Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Speakeasy #140… ETHEL & CHERYL WRITE A STORY

Peggy Wente: Globe and Mail columnist in alberta
‘I found the tracks in the deep snow between the trees.’  Okay, that has to be the first line to start our story.  Not over 750 words, okay Ethel?”
“Wait a minute!  What are you talking about, Cheryl?  The first line has to be ‘Pass the basil, would you?’.  You were late and I’ve already started the story.  It takes place on a TV cooking show.  Here, take a look.”
“Pass the basil, would you?”   “Basil! What are you a @#☠%^#✴︎& Idiot!!!”   “I think it goes in spaghetti, Chef.”   “But you are not making @#☠%^#✴︎& Spaghetti!!!  I asked for @#☠%^#✴︎& Lo Mein!!!”   “Sorry, Chef!!!  All noodles look the same to me.”
“For crying out loud, Ethel, you misread the instructions!  They are introducing the prompt painting with the ‘basil thing’.  It has something to with the story in the painting.”
“What story?  They aren’t cooking in the painting.  I don’t see any basil anywhere, just a skinny-ass dog and some people having a meal.  Okay, let’s figure out how they’re using basil, and I’ll save my cooking show story for later, I think it’s hilarious.”
“To each his own, Ethel, but it’s not about cooking.  If we want to be writers we need to focus, especially since we’re going to win a prize, we want it to be good.”
“Okay, let’s think outside the box here.  We can have ‘the tracks found deep in the snow between the trees’ be the dog’s.  And, we can have the cook find them!”
While surfing the web, Ethel came across a writing challenge called The Speakeasy #140, always on the hunt for something new, she enlisted Cheryl to help her.  Here are the instructions she came across:
This week our sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner, EA Wicklund, must be used as the FIRST line in your piece. And the media prompt is a painting.  
Pass the basil, would you?  
The painting this week is Isabella by John Everett Millais. It’s the first painting he did in the Pre-Raphaelite style and it was inspired by John Keat’s poem Isabella, or the Pot of Basil. Be sure to click on the image to see this painting in its large format because there is a lot going on in it.
John Everett Millais: Isabella, 1848-49..
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • Your piece must include the following sentence as the FIRST line: “I found the tracks in the deep snow between the trees.
Incidentally, to read some damn fine Sci-Fi, check out Wicklund’s Fairy Taleseric
Suzanne Purkis runs the speakeasy, and can be found at  Apoplectic Apostrophessuzanne

Trifextra #97… IT’S ALL IN THE NAME

The Detroit Auto Show was always a basin of opportunity.
But, the myopic choice of a name by Mister Ford failed to dazzle.
Both for the new model line-up and the child.
Picture11-1Here are the instructions from the editors:  This weekend we’re asking you to add thirty of your own words to the following three words for a total of thirty-three.  Good luck!

Guest Author ~ HOME by Ula Grace

Birthday Letter 1
❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎ ❄︎
UlaG & Me... on the ferry, after picking her her up at SeaTac coming home from Myanmar last year.
UlaG & Me… on the ferry, after picking her up at SeaTac Airport, coming home from Myanmar last year.
Some gifts cannot be bought… this is one of those.  I have been encouraging my granddaughter to write some stories for TedBook.  She is taking a creative writing class at school and I think is a clever writer.  She is a lucky girl, as she has traveled the globe with her parents since she was a baby… every year.  They always take a trip in January and get home in February… It is cold here and they go to warm places.  I pick them up at the airport, quite a sight in their shorts and flip-flops, and return them to Friday Harbor.  Last year they trekked through Myanmar for six weeks.  She promised to write a story about the children there, complete with photos she took… I’m holding her to it.  Hopefully this will be a start to more stories from the pen of UlaG.

Friday Fictioneers: THE TRESSPASSERS

THE TRESSPASSERS… A Drabble for FriFic
“This place looks creepy, do you think it’s safe?”
“Of course, no one’s here but us.  I think there’s an opening around the side somewhere.”
“Perry, it’s dark in here.”
“Don’t be such a baby, Rene, you still want to do it don’t you?”
“Yeah, I guess, but it’s gross in here.”
“Look there’s a mattress!”
“Yeah, that’s real romantic, along with the needles and used rubbers.”
“It’s not so bad.  Wait!  Did you hear that?”
“It snarled, like a dog. I’m scared!”
“No, more like a wolf. It’s getting close!”
Now, you are probably wondering about the ending of that story.  It is a followup to the story I wrote last week… INVITATION TO A RIDE… after I had received this in the mail…
I promised a full report… I boarded the MV Chelan as requested shortly before 8 a.m.
IMG_1778 This is actually not the real ferry-boat (I forgot to take a photo), but a stand in.  The model can be seen at Seatown in Seattle.
I settled into a booth and my daughters showed up with a delicious breakfast of quiche and fresh fruit… after arriving on the mainland we readied to depart the ferry…IMG_1727 After a stop at the first of many Starbuck’s we had an exciting car wash… IMG_1729 and upon reaching Seattle, my Birthday got off to an exciting start in the make-up department at Nordstrom…IMG_1731 somehow this was a familiar theme throughout the day.  We stopped to admire the Christmas windows at Tiffany’s (designed by my friend Christopher Young in NYC)…IMG_1734 After a delicious lunch at PF Chang’s, we boarded the famous Monorail… IMG_1742 and headed for the Seattle Repertory Theater to see a matinée performance of…IMG_1745 It was an excellent production and lots of fun… IMG_1752  Checked out the Space Needle on the way back to the Monorail… IMG_1755 We went back to the Mayflower Hotel… IMG_1760  in the heart of downtown Seattle and got ready to go out to dinner at one my favorite Tom Douglas restaurants … IMG_1763 A fabulous meal of Pork Chop and Garlic Sausage followed with a nice birthday dessert… IMG_1767 A restful sleep at The Mayflower and a day of shopping finished off the Birthday Bash.
This week’s Friday Fictioneer’s photo prompt is courtesy of Randy Mazie Rochelle-Wisoff Fields chose it to be this week’s inspiration for some 100 Word Flash Fiction.

