Friday, 3 August 2018

Cardiff, moorhen or a coot?


Late today, apologies – staying at my daughter’s and the days a different shape. My pleasure at reading your entries no less, nor  the difficulty of choosing a winner, therefore, too short of opportunity to insert fag papers between each of half a dozen, I’m naming three time: J E Deegan for ‘In a time past’, Dave for ‘The Liberator’ and Patricia for ‘Broken-hearted Clown’. Thank you all.

Words for next week (inspired by daughter’s kitchen) : cactus, gin percolate

Entries by midnight Thursday 9th August, words and winners posted Friday 10th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media you prefer.

165 comments:

  1. Thank you for that honour, Sandra, but I didn’t submit anything entitled “Behind Closed Doors” this week. LOL. Many worthy congratulations to J.E. and Dave though. Applause!!! Applause!!!

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    1. Congrats to the three winners. Sorry I didn't comment last week. Don't ask why, but if you insist, I had a plumbing issue, not in my house, but in the middle area of my body. Patricia, even if you didn't submit the winning story, your stories are always so good, you probably got in by default.

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    2. Sincere apologies Patricia - I was battling with snail-speed internet and a hiccuping laptop

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    3. Well done J.E., Dave, and Patricia for joint mentions for last week. Everyone's entries were as usual varied and top class.

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    4. Congrats J.E., Dave, & Patricia!

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    5. Huzzah's to all three, J.E., Dave, and Patricia on sharing the top spot with their superb stories

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    6. Thank you so very much! It's an honour to be amongst such fine company!

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    7. congrats to winners and thanks to everyone for the great reads last week.

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  2. Afternoon Delight

    After James left, she welcomed her lover in. His mouth tasted of gin and she loved the way he devoured her. Her husband, while a decent guy, was as boring as a cactus. As the coffee would percolate, he would read the morning paper, then off to work.

    She needed more. She kept this affair discreet. James would never find out.

    She moaned deeply with each thrust.

    She never heard the front door. She never heard the nervous shuffling of steps in the hall. She never expected the shiny, new pistol in James' sweaty hand.

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    1. This is a good one. Great suspense. Really well done.

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    2. A good build up and lead in to a suspenseful last line RJ. I really liked the 'his mouth tasted of gin' line.

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    4. Ah, how nicely done R.J. Boring as a cactus, she must have ignored the sharp needles. Very enjoyable.

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    5. I let the coffee pot percolate, while sipping from the generous serving of gin I had poured for myself. I knew she would be home soon, probably babbling about her work or friends or some damned thing. I felt no remorse at what I was going to do. I knew she had been the one that had taken my sweet Sarah’s life. She had quickly wormed her way into my life, feigning sympathy and deflecting the cactus thorns of well-meaning friends. I fell for it, even married her, after a proper amount of time. Today, she would receive her reward.

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    6. Yikes, I forgot the title! "Just Desserts"

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    8. Dave, This leaves it open for the readers to decide if we side with the husband or wife. I'm leaning toward the husband being a little delusional about the actions of his wife. The way it bothers him to hear his wife talk about friends and her work... leaves me wondering if she really wormed her way into his life or not. Very enjoyable.

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    9. @RJ Great build, and I love the line 'boring as a cactus'.
      @Dave Clever writing from James' viewpoint, and adding the mysterious hook about taking Sarah's life.

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    10. Thank you, Zaiure and John. The stories keep trying to grow larger than their cages, which begs the whittling down. I hope I have left enough of the original to make it worthwhile.

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    11. Jeffrey here. Dave, took me awhile to notice you posted. Good hook but what intrigued me the most was his nonchalant attitude about the whole thing. Stoic is a good description. Good story and writing.

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    12. very nicely done, just enough tension before the last line. Clever.

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    13. Seems two stories ended up under one post, so I shall deal with each accordingly.

      @ RJ -- Never underestimate the revenge taken by a cuckolded husband. Still, I somewhat sympathize with ... well, we never did find out her name, did we? It's probably moot now anyway given the fact that she's probably fallen victim to the bullet. Or maybe it was just her lover who suffered that fate? I like that we're left not really knowing.

      @ Dave -- This was cold and calculating and totally brilliant. I'm left wondering by what method the "new wife" took "sweet Sarah's life." I love it when there are questions left unanswered. Lovely little story.

