Month: June 2015

The wooden Rose: The Prequel

PHOTO PROMPT – © Kent Bonham
PHOTO PROMPT – © Kent Bonham

Charlie worked for an art gallery just across from Chic Parisien. Every day, Stella came in to look at the latest art, but mostly to look at Charlie. One day she asked him to her house for drinks.

When he arrived, she led the Charlie upstairs to her bedroom. She undressed in front of him and as he lay beneath a wooden chandelier, feeling woozy from the wine, she cut his throat.

She stabbed herself in the stomach, and tumbled down the stairs, dragging herself outside and laying there for police to find her; the victim of a terrible crime.

**** This story is the prequel of last weeks entry.

The Wooden Rose:

They found her in the garden, clothing torn to bits, blood everywhere. Her fingers clasped bits of hair, probably belonging to her torturer. Scratch marks in the sand told of her struggle to escape. Her body was tattered with bruises and cuts, and she shivered.

Suddenly, she sat up and cried out. “Under the Wooden Roses, that’s where he lay!”

The officers scoured the garden, not one rose in sight. All of a sudden, one of the officers realized that there was a rose, upstairs in the bedroom.

There, under a hand carved chandelier they found him, dead.

For more stories based on the photo prompt, be sure to click the link below. And thanks for reading.

Sports day! Ugh!

My kid was excited to go to school today…(First time for everything I guess) Today is Sports Day. Some kids LOVE Sports Day..When I was a kid, I HATED Sports Day…a showcase of how much I sucked at various (if not all) sports. In fact, I hated Sports Day so much that even the mere mention of this horrendous day sent chills across my now not so skinny self.

My frustration began when most of my classmates received medals, each consisting of Bronze, Silver and Gold variants. I would have been so proud to have earned even a Silver medal, but  no such luck. Every year, I received a Participaction pin. This was given to all kids, regardless of their level of sports suckiness. I had a collection of those damn pins for each of my middle school and even high school years. Lots of pins, but not one medal.

I remember my first year of high school. Throughout the summer, my legs actually grew. No longer was I the short skinny kid. Now I was the tall even skinnier kid. Despite this, I figured that this year would be different. I would be competing against shorter kids, who never had the fortune of possessing those long legs.

Trouble was, I was as shaky on those skinny legs as a one legged ostrich. Throughout the day, I managed to retain my record as the worst athlete in the school…and then finally, towards the end of the day, the one event where my long legs might actually prove beneficial arrived. The 100 meter dash.

All the kids lined up at the starting line. I was definitely the tallest kid. I looked around and sure enough, a crowd of shrimps, all envious of my long legs. The teacher shot off the pistol and we were off.

I ran like the wind, passing everyone. I had a lead throughout most of the race, and with the finish line in my sights, and NOBODY even close, I tripped over a dog.

That’s right, a dog. Some stray dog had crossed the playground just as I was about to cross the finish line and win not only my first medal, but a GOLD medal.  I ran into the furry beast and my legs came out from under me. I landed on my head, the damn dog licking my face as if I was a long lost friend…and EVERYONE passed me. I just lay there, staring up into the heavens, cursing the damn dog who had now abandoned me, and left me to deal with yet another year of Sports Day defeat.

The Gym Teacher asked if I wanted to run the race again, but I declined. It just wasn’t in the stars for me to win a race; and then, to add to my disgrace, the teacher presented me with a Participaction pin.

Damn I hate Sports Day! I sure hope the dog catcher is on hand for my son’s Sports Day. Wouldn’t want him tripping over a dog…who does that anyway?

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The Wooden Rose

They found her in the garden, clothing torn to bits, blood everywhere. Her fingers clasped bits of hair, probably belonging to her torturer. Scratch marks in the sand told of her struggle to escape. Her body was tattered with bruises and cuts, and she shivered.

Suddenly, she sat up and cried out. “Under the Wooden Roses, that’s where he lay!”

The officers scoured the garden, not one rose in sight. All of a sudden, one of the officers realized that there was a rose, upstairs in the bedroom.

There, under a hand carved chandelier they found him, dead.

PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

This is my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Click on the link for more stories.

cardboards

‘Cardboards’. That’s what they were called. Native Americans rounded up in a tiny village and forced to live there for generations. Alcohol and drugs were their only escape, if you could call it that.

Back in the Eighties, a government plan to keep the people on the island gave money to the people in the community. The money was to build new homes or fix up the ones that they had. With a home, the people remain, and the population of the province doesn’t suffer. Trouble was, it wasn’t enough money, and the money wasn’t managed properly. Homes were erected, but without enough money to finish the buildings and renovations, many houses were left unfinished.

