Photo Challenge — Strange Brew

115A82B3-621A-4569-9A24-B4DB9DDB936C“Jesus, Diane, what the hell are you doing?” Elizabeth screamed when she and her boyfriend, Bill, walked into the apartment she and Diane shared. Diane was sitting at the dining room table. She was naked. Her head and the table, were covered with pea pods, along with a glass kettle of tea and a tea cup.

“Did you ever notice how fascinating pea pods are?” Diane said, without turning to look at Elizabeth. “They’re amazing, and when you open them up, all these little peas, like ball bearings, pop out and roll around on the table and drop to the floor.”

“Diane, why are you naked?” Elizabeth asked.

Diane turned her head and looked at Elizabeth and saw Bill standing next to her. “Bill,” Diane said, “You better not be looking at me, you perv.” And then she started laughing, returned her gaze to Elizabeth and said, “I was hot and sweaty so I stripped.”

“What are you drinking?” Elizabeth asked.

“I wanted some tea and found a bunch of tea bags in the very back of the cabinet so I brewed up a pot of it,” Diane said, “and this is the best tea I’ve ever had.”

Elizabeth went over to the trash basket under the sink and looked inside. She looked at Bill and said, “Four tea bags.”

“Oh my God,” Bill whispered. “She’s got to be stoned out of her mind. I’ll go get a towel.”

Bill returned from the bathroom with a large towel and handed it to Elizabeth, who draped it over Diane. “Sweetie,” Elizabeth said, “you’re high as a kite. The tea you used was something Bill and I picked up at the pot dispensary on Saturday. One bag is plenty potent for four people and you used four on your own. Come on, stand up, and let me get you into your bed.”

Diane stood up while Elizabeth wrapped her in the bath towel. Diane looked at Elizabeth and, with tears in her eyes, said, “Lizzy, you’re the best roommate in the whole world and I’m so lucky to have you as a friend.”

Elizabeth put her arm around Diane and started leading her toward Diane’s bedroom. But Diane abruptly stopped and started walking toward the kitchen, the towel Elizabeth had wrapped her in falling to the ground. “Diane, what are you doing?”

“I have the munchies and I saw some leftover key lime pie in the fridge,” Diane said. “Hey, perv,” she called out to Bill. “Wanna cut me off a piece of that pie?” she asked. “But keep your perv eyes closed. I’m naked as the day I was born.”

Bill, smiling, looked back at Elizabeth, shrugged his shoulders in gesture of helplessness, and said to Diane, “Sure, let’s all share some of that key lime pie.” Then he looked at Elizabeth and said, “Hey Lizzy, do you want some tea?”

Written for this week’s Photo Challenge from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, and for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (glass). Photo credit: Daniel Fehr.

Birds, Squirrels, and Beavers

DD91ED79-CC2D-41AB-99B6-AE46947ABC7BIt was quite a sight to behold on that blustery day. People were looking up into sky in amazement. They couldn’t quite believe that a few dozen birds had attached long, black, nylon cords to the branches of a large tree, which had been felled earlier in the day by gusty winds, and managed to lift it up and off the frosty ground.

Once the tree was airborne, the birds flew it to nearby location in the park, where a host of enterprising squirrels had already dug a whole deep enough and wide enough to allow the birds to lower the tree’s roots down into it.

After the birds had positioned the tree perfectly perpendicular to the ground, a small colony of beavers came around and used their broad, flat tails to shovel the dirt from the hole that the squirrels had dug back over the roots of the transplanted tree. Then the beavers patted the dirt down tight, ensuring that the tree was secure.

One of people observing the feat noted that the birds, squirrels, and beavers showed remarkable resolve when it came to relocating and transplanting the fallen tree. Another referred to the spectacle as a Christmas miracle. And all who witnessed the remarkable event were feeling merry and were full of joy.

Written for this week’s Photo Challenge from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Photo Credit: Sarolta Bán. Also for these daily prompts from yesterday: Daily Addictions (sight), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (frost), The Daily Spur (resolve), Ragtag Daily Prompt (Christmas), Word of the Day Challenge (merry), and Your Daily Word Prompt (joy).

In Plain Sight

58155579-FA36-4ADB-B07C-4B8E04E5EBCAHer value to those who employed her was her ability to hide in plain sight. She was inconspicuous, unnoticed, unnoteworthy. She managed to blend into the background, seeming almost invisible. And she was a wealthy woman because of it. She never failed to carry out her assignments, to the great satisfaction of those who engaged her for her services.

She was meticulous in every way. She knew that we are all creatures of habit, so she would watch and learn, sometimes studying her targets for weeks before making her move.

To her, it was a labor of love. More often than not she would literally fall in love with her targets. There developed for her a certain intimacy between them, even though they were not even aware of her presence. She came to know their strengths and their weaknesses. She discovered the things that brought them joy, that haunted them, that made them happy, angry, sad. She knew their social and sexual proclivities. She believed she knew them better than they knew themselves.

