.

***

Lee was sitting on the hammock waiting for her to join him.

Tessa smiled down into his face, “Aren’t we swimming this morning?”

“I need to talk to you about something first.”

His voice told her it was important, “Sounds serious.”

“Oh, it’s serious.” He looked worried and uncertain. He reached for her hand and held it tightly. “Well … here goes. I can’t bear the thought of not being with you after today. I’ve fallen in love with you, Tessa. I want us to be together. … Will you marry me?”

Tessa smiled softly, “We both have to be crazy! But, I love you too. And, yes, yes I’ll marry you.”

Lee stood and pulled her into his arms as they kissed and savored the moment.

“This is the perfect place for a honeymoon.” He spoke against her hair.

“It’s way too expensive. I don’t mind where we go. We’ll be together so the destination doesn’t matter. We can work hard and save towards somewhere else.”

“Um, yeah about that work thing? I told you I was scouting out this place for a client who was interested in buying a great investment.”

“Uh-huh, …and?”

“Now don’t get all fired up, but, I kinda left out the part about me being the investor.”

“You?”

“We can honeymoon here or stay here permanently if you want. I um… I purchased the island and the resort yesterday.”

“Holy-shit! You’re that Lee Bradshaw? The Fortune 500 Bradshaw?” Tessa looked into his eyes and saw the truth there. Her legs gave out from underneath her and for the second time in a week, she found herself sitting on the sand in a heap at his feet.

Lee groaned and then laughed. “You don’t need to throw yourself at me anymore, darling. I’m already yours.”

“I’m not just dreaming this am I?”

He sat alongside her on the sand, “No darling. This is as real as it gets.”

“I may need a little more convincing.” She traced the outline of his lips with her fingertips.

He pulled her into his arms and happily complied.

#

Thanks so much for stopping by. The Challenge Photo-Prompt for Week #4 will be posted on June 12th.

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

 

 

 

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Week #3. Image Prompt: Join in, have fun, and let loose your creative muse.#FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to week #3 of my  “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction piece inspired by that image in a genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on Thursday, June 11th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on Friday, June 12th.

I do hope you join in! Have fun, let the creative muse loose!

And now …The image for week #3.

Flash Fiction empty hammockI hope the image inspires you and I hope to see you stop by.

Find me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

 

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Entries for week #2.@gmplano @KIngallsAuthor @JanSikes3 @DLFinn @pursoot #IARTG #WritingCommunity.

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the entries for my weekly : “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #2. You have some great reading in store.

Flash Fiction best header

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction piece inspired by that image in a genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on June 4th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on June 5th.

***

AND Here’s the prompt image and ENTRIES…For #Week 2.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

This contribution Authored by Gwen Plano.

This week’s picture holds sadness for me. It’s as if life has been stilled. Though the scene is beautiful, there is also a chilly silence. I’ve chosen to try to capture that feeling of isolation in a simple three-stanza haiku poem.

Fiction in a flash park bench Gwen Plano

Take a look at Gwen’s blog.

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

*

This contribution by Karen Ingalls.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

The Park Bench

The wooden slats creaked when Jim sat down on the park bench. He held a bouquet of red chrysanthemums. The cool air, warm sun, and the smell of autumn leaves brought peace to his tired body.

It was October 18, 2019, which marked the 30th year of meeting Julie Henderson every Friday afternoon at 1:00 pm.

“Hello, darling.”

Jim looked up to see Julie standing there as beautiful as the first time they met. He gave her the bouquet saying, “Happy anniversary, my love.”

In 1989, they were strangers sitting next to one another on this same bench. Julie was reading a book and Jim was eating a sandwich. They glanced at one another and soon struck up a conversation discovering similar interests and histories. They were both divorced, each had three children, and careers. Julie was a nurse and Jim was caught up in the corporate world, but had dreams to open up his own restaurant.

After an hour, Julie stood up. “Oh, my goodness. I must leave and get to the hospital for the evening shift. It was nice to meet you.”

