Monthly Archives: June 2015

Chronically Lonely

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

The Mayor and the town manager waved as their next victim approached.

Bob, had moved recently to the quaint rural town of Sherman.

After exchanging pleasantries, Bob said:  “My property tax bill is inaccurate..”

“Take a look , Gilbert”, the mayor handed it over to the town manager.

Gilbert took out a huge book.

“So what did you do in New York”, asked Mayor Tom.

“I was an attorney…..” .

Tom asked some more questions, pushing some muffins Bob’s way. Gilbert joined in, while shuffling  papers.

“…..and Twinkles died two days after. We buried her with my goldfish”, Bob was saying, tears streaming down his cheeks , three hours later.

“There ..There…Edna  will have some kittens soon. I’ll get you a new ‘Twinkles’ ,Tom consoled him.

“Come back tomorrow Bob. We will have sorted out your tax bill by then”, Gilbert added.

The stood at the door waving goodbye.  “It’s been a while since we spoke to Mr.Matthews”

“I’ll prepare his tax bill next”. Gilbert set to work.

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This story’s sad inspiration from the real world is the plight of millions of elderly who live alone and experience chronic loneliness. Sometimes you can feel like a victim once you are ‘stuck’ in a conversation with them…but it has always been worth the while spending the extra few minutes.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2926046/The-one-million-elderly-people-days-without-seeing-talking-phone.html

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The above story was in response to ‘Monday’s finish the story’ flash fiction challenge. This unique flash fiction challenge  provides  a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Details are available here:

https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/06/29/mondays-finish-the-story-june-29th-2015/

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The junk pile

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

  “Hey boys, how ’bout y’all makin’ yer Ma some wind chimes?” ,I had said years ago. My two boys had turned up hours later with a wind-chime and a story:

“it’s a two headed monster..this is a eye and this the mouth …one head eats only beans..”

“and the other one drinks only beer”, the little one interjected , turning my head over to his side.

They competed to be the sole story-teller that day… for a place in my lap…for my undivided attention.

My love, ran like a gushing river giving each shore it’s fair share, uniting and ironically dividing them ,at the same time. What can I do to be a better mother? I had wondered.

As I watch them, from above, sifting through my earthly possessions and throw the wind-chime in the junk pile , I realize I did the best I could and that’s what  matters in the end.

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The above story was in response to ‘Monday’s finish the story’ flash fiction challenge. This unique flash fiction challenge  provides  a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Details are available here:

https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/381/

The invisible store

PHOTO PROMPT - © Kent Bonham

Radha  rose before sunrise to cook for her family and get ready to take the first bus out, praying that prime spot at the entrance of the Bazaar remains unoccupied.  She calculated Rs3 as the break-even price for her goods that were purchased on borrowed money from a heartless loan shark. Profit meant ……. Not clothes or exotic things  sold in the bazaar under shiny lights…. but food for a day or two.  Her back throbbed in pain where her husband had battered her in his drunken stupor asking her for money …but she hurried on.

The prime spot was unoccupied. She thanked God for her good luck and put out a lemon in front of her make-shift stall to ward off the evil eye.

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The women who have inspired me are not the Indira Gandhi’s or Hillary Clinton’s of the world but these unassuming , uneducated , hard-working women who lift their families out of starvation and ruin amidst numerous challenges and who serve as the invisible backbone of many a country’s economy. The pictures below would say what I feel more eloquently than any words I can write:

Photos of beautiful hard-working women entrepreneurs from around the world:

India:

photo credit: www.telegraphindia.com

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/janyjacob/beautiful-women-of-south-asia/

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indias-invisible-workers/article4488407.ece#im-image-12

Peru:

Photo Credit – http://bicycletouringpro.com/blog/250-reasons-to-fall-in-love-with-peru/old-woman-640×426/

Vietnam:

Photo credit: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/10/street-food-vendors-from-around-world.html

Jerusalem:

Photo credit: http://menzelphoto.photoshelter.com/image/I00009SgPXnL.ssA

Mynamar:

Photo credit: https://freedommuzic.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/myanmar-friends-cptc2.jpg

Ethiopia:

Photo credit: http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/30056644street-vendor-harar-old-town-ethiop-30056644.jpg

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This  100+ word story is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes, that fellow Friday Fictioneers have, on the same photo prompt:

Anything for Art!

