Troubled Waters

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise! This one is more melancholy than usual. Typically, my characters are either killing each other or falling in love.

Friday Fictioneers is an international community of writers who post 100-word stories each week, based on a photo prompt provided by our lovely leader, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  Please visit her website for more information.

boatpilxr_-antiqued

Photo Copyright: Georgia Koch

Troubled Waters

by Jan Brown

Nikki’s husband apologized for the boat. Lately, he was always apologizing.

It was a borrowed boat, dirty and unkempt. But they no longer had access to their yacht—now the bank’s yacht. Nikki wondered if stiff-faced men in pin-striped suits would be throwing a TGIF party tonight on the bay.

They spread a big double sleeping bag on the bottom of the boat, along with a cooler full of lovely but inexpensive wine, cheese and fruit.

Gliding through the calm, moonlit waters, they wondered at the turn their lives had taken, and dreamed of simpler times.

More love. Less money. No regrets.

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Still Free

Welcome to  Friday Fictioneers! We are an international community of writers who post 100-word stories each week, based on a photo prompt provided by our lovely leader, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  She is re-running some of the favorite photo prompts this summer while she complies with her publisher’s pesky request to complete her third novel.

This was originally posted in September, 2013, based on the photo by Jan Wayne Fields. Thank you, Jan!

statue of liberty jan wayne fields

Photo Copyright: Jan Wayne Fields

Free

by Jan Brown

I’ve lived in New York all my life, but never visited the Statue of Liberty until today. I ventured out with a small group from our women’s shelter.

What impressed me most was the broken shackle and chain at her feet. She was free. She was me. Releasing the old, embracing the new.

My jerk of an ex-husband was waiting when the ferry returned. He pulled out a gun, but I walked right up to him and grabbed it. The force of the gunshot blew me back onto the ground, and he slumped on top of me.

I was free.

liberty-shackles-national-park-service

Photo Credit: National Park Service

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Still Not a Love Story

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers! This is another summer re-run, a story originally posted in October, 2012. It’s a sad tale, so I won’t say I hope you enjoy it. But I do hope the story transports you, taking you into the mindset of a confused young girl and the predator who exploits her.

Friday Fictioneers is an international community of writers who post 100-word stories each week, based on a photo prompt provided by our lovely leader, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  She is re-running some of the favorite photo prompts this summer while she complies with her publisher’s pesky request to complete her third novel.

alley - Jan Morrill

Photo copyright: Jan Morrill

Not a Love Story

by Jan Brown

Lexi snaked through the alley, hoping no one would recognize her. She hoped no one would tell her father that she lingered in the alley at night, the cool white stucco against her unclad back. How could she explain to her family the yearnings she felt? Only Theo understood.

Theo was a man, not a feckless boy with fumbling hands. He knew her body and what it needed. Friends at school told her that Theo wanted to control her, taking wicked pleasure in sharing her with other men. “There’s a difference between love and lust,” they said. But Lexi was lost to love, not knowing the difference.

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Summer Re-run

It’s vacation time at Friday Fictioneers! Actually, it’s not much of a vacation for our leader, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who is under a deadline for her third novel. So she is re-running a favorite photo prompt from 2012, and I am re-running the story that it inspired.

I love cheesy science fiction movies from the 1940s and 1950s. The preposterous plots and archetypical characters provide not only entertainment but insight into the sometimes hilarious cultural stereotypes of the era. Some of my favorites are:

It! The Terror from Beyond Space (you can see the zipper on the back of the Martian’s costume)

The Thing (an evil alien, a nebbish reporter and an inept military)

The Beginning of the End (giant locusts eat Chicago)

The Blob (bad boy turns out to be the hero)

This is a piece of fan fiction based on The Blob. I believe it was Steve McQueen’s first feature film role. His character had to fight off an alien creature, a growing pink gelatinous blob. He discovered it was vulnerable to cold, and he convinced the townfolk to get a bunch of CO2 fire extinguishers and freeze it to death before it “ate” the diner and all the people in it.

