Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Spark

PHOTO PROMPT © G.L. MacMillan.

“Those are mid-century antiques… Be very very careful when dusting.”, Anna’s new employer’s warned.

Anna’s job was to dust all the beautiful furniture ,expensive and fragile china  , sparkling crystals, and rare collectibles that filled her employer’s home- Evermore manor. Anna’s eyes sparkled more than the crystals. She had worked her way up -from cleaning toilets to antiques.

“You are so lucky. You have soooooo many pretty things M’lady”, Anna gushed.

Lady Macbeth’s smile was vacant. Anna saw that her eyes – duller than the soil that once held her diamonds – reflected none of the sparkle she owned but an unfathomable void.

——- end ———

This exactly 100 word story is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week. PHOTO PROMPT © G.L. MacMillan.

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

The search

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Finish the story begins with:  “He thought he found the perfect hiding spot.”

For all his darkness burning hot.

He thought he dug so deep a hole.

To bury all the hate in his bottomless soul.

He thought he sealed it with layers of resentment and pride.

Like cement mixed right.

He thought he built a façade for the world’s sake.

With charity and piety rendering it opaque.

He thought he was invisible amongst the herd.

The roar in his voice never to be heard.

It’s with that confidence he let me search his eyes on our first date.

I clapped with joy on finding the perfect soul mate.

———————————end———————————–

The 93 word above poem like 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/2015/07/27/mondays-finish-the-story-july-27th-2015/

Cotton

unnamed

Mother spreads out the pallu of her cotton sari overhead and I ducked under it.

Giving the auto-driver the address of a store, Mother, bundled the pallu into  a face-mask – the cotton strands fights pollution.

The stores doors are propped open to allow a non-existent breeze.

” A/C repair , Madam”, the store-manager shrugs nonchalantly. The pallu alternates between a towel and hand-fan.

Wiping his sweat , on the sleeve of his cotton shirt, he reads our shopping list:  “Woollen: jackets, gloves, caps, thermals, socks, sweaters”.

Rushing to work , weighed down by wool, my mind drifts across continents like tufts of cotton.

—————- end ————————————–

Pallu is the loose end of a sari

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pallu

The “Auto” as we affectionately  call it ,is a special vehicle unique to parts of India..adapted to the congested roads of major cities.

This exactly 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:

Circle of evolution

“The petroglyphs told the story of an unusual event”. wrote  Professor Lovelot . What he didn’t know that it was a common event through history, one his son Matt was initiating right now with his girl-friend Kate on his iPhone.

Matt and Kate text  each other:

 u r 6Y :-*

u r  7K >-)

;S 0:-)

 ❤    

420 2NTE ?  

 20 ?

AH 

P911

 PITA

😀

Matt comes from a long line of lovers, following in the footsteps of his great-great-grand-father, Matthew ,who in the 1800s wrote to his lady-love:

“Dearest Katherine,

It with pleasure that I write to the fairest lady amongst all..blah ..blah..blah…….I wish to float with you amongst the clouds. I recently came into possession, from a rather seedy sailor I am afraid to note,  a herb that claims to help us fly…..blah blah …Nothing can stop us, even that painful thorn in the rear side, that is your father….blah blah ….

Your slave in love,

Matthew “

Before vowels and consonants….Matthew the very first, etched in rock a similar message to his Neanderthal-love.

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

———————  end———————

The rough translation for Matt and Kate’s text message exchange would go something like this , say if they were talking over a land-line, tethered to their kitchen walls in the 1980s.

“You are sexxxxxxxxy”, Matt makes kissing noises.

“You are sick “, Kathy stops him making an evil face at the phone.

“What did you say? “, Matty mock threatens Kathy and adds in a pious voice “I’m an angel”

“Friends”, Kathy declares peace to their mock fight.

“Let’s get high tonight”, Matty gets down to business.

“Which location”, Kathy inquires

“At my home”

“Parents are in the room”, Kathy says under her breath.

“Parents are a pain the a$$$$$”, Matty sings

Kathy laughs.

The about 150+ word 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/2015/07/20/mondays-finish-the-story-july-20th-2015/

Square peg in a round hole

PHOTO PROMPT- © Sandra Crook

Georges loved bright colours and geometry. He loved doodling squares and triangles everywhere.

He got into trouble with  the city when he left his signature doodles on the surface of public places.

His teachers gifted a big red circle on his report cards.

His mother, worried about his future, made him promise, on her deathbed, “Promise me that you won’t ever doodle on walls, floors..”

“Yes Maman”, he promised.

“On tables, chairs, pews, altars , curtains , clothes or on paper.”, she added all possible surfaces, knowing  how literal-minded her son was.

“I promise Maman”.

Georges wondered, as he laid the tile, if Maman could see this beautiful pattern  on the roof, from above.

——— end ——–

I google-d and found out that this picture is from Dijon, France – which is famous for buildings with  polychrome glazed roofs tiles among others.

