Negotiation*

 

Teapot Rock – Public Domain

“I am sure that there will be no problems in approving the personal loan, Mr. Secretary,” the oil company executive said with a wink.

“That’s excellent news,” the White House cabinet member said appreciatively.

“Now about that Teapot Dome contract.”

It appears some things seem never to change.

 

Padre

Weekend Writing Prompt #121 – Teapot

*Based on the 1920s Teapot Dome Scandal

 

 

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An Ugly Accident

Smoke And Mirrors, Magic, Explosion, Mirror

Image by CeeMon from Pixabay

Snow White rapidly rapped upon her friend the Huntsman’s door.

Bleary eyed, having been woken from sleep, he opened the door and the girl rushed past him.

“Close the door quickly,” she said.

“What’s the matter, Snow?” the man asked compassionately.

“Do you know how my stepmother keeps telling me off for letting small birds and animals in the palace to sing to?” Snow began.

“Yes, but why are you here?” the Huntsman asked.

“I was in Stepmother’s dressing room holding one of her beautiful gowns in front of me to see how it might look in the mirror, when I noticed some beautiful bluebirds outside of the window.  I just had to let them in to see the dress,” snow explained.

“Okay, you broke the ‘no animals’ rule.  You’ve done that before.  So what’s the problem?”  he asked.

“Well the birds came in, and I held the dress up, and danced about so that it would sway with me.  It was so pretty that I began to sing and spin the faster.  Then, I accidentally knocked the mirror off the wall and it shattered,” the princess confessed.

“I see the problem,” the man said a bit concerned.

“That’s not all,” Snow said.  “Just as I was trying to clean it up, she came into the room.”

She must be mad,” the Huntsman reflected.

“Mad? She was so furious that she stopped even being beautiful,” Snow explained.  “It’s like an ugly spell was cast on her – she was so angry.  That’s why I ran here to hide.”

A spell had indeed been involved.  It was not an ‘ugly spell’ for the Queen had always been that, both physically and in her soul.  But with her magic mirror broken, the enchantment behind her beauty had destroyed.

Padre

 

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: she must be mad

 

 

A Meme for Our Times and a Word of Hope

Brexit meme

As Britain approaches uncertain constitutional challenges, and the elected Parliament faces being prorogued, it is time to reflect on how we got here and how we should react.  In the 2016 referendum, British voters were asked whether we should leave the European Union.  There was misinformation in the lead up to the vote, and the country spoke accordingly.

With a leave vote secured the nation began the process of negotiations.  The process ended the political careers of two Prime Ministers, and the third now seeks to dictate terms for Brexit without Parliament, or perhaps a suitable deal with the remaining countries of the European Union.

There seems to be little thought to consequences as long as the political agenda is fulfilled.

I find these frightening times, and therefore, must hold to the faith that God is in command no matter what the political elite or even popular opinion have in mind.  We may be heading for upheaval, but I must “fear no evil, for the Lord is with me.” May His rod and staff comfort me.  And He prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.

As Paul wrote in Romans,

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (vs 35-39).”

Padre

 

The Bruiser

PHOTO PROMPT © Linda Kreger 

The Carter family was having a great reunion.  It had been five years since their last and everyone was in high spirits.

As they approached the picnic pavilion they had booked at the park, it became obvious that it had been occupied by a pack of rowdy youths, who were punching one another and throwing beer cans about.

“Big John” Carter approached the adolescents and explained that the family had paid for the space.

He returned to say he had been told to “‘F’ off.”

“Stay behind me everybody.  I’ve got this.” Granny Jean said.

(99 words)

Padre

Friday Fictioneers

Northwards

 

Ildris and Hannon continued northwards.  Their orders were simple: cross the Great Nord River and then follow its feeder tributaries north seeking any sign of the Griffin Legion.  The Scout-Rangers knew this would be an arduous journey, and perhaps even a fool’s errand, but the orders had come from the king himself.  Seventy scouts travelling in pairs were sent north and fan out to follow all possible passages north.  Surely the Griffins could be contacted in this way.

The previous spring the Legion had set out on a grand expedition to stamp out the Nuar Raiders once hand for all.   Four thousand men commanded by General Neston had left the capital to the cheers of adoring crowds.  Everyone expected the raiders to be vanquished before the end of summer.   Why shouldn’t they?  Neston had never been defeated in battle, and the Nuar were no more than disorganised bands of barbarians.