“Wait. Do you come here often? I am being presumptuous, but I would like to see you again,” Jim stammered.

Trusting her instincts, she smiled and said, “I am here every Friday at one in the afternoon. I like to come here and enjoy nature, the quiet, and to gaze at the beautiful oak tree across from this bench.”

“Perhaps we could meet here next Friday. By the way, my name is Jim Agen.” He extended his hand.

Julie took his hand and replied, “I am Julie Henderson. I’ll be here.”

They both felt a special energy sweep through them when their hands touched.

For several months, they met each Friday, same time and place. The park bench knew when they held hands for the first time, each embrace and kiss, and heard their words of affection.

When the weather changed to winter, they just swept the snow off the bench and enjoyed the wintry beauty. In the spring, they breathed in the fragrant smells from the cherry blossoms. On a hot summer day, Jim proposed to Julie. They got married on October 19, 1990, standing in front of their favorite bench decorated with red chrysanthemums and red leaves from the oak tree. It had been a part of their lives from that first meeting and was proud to be at the center of the ceremony.

Over the first months of marriage, Julie encouraged her husband. “Follow your dream of having your own restaurant. Don’t let naysayers stop you.”

With his wife’s help, Jim opened his restaurant Autumn, serving soups, sandwiches, and homemade desserts. It was a successful business and soon he opened two more restaurants naming them Autumn Leaves and Autumn Waltz. The couple filled one wall of each restaurant with books available for the customers to enjoy. Soothing music playing Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, an orchestral rendition of Autumn Waltz, or Nat King Cole singing Autumn Leaves completed the ambiance. Julie quit her job at the hospital and became the manager of all the restaurants.

Despite their busy schedules and were married, they continued to spend every Friday afternoon together on the park bench. They talked about their week, hopes and dreams, growing family, and love for each other. Julie loved to say, “I think the angels were tripping over each other to find a way for us to meet. I am grateful that you decided to have lunch in the park that Friday.”

The years passed by, and one Friday only Julie came to the park. Once again, the board creaked as she sat down, letting out a sorrowful sigh. She spent her time talking out loud as if Jim were there. A tear fell on one wooden slat and Julie thought she heard a moaning sound.

Six months later, the October sky was cloudy and the last of the oak’s leaves had fallen. It was Friday, but the park bench was empty. It missed Jim and Julie who never sat on the park bench again.

~~

Karen Ingalls can be found on

Karen Ingalls Blog.

On Twitter:

Karen Ingalls Author Page Amazon

On Facebook

*

This contribution by Jan Sikes:

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

A FOREIGN WORLD

“Oh, the memories.” I sigh, and squeeze his hand a little tighter. The dried orange, brown and yellow leaves crunch beneath our feet as we shuffle along the sidewalk.

He smiles down at me. “Yes, my love. I remember when we sat on this very bench and I asked you to be my bride.”

Tears came unbidden and trickled down my wrinkled cheeks. “We had a pretty darn good life, didn’t we, Harold?”

“Yes. Yes, we did, in spite of the hardships.”

“But, I no longer recognize the world we live in. Where is everyone? Why are the streets empty? There was a day when this park would have held the laughter of children and young lovers strolling hand-in-hand.”

“Let’s sit, Margaret. My old legs are giving out.”

We shuffled over to the bench and Harold brushed away the leaves that covered it.

He blew out a long sigh and leaning on his cane, dropped onto the very bench where we started life together fifty-two years ago.

“I’m troubled, Harold. No, I’m more than troubled. I’m scared. Not for me and you. We’re pretty much out of here, but for the ones coming behind us.”

Draping an arm around my shoulders, he pulled me closer. “It’s not the same America that you and I grew up in. Soldiers on the streets, looting, killings and so much hatred exists. You know it’s not even safe for us to venture out.”

“I know, but I really needed some fresh air. Thank you for appeasing me.”

