Friday Fictioneers – No Good Friend

Photo courtesy - Ted Strutz

Photo courtesy – Ted Strutz

No Good Friend

Word count:  99

Simon and Phil raced onto the ferry, laughing obnoxiously and sat down opposite one other, windblown and red-cheeked.

“Gis a fag.” Simon ordered with a thrust of his chin.

Phil eyed the people around them. “It’s no smoking, Si.”

“So? I don’t care. Gis a fag.” His voice was steel.

Phil tugged the square black box from his anorak pocket, flipped the lid and pushed a cigarette out toward his companion who, after lighting, took a deep drag before blowing smoke in his face.

Simon flicked ash on the floor, sneering, daring Phil to say anything. Anything at all.

The Loops

It came to me today while running on the treadmill – the surreptitious presentation of the realization of a lesson about to be learned.

It’s been a strange week.  All the days are different on the surface but after such a lovely hiatus from the emotional valleys recently, it was fully felt that I was trudging downward this week.  It began with a slight malaise when I woke on Monday morning.  And then upon arriving in work, I found a poor little rat, poisoned and close to death.  He/she was shivering and weak on the tarmac.  Fate would have it that I be alone in the office so I grabbed a new company fleece, wrapped up little Ratsky and put it down on the grass next to the building, sheltered from the wind.  It was very weak and bleeding from the nose so I put a bowl of water next to it.  The following hours were spent alternatively working and going outside to check on it, stroking its bony little head, then weeping my way back inside.  It died just before lunchtime.  I dug a little grave with the claw side of a hammer and gently rolled it in, covered it back up with dirt, said a few words, threw the jacket away and washed up the bowl.

The day remained melancholy, and little Ratsky was on my mind until I fell asleep that night.

Perhaps that was the start of the insidious loop; the recording that plays in the background while you’re living your days?  It can be good, it can be bad, it plays back memories, events, thoughts, people…every thing you’ve ever experienced in some way, shape or form. It’s always there. The contents of it can nudge a person to take notice, or not. The one that played out for much of this week turned out to be a negative reel with lots of pointed fingers and angry expressions. It doesn’t come to theatres very often but when it does, the awareness that I cultivate regarding thoughts becoming reality dissipates. This allows thoughts to form in the spaces with an ugly clarity.

I went down for a day, enmeshed in the rolling “thoughts feed emotions” process. At the end of that day, there came a small internal conversation about staying home vs. attending Sangha. I went. And was glad that I did.

The Universe granted me a safe haven and provided many more souls in the group than usual with which to bounce safely around. As soon as the circle closed, my eyes relaxed and I felt my soul escape the bounds of the body. I felt bigger; filled up. It was wonderful. I listened to a teaching from Thich Nhat Hanh which was most timely, and reminded me that though my emotions be strong, though my thoughts be unruly, I must remember to breathe deeply at my navel, and there I will find peace.


A lesson learned then this week (and no doubt will be presented again at some point in the future) that thoughts shape what we perceive as true. They can be our best friends or our biggest enemy.

Friday Fictioneers – Evil Graffiti

Photo courtesy - Sean Fallon

Photo courtesy – Sean Fallon

Evil Graffiti

Word count:  99

Teddy watched from his fifth floor apartment window. He knew it was fruitless; the figure never did anything during the day. But he was obsessed. His wife thought he was nuts.

“Jesus Teddy, your feet’ll be growing into the carpet soon.” Nancy shook her head and disappeared into the kitchen to prepare lunch.

He wasn’t hungry, hadn’t eaten in days. Not since he’d spied the figure out of the corner of one sleep-deprived eye. It came alive in the dark, and reassembled itself to create graffiti with unseen limbs.

Last night, it saw Teddy watching and grinned, unearthly, malevolent….


All The Good Things

I am in the present moment very much lately. I love that. I can look behind me and feel an ache in my heart. I can look ahead and feel the tug of worry in my heart. Mostly I’m right here, right now. Flying, sailing, whatever feeling that comes from going along comfortably, smoothly. I have begun to allow the dark things some room to breathe and exist.  I can have thoughts of anger, resentment, jealousy, wishing a person ill-will and I am more at ease with these things. I know they can’t be true, they are my own issues from *waves hand* events past. They are not truly who I am. I thought I had changed, become a new me but it’s not that; I am growing into the real me. I smile. I am smiling so much lately for no other reason than that.

The questions that live inside still poke for answers, like children not content with the explanation. But I can do nothing for those questions. I am answerless. They niggle a little and if I have occasion to become wrapped up in them, I can still shed tears for them. But I am ‘cleaning up’ as the chakra lady said. It’s just a bit of a big mess that takes a little extra time, is all.