The cheapest building materials were used, and a product called ‘Donna Conna’ which was manufactured in Quebec, covered the sides of the homes in the area. A fiber wood by-product with a black waterproof paint applied, was a common sight in the tiny village. Since the product was made mostly of paper, or cardboard, the people living in the community inherited the name of ‘Cardboards’.

Traditionally, ‘Cardboards’ went nowhere. They were mostly uneducated, living in a poverty stricken community without pride or ambition. The kids rarely finished school, often quitting school in their late teens and carrying on the traditions of their parents and grandparents.

In 2006, I took a job in a neighbouring community. I worked as a volunteer coordinator at an elementary school. The students of the school were a mix of kids from several communities, including a few ”Cardboards” who were still in school. They were the tough kids who NOBODY came near. In fact, I was warned by the school officials to stay away from those kids and leave them alone.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t always listen to advice. I like to make my own judgements about people. I seen kids. Not black or white or Indian or anything but school kids.

I came up with a plan to unite the school kids. I began working on setting up a spelling bee contest in the school. Teachers and even the principal said it would be impossible, partially due to the fact that spelling was no longer taught in the school system, and even if it was, school work wasn’t important to the kids here. All they wanted to do was to get out of school and do nothing with their lives.

I didn’t listen.

I was fortunate enough to find a few teachers who thought I might have had a good idea. They agreed to have small spelling bee contests in their classrooms, and in neighbouring classrooms, and to present me with a spelling bee winner from each class. I brought this to the principal. He was so amazed that the kids participated that he gave me total control of the project, with the semi-finals and eventually the finals to be held at the schools Assembly, at the end of each month.

One kid who stuck out was a kid named Louis. He came from the tiny village I spoke about earlier. Despite the fact that his home was no longer covered with ‘cardboard’, but with a more modern Vinyl siding, he was still known as a ‘Cardboard’. The stigma was hard to let go.

Louis was the best speller in his class. In fact, I tested him with a list of  very difficult words, and he got every word correct. Thing was, he wouldn’t enter the contest. He said that ‘Cardboards’ never went anywhere, and his mother would flip if she found out he was in a contest. He said that he was too stupid to win a dumb contest.

Despite his attitude, I never gave up on him. Out of my own pocket, I purchased a few small prizes, not much, but you have to remember, these kids had nothing. I offered a prize to anyone who participated in the semi-finals. I was amazed when Louis agreed to take part. Apparently  a girl told him that she was proud of him and that she liked ‘smart guys’, even if they were ‘Cardboards’.

Louis won every match and took a prize in the semi-finals. That same week, the school held Parent Teacher meetings, to discuss the student’s success. I was asked to take part, and to inform parents about the spelling bee.

I was standing in front of the crowd when I was approached by Louis’s mother. She was a rough looking woman with a scarred face and perhaps a scarred past as well. She angrily approached me, cursing as she headed towards me.

“You son of a bitch. Putting false hope in the minds of those kids. Most of all, you are putting false hope into the mind of my oldest child. Don’t you do that. First thing, he will begin asking to finish school. You don’t know how we live, you don’t understand us, our culture, our life!”

She went on to holler at me, the crowd now silent and listening to what she had to say.

“My Louis is not yours, he is mine. When he turns 15, he will quit school and take care of me. When I wake in the morning and I am dying from the pain of the night before, the sickness of alcohol and the agony of the drugs that run through my veins. Louis will be there for me. This is his place on earth, by my side, caring for me. You cannot take that from me.”

I responded “Louis is better than this. Louis is a smart kid who could go places. He can get out of this place and no longer be called a Cardboard. You should want this for your son. He shouldn’t have to live in a place where drugs and alcohol are the only way.”

I was surprised when the crowd began chanting Louis’s name. Slowly, his mother disappeared into the crowd and out the door. Louis, who seemed confused, joined me on the stage, along with the other kids in the contest. He proudly answered every challenge with the correct spelling of each word. When other kids stumbled on words like Vacuum and Conscience, he ripped out the letters and eventually, he won the contest.

The school had a pizza party for his class, and a trophy for Louis. I have never seen a kid as proud as he was on that day. His teachers cheered and honoured the students with prizes and a big cake. For one day, there were no ‘Cardboards’, only kids.

I had hoped that Louis would go on to big things. He had the brains to go to college and make something of himself. He didn’t. Louis done nothing, and by the time he turned 15, he quit school to care for his alcoholic mother.

You see, Louis ain’t nothing but a Cardboard, and everyone knows that the ‘Cardboards’ never go anywhere.

12…from an adult’s point of view

The first thing I discovered once my son turned 12 is that I don’t know anything. Essentially, I am a moron. I am glad I figured this out.