“Oh, my love, that is what I have lived for these past fifty-two years. My greatest joy is to make you smile.”

“What is that noise? Sounds like firecrackers.”

“I think we better mosey on back home, honey. It’s getting closer.”

He struggled to his feet, then leaning heavily on his cane, reached for my hand.

As we shuffled back toward safety, I turned to look back at the bench that meant so much, only to see a group of hoodlums spraying graffiti on it.

“Harold, we need to move faster. Trouble’s coming.”

“I’m going as fast as I can go. Don’t worry, dear. I won’t let anyone hurt you. It’s just a few more blocks home.”

That’s when it happened. A blow to the back of his head, took Harold to his knees. I screamed and turned to face our attackers only to see sneers and glowing hatred in the eyes of what should have been intelligent young men.

“You old people don’t need to be alive,” one of them growled. “You’re just taking up space and eating food that belongs to us. This is our country now. Old people like you are a nuisance.”

I kneeled down beside Harold and cradled his head in my lap. “You’ve hurt my husband.” Tears flowed uncontrollably.

One of them laughed. “So what? What are you going to do about it old woman?”

The first blow knocked me backward onto the hard concrete, and I frantically reached for Harold’s hand. The second blow brought oblivion.

Then, I was flying and when I looked down, I saw the shell of our bodies lying on the concrete, our blood mixing together and staining the sidewalk.

Harold floated up beside me.  “We’re free now, sweet love. No more aches, pains or persecution. We’re free.”

He was right. I no longer had the familiar pain in my joints and his cane no longer had any use.

“What will happen to our once beautiful world?” I took one more glance downward to see the men who’d taken our lives strolling away casually as if nothing had happened. They laughed and joked and slapped each other on the back.

“I don’t know the answer to that. We may have to come back to find out.”

“I’m not sure I want to come back again. Maybe we’ll stay with the Angels for a while.”

“Whatever you say, dear.”

With his hand nestled softly in mine, we drifted slowly and peacefully toward the brightest light that you can imagine. Then we disappeared into it.

We were home.

CONTACT JAN SIKES:

All books are available at http://www.jansikes.com

Amazon

On Twitter

On Facebook

*

Contributed by D.L.Finn.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

It was our bench. I felt the familiar tug at my heart as I quickened my pace and maneuvered through the pungently earthy orange, red, and yellow leaves. I hated making this walk alone through the fall splendor.

I jumped when something brushed against my leg.

“Sorry. Lady escaped from her collar again.”

The pug sat at my feet with an amiable head tilt. I mumbled. “No problem.”

“She’s friendly if you want to pet her.”

I shook my head and stepped around the dog. Passing the brightly lit coffee shop that usually provided me with a latte, I kept going. Finally, I plopped down on a cold cement bench and was immediately greeted by a distant chorus of barking dogs.

A young boy burst through the door directly across the street. He was cradling a small black kitten.

“Can I name him Skitter, mom?”

As the mother agreed, I flashed back to the day I brought my kitten home from this animal shelter. Felix died right before his 18th birthday. I decided, after crying for two weeks, I didn’t want to go through that heartbreak again.

A wind kicked up, and the sun was sloping down. It was time for me to head home. I stood up to go but froze when a young couple exited the building with a small exuberant black lab just like… Tears flowed unchecked down my face. I missed my walking companion, Bessie. When I had to put her to sleep, after she lost her battle with cancer, it tore me apart holding her for the last time. My two constant companions were taken from me in only two months. Now, at sixty-five-years-old, I was not only a widow but petless too.  With a heavy heart, I slowly made my way home.

The final one-hundred yards before turning into my driveway, I heard a muffled cry coming from a bush.

“Hello?” I called out, getting my keys ready to run inside.

It answered with a whimper.

“Pup?”

I carefully pushed the branches aside and found a taped cardboard box.

“Oh god…”

My heart was racing as I ripped the box open and peered inside.

