Friday, June 13, 2014


TORMENTED… A Vignette by Ula Grace
I remember that night, that night of sorrow.
I am responsible for what happened to them. I hear her voice in my thoughts, during my nights.
I hear all of their voices. They torment me. Their words accusing, all except hers.
They blame me for it all. I have no escape. Everyone is gone, those who survived left after that night. I’m alone, wandering this darkened, silent house in search of some escape from this torment.
I see her walking in the halls, our grandmother’s nightgown draped over her thin shoulders, the back trailing on the floor like the train on a wedding dress. My little sister, only six years old when her life was ended. I see her open her mouth, and read my name on her lips… Caleb. It seems to take a lifetime for the sound to reach my ears, and when it does, its distant, a shadow of her voice. She’s searching for me. I try to tell her that it’s all right, that I’m here. But all I hear is silence, where my voice should fill the emptiness with comforting words. I reach out to stroke her hair and pull her into my embrace. But then she’s gone, as if she never existed, ever walked this Earth. Leaving a trail of tiny footprints behind her as she walks.
Guest Author Ula Grace
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Ula Grace is a frequent contributor to TedBook.
Photo of the little girl is on the cover of Ransom Riggs’ novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children   
Of course I bought the book… after I read it, I’ll give it to UlaG.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Friday Fictioneers… A DRABBLE POLITICK

A DRABBLE POLITICK… with apologies to my friend Björn Rudberg (a real poet)
“Oh no, something is out-of-order I fear!”
“What possibly can be wrong, Father Dear?”
“You are leaning to the Right,
Your education has a Blight.”
“But, I’m graduating Today,
I must make my own Way.”
“Why can you not See,
That you should follow Me?”
“Because you see Blue and I see Red, 
Does not mean I’m off in the Head.”
“Oh no, your mind is Fine, 
I just mean, your path should be Mine.”
“Father, if Truth be Told, 
Your ways be Old.”
Dear Daughter, I thought you would be Arty,
What is with this Tea Party?”
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Well… Where did This come from???  I don’t write poetry.  But I’m always inspired when I readBjörn Rudbergs Writings, a must for all Poesyphiles.
Of course, the photo of where I am sure Jennifer Pendergast walked the ‘Hallowed Halls’… not sure if it’s Oxford or Cambridge… was the inspiration.
For other stories about Jen’s photo… FRIDAY FICTIONEERS
I am especially proud of two stories I have written recently… What’s in a Name? and Don’t be Silly… please read them and let me know what you think.  I think I’ll stick with prose.

Ted’s Photobooth Story

I was honored to be a contributor to Katherine’s fascinating blog. I hope my friends will take a look and enjoy her work. If you have any old strips around, think about sharing them with her… and the world. Now I have to figure out how to tell Cheryl I did this… but judging by the first comments, I don’t think she will mind.
I thought I would share this reblog with my friends at The Still, to introduce them to a most interesting blog by a friend Down Under… perhaps you too would like to share with her… check out her blog, and start digging through those old forgotten treasures and share them with Katherine at Photobooth Journal
p.s. I have heard from Cheryl… she remembered the Rainbow Club and didn’t mind at all…

Originally posted on Photobooth Journal:
Cheryl and Ted
One of the more exciting, and for me, unexpected aspects of being a blogger is the amount of enthusisam and generosity that comes to my inbox out of the blue and from all around the world. I have recently started following a blog by Ted Strutz of Friday Harbor, Wasington State in the San Juan IslandsUSA. The blog is called TedBook and has some very amusing conversational short stories that I encourage you to check out. Ted emailed me the above photos and the following history a couple of days ago -
When I lived in Chicago in the 80′s and early 90′s, there was a bar called the Rainbow Room.  It was quite large with a big horseshoe shaped bar, booths, tables and a stage, maybe a dance floor.  They played 33 LPs on a phonograph.  Kind of an artsy place.  There was a photo booth as well…
View original 446 more words


