If You Could Be Any Mythical Creature, What Would You Be?

Once upon a time, I had a boss who thought each employee on his team might benefit from sitting in on an interview. At the time I was working as a Quality Assurance Engineer for coded litigation documents. That fancy title meant I wore the most comfortable clothes possible without their being pajamas, worked in a cubicle corner that looked more and more like a cave every day, and frequently talked to my coworkers so that we didn’t start gnawing the upholstered walls out of boredom.

Quality control is mind-numbingly dull.

I was thus attired and thus mindsetted when said boss (we’ll call him Jim) alerted me to the interview and his expectation that I be there. I had no training in what to say but certainly knew I ought to have put on something fancier than jeans and a sweatshirt. At least I had shoes.

And so I went, attending my suit-clad supervisor. We met an expectant young man in the conference room. His name was(n’t) Mike. He also wore a suit. We shook hands all around and sat and organized papers and I pretended to know what I was doing.

“I see from your résumé that you worked at X…” Jim began. Fortunately, the questions and responses ran just like I’d seen in movies. I nodded at appropriate points, looked stern and interested at others, and added a (hopefully) relevant query when requested.

We were nearly finished, when Jim asked, “If you could be any mythical creature, what would you choose?”

Mike thought for a few seconds, then responded, “A ninja tiger.”

Besides the usual gamut of “Where do you see yourself in five years?,” “What experience do you feel you bring to X Company?,” and “Have you ever been in a stressful situation and how did you handle it?;” I knew some quirky interviewers pulled out a random question for fun (or, to my paranoid mind) for psychological assessment. When Mike, by all appearances a QA nerd, answered the way he did, I was surprised.

But Mike was/is a bit of an odd duck. I knew that because we hired him and I worked with him for at least a year. He enjoyed sitting at home and introvertedly watching hours of television, yet also bowled. And was quite good. He was quiet and reserved but walked the halls in a sort of sliding fashion. Yes, like a ninja. I believe he told me he had a black belt in karate despite having the physique of a toothpick.

Yes, this could very well be a post about judging people. Bad, bad Chelsea. Don’t judge.

I’m more interested in answering the same question posed to Mike: If you could be any mythical creature, what would you choose? I’m interested because of how that classifies us. People are complex beings. Sure, we relate to certain groups and often lump ourselves together with similar personalities and interests. Through a simple question about preferences, however, we can reveal a deeper aspect.

We can reveal a ninja tiger.

I’m not that cool. Most days I behave like a Grick, a “darkly colored worm or snake-like creature” that lays around caves and waits to grab things with its tentacles. Since I get to name my own preference, though, I’d love to be a phoenix or an imp or a dragon.

Flying, right? No-brainer.

How about you? What mythical creature would you choose? For bonus interview points, what do you think that might say about your personality?

Draconika

—————-

In the real world, here’s what I wrote last week:
Wednesday, May 15: Wrote “Just Another Day in the Life,” and learned that I need to stop dusting.

Thursday, May 16: “Suddenly Spring,” a poem about …well, suddenly spring.

Friday, May 17: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Deb Whittam!

Saturday, May 18: Announced the 26th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is engineering failures, real or imagined. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, May 19: “Tree Search Exclusive Tours, Ltd.,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, May 20: An inspirational quote by Timothy Leary.

Tuesday, May 21:”Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Four.”

Wednesday, May 22: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself,” “Special Projects Take a Lot of Time and Mess,” and “A Poem, I Think.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Four

Wil, Rob, and Jakob entered the usual silent dark of #42 more grimly than they did most Friday evenings. The zombie *hush-hush* of Cynthia’s nebulizer hummed a discordant duet with that of the rattling heating system.

Wil tiptoed to the couch in the light from the open front door. The door also welcomed a blast of chill air; Rob closed it and Jakob switched on the dim bulb over the range. All this outlined a slumbering Cynthia, complete with peaceful smile and slow rise of breathing. Her equipment, still on, lay nearby. Wil switched it off.

Wil!” Rob whisper-yelled. She looked up, blinking. He gestured to himself and she stumbled up and over to where he stood. “You start on dinner,” he continued whispering. “I’m going to change, then take over. Do you have homework?