The yellow puppy barked and jumped on the side of the box with its tail wagging. I quickly scooped it up, and it nestled into my neck. The smaller black one wasn’t moving, and the black and yellow puppy could barely lift its head.

“You poor babies! What kind of monster would do this?”

I raced to my car and gently set the box down while still hanging on to the yellow puppy. My hand brushed over the black pup, finding no life, but the other pup let out a small sigh as I stroked its soft fur.

I dialed my vet and started the car, “I found some puppies in bad shape. Are you still open?”

“We just closed but bring them in, Marsha. We’ll wait.”

Soon the two puppies who had survived were on the vet’s examination table.

“They are around four weeks old and look like a shepherd/lab mix. It was lucky you found these two when you did. We will do everything we can for them and call you in the morning. Are you considering keeping them?”

I frowned. “I don’t think so, but I will pay for whatever they need.”

I spent a long night tossing and turning. Their sweet faces haunted me as well as the cruelly taped box. I knew I was meant to find them, but that didn’t mean I had to keep them. When the sun finally rose, I knew what I had to do.

The phone rang after breakfast. “Hi, Marsha. I’m sorry the boy didn’t make it, but the girl did. We will keep her here another night so we can monitor her, and we found someone to foster her so—”

I cut her off. “No, she has a home with me.”

A year later, Molly was proudly wearing her new pink collar. She yanked me toward our bench. Today we couldn’t sit there because a neighbor’s adolescent daughter had taken it over with a box of kittens that had a free sign taped to the side. Our walk was cut short when I locked eyes with a tiny black cat. We had found the missing member of our family and I had learned that having a pet’s love was worth any loss endured.

*

Contact D.L.Finn here on

Blog site:

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On TWITTER:

On FACEBOOK:

*

And My Contribution.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

GLITCH

by

Suzanne Burke.

Hoover Building: Washington.

F.B.I. Taskforce ‘Glitch’. November 17th, 2019.

Special Agent Ryan Spence ran his hands through his thick dark hair and looked across at Jenny Hanson, “Do we have confirmation that it was the same park location?”

“Yup. We had flash traffic a little over an hour ago. Same as all the others. An identical description of the events they also described, including Margaret Dawson’s statement this morning.”

“The first Casefile #C514 was Craig Carmody. Listed as missing person November 16th, 2010. Located, November 16th, 2011. Missing exactly one year. The dates are identical. His interview, especially the description of that location was almost word for word identical to Margaret Dawson’s and the eight others.”

“Sweet Jesus. Nine years, and we still have nothing but supposition to go on. And proving that will be next to impossible.”

“I’ll run his interview file. Who knows maybe we’ll find a difference.”

The room quieted and they hunched forward in anticipation.

***

“Recording date November 17th, 2011.”

Casefile #G514. Craig Carmody. Listed as missing November 16th, 2010. Located November 16th, 2011. Present. Senior Special Agent Colin Wagstaff. Mr. Craig Carmody.

“Mr. Carmody please describe for us the events leading up to your disappearance. You were last seen by your wife on the morning of November 16th, 2010. What happened when you left home?”

“I headed off to work, just like I do every day when I’m on shift. I had a bad mornin’ and come lunchtime I was ready to punch somebody’s lights out. But I figured a couple of stiff bourbons and a walk in the fresh fall air would see me calm down some.”

“You had a few drinks and then?”

“I went to the park.”

“Which park was that?”

“The big one over on Delancey street.”

Delancey street? Are you sure of that location?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. I recall wonderin’ why I hadn’t been down there before. But we’d just moved from Idaho, so I hadn’t seen all of the city.”

The agent sat back for a moment. “Can you describe the park for me? Walk yourself back over that morning and tell me what you see?”

“Yeah, I guess so. So, it was cold, and the wind had picked up, I recall thinking winter was gonna be a real bitch this year. Oh, and it was empty … the park I mean. I thought that was odd, being it was still only early afternoon. But I was in no mood for company anyways.”

“Can you describe what you see?”