Not quite what I was expecting.
Well, actually that’s not true; I knew she would be beautiful (I’ve seen her photo), I knew she would be fit (she skis, plays competitive tennis… and dances, as we all know), I knew she would be interesting (I’ve read her stories and know she is writing a novel), and I knew she was tough (she’s a survivor). So I was surprised she was so tiny… well petite or svelte might sound better.
I flew into Denver with my daughter Krista so she could visit with her best friend, an actor who was starring in the musical Animal Crackers at the Denver Center Theater Company.
An accomplished actor and veteran song & dance man, Michael Fitzpatrick was playing multiple roles, as were the rest of the cast of this madcap zany musical, which first appeared on Broadway in 1928 starring the Marx Brothers. I knew of it as a movie and had no idea it had first been a play. While Krista and Michael relived their theatrical experiences and gossiped, I had other ideas.
michael as hives
As Hines the Butler
michael as cowboy
As Carlton with Groucho
I was on a quest to meet a special writer. She was the first to click like and comment on my initial foray into fiction writing on TedBook… in fact, it was more than that, it was the first time I had linked my blog to a group, and would be having strangers read my words (I think everyone will know the importance of that gesture… for someone scared to near-death for what they had just posted). I immediately read her blogs about kissing the Blarney Stone and seeing somefrozen dead guy at a festival in Colorado. I liked her writing and instantly became a follower. I knew she lived near Boulder, which wasn’t far from Denver, so I wrote and invited her to lunch.
A short drive, on a beautiful sunny day in the Rockies, found me in my second Colorado city searching for her favorite restaurant. I found The Mediterranean, secured a table in the garden and awaited the arrival of The Wild Child.
The Wild Child
I was not disappointed.
For my friends not acquainted with Susie, she writes Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride. We had become fellow bloggers and more importantly friends.  Every month she throws a party… drop by, say hello, and post a story you would like others to see… a great way to meet new writers.
Susie Lindeau 1
I had only met in person two blogging friends, Debra Kristi who introduced me to Thor Worship, and Douglas MacIlroy who took me to the top of Mona Loa to tour the Keck Observatory. So the chance to meet someone else I admired, enjoyed reading and sharing with, could not be passed up.
After a delightful luncheon getting to know each other and discussing family, blogging, writing and writer’s workshops, she took me on a tour of the historic Pearl District, pointing out some of her favorite places.
My Tour Guide
My Tour Guide
I saw a fabulous bookstore, where I’m sure the book she is writing will be on display in the front window someday. That will be a book signing for which I will return to Boulder, and hopefully also get to meet Roxy the Dog, Soul-mate Danny, Snowboarder Extraordinaire Courtney and Hit DJ K Smash… subjects of many of her stories, willing or otherwise.
The Pearl District of Boulder
Susie returned to her home to do some writing and play in a tennis tournament that night… I returned to Denver to see a wild and crazy Broadway Musical, where Mr Fitzpatrick was at the top of his game, no doubt knowing his friend Krista was in the audience, and we laughed ourselves silly.
Animal Crackers
ANIMAL CRACKERS Photo by John Moore
I had a fabulous time in Boulder and Denver, Colorado.
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Since this post is about blogging and writing… I thought I would share it with some fellow writers at The Moonshine Still…

The Speakeasy #162… “OF COURSE NOT, SILLY!”


“Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes.” Her last words. She has been in a catatonic state since that day.
Elizabeth Grace had been a promising designer, and her sudden decline had been most disturbing to friends and colleagues.
After graduation, she had taken a position at Albrecht’s Department Store, as an assistant window dresser. She fared well under the tutelage of Miss Bethany, and advanced to first assistant in just months. Feathers had been ruffled.
It was just after Albrecht’s shipment of new mannequins arrived that it began. Elizabeth started talking to the old ones. People noticed. She had not done that before.
Hammered by younger hipper stores and internet shopping, Albrecht’s Department Store had been in decline for years, something had to be done. When Oswalt Albrecht III came on board, all department heads had been instructed to find new ways to bring in shoppers, or look elsewhere for employment. In Display, it was Elizabeth who suggested that changing to more stylish models would certainly bring in younger shoppers. “After all”, she said “they have been here since my grandmother was a child. Besides, they’re falling apart. I had to use one of the men’s hands on a lady, to hold her purse.” Oswalt III thought that was a great idea and authorized a sizable expenditure. Miss Bethany was pleased she would keep her job, and put Elizabeth in charge of all floor displays.
Oswalt III loved the look of the new mannequins, with their sleek unstaring faces, but could not bear to part with the old ones. “Save the old ones. I feel I know each one personally, and could not bear to see them go.” Oswalt II had grown up with them too, but was more pragmatic, since storage space was limited. “Save two dummies and all the heads.” So, the display heads were lined up on top shelves around the workroom, and the two old mannequins set in a nostalgic display.  A different set of feathers had been ruffled.
Elizabeth took her new position seriously, and could be found working late most nights. Displays were constantly being changed and mannequins dressed and redressed. No one could remember when the voices had started, but sometimes it seemed a violent argument could be heard coming from the display office. When one peeked their head in the door, only Elizabeth would be found, deep in concentration at some task. Miss Bethany was thrilled that Elizabeth had taken charge, it had made her life so much easier. When the voices started, she became concerned. The girls had always named the dummies, and she could only imagine how many different names those old mannequins must have had over the years. Even old Oswalt had his favorites, and called some of them by name. But Elizabeth had taken the relationship to a new level. Miss Bethany knew she talked to them, and swore she had heard them being asked for their advice. But try as hard as she might, she could not catch her. When she asked point-blank, Elizabeth smiled and said “Of course not, Silly!” Miss Bethany had never been called silly, but was not going to press the point, since she had been given a raise and was smart enough to know how she got it.  She also was not going to criticize the condition of the work room, which had gotten seemingly messier.
Suzanne in Children’s was the first to notice. Little things at first. A sweater here or skirt there askew on a dummy. Made right, it would be back that way the next day, exactly the same way. Then the switching started. Suzanne asked Mr. Silverleaf, in Men’s, if he had noticed anything strange, he said “Well I wasn’t going to say anything, but if you have seen it too.” They went over to Teen’s and checked with Jessica. Jessica suggested they talk to security, as it had to be happening at night. Mr. Kumar was not aware of any strange goings on, but agreed to have the night guy keep an eye on the displays.
When the mannequins in the windows started losing their clothes the whole store was on alert.  And then, the positions of the dummies started changing.
It was Eric who found her. The workroom was in shambles with heads strewn everywhere, their eyes pried out. Elizabeth was in the center staring down, her body shaking, calling their names.
The Challenge is by Editor Suzanne at Apoplectic Apostrophes: “This week’s sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner, Bethany, must be used as the FIRST line in your piece.  Reference must also be made to the media prompt, a painting by Albrecht Dürer… Portrait of Oswalt Krel, who was a merchant for the Ravensburg House in Nuremberg from 1495 to 1503.”
To read other stories on this week’s prompt, go to… THE SPEAKEASY
Well, I am in shock…


