The Lounge

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‘Cigar Bar Evening Lounge’ by Brent Lynch

Lush melodies drew her to the door of the lounge, the friendly smiles enticed her inside.  Chardonnay hadn’t intended at stopping here, as was on the way to her usual haunts for a night of clubbing.  There was something about this place that captured her imagination though, and just one drink wouldn’t take too long.  But just in case, she typed Might be late onto her iPhone.  Hmm, no signal she observed. That’s weird. 

She glanced around the place, the ambiance was wild, almost like it belonged in a Mickey Spillane novel.  She was a little self-conscious as she made her way to the bar, as her clothes didn’t exactly fit into her surroundings.  But hey, a little black dress fits in anywhere, she reassured herself.

As she reached the bar, the barman cast a suspicious eye at her.

“Can I have a house white please?” she asked.  This merely resulted in the barman’s expression changing to puzzlement.

“Make it a Manhattan, Louie,” a sharply dressed gentleman seated at the bar said.  “And put it on my tab.”

“Um, okay,” Chardonnay said a little suspiciously.  “Thank you.”

“So what’s your name Doll-face,” the rugged stranger asked.

“Chardonnay, like the wine,” she responded.

The man stared quizzically for a moment, and then said, “That’s an unusual name.”

“My mom, loves the stuff,” she replied with a shrug and a feigned giggle.  “You know I have never been in a theme bar before,” she said.

The man gave another brief look of confusion and then said, “My name is Edgar, but everybody calls me Edge.  What brings a girl like you into a place like this, Chardene?”

“Chardonnay,” she corrected.  “I was on my way to The Galaxy,” she said, “but stopped here because of the music.”

The Galaxy?” he queried.  “That dive ain’t a place for a dame like you.”

“Um – thank you,” she said, again unsure of how to respond.

“You know the mob has their finger in that pie,” Edge said.  “Though it’s a good place to find information sometimes, as long as I’m discrete.”

“Information?” Chardonnay asked.

“Yeah, I’m a P. I..  Maybe you’ve heard of me – Edge O’Malley.”

“Oh, that Edge,” she said with feigned admiration, in an attempt to play along with the establishment’s theme.   This might be fun to do some night with Zoe and Cari, she thought. We could dress up and it would be a ball, playing make believe.

“Well Edge, thank you for the drink, but I need to get over to The Galaxy and meet some of the dames from the office,” she said.

This again drew an uncertain look from Edge, but he shook her hand and said, “You take care of yourself, Doll.”

Chardonnay then made her way across the lounge, and out into the streets of 1947 Los Angeles.

 

Padre

 

First Line Friday: Lush melodies drew her to the door of the lounge, the friendly smiles enticed her inside.

 

Provider

Bow, Shooter, Arrow

Pixabay

The winter had been long and hard, and food supplies were dwindling.  Avorak had long been considered to be the clan’s greatest hunter, and it now fell upon him to feed his people.  This was a matter of pride for him, but now he felt as if he was failing them.

“Tell the people to meet me in the long hall,”  Avorak instructed his sickly little brother, Avin.

When all were gathered, the great hunter said, “I have called you all here to discuss our survival.  My father, Chief Avolar is ill.  I, therefore, will be in charge as we await his recovery.  Things are bleak.  The snows are heavy in the hills, that are our hunting grounds, and game is scarce.  Nevertheless, I will lead a hunting party into the hills, as we must have meat.  Till our return my mother, Ballora will mete out what remains of our food to each family.  Talver, Urick, Valinor, and Govina, you will join me.”

“Excuse me,” Avin interjected “I was thinking that I . . . .”

“There you go thinking again,” the great hunter interrupted, “No, Avin, you are not coming, and that’s final.  With that he grabbed his quiver and bow and departed.

A week later, a weary and empty-handed band of hunters returned to their settlement to the smell of rich meaty stew coming from the long hall.

“What has happened here?” Avorak questioned as he entered the hall.  “Have the gods intervened?”

“No, Avin has,” came a chorus of voices.