“The path is covered in fall leaves and they crunch under my feet. The trees are losing the fight to hang on to the last of their leaves. There’s a bench up on the right, covered in crunchy Fall color. So, yeah, I swiped the leaves off, sat back, and lit up a smoke. That’s when I felt it. ” He stopped and looked down.

“Felt what, Mr. Carmody?”

“The light blinded me and warmed me up instantly, and the sound was a pulsing thing. I put my hands over my ears, but it went right through me, it seemed like it was keeping pace with my heartbeat.” The man wrapped his arms across his chest as if to protect it.

“What happened then, sir?”

“Then?”

“You felt the light, and heard the sound, and then what?”

“I went somewhere else.”

“Where did you go?”

“I don’t know.”

“Were you alone in that place?”

“No. They were there too.”

“They? Can you describe them?”

“You can’t see them, they’re made of light and sound. They don’t have a body like we do.”

“What happened there?”

“I … well, I … I don’t remember. I just know I was there, and now I’m not.”

“You can’t remember anything? You were missing for an entire year, Mr. Carmody. Surely you recall something?”

“I told you. There’s nothin’.”

“Sir, I’m sorry, but there is no park down on Delancey Street. It’s all office buildings and a couple of cafés.”

The man shook his head, “Damn you! I know where I walked to! I tell you it’s there. Why are you saying it’s not?” The man became visibly distressed. His heartbeat and his blood pressure rocketed. The interview hurriedly concluded.

***

And, Jenny? What else? Tell me?”

“Craig Carmody disappeared from the Watford Mental Health Facility yesterday.”

“Jesus! We have to check on Margaret Dawson! She’s being escorted there now!”

He picked up the phone and placed an urgent call.

Jenny watched his face drain of color as he hung up and turned to face her. “The car carrying Margaret Dawson has just been found. The escorts don’t remember what happened. They saw a flash of light and there was a pulse of sound. Margaret Dawson is no longer at the location. Don’t plan on sleeping anytime soon, Jenny.  We have ourselves another active GLITCH file.

#

😁😎(No prizes for guessing I loved The X-Files)

Thanks so much for stopping by. The Challenge Photo-Prompt for Week #3 will be posted on June 6th.

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Week #2. Image Prompt: Join in, have fun, and let loose your creative muse.#FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to week #2 of my  “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction piece inspired by that image in a genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on Thursday, June 4th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on Thursday, June 11th.

I do hope you join in! Have fun, let the creative muse loose!

And now …The image for week #2.

Flash Fiction park bench in the fall

 

I hope the image inspires you and I hope to see you stop by.

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

By Email.

“Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Entries for week #1.@gmplano @pursoot #IARTG #WritingCommunity.

 

Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the entries for : “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #1.

Flash Fiction best header

Last week I set the following Challenge:

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction piece inspired by that image in a genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on May 28th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on May 29th.

AND Here’s the prompt image …For #Week 1.

Flash Fiction MEERKATS FOR 1st post

This entry comes from Gwen Plano.

“A Visit to The Zoo. By Gwen Plano.

George … George! Come out here.

Why would I want to do that! I’m trying to rest.

Ya gotta see this.

Whatever it is, I’m not interested.

Come on, George. There are strange creatures out here, and they are all staring at me.

Can we eat them?

No, they’re pretty big. They might eat us, though.

Good grief! And, you’re still out there?

I think they’re in a cage. I don’t think they can reach us.

Alright, alright. I’m coming. This better be good.

Look … over there. What do you see?

I don’t know for sure. They have eyes, and they have hands and feet.

Watch … watch. When I move, their heads turn to follow me. Did you notice that?

Yeah, weird for sure.

Hey, look what happens when I just stretch out and show them beautiful me.

Wow, that got a reaction!

Why don’t you try something?

Okay. Let’s see what they do if I stand on my hind feet.

Hey, I think they like you more than me.

Do you think they can talk? They’ve gotta have a mouth, don’t they?