Wil made a face.

All right. Do it while dinner’s cooking.” He stepped aside and pointed to a grocery bag on the counter, the very bag she’d acquired from her exploits earlier that evening…

Her father thumped past her as silently as he could in his work boots and headed down the hall. “Ooomph!” Wil exlaimed as Jakob followed suit; his aim had not been to travel around her. Not able to do more for lack of size and ability to noise complaints, she glared at her stepbrother. He threw her a final look of teasing humor before disappearing.

Wil turned to the plastic sack. She glanced round the dim room tomb as sifting, silent sand filtered down the cracks of peeking sunbeams. All seemed quiet, but Indiana Winters knew too well the peril of those who assumed no danger. With light-gloved touch, she moved the noisy sack-sides to retrieve its hidden treasures: a boxed meal and cans that claimed to be tuna.

She angled the box beneath the wavering electric light; she could make out pictures of pots and timers and a steaming pan at the end. “Well, well, well,” Winters said, her breath inches from the vague pictograms. “Etruscan influence, I’d say, with a smidgeon of Greek. Hmmm.” She moved her right hand to scratch beneath her favorite, battered fedora. “Now… what do they say to do first?”

Her nose near-touching the surface of print, she thought she recognized a symbol. It looked very like an object she’d encountered whilst searching. Round, shining, potable; it must be the same. She stooped with care, steel-tipped boots slipping on the polished tomb floor. With tongue gripped between set lips, she creaked open a small alcove.

She paused.

Nothing.

She searched left, right, up, down, and behind her crouched position.

Still nothing.

Reaching her free hand to within the dark depths, Winters brushed against a solid object. A solid, shiny object. She pulled it free -eureka! She rose to standing height once more, holding her glinting prize in the half-light’s flickers.

Her exultant feeling cut short as she again glanced at the pictograms. Despite acquiring this first relic, her mission to discover The Secrets of Din might forever end there. “Where,” she whispered, “Am I to fill this with water?

 

Continued from Ninety-Three.

Tree Search Exclusive Tours, Ltd.

“And this…” he paused, turned, faced the group with the red sun at his back and ash clouds beneath his boots. “Is where trees once stood.”

If the group had breath to gasp between their regulated air streams, perhaps they would have gasped. At least they stood in silence. Wearing the most stylish protective suits and SCBA money could buy, they stood in silence.

He shook his head inside his own, more functional suit. What good did these exclusive tours do, anyway? Surely these people, heads of companies responsible for the radioactive waste around him, did not actually care…

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Imagined and lamented for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: a story that goes in search of trees.

May 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes in search of trees. It can be one particular tree, a grove, woods, or forest. What makes the tree worth seeking? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by May 21, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit:
Image by Wendelin Jacober from Pixabay

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Well; hi, there! Do you like to poem? Yes? No?

Either way, you’re in the right place. This here’s The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. We’ve been in business for 26 weeks. Check out the somewhat informative post on terrible poeting for some tips and tricks, then read this week’s specifics:

  1. Topic: Engineering fails. You can write a lament dedicated to an actual, catastrophic, historic fail; or limerick about a fanciful one.
  2. Keep the Length between 9 and 199 words.
  3. Rhyming is purely optional, but intentional misuse is always a great way to destroy a potentially great poem.
  4. Most of all, write terribly! I want the engineers studying failures throughout history to read over your creation, shake their heads, and unanimously declare your poem to be the worst disaster the world has ever experienced.
  5. Keep the wording at a G-rating, for the impressionable members of the research team.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (May 24) to submit a poem.

If you wish a week’s worth of anonymity, use the form. Leave me a comment saying that you did as well, so we are sure it was submitted.

To be more social, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Whatever you do, have fun!

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Photo credit:
Amogh Manjunath

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

At looooong last, I’ve had time that I should have spent feeding my children and cleaning my house to spend on choosing a winner.

And that winner is: Deb Whittam.

