Sunday Photo Fiction — The Cruise

“I can’t believe we’re finally going on a cruise,” Bertha gushed. “I’ve wanted to go on one of these ever since I can remember.”

“There’s nothing too good for my Bertha,” Benny said. He looked around at the five other people sitting at their table. “It’s our fiftieth anniversary.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful,” Mildred said. “My husband got me this cruise for my 65th birthday, which was last month.” She nudged Charles, who was dozing. “Isn’t that right, Charles?”

“This is my second cruise,” said Murray jumped in. “The last time I was with my wife,” he added.

“Is she not with you this time?” Benny asked.

“No. The last time we hit some rough water and she got severely seasick. And then there was some kind of food poisoning or something and nearly everyone on board, passengers and crew alike, got severe diarrhea.”

“Oh my,” said Henrietta. “No wonder she didn’t want to join you this time.”

“Well,” Murray said, “she passed before the cruise ended. But she wasn’t very good company anyway, so I thought I’d give it another go.”

The conversation stopped. The others all got up and left the table.

“Hey, where’s everyone going?” Murray asked.

(199 words)

Sritten for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt.


Stairway to Heaven

“What do you mean you don’t believe in God?” Cheryl was incredulous. “Don’t you want to ascend to heaven when your time comes?”

Alan chucked. “If heaven and hell existed, my ‘soul’ would surely be descending, not ascending.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Cheryl argued. “All you need to do is embrace Jesus. He will embrace you back. He will forgive you. You will be saved.”

“Oh my God,” Alan protested. “How many times do we have to discuss this. I don’t buy your religious mumbo-jumbo. There is no all-knowing, all-seeing supernatural spirit in the sky watching and judging everything that we do. It’s a bunch of bullshit.”

Cheryl’s eyes starting welling up. “But it says in the Bible….”

“The Bible,” Alan laughed. “You mean that book written by around 40 different farmers and shepherds decades after your so-called savior died? Why not use Lord of the Rings as your holy book?

The tears were flowing freely down Cheryl’s cheeks. “Stop mocking me,” she demanded. “You’re my brother. We were raised together. How can you be such a heretic?”

“I have an evolved brain,” Alan said. “You do to, Cheryl, but you seem unwilling or unable to use it when it comes to religion. It’s like you’ve been brainwashed, indoctrinated.”

“Well, Mom, Dad, and I are going to miss your evolved brain when we’re all in heaven and you’re in hell.”

“You go ahead and live your life so that ascend to heaven, Cheryl, when you die.” Alan said. “I’ll live mine so that I can experience heaven on earth while I’m still alive.”

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

Song Lyric Sunday — Vanity

Actually, the theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday is not “vanity.” It’s “bragging.” But I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to go from bragging (a verb) to vanity (a noun). After all, vanity is excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc. And such excessive pride can often result in bragging. Am I right or what?

And speaking about vanity, what song portrays vanity better than Carly Simon’s 1972 mega-hit, “You’re So Vain”?

The song was written and performed by Carly Simon and released in November 1972 on Elektra Records. It’s is a critical profile of a self-absorbed lover about whom Simon asserts, “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.”

While there’s been a lot of speculation regarding the subject of the song, Simon has hinted that it refers to three different men, only one of whom, actor Warren Beatty, has she named publicly.

And here are the lyrics:

You walked into the party
Like you were walking on a yacht
Your hat strategically dipped below one eye
Your scarf, it was apricot
You had one eye on the mirror
And watched yourself gavotte
And all the girls dreamed that they’d be your partner
They’d be your partner, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain,
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Oh, you had me several years ago
When I was still naive
Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair
And that you would never leave
But you gave away the things you loved
And one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Well I hear you went to Saratoga
And your horse, naturally, won
Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun
Well, you’re where you should be all the time
And when you’re not, you’re with some underworld spy
Or the wife of a close friend,
Wife of a close friend, and

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, you’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you?
Don’t you?

Humdrum and Ho-Hum

1E959609-88DF-44C0-8F67-2A4EA53C23D4My biggest fear when I retired at the end of last year was boredom. After all, I’d spent close to the last 50 years as an active member of the workforce. I had a job to do, I knew how to do it, and I was damn good at it.

And then, just like that, I retired. What to do, what to do?

I did not want to succumb to boredom, so I set as a personal goal to find ways to exercise both my body and my mind.

The good news with respect to the body is that I have a wife who is an exercise nut and she encourages me to get up off my butt and to keep moving. I also have a dog that demands to be walked multiple times a day, ensuring that I achieve at least 10,000 steps daily.

But what about exercising the mind? As a new retiree, I wanted a way to keep my mind active, engaged, and alert. And that’s where this blog comes in.

When I first started this blog in May, one of my primary purposes was to provide a platform for me to express my views, opinions, and perspectives on topics that matter to me. I also wanted to establish a creative outlet for self-expression and to dabble in flash fiction. But most important, I wanted — needed — something to challenge my brain, to keep my neurons transmitting and the synapses firing. Something that might stave off the mental deterioration of old age.

And something that would enable me to not succumb to the humdrum and ho-hum.

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

SoCS — Wishing Well

C345AB33-21C3-4E20-91A7-1871179C4407This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill is the word “well.”

When I read it, I was transported back in time to two incidents that involved the word “well” that I thought I’d share with you here.

The first such incident occurred at my first job interview after graduating from college. I was extremely nervous, as one might expect. The man interviewing me asked me an open-ended question. I can’t recall what the question was, but that’s not important.

Anyway, he asked the question and I took a moment to consider my answer. After crafting in my mind what I thought would be a good response, I started my answer by saying, “Well….”

But before I could get out the next word, he interrupted me and said, “That’s a deep subject,” and he started to laugh. I just looked at him, clueless as to what the hell he was talking about.

“You know,” he said, “a well is deep. A deep well. A deep subject.” Sensing that I was still lost, he explained that it was a joke. “You gotta lighten up a little, son.”

Needless to say, I didn’t get that job.

The second incident came up in a rather awkward situation after I quit my job to go to graduate school. I had gotten the flu and had missed a few weeks of classes. When I returned to one of my classes, the professor asked me how I was feeling. I told him I was feeling good.

“No, you’re not feeling good,” he said. “You’re feeling well.”

“Okay,” I said, “good, well, whatever.”

Then he started to lecture me. “Feeling well refers to feeling healthy, as in not being sick. When someone asks you how you’re feeling, they are probably inquiring about your health, so it’s appropriate to answer that you’re feeling well.”

“Fine,” I said. “I’m feeling well.”

But he was not done. “Feeling good is more of a general state of mind, so ‘I’m feeling good’ can refer to someone feeling happy, optimistic, proud, etc. You really need to be more precise and know when to say you’re feeling well and when to say you’re feeling good.”

“Thank you,” I said. “That’s good to know. Or should I be saying that’s well to know?”

Oh well.