How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #159

Time for another challenge. To join in the fun, click below:

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-159/

This week’s prompt:  I need to remember… +100 words

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HOME SAFE

“Where are my gloves?”

Mrs. K’s fingers combed through her hair. “You’re burning up.”

“Can’t leave without my gloves.”

“They’re tucked into your belt. Here.”

He rubbed puffy eyes.  “I need to remember something. What?”

“Make it back in time for breakfast?”

“No-no. Where’s the new GPS?”

“In the sleigh, dear. Take Nelson tonight.”

Kris pulled on his bottom lip. “Nelson?”

“The doctor treating you.”

“Don’t think so…”

“What if you get drowsy? Or need meds to get through tonight?

“You’re mighty persuasive, Mrs. K. Ho, ho, ho—but no.”

A green and black blur dashed out the door.

Safe home, Kris. Safe home.

 

© 2014 TAK

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16 Comments

Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ 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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15 Comments

Sunday Snippets Blog Hop

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ 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.

sunday_snippets2

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.

“Franco?”

“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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12 Comments

Sunday Snippets – Blog Hop #5

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. Do checkout the other submissions at the bottom of this post.

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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: https://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/sunday-snippets-blog-hop-4/

~ * ~

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.”

“Jules!”

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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29 Comments

Sunday Snippets – Blog Hop #4

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. Afterwards checkout the other submissions at the bottom of this post.

sunday_snippets2

I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to critique and help me prop up my humble scribblings.

My snippets are of short stories. So as not to post the majority of any story here, I have switched to a new one today, which is a tiny bit over 250 words. The working title is The Loner.

* * *

“Hey Jules, you in there?” Hank hollered over the shrieking wind. He pummeled the battered wooden door. Cotton ball snowflakes whipped at him as if in protest of his arrival.

He grasped the doorknob and yanked with all his might. A squall wretched the warped door outwards with a rusty screech knocking him off his feet. Hank hung on with both hands and hurled himself inside like a rocket. The door thwacked shut. Bundled in heavy mitts and sheepskin coat, he listened to the absence of human activity.

Man, it’s freezing in here. Hank pulled his cap lower and frowned. The potbellied stove was cold as death. Various sized pots of frozen water cluttered the floor beneath the long leaking ceiling. Computer paraphernalia was scattered over an old barn door which served as a table.

Do any of them work? He wondered. What looked like a witch’s black caldron sat ready to fall off the table’s edge. Hank leaned over it. Inside was ice-covered matter. What a reek even in this frigid hell-hole! He covered his nose and shuttered.

“Jules.”

The shack had fallen down a groan at a time, now tilted about twenty degrees off centre. Seventy-five years earlier it had been a blacksmith’s shop and after that a horse barn—a sorrowful reminder of the past. Homesteaders had long since moved west into Swift Current or farther east to Moose Jaw. Wrathful winds had played havoc on the tarpapered roof, ripped up corners, and let in the rain and snow and sun. Before long, broken windows had allowed whatever critters chose to squat for a while. Old Jules had been one of those critters.

* * *

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26 Comments

Sunday Snippets

sunday_snippets2

Jennifer Eaton of http://jennifermeaton.com/sunday-snippets/ has initiated this Critique Blog Hop. Read the rules and sign up. Sounds like a fun way to get good feedback and who can’t use honest feedback along the way?

~ * ~

I offer these first 252 words from my story Leap of Faith.

Reddy was a firecracker ablaze against the dull, rocky landscape of Raven Lake. No poorer mining town existed anywhere within the shadow of the Quebec border. As soon as she learned to walk, she ran—with joy; with glee; with motivation and abundant curiosity.

 Long braids, red as pomegranates, followed in her wake as Reddy dashed, leaped and rushed everywhere. Skinny arms and legs swirled and churned when she moved. The freckled girl possessed a glow, which rubbed off on everyone—sooner or later. The whole village knew of Reddy, the daughter of immigrant parents, Everett Milton and Olivia Gabriella Lithgow. First named Rosalia at birth, her name developed into Little Red. When she started to walk, her father again altered her name to Reddy. The name stuck for everyone but her mother.

 “Reddy, lass, what is it? Why are you pacing? Come eat,” her father said countless times throughout her lifetime. “You’re only nine and not responsible for anyone but yourself.”

His daughter, eyes squinting and toe tapping, glared up at him, her head tossed to one side. Everett Milton Lithgow, a great oak of a man, stood over her, his eyes filled with mirth. Frizzy hair, a different shade and lighter in colour than hers, but just as curly, puffed out over his head like the dandelion smoke.

 “Daddy,” Reddy said, enunciating each word as if he was a child, “how can you be so—so—uncaring?” Hands rose from her hips to flutter in the air above her head.

~ * ~

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22 Comments

Flash in the Pan – Frightened

The wind shrieked and pummeled the old cottage with golf ball-sized hail. Roof tiles twirled airborne. Driving rain lashed the windows like buckshot.

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“It’s only a summer storm, honey,” Leila shouted in the dark. “Don’t be frightened.”

Her cousin, a criminal lawyer, collapsed heavily on the barn-board floor.

“Sophie,” Leila patted a frosty cheek. “You never were outdoorsy, were you?”

A groaning sigh rumbled. The old oak crashed and the roof pitched inward.

~ * ~

The word limit for Frightened is 75 words. I lassoed 73 words today. Check out http://mommasmoneymatters.com/flash-fiction/ for rules and contributions.


