Red Button Syndrome – Chimera 66

Red Button Syndrome

“That’s perty!” said the carnival-goer.

“Careful!” said Bolizaar the Magician. “That’s a magic kaleidoscope. Looking into it traps you inside.”

The carnival-goer looked anyway. “Wow! There’s folks in here. They’s all screamin’ an…”

*poof*

“Boss!” called Patoo the Dwarf. “Another one disappeared!”

Bolizaar face-palmed.

“What’ll we do, Boss?”

Bolizaar scowled. “I swear. I’m gonna make a scary-looking box that reads, ‘DANGER! Do NOT put MONEY inside!'”
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This week at Grammar Ghoul Press’ Chimera 66 writing challenge, the word prompt is: Kaleidoscope. Exactly, no more no less than, 66 words may be written with the word kaleidoscope included. I had fun with this one. I hope you did too. Look here for more stories answering the weekly challenge: http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/chimera-66-writing-challenge-11/

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Tuba Players – Friday Fictioneers

Photo by: David Stewart

Tuba Players

“Oh, the boys in the band are so dreamy!” said Natty. She smiled as the band played in the park’s gazebo.

Betty grinned too. “You have a favorite?”

Natty rubbed a locket at her neck. “Mmm. The sax player.”

“Really? His hair’s getting thin.”

Natty winked. “He always likes some sax before bed.”

“Oh girl!”

The two giggled for a moment.

“What about you?” said Natty.

Betty smoothed her dress unconsciously. “Well, I rather enjoy the tuba player.”

Natty grimaced. “Him? He’s a bit soft in the middle.”

“I suppose.”

“Why him?”

Betty smiled salaciously. “Tuba Players have Strong Lips.”
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Each week, the Friday Fictioneers meet at secret gazebo in Vermont. Not really, but one day we might! Even so, we still come together to write flash fiction based upon photo prompts. This week’s picture is by fellow writer David Stewart. Look here for more pics based upon the photo above: https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/27-march-2015/

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Collateral Damage – Gargleblaster Microstories #206

Captain Leighton called his home. “Sir. A cruise missile fired accidentally.”

General Hartlow scowled, “So. Reprimand the pilot.”

“But sir…”

“What now?”

“The people are…”

“It’s called Collateral Damage, son.”

“Sir! It’s targeting your home!” said Leighton, and the line went dead.
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

This week’s photo challenge is: Fresh. I think most people think about fresh flowers or fruit with beads of water on it. I’m more of a savory lover. I like fresh food hot off the grill. I think my pics reflect that.

Italian Beef from Harry Carey’s in Chicago. In California, when you ask for “Italian Beef” they look at you funny. In Chicago, it’s a major food group along with Brats and Deep-Dish Pizza. This is the first Italian Beef I had in 20 years. I almost cried.
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Black & Blue Burger from the Dog & Duck Pub in Austin. Grass-Fed beef cooked to perfection. Possible the best burger I’ve ever eaten.
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Fresh Pork dumplings. I’m starting to slobber again.
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You cannot possibly get fresher coconut juice. This guy cut these out of the tree minutes before. Mana from Heaven!
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Wild Bird Wednesday: Dark-Eyed Junco

After moving to the area, I was told Dark-Eyed Juncos are common here. I grew up seeing them every winter, but hadn’t seen one in decades. I was excited to see them again. Years passed and not one sighting! Finally found one the other day and I very happy about it. This guy hid for bit while we snapped pics. Later, he got comfortable with us and began feeding normally.
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Winter Wren. This one has a sweet song. It’s a Lifer for us.
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Blue-Headed Vireo. We kinda-sorta saw one before, but not well. This time we got a clear view and in full breeding plumage. That makes this one another Lifer.
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Yellow-Rumped Warbler. The “Rump” is actually on top of the tail. Looking up from below it’s not always easy to see the “rump.” I like this pic because you can see both the yellow rump and the marks on his flanks. We see these in little flocks all winter long. With the arrival of Spring and breeding season, this fellow has much brighter markings than usual.
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Look here for more pics of amazing birds from around the world: http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com/2015/03/wild-bird-wednesday-140-cape-barren.html

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Breast Stroke – Mondays Finish the Story

Photo by: Barbara W. Beacham

Breast Stroke

When the team heard the dam explode, they knew they had limited time to make it to safety. In moments, they stood on shore.

“Folks,” said Tour Captain Monticello. “On behalf of Temporal Adventure Tours, I apologize. Seems the Three Gorges Dam did not explode in the afternoon of April 4, 2044. It was the morning as you can see.” He pointed to the pall of black smoke upstream.
“Our rafting tour to 207 years ago has been cut short.”

He looked sternly at their three rafting guests. “Now all of you have your temporal transponders, right? You can’t beam to safety without them.”

Two nodded. Benny Henreddy shook his head. “I lost it!”

Monticello winced sympathetically. “That’s a damn shame, son.”

“Hold on. I’m a billionaire. Give me one of yours! I’ll pay you!”

Everyone else beamed away without responding. Monticello shook his head. “Sorry, son.”

“But what should I do?” screamed Benny.