Untitled piece

by Deb Whittam

i got you out when it
was darker than the darkest
night, when the silence
wasn’t golden, it was burnt
like toast forgotten in the
toaster, when all stared at me
not perplexed, kind of,
mean, if you know what I mean,
mean like Mexican bean beans.

it was you that brought
sunlight to my life, that made me
feel accepted and perhaps
even like liked
it was you who made others
smile, not that kind of smile
when they are placating you,
but that kind of smile when they
think what you said was actually
a little bit funny

where are you now, where could
you be hiding … in a suitcase perhaps
perhaps, then it was the best
of times, but now it is the worst
of times, for you, I miss you oh
sense of humor who stood by me when
I couldn’t think of what to say but,
now you are gone, gone as in absent, perhaps
forever, forever, ever

Congratulations, Deb! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

As is the norm every contest, the choosing felt brutal. I narrowed things down to about three poems; based on sounding like an elegy, losing something, and (of course) being terrible. Deb’s concoction had several bad poetry elements like repeated words that had no reason to repeat, and that it felt very much like a serious poem -but really was not.

As is also the norm every contest, the other entrants were hardly losers (winners?). Read below and see if you can keep a straight face:

An Allergy

by Bruce Goodman

Oh woe is me
For I have lost my Virginity
Somewhere between the pharmacy
And under the Linden Tree.

If you should see it running about
Give me a shout
Even if you are in doubt.
I have no idea how it got out.

It was here one minute and then gone
Quick as a flash, it didn’t take long.
Where could have I gone wrong?
I feel such a ning-nong.

I desperately want my Virginity back
To lose it is a great lack.
My mother says it’s my own fault, that’s a fact,
And anyway, she says, Virginity is a stupid name for a cat.

—–

Brain Matter

by Ruth Scribbles

Alas my brain
Was drained
through a strainer
Of multi media
Input and output.
What a pain!
It’s gone
With the wind
Wound up like a
String of yarn
Wrapped around
My phone
My brain was painfully
Drained!
Matter is spaced
It’s gone… my brains
Are gone
Pieces are sliding
I can’t catch them
Glue won’t help
My file cabinet has been
De-filed
I can’t even cry
Because my brain
Doesn’t know that–
It is gone gone gone

—–

I Miss My Phone

by Larry Trasciatti

My very heart and soul do break,
So forlorn and woebegone
When I , alone with my pajamas on
Have been begrudged my telephone.

I go to Google’s Hangouts and
Punch my number into the keys.
And hope and pray that maybe please
Its dulcet ring will soon arise.
O I suspect where it may be
Perchance in my pajama bottom
At least that’s where it was last autumn.
And just where are they when I need’em?

If it into my pants pockets was tossed
And only for a moment lost
I hope that soon our paths will have again crossed
And it will not in a machine get washed.

—–

Gone for Good, Gone for Bad

by Trent McDonald

Even keeled
In a fair wind
Keeping my balance
In all things emotional
I have lost thee!
How, oh how, could it be?

You are the one thing
That keeps me safe!
Without you
I would be beaten up
All of the time
You make me watch my mouth
my language
All of the time
I don’t insult bigger guys
Because of you
But now you are gone
To wherever such things go
No more
Gone

I see only red
I can’t find you
When the world is red!
Darn it,
I hate red!
And it is pissing me off
To no end!
The red is growing
I am trembling
I need to punch something
Because you are gone!!!!
GET BACK HERE!!!!!!!
Arrggggggghhhh!!

Ah, my temper
where can you be?
I have lost my temper once again
And the world
Will never be the same

—–

FLOWERS ON THE COFFIN

by Chirayu

May I live or die
But my love
will never die”

These words are
written on an
old maple leaf
which is still
on the coffin of the boy
who once said this
lines to his love.

Actual, this maple leaf is a valentine gift once given
by the boy to his girl
which last even after his death.

—–

Elegy For My Smartphone

by Joanne Fisher

Bitter the world becomes

when you lose your smartphone

Time and again at the days beginning

when I used to switch my phone on

to see the latest notifications

I must now mourn it’s absence

there is no one I can now

communicate to without Twitter

or Messenger

Without it how do I dare

open the doors of my heart?

