The entire voyage had been a fiasco. The “captain” had obtained the position through family connections and he in turn made an old school acquaintance the first mate. One of their first actions was to sack the quartermaster for being “too old.” They then headed into the town to acquire stores themselves. The merchants they encountered saw their greenness from a mile away and the pair paid well above the market price for spoilt beef and weevily biscuit.

The new helmsman they hired didn’t know his starboard from his larboard, and the purser had “sticky fingers.”

Well, after two months of bad food, course irregularities, and three days stuck in the doldrums the crew had enough and threw the captain, his mate, and the other offending officers into a dingy and cast them adrift. I guess you could say it was a boat of no confidence.


Time Traveller

MorgueFIle 2020 October file0002096044980

Clem Rogers was outriding on the drive when a twister began to bear down on the herd. Before he knew it he was caught up in the whirling vortex. He awoke rather battered but alive in a dry gulch.

As he lay there trying to come to his senses, a rider wearing some odd blue denim trousers came across him. She was tolerably pretty, but Clem wondered why she was dressed like a man.

“You okay?” the newcomer asked. “Can’t believe you survived. I saw you fall and thought you’d have been killed.”

“I reckon I’ve been better,” Clem responded.

The stranger dismounted, and aided Clem to the horse and helped him to mount. He then led the horse to a ranch house about a mile away.

“I’m Donna, by the way,” she said as they made their way.

“Good to meet you, Ma’am. I’m Clem Rogers.”

As they approached the house, Clem saw a blue pickup in the drive, and a strange metal dish on the side of the house.

“Miss Donna, what is that thing?” he asked nodding towards the truck.

“You must have taken some serious bang to the head if you can’t recognise a truck.”

As they entered the house two teenagers sat on a couch watching television. Clem blinked a couple of times, but decided that he must be hallucinating. Maybe Donna was right about the head injury.

She led him into the kitchen and told him to sit at the table.

“Do you want some coffee?” she asked.

“That would be mighty kind of you,” he repiled.

She then scooped some grounds from a jar and placed them into the cappuccino maker.

“What in tarnation is that contraption?”

“It’s a coffee maker,” she replied.

“My word, why don’t you just make it in a pan?” he asked.

“A pan?”

“Just boil it up,” he replied.

“That sounds disgusting,” she said.

“Guess I got used to it that way out on the drive.”


“You know – the cattle drive,” Clem elaborated.

“Goodness you don’t look that old. There hasn’t been a drive near here since the 30s.”

“How can that be Ma’am, they didn’t start till they brought the railroad to Abilene?”

“What year do yo think this is?” she asked with some concern in her voice.

“Ain’t it 1888?”


This story was inspired by the FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER prompt, but is well over a hundred words too long for the challenge.

Cutting The Mustard

Mustard, Shell, Spice, Sharp, Food, Eat, Kitchen, Cook

Wayne nimbly swept down the passageway occasionally ducking into doorways to scan the hall for onlookers. At the end of the corridor he found the door locked, and he adroitly picked it in mere seconds. With another quick check of the passage behind him he closed the door and prepared to descend the spiral stair.

Before proceeding he took a small metallic bowl from a compartment in his trouser pocket. Inspecting that the rubber rim-guard was in place he silently placed it on the landing floor, and placed an ear against it. Some muffled sounds of life were detected, but there was no indication of movement on the stairs themselves. He returned the listening device to its compartment, and dextrously made a near-noiseless descent to the next level.

On arriving he again checked for movement above and below, before silently wedging the door at that level shut. He then made his way to the next floor where after checking, silently made his way into the corridor beyond.

This was the place he needed, on this level was the General’s private pantry. On entering he made note of the varying amounts of dust on more costly bottles of wine, and any indications of shelves that seemed to have the greatest traffic. It was then that he saw exactly what he was after – jars of spicy mustard on a shelf that was well used. He had heard that the General was passionate about the condiment. Taking the nearest jar, he used a strap of treated cloth from his sleeve to build friction on the jar’s lid. Once warmed it opened easily, and he drew a small envelope of powder from his other trouser compartment. He added just about a quarter of it to the jar, and stirred it thoroughly before again heating it and returning the lid to get a near perfect seal. Near perfect, but it would provide enough resistance that a casual opening would not reveal it had been tampered with. He then looked at the remaining two jars, and decided to make a sure thing of it. He followed the same process with them, being sure not to use too much or too little of the powder. It needed to be strong enough to kill the General, but not enough to cause symptoms in any would be food taster, at least not until the fat commander had eaten some himself.