“But how? the mighty hunter asked in obvious confusion.

At that Avin approached a large wooden crate and pryed it open.  He lifted out a metallic cylinder and said, ” It’s called corned beef.  I went into Market-town and got some.”

 

Padre

 

Saturday Mix – Double Take: Our homophone sets this week are –

meat – animal flesh
meet – to connect
mete – a boundary (or to hand out)

and

pride – ego
pryed – opened

Death and Taxes

Pocket Watch, Watch, Gold, Antiq, Old

Pixabay

It was quite a shock for Ollie to hear that his dad had decided to hock Great Great Granddad’s gold watch.

Captain Howard Miller had received the timepiece directly from President Jefferson Davis for his part in running the blockage and bringing much needed stock to the beleaguered people of Charleston.   Such was his keen skill as a pilot, that he has able to almost dance his steamer past the Yankee frigate that tried to block his entry into the harbour.

Yes, the watch was truly an important family heirloom, and a piece of Southern history.  It was almost a mockery of the past, that it was a new state tax that was going to force the family to part with the treasured artifact.  How could a Southern legislature, mock such heroism, just to raise money?  Surely honour and pride were the Carolina way.

But no, sad as it was, Dad undid the lock on the glass case on the mantelpiece and removed the embodiment of history.  Soon it would be at the auction house, to be transformed into property tax.

 

Padre

 

Saturday Mix – Rhyme Time, 7 March 2020

“‘Rhyme Time’ focuses on the use of rhyme to build your writing piece. You will be given six rhyming words and need to use all of them (but not limited to these) in your response, which should be a poetry form of your choice.”

Our rhyming words this week are:

  1. mock
  2. shock
  3. stock
  4. lock
  5. hock
  6. block

Number Six

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Google images

It was another drizzly grey morning in London.  To make matters worse Detective Inspector Manning was still suffering the effects of a hangover.

As he approached the police tape which cordoned off the alleyway, he was met by his sergeant, Tina Long.

“What do we have, Long?” he asked as she lifted the tape for him.

“It’s a female, and it’s the same m.o., her arms have been removed at the shoulders.  Morning shift at the cafe found her in the skip.”

“Have the techies found anything?”

“Not yet, Sir. They’re just getting started,” Sergeant Long replied.

Manning looked-on as the forensic team in their protective suits investigated the alley.  If this was the same perpetrator that would make six.  This was the first victim to be found south of the river, however, and he was hoping he didn’t have a copycat on his hands.

All of the victims were nearly identical.  They were tall – at just about six feet in height, and the first five all measured 34- 24- 34.  This perp definitely had a type.

“Inspector Manning,” one of the Forensics Squad called.

Manning made his way to the masked investigator.

“It’s just like the others,” the technician reported.  “Both arms and the cranial micro chips have been removed.”

“Damn,” said the DI.

He longed for the days when being on the cyber crime squad meant dealing with computer fraud.  Nothing had prepared him for some sicko murdering Androids.

 

Padre

 

Photo Challenge #305

Losing Time

Man, Barbarian, Warrior, Axe, Fantasy

Pixabay

The Barbarians had enjoyed several years of success.  No opponent seemed capable of stemming their tide of victory.   They really had seemed underdogs, owing to the relatively small population of their rural homeland.  They were determined, however; and with the advantages of clean air, a hearty diet,  and rugged lifestyle, win they did.  Even defenders from large urban communities collapsed against their offensive skill.  The Barbarians seemed unstoppable.

Victories were narrow at first, but became more regular, and one sided with the passing of time.  After four years, they had come to the pinnacle.  For five years after that, they were virtually without competition for fame and glory.  But as with all winning streaks a fall was on the cards.  It began with an injury to a single Barbarian, and culminated it the absolute collapse of their fortunes.

Yes, after four years of growth, and five years at the top, the Hicksville Barbarians faced a measly 0-9-1 football record.  It was the beginning of what would become known as the Losing Time.