A messenger had arrived in late May to announce that the Griffins had encountered a coalition of twenty bands, numbering nearly three thousand warriors.  The battle had been swift and decisive.  Within three hours the discipline and superior arms of the Legion had left over two thousand barbarians dead or dying.  Neston’s losses were fewer than two hundred.  The general pushed onwards in pursuit of the remnants of the coalition.

The last that was heard of the Legion was in mid-June, however.  A rider had arrived in the capital with reports for the king.  These indicated that the Griffins had crossed the Nufow River about a week after the battle with the coalition. This news was greeted cautiously as the Nufow was the furthest north that anyone from the kingdom had ever ventured.  It was so far north, in fact, that  it was flippantly referred to as the “No Flow,” by school boys seeing it on their maps at school.

Now Ildris and Hannon were following a frozen stream that had merged with the Nufow from the north.  The crossing of the watercourse proved easier than expected as it proved to be frozen for at least six months of the year.  Their crossing had been three days earlier, and the surrounding country was cold and bleak.

As the frozen creek they were following made an eastward turning, they were greeted with a poignant scene of devastation.  The surrounding flats were strewn with the shattered equipment, armour, and remains of the once noble Griffins.  At the centre of the grizzly scene were thirty posts on which the heads of the Legion’s officers had been impaled.  The head on the central post was encased in the horse plumed helmet of Neston.

The two scouts had found irrefutable proof of the Legion’s fate.  They respectfully removed the general’s helmet and buried the thirty officers’ heads.  Then with the helmet secured in oilcloth they began their melancholy journey southwards.

 

Padre

 

FOWC with Fandango — Irrefutable

Thursday photo prompt: Frozen #writephoto

Your Daily Word Prompt – Poignant – August 29, 2019

Strawberry Apple Cooler

imageedit_1_2458102375 (2).jpg

It has been a while since I posted a mocktail or cooler recipe, so its time to remedy that.  We had friends around recently, and I was looking for a nice drink to share while chatting in the garden.  This drink came to mind as a variant of a mocktail we had seen in Great Yarmouth on a recent visit.

Ingredients:

  • Strawberries 10 – 15 large
  • Truvia/Stevia 2 tsp or sugar 1 1/2 Tbs
  • Apple Juice 250 ml
  • Fizzy Lemonade/Diet Lemonade/Sprite 1.25 litres
  • Ice 2 cups

Method:

Remove the stems and leaved from berries and cut into quarters.  Place in a glass bowl and add the sweetener.  Mash thoroughly with a fork and add to a 2 litre pitcher or jug.  Add the apple juice and chill for an hour.  Add the ice to the container and top off with chilled lemonade.

Padre

Eleven Across

Into the Jaws of Death 23-0455M edit.jpg

Normandy Landing – Public Domain

There was definitely something abnormal in the Daily Telegraph.   “Gold,” “Sword,” and “Juno,” had all appeared in the crossword answers in the spring of 1944.  Then from the second of May until the eve of the invasion of France, the crossword answers including “Utah,” “Omaha,” and “Overlord,” appeared in quick succession.

MI5 was convinced that this had to be far more than a coincidence.  Were military secrets being fed to the Nazis, and where was the leaking of code-names coming from?

The crossword designer Leonard Dawe, the headmaster of Strand School was detained and interrogated.  He was determined to be innocent of espionage and released.  He was at a loss, however, as to how so many code-words appeared in his own puzzles.

Was it his compiling technique?  He often called students in and had them feed him words which they found interesting, to which he then decided appropriate prompts for the crossword.  It never occurred to him that his boys spent a lot of their leisure time hanging about near the American and Canadian army camps which were nearby.  Had the students inadvertently overheard soldiers bandying about secret words?

After his release Dawes called the boys in.  Ronald French was then asked where he had got these code-words from.  The lad then showed his headmaster his notebook.

“Don’t you know what you have done?” the man challenged. “This is wartime.”

“But the Yanks use the words all the time over at the camp,” the student replied.

“They may well do so, but we Englishmen know better.  We should never, I repeat never, share what we’re told not to talk about.  Now we are going to burn this notebook, and I want you to swear on the Bible, that you will not divulge any more of these words!” 

