Earthquake

It isn’t loud, the sound of impending doom. It isn’t quiet, but it isn’t loud.

I’d always assumed the opposite.

Instead of a sudden dislodging of one’s solid footing with a sudden tap-tinkle-tumble of Grandma’s antique urn that had rested too near the mantel’s edge –

I expected a fanfare. I anticipated an alarm. At the least, I thought there’d be a Horseman.

But, no.

As I clutched my children against the shivering wall and listened to the silence that shook my world, I learned: there’s only the rumble of the moment.

It isn’t loud, the sound of impending doom.

Earthquake

Fallen debris is seen at a building at 500 South and 400 West in Salt Lake City after an earthquake on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

Written, then considered for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo ©2020 KSL Newsmedia

Throwback Thursday: Zombie Lunchlady

I had intended to continue H.R.R. Gorman‘s story today, but ’twill have to wait till morning. In the meantime, enjoy a three paragraph story I wrote back on October 18, 2017.

3 Paragraph Story: Zombie Lunchlady

Doris stood there, hand on hip, trying to figure out what to say. She’d already used up most of her standby phrases; things like, “Don’t forget, employees must wash their hands,” and “A smile will go a long way.” What worked for all the other ladies had not worked for this newest employee.

“Wash your hands” had led to the new hire carefully removing one hand, rinsing it, reattaching it somewhat sloppily, then attempting to repeat the process with the other one. Encouraging her to smile had sent the entire first grade screaming and running away from the queue.

Today, Doris had come to school ready for whatever came to mind. She’d thought to ask her fellow long-timers what they suggested. Looking hopelessly around the group, however, she realized they would not have any suggestions for the new girl. Rather, she had rubbed off on them already. They stood in a similar posture to hers, listlessly lolling their heads about and groaning. Doris cleared her throat anyway. Alerted, they all began shambling closer.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Rainbow in the Sky With Sparkles

“We’re here, live, at the public library, with an …interesting story. Here’s head librarian, Mrs. Scootz, to tell us more.”

“I am MS. SCHOTZ, and am the Media Specialist Director.”

“Sorry, I -”

“As to the ‘interesting’ story you reference, well! that is clearly all ‘story.'”

“I don’t see how -”

“Oh, ken help ye, Cutie!”

“It’s Kat, on-site reporter for KNN News. And you are …?”

“Hank, but you ken call me Hunk!”

“Rrright. Um… Hunk, can you tell us about Rainbow the library cat?”

“Shore shootin’! Las’ time I saw ‘er, Rainbow was blastin’ into space wit’ m’dog, Sparkles!”

Reported, live, for Carrot Ranch’s prompt about Rainbow the library cat.

With snowcats and situations in mind, I thought it would be a fun and informative exercise to write 99-word stories based on a situation. You’ll start with the situation and add what next, what next, what next until you arrive at “until finally.” In 99 words, of course.

February 20, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a library cat named Rainbow who escapes. Use this situation to write what happens next. Where does this e=situation take place, and who else might be involved? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 25, 2020. Use the comment section …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.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Dorry’s Claim: 50 Word & Six Sentence Story Thursday

60© Deb Whittam 2020

“It wasn’t fair that Dorry couldn’t get her hopes up.” – Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts – Kate Racculia

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

Old Reliance had seen better: better waters, better days; frankly, better owners. The same could be said of Dorry; feet swinging over the murky Mississippi, frayed cut-offs brushing against Reliance‘s rusted hull, matted clumps of curls sticking to her dirty brow.

It wasn’t fair that Dorry couldn’t get her hopes up, seeing as she never learned what hope was. Come to think of it, she’d never learned much of anything except to not drown and not get beaten.

No matter; things would be different, starting that morning.

