50 Word Thursday — The Cavewoman

8B0ECE2F-5D8C-4A8F-8C5F-E26D418B2C2CThey paused at the display in the Museum of Natural History and Ellen began sobbing. Pete grabbed her hand and asked what was wrong, but she waved him off.

Ellen tended to be insecure and worried. And it seemed as if in recent years she had mostly worried about losing her looks. Pete sensed what was upsetting her. “You’re wrong,” he said, “you really don’t look anything like that mannequin woman cooking by the fire.”

Ellen became hysterical, “I didn’t tell you why I was crying but you assumed why,” she said. “So I really do look like that cavewoman.”

(100 words)


Written for this week’s 50 Word Thursday prompt from Kristian (aka Kristian at Tales From the Mind of Kristian). The idea is to use the image above (unattributed), along with the lines, “Ellen tended to be insecure and worried. And it seemed as if in recent years she had mostly worried about losing her looks,” from Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, and to write a post that must be between 50 and 250 words, in 50 word increments.

#writephoto — Appreciate the Calm Serenity

510733DB-B841-4BED-837E-82805DD71436Lenny sat down on the sand, took a deep breath, and let out a long, heavy sigh.

“Are you okay?” his wife asked, sitting down next to him.

“No, I’m far from okay,” he said. “The whole world is topsy-turvy, empathy and civility have disappeared, political and societal norms are fractured, our democratic institutions are crumbling, and everything we know and have trusted is being sabotaged by those in power right in front of our eyes.”

“I know, honey,” Lorraine said. “That’s why we’re here. To escape that nonsense, even for just a few days. You need to stop thinking about it, clear your mind, recharge your batteries, and appreciate the calm serenity of this place.”

“Unless we stay here forever, there’s no escape from what is happening to our country.” Lenny lamented.

“Lenny, when we were young, we were activists,” Lorraine said. “We protested the Vietnam war. We marched with Dr. King, we fought for environmental protections, we worked to support progressive candidates.”

“I know,” Lenny said. “We’re old now. We’re in our seventies. We need to hand over the torch to the younger generation. It’s their future, not ours, that is on the line.”

“Exactly,” said Lorraine. “We need to make the most of our golden years and pass the baton to our kids. It’s their problem now. They have a vested interest in turning things around and making our country and the world a better, friendlier, and more livable place.”

“Right,” Lenny said. “And our kids will look back at us and wonder how we screwed things up so badly. Our legacy will be that we destroyed their future almost beyond repair.”

Now it was Lorraine’s turn take a deep breath to and let out a long, heavy sigh. “You always have a way of ruining even the most serene moment, don’t you? Thanks a lot, you crotchety old fart. Now I’m in a bad mood.”


Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

Weekend Writing Prompt — The Ministry

B57457F0-0D59-4BC6-8591-F006EEFA8157“What’s your angle?” Bill asked.

“I don’t have an angle.” Joe said. “I’m an ordained minister and the leader of my own church.”

“Yeah, ordained via some bogus website,” Bill said.

“It’s not bogus. My ministry is totally legit,” Joe insisted.

“Look at you, Joe, acting so pious, as if we should all be grateful to be in the presence of a man of the cloth. It’s all a deception, a tax dodge,” Bill said.

“Who are you to judge me?” Joe angrily asked. “God alone will judge me.”

“And the judge at your fraud trial.”

(Exactly 95 words)


C371206B-B37A-4AD8-9318-DC9CE05C48FAWritten for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt, where we are challenged to write a poem or piece of prose using the word “judge” in exactly 95 words. Also for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (angle), The Daily Spur (leader), Word of the Day Challenge (pious), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (grateful), and Weekly Prompts (deception).

SoCS — The Frame

506CEE64-AFD4-4F5E-A104-8B79C45172F6For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has given us the word “frame,” and instructed us to “use it as a noun or a verb or any way you like.”


A man with a heavyset frame walked into my shop. He came up to counter and unfurled a canvas on which was a clearly old, but beautiful painting. “Do you have a suitable frame for this painting?” he asked.

“Of course I do,” I responded. “This, after all, a frame shop. What did you have in mind?”

“Something fancy to reflect the era of the painting,” the man said.

“I think I have the perfect frame for you,” I said. I went to the back of my shop and came out a moment holding a large, gold-leaf, ornate, baroque-style frame.

“Yes, that will do,” the man said. “But when you mount this painting in the frame, I want you to put this other painting on top of it,” and the man unfurled a second painting.

I gave him a quizzical look and started to ask him why he wanted two paintings in the frame, especially since the one he wanted me to put on top seemed to be of far less quality than the one that would be hidden behind it. But before I could ask, he held up his hand and said, “No questions. You’ll be paid accordingly.” Then he asked me how long it would take for me to frame the paintings.

I considered my existing workload and framed in my mind how many hours the job would take. “Give me a week,” I said. He agreed and said he’d be back in seven days.

One week later two men walked into my shop. One man introduced himself as a police detective and the other as an insurance investigator. They asked me if a man with a heavyset frame had come into my frame shop a week earlier and had asked me to frame a painting for him. I affirmed what they asked. They explained that the man was an art thief and that the painting was stolen. I told them there were two paintings that he wanted me to frame, but they were interested in only the one that was to be hidden, which they said was extremely valuable.

A few minutes later, the man with the heavyset frame came into my shop to pick up the paintings I had framed. But as I brought the frame to the front of the store and handed it to him, the detective and the insurance investigator confronted the large man. The detective handcuffed him while the insurance investigator grabbed the frame with the paintings mounted in it. The large man was livid and shouted, “I’ve been framed!”

As the three men left my shop, I smiled. I did frame two paintings. The one in front was the worthless one, and the one underneath was actually a decent knockoff of the valuable one. The original painting that the art thief had given me to frame was still in the back of my shop, waiting to be picked up by the guy I had sold it to on the dark web. He’d agreed to my price of half a million, which would be enough to allow me to retire in style on a small Caribbean island.

Spy Versus Spy

BB3EDA1A-E3E8-41EC-B00B-A3C8C361DA91I’ve been getting some strange comments showing up in my spam folder lately. Like this one:

“Alex9, this message is your next piece of data. Immediately message the agency at your earliest convenience. No further information until next transmission. This is broadcast #5771. Do not delete.”

Sometimes, like above, the comment is addressed to “Alex9.” Sometimes it’s addressed to another mysterious, secret agent-like name. But the message is always the same.

And the cryptic wording is weird. “Immediately message the agency.” What agency? Are we talking CIA? FBI? MI6? Mossad? KGB? What?

And then there’s “…at your earliest convenience.” So what is it — immediately or at my earliest convenience? “…next transmission” “…do not delete.” Seriously?

Well, listen, whoever you are, I’ve got news for you. I never sent in an application to any of those spy agencies. You showed a serious lack of judgment sending this message to me. I may be an uncle, but I’m not The Man From U.N.C.L.E. As much as I’d like to, it’s not my job to eradicate evil in the universe or to stop the polar ice caps from melting.

So I’m going to ignore your directive to message the agency and I’m going to delete this spam comment forthwith. Over and out.


Written for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (news), The Daily Spur (judgment), Your Daily Word Prompt (eradicate), Word of the Day Challenge (universe), Ragtag Daily Prompt (Emmy), and for Rachel Poli’s Time To Write (application).