FFfAW — Hot Pink

99EE5B84-EB08-443F-951D-EF4A772CC418“Why would anyone paint a wall on campus hot pink?” Harvey asked.

“That’s the classroom where they teach women’s studies,” William noted.

“Don’t you find that sexist?”

“Why would you say that?” William asked.

“You know,” Harvey answered, “Pink for girls, blue for boys. It’s so stereotypical to paint the wall outside of a women’s studies classroom pink. It’s offensive and demeaning.”

William saw a coed walking toward them and motioned to her. “Excuse me, may I ask you a question?”

The girl shrugged. “Sure.”

“This wall,” he said, pointing to the hot pink wall, “is outside of a women’s studies classroom. Does that offend you?”

“Why would that wall offend me?”

“My friend thinks that a pink wall outside of a women’s studies classroom is stereotypical and is degrading to women. Do you agree?”

The girl thought for a few seconds and then reached into her fanny pack, pulled out a piece of chalk, and drew a smiley face on the wall.

“That should answer your question.” And then she turned and walked away.

(175 words)

Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers from Priceless Joy. Image by Grant-Sud.



DF676B07-76A8-43CC-BAA0-97A43BB36655“That’s strange,” Carl said to his wife as the two were walking past their town’s Baptist church.

“What’s strange, Hon,” Maggie asked.

“That sign in front of the church,” he responded. “What a strange sign to be put up in front of a church.”

Maggie looked at the sign and then looked back at Carl. “What’s so strange about that sign?”

Carl looked at Maggie in disbelief. “Seriously?” he said. “You don’t think a sign that reads ‘God is nowhere’ in front of a church isn’t strange?”

Maggie looked carefully at the sign. “You’re reading it wrong. It says ‘God is now here.’”

Now it was Carl who looked carefully at the sign. “No, that’s not what it says. Look at the spacing of the letters. It clearly says ‘God is nowhere.’ Can’t you see that?”

Maggie grabbed Carl’s hand and pulled him toward the church entrance. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“I’m going to prove that I’m right and you’re wrong.”

The couple walked through the door and started walking down the center aisle. They saw the church pastor toward the alter and walked up to him. “Excuse me,” Maggie said. “We have a question about your sign.”

The pastor smiled and asked, “How can I help you?”

Carl said, “Does that sign out front say ‘God is now here’ or ‘God is nowhere’”?

“That is an excellent question,” the pastor said. “What do you think it says?”

Carl was getting a little irritated. “It’s your sign. Why would you ask us what it means.”

The pastor’s smile broadened. “You know, I knew putting up that sign would be risky, but it seems to be doing exactly what I hoped it would do.”

“And what is that?” Maggie asked.

“Initiate a discussion about God by people just like you who wonder what the sign means.” He said. “Welcome to my church. So, what do you believe? Is God now here or is God nowhere?”

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “risky.”

Loyal to a Fault

In the era (or should I say, error) of Donald Trump, the word “loyal,” which has always had a positive connotation, has shifted. Let me explain.

New presidents are expected to nominate highly talented, well-qualified people to fill appointed positions in the executive branch of the federal government. Appointees should be able, creative, and experienced people who will serve the needs of the government and the people it serves.

I’m not suggesting that loyalty to the ideas and ideologies of the president shouldn’t play a role in making political appointments. But that should not be the primary criterion.

The president should not be appointing someone to head up the Department of Justice who is a well-known segregationist and racist. Nor should he appoint someone who has sued the EPA and is a vocal climate change denier to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Secretary of the Interior should not be someone with deep ties to the fossil fuels industry. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should not be someone who profited from insider trading of health care company stocks and who is devoted to his boss’ aim of destroying health care coverage for 20+ million Americans.

The president should not appoint as his senior strategist a right-wing nut job and white nationalist who wants to dismantle the establishment. The president should not ask the FBI Director to pledge his loyalty and then fire him when he doesn’t. And nepotism is not a qualification.

I could go on and on, but I think you get my point, which is that loyalty should not trump qualifications.

It’s a shame that our president has turned “loyal” from something positive to something questionable.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “loyal.”

Guilt Trip

Archie’s journey had started seven hours earlier in L.A. There were no direct flights from there to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he had to be for a meeting the next morning, so he had to connect in Detroit. After a 90 minute layover there, Archie boarded the plane to Fort Wayne.

Even though there were were only 12 rows on the regional jet, fewer than half of the seats were filled. Not only was Archie able to score an exit row seat, but the seat next to him remained empty, which meant he could stretch his legs and didn’t need to worry about making small talk with some stranger sitting next to him.

Archie had already been traveling most of the day, and now that he was situated in this seat for the short hop to Fort Wayne, he decided to take a nap. Unfortunately, he couldn’t seem to shut down his mind. Perhaps the fact that he was heading east from the west coast contributed to his inability to fall asleep. While it was around 9:20 p.m. eastern time, it was only 6:20 “his” time.

This shit is getting old, Archie thought. He had been thinking recently about retirement, trying to figure out if he could afford to go without a regular salary and still have enough left, after paying for the mortgage, food, clothing, medical expenses, and taxes, to live comfortably for however many years he had left.

He was pretty sure he could do it, but then there was his wife. Budget was a word that was not in her vocabulary. If she needed something, she bought it. If she didn’t need something, but she wanted something, she bought it.

She was also incurring a lot of medical expenses. Nothing really serious; just minor aches and pains that required a lot of doctor appointments and tests.

And then there were her favorite charities, the ones she felt compelled to give money to. Archie had asked her to cut back on the charitable donations. “Charity starts at home,” he would tell her, reminding her that they needed to start being more frugal to ensure that they wouldn’t run out of money once he retired. She wouldn’t hear of it.

Archie truly loved his wife and the life they had built together. He was horrified by the thoughts that were running though his head at the moment. Thoughts about bad things happening to her.

But if something bad were to happen to her, if she were no longer around, Archie would be able to retire comfortably. He could quit his job. He could stop having to spend hours in airports and on airplanes, and nights in crummy hotels.

Archie shook his head violently and willed such thoughts out of his head. He eventually was able to fall asleep, but not for long. The impact of the plane’s wheels touching the ground startled him out of his brief nap.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Fort Wayne, Indiana,” the flight attendant said, “where the local time is 10:52. Please remain in your seat with your seat belts fastened until we reach the gate and the captain has given the signal that you can start to deplane. In the meantime, you may use your cell phones and small electronic devices.”

Archie reached for his cell phone, powered it up, and took it off airplane mode. It searched for a cell signal for a feel seconds before several work emails starting showing up. He was beginning to read through them when he heard the text message notification. It was from his wife’s sister.

Archie just stared at the phone after reading the text message. He was numb. He felt like he was either going to pass out or throw up. Or both. He read the message again after rubbing his eyes. It didn’t change. It still said what it said the first time he read it.

“Archie, call me as soon as you land. It’s about Jane. She was in a car accident on the freeway. She’s gone.”