#writephoto / Weekend Writing Prompt — Down to the Catacombs

“I double dog dare you,” Billy said.

“No way I’m going down there,” Freddy replied. “There are skulls and bones and snakes and rats down in those catacombs”

“Are you chicken?” Billy laughed, making the sound of a chicken clucking. “Pretend you’re Indiana Jones and take a look around. Maybe there’s something valuable down there. Take this flashlight.”

“If you’re so brave, let’s go down there together,” Freddy suggested.

“No way I’m going down there,” Billy said.

(Exactly 77 words)

Written for KL Caley’s #writephoto prompt. Photo by KL Caley. And for Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt, where the word is “catacomb” in exactly 77 words.

#writephoto — Snowy Peaks

When I saw the title of KL Caley’s #writephoto post, along with the photo she took (above), I immediately thought of the phenomenon I saw this week.

My wife and I moved to San Francisco in 2010 and, almost two years ago, we moved to a town in the East Bay, about 30 miles east of San Francisco. Over last weekend and into the early part of this week, we’ve been hit by significant rain storms, which, given the drought we’re experiencing, was welcomed.

Since we moved from the east coast more than a decade ago, I haven’t seen snow on the ground anywhere near me. Where we live now is, as the crow flies, about three miles southwest of Mount Diablo, a mountain with a peak at 3,850 feet. I can easily see its summit from my yard. When I woke up and went to retrieve my morning paper on Wednesday, I looked to the northwest and saw that the summit of Mount Diablo was covered in snow. Given that the temperatures where I live had dipped down to the mid-thirties during the recent rains, and our elevation is around 550 feet, it made sense that it was cold enough at close to 4,000 feet for there to be snow on Mount Diablo.

The site of snow so close to where I live in Northern California really thrilled me, which probably tells you all you need to know about how exciting my life is.

Anyway, given KL’ s snowy peaks photo, I thought I’d share with you these photos below, which were taken on Mount Diablo by Jessica Christian for the San Francisco Chronicle.

#writephoto — It’s Not the Stamps

“Do you have a pen or pencil I can use for my crossword puzzle?” Diane asked Jacob.

“Sure,” Jacob responded. “There should be a few pens in the drawer in the kitchen island. It’s the one directly across from the wall oven.”

“Thanks,” Diane said. She got up walked from the living room to the kitchen.

Last night she and her boyfriend had a huge fight at the party Jacob was hosting. Her boyfriend stormed out and Diane had then gotten too drunk to drive home from the party. Jacob felt bad for her and invited her to crash at his place. He showed her to his guest room, and she immediately passed out on the bed.

First thing this morning, Jacob came into the guest room carrying a steaming hot cup of coffee in one hand and a bottle of Advil in the other. Now, a few hours later, Diane was feeling a little better but still quite mortified. She called her roommate to pick her up and take her home, and figured she could kill time working on the morning newspaper’s crossword puzzle while waiting.

When she got to the kitchen, Diane went to the specified drawer, opened it up, and saw that it was full of stamps torn from envelopes. “I didn’t know you were a philatelist, Jacob.”

“A what?”

A philatelist,” Diane repeated. “A stamp collector.”

“I’m not a stamp collector,” Jacob said.

“If you’re not a collector, why do you have a drawer full of stamps torn from envelopes?” Diane asked.

“I am a collector, but not a collector of stamps,” Jacob said. “I couldn’t care less about stamps.”

“I don’t get it,” Diane said. “Then why are all these stamps in your drawer?”

“Because I collect postmarks,” Jacob said. “Stamps are just things people stick on envelopes, but postmarks tell you where and when the sender mailed them. And to me, that’s much more interesting than some stupid stamps.”

Written for KL Caley’s #writephoto prompt, where the theme is “stamps.” Photo credit: KL Caley.

#writephoto — Stones

When I was in high school, one of my best friend’s parents built a house way out in the country. Shortly after the house was finished, my friend invited me and another guy to join him for a weekend at his folk’s country house. He told us that it was in a great area on a hillside with beautiful, panoramic views, and the only way to get to it was on a dirt road. As a 17-year-old boy, I thought going to a hillside house in the country accessible only by dirt road for the weekend sounded like quite an adventure.

Bright and early on Saturday morning, my friend’s father picked up me and another friend, Greg, and the four of us — my best friend Joe, his father, the other guy, and I — drove to Joe’s parents’ country home. It took around four hours, including about a 30-minute stop for breakfast at a diner along the way, for us to get to our destination.

Joe’s parents’ country house was impressive. As we got to the end of the dirt road and I saw the place, I whistled and said something like, “Cool house, Joe.”

The four of us got out of the car and Joe’s father asked if anyone needed to use the bathroom, and, of course, we all did. Fortunately, Joe’s parents’ country house had four bedrooms and three bathrooms, so that was convenient.

When we were done taking care of business, so to speak, we all went back outside and saw Joe’s father driving down the dirt road away from the house. “My dad will be back tomorrow afternoon to drive us all home,” Joe said. “And there’s plenty of food in the refrigerator to tide us over until then.”

“Cool,” I said. Then looking at Joe, I said, “So what’s on the agenda?”

“I’m glad you asked,” Joe said. He handed Greg and me metal rakes and said, “Get to work. My old man wants all these rocks and stones to cleared out for ten yards all around the house by time he gets back here to drive us home tomorrow afternoon.”

Needless to say, the weekend at Joe’s parents’ country home turned out not to be the adventure I had anticipated.

Written for KL Caley’s #writephoto prompt built around the photo above and the word “stones.”