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    14. Apologies R J - I thought I'd posted in the wrong place, so deleted - now I see I was over-hasty on doing so, therefore repeat it here:

      Best bit, for me, was James nervousness, shiny new pistol in sweaty hand - added extra facets.

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    15. Dave - especially enjoyable for its subtlety - "cactus thorns of well-meaning friends"

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  3. Corpus delicti

    I smelled gin on his breath, and garlic. The brown of his left iris attempted to percolate into his sclera. He was a hard one, this fellow. There was no clear cut evidence, no clues other than we all knew he did it.

    “So, Mr. Kling, you deny knowing Miss Rockwell?”

    “I deny knowing her on a personal level. Everyone knows her.” A slight smile. “She’s famous.”

    “Tell me about your cactus farm in Arizona.”

    “Little to tell. I’m an inactive partner.”

    I shook my head. Two thousand acres of desert and a recent thunderstorm. A body could hide there for eons.

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    1. Another tight and well written mystery with a great final hook line John. I was particularly drawn to 'The brown of his left iris attempted to percolate into his sclera.' Great imagery.

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    2. Liked this one, a body could hide...be hidden perhaps, loved "I'm an inactive partner."

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    3. VERY interesting story! Thank you!

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    4. Another tiny twist - the percolating brown of an iris - which demonstrates your individual magic.

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    5. I also loved the line 'the brown of his left iris attempted to percolate into his sclera'. This was a great mystery, and I loved the idea of the cactus farm.

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    6. I liked this, casual dialogue covering dark deeds.

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    7. Oh, what a nice one! I agree with my fellow wordsmiths here regarding the "percolating brown of an iris." Such unique use and a perfect fit for the telling of the tale.

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  4. This would work well into a mystery novel. Nicely done, John.

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  5. The Secret Armadillo Soldier (SAS) Diaries - entry - 15 sworn in spittle

    Percolating them with the wine and a dangerous concoction of cactus- gin, Sarg pressed the pangolin chief and ‘Vark agent until they swore in spittle they would uphold the coalition conditions: Then she enquired about the strange contraption Nigel had liberated from the Pangolin palace.
    ‘Thought it was one of your thieving SAS gang.’ the pangolin chief told her. ‘No one else could’ve swiped it.’
    ‘Fanks Clancy.’ She paused, ‘Would y’mind tellin’ me what the bloody fing does?’
    ‘It’s for the pangolin pilots .’He whispered.
    The ‘Vark agent guffawed. ‘Pangolins can’t fly.’
    Clancy waggled a conspiratorial claw, ‘They can now.’

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    1. You're continuing to hold our interest in this, not easily done in a series. Good use of prompt's-cactus gin, just lovely.

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    2. I am getting into this more and more every week! I actually look forward to the next installment, PLEASE!

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    3. SO intriguing! And ever-fascinating. Love the 'conspiratorial claw',

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    4. I really enjoy this world. Sandra called out my favorite phrase with that last line.

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    5. Charming as ever, Terrie.

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    6. it's so detailed and yet carries the story on at the same time.

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    7. What an absolutely brilliant last line. This (as always) was entertaining and expertly put together. Love the addition of characters as they come in, each with their own unique personality. I do believe you and your 'dillos are gathering quite a following here, Terrie!

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  6. This is the thing now! The Armadillo Soldier is my weekly addiction.

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  7. I love the way you do the dialogue, showing how they talk.

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  8. Domus Pel

    The cloud lightning was beautiful; Cactus needles hurtling through and lighting the evening sky. Ozone’s distinct smell drifted across my lake. The Moon was a cocktail onion floating in a martini. My guests were continuing the game of matching name to a face. Each was trying to be the first to learn them. Like laying down your cards and saying gin.
    “I win, give me my laurel wreath.”
    Names have meaning, words have power.
    The screeching drew my attention. You’re early my friends. What percolated your flight?
    Then the earthquake struck, unexpectedly…don’t they always.
    I smiled as I went inside.

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    1. This is filled with lush imagery; I loved it! The opening line just set the atmosphere so beautifully.

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    2. Nice one, Jeffrey. This narrator is a hard one to be able to smile during an earthquake.

