Wednesday, 22 April 2015

One Is The Loneliest


Harold lived alone. He rarely went out, having everything from his groceries to his prescriptions delivered to him. He liked to think of himself as mysterious but his high-rise neighbours were more apt to think of him as a recluse.

Since his wife died a couple of years back, Harold gradually discovered the days grew longer without her, not to mention the nights. Coupled with taking his retirement several years ago, he was beginning to feel old. Hell, even his name bespoke another age. Harold? Really?

The sole thing he took great pleasure in was slowly perusing the daily newspaper. None of those tablet thingies, where you need an engineering degree to operate, for him. And, of course, it too was delivered. He particularly enjoyed the crossword puzzles.

The feelings of advanced age seemed to take hold first thing in the morning when he painfully swept his legs out of bed, placed his feet unsteadily onto the floor and achingly bent to rummage in his bedside table drawer for his various little plastic bottles of medication. His prescriptions came in arcane containers with those child-proof lids. He thought the drug companies really got their money's worth because he, and he imagined many others of his age, couldn't open them either without considerable difficulty.

Then as he frustratingly watched the television morning news program which ran through stories so quickly as to espouse any actual details he'd realize the volume was pushed to the maximum. "Damn" he'd say to no one in particular "I forgot to put my hearing aids in again, shit."

That was something else he found after living alone for several years: his vocabulary had gone where no man had gone before. Well, sure, maybe many others did talk that way but he never had. Until now. "Ha, man of mystery" he thought to himself, "with a fucking mouth like a cement mixer operator." Not that he had anything against cement mixer operators. He just figured many of them probably talked like that.

Such frustrations marked each day and he often found himself so wound up he'd have shortness of breath. It was during one such harrowing experience that he began to chuckle as he gasped for breath.  "Here I am living alone" he thought, " no friends or family. Should I actually die from one of these wheezing fits, I can just see the inscription on my headstone: 'He died a mysterious death'."

"How apropos" he thought. "In death as in life."

This week's prompt from the creative folks at Studio30+ is arcane/mysterious. This week I was a real keener and used both words.


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Sharon In The Shadows


She slipped her key into the lock and quietly stepped inside. Near darkness. But she liked the dark; found it comforting. She turned on the ceiling light over her writing desk, dropped her keys into the tiny ceramic bowl and powered up her computer.

She'd managed to pass another day of her life as she liked, in the shadows. Sharon was a shy woman, 26, single and a bit of a recluse. She never spoke to her office colleagues unless spoken to and only then used such an economy of words that she would curtly reply to any inquiry and be gone like a puff of smoke down the corridor evading any form of socialization. She never heard the insults behind her back. The ones about being shy as a mouse and likely never amounting to much.

But at her computer she could talk. She wrote reams and reams of words. Sentences, paragraphs and pages rolled on and on across her screen. No one was aware of her activity, but then she had no friends that she might share it with. Kind of sad really.

Then one day she was checking her mail when she came across an unexpected letter from Columbia University. It had been weeks ago she had submitted her novel and at first her hands shook so much with the letter she could not open it. Several minutes passed and as she calmed down she was able to peel it open.

She could barely believe her eyes over the content and she started to tear up. She wiped away her tears and unbelievingly read through misty eyes:

Sharon Carver is this year's recipient of  the Pulitzer Prize for Literature with her book: 
I Am Reticent - A Memoir.

Sharon's shyness was soon a thing of the past.

Shy was the prompt from the folks at Studio30+ this week. This week's tale is pun free.


Friday, 10 April 2015

Where You Go Detective Diago



Joe  Diago sat back in his cushy office chair, pushed his hat back on his head - the same as his P.I. cousin down the hall as they shopped at the same hat store - and stared at the ceiling fan while listening to it making it's whoop, whoop sound as it pushed down the cool air, what little cool air there was. The constant swish of the blades made him dreary and he fought to keep his eyes open. Things were slow in the Private Eye business lately and if something didn't come along soon that fan wouldn't be spinning around anymore because he'd not have been able to pay his electricity bill.

What was that ringing in his ears? He'd drifted off and hadn't realized the telephone was chirping. It was an unusual sound as he hadn't heard it in weeks and almost forgot that destinctive trill of the telephone.

Diago looked at the dial. "Diago Detective Agency" he spoke into the receiver, though very few knew the "agency" consisted of Detective Diago.

"Yes, hello. This is Donna. Donna Diablo and I need your help Detective Diago."

"Please call me Joe."

"Well, if I do that this bit won't work, Diago."

"Oh, I see, yes. Continue Mrs. Diable."

"Well, Diago something diabolical has happened. Someone has stolen my diamonds.

"Your diamonds, Diablo?  That's something worthy of my unique investigative diagnosis!"

"Well, I'd appreciate your diagnosis because losing my faux Lady Diana diamonds has given my husband considerable concern. You should have heard the diatribe he unleashed on me last night. We couldn't even have a decent dialogue."

