Friday, April 26, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #16

5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have:  advertising, purse, cottage, dragon, comic. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.

     “What are you advertising, dressed like that? Is this a joke?”
     “I’m not comical.”
     “Is that glitter on your wings?”
     “And a gold lamé purse dangling from your tail?”
     “Did I see you coming out of Courtesan Cottage at 3:00 a.m. last night?”
     “Must have been someone else.”
     “If you’re short on cash I can help.”
     “I have my pride!”
     “Dragons have pride, dragon street hookers, I’m thinking not so much...”
     “It’s just till I get my fire-breathing back. Doctors aren’t cheap.”
     “As long as dragons are. Look, a knight!”
     “Catch you later. Girl’s gotta eat.”

Friday, April 19, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #15

5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have:  parity, hammer, frost, stone, pebble. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.

     “Still on strike?”
     “We want parity!”
     “Like what?”
       “Better weapons for one thing. Look at you with your hammer!”
     “I need it. We have to fight frost giants, serpents, and giant wolves, while defending the World Tree.”
     “Well, we have unlucky people to eat.”
     “Don’t call a pebble a boulder.”
     “Stone is stone.”
     “Get a grip, Bunyip. It’s cute when overgrown koalas get mad.”
     “Screw you, Thor. Hammer-headed hairball.”
     “Enjoy picketing. Excuse me while my hammer and I cross the line between myth and legend, and, uh, things like you. Hermes sends his love. And some catfood.”
     “Mythist bastards!” 

* A Bunyip is a human-eating, swamp-dwelling evil spirit from Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is sometimes described as looking like a mutant starfish, but is also sometimes pictured like a saber-toothed tiger. Thor is a Norse god, while Hermes is a Greek god.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Paul Revere's Ride

In honor of the anniversary of Paul Revere's ride and the start of the American Revolution, and in remembrance of the people of Boston, where the American quest for freedom and democracy began--

Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon bombing

Our thought and prayers are with the people of Boston and the visiting tourists, all the people who were injured or lost loved ones at the Boston Marathon bombing yesterday.

This man, Carlos Arredondo, lost his son in Iraq, and leaped over a security fence to help some of the victims in Boston. In another photo he seems to be clamping the artery shut on a man who had lost both of his legs at the knee and was being rushed away in a wheelchair, helping to save the man's life. 

In the midst of this cowardice and depravity, it is important to see the essence of human decency and courage shining through. The fact that numerous people ran toward the blast to help says more about us than whatever message the bomber or bombers were trying to impart.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #14

5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have:  roof, motorcycle, slide, morals, music. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.

     “Nothing like lying on a rooftop at night, sipping wine, shedding morals.”
     “Don’t slide too far. You’ll lose your reputation, and risk a fall.”
     “What is life without risk? I’m listening to the music of the spheres in the Eternal City. The world is beautiful.”
     “Tempus fugit.”
     “My motorcycle fugit. Breaks 140.”
     “Tough girl.” 
     “That’s a sour taste. I want sweet.”
     “Creep over here, I’ll oblige.”
     She reached a little too eagerly. He stumbled back to save himself, but his buttons tangled in her long hair. Together they fell, spilled wine and shattered glass, a shriek like blazing stars.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flash Fiction Fridays, #13

5 words picked by a random word generator, 100 words or fewer story.  We have: ravioli, raincoat, rose, second, peace. Please send in one of your own, due by midnight, Monday, New York time. Winner gets a critique of the first chapter of their WIP or poem.

    “Want seconds on peas?”
     “A Separate Peace? I read that. Spells ASP. Creepy. I hate snakes.”
     “Peas. No serpents involved.”
     “Piece of what? I have lasagna. Are you a herpetologist? My dating profile said no scientists.”
      “Never mind.”
     “Don’t get mad at me. The world can’t be all rose-flavored raviolis and unicorns. A guy’s gotta have standards.”
     “Your chair’s on my raincoat.”
     “Brain of goat? For dessert? I said no Satanists either.”
     “I said no poets. Rhyming dictionary’s rotted your mind.”
     “You take what you find, but I’m outta here.”
     My fate-this loser date? Dear God, it’s contagious.