I vaguely remember being 12. Maybe that is because I am 51. Maybe it is because 12 was probably the worst year of my life. That was the year I discovered that my parents knew nothing.

“Bring in the firewood, wash the dishes, help your Mom with your siblings, brush your teeth, wash your face (don’t want acne, do you?), do your homework, take out the garbage, shovel the driveway, put away your laundry, wash the car, mow the lawn, pick up your sister’s toys, feed the dog, put the cat outside, let him in…blah blah blah”

Boy, being 12 sure sucked.

My son struggles with 12 because at this age, he is expected to be a bit more grown up than he was at 11. What a difference a year is supposed to make. No wonder he gets confused.

And as much as I try not to sound like my parents did when I was 12, I sound exactly like them. You want to know why? Because parents are SUPPOSED to sound like that. It shows that they care, and that they want the best for their kids. GOD! It took me 39 years to figure that out.

12 is also a time in which you begin to think for yourself. God, it is so amazing. On the last day of your 11th year, you walk around knowing nothing about nothing, and then, suddenly, you turn 12. This is not just another year. This is a year in which you evidently know more than even Albert Einstein knew in all his years. At 12, you basically know everything. It’s a waste of time for anyone to tell you anything, because you know everything there is to know about everything on this planet, and maybe other planets as well. So much knowledge is stored in that amazing brain of a 12 year old that it still amazes me. Most of all, you know way more than both your parents combined. I know, I was 12 once too.

The big difference with a 12 year old in 2015 and one from the deep dark past….when dinosaurs roamed the earth (1975 to be exact). is that back then, there were consequences for your actions, even if you knew everything.

Nowadays, 12 year olds cannot fail the school year. Every kid is passed on to the next grade (or the parents have to fight with the school board to have them repeat a grade and always lose the battle). Nowadays, cheating in school is allowed. If a child is caught cheating, they do not receive a zero, they receive a chat from the school counsellor. Of course, being 12, all the child hears is blah blah blah. This is because the counsellor (who has had years of education and possesses a PHD in psychology) knows less than the 12 year old. It must be tough working with all those 12 year old scholars.

When I was a kid, you only received rewards when you did something. If you failed the school year, you remained in that grade until you passed it. I remember going to my grade 7 class and there was this adult sitting in the seat ahead of me. He repeated the seventh grade four times. He had a bigger beard than the teacher did. One day the teacher caught him cheating. His ass was kicked to the principals office where he received his ‘reward’ for cheating. Ten lashes across the hands with ‘THE STRAP’. A twelve inch piece of leather sometimes used to sharpen straight razors. I think that guy finally graduated from the eleventh grade. I believe he was 24 at the time…definitely not the fastest rabbit in the woods.

The good news? 13 is coming….then my child can go back to being a normal human being….I hope!

The Bucket Seat Story

Back when I was just a teenager with a new drivers licence, I met up with an assortment of characters. The funniest was probably Kevin. Kevin was a car nut. Every time I seen him, his hands were covered with grease and his clothes were even worst.

Most of the time he came to our cruising spot with his father’s old Fargo pickup truck. His father restored the truck to its original condition, and then painted it blaze orange…I doubt this was the original colour, but the truck looked good. Kevin drove the truck as if his life depended on it. Before he could get comfortable, he had to check every inch of the truck to see if there were any scratches on it before he left for home.

One day, Kevin arrived at the parking lot with a car he had been working on. When he arrived, everyone was in tears from laughing. You see, the car, an old Corolla, wasn’t in the best of shape. Kevin just replaced the floor when he got the urge to cruise. When he arrived, he was sitting on a beef bucket, rather than the seat. “What, you never heard of ‘Bucket Seats?’ ” he said.

That guy! He gave me some laughs.

Kevin went on to become a mechanic…one who only has two toes on his left foot. Another good story.

The event

PHOTO PROMPT -© Raina Ng
PHOTO PROMPT -© Raina Ng

It was supposed to be a small gathering,  mostly friends and loved ones; nothing spectacular, just a simple ceremony and a supper afterwards. Of course, her mom didn’t listen. Instead, she went all out and purchased decorations. Not many, mind you, but a few Chinese lanterns, some fancy table cloths, and naturally, a cake.

Everyone gathered in the small kitchen awaiting the bride and groom. While the young couple were supposed to be standing in front of a minister, they chose otherwise, visited the local Justice of the Peace, eloped and left town.

I hear the guests enjoyed the cake!

Word Count: 100 words.

This is my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Click the link for more stories based on the photo prompt.