She sometimes regretted having to do what she was so highly compensated to do. She knew that, because of her, the life they had lived before she entered the picture was over. And that made her sad. But in her heart, she truly believed that once her job was complete, they would be in a better place.

Some said that she had ice water running through her veins, but that was far from the truth. She felt with an intensity that others just didn’t or couldn’t understand. When the time came for her to carry out her assignment, the adrenaline would start to flow and her heart would pound so hard inside her chest that she was sure others could hear it beat.

She would stealthily approach her target, and without any warning, she would touch them. They would respond to her touch, turn to look at her — look into her eyes — with a confused expression on their faces.

But before they could say anything or react in any way, she’d put a finger in front of her lips, and say, “Shh.” Then she’d lean in and whisper softly and sensuously in her target’s ear, “Today is the last day of your life.”

Most of her targets got wide-eyed. Some tried to back away, others just stood there, as if frozen in place. She knew how each would react to her because she had studied them down to the smallest detail, and she was never wrong.

And then she would spring the trap. She’d grab her target’s hand and say to them, “I’m the most successful talent agent in Hollywood and I’m going to make you a superstar. Your life will never be the same again.”

Written for this week’s Photo Challenge from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Photo credit: Raventhird.

The Girl and the Model House

Girl holding a model houseShe stood on the near bank of the canal, a blank expression on her face. In her hands, she held a scale model of house similar to those on the opposite bank of the canal. When asked about it by various passersby, she said nothing and continued staring ahead, expressionless.

As twilight approached, the lights behind the windows of the model house came on. Still, the young woman remained motionless and by that time, a small crowd, curious about what she was doing, gathered around her. A few more people inquired, but she remained silent.

It was almost 8 pm and dark when a police officer approached the young woman, now surrounded by more than 100 townspeople. The policeman, standing directly in front of her, said, “Young lady, you’ve gathered quite a crowd around you, but no one seems to know what it is you’re doing out here. Can you please enlighten me?”

The young woman looked at the officer. She bent over and set the model house on the ground. She stood back up and started to tell her story, speaking in a hushed voice so that only the officer could hear her.

“My name is Anna,” she said. “I am seventeen and have lived in the next town over for the past thirteen years. This,” she said, pointing to the model house she had just set down, “is a model of the house I lived in. I was taken from my first home by a man and woman when I was around four. They said that they were my uncle and aunt and took me in, claiming that my parents had tragically died in a car accident.”

Anna continued, “At first I was very grateful. They took very good care of me. They taught me to read and write and gave me religious training. But I was not allowed to leave the house alone, which I thought was strange. But I accepted it because they fed me, clothed me, and cared about me.”

Anna stopped for a moment, sighed deeply, and then gathered herself. “But when I was about twelve, as I grew from a little girl into womanhood, everything changed. The couple started to do things to me. Sexual things. They told me that this was how parents and children show how much they love one another. I knew it wasn’t right, at least it didn’t feel right, but I didn’t know what to do.”

The officer looked perplexed. “I’m sorry about what they did to you, but I’m not sure I understand what it is you’re doing here and what this is.” He pointed to the model house.

“I had to get away from my uncle and aunt and I tried to plan my escape. But they found out about my plan, and locked me in a room in the house. They came in my room to bring me food and to make me do sexual things with them. When I was alone, I put together this model house and was going to use it to show the police what my house looked like if I ever escaped. It took me almost a year to make it.”

“So you ultimately did escape,” the officer said. “Where are your uncle and aunt now? Can you take me to their house? I can arrest them.”

“There’s no need for that,” Anna said. “They’re gone.”

“Where did they go?”

Anna reached into a dress pocket, pulled out a book of matches, struck one, and dropped it on the model house she had made. When the match hit it, it quickly burst into flames. “They’re in there,” she said, pointing at the model. “What I just did to this, I did to their actual house this morning, before they woke up. They can’t hurt me anymore.”

Written for this week’s Photo Challenge from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Photo credit: Oleg Oprisco.

Photo Challenge — This Little Light of Mine

Bookend lightThis is really quite depressing. They laugh at me. Call me a lightweight. Say that all I am good for is being a bookend for books I can’t even comprehend.

How can they be so cruel? I don’t deserve this, you know. I may not be the brightest bulb, but I do my job. It’s not easy sitting here all day long, mostly by myself. Why can’t they see and appreciate that I’m holding up my end. I’m doing my part and you don’t hear me complaining, do you?

Can you imagine what would happen if I left my post? I’ll tell you what would happen. Everything would be askew. Nothing would line up. Instead of order, there would be chaos. Things would be fall apart, that’s what would happen.

But fine. Let them laugh if they want to. Let them mock me. Someday they’ll be sorry. Someday, I’ll suffer a burnout from doing this thankless job day in and day out. And then they’ll be left sitting here in the dark.

Then they’ll miss me and the little bit of light I bring into their pathetic lives. That’s when they’ll see that I’m the one who was keeping everything together. That’s when they’ll appreciate what I did for them. That’s when they will miss this little light of mine and how I let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Written for this week’s Photo Challenge from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Photo credit: Winsome Woods.