Monticello looked up at the murderous wall of water fast approaching. “Breast stroke, I’d say.”
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Author’s Notes:
Three Gorges Dam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Gorges_Dam

Every Monday it’s time to finish the story based upon a photo by the talented Barbara W. Beacham. This week, the beginning sentence is, “When the team heard the dam explode, they knew they had limited time to make it to safety.” It’s up to us to run with it from there. Look here for more stories answering the challenge: https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/mondays-finish-the-story-march-23rd-2015/

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Tradition – Sunday Photo Fiction

Photo by: Joe Owens

Tradition

Manolito received the figurine in a little town outside Tulancingo. He stopped there for juice to cool down, but also he sought happiness. With luck, he might at last find a woman he could love. Looking back, he realized, the tiny village really did show him the way.

He didn’t seek out the bruja in the streets with banana trees where chickens and goats walked beneath them. She found him. Without a single word of introduction, she thrust the Dia De Los Muertos sculpture into his hands. “You need it more than me,” said the elderly village witch. She walked away, leaving a perplexed Manolito behind her.

It took three months before Manolito no longer believed he was mad. At last he settled down, and realized his dead grandparents really could speak to him through the figurine. The figure displayed the skeletal couple standing stiffly with heads bowed. As he spoke with them, he realized how happy they were together in the afterlife. Unfortunately, one thing still made them sad.

“You must find a good girl, Manny” said his abuela, Maria. “We’re sad that you are alone.”

“But you must follow our tradition, Manny,” said his abuelo, Thiago. “Your father failed in this, and look what happened!”

Manolito’s mother ran off with a rich Arab. His father fell into depression and drank himself to death two years later. His beloved grandparents raised him from the age of nine. They were happy and wonderful people, always smiling and laughing. Because of them, he harbored high standards in a woman. Unfortunately, it meant he was still single at 31.

“We will help you, and if you listen, we can guarantee your happiness.” continued Thiago.

“You have my keepsake box,” said Maria. “Look there for clues.”

The next day, Manolito sat in the cafeteria of the software company where he worked. His usual lunch partner, Lailani from Accounting, foisted more of her wonderful Filipino lumpia on him. She loved to share food. She wasn’t beautiful, but very pretty. She loved to laugh and talk about movies. Somberly, Manolito looked at her and wondered if he could love her. With his grandparents talk of tradition, he knew they wouldn’t accept anyone besides a nice Mexican girl.

Two days later, he dated Juanita. She was rich and attractive. She ordered the most expensive items on the menu, ate little of each.

When he returned home, the figurines were face-palming.

Bad choice, obviously.

He dated Joyce who was beautiful. Unfortunately, she loved being the center of attention, and that meant she flirted with every man in sight.

At home, the figurines covered their eyes in horror.

Another bad choice.

He dated Lenora, Perfecta, Seraphela, and Dulcinea and found only frustration. He didn’t bother to visit his grandparent’s figurines. He didn’t want to see them with guns to their heads.

Lailani finally talked him into going for drinks. For once, Manolito enjoyed himself. They laughed often and talked at length about their favorite movies. Manolito found himself holding her hand as they smiled and walked down a moonlit boulevard. No longer thinking, just lost in the moment, he took her home and she stayed the night.

In the morning Manolito was sad. He’d found someone he could love, but how could he face his traditional grandparents?

While he sulked, Lailani found the contents his abuela’s keepsake box spread out on the table. She held up an old picture. It showed his grandparents beneath a banana tree with a chicken walking by. “Oh wow, where was this taken?”

Manolito grunted, “Somewhere in Mexico.”

“Can’t be,” said Lailani. “I see the word, ‘Bagacay’ on this sign. That’s Filipino.”

“They never mentioned the Philippines.”

She held up some old money. “And there’s this too.”

“Oh, that money looks weird because it’s old, but it’s Mexican. See? It says ‘Pesos’ right there.”

Lailani grinned. “No, it’s Filipino. Our money is pesos too.”

Manolito rushed to the figurine his grandparents inhabited. They held each in happiness, laughing and smiling. “At last you found a good girl!” said Maria.

“You finally followed our family tradition!” said Thiago. “We never restrict ourselves in love. We find it wherever we can.”

Salamat sa Diyos!” cheered Maria.

“Abuela?” said Manolito. “What language is that?”

Maria grinned. “It’s Tagalog, from the Philippines, mi nino. It’s my native language!”
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Author’s Notes:
The Philippines lived under Spanish rule for over 300 years. For this reason, Philippines culture remains an interesting mix of Spanish and Asian culture. Many Spanish words are mixed into the national language, Tagalog, and in the other languages spoken there. Filipinos don’t typically speak Spanish fluently, but it’s easy for them to learn it. Since both Mexico and the Philippines are tropical countries, there are rural areas where both places look nearly identical. Thus, a picture of the Philippines might be confused for a pic of Mexico.

A brief language lesson:
Abuelita and Abuelito: Grandmother and Grandfather (understood in both Mexico and the Philippines)
Bruja: Witch (understood in both Mexico and the Philippines)
Salamat sa Diyos! = Thanks to God! (Tagalog)

Each Sunday, Jow Owens provides one of his own pictures as a prompt for flash fiction. This story is based upon the photo up above. Look here for more stories answering this weekly writing challenge: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/sunday-photo-fiction-march-22-2015/

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