Wilhelmina Winters, One Hundred

Mrs. Riles surveyed her unwilling pupils. Each one engaged in a personal style of avoiding attention: itching an imagined irritant, reading over his paper, or feigning interest in the unadorned walls. Eeny, meeny, miny, “Ms. Winters.”

Wil looked up; by every appearance surprised to be sitting in a classroom, let alone addressed by name. The reaction, in turn, unsettled her teacher enough to soften her tone. “Would you please read your composition, Ms. Winters?”

“Oh!” Wil scrabbled around her desk before successfully retrieving the small pile of papers sitting on top. Stumbling out of the seat and legs, she clumped up to the front of the room and turned to face her peers. She read over the top page, not seeing it; glanced back up at the sea of teenagers. One yawned. Most settled into positions of boredom. Reagan, two rows back and next to the wall, made an expectant gesture to continue whilst smiling her trademark smirk.

Wil smiled in return and resumed her task. The typed symbols resolved to readable English letters. “Harriet Tubman, Moses of America.”

*MRS. RILES!* the ancient loudspeaker on the wall crackled. Their school secretary, Mrs. Bird, never formed her requests as a question.

Mrs. R. did not hide her irritation. “Yes?”

*SEND WILHELMINA WINTERS TO THE OFFICE TO CHECK OUT.*

In case anyone thought to defy the blaring wall speaker, Mrs. Bird added *NOW!* She crackled off with a high screech.

Wil, her class, and the teacher winced; then took turns looking from one to the other to the other in surprise. “Well,” Mrs. R. finally concluded, “Get your -oh.” She saw that Wil had nothing waiting at her desk. “Erm -hand in your report, Ms. Winters, and we’ll continue this another time.”

Wil stood, uncertain.

“Wil?” Wil met her teacher’s eyes, and felt calmed by their focus. Mrs. R.’s features resolved to an unusually kind expression. “Wil, come here.” Clunking in her heavy boots and bumping the odd desk, Wil went to her teacher. “May I have your report, please?” Her hands obeyed. “Thank you.”

“Now,” Mrs. R. said, “I think you’d better go to the office. We’ll see you in two days.”

Wil nodded; found her voice. “Okay.” She made it to the door before thinking to add, “Thank you, Mrs. Riles.”

Her teacher, in answer, waved her on. She was already focused on selecting her next victim. Wil didn’t know what lay in store for her at the office, but felt a distinct relief at being rescued from her own oral report.

 

Continued from Ninety-Nine.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

The Apple

Doug stared at the cursor which marked the end of a lengthy piece. A smashing piece, really; one for which he might garner literary praise.

-If not for a little thing called conscience. Doug’s finger poised over the ‘Submit’ option, pulled back.

It’s not a factual article. Don’t publish it.

His conscience sounded deeper than Jiminy Cricket but was no less annoying. He was a grown man, working for The Apple, for the love of -! Well! He, Doug, was not to be bullied by a fantastical creature.

He clicked the button, releasing his minor poison to the unsuspecting masses.

Written, factually, for Charli’s prompt at Carrot Ranch.

August 8, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a poisoned apple. Let’s explore dark myth. Deconstruct the original or invent something new. Negotiate the shadows, shed light, but go where the prompt leads you!

Respond by August 13, 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.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Those Who Knew Her

She hadn’t expected a fanfare, nor a parade. Like most who pass through life, she’d thought those who knew her would attend: Mr. Partridge, her under-neighbor; Mrs. Tolk with the annoying parrot next-door; even cranky Mr. Ky, who delivered her groceries.

“None of them,” she said in a church whisper.

As the pastor’s words echoed round the empty room, she felt an empty hand pat her incorporeal arm. One other soul attended. “I’m sorry,” Clarence commiserated. He gave her a smile.

Miss Wonderly murmured, “Thank you,” softly as before and sat down on the edge of the chair’s wooden seat.

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100 words for Kristian’s 50 Word Thursday Prompt.

Miss Wonderly murmured, “Thank you,” softly as before and sat down on the edge of the chair’s wooden seat.” – The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to the 38th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! This is a special week, because the infamous Bruce Goodman has offered to judge!!!

If you’re new or looking for a brush-up, here‘s a basic outline of what ‘terrible poetry’ means. Ready? Great!

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: Plot twists. Lament about how often stories have them, include a few in your poem, or pull a fast one on us and keep the poem going exactly where we expect.
  2. Length: Since this is Bruce’s first time, let’s be nice to him and keep the word count under 200.
  3. Rhyme? Your call. Have fun with it!
  4. As the #1 rule listed at #4, make it terrible. I want Bruce himself, master of the macabre story twist, to shake his head in disbelief and secretly envy the part of the twisting Roman gutters in which your mind lies.
  5. Rating? For general audiences, keep things PG-13 or cleaner. Bleep it out if you really need to release a torrent.

