Jan De Vries had been a gem sorter for his entire adult life.  In fact, August would mark his thirtieth year in the trade.

It had been a rather run-of-the-mill day at the Exchange when the new hire, Daan Van de Walle called to attract his attention.

“Meneer De Vries, I think you should see this,” the young man said with air of excitement.

“What is it now?” the master sorter asked dismissively.

When he reached Van de Walle’s table, the apprentice handed him a stone.  Jan put his glass into his eye and scanned the gem.  “Yes, it is a flaw,” he announced.

“Yes Sir, it is, but please look closer,” Daan said as he handed him a magnifying glass.

In nearly three decades, De Vries had never heard of such a thing, much less witness it.  But it was irrefutable.  There before him was a discovery that would change our understanding of the world. There encased in the stone was a tiny channel and in the channel was an even smaller ladder.




Maybe Horton was right!


Sunday Photo Fiction



What’s The Matter?

Gulliver came and rested on Thinker’s head, as he often did when making a visit.


“You look somehow different today,” the gull observed.  “Is there something the matter?”


“Oh Gulliver, I am so frustrated and ashamed.”


“Ashamed of what, Thinker?” the bird asked in a compassionate tone.


“So many of my friends stand for such awful things. It makes me wish I was anything but a statue.”


“Yes, but you’re not like that,” Gulliver remarked.


“I don’t know,” Thinkers said.  “I feel I should have done more before it all got crazy like this.  I mean I have spent over a hundred years pondering things, but never gave this issue a moment’s attention.  I think I was just too comfortable in my own position.”


“I think I get you, man.” the gull said sincerely.  “Is there anything I can do?”


“I don’t think so. It is something I need to do myself.”


With all that is going on in the world and with so many people emotionally drained, I want everyone to know I am fully in support of the Black Lives Matter moment, and the struggles for a truly just and equitable society.  I have long held progressive political and social views, and have actively expressed them.  As an author, I need to use my forum to “do it myself.”




Sunday Photo Fiction

The Tariff

Photo courtesy of Morguefile

It had been a long drive and Estella and Filip were exhausted when they arrived in the city.  To add to their discomfort they found that the gates to their intended caravan site had been locked at 2 AM and would not open until 6.

“There’s no place to park and I can’t wait here for three and a half hours,” Estella said.  “I need to get some sleep.”

“I’m not in much better shape, but I tell you what; why don’t I drive for a bit and look for a place to park, and you get some sleep?”

They traded places and Estella settled in. Filip drove through streets packed with parked vehicles.  Nowhere seemed to provided a space large enough for the car and caravan.  Then he saw a sign for a car park, so he thought himself in luck.  To his surprise he found that it was a subterranean facility, but in his bleary-eyed condition, decided to give it a go anyway.  The caravan barely cleared the entry gate, but made it all the same, and Filip continued down the long downward ramp into the facility’s interior.

No spaces, he mused to himself as he began to weave his way upwards again through several levels.  Finally on the very top level, he spied a big enough space and pulled into it and promptly fell asleep.

It was after 10 when the couple awoke.

“Where are we?” Estella asked.

“In an underground car park,” he said through a yawn.

“Did you see the prices!” she said looking up at the sign.

“No, I didn’t look. I was desperate.” he admitted.

“Not half as desperate as you are going to be.  It says, ‘Monthly permits only,’ and according to the sign, that’s 200 Euros.”

“Two – two hundred,” he stammered.

“Look over there,” she said.

Filip glanced over at the narrow passage marked “Fire Exit.”

“It’s worth a try,” she said.

Filip nodded, and steered towards the hope of tariff-free escape.



Sunday Photo Fiction





Photo courtesy of DB McNicol

“Chief, why don’t we get one of those shiny new red trucks?”  Bill Bradley asked.  “I mean we spend more time doing repairs on this old thing than we do fighting fires.”

“Good thing we don’t get many fires then,” Chief Adams replied.  “First of all, the town council won’t pay for a new one, and even if they did it wouldn’t be one of those modern appliances you’re talking about?”

“But why?  Surely the town would benefit and be better protected with a state of the art truck.”

“It’s down to image.  Ever since the plant closed back in 91, the town has made more money from sightseers and passing trade than from any other source,” the chief explained.

“I don’t get it,” Bill said with a tone of bewilderment.

“Look at it this way.  We have a town that looks like everything in it belongs in a Norman Rockwell painting.  People come here, in part, to get a glimpse of that nostalgic life.  The council aims to give it to them, cuz folks are fickle, and if we change things they may well stop coming.”

“Okay I can see that.  But you said ‘in part’ that is why folks come.  Why else do they come here then?  We are off the main highway, and not that easy to get to.”

“Well that’s down the the ads we run in the hunting and fishing magazines.  Not only does Paris Lake got great fishing, but it allows husbands to tell their wives, ‘Honey, This year I’m taking you to Paris’.”




Sunday Photo Fiction

FOWC with Fandango — Fickle

Secret Signs

Photo courtesy of Morguefile

“Are you really sure we should be doing this?” Elizabeth asked.