I don’t know. I don’t even see a nose, so maybe they don’t breathe.

They gotta breathe, they gotta eat. Unless …

Unless what?

Maybe they’re some kind of alien. What do you think?

Aliens? Why would aliens be interested in us? What do we have that they need?

Well, for starts a mouth and a nose.

Come on, George. Seriously, what do we have that they don’t?

Beats me.

George, look at the little alien. He’s tugging on his face, but the big one stops him.

Woe … I think I know what they want from us.

You do? What is it, George?

They want to be free like you and me.

~~~

Take a look at Gwen’s blog.

Reflections on Life … Blog.

Author Page: Gwen Plano on Amazon

On Twitter.

Gwen Plano on Facebook.

***

And here is my take on the image.

“Chillax”. By Suzanne Burke.

Flash Fiction MEERKATS FOR 1st post

“Merkle? Merkle! Man, what are you doin’? Aren’t you meant to be on watch?”

“Whoa. Chillax, Max! I got this.”

“You’ve got this my ass. I mean look at yourself. All laid back like you don’t have a care in the world. Where has all that frenetic energy and perpetual state of angst disappeared to, my friend? Just so you know, bro, some of the elders have been asking.”

“Sit yourself down alongside me and take a load off those tiny feet.”

Max checked frantically around several times then hurried over and sat perched anxiously on a rock nearby. “Just for a moment.” He glanced at his friend. “You’ve changed since you came back from that 3-month retreat. It’s like you’re on a whole other continent, or something. Did something happen while you were there? You can tell me. I won’t say anything. My lips are sealed.”

Merkle chuckled and poked his friend in the arm, “Max you’re the gossip master of the entire waterhole! Even Harriet Hyena can’t keep up with you.” He spluttered and laughed again. “You’re in serious need of a relaxing intervention, buddy. I can help you with that.”

“Please explain intervention?

“It’s simple. You just need someone to sit you down and ask you what the hell you are doing with your life, and where do you think your life is headed?”

“Why would they ask that? Has someone said something? Who was it? Was it Margaret?”

“See now, that’s precisely what I’m talking about! Your paranoia is off the charts, my friend.” He hunched forward and rested his elbows on his knees. “I’m parched. You want to join me in a drink?”

“Of water?”

“Not exactly.” He held it out to his companion. “Try it. You’ll love it.”

Max took a nervous sip and then another, “This tastes weird, but I like it.” He gulped down the last mouthful.

“Give it a minute, you’ll like it even more. I guarantee it makes that acid-reflux and nervous dyspepsia disappear. ” Merkle smiled and waited.

“So, what’s it made of?”

“Mostly mushrooms, and a little cactus juice.”

Twenty-minutes passed in silence, broken by Max as he reached out his hand and grabbed at the air, “Those sunbeams are singing.”

“Uh-huh. So, what are they singing?”

“A song.”

“Cool.” Merkle nodded sagely. Then busied himself preparing the next phase of the intervention.

Max sat and happily hummed along to the sounds only he could hear.

Merkle finished his preparation, lit it and inhaled it deep into his lungs, held it in, then expelled it with a sigh of satisfaction.

He handed it to his friend.

“I don’t smoke tobacco.”

“It’s not tobacco.”

“And it’s 100% organic too?”

“Doesn’t matter, man. We’re omnivorous.”

“Oh, yeah.”

Hours passed with the two friends interspersing the silence with deep and meaningful gasps of insight and wisdom.

They roared laughing at anything and everything.

The riotous colors of sunset made them cry at its perfection.

***

Max lay back in the darkness gazing up at the sparkling ceiling above them. “This intervention stuff is amazing. You learned all about this at the retreat?”

“Uh-huh.”

“So, I’ve been to both of them over the years, but, man, we never learned anything like this! Which one was it, Botswana, or southern Namibia?”

“Nope. They put me up on the wrong flight. We flew over the biggest waterhole I’ve ever seen. And the place was filled to the rafters with humans. I really got to like a few of them.”

“Could you get there again, I mean maybe I could take a look at it, just out of curiosity.”

“I’m not sure exactly how we would get there.”

“But you do know the name of the place, don’t you?”

“Yeah … it’s a place called Amsterdam.”

“So, how did you get back here?”

“I boarded some plane they call Astral! And zap! Here I am. What do you think about that?” … Max?”

He listened carefully to the sounds of the night, then smiled in the darkness as he heard Max hurrying back to the den with a cry of alarm. “Everyone wake up! You’ll never believe what Merkle just told me!”

Merkle rolled another joint and laughed delightedly. “Man they’re gonna think I’m having a breakdown. Then I’ll get sent on another 3 month retreat. This day couldn’t have gone any better. Bless your predictability, Max.”

#

Thanks so much for stopping by. I look forward to your comments.

The next “Fiction in A Flash” image prompt will be posted on Friday, May 29th. I hope you’ll join in the fun.

Contact me at …

My author page on AMAZON.

On Twitter.

On Facebook

On Goodreads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: “In Search of McDoogal” by Mae Clair @maeclair1 @storyempire #IARTG #WritingCommunity

Hello and welcome to my book review of “In Search of McDoogal” By Mae Clair.

book cover in search of mcdoogal

Meet Mae Clair.

bio pic mae clair

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair is also a founding member and contributor to the award-winning writing blog, Story Empire. She has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with several of her novels chosen as book club selections.

Mae writes primarily in the mystery/suspense genre, flavoring her plots with elements of urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.

Discover more about Mae on her website and blog at MaeClair.com

