Flash Fiction Friday-A Call To Action

Morning everyone! I want to start today by thanking all the peeps that checked out my blog yesterday and commented on my new “do”, it was much appreciated and I was happy to see that my blog is starting to reach some of my friends in the real world as well as the blogosphere! I got some sweet feedback and even some helpful advice, thanks again to everyone who visited and commented.

It’s been a pretty good week for writing and I notice my followers increase when I write more frequently. Sorry, I have been absent so much, it has been pretty busy around the Smyth house lately but things are settling down for the moment. I appreciate your patience. With that being said, welcome to another edition of Flash Fiction Friday, I hope you enjoy what gets conjured up from my imagination this morning.


A Call To Action

The phone rang, waking Jerri’s one-year-old daughter Sasha. She made her way down the hall, propping Sasha on her hip after lifting her from her crib, snatched the phone off the wall in the hall and plunked Sasha unceremoniously into her high chair all at the same time. “Hello?”

“This is the city of La Port’s Office of Emergency Management with an emergency message regarding Hurricane Steven, do not hang up.  Based on current predictions and forecasts, the following actions are in effect for the citizens of La Port: City officials have declared a state of emergency and a MANDATORY evacuation…”

Jerri dropped the phone and turned on the local weather, eyes widening as she realized the storm was almost upon them. No time to get to her sister’s house in Austin, she would have to make preparations to go to the city shelter. The roads were already congested, according to the news crawl under the weather map on tv, what was she going to do? She needed to think a minute.

Calling her husband Bill while giving Sasha a snack on the tray of her high chair, Cheerios keeping her little fingers busy while Jerri waited for Bill to pick up the phone, her mind was a mad jumble trying to think of what all she could grab before dashing off to safety. “Hello?” Bill answered finally on the fourth ring, “Listen, Honey, I know you’re probably in panic mode, but this thing isn’t as bad as they are saying.”  “BILL! I just got a MANDATORY evacuation notice and we can’t get out of here! I’m freaking out a little, and I need some help. I am taking Sasha and going to the shelter, grab your stuff and meet me there, I only have room for mine and the baby’s stuff in my car! I don’t care what you think, I am not gonna be stuck in this house alone while the roof gets blown off!” “Ok, calm down Jerri, I’ll come home for lunch and assess the situation. If I feel we need to get out, we will all go together.” Jerri relaxed slightly and blew out a sigh, “Ok Honey, sorry I got so upset. It’s just that they are serious this time and I think we should listen. I’ll go ahead and get everything ready, see you when you get here, love ya!”

Three days later they emerged from the shelter, grabbing their child and what precious little they managed to take in the rush to leave their doublewide mobile home, Bill still not believing it was serious and Jerri trying her best to convince him otherwise. Wading through water up to their butts, they looked up and down the streets at the devastation left by the storm. Cars were overturned, trees uprooted and roofs no longer existed on most of the buildings. Making their way to Bill’s truck, thank God it was lifted, maybe there was a chance they could still get into it and drive back to the house.

People were literally passing them by in canoes and other watercraft, looking to get back into their own homes or looking for anyone needing to be rescued. The area was a complete mess and Jerri wasn’t holding on to much hope they would find their house in tact. They plodded toward Bill’s jacked up Chevy Avalanche and luckily, the doors were above water. They made the decision to throw their belongings in and lock it up, then turned to see what they could do to help their neighbors. Bill was six foot two, so he grabbed Sasha and Jerri’s free hand. In the other hand,  Jerri had her bag, she wasn’t going anywhere without the security of her essentials, phone, wallet, smokes, diapers and wipes, a bottle of formula, and Sasha’s beloved pacifier.

