MLMM Tale Weaver — A Figure of Speech

I was in my bedroom, but I heard my mother and father arguing. It was about money, as usual. My father was laid off shortly after the pandemic began. My mother also lost her job as a waitress when the restaurant she worked at was shuttered. They were discussing how they were going to make ends meet, which I think means having enough money to pay for what we need, like food and clothes and stuff.

Then I heard my mother say something that really upset me. She said to my father, “Maybe we should sell the house.” I have never lived anywhere but in this house. The thought of selling it and moving somewhere else shook me up.

But then my father said something that really shocked me. He told my mother that our house was underwater. I looked around, half expecting to see a rising level of water flooding my bedroom. But everything was dry. I got off my bed and walked into the kitchen. My mother was seated at the kitchen table crying and my father was standing over her trying to console her.

“Are we going to have to move!” I asked. “I don’t want to move. What can we do to stop the flooding?”

My father gave me a quizzical look. “What are you talking about, Billy?” he asked.

With both of them looking at me with what was either a look of love or pity, I said to my mother, “I heard Dad tell you that our house is underwater, but it seems dry to me.”

My mother smiled and beckoned me to come over to her. She lifted me up and placed me on her lap. Then my father said, “Billy, underwater is just a figure of speech. It means that we owe more money to the bank than what our house is worth, so if we tried to sell it, we’d have to give the bank more than we’d get from selling the house. So don’t worry, son, we’re not going to sell the house or move.”

“That’s good,” I said. “And don’t worry about me, Mom and Dad. I don’t need any presents for my birthday or for Christmas. I’ve got everything I want and need just being here in this house with the two of you.”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver prompt, where we are asked to compose a tail that involves “underwater.”

Friday Fictioneers — Creature of Habit

Danielle arrived early every morning. She swept the floors and wiped down the plastic tablecloths. She set up each table to be ready for the morning rush. Creamer, sugar, and artificial sweeteners for coffee. Salt and pepper for eggs. Syrup for pancakes. Butter and jam for toast.

A smile graced Danielle’s face as she looked around, knowing that everything was ready for the first customer of the day.

Sitting down at one of the tables, she sighed. Due to the pandemic, seven months had passed since the last customer had entered the café. But Danielle was a creature of habit.

(100 words)

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

FFfPP — It’s Not Going to Happen

Isaac took off his glasses and rubbed his tired eyes. He stood up and walked into the kitchen where Hillary was preparing dinner. He knew what he was about to tell her would upset her, but he also knew that he couldn’t do what she had asked of him.

“How’s it going, sweetie?” Hillary asked as Isaac entered the kitchen.

“Listen, Hil,” Isaac said. “It’s not gonna happen.”

Hillary stopped what she was doing. “What’s not going to happen? What are you talking about?”

“I know how important your religion is to you, Hil,” Isaac said, “and I’ve spent the last four days locked away carefully reading the Bible.”

Hillary raised one eyebrow and said, “Yes, so?”

“So,” Isaac said, “it’s like reading a mashup of a fairytale and a soap opera.”

Hillary started to cry. “It’s God’s word. How can you say such a cruel thing?”

“I’m so sorry, Hil,” Isaac said. “I know you want me to embrace your religion and to share your beliefs, but I just can’t. It’s mythology and superstition and fantasy and I can’t take any of it seriously.”

“Then I can’t marry you, Isaac,” Hillary said.

“I know, Hil, I know.”

Written for Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Photo credit: Morguefile.

100 Word Wednesday — The Gathering

“Are you sure about this?” Michelle asked as she and Doug walked down the dirt road toward the tents set up in the distance. “I’m getting a bad feeling.”

“Don’t worry,” Doug responded. “Charles said they’re cool.”

“Why are they meeting out here in the middle of nowhere? What are they up to?”

“Nothing,” Doug insisted. “They just want some privacy.”

“Privacy? Why?” Michelle asked. “Are those white hoods some of them are wearing?”

Doug grabbed Michelle’s hand and pulled her along. They approached a man in a white hood. “Michelle,” Doug said, “this is Charles. He’s the Grand Dragon.”

(100 words)

Written for Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday prompt. Photo credit: Bikurgurl.

MLMM Photo Challenge — Refined and Sophisticated

I was so used to being romanced, if you could call it that, by bums and ne’er do wells whose only interest was to get in my pants that I was shocked when a man I only just met at the grocery store — his name was Joseph — asked me if I’d be interested in joining him as his “plus-one” at an invitation-only exhibition at the local art museum. He said that I had the appearance of a refined, sophisticated lady and a woman with good taste. He was quite handsome, well dressed, well groomed, and he smelled good, too. So I thought why not and accepted his invitation.

I’d never been to an art museum before, and I got very excited at the prospect. But I was also worried. I wasn’t at all refined or sophisticated, I didn’t know anything about fine art, and I had no idea what to wear or even how to act at an art museum. So I called my Aunt Rose, the most refined and sophisticated lady I knew.

I told her about Joseph and asked if she could help me out. I asked her what I should where on a date with a man who was taking me to an invitation-only exhibit at the art museum. Fortunately, my Aunt Rose and I wear about the same dress size, so she offered to let me borrow one of her dresses, something that she said would be fitting for the occasion. She also offered to help with my hair and makeup on the night in question. That was a relief.

The big night arrived. I was wearing the dress my Aunt Rose let me borrow and she had worked her magic with my hair and makeup. I was admiring the refined and sophisticated looking lady I saw reflected in the mirror when I heard the knock at the door. He was right on time.

When I opened the door to my apartment, seeing him took my breath away. Joseph looked so handsome in his tailored suit and tie, and well-shined shoes. He told me I looked lovely and leaned in to give me a kiss hello on my cheek. There wasn’t a hint of beer or whiskey on his breath.

He asked me if I was ready and I said yes. He grabbed my hand and he led me to a chauffeured limousine. He opened the door and motioned for me to step inside, which I did, and then he sat down beside me. He instructed the driver to take us to the art museum, and as the limo pulled away from the curb, he poured us each a glass of champagne. Had I struck gold or what?

We arrived at the museum, entered the ornate building, and stopped at the reception desk where he checked us in. We then went to the lobby bar for two more glasses of champagne. He asked me who my favorite painters were and the only painter I could think of was Rembrandt, so that’s who I said was my favorite.

“Ah, one of the Dutch masters,” Joseph said. “There are no Rembrandt paintings here at the moment, but I’m sure you’ll find paintings that you’ll like. Come, let us go wander about and you can give me your impressions.”

He was very knowledgeable about the art and artists. He would tell me about each painting and about the artist who painted it. I liked the sound of Joseph’s voice, but I was quickly getting bored by what he was saying. So when he asked me if I wanted some more champagne, I eagerly accepted.

A short while later, we were standing in front of a painting and Joseph was droning on and on about it, when he put his right arm around my waist. He continued talking about the artist and I could feel his hand drop from my waist to my butt cheek. And then I felt him move his hand to between my legs. He goosed me.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” I screamed. Without thinking, I balled my hand into a fist and gave the fucker a mighty right cross punch. There was a lot of blood and I may have even knocked out one of his teeth.

Humiliated, I ran out of the museum, ordered an Uber, and hurried back to my apartment.

Okay, so I ain’t such a refined and sophisticated lady, but I have my standards and goosing me in public on a first date? Fuhgeddaboudit. The only gold I struck that night was fool’s gold.

Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Pinterest,