 

Padre

Written for Goodreads Weekly Short Stories

 

 

 

The Breach

Image result for polish hussar

Image: Wikipedia

The siege had dragged on for six weeks, and several ferocious actions had taken place before the gates.  King Sigmund knew his troops could not sustain their encirclement of the fortress much longer as winter was approaching, and worse still – rumours of a relief column had reached him.  The king therefore ordered one final push against the great citadel.

In this would-be final assault, his heavy infantry broke through the outer trenches and skirting walls.  This in turn allowed the sappers to make a small breach on the south palisade.  Unfortunately, the hail of missiles from above drove back the cream of his assault force.

In desperation to exploit what might be his last chance of victory, he ordered his winged-hussars into the breach.  They fought bravely, but fell back.  General Stanislov managed to halt the retreat of his brave cavalrymen, and regroup them for another push.  As he did so, he sent a rider to the king for ask for reinforcements.  He was sure that his horsemen did not have the strength to attempt the assault again.

While he waited for the monarch’s reply, Paval Red-Cheeks, the king’s jester led a band of musicians, jugglers, and cooks; armed with little more than staves and clubs, into the contested opening.  It seems the adage is true, that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Padre

Fandango’s February Expressions #2: fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Stream of Consciousness

Harry wandered along the country path not really giving much thought to his surroundings.  As the seldom used track left the woodland, it twisted to run alongside a shallow, slow moving brook.  This change did not interrupt the replay in his mind of the night before’s events.

How could things have gone so wrong with Elizabeth?  He was comfortable with their relationship, and he thought she felt the same.

But no, she waited for his arrival at her flat with great expectation.  He was surprised to find her wearing one of her nicest outfits, and made up to the nines.

“So what’s the plan?” she asked smiling.

“Plan?” he responded.  “It’s a Friday, so I guess pizza and Netflix like usual.”

“For our anniversary?” she snapped.  “I bet you forgot.”

The path like his relationship suddenly dead-ended.  He then noticed the stream.  It to, like him was shallow.

(148 words)

Padre

Crimson’s Creative Challenge #48

 

Harry Chapin: Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas

Sunset, Cut, Twilight, Evening, Truck, American, Color

image: Pixabay

 

This week Jim Adams’ Sunday Lyrics challenge was to post on a song about trucks or buses.  Harry Chapin’s 1974, Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas has both.

 

Lyrics:

It was just after dark when the truck started down
The hill that leads into Scranton Pennsylvania.
Carrying thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Carrying thirty thousand pounds (hit it Big John) of bananas.
He was a young driver,
Just out on his second job.
And he was carrying the next day’s pasty fruits
For everyone in that coal-scarred city
Where children play without despair
In backyard slag-piles and folks manage to eat each day
Just about thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Yes, just about thirty thousand pounds (scream it again, John) .
He passed a sign that he should have seen,
Saying “shift to low gear, a fifty dollar fine my friend.”
He was thinking perhaps about the warm-breathed woman
Who was waiting at the journey’s end.
He started down the two mile drop,
The curving road that wound from the top of the hill.
He was pushing on through the shortening miles that ran down to the depot.
Just a few more miles to go,
Then he’d go home and have her ease his long, cramped day away.
And the smell of thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Yes the smell of thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
He was picking speed as the city spread its twinkling lights below him.
But he paid no heed as the shivering thoughts of the nights
Delights went through him.
His foot nudged the brakes to slow him down.
But the pedal floored easy without a sound.
He said “Christ!”
It was funny how he had named the only man who could save him now.
He was trapped inside a dead-end hellslide,
Riding on his fear-hunched back
Was every one of those yellow green
I’m telling you thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Yes, there were thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
He barely made the sweeping curve that led into the steepest grade.
And he missed the thankful passing bus at ninety miles an hour.
And he said “God, make it a dream!”
As he rode his last ride down.
And he said “God, make it a dream!”
As he rode his last ride down.
And he sideswiped nineteen neat parked cars,
Clipped off thirteen telephone poles,
Hit two houses, bruised eight trees,
And Blue-Crossed seven people.
It was then he lost his head,
Not to mention an arm or two before he stopped.
And he slid for four hundred yards
Along the hill that leads into Scranton, Pennsylvania.
All those thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
You know the man who told me about it on the bus,
As it went up the hill out of Scranton, Pennsylvania,
He shrugged his shoulders, he shook his head,
And he said (and this is exactly what he said)
“Boy that sure must’ve been something.
Just imagine thirty thousand pounds of bananas.
Yes, there were thirty thousand pounds of mashed bananas.
Of bananas. Just bananas. Thirty thousand pounds.
Of Bananas. not no driver now. Just bananas!”
From Greatest Stories Live: Ending number one
Yes, we have no bananas,
We have no bananas today
(Spoken: And if that wasn’t enough)
Yes, we have no bananas,
Bananas in Scranton, P A
From Greatest Stories Live: Ending #2:
A woman walks into her room where her child lies sleeping,
And when she sees his eyes are closed,
She sits there, silently weeping,
And though she lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania
She never ever eats … Bananas
Not one of thirty thousand pounds …. of bananas
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Harry F. Chapin
30,000 Lbs. of Bananas lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc
Padre