****NOTE**** The due date is slightly earlier, so I can get Bruce the list of entrants.

You have till 11:59 p.m. MST next Thursday (August 15) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

For a more social experience and to ensure we receive it, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

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Photo credit:
Pawel Janiak

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Another week, another round of great entries! You all free versed enough to set iridescent butterflies wafting round a blushing summertime rosebush.

Yet, there can only be one winner. And that is:

Untitled piece

by Deb Whittam

latitude and longitude, dormant darkness
of desserts concaved with sand. frosted
waves pounding cliff faces rugged
as gulls mournfully cry their solemn
lament. giants rustle leaves in hollow
reproach, as winter exhales. in a basement
a cheerless rodent sneezes, a whirlwind of
dust. below grim encrusted tunnels feet
scamper, fleeing the angry beast, who bellows
its angst in short blasts three. The umpire shouts TIME.

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

All the entries this week were fantastic! Deb’s poem won for how well she took traditional free verse and destroyed it. The icing on the cake was her “a cheerless rodent sneezes.” Well done!

If you thought hers was terrible, see if you can get through the rest:

Sugar cubed

by Bruce Goodman

You are the teaspoon that stirs sweet sugar in my cup of tea;
imagine how yucky the tea would be without you
to stir the saccharine cubes in the beverage for me to drink.

That is why you are my honey-bee hovering near my cup and saucer,
my stirring implement that is wild and free
and goeth round and around all syrupy with glee and delight.

My teaspoon! My teaspoon! from A to Z*!
(*pronounced ZED because we’re not allowed to rhyme this week)
Every time I come back from having a pee
there’s always a further five or six sugared hot cups of tea waiting to be imbibed.

Thank you for being my sugar cube agitator, adorable Constantia.
When I see you dissolve sugar I dissolve into a sticky mess.
Will you take time out from stirring my sugar cubes to marry me?

—–

Hola

by Peregrine Arc

Goldfish, mirrors of angelic happenings
Twittering ’round my pâté
and never I did I want to become a bat.
A florid, Florida bat with a floral dress
Flowery, shimmer, summery.
Striking Cover Girl poses at a laundromat recycling bin.
But alas here I am, at a restaurant poking a salad at a beach
80 years old, playing Bingo with Uncle Mingo
A flowery, fruity, in more ways than sooth
Ol’ bat.
Cha, Cha, cha. Ole!

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

In our darkest times you bring unbroken sunshine
With a bouquet unrivalled amongst the finest wine
Like a fragrant flower sat below the finest red pine
How can something so small be so life enriching
Your smell, your taste so utterly bewitching
Just one drop is so completely uplifting
You shine out on our world like the stars of the southern cross
You are as wondrous and spectacular as the wandering albatross
You paint the world with a sparking diamond jewel embossed gloss
In the kitchen you are the unrivalled boss
Riding across the sky like the ancient god Helios
You are our light oh Great Tabasco Sauce

—–

Ode to Doublemint

by Ruth Scribbles

Elixir of arousal
Enticing my buds to
Long for the burst of delightful
Flavor
My orifice masticates
Releasing angst and queasiness
You are fettered for my sustenance
My perseverance in chasing you
Is made worthwhile

—–

Untitled piece

by Trent McDonald

Ah, fast and furious
Flicking around
You scurry to and fro
Like a drunken apricot
Charlie Chaplin on speed
Multiplied by two
On your long thin legs
So gloriously gorgeous
That you have six
For how can but two do
Or even Charlie’s three
Including his cane
For his cane is part of him
Isn’t it
But you have six
Naturally
And you don’t have a mustache
But the mandibles
So roundly curvaceous
Sweeping, sexy mandibles
And antennas
Or is it antennae
Let me look closer
With this magnificent magnifying glass
Shape, clear crystal for seeing
Ooops
I didn’t mean to
Burn you up
Sorry ant

—–

Thanks to everyone for poeming! If he’s game, I’m thinking of having a guest judge. We’ll see how that goes. Regardless, come back at 10 a.m. 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:

A Tribute to Masercot

I love the bloggers I’ve met online! As such, I want to pay a monthly tribute to my favorites with a post in their style.

Today’s author is Charles, AKA masercot. Although his “Moosehead Stratagem,” “Ask a Genetically-Modified Bio-Engineered Super-Intelligent Dog,” and history lessons are …interesting reads; Charles is most famous for his irreverent lists on varying topics. I will therefore attempt just such a list, in the voice of masercot.

Why It’s Better to Not Be Bright

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Instead of staying up all night wondering if life has meaning, you can stay up all night watching reruns of “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.”

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If your girlfriend just smashed the car into a cement piling and called your number, she’ll immediately say, “Oh! I forgot!” and call someone who can help instead.

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Pretty much nothing at work is your fault. Even though it probably is.

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You’re a shoe-in for any political office. Don’t worry about how to get there; people with money and slightly more brains will help you.