The 1988 remake had a similar gooey blob, but it turned out to be a mutation of a biological weapon invented by–wait for it–the U.S. Department of Defense. The film was set in a ski resort town, so Kevin Dillon and his hot girlfriend killed it (well, most of it) with a snow-making machine.

The photo reminds me of curtains hanging in a diner, like the imperiled diner in the original movie, so I invented a sequel. I hope you enjoy it! I’ve included the old movie trailer for extra chuckles.

ice-on-the-window

Photo copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Ice Ain’t Nice

(with apologies to Steve McQueen and Kevin Dillon)

by Jan Brown

It was a viscous combination of sleet and snow, and it was coming at us horizontally. Each icy fragment hit our unprotected faces with the force of a miniature missile. We ran as fast as the slippery street would allow, finally reaching safety inside the diner.

We couldn’t resist staring out the window as it was pelted with the same sideways slush. Then we realized that safety was just an illusion. With a deafening crack, the glass fractured and the slush quickly coated every available surface. The Blob was back, and this time it wasn’t afraid of the cold.

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Trisha’s Guide to Business Travel

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise. This week’s photo prompt is courtesy of Rich Voza. Thank you, Rich!

The airplane landing at sunset (or is it sunrise?) made me think of the long days and nights that I spent flying to our corporate office on business. Despite the long work hours, I always tried to make time to visit a gallery or a new restaurant, even if I never got to do any proper sightseeing. I don’t think I could have tolerated the travel without those small personal treats.

But I wondered what it might be like for others. For example, I met Irv when we worked on a special project together. Irv was Controller of one of our subsidiaries. He’d been coming to the west coast for monthly meetings for ten years, but always had dinner in his hotel. He had never seen any other part of the city. For ten years!!!  So…I “forcefully persuaded” him to go out to some wonderful ethnic restaurants and see/hear/taste things he had never seen/heard/tasted before.

Trisha, my protagonist, is much younger and prettier than Irv, but suffers from the same lackluster syndrome.

airplane rich voza

Photo Copyright: Rich Voza

 

Trisha’s Guide to Business Travel

by Jan Brown

Trisha hated Los Angeles. 

Mostly, she hated business travel. The long flights to Los Angeles were obnoxious, the meetings even more so.

This trip, she resolved to enjoy herself–not just sit in her hotel with piles of work and room service. She found a new favorite restaurant on the beach. The owner looked like a rock star, his long hair held back with a colorful bandana. He was always smiling! Trisha wondered if she would ever be that happy.

One night, he brought dinner to her table and sat down. They talked till closing, and beyond. Way beyond.

Trisha loves Los Angeles.

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For more information or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

Music Therapy

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a lively and friendly international writing community. Between Wednesday and Friday of every week, we each post a 100-word story to share. This week’s photo prompt is courtesy of John Nixon. Thank you, John!

To learn more about us, or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo Copyright: John Nixon

Music Therapy

by Jan Brown

Lizzie stared at the old player piano. It was rigged as a joke, to look like a clown was stuffed inside. But it wasn’t making anyone smile.

So Lizzie dissembled the clown, then reached inside the piano and deactivated the player roll. She sat down and began to play her songs.

People gathered round. Broken people, people whose psychoses were so overwhelming that all they could do was scream or moan. Now they were quiet. Listening.

Lizzie began to sing. Her throaty voice carried through the halls, carrying with it her damage and, most of all, her hope.

People smiled.

 

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Love Will Always Win

It’s been a month since I posted my last story. Where is my muse? Nothing creative is emanating from my mouth, my fingers, my brain.

breathless
she tries in vain to sing
nothing but darkness emerges
her voice silenced by despair
when will her muse return

Perhaps this poem that I wrote on Twitter awhile back is more appropriate for this sad, unholy week, when we are mourning the loss of 49 souls and wondering what evils lie ahead.

Purple Angel

Poem Copyright: Janet L. Brown, Image Copyright: Kerri McClellan-Fotolia.com

Many have said that it’s no longer enough to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. They say it’s time for action. We can see it in the blocks-long winding line of people who volunteered to give blood in Orlando. And we can hear it in the public discourse about gun control legislation (or lack thereof).

