Damon and Pythias

38683EDB-BB0E-457B-8866-759176FD1CA8Back when I was a youth — well, if you call someone in college a “youth” — I had a garter snake by the name of Pythias that I kept in a 20 gallon aquarium in my dorm room. Pythias was about three feet long and I would feed him (or her?) mostly crickets.

But then I made an interesting discovery. I was at the pet store buying my weekly supply of crickets when the owner asked me if I had ever thought about feeding my snake a live mouse. He said it was fascinating to watch a snake catch, swallow, and digest a mouse. He gave me a nice, fat, juicy one to take home with me. I called some of my classmates and told them to meet me in my dorm room.

When all five of us had gathered in my room, I opened the pet store box and lifted the mouse by its tail, dubbed it Damon, and dropped it into Pythias’ tank. Then we watched as Pythias slithered over to Damon, toyed with the petrified mouse, and eventually opened its unhinged jaws and swallowed the doomed mouse whole.80C5E20A-200A-4617-91C9-10CF19DC40FB It took about four days for the lump that was that poor mouse to work its way through Pythias’s body and to be fully digested.

After that, I would buy a new Damon each week and invite friends to come to my room and watch the weekly ritual. Most of us found it as fascinating as I did, but I admit that some found the whole scene to be totally inimical.


Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (youth), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aquarium), Ragtag Daily Prompt (discovery), The Daily Spur (meet), and Your Daily Word Prompt (inimical).

Weekend Writing Prompt — A Mother’s Smile

062AB623-9153-4640-B227-08127D66056E“I’m tickled pink,” my mother said, a big smile on her face, when I told her I’d been accepted to college.

“You see, sweetheart,” she said, using her most charming tone, “you used to get so angry at me when I pushed you to do your homework and to study, study, study, but I know now that my persistence was a big factor in your success.”

“Nice spin, Mom.”

“So where did you get accepted?” she asked.

“University of Wyoming in Laramie.”

“Wyoming? That’s the wilderness,” she lamented. “I’ll never see you!”

(exactly 92 words)


0E8E0C0C-B8A6-4119-9EE9-A80388C8F213Written for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt, where we are challenged to write a poem or piece of prose using the word “spin” in exactly 92 words. Also for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (pink), The Daily Spur (mother), Weekly Prompts (smile), Word of the Day Challenge (charming), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (factor), and Your Daily Word Prompt (wilderness).

Fandango’s Provocative Question #4

FPQEach week I will pose what I think is a provocative question. By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

This week’s provocative question came up while I was watching “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” a few weeks ago. Colbert was talking with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and mentioned that in college he was taking a philosophy course and the final exam consisted of just one question:

“Is it better to know or is it better to not know?”

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ 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 most important, have fun.

Unexpected and Costly

The comic books, mostly superhero-type comics from DC Comics and Marvel, cost ten cents each back then. The packs of baseball cards, sold by Topps and Fleet, cost a nickel each and included seven baseball cards and a flat, square piece of pink bubblegum.

I’d buy five comic books and two packages of baseball cards each week. I’d ride my bike back home and take the wrapper off of the packages of baseball cards and sort them out. And after reading the comic books, I’d stack them in piles based upon the characters.

I continued to buy baseball cards and comic books for years until I got distracted when I was about 17 by girls. But in the meantime, I had built up a significant collection of both comic books and baseball cards.

After high school I headed off to college for four years. When I returned home after graduating, I discovered that my vast — and priceless — collections of both comic books and baseball cards, which I had stored in the basement of my parents’ house, were missing.

I asked my father about my collections and he told me that he had thrown them away, explaining that he needed the space in the basement for some other purpose. “Besides,” he said, “that was kid stuff. You’re an adult now.”

That was unexpected. And costly.


Written for the new three-word challenge from Teresa over at The Haunted Wordsmith. Today’s three words are “boy,” “wrapper,” and “unexpected.”

The Initials

36B421D5-4BF1-4251-A100-52EBFB6D5436When I was in college, I started a barbershop quartet. We were known as “The Initials.”

There was me, Jerry, Alan, and Steve. We originally tried to name our group using our four initials, but with three consonants and only one vowel, it was close to impossible. So then one of the guys came up with just calling us “The Initials.”

We were not your typical barbershop quartet. I’d describe us more as an a cappella pop/R&B/folk quartet. Our repertoire consisted mostly of Motown, The Beach Boys, some Kingston Trio, and early Beatles songs.

The Initials did achieve a bit of notoriety singing at fraternity parties and the occasional charity event. We were never paid for our gigs, at least not in real dollars. All the beer we could drink at fraternity parties and a few pastries at the charity events.

After we graduated, the Initials disbanded. Honestly, we weren’t that good and we never made a cent. But Jerry, Alan, Steve, and I sure had a lot of fun.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “quartet.”