The Speakeasy # 138… CANDY KITCHEN

851565_567787583253950_845844276_nCANDY KITCHEN
The bowl lay overturned on the floor, a rough crack running down one side.
“Grandma’s going to kill me! First her marble slab, now her favorite mixing bowl.  HELP ME!!!!!!
“Wake up! Wake up, what’s wrong?”
Twisted up in a sheet and drenched in a cold sweat, I fight to get back into reality, trying to explain the delicious pinks and reds.
“You’ve been playing way too much Candy Crush on facebook!” my friend says.
speakeasy2THE SPEAKEASY #138…  This week our sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner  Kianwi, must be used as the FIRST line in your piece. And the media prompt is a picture, which you will find below. As with all our media prompts, your post shouldn’t be about the picture, but you must make some sort of reference to it in your submission.   “The bowl lay overturned on the floor, a rough crack running down one side.
make-up set
This story kind of came to me in a dream.  I had gone to sleep thinking of the prompt line, and I had bought some homemade caramels from a friend at a craft fair, who sells them under the name GrandmaFreysCaramels. And, I have a friend on facebook who plays Candy Crush all the time, it’s one of those games like FarmVille that have people hooked.  She’s always trying to get me to play.  I’m not sure it was me in the dream, I think I was writing the story in the dream.  Those might be clues to how the dream came about… so, I thought I’d use it for my story.
p.s. If you like good caramel candy, order some from Paul.  He’s a good guy and coach of the Friday Harbor High School Girls Soccer Team… Division Champs this year… my granddaughter Isabel is a star midfielder.

Friday Fictioneers: INVITATION TO TAKE A RIDE…

San Juan Islands Ferry photo by Ted Strutz
INVITATION TO TAKE A RIDE… A Non-fiction Drabble
Checking my mail. The usual holiday catalogs. Here’s one from Figis wanting me to buy fruitcake. No checks or bills, so that kind of evens out. Wait a bit, here’s a brown envelope postmarked Seattle. What’s really odd, is the way they did the address… letters cut out from something… addressed to ted strutz. Maybe some new advertising gimmick to catch the eye. Inside, letters attached to a paper bag.
Walk on to the 8:05 ferry
on December 4th
Prepare to b gone all night
don’t forget your hearing aids
don’t ax questions
come alone
You think I’m kidding?
You can imagine my surprise when I saw this week’s Friday Fictioneer’s photo prompt.  It was one I had taken, and Rochelle-Wisoff Fields had chosen it to be this week’s inspiration for some 100 Word Flash Fiction.  I wanted to wait till Friday was almost over to explain the photo and not influence any of the Fictioneer’s writings.  It has been fun to read the different takes the photo evoked, and you can see them by going to the Fictioneer’s link page.  As of now, 81 writers have linked their stories… I’ll be #82.
MV Evergreen State
There are two types of ferries that service the San Juan Islands in the state of Washington.  Located at the top of Puget Sound, in what is called The Salish Sea.  The San Juan Islands consist of something like 172 islands, some no more than a rock… but since it is always above water, it’s officially an island.  I live on San Juan Island… it was named for an explorer called Juan… and is the county seat.  I live in Friday Harbor, which may or not have been named for an indian called Joe Friday… but that’s another story.
The ferry serves the 4 main islands Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and mine.  You board in Anacortes on the mainland (although technically Anacortes is on Fidalgo Island which is connected by bridges and is not part of the San Juan Island Group) and travel by ferry-boat to the different islands, and can even go to Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island (which sails once a day).
There is another run, which is the Interisland Ferry, it is a little smaller ship.  The MV Evergreen State was built in 1953, and holds 100 cars and 1000 passengers. That is what I was on when I took the photo.  I was the only passenger.  In 17 years riding ferries, and I ride the Interisland a lot, I have never been the sole passenger.  Let me tell you, it was a strange feeling, almost scary.  I walked about the passenger deck and had the weirdest feeling, almost like I was in some of the stories my fellow fictioneers have written, they tend to run to the macabre, cheerful lot.  It was around 5 p.m. when I took the photo, as the sun was starting to set.  I thought it was an interesting shot, with the eerie calmness of an empty boat (that should have been busy with people doing all manner of things, including jigsaw puzzles) and the beauty of the scenic calm outside.
If you ever get up Seattle way, come up and take a ride on the ferry… I’ll buy.
I do not know who sent me the invitation, but I have my suspicions, my birthday is Dec. 4, 1943… do the math, it’s a milestone of sorts.  There are two Prime Suspects, but they are not fessing up.  I guess I will have to wait till I walk on the ferry and see who’s there.  I will be sure to take my hearing aids… maybe there’s a Steely Dan concert I don’t know about.


“I still can’t believe you talked me into this, Ethel.”
“It’ll get warmer when the sun comes up,Cheryl.”
“That’s at seven-thirty, the store opens at five.”
“I know, and I want that big-ass-flatscreen!”
☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎ ☀︎
The Editors of The Trifextra Writing Challenge are busy with their families this week, so they said:  ”This weekend we are assuming that many of you are slogging your way through leftovers and family bickering (or is that just us?) and thus we’re going way easy on you. We are asking for a 33-word free write.  Give us whatever you’ve got.”