33 Comments

Slam DUNK

When a lady takes to her bed, she wears feminine nightwear and smells like an angel. She arms herself with bonbons, Puffs tissues for her sniffles, something entertaining to read and a nice cup of tea. And lots and lots of pillows to add to her snoozing comfort.

Or so I’ve heard—someplace. Maybe I’m confused and lost in the wrong era.

If this is remotely true, I am no lady. The Puffs have been useless because I blew a hole through like I’d fired a cannon—and had to wash my face afterwards. Cheap paper towels were more up my alley. Bonbons, you ask? My taste buds went on a metallic vacation so I couldn’t enjoy them. Nightwear? Good old flannel-type PJs for me. Something to read, you wonder? My eyes have been much too heavy for reading; my sinuses are still under attack, and my face hurts like it’s been a punching bag.

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A sore throat is what started me down this road. Next came fits of coughing so deep, I’m surprised my lungs aren’t shredded to ribbons. My ears are still plugged and my eyes don’t care to focus for longer than it takes to grab my adult sippy cup. To do anything takes more energy than I can muster and I still sweat like a construction worker.

I’ve clocked more hours sleeping in this New Year than awake. I’ve no idea what’s been happening out in the real world for the past ten days.

Five days I’ve lolled in bed, but I’m getting fleeting thoughts about joining the human race again. However, I have a short attention span. It’s possible all that sleep has made me lazy . . . and my sinuses are still messed up.

Happy 2013 to me.

On the bright side, I had first-rate company assessing my every move. I drank gallons of water to quench my thirst and made a million trips to the bathroom, always escorted from and to bed. No amount of hacking or tossing dissuaded my protector from leaving my side. My Lady Gaga slept hanging over my shoulder to keep an eye on me.  For four days! Such patience and loyalty—from my kitty? Wow.

Now I face 600+ e-mails in my Inbox and am overwhelmed simply thinking about a catch up. Please bear with me. I’ll do the best I can, but my mojo is still broken and I cannot promise every single one will get answered.


54 Comments

Curious Meets Crazy

I hate cold coffee and am forever reheating a cup in the microwave. Why does the mug handle end up in the back even when I place it facing out, or, no matter how long it spins to reheat?

My old washing machine ate socks; I became used to losing them and expected the loss. What changed? The new machine hasn’t gobbled any—even once—in four years. What gives?

When are you officially a senior? 50? 55? 60? 65? Businesses used to offer discounts on a wide range of products and services for customers age fifty and over. Once the demographic reports on baby boomers came out, perks dwindled, an inch at a time. Too many seniors are approaching age sixty-five. Why is this information a surprise?

McDonald’s offers seniors a coffee discount—size small only. Some ‘franchises’ don’t offer any reduction at all. Others give you the same price cut whether you order a small or a large cup. Why the differences?

Why do meteors fall through the atmosphere but don’t hit anything? I’m pleased not to hear of catastrophic damages, but why is it they never hit any cities or tall buildings? Why are burned remnants always found in remote areas? How lucky are we?

Why do I always want to do something else when I’m in the middle of any particular project? Even when I’m half-way into an absorbing book, another one catches my eye; I’m impatient to get into the new one no matter how exciting the current one I’m reading.

Why is my cat driving me crazy? I threw drop-sheets on my sofa to discourage her from playing Tarzan. She found an opening no matter how I draped, tucked or arranged the sheets to drag on the floor. She discovered a new game called ‘run under the drop-sheets and hang on the sofa underneath’. Alright! W-e-e-e-e. Will my sofa last until next Monday morning and her manicure appointment?


9 Comments

Baby, It’s C-O-L-D Outside!

Yesterday it rained all day. Like a day in late spring, it was also warm (16 degrees Celsius)—hard to get my head around.

This morning, the world was white as alabaster and the trees looked like Christmas. Snowflakes crowded each other as they raced towards earth, swirling downward—huge, fat and abundant.

Because I don’t understand, I’m a bit worried. What the heck is REALLY going on? Some scientists say bah humbug. Others warn us. What’s believable? The saying goes there are two sides to every story. Are there two sides or is there only one? WHICH one? Is this a warning or is it just the weather repeating itself from another time in history—the Ice Age ? After the Ice Age? What? Maybe I’m just scrambling here. . .

I’m no scientist but I wonder if we shouldn’t all be doing SOME-thing MORE. But what? Where I live in Canada, we’ve had an unusual winter (again after 2010/2011). Today, we had icy roads which caused slowdowns and a tri-zillion vehicle accidents following yesterday’s rain and mild weather. Exits were closed because of pile-ups. Traffic crawled because of road conditions. Even the school bus was late—super late. Thank goodness our next door neighbour decided to take his little guy to school himself after we waited and waited for the school bus. Would I like him to take Hanna too? Yes please and thank you! I had another (sick) little one sleeping in the house so I couldn’t make the trek.

This has been another peculiar winter though a little different from last year. We’ve had (less) snow, only three times this winter. The weather’s been so unseasonal again; little green spring shoots were confused and peeked above the surface several weeks ago. With this sudden cold spell, they’re probably done for. Last year we had snow after the robins had already arrived and a couple of days into the new spring. Little green shoots got disoriented then too. With hardly any snow this past winter, what will the ground be like for planting season this year I wonder?

I know that recently tornados have devastated countless communities and reigned havoc on incalculable innocents in the U.S. I tend to believe that there are also more of those than before. Weather has been reigning countless adverse / unexpected changes EVERY-where. Can we turn a blind eye anymore?

Just like misery loves company, this is food for thought. Just saying . . .