First Line Friday — Reconnecting

4D2FE010-5CE3-4ADB-B1CC-506C99417764Lush melodies drew her to the door of the lounge, the friendly smiles enticed her inside. But as soon as she entered the room, she was hit by an atmosphere thick with the aroma of cigars. It reminded her of her father and a room in their house, which was actually a spare bedroom, when she was a young girl. It was the one place in their home where her mother permitted her father to smoke his cigars. This place smelled just like that room, and she wondered if all the men in the lounge would smell like her father did each time he emerged from that room of his. Strangely, the thought being in a room with men who smelled like her father both repelled and attracted her.

She made her way through the fog of cigar smoke until she reached the bar, where a man wearing a fedora was sitting by himself sipping on a martini and puffing away on a fat cigar. She stood next to him and asked the bartender to fix her a vodka martini, which he did. The bartender asked her if she wanted to start a tab. “Put it on my tab,” the man in the fedora said.

She sat down next to him. “Thanks,” she said. He tipped his head and said, “You’re welcome. We don’t get many classy dames like you in this place. What brings you here?”

“I was supposed to have dinner at the restaurant next door with my father, but he stood me up. I haven’t seen him in over ten years, since shortly after my mother died, and I was hoping to reconnect with him tonight. But when he never showed, I didn’t feel like sitting there by myself, so I left the restaurant and came over here when I heard the music,” she explained.

“Ah, that’s why you’re all dolled up,” he said, giving her the once over. “Your old man must be a fool to have left you sitting all alone like that.”

“Thank you, I guess. I’m Monica,” she said, extending a hand. “And you are?”

He took her hand and squeezed gently. “I’m Frank. Pleased to meet you, Monica,” he said. “That’s a nice name.”

“My father’s name was Frank,” Monica said. “Like you, he enjoyed his cigars.” Monica looked more closely at the man sitting next to her. “Would you mind taking your hat off? I want to see your face.”

“Sure, babe, whatever you want,” Frank said, removing his hat and putting it on the bar to his left.

Monica let out a gasp. “Oh my God,” she said. “You look remarkably like my father when he was a younger man.”

“Should I be flattered or insulted?” Frank asked, a smile on his face.

Monica had heard her father use that expression many times over the years. A weird feeling came over her. “What is your last name?” she asked Frank.

“Grayson,” he said. “Frank Grayson, but my friends call me Smitty.”

Monica felt faint. “This can’t be happening,” she said. “My last name is Grayson and my father’s nickname is Smitty. Is this some kind of a sick joke? She stood up, put down her drink, grabbed her wrap, and ran toward the door.

“Hey, honey, it’s 1955,” Frank yelled as she was leaving. “You need to lighten up in these modern times.”

As Monica left the lounge, Rod Serling appeared just outside the door. “Monica missed her estranged father terribly,” he said, “but when he didn’t show up for dinner tonight, she left the restaurant and walked into the past, where she finally met her father again…in a cigar lounge called The Twilight Zone.”


Written for the First Line Friday prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The first line is “Lush melodies drew her to the door of the lounge, the friendly smiles enticed her inside.” Image credit: “Cigar Bar Evening Lounge” by Brent Lynch.

FOWC with Fandango — Dinner

FOWCWelcome to April 23, 2020 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “dinner.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC 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.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

  1. And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

Pasta Tonight

98CC1219-F97A-4FD7-91CB-BE46A737DF81“Look, Paul,” Donna shouted.

“What? Is something the matter? Do you need me to stop the demolition?” Paul asked. He and Donna were in the middle of removing their old kitchen cabinets and countertops as they prepared for a crew to come in and remodel their old kitchen.

“I found this old spaghetti tin behind this cabinet. It looks like it could be an antique,” Donna said, holding the tin up for Paul to see.

“Cool,” Paul said. “Is there anything in it?”

Donna shook the tin and heard the sound of something rattling inside. She pulled the lid off the tin. “Yes,” she said. There’s still spaghetti in here. I wonder if it’s still edible.”

Paul chuckled. “I bet in the hierarchy of things that can outlast a nuclear holocaust, I’d advocate for raw pasta over even cockroaches and rats.

“Well,” Donna said, “let’s not test your theory by trying to cook and eat that old spaghetti.”

“I’m fine with that,” Paul said. “Now let’s get back to demolishing this kitchen.”

Donna looked around at all the damage they’d done to the cabinets and countertops and said, “Yeah, let’s get this done do we can go take our showers and then go out for out a nice, serene dinner tonight.”

“I’m down with that,” Paul said. “And for some reason, I’m in the mood for some pasta tonight.”


Written for these daily prompts: Daily Addictions (spaghetti), Word of the Day Challenge (hierarchy), Your Daily Word Prompt (outlast), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (advocate), The Daily Spur (damage), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (serene).