Road Rash and Beer

Back in the 90’s, while I was enjoying my second childhood, a bunch of guys (and a few gals) had lots of fun. My brother, while still in college, bought a Sega Genesis gaming system. Despite being archaic by today’s standards, the thing was a ton of fun. When a few of my friends and a few of his discovered we had a gaming system, it wasn’t long before they were knocking on our door, beer in tow, ready to challenge one another to a game of hockey or to bash each other’s heads in with bats while driving motorcycles.

We only had two games. NHL 95 and Road Rash. Every weekend, we gathered at my house, hooked the system to my old RCA floor model TV set (Hey, it was color!), broke out the beer, and had fun. No pressure, just fun.

While some may have regarded us as childish, we didn’t care. We would drink way too much, play hard, and eventually climb into a cab and journey to the popular nightclubs for more booze and maybe (hopefully!!!) some ladies.

We even made a hockey league, complete with trades. We had our own teams and we played as if it was serious hockey, along with a few laughs along the way. The graphics sucked, as only pixels on the screen represented the players, but you knew you were playing  hockey whenever the puck hit the net or you squished someone’s players into the boards. I even found a flaw (they were many) in the game where if you positioned your player at a 45 degree angle from the goalie, the puck always went in. Of course a rule was created so that I couldn’t do this (once everyone figured out why I won all the games) and I had to figure out how to score correctly (legally???).

The Road Rash game was especially fun. Split screens, one racer on top and one on bottom, as well as a barricade of cpu controlled riders made for a ton of fun. If a rider possessed a bat or a chain, or even a stick, you were able to kick or punch the rider until his stamina dropped, and then steal his weapon. You were also able to line up your opponent next to a car, and kick him into oncoming traffic. See, FUN!

Back then, games were simple, but I believe they were more fun. Throw beer into the mix and you had a ton of laughs. I was telling my kid about the game (not the beer) the other day and he says that it seemed fun. I hope he thinks this, as I just ordered the old gaming system as well as the road rash game on ebay.

Maybe now that my kid is 12, I can relive some of the fun (without the beer) and he can enjoy it as well. Click on the link and see for yourself. Don’t forget the beer!!

ROAD RASH

NHL 95

People are dumb

People are dumb. I have proof.

I was walking my dogs in the park the other day and this genius walks up to me and asks “That your dog?”

I wanted to reply several things…such as:

“No, I stole all three of them.”

“No, my cat was bored, so I picked him up this little doggie costume and…”

“No, these are actually tiny horses”

To follow the ‘That your dog’ question, some even ask:

“Does he bite?”

The polite thing to say would be “Never know, I wouldn’t trust him.”

But I would say “Pull his tail and find out”

That’s like whenever I am at the hospital (Not often with the health care we have here…)

There is always a genius who tries to spark up a conversation with the line

“How you doing?”

Politely, I usually reply “Not bad”, but if I wasn’t doing badly, why would I be at the hospital?

What I should have replied was:

“Well, I was home feeling great and decided to visit the hospital to see what I could catch.”

Speaking of hospitals, this is a clue to just how long it takes to see a doctor on call:

A lady sat next to me with a packsack on her back. At 9 a.m., she takes out an egg sandwich, at 12, she takes out a salad she made. In other words, she planned on waiting the entire day to see a doctor, and as a precaution, she packed food. Smart Lady, dumb health care system.

12

I wanna play with my toys and make bubbles and run and shoot bad guys with  my Nerf gun.

I want to talk to a new girl at school. I want to do my studies and I want to do well in school.

Why are adults telling me what to do? When to bathe? What to eat?

Why are the rules so strict? Why can’t I go to the mall on the weekend and spend time hanging with my friends?

Why do I have to do homework? Why are there final exams? Why is it important?

I wanna play with my old toys but I also want to date girls. I want to be a kid and I want to be treated like an adult. I don’t want to grow up but I have to.

Why can’t I make decisions for myself? I am grown up! Why don’t THEY see it?

Why do I have to follow THEIR rules?

Why do the other kids laugh at me when I tell them about my latest toys? Why do they laugh when I talk about my neighbourhood friends?

Why are they so mean? When will it all stop?

Why can’t it be like it used to be? Why can’t we all get along?

Why can’t my parents understand my battle? The one with being a kid vs growing up?

—————————————————————————————————-

We Understand. We were 12 once too. We used to question our parents’ decisions too. We used to get angry with our parents all the time. We used to wish we were little kids again so we didn’t have to deal with all the crap that comes from growing up. But we did grow up, and when we did, we seen that our parents made the rules so that we could become the people we are today. So that we could raise our kids so that they could become all that they will become. Because we love our kids.

Sometimes I wish I was 12 again…