“Yes Sir,” the boy relented. “Not another word.”

Padre

*Based on true historical events. The Telegraph crossword contained the following in the run up to “Operation Overlord, 6 June 1944:

  • 2 May 1944: ‘Utah’ (17 across, clued as “One of the U.S.”) – code name for the D-Day beach assigned to the US 4th Infantry Division.
  • 22 May 1944: ‘Omaha’ (3 down, clued as “Red Indian on the Missouri”) – code name for the D-Day beach to be taken by the US 1st Infantry Division.
  • 27 May 1944: ‘Overlord’ (11 across, clued as “[common]… but some bigwig like this has stolen some of it at times.”) – code name for the D-Day landings.
  • 30 May 1944: ‘Mulberry’ (11 across, clued as “This bush is a centre of nursery revolutions.”) – temporary portable harbours used during the invasion.
  • 1 June 1944: ‘Neptune’ (15 down, clued as “Britannia and he hold to the same thing.” –  codeword for the naval phase of the invasion.)  

 

Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: What We’re Told Not To Talk About

FOWC with Fandango — Abnormal

 

Honesty

Woman, Haematoma, Fight, Black Eye, Pinch, Bruising

Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

Fandango has posed the question: “Do you believe that honesty is always the best policy? Is there is ever a time or circumstance when dishonesty (lying) is justifiable? Please elaborate.”

This is another ethical question debated by my students.  Where does honesty eclipse compassion, and vice versa?

In the first instance is the issue of degree and risk.  If a friend you are shopping with asks you, “How do I look in this?” you have to consider your response.  You can be “brutally honest,” and say “You look awful.”  This creates a situation in which the feelings of the person can be hurt.  You can be more exact in your wording and say “It looks awful,” but the nuance might be missed and harm still done.  You can lie and say, “It’s good,” but this creates a situation where for the moment the person feels validated, only to risk ridicule by less tactful commentators later.  Again hurt results.  Tact and honesty,  however can still go hand in hand with the statement, “The last outfit (hat, make up, etc) was better.”  In each case the degree of harm is emotional, and seldom “life-changing.”

On the other hand there is the scenario of: You are sitting at a bus stop and a young woman comes staggering towards you.  She has a black eye just starting to form, her blouse is torn, and she is carrying one broken shoe, and the other is missing.  As she nears you, she holds one finger to her lips, and makes a shhh sound as she climbs behind a nearby hedge.  A few moments later a man, his knuckles bruising, approaches you and asks if you had seen a woman of her description.  You can lie and say “No, I haven’t.” This may be a noble action.  You can be truthful and say, “Yes,” this however, opens up the conversation and the follow-up question, “Which way did she go?”  Here you can lie and say “I don’t know,” or even give a false direction.  This compromises your own previous honesty.  Or you can say, “She is behind the bush.”  Here you are merely stating facts without regard to future consequences – a “morally neutral” stance – as you do not know what the future hold, only the past.

On the other hand, you could treat the initial question as to whether you have seen her in an honest, but closed ended way.  “I saw her, but I don’t know where she is now (a true statement since she is out of your sight).”  Even this has risks based on you assumptions rather than your true knowledge.  Is this man the cause of her injuries?  You do not know for certain.  Yes, the evidence suggests that her black eye and his bruised fist have a link.  You may then conclude that you are protecting her by any obfuscation you offer.  Consider the alternatives, however.  What if this questioner is not her attacker, but a rescuer?  Might this be her brother, who has just given her abusive boyfriend a thrashing?  Is your lie (well-intentioned as it might be) delaying her rescue or even medical treatment?

I have stated in the past that I lean to an absolutist view of morality, and shun relativism.  So for me, honesty remains the best policy.  But I must acknowledge that it does not come without its own risks.

Padre

Fandango’s Provocative Question #38

A Novel Ending

The king was dead, and yet the revolution had failed.  The monarchy would live on, but the kingdom now needed to be rebuilt, and hurts healed.  Would young Princess – no, Queen Ayana be up to the grave tasks ahead?  Only time, and perhaps the Witch-woman Harlaya could tell.

Padre

Flash Fiction Challenge#7: The End  Joanne’s challenge is “to write the last paragraph of a novel you will probably never write. You can make it funny, silly, or even dead serious if you want to. There is no word limit, so make it as long (or short) as you require.”