They spotted the Clarks, Doug, and Betsy,  rowing by and asked them what they could do to help. “Nothing right now” Doug replied, “No one can get in their houses with all this water. Do y’all need a  ride somewhere?” “Nah,”  Bill said, “We haven’t been back to our place yet, did you see it on your way over here?” Doug looked at Jerri and back to Bill, “I’m so sorry guys…” Jerri knew then they were probably homeless. She figured when the water receded they would see what was left and try to pick up the pieces after that. Bill was in total shock, never believing the storm could really do all this damage. He looked at Jerri and Sasha and thought, “I was supposed to protect them and I didn’t even believe the forecast was right” as he trudged through the dirty, disgusting water and watched his fellow neighbors trying to help each other get out of their submerged homes. “Note to self,” he thought, “sometimes the weathermen actually get it right.”

Seeing their friend and neighbor Tina, who was struggling to wade through the water with her six-year- old and her bag held high above her head, Bill hollered for her to stop and he would lend a hand. Reaching her side, he snatched the bag and handed Sasha to Jerri while he told Tina’s son Jade to get on his back. He piggy-backed him to the bed of his pick up and told him to wait there and watch the bag while he went back for Tina. It felt good to do something productive and soon they were all safely secured in the vehicle, warm and safe, if not dry. As he looked around at his shivering, depressed family and friends he said, “Where to?” It took them a moment to realize he was trying to be funny and they all burst out laughing at the nature of their somewhat comical situation.

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Friday-Date Night

Back by popular demand, (ok it was just one special person) I have decided to bring back Flash Fiction Friday, temporarily anyway. 🙂 Without further ado, I give you- Date Night Originally, this was going to be a poem, but I’ve since slept, and therefore cannot remember it.

Kendal and Cindy had decided that their relationship was suffering from the proverbial rut, so over a matter of a few weeks, deemed a certain night of the week date night. It didn’t always fall on the same night, yet the last few times they went out seemed like it was always Thursday night. One thing they discovered was, Thursday is a busy night for eating out. If they got to a place early enough, they found themselves enjoying a drink and hors d’oeuvres rather quickly. If their timing was off, just by five or ten minutes it seemed, they might have a twenty-minute wait.

It was just such a night that they happened upon a little drama unfolding in the bar area of their favorite Mexican food restaurant, Abelitos. As they approached with their required pager block which would alert them when their table was ready, Cindy noticed an attractive lady dining on that night’s special, prime rib, alone at the bar. First off, Cindy thought it was very accommodating that the bar would serve patrons food, thereby reducing or removing that person’s wait for a table if that suited them of course. Secondly, what made this woman attractive was the shock of salt and pepper hair she had perfectly coiffed and done in a way that half was salt and the other half pepper. As soon as they had secured their beverages and a barstool, Kendal stole an opportunity to ask if the prime rib was any good. The lady looked at him conspiratorially and shook her head as if to say, “Don’t bother.”  That was all Cindy needed to see, she knew then that would not be her menu item of choice.

Soon, the pager went off and as it turned out, they were seated at a table right there close to the bar area. Kendal remarked that he could have just left Cindy there at the bar had he known. Once their orders were in, they happily sipped their beverages, a delicious frozen margarita with a sangria swirl for her and a Coronita for Kendal, and noshed on chips and three kinds of salsa. That was one of the things they liked about this place, it was a bit more upscale than the places they frequented on the regular. Normally, they were lucky to get a basket of stale chips and one type of salsa that was refilled whenever the waiter got good and ready to. Not this place though, their waiter was working so hard he was literally sweating. After a bit, they got the food they ordered and while savoring the delightful dishes that had been prepared for them, Cindy noticed a stranger sit down next to Miss Salt and Pepper. A conversation ensued between the two and Kendal said to Cindy it appeared she might be “trolling” for a date. Cindy being the diplomat she was said she didn’t think that was the case at all, she was probably just being polite and making conversation with the guy. She knew that had been the story countless times before she was ever married, and a few times since.

Cindy and her man had been married for over thirty years and they were still the best of friends. Still, sometimes they got so caught up with work drama, family crisis’s and day to day life, they forgot what it was like to have romance and excitement in their relationship. Thus the need to spice things up a bit and get off the couch once a week and enjoy free and easy time with each other. Cindy felt happy and lucky that Kendal loved her enough to make the effort. His desire was for them to grow old and wrinkly together, so they better at least enjoy the ride.