Dorry rose, stood against the sweaty sky, declared, “I claim Reliance as m’own!,” and washed her hands of the man floating downriver forever.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

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

GirlieOnTheEdge‘s rules:

Rules of the hop:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word.
Link the URL to your post via the blue “Click here to enter” button.
Spread the word and put in a good one to your fellow writers 🙂

PROMPT WORD:  CLAIM

Dear, Sweet Sugar Report

“Looks like t’mail’s come,” Private O’Boyle said. He leaned over the M-2’s exposed, greasy innards and smiled at his friend.

Pfc. Flanagan grinned back. The two watched a soldier unloading a canvas bag.

“Betcha got one from Mary,” O’Boyle teased. He dodged Flanagan’s kick.

“Oh; aye? And what of you, Joseph O’Boyle?”

O’Boyle pretended sudden concentration in securing a bolt. A smudge of grease almost worked to hide his half-smile.

“Aha!” Flanagan said, “I knew it.”

“Knew what?”

“You’re not foolin’ anyone! You’ve had more Sugar Reports from Miss Josephine Callahan that the rest of the unit put together!”

airshow-2580500_1280

Written with a few ancestral names for this week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch:

February 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a sugar report. Use its original meaning of a letter from a sweetheart to a soldier, or invent a new use for it. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 18, 2020. Use the comment section 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.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Fred’s Best Friend

“He’s in t’flowers again.”

“Mmm-hmmm.”

Mae put a hand on a hip and glowered at Fred. The look failed, on account of his facing open-hood engine and not openly-hostile wife.

“Fraey-ed!”

“Mm?”

Fred hunted around for some lost cap or perhaps a lost widget. His wife was a determined sort, bound to hold her position till he acknowledged her.

“Fred!”

He couldn’t keep up the pretend-hunt. “Yes’m?”

“I say-ed that yer old dog’s out in m’flowers agin!” She whined. “I jest planted them daisies!”

Fred found his wrench. “Ah, Mae. I say t’let the old dog have his day!”

Played out in response to the prompt from Carrot Ranch: a dog in the daisies.

February 6, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to the theme “a dog in the daisies.” It can be any dog, real or imagined. Push into the setting and as always, go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 11, 2020. Use the comment section …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.

©2020 Chelsea Owens
Image © Charli Mills

An Overworked Poem About the Post

The post

Sky ghosts,

is never late.

‘gainst earthbound weight.

In backward cars

Self-lifted, ours

down country roads,

with cloud-held loads.

the smart-dressed man

The barefoot clan

(or, smart wò-man)

(and –true– bare-hand)

comes round each day

cavort and play,

to drop a note;

whilst ‘letters’ float

turn down a flag.

from heav’nly bags.

for

for

Neither snow

When winds blow

nor rain

‘gainst wingèd pain

nor heat

-lofty feet,

nor gloom of night

always in flight-

stays these couriers

windflung ferriers.

from the swift completion

Our mail tote: depletion,

of their appointed rounds.

Soaring o’er the rabbl’ing ground.

 

Written for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: a postal carrier in an extreme situation.

sommi-h-yb5TjYJ-I-unsplash

©2020 Chelsea Owens

January 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a postal carrier in an extreme situation. Even if you base your story on a true one, focus on the core trait of this postal carrier. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 4, 2020. Use the comment section… 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: https://unsplash.com/photos/h-yb5TjYJ-I

Throwback Thursday: Customer Service

I wrote this little ditty from a writing prompt from Reddit, way back before I knew the wonderful world of blogging. I dredged it up and first posted it July 11, 2017.

Customer Service

“And I-uh-I will all-ways love yooo-ooo-oou!” I belt out, then pause to strike a pose as the thrilling, albeit low-quality notes continue bravely on through the overhead speaker.

“Sharon, report to customer service. Customer waiting,” rudely cuts off the rest of Whitney’s (muted) boisterous tones.

I frown, and try to remember what I was doing on this aisle, before grabbing a random shelf item to sing into. I appear to be in the Clearance section. I am still holding my makeshift microphone.

