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After Hours

June 25, 2015

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! We are a community of writers from around the world  who post 100-word stories every week, based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo by Kent Bonham made me think of the way that certain streets and neighborhoods light up after dark, especially in the wee hours of the morning. I hope you enjoy the story, as well as the “historical” musical treat that follows.

Photo Copyright: Kent Bonham

Photo Copyright: Kent Bonham

After Hours

by Jan Brown

There were only three after-hours places in our neighborhood: a hookah lounge, a disreputable dive bar, and Alice’s Restaurant. Like the one in Arlo Guthrie’s song, the restaurant was run by a fun-loving, aging hippie.

Robert, my longtime boyfriend, was a handyman who bartered his work for Alice’s food and booze.

Last night, I dropped into Alice’s at 3:00 a.m. and found myself to be the only customer. There were no cooks, no sounds of the sizzling grill—just lovers’ moans from the back office. And Robert’s voice, “Oh, God!”

Now there are only two after-hours places in the neighborhood.

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Here is the promised musical “extra.” For aging hippies and other readers of a certain age, you may enjoy the following as an amusing trip down memory lane. For readers of a younger generation, consider this an educational video!!!  :-)

To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories, or post your own, click the link below:

Carrying the Light

June 21, 2015

I’m late with my Friday Fictioneers contribution this week. The photo prompt, as some of you may know, is published Wednesday morning. I contemplated the ornate light fixture in the photo and copied it onto my hard drive, as usual.

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com

Photo Copyright: Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The photo reminded me of some lovely chandeliers I’ve seen in churches, but I had no idea what to write.

That night, I procrastinated and scrolled through my twitter feed instead of writing. I came across breaking stories from various news media and was horrified to learn of the vicious hate crime in Charleston, a mass shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The cold-hearted shooting of a church prayer group…how do we reconcile the irony, the inhumanity?

The historic status of the church and its founder, Denmark Vesey, was mentioned in the first two articles I read. This church has suffered unthinkable losses in the past. The church was founded in 1816 by black congregants who left their predominantly white churches over issues of discrimination. It was burned down in 1822 when its pastor was convicted of planning a slave revolt. When the laws of that era prohibited all-black churches, the members had to meet in secret. The church survived all of this and was rebuilt at the end of the civil war, only to be destroyed by an earthquake in 1886. In the twentieth century, the church was the site of seminal civil rights speeches and demonstrations, including a mass arrest of more than 900 protesters in 1969.

Now they have suffered more unthinkable losses. As I read the articles and watched the news videos, two questions gnawed at me: 1) Why are we the only advanced nation to have mass shootings on a seemingly regular, if not frequent, basis; and 2) Why, in a country that has the most ethnically diverse population of any country on Earth, do we still have racial hatred? The answer to the first question is fairly obvious.  The answer to the second is so complex as to be incomprehensible, but I’m sure we’ll hear many sociologists, psychologists, journalists, pundits and random internet trolls try to break it down for us in the coming days/weeks/months.  I welcome that discussion with open ears.

Meanwhile, the only answer I have is love.

I try to wrap my head around the so-incredible level of love and forgiveness displayed by the families of the victims at the shooter’s bond hearing. No one said it better than Alana Simmons, the granddaughter of one of the victims. She spoke directly to the shooter, saying, “Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, everyone’s plea for your soul is proof that they lived in love. Hate won’t win.” (Source: NBCNews.com)

Mother Emanuel will be open for Sunday services today. The light they carry into the world is witness to God’s love and to our human potential to love, rather than hurt, each other.  I hope my little poem reflects that light.

Photo by Stephen Hyatt http://photos.thechurchesoftheworld.com/Charleston-SC-Churches/Mother-Emanuel-AME/

Photo by Stephen Hyatt
Source: photos/thechurchesoftheworld.com

Carrying the Light

by Jan Brown

Why do churches have such lovely chandeliers? Perhaps…

To remind us there is something irresistibly beautiful, something higher and more permanent than our imperfect selves.

To remind us of the beauty that can shine from just one beacon, even in a world otherwise devoid of light.

To focus the still-bright light of  our lost loved ones, so that we will not flounder in the dark.

To infuse love, the kind of love that shines on every living being, the kind of love that will never falter, never flicker out, never discriminate and never be darkened, no matter how deep the night.

shooting victims

Source: NBCNews.com

Mother Emanuel’s light shines now, this very moment. I pray that everyone will let it in.

