Saturday Mix Opposing Forces — Summer Solstice

2F04793F-CD0F-48C7-A437-C28FE15D867F“Permit me to introduce you to our host,” my coworker, Clyde, said. “Andrew, I’d like you to meet Mr. Archibald Benedict. Archie hosts this party every year around this time to celebrate the arrival of the summer solstice.”

I put out my right hand to shake hands with Mr. Benedict, but he did not offer me his hand in return. “Do you know what the summer solstice is, boy?” Mr. Benedict said to me, which caught me a little off guard because he isn’t that much older than me.

“Yes, I do,” I said. “The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky and it is the day with the longest period of daylight. Some suggest that it marks the kickoff of the summer season, but I think most people think of Memorial Day as the real start of summer.”

Mr. Benedict looked at me for a moment and then abruptly turned around and walked away. I gave Clyde a questioning look. “Did I say something wrong?” I asked.

“No,” Clyde said, “but you’re a first time visitor and he can be a little standoffish to people he doesn’t know well.”

“I don’t know,” I said. “It seems like there’s something more to it than that, Clyde.”

“Well,” Clyde said, “there’s a rumor that his parents met at a summer solstice party at Stonehenge and that he was conceived that night. But his mother died giving birth to him nine months later.”

“That’s interesting but it still doesn’t explain his behavior towards me earlier tonight,” I said. “What am I missing?”

“Again, it’s just rumor,” Clyde responded. “You see, Archie had always wanted to go to Stonehenge for the summer solstice as a way to try to make a cosmic connection with the mother he never knew. But his father forbid him from ever going there because he blamed Archie for his mother’s death.”

“That’s some heavy shit to lay on a kid,” I said.

“And, of course, Archie never wants to celebrate his actual birthday because of how guilty he feels about her dying while giving birth to him. So he always throws these parties at his home to celebrate the anniversary of his conception. Unfortunately, he’s never in a particularly jovial mood at these events. So don’t take it personally, okay?”


Written for this week’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix, where we are supposed to two pairs of opposing words in our posts. The words are (1) “permit” and “forbid,” and (2) “visitor” and “host.”

FFfAW — The Visitor

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As the visitor waited for his daughter to pick him up at the airport, he received the text from her telling him that she’s running late. She suggested that he cross the street and busy himself at the bazaar until she arrived.

Despite the flow of cars, he managed to make his way to the parking lot that was now hosting the monthly bazaar.

There were many tents, some with food, others with touristy tchotchkes for sale. But he was drawn to the tent with the sign that said “Fortunes Told.”

He pushed aside the beads hanging across the opening of the tent, walked across a plush oriental rug, and sat down in a comfortable chair. A woman in colorful, flowing garb walked out from behind an opaque screen, sat down across from him, and motioned for him to place his hands into hers, which he did.

The fortune teller closed her eyes, leaving the visitor waiting in suspense for her to speak.

“Your ride is here,” she finally said. “That will be $25.”

(174 words)


Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge from Priceless Joy. Image credit: Dorothy.