How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


#BlogBattle – Week 26

Check out the originator of this challenge at

The rules are easy:

  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story,put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

~ * ~

This week’s prompt:  Head

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

* * *

Grandpa Jones

The house looked more tired than a couple years earlier when I’d last driven past. I braked, tumbled out of the car and gawked. My feet plodded across the gravel country road as if drawn by a magnet.

Angry shouts rang out. Hands hammered bare wood. The racket rose from the old house across the road. I broke into a run. Old Grandpa Jones still occupied the hovel, a well-shared joke in the county, though no-one had seen Grandma in years.

It turned out Grandpa wanted out and pushed on the front door knob but it wouldn’t budge. He cussed and kicked without success. For one thing the door opened inward and he pushed out. It was also warped more than ever since the recent rain; the only door in or out of the house.

“Let me outta here. Let me out.” A gummy voice bawled inside. Open palms slapped the door.

“Calm down, old man. Step away from the door.” I expected it to crumble from the blows on the other side, but it held fast. “Stand clear. I’ll put a shoulder to it.”

The quiet on the other side yawned loud.

The warped door groaned but didn’t shift a sliver in its frame, yet I felt rather than heard disintegration within where my shoulder encountered the wood and pitched me forward. Ow. that hurt. I folded over my knees to catch my breath and regroup. Overhead, the door shattered as a chair seat bulged through a hole inches from my face. The chair yanked out, rheumy eyes stared at me through the splintered gap.

No-one knew Grandpa’s age, but for a reedy fellow with a bedraggled beard, greasy white hair and no teeth, he appeared strong and tenacious.

“I guess you didn’t need my help after all.” I had to talk though I’m a man of few words.

“I can’t get out through this here hole. Get my axe in the woodshed.” He pointed a thickened, yellow nail to the left. “Move along young man. That-a-way.”

I took one last look at what one might call his abode with kindness. I wondered what held the wood fibers together and conjured up spider spit and dirt. The weary shack had no business standing at all.

I spun round and gave the house another gander. The structure had sunk lop-sided and cockeyed. No-one had seen it happen, but I heard talk the recent hard rains were responsible for the slippage of a lot of the old properties. It’s a wonder the wind hadn’t shoved once too hard leaving a confusion of dried kindling strewn about, yet it had hung on like a drunk weaving in the elements, loose and somewhat upright.

“Stop gaping, young man. Action gets the job done. Move it.” My face burned. The old man’s impatience took me back to childhood days when everything I did was open to criticism. I forced myself forward and rushed back with an ancient, rusted axe.

“Stand back,” I said.

Grandpa Jones had other plans. “Give it to me, handle first. It’s my house and I’ll wreck it any way I must.”

I learned something that day. You can’t judge any exterior by appearance or your pea brain idea of it, man or structure. I also experienced the shock of my life.

Grandpa Jones axed the door. His vigorous thrusts shook the house to quivering. Each lunge of the axe sent the house lower, the mud still fresh from the latest rain. He’d demanded I leave with no thank you, but I sat in my car instead and watched. Why, I will never know. I laughed and laughed—thought I’d lost my head. And then, it happened.

Noise to my ears rather than pleasure, birds and crickets sounded louder and busier. I hadn’t noticed them earlier. Though mid- morning, the temperature had shot upwards. I whipped out my trusted hanky to dry my forehead and had already removed my suit jacket. The crack of the axe continued. Ticked by the old man’s ingratitude, I started the engine. I glanced back one last time. A groan and rumble stopped me. The outdated shelter collapsed, tumbling into itself. My heart plunged. Stupid old man.

I rushed towards the house.

Please don’t let the old man die.

* * *

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


100-Word Challenge for Grown Up – Week # 133

To join, check out  and  ‘What is 100WCGU?‘  

This week’s prompt:  ...the white horses were galloping…



At the Circus

“How much money you got?” Michael wiped his gluey nose on a sleeve.

“Seven cents.”

“No way, Suze.”

The six-year-old opened a pudgy fist. “A nicko and two pennies. See.”

“Where’s the quarters?”

“Don’t know. Can we go to the Big Top now?”

“Check your pockets.”

“Nope. No korders.” The girl gaped at the circus tent shoving wispy bangs aside. “Can we go now?”

“Can’t. Oh, never mind. Let’s go.” He grabbed her hand.

The ground rumbled. They wriggled beneath a loose sidewall and gawked transfixed as the white horses were galloping into the ring.

“Hey, you!” Rough hands grabbed their britches.

“Run forit, Suze!”


Zone: Daylight Savings Time

As long as I can remember, changing the clock back in the fall has been nothing more than the gain of a little extra sleep. The first day of Daylight Savings this year proceeded as if I had my feet stuck in mud. Throughout the day, nothing worked as it should.  My internal clock was confused and out-of-sync. I felt not unlike the Tower of Pisa, tilted in shifting foundation soil.