Amen.

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Friday Fictioneers is a lovely community of writers from around the world. My blog this week was a departure from the usual form. Normally we post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. To read more stories of every conceivable genre, or to post your own, click here.

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Boom!

June 12, 2015

Yesterday was Throwback Thursday…I am naming today “Future Friday” :-)

Boom!
My heart explodes
with the giddy force
of love
and the amazing truth
that must be kept secret—
until now.

Boom Boom!
A tiny heartbeat
rhythmic and strong.
Now I can broadcast
near and far!
Am I unduly excited?
Is this a small thing?
Because it seems HUGE to me:

I’m going to be a great-aunt!

 I’m going to be a great-aunt!

 I’m going to be a great-aunt!

♥♥♥♥♥

Throwback Thursday – Roommates

June 11, 2015

It’s almost time for Friday Fictioneers, when writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo is a “rerun” of a prompt from October, 2012. The photo is by Raina Ng.

I am rerunning my story from 2012 as well. I hope it stands the test of time; you be the judge!

Photo Copyright: Raina Ng

Roommates

by Jan Brown

Walking into Sarah’s kitchen, I experienced simultaneous waves of nostalgia and nausea. In the sixties, five of us lived here. It was large and airy, with a relaxed feel and a perfect location near the university. When we welcomed a sixth roommate, things changed.

We thought Marty was merely a “Type A” personality who would help us get our shit together. But a near-constant rage sizzled just below the surface of his counterfeit charm.  Sarah fell under his spell and stayed with him all these years, enduring the narcissistic behavior and sadistic abuse. Some said death was a blessing. Hers wasn’t. His will be, at the hands of the state.

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To read other Friday Fictioneers’ stories, click the blue button:

Kip and Dredge Go to the Beach

June 4, 2015

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

The photo prompt this week is mysterious. Could it be mutant leeches crawling up from the ocean? Or a giant chain? What’s it doing there? Will Kip and Dredge, notorious slackers and mental giants, figure it out in time?

If you would like to read other Friday Fictioneers’ work, click the blue frog below my story. If you would like to create your own 100-word work of art, visit our fearless leader’s website–Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

Photo Copyright: C. Hase

Photo Copyright: C. Hase

Kip and Dredge Go to the Beach

by Jan Brown

Kip and Dredge were participating in their favorite activity, dumpster diving, on an abandoned film set.

“Wow, look at this. Must be a prop from the old ‘King Kong’ movie.”

“This is no prop–it’s solid metal.”

Just then, a huge beast emerged from the ocean. But it wasn’t King Kong. It had a head like a meat cleaver.

“Oh, man, is that Guiron?”

“Yes, I’m Guiron.” The beast spoke English! “Are you the lunch guys?”

“No, man, we don’t have any lunch.”

“You misunderstand.” Guiron brought his cleaver-head down close. “You’re a little scrawny, but could be crunchy appetizers!”

Guiron - Image Source: http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Guiron

Guiron – Image Source: http://godzilla.wikia.com/wiki/Guiron

Look Beyond

May 28, 2015

Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, where every story is a surprise! Especially mine…because it is poetry rather than prose. I hope you enjoy it.

The photo prompt this week is courtesy of fellow Fictioneer Doug MacIlroy. Doug’s photos are always intriguing. When I saw this sculpture, I wondered about the process of the artist. I wondered how this sculptor might look at the world, and how s/he would ideate and create other forms of art, such as painting, photography or music.

If you would like to read other Friday Fictioneers’ work, click the blue frog below my poem. If you would like to create your own 100-word work of art, visit our fearless leader’s website–Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple.

Photo Copyright: Douglas M. MacIlroy

Photo Copyright: Douglas M. MacIlroy

she made sculpture
from junk
it was art

she drew success
out of dismal failure
it went viral

she captured humanity
in the world’s ugliness
it was beautiful

if you wondered how
she would say simply
look beyond the visible

beneath the sadness
of the homeless man’s smile
a reflection of heaven

through the heart’s eye
the colors of the city
swirl and come alive

each image
a multi-layered mystery
ready to unfold

each soul
a beautiful gem
ready to sparkle

each song
a thrilling aria
striking the clouds

this voice
inside a broken heart
ready at last to speak

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Memorial

May 25, 2015

  

garden of souls

a pointed reminder

the true cost  of war

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