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    3. Among a plethora of marvelous images, I particularly loved "The moon was a cocktail onion floating in a martini." Utterly great writing!

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    4. I agree with J.E. the image of the moon as a cocktail onion is marvellous. You are improving with every submission, Jeffrey. This was a very good one indeed.

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    5. 'Cloud-lightning' reminded me of a storm seen on a flight from JHK to Newark - well evoked scene here.

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  9. This is so darkly enchanted Jeffery. Superb imagery of 'cactus needles hurtling through and lighting the evening sky' you captured the sights sounds and scents of the scene perfectly. I like this a lot.

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  10. Annihilation

    As I sprawl, drunkenly, on the porch, darkness percolates the shifting shadows and I drain the last of the gin from the bottle. The desert is abnormally silent and silhouettes of stiff-limbed saguaro cactus loom like lonely sentinels against the approaching horror that will obliterate everything: Tomorrow there will be no more earth.

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    1. Terrie, this is short, nice use of prompts and a good last line.

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    2. So beautifully, and poetically-written this - I especially enjoy the alliteration.

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    3. Short and powerful. I love the images that came to mind with your descriptions of the dark desert. Beautiful!

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    4. Since you're out of gin, feel free to mix your liquors. After all, you don't have to get up in the morning. Very well done.

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    5. I wish you had another bottle of gin, Terrie. Despite the horror, this has such a smooth, beautiful flow.

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    6. Short and succinct and a pleasurable read from beginning to end. Such a story told in a mere handful of words. No easy task, and that's the truth.

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  11. Variation on a curse [Threshold 216]

    ‘Be careful’ is what they say about wishes. I got mine. A domination that, were it not for willingness, would be considered criminal. Think ‘cactus’ for the nature of his thrusting, ‘autumn sorbet’ for the percolating bruises on my skin. Think ‘feral’ for the stink arising from the already blood-encrusted sheets. His grunting spoke of satiation, whereas my cries, he later claimed, forcing me to drink the spirit lest I conceive (an idea born of an ignorance I did not disabuse) akin to a cat caught in gin-trap. Think veiled, evasive, covert, cryptic for the expression in his shrouded eyes.

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    1. Wow, some really hard hitting images here Sandra and a story to make me wince. Loved the 'autumn sorbet' description of bruises and the last line so wonderful. The whole piece works so effectively to make me know I do not like this man at all.

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    2. Enjoyed the line about willing domination. Looked up gin-trap, I do so like like learning new words, it also came up as a 17 century inn located in Ringstead, Norfolk. An enjoyable read, soft but straining the boundaries.

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    3. A brutal, darkly written piece with powerful imagery with 'cactus', 'autumn sorbet' and the feral stink. Very strong.

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    4. This is great. It shows the narrators feelings well, about staying or leaving, knowing leaving is practically out of the question. I liked how you didn't mention his name.

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    5. very dark and brutal. I wondered if anyone would use gin-trap, might have foreseen it would be you!

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    6. This piece is loaded with excellently crafted language, Sandra.

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    7. This had something of a different "feel" to it while still encompassing the overall theme of the serialization. Raven still continues to intrigue, as does our still nameless protagonist.

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  12. Change of focus [293]

    Nothing Khakbethian about Valdeta’s new abode.
    Pettinger, surprised, ‘Didn’t know cacti could survive this far north,’ but when the building came into sight, beyond gates and a meandering drive, its gin-palace exterior identified its owner as clear as a neon sign.
    Batiste Balincheck. A man whose reputation was pure as driven on the outside but from which, Pettinger suspected, all evidence of inner traits, percolating to visibility, had to be daily scrubbed.

    What he did not know with any certainty, was the nature of those hidden aspects. What afforded him sufficient to maintain a desert at such a chilly altitude.

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    1. You are keeping me hooked with all the subtle twists and turns and small reveals in Pettinger's story Sandra.

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    2. An air of mystery and anticipation. I'm looking forward to the continuation.

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    3. Batiste sounds very interesting. I loved the line 'its gin-palace exterior identified its owner as clear as a neon sign'.

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    4. More good struff, Sandra. I don't know how you manage it week after week.

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    5. it shows a total immersion in the storyline to carry this on so faultlessly week on week.

