Space Junk


Henry was thrilled when his boss at the Air and Space Museum told him he could design a new exhibit to demonstrate twentieth century space exploration. “Let me see what you can do, Henry,” his boss told him.

After taking a couple of days to come up with his killer idea for the exhibit, Henry got things rolling. He wanted it to be a surprise, so he cordoned off the exhibit space with opaque plastic sheeting and worked diligently to bring his idea to fruition.

Over the next few weeks, models of various spacecraft and satellites were delivered and assembled in the exhibit area. The walls, ceiling, and floor were painted to resemble outer space.

The time came for Henry to unveil the new museum exhibit. Henry asked his boss to meet him there just after the museum closed the night before the big reveal.

With a dramatic flair, Henry let the opaque plastic sheets fall to the floor. “I call it Space Junk,” Henry proudly announced.

Henry’s boss gasped; he couldn’t conceal his visceral reaction to the exhibit. “It’s hideous,” he said. “Take this monstrosity down immediately.”

(188 words)

Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Also for today’s one-word prompt, “visceral.”

Photo credit: A Mixed Bag

Squeeze Play


“This is the last time I am going to do this,” Betsy said. She squeezed the pimple on his back and the pus oozed out. She dabbed it with a tissue.

“But I can’t reach them,” Martin whined. “They’re on my back.”

“You need to go see a dermatologist. This ooze is grossing me out.”

“I’m not going to the doctor,” Martin insisted. “I can’t afford it. Besides, you know you love it. You volunteered to do it in the first place.”

“Yeah, that was when you had that one isolated zit,” Betsy said. “But now you’re getting them all over your back and I just can’t do this anymore.”

“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore?” Martin asked.

“Either you go to the dermatologist and get this treated properly or you’ll just have to live with zits on your back,” Betsy said.

“You’re a freakin’ nurse, for crissake.” Martin said. “This is nothing compared to the crap you have to deal with at the hospital.”

“True, but when my shift is over I don’t want to have to come home and deal with your gross back acne,” Betsy said.

“You can be such a bitch,” Martin  said angrily.

“Okay, fine,” Betsy said. “Oh look, here’s another one. It’s a big one. Let me take care of this for you, Sweetie.”

Martin screamed out in pain as the knife plunged deep into his back.

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

A Good Idea at the Time

face punch

The car pulled up next to mine at the rural intersection and honked its horn. Both Pat and I looked over and saw a guy in the front passenger seat move his hand and arm, signaling me to roll down my car’s window, which I did.

“Are you the dickheads who were out with Claire and Mary tonight?” The guy asked.

“Oh shit,” Pat exclaimed. “Hit the gas.” I punched it, but the car’s engine trembled and I felt the car lurch forward before the engine sputtered out and the car came to a halt.

Pat and I had just dropped off our dates and we were heading back to the apartment we shared. Pat’s girlfriend, Mary, thought it would be fun to fix me up with her friend Claire. I was never a fan of fix-ups, but Pat persuaded me to go along. “It will make Mary happy,” he said. “And Claire is hot!”

My stalled car was now surrounded by four rather large, thuggish looking guys. One of them on Pat’s side of the car, asked “Which one of you assholes was with Claire tonight?” Without hesitation, Pat pointed towards me.

“You, huh?” said a voice coming from my side of the car. I turned my head around to look at the guy who was talking just in time to feel a fist punch me hard in the mouth. “Stay the fuck away from her or next time you’ll wake up dead.” With that, he and his buddies jumped back into their car and sped away.

I was literally seeing stars. The pain was intense and I felt blood running down my chin from my mouth. I looked in the car’s rear view mirror and saw that I was missing one of my front teeth and the other was loose and almost hanging by a thread.

“What the fuck?” I said, looking at Pat.

“Yeah, sorry dude,” he said. “I probably should have told you that Claire’s married. The guy who hit you is her husband.”

“You probably should have told me? Are you fucking kidding me? Why would you and Mary want to fix me up with a married woman?”