When before I used to happily post away

not ever needing to guard my thoughts

but with it’s loss my world dwindles

day by day, and passes away

Where has my Facebook gone? Where is Twitter?

Where has Tumblr gone? Where the texts? Where my

player of music?

Where the Uber Eats? And where the pleasures of

my solitaire app?

Sad at heart I bind my feelings in fetters

I dream I still have my phone

then I wake and it’s absence

is more heavy on my heart

aching for it’s touch screen

and it’s comfortable place in my hand

Nothing is easy in this world when

even our phones are in the hands of fate

here tweets are fleeting, here texts are

fleeting, here Snapchat is fleeting,

without my smartphone the whole world

becomes a wilderness.

—–

By Any Other Name

by Jon

Euphemisms abound around this truth that’s hard to face;
My admission – I avoid it – staring blankly into space.
My loss has now beset me. My lament has brought me low.
Ever more do others notice. Clearly they’re no longer stowed.
Ere I pursued that line of thought, I prob’ly should have paused,
Alas too late, as now is clear, my marbles I have lost!

—–

Thar’ She Blows

by Peregrine Arc

I’ve had it up to here
My patience has disappeared.
No longer am I diplomatic;
no longer are we being quite so pragmatic.

You’ll get it done, you’ll jot it here
Two weeks later and it’s–oh dear!
It isn’t done, it isn’t well?
Well who could’ve bloody telled?

It’s no matter, I forgive
Just sign this paper here, no motive.
For my patience has gave, it is no more
For your incompetence has made me forlorn.

I’ll measure your shoulders, I’ll dig the hole
And into your coffin with prayers you’ll go.
For I’m tired of hearing you’ll do something soon
When you’d just as well promise me the moon.

—–

Elegy to My Last Pair of Glasses

by Leanna Jones

Farewell my glasses, farewell to thee,
I hope you know what you meant to me.
When you entered my life, I was delighted
But now your departure has left me short sighted.
I can’t watch EastEnders or read the news.
I can’t put on lipstick or lace up my shoes.
I now live in darkness, and perpetual blur,
With only the memories of how good things were.
Oh why did you go! Why did you flee!
I’m lost without you, quite literally.
An empty space on the side of my bed
And nothing to touch on the top of my …
Oh silly me, they’re always found there
I’ll check first next time, before I buy a new pair.

—–

Leon Hodges

by Violet Lentz

Ain’t never knowed no one like ol’ Leon Hodges. All piss, vinegar, and moonshine. Had a mouth a man shouldn’t a et with, couldn’t read a book, d’nt know a letter from a line.

He told some great tall tales tho’, ‘bout women, an wine, an song. Don’t know the truth of nar a one, ‘ccept ’bout how his first marriage up an’ done gone wrong.

Don’t know if he had any chi’drn, if he did, he never spoke a none to me, and I’d a have ta say he woulda, as I was prolly close to him, as another man could be.

When the news come of his passin’, it come down hard up on my heart- I ain’t gone lie. I’ll tell ya the truth, that mans leavin’ done tore this man apart.

All the times I shook my head and said, ‘You damn ol’ bastard liar!’, I’d give anything for one more night, with ol’ Leon, spinnin’ yarns in front o’ a good hot fire.

He was a good man, bl’eive that, cause I wouldn’t tell you no lie, was the best damn friend I ever had. Gol dang it Leon! Why’d ya up ‘n die?

—–

To Misplace is to Lose

by Michael B. Fishman

Hark thee temper, I loseth
thee
free…
quentlee.

Careless me.

Lo temper, a canker-blossom
you’re really pretty awesome
and more so even if you could come
across some
patience.

Look at that car! Says my beastly patience crassly. Oops, lost.

These lousy lines aren’t moving. Obnoxious and clumsy patience, plump and scary. Oops, lost.

He was out at home? What? That flabby umpire is blindingly blind! Oops, lost.

My lusty patience. Silly and sometimes witty. Mysteriously mysterious. And imperious. Why so serious? You joker.