I couldn’t help but wonder about the minds of human that envision such complex geometrical patterns and execute them as art. Sometimes such minds, fixated on geometry, are labelled autistic ….maybe they need to be labelled artistic instead. Sadly ,children of all mind-shapes are expected to fit into one pattern ….like a square peg in a round hole.

http://www.livescience.com/34904-geometric-patterns-are-clue-to-early-signs-of-autism-toddlers-with-autism-drawn-to-geometric-patterns.html

—————–

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:

Her father’s daughter

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Delphine always wanted to pilot her father’s plane and when he forgot his keys on her tenth birthday, she knew that taking off would be easy. But she didn’t take off. Her father had squeezed enough of his prudence into her whether she wanted it or not.

Delphine also wanted her father’s Jaguar. But she didn’t take it for a joy ride. Her father had imparted enough caution into her whether she wanted it or not.

She wanted her father’s ring, the antique family heirloom. But she knew it wouldn’t fit her little fingers.  Her father had squeezed enough of his common-sense into her whether she wanted it or not.

Years later, as she sat silently in the lawyer’s office, listening to her siblings fight over her self-made father’s hard-earned estate, she thought through what she had really wanted.

“You can keep it all”, she announced to her siblings.

She knew that taking off , to a higher plane of consciousness, would be easy …because he father had left her the keys to his heart.

——————————————— end —————————————-

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/2015/07/13/mondays-finish-the-story-july-13th-2015/

Memory lane

PHOTO PROMPT © Stephen Baum

Searching through the narrow tunnels of gray

a memory arises, like a sliver of light piercing fog,

pushing aside the dark and dank:

gentle breezes,hair on tip-toe

deluge of drizzles, dizzily moist

fragrant earth, musky breath

flutter of butterflies, buttery fingers

velvety moss, finger-tip sparklers

benevolent sunshine, lukewarm inferno

Ah! the might of a stolen kiss!

—– end —-

This picture at first sight took me to a dark place but the light at the end of the tunnel led me  to the beginning of a tunnel: a hallway in my college, not very different from the picture in that it was long -dark-dank. At the end of that hallway ,during break, stood my boyfriend waiting for me, in front of the principals office…the best place to meet without generating  gossip.

I struggled to recreate that romantic moment in words..maybe because we wanted to steal kisses but actually didn’t …or maybe because the moment belongs to a different lifetime…or maybe it was a dream and this boyfriend was just a figment of my imagination.

My boyfriend and I lost touch on the day of my marriage…one minute he was there looking deep into my eyes, the next he was lost in the crowd. I have never seen him since…I suspect my husband is holding him captive in a dark underground tunnel..

I dedicate this poem to my one and only boyfriend on the occasion of his recent birthday.

——————–

This 56 word poem 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:

Hat-Trick

https://mondaysfinishthestory.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/2015-07-06-bw-beacham.jpg?w=867&h=617

The barista shook his head. That hedge couldn’t have moved closer overnight. Could it?. His brain always played tricks in the morning before the caffeine kicked in.

He overheard two customer’s talk:

“What would you do if you got the runners-up medal”

“Take it home!?”

“You won’t throw it at the crowd..or something?”

“Why!?”

“So you would  accept being second best?”

“If I was good enough to get to the finals, gave it my best , then I would gracefully accept the runner-up medal”

“I wouldn’t”

“Well the runners-up earned their medal more than the substitute-players on the winning team , who just sat on the sidelines yet got the winning-trophy”

“Well, If I made the winning team, even as a substitute, it means I’m good. So I deserve the winning-trophy”

“I’d rather play on the losing team than win, sitting on the sidelines, by someone’s hard-work”

“That’s what losers say”

“I’m no loser”

“You are!”.

Apparently someone else also needed a Carli LLoyd style caffeine kick that morning.

That hedge was now looking like the US Women’s soccer team holding up their trophy. The barista gulped his espresso – his third one in 15 minutes.

—end —–

To the US Women’s soccer team: Thank you! You showed what “Play like a girl” means.

Its interesting to see how some people like to associate themselves with the  winning sports teams  and reflect that glory upon themselves just because they “support” or “cheer” for that team or are somehow associated with them..like being the same nationality/gender/hometown…. Some go to the extremes and  end up showing contempt for the those who support the losing team treating them like losers. This whole “going crazy over Athletes” and getting into fight over sports is a phenomenon I don’t fully understand.

But I guess this same attitude is shown in life to ‘victims’. There are some who empathize and there some who empathize. But there are much more who like to disassociate and distance themselves from a person who has suffered a misfortune.

—-

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/2015/07/06/mondays-finish-the-story-july-6th-2015/

Politicians

PHOTO PROMPT - © Jean L. Hays
PHOTO PROMPT – © Jean L. Hays

They labelled themselves: conservative, liberal, left-wing, right-wing, mavericks.

They differentiated themselves:  logos, banners, acronyms and colours.

They bought themselves each a TV channel , spraying their party ideals like graffiti on the airwaves.

They debated ,until their throats felt sand-paper, on what a woman should do/ not do with her body.

Their tongues spun like wheels endlessly on who should/shouldn’t marry.

But when it came to climate change,  they all stuck their heads in the sand ,like Ostriches , pretending not to notice the once green grasslands turning into quick-sand.

On election day, they asked me to pick one amongst the contesting read-ends. I picked the one with the nice rear-end.

————————————end ———————————————–

Found this interesting article when searching for pictures of Ostriches: http://news.yahoo.com/australians-bury-heads-sand-mock-government-climate-stance-104620653.html

(Can you spot the one maverick who is burying his head in the sand in his own unique way?)

——————————————————————————————-

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:

She doesn’t have a ‘she’

“She doesn’t have a father”, my husband responded when asked about our family back home in India pointing to me.

Not : “Her father passed away years ago”

Not: ” Her father is no more”

Not: “She lost her father ..years ago”

Grammatically , “She doesn’t have a father”- implies a wide spectrum of possibilities
– that the father is unknown…
– the father abdicated his paternal responsibilities…
– I’m a divine child – the next Jesus ..female at that…
– that I was cloned from a single cell in a test tube…

None of the above fit the circumstances of my paternity though…so I wondered about his interesting choice of words.  Grammar faux pas? or a subliminal dismissal of the most important man in my life?  I gave him the benefit of doubt and dismissed those words as a grammar faux pas.

The words do not leave my brain though..pushing aside all other thoughts to whatever dark corners thoughts can be pushed…those words are echoing across the empty hallways of neurons.. bouncing on every raw nerve. So I had to write this post to exorcise those words out of mind….and set the record straight in case someone still thinks : “She doesn’t have a father”

I had a father, who was alive, until I was 25 years old. A father who was married to my mother years before I was conceived. A father , who made a beautiful nest of a home with my mother,  caring for his children,  worrying about our future, joking with us, working hard to provide for us and loving us with a gentle ferocity that I still feel very acutely to this day. Above all that he was a good human being with a lot of empathy for people.

photo(5)
Above: Our nest. Dad on the far right.
Taken about 10 years before dad's death

Then he died at the young age of 52. His failed organs and body was burned …the ashes that were once his body were dissolved in the ocean. His body is no more. That fact does not negate a 25 year solid paternal relationship that serves as an anchor in my own parenting journey.

I just want everyone to know:
– I had an amazing and meaningful relationship with my father while he was alive on this earth. He was always there for me in every way.
– I have a very spiritual relationship with him now, that cannot be described in mere words. In essence: I have a father!
– I am very fortunate to have him as my father.
– I am proud of my father
– I don’t need anyone’s sympathy. I’ll take empathy any day.
– I will not tolerate people who treat me as an inferior just  because their father’s body is still eating and shitting or functioned until old age and my father’s body did not.  This last point is for those people who expect me  to feel “inferior” because I have no patriarch  to ‘protect’ me.
————

I spent a lot of quality time with my father and we had several meaningful conversations over the 25 years. I have witnessed first-hand how he handled his life’s lows and challenges. There were times I questioned his actions and he patiently explained his rationale ….his perspective. I got to know him as a human …his values, his motivations, his fears and his deepest hurts. At the time of his death, we had no unresolved issues between us. He knew how much I loved him and I knew how much he loved me….or so I thought until I had my own children and I keep discovering how much more he had loved my brother and me.

I was angry at first , towards whatever greater power there is, for taking him away from me. But over the years finding out more about the world ..the type of fathers there are out there …and the various degrees of dysfunction possible in a  father-child relationship , I have come to realize how lucky I am and I’m grateful for the time I had with him on earth.

I am not ashamed of my father’s frail health because he didn’t cause it. He did the best with what was given to him at birth. My father did not abuse his body with alcohol, smoking or drugs or even excessive food. He continued to work even after his kidney transplant and stopped only when his company forced him to take voluntary retirement. He was still looking to be productive and set up  a small business refusing to accept my monetary support.

photo 1(1) photo 2(1)

photo 3
Above: Pictures of important moments in my dad's career.

More than his failing organs, not being useful and productive and feeling like a burden was what killed him in the end. That’s  who my father was and always wanted to be: an eternal provider – only wanting to give, give and give to his children and never ever be in a position to take-  A rare farmer who believed that he has no right to eat the fruits of a tree he lovingly planted, watered and nurtured.

So , all, I have a father, whose soul is expansive enough to be there for us beyond death and my father will remain not just as my last name but his life and love will always be the prologue to all my life’s chapters …until …someone says ,pointing at me,  “She doesn’t have a ‘she’  “* .

Note:

*- “She doesn’t have a ‘she'” is my bad grammar equivalent to “She doesn’t have a father”  ..it’s meant to mean  “She no longer exists”