In his  June 12th statement to the press, President Obama once again asked the country to do some “soul-searching” about the ease with which people can get assault weapons in the U.S.

We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be.

– President Barack Obama

I wonder if we can finally agree on legislation that would ban or reduce the sale of these weapons, or at least build a database to ensure that access is limited.

A California pastor’s sermon went viral over the weekend, as you already may know, because he blamed the victims for their own deaths.

The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job.

– Pastor Roger Jimenez, Verity Baptist Church

This is the worst kind of hate speech–words that are delivered by a pastor, who we are supposed to be able to trust! Fortunately, no one seems to agree with him. Love is stronger than hate. Love will overcome the devastation wrought by any man. Even if he has an AR-15. Even if he has a pulpit from which to spew hate. Love will always win.
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Love, Accompanied

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise.

This week’s photo is courtesy of C. E. Ayr. Thank you, C. E., for a fascinating photo! It prompted me to imagine a concert hall in a vibrant city on the water, where amazing concerts are given every night by the world’s most talented performers. My story explores what happens when two of those performers fall in love.

For more information on Friday Fictioneers, or to post your own story, please visit our lovely leader’s website, author Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

concert hall ceayr

Photo copyright: C.E. Ayr

 

Love, Accompanied

by Jan Brown

It happened the first time she heard him play. 

That’s how musicians fall in love. They listen. Not to the frailty and false promise of words, but to the heartfelt passion of music that cannot be feigned.

He became her accompanist, a move that boosted both their careers. The sizzling electricity that passed between them was exhilarating! 

They never acted on the sexual tension, not wanting to risk their partnership. But now, in the autumn of her singing career, she could not imagine being apart. She looked at the pair of gold bands in the jeweler’s box, and hoped he would feel the same.

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Daydream

NaPoWriMo Day 30: Our last challenge for NaPoWriMo2016 is to write a homophonic “translation”  of a poem written in a language you don’t know. In other words, write a poem that mirrors the original in sound–-or what you imagine to be the sound–of the original words.

I selected a poem by José Marti (1853-1895), a champion of Cuban independence from Spain and a prolific writer and poet. This particular poem is part of a collection that was dedicated to his son, who was born shortly before Marti was deported/exiled to Spain. Its title means “I Dream Awake” (I looked it up), so I tried to give the mirror poem a dreamlike quality, while also keeping in mind that the collection honored his son.

The original poem:

Sueño despierto

Yo sueño con los ojos

Abiertos, y de día

Y noche siempre sueño.

Ysobre las espumas

Del ancho mar revuelto,

Y del león pujante.

Monarca de mi pecho,

Montado alegremente

Sobre el sumiso cuello, —

¡Un niño qu me llama

Flotando siempre veo!

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My mirror poem:

Daydream

Your swanlike carriage languishes

Ably escorting me through days

And nights of struggle

Stealthily approaching

Dancing and marching in rhythm

Before entering the crypt

The arena is deserted

And the lion prowls alone

Core of my compassion

Mighty legend, a young man

Voice sweet and low as a cello

Effortless as the wind

Floating beyond the veil

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Reverie

NaPoWriMo Day 29: We are challenged to write a poem in which each line starts with “I remember.” We’re asked to focus on specific details, and not whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. 

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I remember the youth group, our trip to Vermont. At night, we listened to comedy albums, back when we thought Bill Cosby was still a good person.

I remember the concerts, astounding acoustics for our college choir. Drinks at the Yacht Club (which had no yachts, and no body of water) before…and after.

I remember the Artist’s Café, the heady lunches in late afternoon.

I remember spring break. We got married.

I remember the move to Wisconsin, the blizzard with snow so deep only snowmobiles could traverse. No power or water—only the cheese shop was open.

I remember Main Place, the Saturday brunches that lasted till the bar closed Sunday morning.

I remember dinners with John at the Inn, Friday night fish fries and dance bands.

I remember the trips to Arkansas–warm, sunny Christmases and barbequed goat on New Year’s.

I remember Summerfest and 70’s music.

I remember the divorce.

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