The task completed; Wayne retraced his own steps until he emerged on the battlement just before dawn. A skilful descent of his hidden rope, and he was away free with another contract fulfilled.


FOWC with Fandango — Adroit

New Horizons

Train, Diesel, Transportation, Business

Jeremy had spent the entirety of is nineteen years in the same town.  Buried deep in the farm-belt Hog’s Knuckle was the backwater of all backwaters.  When he was 15 he had made that one trip to the state fair with the 4H Club, but beyond that he had never journeyed more than twenty miles from “Knuckle.” 

The economic situation in the town was dire, and with the closure of the cannery there seemed to be no hope for any real semblance of life left.  With the longing for a new start in his soul, Jeremy left home a little after nine, being sure to go out the kitchen door as if he were on his way to the barn.  Circling back he picked up the old knapsack he had left by the silo, and headed to the bend on the Billings Line.  By ten he would be on a freight train on his way to new horizons.



Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge:

freight train, longing, and nine


Japanese Cherry Trees, Flowers, Pink, Tree, Flower Tree


A distant thunder echoed from beyond the hills.  Would a storm disrupt the tranquility of this place – this oasis of calmness nestled in the foothills far from the day to day concerns of the human realm? 

The growing breeze caused the trees to curtly nod their acquiescence to the sky’s demands.  As they did, showers of cherry blossom cascaded into the stream where they danced and swirled amid the whirlpools and eddies before being swept underwater at a little falls, only to reemerge in a pool carved by flow.  

But even this sacrifice of pink blossom was no waste, for as the rules of nature dictated, they settled in the inanition of the basin, a treasure chest of colour, where the stream stored riches.  

A louder crack of thunder drew Helen’s gaze from the petals in to pool, and and she looked up at the darkening sky.  Taking one last glance at the bowing cherry trees, she hurrying home to her secluded cottage. 

“Tomorrow,” she whispered to the trees and stream. “I promise to visit again tomorrow, and I will bring cake.”


Wordle #203

Inanition– lack of vigor; lethargy.
Cherry Blossom


Man, Figure, Watch, Binoculars, Hidden


Tom Peipce hated the whole lock down deal.  March and April found him pottering about in the garden. While not much of a gardener there was some thing about the greenery that he found relaxing.  The only real company he had was his dog, Buster, and while a loyal companion, old Buster was far from a great conversationalist.

But what Tom really missed, even more than conversation, was seeing women.  At least back at the office there were pretty faces other than Buster’s to gaze at.  Yes, Tom was a bit of a leerer, a fact not missed by several of his colleagues.

But as May sunshine found its way to his quarantine prison, his concupiscent nature found a new outlet.  Yes, as the rays of sunshine became stronger, his neighbour Barbara began to sunbathe.  This was an elysian development for Tom, but he knew he would need to tread carefully, and keep on his toes.

That evening he removed a small plank from his garden shed which overlooked Barbara’s garden, and covered the spot with a piece of coconut matting that he could use as a kind of curtain.

Things went well for the next couple of days as the bikini-clad Barbara enjoyed the fine weather.  But she had an uneasy feeling that she was being watched.  As a result she kept glancing over towards Tom’s location.  It had become time for Tom’s Plan B.

Tom leaned over and whispered in Buster’s ear, and the dog immediately went over and began to paw the fence.  Barbara drawn by the sound leaned over the fence and ruffled the animal’s hair.  “Hey there, Buster.  You been watching me boy?  I bet you’re lonely.”

Her suspicions now allayed, Barbara returned to her lounge chair.  Feeling triumphant, Tom fished out an old pair of binoculars from under his chair, and adjusted them to compensate for the expanse of garden.

Tom Peipce of Coventry was a menace.  Fortunately he had his comeuppance when, as social bubbles were introduced,  Barbara’s older brother, Gino Godiva noticed movement in the shed.  The rest shall we say is history.


Wordle #202:

elysian– blissful, delightful
concupiscent– lustful, sensual

The Lounge


‘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.




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



Bow, Shooter, Arrow


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.”




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

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


pride – ego
pryed – opened

Death and Taxes

Pocket Watch, Watch, Gold, Antiq, Old


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.




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