“I dunno,” Pat said, shrugging his shoulders. “Mary said Claire wasn’t happy. It seemed like, you know, a good idea at the time.”

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



Awake or asleep
Friend or enemy
Entrance or exit
Yes or no
Good or bad
win or lose
Day or night
Dark or light
Stop or go
Red or Green
High or low
Clean or dirty
Walk or run
Walk or don’t walk
Fact or fiction
Stay or leave
Up or down
Left or right
Republican or Democrat
Wet or dry
Fresh or stale
Liberal or conservative
Black or white
Simple or hard
Hard or soft
New or old
This or that
Cold or hot
Give or take
Right or wrong
Heaven or hell
Freedom or imprisonment
Live or die
Love or hate
Aware or in a trance

It doesn’t have to be this way. Life is a continuum, not something to be lived at one extreme or the other. It’s not a zero sum game where, in order for one to win, the other must lose.

It doesn’t have to be “either/or.”

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

Mumbo Jumbo


When I was in elementary school many, many years ago, there was a daily morning ritual. We’d stand up, put our hands over our hearts, and recite the Pledge of Allegience. Then we’d bow our heads and recite The Lord’s Prayer.

Given that I was a “go along to get along” kid at the time, I did what every other kid in the class did. I recited these by rote, not really understanding or even caring about the meaning of the words I was reciting. It was just something we were required to do.

It didn’t take me too long to grasp the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, but I had a harder time with The Lord’s Prayer, especially once I started paying attention to the words.

My father’s name was Alan, not Art. So who was Art and why was he living in heaven? And why did they hollow out his name? And what will would he be doing until it was done?

What was so special about having bread every day? As far as trespassing, my mother had taught me to not go on the lawn of the crotchety old man who lived next door, but why would he be trespassing on our lawn?

One night at dinner I finally decided to ask my parents to explain The Lord’s Prayer to me. Ours was not a particularly religious family. My father never went to church and my mother went only sporadically. When I asked the question, my father said, “It’s just a bunch of religious mumbo jumbo.”

My mother explained that it’s a prayer to God, but she said that if I didn’t want to recite it every morning, I didn’t have to. I could just stand there, head bowed, and be silent. “Use that time to reflect,” she said.

The next morning, I was sent to the principal’s office after telling my teacher that I wasn’t going to recite religious mumbo jumbo anymore. I received a week of after school detention for that indiscretion.

Perhaps that incident contributed to my becoming an atheist.

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

Solitary Man


I’ve written several posts lately that are based upon songs I’d grown up with. When I saw today’s one-word prompt, “solitary,” I was reminded of yet another such song, Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.” The refrain of that song goes:

Don’t know that I will but until I can find me
A girl who’ll stay and won’t play games behind me
I’ll be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

I didn’t get married until I was 32, which, back in the day, was considered to be old.

But then I met a girl who I knew would stay and not play games behind me. We married. I am no longer a solitary man.

Both Sides Now


“Look at the one on the right. It looks like a flag about to unfurl,” said Jenny, pointing toward the sky. She and her best friend Liz were taking a much needed break from their hike through the scenic, rocky terrain.

“It reminds me of that whirling Tasmanian devil cartoon character,” said Liz. “The one to its left looks like a firework after it exploded and the breeze has picked up the residual and is starting to blow it away.”

Staring at these clouds brings to mind that old Joni Mitchell song,” said Jenny. “Damn, I can’t think of the name of that song.”

“It’s ‘Both Sides Now’ I think,” Liz responded.

“Oh right,” Jenny said. The lyrics talk about looking at clouds.

Liz said, “Yes, I know.” She then softly sang some of the lyrics from the song.

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

“That’s beautiful,” said.

Both women sat in silence for a while, marveling at the ever-changing, wispy cloud formations as they traversed the skyscape.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “unfurl,” and for this week’s writing challenge from Sue Vincent for #writephoto. It’s a twofer!

And, as a bonus, here’s Joni’s song.