Yoga has a gym-mat-fad feel in the world. However, at home in the privacy of my bedroom, looking out into the fallen-leaved wood with families of deer frolicking around at breakfast, it is a sensual, albeit sometimes strenuous act. I love the feel of going (and pardon my unyogi-like verbiage) from plank, to yoga push up to cobra to downward dog.  It’s effort and gliding, strength and stretching all at once; so satisfying.


The feel of the first sip of hot Earl Grey tea from the ceramic tea thermos that a dear friend recently sent me.  Instant blanket for my insides for cold mornings on busy, inconsiderate roads.

My husband is home for family dinners.  I adore that we all eat together now when for many years, with him as chef for whatever restaurant, it was never possible.  It’s a fun routine accompanied by music, telling of our Highs & Lows, belching, chatter, giggles, and of course some stern words to keep knees down, all four chair legs on the floor, and to stop mouths being stuffed with too big a bite.

Life is truly good. Just a tinge of things past to nudge my heart at some point every day. It’s ok though; without it, I wouldn’t appreciate what I have so I think I can live with the sting.

Friday Fictioneers – Dick and Nora

Photo courtesy - Kent Bonham

Photo courtesy – Kent Bonham

Dick and Nora

Word count:  102

She wanted to go to the marketplace, and how could he deny her? Thankfully, the ascent wasn’t too steep but it sure looked like it went on forever. Dick swung Nora’s wheelchair to face the path. He leaned around and his heart melted; she was smiling. She rarely smiled; only did so when they had company back home. He stifled regret at the passing of time, and the bitter hand that life had dealt them.

Dick pushed his ailing wife slowly, so that she could enjoy the surroundings. His heart ached; this would be their last holiday together.

He would miss Nora.


Friday Fictioneers: St. Elsewhere


Photo courtesy: A. Forbes

St. Elsewhere

Word count:  99

“God, but she’s angry-looking.” Jennifer resumed running her finger around the street map.

“How do you know it’s a she?” Ben asked, squinting at the head.

“Well, she’s got…feminine features, I think.” Jennifer eyed another monument and moved away.

“I suppose.  Kinda looks like a boy to me.” Ben replied.  He was bored now; Jen was walking so slowly through the town.  He didn’t get architecture or history, and really just wanted to find a bar and have lunch. He hung his head, and followed with hands in pockets. One day, Ben thought, they would vacation where he wanted.

I have changed my mind

The desperate mental untangling from the stickiness had become my own sealing wax and throughout all this time, I used whatever perspective, or thought, or action as an exit point.  But each one was an illusion and I’d sink into the fight again and again.

It was the crack of the whip, long coming in its furious arc, that did it. Perhaps I had perceived that sound before but it was simply an echo of things to come. Its snap across my heart left a sting that sizzled down my body. With clarity presented, I knew that it was time to change.

So, here I am, hoping that trusting my intuition. Believing myself. Listening to the voice of conviction. Surrounded by my own cheering section.

It yells, it whoops and bounces around, “You got this!” And I do.


I choose differently.

I have changed my mind.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Moonlight Serenade

Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music

An only child waits until her parents have left the house on a Saturday morning. They are going into town, as they usually do. Their daughter is old enough now, that they can trust her not to cause any trouble in the few hours they will be absent. She is ten, wears her hair pageboy style and is growing so fast these days. Her ankles swish around the bottoms of her trousers and her small breasts are budding. The weekends are repetitive but these Saturday mornings are a treasure. She is nonchalant before her parents leave, and mostly stays in her room. She listens carefully though; she will know what their plans are by the sounds she hears.

The big question is as always whether she will remain in her room for the duration, while her father sits in the living room, reading. Or will she creep downstairs to enjoy freedom?

Her mother calls up the stairs, “Lisa…!  We’re going into town now..!”

“Ok Mum!”

She hears the jangle of keys, followed by the slam of the front door. She opens her bedroom door and tiptoes across the hall to her parents’ room, which always smells of her mother’s perfume, and leans against the wall beside the front window. She hears the car start, idle, then reverse down the driveway. When she is certain that it’s safe, she peeks around the curtain and watches her parents drive away. She waits….just in case they have forgotten something, for a minute at the most, before darting downstairs.

She heads for the row of records in the dining room. Which one today? She picks up a Peter Skellern, turns it over, and bobs her head to her mind’s version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” Beyond that, the Sam Cooke album, bright red. Or perhaps a little Don McLean? She puts them all back and plays with her lip, thinking, tossing lyrics and melodies in her head until she makes a decision.

The following hour is filled with the beautiful, undulating harmonies of Glenn Miller’s orchestra. She immerses herself in the music; becomes a new character, and waltzes around the table and chairs.  She is the beauty of the ball.  Everyone in attendance is staring and admiring this graceful vision.

Her favorite is Moonlight Serenade, She dances with her hidden prince, who is unlocked for a spell. She is smiling, happy, popular, loving, and loved.