Run for Your Life

8dfd3d9c-ecee-410d-8623-8f7f49f77245-18206-00000be8e04fe5b5“You need to stop staring at him,” Seth said.

“Have you no soul?” Carol cried. “He’s standing out there in the pouring rain. He’s begging for us to let him.”

“No, we can’t let him in,” Seth insisted. “He’s diseased. He has the infection and if we let him in, he will kill us.”

“What happened to him?” Carol asked.

“When he was in the Maui six months ago, he was attacked by a puffer fish,” Seth explained. “Not many people realize that the puffer fish has a stronger bite than a piranha. Plus, they are poisonous and there is no known antidote.”

“But he obviously didn’t die from the poison,” Carol said. “So what’s wrong with him?”

“The poison didn’t kill him, but it infected his brain,” Seth said. “It made him insane and violent. He killed his wife last month and now he goes around biting people and infecting them, turning those he bites into zombie-like creatures.”

“Seth,” Carol screamed. “He’s pounding on the window! It’s starting to break.”

Seth grabbed Carol’s hand. “Run, Carol, run for you life.”

Written for Teresa’s Three Things Challenge. The three things are puffer fish, soul, and staring.

#FOWC — Quite Preposterous


“That’s absurd. Absolutely ridiculous. Downright foolish. Incomprehensibly stupid. Completely ludicrous. Even farcical. Quite laughable, actually. Almost comical. Totally nonsensical. You must be insane. Trump as President of the United States? Preposterous.”

The above quote was attributed to most Americans in the fall of 2016.

Written for today’s Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “preposterous.”

Art or Graffiti?

5E3A8597-874C-4C84-9971-DD87B6E88000Usually, when I wake up on Thursday mornings, I can count on seeing a post in my Reader from Sue Vincent at It’s her Thursday Photo Prompt challenge and Sue always provides one of her beautiful, interesting photos to serve as inspiration for us. It is Thursday, isn’t it?

But unless I totally missed it, Sue didn’t post one of her #writephoto challenges this morning. Yikes! Egads! Where is she? I hope she’s okay.

I was feeling empty inside, so in a desperate search for inspiration for a photo Challenge to use this morning, I Googled “random photo generator” and found this site. The site says, “Use the image as a subject for a free-writing exercise.” Best of all, these images are free and are available for unlimited use.

So, I decided to use the image above for this post. And here’s my random photo tale.

Nothing these days is simple, is it? Everything seems to generate controversy and the taking of opposite sides.

In what was intended to be a drive to beautify the city, a member of the city council proposed engaging two “urban artists” to paint colorful murals depicting the multicultural aspects of the city on the sides of various buildings around town.

But not all members of the city council were receptive to the idea. One argued that it would encourage graffiti to be painted on walls all across town. Rather than beautifying the city, it would ruin it.

After a heated debate, the city council decided to allow the urban artists to paint a mural on one wall as an experiment. Once completed, all members of the city council, the mayor, the chief of police, and other selected dignitaries would decide whether the mural was art or graffiti.

What do you think they decided?

Tale Weaver — Crossing the Country By Train

AB9DFEE0-F7DE-49D9-B0C0-D3CE638CAF5AA few years back, I had to be in Boston for a business meeting. Normally I would have flown across the country, a trip that typically takes about six hours. But for some reason, I decided that I was going to take a train from San Francisco to Boston instead.

Of course, there is no train that goes directly from San Francisco to Boston. But there is one that goes from San Francisco to Chicago, the California Zephyr. It runs daily from Emeryville/San Francisco to Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, across the Rockies to Denver, and through the plains of Nebraska to Chicago.

The trip takes just north of 51 hours, so I booked something called a “roomette,” which is essentially a small, cubicle-sized room that converts to a sleeper at night. The accommodations also included three meals a day in a dining car and priority access to what they called a scenic-view lounge car.

From Chicago To Boston, I booked the Lake Shore Limited. From Chicago, it heads through South Bend, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Albanbefore arriving in Boston 19 hours later.

So I prepared myself for a 70+ hour train adventure. How did it go? Well, overall, it was, um, okay.

The Good Stuff

  • The scenery along the California–Nevada border (the Sierra Nevada Mountains) and on the Utah to Denver leg (the Rocky Mountains) was spectacular.
  • The other passengers were very friendly. Seating in the dining car was “family-style,” and, as a person traveling alone, I was seated with three other travelers each time. I met some very nice people.
  • Most of the passengers along the San Francisco to Chicago leg were vacationers, either old-timers like me, or families traveling with kids.
  • Most of the passengers along the Chicago to Boston leg were kids going home for the weekend from college, a number of Amish families for some reason, or business people. Fewer families, fewer oldies than on the other train.

The Bad Stuff

  • The scenery between Denver and Chicago is, well, let’s just say that that’s a good time to catch up on the sleep you were unable to get between San Francisco and Denver. And between Chicago and Boston there really isn’t much to look at.
  • The train from San Francisco arrived in Chicago 5 1/2 hours late. Fortunately I had a 7-hour layover before my train to Boston was scheduled to leave Chicago.
  • The train bound for Boston left Chicago 35 minutes late and arrived in Boston 3 1/2 hours late.
  • Trying to sleep in a roomette (a very small, narrow, cramped accommodation) was not great. No, the rocking motion of the train didn’t lull me to sleep. Although, by the second night, when exhaustion set it, I did get a few more hours of sleep than I had gotten the night before.
  • Trying to sleep in a regular coach seat on the overnight trip from Chicago to Boston was close to impossible.
  • Amtrak’s funding has been cut way back, so most of the train cars are older and, while generally in good repair, could use some sprucing up. (Duct tape holding certain parts together in the sleeping rooms and rest rooms is a dead giveaway.)

Bottom line, taking the train across the country was an experience. But if I ever have to travel from coast to coast again, I think I’ll fly.

Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt, where we’re supposed to write about a train journey. Photo credit: Jim Kable.

FOWC with Fandango — Preposterous

FOWCWelcome to June 21, 2018 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “preposterous.” Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.