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Whenever your grandmother turns to you and asks what Thirteen Across is, your dazed and blinking expression will help her realize you’re singing the theme song to “Saved by the Bell” and she’ll have to ring for the nurse.

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Offers like “extended warranty” and “variable interest” sound interesting and exotic.

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Since ignorance is bliss, you’ll be euphoric. (That means you’ll be stupid.)

—–

I know I fall a bit short of the master so, if you liked what you read, give masercot a Follow.

 

Photo Credit:
Daniel Mingook Kim
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Five Songs to Kick Your Confidence in the Rear

I love music. Music helps me think, feel, breathe, live. When I need to focus on running, I listen. When I need to tune out distractions and write, I listen. When I need to relax, I listen.

In the past, I wrote about songs that move me and songs that help me create. I therefore wish to delve into songs that kick my motivation in the rear and boost my self-confidence.

I think of them as my Girl Power Songs, Bad-A Ballads, or Power Playlists.

My first pick is songs from The Matrix soundtrack. That is because The Matrix is my power movie. I watched at least a part of it in college, every day that I needed a boost. The music is no less empowering.

Second on my motivational music playlist is Evanescence. Amy Lee is my kind of singer, combining classical powerhouse with near-death metal grunge. This is the sort of song I know the words to and sing/yell along to every time.

Third brings us into the first of my adult choices. I listen to a variety of music, but only like a handful of rap. Maybe a few fingers-worth, actually. I’d be no sort of music-lover without Eminem’s “Mom’s Spaghetti”* making my list.

Not far behind is Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy.” Also not one I can turn up around the kids; it’s still one of my top motivational songs.

Last for this truncated list are dubstep playlists. I particularly love having a fast-paced final number for my last lap or final aerobics set. This remix of “Turn Down for What” is perfect for just that.

Do you listen to music when you need a boost? What are some of your upbeat favorites? Do you turn them up and yell along?

—————-

The following were written without the aid of music, due to the presence of small children:
Wednesday, July 31: Wrote “All We Are is Dollars in a Wallet.”

Thursday, August 1: Answered Mathew’s questions in “Another Liebster Thingie.”

Friday, August 2: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bruce!

Saturday, August 3: Announced the 37th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a free verse of whatever subject you choose. PLEASE ENTER! Tell your friends! Tell your enemies!

Sunday, August 4: Shared Norah Colvin’s interview with me about school day reminiscences.

Also, “Song, For One,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, August 5: An inspirational quote by Neil Gaiman.

Tuesday, August 6: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Nine.”

Wednesday, August 7: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “The Dishes and Other Evils,” “The Top Ten Reasons Why Being Pregnant is Awesome,” and “Five Minutes Later.”

 

*Yes, I know its real name is “Lose Yourself.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Nine

“Martin Luther King, Jr.,” read the boy at the head of the room. Although class had been in session for ten minutes; his audience yawned, fidgeted, dozed, or daydreamed.

Equally glassy-eyed, Wil blinked. Her eyes fixed on the white board behind the boy –Lucas? Most of her thoughts were miles away.

Lucas took the top paper of the pile he gripped and stuffed it, crinkling, to the back. He sighed and continued in a monotone, “Martin Luther King, Jr., original name Michael King, Jr., born January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.—died April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee…”

Wil’s head drooped. She longed for her book, nestled back home in her covers without her. She frowned in thought. No, she wished to be with her book in her bed.

“…Baptist minister and social activist who led the civil rights movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968…”

In the pause he took to breathe, Mrs. Riles piped up. In unison, she and Lucas recited, “His leadership was fundamental to that movement’s success in ending the legal segregation of African Americans in the South and other parts of the United States…”

Their impromptu act awakened a few students. A few tittered, realizing what Mrs. R. was doing. The laughter, more than his teacher’s synchronized recital, caused Lucas to stop and look up. Mrs. R.’s expression when he did so caused him to swallow. Hard.

“Mr. Hampton.”

“Miss -Mrs. Riles?” he stuttered. His peers watched, now alert.

His interrogator and their mutual instructor appeared amused, like a python enjoying a joke. “Would you like to tell me how I was able to read your report, word-for-word, from my phone?”

The snake’s victim shook his head and dropped his eyes to his pages; which, in turn, he dropped to rest against his legs. One sneakered foot brushed the other, and back.

“I think you’d better sit down. We can talk some more about this after class.”

Lucas nodded and shuffled back to his seat.

“Right,” Mrs. R. said in a brighter tone. “So… who’s next?”

 

Continued from Ninety-Eight.
Keep reading to One Hundred.

All text about Martin Luther King, jr. obviously and intentionally swiped from The Encyclopedia Britannica.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“It’s not irrelevant, those moments of connection, those places where fiction saves your life. It’s the most important thing there is.”

-Neil Gaiman, Newbery Medal acceptance speech for The Graveyard Book at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Chicago, July 12, 2009.