How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Hot Flash – Embark

Chestnut hair veiled nine-year-old Emma’s drooped face.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

“You’ll be fine, honey.” Grace knelt, her mouth quivering. “It’s only two weeks…”

Flight 597…

“Come, we must embark now.” The stewardess grasped a hand and winked.

Three steps onward, Emma twisted toward her mother. But I don’t remember this Daddy person anymore.

~ * ~

The word limit for the Hot Flash word Embark is 50 words. I used all of them.

To join the New Summer Quarter of Flash in the Pan, check out: for the rules.


Flash in the Pan – Right

A low rumble shivered beneath their spotless boots like an annoyed moan.

“Let’s go!”

Fine stone and sand showered the chamber. Jack coughed as if he had a rattlesnake in his throat. His flashlight tumbled out of his grasp as he leaned forward to catch a breath.

Roger flashed his light at him and covered his nose and mouth. “I’m outta here.”

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart


“Leave it.”

The protest grew like rolling thunder. Roger spit dirt. “You wanna be right—or dead?”

The uncertain ground wobbled. Jack pounced forward, propelled through the entrance as crashing rock exploded behind him.

He plunged alone.

~ * ~

The word limit for Right is 100 words. I used all of them.

For the rules and to join, check out: for the new quarter of Flash in the Pan.


Flash in the Pan – Come

The fog hung heavy as a wet sheet shrouding the naked trees. The confused pair couldn’t see past a nose. Footfall on dried leaves warned they weren’t alone.

The quaking boy tugged on the weary girl’s hand. He breathed into her little ear. “Come—this way.”The girl’s forehead drew tight. He nodded, outstretched hand before him, scanning.

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons


He squinted behind them but no image unfurled.


“Run, Lucy. Don’t let go my hand.” Four little feet churned sticks and leaves until they crashed and plunged. Soft autumn leaves cushioned and covered the runaways.

“I’m right behind you!”


~ * ~

The word limit for Come is 100 words. I used all of them.

Check out for the rules and to join the fun.


A Burning Question

I’ve been putting this off for months because I’m not technically inclined. Might someone help so I don’t blow up my blog?

Some of you know my e-mail hasn’t worked for almost a year (give or take) and I haven’t managed to have Big Brother listen and unblock it.

I’ve decided to get rid of the dud e-mail and use another.

My question is what will happen if I replace the dud with a new e-mail? At least I won’t need to scramble to another addy to respond to direct mail.


I try to stay ahead of disaster, kind of like preventative medicine.



Flash in the Pan – Scurvy

Constructed strong, the ship drifts wearing tired, ragged sails. Once four, now one, limps home today, with miles and miles to go.

“Cook, will we have fish tonight?” the first mate probes again.

Wiki Commons

Wiki Commons

“No sire. No-one’s left to catch them now.”

“What supper will we have then?”

“Rubber boots and ald socks, if we be lucky sire.”

The first mate stares with exhausted eyes, but drops them to the floor.

“Dere’s nuting to be had, no more, that’s why the scurvy comes.”

“The captain will die…”

“And you and I, and not one left a’tall.”

Then treasure’s—good no more.

~ * ~

The word limit for Scurvy is 100 words. I used all 100. Check out for the rules and join us.


Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Post the first 250 words of a work in progress, check out the rules and join us. Other submissions are at the bottom of this post.

Today’s snippet is a continuation of The Devil’s Game, the initial offering is here:

As always, I welcome your input.

~ * ~

They regarded me with inquisitive eyes as I danced around them.

“You need to use the bathroom, dear?  Mrs. Swain bent toward me as far as her arthritic back could stretch.

Short Mrs. Pinto touched my shoulder, “Is everything all right, little Melania?”

“No, Mrs. Swain. I’m okay, Mrs. Pinto.  Have you seen Ma in the P&G?”

“Yes, Melania, I think she is in line to pay…”

“Thank you, Mrs. Swain. Bye.”  I stopped hopping and rushed up the sidewalk, through P&G’s door and smack into Ma. She swerved into the wide pillar behind her. At her side she clutched the partially filled carpetbag.