PHOTO PROMPT - © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“I sketched a ceiling relief…of people..dancing exuberantly ..not the cherubic angels with the tiny..er…wings. When my bedroom was finished I only saw flowers ..everywhere. I cried . The artist consoled me. He said that I had extraordinary talent. But the Count, my late husband, had said : Flowers.  Seeing me cry he offered to loosen the chandelier …to let it dangle that it would surely fall around midnight. I took his offer”

The Prioress shook her head in displeasure at her young nun’s confession…. the girls nowadays … engaging in risky behaviour ..what happened to a good old dose of Belladonna?

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This story is set in Medieval Italy where rich widowed women were allowed to join a nunnery to pursue their love of art, although they had to keep it “religious”. I can almost imagine the heroine of my story “cherubize” her sensual painting to make it acceptable for her times and introduce one naughty-looking girl among the hordes of male cherubs, like the painting below:

Pic courtesy: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/jacobitevirtuosi/image7.php

Some info on Medieval women artists: http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-art/medieval-women-artists.htm

Belladonna:  is a flower extract used for many purposes including poisoning to kill.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atropa_belladonna

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This  100 word story is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes, that fellow Friday Fictioneers have, on the same photo prompt:

And the Nobel Prize for Common-sense goes to…

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

At first, it looked like an ordinary marble, but it was far from it.  But how could Tim have known that, when he had much so many other valuable marbles that earned him the Nobel prize in science? So he threw that dull ordinary marble in the dirt ..

When he opened his mouth in a science delegation in Korea, stupid words poured out:  “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry,

The room was still ,like the calm before the storm. Not aware of the big hole he was digging himself, he continued,  “I’m in favour of single-sex labs but I don’t want to stand in the way of women”

The prevalent theory in the scientific community: Tim has lost all his marbles.  In reality all he lost was one ordinary dull marble called : common-sense.

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“lost his marbles” is an euphemism for “losing one’s mind” or “acting stupidly”

The above quotes in blue are from Tim Hunt, who is more famous for his sexists remarks than his Nobel Prize in 2001. More news about him is in the below link:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/13/tim-hunt-forced-to-resign

His remarks have started an avalance of tweets from women scientists who have posted humorous pictures under the hash tag #distractinglysexy.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/12/413986529/-distractinglysexy-tweets-are-female-scientists-retort-to-disappointing-comments

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The above story was in response to ‘Monday’s finish the story’ flash fiction challenge. This unique flash fiction challenge  provides  a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Details are available here:

https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/mondays-finish-the-story-june-15th-2015/

The Minimalist Chef

Kitche picture prompt

“Honey, this kitchen is filled with my mother’s memories. It can’t be touched. I’ll let go of one thing though..for you”

“The paper lanterns needs to go…”

“Honey, Mother hand-made them.It has sentimental value”

“A fresh coat of paint?”

“Honey, Mother hand-painted Sharkie, Carpie herself…”

“If Crapie stays…. these old bottles go”

“Honey, Mother has a story for each….”

Lizzy looked around her late mother-in-law’s kitchen once more, the greased walls and useless clutter, and took a deep breath.

“OK. I want the fire extinguisher gone”

“Done”

Lizzy meticulously prepared for dinner the next day: “Flambe Bourbon corn chowder”, “Flambe Sirlion steaks  with coq au vin sauce”  and if that wasn’t enough : “Flambe Bananas”.

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From Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamb%C3%A9:

Flambé  also spelled flambe, is a cooking procedure in which alcohol is added to a hot pan to create a burst of flames. The word means flamed in French (thus, in French, flambé is a past participle; the verb is flamber).

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This  114 word story is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes, that fellow Friday Fictioneers have, on the same photo prompt:

Lace

Atleast once a year my husband brings up the topic of ‘Life after Death’…to be exact my life after his death…and he renews instructions on what I should do. This year, watching his brow furrow and hearing him say , “I worry about you sweetheart…what will you do?”, I thought what will happen to him if I’m gone before him , which is quite possible given that I’m not immortal. So I said, “Let’s talk about how you’ll manage if I died”. He just shrugged and said , “I don’t worry about myself”. That got me thinking on the insignificance of my labor and how it’s easily replaceable..because as this post eloquently says, the labour of women has never been valued and made available free.

Sarah Ditum

lace

I learned to make lace when I was small, solemnly winding my bobbins with white thread then working over the pillow with deepest concentration – twisting and crossing the splints of wood, carefully weighted with scavenged beads, never learning so well that my hands could work without stumbling, but working all the same. I made my first few pieces, slack-tensioned and a little sloppy. My older female relatives and family friends inspected them indulgently but unimpressed. They were Bedfordshire women who had learned the needle arts at school, women who had been educated for domesticity, women who could not believe that I would leave school at 16 unable to knit, sew or make pastry. “I could make this,” my grandma would say, plucking the unhappy hems of my Topshop jumpers. “Didn’t they teach you anything?”