I’d decided to sleep in Sunday morning. When I awoke at 8:20 a.m., I realized I’d forgotten to turn the clocks back before dropping into bed. Drat. I might as well get up as I’m awake and creaky, and my butt hurts from that stupid chair.

Bleary-eyed, I fumbled with the electric alarm clock to reset to the proper hour. I fed my sweet and patient kitty—she’d let me sleep without complaint. After a hot shower, soothed by the water, and a black cup of coffee, I grabbed my novel and opted to read for an hour. Sundays are my down day to read whenever possible. Forget the laptop and the internet till later.

Tilted back, my recliner is much more forgiving than any seat in the house and I read until I’d guzzled a whole pot of coffee. I checked the clock. It wasn’t even nine yet. Had the batteries died in both my wall clocks? The microwave? No, no and no unless they were in cahoots to drive me bonkers. Yeah, right.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

I experienced the oddest sensation as if time had stood still. Nee nee nee nee nee nee nee nee. The theme music to Twilight Zone echoed in my head. Get a grip. This is the 21st Century. Rod Serling hasn’t been around since 1975.

I made another pot of coffee although I’d had enough and looked around as his ghost was breathing down my neck. I peered at the clocks again to see if they were dead or alive. Two minutes had passed. Okay, nothing to worry about.

My tummy wasn’t complaining yet; I wandered over to my laptop. Let’s see what’s happened while I snoozed the night away.

Within minutes, I was lost in the blogosphere. You know how it is: time flies. After a while, numb from sitting, I glanced up. It must be near Noon. Nope. Not yet. My tummy called for sustenance.  What the heck is going on here? How come it’s only ten-forty am?

I have never lived such a day. For the first time in my tenure on this majestic earth, Daylight Savings arrived faked as a place not a time. Unconsciously I’ve wished off and on—and who hasn’t—that elusive time would slow to an easy trot instead of the full gallop the last few years have wrought. The weird slower pace was kind of nice but creepy.

Have you noticed anything unusual since the time change almost three weeks ago?


Flash in the Pan – Delirious

“Stop!” This isn’t funny anymore.”

Hands no longer playful, jabbed and bruised. Tickletickletickle.

“Marco, stop.” Beth squirmed, face crimson, hair plastered to rippled forehead.

“Ah, Cara Mia. You like this before.”

“Enough.” She pushed, slapped and clawed. Tears drenched apple cheeks. “Can’t breathe.”

An abrupt knock propelled him backwards on the mattress. Beth wiggled away.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

“What’s going on?”

“Door, she locked?”

“In my father’s house? You’re delirious.”

You—out—before I shoot.  You—cover yourself…”

~ * ~

This is the new Fall Quarter of Flash in the Pan. The theme is Disturbed.

The word limit for Delirious is 75 words. I used them all again.

Click: to check out the rules and how to join.


Broken Butt

This is serious. If I hear any gigglers in the back, I’m closing shop and going home–the better to lick my wounds in private. Nah, not really.

Two weeks ago, I sat at my dining-room table busy reading posts and leaving comments. The trouble began when I decided to sit on a card chair. Because I’ve been spending so much time on my laptop in this room, I find I hate my dining-room chairs. The seats are sprung (cushioned without any wood underneath) and too deep for me. Most of the time I end up perched on the edge of the chair, hunched over for long periods of time. I don’t notice until the back of my neck becomes stiff and the area between my shoulders, slightly lower than my neck aches.

I chose a card chair for size and thought I’d hit the jackpot. With my back supported, I sat up straight and the back of my knees hung over the edge of this chair just right. Thanks Baby Bear.

morgueFile free photos

morgueFile free photos

What went wrong?

After some time, my concentration of all things blogging, found me on the edge of the chair. This is a run-of-the-mill card chair. You know: a metal square surrounding a lightly padded seat? Yep, the metal edge bit into the bottom of my butt. So, I moved around to lessen the numbness but it wouldn’t go away. The clock read I’d been at it for two hours. Time to go to bed.

The next morning when my feet hit the floor, my butt dragged. I might be mistaken for one of those wooden folding drying racks you setup in your bathtub on rainy days. On the other hand I FELT like the capital Greek letter sigma which means summation. In a nutshell, standing and movement meant pain and bent knees. What a picture. Blah. I can imagine muscle tone loss everywhere but not there. I’ve always considered I came well-padded. Wrong again.

For two weeks I haven’t sat comfortably. I tried cushions, regular foam, and a memory foam pillow. Stop laughing. Nothing helped. I’d broken my butt and had to I avoid stairs at any cost.

Today, I joined some friends at a walking trail for a 5K workout. At first every muscle I never knew my butt used to get me around pulled in the wrong direction, but I hung in there and it has probably loosened them up. I believe I’m getting to normal.

Up to this point, I’ve experienced no major physical issues except for this crimp in my lifestyle. I must remember I’m not sixteen anymore (although I feel about twenty) and shouldn’t take anything for granted anymore.