“Cheryl!!!” (said in a whisper)
“What???” (a whisper back)
“What am I supposed to do?” (still whispering)
“What the hell are you talking about, Ethel?  Why are we whispering?” (a little louder)
“I’ve never done anything like this before.  (still whispering)
“Stop whispering, dammit. It’s a photo booth for God’s sake!!! What did you think we were doing?” (increasing louder)
“I know it’s a photo booth, Cheryl! I’ve just never done it before. Where do I look?” (normal tone)
“Here, where it says ‘Put Eyes At This Line’!!!” (very loud)
“Now what do I do?”  (normal voice)
a light flashes…
My Aussie pal Katherine is obsessed with photo strips.  In fact so much so, she writes a fascinating blog called Photobooth Journal... which I just love.  She asked me if I would create a story using one of her photo strips, and sent me the 2 photo strip above.  Could the ladies in the strip be Ethel and Cheryl???  Who knows, but for today… they will be.
Now, I just got done reading a delightfully wicked story called Sebastian and the Night Visitors, at The Wizard’s Word.  It was written for the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups.  I checked 100WCGU out, and this week’s prompt just clicked with Katherine’s strip.

THE SPEAKEASY #163… What’s in a Name?

THE SPEAKEASY #163... What's in a Name?
‘Seven plus seventeen equals twenty-four, a nice round number, I like that.’ Bendel Banks was on her way to the public library to change her life. Bendel hated her life. Bendel hated her name. She blamed her misfortune on her parents, who had named her Bendel Banks. Her mother had been a big fan of alliteration, and Bendel had paid the price all her life.
People called her “Bendy” and then, “Hey, there goes BeeBee!” She always thought that sounded like two honeybees stuck together. Little Teddy had first called her that. Their friend Grant thought it should be BB, like the shot in their air-rifles. Grant and Little Teddy had always been her best friends, but now they were gone. They had carried those BB guns everywhere and took great delight in shooting each other. Once they shot Bendel… she told, and that was the end of the guns. She didn’t mind so much when they called her BB, but hated it when others did, or worse Bendy‘Now’, she thought , ‘everyone should just call me Biddy, because that’s what I’ve become, an old biddy.’
Bendel was unhappy, friendless and in a job she hated. All because of her unfortunate alliterated name. She spent her free time on-line now, where she did not have to see people. Upon reading a self-help blog entitled “You Too Can Change Your Life… In Seven Easy Steps”, she decided to try Step One. She would change her name. No one would ever call her Bendy again. Things would change, and she could be a new woman, the blog said so.
Going up the granite steps, Bendel felt a lift in her spirits, maybe it was starting to work already. She pushed through the ornate brass door into the hushed interior and asked the woman at the information desk where the baby name books could be found. She had planned to open a baby name book to a page, close her eyes and stick her finger on a name. But, being a big fan of numerology, she decided to take today’s date and use that. It was July 17th, so her number would be 24. She also decided that she would use whatever name it turned out to be, no matter what.
Bendel picked out ‘Modern Baby Names’, closed her eyes and opened to a page. She held her breath and counted down twenty-four names… BETTY! Her new name would be ‘Betty’.
‘Great, so much for getting rid of alliteration. But, I like Betty, and Betty Banks has a nice sound, and I absolutely adore Betty Boop. I feel better already!’
Bendel… Betty replaced the book on the shelf. Making her way through the stacks, she felt like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. People were smiling at her. The woman at the desk said “So nice to meet you, please come again soon.” As she got to the exit, a gentleman held the door for her and winked. Leaving her old life inside, Betty went outside.  She never looked back, she just kept walking.
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I enjoyed writing this story.  With such an excellent line it work with and a very cool short film, the story just came to me somehow.  Be sure to watch the film below and read the story of last week’s winner.  Here are this week’s instructions from The Speakeasy Editor-in-Chief Suzanne Purkis:
technology is a tool
And you should use your tools wisely, right? This week’s sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner,Ted, must be used as the LAST line in your piece.
“She never looked back, she just kept walking.”
Submissions must be 750 words or fewer, and must be fiction or poetry. You must also include a reference to the media prompt.
The video prompt is a short film by Claude Sadik, entitled The Device, which you will find below.
Please visit The Speakeasy and read the other author’s stories… tell ‘em “Ted sent me!”.
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In the photograph, I am on the left and my friend Grant is in on the right.  I do not know who the little girl is… she may be my cousin Carol, but I don’t know for sure.