Exit Stage Left

The speaker stood up at the microphone. He cleared his throat, tapped the mic, and said “testing, testing, testing. Can y’all hear me?”

The members of the small crowd nodded in unison. Just outside of the temporary fencing, however, a much larger, baleful group was gathered. They were holding picket signs and a lot of the participants were jeering. The speaker was not intimidated by the demonstrators because he knew that his company would be creating many new jobs for the local community. But the jobs would be non-union.

“Today is the launch of the groundbreaker for our new, state-of-the-art factory,” he said. “There are some spoilers out there,” he pointed to the crowd outside of the perimeter fence, “but don’t be put off by their noise. This factory will bring this town back to full employment once it’s becomes operational by next year at this time.”

Suddenly a loud chanting of “UNION! UNION! UNION!” came from within the ranks of the demonstrators, who started pressing up against the temporary fencing.

The speaker, fearful that the pro-union protesters were going to storm the stage, said “Thank you very much,” and ran off the stage to the left.

Written for these daily prompts: E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (speaker), Your Daily Word Prompt (baleful), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (launch), The Daily Spur (factory), and My Vivid Blog (spoilers).

Loose Change

For yesterday’s Scott’s Daily Prompt, Scott asked us to “Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car, and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?”

Upon seeing Scott’s prompt, I immediately went to a jar on my chest of drawers in my bedroom in which I keep loose change. I opened up the lid of my loose change jar and pulled out one of the coins sitting on top. It was a 1984 quarter.

Before I begin, let me point out that I live a rather unremarkable life, so looking back to a particular year, I’d say there’s not much that is either particularly interesting or exciting. If you choose to read on, be prepared to be bored.

In 1984 I was 37 and living in a northern New Jersey suburb with my wife and two young children. I was working in Midtown Manhattan for a small software development firm where I designed health benefits administration software solutions. I commuted to my job each day by driving to, and parking my car at, a staging area for a commuter bus that took me to New York City’s Port Authority bus terminal. Then I would take the D-train (subway) to the office building at 57th and Broadway. I liked my job, but I hated the commute. And that pretty much sums up what I was doing in 1984.

In early 1985, I was recruited by a Los Angeles-based company that made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So I didn’t. I moved my family completely across the country, where we bought a house, got the kids enrolled in new schools, and I started my new job. Hence, 1985 was a much more interesting year for all of us than was 1984. But, as they say, you play with the cards you’re dealt. Or in the case, the date on the coin I selected.

Fibbing Friday — Money Matters

Frank (aka PCGuy) and Di (aka Pensitivity101) alternate as hosts for Fibbing Friday, a silly little exercise where we are to write a post with our answers to the ten questions below. But as the title suggests, truth is not an option. The idea is to fib a little, a lot, tell whoppers, be inventive, silly, or even outrageous, in our responses. Today is Frank’s turn and he wants to know…

1. In the world of international finance, what do the abbreviations, USD and GBP stand for? Up Side Down and Green Banana Plantains, respectively.

2. What exactly is cryptocurrency? It’s money that some ultra rich guy insisted on being buried with his body in a crypt.

3. What is the difference between stocks and bonds? Stocks are items that can be found in a company’s supply room. Bonds are what is used to keep the stocks from falling off the supply shelves.

1. In the world of international finance, what do the abbreviations, USD and GBP stand for? Up Side Down and Green Banana Plantains, respectively.

4. What is meant by a “bull” market? This is the name of an all-male strip club.

5. What is meant by a “bear” market? This is the name for an all-male strip club that specializes in hirsute men.

6. What is a stock split? It’s when the wooden posts for wire fencing used to keep livestock inside a field rots and needs to be replaced.

7. What exactly is crowdfunding? It’s what some candidates for political office (e.g., Donald Trump) do when they pay people to show up to their rallies to make the politician seem more popular than he or she really is.

8. What is a pension? It’s a holder for a fancy, expensive pen.

9. What is a 401(k)? It’s the atomic number for kryptonite, which is the element used to disable Superman.

10. What is day trading? It’s a code name used by swingers for a little afternoon delight.

Friday Fictioneers — Feeling Dizzy

Jacob was sitting at a table at the street festival sipping on a cup of coffee and munching on a danish when that dreaded, but recently not that uncommon, sensation of dizziness hit him. He closed his eyes and prayed that it would pass quickly. But this bout of vertigo seemed to hit him hard.

He attempted to stand up, but the spinning sensation was just too much for Jacob. The last thing he remembered before coming to in a hospital bed was looking up at the church across the street as he was falling toward toward the ground.

(99 words)

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers prompt. Photo credit: Roger Bultot.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — February 25th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 25th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on February 25, 2018.

Hiding in Plain Sight


To a post that I wrote for the WordPress one-word prompt yesterday, a short, somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece of flash fiction, I received a comment from one of my regular readers (and favorite bloggers), Marilyn Armstrong at Serendipity, who wrote:

“This is one of those times in which I wish there was more of you in this and less verbal play. It’s cute, but where are YOU?”

Marilyn’s comment got me thinking. Marilyn is very open in her excellent blog about who she is in “the real world.” She posts about herself, her husband, her family, her home, her dogs, her work, her play, and the trials, tribulations, and joys of her life. Her blog is very personal and she’s quite forthcoming. And that’s why she has more than 10,000 followers.

My blog’s About page notes upfront that “My real world identity will remain a mystery.” I once had my identity stolen and it took many painful months to get that all straightened out. Consequently, I am perhaps overly guarded about revealing too much about myself, my personal life, and my family, which is why I blog anonymously.

Also on my About page, I reveal that I’m a retired, liberal, practical, and pragmatic septuagenarian. I also admit that I can be a bit cantankerous, as well as somewhat pedantic (i.e., fussy) when it comes to grammar, spelling, and usage.

Now if I wanted to be glib about answering Marilyn’s question about where I am, I could respond by saying that I live in San Francisco with my wife, our dog, and our cat.

But in reality, I’m a boring man, a senior citizen who lives a rather routine, nondescript life. I’m neither particularly inspiring nor especially interesting. Which is why many of my posts on this blog recently are flash fiction pieces in response to various prompts. What goes on inside my imagination is much more fascinating and colorful than what goes on in my real world.

So to answer Marilyn’s question, I’m right here. A piece of me is in every post I write, whether I’m expressing my opinions, sharing my observations, offering my perspectives, or flexing my imagination. This post and my words that you are reading is where I am.

I’m right here…hiding in plain sight.