I can’t understand why I’m falling apart.


How are YOUR Eggs?

This subject has been on my mind for ages. I hope you’re wondering what kind of question this is?  It’s an ordinary one: about the eggs chickens lay.

I like to keep boiled eggs in the fridge either for a quick breakfast or to put in a salad at lunchtime. Over the past six months or so, I’ve noticed my eggs most uncooperative. I always have them come to a boil, turn down the gas and cover with a lid for ten minutes. Also, an ice water bath awaits to stop the cooking. Nothing in my process has changed in all the years I’ve been boiling eggs.

  1. Eggs are always easier to peel soon after the cold water treatment.

    If I don’t peel an egg until the next day, they don’t peel as well as they should. The skin between the egg and the shell hugs the egg too tightly. I call this separation anxiety.

  3. Let’s say I boil four eggs. One might peel more easily than the others. Why?
  4. One egg will be cracked although no crack was noticeable before boiling.
  5. The outside of one yolk may be dark grey even though they were boiled the same way in the same pot.
  6. Brown or white eggs have no nutritional difference, but for a time brown eggs peeled easier than white. Hmm.
  7. Farm eggs, from a local farmer, have a dark yellow yolk, almost orange. At least they used to. I haven’t checked in years.
  8. Grocery store eggs used to have a deep yellow yolk. I read the colour of the yolk depends on what grain is fed to the chickens. What are they feeding them? White Wonder Bread?
  9. Over time, I’ve noticed egg yolks have become lighter more like a corn silk yellow after boiling. I have no way of knowing the depth of colour before cooking.
  10. The last carton of eggs I brought home from the grocery store seems compliant. At least so far. Peeling them reminds me of previous times.

* * *Don’t get me started on the grading of eggs. Here is the link to explain the process where I live.

It used to be, I bought Large eggs. I can’t recall when or why I switched to Extra Large. I pretend like to believe I’m observant and a curious sort. I’m not sure when I graded up. Seems eggs have been shrinking and I hadn’t noticed. That’s right—shrinking. Unless my eye-sight has deteriorated since I bought new glasses last summer, I believe Extra Large eggs are the new Large.

When were chickens taught to lay smaller eggs?

  • Wait, maybe it isn’t their fault. Let’s go back to the brown and white eggs: depends which type of chicken is laying them.
  • Yolk colour depends on what chickens are fed. What are the chickens eating that causes them to lay smaller eggs with washed out yokes?
  • I read it’s not size but weight that counts for grading them. Hmm.

 * * *

Disclaimer: I am not scientific and have not used scientific means to explore my world of eggs. No farmers, chickens, or eggs were coerced in my amateur test. No money changed hands and no benefits gained. I stank at physics and never took chemistry. I am innocent of any and all finger pointing which may result. I have queried a couple of neighbours and a stranger or two, as well as a few friends. These are my results.

 * * *

About a year ago, I did a rant about shrinking food packaging which led to deceiving pricing. If you’re curious, you will find it here:


Flash in the Pan – Erratic

“Why do you whisper about me?”

“Am I whispering?”

Noreen peers through thin, lopsided bangs. “Always questions; never answers!”

“Your erratic behaviour…screaming, attacking patients, nurses… I’m worried about you.”

“It’s the meds doc, not me. Kiss me lover-boy and I’ll be good.”

Wikipedia Commons /

Wikipedia Commons /

Dr. Snowden flinches, staggers upward and upends his chair. “Orderly, take her back.” He tosses an unsteady hand over his liver spotted scalp and sighs.” Nothing new I can do for your daughter.”

~ * ~

The word limit for Erratic is 75 words. I used 75 words.

The new Fall Quarter has began. Check out for the rules and to join the fun.


Flash in the Pan – Backward

Annabeth crossed impatient arms, apple cheeks drawn-out. “I can do it myself.” At five, she knew everything. She had the fashion sense of a diva, and precise ideals. Her trademark: blonde hair cut short at the back and longer at the sides. At the moment, it rose like a tangled mulberry bush.

“Grandma, I’m coming in a minute.”

“You’ve overslept. Mommy will be home for lunch soon and you haven’t even had breakfast.”

“I know that.”


“Mommy, Mommy.”

Hugs and kisses ensued; the dog barked.

“Come, Grandma’s set out lunch.”

“I didn’t eat breakfast yet.”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“That’s okay. I won’t tell.”

Annabeth giggled into her cupped hands. “That’s backward. Breakfast comes first.”

“Fine. Have cereal then.”


“See you later. Eat up or no snacks until supper.”

She nodded. Candid blue eyes blinked once.


“Grandma, I’m hungry.”

“What did Mommy tell you?”

“It’s not me. It’s my stomach. It wants food.”

~ * ~

The word limit for Backward is 150 words. I used all 150.

For the rules to join the New Summer Quarter of Flash in the Pan, check out: