Freeing the voices in my head

Posts tagged ‘stories’

Weird and Wondering

Interaction with the other people in her life was like living in a horror movie.  She knew something very bad was going to happen every hour, day and night.  She wouldn’t be able to stop it, help or escape, and she would be traumatized for the rest of her life.

 

Good morning, world.  The above paragraph has been rattling around in my head.  I think it might be a good beginning for a story, a dark story, but the words and idea don’t want to advance any further.

 

Does it grab the reader? What comes next? Want to write the next paragraph or two or twenty? Go ahead and comment! heh…

 

Well, writing it out and posting it will hopeflly make it stop looping in my head. Have a lovely Sunday! 🙂

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Vignettes

I love words and vignette is a favorite of mine.  “A short, graceful literary sketch.”  “A brief, appealing scene, as in a movie.”  I don’t know how graceful or appealing my blogs are; they usually aren’t short or brief, that’s for sure!  To me, a vignette is a glimpse or an anecdote of  mine or someone’s Life, a quick story told on the fly, usually at the dinner table, almost always resulting in laughter.

I’m outnumbered here, gender-wise, and men don’t tell stories the way women do.  A woman will go into great detail, she’ll add sub-plots and side-way tangents; she will regal you with rich observations that would fill a book.  A man will say three to five sentences and be done.

But, oh, my men have the most interesting stories, um, tidbit tales!  My brother hasn’t been able to write down his Woodstock adventures (he’s in a great deal of pain, barely managed by his pain meds).  We’re hoping he can get that Dragon program and just speak into his computer and have it type it for him!   The only parts of the Woodstock story I remember are that he smoked that funny stuff, camped out, played in the mud, and got the station wagon stuck in the mud.  Someday, I’ll get him to tell me the whole story again.

When they had the Woodstock reunion in the 90s, I was the manager of a Pizza Hut, just off the New York State Thruway.  We were mobbed and so not ready for it.  We had people five deep at the counter, starving, filthy campers, eagerly pressing forward, watching the ovens, hoping I was cutting their pizza to be boxed.  Amidst the chaos was one … woman.  Yes, I’m being polite.  She insisted that no meat, meat substance or meat oil touch her pizza.

We tried.  My main cook made her pizza on a clean board and used fresh gloves to place the garlic sauce (no tomato marinara sauce for her, no sirree, it might have meat products in it!  Gack!) and cheese on the dough.  She was right up front, and could see everything.  Before he placed her pizza in the oven, she saw the other cook grabbing cheese from the bin…”Wait!  That’s the cheese you ALL use?  It’s tainted with meat substance!”  Oh, god…

We apologized and Ted trotted to the walk-in, pulled out a new bag of cheese, and used it for her new pizza.  Good, pizza now in oven.  I was lifting pizzas out as fast as I could to keep the ovens from backing up and burning them.  The slightest pause meant disaster.  I grabbed her pizza, slid it out of the pan onto the cutting board… “Wait!  That board just had a sausage pizza on it!”  Oh, god (and the twenty people behind her groaned, too)…

I apologized and Ted made her another new pizza.  I swiftly dealt with a few more pizzas, making sure a clean cutting board was at hand for the vegan lady.  Her pizza rolled to the front, I expertly slipped it onto the clean board and sliced down… “Wait!  That’s MY pizza and you just used THAT slicer on a pepperoni pizza!”   Oh, god (and the thirty people behind her didn’t just groan.  They bitched, they told her to give up, they looked at her with murder in their eyes…but, wonder of wonders, they did NOT blame me and my crew!)…

We apologized, again, and started over.  Now, we had a backed up oven, pizzas burning, rhythm disrupted.  Hurry to box her pizza and cash her out, whirl back around and zip, zip, slice and box three more pizzas.  I turned to cash those people out and noticed the crowd was watching the front door.  When it shut on vegan lady’s exiting behind, the mob cheered, applauded, and thanked me and my crew for our patience!

We had a bunch of extra mistake pizzas and breadsticks.  I had my waitresses pass out slices to everyone and comped all sodas as my thank you to the crowd.  Ah, the Woodstock legacy of “Peace and Brotherly Love” blossomed again for the rest of the night!

Heh, see what I mean?  I’m sure my brother’s story is longer than the tiny bit I recall, but it took a whole page for me to tell my Woodstock reunion story!  🙂

Some of the funniest, oddest, best stories I’ve heard from my menfolk aren’t stories at all.  They are mere vignettes, a few sentences at most.  I have to pull more details out like a cat giving birth to an elephant…yeah, improbable at best, impossible most of the time!

For example:  Hubby’s ship went through a corner of the Bermuda Triangle.  I was fascinated and wanted to hear if anything weird happened.  His response?  “Well, it got foggy and the radio wouldn’t work for a few minutes, but everything cleared up on the other side.”

That’s IT?!  Really?!  Can you elaborate at all?  Nope, that really was it, delivered in a bored nothing-unusual-today tone of voice.  GACKKK!!!

Or this one, from my oldest son:  Walks in the house all sweaty, without his car (a 1967 Mustang, runs good, maybe, sorta, kinda…)…  I asked, “Where’s your car?”  Brian said, “Oh, the drive shaft for the tranny fell out.  I had to push it over to Midas.  I got a ride home with Matt.”  And heads for the shower.  “Wait!  What?” I frantically call out, instantly on the alert, knowing that the Midas shop he uses is at one of the busiest intersections in our part of Tucson, AZ.

He paused, returned to the kitchen and got a soda.  “I’m really hot, tired, and sweaty, Mom.”

“Please?”

So, here’s the REST of the story…  He was at the intersection of Ina and Thornydale, in the far left lane, got to the light and started through.  In the MIDDLE of the intersection, in the middle of his turn, in the middle of rush hour traffic, the Mustang drops her tranny (transmission), and comes to a dead stop.  With cars whizzing by in all directions, my son got out and single-handedly pushed that ton or so of car across a gazillion lanes of traffic, up a slight hill and into the parking lot of Midas.  He received assistance only at the end, when a mechanic saw him and came over.

Think on it:  a 1967 Mustang, weighs a lot, probably almost a thousand pounds because it’s made of METAL not fiberglass, no power anything — brakes or STEERING.  One guy pushing AND steering it…oh, good lord, my mind seized up.  Eh, Brian assured me, once he got her moving, it wasn’t so hard…and off he goes to the shower.  GACKK!!!

Then there’s the tale of the pallet of ammo that didn’t exist and the one bullet, “What bullet?”…but that’s a real tale to tell and not a vignette, so…

Later, my lovies!  heh heh… 😀

 

Hoisted By Her Own Petard

The Tangled Web of B.L.O.G.

Hoisted By Her Own Petard

The jacket thief had been found and normal secret agent business was still in a lull.  Most of the elite agents of B.L.O.G. indulged in a rare morning to sleep late.  A few took the time to catch up on hobbies and more normal pursuits. High above the unsuspecting sleepers, in the attic of the barracks (which was on the third floor of the large building Marvin, the B.L.O.G. boss, had erected within a gigantic warehouse on the outskirts of town, but that’s his secret) , Doctor Guppa was busy in her secret lab.  Her friend and fellow agent, Saber, had been invited in.

Guppa walked the length of her work table, sniffing at the numerous bubbling flasks suspended over Bunsen burners.  “Oh, excellent. It’s ready.”   She poured the contents of one bottle into two cups.  “Saber, I know I don’t even have to ask – you’ll find the cream in the mini-fridge.  Do you take sugar in your tea?”

Saber nodded, “One lump, please.  And if you tell anyone I drink tea…”

Guppa laughed and finished the statement, “…you’ll shoot me.  I know, dear.  Poor Russian Ralph, but, you know, the eye-patch does add an air to him.”

“Nah, that’s just normal for him.  He hasn’t bathed since the Cold War ended.”  Saber leaned over one of the flasks and sniffed.  “Mmm, this smells good.  Coconut, hibiscus, a hint of saltwater – what is this?”

The scientist gave her friend a wink.  “Insta-Tan in a potion.  Drink one teaspoonful every month and you’ll glow like an island beauty.  Of course, the secret ingredient was provided by Island Bronze, so I must be careful with it. She only gave me enough of her sweat for this batch.”

Saber grinned.  “You’ll make millions, as long as no one else knows the secret.  Good thing your concoctions are nature-based ‘supplements’ – no FDA approval needed.” They both cackled wickedly at that.

“Ah, the life of a secret agent; no one questions what you need to do your job.  Fetch Emma for me, would you?  She’s the only one strong enough to carry all those boxes downstairs in one trip.”

“But, Guppa, she’s a remedial agent and a thief.  How can you trust her?”

“I don’t, dear, but part of her discipline for stealing the jackets and infusing them with my Syrup of Truth Serum is to be my go-fer for six months.   Actually, I admire her
gumption.  I think I shall groom her as my new lab assistant for when you’re out in the field.”

Saber’s grin widened.  “That should be interesting.  Someone new to test your products on.”
She left the lab as Guppa called out, “I apologized for that a hundred times!  And your eyebrows DID grow back!”

Guppa was finishing the note when Saber returned with Emma.  The super-strong trainee scowled at the five boxes by the door.  “I gotta post all of these?”

“Yes, indeed.  Here’s the last packing slip, attach it to that top box.”  Guppa turned back to her burbling potions.  Emma glanced at the note inside the packing slip and read, “Mountain King: Syrup antidote still unstable.  Side effects of the hellsbore include copious sweating, dehydration and possibly death.  Use judiciously. Love, D.G.”  The girl shrugged and sealed the slip.  Hefting the stack of boxes, she turned to go and asked, “How much of this truth serum and antidote does he need?”

Guppa chuckled.  “Oh, none of it for his own use.  I’m sending M.K. a little of this, a little of that…Europe…makes an excellent testing ground.  Careful with that bottom box.  The cherry bombs shouldn’t be jostled.”

“You’re sending our double-double-trifecta agent firecrackers?” Saber asked.

The scientist giggled madly.  “Much more than mere firecrackers.  They look like normal brandied cherries, but mix with alcohol and munch them with your drink and moments later, BOOM!  I do hope M.K. can send me a photo of the results.  Off you go, dear, the post office closes soon.”

Emma tromped out and Saber hopped up on a stool.  There was a commotion by the door and Emma’s voice growled, “Hey, watch where you’re going!”  Talon walked backwards into the lab, shouting, “I was Chewie last night, and the Wookie always wins!”

“What the–” Guppa fumed.  “What part of secret lab do you not understand?”

Saber shook her head.  “It’s Talon, ya know.”

“Of course, my bad.”

Falcon’s sidekick whirled around. “Hi!”  Her yellow cape breezed over the burners, catching on fire.  As she leaped away, one flask slipped and spilled into Saber’s lap.  The elite agent was able to rescue most of the contents and then froze, staring down at her legs. “Um, Guppa?”

Busy dousing the inferno of Talon’s costume with the fire extinguisher while holding the teen down with one foot, the scientist said, “One moment, hon, the flame retardant isn’t working right.  Oh, stop screeching, child, your hair will grow back.  There.  Now, what is it, Saber?”

She turned and joined her friend in staring.  “Hmm, well, that is an interesting side effect.  Perhaps I brewed it too long?  Stop fussing, Saber, I’m sure a turpentine sponge bath will remove the problem.”

Talon leaned over and sniffed.  “Hey, Saber, your legs are bronze!  That’s gonna make it hard to pee!  But you sure smell good!”

The growl from the older agent sent chills running down Talon’s spine.  “You are so lucky my gun has been bronzed, kid.”

Guppa kicked one of Saber’s legs.  The metallic thunk confirmed her fears.  “Yes, I brewed it too long.  While I believe this new effect has potential – spray it on a fleeing villain and stop him cold, and,” she rubbed her hands together, “we could make a bundle selling unique bronze statues!”  Another growl sobered her.  “However, I don’t think having metal legs makes you very useful, Saber.”

Saber snarled, “Antidote, Guppa, now.  I gotta pee – thanks for mentioning it, kid.”

Talon smiled vacantly and wandered over to the other side of the table. “You’re welcome!”

“Talon, since you’re here, fill out these labels.  Even you can’t get into trouble writing out a label,” Guppa ordered.  “Just copy my original instructions onto each one: Island Insta-Tan.  Take one teaspoonful every month.  Swallow only, avoid contact with skin.  Got it?”

“It doesn’t all fit,” Talon whined. “Can I abbreviate?”

Guppa swiped at Saber’s legs with a turpentine soaked rag.  “Yes, yes, whatever.  Oh, good, you wiggled your toes, dear!  And you do have a lovely tan!”

Finally able to move, Saber ran from the lab, vowing never to return, and made a beeline for the nearest bathroom.  Guppa sighed and finished bottling her newest potion.  Talon was pressed into service licking the labels and gluing them on the boxes.  Glue on her tongue did little to stop her incessant babbling.  An hour later, Guppa shooed the chattering teen out of the attic to send the box of tanning potion off in the post and removed the earplugs she’d tucked in her ears after Saber had left.

“Goodness, what a day.  I think this calls for a libation.”  The scientist went to her secret compartment in the attic lab and removed the bottle of 100 year old reserve brandy. She mixed an Alexander, plucking a brandied cherry from one of the two bowls on her work table.  Feet up on her newly bronzed stool, she munched and sighed contentedly.  A moment later, she spit out the cherry and watched it explode on the lab’s floor, leaving a human-sized crater in the hardwood.  “Drat, so distracted I was almost hoisted by my own petard!  Hmm, I should send M.K. a note.  The cherry bombs do have a delightfully explosive taste.”

Two weeks later in a small town in the Netherlands…

“King, my new tanning solution arrived!”   The Mountain King glanced up from his newspaper at his lovely dungeon assistant.  “That’s nice, Igora.  The sun is so bad for your skin.”

The woman peered at the label.  “I think a doctor scrawled this.  Well, my cover as a nurse at the insane asylum has made me adept at interpreting the horrible
handwriting of physicians.  Let’s see, that’s the abbreviation for, hmm, ah-ha, got it.  King dear, do we have a tablespoon?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Author’s Note:  A petard is an explosive device that harms others.  To be hoisted by your own petard is to be trapped in your own trap.)