The Test

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“The challenge is simple.  You have exactly one minute to solve the equations on the sheet.  For every one you correctly answer you will receive £100.  If, however, you have not laid your pencil down before the last grain of sand falls, you will forfeit anything you have gained,” the referee explained.

Tom was a bit of a maths wizz, and had no doubt that he could solve three problems in the allotted time, but with money riding on it he felt a little more pressured than usual.

“Are you ready?” the referee said.

Tom turned the paper over in unison with the referee’s flipping of the timer.  Problem one took 8 seconds, it was fairly simple.  Problem two which was more algebra based took twenty.  Number three, however seemed straight forward, but required a secondary calculation.  He was just checking his answer when the referee called time.

“Sorry, but you have lost,” the judge said.

“But I got all three right,” he objected.

“But not in time,” the referee pointed out.  “The pencil is still in your hand.”

Dejected, Tom went out to the waiting room, while his room-mate “Thick William” went into the test room.

A minute and a half later, Will came out with six hundred pounds in his hand.

“How in the  . . . ” Tom began.

“It was easy,” Will said, “I answered questions 7 to 12, they were all addition.”

(229 Words)

Padre

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #30

 

 

 

The Artifact

 

Sky, Lance, Banner, Tip, Sharp

Image by Alfonso Díaz Knörr from Pixabay 

It was an eerie place, one of endless shadows.  It had not seemed too bad when they first entered the gateway, but the path soon took them down a long flight of stairs which after a few turnings left no light behind them.

They had debated whether to return back in the direction they had come, but Sismann insisted that they continue into the darkness.  Another sharp turning and then there was light – dull and flickering ahead.

They came to ever descending tunnels and the lanterns on the walls were spaced in such a way as to keep most of the passage immersed in shadow, but never total darkness.

“This must be the right way,” Sismann said.  “All of the legends say that the artifact would be found in ‘Shadow Lands’.”

“Well, we have shadows, but I don’t see anything that looks like a spear,” Africk said, his tone annoyed.

“Tomorrow they are going to tie your sister – my girlfriend – to a stake and wait for a beast to devour her.  So you can go back if you want, but I am going the find the artifact,” Sismann scolded.

“Okay, we go on,” Africk conceded.

The shadow became even more intense, and every step seemed to be accompanied by a sense of movement at their sides.

But the shadow was not endless.  Just beyond the point where all but the most dedicated would have abandoned the quest, the tunnel turned and bright light streamed from the chamber before them.   The source of the illumination was not of the earth, but radiated from the artifact itself.  They had found Saint George’s lance, and Elian would be saved, for whoever wielded the weapon would have authority and mastery over all dragon-kind.

 

Padre

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Tuesday, August 13, 2019: Use the words “endless” and “shadows”

FOWC with Fandango — Authority