“What the -” I think to myself, looking more carefully at my hand. It seems to be a tube full of glittering solution. I thought it was Princess-themed body lotion for girls or something, but now I see impossible phenomena: swirls of color float sporadically inside the bottle like miniature Northern Lights.

“Wow,” I breathe, a bit mesmerized.

“Dab. Da babba!” My infant son demands, smacking at the bottle awkwardly with his wet hands and breaking my concentration.

I smile at him. “Sorry, bub. We’re going now.” I notice I’ve picked up the crazy parent tendency to talk to my child, even though I am certain he doesn’t know what I say. I shrug. Maybe, I hope he does. Maybe I’m really just telling myself.

Absently, I allow him to pull the sparkle tube into his hands and I push the cart down the aisle.

“Squeee!” He excitedly screams, shaking his new toy. He tries to eat it.

“Now, Sam,” I begin, about to lecture a ten-month-old on the dangers of foreign paint.

“May I help you?” A man asks. I look up and see an oddly-dressed store associate. He looks as though he took his blue uniform vest home and embellished it with tassels at the corners. In fact, dangling fringe seem to be his thing; since there are also tassels on his slippers and his hat, and he sports a goatee.

“Whatever,” I think to myself. “They are scrambling for employees right now.” I smile at the strange man. Aloud, I answer, “No, thanks.”

He bows. “I was speaking to the Young Master,” Odd Associate clarifies, gesturing toward my son. “I didn’t understand his request.”

“Huh?” I ask, my face showing confusion. Perhaps this associate wasn’t all there. I mentally plan an exit strategy.

“Ah,” Odd One says. “I forgot to introduce myself.” He straightens up, smooths down his clothes and announces, “I am Amijd, Genie of Akmand. I am here,” he bows again, “to grant your wishes.”

If my face showed some concern with the confusion at first, I am certain concern -or, more accurately, alarm- is all I express now. I begin backing towards the other end of the aisle.

Amijd looks surprised. “I did try,” he hastily adds. He reaches behind him and pulls out a squeegee. I stop, and stare at it, and him.

He sees the look, and explains, “Young Master asked for a ‘squeee!’” Amijd looks apologetic. Sam gets excited. “Squeeee!” Sam squeals again, dropping the effervescent container and reaching slobbery hands out for the window tool instead.

Amijd steps forward a bit in reflex of the falling bottle, but it lands harmlessly next to Sam in the cart basket. Amijd appears relieved, and he instead places the squeegee into Sam’s hands.

I look at the overly-friendly Middle-Eastern man, standing expectantly near us and smiling. I look at Sam, trying to eat the corners of a black plastic sponge. I look at the swirling colors of the dropped toy.

Still eyeing “The Genie of Akmand,” I carefully pick up the bottle and wipe it off on my jeans. Amijd, if possible, looks even happier. He bows to me. “What wish do you command?” He asks.

“Well,” I begin. If there is any truth to this wish thing, it seems worth it to try. I look around the store, at the merchandise in my cart, and at Sam. “Well, how about, ‘I wish to have all of my purchases paid for today?’”

Amijd’s face clouds in concentration, then he waves his hands and says, “Done!” He looks hopeful. I look down at my basket. Nothing seems to have changed.

“Um. Okay,” I say. I decide to go to the checkouts, in case something looks different there. I turn and walk that way. The genie follows, his slippers softly shuffling across the waxed titles.

We reach the checkout, not without some odd looks from other shoppers. The checker seems unimpressed, though I’m sure she’s seen some odd getups working here. She scans my items in a bored manner. “That’ll be $65.83,” she says, looking out the window.

I glare at Amijd, who changes his pleased look for concern. I pull out my credit card and slide it through the machine. “I even had to pay for that squeegee,” I tell myself.

“Have a good day,” Checker automatically intones, as she hands me my receipt and starts scanning the next person’s items.

I gather up my bags and start walking to the doors. Amijd skips right along.