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    6. I believe Antonia expressed it best with the word "faultless." Each episode is a study on how to write serializations while maintaining the thread. How much would you charge for lessons?

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  13. The Outlaw

    The outlaw percolates cactus juice to make peyote gin. A potent concoction. He sips it. Claims he is rendered invisible to his enemies.

    This may be true. Once I saw him shoot a Pinkerton detective in the head. No one so much as blinked at his presence.

    I dress him. Like his pageboy from some romance of yore.

    Satin shirt and boots that gleam. Silver spurs on his heels and silver buckles on his belts. His Stetson hangs low above his eyes. When he steps out into the midday sun he casts no shadow in his wake.

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    1. Brilliant images with a wonderful flow and feel to the whole piece David. It definitely makes me want to find out more about 'the outlaw'

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    2. The teachings of Don Juan sprang to my mind with your story. Very well done and enjoyable.

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    3. Brilliant opening sentence and an intriguingly deep story.

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    4. A very intriguing story. I love the insight into the character with 'claims he is rendered invisible to his enemies', and how he let the narrator dress him.

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    5. This is some dapper outlaw. Very enjoyable.

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    6. The last paragraph in particular is a testament to your talent, David!

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    7. Imagery galore and while we get a clear picture of this cowboy's attire, we somehow know that he is not visible to the general populace. This is such an intriguing and inventive tale that bears morphing into a serial.

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  14. The Secret Armadillo Soldier (SAS) Diaries - entry 16 Gin traps and Tripwires


    While Sarg negotiated, Armi scuttered between termite mounds and long-thorned cactus percolating the parched desert of dry-gulch trail. Here a hidden tunnel led out of Rat-Bottom gully and into the valley beyond.
    The valley was a dangerous place: A sadistic gerbil horde regularly set brutal gin-traps and trip-wires to waylay unsuspecting travellers. They patrolled its borders and answered to a secretive kingpin known only as ‘The Boss’.
    On a previous mission, Armi narrowly escaped capture by ‘the boss’s’ henchmen but this time he had a map to Fat-Franks and would be in a disguise that no one would expect.

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    1. This promises a very interesting meeting between Armi and the Boss. I also laughed aloud at thinking about 'a sadistic gerbil horde'.

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    2. Sadistic gerbils, great line! Very good story.

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    3. I too enjoyed the gerbil horde. I can see the little guys running around setting gin traps... great visual. Just so you know, I'm holding my breath until pink fairy makes a return appearance.

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    4. the second gin-trap, good one, Terrie! and I too loved the idea of the gerbils!

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    5. A double dose of SAS this week. I am in hog heaven!!!

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  15. Rick's Roadhouse

    This is your average boozer (although clientele tends to be exclusive) where coffee constantly percolates for graveyard shifters who prefer a shot of caffeine to help them get home before the sun rises.

    I spend all my time here, taking care of business. Never get out any more. Not since Lisa left. My night-blooming cactus, just as prickly, but I miss her like hell. And then, tonight...

    She stumbled, already intoxicated, through the door, dribbling blood, presumably from her latest victim. I remember being her first. The memory is both bitter and sweet,

    "Of all the gin joints..."

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    1. Yet another - there are so many this week - story which both hints at a richness of back story and makes us want to know what's to come.

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    2. I'm definitely left curious about both of these characters, well done! I thought the setting was very fitting.

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    3. The slave is in love with his creator. Tightly written, good prompt use and very enjoyable.

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    4. this is a delight, Patricia, right down to that evocative last line which carries its own images to overlay on this story. Clever!

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    5. This gin joint brings new meaning to the graveyard shift. Intriguing and well done.

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  16. Spirit test

    Remember that advert? Man imitating coffee percolator while making instant? Made a lasting impression on me: avoid imitators and cheapskates. First date test (me selecting the venue, fair’s fair after all) was to ask for Rock Rose. Points gained if he recognised it as gin. Points lost if, knowing the price of it, he attempted a cheaper substitute. Even without seeing which label was poured I could tell the difference between sea buckthorn and cactus.

    Get it right and he’d get lucky.

    Get it wrong, then I got chance to make a scene; the management well-used to my operatic histrionics.