“Ma, Mrs. Fournier is looking after Caterina. She says come home quick.”

“What is it, Melania?” A strange light flashed in my mother’s eyes.

“I don’t know.”

Ma grabbed the checkout girl’s forearm. “You take.” She heaved the cloth bag with wooden handles at her. “I come and pay. Must go home now. Importante.”

Her hand icy and arm taunt, I dragged Ma for three endless blocks. I stole a peek at her bloodless face. Her eyes were closed and her lips moved without sound.

“Come on Ma, we’re almost there.”

I dashed ahead to open the door. Ma wheezed in behind me. Mrs. Fournier grabbed her arm as we stumbled inside, pulled her into the bedroom, and slammed the door. I hunched forward with my ear against the wood.

“You husband, Mrs. Evrett…accident in mine…”

“Mine? The gold mine? My Everett? Where my husband per favore?”

~ * ~

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Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Post the first 250 words of a work in progress, check out the rules and join us. Other submissions are at the bottom of this post.

Thank you all for your helpful comments. Today, I offer the beginning of  a short story with the working title, The Devil’s Game.

~ * ~

Hurry up, ma. What’s taking so long?

Through the window, I watched Franco and Smitty already racing up and down the dusty road. The long arm on the cuckoo clock crept forward, a tentative lurch at a time.

My baby sister Caterina stacked and whacked her blocks on the sloping linoleum. She jabbered baby talk, drool sliding down her chin onto her chest. I turned to the clock again. Tick, tock. My chair creaked and groaned. A whiff of last night’s spaghetti sauce and Ciabatta bread still hung in the air.


The front door sprang to life. Urgent fists beat and pounded on it. The baby’s chin shot up as well. She clutched a red block in mid-air. With heart thumping and ears burning, I raced to see who it might be. Mrs. Fournier, from across the street, stood on the veranda clasping and unclasping her hands. Her face chalk white, she chewed on her bottom lip. “Excusez-moi…Melania, maman?”

“Getting groceries. She’ll be home soon. What, Mrs. Fournier?”

“Not worry mon enfant­— qui…?”

“The P&G, I think, Mrs. Fournier. You want me to find her?”

NonOui. Yes. Vous allez. Rapide!” She clapped her hands like a school teacher.

“I run like the wind, Mrs. Fournier. “Caterina?” I pointed to the baby, grabbed my jacket, and ripped across the lawn. Where would ma go first?

My lungs burned and my side pinched. Pebbles from the dirt road attacked my calves. I lost a penny loafer, lost my balance, hopped back up and shoved my foot back inside. I rounded the corner and up onto the sidewalk. Mrs.Pinto and Mrs. Swain blocked the sidewalk.

~ * ~

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Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Post the first 250 words of a work in progress, check out the rules and join us. Other submissions are at the bottom of this post.

I appreciate everyone’s input. This particular short story is something new for me, in that the weather is a ‘character’ because it is so present. I have not included the edited version but Part 1 is here if you wish to see the beginning.

~ * ~

The laboured breathing stopped and started. Julia ran forward a step then returned to the bed wringing her hands, legs wooden. She lingered a moment to touch the face of her brother’s heavily pregnant wife. The storm’s steady darkness prompted her to turn on the small lamp on the bedside table. Shadows danced on the walls. Even in the bad light there was no mistaking the damp sheen on the walls and on Rosa’s face. In spite of the heat from the woodstove in the kitchen, cold air forced its way inside.

Julia forced a deep breath and threw her shoulders back. In the kitchen, she grabbed her coat off the hook by the door. Help won’t come by itself.

A squall caught the door when Julia opened it at the bottom of the stairs. In an instant she found herself tossed to the ground from three steps up. Disbelief crossed her face. Prego Dio. Icicles tinkled in the wind like glass wind chimes on a better day. No longer playful, two long spikes stabbed the snow beside her. She struggled on hands and knees through foot-deep whipping snow around to the front door. With already numb fists, she hammered on the door, eyes streaming. Mrs. Horwatt, the landlady, yanked the door open. “Need medico. Rosa not good. Please go Mrs. Schmitt telephone medico.”