As they ate and drank, Cindy focused on her meal and her own date and lost sight of what took place at the bar until Miss Salt and Pepper got up to leave. Since they had engaged in a few friendly words at the bar, she must have felt like they were privy to her situation because as she turned to go, she looked directly at Cindy and gave her a wink before exiting the bar area. Cindy looked around but could not find the gentleman she had been talking to, so she decided they had hit it off and therefore were rendezvousing somewhere else together. Maybe he saw that she was enjoying a glass of white wine and asked her to join him for another. Whatever it was, she liked to fantasize that he was a perfect gentleman and only wanted to provide the lady some company for the evening. Not everything had to have some ugly connotation attached to it, she surmised. She looked at Kendal then and said, “Looks like Miss Salt and Pepper may have found love everlasting.” He just winked at her and said, “That’s my little romantic, always the dreamer.” “I’m no dreamer,” she replied, “I wasn’t dreaming when I found you!” It must have been the tequila for then she could have sworn she saw his eyes tear up. Guess he was more of a romantic than she gave him credit for. Even after thirty years, they could still surprise each other. This date night thing might just be what the doctor ordered!

 

 

 

Day 328-Flash Fiction Friday-Hookah Heaven

Smokey tendrils reached the ceiling and the pulsing music pounded in his head as he watched the beautiful belly dancer swaying in front of him and his pals on the dance floor. She was barefoot, curvy, and exotic, filling his head with all kinds of ideas as he puffed away on his hose of the shared hookah. His pals and he were enjoying some Strawberry Margarita flavored tobacco in their hookah at one of the premier hookah spots in the city. This was the favored place for feeling at home, now that he was in America. The Egyptian decor and the sights, smells, and music reminded him so much of his home. The year was 2005 and they had been stateside for about three months. Now that he was twenty two, he was free to hang out with his friends when he wasn’t on he job, so he meant for this to be an epic weekend.

He could barely even nibble at his tabbouleh salad for staring at this goddess in front of him, her golden bracelets and charms jingling as her hips wiggled and her arms undulated, mesmerizing him into a zen-like state. As for her, she had zeroed in on his attraction and was playing him like a fiddle, making sure her eyes were locked on his as she worked her magic on the dance floor. He was a great mark for sure, hopefully he was a superb tipper, she was getting nowhere with his chums next to him. She was not the best belly dancer at Qana Cafe and Hookah, however, she was the most mediterranian looking, even if she had been born and raised stateside. Her name was Zona and from the time she was five, she knew she wanted to be a belly dancer like her mother.

Abbas motioned for her to come over and stuck a five in her belly chain. He asked her to come join them when she was done for a drink and a smoke. She nodded and went back to the floor in a type of movement that could only be described as floating. She felt a rush of confidence that made her finish the dance with a flourish, earning her loud applause and many whistles from the crowd. She indicated to Abbas with some finger pointing that she would be back after checking with the boss. He ususally didn’t mind, as long as she asked him first. As soon as she got his knowing wink, she grabbed a Coke and headed back to Abbas’s table, sitting close enough for him to feel her heat, not touching though. Abbas smiled at her and asked her where she was from, trying to be cool in front of his friends although internally he was shaking like a leaf. God, she was even more beautiful close up.

She explained that she grew up in the states, her Dad moved them first from California to Arizona, winding up in Texas. He was born in Lebanon, came to the states in his mid-thirties for work and met her mother in California. She was Italian beauty and had been dancing in a Navy club in San Diego when he met her. He had gone there with some friends from work and she captivated him with her beautiful smile and smoking hot body. That’s what he told her anyway. She giggled as she related this somewhat truthful story to Abbas, who sat staring into her gorgeous chocolate colored eyes, devouring every word she spoke as the gospel truth. Now it was his turn to tell her where he was from and it took him a few moments to get his brain to engage. What was in this stuff, he wondered, thinking the tobacco might have more in it than advertised.

