The Landscape Dilemma

“One doesn’t quibble about fees in front of others,” Tina said, “at least not around polite company. That’s an insensitive thing to do.”

“I’m not quibbling, haggling, or chaffering with you about fees, Tina,” Stan said. “I am simply refusing to pay you.”

“Well that perplexes me,” Tina said. “You signed a contract that you’d pay me my fee upon delivery. I delivered, so pay up.”

“You call yourself a landscape designer, but your design, if you can even call it that, is garbage. It’s a fucking disaster.”

“I glean from what you’re saying that you’re not happy with my design,” Tina calmly said. “Let’s talk about what you don’t like about it.”

“All you did was plant stalk after stalk if bamboo all around the yard,” Stan said. “Do you know how invasive bamboo is? Basically your plan is to turn my backyard into a bamboo forest.”

“True, but it’s drought resistant, environmentally friendly, and economical,” Tina said, a smug look in her face.

“Tina, the reason I engaged you in the first place was because my yard was overrun with bamboo,” Stan said, “Since all you did in your design was to add more bamboo, it’s worthless. I’m not paying you for that.”

“Well, fine,” Tina said, “but can I count on you to give me a good review on Yelp?”

Written for these daily prompts: Scott’s Daily Prompt (polite company), My Vivid Blog (insensitive), The Daily Spur (designer), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (disaster), Word of the Day Challenge (glean), and Ragtag Daily Prompt (stalk).

The Soothing Sounds of a Crackling Fire

A word like “crepitate
And another such as “presbyopia
Are not easily weaved into a story.
What do the mean?
How can they be used without
Enmeshing the reader in a dictionary hunt?

Apart from the fact that the are rather esoteric,
They make a peddler of flash fiction tales,
As am I on this blog,
Jump through hoops.
But as my father used to say,
“Like roaring fire, make your words crepitate,
And don’t be blinded
By presbyopia of your imagination.”

Written for these daily prompts: Ragtag Daily Prompt (crepitate), My Vivid Blog (another), Word of the Day Challenge (presbyopia), Your Daily Word Prompt (enmesh), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (apart), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (peddler), and The Daily Spur (father).

Case Closed

“Please raise you right hand, and repeat after me,” the bailiff said. The witness raised his left hand.

“Your other hand,” the judge said.

The witness raised his right hand. The bailiff continued, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.”

“No,” the witness said. “There is no God, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that I will tell the truth.” The bailiff looked up at the judge and the judge nodded her okay.

“Please state your name for the record,” the bailiff said.

“Puddin’ n’ tain. Ask me again I’ll tell you the same,” the man said.

“This is not a comedy club, sir,” the judge bellowed. “We follow strict protocols here and we will not put up with your shenanigans. Now state your name or be held in contempt.”

“Yes, Your Honor,” the man said. “My name is Steven Schmidt.”

The judge signaled to the prosecutor, Michael Curtis, to proceed. “Good morning, Mr. Schmidt. How long were you in the employ of Acme Systems and what was your position at the company.”

“I was with that firm for more than twenty years and my responsibilities were manifold over those years. Most recently, I was the Chief Financial Officer,” Schmidt answered.

“And as the CFO, you managed the books for Acme Systems, is that correct?” Curtis asked.

“Yes, among other responsibilities.”

“Acme Systems recently declared bankruptcy and is now insolvent, yes?”


“In your role as CFO, did you ever fleece money from the company?” Curtis asked.

“That’s a moot question,” Steven said.

“No, Mr. Schmidt,” Curtis said, “that is the key question, as you are being charged with embezzling almost a million dollars from the company.”

“Let us not clash over incidental details, sir,” Schmidt said. “It was the CEO who drove the company into the ground when the systems we sold were unable to deliver the promised features. I was merely investing the capital into mutual funds that could help keep the company afloat during tough times.”

“Was Galore Equities one of the funds you invested the company’s money in?”


“And in fact, Mr. Schmidt,” Curtis said, “Wasn’t Galore Equities the only firm in which you invested the company’s money?”


“And who is the principal owner of Galore Equities, Mr. Schmidt?”