“Liz, we have been cooped up for weeks, and then I had this dream in which I was driving with you and the kids.  I knew the truth then.”

“Truth? What truth?”

“That the government doesn’t really want us to stay at home.  They have even left clues for those of us who are smart enough to see them,” Roger explained.

“What kind of clues?  You are kind of scaring me.  I don’t feel comfortable with breaking the rules.”

“You want clues, well there’s one now.  A government sanctioned, government produced, government posted sign.”

Roger pulled the car onto the hard shoulder near the lake, and pointed at an orange sign.  “It’s the one I saw in my dream last night.  I means ‘Don’t Be Lemmings’.”

“Roger honey, we should go back home now, I think you left your foil hat on the kitchen table.”




Sunday Photo Fiction – May 10 2020


The Dare

Photo courtesy of Donna McNicol

“You go first,” Dal and Vi said to their youngest sibling, Hal.

“Why don’t you go Dal?  You’re the oldest,” Hal replied.

“But you’re the youngest and fastest,” Dal replied.

Hal knew that much at least was true, but was nervous all the same.

“But I’m afraid to,” Hal pleaded.

“You are always such a baby,” Vi taunted.  “I dare you to do it.”

“I double dare you,” Dal added for good measure.

“Okay, but I’m only going to do it for a minute,” Hal almost whimpered.

So with the government restrictions on outside movement finally lifted, Hal stepped out into the daylight for the first time since the crisis began.




Sunday Photo Fiction – May 3 2020

Sunday Writing Prompt “Dare”

Imprisoned No More


It was the most famous escape in the history of the world.  He was enclosed in a windowless compartment, a heavy sealed stone door in place.  Armed guards patrolled the only entrance.  And yet, escape He did.  What makes it even a greater feat of escapology is the fact that he had been declared dead by the authorities that conducted His state sanctioned execution.  No, no fiction this week readers, but a fact, “stranger than fiction.”  The event the greatest of all time.  Jesus is risen, and the stone was moved away!

Encased, enclosed, imprisoned

By our acts of sin

Jesus burst these chains of death

Only a burial shroud left within

We like He are free now

Satan’s trap of lies broken

The gates of Hell themselves

For Jesus has left them open



Sunday Photo (Non)Fiction – Apr 12 2020




Noontime Mishap



The twins, Haya and Laya made their way through the wooded hills.

“Mum said we should never come this way,” Laya scolded.

“But it’s a lot shorter, and it’s a hot day,” Haya retorted, adjusting the heavy bundle of supplies on her shoulder.

“But what about the Trolls?” her sister asked, taking a quick look around her as she uttered the word.

“Relax, it’s nearly noon, and Trolls sleep during the day.”

Laya was far from convinced, but accompanied Haya anyway.

Shortly afterwards, the sisters were passing through a little rill when Laya spied a pair of sleeping Trolls snuggled under a blanket of moss.  “Let’s get past here as fast as we can,” she whispered.

“Why should we?” Haya queried.  She then set down her bundle and began to make faces at the slumbering giants, just as the moon began to eclipse the sun.



(146 words)

Sunday Photo Fiction – Apr 5 2020


Music’s End

Photo courtesy of Morguefile

“Maths and Science, Science and Maths,” had become the Government’s mantra for educational policy.  “Real-world subjects” would prepare young people to help make the nation “Great Again.”

At first it was drama that took the hit.  “Who needs lies and make believe anyway?” The “Culture” Minister argued.

Then Art felt the pinch.  “We don’t need to be encouraging a new generation of “Graffiti Vandals,” the Home Secretary was heard to say.

Music tuition soon followed, as “Bird song and the National Anthem are all we need,” the Education Secretary announced in a press conference.

And so the nation returned to greatness.  A greatness of dull manufacturing jobs, and service industries.  A nation of twelve hour shifts, and radio broadcasts of endless political speeches, and the ubiquitous National Anthem.

From time to time children would stop and inspect the odd metallic frame behind the Technology Department, and wonder what it might have been, as it seemed to have no “useful” purpose.


Sunday Photo Fiction – Mar 8 2020




“Why are those old books in the museum, Grandpa?”

“They are law books – books about the law, Sweetie.”

“Law books?  What’s law?”

“They are the rules we live by.  They tell people what they should and shouldn’t do.”

“But doesn’t the Great President do that for us?” the little boy asked with an expression of confusion.

“Well yes, Sweetie, but before the Great President’s father became ‘President-for-Life,’ many people worked together to make the rules.”

“That’s silly,” the child retorted.  “What if those people had different ideas?  At least now we know exactly what is right cuz the Great President tells us so.  And we don’t need lot’s of dusty books, we just need to read the Tweets.”

Grandpa took a quick look around the museum, noting the woman in the regulation black skirt-suit.  He then said in a loud but sad voice, “Exactly right Sweetie.”  Then trailed off looking down at the floor, “Exactly right.”


Sunday Photo Fiction