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Stuck

1 stone

A smattering of gravestones eventually became a constant barrage of cemeteries noticed, seemingly at every turn, markers practically jumped out in front of her car. Death brings an overwhelming sense of immediacy, an obsession with its existence, the frightening inevitability of everyone’s ultimate fate. 

She looked at the chiselled names, hoping to memorize a few so those people’s existence could mean something to someone else beyond their own families. They were here. They mattered. And her mother’s absence might feel a little less heavy. Maybe she could obsess just a tiny bit less than she did yesterday. And every day.

 

100-word challenge:  obsession 100-word-challenge

 

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“May I take your order?”

steering wheel.jpg

He looked damn good to her from a few car lengths away. Definite eye candy. 

“I should get his number. I might be 38 years old, but I still got it,” Brandy kidded herself. 

The restaurant clerk was surely checking her out, so she flashed her cutest smile, then blew a cascade of smoke out the open car window, ashed her cigarette, and inspected her rear-view mirror’s reflection. 

Upon reaching the window to pay, she couldn’t believe who greeted her. “Hi, Mrs. Jackson,” said her oldest son’s childhood friend. “It’ll be $5.95. I’ll be right back with your order.” 

100-word challenge prompt:  candy 

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image: Pajero by CarTestr

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Time for a career move

tree

With the little one-hitter tucked easily inside his back pocket, he hoped it looked more like a tire gauge than a pipe if someone suspected anything. Rick toked up from the front seat inconspicuously parked just behind the office building, or so he thought. The blacked-out windows negated any need for shade but being tucked under the trees helped him feel a little more incognito. 

He grabbed some Visine from the console, aimed some toward the blood shot, and let loose a stream of Axe spray before returning to his disastrous call center cube. The weekend couldn’t come soon enough. 

100-word challenge:  disaster

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Tour de Bass

My “getting off the couch and moving” effort began back in April when I decide to bike for MS. Joedie, a friend and former co-worker, bravely face her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, so I dedicated my ride to her. I want to live in gratitude that I’m healthy and mobile and beg the universe I can stay that way as long as possible. The aging process brings about such obvious yet scary realities. 

ride signThis final bike marathon for the year played out in the form of an intended 28-mile route on a dreary morning I embarked on before the October sunrise last Sunday. 

Lesson one:  download the GPS ahead of time 

Lesson two:  download the planned 28-mile route 

These two important strategies for success are especially important when cycling without a partner. My lack of technological preparation led me to three misdirections resulting in seven and a half extra miles traversed along the way. The first mis-step occurred at the half-way point when I continued the path that was actually the 50-mile route. Imagine my shame at having a septuagenarian recommend the GPS app. 

ride selfieMy second mistake came from following what I thought were road markings through a random neighborhood. The automated “ding” warned of my being off-route, but I thought I knew better. Thank goodness I saw two other stragglers who also turned around at the rest stop in an effort to bypass impending rain. They soon lost me in their proverbial dust, and I then failed to notice the street marking recommended by the aforementioned GPS voice. 

Lesson three:  Follow the GPS route

Much to my chagrin, the rain descended just before I heard someone bellow from behind about my missing that turn. I loathe feeling helpless. I can’t stand to ask a man for directions. And both happened. A self-reliant life spent being stubbornly independent brought me to this moment.

I now call what happened “being swept,” as the guy who found me off-course said he was running “sweep” for people who’d lost their way … like me. Being humble means relenting my control, learning my error (or in this case, errors), and realizing I need help sometimes. Which I absolutely HATE! 

ride store The future will tell if I have any more bike races in me. I say that because 52 feels very old on the saddle when it’s raining. My left quad muscles exclaims that sentiment to me vehemently while I’m at it. My own inner monologue is the toughest thing to beat, but playing music on a wi-fi speaker in my water bottle holder helps draw me out of my head. 