“Gloria Schmidt is the principal owner.”

“And isn’t Gloria Schmidt your wife, Mr. Schmidt?”

“Yes, but she can’t testify against me because she’s my wife.”

“Actually, Mr.Schmidt, she’s your co-defendant in this case, because she was in on this scheme of yours and all of the funds you stole from Acme Systems were deposited directly into an account jointly owned by you and your wife.”

Schmidt looked at the judge and said, “If I returned all of the money I stole, can I start over with a clean slate?”

“That was pretty funny,” the judge said, “but as I said earlier, this is not a comedy club.”

“I rest my case, Your Honor,” Curtis said.

Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (state), JusJoJan (protocol), Your Daily Word Prompt (manifold/galore), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (insolvent), Ragtag Daily Prompt (fleece), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (moot), The Daily Spur (clash), My Vivid Blog (features), and Scott’s Daily Prompt (clean slate). Image credit:

#WDYS — Howling at the Moon

She was always a bit of a strange girl. It was in her essence, I guess. It’s what made her who she was.

I remember when she was a little girl, she would sneak out of house in the evenings and would go out to the field behind our property, shake her fist and howl, like a wolf, at the full moon. My wife would hear the wolf’s call, peek out from behind the kitchen curtains, and tell me she was at it again. I would go out to the field, fetch her, and bring her back into house.

I asked her why she did that whenever the moon was full, but she said that she didn’t know why. She said she felt some sort of compelling attachment to it, like how the moon’s gravitational pull would cause the tides to rise and fall. I suggested to her that perhaps she might want to study astronomy, so she could learn all about the moon. And about the sun, the planets, and the stars. She liked the idea.

She put her mind to learning everything she could about the moon and space. And without too much exertion, she earned her PhD and became a highly regarded astrophysicist.

And now, she is in training to be the first female to be included on the crew for the next moon landing. We are so proud of her and of how we were able to channel our discovery of her strong attraction to the moon to productive purposes.

She never lost her lifelong attraction to the moon, but at least she no longer goes out and howls at it when it’s full. But knowing her, when she lands on it and takes her first moon walk, she may start howling on the moon.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See? Prompt. Photo credit: LuizClas @ Pexels. Also for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (essence), Ragtag Daily Prompt (curtains), My Vivid Blog (again), The Daily Spur (attachment), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (exertion), and Word of the Day Challenge (discovery).

The Wanderer

What can I get you two?” the bartender asked as the two men sat down at the bar.

“Two Buds,” Hank said.

“No, I’ll have a cosmopolitan,” Daniel said.

“A cosmopolitan?” Hank said, a surprised look on his face. “Since when do you drink those?”

“It was Suzanne’s favorite drink. I refused to even try it when we were together. Too girly I told her. But now that we’re no longer a couple, I thought I’d give it a try.” As the bartender set the drinks down, Daniel took a sip of the cosmopolitan. “Hmm, not too bad,” he said.

“So what are you going to do now that your divorce is final?” Hank asked Daniel. “Are you going to stick around here or are you going to delay making any decisions until you can figure out how to get your act together?”

“What do you mean by that, Hank?” Daniel asked. “I’ve got my act together. I’m going to follow my instincts, wherever they lead me.”

“You mean those same peripatetic instincts that led to Suzanne filing for divorce? Those instincts?”

“Look, Hank,” Daniel said, “You know that my marriage was a total clusterfuck. She was possessive and jealous and I needed my space to do my thing.”

“And your ‘thing’ was to cheat on her with every girl in town and to wander around aimlessly with no goals?” Hank said. “Daniel, this is your life. You’ve made a mess of it so far, but it’s not too late to start fresh. To turn over a new leaf.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Daniel said. He took another sip of the cosmopolitan. “Damn, this cosmo is really good.”

Written for these daily prompts: JusJoJan (cosmopolitan), The Daily Spur (divorce), Ragtag Daily Prompt (delay), My Vivid Blog (instincts), Word of the Day Challenge (peripatetic), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (cluster), and Scott’s Daily Prompt (this is your life).