"I'm beside myself Detective Diago. I haven't slept, I have diarrhea and my diabetes is through the roof. Not to mention my diaphragm keeps popping out. I won't rest until this diabolical business is put to rest?

"Gosh you sound as though you'll be in diapers soon, Mrs Diablo."

"Do you need a diagram of where the diamonds were kept."

"Actually because we live in a diaspora I'm confident this won't take long. And with a "dia"lect like yours Mrs Diablo I'm sure we'll succeed."

The prompt this week from the folks at Studio30+ was dialect. I took some liberties.



Thursday, 2 April 2015

Bibliofile - March


Didn't get through many books this month. Just 3. I know, I know. One might think I was slipping but one of the books was close to 2400 pages - Lawrence In Arabia. This Lawrence isn't quite as romantically portrayed as in that David Lean film from the 60s. Author Scott Anderson portrays this Lawrence as a calculating individual who never listen to his superiors. The book provides a fascinating overview of how the modern-day Middle East came into existence due to the World War I efforts of Britain, France, Germany and the United States. It was a long read but a fascinating one.

Another book I read this week - All The Light We Cannot See - was a wonderful World War II tale by Anthony Doerr - involving a young French blind girl's story on the one hand and a young German soldier on the other. What brings them together near the end of the story is woven neatly into the tale. I really enjoyed this.

The third book - Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon - was a complex, yet humorous, tale about a doper detective in 60s California. Pynchon very accurately catches the drugs and culture of the times. The book has recently been made into a movie which is why I picked it up. Pynchon has a certain way of writing that can distract the reader but I nevertheless enjoyed it.

So, 3 books in March which brings my yearly total to 17. It was hard to read more this month, having been tempted by videos and On Demand where I binge-watched such great shows as The Affair, Sports Night and Seasons 1 and 2 of House of Cards. The latter is far darker than the British version and Kevin Spacey is simply amazing to the point you want to punch him in the neck.

So what are you reading or watching? Any recommendations for me?

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Detective Dangerous


It was a muggy mid-summer morning. I'd been in the office for about half-an-hour, late due to a meeting last night with Jim Beam. I sat at my desk reviewing accounts, my back to the window and the streaming sunshine. I had my fedora perched jauntily on my head. I loved that fedora. Never went anywhere without it. And never took it off save for when I ate or had a crap. Mom always said take your cap off when you eat. Oh that's what it was "cap". I stand corrected. I only took it off when I ate.

There was no knock, just the office door creaking slowly open. If I thought the sunshine was behind me I was sadly mistaken because there, standing in my office doorway was something way hotter than ol' sol.

"Mr. Dangerous?" chirped the sweetest voice this side of Portsmouth.

"That's my name and that's my business" I replied. Also that's what was stamped on my business cards. All 500 of them. I got a great deal from Vista the internet printer. They're kinda like my partner but, of course, I'm the one that takes all the risks.

"Veronica" she purred, extending her hand. "Veronica Voluptuous."

No truer words were ever spoken. She was drop dead gorgeous. I took her hand. I could have held it forever. I doffed my hat and returned it to my head.

"Please be seated" I said and guided her to a chair. She sat across the desk from me and crossed her legs. And those legs were something. Wow. I mean they ran all the way up to her...ah...hips. You know what I mean?

"What can I do for you Ms. Voluptuous?" I inquired.

Turned out Ms was a Mrs and she needed my help. She wanted me to track her philandering husband Phil. Philandering Phil. Ha. I couldn't begin to write this stuff.

She paid me the dough for the down payment and rose to leave. Those legs again. And all I could think of was that song by David Guetta:


It's dangerous, so dangerous

I wanna do it again
Come on baby
It's dangerous, so dangerous
I wanna do it again
It's dangerous, so dangerous
I wanna do it again



"I beg your pardon?" she said 

"Damn, did I just say that out loud? That could be dangerous."

So dangerous, if you hadn't guessed was this week's theme of at Studio30+. Check out the other dangerous tales.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Give Him A Hand



Gerry was a magician, and he was very good at his craft until one day a freakish accident occurred. It happened during the "Sawing The Lady In Half" trick. He didn't saw her in half. He didn't see her at all because he accidentally sawed off both his hands.

Gerry spent weeks in the hospital recovering and then learning how to manage without his hands. His physiotherapist was a beautiful young woman named Jill. And it was love at first sight despite Gerry's handicap - no pun intended.

While Gerry was a magician he was an expert at sleight of hand. No one ever knew how he accomplished his tricks and he never let on. But now, given Gerry's condition, there'd be no stumping fall town fairs performing magic tricks for appreciative audiences.

Except Gerry wasn't the kind to give up and if it be known his family fingered him for just such a kind of individual.

So it came as no surprise when he asked his love Jill to help him resurrect his act and be his assistant. After weeks of practice, working together they finally had a new act. It wasn't quite the same as the old act. Not quite as smooth. But it worked. It worked very well.

And the crowds they performed for were very excited by Jerry's return to the the stage and by his new assistant Jill. After all, they said, you really had to hand it to him.

This week's prompt from the folks at Studio30+ was sleight of hand.


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