~~~~~

book cover in search of mcdoogal

BOOK BLURB:

In search of something ugly…

All Brady Conrad wants to do is earn a few merit points with his artist girlfriend, so he volunteers to cover her gallery when she leaves town. What should be an easy day of sales goes belly up when he mistakenly sells a cherished painting.

With the clock ticking toward Vanessa’s return, Brady has less than a day to track McDoogal down. He coerces his friend Declan to tag along for moral support. How difficult can it be for an investigator and the director of a renowned institute to find a single painting in a town the size of a postage stamp?

Neither Brady nor Declan counted on a suspicious sheriff, rival baseball teams with a longstanding grudge, or a clueless kid trying to win his girlfriend with all the wrong gifts.

McDoogal is smack in the middle. But Brady’s biggest dilemma isn’t the disastrous hunt. It’s confessing to Vanessa her painting is the ugliest thing he’s ever seen.

My Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐A wonderful addition to this talented author’s repertoire.

I’ve been a fan of author Mae Clair since I first read the Hodes Hill series.

This genre is new to her and she has nailed it. Comedic writing is difficult at best, and this author has the talent to make it look easy. Her comedic timing is perfect.

The wonderful characterizations of the focused duo of Brady and Declan make them clearly visible. Their snappy banter and camaraderie born of comfort in each other’s presence make them both intensely likable.

I enjoyed the fast pacing as Brady and Declan set out to retrieve a painting and avoid the consequences of Brady needing to fess up to his new girlfriend that he messed up badly when left in charge of her gallery, The journey these two close friends set out on had me laughing out loud. A case of anything that can go wrong … did.

Mae Clair had gifted us with a marvelous cast of characters, and a read that left me smiling long after I finished reading.

Top-notch all the way.  A wonderful addition to this talented author’s repertoire.

 

 

Contact Mae Clair:

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Thanks so much for joining me today! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

NEW: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Join in, have fun, and let loose your creative muse.#FictionInAFlash @pursoot @IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity.

Flash Fiction best header

Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction piece inspired by that image in a genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at My email address. by 4pm on May 28th. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be much appreciated.

I’ll be sharing all entries received, and, my own contribution here on May 29th.

I do hope you join in! Have fun, let the creative muse loose!

And now …The photo.

Flash Fiction MEERKATS FOR 1st post

I look forward to seeing you!

Now have fun!