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    1. A fun piece, and I especially loved the imagery that came to mind with that final line about her 'operatic histrionics'.

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    2. Brought a chuckle to me a I remembered a fraternity brother who's passed and the advice he gave me about ladies you meet at a bar. A well written and most enjoyable story, thanks for the memory, he was a good guy, brother and friend.

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    3. I like this character, needs saving for a future book, methinks.

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    4. Your imagination holds a virtual arsenal of fascinating characters. This is yet another...and I like her. She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it, even if it means throwing a fit!

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  17. Best Of Three

    This desolate desert, where the scorching sun percolates the sand to shimmering shards and even the hardy cactus refuses to thrive, is the ideal location for our end game. We are one-for-one. He at Hearts. Me at Spades.

    And so, it all comes down to this.

    Forming melds and eliminating deadwood.

    "Gin!"

    My declaration is subtle but triumphant.

    My brother is crushed in his defeat.

    He did so want the heavens.

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    1. Aah - that sibling rivalry! Much enjoyed the 'percolating sand'.

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    2. There's a grandness to this I really enjoyed, and it's filled with so many vivid lines - 'the scorching sun percolates the sand' and 'Forming melds and eliminating deadwood'. Beautiful.

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    3. Also a nice place to get rid of a body. Descriptive and picturesque. Your last line was good.

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    4. this is another class piece this week, and it's only Tuesday...

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    5. Like Zaiure, I loved the crisp, vivid language in this piece. Such an enjoyable read, Patricia.

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  18. Drinking with Mama

    The coffee percolates on the table, dripping black into Mama’s favorite mug. I dump the grounds in the trash, avoiding your eyes, and wrap my fingers around the cracked, cactus-covered porcelain.

    “You have to talk to me,” you say.

    I think about pouring gin into my coffee, and when I look up, I know you’ve read my mind.

    You look sad, and I almost hate you for it. “Let her go, Waverly. It’s been months.”

    I open my mouth, but Mama scowls at me from behind your shoulder.

    “Let her go,” she says.

    I sigh. If only dead meant dead.

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    1. Some people need more convincing than others, but that takes patience. This was a great read, Zaiure!

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    2. Very nicely done and with a distinctive voice. Your offerings are always such a delight, Zaiure. This was no exception.

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  19. A very good story, tight and I loved cracked, cactus-covered porcelain.

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  20. So clever how you build from domestic, through possible romance, through a mind-stretching of possibilities to that final sigh. Novel-size in content.

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  21. Brilliant Zaiure. this captures a readers interest from the get go and draws you further and further in with each succeeding line. If this were the opening paragraph to a book I would want to read on.

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    1. Second person is far from being my favourite POV but the way you do it could convert me... this is so so good.

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  22. THE CALLING
    She stood frozen, gin-soaked breath rough as cactus, bowels painfully percolating.
    Slitting whores’ throats was her calling. But somehow the one she dispatched tonight filled the bathroom mirror. She crouched behind the door, her neck a bloody ruin, a knife clutched in her hand.
    But she, too, had a knife. She leapt into the bathroom and lunged at the whore, who like a synchronous twin, lunged at her.
    Sergeant Yorio looked at his partner. “Name’s Knaughty Knight, a local stripper and hooker.” Yorio stared at her and the knife in her throat. It matched the one protruding from the mirror.

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    1. oh, twists and turns and mysteries. Nice one.

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    2. I enjoyed the reveal at the end, and how you mirrored Knight. I also really liked your comparison of her breath to a cactus. Clever!

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    3. You've created a very claustrophobic atmosphere here, opening with a vivid image.

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    4. A mind that turns upon itself is a dangerous thing, as proven by this horrific little tale. For a moment, I thought I might be reading about "Jill the Ripper," but this was far more terrifying.

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    5. Gin-soaked breath is a good line, thanks (I think) for including me. Is it murder or suicide if your doppelganger kills you? Tightly and enjoyable written.

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  23. Prequel to Annihilation

    “You bought Ace High Royal Canadian Gin? For sixty bucks it oughta taste better than cactus juice.” I watched as her tears percolated onto her cheeks. I deflected, “Yeah, I read Terrie’s story too, bout the earth ending; you did good, kid.” Another mushroom cloud slowly rose in the east. I wondered where she found a store that was still open. I knew, even during all this, she’d not steal it. I tried not to gasp when I noticed the severed hand still gripping the bottle.

