Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tuesday's Tales - Stuffed

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales! This week's prompt is the word "stuffed", obviously inspired by Thanksgiving. I've set Eric and his sweetie onto another wacky adventure.

To read the rest of the stories by some fine authors, visit the Tuesday's Tales Web Site.


We sat down with the children at a small, rickety table for Thanksgiving dinner.

"Mom, I'm 29. Why do I still have to sit at the kid's table?" I asked my mother.

"There's no room at the adult table. Maybe next year." Mom said.

"You say that every year." I said.

"I don't mind sitting at the kid's table. I have the heart of a child. I keep it on a desk in my office." Eric said with a wicked grin.

"Oh, Eric, that's awful!" My mother said.

"Don't mind him." I punched him on the arm. "You only have an inner child because you have no outer adult."

"I can't take credit for the line. Stephen King said it first." Eric said.

"When will we get to sit at the adult table? I don't want to spend my Thanksgiving dinner wiping green bean casserole slobber from a toddler." I complained.

"You won't. Stop arguing." Eric said. "Food's coming."

The feast rivaled last year's meal. Crescent rolls fresh and warm from the oven made their way to our table. I grabbed two and so did Eric. Rather than send the basket of rolls back to the adult table, he put it in front of him.

"Crescent rolls are cool. They stay here." He said.

I shrugged it off and ignored him.

Succulent turkey made its way to our table. I took a thigh and some breast meat and passed it on to Eric, who took a leg and some breast meat.

"Eh, send the turkey back. Let the adults have it." Eric said as he handed the platter of turkey over to one of my uncles at the adult table.

The green bean casserole, candied sweet potatoes, and sauerkraut made their way to our table. Eric and I dished out healthy samplings of the beans and sweet potatoes but let the sauerkraut go. He looked at my plate brimming with goodies and raised an eyebrow.

"You know you can't eat that much food. You're going to be too stuffed for pumpkin pie." He said.

"I'm never too stuffed for pumpkin pie." I replied.

"We'll see. You'll know I'm right. I'm always right." He grinned and winked at me. "We keep the beans and sweet potatoes. They're cool. The adults can keep the sauerkraut." He placed the bowls of beans and potatoes in front of him with the crescent rolls and handed the sauerkraut to my uncle.

Scalloped corn and regular potatoes made their way to our table only to be handed off to my uncle. The same thing happened to the gravy. Eric kept the cranberry sauce. I wondered when someone would notice there was a bottleneck at the kid's table. It was my father who noticed.

"Where're the rolls and sweet potatoes?" He turned to us. "Are you kids hoarding the good food again?"

"This is what you get for making us sit at the kid's table." I said as I poked Eric with my elbow. He handed the food to my uncle.

"We were holding it hostage until we got our way." Eric said.

My mother appeared with two chairs. I had no idea she had left the room. "Alright, you two. You get your wish. Come to the adult table."

As we made our way to our new holiday tradition of sitting with the grown-ups, a toddler cousin of mine appeared in the dining room wearing only his sweater, socks, and sneakers. Otherwise, he was buck-naked. "Mom, the toilet's clogged up." He said.

"Oh, God, no," My aunt Helen said as she shot up out of her chair. "You didn't flush your underwear down the toilet again, did you?"

My cousin gave her a wry smile.

As my father ran off to the bathroom to remedy this latest disaster, Eric and I sat down to enjoy our turkey dinner amid my crazy family. If it wasn't a clogged toilet or Eric holding the good food hostage, it would have been a boring Thanksgiving. That's never the case with my family. At least Roto-Rooter made a mint from us. It's the most plumberful time of year.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tuesday's Tales - Lake House

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales, where you the reader get to read new stories every week based on a word or picture prompt. This week's Tuesday's Tale is a picture prompt of a lake house. We have only 300 words to work with. Once again, I bring Eric out to play, but he's being quiet this week. Very unusual for Eric.

To read the rest of the stories by some fine authors, visit the Tuesday's Tales Web Site.


Doing nothing was a lot easier than you'd think. After going for a swim in the lake, Eric and I sat in the living room in front of a roaring fire, enjoying each other's company.

We didn't talk. The TV wasn't blasting. Music didn't blare over the loudspeakers. A loon's plaintive cry sounded over the lake. Crickets chirped. A breeze blew through the trees. The fire cast a glow over the room, and its warmth covered me like a child's blanket. I lay in Eric's arms on the couch, sipping hot cocoa, not saying a word.

I thought about our twenty years together; how much we had grown in each other's embrace. Our bodies had softened and our minds had sharpened, but we never tired of each other. We gave each other surprise gifts when there was no special occasion long after other couples gave up. Eric's thoughtfulness drew me closer to him. He lived to see me happy, and I wanted to bring as much joy to his life as I could. He was my rock. My foundation. Without him I would be lost.