“Well, I am from Turkey originally, but we moved here recently from Spain when the war with Iraq ended. My parents could not take the violence anymore and wanted a better life for me, they knew I would have the best chance at finding a good job here in Texas, with all of the top notch hospitals in the area.” “Oh, so what do you do?” Zona asked with real interest. Abbas told her he had gone to medical school in Spain and was finishing up studies and working in a laboratory until he graduated next year. He was currently employed at Medical Plaza downtown Ft Worth and went to school at UTA. “Well aren’t you industrious, how is it you have time to party?” she questioned playfully. His friend Zebo butted in, “He is making time this weekend, he needs a break from that slave driver boss of his.” Zona indicated that it was almost time for her to go back, and told Abbas “I want you to enjoy yourself now, drink up and I will see you after my next set.”

As she sashayed away from their table, Zebo elbowed Abbas and grinned. “She has the hots for you my friend, you’d better take advantage of that while you can.” Abbas sat back on the plush couch and sipped his virgin Pina Colada. As he waited for her to float onto the dancefloor again, he decided this must be Heaven and couldn’t wait for her to show him what a good time really was. As Zona changed outfits before her next set she was thinking maybe she wouldn’t play this guy for a fool after all, he might just be her Turkish delight.

 

 

 

 

Day 321-Flash Fiction Friday-The Homecoming

Once upon a time, two nice people came to visit me where I lived, with all my kennel brothers and sisters in a pink dollhouse that belonged to my breeder. I was pretty happy here, running and playing on the farm, although sometimes we had to put up with a bath and some pampering every time a customer came in to look at us. The day my owner showed me to my new parents was the best day of my life.

One minute we were all running around on the floor of the dollhouse, the next I was in Mommy’s arms and Daddy was asking her, “Is that the one you want?” When Mommy gave Daddy the doe eyes, it was all over but the crying and Daddy reluctantly forked over the $600 I cost him. Soon after I was trimmed up, given a shot and then we were riding the long ride to my new home. I don’t like being in a car much, it makes me want to puke. Mommy was worried something was wrong with me, but Daddy knew the deal.

When we finally got home, I went exploring my new digs. I liked the house, although the backyard was a little small after being on the farm. Still, it was green and smelled good and I found myself rolling in the grass and clover and looking at Mommy with love. I was shy for awhile, but Mommy and Daddy made me feel right at home. They loved to dress me up and show me off to their friends. We would go on walks around the block and everybody stopped us to say hello. Anytime they went on a trip, I had to go. I never got used to riding in the car, but I only ever puked once.

Then came a day about three months later when we went on a really looonnnng trip. When we got where we were going, we stayed with Daddy’s mother and she had a very irritating doggy named Bonco. What a yipper! He was a total grouch and snapped at me whenever I tried to play with him. That lasted all day the first day and by the next, we were running around the backyard chasing squirrels together like lifelong pals. He was still annoying when he barked, but I guess he was ok for a short visit. Then we went to Mommy’s brother’s house to visit. He had a pool and a fence that was full of holes, so every time I had to go potty, I was put on a leash. Man, I don’t like that place.

One day, I was napping and Mommy and Daddy went on a trip without me. When I woke up, they were walking in the door with a new puppy the same kind as me, but this one looked different than me. Salt and pepper colored, with a quizzical funny face, and I could tell that Mommy was head over heels about her. That pissed me off! Why did they feel the need to bring another dog home? I would not have anything to do with her and demanded Mommy sit with me in her lap for the first three weeks. Slowly but surely, the new pup grew on me and I started teaching her how it was gonna be around the old homestead. I’m the boss, the queen of my castle and you will mind what I say. She was a challenge alright, but soon she figured out her place and now we are thick as thieves.We love to chase rats and squirrels in our lovely new backyard. There are also lots of lizards to chase, and puppies live in every backyard around us, so we get to bark with them every time Mommy lets us out the sliding glass back door. There is a giant square thing full of water, but we can’t drink from that, it’s too salty. Mommy is always trying to get us in it to go “swimming”, but we don’t care anything about it.