Lesson four:  Keep spinning

I call it “embracing the suck,” meaning no matter if your Hello Kitty socks are sopping wet and you’re riding into or somehow against the wind’s direction, you keep going because the end is inevitable. You might feel like shit on the side of the road, but the wheels must keep moving. You’ll get there one way or another, so you may as well go laughing (even at yourself) and singing your favorite song.

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Kilroy was here …

door

Living there had been poisonous since Dad’s previous springtime affair. The man proclaimed, “You’re on your own now, buddy. Don’t want ya here no more.” Sam was kicked out precisely one day after high school graduation. 

The escape planned before taking the old wagon with his name down the side in pilfered spray paint, Sam drove by blaring the horn long enough for them to embark on the porch to spy his handiwork. 

The couple retrieved his father’s trailer later that night from a county line gully, with all four tires flat but glowing letters illuminating it in the dark.

100-word Challenge:  poison

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Making Danica Patrick Proud

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Usually light-hearted and felicitous, Fannie appeared befuddled. The quaff normally perched atop her head in platinum perfection, instead shot out in all directions, and her frippery lay uncharacteristically in disarray. Fannie didn’t feel her normal self. 

The children fluttered about her like mob of meerkats, just as frantic as she, before loading into their Mercedes sedan. The nanny usually drove them to school, so everyone’s anxiety ran high. Mother’s driving expertise equated amateur level. 

A previous trip ended in such embarrassment. Last time she delivered them to school, arrival was marked with sirens sounding and lights in the rear-view mirror.

 

100-word challenge:  amateur 

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Photo: Markus Kneibes via Flickr

 

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Raising Cain

Apple pie with pecan nuts

Grandma made them all aprons as a gift, like they’d one day become domesticated. It just wasn’t in the cards, though, much to their father’s surprise. The troika instead grew into independent non-cooks and bakers who didn’t fastidiously keep house. With better things to do, nary a homemade muffin would emerge from their ovens. 

“If that shit’s going to get done, hubs can do it himself. Make his own damn sammich,” the youngest protested. “He’s got two hands.”

No wonder Mrs. Bray warned her mother at first-grade parent-teacher conferences, “I can just hear her griping at her husband one day.” 

100-word challenge prompt:  homemade

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photo:  Marco Verch via Flickr

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Out on the town

ale

Beside herself with excitement, Teresa’s group stopped at Willie’s for tacos before going to their hotel on her first trip to the state capital for work. 

“I’d like an ice cold beer,” she drawled. “Listen, y’all … this is my first rodeo. All we have for drive-through in Delmar is Windy’s and McDugal’s. Know what I mean?”

A bit chagrinned at her naivete, Teresa’s co-workers stared at their menus, embarrassed. She was all smiles, though.

“Don’t judge! My husband greased up the bars some to let me out for this little jaunt. Otherwise keeps me at home all the time.” 

100-word Challenge: listen

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photo credit: Dennis Sylvester Hurd via Flickr

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Timothy Schande

signage

He wanted to see Jennifer again before everything got all fakakta. Their relationship was building nicely prior to arrest. Now Timothy wasn’t so sure.

He’d see a judge soon and could then cypher what came next. Just his luck to get popped right before he met someone he could finally introduce to his bubbie. A goy, nonetheless. She’d have been surprised.

A guy in the next cell kept yelling about something being “otra bobas,” but Tim knew no Spanish. The fella was de-toxing or still off his nut from a wild misadventure the previous night. Maybe something resembling his own.

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100-word challenge:  arrest

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Check-Up

door.JPG

Jim Earl headed to town bright and early, his patience waning at getting Ginny to her doctor appointment. The antiquarian white-knuckled the wheel at “2” and “10” as if loosening his hold would end disastrously.

Passing drivers never suspected that cowboy hat brim covered a dome with only a few remnant hairs. Jim Earl kept laser focus on the road ahead, his love’s ailments outweighing his own.

An undetected stroke brought on oxygen-deprived dementia, except Jim Earl never went to the doctor himself. Not even his beloved realized. Getting lost that day was the first of many times to come.

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100 Word Challenge – patience 

 

 

 

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