Their lives didn’t stop at what their education had fitted them for, though, because this…

View original post 635 more words

Borders on the sky

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Zeus was not having a good day and he made sure everyone knew it. His petulance triggered his wife’s flashing temper and soon there was a thunderous outpouring of abuses.

Like wars that drew lines of blood ,separating one earth into nations, their quarrels divided them.

We looked at them from above, down our noses, Romeo and I . We were going to be different. We were going to merge seamlessly that no one would be able to tell where I began and he ended. We were going to teach the gods in heaven: “Love”. We were going to light up the earth with such brilliance eclipsing the sun….we were going to do a lot of things together as one…

Until, Romeo was not having a good day  and he made sure everyone knew it.

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The above 150 word story was in response to ‘Monday’s finish the story’ flash fiction challenge. This unique flash fiction challenge  provides  a new photo each week, and the first sentence of a story. The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided. Details are available here:

https://mondaysfinishthestory.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/mondays-finish-the-story-june-8th-2015/

Today is one of the best days of my life

I have at least 3 poems to describe what I felt when my welcomed my little ones to the world….in all poems I say , in essence, that it was the best day of my life.

I add those birthdays to ‘the best days of my life’ list where I already have several other days…engagements, wedding day, first job etc. Life has been good and I know I will have many more such ‘best days of my life’.

And then there are some days that were like a slap to my face and I ask….What if you can pinpoint the exact date and time you realized that you were stupid/ignorant….Would you add that to your ‘best days of your life’ list?

I had such a day in my life…this exact day in fact. It was an extremely painful day but looking back I realize without that moment I wouldn’t be where I am today emotionally: resilient and free…because it’s the truth, gained through knowledge,  that sets you free.

Since it turned out to be a defining moment of my life and transformed me to a better person, I’m going to add it to the list.

It’s still not in the same league as kissing a slimy ,mewling baby for the first time….but it made the list and will remain there as a reminder of  the limits of my knowledge and my limitless self.

First moon party

Note: Seriously mature topics on Feminism. Please refrain from reading further if you are grossed out by red or blood. There are graphic images in the link provided that are not suitable for male children. (of all ages)

This is a bit of an old news by now about  Rupi Kaur’s photo being taken down by Instagram and then added back after the protest of feminists:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11503621/Instagram-deletes-womans-period-photos-her-reply-is-great.html

When I saw this I had a mixed reaction. First reaction: It’s gross. Did this woman really have to do this? I ignored the news it generated but then it started to burn a hole in my brain. I realized that whatever medium a feminist chooses to bring across the gender message the most important thing is the message. Rupi’s message was powerful:

I will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. When your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified, pornified. and treated less than human

Maybe photos like Rupi Kaur’s will superimpose on those barely-adult-barely -clothed woman’s photos in the psyche of men  and allow for less objectification and more humanization.

Growing up in traditional India, there were a lot of taboos that we girls grew up with with regard to menstruation. When I came home with the ‘news’  the living room was rearranged to make an empty corner for me to sit on the floor. Relatives and neighbours were summoned. The women streamed in and out, ready to pour their share of turmeric water to purify me. Everybody in the world knew. (So, whatever I’m blogging about my life in this post is no secret.) No one was grossed out on hearing the news but I was treated as if I was gross.

This celebration of my grossness culminated in a wedding like event with a lot of presents for me. It wasn’t all that bad. Unless you count being suddenly alienated from your father…Looking at my father barely 5 feet away when he came in from work that day, sitting in a corner ,ordered not to get up and greet him like I usually do ,was the most traumatic moment of that whole episode.

Basically the message I got when young was that a woman is impure during this time and therefore has a lesser status than her usual lesser status in the society. From being the lowest in the totem pole to untouchable.

Things have changed a lot now with educated women breaking taboos on menstruation. There’s even a facebook page: Menstrupedia

https://www.facebook.com/Menstrupedia

In countries with developed economies and different cultures  there are no such taboos but there are jokes about PMS, dismissing women as hormonal.  Those are the things I think  Rupi’s message is trying to address.

I still find Rupi’s picture gross…as I would find a man’s leak gross.

Now , if I had a daughter , this is how I would be celebrating:

Without the ‘coffee filter’ gift ofcourse 🙂

So parents, please please invite me to your daughter’s ‘First moon’ party and let’s make it all fun for her! Let’s welcome her into womanhood by building a better gender equal society! Period!