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    1. beautifully done prequel, John, they're not easy to do well.

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    2. What some people won't do for a drink! But why not, with the way things are in the world. Well done, John.

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    3. A touching prequel, and I like the glimpse into who the character is with 'I knew, even during all this, she’d not steal it'.

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    4. Confidence misplaced indeed!

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    5. Very nice tie-in to Terrie's story, John. And that last line sent a shiver up my spine. Composed with your usual flair, of course!

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    6. There must have been a memo I missed about this story sharing thing. Very nicely done by the way. Good writing attracts good writers.

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  24. Stop the week; I want to get off (6)

    There are customers who make cactus seem like primroses… we are pleased when they leave. There are those who would benefit from a glass of gin and ? and others who obviously watch coffee percolate… reading body language is one of the arts of being a shop keeper in a business like ours, where some are walking antique experts and others who ask endless silly questions ‘where do you get your stock?’ It’s been a time of upheaval and making plans for shelves and shifting this and that – watching it come together will be a joy. If I can wait…

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    1. A glimpse into a frustrating week, to be sure! I love the title you picked, and the line about certain customers 'who make cactus seem like primroses'.

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    2. Endless opportunities for people-watching, for sure.

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    3. People-watching is a truly informative hobby. I am really loving these little slices of "Stop the week..." I do hope they continue for a very long time.

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    4. People watching is a lost art in our techno age. These are very enjoyable slices of your life, thanks for sharing them with us.

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  25. You know that one of a kind hat on the shelf, with the red band? Do you have that in a larger size, in blue?

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  26. Am I...?

    Sitting on my porch,
    coffee with a nip of gin.
    Thoughts percolating through my mind.
    Mom’s desert cacti blooming in the window.

    Am I selfish,
    bloating myself like a puffer fish?
    Am I water,
    afraid I’ll be recognized as a squatter?

    Am I a writer,
    looking for a future that’s brighter?
    Am I a poet,
    overly concerned to show it?

    Am I your friend,
    due to all the stories we’ve penned?
    Am I a rival,
    looking for a revival?

    Am I respected,
    for writings unexpected?
    Am I a brides maid,
    despite all the accolades?

    Or am I just Jeff,
    A.K.A-Pel?

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    1. I like your poetry writing style Jeff. The imagery is potent and the subtle word play and rhyming flows easily so you oftentimes don’t notice it right away - which is how it should be . An enjoyable read. Thankyou.

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    2. This had a really nice flow to it, Jeffrey. I like how you incorporated your LegendFire name at the end. Some really great lines here...too many to mention really so I'll just include the entire piece.

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    3. I really enjoyed how it flowed, and the rhyming word choices you made. I also liked the beginning description of 'Thoughts percolating through my mind'.

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  27. Kursaal (Episode One Hundred Twenty Five) - "Table For Two Update"

    It was a while since Charlotte Fitzoy received the anonymous "Table For Two" request for reservations at Lottie's Larder. A date had still not been set, but requirements of the incognito diners had grown of late indicating attendance was possibly imminent.

    Menu items included Cactus Salad with Portobello Mushroom starters accompanied by a Negroni apéritif (made with Sipsmith London Dry Gin]) and freshly-percolated Black Ivory Coffee to be served with Chocolate Éclairs.

    Some components had cost Lottie a pretty penny to acquire, but reimbursement had been assured. Lottie hoped so. She didn't want to resort to threats for her money.

    -------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale, please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/kursaal.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    NOTE: Charlotte Fitzroy and "Lottie's Larder" (her restaurant), as well as the anonymous diners, have featured in previous episodes.

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    1. Pleasant descriptions about the meal. Lovely menu and scary thought if they didn't reimburse her. Oh, all in a good story.

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    2. Another wonderful story-line begun then put to prove until ready for the next instalment - what a fund of them you have.

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    3. Kursaal continues to be a favorite of mine. :) I love the menu descriptions, and the idea of the anonymous reservation request.

