Five Word Weekly Challenge — Friendly Banter

“Where are you going?” Jerry asked Olivia.

“I’m sick of you two disagreeing over everything and anything,” Olivia said. “It’s a shame that the two of you can never see eye to eye on any matter. We’re on the precipice of a global catastrophe and you two idiots are arguing over whether Slipknot is heavy metal or hard rock.”

“Sheesh, Olivia,” Gary said, “Don’t get your bowels in such an uproar. We’re not arguing, we’re just engaging in some friendly, playful banter.”

“You know, Gary,” Olivia said, if you and your twin brother went through the same level of thoughtful machinations on important matters, you might get some respect, but the things you argue about are inconsequential.”

“Slipknot is not inconsequential, Olivia. It may just be the best heavy metal band ever,” Jerry said.

“No, Olivia is right,” Gary said. “We should be discussing something consequential, like climate change.”

Jerry laughed. “Climate change is a hoax made up by a bunch of environmental tree-huggers.”

Gary said, “The real hoax here is Slipknot billing itself as a heavy metal band.”

Olivia stood up, turned around, and walked out of the room, muttering to herself, “I tried. I really tried.”

Written for Greg’s Five Word Weekly Challenge. The words are shame, global, slipknot, machination, and banter. Photo credit:

Truthful Tuesday — Allotment

Di, of Pensitivity101, is our host for Truthful Tuesday. This week Di wants to know:

Have you ever had or wanted to own an allotment?

Huh? What? An allotment? What’s that? I’ll Google it. Oh, right, it’s a British term for a small parcel of land rented to grow fruits, vegetables and plants. Some people even use them to keep bees and smaller animals like rabbits and hens. Allotments, Google said, can vary in size but the most common is ten rods or poles, which is an old Anglo-Saxon measurement roughly equal to 250 square metres.

So no, I’ve never had or wanted to own an allotment, but I do have space allotted in my back and front yards for plants and trees. And some of that allotted land serves as a home for unwanted gophers and moles.

My daughter lives in San Francisco and around the corner from her condo is a small, community garden where volunteers can grow produce and ornamental plants for personal use. There are a number of these community gardens around the city and most are composed entirely of plots allotted to individuals with some common areas for shared perennial herbs, native plants, and fruit trees.

As I understand it, these community gardens may have regularly scheduled workdays, self-imposed annual dues to purchase shared garden tools and equipment, and either an individual volunteer garden coordinator or a steering committee that manages membership, workday plans, and plot assignments.

I suppose that’s the closest thing to an allotment that I’m at all aware of.

WDP — Before WWW

Daily writing prompt
Do you remember life before the internet?

Sorry, WordPress, but I think you’re asking the wrong question. It should be, “Do you remember life before the World Wide Web?” Why? Because very few people had access to “the internet” before April 30, 1993, when the World Wide Web was released into the public domain.

I think it’s time for a little history lesson.

“The internet” started in the 1960s as a way for government researchers to share information. Computers back then were large and immobile and in order to make use of information stored in any one computer, people had to either travel to the site of the computer or have magnetic computer tapes sent through the conventional postal system.

The first workable prototype of the internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, ARPANET used packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network.

But it wasn’t until January 1983 that the internet actual came into being. Prior to that, the various computer networks did not have a standard way to communicate with each other. A new communications protocol was established called Transfer Control Protocol/Internetwork Protocol (TCP/IP). This allowed different kinds of computers on different networks to “talk” to each other. ARPANET and the Defense Data Network officially changed to the TCP/IP standard on January 1, 1983, hence the birth of the internet.

But unless you worked for the Department of Defense or for a university as a researcher, you didn’t yet have access to the internet. It wasn’t publicly available for another ten years until the the launch of the World Wide Web in 1993.

So, let’s agree that the question is really asking is about life before the World Wide Web. And to simplify answering this question, let’s assume the “the internet” means “the World Wide Web” for essentially every one of us. Thus, you have to be over 30 years old now to even have existed before public availability of “the internet.”

I’m over 70, so more than half of my life was spent before the internet. My short answer to the question is yes, I do remember life before the internet. It was analog. It was slower. And it was simpler.

WDYS — The Milky Way

Brad received the bad news rather well, all thinks considered. The prognosis wasn’t good. Hopeless, actually. His cancer had metastasized and there was nothing they could do anymore. he was given only three or four months. So Brad decided he would start working through the items he’d put on his bucket list eighteen months ago when he was first diagnosed.

Brad had always been a city boy and recently he had started getting interested in the stars and planets in the night sky. But living in the city, light pollution made it all but impossible to see the majesty of a night sky. So the first item on his bucket list was to find someplace way out of the range of light pollution so he could see a magnificent starry night.

He immediately thought about Montana, known as “big sky country,” and going to Montana and being able to see our galaxy, the Milky Way, was number one on his list. A week later, with his pup tent, sleeping bag, a lantern, and not much else, Brad was in the middle of nowhere in Montana.

The night was cold and crisp and beautifully clear. As the sun was setting, Brad looked up and saw what must have been billions of stars, and as it got darker and darker, the giant swath of milky haze in the sky became visible. It was an awesome sight to behold.

Brad spent a few hours looking up at the Milky Way, until he made his way back to his tent. He had to get some sleep and prepare for the second item on this bucket list. He’d be heading to the tundra in Alaska so he could experience seeing the shimmering aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: EvgeniT @ Pixabay.

Fandango’s Story Starter #99

It’s time for my weekly Story Starter prompt. Here’s how it works. Every Tuesday morning (my time), I’m going to give you a “teaser” sentence or sentence fragment and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a story (prose or poetry) around that sentence/fragment. It doesn’t have to be the first sentence in your story, and you don’t even have to use it in your post at all if you don’t want to. The purpose of the teaser is simply to spark your imagination and to get your storytelling juices flowing.

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:

Ross opened the fortune cookie that was delivered with his Chinese take-out and was shocked when he read the message inside telling him that his life was in danger and that he needed leave the city immediately.

If you care to write and post a story built from this teaser, be sure to link back to this post and to tag your post with #FSS. I would also encourage you to read and enjoy what your fellow bloggers do with their stories.

And most of all, have fun.