The Other Side

DA359DAD-4E0A-4163-9124-C0055B765183As the lights dimmed slowly in the small storage room, Archer, the elderly curator of the small curio shop and museum, looked at the door that led to the alley behind the building. He was positive that what he was looking at was some sort of apparition. He walked back to the light switch, hit it, and the room slowly illuminated. The apparition was gone, and Archer shook his head, assuming that he was just tired.

Archer hit the light switch and as the lights started dimming again, the apparition reappeared. Archer walked closer to the door and looked carefully. What he saw was a man who seemed to be dressed in the garb of an old-time sailor, complete with a cap, a sailor’s knot tie, and thick, black mutton chop sideburns. He appeared to be leaning on a table and had a scowl on his face.

“Who or what are you?” Archer asked. “Are you real or am I hallucinating?”

“You are, indeed, hallucinating, Archer,” the apparition said in what sounded like a thick, Bavarian accent. “But I am not a sailor and I’m not from Bavaria.”

“How did you know that was what I was thinking?” Archer asked. “I never said anything out loud.”

“Archer,” the apparition said, “I’m your hallucination, so of course I know what you’re thinking. And for your edification, I am Dutch, and I’m a musician. I teach students at a music school. Can’t you read the sign above this door?”

“Actually I can’t,” Archie admitted. “But more important, apparition, why are you here? Why are you haunting me?”

“Haunting you? Is that what you think I’m doing? That is not at all the case. My job is to escort you, Archer, to the other side.”

“The other side of what?” Archer asked.

“This door.”

“That’s the the alley on the other side of that door,” Archer said. “I don’t need some damn apparition to get to the other side of that door.”

“Actually, Archer,” the apparition said, “the alley is gone. The shop is gone. Turn around and tell me what you see.”

Archer turned, looked down on the floor and saw a body. His body. He gasped. “What is going on? Is that me on the floor? Am I dead?”

“Come open the door, Archer,” the apparition said. “All of your questions will be answered when you get to the other side.”

Written for The Haunted Wordsmith Daily Prompt from Teresa. For this challenge, we’re supposed to write a story that’s set in a museum, that uses the line, “The lights dimmed slowly,” and that illustrates the photo from PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay.

Sunday Photo Fiction — One Man’s Junk

F4463EFA-0E1A-43E9-82C0-17A0642EC950When the fierce windstorm blew down a large limb from the old tree tree in his backyard, it fell on the two old rocking chairs that Archie kept on his patio, which he reluctantly decided to trash.

Archie took the two chairs and put them on his front lawn. He dragged the felled tree branch and placed it across the two chairs and then called a local trash company to haul it away.

About an hour later there was a knock at the door. Archie headed to the front door and flung it open. “Yeah?” he said.

“Is that yours?” a man said, pointing to the chairs and tree branch draped over them.

“Yeah,” Archie said. “I’ve arranged to have ‘em hauled off tomorrow, so don’t worry about it. It will be gone soon.”

“That’s not why I’m here,” the man responded. “I’m the associate curator for the Museum of Modern Art. I was walking by, took a picture, and sent it to my boss. He wants to display it as is in an exhibit at the museum.”

“Seriously?” Archie said. “Well, I guess what they is true.”

“What’s that?” the man asked.

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Written for Sue Spaulding’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: yours truly. Taken at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Also for my FOWC prompt from yesterday, “fierce.”

FOWC — A Museum Adventure

4376D02E-9D06-4840-A7BF-F35A02C7B9E7Harold was always a bit of a nerd in high school. While his buddies preferred to be outside playing ball, riding on their bikes, or hanging out at the mall gawking at the girls, Harold loved spending his days at the local natural history museum. No matter how frequently he went there, which was quite frequently, he always felt that his visits would rejuvenate him. They made him feel alive, refreshed, and energized.

One day, a couple of his more rowdy friends from school decided to go to the museum to see what it was that made Harold enjoy it so much. They spotted Harold taking notes in front of one of the displays. Walking up to Harold, they started making fun of him. One of the boys grabbed Harold’s notebook and they began tossing it around playing a game of keep-away from Harold.

Harold lost his temper at the boys and quite a kerfuffle ensued. At one point, the meek and mild Harold lost his temper and punched one of the boys in the nose. Shocked and dismayed, boys ran from the museum.

A very pretty girl walked up to Harold after the incident and said, “Wow, you really taught those boys a lesson. I’m impressed.” She reached out to shake his hand.

Harold wasn’t used to talking to cute girls and, as if having an allergic reaction to her, began to sneeze. When his sneezing finally stopped, he apologized to the girl, saying, “I’m sorry, it must be the dust around here that got up my nose. My name is Harold.” He then took her hand, which she was still offering, and shook it.

“Hi Harold,” the girl said, a big, engaging smile on her face. “My name is Wendy.”

And do began Harold’s first great romance.

Written for the following prompts:

Teresa’s Three Things Challenge where the things are museum, sneeze, and romance.
Word of the Day Challenge, “rejuvenate.”
Your Daily Word Prompt, “kerfuffle.”
And, of course, Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, “lesson.”

Sunday Photo Fiction — Elephant Parts

30BFEB94-6B92-4B36-96B7-8967FAD22681Brian could hear his son, Billy, laughing hysterically, but when he looked around the natural history museum floor, he didn’t see Billy.

“Billy?” Brian called out.

“Over here, Dad,” Billy answered. “Behind the elephants.”

“Are you okay, son?” Brian asked when he got to Billy’s side. “What were you laughing at?

Billy started laughing hard again. When he finally could control himself, he pointed up to the large elephant and started laughing again.

“Shh, Billy,” Brian said. “We’re in a museum.”

“I can’t help it. The spotlight is aimed right at the elephant’s private parts,” Billy said. “And it’s a female elephant. I can see…” Billy leaned in closer and whispered “… its vagina.” And he started laughing hysterically again.

(120 words)

Written for today’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: C.E. Ayr.

#100WW — A Real Treat

“You’re in for a treat today,” Jeremy told his twin sons.

“It’s freezing,” Lenny complained as the three approached the Louvre.

“Who knew it snowed in Paris?” John said.

“This is stunning,” Jeremy said. “See how the sun is reflecting off the glass pyramid onto the museum’s facade? I need to get a picture.”

“Come on, Dad,” Lenny pleaded. “I’m shivering.”

“Fine,” Jeremy said. “Go inside boys. I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Some treat, huh?” John said to his twin.

“Yeah,” said Lenny. “Taking us to the Moulin Rouge to see those French can-can dancers. That would be a treat.”


(100 words)

This is another “twofer.” First, it’s my response to today’s one-word prompt, “treat.” Second, it’s my post for today’s 100 Word Wednesday prompt from Bikurgurl. Photo credit: Stacy Wyss.