Hell Hath No Fury

61A1D6D9-F978-4733-B38E-F762948D1B5FI have no idea how it got there, I swear,” Tim said.

“You’re drunk!” Alicia said, tears welling up in her eyes. “You waltz in here at almost midnight, barely able to stand up, slurring your words, smelling like her perfume, and you have the nerve to tell me that you have no idea how her lipstick on got on your collar?”

“Okay, fine, but I promise you, babe, nothing happened,” Tim insisted. “Yes, I had dinner with your sister at her apartment, but it was just dinner and a bottle of wine. We were both a bit tipsy, and she said wanted me to sleep with her. But I told her no. So we hugged before I left, and she must have smudged her lipstick on my collar in order to cause a rift between you and me. You know how she’s always been jealous of you.”

“My husband and my sister, huh?” Alicia said. She smiled at Tim, moved in close to him and whispered tenderly in his ear, “You always said that you’re a family man.”

She plunged the kitchen knife deep into his gut. Still smiling, Alicia said, “Let me remind you of something you should have learned in English lit, Tim. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

As the light started to fade from Tim’s eyes, Alicia added, “Don’t fret, sweetheart, my jealous sister will soon be learning this same lesson.”


Written for yesterday’s Story Starter Challenge from Teresa (aka The Haunted Wordsmith). The story starter is, “I have no idea how it got there.”

Once Upon a Crime

799E8244-6AC6-47D8-9541-BD1E7AB9EF57Police Captain Rory has assigned me, Ace Detective Fandango, to investigate and solve a heinous crime. There are five people involved in this crime:

My job is to determine:

  • Who is the victim?
  • Who is the murderer?
  • What is the location?
  • What is the murder weapon?
  • What is the motive?

After examining all of the facts and conducting a series of interviews, here is the report of my findings:

Our victim, Emily, was found dead in her zombie flamingos garden. All evidence points to Teresa as the murderer. Teresa used a poison tipped pen to commit the crime.

As to motive, Teresa is a single mother with a teenage son. One day late last year, Teresa was told by her best friend, Paula, at a dinner hosted by Kristian, that there were rumors that her son was taking drugs.

Being the good, caring mother that she is, Teresa took her son to the emergency room, where he was seen by Dr. Tanya. The doctor ordered a blood and urine test, and, sadly, the results were positive.

When confronted with the test results, Teresa’s son broke down and admitted that he spent a lot of time after school over at Emily’s because he loved to play with her cats. One day, though, one of her cats was “in a mood” — you know how cats can be, right? — and the cat bit and scratched Teresa’s son.

It turned out that Emily, wanting to ensure that the boy’s wounds didn’t get infected from cat scratch fever, gave him a high potency narcotic in tablet form. The drug did work to prevent the infection, but it also gave the boy a sense of calm euphoria, a feeling that he began to crave.

Teresa’s son continued to visit Emily and her cats after school each day. But unbeknownst to Emily, he had persuaded Emily’s zombie flamingos, who were known to be a bit mischievous, to provide him with more of those euphoria-inducing tablets until he became addicted to them.

This revelation haunted Teresa. She vowed to seek revenge against Emily for having gotten her son addicted to the drug. As a wordsmith, Teresa knew that the pen is mightier than the sword and began to plot her revenge. She visited Kristian, with whom she, Paula, and Emily often dined. Teresa knew that Kristian kept a supply of rat poison in her home to keep the rats at bay during her frequent dinner parties. Teresa made up some story about seeing rats in her basement and asked Kristian if she could have some rat poison to get rid of them. Kristian was happy to oblige.

Back at home, Teresa took out a special pen and coated its tip with rat poison. When Emily invited Teresa, Paula, and Kristian to tea in her garden a few days later, Teresa brought her special pen and presented it to Emily as a thank you gift. Emily thought the pen was lovely, and thanked Teresa profusely. Paula told me that she heard Teresa tell Emily to be sure to lick the pen’s tip with her tongue to get the ink flowing.

A day later, Teresa and Paula came back over to Emily’s place. Emily was tending to her flamingos in her garden when Teresa gave her a copy of her latest book. After handing the book to Emily, Teresa asked her if she’d like her to autograph it. Emily said she’d love that and ran into her house to get the pen Teresa had given her the night before. “Don’t forget to lick the tip,” Teresa said to Emily, Paula recounted.

Moments later, Emily keeled over. Paula called for an ambulance, but by the time they got Emily to the hospital, she was gone. A postmortem conducted by Dr. Tanya confirmed the cause of death to be rat poison.

I arrested Teresa, who is now out on bail to care for her teenage son. Despite all of the evidence against her, Teresa claims that she’s innocent, denies having murdered Emily, and assets that she’s been framed. However, I find that claim lacks credibility.

Respectfully submitted,

Ace Detective Fandango.