Mrs. Horwatt turned and yelled for Jackie to grab her coat. “Tell Mrs.Schmitt phone doctor for Mrs. D’Angelo.”

Julia was gone before the lanky nine-year-old girl raced for the door. “Wait,” her mother grabbed her arm.

~ * ~

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Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Post the first 250 words of a work in progress, check out the rules and join us. Other submissions are at the bottom of this post.


Thank you to all participants and readers for your input. I appreciate your time and helpful comments. Below is the start to a short story, Two Calamities.

~ * ~

The storm blustered, gaining ferocity by the quarter hour, wind whistling and whirling cotton ball snowflakes around the corners of the red insulbrick house. Squalls whooshed into gaps and cracks shoving wintry breath through the thin walls with only paper for insulation. The foundation of the house wasn’t even anchored in cement, but sat in doubt on blocks of cement, one at each corner, and one in-between on each side.

“Shush, shush, Rosa. Try to relax. You doing fine,” said the husky voice of her sister-in-law who pulled the wool blanket tighter around her own shoulders. Julia refreshed the damp cloth for Rosa’s forehead in a bowl on the nightstand, and leaned over the twisting silhouette.

Ragged breathing surfaced from the bundle of blankets in the upstairs bedroom. The wind shrieked; the springs creaked. A groan escaped from the old-fashioned metal bed, joining Mother Nature’s howl and fury.

“Julia, this time worse than other two. I so tired. Where my children? In bed?” Rosa rolled onto her side. She pushed off her forearm and elbow but fell back against the pillow, exhausted and sweaty, as if she’d been shoveling the fast accumulating snow outside.


“At work. Don’t worry about children. Cousin Anna take them when she visit this morning. They sleep there tonight. You must concentrate on new baby only.” Julia crossed herself with trembling hands. Prego Dio. It is time for doctor, but Julia has no phone and no-one else is here to send for him.

“Rosa, listen. I must go downstairs to ask neighbour call doctor. I back quick.”

Julia flapped a weak hand in the air.

~ * ~

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Sunday Snippets – Blog Hop #5

Jennifer Eaton of has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. Do checkout the other submissions at the bottom of this post.


I appreciate the input you’ve all taken time to share so far. Your critiques have been amazing and most helpful. I thank you. Because of of their  abbreviated length compared to novels, I plan on posting minimal snippets of my short stories with no edits shown. Part one of The Loner can be found here:

~ * ~

Hank walked deeper into the room. Although built like a linebacker, the stink of cat and something like chicken shit knocked the breath out of him.

I’m sure the place wasn’t this disgusting—what was it—four months ago?”

“Jules, where are you?  He shuffled forward.

This is no place for man or beast. It’s time for a bonfire and weenie roast.”


Hank tripped past overflowing bags of chicken feed and kibble beneath the table. Squaring his shoulders, he headed towards the doorway of what Jules called: the boudoir. He lowered his voice to a whisper. ”Jules, you in here?”  

I hope you’re not frozen to death somewhere.

Gasping and expelling his breath, Hank stumbled into the bedroom. His shoulders tightened as if in a vise. The old cot Jules used for a bed was a jumble of quilts and blankets, as if someone had dumped laundry for folding, except it wasn’t spring-fresh.

Hank clenched his teeth and dug through the mishmash of bedclothes. “You better be in here you old son-of-a-bitch. I’m not coming back again after this warm welcome,” he blathered.

Hands trembling and knees shaking, he swept a meaty mitt across the mattress. Something solid hid there. Hank gave it a tentative tug. His other hand pushed back the hodgepodge on the bed and landed on a chest. A frail tick strained against his open palm.

“Hey,” wheezed a tiny sleep-slurred voice. Skinny arms flayed like a baby bird. Old Jules trembled and kicked like a paper dragon in the breeze. His silver and nicotine-coloured Fu Manchu swayed back and forth like old rope.

~ ** ~

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