By the way, my name is Penny and the pup Mommy and Daddy brought me to play with is called Nicky (short for Nickle). I wasn’t sure about her at first, but now I can say, she is the yen to my yang. We look and act like twins, even though Mommy and Daddy got us in different places and I come from good stock. (they shoulda named me Queeny) Nicky came from some careless breeder four hours away from our old home. She told me in our special language how lucky she was that Mommy picked her out from the rest of the puppies that day. When she first got here, I was mad that Mommy and Daddy were trying to replace me, but now I see they only wanted me to have a playmate-someone to keep me young and healthy. Since that is the case, I guess she can stay.

Day 309-Flash Fiction Friday-I Should Have Worn Sneakers

I crawled into bed as soon as I got off the phone with you, I thought the coolness of the sheets next to my naked body and the fact that I didn’t sleep a wink last night would have me gone in a minute. As the rain clouds lifted and the room became brighter, I realized that the usual was going to happen, that being, I cannot sleep during the day, unless I take more drugs or my illness is accompanied by fever. The dogs had been restless, so I let them out of their kennels and they are the ones now sleeping where I should be.

The whole time I’ve been laying here with my head swirling around and the nausea plaguing my system, my fingers were circling my navel, trying to figure out what bit me and where exactly the bite is. The itch is  maddening and I want to make it stop. I can’t help but wonder if my problem is coming from there, instead of what I earlier diagnosed as a bad reaction to my pain pill. Yes, the dose was too high for me, I don’t do well with opiates to begin with and it might be interacting with my other regular medication. Another possibility is an inner ear infection, since I feel exactly like this when I have one of those.

Every time I have a small belch, the nausea improves a bit, so I keep sipping my lemon infused water and lay back down. Soon, I doze off and I have this dream…or was it? Do you really want to know? If I tell you, it may be you that’s wanting to vomit next, but here goes.

Again, my fingers locate my belly button and I begin probing. It feels itchy and bumpy but I can’t seem to locate a bite, just a big lump deep in my abdominal area just under my navel. Soon, my fingers are deep in my navel again and I feel something different this time. As the realization begins to dawn on me, I recall gardening in my flip flops about a month ago and what I’m now experiencing is starting to make sense. I’m now grasping the head of a tiny, slimy, wriggling thing, and I begin to pull. The nausea rears its ugly head again, but I don’t stop. I think I must get this thing out of me before I can start to feel better, so I pull on it more, even though the thought of what is happening inside my body is freaking me out.

Once I manage to free this monstrosity from my belly, the blood starts to flow so I get up to find a washcloth. I go sit on the toilet, my hands shaking and the vertigo threatening to make me topple off. As I wipe the blood away, I see another hook worm and I pull him out. The urge to hurl is strong and I don’t know whether to keep going or call the doctor for further instruction. I’ve now pulled ten hookworms out of my belly button and I can’t bear the thought of any more being there. This is ludicrous, I think to myself. I live in America, not some third world country! This kind of crap only happens in horror movies, right? How is it happening to me?? I reach for the phone and that’s when I wake up.

Oh my God, was I really asleep? Is it possible that all of this was just some horrible nightmare in the daytime? My hands fly to my stomach as I throw back the sheets and stare at my red, splotchy yet worm free belly button. I breath a sigh of relief and lay back down on the pillows, laughing at my vivid imagination. Clearly that is what caused me to have such a night terror during the light of day, or maybe I have a fever? I get up to check it and realize I slept right through lunch. Considering the circumstances, I think I’ll fast today.

(Author’s note: this story was written from my bed with voice text due to the vertigo and nausea I’m experiencing in real life today, hopefully due to a bad reaction to an opiate I was prescribed for my knee pain.)