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  28. Caveat Emptor

    If a potential customer asked for a closer look at the cacti, she informed them she sold succulents, not cacti. Ignoramuses! And heaven forbid anyone should imply purchasing her Juniperus communis to harvest the berries for gin. The very thought percolated her blood pressure. Alcohol was the devil's own brew!

    She always followed up on consumers to ensure the plants were not being abused. Transgressors would be lured back to the garden center with promises of deeply discounted bargains.

    Once there, they would be introduced to the colossal Venus flytrap residing at the rear of the south-facing hothouse.

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    1. Patricia, I love this one better than the others this week, and they were outstanding. This tine you are even more casual, sharing an anecdote with a friend, chattering away and then sweeping their feet (and expectations) from beneath their feet with the killer last line. Perfect.

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    2. I love the atmosphere of this piece, and the surprise ending.

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    3. A nicely woven tale and I enjoyed with each reading. I'm not so certain she didn't want them to mistreat the plant. Excellent story.

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    4. Truly wicked, and deceptively so.

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  29. The Mad Italian 67.
    One could, if frequenting the bar in the House of Commons, consider the place to be a gin palace but a palace has more refinement than the Commons. There, ambitions percolate and at times go off the boil, being as useless as a dawn blooming cactus which few actually see. For now the ripples from the so-called ‘summits’ reach ever outward, sanctions here, trade disrupted there, currencies devalued, loss of face all round and only the clown in the centre maintain his position by sheer determination. But not for long. The electorate will vote again ere long.

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    1. How Leonardo manages to be so current and on point week after week is nothing short of miraculous. What a treat it would be to see him live ("up close and personal" so to speak) if he was living today instead of just visiting and observing.

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    2. I loved your comparison of ambitions to a dawn blooming cactus. Lovely imagery!

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    3. Astutely said and with good imagery, ripples from summits is good.

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  30. Stop the week, I want to get off (7)

    There is fishing gear stacked up… and chaos on the shop floor as a filing cabinet and wardrobe sold within an hour. Exchange labour is going on, help in putting up the glass shelving for an afternoon of work on a boat. Shelves will be good, silver uprights, black supports, how smart! How long before I get them? A while, if any more accidents happen. If someone carries a standard lamp through the shop, it’s wise to watch where you’re going. Instead, one broken Italian glass lampshade and one cut head. Oh dear. I kept out of the way…

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    1. Chaos does indeed to be reigning right now, Antonia. How I do adore these little snippets. Reminds me somewhat of Erma Bombeck's musings, which I also found intriguing. I do hope you continue with these. It seems you have unearthed yet another perfect niche.

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    2. There's an ease to this that I really enjoy. I agree with Patricia about finding a 'perfect niche'. :)

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    3. These are always so enjoyable despite or because of their simplicity.

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  32. Cripplegate Junction/Part 151 - Silent Witness

    In the abandoned Crossing Canteen, coffee had percolated on the stove, Typhoo had brewed in the urn and tea cakes had baked in the oven. Otherwise, its condition remained much the same as when it was operational.

    Small artificial cactus plants in ceramic pots with "Cripplegate" painted on the side sat atop a cupboard by the bow window next to a vacant bird cage where Farthing (the songless canary) once hopped merrily from perch-to-perch.

    Deep within a dusty alcove, empty bottles of Booth's Gin confirmed the suspicion that Violet (the Canteen's former waitress) had been rather fond of Mother's Ruin.

    -------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/cripplegate.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. Cripplegate becomes more eerie and fascinating as the episodes go on!

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    2. The intro sets the tone beautifully, and I can easily see the dusty room. I love the final line.

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    3. Artificial cactus plants and a canary that didn't sing. well done.

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  33. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #141
    And They’re Off


    Natasha landed gracefully between cacti as Roxie and Hex bounded up.
    “Look! We fixed the coal ‘gin! Can we race it at Cecily’s?!
    “Sure, just remember forests aren’t deserts.”
    “Yay!”
    Roxie and Hex bounced down to their cabin with plans percolating. Teddy, Elle, and Zehra walked aboard with the Flying Panther.
    “Here’s a crate. Natasha wants to be prepared for anything.”
    “Are we expecting trouble?”
    “Well…”

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    1. That's a great last line, to end one rather good story.

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    2. Great dialogue and accurately-chosen verbs. Good stuff.

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