Tale Number Sixty-Four – Always There

Always There

prompt:  the one who wasn’t there


It simply hadn’t been long enough.  It had, of course, been very painful at the beginning but, time dulled it.  Eventually, Lucy became accustomed to the ever-present, dull ache.  The exception was mealtimes at her grandmother’s house.  Then, the pain was as fresh as if it had just happened.  The sight of the empty place setting before the unoccupied chair at the table where her grandfather should have been was too much.  Now, with his birthday just a week away, Lucy couldn’t see how she could face it.  The four months since his death just wasn’t long enough. Continue reading “Tale Number Sixty-Four – Always There”

Tale Number Sixty-Three – Busting Out

Busting Out

prompt:  comedy/a car impound lot/a remote control


“This better work, Nerdlinger,” Wayne said, shoving his geeky, little brother toward the gate. The kid’s brain was a force of nature.  Occasionally useful, but more often, just irritating. “We’re supposed to meet the guys in half an hour.”

“Don’t push me,” said Eddie, flexing his shoulder.

Taylor stepped between the brothers and peered through the gate at the junk yard that also served as the town impound.  “Keep it down, ladies.  Dude, why would they impound your truck for a speeding ticket?” Continue reading “Tale Number Sixty-Three – Busting Out”

Tale Number Sixty-One – The Answer

The Answer

prompt:  historical fiction/a letter/a seven year old boy


Mama died two days before George’s seventh birthday.

Almost a month passed before Pa took him and baby Faith into town to attend church.  After service, adults stood in small groups on the small lawn visiting and exchanging news.  Children weren’t allowed to run about but they could form their own groups to talk, so long as they didn’t make too much noise.  George wasn’t sure he wanted to talk to anyone, but he found himself in a group of boys, nevertheless.

“You must miss your ma,” said one of the older boys.  He patted George on the shoulder.  “But Reverend says she’s gone to a better place and you should be happy for her.”

George didn’t answer.  He wasn’t happy.  Neither was Pa.  Pa had hardly spoken since she died. Continue reading “Tale Number Sixty-One – The Answer”

Tale Number Sixty – How Many Crooks Does It Take to Change a Tail Light

How Many Crooks Does It Take to Change a Tail Light

prompt:  crime caper/an ambulance/a broken tail light


“Okay, let’s move,” said Rhonda, as they climbed into the back of the wagon.

She shoved Jack onto the folded down gurney as she pulled the door shut behind them.  Frank cranked the engine over and pulled away from the curb at a sedate pace.

“What the hell is this?  Who makes a getaway in an ambulance?” Jack said.  Continue reading “Tale Number Sixty – How Many Crooks Does It Take to Change a Tail Light”

Tale Number Fifty-Nine – Wrong Delivery

Wrong Delivery

prompt:  gift basket delivered to the wrong room    Please see the Author’s Note at the end.


“Taken care of, boss,” said Bolson.  He slipped his phone back in his jacket pocket and resumed his seat to the right of Mr. Anderson’s desk.  He glanced at the miserable-looking guy standing in front of the desk.  Poor Taylor.  Even though the problem had been resolved, Taylor was still on the spot.

“Thank you, Bolson,” Anderson answered.  He paused and considered his folded hands on the desktop for a moment.  Then, he looked up and leveled a sharp gaze at the squirming man standing before him.  “Taylor, I’m sure you are as relieved as I am that Bolson was able to correct this error of yours so quickly.”  Continue reading “Tale Number Fifty-Nine – Wrong Delivery”

Tale Number Fifty-Eight – Necessity Is a Real Mother

Necessity Is a Real Mother

prompt:  spy story/water treatment plant/a frozen pancake     Does this sound like the worst game of “Clue” or what?  😉


“We’re meeting here?” Maxwell asked, adjusting her earpiece.  “You’re shitting me, right?”

“No chatter.”

Her boss, Batson, was tight-laced and she knew she irritated him. Continue reading “Tale Number Fifty-Eight – Necessity Is a Real Mother”

Tale Number Fifty-Seven – Point of View

Point of View

prompt:  broken glass


It figured that it would happen now.

Tomorrow was big.  It was bigger than big.  One might even call it monumental.  Pete had come to see it that way and had been preparing accordingly.  Always a careful researcher, Pete had taken enormous pains with this presentation.  He checked, double-checked, quadruple-checked every word and practiced his delivery, coordinating it with his use of the power point he’d created.  It had to be absolutely perfect if he wanted the grant money he would need to set up and run a dig to examine a possible Patayan settlement in the desert to the northeast of the Baja of California. Continue reading “Tale Number Fifty-Seven – Point of View”

Tale Number Fifty-Six – Untitled


prompt:  horror/a lumber yard/a puppy


Random noises didn’t bother Phil.  Fifteen years as a security guard, most of them spent on the night shift, had taught him the difference between transient noises and sounds that needed his attention.  This was a good thing, too, seeing as his new job was at one of the last retail lumber yards in the city.  Outside jobs meant a lot of background hum and he couldn’t spend his night running after every peep he heard.  Instead, he noted sounds as they occurred around him but it was almost sub-textual.  His steps followed a complicated route through row after row of enormous stacks of boards and beams while his mind drifted more easily. Continue reading “Tale Number Fifty-Six – Untitled”

Tale Number Fifty-Five – Ran So Far Away

Ran So Far Away

prompt:  a flock of gulls and a garbage dump    Um, I think you ought to read the Author’s Note at the end, folks.   😉


“It’s all about paying our dues, man.  All about the dues.”

“I call total bull shit on your dues, dude.  This is all about a paycheck.”

“No, man.  I mean it.  It’s doing the time to earn the reward,” insisted Bo.  “I’ve been thinking.  We’ve done pretty well and I think we can start adding a couple of our songs toward the end of our last set.”  He gave the other three guys a double thumbs up.  “Because we earned it.” Continue reading “Tale Number Fifty-Five – Ran So Far Away”