Once outside, I stop. I look at him. “What the heck?” I ask. “I still had to pay for everything -even Sam’s ‘wish’ you gave him!”

The genie is surprised. “I granted that everything was paid for,” he defends. I think about that. He is technically right. I groan. I didn’t want this kind of wishing, the kind where you might get dropped in an ocean if you don’t specify where you want to be when given a long-lost treasure.

“That’s not what I expected,” I tell the smiling tassel man. He looks thoughtful for a bit, then says, “Ah. I will try harder. But,” he adds, “I may only grant you two more wishes.”

“Of course,” I think. I look down at Sam, who has successfully gnawed a strip of the sponge away from the plastic. I try to think. “Any wishing for more wishes?” I ask. Amijd shakes his head, his tassel swaying across its hat and his head.

I think some more, hard. “Okay.” I pause. “I wish for our car to be paid off, but not by me, my husband, or any relative.” I look at Amijd as he does his frowning and hand-waving. He looks up. “Done!” He announces.

Just then, a crossover SUV peals into the parking lot. I catch a glimpse of a blonde woman applying lipstick, with a cell phone clenched between her cheek and shoulder. Half of a second later, she misjudges her turn into the stall and smashes into the side of my car.

I stand there, aghast. “Amijd!” I yell. “Damid!” Sam repeats, giggling. I watch the woman get out, still holding her phone. She looks at what remains of my car, from different angles. She seems to be trying to find a position at which the damaged vehicle does not look completely smashed in.

I might suspect coincidence, if not for the affably pleased oddity standing near me, and the fact that Blondie seems to have no damage to her car. I check the parking lot for any other random maniacs, and cross with my cart to the accident scene.

The blonde woman is still walking about, her black heels clicking loudly on the asphalt. “Hey!” I say. She stops, and looks up at me. I can see that she didn’t finish her makeup job.

“Oh my! I am so sorry!” She says, her apology fighting to show through the botox in her face. “I don’t know what happened, dear!” She finally detaches the cell phone, and flips her hair over a shoulder.

“You call the police, honey,” she points at me. Somehow she has already extricated her insurance information. “They always take a while to get here, so I’ll just pop in the store and be right back for my statement,” she says as she hands me her card.

“Thanks, dear. Sorry again.” I watch her blonde hair and black shawl walk away to the echoing sounds of her shoes. The store doors close behind her.

“One more wish, Master,” I hear near my elbow. I look from the toll-free phone number of Blondie’s car insurance company to the expectant, goateed man. I’m considering calling the police for two reasons now.

I have the feeling Amijd won’t leave till I’ve spoken my last wish, though -as tempting as arrest sounds right now. So, I try to think of a harmless wish as I dial the number to report accidents.

I’m put on hold.

“Okay, Amijd,” I say, holding my own phone with my shoulder. “I wish to lose twenty pounds.” He mumbles and waves his hands as the operator finally comes on the line.

“Hello. Yes, I’d like to report an accident,” I say. I glance around, happily noticing that Amijd is gone. I look back at my car and say, “Yes, we’d like an officer. It’s at- wait! Where’s Sam?!”

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

The Hereafter, Aloft

She came every day at 5:00; after making her way from the bus [D’you need a hand, Mrs. Parker?], down the sidewalk, to the bench.

She needed more and more assistance from those sweet young nurses [What if we skipped the park today, Mrs. Parker?] with each passing day.

The birds know her. Chirping – flitting – pecking. She laughs at their avian antics.

[Come with us.]

“What?” Emiline Parker glances around. A sparrow eyes her.

[Come fly.]

“…Why?”

[You’ve cared. It’s the least we could do.]

Considering, she nods. The birds alight; a new friend among them, an old life behind.

tumblr_pmwougFDsl1rcicodo1_540

From this gif, as prompted by Charli at Carrot Ranch.

©2020 Chelsea Owens