MLMM Photo Challenge — Clouds in the Shower

“I don’t feel a thing,” Alyse said. “I thought you said this was the good stuff.”

Michael gave Alyse a questioning look. “Seriously, you don’t feel anything yet? I’m totally wasted.”

“Well maybe I’m just not in the mood,” Alyse said. “I’m tired. I’m going to go take a shower and go to bed. Have a good time sitting here by yourself watching National Geographic.”

Alyse walked into their bathroom, took off her clothes, and, after making sure the water temperature was to her liking, stepped into the shower. As she was soaping herself up, she was looking at the impression her soapy hand made on the glass shower wall. She was mesmerized, unable to look away. To Alyse, it was as if she was lying out in a field of grass, looking up at the clouds against a deep blue sky, and watching with fascination as the light breezes changed the clouds’ shapes, just as the soap bubble on the shower wall, were slowly forming and changing shapes.

“Michael, come quick!” Alyse called out.

Hearing her calling him, Michael ran into the bathroom. “Alyse, are you okay? Did something happen?”

Alyse was singing a slightly off-key rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” standing in the shower with her hand rubbing the shower wall glass. “Look, Michael,” she said, “look at the clouds floating by.”

Michael starting laughing. “So are you still going to tell me again how you don’t feel anything yet?”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Marta Bevacqua

MLMM Photo Challenge — Ecstacy

“Lizzy, what the hell are you doing?” Alan screamed at his girlfriend who was leaning precariously over the railing of a bridge that spanned the highway below. “You’re going to fall and kill yourself.” He started to moved toward her to pull her away.

“Don’t you dare come any closer, Alan,” Lizzy said. She turned around, arched her back and let her head drop as she took in the din of the traffic passing far beneath the bridge. “It’s like white noise, Alan, and I’m floating above it all, like I’m an angel.”

“If you don’t move away from that railing, you may end up being an angel,” Alan said as he grabbed one of her arms and pulled her back and into his arms.

“Oh Alan,” Lizzy said, “You’re no fun. You’re such a fuddy-duddy. I wasn’t going to do anything stupid. I just liked the feeling, the sensation. But I love you for being so concerned about me.” She gave him a big, sloppy kiss.

“You scared the hell out of me, Lizzy,” Alan said. He grabbed her hand and pulled her back to his car. “We’re going back to my place, Lizzy. I’m responsible and I need to keep you safe until this shit gets through your system in about four or five hours.”

As Lizzy got into Alan’s car, she said, “You’re the best, Alan. And what did you call this tablet we took? Ecstasy? I can absolutely see why they call it that.”

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: source unknown. Also for Fandango’s Story Starter, where the line is “Don’t you dare come any closer.”

Photo Challenge — Change of Heart

She arrived at the platform in plenty of time to make the train to Chicago. She was excited about the adventure she was about to embark upon. Her small town life to that point had been relatively routine to the point of being boring. But then, three months ago, she went with her two best friends for a girls’ weekend in the big city and that was when her life changed. That was when she met him.

She was shocked when she caught him looking at her and smiling across the crowded lounge off the hotel lobby. She blushed demurely and her two besties giggled when they saw what was happening. They encouraged her to smile back at him, which she did.

A moment later, that handsome man approached the table at which the three young women were sitting and introduced himself. Her two friends quickly excused themselves to go powder their noses, leaving her alone with him. He was so easy to talk with, so sophisticated, so smart, so well-spoken. And he was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen…in real life, anyway.

Her two friends seemed to have disappeared and after about an hour of stimulating conversation, he asked her if she was staying at the hotel. She told him she was, but pointed out that she and her two friends were sharing a room. He smiled, said he’d be right back, and left her alone at the table. When he returned, he smiled at her again, showed her a key card to a room he had just gotten, and asked her if she’d like to accompany him to his room.

She’d never done anything even remotely close to this before and knew her answer had to be “no,” but the word that came out of her mouth was “yes.” He stood up, held out his hand to her, which she readily took. They left the lounge, crossed the lobby, and stepped into the elevator that took them up to the floor where his room was located.

That night with him was what every young woman fantasizes about. A gorgeous Prince Charming sweeping her off her feet, and making her feel like a fairytale princess in every possible way. It was magical.

She met up with her two besties the next morning after she had shared breakfast in bed with that incredible man. Her companions wanted to know all the details and she was eager to tell them all about her night.

Three months had passed since that remarkable night and she had returned to Chicago on her own for three more assignations with her knight in shining armor. And now she was standing alone on the platform at the train station about to board the train that would transport her to another weekend of paradise and fulfillment. And she was sure he would be asking her to leave her small town life to live with him in the city.

When she heard the “all aboard” announcement, she froze, unable to move forward and to step aboard the train. She watched as the doors closed and saw the train begin to pull out of the station. She started to sob, tears streaming down her cheeks. She thought about the amazing man who would be expecting her at Union Station and how disappointed he would be when he realized that she wasn’t showing up, and that made her sad.

But that sophisticated, glib, Adonis of a man was not the cause of her sobs and her tears. They were brought on more by the guilt she was feeling over the hurt getting on that train leaving the station would have caused to her young husband and their two small, darling children. She chose them and reality of a mundane, small town life as a housewife and mother over the fantasy of the man and the thrill of the big city.

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: George Natsioulis.

Photo Challenge — Two Worlds

Rachel’s father was from Nigeria. Her mother was from France. Her heritage — her race — was mixed, and that had never been a big deal to her. Until recently, when someone called her mulatto. She asked her mother what a mulatto was and her mother told her to just ignore it. Her father, who almost never disagreed with her mother, told Rachel not to ignore it. He said it was derogatory and offensive and she should not let it pass.

Over the past year, Rachel was sensing a push-pull between her two cultures. She sensed that people wanted her to choose. Even her parents. Her father wanted her to celebrate her African roots. Her mother wanted her to emphasize her European heritage. She felt that everyone expected her to decide who she was, including if she was black or white.

But Rachel knew that nothing in life or in the world is purely black or white, especially her. Rachel knew that she was growing into a beautiful young woman who is like a rainbow. A woman who comes in colors.

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Photo credit: Sina Kelvani.

Photo Challenge — The Plight of the Native American

The instructions for the Photo Challenge prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie tell us we’re supposed to use the featured photo (credit: Veerendra at as inspiration for a poem or short story. But I’m going to do something a little different today.

My wife and I just finished binge-watching “Longmire,” a six-season, 63 episode contemporary western crime drama on Netflix. It centered around the charismatic and dedicated sheriff of fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming. This county abuts a Cheyenne Indian reservation.

The Absaroka County sheriff and his small team deal with crimes committed in the county and must also work with the Cheyenne reservation’s tribal police, which has authority within the reservation boundaries. A significant aspect of the series deals with matters of contemporary Native American life on and around the reservation, as well as with the sometimes challenging relations between the members of the tribe and the mostly white residents of the country outside of the reservation.

My wife and I really enjoyed “Longmire.” It had strong acting, a great cast of characters, and compelling stories. I enthusiastically recommend the show if you’re looking for something to binge-watch.

When I saw the photo for this challenge, I thought about the plight of the Native Americans depicted on the show. They were good people, most of whom were living on the reservations, trapped in the squalor of poverty, and with limited opportunities. I saw in the photo a member of the Cheyenne Nation standing on a bluff on the reservation looking across the land as the sun was setting. She was wondering about the future of her people.