Fire crackled in the hearth. This cabin by the lake was new to us, but it would become a familiar haven to get away from life's stresses. Not that we had much stress. Simplifying our lives over the years, we had eliminated the fast pace, rush hour traffic, debt, and other hazards of living. We had each other, our son, and our four cats, one of which curled in his lap. We brought Lucky to the beach house to keep us company.

As I basked in the quiet, I relished how good I had it. Others weren't so lucky. Grateful, I sipped my cocoa and closed my eyes. Life was good.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tuesday's Tales - Flower

Happy Tuesday and welcome to my latest Tuesday's Tales entry. This week's prompt was "flower". I wanted to write something a little different rather than the usual gift of bouquets of roses that immediately popped into my head. Hence this week's story, which is another adventure between Eric and his sweetie.

To read the rest of the stories by some fine authors, visit the Tuesday's Tales Web Site.


Eric got another bizarre idea in his head. He took me to a museum to see the stinkiest flower on earth. The Cape Ann Botanical Garden was only a twenty minute drive from home. We arrived mid-afternoon, just as the line to see Amorphosphallus Titanum in all its glory had died down.

"You can't be like other men and buy me a bouquet of roses?" I asked.

"What other men have bought you roses?" Eric asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"None, silly. I just don’t know what's so special about a flower that stinks."

"You'll see. You've never seen anything like this in your life." He said as followed the crowd down the hallway into the main area of the Gardens. The sweet smell of roses, sweet pea, and butterfly bushes floated around me. I stopped to admire some spider plants growing out of a tall tree.

"Now that's neat-looking. I love spider plants. They're easy to grow," I said. "Didn't I see some starter plants for sale at the front door?"

"Yes. We can get one when we get out." He took me by the hand and guided me away from the greenery. "The big one is down this way."

"Tell me again why we're seeing this?"

"Because it's impressive and it's new. The Gardens has been on a waiting list to get one of these babies. Now, it's blooming and it's supposed to be something incredible to behold."

"Even though it smells like spoiled meat."

"Yes. Even so."

I thought he was exaggerating, but I wanted to humor him. He was so excited about this silly plant that I played along with him. We'd see it, ooh and ah, and then go out for lobster dinner.

"It's right around this corner. You'll be impressed. You'll see."

"I'll take your word for it. It couldn't be any worse than that durian fruit we found at the Asian grocer. That stuff smelled like a rancid onion had married a pair of dirty gym socks." We turned the corner. "I guess I'll believe it when –"

The stink struck me hard in the face. It was unlike anything I had ever smelled before. Noxious and unbelievably vile, I now understood why this flower was nicknamed the Corpse Flower.  It must have been ten feet tall, and it looked like a calla lily that had gone insane. The "petals" – I didn’t know what else to call them – were deep red in color and the dark purple inner stalk nearly touched the ceiling. It looked like a flower made of meat. The smell was a sickening sweet stench similar to rotting pork but much, much worse. My eyes watered; the smell was so intense.

"What the fresh hell…" I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand.

"Impressive, isn't it?" Eric asked. "It's pollinated by dung beetles and flesh flies."

I had to admit it floored me. "It's stunning in a disgusting and beautiful way." I could only stare at it as I fought the urge to sneeze.

Eric already had his iPhone out and took pictures of it. "For your Facebook page. You can tell everyone I took you to see a Corpse Flower. Now, what do you say we go around and visit the less noxious plants?"

We spent the rest of the afternoon admiring water gardens and seasonal blooms. My favorite area held the tropical plants. I stuck my nose in everything to get the smell of that Corpse Flower out of my nose, but nothing worked. It was like a noseworm, stuck there until something else replaced it. On our way home, Eric stopped at a florist and bought me a dozen red roses, mainly to get the smell of the Corpse Flower out of my nose. It worked. That flower would haunt me in dreams for the next week. I must admit, I loved my exertions with Eric. I never knew what to expect. He knew he owed me a lobster dinner so we headed straight for Lobstah Land to end our exciting evening.


Author's Note: Amorphosphallus Titanum is a real plant, and it does smell like a rotting corpse. For more information, see its Wikipedia page.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I Won A Fall Vignette Writing Contest!

Have you read my winning vignette for Kiki Howell's fall vignette writing contest? I'm delighted I won. The good news made my day yesterday. I had a lovely Halloween. As a prize, I had the choice between a review or a beta read. I chose the beta read. I gave Kiki two of my short horror stories to look over. I'm very grateful. :)