Oh proud patience: my paltry pretender of a painfully prickly persistence. Would you obey me if I didn’t mislay thee?

—–

Thank you to so many entries this week! You certainly made the contest difficult to judge! Please tune in tomorrow for next week’s prompt.

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Deb: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

Suddenly Spring

Where once the tingling, Jack Frost taste
Bit bent and ser’ious mien,

A sky-rinsed stretch of waking Earth
Draws out unfurling green.

And called upon by nature’s pow’r,
Or, by a lace-tipped wing,

Th’ smiling, newborn flora shouts
Happ’ly: Suddenly spring!

 

Just Another Day in the Life?

I’ve been swamped lately. More than usual, I’m afraid.

I …may have taken a bit (a lot) onto my plate -a plate that was a bit (a lot) full to begin with. I believe I did so because I was bored, and/or may have finally had a good night’s sleep.

Besides this lovely blog that I love writing upon and the lovely people whose blog posts I actually do read, I’ve also been attending school. Of sorts. It’s called Pathways, and is like preschool for adults. This quarter (?) is on math (or, maths, for Brits) and has a teensy bit (a lot) of busy work each week.

Add a few life events like almost-everyone’s birthdays, a birthday party, and a baptism this Saturday.

Then sprinkle in a paid job I was doing but (perhaps fortunately) am not any longer.

Plus the children’s school is winding down.

Plus the ever-present duties of house and home (and now yard).

Plus caring for an at-home dice business that I don’t think I’ve ever talked about.

And, just for kicks, throw in a planned visit from our relative who has 8 children….

Yeah.

I’m not actually the Supermom sort. I’m not the Superanything sort; really, I’d settle on an edible chocolate ribbon for Best Example of a Flawed Human Being.

But I’m toast. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Even a bit ill.

I can’t help but look around at other people and wonder how they do it, especially those who work as full time teachers at my kids’ school and have children of their own. I asked one of their Vice Principals that question in jest. She laughed and said her kids tease her for running their house like her classroom.

-But that may be the answer I seek.

So, for reals, how do you run your household? Do you schedule the hours? Minutes? Especially when you have a job and/or children, was it all set up? Outlined? Assigned?

I really do want to know.

andrew-neel-117763-unsplash

—————-

I sort of wrote things this week, and here they are:
Wednesday, May 8: Questioned the legitimacy of personality tests and their appeal in “Are We Our Personality Types?

Thursday, May 9: “The Cure for Depression: Never Give Up, Never Surrender,” the final suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, May 10: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Michael Fishman!

And posted “Should You Have Kids If You Have a Mental Illness?” over at The Bipolar Writer Collaborative Mental Health Blog (now say it ten times fast).

Saturday, May 11: Announced the 25th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is an elegy to your most commonly misplaced household item. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, May 12: “Gramma Dear,” a poem about my grandmother, in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, May 13: An inspirational quote by Mel Robbins.

Tuesday, May 14: Nothing.

Wednesday, May 15: Halfwayish through the month!

I also posted a bit at my motherhood site. I’m pretty sure I need to stop trying to keep that one afloat and have downgraded to a free plan again.
Anyway; I wrote “Take Time for You. Ish” and “Happy Mother’s Day?

 

Photo Credit:
Andrew Neel

Gramma Dear

Flowered pots and colored notes
fly gently on the walls;

Whose smiling, standing stick-men

Wave out from rainbowed pen?

 

Wrinkled cheeks and vacant eyes
of startling, once-clear blue;

What’s inside now, Oh Gramma dear?

What’s cloudy and what’s clear?

 

Gnarled hands and anxious grip
that once held mine with love;

Whose fingers do you think these are?

Whose hand felt from afar?

 

Silent words and down-turned mouth
mar lips that laughed and spoke;

What joke or story would you say?

What do you think today?

 

Who are these strangers milling round;
unfamiliar people?

Where is the you

You know?

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Remembered for Carrot Ranch‘s weekly prompt: growing older

May 9, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about growing older. It can be humorous, dark or poignant. It can be true or total fiction. It can be fine wine or an old fossil. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by May 14, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit:
Cristian Newman